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Daugherty, a Silk and Linen Drummer, Contracts to Build a Cellar.

At Fort Zara I met another old friend. Bill Daugherty was there keeping the station. Nothing would do him but I should stay over there a week or so. Daugherty was a natural born Irishman who had "kissed the Blarney stone," full of wit and humor. He went to the coach and took my "grip sack" off and took it to the house, and said I had to stay. I liked that first rate, but I did hate to lose the time.

Daugherty came to Kansas in 1862, drumming for a house that sold fine linens, laces and silks, and had never done anything but sell silks, etc. He was sitting in a kind of a tavern one morning and chanced to see an advertisement in the paper that struck his "funny side." A gentleman living at the corner of Fifth and Shawnee Streets in Leavenworth, Kansas, had advertised for a contractor to build him a cellar, and the advertisement said that none "but experienced contractors need apply." The drummer, Bill Daugherty, decided he would call upon the gentleman who wanted "an experienced contractor." When he arrived at the place specified in the advertisement he found it to be a large general merchandise store. Daugherty introduced himself to the proprietor of the place and told him that he was an experienced contractor. "And," said Daugherty, "I see you are in a hurry for the cellar, sure and I am the laddie that can build that cellar quicker than a bat can wink its eye. I'm from auld Ireland, and conthracting is me pusiness." The merchant told him that he wanted the cellar built right away, and showed him the ground he wanted it built on--which adjoined his business house on the corner. Daugherty asked the merchant how much time he would allow him to build the cellar in, and the merchant told him not longer than eight or ten days. "Well," said Bill, "I will do it in less time."

"Now, sir, you furnish me the tools, shovels, picks, wheelbarrows, and running plank to the number I want, and I will go to work on your cellar, Friday, if you will give me $100." The merchant said he could not afford to give more than $80 for the job and that he would have to take $20 in trade. "Alright, py golly," Bill answered, "I will take the job that way, providing you put it in writing." The contract was drawn up and said that the cellar was to be commenced on at 7 o'clock Saturday morning. The merchant was to furnish all tools or pay for the tools Daugherty bought up to a certain given number. Friday night Daugherty had all his tools on the "job" and made everything ready to commence work Saturday morning. Bright and early Saturday morning Bill was there and he had two wagons from the saloon on the ground also.

Thursday evening when he first made the agreement to build the cellar, he went to the saloon and told the "Bys" to come to Fifth and Shawnee Streets Saturday, that he was going to give a "B," and it was to be the best time, and the liveliest time, and the finest "B" they ever saw. He told the boys at the saloon all about his contract with the merchant, and as they were mostly Irish, they quickly agreed to help out with the plan.

Bill Daugherty had the saloon man send down four bartenders, and he had a keg of beer placed at equal distances apart with mugs and glasses and the bartenders to draw the beer, and the fun commenced. Before seven o'clock more than fifty men were on the job. The alley behind the store building was five feet under grade and he put running plank on the ground from the front of the ground running into the alley, and put four wheel-barrows on them and a set of men shoveling. The work progressed nicely with the Irishmen working and drinking and singing. Bill Daugherty was in his glory and the old merchant was "feel-n' blue." Bill kept encouraging his workmen telling them that some "great big doin's was a-comin' off along about eaten' time." The restaurant man came with a fine dinner and furnished everything in the eating line but the coffee, and the saloon man was there with the "drinks."

At one o'clock they all started to work and at 4 o'clock that afternoon they had completed the cellar, and the engineer had inspected it, and passed his judgment that it was a "good job." Daugherty went in the store to get "paid off," he was feeling pretty good.

He told the merchant that he wanted a nice vest for himself, a pair of shoes, and a shirt and hat. Then, he told the merchant that he wanted to see a fine paisley shawl, one that "you would like to see your wife wear." The merchant showed him an $8 shawl, but it did not please the fancy of old Bill Daugherty. "Show me a shawl that you would be pleased to see your wife wear, one that you would be proud to see her wear to church, that old shawl is not genteel." This time the merchant took down a $16 shawl and after close examination, and the assurance that it was the best one he had in the house, Daugherty accepted the shawl. "Now," said Daugherty, "I want my cash." The merchant counted out the balance of the money to him, and said he would wrap the shawl for the "contractor." The merchant began to wrap the shawl up for Bill and Bill told him that "that won't do, a lady wouldn't have a fine shawl wrapped up like that, let me ahold of the strings and fine papers." Daugherty called for tissue paper, he wrapped his purchase up neatly and then called for ribbon with which to tie it. He wanted green and red ribbons. After encasing the article in the tissue paper bound around with ribbons, he put a piece of wrapping paper about it, and left the store, and its room full of amused spectators.

Bill went from the store straight to the home of the old merchant and told the wife of the merchant that he was "frash from auld Ireland, and that he had one shawl left, from his large stock, that he would sell her real cheaply. He commenced to talk to the lady, and all the time he was talking he was unwinding the papers from around the shawl. She looked at him in amazement, and he told her that he had sold out a large collection of fine shawls that he had brought from Paris, and that her husband had seen this shawl and greatly admired it, and that he had said to him in the presence of several other men, that he would like to see his wife wear a shawl like it." She told him that the shawl must be very choice.

At last the wrappers were all off the shawl, and he threw it about her shoulders and told her to look in the glass. He slapped his hands together, saying, "beautiful, beautiful--real Parisian." On talked the talkative Bill, until at last he saw he had won the lady to his view of thinking that she was a real Parisian figure with the shawl gracefully draped about her shoulders, and she asked him what he would take for it.

He told her that she could have it for just $65. and before she could catch her breath, he wheeled her about where she could see her profile in the glass, and told her to "just look at the reflection, could anything be handsomer?" He told her that it was the last one he had, and was cheap at the price, that her husband had said so, and that he said he would like to see her wear it.

She paid the money for it and he departed. He met one of his cronies down the street and told him about the transaction. "Now," said he, "you go down and tell him that he had better come over to the saloon and treat, and I will have the other boys over there hidden in the back room, and we will all get a glass and

"All go down to Rowser, to Rowser, to Rowser, We'll all go down to Rowser and get a drink of beer."

Well, the merchant "fell to" and the treats cost him in round figures the sum of $11.00. When Daugherty left to catch his stage out from there to Fort Zara, he was still treating the crowd, and getting pretty full, himself.

After the affair at Leavenworth, Bill Daugherty came to Kansas City on the boat, and asked the stage company if they needed a man to care for some of their stations. Mr. Barnum employed Bill and he went to Fort Zara, out among the Indians, where Bill's tongue helped him to get along very nicely with them.

When he chanced to allude to Fort Leavenworth, he always told the story of his "contracting" at Leavenworth on the corner of Fifth and Shawnee Streets. Out there at Fort Zara, Bill enjoyed himself as only Irishmen can, but his stumbling block was Captain Conkey, who was the biggest crank on earth, "take it from me," for he and I had a little "set-to." Daugherty always sent his "red, white and blue regards to the old merchant" by whosoever went to Leavenworth.