Soon after this the wheat ran low, the long hard winter had told upon us all, and we seemed to need more substantial food as we had never needed it before. Day after day we managed to prepare something that sustained life, but I had a nursing child, and supporting myself and him too, almost solely upon a wheat diet, had been hard on me and I was much exhausted. We did not lose faith; the spirit was willing, but the flesh was growing weak. I sat one morning after our simple breakfast, with my precious baby in my lap, wondering on what I should feed the dear ones at noon, as scarcely anything remained. The children were full of glee in their unconscious ignorance, and I must not, by a word of repining, shake their sweet trust and faith. Our eldest son sat near me, reading my thoughts, but saying nothing, only conveying by a loving look his sympathy, when, suddenly, a shadow darkened the window; he looked up quickly, and said: "Mother, look there!" I looked, and directly at our door were two sleds heavily laden with our long-looked for supplies! Then came the first tears I had shed that winter. I could not speak, but my over-wrought feelings found most salutary relief in those blessed, grateful tears. There was danger that the powerful reaction would overcome me entirely, but very soon every member of the little colony knew that relief had come, and the work of unloading the sleds, opening boxes, and unheading barrels, was carried on with such ardor, as to leave no chance for such a result, especially as we learned that the teamsters had had no breakfast, that they had been three days coming 28 miles; had been obliged to shovel their way through great drifts, a few rods at a time, and had reached us thoroughly worn out and exhausted. Then came the preparation of that wonderful breakfast. No need that a priest should burn frankincense and myrrh, sending up our orisons in the smoke thereof. The odor of that frying pork, the aroma of that delicious coffee, the perfume of that fragrant tea went up to heaven, full freighted with thanksgiving and praise. No need that a President or Governor should proclaim a day when we should return thanks in view of God's great goodness; it proclaimed itself, and every human being within our reach was bidden to our thanksgiving feast.
Our supplies were ample and varied, and 3 o'clock found a large company seated around a table loaded with excellent, well-cooked food, of which all partook with a gusto most flattering and gratifying to the cook, who was glad to retire to her room with her baby, when the meal was over and rest on her laurels, while the young people danced and made merry in very gladness of heart.
Night closed around a little settlement of thoroughly grateful, happy human beings. What if it was still cold, and there must yet be many stormy days? No fear of suffering or starvation. God had not forgotten us, and we should never cease to trust Him. I could not sleep for very joy, and the delicious sense of relief from anxiety on the score of providing for the daily meals. I seemed to see in the darkness, in illuminated letters, "Jehovah Jireh," and felt He had abundantly verified his blessed promise.[B]
In due time the days grew longer and warmer; the snow melted. Large flocks of wild geese passing northward over our heads assured us, with their unmusical but most welcome notes, that the long winter of '56 and '57 was over and gone. The ground was broken up, crops were planted, and everything gave promise of a favorable season. Our home, in its lovely, fresh robes of green, was enchanting, and we felt that the lines had indeed fallen unto us in pleasant places. But as we take pleasant walks through our happy valley, what means this unusual sound that arrests our footsteps? It is like the pattering of gentle summer rain, and yet the sky is clear and cloudless; no drops fall. What can it be? Ah! see that moving in the grass! We stoop to examine, and find myriads of strange-looking insects hardly larger than fleas. They must be—yes, they are, young grasshoppers. And now may God help us! for we are powerless to arrest their depredations. Day by day they grew and increased, until they covered everything; fields of wheat which promised a bountiful harvest were eaten up so completely that not a green blade or leaf was left; gardens were entirely demolished; screens of cloth put over hot-beds for protection were eaten as greedily as the plants themselves, and the rapidity with which they did their destructive work was amazing. So faded away all our hopes of raising anything available that year, and we watched and waited. But one bright June morning there was a movement and an unusual sound. We rushed to see the cause, and beheld our dire enemy rising in masses, like a great army with banners! They passed over us, making our home for a time the "land shadowing with wings," and finally disappeared in the south. With lightened hearts and willing hands we went to work, replanted some things, and labored thankfully, hopefully and successfully to provide for the next winter.
The experience of the past had taught us much. We felt our hearts stronger and richer for its lessons, and we all look back on that memorable time as something we would not willingly have missed out of our lives, for we learned that one may be reduced to great straits, may have few or no external comforts, and yet be very happy, with that satisfying, independent happiness which outward circumstances cannot affect.
[Footnote B: Soon after this great deliverance, the Blackfoot Indians who belonged to our little colony became discontented and homesick for their hunting grounds among the Rocky Mountains, and made their preparations for an exodus so secretly that we were taken entirely by surprise when one evening they were all missing. They had taken their women and children and as much of their stuff as they could carry on two or three horses, and turned their backs upon us, permanently, as they supposed. Immediately our oldest son started in pursuit, and we watched him with a field-glass as long as we could see, and then by the lights he struck from time to time, as he went farther and farther away, to enable him to see their tracks or the votive offerings to the sun which they had placed on the shrubs and bushes by the wayside as they journeyed westward. At the close of the second day he found them encamped near a stream making snow-shoes, and so uncertain as to their route to the home they loved and pined for, as to be somewhat disheartened. A few persuasive words from the lad, who understood their ways thoroughly, with a promise that they should return to their mountains when the warm weather came, prevailed, and they came back to the Prairie somewhat subdued and not a little chagrined at their failure.]
A few years ago, Colonel Wilbur F. Sanders, President of the Historical Society of Montana, justly claiming my brother as one of the earliest pioneers of Montana Territory, requested me to furnish the society with a sketch of his life, feeling that without it, the records would be incomplete.
His career was peculiar, and in order that those who come after us may have a correct account of it, I insert here the substance of the sketch prepared at the request of Colonel Sanders:
My brother Malcolm Clark was the oldest child of our parents and their only son. He was born July 22d, 1817, at Fort Wayne, Indiana. When he was two years old our home was at Fort Snelling, where we remained for eight years. He was a handsome, bright-eyed, brave and venturesome boy, and soon began to develop a very decided taste for field sports of all kinds, becoming a ready pupil and prime favorite of Captain Martin Scott, widely known as the veritable Nimrod of those days. He was constantly running risks even in his plays, and had some miraculous escapes. But his fortitude and endurance of pain were very remarkable, and his great ambition was to bear himself under all circumstances like a true soldier.
One of my earliest recollections of him is seeing him mounted on his beautiful pony, riding without saddle or bridle, his arms extended, his eyes flashing, and his soft brown hair waving in the wind. This early training in daring horsemanship made him, as all who knew him can testify, a perfect rider. He was very quick to resent anything that looked like an imposition, or an infringement of his rights, it mattered not who was the aggressor. On one occasion, during the temporary absence of the Surgeon, he fell and cut his mouth so badly that it was feared the injury might be very serious.
Colonel Snelling, who had some knowledge of surgery, volunteered to repair the damaged feature, but when he attempted to use the needle, Malcolm, who felt he was not duly authorized, refused to let him touch it, shaking his tiny fist in his face, by way of menace. The Colonel laughingly retreated, and recommended sticking-plaster, which answered an admirable purpose.
A few years later I assisted the Surgeon in dressing a wound which Malcolm had accidentally inflicted on his own arm with a knife, and, although the operation of probing and cleansing it was perfect torture, he submitted to it patiently and without a sound of complaint.
He was a loving, affectionate boy, full of real chivalry and true nobility. Being next in age, I was his constant companion, and his kind, loving consideration of me is deeply impressed upon me. When for some years Cincinnati was our home, he attended a classical school in that city, taught by Alexander Kinmont, a Scotchman, somewhat celebrated as an educator of boys, and by his high sense of honor and his engaging manners he endeared himself to his teacher and fellow pupils. He had a real reverence for his female associates; indeed, his ideas of womanhood, in general, were very exalted. He guarded me most sacredly from anything which might offend my sense of delicacy, and was ready to do battle with any one who spoke slightingly of a lady.
At one time a young school-mate made some improper remarks concerning a young girl acquaintance of Malcolm's, who bade him take back his words. On his refusing to do this, my brother seized the fellow, who was larger and stouter than he, and gave him a pretty severe punishment, receiving himself, however, a bad cut on his head from falling on a sharp stone. But neither the pain of his wound nor the rebukes of his friends could make him feel that he had done anything more than justice, and he bore his sufferings with the spirit of a knight who had been wounded in defense of his "faire ladye." While at school he manifested a marked talent for public speaking, and took the highest rank in elocution in the Kinmont Academy, and I think that all through his life this gift of eloquence gave him a power over those with whom he mingled. I recall distinctly my sisterly pride in him when at an exhibition he delivered that wonderful speech of Marc Antony over the dead body of Caesar; and when the terrible news of his tragical death reached me, I seemed to hear again the infinite pathos of his voice in the words, "And thou, Brutus!" The man who treacherously took his precious life had been to him as a son, had shared his home, and received from him nothing but favors. Well might he have exclaimed, "And thou, Ne-tus-cho!" as e'en under the protecting shadow of his own home the brave man fell, pierced by the deadly ball. At seventeen he was entered at West Point, where, owing to his early military associations and training, he stood well as a capable, well-drilled soldier, and was soon put in command of a company. In this capacity he acquitted himself in such a way as to win the approval of his superior officers and the confidence of his fellow Cadets.
But one of his company, who had been derelict in duty and had been reported accordingly, accused him of making a false report, and this in those days was an accusation not to be borne. Consequently my impetuous brother, with a mistaken sense of honor, fostered by the teachings and usages of fifty years ago, sent the young man a challenge. Instead of accepting or declining it, he took it to the Commandant, thus placing himself in a most unfavorable light.
The next morning at breakfast roll-call my brother stepped out before his company, and, seizing his adversary by the collar, administered to him a severe flogging with a cowhide. This, of course, was a case that called for a court-martial, the result of which was my brother's dismissal, the sentence, however, recommending him to mercy. It was intimated to him by some high in authority that by making proper concessions he would be reinstated. This he would not do, and took the consequences.
In the light of the great improvement in public sentiment with regard to such matters, the young man's course must be condemned, but great allowance must be made for the code of honor in force at that time, and nowhere so strenuously insisted on, as in military circles. Several duels had been fought between the officers at Fort Snelling while that was our home, and Malcolm had heard with delight and awe of the prowess of his hero, Captain Scott, who, as already narrated in these records, had soon after his appointment in the regular army given a final quietus to a young West Point officer who had snubbed and insulted the Green Mountain boy, whose career opened in a volunteer regiment in the war of 1812, instead of at the Military Academy. These influences account for, and in a great measure excuse my rash brother's conduct in this affair. We deeply deplored this event, which changed the whole tenor of his life; and yet, there lies on my table as I write, his defense before the military tribunal, and I confess to a thrill of pride as I read the manly, fearless, yet thoroughly respectful and courteous document, and I feel very sure that a most efficient, high-minded officer was lost to the service, when my brave, true brother suffered the penalty of a boyish folly.
Soon after this he started for Texas to join the desperate men there in their struggle for independence.
During his journey to the "Lone Star" State a characteristic incident occurred which may be worthy of mention. On the voyage from New Orleans to Galveston, the Captain of the ship refused to keep his agreement with his passengers in regard to furnishing ice and other absolute necessaries, thus endangering their health and making their situation thoroughly unendurable. After unsuccessful efforts to bring the Captain to reason, my brother took command himself, placed the Captain, heavily ironed, in close confinement, and thus landed in Galveston. Then he released his prisoner, and repaired immediately to General Sam Houston's quarters to give himself up for mutiny on the high seas. His story had preceded him, and, on presenting himself, the President exclaimed: "What! is this beardless boy the desperate mutineer of whom you have been telling me?" And, after inquiring into the affair, feeling thoroughly convinced that, according to the laws of self-defense, my brother's conduct was justifiable, dismissed him, with some very complimentary remarks on his courageous behavior. The young hero was loudly cheered by the populace, and borne on their shoulders in triumph to his hotel.
He soon after received a commission in the Texan army, where he served faithfully till the war was ended, and then returned to Cincinnati, at that time our widowed mother's home.
While in the Southwest, he was one day riding entirely alone through a wilderness, in some part of Texas, I think, when he saw in the distance, riding directly towards him, his old West Point antagonist, who had so far lost caste at that institution as to be obliged to resign about the time of my brother's dismissal. He had learned that Malcolm was in the country, whither he also had drifted, and had threatened to take his life, if ever he crossed his path. My brother, knowing of this threat, of course, concluded that when he met his enemy there would be a deadly encounter. Both were heavily armed; Malcolm had two pistols, but had discharged one at a prairie hen a short time before, and had forgotten which one was still loaded. It would not do to make investigations in the very face of his foe; so with his hand on one of them, and his keen eye firmly fixed on the man, he rode on, determined not to give one inch of the road. Thus they approached each other, neither yielding; my brother's steady gaze never relaxing, till just as their mules almost touched one another, his enemy gave the road, and Malcolm went on, feeling that very probably his foe would shoot him from behind, but never looking back, till, by a turn in the road, he knew he was out of sight, when he drew a long breath, and felt that he had been in a pretty tight place. The next news he had of his adversary was, that he had been killed in a drunken row in some town in Texas.
Failing to find in Cincinnati, business congenial to his taste, my brother obtained, through our father's life-long friend, Captain John Culbertson, an appointment in the American Fur Company, and went to one of their stations on the Upper Missouri. At this time he was just twenty-four years old; at the time of his death he was fifty-two, so that more than half his life was spent in the Indian country. The story of his life in the Far West is full of incident. Soon after his arrival in the Blackfoot country he won the name of Ne-so-ke-i-u (the Four Bears), by killing four Grizzlies one morning before breakfast, which remarkable feat gave him high rank in the estimation of the tribe. How he traded successfully among these Indians, in all cases studying their best interests; how he came to be looked upon as a great and powerful chief; how he identified himself with them by marrying among them; how, by his deeds of daring, his many miraculous escapes, his rare prowess and skill, and his wonderful personal influence over them, he obtained the dignity of a "Medicine Man," in whom they professed implicit faith and confidence, are facts well known to all who knew him.
And, how, when the eager, grasping whites encroached upon their territory, seeing before them the fate that had befallen all the other tribes among whom white settlements had been opened up, these Indians feared that this man, whose hair had whitened among them, would take part with his own people against them, and made a foul conspiracy against his life, treacherously stilling the heart that had beat with kindness and affection for them, are grievous facts in the history of his beloved Montana, on which I need not and cannot dwell.
In sketching the record of this life from early childhood to its tragic ending, I seem to see again before me my beautiful, bright-eyed brother, a boy of whom I was very proud, and who was, to me, the embodiment of everything brave, and manly, and true. I follow him in his eventful life, and while I realize that his impetuosity sometimes led him to do things which were not wise, and which he afterwards regretted, yet above all these errors and mistakes, rises the memory of his unswerving integrity; his fidelity to his friends; his high sense of honor, between man and man; his almost womanly tenderness towards those whom he loved; his rare culture and refinement; his affable, genial and courteous manners; his hospitality and large-heartedness,—all entitling him richly, to
"Bear without abuse, The grand old name of gentleman."
Long Prairie was our home for five years which though not unmixed with trial and sorrow, were happy years. Some few neighbors settled in and around the Prairie, and the visits of lumbering and surveying parties, passing to and fro, made a pleasant variety in our simple life. We were directly on the route over which the Indians, both Sioux and Chippewas travelled as they went for game or scalps; but they behaved themselves circumspectly, except when bad white men crept into the settlement and made them crazy with "fire water." This infamous traffic we resisted to the extent of our power, and on one occasion blood was drawn on both sides, but no lives were lost. We always treated the Indians well, dealing fairly with them as with white men, and they looked upon us as their friends. At one time, however, rumors of danger warned us to take measures to insure our safety; and we applied to Floyd, then Secretary of War, for military protection, the result of which step was, that some soldiers were quartered at the Prairie for the winter of '58 and '59, and we dismissed our fears. Captain Frederick Steele and Lieutenant Joseph Conrad were the officers in command of the detachment, and proved most agreeable neighbors, making our winter very enjoyable. The former of these, our friends, was a General during the war of the Rebellion, and lost his life in the service; the latter, now a Major, is still doing good service as a gallant and efficient soldier.
The next winter we had the protection of Lieutenant Latimer and his company from Fort Ridgley, a most genial and whole-souled Southern gentleman, who endeared himself to us by his frank kindly manners. Gen. Irwin McDowell, inspecting officer, made us a charming visit during this winter, and by his kindly, unassuming manner, won all hearts, while his splendid form and manly beauty made an impression on us never to be effaced. He survived the war, but died in the prime of life, sincerely mourned by a large circle of friends and fellow soldiers.
Possibly we might have spent our lives at Long Prairie, but for the bombardment of Fort Sumter, on the eventful 12th of April, 1861, whose vibrations thrilled the whole North, and reaching us in our pastoral home, changed entirely our plans and purposes. When our youngest boy was twenty-four hours old, his father went to St. Paul, in obedience to a summons from Governor Ramsey, and was soon after commissioned Colonel of the "2d" Regiment of Minnesota Volunteers, which was rendezvoused at Fort Snelling for thorough organization and drill. As soon as possible his family joined him there, and, once again my temporary home was in the old Headquarters, and in memory I live my childhood over again. The few weeks spent there were full of excitement and pleasant incidents, but over all, hung the dark shadow of the dreadful civil war, and hearts ached sorely, in spite of the brave talk and smiling faces. Writing of those days I recall a picture of the parade ground at the time of the sunset drum: the men are placed by companies, the officers in proper position; many visitors, ladies and gentlemen, stand near; the drum beats, the flag is lowered; and, as the Chaplain steps forward, every head is uncovered, and he offers the evening prayer to the God of battles. I am glad they prayed; did they think of this when they gained the victory in that first, fierce battle at Mill Spring? And there are those living, who will recall that sad parting hour, when those brave men said, "Good-bye, and God bless you," to their mothers, wives and children, and went forth with tearful eyes, and quivering lips to hazard their lives for their country. It was a holy cause, and the women, too, were brave, and would not hold them back, but entered willingly upon that sad, weary time, when tears were shed till the fountains were dry; when prayers and groanings that could not be uttered, arose to heaven by day and by night, alike from luxurious homes, and from humble cottages, for the safety of the beloved ones, and the success of the sacred cause. The children felt it, too. A little curly-headed seven year old boy, whose father was at the front, waking one night from troubled sleep, stole softly to his mother's bedside, and kissing her tenderly, said, in a voice broken with sobs: "Mother, did you pray for father to-night?" She replied: "Yes, my son, mother never forgets that." "But, mother, are you sure?" "Yes, dear one." "Well, mother, won't you kneel down here by me, and pray for him again?" and side by side, the two knelt humbly, the mother with her arms about the sobbing boy, while she prayed most earnestly for the precious one far away. Then, the dear child ceased his weeping, and kissing "mother" for herself and "father," lay down to sleep again, saying: "Mother, I don't think God will let the Southerners kill father." And thus it was all over the North. Mothers and children weeping and praying, and working, to keep the home bright and comfortable for the soldier when he should come back. And many fair, smooth faces, grew pale and seamed with care and anxiety, many brown heads turned to gray, and erect forms became bent as with years; and, alas! many hearts broke when the list of "dead and wounded" reached the Northern homes. Oh! history makes record of the heroes who fell fighting bravely, and of those who survived; of great deeds of daring done and suffering endured; but there were heroes who won no stars, who received no ovations, whose histories were never written, and who none the less were martyrs to their country.
"But men must work, And women must weep; Though storms be sudden and waters deep; And the harbor-bar be moaning."
But God gave us the victory and our beloved country, aye, the whole world has made a forward move because of our heart-breaking, agonizing Civil War.
After the breaking up at Long Prairie, a few months were spent by our family in St. Paul, but in the early spring it seemed expedient to remove to "St Anthony," which has ever since been our home. It was at that time a very quiet village; very many of the young and vigorous men were at the front, and business was at a standstill; property was very cheap, and real estate men had little or nothing to do. Minneapolis, on the west side of the river, was a small town, and had any one predicted at that time that the city of Minneapolis would one day become what it is now, he would have been regarded as a lunatic. The Indian outbreak of '62 stirred things up for a while, but that passed away, and the place resumed its sleepy condition, waking up now and then at the news of a victory, or on the occasion of the return of a regiment, to whom an ovation was tendered, when it became manifest that there was a great deal of energy and power latent in the community, which only needed an occasion to bring it out. But the immense water power kept up its music, the mills ground flour and sawed logs and made paper, and, all unconsciously, we were growing great and preparing to become the wonder of the world. When the old settlers get together now-a-days, we like to talk of those pleasant, quiet times, when a ride in a stage to St. Paul was a treat, and a trip to Minnetonka in a double wagon, with provisions and camp fixtures for a week's picnic, was delightful; when we caught fish in Lake Harriet and cooked it at our camp-fire, and had a most enjoyable time rowing on the lake, gathering pond lilies, singing songs, telling stories, and taking in with every breath the delicious, invigorating air of that most charming spot.
And while rejoicing at the present state of things, so far in advance of those times, we sometimes look back regretfully at the days when we seemed like one large family, with common interests, and we involuntarily breathe a sigh for those simple, primitive pleasures, that will be ours nevermore.
No need for me to describe in these humble records the phenomenal growth of Minneapolis; it is known and read of all men, and the world is startled at its rapid transition from a somewhat obscure manufacturing town to a great and prosperous city, whose foundations are so solid, and whose possibilities so great, that there seems no limit to its progress. We who have watched it from infancy are justly proud of our city, and it is certainly cause for congratulation that so much time and thought and money are given to establishing and fostering benevolent institutions and charities of all kinds. The people are large-hearted and ready to take hold of anything which has for its object the good of the community or the amelioration of suffering in any form. Witness our "Home for Children and Aged Women;" the beautiful "Washburn Home for Orphans;" the "Northwestern Hospital," built by and under the care and management of women who have been generously aided by the community in carrying on their work; the "Bethany Home" for fallen, outcast women and deserted babies, a work established by women in weakness and under discouraging circumstances, but now carried on in a commodious building erected by one man who has lived many years in our city and has grown rich here. He has watched our work in this line for years, and his heart was moved to donate to the management of the "Home" the beautiful, convenient house and grounds on Bryant avenue, which shelters sad and broken-hearted women and tender, helpless infants, and stands out clear against the beautiful background of woodland and blue sky, an enduring monument to his large-hearted generosity and his tender pity for the weak and helpless. May God bless him and deal graciously with him and all he loves. These are only a few of the various branches of work for the good of humanity, generously encouraged by our citizens, and the liberality with which societies, conventions and gatherings of all kinds are welcomed and entertained by Minneapolitans astonishes all who see, read or hear of it. Those who saw the great Villard procession and the meeting of the Grand Army of the Republic can never forget them, and religious bodies of all sects and kinds who have been received and cared for here, are loud in their praises of their hospitable entertainers.
But better than all this is the earnest desire that we should become good, as well as great, as manifested in the numerous active societies organized for the purpose of overcoming and suppressing the evils incident to large and prosperous cities; and the eloquent, earnest men of all religious denominations who labor faithfully as preachers and pastors for the highest good of the people are doing grand, efficient work towards the accomplishment of this desire.
And side by side with us, a little way down the river, is our beautiful twin sister, the city of St. Paul, to which by the power of mutual attraction we are growing nearer day by day. The healthy rivalry which has existed between us since we began to grow has benefited both cities, and we now stand before the world phenomenal in growth, each year lengthening our cords and strengthening our stakes, with the sure prospect of becoming, in the near future, a mighty metropolis of the great and powerful Northwest.
The tender friendships formed there by our family during the early days of the war grow stronger and more binding each year, and will last through eternity; our children will tell to their children of the kindness rendered by dear ones in St. Paul to "father and mother" when they were in sore need of loving sympathy, and this legacy of love will be very precious to them. I love to visit this neighboring city, not only because of the warm friendships existing between us, but because that in some indescribable way it seems to have an army atmosphere which makes me feel entirely at home. And sometimes, when, in passing through its streets, I come upon our old, staunch friend, General R. W. Johnson, the thoughts of Fort Snelling, where, years after it ceased to be my home, he won the beautiful Miss Steele for his bride, stir my heart with pleasant memories, and looking at him now, a handsome, white-haired man, still erect and vigorous, I feel that time has dealt very generously with him, and rejoice that after his many years of faithful service to his country he is still doing his duty, and is most happily situated in every respect. And there is General Bishop, one of my husband's "boys" of the brave Minnesota Second, the very sight of whose kindly face brings up thoughts of Mill Spring and other battle fields on which he won his "eagle" and his "star," and it gladdens my heart to feel that he, too, still in his prime, is as brave and faithful a civilian as he was a soldier, and that he has a beautiful, hospitable home, which is a rallying point for the survivors of the old regiment, which he loved so well and commanded so successfully. And there are many other military men there, whom it is an honor to know, and who, with the energy which made them successful soldiers, are working earnestly for the good of St. Paul, where they have made their homes.
When the beautiful Edith, searching the field after the bloody battle of Hastings, found the body of her beloved, the last of the Saxon Kings, she saw right over his heart, as she wiped the blood from his wounded side, two words graven thereon: "Edith," and beneath it "England." So on my heart, among my precious things, stands "Minneapolis," and just beneath it "St. Paul." God bless them both and make them truly good, as well as eminently great.
Looking over the quarter of a century that we have lived quietly and happily in our Minneapolis home, I recall some very pleasant satisfying incidents, notably a visit made by my husband and myself to the lovely home of our only daughter in Honolulu, the capital of the Hawaiian Kingdom. We were both enfeebled by sickness and He who has been so gracious to us all our lives, knowing we had need of such a change, provided for it in an unexpected way. We left our home early in December, 1878 under the care of our son-in-law and daughter, and, journeying in the comfortable Pullman cars, took in the wonders and beauties, so often described, of the overland route to San Francisco.
It is needless for me to tell you of these wonders. Many travelers have so descanted upon them as to make them familiar to all, and yet no words can ever do them justice; they must be seen to be comprehended. Comprehended did I say? Ah! that can never be; they overwhelm and fill us with awe, make us very quiet, and incline our hearts to silent worship of Him whose "works are manifold, and who, in wisdom, hath made them all." As this magnificence unrolls before us like a grand panorama, the deep, dark, rocky canons; the high, snow-capped mountains, sometimes blue and far away like a wondrous picture, with a back ground of clear cloudless sky; the immense plains, with no signs of life, broken here and there by gigantic rocks of most weird fantastic shapes; the picturesque villages, with their church spires, distinct and well-defined against the high overhanging mountains, all combine to carry us out of ourselves, and to make us not only wonder and adore the wisdom of God, but admire the skill and energy of man, which, by God's help, has opened up these grand pictures, and enabled us to see and enjoy them.
Very early on the morning of our last day's ride, we rounded "Cape Horn," and halted, as is the custom, for all to have a sight of that masterpiece of the Great Architect. The mist still lay in the deep gorge and on the mountain sides, and all was perfect unbroken silence. Without a word we gazed enraptured on the glorious scene, and waited, as if expectant of some royal presence, to fill this magnificent throne of God's own building. And as we look, behold the heralds! And now the King of Day himself, in his chariot of flame, comes forth over the mountain-top, "as a bridegroom coming out of his chamber, and rejoicing as a strong man to run a race." At his presence, the mists roll away; the mountain sides appear in all their rugged beauty; the American River, like a silver thread, down deep in the mighty gorge, smiles brightly at the coming of the king, and accepting graciously its appointed task, "goes on and on forever."
That day's ride was the perfection of enjoyment, full of wonder and beauty, and just as we reached the terminus, the great monarch whose rays had illumined our path all the way, sank gloriously to rest in the "Golden Gate," rendering our first view of the mighty ocean unspeakably grand.
After spending ten days very pleasantly and satisfactorily in the great metropolis of the Pacific coast, our party of four embarked on the United States mail steamship, "City of Sydney," for the beautiful Hawaiian Islands, two thousand miles away, in the midst of the sea, which we reached in the remarkably short time of a little less than seven days, having made the quickest trip on record. Our voyage was most prosperous, and, with the exception of two days of rough weather at the outset, very pleasant. The ship is a fine one, all its appointments being everything that could be desired. The company was intelligent and agreeable. Our party was happy in the anticipation of seeing dear ones in Honolulu, and in the near realization of what had been, to some of us, a beautiful dream for years. And were we disappointed? Oh, no! No picture of our imagination had ever been so bright, so beautiful as that spread out before us, as our gallant ship sailed majestically through the coral reef into the beautiful harbor of Honolulu. It was like entering a new world; everything was bright with tropical splendor. The mountains, in whose hearts had slumbered volcanic fires, which, from time to time, had burst forth, lighting up the great ocean with Tartarean brilliancy, and scattering red-hot lava far and wide, now stood up in sublime composure, like ramparts of protection to the lovely island formed by the upheaval.
The tall cocoa-nut palms, crowned with their feathery tufts; the rich foliage of the various trees; the gorgeous blossoms; the picturesque, gaily-dressed natives in their arrowy canoes, with luscious fruits, or specimens of coral, shells, and other treasures of the deep; the innumerable little bronze figures darting in and out of the water for bits of coin thrown to them from the deck; and, above all, the dear ones, with happy faces and eager, outstretched hands, awaiting, with loving impatience, the moment of our landing, formed a tableau, which, illumined by the soft, glowing, dreamy atmosphere, made a photograph in my memory which time nor distance can ever efface. Our ride through the city, up the Nu-u-an-u valley, was one continued surprise and wonder, a bright vision, from which we surely must awaken to sober reality.
We knew that, by the almanac, it was the last day but one of the old year, midwinter, a time of frost and snow, and surely these brilliant oleanders, these great scarlet geraniums, these bright hedges of the many-colored Lantana were but a fairy scene which might vanish any moment and leave the trees bare and the flowers withered. But when we entered the charming grounds about our children's home, where we were to spend some months, resting and gaining health and vigor, we were fain to believe that it was all real, and that we should sit day after day on the broad veranda, and look at the royal palms, the graceful algeroba, the wide-spreading umbrella trees, the truly regal bougainvillia, with its wealth of purple blossoms, the Mexican vine, covered with rose-colored sprays, the soft velvet turf, and the exquisite ferns, and we thanked God that he had brought us, safely and happily, to so beautiful a haven. Everything about us was so charming a suggestion of Paradise, that even now, after the lapse of many years, the memory of the six months spent in that gem of the Pacific, comes to us freighted with a sense of sweetness and peace that savors of the rest of Heaven.
The society of Honolulu, representing many different nationalities, is exceptionally intelligent and cultivated. The climate is simply perfect, the mercury ranging from 60 deg. to 80 deg. the year round; delicious fruits, lovely flowers and spice bearing shrubs abound. The soil is very fertile and favorable to the production of the best of sugar cane, a high grade of coffee and excellent rice, which are the staple productions and a source of great profit to the islands. A most nutritious and satisfying vegetable universally cultivated there, is the Taro, which is to the native Hawaiian what the potato is to the Irishman. Poverty is unknown there, every one has a competence, some are wealthy. Education is compulsory, churches and school houses are numerous, and in every way adequate to the needs of the community. The reigning King, Kalakaua, is not as wise and strong as Solomon, and for many years has been in the hands of an intriguing Cabinet, which has been a source of anxiety to those who love the little kingdom, and desire to see it prosper, but it is very gratifying to be able to state, that the evils so much dreaded have been entirely averted, and the government placed in a better condition than it has enjoyed for many years. This was brought about in a proper and orderly way, by the decisive action of the law-abiding citizens, who have formed an entirely new Cabinet, altered for the better the Constitution, and established a limited monarchy. This change took place only a few months ago, and already its beneficial effects are clearly manifest. The prospects for the islands were never better, and it is sincerely to be hoped by all who wish well to the human race that Hawaii-nei may long continue to prosper in every way, and to send light and gladness to the peoples of the insular countries which are scattered like lovely gems all over the beautiful blue ocean.
THE GOLDEN WEDDING.
In the month of March, 1886, we sent to our many friends far and near the following invitation, and the hearty response which we received made March 22d a day never to be forgotten by ourselves and our children:
Lieutenant Horatio Phillips Van Cleve, U. S. A., and Charlotte Ouisconsin Clark, MARRIED March 22d, 1836, Fort Winnebago, Michigan Territory. ——— General and Mrs. H. P. Van Cleve, AT HOME March 22d, 1886, 603 Fifth Street S. E., From 3 until 10 o'clock P. M. No presents.
The weather seemed as if made for the occasion, the sun shone brightly till its setting, and the old house, which has been our home so long, that we all love it, in spite of its old-fashioned appearance and its entire lack of style, was fitly prepared and adorned by loving hands. A thatched roof over the bay window, prettily arranged, bearing on its front the dates "1836" and "1886" in carnations of two colors, made a canopy under which the old man and woman were to sit and receive the congratulations of their friends. Over the mantel, opposite them, were arranged the battle flags of the beloved Second Regiment of Minnesota Volunteers, with the sword and sash and insignia of rank of its Colonel, who led them into battle, and the house was tastefully draped with the "stars and stripes" and many beautiful, significant emblems sent by friends and children. A beautiful bank of fifty golden rosebuds on a background of green, baskets of lovely, fragrant flowers, one of orange blossoms from Oakland, California, a pot containing a tall Bermuda lily with two large blossoms and several buds, and many bouquets of rich, rare flowers gave to the reception-room a brightness and loveliness which cannot be fitly described. At 3 o'clock the survivors of the old regiment came in, under command of our dear friend, General J. W. Bishop, of St. Paul, bringing hearty congratulations to their old Colonel, and after a short time spent in a pleasant converse, the General, in a most appropriate address presented to him, whom they honored, an elegant gold-headed cane, bearing the inscription: "Presented to General H. P. Van Cleve by surviving members of the Second Regiment, Minnesota Veteran Volunteer Infantry, Golden Wedding, March 22, 1886." This was a perfect surprise, and the gift was acknowledged in a few fitting words. After a pleasant chat of old war experiences and some light refreshments the veterans said "good-bye" and departed, leaving very grateful, pleasant thoughts in the hearts of those whom their presence had honored and made glad. Another surprise awaited us. Our little grandchild Pauline Van Cleve, a year and a half old, side by side with her cousin Rebecca, a few months older, toddled up to "grandma" and presented her with a cluster of fourteen golden rosebuds, one for each grandchild, and our granddaughter Charlotte Van Cleve recited very sweetly "The Old Man and His Bride," by Dr. Holland. Many sweet poems and loving letters from friends far and near, and many valuable, beautiful presents from dear ones, testified their love and kind regard for us, and are treasured by us among our most precious things, to be highly valued by our children when we shall have passed away. Cake and coffee were served through the evening, the fruit cake being baked in the same pan which was used fifty years before, when I, a girl of sixteen, made my "wedding cake." It has been in constant use ever since, and is a plain affair which shows the marks of time, but which, with ordinary care, will last through at least another generation.
Our friend, Rev. Dr. Neill, spoke to us in his usual felicitous manner, and his address was full of pleasant reminiscences. Our pastor, Rev. Dr. Stryker, recited a poem composed by himself for the occasion, and the evening passed most enjoyably, and, with many wishes that we might keep our diamond wedding, our friends bade us "good night" and went their several ways.
Then came to us a full realization that we had walked beside each other half a century, and our thoughts went back to the old quarters at Fort Winnebago, where side by side we stood in the freshness of youth, with life all before us, and promised "to have and to hold from this day forward, for better for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and cherish each other till death us do part," and as we looked into each other's eyes, heart answered to heart, "We have kept our vows."
"And looking backward through the years Along the way our feet have pressed, We see sweet places everywhere— Sweet places, where our souls had rest.
For though some human hopes of ours Are dead and buried from our sight, Yet from their graves immortal flowers Have sprung, and blossomed into light.
Our sorrows have not been so light, God's chastening hand we could not trace; Nor have our blessings been so great That they have hid our Father's face."
And we thanked Him that He "had mercifully ordained that we should grow old together." And now, laying down my pen, I say to all who have followed me through these memories: "Good night, dear friends. God bless you every one."
* * * * *
The Table of Contents does not appear in the original book.
Minor punctuation errors and the following typos in the original book have been corrected to reflect the author's intention.
Pg. 23: Hzzaard to Hazard (son-in-law, Mr. Hazard,) Pg. 42: lenghtening to lengthening (lengthening shadows) Pg. 60: parent's to parents' (parents' murder) Pg. 78: off to of (telling of the Sioux scalps) Pg. 105-106: decased to deceased (respect for the deceased, this) Pg. 115: fondnes to fondness (for consistency; fondness on pg. 28) Pg. 160: nd to And (And the harbor-bar be moaning.")
The following inconsistencies were left as is.
Pg. 56: Mrs. Apthorp's seminary Pg. 102: "Mrs. Apthorpe's School for Young Ladies"
Pg. 34: Mitch-ele-mack-i-nack Pg. 101: Mich-e-li-mac-i-nac
All other questionable spellings were left as in the original book.