"I'm From Missouri" (long, full 1897 WP article)

Bapopik at AOL.COM Bapopik at AOL.COM
Thu Nov 28 15:26:54 UTC 2002

   I'll type the article in full that I found Monday in the Library of
Congress, using WASHINGTON POST full text.
   It is a year earlier than the 1898 Trans-Mississippi Exposition in Omaha,
which had the slogan on buttons.  It's also a year eaerlier than the song (by
NY songwriters).
   We can wait for the ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH to go full text some time in
the next five years or so, but I'd already looked there.  From the articles I
got, no one knew the origin.  The Missouri Historical Society has newspaper
clippings, and again, I couldn't do better.
   We now have the huge Making of America databases, the American Memory
database, the huge American Periodical Series in full text, full text of
HARPER'S WEEKLY, full text of THE NATION, full text of the NEW YORK TIMES,
and full text of the WASHINGTON POST.  We can wait a little bit for full text
   That should be enough to declare that this is it.  The origin of the motto
of the State of Missouri.
   Gerald Cohen should round up our stuff, add it to the work of the late
Donald Lance, and publish a volume with the University of Missouri Press.
Just a suggestion.  We can even tell the press, and you all know how
successful I am at that.
   Sorry in advance for typing mistakes...I'll go to Philadelphia in a few
days to get the original article...On a prior trip to Philadelphia, I'd found
out that the Willard Van Diver "Five O'Clock Club" dinner (supposedly, the
origin of the motto) was held in 1900.
   From the WASHINGTON POST, 9 May 1897, pg. 27:

_So the Man from Missouri Leaped Headlong from a Train._

>From the Philadelphia Times.
   "I'm from Missouri, and they'll have to show me."
   That is what John Duffer, of Pike County, Missouri, remarked as he was
being patched up in the office of Dr. Creighton at Manitou.  His face and
hands were badly scrateched where they had come in contact with the sharp
gravel, there was a bruise over one eye where his head has struck against a
fragment of Pike's Peak, one elbow felt "like a tarnation wildcat had clawed
it," and there was a general feeling of soreness "pretty much everywhere," as
he explained it to the doctor, but he was alive and thankful.
   John had jumped from the platform of a Colorado Midland passenger train at
the entrance to the first tunnel above Manitou, while laboring under a
mistake as to the destination of the train, which appeared to be plunging
into the mountain side.
   "You don't catch me lettin' 'em run me into the ground with any of their
gol darned trains, when I've got a through ticket to Cripple Creek in my
pocket," he remarked as the doctor took another stitch in his scalp and
adjusted an artistic court plaster shingle on the swelling dome over his
right eye.  "I'm pretty badly peeled up, but you bet I'm still on top, and
that's where I'm going to stay."  And John Duffer took a good-sized bite out
of a mammoth piece of navy plug which he dug up out of his pocket and
relapsed into momentary silence, though his jaws worked faster than ever.
   "You see, Doc," said the Missourian, as he deluged the gas log in the
doctor's fireplace with the overflow from his lips, "I was a-going over to
Cripple Creek to see what those gold mines look like, where they shovel up
the stuff into a wagon and let her go at that, and find chunks of gold in the
rocks.  I had my grip and a bucket of grub in the car, and just after the
train left the depot I went out on the platform to look at the mountains.
Down on one side was a holler, and up on tother side was a hill that I
couldn't see to the top of, and on all sides was mountains, and I couldn't
see how the train was ever going to dodge them all.  The little shelf the
train was running on kept wiggling through them hills like a snake in a plow
field, and then I looked ahead and saw where a hill had been split plumb down
to the ground to let the railroad through, and that was all right, because I
could see daylight on the other side.  And then when the train went through
that split in the hill it switched around kinder to one side, and I could see
the track ahead of the engine, and then I saw a big white mountain all
covered with snow sticking clear up into the clouds, and nobody knows how
much farther, and the next thing I knowed the engine give a screech like she
was most scared to death, and I looked quick and the whole business was going
plunk into a hole in the ground.  And then I jumped.  Came near getting
killed, but I fooled them that trip.  You don't catch me running up against
any game that I don't know nothing about, and I ain't going into anything
that I don't know the way out of.  Then I came down town to get patched up,
and I'm going to Cripple Creek some other way, even if I have to walk."
   "And what became of the train?" asked the doctor, who had been feeling of
Duffer's ribs to se if they were all in place.  "Didn't they stop for you?"
   "Stop nothing.  The last I saw of the darned thing it was still going into
the hole and I didn't care whether it ever stopped or  not.  I wasn't on it.
Say, do you reckon I could get my bucket back if they get them out?"
   It took considerable time and the testimony of several witnesses to
convince Mr. Duffer that the entire train and its contents were not
hopelessly buried in the interior of Pike's Peak, and quite a little crowd
accompanied him to the station, where Agent Dunaway telegraphed to Cascade to
return one lunch pail and grip labeled John Duffer, Pike County, Mo.
   And as he left the station to fill up on "free soda biling right out of
the crowd" Mr. Duffer explained, once more:
   "When the train went into that hole I thought we'd never see daylight
again, and my only chance was to jump, and so I jumped.  I'm from Missouri,
and you'll have to show me!"

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