Mary and Cecil Saunders Take a Trip, 1908

You might find the following letter from Misses Mary and Cecil Saunders of interest as they report on all the places (some impressive, some not as nice as Skidmore) they’ve seen.  (It’s Montana, not Wyoming, and Kalispell, not Kalespell, but who are we to armchair quarterback the editor?) From the Skidmore Standard (Skidmore, Missouri), December 17, 1908:

A Wyoming Letter

The Misses Saunders Write, Telling of their Trip to Kalespell, Montana

Kalespell, Montana, Dec. 4, 1908

Dear Father and Mother:

We want to try to write a letter describing our trip from home to this part of the country, in compliance with your request.

I just don’t know where to commence, but I believe I will commence with our leaving Kansas City.  We left there Tuesday morning, October 20 from the W. P.  Our train was a little late so we were in a rush all the way.  We took a sleeper from Kansas City and went to bed and slept fine. We saw nothing of interest from Kansas City to Denver except the beautiful, smooth prairie and the nice farm houses.  From Denver we took the D. & R. G. and such a bum road I never saw before.  We were twelve hours late getting to Salt Lake and landed there about one o’clock in the night.

In our trip we saw many things of interest.  In the first place of interest, the mountains, to one who has never seen them it is something wonderful, but when a person gets into them and sees such places as the Royal Gorge and Box Canon, they are at once filled with awe and wonder, and if he is a believer in God his mind at once turns to the Great Creator, who was able to make these wonderful things, and then to think “he cares for me.”

It is of no use for me to try to describe the way these places appeared as we were approaching them.  The porter on the train came through and told us about them and showed us where to go to get the best view of them.  We stood out on the platform of the car and we looked and looked until our eyes were tired.  To look on either side was to see perpendicular rock for hundreds and, I may say, thousands of feet high, and we could see some of the mountains covered with perpetual snow.  We passed many places of interest in the night that we would like to have seen.  We were asleep when we went over Tennessee Pass, the highest point on our way out.  It is over 10,000 feet high.  We felt no inconvenience or bad effect from the altitude, but the porter on one of the cars fell dead.  He must have had a weak heart.  The next day, as we were going over a  high point I found it affected our ears.  At one place they had to stop to repair an engine and we all got out and snow-balled one another.

I will now try to give you a description of some of the historical places of interest we saw in Salt Lake City.  As I said, we got there about one o’clock at night and we stayed there until 10:30 the next day, so we went up town in the morning and took in the sights.  We went through all the Mormon buildings we could.  We went through the Assembly Hall and the Tabernacle.  They are mammoth concerns, but nothing so very fine.  We saw the Lion House and the Bee Hive, the palace where Brigham Young lived and kept his many wives.  We also saw the Eagle Gate.  We did not think much of Salt Lake City; there are too many foreigners to suit me and the depot is no better than the one in Skidmore.

We went from Salt Lake City to Ogden.  This is a pretty place and they have a fine depot there.  From there we went to Pocatella. [Pocatello]  Here the train that brought our sleeping car was late so we did not get to bed until after eleven.  We arrived at Umatilla about five o’clock p.m. and left at 3:30 a.m.  Oh! such a place; just two or three houses.

There were several of us there, and we heard that the Sunday School children were going to have an entertainment, so we all went up to that.  It was pretty good for a place like that.  They also served coffee and cake, so we passed away some of the time very well, but the rest of the time was like an age, it passed so slow. We took the O.R. & N. out of Umatilla and got into Spokane at about one o’clock in the day time.  Spokane is a beautiful place.  There is a large river running through the city, a very swift running stream, and the city gets a great deal of its power from it to run its different machinery.  We did not get to see as much of the city as we would have liked.  We have a brother there but could not find him.  He could have shown us over quite a lot of the city in the time we stayed there. We did not get out of there until 10:40 that night.  We took the Great Northern from there to Kalespell, Montana, and landed there in the day time. Its usual time is about midnight, and so we took our brother’s family by surprise.

Kalespell is a city of about 5,000 or more, almost surrounded by mountains.  This is a valley of very productive land.  here is where the Flat Head Indian reservation is located that is coming in in the spring.  There is a large lake in this reservation known as the Flat Head Lake.  We are not a great ways from it.  We did not like the place very well at first for there are so many saloons and we saw several drunk men.  Some of our nearest neighbors are Indians, but they behave themselves very well.  We are liking it better as we get acquainted with the better class of people.  There are several nice churches in the city.  The Methodists have a nice church here, but not as nice as ours in Skidmore.  We go to Sunday School and church.  They have 135 in their Sunday School.  There are a great many Missourians here.  The population is increasing very fast.  There has been an increase of 2,000 the past year.  They built between two and three hundred houses last year and as many or more this year.  There is one very attractive feature about this place and that is we never have wind storms or cyclones or any very heavy winds at all, and they tell us it is lovely here in the spring and summer.  The streams are full of fish and the water is so clear you can see them on the bottom anywhere.  We have a Carnegie library here and we visit it quite often when we have time.

I fear you will get tired of reading this, so will close.  Tell all our friends in and around Skidmore that we think of them often, and hope some day to see them all again.

So good bye,

Mary and Cecil Saunders.