1896: UPPER VERDE CORRESPONDENT; Prices, January 29.
"WEATHER, CROPS AND BUSINESS DISCUSSED AS WELL AS PRICES OF PRODUCTS."
"UPPER VERDE, Jan. 29. --- [Regular Correspondence.] Somebody has promised us a storm and I see it coming. As I write I can see from my window the clouds which completely envelop the Black hills, and I can hear the patter of the impatient rain drops on the roof."
"My brother of the 'Mining News' talks up, doesn't he? That's all right. The controversy is no new thing; it has been going on for some time between the ranchman and the merchant, and having nothing else to do, I thought I'd take a hand in it, too. The assertion that we can buy everything in Jerome as cheap as any where else in the territory doesn't interfere much with the ranchman in our part of the valley, who is feeding a large and growing family on Phenix flour at $2.30 per hundred; nor does it hurt the other neighbor who has just got back from Prescott with a load of supplies. It does not trouble the party in Jerome, who orders bacon and hams from Prescott and claims to have found a great saving. Understand me, my friends, this is what our people claim. I was told two days ago by a farmer just back from Prescott, that the same brand of flour for which we pay $4.00 per hundred in Jerome was selling in Prescott for $3.00. It may be you can buy flour in Phenix for $4.50 per hundred, but you can buy good flour there for $2.30. I know two parties who have recently done so. Phenix doesn't concern us much, we don't want to go to Phenix for supplies. Prescott is good enough with flour $1.00 less on the hundred and sugar $2.00 less on the sack, and everything lower in proportion. The road over by Cherry creek is a pretty good road."
"I am very glad that the merchant who said he could have hay laid down in Jerome at $12.50 has taken it back, because I didn't believe it when he said it. I don't know whether the one who told me it could be laid down for $13.00 and a fraction, has gone back on that or not. It doesn't make any difference one way or another."
"After my letter came out one of our farmers came to me and claimed that I had made a misstatement. I thought I was going to 'catch it' from both sides, but he said" 'You got your figures wrong; you didn't make that 'leak' big enough; it was $16.80 that a certain merchant said was the lowest figure at which hay could be put down in Jerome.' So I made the correction, on his assertion because I know nothing about that, individually. One ranchman, with a barn full of hay, says he will haul it to Prescott before he will take so little for it."
"Now as to sending away for goods, hadn't we as well send our money away and get the benefit of it, as for the merchant to send it away? What good does it do to give it to some one else to send away and make a big per cent on it. Everybody looks out for number one; why not the farmer? The merchant gives us no cash, why should we give it to him? We don't mind being told about sending away for things. It is a matter of necessity with us. Even some of our merchants' wives and daughters do the same. As to cheap and shoddy articles by mail, those who get and use the articles are the better judges of that. Make a profit on the goods, make a profit on the produce, and then cry out because they can't have every dollar in cash, in order to make a profit on that!"
"Now, in regard to the cutting of prices. Readers of the JOURNAL-MINER remember that I critisized some of our farmers for that six months ago. For reply they say that in ordeer to meet certain obligations on time, they have some times had to do this. Let us remember also that they were all the time confronted with the tale of hay laid down at $12.50 and $13 and a fraction. I happen to know some thing about the cutting of the price of grain. One of our ranchmen, owing a merchant a bill, and being anxious to pay it, took up a load of grain which should have brought him $1.75 per hundred, but the merchant whose debtor he was refused to give him over $1.35. Our farmer, instead of hauling his grain home again, as he should have done, turned it in on his debt. Did he cut the price? Not at all; yet, when the next man came with grain, the merchant said: 'I can get it for $1.35, and that is what I will give.'"
"Our farmers should organize a protective league, and while the merchants are over heard saying: 'They are going to thresh their grain in the valley soon, and we must get together and see what we will give,' the farmers should get together and see what they will take."
"But why multiply words? If the Verde and Flagstaff road can be built, it very likely will be built, and if we find it an advantage, whose business is it but ours? It does no good to say we can't do this, or we can't do that, so long as we turn right around and go and do it."
"Those who think the farmer can't get his supplies any cheaper elsewhere, have a right to their opinion. They have only to stand still and see him do it, for many of them have done it all along, and are likely to continue doing it for some time to come."
Now, a word about the fellow with the 'cranky' scales. What made him think he was the one? There was nothing said about Jerome in the New Year's letter."
(Arizona Weekly Journal-Miner; Prescott; February 5, 1896; page 2.)
See: The Verde Independent; "1896: UPPER VERDE CORRESPONDENT; New Road, January 15;" January 15, 2014.