Three Score Years and Ten.
"THREE SCORE YEARS AND TEN,"
_FORT SNELLING, MINNESOTA_,
OTHER PARTS OF THE WEST,
CHARLOTTE OUISCONSIN VAN CLEVE.
HARRISON & SMITH, 257 AND 259 FIRST AVENUE SOUTH, MINNEAPOLIS, MINN.
"_To the husband of my youth, by whose side I have journeyed more than half a century, and whose tender love has brightened my whole life, this book is dedicated._"
ST. PAUL, MINNESOTA,
_515 Portland Avenue_.
March 14, 1888.
MY DEAR MRS. VAN CLEVE:
_Whenever there is growth in any community the desire arises to know something of what was in the beginning. It was with no weariness I read in manuscript the "Reminiscences" from your pen. Each chapter contains something in connection with the dawn of civilization in the west, which is worthy of being preserved. The incidents related are stirring, and the style is graphic. When I finished the perusal I felt the force of the adage, that "Truth is Stranger than Fiction." As the diary of John Evelyn, throwing light upon the days of Charles the Second, is still read, so I think, if printed, your unaffected narrative will always find a place in the private and public libraries of Minnesota and the Western States._
EDWARD D. NEILL.
* * * * *
TABLE OF CONTENTS
VI. A COINCIDENCE. 45
VII. ANDREW TULLY. 49
VIII. A WOLF STORY. 62
IX. RED RIVER OR SELKIRK SETTLEMENT. 68
X. RUNNING THE GAUNTLET. 74
XII. CINCINNATI. 91
XIII. NEW HOME--SCHOOL DAYS. 99
XIV. FATHER'S DEATH, ETC. 105
XVIII. MALCOLM CLARK. 148
XXII. THE GOLDEN WEDDING. 173
* * * * *
"Three Score Years and Ten."
One evening long ago, when this wonderful century, now in a vigorous old age, had just passed its nineteenth birthday, in a bright, cheerful sitting-room in the good old city of Hartford, Conn., sat a fair young matron beside a cradle in which lay sleeping a beautiful boy a year and a half old. The gentle motion of her little slippered foot on the rocker, keeping time with the soft humming of a cradle hymn; the work-basket near by; and the dainty needle work in her hand; the table tastefully spread for two, and the clear wood fire in the old-fashioned fireplace, formed as restful a picture of domestic peace and content as one could wish to see.
But the expectant look in the bright blue eyes, uplifted at each sound, clearly indicated that some one was coming who should round out this little circle and make it complete.
And now the familiar footstep draws near and the husband and father enters; she rises joyfully to meet him, but seeing in his face a look of grief or pain, exclaims, "What is it, dear husband?" He holds her very close, but cannot find words to tell her that which will cross all their cherished plans of a year's quiet resting in her native city; and handing her an official document, with its ominous red seal newly broken, he watches her anxiously as she reads:
_Lieutenant Nathan Clark, U. S. Fifth Infantry_: You are hereby appointed Assistant Commissary of Subsistence, and will forthwith join your regiment at Detroit, which is under orders to move to the Mississippi river and establish a military post at the mouth of the St. Peters river.
With respect and esteem,
GEORGE GIBSON, Com. Gen. of Subsistence.
Twice she reads this order, and then, looking up with a smile, says, with a slight tremor in her voice: "Is this all, beloved? Why should it so distress you? You surely do not flinch from duty?" With a perceptible start at such a suggestion, the gallant young soldier replies: "No, no, my precious wife; but this means separation from you and our boy, for you cannot venture on so long and perilous a journey as that, and our separation is not for days and months, it may be for years; how can I endure it? And we were so happy here in our snug little cottage--you in the midst of early friends and beloved relatives, your childhood companions and associations all about you; and I with my duties as recruiting officer. We had reason to hope and expect at least a year longer of this life, and this sudden blasting of our hopes seems cruel. Oh, Charlotte! how can you bear the thought?" As he thus poured out his heart, her eyes regarded him with wonder, and when he ceased she drew him to his favorite chair, and, seating herself on a low stool beside him, took his hand in hers, and, looking up at him through her tears, said with ineffable tenderness: "My own dear husband; how could you for a moment imagine that this order means separation? Could you believe that I would remain here in comfort, and suffer you to go alone to that far-off region where, if ever, you will need me to cheer and aid you? If my marriage vows mean anything, they mean that I am not to forsake you at such a time as this. What would the comforts of this dear home, what the society of relatives and friends be to me, with you in a wild country, in the midst of a savage people, deprived of almost everything that makes life dear? No, no, my beloved; where thou goest I will go; thy people shall be my people; entreat me not to leave thee, or to refrain from following after thee, for naught but death shall part thee and me."
The young soldier took his true, brave wife to his heart, and, holding her close, exclaimed: "How deep and sacred is the love of woman! who can comprehend its entire unselfishness?" and both found relief in blessed tears of love and thankfulness which cleared away all doubts and anxieties and filled them with hope and happiness. Over the evening meal future plans were cheerfully discussed, dangers and difficulties were looked bravely in the face, and feeling that, with undying love for each other and entire trust in God, they could meet and conquer whatever lay in their way, these young people rested peacefully during that night, which had shown them how firm was the bond which held them to each other, and were strengthened to meet the storm of opposition that broke upon them in the morning from the relatives and friends of the young wife and mother.
Preparations were rapidly made; household goods disposed of; all things necessary for a long, toilsome journey packed; heart-breaking "good-byes" were spoken, and the faces of the travelers were turned westward.
A wearisome stage journey of many days brought them to Buffalo, where, after resting a short time, they embarked in schooners for Detroit on the 1st of May, which city they reached in time to move forward with the regiment by water to Green Bay; thence in batteaux they ascended the Fox river to Lake Winnebago. Col. Leavenworth, then in command of the regiment, having received instructions to conciliate the Indians, and avoid everything which might arouse the opposition of these owners of the soil, determined to stop at this point to hold a council with them, and crave permission to proceed on their journey. This being announced to the chiefs of the tribe, they assembled to hear what the "white brother" had to say. The day was beautiful; the troops, all in full uniform, "with bayonets glancing in the sun," made an imposing display, and everything was done to render it a memorable and impressive occasion. The ladies of the party--Mrs. Leavenworth, Mrs. Gooding, with their young daughters, and Mrs. Clark, with her baby boy were seated on the turf enjoying the novelty and beauty of the scene, when some Indian women, attracted by the unusual sight, drew timidly near and gazed in wonder at what they saw. One of the officers, Major Marston, the wag of the party, learning that one of them was the head chief's wife, desired to show her some distinguishing mark of respect, and, leading her into the group of ladies, said, with due ceremony, "This is the Queen, ladies; make room for the Queen;" but as this specimen of royalty was almost too highly perfumed with a mingled odor of fish and musk-rat to suit the cultivated taste of her entertainers, they did not hail her advent with any marked enthusiasm.
When all was in order, Colonel Leavenworth stepped forth, and, through an interpreter, formally requested of the Chief permission to pass peaceably through their country. The Chief, a very handsome young brave, advanced, and, with his right arm uncovered, said, with most expressive gestures: "My brother, do you see the calm, blue sky above us? Do you see the lake that lies so peacefully at our feet? So calm, so peaceful are our hearts towards you. Pass on!" With this full permission so gracefully bestowed, after resting and refreshing themselves among their newly-made friends, the troops left among them a liberal supply of beads and trinkets and passed on to that point on the river, least distant from the Ouisconsin, where they made a portage, transporting their boats and supplies, by the aid of Indians hired for the purpose, a distance of a mile and a half. This was a tedious process, but was at last successfully accomplished, and the boats were again afloat on the stream, called by the Indians the "Nee-na-hoo-na-nink-a," (beautiful little river), and by the whites "Ouisconsin," the French orthography for what we now write "Wisconsin." The place of transit from one river to the other was known for years as the Portage. At the point where the troops made preparations for crossing it was afterwards built Fort Winnebago, and directly opposite the fort, on a pretty knoll, stood for many years the Indian agency occupied for a long time by John Kinzie, agent, afterwards better known as one of the first owners of Chicago, and Mrs. Kinzie's "Waubun," or early day, gives a very pleasant and reliable account of that locality and the surrounding country. The point on the Wisconsin where the re-embarkation of the troops took place has grown into Portage City.
In spite of heavy rains and other discouraging circumstances, the tedious descent of the Ouisconsin was at length successfully accomplished, and at its mouth stood old Fort Crawford and a settlement of French and half-breeds called "Prairie du Chien." This fort was simply a rude barracks, and far from comfortable. The two months' journey from Buffalo had been very trying, serious obstacles and hindrances had been encountered and barely overcome, but instead of reaching their final destination in June, as they confidently expected to do, the troops arrived at Fort Crawford on the morning of the first day of July, worn out and exhausted. It was therefore determined to remain at this point some weeks for rest and renewal of strength, before making the final plunge into the unknown wilderness, into the very midst of savages, who might resist their progress and cause them much trouble.
The transportation of their supplies had been attended with so much difficulty that, notwithstanding all possible care, the pork barrels leaked badly and the contents were rusty; the flour had been so exposed to dampness that for the depth of three inches or more it was solid blue mould, and there was no choice between this wretched fare and starvation, for the miserable country about the fort afforded no supplies.
Just at this juncture, scarcely an hour after her arrival, Mrs. Clark's second child was born, and named Charlotte, for her mother, to which was added by the officers "Ouisconsin." When one calls to mind all the care and comforts and luxuries demanded at the present time on such occasions, it is difficult to realize how my mother endured her hardships, and when I add that almost immediately both she and my brother were seized with fever and ague, which soon exhausted their strength and made them very helpless, it would seem almost beyond belief that she should survive.
The new-born infant was entirely deprived of the nourishment nature kindly provides for incipient humanity, thus complicating to a great degree the trials of that dreadful time. My dear father could never speak of that experience without a shudder, and has told me, with much emotion, how he scoured the whole country to find suitable nourishment for mother and children, with wretched success; adding that, but for the dear mother's unfailing courage, her wonderfully hopeful disposition and her firm trust in God, he could hardly have endured these heavy trials. The surgeon of the regiment at that time (I think his name was Burns) was a man of science and great skill in his profession, but an inveterate drunkard, and it was no uncommon occurrence, when his services were needed, to find him so stupefied with liquor that nothing but a liberal sousing in cold water would fit him for duty, and I imagine that "_soaking the doctor_" became a source of merriment which may have diverted their minds from heavier trials.
So long a time must have elapsed before the provisions could have been officially condemned and fresh supplies sent from St. Louis, the nearest base of supplies, for red tape was more perplexing and entangling then than now, when it is sent back and forth by lightning, that it was concluded to continue the journey with what they had, and so the troops moved on, and the feeble mother, the sick child and the little "Daughter of the Regiment" went with them.
By reference to "Neill's History of Minnesota," I see mention made there of the arrival of ordnance, provisions and recruits from St. Louis before the departure from Prairie du Chien, but am inclined to believe that the additions to the commissariat could not have been adequate to the needs, as there was much suffering for want of proper supplies.
When all was in readiness the expedition finally began the ascent of the Mississippi. The flotilla was made up of batteaux and keel-boats, the latter having been fitted up as comfortably as possible for the women and children, and my father has told me that, notwithstanding the inconveniences and annoyances of such a mode of traveling, the hope that the change might benefit all, and the fact that they were making the last stage of a very wearisome journey, inspired them with fresh courage, and a general cheerfulness prevailed throughout the command.
Of the difficulties and delays of that eventful journey up the Mississippi, few at the present day can form a clear conception. The keel-boats, similar in construction to a canal-boat, were propelled by poles all that three hundred miles, in the following manner: Several men stood on each side of the boat on what was called a running-board, with their faces to the stern, and, placing their long poles on the river bottom, braced them against their shoulders and pushed hard, walking towards the stern. Then, detaching the poles, they walked back to the bow, and repeated this operation hour after hour, being relieved at intervals for rest.
The perfect safety of this mode of travel commends itself to those who are in no hurry, and desire to learn all about the windings of the river and the geological and floral attractions along its banks.
At night the boats were tied up, camp-fires were lighted, tents pitched, sentinels posted and everything made ready, in case of an irruption of Indians.
Arriving at Lake Pepin, a few days were spent on its beautiful shores, resting, during which time the stores were overhauled and rearranged and the boats regulated and put in perfect order. The sick were growing stronger, and the little baby who was living on pap made of musty flour and sweetened water, tied up in a rag, which did duty for a patent nursing bottle, grew wonderfully, and bade fair to be a marvel of size and strength.
Sometime in September the pioneer regiment arrived in pretty good condition at--where? No fort, no settlement, no regular landing even; simply at the mouth of the St. Peters river, where we had been ordered to halt, and our long march was ended.
For many weeks the boats were our only shelter, and the sense of entire isolation, the thought that the nearest white neighbors were three hundred miles away, and that months must elapse before they could hope to hear a syllable from _home_, proved, at times, exceedingly depressing to these first settlers in Minnesota. I record, with pleasure, what has been often told me, that in that trying time the courage of the ladies of the party did not fail them, and that their cheerful way of taking things as they came and making the best of them, was a constant blessing and source of strength to that little community.
Without loss of time a space was cleared very near the site of Mendota, trees were cut down, a stockade built enclosing log houses erected for the accommodation of the garrison; everything being made as comfortable and secure as the facilities permitted. The Indians proved friendly and peaceable, and the command entered upon their life at "St. Peters," as it was first called, cheerfully and hopefully. A few days after their arrival Colonel Leavenworth, Major Vose, Surgeon Purcell, Mrs. Captain Gooding and my father made a keel-boat trip to the "Falls of St. Anthony," and were amazed at the beauty and grandeur of the scene.
A prediction at that time that some then living would see these mighty falls turn the machinery of the greatest mills in the world, and a great and beautiful city arise on the adjacent shores, would have been called a visionary and impossible dream by those early visitors who saw this amazing water power in its primeval glory.
That first winter of '19 and '20, like all winters in this latitude, was very cold, with heavy snows and fierce winds, but there were many sunshiny days, and there was little or no complaining.
The quarters, having been put up hastily, were not calculated to resist the severe storms which at times raged with great violence. Once during that memorable six months the roof of our cabin blew off, and the walls seemed about to fall in. My father, sending my mother and brother to a place of safety, held up the chimney to prevent a total downfall; while the baby, who had been pushed under the bed in her cradle, lay there, as "Sairey Gamp" would express it, "smiling unbeknowns," until the wind subsided, when, upon being drawn out from her hiding-place, she evinced great pleasure at the commotion, and seemed to take it all as something designed especially for her amusement.
By the prompt aid of a large number of soldiers the necessary repairs were rapidly made, and soon all was comfortable as before. But late in the winter, owing to the lack of proper food, scurvy broke out among the soldiers, and forty of them died of this dreadful disease. Many more were affected with it, and far removed as we were from all relief in the way of change of diet or suitable remedies, it was a matter of great uneasiness and alarm, as in the absence of necessary preventives or restoratives medical skill availed nothing.
However, as soon as the frost was sufficiently out of the ground to enable them to dig it, the Indians brought in quantities of the spignot root, assuring the surgeon that would cure the sick. This proved entirely efficacious. The scourge was removed, and after that trial passed away the command was peculiarly exempt from sickness of any kind.
As soon as possible gardens were made. Everything grew rapidly, and a sufficient supply of vegetables was secured to prevent any recurrence of the evil.
More permanent and comfortable quarters were built during the spring at the beautiful spring on the fort side of the river, and named by the officers "Camp Coldwater;" but before moving into the new camp Colonel Leavenworth was relieved from the command by Colonel Josiah Snelling, who, with his well-known energy and promptitude, immediately began preparations for building the fort, the site of which had been selected by Colonel Leavenworth. The saw-mill at "St. Anthony's Falls," so long known and remembered as the "Old Government Mill," was started as soon as practicable. Quarries were opened, and everything was done to facilitate the work, Colonel Snelling proving himself well fitted for the duty assigned him, and the spring of 1820 was a very busy one for the old Fifth Regiment.
MRS. SNELLING'S LIFE.
Mrs. Abigal Hunt Snelling was born at Watertown, Mass., January 23d, 1797. Her father's name was Thomas Hunt, Colonel of the First Regiment of Infantry, U. S. A., stationed then at Fort Wayne, Indiana, to which place his little daughter was taken when only six weeks old. The journey was performed on horseback, and the little baby was carried on a pillow, a long, rough trip for so young a traveler, and clearly indicative of her subsequent experience. She tells in her old age of a coincidence in her life which impressed her forcibly. Her father died and was buried at Bellefontaine, Ohio, and some years afterward Colonel Snelling was at this place with his family waiting orders, when their youngest child, an infant, named Thomas Hunt, sickened and died, and was buried by the side of his grandfather. An incident in her eventful life well worthy of mention in a record of the early days of our State is that she gave birth to the first white child born in Minnesota sixty-six years ago, and at the advanced age of ninety years she is alive to tell of it. Her ninetieth birthday was celebrated a few months ago in Newport, Kentucky, where, with the husband and children of a beloved daughter, who died some years ago, she is "only waiting till the shadows are a little longer grown."
She has been blind for many years, but otherwise her faculties are unimpaired and her health is excellent. I should like to have seen my old friend on that occasion, but could only send a congratulatory letter, recalling the memories of old Fort Snelling, with which she and I am so thoroughly identified. I am told she looked very lovely, and was much gratified at the pleasant surprise her friends had prepared for her, but was somewhat excited, and was carefully watched by her granddaughter, Miss Abby Hazard, who takes the most tender care of her precious grandmother.
It is somewhat remarkable that just about that time I learned through Hon. Fletcher Williams, who has a special gift for finding antiquities, that an old lady who had been a member of Mrs. Snelling's family at the fort was visiting her grandchildren at West St. Paul. I lost no time in calling on her, and found that she was one of the Swiss refugees who came to Fort Snelling from the Red River country. Her maiden name was Schadiker. She had married Sergeant Adams, of the Ordnance Department, whom I remembered well as a most faithful and highly respected man. After serving in the army many years at different posts, he resigned and took up land not far from Chicago, near which city he made a home and lived a long while very happily, dying only a year or two ago at a very advanced age. Mrs. Adams and I had a most enjoyable visit together. She is in very comfortable circumstances, and bears her age so bravely that it is hard to realize that she is seventy-seven years old. She told me, among other things, of a voyage Colonel Snelling and family made up the Mississippi, returning from a visit to the East. The weather was very rough, and at Lake Pepin, their boat having been wrecked, of course their provisions and many things were lost. With what was left of the craft they hugged the shore, and the crew made every effort to go forward, but, in their dismantled condition and with little or nothing to eat, it was very discouraging work. She tells me that in this extremity the men caught hold of the branches of trees which hung over the water and propelled the boat forward by inches, and Mrs. Snelling said to her: "Hannah, let us take hold of the willows, too, and pull. We may help, if it is ever so little," and they did so, pulling with all their might. She says she shall never forget their arrival at the fort at last. My father was in temporary command, and, learning in some way of their approach, sent help to them. He had had the fort illuminated and a Colonel's salute fired in honor of the return, and finally the weary ones reached the old headquarters, where my mother had provided for them a bountiful repast, and where they received so hearty a welcome that they soon forgot their weariness and the hardships and perils through which they had passed.
NOTE.--Since this account was written, my dear old friend has gone to her rest; she died at the home of her son-in-law, Mr. Hazard, in Newport, Kentucky, September 6th, 1888, aged 91 years and seven months. She lived to hear the "Life-long memories of Fort Snelling" read to her by her loving relatives and enjoyed it exceedingly.
It seems proper to record here the names of the officers at the post at this time. They are as follows:
Josiah Snelling, Colonel Fifth Infantry, commanding. S. Burbank, Brevet Major. David Perry, Captain. D. Gooding, Brevet Captain. R. A. McCabe, Lieutenant. N. Clark, Lieutenant. Joseph Hare, Lieutenant. P. R. Green, Lieutenant Acting Adjutant. W. G. Camp, Lieutenant Quartermaster. H. Wilkins, Lieutenant. Edward Purcell, Surgeon.
In addition to these I give the names of some who came afterward. All of them are among my earliest recollections, and I can remember each by some peculiarity of speech or characteristic anecdote. In my old age I find myself dwelling upon these recollections of my early years with pleasure, till the flight of time is forgotten, and in fancy I am back again at the old fort, a happy, light-hearted, petted child:
Major Hamilton. Captains Russell, Garland, Baxley and Martin Scott. Lieutenants Alexander, Hunter, Harris, St. Clair Denny and Johnston. Major Laurence Taliaferro, Indian Agent. Captain Leonard and Mr. Ortley, Sutlers.
Lieutenant Alexander was very popular, very kind-hearted and genial. A reply of his, when cornered in a discussion at one time, caused much merriment. The subject was bald-headed men. Some one remarked that those who became gray were seldom bald. Alexander replied with considerable warmth: "I know better than that, for my father is as gray as a badger, and hasn't a hair on his head."
Lieutenant Hunter was a great favorite, and in his way a model man, always courteous and attentive to ladies, and especially kind and considerate to the little ones, but wonderfully firm and unyielding in his views, which peculiarity on more than one occasion caused him serious trouble. As an instance of his persistence: at one time he and Captain Scott determined to find out by actual experiment which could hold out the longest without eating anything whatever. As both were very firm in their determinations, the affair was watched with great interest. However, after two days Captain Scott surrendered unconditionally, and it was generally admitted that Lieutenant Hunter would have perished rather than yield.
Lieutenant St. Clair Denny was an exceedingly estimable young man, a native of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, a Christian gentleman in the highest sense of the term. My recollection of him is of one better calculated to inspire awe and respect than confidence. A memorable event in his life was his marriage with Miss Caroline Hamilton, a beautiful girl of fifteen, as full of fun and lady-like mirth as he was of dignity and reserve. I can barely recall their going in sleighs on the ice to Prairie du Chien accompanied by Lieutenant Hunter and one of the ladies, to be married, that being the nearest point where the ceremony could be performed, for we had neither Chaplain nor Justice of the Peace at the new fort. I have dim recollections of the preparation of the trousseau by the nimble fingers of the officers' wives, of the pleasureable excitement and merry chat over the unusual event, and of the starting off of the excursion on that long, cold ride, the "good-byes," the tears, the smiles and the blushes, and of the hearty welcome home of the beautiful, happy bride, and the proud but dignified bridegroom, and I there and then yielded my fealty to the sweet child-wife, and always loved her as a dear relative. She was a most loving wife and mother, and some who read these records will call to mind her lovely, interesting daughter, the wife of Mr. Corcoran, for some time Postmaster at St. Paul, and her son Brooke Denny, whose home, when the dear mother passed away, was with his sister in that city, and whose gentlemanly manners and kindness of heart won for him the love and confidence of his associates. An anecdote of Lieutenant Denny, characteristic of his precision of speech, his perfect self-control under the most exciting circumstances, and his strict regard to military etiquette, may be related here:
At one of the frontier stations, where he was doing duty as Quartermaster, he was in his office one day during a fearful thunder storm, accompanied with high wind and pouring rain, which threatened to demolish the building. Every one was alarmed for its safety, and the whole garrison was in a high state of excitement. After the storm had subsided, a group of officers were talking it over, and Lieutenant Denny, speaking of it in his peculiarly measured tones, ended his remarks with this climax: "I was standing in the door of my office when the storm was at its height, and it was so terrible that I was forced to turn and say, even in the presence of my clerk, 'Bless me! how the wind blows!'"
Any member of the old Fifth Regiment can recall that remark, for it became a household word; but alas! who are now living of that gallant old regiment? Of all the names recorded in these annals, I know of not one left to answer to roll-call, the last survivor, General David Hunter, having passed away at an advanced age only a few months ago. The old Mexican war decimated the regiment, which was always placed in positions of danger, requiring brave, cool, determined men, and it was then that Captain Martin Scott poured out his heart's blood in defense of his country. Who has not heard of him and his indomitable courage? Some of the most pleasant recollections of my childhood are associated with that brave, true man, who was a member of our family for many years, and was dearly beloved by us all. His eccentricities were numerous, but did no one any harm, while his fondness for hunting, his love for his dogs (of which I can clearly recall by name eight or ten), his almost incredible skill as a marksman, and his unvarying success as a hunter, made him the hero of our childish admiration, and won for him the reputation of a veritable Nimrod. I remember very clearly his habit of asking my mother what and how much game she would like for the table, and invariably bringing her just what she named. He was an admirable purveyor, and we lived on the fat of the land, for there was no delicacy in the way of wild game which he did not, in its proper season, bring from the forest and wild-wood to make savory meat which, like old Isaac, we all loved. He had the reputation at one time of being parsimonious, and some were inclined to treat him coldly on that account; but in time it was found that out of his small pay he maintained his widowed mother and a lame sister in their New England home, and that while niggard in regard to his own personal wants, the dear ones at the old home were generously provided for. So, although at first the West Point graduates were disposed to treat with contempt the Green Mountain boy who had entered the army as a volunteer in the war of 1812, and had been retained in the service, his sterling qualities and his dignified self-respect won for him finally the regard of all who knew him. Indeed, it was found out very soon that it would not do to slight or insult "Scott," and he gave some practical lessons on that point that were never forgotten. He was a thorough-going total abstinence man, a "rara avis" in those days. He seldom drank even of "the cup that cheers and not inebriates," never anything stronger; and my impression is that one great reason for his extreme temperance was that his aim as a marksman might be perfect and unerring. He did not marry till somewhat late in life, owing to his inability to support a wife in addition to the care of his mother and sister, although I have heard my father say to him, jokingly, "Scott, it would not cost you so much to keep a wife as it does to keep all these dogs; she'd save more than she'd cost. Try it now, and take the word of one who knows." The lady whom he finally chose was a Miss McCracken, of Rochester, New York, with whom he lived happily for some years. At the battle of Cerro Gordo he was warned to be more careful of the bullets, but he replied, "Never fear; the bullet is not run that is to kill Martin Scott," and almost immediately fell from his horse pierced to the heart by a Mexican bullet. Knowing that his wound was mortal, he, with his usual presence of mind, took from his pocket his purse, containing quite a large sum of money, and, handing it to a soldier who stood near, said: "Give that to my wife." And the brave, true heart was still forever.
Major Laurence Taliaferro was for many years a member of our household, and we all loved and honored him. He was very entertaining in conversation and full of anecdotes of Virginia, which was his boyhood's home. His father owned many slaves, and when he, as a student in an Eastern college, was home for vacation, he delighted to amaze the negro boys with his knowledge and excite their admiration. On one occasion he had been using some pretty big words in a speech for their edification, branching out now and then into Greek and Latin quotations, when one of them, overcome by his young master's proficiency, exclaimed: "Oh, Massa Laurence; you larn so much since you done been to college, you clar fool." He liked to tell this story of himself, and admitted that the boy had good ground for his sweeping conclusion. Dear Major Taliaferro, our happy-hearted, beloved and trusted friend, the faithful servant of the government, and humble follower of Christ. His picture and an accompanying letter, sent me from his home in Bedford, Pennsylvania, when he was eighty-two years old, are before me, and as I look on the well-known features, I repeat from my heart the testimony of his biographer: "For more than twenty years an Indian Agent, _and yet_ an honest man."
A few years ago, in an interview with Major Joseph Brown, so well known to the early settlers of Minnesota, he reminded me of Colonel McNeil's short stay at "Fort St. Anthony," as it was first called, previous to the arrival of Colonel Snelling, and of Mrs. McNeil, a sister of Franklin Pierce, a most estimable woman, of whom he spoke in the most affectionate, grateful terms, saying that her kindness to him, a mere boy, and her wise counsels had had a beneficial influence on his whole life. He spoke most gratefully of all the ladies at the post, and remembered our Sabbath school, established somewhat later, with real pleasure. He went up the river with the regiment as drummer-boy, and was always considered a faithful, well-behaved soldier.
His whole life was passed in the Northwest. He was at one time Representative in the Wisconsin Legislature, and was afterwards appointed Secretary of the First Legislative Assembly of the Territory of Minnesota. He died only a few years ago at an advanced age.
In 1821 the regiment moved into the beautiful new fort, although it was by no means completed. The outside wall was up on three sides only, and a heavy guard was stationed on the fourth, not only to prevent desertions, but to keep the Indians, our only neighbors, at a respectful distance. The occupation of the new and comfortable quarters was made an occasion of great rejoicing, an event never forgotten by those who took part in it. Then began our regular fort life, the flag-staff was raised in front of headquarters, the stars and stripes were run up at the roll of the drum at "guard mounting" and lowered with the same accompaniment at retreat day after day, and we children learned to love its graceful folds as it floated on the breeze and to feel no harm could come to us under the "Star Spangled Banner."
The only white people within three hundred miles were shut within that hollow square, a community, dependent largely on each other for all the little every-day kindnesses and amenities which make life enjoyable, having no regular intercourse with the civilized world, except by mail, which at first was received semi-annually, after a while quarterly, and for many years not more frequently than bi-monthly. For a long while it was brought from Prairie du Chien by an Indian on a pony, and there is no record of any unfaithfulness on the part of our dusky carrier. But those who enjoy daily mails know little of the excitement and tearful gratitude of those pioneers at Fort Snelling when the announcement was made, "The mail has arrived." Isolated as we were from the privileges and recreations and distractions of town or city, we were drawn very closely together, were, in fact, like one large family, and news for one was news for all. We really "shared each other's pleasures and wept each other's tears," and there was great rejoicing in the fort over news from "home." I have in my possession a collection of letters from General Gibson, Commissary General of Subsistence, received by my father, which are interesting relics of those eventful years of privation and hardship, of which the soldier of the present day can have but a faint conception.
The first few letters are directed to St. Louis, to be forwarded to the Fifth Regiment, wherever it might be; one or two are in regard to furnishing rations to Indians who may visit the agencies of the United States on business or otherwise, and authorizing the Commissary to issue rations to them on the requisition of the Indian agents. I find here a letter of instruction from the War Department to General Gibson, and insert it, as indicating the policy of the Government in regard to the Indians:
"_Sir:_ It is customary for the Government to furnish rations to the Indians who may visit the agencies of the United States upon business or otherwise, and I have to request that you will direct the officers of your department, stationed at posts in the vicinity of the agencies at Fort Wayne, Piqua, Chicago, Green Bay and Mitch-ele-mack-i-nack[A] to issue rations on the returns and requisitions of the Indian agents at those places. The requisitions in every case must be accompanied by a return of the number of Indians to be furnished, and both must be filed with the account of the officer making the issue to obtain a credit for the amount of settlement.
I am, etc., J. C. CALHOUN.
_To Colonel George Gibson, Com. Gen. of Subsistence._"
This letter is dated August 30th, 1819, before the troops had reached the mouth of the St. Peters, and was intended, no doubt, as a guide to the officers in their dealing with the Indians.
In the list of rations to be issued to the command, I notice that whisky has its place, and in turning over the leaves of this manuscript book, I find a letter from an officer of the army, Captain J. H. Hook, on duty at Washington, D. C., making various inquiries of my father relative to the condition of the troops, the best way of issuing rations, the best and most desirable articles as rations, the wastage of each article, the precaution to guard against wastage, etc.
One inquiry will be interesting, in the light of the present feeling on the temperance question: "_First_--Would not, in your opinion, the service be benefitted by dispensing with the whisky ration? _Second_--Could the soldier be brought to submit cheerfully to the privation?"
This suggestion seems to have been acted upon, for I see a general order dated May 11th, 1820, to the effect that "the President was authorized to make such alterations in the component parts of the rations as a due regard to health and comfort may require; and it is hereby ordered that hereafter no issues of whisky will be made to boys under eighteen or to women attached to the army." In the case of soldiers on "extra duty," each was to receive one gill a day, and I distinctly recall the demijohn with the gill cup hanging on its neck, and the line of "extra duty men" who came up each morning for their perquisite. In those days there seemed nothing wrong in this; but, with the added light and wisdom of sixty years, all right-minded people would now regard it as every way evil.
I find a letter concerning a contract with Joseph Rolette, of Prairie du Chien, for furnishing the troops at Fort Snelling with fresh beef. "The Commissary General directs that Mr. Rolette shall give a bond duly signed by him, that Colonel Snelling may designate and transmit it to this office, with the understanding that the Messrs. Astors, of New York, will unite with him in the bond." In consequence of some misunderstanding, owing to the extreme delay of communicating with headquarters, the contract was cancelled, much to the disappointment of Mr. Rolette. In examining these letters of directions with regard to supplies and the time consumed in their transmission from the seat of government, my wonder is, that the troops at this remote station did not starve to death while waiting for authority to obtain supplies. Pork, flour, whisky, beans, candles and salt were sent from St. Louis, but, owing to the great difficulty of transportation, there was much delay and frequent loss by depredations of the inhabitants of the country through which the Government wagons passed. Beef was supplied from Prairie du Chien, or some point nearer than St. Louis. The following is a list of contract prices of articles purchased at St. Louis:
$ Cts. Mills. Pork, per pound, 7 1 Whisky, per gallon, 50 Soap, per pound, 10 Salt, per bushel, 2.00 Beans or peas, per bushel, 1.80 Vinegar, per gallon, 22 Corn meal, per pound, 2 2-1/2
Soon after the establishment of the fort, my father, as Commissary, was requested by General Gibson to learn by experiment if wheat could be raised in this part of the world, and the result proving that it was a possibility, he was ordered to supply the garrison, at least in part, with flour of their own raising. A letter bearing date August 5th, 1823, informs him that, "having learned by a letter from Colonel Snelling to the Quartermaster General, dated April 2d, that a large quantity of wheat may be raised this summer," the Assistant Commissary of Subsistence at St. Louis had been directed to send to St. Peters (as the fort was often called) such tools as should be necessary to secure the grain and manufacture the flour, adding, "if any flour is manufactured from the wheat raised, please let me know as early as possible, that I may deduct the quantity manufactured at the post from the quantity advertised to be contracted for," and here follows the bill for the articles ordered for the purpose specified above:
One pair burr mill-stones, $250.11 337 pounds plaster of Paris, 20.22 Two dozen sickles, at $9, 18.00 ------- $288.33
This, then, was the outfit for the first flour mill in that part of the great Northwest which was to be named "Minnesota" in later years, and to become the greatest flour manufactory in the world. Remembering clearly the great complaint of the destruction of grain by black birds, I cannot think that the amount of wheat raised ever made the command independent of outside supplies; but, having played around the old mill many times, I know it was used for the purpose for which it was fitted up.
[Footnote A: Mackinaw.]
Soon after we took possession of the fort, a post school was established and some will remember the old school house just beyond the main entrance, which has been used for various purposes, in later years. It was there we children assembled day after day to learn to spell in Webster's spelling book and to read in that time-honored volume, of the "boy who stole the apples;" of the conceited "country milk maid" who spilled her milk with a toss of her head; and of the good "dog Tray," who fell into bad company and suffered the consequences.
Our teacher was considered very competent for his work, but was a violent tempered man and only maintained his position a few years, but what we learned then, we know now, and the thorough drill we received each day, turned out correct spellers, and good readers; with all the improvements in the way of text books and methods, I do not think the results, as far as fundamental education goes, are more satisfactory now than then.
Another of my earliest recollections is the Sunday School, established by Mrs. Colonel Snelling and my mother. There was no Chaplain allowed us then no Sabbath service and these Christian women felt they could not live or bring up their children in that way. They therefore gathered the children together on Sabbath afternoons in the basement room of the commanding officer's quarters, and held a service, with the aid of the Episcopal prayer book, both of them being devout members of that branch of the church, and taught the little ones from the Bible. They had no lesson papers; no Sunday School library; no Gospel songs; no musical instrument, but they had the Word of God in their hands, and His love in their hearts, and were marvellously helped in their work of love, which grew and broadened out, till it took in the parents as well as the children, and a Bible class was formed in which all felt a deep interest. Some who were not firm believers in the truths contained in the Book of books, but who came together just simply to pass away the time, were convinced of its truth and found there the hope which is an "anchor to the soul both sure and steadfast." I can remember the deep interest which all, even the little ones evinced in the characters of whom we studied, how we talked of them during the week, and chose our favorites, and how all became deeply attached to Moses and dwelt upon his loveliness, his unselfishness, his patience and his great love to the rebellious people under his care. And we wept as for a dear friend when we read that "he went up from the plains of Moab into the mountain of Nebo to the top of Pisgah, that is over against Jericho" and viewed the land which he might never enter, and died there and was buried by no human hands; and "no man knoweth of his sepulchre unto this day." The day following this sorrowful lesson, my mother in crossing the parade ground, met Captain David Hunter who looked so sad and downcast that she was distressed for him, and said: "What is the matter, Captain? are you sick or have you had bad news?" He replied: "Oh, no! Mrs. Clark, I am not sick or in personal trouble, but don't you feel sorry that Moses is dead?" I have enlarged somewhat on this Sunday School because it was somewhat peculiar, and because it was, as there are good grounds for believing, the first Sunday School organized in this Northwestern region, perhaps the first Northwest of Detroit.
The country around the fort was beautiful, the climate invigorating, and in spite of the inconveniences and annoyances experienced by the pioneer regiment they were not without their enjoyments and recreations, and looking back through the years, recalling the social gatherings at each others fireside in the winter, the various indoor amusements, and the delightful rides and rambles in the summer, I feel that ours was a happy life.
But the most charming of all our recreations was a ride to "Little Falls" now "Minnehaha." The picture in my mind of this gem of beauty, makes the sheet of water wider and more circular than it is now, I know it was fresher and newer, and there was no saloon there then, no fence, no tables and benches, cut up and disfigured with names and nonsense, no noisy railroad, no hotel, it was just our dear pure "Little Falls" with its graceful ferns, its bright flowers, its bird music and its lovely water-fall. And while we children rambled on the banks, and gathered pretty fragrant things fresh from their Maker's hand, listening the while to sweet sounds in the air, and to the joyous liquid music of the laughing water, there may have been some love-making going on in the cozy nooks and corners on the hill side or under the green trees, for in later years, I have now and then come upon groups of two, scattered here and there in those same places, who looked like lovers, which recalled to my mind vividly what I had seen there long ago. That enchanting spot, so dainty in its loveliness, is hallowed by a thousand tender associations and it seems more than cruel to allow its desecration by unholy surroundings and various forms of vice. Standing beside it now, and remembering it in its purity, just as God made it, my eyes are full of unshed tears, and its mellifluous ceaseless song seems pleading to be saved from the vandalism which threatens to destroy all its sweet influences and make it common and unclean. But as I, alone, of all who saw it in those days long gone by, stand mourning by its side, there dawns in my heart the hope that the half formed purpose now talked of, for making it the centre of a park for the delight of the two cities between which it stands, may be perfected, thus saving it from destruction and making this bright jewel in its setting of green, the very queen of all the many attractions of this part of our State. Surely no spot in ours or any other State offers such beauty or so many inducements for such a purpose, and coming generations will forever bless the men who shall carry it out, thus preserving our lovely Minnehaha and the charming surroundings for their own delight and the enjoyment of those who shall come after them. And we went strawberrying too, children and mothers and fathers, and young men and maidens, and often now, when passing through the crowded streets of our great city, I feel that I am walking over our old strawberry patch. How sweet those berries were, and how delicious the fish which we caught in the pretty Lakes Calhoun and Harriet, the one named for the great statesman, the other for Mrs. Leavenworth. We generally carried our treasures from field and lake to the "old Government Mill" at the "Big Falls" St. Anthony and had our feast prepared and set in order by the miller's wife. And then we had games, not croquet or any of those inventions which were then in the far future, but "hide and seek;" "blind man's buff;" "hide the handkerchief;" "hunt the slipper," and such old-fashioned sports which all enjoyed most heartily, till warned by the lengthening shadows that it was time to go home, which we generally reached in time to see the flag lowered to the roll of the sunset drum. Writing poetry is beyond me, but there was an inspiration in that beautiful banner, as each day it flung out its stars and stripes over my first and dearly loved home, which thrills my frame even now, and since the terrible days when precious blood was poured out so freely to maintain it in its proud position, it has become indeed a holy thing. May God protect and bless it, keep it unsullied and speed the day when it shall float over a nation whose rulers and law-givers shall lay judgment to the line and righteousness to the plummet, and forever purge from it everything that in any way dims the brightness or retards the progress of this beloved "land of the free and home of the brave."
It must have been difficult to find amusements and recreations for the winters in that fort, so completely shut away from the world, and so environed by snow and ice, but various devices were planned to keep up the general cheerfulness and to ward off gloomy feelings and homesickness. I can dimly remember the acting of plays in which the gentlemen personated all the characters and the ladies and children looked on. I know the women of the plays looked very tall and angular, and there was much merriment about the costumes which were eked out to fit them. It may be that the performances were as much enjoyed as if everything had been more complete, for I know there was a great deal of fun and jollity at their theatricals.
Among my earliest recollections is that of sitting on a low stool beside Mrs. Snelling and my mother while they read and studied French under the instruction of a soldier named Simon, and the memory of those days was revived a few months ago by the receipt of a card from "Zeller C. Simon," now Mrs. F. L. Grisard, Vevay, Indiana, daughter of the old man, as a reminder of 1822 and 1823 when she and I quietly amused ourselves while these ladies received instructions in that language. In Mrs. Ellet's "_Pioneer Women of the West_," Mrs. Snelling alludes to this old French teacher and regrets his loss by discharge, adding that, when on the arrival of the first steamboat bringing among other passengers, the Chevalier Count Beltrami, an Italian adventurer, she expressed this regret, he kindly offered to continue the lessons during his visit. He could speak French fluently, but did not understand English, and was therefore much gratified to find anyone who could converse with him.
In the month of May, 1823, the steamboat Virginia, 118 feet in length and 22 in width, arrived at the fort. "It was built by Knox and McKee at Wheeling, Virginia, and loaded with Government stores for Fort Snelling," so writes one of the firm, Mr. Redick McKee to the secretary of "Historical Society of Minnesota." Its arrival was a great event indelibly impressed upon the memory of all who were there to witness it.
"Backward! turn backward, O Time, in thy flight; Make me a child again, just for to-night."
Take me to my early home at Fort Snelling, and help me to live over again that happy time, when I knew nothing of care and sorrow, and when the sight of the dear old flag, run up, each morning, to the roll of the drum, and the sentinel's call, each night, "All's well around," made me feel secure and at home, even in what was then a wilderness. Many pleasant scenes, and many startling ones, come at my call. Some are more vivid than others, and perhaps the most distinct of my early remembrances is the arrival of the first steamboat. It had been talked of and expected for a long time; it is hard to realize in this age of rapid traveling how deeply interested and excited every one felt in anticipation of what was then a great event. It was to bring us into more direct and easy communication with the world; and small wonder that the prospect of being at the head of steamboat navigation should have caused excitement and rejoicing to those who had been receiving their mails at intervals of _months_ instead of _hours_. To me, of course, child that I was, it only meant a sight never before witnessed, a something heard of, and seen in pictures, but never realized. But even we children felt in listening to our elders, that something great was about to happen.
At last, one bright summer morning, while amusing myself on the piazza in the rear of the officers' quarters, there came a sound new and very strange! All listened a moment in awe and gratitude, and then, broke out, from many voices, "The steamboat is coming! the steamboat is coming!" And look! there is the smoke curling gracefully through the trees; hark! to the puffing of the steam, startling the echoes from a sleep co-eval with the creation; now she rounds the point, and comes into full view. I stand on tiptoe, but cannot see all I long to, till Lieutenant David Hunter, my special favorite, catches me up and holds me on the balustrade; and now I clap my hands, and almost cry with delight, for there she is, just landing, in all her pride and beauty, as if she _felt_ herself the Pioneer Steamboat, and knew she would become historic.
Officers and soldiers, women and children, are hurrying down the hill; terrified Indians rush from their wigwams and look on in amazement, utterly confounded, refusing to go near what they call the "_Bad Spirit_."
Greetings and congratulations warm and heartfelt are exchanged; and speedily the mail is opened, papers and letters are distributed; all search eagerly for news from home, and my joy is turned into grief for my friend Lieutenant Hunter, who learned, by the very boat whose coming he hailed with so much pleasure, that he is fatherless. All sympathize deeply with him; few know how closely drawn together are the occupants of a frontier post; but the common joy, although dampened, was not destroyed, and civilities were tendered to the captain and officers of the boat, who were real gentlemen, and became great favorites at the fort. They came again the next year, perhaps more than once, and pleasant excursion parties on the boat relieved the monotony of fort life.
The steamboat was the topic of conversation for a long time. The day of its arrival became an era from which we reckoned, and those of the first occupants of Fort Snelling who still survive, can scarcely recall a more delightful reminiscence than the arrival of the first steamboat, in the summer of 1823. Years passed away, childhood with its lightheartedness gave way to youth, and that again to womanhood, and then came middle life with its many cares, its griefs, its joys too, and its unnumbered mercies, with bright anticipations of a blessed rest from toil and pain,--when on one pleasant summer day in 1864, I find myself, with a party of friends who have come to visit Fort Snelling and its many interesting surroundings, standing, side by side with my mother, on the bastion of the fort, recalling days and scenes gone by. Leaning against the railing, and contemplating the river, so beautiful from that height, she remarked to me: "Can you remember, my child, when the first steamboat came up this river?" I answered, "Yes, oh yes! most distinctly do I remember it." And then we talk of the event, and recall the many pleasant things connected with it, when, lo! a whistle, and the loud puffing and snorting of the iron horse! Captain Newson, standing near and listening to our conversation, exclaimed, pointing over to Mendota, "And there goes the first train of cars that ever started out from Fort Snelling!"
Hushed and breathless, we gaze at the fast vanishing train, feeling, as we stand there, we two, alone, of all who saw that other great event, _over forty years ago_, like links connecting the buried past with the living present. And we would fain weep as we think of those who stood beside us then, now long since passed away--but living, loving friends are about us, and we will not let our sadness mar their pleasure; so down in the depth of our hearts we hide these tender recollections, to indulge in when we are alone. I look long at the beautiful river, and think, as it ripples and laughs in the sunlight, that, could our ears catch the language of its murmurings, we should hear:
"Men may come, and men may go, But I go on forever."
"Oh! Malcolm, look at that little boy on the steps of our quarters; who can he be? Where did he come from?" "Oh, sister, do you think he can be the little brother we have been praying God to send us? Let's run home and ask mother about it."
The scene of this dialogue was the parade ground of Old Fort Snelling, in the spring of the year 1823; the two little children had just been dismissed from the fort school house, and were going home to dinner. The sun shone very brightly that day. The dinner drum was beating, the soldiers, by companies, were in line before their quarters for roll-call, and the dear old flag floated gracefully in front of headquarters. I can see it all now, through my tear-dimmed eyes, and recall the mingled feelings of joyful surprise and expectation with which we, the little son and daughter of Captain Clark, hastened to our home, our eyes all the while fixed on the little fair-haired stranger, who stood on the porch of our father's quarters, the first in the row of officers' quarters as you enter the Fort by the front gate, and just beyond the steps leading down to the old Commissary's store.
When we reached our goal, there stood the pretty blue-eyed boy, looking about with wonder at all he saw, and smiling at us as we came up to him, and laid our hands on him gently, to assure ourselves that he was real. Just inside the door stood dear mother, with a bright happy look, enjoying our surprise, and we, with one voice, exclaimed: "Mother, who is this little boy? where did he come from? is he going to stay with us always?" As soon as we gave her a chance to reply, she said: "Don't you know that every night when you say your prayers, you always say, 'please, God, give us a little brother!' How do you know but God has heard your prayer, and sent you this little brother?" We were very quiet now, and tried to take it all in, but before we had succeeded to our satisfaction in fully comprehending it, our father came from roll-call, and taking us by the hand, said: "Come to dinner now, mother will lead little Andrew to his place and we will tell you all about it." And this is the story we heard on that ever to be remembered day, as we sat by our father and mother, and our hearts went out with love to the little boy beside us:
"A few weeks ago, Col. Snelling heard from some hunters, who had been far out west, that there were two little white boys held captive by a band of Sioux; he sent out some troops, who rescued the children, and they reached the Fort this morning with the boys; the oldest one, John, is at the Colonel's, and this is the other, 'Andrew Tully;' shall we keep him with us?" "Oh, yes! father, we want him for our little brother;" and he became one of us. In time we learned from John, who was a bright boy, and from the rescuing party, who had heard some particulars, that Mr. David Tully, a Scotchman, had been living three years at the Selkirk settlement, where the crops had been so poor, from various causes, notably from the grasshoppers and the ravages of innumerable black birds, that a famine was threatened, and he, becoming discouraged, had started, with his wife and children, two boys and an infant daughter, to come to the Fort, hoping in some way to continue his journey from there to the white settlements, and find work to enable him to live and support his family comfortably.
After traveling for many days, they were overtaken by a party of Sioux, who, returning from an unsuccessful hunt, were in a very bad humor, and attacking Mr. Tully, demanded such provisions as he had. He refused, of course, to give up that, without which his family must perish, and they fell upon him, soon disabled him, and seizing the little baby, dashed its brains out on the ice, then mortally wounded his wife, and with a blow of his hatchet, one of the party finished them both. John says he remembers seeing his father, who had broken through the ice, struggling to save his mother and the baby, but that when they knew there was no hope left, his parents told him to take his little brother and hide in the bushes, and to try in every way to get to the settlements. Then, with their dying breath, they besought God to take care of their little boys, and their freed spirits went beyond the reach of pain and suffering. The little fellows obeyed them, and ran for safety to some hazel brush near by, where, of course, the Indians soon found them, but their thirst for blood being somewhat allayed, and their object attained, they contented themselves with cutting off a piece of John's scalp, tearing it most brutally from the quivering flesh, when the squaws from some tepees near by, hearing his heartrending screams, came to the rescue, and begged that they might keep the children. And there they had remained, receiving such care as the Indian women give their own pappooses, and making friends of all in the wigwam. When the troops came to the rescue, the Indian women were unwilling to give them up; they had taken an especial fancy to Andrew, who was very fair, and of a sweet, gentle disposition. He was not quite three years old, and, of course, could not so well understand the dreadful loss they had sustained as John, who was two years older, and who never recovered from the shock of the fearful tragedy, and from the injury done his nervous system by the cruel scalping-knife.
He remained at Col. Snelling's during his life, two or three years, and then, from an injury received from an axe, was taken with lock-jaw and died. During his illness he raved of the barbarous Indians, who killed his dear ones, begged them to spare the baby, and not hurt his mother; then he would seem to be hurrying Andrew out of the way of the murderers, and hiding him as well as he could. He suffered terrible mental agony, but he had been carefully taught by Mrs. Snelling, whom he learned to love very dearly, and, reason returning before he died, he gave clear evidence that he loved the Savior, and felt sure that he would take him to heaven, where his father and mother, and precious little sister were awaiting him.
Little Andrew grew finely and proved a perfectly healthy child. His preservation and rescue were so remarkable that my father gave him the name of "Marvel," and almost always addressed him as "Andrew Marvel." He had been our little playmate and brother for two years when our father obtained a furlough and took us all to New England to visit our relatives there, and we went by the way of New Orleans, that being the only comfortable and continuous route to New York at that time. It was our first journey since we children could remember, and we were all delighted beyond measure at the thought of it. A keel-boat was fitted up nicely for the occasion, and in addition to our immediate family, including Andrew of course, we had as fellow travelers Captain Leonard, his wife and two children, making quite a large party. I remember distinctly our starting, the good-byes from those who stood on shore, the slow progress of the boat as it was poled along by the crew, and it was not without a quiver of sadness that we turned the point where we lost sight of the flag. We felt then that we were away from home and all seemed very strange, but there was much to interest us, and we soon became accustomed to our new experiences. The ceaseless walking to and fro of the men who propelled us along was an accompaniment to all our daily amusements and we went to sleep lulled by their regular footfalls.
And so we journeyed on, day after day, until we made the whole three hundred miles and landed at Ft. Crawford--Prairie du Chien. I do not remember how many weeks we traveled thus, but I know that all the children on board the boat had chicken pox and recovered during the trip. Arriving at the "Prairie," as it was frequently called in those days, we were to take a steamer for St. Louis and New Orleans; but before our departure I remember we were all vaccinated by the surgeon at that post, whose name was Dr. James, and I know that in every case he was very successful. Our arrival at St. Louis, the first city the children had ever seen, was an epoch in our lives, and I can clearly recall my feeling of loneliness at the utter absence of everything military. It was indeed a new world to me. I could not understand it, and felt not a little indignant that so many men passed and repassed my father as we walked along the streets without saluting him, for which remissness in duty I suggested the guard-house. Arriving at New Orleans, where we were much overpowered by the heat, we remained only long enough to secure passage to New York on the sailing vessel "Crawford," and departed on our first sea voyage. We were twenty-seven days out of sight of land, encountering a fearful storm off Cape Hatteras, and the crimson light from the light-house there, like the red eye of some great monster gazing at us through the gloom, when we were every moment expecting to be engulfed, made an ineffaceable impression upon me. But He who is "mightier than the noise of many waters, or the mighty waves of the sea," delivered us from our peril and brought us safely to our desired haven, where we were warmly welcomed by dear friends and where we found ourselves famous as having come from the "Far West," a part of the world of which their ideas were most vague and imperfect. The story of our little Andrew created intense excitement, and crowds of people came to see a child who had so thrilling a history. Among these visitors came Mrs. Divie Bethune and the widow of Alexander Hamilton, who were lady patronesses of an orphan asylum in the city. They urged strongly that he should be placed under their care, planning to educate him for the ministry, and send him out to preach the gospel of peace to the tribe of Indians who had murdered his parents. We all objected strongly to giving him up, but the ladies at length persuaded father that they could do better by him than one whose life was one of constant change and uncertainty, and, with a view to the boy's best interests, he yielded to their entreaties, and our little brother passed into the hands of the orphan asylum. We remained at the East a year visiting dear friends in New England and spending some time in New Haven, where a precious little sister, born at Fort Snelling, died and was laid to rest in the burial lot of Joseph Brewster, whose wife was our father's much-loved cousin. When years afterward I went from a frontier post and became a pupil in Mrs. Apthorp's seminary, in the lovely City of Elms, that little grave in the beautiful cemetery comforted me in my homesickness.
In 1833 my father made a second visit to the East, and while in New York hunted up Andrew, whom he found apprenticed to a wagon maker, and could not learn why the original purpose of fitting him for the ministry had been abandoned. But the boy seemed doing well and was happy and content. Three years later, when our father lay on his death-bed at Fort Winnebago, a letter came to him from relatives of the Tullys inquiring about these boys, stating that some money from their mother's family was awaiting them. Father dictated a reply telling the writer all he knew of them and gave him the address of Andrew in New York; and for years afterwards we heard nothing of him. My mother made inquiries by letter of parties whom she thought might tell her something concerning him and used all available means to find him, in vain, much to the regret of all our family, and we came to the conclusion that he was dead. A few years ago, after our mother had gone to her rest, we saw in an eastern paper the obituary of Rev. Abraham Tully, of New Jersey, in which reference was made to these "Tully boys," stating that the only survivor of that branch of the family was Andrew, a carriage maker in New York city. Immediately we procured from the New Jersey family his address and communicated with him. A cousin of his, the Rev. David Tully, well known and beloved as the pastor of the Presbyterian church in Jacksonville, Florida, spent a summer in Minnesota, and calling on me told me he thought Andrew might visit this part of the country during the season. And one day, just at sun-setting, our door bell rang, and answering it in person, I saw a gentleman whom I did not know, who looked at me without speaking, for a moment, and then said: "Is this my sister Charlotte?" Like a flash it came to me, and I replied: "Is this my brother Andrew?" And we kissed each other, we two old people who had parted when we were little children and had not met for more than sixty years. He spent some days with us and we learned that he was an active, earnest Christian, an honored member of the Reformed Dutch Church in Harlem, New York, Rev. Mr. Smythe, pastor; that he had married and had one son who grew to manhood, but had been bereft of all and was alone in the world. He knew so little of his early life, that the story I could tell him was a revelation to him. He had preserved, through all his reverses and trials, his sweet, sunny temper, and soon made friends of the whole household. We rode together to the old fort and I pointed out to him the very spot on which he stood on that spring morning long ago when we first saw our "Brother Andrew."
We visited the graveyard and I showed him the grave of his brother John, which having no headboard or name, could only be identified by its being next to the little stone inscribed "E. S.," which I knew marked the grave of Mrs. Snelling's little daughter. We searched the records at the quartermaster's office in vain for a description of his brother's grave, that we might make sure of the spot, as the Tully family wish to erect a monument to his memory.
We walked about the fort, went to the brow of the bluff where the old bastion formerly stood, and while strolling around the home of our childhood were met by General Gibbon, then in command, who, learning who we were and what was our errand, took us to his quarters and showed us much kindness. I told him many things of the old fort which were never recorded, pointed out to him where the stones in the front wall of headquarters had been riven by lightning when I was a little girl, and our pleasant visit rounded up with a ride in his carriage to call on General Terry and other officers, who all seemed interested to see us; relics, as it were, of the times before their day.
Our courteous escort drove with us to the site of the old Camp Coldwater, and we drank from a tin cup of the clear spring which now supplies the garrison with water, as we had done more than half a century before. Driving back to the fort just as the bugle sounded for "orderly call," the General, in tender consideration of my deafness, called the bugler, and bade him sound it again by the side of the carriage. To hear is to obey, and the musician, ignorant of the reason for the command, repeated the clear, ringing call, where my dull ears could take it all in. No words can describe my sensations, as, with Andrew Tully beside me, I listened with bated breath to the familiar notes unheard for years, and, with eyes brimming with tears, I could only say, "Oh, General, I thank you; this makes me feel that I must hear my mother's voice calling me home to the dear old quarters over there, 'to get ready for dinner.'" And then, as our carriage drove up, and we thanked our noble host for his kind and considerate attentions to us, he said, "I have to thank you for more information about Fort Snelling than ever I had before." And so, past the old sutler's store, the guard house and the vine-clad tower, we drove away very silently from our early home, and after an hour's resting at Minnehaha, returned to Minneapolis, talking by the way of the strange experiences of our lives, and the wonderful way in which God had brought us together again in our old age.
Andrew made a visit to Winnipeg in search of some one who had known his parents, and there he found an old man named Macbeth, who had blown the bellows in his father's shop, which stood just in one corner of what is now the city of Winnipeg. He told him how the friends there opposed his father's leaving the settlement when he did, as he had remained there three years, and they felt the times would be better soon; but he had made up his mind that he could improve his condition by seeking a more congenial home, and they could not dissuade him. He also told him that, from the accounts of the Indians and others, it was generally believed that the scene of his parents' murder must have been where Grand Forks now stands. He made some inquiries as to the possibility of recovering anything on his father's claim, but could learn nothing encouraging. He hopes to visit Minnesota again; meantime we correspond regularly, and he takes a deep interest in the growth and development of the great Northwest, with which his early life was so singularly identified. He is still in the business for which he was trained, and, by patient industry and skilled workmanship, has reached the summit, and receives satisfactory returns for his labor; and so, although his life has not been without its trials, yet an overruling Providence has dealt graciously with the little fair haired orphan boy who hid from the savages in the hazel copse so many years ago.
We returned home from our eastern trip by the way of the great lakes, as the route was called in those days; and although we left dear friends and many pleasant things behind us, we were rejoiced to be once more in the fort, in the midst of military surroundings.
Soon after our return, my father and Major Garland obtained permission to build more commodious quarters outside the walls, and the result was the erection of the two stone cottages nearly opposite the old Indian Agency, a few rods from the fort. The grounds about them were improved and beautified with flowers and shrubs, and the change was very beneficial and agreeable to us all. Here, I remember, we had regular instruction in the fundamental English branches from our father, whose great anxiety was that we might suffer for want of good schools; and so great was his zeal and thoroughness in this direction, that in after years, when we had greater advantages, it was found that we were fully up to the grade of children of our age who had been to school all their lives.
The two families became much attached to each other, and when Major Garland was ordered elsewhere, we felt the separation keenly. We have never met since that time. One of the Major's daughters, my early friend and playmate, married General Longstreet, and the time came when our husband's stood on opposite sides in the lamentable civil war. Thank God, that is all over now, and should we ever meet again, we could talk lovingly of the old times when, as children, we played together under one flag, in happy unconsciousness of the trials and sorrows that lay before us.
A WOLF STORY.
Among the recreations which relieved the tedium of garrison life, was an occasional wolf chase. I am too tender hearted to call it an amusement, but it was exceedingly exciting. The animal having been caught in a box-trap, and not maimed or crippled in any way, was first muzzled, and then let loose for a race for its life over the prairies, with hounds and hunters in full pursuit. All the blue coats and brass buttons of the hunters did not make that a brave thing to do, but the wolves were great nuisances, and it was long before the days of Bergh. On one of these occasions, the wolf was led to the starting point by some soldiers to be prepared for the chase, but none of them really liked the idea of taking hold of his fierce looking jaws while the muzzling process was going on. My brother, Malcolm, a boy of seven or eight, and already an apt pupil of Martin Scott, stepped up and grasping the animal's snout with his little hands, called out: "Muzzle him now, I'll hold him," and they did it. Those who know how the land lies, and how well adapted it was for such a chase, can readily imagine that for those who like such sport, it must have been very enjoyable, and a great relief from the monotony of life in a frontier fort.
During the winter of '25 and '26, the wolves were unusually troublesome, and came every night to the barns and out-houses, carrying off any small stock they could find. We were occupying the stone cottage at that time, and my brother and I were much interested in the case of some chickens and other pets which we were allowed to call ours.
Of course we grieved over the result of these nightly raids, and, finally, thought we would try and catch some of the marauders; so procuring a steel-trap, we had a dead carcass of some animal hauled to the foot of our garden, and began our work in real earnest. Our success was far beyond our hopes, and it was our custom to rise every morning at reveille, dress ourselves hastily and run down to look at the trap, which was rarely without an occupant. One morning, to our astonishment, the trap was gone, but the blood on the snow, and the peculiar track leading toward the woods, satisfied us that a wolf was in that trap somewhere between the fort and the "Little Falls." Hoping to find him near home, we started in pursuit, without any protection from the cold, which was intense, but the sun shone so brightly that we did not think of the cold; our one idea was--the wolf, and how to catch him. I was bare-headed and bare-handed; my brother, boy-like, had seized his cap and mittens as he left the house, and was better off than I. After traveling on, and on, not in the beaten path, but wherever that track led us, we, of course, became cold and very tired, but still could not think of giving up our search, and my dear, brave brother insisted on my wearing his cap and mittens, saying, "boys can stand the cold better than girls." We must have gone more than a mile when our consciences, aided by the cold, began to warn us that we were doing wrong, that our parents would be anxious about us, and we ought to go back, but how could we give up the pleasure of taking that wolf back in triumph, for the track assured us we should find him crippled and fast to the trap, and we thought how pleased Captain Scott would be to see us there with our prisoner as he came out to breakfast. Looking back over the long years, I can clearly remember that that thought gave me courage, and enabled me to hold out so long. But, as we talked the matter over, setting duty against inclination, and unable to decide, there appeared to us what may have been an angel in disguise; to us it was an Indian boy in a blanket, with his bow and quiver, emerging from the bushes very near "Minnehaha," and thus my brother accosted him: "How! Nitchie." After a friendly reply to this invariable salutation, Malcolm told him in the Indian language, which was then as familiar to us as our mother tongue, why we were there and what we wanted, offering him a loaf of bread and piece of pork if he would find our wolf and bring him to our door immediately. The lad gladly closed with the offer, took the trail and started after him, while we turned our faces homeward. And now, the excitement of expectancy being over, we began to have serious misgivings as to the propriety of having gone so far from home without the knowledge of our parents, and the wind, which blew keenly in our faces, sided with our consciences, and convinced us we had much better have either staid at home or prepared ourselves with a permit and good warm wrappings. It all comes back to me so plainly that I can almost feel the pinchings of the cold and the torment of a guilty conscience as I write, and I feel a real pity for these two little children as they trudge along over the prairie, so troubled and so cold. My dear brother being older than I, and the chief party interested, generously took most of the blame to himself, and comforted me as well as he could, running backwards in front of me to shelter me from the wind, and assuring me he would tell father all about it, and he would forgive us. I have carried in my heart of hearts for sixty years the image of that beautiful, bright-eyed, unselfish brother; and when, not many years ago, the terrible news came to me that treacherous hands had taken his precious life, like one of old I cried in my anguish, "Oh, Malcolm! my brother, would to God that I had died for thee, my brother, oh, my brother!" Just as we reached our garden fence we heard the familiar breakfast drum, and saw our father and Captain Scott walking in a somewhat excited manner, back and forth, and discussing something, we could not hear what. We afterwards learned it was our conduct, and that while father felt that we should at least be severely reprimanded, our friend, the Captain, made him promise he would say nothing in the way of reproof, until he had drunk his coffee. In consequence of this we were simply saluted kindly, but not warmly, and we followed the gentlemen to the breakfast-room, where a rousing fire in the great fireplace, and a most appetizing breakfast awaited us, which our long tramp in the bitter morning air had prepared us to enjoy most thoroughly, notwithstanding the mental disturbance which could not be allayed, until confession had been made and forgiveness granted. Just as our meal was ending, a soldier entered the room, and said: "Malcolm, there is an Indian boy here with a wolf, who wants to see you." This announcement brought all to their feet, and every one rushed out so see the sight, and there, with his foot fast in our trap, lay a large timber-wolf, exhausted with pain and fatigue. Captain Scott examining him carefully, pronounced him the very one they had tried in vain to capture, and he congratulated the little boy and girl who had succeeded so fully where older ones had failed. That was a proud moment in our lives, but until we had told our parents how sorry we were to have grieved and distressed them, and had obtained full pardon, sealed with a loving kiss from each, we could not wholly enjoy it. Then we gave our Indian a royal breakfast, and his promised reward beside, and the wolf was taken away and put out of his misery, while beside the comfortable fireside we told all about our morning walk, from reveille to breakfast-drum.
After this Captain Scott took me to the Sutler's store, and made me select for myself a handsome dress, as a present from him, to a brave little girl, as he was pleased to call me, and he took me in his sleigh, drawn by one of his beautiful horses (I think his name was "Telegraph"), back to my mother, telling her, not many little girls of seven years old could go out before breakfast on a cold morning, and chase a wolf so successfully. To my brother he gave a pretty pony, which was a never-ending source of joy to him, and which, under the skillful training of the mighty hunter, he learned to ride fearlessly and most gracefully.
The story of this, my first and last wolf hunt, has entertained children and grandchildren, not only mine, but many others, and has been repeated so often that it has been learned by heart, so that if, in telling it, I have sometimes varied the phraseology, I have been promptly corrected and set right. If any of those, once my little hearers, should read this written history, it may carry them back to the days when life was new and fresh, and when adventures of any kind seemed greater and more important than they do now. "God bless them, every one."
RED RIVER OR SELKIRK SETTLEMENT.
The story of the early days of Minnesota would be incomplete without a more detailed account of the Red River or Selkirk settlement than the allusions made to it in the history of the Tully boys, and turning to "Harpers Monthly" of December 1878, I find a most satisfactory and interesting history of the enterprise, by General Chetlain of Chicago, who is a descendant of one of the settlers and is so well and favorably known in the Northwest as to need no introduction from me.
After speaking of the disastrous effect of the Napoleonic wars on the social relations of Europe he alludes to the extreme suffering in Central Europe, and in Switzerland particularly, owing to a failure of crops from excessive rains in 1816, and says: "the people wearied of struggles which resulted in their impoverishment, listened eagerly to the story of a peaceful and more prosperous country beyond the sea." A few years earlier Thomas Dundas, Earl of Selkirk, a distinguished nobleman of great wealth had purchased from the Hudson Bay Company a large tract of land in British America, extending from the Lake of the Woods and the Winnipeg River eastward for nearly two hundred miles, and from Lakes Winnipeg and Manitoba to the United States boundary, part of which is now embraced in the province of Manitoba and in which are the fertile lands bordering on the Red and Assinniboine Rivers. It formed a part of "Rupert Land," named in honor of Prince Rupert or Robert of Bavaria, a cousin of King Charles II of England and one of the founders and chief managers of the "Hudson Bay Company." In the year 1811 he had succeeded in planting a large colony of Presbyterians from the North of Scotland on the Red River, near its junction with the Assinniboine; this was followed four years later by another but smaller colony from the same section of Scotland. In consequence of the stubborn competition and the bitter dissensions between the Hudson Bay Company and the Northwest Company of Montreal, these were compelled to abandon their new homes, nearly all of them removing to Lower Canada. This Scotch settlement having proved almost a total failure Lord Selkirk turned his attention to the Swiss, for whom he entertained a great regard. By glowing accounts of the country, and by the offer of great inducements, which were endorsed by the British government whose policy it was to favor these emigration schemes, he succeeded in persuading many young and middle aged men to emigrate to this new world. The colony numbered two hundred persons, nearly three-fourths of whom were French or of French origin, they were Protestants and belonged to the Lutheran church. Some of the families were descendants of the Hugenots of Eastern France, all were healthy and robust, well fitted for labor in a new country; most of them were liberally educated and possessed of considerable means. Among the more prominent were Monier and Rindesbacher, Dr. Ostertag, Chetlain and Descombes, Schirmer, afterwards a leading jeweller at Galena, Illinois, Quinche and Langet. In May 1821, they assembled at a small village on the Rhine near Basle and in two large flat-boats or barges, floated down the Rhine, reaching a point near Rotterdam where a staunch ship, the "Lord Wellington" was in readiness to take them to their new home towards the setting sun. Their course lay North of Great Britain and just South of Greenland to Hudson Strait. After a tedious and most uncomfortable journey they arrived at Hudson Strait, and after a hard journey of four months they landed at Fort York. Embarking in batteaux they ascended the Nelson River, and at the end of twenty days reached Lake Winnipeg, and after encountering all manner of discouragements arrived at the mouth of the Red River, only to learn that the locusts or grasshoppers had been before them, and had literally destroyed all the crops. With heavy hearts they proceeded up the river thirty-five miles to Fort Douglas, near the site of the present Fort Garey, then the principal trading post of the Hudson Bay Company. Governor Alexander McDowell and the other officers of the company welcomed them cordially and did what was in their power, to supply their wants and make them comfortable, but they were by no means able to furnish them with supplies for the coming winter, and as it was terribly severe there was untold suffering among them. But by scattering to different points and struggling bravely against great difficulties, they managed to exist and some of them in time made permanent homes for themselves, while others feeling they could not content themselves in what had impressed them as an inhospitable country, left the settlement as opportunity offered and came nearer civilization. As early as 1821, some who had put themselves under the protection of a party of armed drovers, on their return to the States, having taken some cattle to the settlers, arrived at Fort Snelling and were kindly cared for by Colonel Josiah Snelling who consented to let them remain at the fort during the winter. The next spring they settled on the military reservation near the fort and made homes for themselves. I well remember my mother's descriptions of these emigrants as they arrived, so nearly famished, that the surgeon was obliged to restrict the amount of provisions furnished them lest they might eat themselves to death.
In the spring of 1823, thirteen more of the colonists started to go to Missouri, of which country they had heard glowing accounts. They made the journey as far as Lake Traverse, the headwaters of the St. Peter's river, four hundred miles, in Red River carts, which need no description here; where they remained long enough to make canoes, or dugouts, of the cottonwood trees abundant there, when they began the descent of the river, and after perils by land and by water, and perils by savages, who were very hostile to them, they reached "St. Anthony" in September, and were warmly welcomed by the friends who had preceded them two years before. After a few weeks rest, our Colonel furnished them with two small keel-boats and supplies for their journey, and they went on their way comforted and encouraged. But probably from the effects of the fatigue and hardships of their long and wearisome journey, and from the malarial influences, at that time prevalent on the river, several sickened, and Mr. Monier, the senior of the party, and his daughter, died and were buried near Prairie du Chien. Mr. Chetlain also became so ill that he and his family remained at Rock Island until his recovery, when he joined his friends at St. Louis, but finally settled at La Pointe, on Fever River, where now stands the city of Galena, Illinois.
In the spring of 1826, owing to the great rise of water in the Mississippi and its tributaries, and in the Red and Assinniboine rivers, caused by the unusual deep snow of the preceding winter, which had melted with warm and heavy rains, the losses sustained by the settlers at La Fourche were so heavy that no attempt was made to repair them, and nearly all the French settlers there became thoroughly discouraged and left their home. Over the same route their friends had traveled three years before they came to Fort Snelling, and nearly all took passage in a small steamboat for the lead mines at and near La Pointe, Illinois.
I remember well when this party arrived. One of them, a very pretty girl named Elise, was employed in our family as a nurse for our baby sister, and remained with us some time.
General Chetlaine closes his very interesting article thus: "The descendants of these colonists are numerous, and are found scattered throughout the Northwest, the greater part being in the region of the lead mines. Most of them are thrifty farmers and stock breeders. A few have entered the professions and trade. All, as far as is known, are temperate, industrious, and law-abiding citizens."
RUNNING THE GAUNTLET.
Like the old man in Dickens' "Child's Story," "I am always remembering; come and remember with me." I close my eyes and recall an evening some sixty years ago, when in one of the stone cottages near Fort Snelling, which was our home at that time, a pleasant company of officers and their families were spending a social evening with my parents.
The doors were thrown open, for the weather was warm, and one of the officers, Captain Cruger, was walking on the piazza, when we were all startled by the sound of rapid firing near us. The Captain rushed into the house, much agitated, exclaiming: "That bullet almost grazed my ear!" What could it mean? Were the Indians surrounding us? Soon the loud yells and shrieks from the Indian camp near our house made it evident that the treaty of peace made that afternoon between the Sioux and Chippewas had ended, as all those treaties did, in treachery and bloodshed. The principal men of the two nations had met at the Indian Agency, and in the presence of Major Taliaferro, their "White Father," had made a solemn treaty of peace. In the evening, at the wigwam of the Chippewa chief, they had ratified this treaty by smoking the pipe of peace together, and then, before the smoke of the emblematic pipe had cleared away, the treacherous Sioux had gone out and deliberately fired into the wigwam, killing and wounding several of the unsuspecting inmates. The Chippewas, of course, returned the fire, and this was what had startled us all and broken up the pleasant little gathering at my father's house. The Chippewas, with their wounded, sought refuge and protection within the walls of the fort, commanded at that time by Colonel Snelling. They were kindly cared for, and the wounded were tenderly nursed in our hospital. One, a little girl, daughter of the chief, excited much sympathy, and I cannot forget the interest I felt in her, for she was but a year or two older than myself, and it seemed to me so cruel to ruthlessly put out her young life. I remember the ladies of the fort were very kind and tender to her, and, since I have had little girls of my own, I know why. She lingered but a few days, in great agony, and then God took her out of her pain to that land where the poor little wandering, wounded child should know sin or suffering no more.
Meanwhile our prompt and efficient Colonel demanded of the Sioux the murderers, and in a very few days a body of Sioux were seen, as we supposed to deliver up the criminals. Two companies of soldiers were sent to meet them and receive the murderers at their hands. Strange to say, although they had the men, they refused to give them up, when our interpreter (I cannot recall his name) stepped out from among our soldiers, and said: "If you do not yield up these men peaceably, then, as many leaves as there are on these trees, as many blades of grass as you see beneath your feet, so many white men will come upon you, burn your villages and destroy your nation."
A few moments' consideration, a few hurried words of consultation, and the guilty men were handed over to our troops. The tribe followed as they were taken into the fort, and, making a small fire within the walls, the condemned men marched round and round it, singing their death songs, and then were given up to be put in irons and held in custody until time should determine how many lives should pay the forfeit, for it is well known that Indian revenge is literally a life for a life, and the Colonel had decided to give them into the hands of the injured tribe, to be punished according to their own customs.
Some weeks passed, and it was found that five lives were to be paid for in kind. A council of Chippewas decided that the five selected from the prisoners should run the gauntlet, and it was approved. And now, back over the lapse of many years I pass, and seem to be a child again, standing beside my only brother, at the back door of my father's house. The day is beautiful; the sun is so bright; the grass so green, all nature so smiling, it is hard to realize what is going on over yonder, by the graveyard, in that crowd of men and women; for there are gathered together the Chippewas, old and young men, women and children, who have come out to witness or take part in this act of retributive justice. There are blue coats, too, and various badges of our U. S. uniform; for it is necessary to hold some restraint over these red men, or there may be wholesale murder; and borne on the shoulders of his young men, we see the form of the wounded, dying chief, regarding all with calm satisfaction, and no doubt happy in the thought that his death, now so near, will not go unavenged. And there stand the young braves who have been selected as the executioners; their rifles are loaded, the locks carefully examined, and all is ready when the word shall be given. There, too, under guard, are the five doomed men, who are to pay the forfeit for the five lives so wantonly and treacherously taken.
Away off, I can not tell how many rods, but it seemed to us children a long _run_, are stationed the Sioux tribe; and that is the goal for which the wretched men must run for their lives.
And now, all seems ready; the bolts and chains are knocked off, and the captives are set free. At a word, one of them starts; the rifles, with unerring aim, are fired, and under cover of the smoke a man falls dead. They reload; the word is given, and another starts, with a bound, for _home_; but, ah! the aim of those clear-sighted, blood-thirsty men is too deadly; and so, one after another, till four are down.
And then the last, "Little Six", whom, at a distance, we children readily recognize from his commanding height and graceful form; he is our friend, and we hope he will get _home_. He starts; they fire; the smoke clears away, and still he is running. We clap our hands and say, "He will get home!" but, another volley, and our favorite, almost at the goal, springs into the air and comes down--dead! I cover my face, and shed tears of real sorrow for our friend.
And now follows a scene that beggars description. The bodies, all warm and limp, are dragged to the brow of the hill. Men, who at the sight of blood become fiends, tear off the scalps, and hand them to the chief, who hangs them around his neck. Women and children with tomahawks and knives, cut deep gashes in the poor dead bodies, and scooping up the hot blood with their hands, eagerly drink it. Then, grown frantic, they dance and yell, and sing their horrid scalp-songs, recounting deeds of valor on the part of their brave men, and telling of the Sioux scalps taken in former battles, until, at last, tired and satiated with their ghoul-like feast, they leave the mutilated bodies festering in the sun. At nightfall they are thrown over the bluff into the river, and my brother and myself, awe-struck and quiet, trace their hideous voyage down the Mississippi to the Gulf of Mexico. We lie awake at night talking of the dreadful thing we have seen; and we try to imagine what the people of New Orleans will think when they see those ghastly up-turned faces; and we talk with quivering lips and tearful eyes of "Little Six," and the many kind things he has done for us--the bows and arrows, the mocauks of sugar, the pretty beaded moccasins he has given us; and we wish, oh! we wish he could have run faster, or that the Chippewa rifles had missed fire. And we sleep and dream of scalps, and rifles, and war-whoops, and frightful yells, and wake wishing it had all been a dream.
Next day the chief sat up in bed, painted himself for death, sang his death song, and, with those five fresh, bloody scalps about his neck, lay down and died calmly and peacefully in the comfortable hope, no doubt, of a welcome in the "happy hunting grounds," prepared by the "Good Spirit" for all those Indians who are faithful to their friends, and avenge themselves upon their foes.
A few years ago, I told this story to another "Little Six." "Old Shakopee," as he lay with gyves upon his legs, in our guard house at Fort Snelling, awaiting execution for almost numberless cold-blooded murders, perpetrated during the dreadful massacre of '62. He remembered it all, and his wicked old face lighted up with joy as he told me he was the son of that "Little Six" who made so brave a run for his life, and he showed as much pride and pleasure in listening to the story of his father's treacherous conduct, as the children of our great generals will do some day, when they read or hear of deeds of bravery or daring that their fathers have done.
The incident recorded in the preceding chapter occurred in June, 1827, and in the autumn of the same year two companies of our command were ordered to Prairie du Chien to strengthen the garrison there, in anticipation of trouble with the Indians. One of these was Company "C", commanded by our father; the other company was in command of Captain Scott.
We had become so attached to a home so filled with peculiar and very tender associations that our hearts were sad indeed when we bade "good bye" to all, and from the deck of the steamer took our last look at the beloved fort where we had lived so many years. In later years when passing the spot where we bade farewell to the flag which floated over headquarters on that bright morning long ago, I involuntarily look up at the beautiful banner still waving there, and a tender, reverential awe steals over me, as when standing by the grave of a friend long buried.
We had hardly been a year at Fort Crawford when my father was detailed on recruiting service, and ordered to Nashville, Tennessee. This was in 1828, memorable as the year of the presidential campaign which resulted in the election to that high office of General Andrew Jackson. When our friend Mr. Parton was writing his "Life of Jackson," I gave him, at his request, my impressions as a child, of the great man, with whom we were daily and intimately associated, and now transfer those impressions from that great work, "Parton's Life of Jackson," to the pages of this unpretentious record of past times.
At the time referred to, our family boarded at the "Nashville Inn," kept by a Mr. Edmonson, the home of all the military officers whom duty or pleasure called to Nashville. It had also been for a long time the stopping place of General Jackson and his wife, whenever they left their beloved "Hermitage" for a temporary sojourn in the city. Eating at the same table with persons who attracted so much attention, and meeting them familiarly in the public and private sitting rooms of the hotel, I of course felt well acquainted with them, and my recollections of them are very vivid even now. The General's appearance has been so often and correctly described that it would seem almost unnecessary to touch upon it here; but it will do no harm to give my impressions of him.
Picture to yourself a military-looking man, above the ordinary height, dressed plainly, but with great neatness; dignified and grave--I had almost said stern, but always courteous and affable; with keen, searching eyes, iron-gray hair standing stiffly up from an expansive forehead; a face somewhat furrowed by care and time, and expressive of deep thought and active intellect, and you have before you the General Jackson who has lived in my memory from my childhood. Side by side with him stands a coarse-looking, stout little old woman, whom you might easily mistake for his washerwoman, were it not for the marked attention he pays her, and the love and admiration she manifests for him. Her eyes are bright, and express great kindness of heart; her face is rather broad, her features plain, her complexion so dark as almost to suggest a mingling of races in that climate where such things sometimes occur. But withal, her face is so good natured and motherly, that you immediately feel at ease with her, however shy you may be of the stately person by her side. Her figure is rather full, but loosely and carelessly dressed, with no regard to the fashions of the day, so that, when she is seated, she seems to settle into herself, in a manner that is neither graceful nor elegant. I have seen such forms since, and have thought I should like to experiment upon them with French corsets, to see what they would look like if they were gathered into some permanent shape. This is Mrs. Jackson. I have heard my mother say, she could imagine that in her early youth, at the time the General yielded to her fascinations, she may have been a bright, sparkling brunette, perhaps may have even passed for a beauty; but being without any culture, and out of the way of refining influences, she was at the time we knew her, such as I have described. Their affection for each other was of the tenderest kind. The General always treated her as if she was his pride and glory, and words can faintly describe her devotion to him. The "Nashville Inn" was at this time filled with celebrities, nearly all warm supporters of the General. The Stokes family, of North Carolina, were there, particular friends of his; the Blackburns, and many other old families, whose names have escaped my memory. I well recollect to what disadvantage Mrs. Jackson appeared, with her dowdyfied figure, her inelegant conversation, and her total want of refinement, in the midst of this bevy of highly-cultivated, aristocratic women; and I recall very distinctly how the ladies of the Jackson party hovered near her at all times, apparently to save her from saying or doing anything which might do discredit to their idol. With all her disadvantages in externals, I know she was really beloved. She was a truly good woman, the very soul of benevolence and kindness, and one almost overlooked her deficiencies in the knowledge of her intrinsic worth and her real goodness of heart. With a different husband, and under different circumstances, she might have appeared to greater advantage, but there could not be a more striking contrast than was manifest in this dignified, grand-looking man and this plain, common-looking little woman. And the strangest of it all was, the General did not seem at all aware of it. She was his ideal of every thing that was good, and loving, and true, and, utterly unconscious of any external deficiencies, he yielded her the entire homage of his own brave, loyal heart. My father visited them more than once at the Hermitage. It was customary for the officers of the army to do this, as a mark of respect to the General, and they frequently remained at their hospitable mansion several days at a time. The latch-string was always out, and all who visited them were made welcome, and felt themselves at home.
An anecdote which my father told us, characteristic of Mrs. Jackson, impressed my young mind very forcibly. After the evening meal at the Hermitage, as he and some other officers were seated with the worthy couple by their ample fireplace, Mrs. Jackson, as was her favorite custom, lighted her pipe, and having taken a whiff or two, handed it to my father, saying, "Honey, won't you take a smoke?"
The enthusiasm of the people of Nashville for their favorite has been descanted upon, years ago. I remember well the extravagant demonstrations of it, especially after the result of the election was known. I walked the streets with my father the night of the illuminations and saw but two houses not lighted up, and these were both mobbed. One was the mansion of Judge McNairy, who was once a friend of Jackson, but for some reason became opposed to him, and at that time was one of the very few Whigs in Nashville. On that triumphant night the band played the hymn familiar to all, beginning: "Blow ye the trumpet blow," and ending: "The year of Jubilee is come, return ye ransomed people home." This certainly looked like deifying the man they delighted to honor, and I remember it seemed very wicked to me. When the old man finally started for Washington, a crowd of ladies were assembled on the piazza of the hotel, overlooking the Cumberland river to "see the conquering hero go." I mingled with them and distinctly remember hearing one lady say she had had a good-bye kiss from the General, and she should not wash it off for a month. Oh! what a noise there was! A parrot, which had been brought up a democrat, was "hurrahing for Jackson," and the clapping of hands, the shouting, and waving of handkerchiefs have seldom been equalled. When the steamboat passed out of sight, and all realized that he was really gone, the city seemed to subside and settle down, as if the object of its being was accomplished.
But the sad part of my remembrances, is the death of Mrs. Jackson. Early one bright pleasant morning my father was putting on his uniform to go with the other officers then in the city, to the Hermitage to escort the President-elect to Nashville. Before he had completed his toilet a black man left at the door a hand-bill announcing Mrs. Jackson's death, and requesting the officers to come to the Hermitage at a time specified, with the usual badges of mourning, to attend her funeral. She had died very suddenly at night, without any apparent disease, it being very generally supposed that her death was occasioned by excess of joy at her husband's election. When it was discovered that she was dead, the grief-stricken husband could not be prevailed upon to part with her body, but held it tightly in his arms until almost forced from his embrace.
This news caused great commotion. Many ladies went out from the city to superintend the funeral arrangements, and displayed more zeal than judgment by arraying the body in white satin, with kid gloves and slippers. Pearl ear-rings and necklace were likewise placed upon it; but, at the suggestion of some whose good sense had not entirely forsaken them, I believe, these ornaments were removed. The day of the funeral, proving damp and drizzly, the walk from the house to the grave was thickly laid with cotton for the procession to pass over.
Notwithstanding the grief displayed by the friends of this really good and noble woman, on account of her sudden death, it was supposed by many, that after all, they felt it a relief; for it had been a matter of great anxiety how she would appear as mistress of the White House, especially as some of her warm, but injudicious friends, had selected and prepared an outfit for the occasion, more suitable for a young and blooming bride than for a homely, withered looking old woman.
During the war of the rebellion, as the Fifth Division of the Army of the Cumberland was marching from Gallatin to camp near Nashville, the General in command arranged that myself and daughter, who were visiting the army and keeping with them from day to day, should call at the Hermitage, as the troops passed near. An escort was furnished us, and we turned off in our ambulance at the nearest point. We soon reached the great gate, and, passing up the avenue of dark, sombre evergreens, to the broad piazza of the historic old mansion, were received by the hostess, the wife of General Jackson's adopted son. Our reception, while not uncivil, was certainly frigid, and we had expected nothing more cordial from those who called us their enemies. After a short, constrained conversation, we were shown the General's room, and some portraits of distinguished people on the walls, and were then conducted to the tomb at the foot of the garden, where husband and wife lie side by side under a canopy supported by marble pillars and shaded by magnolia trees, whose rich, glossy leaves and royal white blossoms made the sacred spot a lovely resting place for the old man and his beloved Rachel. On the tablet, which covers her remains, we read the following inscription, prepared by her husband:
"Here lie the remains of Mrs. Rachel Jackson, wife of President Jackson, who died the twenty-second of December, 1828, aged sixty-one. Her face was fair; her person, pleasing; her temper, amiable; her heart, kind; she delighted in relieving the wants of her fellow creatures, and cultivated that divine pleasure by the most liberal and unpretending methods. To the poor, she was a benefactor; to the rich, an example; to the wretched, a comforter, to the prosperous, an ornament; her piety went hand in hand with her benevolence; and she thanked her Creator for being permitted to do good. A being so gentle and so virtuous, slander might wound but could not dishonor. Even death, when he tore her from the arms of her husband, could but transport her to the bosom of her God."
At his own special request, the tablet which marks the spot where he rests, has only this simple record:
"GENERAL ANDREW JACKSON. _Born on the 15th of March, 1767;_ _Died on the 8th of June, 1845._"
Among the notable persons whom we frequently met during the year of our sojourn in Nashville, was Samuel Houston, since so thoroughly identified with the early history of Texas. He was at that time moving in gay society, was called an elegant gentleman, was very fine looking and very vain of his personal appearance; but domestic troubles completely changed his whole life, and leaving his wife and family, he abjured the world and went into exile, as he termed it. While we were in Smithland, Kentucky, to which place our father had been ordered from Nashville, he stopped with us on his way to the wilderness, and excited our childish admiration by his fanciful hunter's garb and the romance which surrounded him. I remember, too, that he begged a fine greyhound and a pointer from my brother, who gave them up, but not without a great struggle with himself, for he loved them,--little thinking then, dear boy, that this man, fantastically clad in buckskin, would one day, as President of Texas, repay him amply by delivering him from a great peril.
I record here a reminiscence of Smithland which stamps that little town, and its surroundings, indelibly upon my memory. One day, as my brother and I were at play in front of the recruiting office, which was situated on the one long street, near the river bank, a steamboat, with its flag flying, came down the Ohio and rounded to at the wharf. As it made the turn, we noticed that the deck was crowded with negroes, and we heard them singing some of their camp meeting hymns in a way to touch all hearts. The strain was in a minor key, and, as the poor creatures swayed their bodies back and forth and clapped their hands at intervals, we were strangely moved; and when, the landing being effected, and the gang-plank arranged, they came off, _chained in pairs_, and were marched, still singing, to a shed prepared for them, we could not keep back the tears. The overseer, a great strong man, cracking his "blacksnake" from time to time, to enforce authority, excited our strong indignation. All this is an impossibility now, thank God, but then it was a cruel, dreadful reality. Like cattle, they were penned for the night, and were to be kept there for a day or two, till another boat should take them to New Orleans to be sold for the cane brake and the cotton field. They had been bought by the dealer in men and women, who had them in charge, at the slave pen in Washington, the capital of the United States. For aught I know, Uncle Tom may have been among them, destined for the genial, easy-going St. Clare and finally to pass into the hands of Legree, the brute, who was to whip him to death. The next morning a bright mulatto woman surprised us, as we were at breakfast, by coming into our room and begging my father to purchase her. I never knew how she managed to do this, I only know she stood before our free, happy household pleading most earnestly, said she was not a field hand, was a good house servant in her master's family where she was born and raised, and had been sold, "because massa died, and de family was too poor to keep me; I'se a fustrate cook, and 'd sarve you faithful; and, oh, mistis," turning to my mother, "I'se lef' little chillun in de ole Virginny home, and if you buys me, may be I might see 'um again sometime." But it could not be, and the poor sorrowing mother went back to the gang, whose breaking hearts were pining for home and dear ones they could never again behold. And one morning they were driven onto another boat, and passing slowly out of sight, sang, as they sailed down the river to their doom, "swing low, sweet chariot," etc.
From this Kentucky town, his two years of service as recruiting officer having ended, our father was ordered to Fort Howard, Green Bay; but, being desirous that his children should have the advantage of the schools in Cincinnati, which at that time were considered exceptionally excellent, he established us in that city in a pretty home of our own, and for the first time the family was separated, he going alone to his post, while mother and children remained in Ohio. In 1829 Cincinnati was very different from the great city which now spreads out over the beautiful hills, and extends miles on "La Belle Riviere." It was a pretty, flourishing, clean town, and for us it was a delightful home, the dense smoke from the innumerable industries, now hanging like a pall over the valley, was not known then, and the atmosphere was clear and bright. Nicholas Longworth was the great man then; his strawberries and his beautiful gardens were famous, and his sudden rise from comparative poverty to enormous wealth, mostly by successful ventures in real estate, was marvelous, such instances being rare in those days. He was an eccentric, but very kind-hearted man, very good to the poor, and he had many warm friends. A few years later he turned his attention to the culture of grapes, and made Cincinnati famous for its catawba and other wines bearing the Longworth brand.
There were many others whose names could be given and of whom even then the young city was justly proud. Dr. Drake, the eminent surgeon and beloved physician; Rev. Dr. Joshua L. Wilson, the Boanerges of Presbyterianism; Dr. Samuel Johnson and Dr. Aydelotte, the hard-working and vigilant watchmen on the Episcopal watch towers; Judge Bellamy Storer, the distinguished jurist; Edward Mansfield, the great journalist; Salmon P. Chase, then the energetic and promising young lawyer, years afterward Chief Justice of the United States, and many others whose lives are written in the "History of Cincinnati." From the long list I select a few names of those with whom our family was intimately associated: Major David Gwynne, a former Paymaster in the army, and my father's life-long friend; Judge Burnett, our near and highly-esteemed neighbor; Dr. John Locke, my honored teacher for four years; Alexander Kinmont, the eccentric Scotchman and most thorough educator of boys; the Groesbecks, the Lytles, the Carneals, the Kilgours, the Piatts, the Wiggins,--all of whom bore a prominent part in the early formative days of the beautiful city.
Edward Mansfield, who did so much to shape the literary taste of Cincinnati and to promote its interests in many ways, deserves more than a mere mention of his name. He was the son of Jared Mansfield, Professor at West Point Military Academy and Surveyor General of the Northwest Territory. He graduated at West Point in 1819, and was appointed Lieutenant of Engineers, but, at the earnest solicitation of his mother, resigned and turned his attention to legal pursuits. He practiced law for a while in Cincinnati in partnership with Mr. Mitchell, who afterwards became so famous as professor of astronomy. But finally Mr. Mansfield devoted himself to literary and scientific investigations, and published several books and essays of great value. In 1845 he wrote "The Legal Rights of Women," and year after year some biography or history from his fertile pen came to light, and was welcomed and appreciated by the reading public. In 1836 he became editor of the "Cincinnati Chronicle," afterwards of the "Chronicle and Atlas," and in 1857 of the "Gazette." "As an editor and contributor he was remarkable for his impartiality and fairness, and was one of the most extensive newspaper writers in the country. He supported the Whig party with great ability, and no one in his day did more for the triumph of the Republican party. His memoirs, published by himself in his seventy-eighth year, extending over the years from 1803 to 1843, are of great public interest."
The Asiatic cholera visited the United States for the first time in 1832, and its ravages in Cincinnati were terrible. Business was in a great measure suspended, schools were closed for a time, and the air was full of "farewells to the dying and mournings for the dead," but after a time the dreadful scourge passed away, leaving an indelible impression on all, and the old order of things was resumed. In 1833 we left our pleasant home in Cincinnati and went to Fort Winnebago, on the Fox River, Wisconsin. This was just at the close of the Black Hawk war, during which my father commanded at Fort Howard, Green Bay, and had some pretty sharp experiences. On our way to our new station we stopped at Fort Crawford, Prairie du Chien, several days to rest and prepare for our journey of nearly a week overland to Fort Winnebago, and were entertained at the hospitable quarters of Colonel Zachary Taylor, then in command of the post. Our host and hostess were so cordial and made us so comfortable and at home, Miss Knox Taylor was so lovely, and little Dick and Betty such delightful playmates, that we enjoyed our visit there most fully, and have always remembered it with great pleasure. And when we learned only a short time after our arrival at our journey's end that Lieutenant Jefferson Davis had carried off our beautiful Miss Knox, in spite of her parents' watchfulness and her father's absolute commands, our grief and indignation knew no bounds. The pair went to St. Louis and were married. The Colonel and his wife never recovered from the shock, which seemed to blight the happiness of their home. They never saw their child again. There was no reconciliation between the parties, and the beloved, misguided daughter died in six months after leaving home. He who treacherously beguiled her away from her happy home is an old man now, and must soon go to his account. He stands out prominently against a dark background, and no one will envy him the recollection of that deed or the place he occupies in the history of the country to which he proved false in her hour of trial.
It is said that the broken-hearted father never spoke to him for years, but that on the battle-field in Mexico, Captain Davis made a successful movement, and in passing him, General Taylor, as commanding officer of the division to which he was attached, said, "that was well done, Captain," and perhaps he never spoke to him afterwards.
When our delightful sojourn with the kind friends at Fort Crawford came to an end, we started in our open vehicle, which had been made as comfortable as possible for our long ride of several days to our final destination, and, as there were no public houses on the road, our dependence for accommodations, was upon the thinly scattered settlers, who for the most part were "roughing it," and had few conveniences, scarcely any comforts to offer the weary traveler.
One night the halt was called in front of a low log house of two rooms, connected by an enclosed passage way, which served the purpose of an eating room.
The mistress of the house was the wife of a steamboat captain, but owing to some irreconcilable difference of sentiment, she refused to live with him, and she was miserably poor. In pity to her sad case, her husband had sent, by my father, some articles of clothing which he hoped might be of use to her, and this errand served as our introduction. She was a tall, fine looking woman, and received and welcomed us with the air of a princess dwelling in a palace. She was a niece of James Fennimore Cooper, and her grand and stately mien, in the midst of such squalid poverty, would have been amusing, but for the pity of it.
Her father, a very old man, lay dying of consumption in one of the rooms, and my little sister and I were assigned for the night to a bed directly opposite the death couch. The one tallow candle on the stand beside him, guttering down in its socket, the fitful light from the vast fireplace, which made strange fantastic shapes and shadows on the rough dark walls, and the clear cut profile of the dying man, with the erect dignified figure beside him, rising occasionally to arrange his pillow, or give him water, impressed us most painfully, effectually driving sleep from our eyes, which, under a kind of fascination, gazed intently on what they would fain not see. From time to time the dogs outside howled dismally, and this forced night-watch was made most hideous by the occasional hooting of an owl, or the prolonged baying of hungry wolves in the distance. We were very weary, and at last fell into a troubled slumber, but were haunted even in sleep by the ghastly face across the room and the weird shadows on the wall, 'till aroused by mother's morning kiss, and cheery call to breakfast, which banished all disturbing dreams, and waked us to the realities of a bright sunshiny morning, and the morning meal which our grand hostess had prepared for us to eat before we left this most uninviting caravansary. This repast consisted of potatoes boiled "au natural," and some kind of drink which she announced as coffee, and which she served with the grace of a queen, dispensing the delicacies of her table.
I have never ceased to admire the admirable tact and grace with which my father added to this choice menu; some very nice boiled beef and other toothsome viands, with which our bountiful friends the Taylors, had packed our messchest; also, some choice tea, which father, accustomed to camping, knew how to prepare in perfection. All this he did in such a way as to make the lady feel that it was an honor to us to share these things with her, and it was really gratifying to see her calm enjoyment of delicacies to which she had long been a stranger. I think, too, that the fragrant cup of tea and the delicate bit of toast, taken to the sick man, may have brought to his mind tender recollections of a time when he lived like a gentleman, and dispelled for a little while the memory of the family troubles, and the complication of misfortunes which had reduced him to poverty and a dying bed in this comfortless log cabin in the wilderness.
Kind friends met us with a hearty welcome at our journey's end, where for a few years we had a very happy home. The memory of the weekly musicals at John Kinzie's pleasant agency, and the delightful rides on horseback over the Portage to the point where Portage City now stands, quickens my heart-beats even now.
But where now are all those who then called that little quadrangle "_home_?" Col. Cutler, Major Green, Captain Low, Lieutenants Johnston, Hooe, Collingsworth, Lacy, McLure, Ruggles, Reid, Whipple, Doctors Satterlee, McDougal and Foote, Sutlers Goodell, Satterlee, Clark, Lieutenant Van Cleve and my own dear father? Alas! of all these but one answers to roll-call, and he and I hold in sweet remembrance the dear friends of our youth, and the beloved old fort, where He who hath led us graciously all our days, first brought us together, and blessed us with each other's love, and we thank Him from our hearts that He has spared us to each other for so many years.
NEW HOME--SCHOOL DAYS.
There came a day in April, 1834, when my brother and I bade "good-bye" to all, and, under our father's care, left Fort Winnebago to go East, he to West Point, I to school in New Haven.
We descended the sinuous Fox river in an open boat, having on board, besides ourselves, a crew of soldiers, and two ladies, who embraced this opportunity to visit their Eastern home.
The spring rains set in the next day, and our voyage down the Fox river lasted ten days, during which time we had ample opportunity to test the efficacy of hydropathy, as our awning was by no means waterproof, and we were literally soaked the greater part of the time. In passing through Lake Winnebago the wind was so fearful that the combined efforts of Captain and crew were necessary to prevent shipwreck and disaster. The passage through the rapids below was extremely hazardous, but a famous Indian pilot was employed to guide us over, and no harm befel us. The picture of that tall, dark figure at the bow, his long, black hair streaming in the wind, his arms bare, his motions, as he shifted his pole from side to side, rapid and full of unconscious grace, his eyes glowing like stars with anxious vigilance, his voice ringing out clear and musical from time to time, is as fresh in my mind as if all this was only yesterday.
But civilization and never-tiring enterprise have waved over it their magic wand, and the whole scene is changed. Beautiful towns have sprung up about the clear, blue lake, and the place that knew the Indian and his people shall know him no more forever. In a distant camping-place nearer the setting sun the remnant of a once powerful tribe is dragging out its existence, waiting and expecting to be moved still farther west when the white man wants the land they occupy, _reserved_ to them only till that want becomes imperative and the United States says: "Go farther!"
When we finally reached Fort Howard, and were cordially welcomed and hospitably entertained by General Brooke, of the Fifth Regiment, we forgot, in our exceeding comfort, all the perils and disagreeables by the way, and not one of us experienced the slightest cold or inconvenience from our long exposure to the elements.
We remained a week here awaiting a schooner, and I met for the first time Captain and Mrs. Marcy, parents of Mrs. General McLellan. How pretty and charming she was, and how kind and tender to the boy and girl who were going away from home and mother for the first time! The beautiful wife of General Brooke, too, was so loving and considerate in her motherly attentions to us that she completely won our hearts, and when she died, some years afterward, we felt bereaved.
The voyage by schooner to Buffalo through the Straits of Mich-e-li-mac-i-nac and tempestuous little Lake St. Clair, a day or two at hoary, magnificent Niagara, the journey thence by stage, canal, railroad and steamboat to New York, filled up one month from the time we took our farewell look at the star spangled banner floating over our far Western home. And this sixteen mile ride by rail from Schenectady to Albany, which was over the first piece of road opened for travel in the United States, seemed so like magic as to inspire us with a kind of awe. I remember that in coming to a steep grade the passengers alighted, while the train was drawn up the slope by some kind of stationary machinery.
I recalled this experience of my girlhood a few years ago when, in a luxurious palace car, a party of us wound up and over the Veta pass, an ascent of 2,439 feet in fourteen miles, and looking down the dizzy height, as the two powerful engines, puffing and snorting like living creatures, labored to reach the summit, I marvelled at the splendid triumph of genius and skill.
After a pleasant day or two at West Point, where we left the young Cadet, and a short visit to relatives in New York, a most enjoyable trip in a "Sound" steamer brought us to the "City of Elms," one of the great educational centers of New England, which was to be my home for two years.
There were many learned men in New Haven then, and the faculty of the time-honored old college had on its roll names which will never die, Day, Silliman, Olmstead, and many others,--who were mighty in eloquence and theology, like Leonard Bacon and Dr. Taylor, proclaimed the truth with no uncertain sound in the churches on the "Green" from Sabbath to Sabbath. Grand old Noah Webster, standing in the doorway of his modest home on our road from school to church, was, to me, an embodiment of the spelling-book and dictionary, and I instinctively made obeisance to him as we passed that way.
One of the few privileges granted me in the way of recreation while at "Mrs. Apthorpe's School for Young Ladies" was an occasional visit to our dear cousins, the Brewsters, who occupied a beautiful home on the Sound, formerly known as the "Pavillion," which might be called historic, for in a dark dungeon underneath the house the notorious regicides, Goff and Whalley, were hidden in the old, old times. And the graveyard in New Haven, with its tall poplar trees, was an epitome of the lives of men and women who had made their impress, not only on that community, but on the world. Our school was situated on Hillhouse avenue, and our walks were mostly confined to that quiet, shady street and "Powder House lane," in order that we might avoid meeting the "students," of whom our teacher seemed to have a great dread, a fear from which her pupils were entirely free. But for all this care and precaution we learned to know _by sight_ Benjamin Silliman, who lived next door to us, and young Thomas Skinner, who was opposite, and it is delightful to know that these two young men, who were full to the brim with fun and harmless mischief, have become eminent and dignified men of renown, one as a chemist and scientist, the other as a distinguished divine and honored professor in a theological seminary.
The college commencement exercises were held in the Central Church, on the "Green," and all the schools, male and female, were well represented in the large audience. The ladies occupied the center of the church, and, in order that the large bonnets in vogue at that time might not intercept the view of the stage, several long lines were stretched longitudinally over their heads, to which they were expected to attach them, and, after all had hung up their bonnets, these lines were drawn up out of the way until needed again. Many of the ladies provided pretty caps and headdresses for the occasion, and the delicate laces, with their tasteful trimmings, and the bright eyes and happy faces, formed a pretty picture long to be remembered. Recalling it, I see again the dimpled cheeks and soft, graceful appointments of those merry girls, and, wafted backward over the bridge of many years, I sit among them, the spring-time of youth comes back to me, and I bless God for memory. What if we are old women now, worn and weary with care and trial it may be; this blessed gift refreshes us on our way to the eternal youth that awaits us just beyond, and we exult in the belief that the flowers over there are fadeless, that old age is not known, and friends no more say "good-bye."
FATHER'S DEATH, ETC.
The fall of 1835 found us all, except our Cadet, at Fort Winnebago again, but heavy afflictions made that winter a very sad one. The anxiety consequent on the serious illness of two beloved members of the family so wore upon our dear father, whose constitution had been severely tried by arduous military duties, that after many weeks of pain, he died, and left us crushed and desolate.
I have beside me an old "Order Book," open at a page on which is this sad record:
"The Major Commanding has the painful duty to announce to the command, the death of Major Nathan Clark; he will be buried to-morrow afternoon at 2 o'clock, with the honors of war, where all present, except those persons who may be expressly excused, will appear under arms in full uniform; the Commanding Officer directs that the escort be composed of four companies, which, in accordance with his own feelings as well as what is due to the deceased, he will command in person. All officers of this command will wear black crape attached to the hilts of their swords, and as testimony of respect for the deceased, this badge will be worn for the period of thirty days. The Surgeon of the Post will act as Chaplain.
By order of Major Green. Feb. 18th, 1836. Signed J. T. COLLINGSWORTH, Act. Adj."
And at the time appointed, a detail of soldiers from his own "Company C," reverently place upon the bier the encoffined form of their beloved commander, having for a pall the "Stars and Stripes", on which are laid the sword and accoutrements now no longer needed.
Memory brings back to me that mournful afternoon, and I see the bearers with their burden; the long procession of soldiers with trailed arms; the commissioned officers each in his appropriate place, all keeping time and step to the muffled drum as it rolls out its requiem on the wintry air, in the strains of Pleyel's heart-melting hymn; the weeping wife and children in the large sleigh,--all passing out the great gate to the lone graveyard. And the precious burden is lowered, and at its head stands Surgeon Lyman Foote, our father's life-long friend, and in a voice trembling with emotion, reads the wonderful words: "I am the Resurrection and the Life, saith the Lord." After the burial service comes the last salute, and, leaving there that which is so dear to us, we go back to the empty quarters, bowed down heavily, as those who mourn for one inexpressibly dear.
During those weeks of pain and languishing, my father, knowing what the end must be, and realizing the change his death would make in all our plans, left full directions for our future course; and in accordance with his last wishes, my marriage with Lieutenant H. P. Van Cleve was solemnized, in the presence of a few friends, March 22d, 1836. Rev. Henry Gregory, of the Episcopal Church, at that time laboring as a missionary among the Stockbridge Indians, performed the ceremony. His station was between the Forts Winnebago and Howard, and he had a serious time making the journey on horseback to the fort, the snow being very deep and the weather severe. Besides using up his horse he became snow-blind, and reached us pretty well worn out, but we can never forget his cheerful endurance of his trials, and his genial, affable manner, which made warm friends of all who came in contact with him. He was one who _lived_ the gospel which he preached, and unconsciously diffused a beneficial influence all about him. Notwithstanding his temporary blindness, he was so perfectly familiar with the marriage service that there was no delay in consequence, and after resting with us a few days, till his eyesight was restored, he left us on a new horse to return to his home among the Indians, where he labored faithfully and effectively for some years longer.
As soon as navigation opened, my mother went to Connecticut with two children, leaving the youngest, a dear little three year old girl, in our care. We spent the first summer of our married life very quietly and happily at the old fort, and enjoyed exceedingly a visit from two companies of the First Regiment, from Prairie du Chien, who had been ordered up there, to strengthen our post, on account of a rumor of an Indian outbreak which had reached Washington. Col. Zachary Taylor commanded the detachment personally, and encamping just outside the fort, made a beautiful display. Old General Brady was with them also, and we were proud and happy to entertain our dear father's old friends at our own table. To add to the pleasure of this visit, there was not and had not been the slightest foundation for alarm. It was said that not only were the Indians perfectly peaceable, but that they had not enough ammunition to kill what game they needed for food. Colonel Taylor knew all this, but was obliged to obey orders; so we had a grand picnic of a few weeks, just when the prairies were covered with delicious strawberries, and the cows were yielding abundance of milk and cream. That was in the old time, when mails were monthly, and telegraphing was a thing of the future.
In the following September, my husband having resigned his commission, we bade a long "good bye" to the army and its many tender associations. This step was taken after much thought and deliberation, and in accordance with the advice of our dear father. But the army had always been my home; I loved it as such. I love it still, and it is a comfort to me in my old age to know that I am not far away from a fort, that I can _almost_ see the beautiful flag, as it sways in the breeze, can _almost_ hear the drum and fife, the music of my childhood, and can _feel_ that they are near me, in dear old Fort Snelling, my earliest home.
In 1840, being in Cincinnati, where we were delightfully situated, we had a rare opportunity to witness the enthusiasm of our countrymen, as displayed in the Presidential campaign of which General Harrison was the successful man. The excitement of that time was tremendous. The hard cider songs--
"And should we be any ways thirsty, I'll tell you what we will all do, We'll bring forth a keg of hard cider And drink to old Tippecanoe."
Also: "For Tippecanoe and Tyler, too, And with them we'll beat little Van. Van, Van's a used-up man, And with them we'll beat little Van."
Resounded through the streets from morn till midnight, drums beat and cannons roared, and, seeing the way in which the poor old man was dragged about from place to place in all kinds of processions, we were not surprised when we learned of his death a few weeks after his inauguration. Then, alas! what a sad procession passed through those same streets, of late so full of life and joy; now heavily draped in mourning and echoing to funereal strains, as the worn-out old man is borne slowly through the beautiful city to rest in his quiet home at North Bend. How empty seem all earthly honors in view of such sharp contrasts. The lesson sank deep, and can never be forgotten. Looking over the leaves of my diary kept during that eventful year, I find recorded there a sorrowful incident that occurred during the winter, bringing desolation to a rich man's home and grief to many loving friends. I give it here in the form of a story, as I have told it to my children from time to time. It is an entirely correct narrative, without the slightest coloring, and I have called it "A Tale of the Florida War."
"You had better go, dear Lizzie, it will do you good; the confinement in this lonesome fort does not agree with you. A ride on horseback and a pleasant visit with dear friends will brighten you up and bring back some of the roses to your cheeks. My duty keeps me here, but Sherwood will go with you; the Colonel will provide a suitable escort, and there is nothing to fear. You will return in better spirits and be happy again, will you not, my drooping lily? What! tears again? Dry them, dearest, and let us hope that you will soon receive that long-expected letter from your mother, for she must feel that by this time, if any punishment was necessary, yours has been sufficient. Now smile again, dear one, as you were wont to do in happier days, or I shall tell you that my heart reproaches me for having taken you from your luxurious home and brought upon you so much unhappiness." "Say anything but that, my beloved, and I will try to conquer my sadness. You know I would not exchange these simple quarters of a poor Lieutenant for all the splendors of my father's house. For your sake, and with you beside me to cheer and comfort me, I could bear all hardship and privation; but, oh! to hear from my parents that I am forgiven, that they still remember me with my sisters, as one of their dear children. I will be patient, dear, and trust more fully in Him who has said: 'When thy father and thy mother forsake thee, then the Lord will take thee up.' He will surely hear my daily prayer and restore peace to my heart, and we will dwell on the sweet promises we read together in the Book we have learned to love so well, and will trust Him who is our best, our unfailing friend. And now, since you, my dear, kind husband, wish it, I will prepare for this little excursion. I cannot bear to leave you here, but I shall be back soon, and who knows but to-morrow's mail may bring some news from home which will cheer and comfort us both. Yet I cannot account for a feeling that takes possession of me now and then, that something is about to happen; that all will not be well while we are absent the one from the other. What can it be? I cannot shake it off. The fort may be attacked, and should anything befall you, my best beloved, what would become of me? Much better remain and perish with you than return to a desolate home."
"Now, my darling, do not give way to such dismal forebodings. You always cheered me during those days of doubt and suspense in Newport, bidding me look forward to brighter days. You would not now sadden the hours of your absence from me by causing anxious thoughts in my heart. Oh! my precious wife; you have borne much for my sake, you have been to me in very truth a ministering angel. Do not now despond, but still strengthen me by your brave, hopeful smiles. You know how I shall miss you every moment of your absence, but the hope that this ride will do you good makes me willing and anxious to have you go. And see, the Orderly has just brought your horse, and Sherwood is crossing the parade to tell you he is ready. Let me put your shawl around you and tie your hat, that you may be all in waiting for him." The young wife turned upon him her large, beautiful eyes, beaming with love, and, twining her arms about his neck, kissed the "good-bye" she could not speak. Then, looking earnestly to heaven, she silently called down the protection of heaven on him whom she loved only next to God, in whom she trusted. Her husband tenderly embraced her, led her into the parlor, and, handing her to the young officer who was to take charge of her, said: "Be careful of her, Sherwood, and let me see you both by noon to-morrow. My compliments to the ladies of Fort Holmes, and urge Mrs. Montgomery's special friend to return with her and partake of the hospitalities of Fort Adams." Sherwood bowed in acquiescence, and, assisting the lady into her saddle, acknowledged gracefully the honor conferred upon him and mounted his horse, which was impatient to begone. Then the last "good-byes" were spoken, loving looks exchanged, and in a few moments the young Lieutenant and his precious charge had passed through the gate and were out of sight. The young husband gazed after them a long while, with anxious, troubled look. "Dear girl," he said, at last, "she, too, feels forebodings of coming ill, and I dare not tell her, but for days I have felt much depressed. This is wrong, however. I must struggle against it and try to be cheerful when she returns. Why should I feel thus? We were never more secure than at present, and soon this vile war will be over, and surely by the time we return to our homes the parents of my precious wife will have become reconciled to us, and we shall be very happy." Turning from the door and entering the room where he had parted with his wife, he threw himself on the lounge, overcome by various emotions, and, in fact, far from well in body, though this had been carefully concealed from his anxious wife.
While he is thus resting and trying to put away unpleasant thoughts, and our fair heroine is pursuing her way to Fort Holmes, we will tell the reader of some of the peculiar circumstances of Lieutenant Montgomery and his gentle bride, at the time our story begins. Lizzie Taylor was a fair girl of little more than seventeen summers when she first met Lieutenant Montgomery at a party given by some of the _elite_ of Cincinnati. They were mutually attracted to each other, and being thrown frequently into each other's society, this feeling gradually ripened into love. Honorable and high-minded in all things, young Montgomery did not conceal his fondness for Lizzie, and it was generally known that he was her lover. But her father, a man of great wealth and ambition, did not approve of what he chose to call her childish fancy, and, being desirous that his daughters should form brilliant marriages, frowned scornfully on the suit of one who had _only_ his irreproachable character and his commission in the army of the United States to offer as his credentials. Opposition in this case, however, had its usual effect, and Lizzie, in all things else obedient and complying, felt that here, even her father should not interfere, when his objections were simply want of wealth and influence on the part of him to whom she had given her young heart. The young people, were not hasty, however, but waited patiently and uncomplainingly a year, the father promising them that he would think of it and give them an answer at that time. The proud man flattered himself, that during that probationary year he could divert his daughter from her foolishness, as he termed it, and excite her ambition to form a wealthy alliance.
To this end, he travelled with her, introduced her into gay and fashionable circles, and lavished upon her indulgences in every shape. But he realized little of the depths of a woman's love, and was much astonished when, at the end of the year, she sought an interview with him, in which she told him, her feelings were unchanged, and she desired his consent and blessing on her union with Lieutenant Montgomery, adding that she hoped that time had softened his feelings towards one with whom he could find no fault save that he loved his daughter, and who was prepared to be to him a dutiful, loving son.
Her father turned upon her in anger, and stamping violently, swore by all that was sacred that never would he give his consent to her union with one so much beneath her in wealth and position. "Then, father," said his gentle daughter, mildly but with much dignity; "we will marry without it, for as sure as God has witnessed our vows, so surely shall nought but death part him and me; 'his people shall be my people, and his God, my God.' Forgive me this first act of disobedience to your commands, and believe me that I still love you as tenderly as I have always loved my father; but there are feelings which not even a parent's authority can control, and with the blessing of God and the love of him most dear to me of all on earth, I can brave even more than a father's displeasure." So saying, she left the room, while her father, astonished beyond measure, remained motionless, completely taken by surprise at this determined opposition to his will in one who had hitherto been all gentleness and submission. Days passed, and she continued as ever, gentle and loving to her father. No reference by either was made to their late conversation, and he began to think she had thought better of it and had concluded to yield to his wishes, even congratulated himself that the _childish affair_ had been nipped in the bud by his timely and judicious authority, when on one bright summer day, like a thunder-clap from an unclouded sky, came a very polite note from Lieutenant Montgomery apprising him of the fact that Lizzie and he had just been married in the presence of a few friends by an Episcopal clergyman, and that they craved his forgiveness and blessing. From that moment her father's heart, already hard, was set as a flint against her. No entreaties could prevail on him to see her, and her mother, nearly crazy with grief, anger and wounded pride, took counsel of friends, who most unwisely encouraged her bitterness and convinced her that no concessions should be made to a disobedient child under any circumstances, making the poor, distressed, mistaken mother feel that it was a Christian duty to let her feel that her act had made her an outcast from her parents' love and home. Therefore, although she saw the poor girl occasionally, she always heaped on her devoted head the most withering reproaches, telling her she had disgraced her father's name, and must expect to reap the fruits of her disobedience. And when the sad little bride sent to her, begging for some of her clothes, of which she was sadly in need, for she had carried nothing with her when she left her old home, she tore from its frame a beautiful portrait of dear Lizzie, and, rolling it up in some of the very plainest of her clothing, sent it, with the message that they had no further need of it, and that the articles sent were good enough for one in her position.
During that summer Lieutenant Montgomery was stationed at Newport, Ky., on the recruiting service, where my husband, my mother and I occasionally visited them, and we were astonished to notice with what perfect kindness, even affection, they always spoke of her parents and friends; but when we found her once reading God's Word and staying herself on His precious promises, we no longer wondered that there was in her heart no feeling of bitterness, for she, too, had learned the lessons He taught, who, "when He was reviled, reviled not again, but committed himself to Him who judgeth righteously." A very few of her friends still visited her, but nearly all felt it would not be politic to be found in sympathy with one on whom the wealthy and influential Griffin Taylor frowned with displeasure. She always believed her father would relent, and sometimes, when she saw him approaching her on the street, her heart would give a great bound with the hope that now he would surely speak to her; but as soon as the proud man saw her, he invariably crossed the street to avoid the meeting, and then she felt sore and wounded, indeed. So the summer passed away, and in the fall came orders for the Lieutenant to join his regiment, then engaged in the terrible war with the Seminoles in Florida. All wondered if Lizzie's love for her husband would stand this severe test, and many were astonished when they heard it was her intention to accompany him to the land of the Everglades, where so many had lost their lives, and where the prevailing fever or the deadly tomahawk might leave her alone among strangers. A few days before they left we visited them in the old Newport barracks, and I said to her: "Lizzie; remember you are a soldier's wife, and must not give way to fear." Never can I forget the look of tenderness with which her husband regarded her as he replied for her: "Dear Lizzie has no fear; she is more of a soldier than I am. Had it not been for her brave bearing and her sweet words of encouragement, I know not but I might have turned coward at the thought of exposing the dear girl to the dangers and privations of such a campaign; but the knowledge that I possess such a treasure will nerve my arm and give me courage to fight manfully to preserve her from danger, and to end this dreadful war with the relentless savages." After repeated but vain efforts to see her father, she bade farewell to her friends, and those to whom she had clung during her days of trial and suspense accompanied her to the steamer which was to carry her from her home. The day was a cheerless one; the sun veiled his face behind dark, ominous clouds, and the wind sighed mournfully, as if moaning out a requiem. We felt oppressed with foreboding; we knew she was going into the midst of real danger; her father had refused to see her; her mother had parted with her in anger; nearly all her old friends had frowned upon her, and now nature seemed to give signs of displeasure, though we who loved her felt that the heavens were weeping in full sympathy with the dear girl. The young husband and wife strove to be cheerful, she smiled sweetly through her tears, as she spoke of returning in the spring, expressing the hope that by that time her parents would have forgiven them and would welcome them into the beloved family circle.
We stand on the wharf as the boat pushes off, waving our last "good-byes" and breathing prayers for their safety and welfare, while she leans on the arm of him for whom she has forsaken all but God; the great wheels revolve, the boat moves on her way, and that girlish form, on whom our eyes are fixed, grows fainter and fainter, till it fades out of sight. We heard from them immediately on their arrival at Fort Adams, and the Lieutenant wrote that Lizzie was well and would be perfectly happy but for the thought of her parents' displeasure. Her young sister, Carrie, a sweet girl of thirteen, had shed many tears for her, and had used all her eloquence to bring about a reconciliation, apparently in vain, but finally she had so far prevailed with her mother as to extort a promise from her that she would write to her, which fact she straightway communicated to Lizzie, who was, at the opening of our story, looking anxiously for this promised letter, which might contain words of love, perhaps forgiveness. But she had looked so long and had been so often disappointed, that suspense, that worst of all trials to a wounded spirit, had affected her health and made her pale and sad. It was on this account her husband had prevailed on her to accept an invitation from an old friend of hers and make a little excursion to Fort Holmes.
The real object of the trip was the bearing of important messages to Fort Holmes, and a full escort had been detailed as a matter of prudence, although the Indians had been very quiet for some time and no danger was apprehended. Lieutenant Sherwood, as commander of the expedition, deemed it an honor to take especial charge of the young wife, who by her gentle loveliness had endeared herself to all. But after they were out of sight Montgomery became very restless, and, remaining only a short time on the sofa where we left him, when we commenced this long digression, he arose and paced the floor in deep and anxious thought, and at length, as if to throw off the terrible weight that oppressed him, went to the door where he had parted from his darling, and oh! horror! there stands her horse, panting and riderless, quivering in every limb with fright. Without an instant's delay he sprang on to the animal and rode, he scarcely knew where, not knowing nor daring to surmise what terrible thing had befallen his precious wife. What words can depict the scene that broke upon his bewildered gaze when the horse instinctively stopped about three miles from the fort? There on the ground lay several soldiers, murdered, scalped and stripped of their clothing. A little farther on lay poor Sherwood, butchered by the brutal savages, and near him the lifeless body of her whom he had died to protect. Close by her side lay a soldier mortally wounded, who had just strength enough left to say: "I fought--for her--till the last,--Lieutenant,--and have saved her--from the horrid scalping-knife." Poor, distracted Montgomery threw himself on the ground beside her, calling despairingly upon her, imploring her to speak one more word to him, but all in vain; and when the troops from the fort, who had taken the alarm, arrived at the dreadful spot, he lay like one dead, with his arm around the lifeless form of his precious Lizzie. And thus they carried them home in the conveyance sent for the purpose--the poor husband to awake to a bitter sense of his terrible bereavement, and she who had so lately been a lovely bride, to be dressed for her burial. Imagine, if you can, the feelings of her parents when the heartrending news reached them. Her father's pride was crushed, her mother's heart was broken, and those who knew her well say, although she lived many years, that she never smiled again. Her father wrote immediately to Lieutenant Montgomery, imploring him to come to him and be to him as an own son, feeling this to be the only reparation he could make to him and his poor, murdered child. This offer was, of course, rejected, for how could the heartbroken husband consent to live in the home from which his dear wife had been turned in anger away.
Her parents felt that they deserved this, but wrote again begging the body of their daughter, that it might repose among her own kindred and not among a savage people. To this he consented, although he could not be prevailed on to come himself to Cincinnati, and accordingly, early in the spring, the remains of the once lovely and idolized Lizzie Taylor were brought to her father's house.
Her false-hearted summer friends could now weep for her as the daughter of the rich Griffin Taylor, while they would scarcely have regretted her as simply the wife of a poor soldier. Alas! for the hollow friendship of the world! Had one-half the sympathy been bestowed upon the poor child when she was turned from her father's door, an outcast, as was lavished on her poor, unconscious body when lying in that father's house a corpse, how much she would have been cheered and comforted under her sore trial. Everything possible was done to make it a splendid funeral--a rosewood coffin and velvet pall, crape streamers and funereal plumes, an elegant hearse, and an almost unending line of carriages--pitiable, senseless pride, that would cast away as worthless the priceless jewel, and bestow tender care and pompous honor on the perishable casket that once held it!
Nearly fifty years have passed into history since that mild spring day, when the long procession passed through the streets of Cincinnati, telling in its mournful march of wounded pride, blighted hopes, broken hearts, and agony unspeakable. And yet so indelibly is it fixed in my memory that it seems but yesterday, and I find it hard to realize that the young, gallant officer for whom our hearts were sore that day, is now an old man, with white hair, still in the service of the country he has faithfully served through all these years, holding high rank, and honored, respected and beloved by all who know him. The father, mother, sister, and very many of the nearest relatives and friends of the dear girl have passed away. Soon all who personally knew of this story will be gone. A simple but appropriate monument to the memory of the gallant Sherwood and the brave, true soldier, who gave up his life to protect the precious body from mutilation, was erected where they fell, and may still be standing there, but that is all that remains to tell of this heartrending incident of the bloody war with the Seminoles in the Everglades of Florida.
From our pleasant home and work in Cincinnati we were called away by the illness and death of Lieutenant C. C. Daveiss, a brother-in-law and army associate of my husband, to whom he left the care of his family and the settlement of his business. He had resigned his commission in the army a few years before, and had settled on a large plantation which he owned near La Grange, Missouri, and Daveiss Prairie, as it was called, was our home for two years, during which time we had some new experiences, and a fine opportunity to study a class of people entirely different from any former associations. They were mostly from what might be called the backwoods of Kentucky; were ignorant, and had some very crude notions of the world at large. Nearly all of them owned a few slaves, raised a great many hogs, cultivated large fields of corn, and were content with a diet of corn bread and bacon, varied, during their long summers, with vegetables, melons and honey, all of which were very abundant. They had some cows and sheep, and some fine horses, which enjoyed unlimited pasturage on the succulent grasses of the prairies. They made their own clothing from the wool, spun and woven at home, and were in a measure independent of the world. They were religiously inclined, and had preaching every Sabbath, at some accessible point, the Baptist, Methodist, Presbyterian, and Campbellite preachers alternating, the first named denomination being the most numerous. Among them was a stalwart, _powerful_ preacher, who was also the owner of a fine farm and a pretty strong force of negroes. He was held in high esteem for his great natural gifts, and we can never forget the meed of praise accorded him by his gentle, adoring wife, when, in speaking of this mighty man, she said, with exultation: "Mr. L. is so gifted that he never has to study his sermons. They come naturally to him. He hardly ever looks at a book from Sunday till Saturday, not even the Bible!" and we believed her.
The houses were built mostly of logs, and the architecture was of the most primitive style. The living room was furnished with one or more beds, a table, and strong home-made hickory chairs with painfully straight backs; and it was customary in occupying one of them to lean it back against the wall or bed, at a convenient angle, putting the feet on the rounds; and this fashion made it the proper thing to salute a visitor thus: "How-d'y? Walk right in; take a cheer, and lean back." One of our neighbors, in giving her ideas of a newcomer, said: "She's smart enough 's fur as I know, but I don't reckon she knows much about manners, for when I _sot_ down on a cheer she never asked me to lean back."
Soon after we were settled at Daveiss Prairie, a neighbor, hearing we had taught school elsewhere, called to see me, and opened up the subject of education with, "I'd kind o' like to have our Reu_ben_ larn figgers; he takes to larnin the prettiest you ever see. But, law sakes, he ain't nothin to our Pop. Why, Pop can read ritin"! I learned subsequently that "our Pop", a pretty girl of eighteen or twenty, was the wonder of the country on account of this rare accomplishment, and seeing her frequently on horseback, with her "_ridin-skeert_" tucked about her, as if for a journey, I inquired one day if she had any special calling, and learned that she rode from farm to farm, as her services were needed, to read the letters received by the different families; "and", my informant added, "she makes a heap of money, too; I tell you Pop's smart."
Another ambitious mother called to learn if I would teach her "Sam _the tables_, so'st he can measure up potatoes and garden truck handy," adding, "it ain't no use for girls to bother much with figgers, but I see Miss Daveiss draw in a piece" (into the loom) "without countin' every thread, so you may just let Kitty larn enough to do that-a way." Spending an afternoon with this mother, a good, sensible woman and very kind neighbor, I found her preparing the wedding trousseau of one of her girls, who was to be married the next week. She was a good girl, a general favorite, and all were much interested in the coming event. In the course of my visit one of the daughters called out, "Lucy, where's the fine needle? you had it last;" and the reply came, promptly, "I reckon it's in that crack over yon, whar I stuck it when I done clar'd off the bed last night;" and there it was, sure enough, and by the aid of that little solitary implement some delicate ruffling was hemmed, and the bride looked very pretty and bright a few days later, when she stood beside her chosen husband in her humble home and promised to be to him a good, true wife; and when, after a bountiful wedding feast, the happy pair mounted their horses, and, amidst the good wishes and congratulations of friends, rode away to the new log house in the wilderness, where they were to make a home. I could not but admire these simple souls, who knew nothing of the strife and turmoil and excitement of the outer world, and required so little to make them happy.
Besides this class of people of whom I have been telling, there were several families in our neighborhood who were well educated and refined, and we formed lasting friendships among them. It may be that, if Missouri had been a free State, we might have made our home there, but slavery, even as exhibited here in its mildest form, was an insuperable objection, and when my husband, having faithfully discharged his trust, felt that his sister's affairs were in such a state that she no longer required his aid, we bade farewell to our beloved relatives, to our dear friend Richard Garnett and others, and returned to Michigan, which had been our first home after leaving the army. Here we remained for many years, much of the time in Ann Arbor, where we were engaged in teaching, and where we formed many warm friendships, and became much attached to the beautiful city, which has taken so high a rank as an educational center. Our school was large, and comprised a male and female department, in the former of which a number of young men were prepared for the university. Among them was James Watson, who became so famous as an astronomer, and who from the first astonished all by his wonderful facility in all branches of mathematics. We meet now and then some of our old pupils, middle-aged men and women, and are proud to see them filling their places in the world as good wives and mothers or useful, earnest men. We watched the growth of the University of Michigan from its infancy, and rejoiced when Chancellor Tappan took it in hand and gave it an impetus which changed its status from an academy to a vigorous go-ahead college, with wonderful possibilities. He was a grand man. It was a pleasure and an honor to know him, and Michigan owes much to his wise and skillful management, which brought her university up to the high position it occupies to-day.
We loved Michigan, and would fain have lived there always, but several of our family became much enfeebled by the malarial influences so prevalent at that time in the beautiful peninsula, and we felt that a complete change of climate was imperatively necessary. So, bidding a reluctant good-bye to home and friends, we turned our faces towards Minnesota, in the hope that that far-famed atmosphere would drive away all tendency to intermittent fevers and invigorate our shattered constitutions.
In the autumn of 1856 our family removed to Long Prairie, Todd county, Minnesota, as the nucleus of a colony which was to settle and develop a large tract of land, purchased from government by a company, some members of which were our friends and relatives.
The weather was very pleasant when we left our Michigan home, but at the Mississippi river the _squaw winter_, immediately preceding _Indian summer_, came upon us with unusual sharpness, and lasted through the remainder of our journey. We were to cross the river at a little hamlet called "Swan River," and our plan was to hire conveyances there which should take us the remaining distance. But on arriving at this point we found a young friend who had come West for his health, and was acting as agent for my brother, one of the owners of the purchase. He was on a business errand and not well prepared to take us back with him, but as we learned that it would be impossible to procure transportation for two or three days, and were extremely anxious to reach the end of our journey, he decided to make the attempt. We made the transit in small skiffs amidst huge cakes of floating ice, which threatened to swamp us before we reached the western shore, and our fears well nigh got the better of some of us, but taking a lesson from the implicit confidence our dear children reposed in us, we rested in our Heavenly Father's love and care, and so passed safely and trustingly over. At 4 P. M., we struck out into the wilderness, but, the roads being rough and our load heavy, we made very slow progress. By 9 o'clock we had not reached the half-way mark, but by way of encouragement to the horses, and in consideration of the tired, hungry children, we came to a halt and improvised a nocturnal picnic. It was cold, very cold, there was no shelter, no light but the camp-fire, and yet there was an attempt at cheerfulness, and the entertainment passed off with some degree of merriment.
After an hour's rest we resumed our journey, and, although our conveyance was an open wagon, so crowded as to be very uncomfortable, especially for the children, yet we did the best we could, and the little emigrants bore the journey bravely for some hours longer. But when within six miles of our destination, just beside a deserted Indian encampment, our horses fairly gave out and would not pull another inch. So a large camp-fire was made; a sort of shelter constructed of branches of trees; a Buffalo robe laid on the ground, and the weary travelers found a temporary resting place, while our young friend, above alluded to, started with the used-up team to bring us help, if he could reach the prairie. I had chosen to pass the hours of waiting in the wagon, feeling that I could better protect my dear little baby in this way. So when all the tired ones were still, and the silence only broken by the crackling of the burning fagots, the occasional falling of a dry twig or branch from the bare, ghostly looking trees about us, the hooting of an owl, the dismal howlings of the wolves in the forest, I sat there looking at the weary forms so illy protected from the cold, thinking of the little white beds in which my dear ones were wont to slumber peacefully and comfortably, the friends whom we had left, who might even now be dreaming of us, of some of the farewell tea drinkings by cheerful firesides in dear old Ann Arbor, where tender words had been spoken, and our prospects in a far western home been discussed over delicate, tempting viands, prepared by loving hands; and these thoughts kept my _heart_ warmed and comforted, albeit I shivered with external cold; but hugging my baby closer, and committing all to the care of Him who never slumbers nor sleeps, I was just sinking into unconsciousness when a voice, not heard for a year and a half, broke the deep stillness with: "How! Nitchie!" and there by the flickering light of the fire, I saw our eldest son, who had left us, for a trip with his uncle to the Rocky Mountains a mere boy, and now stood before us in size a man. As his father rose to his feet, he exclaimed in an agony of joy: "Oh! father, is it you?" and he fell upon his father's neck and wept, and his father wept upon his neck. Then, as in a dream, I heard, "Where's mother?" in an instant he stood beside me, and I was sobbing in the arms of my first-born, my well-beloved son.
Our messenger had told him that the horses had given out just beside an Indian encampment, and that, unless all haste was made, the load might be carried off. So the boy, without a moment's delay, took his horses and came at full speed to save the goods. Hence his first salutation, greeting, as he supposed, a party of Chippewas.
The little camp was all alive with surprise and joyful excitement, and with a hearty appreciation of this very good practical joke, we were soon in motion again, wending our way, with lightened hearts, to our journey's end, which we reached without further let or hindrance. After a brief, but much needed rest, we opened our eyes on a calm fair Sabbath morning, and our new home, in the soft hazy light of an Indian summer sunrise was very lovely. It required no very vivid imagination to fancy ourselves in the happy valley of "Rasselas, Prince of Abyssinia," and it seemed to me impossible that any one could ever desire, like that discontented youth, to leave so charming a spot. The term prairie is a misnomer in this case; instead we found a beautiful fruitful valley lying between two low ranges of hills, interspersed with groves of trees and picturesque lakes, and watered by a river winding gracefully through its whole length. It had been the seat of the Winnebago Agency, and there were, still standing, in pretty good order, a large number of houses. These buildings, empty though they were, gave the idea of a settlement, dispelling every thing like a feeling of loneliness or isolation. On our way to our new home, we had purchased, at Dubuque, ample supplies for a year, but, (the steamboats at that season being much crowded), were obliged to leave them with our household goods to follow, as we were assured in the next boat. Resting in this assurance and being supplied for the present, we had no anxiety for the future; we knew not what was before us. God tenderly "shaded our eyes," and we were very happy and full of hope. Prairie hens and pheasants were abundant beyond belief. Our boys, standing in the kitchen door, could frequently shoot as many as we needed from the trees in the dooryard, while the numerous lakes in the vicinity afforded us most excellent fish, such as an epicure might have envied us. Some of our family, enfeebled by malarial fevers, and the ills resulting from them, imbibed fresh draughts of health and life with every breath, the weak lungs and tender irritable throats healed rapidly in the kindly strengthening atmosphere, and hearts that had been sore at parting with dear friends and a beloved home, were filled with gratitude to Him who had led us to so fair and lovely a resting place, and we mark that time with a white stone in memory of His loving kindness in thus preparing us for what was to come.
Early in December, winter came upon us in earnest; snow fell to such a depth that we were fairly shut out from the whole world, and so suddenly as to find us unprepared. It was difficult and almost impossible, on account of the deep snow, to procure wood sufficient to keep up the constant fires necessary on account of the intense cold. We had no mail, no telegraph, no news from our supplies. Yet we hoped and made the best of our situation. Our children, who had read "Robinson Crusoe" and "Swiss Family Robinson," thoroughly enjoyed this entirely new experience, and, every day explored the various empty houses, returning from their expeditions with different household articles left by the former occupants as worthless, but which served us a purpose in furnishing our table and kitchen. But day by day our temporary supplies lessened, and with all the faith we could call to our aid, we could not but feel somewhat anxious. A crop of wheat raised on the place the preceding summer had been stored, unthreshed, in some of the empty buildings, and this, at last, came to be our only dependence. The mill on the property had, of course, been frozen up, and only after hours of hard work, could my husband and boys so far clear it of ice, as to succeed in making flour, and such flour! I have always regretted that we did not preserve a specimen for exhibition and chemical analysis, for verily the like was never seen before, and I defy any one of our great Minneapolis mills to produce an imitation of it. The wheat was very smutty, and having no machinery to remedy this evil, all efforts to cleanse it proved unsatisfactory, but the compound prepared from it which we called _bread_, was so rarely obtainable, as to be looked upon as a luxury. Our daily "staff of life" was unground wheat.
A large number of Chippewa Indians were encamped about us most of the time, and not being able to hunt successfully, on account of the very deep snow, were driven to great extremity, and sometimes, acting on the well established principle, that "self-preservation is the first law of nature," broke in the windows of our extemporized granaries, and helped themselves to grain. They were welcome to it under the circumstances, but in obtaining it they had broken in the windows, and had mixed glass with it to such an extent that it was unsafe for food until we had picked it all over, grain by grain. This process was our daily occupation and amusement. I distinctly recall the scene in our dining-room, when all the available members of the family were seated around a long pine table, with a little pile of wheat before each, replenished from time to time from the large heap in the center, working away industriously, conversing cheerfully, telling interesting and amusing stories, singing songs, never complaining, but all manifesting a feeling of gratitude that we still saw before us what would support life, for, at least, a while longer; and taking heart and strength to endure, in the hope that before this, our last resource was exhausted, we should receive our long expected supplies, which were somewhere on the way to us. This wheat was boiled, and eaten with salt, the only seasoning of any kind we had; no butter, no milk, no meat, nothing, and yet we never can forget the intense relish with which our children partook of it, one of them remarking, on one occasion, "Mother, how good this wheat is; I wish you would write to Ann Arbor and tell the boys there of it; I don't believe they know." A little child was teaching us, and the amount of strength and comfort imparted to us by such a manifestation of perfect contentment, gratitude and trust can never be computed in words. We realized in those days, as never before, the full force and beauty of the Icelandic custom: living in the midst of dangers seen and unseen, these people, we are told, every morning open the outer door, and looking reverently up to Heaven, thank God they are still alive. So when with each returning day we saw our children safe and well, our first feeling was, gratitude that the Eternal God, who was our only refuge, had not removed from underneath us His everlasting arms.
The nearest settlement of any kind was "Swan River," on the Mississippi, but we were so completely blockaded with snow, that no team could possibly get through. Two or three times during that memorable winter, our oldest son, a boy of eighteen years, made the trip on snow-shoes, at the risk of his life, to get our mail, and learn, if possible, something from our supplies. The round trip was a three days' journey, and there being no stopping place or house of any kind on the route, he, of course, was obliged to camp out one night. Our anxiety during his absence was terrible, and we remember vividly our overpowering sense of relief, when, at the close of the third day, long before his form was discernible, some familiar song in his clear ringing tones, broke on the still night air, to assure the dear home folks he was safe and well. Like the man whose business was so urgent he could not stop to rest, but now and then picked up a stone and carried it some distance, then threw it down, and went on relieved and encouraged, so we, when we laid down this burden of anxiety felt rested and better able to bear our daily trials.
It is due to our only neighbors, the Indians, to say that they were by no means troublesome, that our intercourse with them was pleasant, and to some of them we became much attached. A great chief's wife was a frequent visitor at our house, her little son, of perhaps eight winters being her invariable attendant. On one occasion having missed a small case-knife of rather peculiar formation, which was in daily use, I ventured to ask her if the little lad had taken it to their wigwam, it occurred to me he might have done so, innocently to show to some of his family, in whose honesty I had implicit faith. The old woman drew herself up to her full height, and with a grace and dignity which would have done honor to the mother of the Gracchi, said, in all the expressiveness of her native tongue: "_The son of Ne-ba-quum cannot steal!_" In real admiration and reverent contrition, I laid my hand on the injured mother's shoulder, and explained my meaning. She accepted my apology fully and graciously, giving me her hand, in token that my error was condoned, and you will readily believe it was never repeated. Through all the years of our residence at Long Prairie she and her family were always welcome guests at our house, when in their wanderings they came that way, and when, during our late war, her brave, loyal husband's offers to assist us in our struggle, were contemptuously scorned by one of our Generals, and the mortified, broken-hearted old chieftain, unable to bear up under such an insult, went to the "happy hunting grounds," we sincerely mourned the loss of our staunch and honored friend, Ne-ba-quum.
Some time in January, our five year old boy was very suddenly seized with pleurisy in its most violent form, and for hours he seemed in mortal agony. We had no efficient remedies, no doctor within thirty, perhaps fifty miles, and to complicate matters, I had lain down sick for the first time, thoroughly vanquished by fatigue and unusual exposure. But that sickness of mine had to be postponed, and we fought all that night with the fearful disease, using vigorously all the external remedies within our reach, cupping the dear child with inexperienced hands, but prayerful hearts, leaning entirely upon God, who, when we cried unto Him in our distress, heard and mercifully regarded our cries. The acute and agonizing symptoms of the attack were subdued, but lung fever supervened, and for four weeks our dear boy lay very near death. His form wasted, his hands, through extreme attenuation, became almost translucent, and we could only watch and pray, and use all the means in our power to alleviate his sufferings. I recall the seasons of family worship around that sick bed, when we were drawn so near the All-pitying Father that we could talk with Him, as a man talketh with his friend, when the loving Savior made us feel that He was near us to sympathize with us, and the Blessed Comforter brooded over us, and spoke peace to our sorrowing hearts, so that we could say, "Thy will be done," and from our hearts could sing:
"_Ill_ that God blesses is our _good_, And unblest _good_ is ill; And all is right, that seems most wrong, If it be His dear will.
"When obstacles and trials seem Like prison walls to be; We'll do the little we can do, And leave the rest to Thee."
During this trying time, our stock of candles was nearly exhausted, and our weary watchings were only lighted by a sense of God's presence. So with our hand on the dear sufferer, and our ear attentive to his breathing, his father and I sat beside him, lighting our candle only when absolutely necessary, and felt as none can feel until they have tested it, the sustaining grace and Infinite love of the Blessed Watcher, who never slumbers nor sleeps. He granted us sweet thoughts of His love and precious promises, which were to us as songs in the night, and under the shadow of His wings, our hearts were kept in perfect peace. Thanks to the Great Healer, a change for the better came, and then occurred a strange thing, that has always seemed to me directly Providential.
During a bitter wind and blinding snow storm, some snow birds took refuge in our wood-shed and were caught by the Indian boys. At the suggestion of our oldest son, who had read somewhere the story of a sick child and her Canaries, these little refugees were brought into the nursery and soon became perfectly tame, flying all about the sick boy's head, lighting on his hands, and amusing and resting him wonderfully. For several days the storm continued, and we sheltered the little creatures, our invalid growing better so rapidly as to excite our surprise. But at last there came a mild bright day, and we turned them out to find their companions. Why was it that they flew only a few rods and then fell dead? To us it seemed that these little winged messengers had been driven to us in our extremity by the fury of the storm as healing agents, and had given their lives for our child's. The question now arose, where shall we find suitable food for our convalescent? There seemed no possible help for us, but we believed it would come. One morning as I sat wondering how this would be brought about, my dear brother came in, and handing me a fresh laid egg, said: "I did not know there was a fowl on the place, but it seems that an old superannuated hen, who doubtless has lived in the wheat all winter has suddenly been aroused to a sense of her duty, and this is the result." Had the golden egg, famous in fable, been presented in his other hand for my choice, it would have been to me no better than a chip, but the treasure he brought me was of priceless value, and I received it gratefully as a gift from God. It furnished a whole day's nourishment for our exhausted, feeble little boy, and for three days he was supplied in the same way; then, just as he was more hungry than ever, and when it was evident he never could regain his strength without nourishment, the supply ceased. We waited and trusted, and in a day or two our son found a fine pheasant, which had evidently lost its way, sitting in the snow, wondering, perhaps, where all its companions were, and why the berries were all gone. Where it came from we never knew, but we do know that there never was so delicious a bird eaten. It was reserved for the sick child, but a small piece was given to each of the other children, and not one of them will ever forget the taste of that precious morsel. By the time this nutritious supply was exhausted, our invalid was so much better as to be able to do his share of picking over wheat, and of eating this simple but very healthful diet.
Soon after this the wheat ran low, the long hard winter had told upon us all, and we seemed to need more substantial food as we had never needed it before. Day after day we managed to prepare something that sustained life, but I had a nursing child, and supporting myself and him too, almost solely upon a wheat diet, had been hard on me and I was much exhausted. We did not lose faith; the spirit was willing, but the flesh was growing weak. I sat one morning after our simple breakfast, with my precious baby in my lap, wondering on what I should feed the dear ones at noon, as scarcely anything remained. The children were full of glee in their unconscious ignorance, and I must not, by a word of repining, shake their sweet trust and faith. Our eldest son sat near me, reading my thoughts, but saying nothing, only conveying by a loving look his sympathy, when, suddenly, a shadow darkened the window; he looked up quickly, and said: "Mother, look there!" I looked, and directly at our door were two sleds heavily laden with our long-looked for supplies! Then came the first tears I had shed that winter. I could not speak, but my over-wrought feelings found most salutary relief in those blessed, grateful tears. There was danger that the powerful reaction would overcome me entirely, but very soon every member of the little colony knew that relief had come, and the work of unloading the sleds, opening boxes, and unheading barrels, was carried on with such ardor, as to leave no chance for such a result, especially as we learned that the teamsters had had no breakfast, that they had been three days coming 28 miles; had been obliged to shovel their way through great drifts, a few rods at a time, and had reached us thoroughly worn out and exhausted. Then came the preparation of that wonderful breakfast. No need that a priest should burn frankincense and myrrh, sending up our orisons in the smoke thereof. The odor of that frying pork, the aroma of that delicious coffee, the perfume of that fragrant tea went up to heaven, full freighted with thanksgiving and praise. No need that a President or Governor should proclaim a day when we should return thanks in view of God's great goodness; it proclaimed itself, and every human being within our reach was bidden to our thanksgiving feast.
Our supplies were ample and varied, and 3 o'clock found a large company seated around a table loaded with excellent, well-cooked food, of which all partook with a gusto most flattering and gratifying to the cook, who was glad to retire to her room with her baby, when the meal was over and rest on her laurels, while the young people danced and made merry in very gladness of heart.
Night closed around a little settlement of thoroughly grateful, happy human beings. What if it was still cold, and there must yet be many stormy days? No fear of suffering or starvation. God had not forgotten us, and we should never cease to trust Him. I could not sleep for very joy, and the delicious sense of relief from anxiety on the score of providing for the daily meals. I seemed to see in the darkness, in illuminated letters, "Jehovah _Jireh_," and felt He had abundantly verified his blessed promise.[B]
In due time the days grew longer and warmer; the snow melted. Large flocks of wild geese passing northward over our heads assured us, with their unmusical but most welcome notes, that the long winter of '56 and '57 was over and gone. The ground was broken up, crops were planted, and everything gave promise of a favorable season. Our home, in its lovely, fresh robes of green, was enchanting, and we felt that the lines had indeed fallen unto us in pleasant places. But as we take pleasant walks through our happy valley, what means this unusual sound that arrests our footsteps? It is like the pattering of gentle summer rain, and yet the sky is clear and cloudless; no drops fall. What can it be? Ah! see that moving in the grass! We stoop to examine, and find myriads of strange-looking insects hardly larger than fleas. They must be--yes, they are, _young grasshoppers_. And now may God help us! for we are powerless to arrest their depredations. Day by day they grew and increased, until they covered everything; fields of wheat which promised a bountiful harvest were eaten up so completely that not a green blade or leaf was left; gardens were entirely demolished; screens of cloth put over hot-beds for protection were eaten as greedily as the plants themselves, and the rapidity with which they did their destructive work was amazing. So faded away all our hopes of raising anything available that year, and we watched and waited. But one bright June morning there was a movement and an unusual sound. We rushed to see the cause, and beheld our dire enemy rising in masses, like a great army with banners! They passed over us, making our home for a time the "land shadowing with wings," and finally disappeared in the south. With lightened hearts and willing hands we went to work, replanted some things, and labored thankfully, hopefully and successfully to provide for the next winter.
The experience of the past had taught us much. We felt our hearts stronger and richer for its lessons, and we all look back on that memorable time as something we would not willingly have missed out of our lives, for we learned that one may be reduced to great straits, may have few or no external comforts, and yet be very happy, with that satisfying, independent happiness which outward circumstances cannot affect.
[Footnote B: Soon after this great deliverance, the Blackfoot Indians who belonged to our little colony became discontented and homesick for their hunting grounds among the Rocky Mountains, and made their preparations for an exodus so secretly that we were taken entirely by surprise when one evening they were all missing. They had taken their women and children and as much of their stuff as they could carry on two or three horses, and turned their backs upon us, permanently, as they supposed. Immediately our oldest son started in pursuit, and we watched him with a field-glass as long as we could see, and then by the lights he struck from time to time, as he went farther and farther away, to enable him to see their tracks or the votive offerings to the sun which they had placed on the shrubs and bushes by the wayside as they journeyed westward. At the close of the second day he found them encamped near a stream making snow-shoes, and so uncertain as to their route to the home they loved and pined for, as to be somewhat disheartened. A few persuasive words from the lad, who understood their ways thoroughly, with a promise that they should return to their mountains when the warm weather came, prevailed, and they came back to the Prairie somewhat subdued and not a little chagrined at their failure.]
A few years ago, Colonel Wilbur F. Sanders, President of the Historical Society of Montana, justly claiming my brother as one of the earliest pioneers of Montana Territory, requested me to furnish the society with a sketch of his life, feeling that without it, the records would be incomplete.
His career was peculiar, and in order that those who come after us may have a correct account of it, I insert here the substance of the sketch prepared at the request of Colonel Sanders:
My brother Malcolm Clark was the oldest child of our parents and their only son. He was born July 22d, 1817, at Fort Wayne, Indiana. When he was two years old our home was at Fort Snelling, where we remained for eight years. He was a handsome, bright-eyed, brave and venturesome boy, and soon began to develop a very decided taste for field sports of all kinds, becoming a ready pupil and prime favorite of Captain Martin Scott, widely known as the veritable Nimrod of those days. He was constantly running risks even in his plays, and had some miraculous escapes. But his fortitude and endurance of pain were very remarkable, and his great ambition was to bear himself under all circumstances like a true soldier.
One of my earliest recollections of him is seeing him mounted on his beautiful pony, riding without saddle or bridle, his arms extended, his eyes flashing, and his soft brown hair waving in the wind. This early training in daring horsemanship made him, as all who knew him can testify, a perfect rider. He was very quick to resent anything that looked like an imposition, or an infringement of his rights, it mattered not who was the aggressor. On one occasion, during the temporary absence of the Surgeon, he fell and cut his mouth so badly that it was feared the injury might be very serious.
Colonel Snelling, who had some knowledge of surgery, volunteered to repair the damaged feature, but when he attempted to use the needle, Malcolm, who felt he was not duly authorized, refused to let him touch it, shaking his tiny fist in his face, by way of menace. The Colonel laughingly retreated, and recommended sticking-plaster, which answered an admirable purpose.
A few years later I assisted the Surgeon in dressing a wound which Malcolm had accidentally inflicted on his own arm with a knife, and, although the operation of probing and cleansing it was perfect torture, he submitted to it patiently and without a sound of complaint.
He was a loving, affectionate boy, full of real chivalry and true nobility. Being next in age, I was his constant companion, and his kind, loving consideration of me is deeply impressed upon me. When for some years Cincinnati was our home, he attended a classical school in that city, taught by Alexander Kinmont, a Scotchman, somewhat celebrated as an educator of boys, and by his high sense of honor and his engaging manners he endeared himself to his teacher and fellow pupils. He had a real reverence for his female associates; indeed, his ideas of womanhood, in general, were very exalted. He guarded me most sacredly from anything which might offend my sense of delicacy, and was ready to do battle with any one who spoke slightingly of a lady.
At one time a young school-mate made some improper remarks concerning a young girl acquaintance of Malcolm's, who bade him take back his words. On his refusing to do this, my brother seized the fellow, who was larger and stouter than he, and gave him a pretty severe punishment, receiving himself, however, a bad cut on his head from falling on a sharp stone. But neither the pain of his wound nor the rebukes of his friends could make him feel that he had done anything more than justice, and he bore his sufferings with the spirit of a knight who had been wounded in defense of his "faire ladye." While at school he manifested a marked talent for public speaking, and took the highest rank in elocution in the Kinmont Academy, and I think that all through his life this gift of eloquence gave him a power over those with whom he mingled. I recall distinctly my sisterly pride in him when at an exhibition he delivered that wonderful speech of Marc Antony over the dead body of Cæsar; and when the terrible news of his tragical death reached me, I seemed to hear again the infinite pathos of his voice in the words, "And thou, Brutus!" The man who treacherously took his precious life had been to him as a son, had shared his home, and received from him nothing but favors. Well might he have exclaimed, "And thou, Ne-tus-cho!" as e'en under the protecting shadow of his own home the brave man fell, pierced by the deadly ball. At seventeen he was entered at West Point, where, owing to his early military associations and training, he stood well as a capable, well-drilled soldier, and was soon put in command of a company. In this capacity he acquitted himself in such a way as to win the approval of his superior officers and the confidence of his fellow Cadets.
But one of his company, who had been derelict in duty and had been reported accordingly, accused him of making a false report, and this in those days was an accusation not to be borne. Consequently my impetuous brother, with a mistaken sense of honor, fostered by the teachings and usages of fifty years ago, sent the young man a challenge. Instead of accepting or declining it, he took it to the Commandant, thus placing himself in a most unfavorable light.
The next morning at breakfast roll-call my brother stepped out before his company, and, seizing his adversary by the collar, administered to him a severe flogging with a cowhide. This, of course, was a case that called for a court-martial, the result of which was my brother's dismissal, the sentence, however, recommending him to mercy. It was intimated to him by some high in authority that by making proper concessions he would be reinstated. This he would not do, and took the consequences.
In the light of the great improvement in public sentiment with regard to such matters, the young man's course must be condemned, but great allowance must be made for the code of honor in force at that time, and nowhere so strenuously insisted on, as in military circles. Several duels had been fought between the officers at Fort Snelling while that was our home, and Malcolm had heard with delight and awe of the prowess of his hero, Captain Scott, who, as already narrated in these records, had soon after his appointment in the regular army given a final quietus to a young West Point officer who had snubbed and insulted the Green Mountain boy, whose career opened in a volunteer regiment in the war of 1812, instead of at the Military Academy. These influences account for, and in a great measure excuse my rash brother's conduct in this affair. We deeply deplored this event, which changed the whole tenor of his life; and yet, there lies on my table as I write, his defense before the military tribunal, and I confess to a thrill of pride as I read the manly, fearless, yet thoroughly respectful and courteous document, and I feel very sure that a most efficient, high-minded officer was lost to the service, when my brave, true brother suffered the penalty of a boyish folly.
Soon after this he started for Texas to join the desperate men there in their struggle for independence.
During his journey to the "Lone Star" State a characteristic incident occurred which may be worthy of mention. On the voyage from New Orleans to Galveston, the Captain of the ship refused to keep his agreement with his passengers in regard to furnishing ice and other absolute necessaries, thus endangering their health and making their situation thoroughly unendurable. After unsuccessful efforts to bring the Captain to reason, my brother took command himself, placed the Captain, heavily ironed, in close confinement, and thus landed in Galveston. Then he released his prisoner, and repaired immediately to General Sam Houston's quarters to give himself up for mutiny on the high seas. His story had preceded him, and, on presenting himself, the President exclaimed: "What! is this beardless boy the desperate mutineer of whom you have been telling me?" And, after inquiring into the affair, feeling thoroughly convinced that, according to the laws of self-defense, my brother's conduct was justifiable, dismissed him, with some very complimentary remarks on his courageous behavior. The young hero was loudly cheered by the populace, and borne on their shoulders in triumph to his hotel.
He soon after received a commission in the Texan army, where he served faithfully till the war was ended, and then returned to Cincinnati, at that time our widowed mother's home.
While in the Southwest, he was one day riding entirely alone through a wilderness, in some part of Texas, I think, when he saw in the distance, riding directly towards him, his old West Point antagonist, who had so far lost caste at that institution as to be obliged to resign about the time of my brother's dismissal. He had learned that Malcolm was in the country, whither he also had drifted, and had threatened to take his life, if ever he crossed his path. My brother, knowing of this threat, of course, concluded that when he met his enemy there would be a deadly encounter. Both were heavily armed; Malcolm had two pistols, but had discharged one at a prairie hen a short time before, and had forgotten which one was still loaded. It would not do to make investigations in the very face of his foe; so with his hand on one of them, and his keen eye firmly fixed on the man, he rode on, determined not to give one inch of the road. Thus they approached each other, neither yielding; my brother's steady gaze never relaxing, till just as their mules almost touched one another, his enemy gave the road, and Malcolm went on, feeling that very probably his foe would shoot him from behind, but never looking back, till, by a turn in the road, he knew he was out of sight, when he drew a long breath, and felt that he had been in a pretty tight place. The next news he had of his adversary was, that he had been killed in a drunken row in some town in Texas.
Failing to find in Cincinnati, business congenial to his taste, my brother obtained, through our father's life-long friend, Captain John Culbertson, an appointment in the American Fur Company, and went to one of their stations on the Upper Missouri. At this time he was just twenty-four years old; at the time of his death he was fifty-two, so that more than half his life was spent in the Indian country. The story of his life in the Far West is full of incident. Soon after his arrival in the Blackfoot country he won the name of Ne-so-ke-i-u (the Four Bears), by killing four Grizzlies one morning before breakfast, which remarkable feat gave him high rank in the estimation of the tribe. How he traded successfully among these Indians, in all cases studying their best interests; how he came to be looked upon as a great and powerful chief; how he identified himself with them by marrying among them; how, by his deeds of daring, his many miraculous escapes, his rare prowess and skill, and his wonderful personal influence over them, he obtained the dignity of a "_Medicine Man_," in whom they professed implicit faith and confidence, are facts well known to all who knew him.
And, how, when the eager, grasping whites encroached upon their territory, seeing before them the fate that had befallen all the other tribes among whom white settlements had been opened up, these Indians feared that this man, whose hair had whitened among them, would take part with his own people against them, and made a foul conspiracy against his life, treacherously stilling the heart that had beat with kindness and affection for them, are grievous facts in the history of his beloved Montana, on which I need not and cannot dwell.
In sketching the record of this life from early childhood to its tragic ending, I seem to see again before me my beautiful, bright-eyed brother, a boy of whom I was very proud, and who was, to me, the embodiment of everything brave, and manly, and true. I follow him in his eventful life, and while I realize that his impetuosity sometimes led him to do things which were not wise, and which he afterwards regretted, yet above all these errors and mistakes, rises the memory of his unswerving integrity; his fidelity to his friends; his high sense of honor, between man and man; his almost womanly tenderness towards those whom he loved; his rare culture and refinement; his affable, genial and courteous manners; his hospitality and large-heartedness,--all entitling him richly, to
"Bear without abuse, The grand old name of gentleman."
Long Prairie was our home for five years which though not unmixed with trial and sorrow, were happy years. Some few neighbors settled in and around the Prairie, and the visits of lumbering and surveying parties, passing to and fro, made a pleasant variety in our simple life. We were directly on the route over which the Indians, both Sioux and Chippewas travelled as they went for game or scalps; but they behaved themselves circumspectly, except when bad white men crept into the settlement and made them crazy with "fire water." This infamous traffic we resisted to the extent of our power, and on one occasion blood was drawn on both sides, but no lives were lost. We always treated the Indians well, dealing fairly with them as with white men, and they looked upon us as their friends. At one time, however, rumors of danger warned us to take measures to insure our safety; and we applied to Floyd, then Secretary of War, for military protection, the result of which step was, that some soldiers were quartered at the Prairie for the winter of '58 and '59, and we dismissed our fears. Captain Frederick Steele and Lieutenant Joseph Conrad were the officers in command of the detachment, and proved most agreeable neighbors, making our winter very enjoyable. The former of these, our friends, was a General during the war of the Rebellion, and lost his life in the service; the latter, now a Major, is still doing good service as a gallant and efficient soldier.
The next winter we had the protection of Lieutenant Latimer and his company from Fort Ridgley, a most genial and whole-souled Southern gentleman, who endeared himself to us by his frank kindly manners. Gen. Irwin McDowell, inspecting officer, made us a charming visit during this winter, and by his kindly, unassuming manner, won all hearts, while his splendid form and manly beauty made an impression on us never to be effaced. He survived the war, but died in the prime of life, sincerely mourned by a large circle of friends and fellow soldiers.
Possibly we might have spent our lives at Long Prairie, but for the bombardment of Fort Sumter, on the eventful 12th of April, 1861, whose vibrations thrilled the whole North, and reaching us in our pastoral home, changed entirely our plans and purposes. When our youngest boy was twenty-four hours old, his father went to St. Paul, in obedience to a summons from Governor Ramsey, and was soon after commissioned Colonel of the "2d" Regiment of Minnesota Volunteers, which was rendezvoused at Fort Snelling for thorough organization and drill. As soon as possible his family joined him there, and, once again my temporary home was in the old Headquarters, and in memory I live my childhood over again. The few weeks spent there were full of excitement and pleasant incidents, but over all, hung the dark shadow of the dreadful civil war, and hearts ached sorely, in spite of the brave talk and smiling faces. Writing of those days I recall a picture of the parade ground at the time of the sunset drum: the men are placed by companies, the officers in proper position; many visitors, ladies and gentlemen, stand near; the drum beats, the flag is lowered; and, as the Chaplain steps forward, every head is uncovered, and he offers the evening prayer to the God of battles. I am glad they prayed; did they think of this when they gained the victory in that first, fierce battle at Mill Spring? And there are those living, who will recall that sad parting hour, when those brave men said, "Good-bye, and God bless you," to their mothers, wives and children, and went forth with tearful eyes, and quivering lips to hazard their lives for their country. It was a holy cause, and the women, too, were brave, and would not hold them back, but entered willingly upon that sad, weary time, when tears were shed till the fountains were dry; when prayers and groanings that could not be uttered, arose to heaven by day and by night, alike from luxurious homes, and from humble cottages, for the safety of the beloved ones, and the success of the sacred cause. The children felt it, too. A little curly-headed seven year old boy, whose father was at the front, waking one night from troubled sleep, stole softly to his mother's bedside, and kissing her tenderly, said, in a voice broken with sobs: "Mother, did you pray for father to-night?" She replied: "Yes, my son, mother never forgets that." "But, mother, are you sure?" "Yes, dear one." "Well, mother, won't you kneel down here by me, and pray for him again?" and side by side, the two knelt humbly, the mother with her arms about the sobbing boy, while she prayed most earnestly for the precious one far away. Then, the dear child ceased his weeping, and kissing "mother" for herself and "father," lay down to sleep again, saying: "Mother, I don't think God will let the Southerners kill father." And thus it was all over the North. Mothers and children weeping and praying, and working, to keep the home bright and comfortable for the soldier when he should come back. And many fair, smooth faces, grew pale and seamed with care and anxiety, many brown heads turned to gray, and erect forms became bent as with years; and, alas! many hearts broke when the list of "dead and wounded" reached the Northern homes. Oh! history makes record of the heroes who fell fighting bravely, and of those who survived; of great deeds of daring done and suffering endured; but there _were_ heroes who won no stars, who received no ovations, whose histories were never written, and who none the less were martyrs to their country.
"But men must work, And women must weep; Though storms be sudden and waters deep; And the harbor-bar be moaning."
But God gave us the victory and our beloved country, aye, the whole world has made a forward move because of our heart-breaking, agonizing Civil War.
After the breaking up at Long Prairie, a few months were spent by our family in St. Paul, but in the early spring it seemed expedient to remove to "St Anthony," which has ever since been our home. It was at that time a very quiet village; very many of the young and vigorous men were at the front, and business was at a standstill; property was very cheap, and real estate men had little or nothing to do. Minneapolis, on the west side of the river, was a small town, and had any one predicted at that time that the city of Minneapolis would one day become what it is now, he would have been regarded as a lunatic. The Indian outbreak of '62 stirred things up for a while, but that passed away, and the place resumed its sleepy condition, waking up now and then at the news of a victory, or on the occasion of the return of a regiment, to whom an ovation was tendered, when it became manifest that there was a great deal of energy and power latent in the community, which only needed an occasion to bring it out. But the immense water power kept up its music, the mills ground flour and sawed logs and made paper, and, all unconsciously, we were growing great and preparing to become the wonder of the world. When the old settlers get together now-a-days, we like to talk of those pleasant, quiet times, when a ride in a stage to St. Paul was a treat, and a trip to Minnetonka in a double wagon, with provisions and camp fixtures for a week's picnic, was delightful; when we caught fish in Lake Harriet and cooked it at our camp-fire, and had a most enjoyable time rowing on the lake, gathering pond lilies, singing songs, telling stories, and taking in with every breath the delicious, invigorating air of that most charming spot.
And while rejoicing at the present state of things, so far in advance of those times, we sometimes look back regretfully at the days when we seemed like one large family, with common interests, and we involuntarily breathe a sigh for those simple, primitive pleasures, that will be ours nevermore.
No need for me to describe in these humble records the phenomenal growth of Minneapolis; it is known and read of all men, and the world is startled at its rapid transition from a somewhat obscure manufacturing town to a great and prosperous city, whose foundations are so solid, and whose possibilities so great, that there seems no limit to its progress. We who have watched it from infancy are justly proud of our city, and it is certainly cause for congratulation that so much time and thought and money are given to establishing and fostering benevolent institutions and charities of all kinds. The people are large-hearted and ready to take hold of anything which has for its object the good of the community or the amelioration of suffering in any form. Witness our "Home for Children and Aged Women;" the beautiful "Washburn Home for Orphans;" the "Northwestern Hospital," built by and under the care and management of women who have been generously aided by the community in carrying on their work; the "Bethany Home" for fallen, outcast women and deserted babies, a work established by women in weakness and under discouraging circumstances, but now carried on in a commodious building erected by one man who has lived many years in our city and has grown rich here. He has watched our work in this line for years, and his heart was moved to donate to the management of the "Home" the beautiful, convenient house and grounds on Bryant avenue, which shelters sad and broken-hearted women and tender, helpless infants, and stands out clear against the beautiful background of woodland and blue sky, an enduring monument to his large-hearted generosity and his tender pity for the weak and helpless. May God bless him and deal graciously with him and all he loves. These are only a few of the various branches of work for the good of humanity, generously encouraged by our citizens, and the liberality with which societies, conventions and gatherings of all kinds are welcomed and entertained by Minneapolitans astonishes all who see, read or hear of it. Those who saw the great Villard procession and the meeting of the Grand Army of the Republic can never forget them, and religious bodies of all sects and kinds who have been received and cared for here, are loud in their praises of their hospitable entertainers.
But better than all this is the earnest desire that we should become good, as well as great, as manifested in the numerous active societies organized for the purpose of overcoming and suppressing the evils incident to large and prosperous cities; and the eloquent, earnest men of all religious denominations who labor faithfully as preachers and pastors for the highest good of the people are doing grand, efficient work towards the accomplishment of this desire.
And side by side with us, a little way down the river, is our beautiful twin sister, the city of St. Paul, to which by the power of mutual attraction we are growing nearer day by day. The healthy rivalry which has existed between us since we began to grow has benefited both cities, and we now stand before the world phenomenal in growth, each year lengthening our cords and strengthening our stakes, with the sure prospect of becoming, in the near future, a mighty metropolis of the great and powerful Northwest.
The tender friendships formed there by our family during the early days of the war grow stronger and more binding each year, and will last through eternity; our children will tell to their children of the kindness rendered by dear ones in St. Paul to "father and mother" when they were in sore need of loving sympathy, and this legacy of love will be very precious to them. I love to visit this neighboring city, not only because of the warm friendships existing between us, but because that in some indescribable way it seems to have an army atmosphere which makes me feel entirely at home. And sometimes, when, in passing through its streets, I come upon our old, staunch friend, General R. W. Johnson, the thoughts of Fort Snelling, where, years after it ceased to be my home, he won the beautiful Miss Steele for his bride, stir my heart with pleasant memories, and looking at him now, a handsome, white-haired man, still erect and vigorous, I feel that time has dealt very generously with him, and rejoice that after his many years of faithful service to his country he is still doing his duty, and is most happily situated in every respect. And there is General Bishop, one of my husband's "boys" of the brave Minnesota Second, the very sight of whose kindly face brings up thoughts of Mill Spring and other battle fields on which he won his "eagle" and his "star," and it gladdens my heart to feel that he, too, still in his prime, is as brave and faithful a civilian as he was a soldier, and that he has a beautiful, hospitable home, which is a rallying point for the survivors of the old regiment, which he loved so well and commanded so successfully. And there are many other military men there, whom it is an honor to know, and who, with the energy which made them successful soldiers, are working earnestly for the good of St. Paul, where they have made their homes.
When the beautiful Edith, searching the field after the bloody battle of Hastings, found the body of her beloved, the last of the Saxon Kings, she saw right over his heart, as she wiped the blood from his wounded side, two words graven thereon: "Edith," and beneath it "England." So on my heart, among my precious things, stands "Minneapolis," and just beneath it "St. Paul." God bless them both and make them truly good, as well as eminently great.
Looking over the quarter of a century that we have lived quietly and happily in our Minneapolis home, I recall some very pleasant satisfying incidents, notably a visit made by my husband and myself to the lovely home of our only daughter in Honolulu, the capital of the Hawaiian Kingdom. We were both enfeebled by sickness and He who has been so gracious to us all our lives, knowing we had need of such a change, provided for it in an unexpected way. We left our home early in December, 1878 under the care of our son-in-law and daughter, and, journeying in the comfortable Pullman cars, took in the wonders and beauties, so often described, of the overland route to San Francisco.
It is needless for me to tell you of these wonders. Many travelers have so descanted upon them as to make them familiar to all, and yet no words can ever do them justice; they must be seen to be comprehended. Comprehended did I say? Ah! that can never be; they overwhelm and fill us with awe, make us very quiet, and incline our hearts to silent worship of Him whose "works are manifold, and who, in wisdom, hath made them all." As this magnificence unrolls before us like a grand panorama, the deep, dark, rocky canons; the high, snow-capped mountains, sometimes blue and far away like a wondrous picture, with a back ground of clear cloudless sky; the immense plains, with no signs of life, broken here and there by gigantic rocks of most weird fantastic shapes; the picturesque villages, with their church spires, distinct and well-defined against the high overhanging mountains, all combine to carry us out of ourselves, and to make us not only wonder and adore the wisdom of God, but admire the skill and energy of man, which, by God's help, has opened up these grand pictures, and enabled us to see and enjoy them.
Very early on the morning of our last day's ride, we rounded "Cape Horn," and halted, as is the custom, for all to have a sight of that masterpiece of the Great Architect. The mist still lay in the deep gorge and on the mountain sides, and all was perfect unbroken silence. Without a word we gazed enraptured on the glorious scene, and waited, as if expectant of some royal presence, to fill this magnificent throne of God's own building. And as we look, behold the heralds! And now the King of Day himself, in his chariot of flame, comes forth over the mountain-top, "as a bridegroom coming out of his chamber, and rejoicing as a strong man to run a race." At his presence, the mists roll away; the mountain sides appear in all their rugged beauty; the American River, like a silver thread, down deep in the mighty gorge, smiles brightly at the coming of the king, and accepting graciously its appointed task, "goes on and on forever."
That day's ride was the perfection of enjoyment, full of wonder and beauty, and just as we reached the terminus, the great monarch whose rays had illumined our path all the way, sank gloriously to rest in the "Golden Gate," rendering our first view of the mighty ocean unspeakably grand.
After spending ten days very pleasantly and satisfactorily in the great metropolis of the Pacific coast, our party of four embarked on the United States mail steamship, "City of Sydney," for the beautiful Hawaiian Islands, two thousand miles away, in the midst of the sea, which we reached in the remarkably short time of a little less than seven days, having made the quickest trip on record. Our voyage was most prosperous, and, with the exception of two days of rough weather at the outset, very pleasant. The ship is a fine one, all its appointments being everything that could be desired. The company was intelligent and agreeable. Our party was happy in the anticipation of seeing dear ones in Honolulu, and in the near realization of what had been, to some of us, a beautiful dream for years. And were we disappointed? Oh, no! No picture of our imagination had ever been so bright, so beautiful as that spread out before us, as our gallant ship sailed majestically through the coral reef into the beautiful harbor of Honolulu. It was like entering a new world; everything was bright with tropical splendor. The mountains, in whose hearts had slumbered volcanic fires, which, from time to time, had burst forth, lighting up the great ocean with Tartarean brilliancy, and scattering red-hot lava far and wide, now stood up in sublime composure, like ramparts of protection to the lovely island formed by the upheaval.
The tall cocoa-nut palms, crowned with their feathery tufts; the rich foliage of the various trees; the gorgeous blossoms; the picturesque, gaily-dressed natives in their arrowy canoes, with luscious fruits, or specimens of coral, shells, and other treasures of the deep; the innumerable little bronze figures darting in and out of the water for bits of coin thrown to them from the deck; and, above all, the dear ones, with happy faces and eager, outstretched hands, awaiting, with loving impatience, the moment of our landing, formed a tableau, which, illumined by the soft, glowing, dreamy atmosphere, made a photograph in my memory which time nor distance can ever efface. Our ride through the city, up the Nu-u-an-u valley, was one continued surprise and wonder, a bright vision, from which we surely must awaken to sober reality.
We knew that, by the almanac, it was the last day but one of the old year, midwinter, a time of frost and snow, and surely these brilliant oleanders, these great scarlet geraniums, these bright hedges of the many-colored Lantana were but a fairy scene which might vanish any moment and leave the trees bare and the flowers withered. But when we entered the charming grounds about our children's home, where we were to spend some months, resting and gaining health and vigor, we were fain to believe that it was all real, and that we should sit day after day on the broad veranda, and look at the royal palms, the graceful algeroba, the wide-spreading umbrella trees, the truly regal bougainvillia, with its wealth of purple blossoms, the Mexican vine, covered with rose-colored sprays, the soft velvet turf, and the exquisite ferns, and we thanked God that he had brought us, safely and happily, to so beautiful a haven. Everything about us was so charming a suggestion of Paradise, that even now, after the lapse of many years, the memory of the six months spent in that gem of the Pacific, comes to us freighted with a sense of sweetness and peace that savors of the rest of Heaven.
The society of Honolulu, representing many different nationalities, is exceptionally intelligent and cultivated. The climate is simply perfect, the mercury ranging from 60° to 80° the year round; delicious fruits, lovely flowers and spice bearing shrubs abound. The soil is very fertile and favorable to the production of the best of sugar cane, a high grade of coffee and excellent rice, which are the staple productions and a source of great profit to the islands. A most nutritious and satisfying vegetable universally cultivated there, is the Taro, which is to the native Hawaiian what the potato is to the Irishman. Poverty is unknown there, every one has a competence, some are wealthy. Education is compulsory, churches and school houses are numerous, and in every way adequate to the needs of the community. The reigning King, Kalakaua, is not as wise and strong as Solomon, and for many years has been in the hands of an intriguing Cabinet, which has been a source of anxiety to those who love the little kingdom, and desire to see it prosper, but it is very gratifying to be able to state, that the evils so much dreaded have been entirely averted, and the government placed in a better condition than it has enjoyed for many years. This was brought about in a proper and orderly way, by the decisive action of the law-abiding citizens, who have formed an entirely new Cabinet, altered for the better the Constitution, and established a limited monarchy. This change took place only a few months ago, and already its beneficial effects are clearly manifest. The prospects for the islands were never better, and it is sincerely to be hoped by all who wish well to the human race that Hawaii-nei may long continue to prosper in every way, and to send light and gladness to the peoples of the insular countries which are scattered like lovely gems all over the beautiful blue ocean.
THE GOLDEN WEDDING.
In the month of March, 1886, we sent to our many friends far and near the following invitation, and the hearty response which we received made March 22d a day never to be forgotten by ourselves and our children:
_Lieutenant Horatio Phillips Van Cleve, U. S. A., and Charlotte Ouisconsin Clark,_ MARRIED _March 22d, 1836, Fort Winnebago, Michigan Territory._ ------ _General and Mrs. H. P. Van Cleve,_ AT HOME _March 22d, 1886, 603 Fifth Street S. E., From 3 until 10 o'clock P. M._ _No presents._
The weather seemed as if made for the occasion, the sun shone brightly till its setting, and the old house, which has been our home so long, that we all love it, in spite of its old-fashioned appearance and its entire lack of style, was fitly prepared and adorned by loving hands. A thatched roof over the bay window, prettily arranged, bearing on its front the dates "1836" and "1886" in carnations of two colors, made a canopy under which the old man and woman were to sit and receive the congratulations of their friends. Over the mantel, opposite them, were arranged the battle flags of the beloved Second Regiment of Minnesota Volunteers, with the sword and sash and insignia of rank of its Colonel, who led them into battle, and the house was tastefully draped with the "stars and stripes" and many beautiful, significant emblems sent by friends and children. A beautiful bank of fifty golden rosebuds on a background of green, baskets of lovely, fragrant flowers, one of orange blossoms from Oakland, California, a pot containing a tall Bermuda lily with two large blossoms and several buds, and many bouquets of rich, rare flowers gave to the reception-room a brightness and loveliness which cannot be fitly described. At 3 o'clock the survivors of the old regiment came in, under command of our dear friend, General J. W. Bishop, of St. Paul, bringing hearty congratulations to their old Colonel, and after a short time spent in a pleasant converse, the General, in a most appropriate address presented to him, whom they honored, an elegant gold-headed cane, bearing the inscription: "Presented to General H. P. Van Cleve by surviving members of the Second Regiment, Minnesota Veteran Volunteer Infantry, Golden Wedding, March 22, 1886." This was a perfect surprise, and the gift was acknowledged in a few fitting words. After a pleasant chat of old war experiences and some light refreshments the veterans said "good-bye" and departed, leaving very grateful, pleasant thoughts in the hearts of those whom their presence had honored and made glad. Another surprise awaited us. Our little grandchild Pauline Van Cleve, a year and a half old, side by side with her cousin Rebecca, a few months older, toddled up to "grandma" and presented her with a cluster of fourteen golden rosebuds, one for each grandchild, and our granddaughter Charlotte Van Cleve recited very sweetly "The Old Man and His Bride," by Dr. Holland. Many sweet poems and loving letters from friends far and near, and many valuable, beautiful presents from dear ones, testified their love and kind regard for us, and are treasured by us among our most precious things, to be highly valued by our children when we shall have passed away. Cake and coffee were served through the evening, the fruit cake being baked in the same pan which was used fifty years before, when I, a girl of sixteen, made my "wedding cake." It has been in constant use ever since, and is a plain affair which shows the marks of time, but which, with ordinary care, will last through at least another generation.
Our friend, Rev. Dr. Neill, spoke to us in his usual felicitous manner, and his address was full of pleasant reminiscences. Our pastor, Rev. Dr. Stryker, recited a poem composed by himself for the occasion, and the evening passed most enjoyably, and, with many wishes that we might keep our diamond wedding, our friends bade us "good night" and went their several ways.
Then came to us a full realization that we had walked beside each other half a century, and our thoughts went back to the old quarters at Fort Winnebago, where side by side we stood in the freshness of youth, with life all before us, and promised "to have and to hold from this day forward, for better for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and cherish each other till death us do part," and as we looked into each other's eyes, heart answered to heart, "We have kept our vows."
"And looking backward through the years Along the way our feet have pressed, We see sweet places everywhere-- Sweet places, where our souls had rest.
For though some human hopes of ours Are dead and buried from our sight, Yet from their graves immortal flowers Have sprung, and blossomed into light.
Our sorrows have not been so light, God's chastening hand we could not trace; Nor have our blessings been so great That they have hid our Father's face."
And we thanked Him that He "had mercifully ordained that we should grow old together." And now, laying down my pen, I say to all who have followed me through these memories: "Good night, dear friends. God bless you every one."
* * * * *
The Table of Contents does not appear in the original book.
Minor punctuation errors and the following typos in the original book have been corrected to reflect the author's intention.
Pg. 23: Hzzaard to Hazard (son-in-law, Mr. Hazard,) Pg. 42: lenghtening to lengthening (lengthening shadows) Pg. 60: parent's to parents' (parents' murder) Pg. 78: off to of (telling of the Sioux scalps) Pg. 105-106: decased to deceased (respect for the deceased, this) Pg. 115: fondnes to fondness (for consistency; fondness on pg. 28) Pg. 160: nd to And (And the harbor-bar be moaning.")
The following inconsistencies were left as is.
Pg. 56: Mrs. Apthorp's seminary Pg. 102: "Mrs. Apthorpe's School for Young Ladies"
Pg. 34: Mitch-ele-mack-i-nack Pg. 101: Mich-e-li-mac-i-nac
All other questionable spellings were left as in the original book.