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The E-Sylum:  Volume 3, Number 49, November 26, 2000, Article 7

WATERMAN LILLY ORMSBY, JR. 

   Most U.S. bibliophiles know of Waterman Lilly Ormsby 
   as the author of the rare 1852 work, "A Description of the Present 
   System of Bank Note Engraving."   But did you know his son 
   was also an important writer?   As a reporter for the New York 
   Herald in 1858, Waterman Lilly Ormsby, Jr. "crossed the 
   western states as the first through passenger in the Butterfield 
   Overland Mail stage from east to west."  The accounts are 
   collected in a 1942 work (reprinted in 1955) published by The 
   Huntington Library of San Marino, CA, titled "The Butterfield 
   Overland Mail." The book's introduction includes some 
   biographical information about both Ormsbys.  One interesting 
   passage: 

   "Twenty-four miles from our last station we came to the 
   Maricopas Wells, situated in a large plain of alkali soil and 
   coarse grass.  There are, in all, six or eight wells, and the water 
   is very good.  We found a number of Indians there, and one of 
   them had the audacity to ask me three bits (37 1/2 cents) for a 
   small melon which he wished to sell.  I showed him two 
   three-cent pieces, and the look of insufferable contempt which 
   he gave me would be worth a fortune to an actor in the right 
   place.  I am sure his melon would rot before he could get 
   another chance to sell it." (p99) 

  Wayne Homren, Editor

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