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 Reuben 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.