After spending an unspecified period of time in New York. Denis would begin the second leg of his journey. This would take him overland from one side of the States to the other.
America at that time was bubbling with outlawed activity. Some of the most in famous characters were reaching the pinnacle of their respective creativities. "Billy the Kid" was coming of age. Jessie James was robbing banks, and it was not long after Denis had passed through Iowa that the James gang robbed their first train in that State in 1872. Indeed, it may well have been the very same Locomotive that he had travelled on. "Sitting Bull" would have been aged around 34 and roaming the plains. It was still four years away from "The little big horn". Wyatt Earp, at that time would have been on the Kansas Plains Buffalo hunting. It would not be long before a career move would make Earp a household name all over the world. This then was a most exciting time in American history; indeed history was being created. Thousands of movies would eventually be spawned from the period and Denis Meany from a small rural community in Southern Ireland was an eyewitness to at least some of its events. He had his moments of danger and his trip did not go without incident. As the "Iron horse" thundered across the prairie, carrying the Doctor to his new destination, he writes, "In our little compartment there are five revolvers and rifles to guard against the prairie Indians". On another occasion while passing through the state of Nevada, he notes. "There was a fight in one of the cars today, a German and a Swede. Then two men, a Yankee and the other Dutch interfered. The knife was then pulled out, the Yankee asked help of the Irish in the cars but for once the Paddies let them see it out, we kept away and looked on. The blood soon sprouted very badly, but nothing serious". Summing up the situation, he closes this entry with a cautionary note;"The less a man says travelling, the better for him and especially if he boasts, he'll have a dozen at him and perhaps throw him out of the cars and shoot him". Such was the prevailing climate that Dr Meany entered in the year of 1872.
Author: Eddie Cantwell