Francis Raymond Line-1903

By C. S. Line

To continue that sequence of my story, Francis was on the way, and we were up against it, no private accommodations for the great event and we knew nothing about hospital procedures. We debated the situation from every angle, and it was proposed that Daisy should go east and stay with Myra until the baby was born, and grown to a size that it would be safe to return with him, and rejoin me rather than to throw overboard all that we had worked for and striven to attain in the new country, for the benefit of ourselves and the children. This choice we mulled over for days with the final conclusion to let the tail go with the hide and sell outright then and there, thereby burning our bridges behind us.

Accordingly, we distributed the sewing machine and other household items among the neighbors, Carrack sold our horse at $20, he took the cow and calf, as noted and I think the trio of poultry, we packed and shipped very little, I leased the premises, tools and equipment to Carrack for the enduing year; sold him my field of corn for $12, for possible fodder; and my garden, principally potatoes, for $1. He afterwards told me he got stuck on both these latter deals, as got no fodder, even, and no potatoes.

We went to the Carrack's to spend the last night and he took us to the depot next morning.

All of the current summer, after having become convinced that I would have a complete crop failure in the fall, I had sold half of my acreage to Frank Carrack, for $1000 on which he had built himself a house, a real lath and plaster house, and was occupying it soon thereafter.

However, the morning in question, in his rented premises, he took us to the depot, and after bidding the mister and his wife, and son Brent, good bye, we boarded the train for the east. I had gotten tickets this time via the D. & R. G. and the Missouri Pacific to Chicago. The Missouri Pacific operated a through Pullman clear through, so we had no car changes, but plenty of grief before the journey ended, but nothing to compare with that we had on our way out 7 months or more ago. This was in early August 1903. By the time we reached Pueblo, we ran into terrific floods, with bridges out or weakened, making for continual delays, and from then on, we were dogged with continuing flood conditions. Upon reaching Kansas City we were hours late, and were switched into the railroad yards until morning.

In the morning we got going again, but were still further delayed so that missed our next connecting train at Bloomington, Illinois, and again shunted into the railroad yards for the night, resuming our journey into Chicago next morning.

Arriving in Chicago Daisy and I parted ways, she going on to Battle Creek to contact her mother, and then continuing on to her sister Myra’s in Canal Fulton, Ohio, there to awaiting me to join her a week or so later. In the meantime I went on to New York, to size up mercantile prospects, with the idea of starting another store, somewhere in Ohio. Upon arrival in New York, and contacting brother Allie, I concluded to make the gamble and buy a stock of goods complete to establish a store not yet located, the goods to be held in the meantime for my telegraphic instructions as to shipping directions after I had located the town. Therefore I did just that, Charles Broadway Rouss being my principal supplier, on cash down basis. I had previously barrowed $500 from brother Fred, to augment my reduced cash balance, for I had spent in Grand Junction so lavishly for equipment that the natives out there had classed me in the millionaire group.

For a long time I had had in mind, from reading history the Western Reserve, in Ohio, which includes the area embraced in and adjacent to Huron County. The area was otherwise known as the Connecticut Fire Lands, which was set aside in the developing west for settlers in New England, in the early days whose holdings had been burned out, and so the name originated. It was known as a fertile and promising section of country. Therefore that general section was my goal, after coming to Canal Fulton and contacting Daisy and my boy. Grant had a proposition to jointly with buy out a local meat market, I to furnish the capital and he the meat cutting know how. I had had all I wanted in business with which I was a total stranger, and so the appeal did not strike me at all.

I first investigated Wellington, on the Big Four, 35 miles southwest of Cleveland, a mighty pretty town, but largely residential, but on a trolley line direct into Cleveland, which did not auger so well for the local trading center. However, I took an option on a small room, but, before deciding, an itinerant acquaintance, who had some knowledge of drummers' habits up and down the line, suggested that I look over New London, which he claimed was the snappiest business town along the line of the Big Four, with several industrial plants. Therefore I proceeded 12 miles further down the Big Four to New London. A short inspection convinced me that this was my town, and before night I had leased a small business room on the main street, 15 foot front and 45 feet deep, at $8 per month, and thereupon wired New York to mark and shop my mercantile stock to The Buckeye Exchange, New London, Ohio, and hustled around and rented the little house in which Francis was born. Locally my store was to be named as above in deference to the state slogan, though my creditors refused to recognize any other authority than C.S. Line, and I to be so billed.