Freethoughters were more than a little embarrassed by the Freethought town of Liberal having turned to spiritualism, as reflected in the below letter. The matters worse than “spooks” referred to likely would be a reference to Liberal finally succumbing to Christianity and its free thought university and publications having shut down. Many people passed through Liberal who are unrecorded and I can’t say whether D. Priestly, who wrote the letter, may have been a resident at one time. I’ve located him on the 1900 census and by this on a few other censuses. He was Dalhousie Priestly, born 1836 in New York, married to a woman named Rhuma. In 1880 they were living in Beaver City, Furnas, Nebraska. In 19000 they were in Newberg, Yamhill, Oregon.
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THE FREE THOUGHT MAGAZINE
H. L. Green
Editor and Publisher
Volume XVIII. 1900
January to December
—D. Priestly of Newberg, Oregon, one of our most enthusiastic Free Thinkers, writes in a private letter:
I feel grateful to you for what you are doing for the Oregon Liberal University. That is an institution that is going to succeed. Those in charge of it have got the brains and sincerity and enthusiasm and perseverance to make it go. They are not wasting time hunting spooks, as they did in Liberal, Mo., school. I cannot do much, but will do what I can.
The Liberal School started at Liberal, Mo., had something, even worse than, “spooks” to contend with, and of course died. Liberal schools ought to have a much higher moral standard than orthodox schools, and we are glad that the Silverton school maintains one.