Wednesday, February 28, 2007


I was a little exasperated this morning by a missed opportunity. American Prophet opens with a short history of the Colorado region where Carey McWilliams was born. A small party of settlers, led by Nathan Meeker, arrived there in the nineteenth century and was subsequently killed by Indians in what became known as the Meeker Massacre.

What I didn't include, because I only learned it this morning, is that Nathan Meeker was the agricultural editor for the New York Herald Tribune. When his boss, Horace Greeley, said "Go west, young man," Meeker hit the bricks. His purpose was to start a utopian farming colony--with irrigation!--now known as Greeley, Colorado. Get it? Horace Greeley?

So I missed the chance to close that narrative loop. The Colorado native would eventually become the New York City editor--but not before he popularized the Great Irrigation Caper immortalized (fictitiously) in Chinatown. It all comes together!

By the way, The Nation's cover story last week was "Lockdown in Greeley: How Immigration Raids Terrorized a Colorado Town."



Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home