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P I O N E E R A N D P E R S O N A L
R E M I N I S C E N C E S.
I am requested to give some reminiscences of the early settlement of
Kirtland and the neighboring townships. I am not very well prepared for the
task, having no records to refer to, and considering the fact that I was but
little over five years old when I came to Kirtland, and that over
seventy-eight years have elapsed since that time, some allowance must be
made for the frailty of human memory. My father had traded his farm in
Massachusetts with Joshua Stow, of Middleton, Conn. for 680 acres of land in
New Connecticut, or the Connecticut Western Reserve, and now know generally
as the Reserve. I have often been asked why Northeastern Ohio is called the
Reserve. The answer in brief is, that the charters of the original colonies
from the English crown clashed and overlapped each other. Virginia's charter
covered nearly half the North American continent; Connecticut's charted
extended to the Pacific ocean, covering a large part of New York,
Pennsylvania, and the northern part of Ohio. After the revolution the
colonies, then states in the Union, ceded to the general government all
their western lands, except that Virginia reserved a portion of land in
southern Ohio, which she had promised to her soldiers as a bounty. These
lands are known as the Virginia military lands, and Connecticut reserved a
portion of her lands in Ohio -- beginning at a point where latitude 42nd
north crosses the west line of Pennsylvania to Lake Erie, and west 120 miles,
containing between three and four million acres. A half million acres of
these lands from the west end of the Reserve were given to the city of New
London, on account of the burning of that city by the British, lead by the
traitor Arnold. These were called the "Fire Lands" in an early day, but the
name has become obsolete and forgotten. The balance of the Reserve was sold
to the Connecticut Land Company for one millions two hundred thousand
dollars, which went into the common school fund of Connecticut.
But to return from this digression to pioneer times. My father arrived in
Unionville late in May; left his family with Deacon Martin (an old neighbor
of his in Massachusetts), while he selected his lands. He had his choice of
the south tract in Madison, the south tract in Kirtland, and the township of
Stow in Portage county. He selected lots 88, 89, 90 and parts of lots 82 and
87, in Kirtland. Some two hundred acres of these lands were for John Morse,
father of the later Col. John F. Morse, who was to have joined us in the
spring. He then moved his family to Mentor and put up with Judge Clapp while
he built a cabin on his selection at what is now known as Peck's Corners,
seven miles distant
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by the old Chillicothe road. This road was cut out by
General Paine at government expense, the only road then from Northeastern
Ohio to Chillicothe, the capital of Ohio at the time. It left the ridge road
at Judge Clapp's, running into a southwesterly direction to the Martindale
farm in Kirtland; thence in a southeast to a point east of the Holbrook
farm, now owned by George Sleemin, thence southwest to intersect the present
road a little south of the north line of Chester township. My father in
after years got an alteration of this road, running it from Chester down by
Peck's Corners to Kirtland Flats; thence in a northeasterly direction to
intersect the ridge road at the Sawyer farm in Mentor, a little west of the
site of the old Avenue House -- thereby shortening the distance and getting
better ground for a road. While in Mentor at Judge Clapp's, many Indians
passed going west. They seemed to understand that war was impending with
Great Britain long before we did, and did not mean to be caught in Eastern
Ohio and Pennsylvania with an American force between them and other western
tribes and British allies. After we moved into Kirtland there was a camp of
Indians about two miles from us, just over the line in Chester, on land now
owned by Hezekiah Bassett, but they very soon left.
In the future number I will give what I know about the early settlement and
pioneer life in Kirtland and neighboring townships, which is probably about
as much as Horace Greeley knew about farming, but I have not the faculty
that he had of telling what I don't know or do know and making it
The war of 1812 nearly put a stop to farther settlement of what is now Lake
county. Madison I think was more thickly settled at that time than any other
township of the county, and Unionville as large as Painesville. The names
that I recollect were Nathan Warner, Sr., and Nathan, Jr., Judge Tappan,
Potter, and the old gentleman Cunningham, his sons Amos, Artemas and Cyrus,
and their cousin Cush. Cunningham, Ladd, Brewster, Turney, Wheeler (who
afterwards represented Geagua county in the Legislature), and Mixer. Perry
was then an almost unbroken wilderness. Although one of the best townships
of land on the lake shore, for some reason it did not settle as early as the
other townships. I remember none of its inhabitants at that early day. In
Painesville there were General Paine, General King, Eli Bond, Uri Seeley,
Sessions, Captain Skinner, Hall, Sam Butler, Williams, Frank Paine, Mr.
Pepoon and sons. In Concord there were Benai Jones, father of Mrs. Jonathan
Goldsmith (who died a few years ago at over 100 years of age). Goldsmith and
family came from Berkshire county, Mass., in company with us, both with ox
and teams, thirty two days on the road. There were Nye and Blish, father of
Benjamin and Zenas Blish. Zenas enlisted in the war of 1812, and was
supposed to have been killed, and was not heard from for several years after
the close of the war. In the meantime the old gentleman died, leaving the
farm to Benjamin. I recollect Benjamin coming to our house to get father to
survey out the farm and divide it. He said that Zenas had come home -- that
Zenas wanted a farm just as much as he did. Father went and divided the
farm, one-half being deeded to Zenas -- showing that the almighty dollar did
not then estrange
PIONEER AND PERSONAL REMINISCENCES. 5
brethren and friends as it does now, although the mighty dollar was painfully scarce in those days.
Probably the first settler in Mentor were Charles Parker and Ebenezer Merry.
They began the ridge road and the lake. Merry's opening was known as the
Merry lot for years afterwards. Parker was one of the assistants in surveying the Reserve. They were not permanent residents, but left in 1811 or 1812, and went farther west. Truman Griswold came at an early day. He was quite a hunter and trapper, and did much to rid this section of wolves, which were very dangerous and troublesome at that time. A man by the name of Fobes lived on the farm now owned by John Warren. He had several girls which I thought were very handsome. Judge Clapp had a large farm. Charles Prentiss now owns the party lying north of the road. On the site of the old log house south of the road now stands a fine framed house. I do not know the present owner's name. I think Warren Corning was the next settler west. He was a man of much enterprise and public spirit. He had been there some years -- kept
tavern, and I suppose dispensed good liquors. He built and operated a
distillery on his own premises, also one in Kirtland a few years later. He
did not mean that the early settlers should suffer for the want of
spirituous comforts, which were then considered a part of the necessaries of
life. There was a distillery operated by a Mr. Fox between Corning's and
Chagrin, now Willoughby, and a brewery a little west of Willoughby, and a
peach brandy still in the village. As there was then no foreign demand for
whiskey, these establishments gave our sparse settlers a good supply --
perhaps four times as much per capita as consumed now. There were several
other settlers in West Mentor. I recollect only a Mr. Bacon, Abel Russell
and several boys, nearly young men, and Mr. Jonathan Russell. It is related
of him that he took a bushel of what on his horse to pay his bill, mounted
his horse, took his girl on behind and went to Painesville to a dance. There
were three ways of attending dance and merry-making parties -- go on
horseback with the girl behind, or with a yoke of cattle and sled, summer or
winter, or go on foot. The first was the most genteel, and a horse that
would carry double was invaluable. My father had one that would not carry
double, and it detracted very much from its value. In my next I will tell
you what little I know about Chagrin.
At Willoughby (then Chagrin) there was a settlement, and had been for several
years. Christopher Colson, Lewis Abbott, Humphrey and Wirt, Samuel and Noah Wirt and their mother. I do not recollect the old gentleman, and think he
was not living at that time. They had been there for some years and had
quite a large peach orchard in bearing. In 1813 or 1813 I went there with my
brother, then 14 or 15 years old, for a load of peaches. We went with an ox
team and sled, the only vehicle our roads were fitted for. I think we got
them for the picking up. I recollect the old lady's going out to show us
where we could find the best. The next year the peaches were made into
brandy. Noah Worden settled on the farm now occupied by his sons, down the
river from the village. Holly Tanner lived a mile or so above the village,
and still further up
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the river was a Mr. Judd, Lowell Eames and a Mr. Freer.
Mr. Judd and Eames were great hunters, often killing deer or elk in our
neighborhood, taking the hides and what meat they could carry home and
giving us the balance, which was of great help to us, as none of our folks
were hunters, and too poor to even own a gun. Charles Parker had built a
house and made some improvements at the mouth of the river. I think he was
in the employ of the Connecticut Land Company. He did some work in Kirtland
on the farm now owned by Guy Smith, but built no house on it. A man by the
name of Cook, I think, owned property at the mouth of the river and at the
village, but died, leaving it to his relatives. There were but a few
families in the west part of Willoughby; names not recollected.
In the southeast corner of Chester there was a settlement made as early as
1802 by Justus Minor, his brother John, his sons Philo and Origen, his
sons-in-law Harvey and John Sheffield, a Mr. Nettleton and a Mr. Baird. Dr.
Wm. N. Hudson settled at what is now known as Chester X Roads. These I believe are all that settled in Chester previous to the war of 1812. Dr. Hudson,
some years before the war of the rebellion, moved to southern Ohio and was
killed by Morgan's raiders as they passed through Ohio. Some years previous
to 1811 a tornado passed over the south part of Chester, leveling everything
in its course. A tree fell on the cabin of John Minor, killing him
instantly. He had placed the children under sleepers, their being no floor,
and they were uninjured. The summer of 1816 was very cold and but little
corn ripened. I recollect Harvey Sheffield being at our house and saying
that he had not hoed his corn, he "scrupled" its getting ripe. The word
"scruple" was new to me, and caused considerable study and inquiry to
ascertain its meaning. The next spring the Sheffields and others went to
Tuscarawas county to buy corn, their families subsisting in their absence on
roots; principally on leeks or wild onions, which were very nutritious but
of a very disagreeable flavor, tainting the breath and giving it to the milk
of cows that foraged on them a sickening smell and unpalatable flavor.
We often hear the remark that the rich are growing richer and the poor are
growing poorer, which is not true. It is true that the rich are much better
off than forty, fifty or sixty years ago; but the condition of the poor has
also greatly improved, and the poor of today have more of the necessaries,
comforts and luxuries of life than the rich had in the first thirty or forty
years of the settlement of the Western Reserve. My father, as I before
stated, moved into Kirtland early in July, 1811. There was one family in the
township. John Moore, living on the farm now owned and occupied by Reuben P. Harmon. He soon left. Peter French came from Mentor and settled at Kirtland
Flats. John Parris settled a half mile south, on the farm now owned by
George Frank. Isaac Morley and Titus Billing built their cabin on the farm
of the late Hercules Carrel. John Moore, Sr., his son Isaac, then a lad of
19, and his daughter Rebecca, built their cabin where the Baptist church now
stands. I think the mother was not living. In the spring came William
Griffith, his father Amasa Griffith, Barzilla Millard, Thomas Fuller and
Jonathan Maynard. Mr. Fuller was a millwright, or worker of stone; he
dressed out several mill-stones from
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granite boulders, which he found with grit suitable for that purpose. One of his makes lies by the roadside near the residence of the late Isaac Long. Mr. Fuller went to Fullertown, built mills and a carding machine, giving his name to the village.
Of all the names that I mentioned as being here before the war of 1812, so
far as I know, but only two remain -- Augustus Pepoon, of Painesville, and
myself. All have gone to the unknown land; their graves scattered far and
wide, and their descendants of the third and fourth generation only remain.
How sad the reflection; the friends of my youth and most of the friends of
my riper years are gone, and I am left waiting the summons to move.
My oldest brother was married and had two children. He left his family at
Mr. Potter's, in Madison, until the beginning of winter. Not getting his
house ready for occupancy, he moved in with us for the winter. His oldest
child, a daughter of 4 years of age, sickened and died during the winter,
and we buried her in the woods at what is now South Kirtland cemetery -- the
first white person buried in Kirtland. The war of 1812 put a stop to all
further immigration to the Reserve, and some that were here left. It was a
time of great alarm, especially after the surrender of Detroit to Hull.
There seemed to be nothing to prevent the British and Indians from coming
down the lake, both by land and water, pillaging, marauding and destroying
everything on the southern shore. There was a call for all capable of
bearing arms to congregate at Sandusky in order to make a stand against the
expected invaders. My oldest brother and James Newton, a cousin who was
stopping at our house, volunteered and went as far as Sandusky. In the
meantime General Harrison, with Kentucky and Indiana troops, had pushed
forward, defeating an Indian attack at Tippecanoe, and succeeded in reaching
Fort Meigs, where he was besieged by a greater superior force of British and
Indians, but by good generalship succeeded in repulsing and scattering the
Indians. Colonel Croghan also stood a siege at Fort Stephenson, near
Sandusky, but repulsed the attack disastrously to the allies. The Indians
were discouraged, deserted, and the British retired to safer quarters. There
being no farther danger in that quarter, our volunteers returned. James
Newton came home sick and afterwards died, and we buried him beside our
little girl in the South Kirtland cemetery.
Our next great scare was at the time of Perry's victory. We distinctly heard
the cannonading. The sound seemed to be the right of Cleveland and a little
farther off, and we thought it must be a naval battle. Should the British be
victorious, there was nothing to prevent them from landing at Cleveland and
ravaging the whole lake shore with impunity. It was several days before our
fears were allayed by news of the result.
Another source of perhaps greater danger to us than the British were the
rattlesnakes, which were very numerous and required great cautiousness and
watchfulness to avoid them and kill them when found, which we considered our
bounden duty. I never know of but one to escape. My brother (younger than
myself) and I were playing out in the choppings. Two large trees had been
8 PIONEER AND PERSONAL REMINISCENCES.
felled and lay parallel. He mounted the top end of one and I the other, for
a race to see which one could reach the butt end first. When fifteen or
twenty feet from the end a large rattlesnake coiled up the log sunning
himself. I was too near and under too much headway to stop, and I gave a
jump and went over him. I never did better jumping, but think my last step
before jumping and my first step after must have been within easy reach of
his snakeship, as they will nearly spring their whole length. I think he
must have been asleep, or I should have been bitten. When I stopped and
looked around he was slipping off the log down among the brush and weeds. We let him go and put for the house. Some time afterwards we burned the bush,
and among the brands found a hollow stick, with a rattlesnake in it burned
at both ends. I hoped that it might be the one that gave me the scare. A few
years later they were hunted in the spring of the year as they came out of
their dens. On the Gildersleeve mountain twenty-three were killed in one
day, and they soon became extinct. In 1831 one was killed in the east part
of the township, which I believe was the last ever seen in this region.
One more snake story. Joshua Stow, the proprietor of the south tract in
Kirtland, occasionally visited us. He was a good talker and story-teller. He
claimed to be very fond of rattlesnake meat; that it was better and taster
of finer flavor than any meat, and as delicious as the Southern people
consider the opossum -- said that when they were surveying the Reserve he
acted as cook. One day he got a fine rattlesnake and killed several
squirrels, dressed them, cut out the squirrel's backs and substituted a
suitable length of the snake. General Moses Cleveland, who gave his name to
the city of Cleveland, partook of the snake and praised it very much -- had
never eaten squirrels so sweet and tender and of so fine a flavor. The next
morning Stow showed him the squirrel's backs and the ends of the snake. The
general did not relish the joke quite so well as he did the snake the night
Wolves were plentiful and made the nights hideous with their howling. On a
still, cold night we could hear them in two or three different directions;
one or two would make noise enough for a dozen. My father was at Kirtland
Flats late one evening, and Mr. French advised him not to go home till
morning, as there were wolves in the swamp. The fine bottom land just
southwest of the brick house at the Flats was most of it a swamp, with a
thick growth of young hemlock timber, where the wolves often congregated -
but father came home. There was a light snow on the ground in the morning,
and tracks showed that three wolves had followed him home and passed several
times around the house. Some years later there was a great wolf hunt,
participated in by citizens of several townships. Lines were formed around a
large scope of country by stationing men at suitable distances apart, all to
march in toward a common center, which was in the southeast part of Chester
township. They were to make such noise by blowing horns and other means, so
as to drive the wolves together. I was too young to participate in the hunt,
but ten or a dozen of the hunters tarried at our house on their return from
PIONEER AND PERSONAL REMINISCENCES. 9
Their report was that several wolves had been seen and shot at,
but broke through the lines, and none had been secured. From their actions
the hunters seemed to have taken with them large rations of whisky. One of
them stepped to the door and shot one of our hens, which incensed me very
much, as we had so few domesticated animals that each had an individual
interested and seemed like one of the family. But my indignation was soon
turned to laughter. We had an old cat, an excellent mouser, who to show her
superior skill as a hunter to our two-legged visitors, brought in a live
mouse and laid it down at the feet of Jesse Ames, a lad of some 18 or 20
years. The mouse, not badly hurt, seeing a chance to escape, darted up his
trousers. By the way he yelled and jumped about was enough to provoke
laughter at a funeral. The mouse, with his sharp claws, worked its way to
the waistband, when his friends interfered, stripped off his clothes and
released him from his unwelcome visitor. We heard afterwards that one or two
dead wolves had been found, and they soon disappeared, and their nightly
serenades were but seldom heard.
There were some bears in the woods then, and I suppose they were more
dangerous than the wolves, and did us more damage. They killed a hog for us
one evening near the house. We heard the squealing and the next morning
found the remains. I think there must have been two bears to have devoured
so much. My sister taught school in Painesville. One day she and the older
scholars stayed after school to clean out the room, and it was nearly dark
when they left, the girls going one way and she the other, alone. In a short
piece of woods she heard steps behind her, and looking around she saw a
large bear following her. She faced him, opening and shutting her umbrella
several times. The bear hesitated, and finally turned into the brush, when
she made good time to her boarding house. There were some wildcats in the
woods then. Ariel Corning, son of Warren Corning, of Mentor, had a battle
with one in their still-house. He succeeded in killing it, which made quite
a hero of him.
About 1819 or 1820, the year I do not recollect, Benj. Wright was hung at
Chardon for the murder of Mr. Warner -- I think the father of Zophar Warner,
of Willoughby. Executions were then public and there was an immense crowd.
It seemed that most of the men, many of the ladies, and all of the boys in
Geauga county, wanted to see the execution. Jason Clark, father of D. C.
Clark, of your village, was captain of the guard. He was a tall, well
proportioned man, of fine presence, dressed in his uniform, with a tall
plume, making a fine appearance. He came with a yoke of oxen and sled,
bringing several women. The execution took place a half mile or more south
of the village, in a hollow, where the crowd standing on higher ground, had
a good view. When the prisoner was brought out of jail he had a few rods to
walk to the conveyance which took him to the gallows. He immediately changed
his step to conform to the music of fife and drum, which were playing the
dead march. That act, and his pale and rather mild looking face, gave me
much sympathy for him. I could not see the terrible murderer I was looking
for. After ascending the scaffold there was a delay of half an hour or more;
10 PIONEER AND PERSONAL REMINISCENCES.
suppose with his spiritual advisor. A hollow square was formed by the
guards around the gallows, so large that we heard nothing that was said.
Several persons became noisy from strong drink, among them Ariel Corning, of
Mentor, a bright and promising young man, but from constant use of liquor
had become dissipated. He spent the time of delay going around among the
ladies, urging them to intercede with the sheriff and have him put the rope
under the man's arms; he would hang so much easier; it would not be half so
cruel as to put it around his neck. When the drop fell there were two or
three feet of slack rope, and I think his neck must have been broken. There
was no struggle; just a slight trembling of the feet. James R Ford, I
believe, was sheriff at the time. I have never had any desire to see another
hanging; the looks of that pale, sad face will not be forgotten while my
memory lasts. Friends, I understood, took the body home for burial, and the
crowd mostly returned to the village. The men seemed very thirsty, or wanted
to take something to efface the scene they had witnessed. When Captain Clark
started for home with his load of women, walking beside his oxen with rather
unsteady step, with a long ox goad in his hand, the change of command of men
to that of oxen was so ludicrous that it caused some cheering and merriment.
I do not think that I have overdrawn the prevalence of liquor drinking in
the early settlement of this country. Whisky was cheap, and could be
obtained for labor or most any kind of produce; no temperance society had
ever been heard of, or any effort to restrain or lessen its use, and many
excuses could be made for the early settlers. They had left good homes, with
the conveniences and comforts of civilization, and placed themselves here in
the woods, with neighbors few and far between, with but few of the comforts
of life; with the herculean task of hewing out a farm from the dense
forests, and the long years it must take to obtain a comfortable home; it
seemed to them to require something to stimulate and nerve them for the
task, and give them courage to face the battle of life which was before
At the close of the war, in 1815, emigrants began to arrive. John Morse and
his son, John F., came in the fall of 1815 and built a log house, and
returned to Massachusetts for his family; John F remaining in Madison to
attend school. In the spring of 1816 the family came out, and we had a
neighbor but a half mile away. They came in company with David Wilson, who
settled in Mentor, and with him came three or four young men by the name of
Viall; smart, active young men, who settled in Willoughby. Jacob, I believe,
afterwards served two or three terms as sheriff of Lake county. In 1815
Marshall Bronson came to Kirtland. He had purchased the east half of the
Root tract, or tract No. 2, bounded on the west by the Chillicothe road as
it now runs. He paid but little if anything down, and sold it all out in a
year or two, mostly on credit. He failed to pay for it, and it fell back to
Root or his heirs, and those who purchased the Bronson lost all they had
paid him, and so had to buy it again of the rightful owner. Many of them
left; Bronson got into difficulty with some of his purchasers, and was
finally sent to the penitentiary for a short time. I have been told that on
his release he went to Michigan, where he made a raise and became quite
noted, giving his name to a place called Bronson.
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There came from New Hampshire quite a colony and bought of Bronson -- Stephen Ames and his three sons, Jeremiah, David and Ezra; two sons-in-law, Aaron and Joseph Metcalf; his brother-in-law, a Mr. Buel, and son or nephew, and Reuben Melcalf, twin brother to Aaron, who was never married, and lies
buried in South Kirtland cemetery. Afterward came Samuel, Moses and Levi.
They were all large, stout men; their descendants do not quite come up to
the old stock in size, except Enos, who now resides in Kirtland village.
Abel Ames, brother of Stephen, came a year or so later. Stephen Ames' house
stood where Simeon Carter now lives. He was township treasurer for many
years, and at his house elections were held and township business
transacted. I believe that none of the Ames descendants remain in this
section, except those of the daughter, who married Aaron Metcalf. There were
the Gores, Godard, Craw, Robert Parks, Leman Bronson, brother of Marshall,
and others, who left on Bronson's failure. About 1816-17 came Thomas Morley,
Sr., and his son, Alfred; David Holbrook, Samuel Tomblinson, Amos Wheeler
and his sons, David and Samuel; Alfred Witter, John Goodale, Aretas Marble,
Henry Markell and his five sons -- John, Peter, Benjamin, Nicholas and James
(John was afterward one of the associate judges of Lake county.), Josiah
Jones, Robert Blair, Samuel Wilson and others. In 1818 the township settled
very rapidly. Card & Holmes built a grist mill at the Flats; James Boyden
put up a cloth-dressing and wool-carding establishment; Warren Corning built
a distillery and Isaac Chatfield started a blacksmith shop, all within a
year or two of that time. Claudius Stanard bought all of the middle tract
west of the Chillicothe road and gave farms to his three sons and son-
in-law, Jos. Robison, and sold the balance to Reuben Beeman, Edward and
Abram Gilleti, Gideon McNutt, Jacob Lafter, and others. But few of their
descendants remain in Lake county -- Elijah Smith, Newel K Whitney, Timothy D
Martindale, Jason Randall, Jeduthan Ladd, Noah Durrin, Sylvester Russell,
A. C. Russell, but I cannot remember them all.
In 1819 there were ninety-seven males that were old enough to vote. For many
years nearly all of our clothing was manufactured at home; the women spun
and wove our flax for our shirts, sheets and pantaloons for summer wear, and
for winter-wear they spun and wove the wool, and it was fulled, colored and
dressed by Boyden for ladies' wear; it was generally half wood and half
flax, called linsey woolsey. For very nice dresses, it was all wool,
stripped or checked, and finished and pressed, by Boyden, the clothier. For
footwear we used but little in summer; most of the men, all of the children
and some of the women going barefoot. In the fall of the year we procured a
side of sole leather, one of cowhide and sometimes a calfskin, had a
shoemaker come to the house with his kit of tools and make up the shoes for
the family. Boots were seldom worn; leggings of cloth, tied from the knees
down and to the shoe, kept out the snow as well as bootlegs. The hides of
all our creatures that were slaughtered were taken to the tannery and tanned
upon shares, the tanner taking one-half. Our head-gear was mostly straw for
children, both summer and winter; the men frequently aspiring to coonskin
caps. The ladies' bonnets generally projected forward six inches or more, to
protect from the rays of the sun and
12 PIONEER AND PERSONAL REMINISCENCES.
the wind. A few years later Naverino
bonnets became quite fashionable, being made of pasteboard, colored and
stamped to represent leghorn. They looked quite pretty when new, and had the
merit of being cheap, but were not very safe when caught out in a shower, as
they were cut to shape and pasted together. I once saw a lady caught in a
shower on her way to a party at Painesville. The brim was down on her
shoulders and the projecting front hung down on her breast like a child's
bib. But at the time, in larger towns, like Willoughby or Painesville, the
people dressed better, but few of the men going barefoot and many of them
wore broadcloth and soft shirts.
From 1816 to 1820 the neighboring townships settled up equally as fast as
Kirtland. I can only give the names of some of the most prominent business
men. I think there had been some dry goods sold in Painesville previous to
the war. If I recollect aright, Franklin Paine had a small stock of goods,
but Wm. Latimer brought in the first general stock. The citizens of South
Kirtland put up an ashery building at Peck's Corners, and Latimer bought all
our ashes and manufactured them into black salts. He paid for them in goods,
the price being four cents for field and seven for house ashes. He kept a
stock of ironware, which was a great help to us, as most of the people had
brought with them scant supplies of cooking utensils, and for sugar making,
kettles were indispensable. B.F. Tracy had a large stock of goods for those
times. A Mr. Patridge started a factory for the manufacture of hats and Mr.
Croft made chairs. I recollect going there with an ox team for a load of
splint-bottomed chairs. Before that we used benches and stools. It was an
all day's drive to Painesville and back with an ox team. Mentor had become
quite thickly settled on the ridge road and south of it. North the wide
strip of wet lands was unsettled and there were but few settlers on the lake
shore. Mr. Hopkins was a very early settler at what was called Hopkins'
Marsh. He once told me, when I made an appraisal of Mentor township in 1846,
that the site of the first house he built was more than forty rods out in
the lake. I found lots that were originally one hundred acres reduced to
seventy by the encroachment of the lake. The mouth of Grand River was once
at Hopkins' Marsh, but the lake encroached upon the land until it reached
the bend of the river at Fairport and made that the mouth. The bed of the
river below became partially filled and made an impassable swamp, rendering
access to the Headlands impossible except at Fairport and sometimes at
Hopkins' Marsh. Some of the names that call to mind in Mentor were Kerrs,
Carrolls, Ingersolls, Proutys, Hodges, Rexfords, Goodells, Daniels, Munsons,
Dickeys, and E. Ward, a Methodist clergyman.
In Willoughby there were the Cards, Christies, Woolseys, Carn the tailor,
the Sharpes, Colsons, Miller, and others. I don't know when and by whom the
Willoughby mills were built, but think they may have been built previous to
1811; but our first milling was done at Painesville, and the few boards used
about our first log house for floors and shelves came from Painesville.
PIONEER AND PERSONAL REMINISCENCES. 13
The first goods sold in Willoughby were by Thomas Card, the large landholder in the township. Samuel Wilson went from Kirtland to Willoughby. He was a good business man and did much for the improvement of the village. In the years past, Willoughby has drawn from Kirtland many of its best citizens -- Wilson, Dowen, Barber, Bunnell, Yaxley, Damon, Roberts, Rockafellow, S. Fowls and others. In fact, Kirtland seems to be a good township to emigrate from, for
Kirtlanders are found all through the Western States, as far as California
and Salt Lake.
I had but little acquaintance with the south and west parts of Willoughby,
until 1846. At that time I visited all the landholders in the township, and
may hereafter give some recollections as late as that date. There are a few
more names that I call to mind -- Brown, Carrel, Nash and brother, Luke
Coverty, Levi and Solomon Marble, David Rudd, Tarbell and Jones. Chester
township settled very rapidly. About 1817-18, four or five Gillmores, as
many Scotts, several Nortons, and Silas Tanner -- all related by blood or
marriage; Reuben Hulbert and three sons, Stephen I, Bassett, Amos Saterlee,
Charles Odell, Samuel Adams, Oliver Ranney and others. The early settlers of
Chester were of a more permanent class than those of Kirtland, and there are
but few families in Chester now that are not more or less related to the
Gillmores and Scotts by birth or marriage.
Chardon, the county seat of Geauga, was settled at a later date than any of
the adjoining townships. At the close of the war of 1813 some four or five
families had settled near the square -- Edward Paine, Samuel Phelps and the
Canfields. The square was donated by Peter Chardon Brooks for the county
seat of Geauga county, on condition that it be called after his second name
- Chardon. After 1816, it settled up rapidly, but for a long time early
settlers -- three or four Kings, who settled on the road to Kirtland Flats
and gave it the name of King street. Elder Collins, two or three Smith. One
of the Smith sons, 15 years old, was lost in the woods, and although
diligent search for him was made, he was never found. The next spring a lock
of hair; buttons and a bit of clothing were found, showing that he had been
devoured by some wild beast. There were three or four Bentons, Rider, David
Bruce, Eleazar Paine, Levi Edson, Sylvester Hoyt, Thomas Metcalf and Ralph
In an early volume of Geauga records I recently ran across an interesting
document. It is headed, "Articles of Association of the Mentor Library
Company," and is practically the constitution of this ancient society. It
provides for officers, elections, etc., and that the capital stock shall not
exceed 2,500 shares of $2.50 each, which stock "shall be disposed of under
the direction and superintendence of the president and trustees, to be
applied to the purchase of books, maps & c., for the benefit of said
company." It is dated February 22, 1819, and was "approved June 4th, 1819.
George Tod, President Com. Pleas, 3d Circuit;" and again, "Approved March
10th, 1820. Calvin Pease, Peter Hitchcock, Judges of the Supreme Court."
14 PIONEER AND PERSONAL REMINISCENCES.
The names and the above reference to books and maps alone give a clue to its
aims and aspirations. Perhaps your interesting correspondent, "C.G.C.," can
tell us more of its rise and fall, while many of your readers will revive
old memories at a glance at its three dozen signatures:
Thomas Carrel, Jr.
John M. Henderson
PAINESVILLE, Feburary 14.
Benjamin Blish, Jr.
Nathaniel E. Matthews
Oliver A. Crary
It is an old saying that one-half of the world does not know how the other
half lives. It is equally true that the present generation does not know how
the preceding generation lived. Let us take a peep at the home life and
surroundings of the early settlers. Their log houses were made of ax
architecture, that tool being the only one necessary in their construction.
Their general size was sixteen or eighteen feet wide by twenty-two or
twenty-four feet long, inside measure. The door was in the front side, about
the middle of the building. Some had a back door on the opposite side. At
one end seven or eight feet of the logs were cut out about six feet high,
and the opening filled with a stone wall. On this wall at each end was laid
a timber sufficiently large to support the chimney to the fire chamber floor
beam, about four feet from the end of the house and some two feet higher
than the wall. On these timbers and wall the chimney was built with flat
sticks, some two or three inches wide, laid up in clay mortar and plastered
outside and in with the same. The chimney narrowed as it went up out of the
peak of the room, from six by four to three by two, giving a good light from
above to the fireplace below, where it was very much needed. A wooden crane
stool at one end of the fireplace, with an arm sufficiently long to reach to
the other end of the fireplace. A trammel or other device was used to hang
the pot or kettle, and to raise or lower it as occasion required. In the
fireplace was a large back log, five or six feet long, and smaller wood
could be piled on to warm the whole house and a considerable portion of the
outdoors above the chimney. Our cooking utensils consisted of a five-pail
brass kettle, an eight-quart brass kettle, a one-pail iron pot, an iron
tea-kettle, and a frying-pan with an iron handle three or four feet long.
Our bread was
PIONEER AND PERSONAL REMINISCENCES. 15
baked in a Dutch oven out of doors. Probably we were well off
for cooking utensils as most of our neighbors. For light we had greased
paper windows by the side of the door and from the chimney above. For a
buttery a few shelves in one corner of the room by the fireplace, and a
chest brought from Massachusetts, had to answer. The opposite corner was
occupied by a ladder for access to the chamber, until we could get lumber
for stairs. For a cellar we had a trap door in the floor and a small hole
dug in the ground for stowing a few vegetables out of the way of frost. Our
supply of table furniture was very scant, especially of plates, from
breakage on the road. We had five or six pewter plates of English
manufacture; they would not do to cut on, as it scratched them; so it became
the duty of the cook to cut the meat in small pieces and dish it out to us
with a spoon. When Mr. Gillmore came to Chester, in 1811, he had a lathe for
turning wooden bowls and plates, called trenchers. The spaces between the
logs of our houses were chinked on the inside with pieces of wood and
plastered on the outside with clay mortar. The building was carried up some
four or five feet above the chamber floor, then each side log drawn in about
three feet, each rounded as it went up to the peak. These side logs, lying
horizontal, answered for rafters to lay the shingles upon, or shakes, as
they were called. The shingles were about four feet long, and generally
split out of white oak, the wider and thinner, the better. These, if laid
about three thicknesses, and weighted down with heavy poles to keep them in
place, make a very good roof. The chamber was all one room, and answered for
storage of corn, spinning wheels, and all the traps, barrels and household
goods that were not in daily use, besides lodging-room for the young folks.
The hearth, some six by eight, was of clay, pounded down hard and made
smooth, five or six inches lower than the floor. When we found flat quarry
stones they were laid on the clay, bringing the hearth up even with the
floor. This the women folks thought a great improvement, and much more
cleanly, as the hearth could be swept without raising a cloud of clay-dust.
Our brooms were all splint brooms, home manufacture. The back end of the
room was partitioned off into two bedrooms, originally by blankets hung up
around the beds -- a rack overhead, with numerous poles for drying pumpkins,
and numerous pegs driven in the logs all around the room for hanging up
clothing, seed corn, red peppers, dried beef, and other articles too
numerous to mention.
I did not quite finish our surroundings and discomforts in my last. One
great trouble was the want of light. Our two greased paper windows gave but
poor light in clear weather, and on dark and cloudy days were almost
worthless. But these windows were only temporary. Our glass came from
Pittsburg by wagons, and was of poor quality, thin, and much of it lost by
breakage on the road. The price was very high, and much of the time it could
not be obtained at any price. At night, our resource for light was the
tallow dip, which would give but just enough light to make darkness visible,
and we had to be very prudent in their use, as there were not beef cattle
enough slaughtered to half supply the inhabitants with candles. When the
candles gave out, we tired a cotton rag around a button, gathering it around
the eye of the button, letting
16 PIONEER AND PERSONAL REMINISCENCES.
it stick up a half inch or more, set it in a
saucer, filling the saucer with lard. It would take two or three lamps of
this kind to make darkness visible. Our next resource for light, and perhaps
the most important one, was hickory bark. We kept a supply on hand, and, by
occasionally feeding the fire with this, it made a better light for a half
dozen to read by than the tallow dip.
I am under obligations to your correspondent, "B," for the ancient document
in regard to the Mentor Library Association. Think that I should have
forgotten it, though it was a very important institution for us at that time.
The people had brought with them but little reading matter -- a few school
books, the Bible and hymn book, were about the extent. There were no
newspapers taken in Kirtland, and probably but few in Willoughby or Mentor.
The late Eber D. Howe, editor of the Cleveland Herald, went through weekly
on horseback as far as Painesville, and delivered his papers to the
subscribers, probably having some subscribers at Willoughby and Mentor.
Reading matter was at a premium, and the library gave us great joy, and
helped us to while away many hours that would have been sad or monotonous.
The collection of books was a valuable one for that day, largely composed of
history, astronomy, biography, and perhaps some lighter reading. Of the
thirty-six signatures to that document, one lived in Chester, ten in
Kirtland, four or five in Willoughby, four or five in Concord, and the
balance in Mentor. Probably not one of them is now living. Oliver A. Crary,
twenty-one years old, I think was the youngest signer by several years, and
he, if now living, would be ninety-two years old. When or how the library
died, or what became of the books, I am not able to say. I went to Kentucky
in 1825, returning in 1831. It was in good condition when I left. When I
returned it had ceased to exist, and I have no recollection of hearing any
mention made of it.
The great wonder to me is, how the people raised the money to buy books, for
times were extremely hard -- no money in circulation. There had been slight,
if any, improvement since 1817 and 1818, when it was almost impossible to
raise money to pay taxes, or take a letter from the postoffice. There would
then have been a crash and breakdown of all business if there had been any
business here to crash and break down. Such a crash as we had twenty years
later, in 1837 and 1838, or twenty years later, in 1857 and 1858, and twenty
years later, in 1877 and 1878, and probably shall have twenty years later,
in 1897 and 1898. Twenty years seems to be the life of a business
generation. Twenty years of increasing prosperity cause extravagance. The
people buy more goods, run into debt, the money is drained out of the
country and goes to Europe to pay for the goods, hard times follow, and a
general crash and stagnation of business is the result.
Your correspondent's little notice of the organization of the "Mentor
Library Association" called up some very early and pleasant recollections of
mine connected with it. The books were kept at Judge Clapp's most of the
time while I knew anything about it -- say, from 1826 to 1830 -- as I now
recall it. I don't think there were over two hundred volumes in it, mostly
PIONEER AND PERSONAL REMINISCENCES. 17
reading for mature minds. Not a romance (we called them "novels"
in those days) in it, unless it was Goldsmith's "Vicar of Wakefield." Many
at that time did not believe in reading or permitting their children to read
that kind of literature. I remember a few of the volumes in that collection
-- Addisons Spectator, Cook's Voyages, Riley's Narrative, and Priest's
Wonders of Nature -- the last two of which I read. As a little boy I was
often sent out to exchange books before I was big enough to want to read
them. With oats at fifteen, corn at twenty-five, and whisky at from
seventeen to nineteen-cents per gallon, that little library told all
strangers of the tastes, intelligence, self-sacrifices, of the early
settlers in that heavily timbered country. We question if there is a good a
selection of books now in Mentor or Kirtland, for the number, as that was.
Henry Clapp should be able to name the many of the volumes, and also when
the association was dissolved or abandoned.
When I am writing upon these early recollections, I want to ask your
correspondent, Mr. C. G. Crary, whose letters I read with great pleasure,
and, when completed, hope they will be printed in pamphlet form, if he
remembers or can repeat any part of a song composed of about as many verses
as there were settlers in Kirtland? Each man had his verse. Of course they
were too personal, and hit too hard, to be printed in any paper; but there
were written copies in existence as late as 1829. I once heard William
Carroll and Colonel Ames sing a few of the verses, and asked my father if
they had a verse about him. He said they had, and repeated it to me. It did
not sound much like something that were sung. Cyrus Millard, of Chagrin
Falls, upon enquiry, told me this fall that he remembered hearing parts of
it, but could not repeat a line. All we could dig out of the couplet about
the old Disciple church at Mentor -- and while Sidney Rigdon was preparing
them for the Book of Mormon -- long since torn down. It ran thus:
"A one story meeting house without any steeple.
A roguish priest and foolish people."
Who wrote it no one knows, but he now merits the credit given a prophet. It
is a pity for those who want the early history of Kirtland that they cannot
call back to life, as they were in their palmiest days, Colonel Ames,
William Carroll, Philo Ingersoll, and Ariel Corning. What they could not
tell of early Kirtland would not be worth knowing. We hope some one may yet
be able to furnish your paper with that song.
CLINTON ILL. CLIFTON MORE.
To illustrate the scarcity of money in 1817, 1818 and 1819, I will relate a
boy's story, which may be considered very credible to us. A show was
advertised at Willoughby, consisting of two lions only. There were five of
us boys in the neighborhood -- Amos and William Witter, Harvey Morse, myself,
and a brother nearly three years younger. We all wanted to see the lions. On
consultation and getting together our cash deposits, we found that twelve
and one-quarter cents was the extent of our available funds -- one six and a
fourth cent piece and six copper cents, lacking one-fourth of a cent of the
18 PIONEER AND PERSONAL REMINISCENCES.
fee for chaps our age. We dared not call upon our parents for
help, as we knew that if they had a few shillings on hand they were liable
to have a letter in the postoffice at Painesville, and must have twenty-five
cents to get it. We remembered the old saying, that where there is a will
there is a way. We knew that we had the will, but cared but little whether
the way should correspond with the injunction to render to Caesar the things
that were Caesar's or not. We wanted to see the lions, and concluded to go,
hoping by some hook or crook to get sight of them. My father had a horse, I
think the only one then in the south part of Kirtland. He was a good,
able-bodied horse, a little past his prime, good and kind in every place
except that he would not carry two persons on his back at the same time.
This detracted very much from his value. He was really worth only about half
a horse -- that is, a horse that would carry double would be worth two such
horses, for our purposes. But we concluded to take him and hitch the horse
and go on, so we all got our proper share of riding. When we arrived at
Willoughby we gave Amos Witter all of the money, he being quick to see the
chances, of genial disposition, and would soon be on familiar terms with the
showman, ready to run errands, or give advice or suggestions how to manage
the show. He paid his fare and went in. It was not long before he came out
with a pail of water. When it was filled he took one side of the pail and I
the other, and walked in unquestioned. Another of our party was smuggled in.
When the lions were fed meat, one watched his opportunity and slipped in
unobserved behind the doorkeeper's back; and my brother, being small of age,
with a little help crawled under the tent. So we all got sight of the lions,
and came home highly elated with our success. We did not wish to ride and
tie, but let my short-legged brother ride all the way, and kept together to
talk the matter over. We came to the conclusion that the showmen were
greatly indebted to us. We had increased their receipts to the amount of
twelve and a quarter cents, had assisted them in watering and feeding the
lions, given them much good advice and many suggestions for their future
guidance. To be sure, we had seen their lions, but had not damaged them or
their lions to the value of a cent, and we resolved that they owed us at
least a vote of thanks. But for fear that they might look upon it in a
different light, and want to argue the question, we forebore saying anything
to them about it.
Kirtland has never been able to support a physician. Doctor Lacy was our
first. He stayed a few months but go no calls; then went to Portage county,
where he got a good practice, and became quite noted for his skill. Since
then Doctors Walsh, Hanson, Donovan, Williams, Fuller, Cowdery, Whitley,
Howe, Lamb, Bennet, Luce and others; but none of them made it profitable,
and most of the time Kirtland has been dependent on Willoughby and Chester
for calomel and jalap. Chester, unlike Kirtland, has had but few doctors,
but they, like their citizens, came to stay -- Hudson, Johnson, Sheldon and
Lyman. Doctor Lyman came there a young man. More than a generation of hard
service has frosted his head, and must admonish him to shirk the heaviest
labor off upon the shoulders of his son, who is following his profession.
PIONEER AND PERSONAL REMINISCENCES. 19
The first physician in Willoughby, I think, was Doctor Henderson, followed
by Doctors Brainard, Card, Storm, Davis, Fletcher, Clark, Moore and others.
In 1821 or 1822 there was an epidemic of malignant dysentery, which
prevailed throughout the country. Kirtland suffered severely. There were
twenty-two or twenty-three deaths in the township. Doctor Brainard was our
principal physician. In Painesville, I think, Doctor Matthews was the
pioneer physician. His successors that I can now call to mine were
Livingstone, Rosa, Card, Palmer, Beardslee, Brown, Root, Seymour. All but
the last two have passed over the dark waters.
The first lawyer that I have any recollection of was Noah D. Matoon. My
father once paid him a small fee, which was the only fee that I ever heard
of his paying to a lawyer. In my recollection of the bar of Painesville, it
was composed of Hitchcock, Perkins, Bissel, Tinker, Axtell, Bosworth,
Palmer, Burrows and others. All but the last mentioned have gone to that
bourne from which no traveler returns. I understand a half dozen or more
younger men are striving to fill their places; whether they will do so is a
problem for the future to solve. The bar of Willoughby is not noted for its
numbers or its brilliancy of oratory. But for legal advice and counsel, the
wants of the peace-loving citizens of Willoughby have been fully supplied.
Lapham, Sterling, Komar, Tuttle and Clark are all that I now recall.
I am under obligations to your Illinois correspondent for bringing to mind
one great source of pleasure and enjoyment that we had in those early days
from the singing of songs. We had quite a good supply of home poetic talent.
Their poetry would hardly compare with that of Scott, Longfellow or
Tennyson, but was very expressive, and fitted the occasion -- and the
individual for whom it was intended -- with much precision and force. When
Congress raised their wages from four to six dollars a day, there was much
excitement, which ended in song. Each prominent member had a verse. I only
remember the verse to Henry Clay, who was then speaker of the House. It ran
"There was Clay in the Chair,
With his flax-colored hair,
Signing the tax bills cheerily, O!
Six dollars a day, six dollars a day,
Six dollars a day is the dandy, O!"
Our religious people also dabbed some in poetry. Willard Edson used to sing
a song or hymn, one verse of which, I think, will satisfy my readers:
"We'll chase the devil around the stump,
And give him a kick at every jump,
It was quite common at that time to apply secular music to hymns. Father
Duniwell claimed that he had taken many good tunes from the devil and given
them to the Lord. We had then many excellent song singers. Peter Westbrook
and Sylvester Cortis I thought were the best, but we had a dozen or more
that would excel in song singing our best musicians. Practice makes perfect.
20 PIONEER AND PERSONAL REMINISCENCES.
had no pianos, organs, melodeons, accordions, or even mouth organs,
and song singing was our only recourse for music, and was cultivated and
practiced much more than at the present day; and our trainings, holidays,
house raisings and bees did not seem to be well furnished without some
soul-stirring and mirth-provoking songs.
I hope we shall hear more from your Clinton, Illinois correspondent. Living
so near the center of gravity (Kirtland Flats), I think his mind must be
stored with many incidents and anecdotes that would be interesting.
In the early days of Kirtland the Methodists were more numerous than all the
other denominations put together. There were the Standard, Hoffmans,
Farleys, Blairs, Hitchcocks, Saterlees, Beardslees, Parks, and many others.
The meetings were held at private homes. The Rev. Mr. Hitchcock, a very good
speaker, often preached. Father Ward occasionally preached; he was rather
eccentric, a man of much ability, and often called upon to officiate on
funeral occasions. Their church was organized about 1820. They erected a
small building on the corner of Kirtland cemetery. This was burned, and
afterwards rebuilt on the same foundation. The society has been decimated by
death and removals until there are but a few left in Kirtland, and their
church building was sold some time ago to the Grand Army of the Republic,
who removed it to their lot, and it is now used as the Post ball.
The Presbyterian Church (now Congregational) was organized about 1818 at the
house of Thomas Morley, Sr., and consisted of twelve members, namely: Levi
Smith, David Holbrook, Thomas Morley, Russell Hawkins, and their wives, Mrs.
John Morse, Mrs. Christopher Crary, Mrs. A. C. Russell, and Mrs. I. N.
Skinner. The Revs. Treat and Humphrey officiated. Meetings were held at
private houses and in the school building until 1822, when a log church was
built on the site of the present Congregational Church. This was burned and
a commodious frame church was built on the east side of the road. In 1842
this stood in the path of a cyclone, which raised it from its foundation,
turned it a quarter of the way around and dropped it. IT was raised up and
underpinned, but could not be quite straightened to stand perpendicular. The
same cyclone killed a child of Erastus Wightman, just across the road of the
church. In 1859 the present church was built, the old one sold to the
Universalists, taken down and removed to Willoughby. The first settled
minister was the renowned and very devout missionary, the Rev. Joseph
Badger. He was a blue-blooded Presbyterian -- held that our birth, actions,
and destiny were known and foreordained by the Almighty from the beginning. He left at the end of the year, whether from the want of sufficient support or
from preference of a traveling missionary life, I do not recollect. Up to
1831, except that one year, there was no settled minister. In 1831 Rev.
Truman Coe was settled as pastor over the church, and remained with us up to
the time of his death. He was a man of much learning and ability, beloved by
his people and respected
PIONEER AND PERSONAL REMINISCENCES. 21
by all. He died about 1856. Since then Cobb,
Fuller, Taylor, Palmer, Bronson, Redinger, Thompson and Dole have filled the
pulpit. But the church for the last thirty or forty years has been decimated
by death and removals till it is in a feeble condition, and requires help
from the Homes Missionary Society.
The Baptists have never been numerous in Kirtland. In 1850 they built a
commodius church and for a few years supported a minister, but death has
called home most of their members, and those that are left join with a
non-sectarian society who occupy their church, and have been supplied with
preachers from Chester, Cleveland and Willoughby, for the last fourteen or
fifteen years, without asking to what denomination they belonged. On my
return from the South, in 1831, I found the Mormons located in Kirtland.
Four or five of our prominent citizens had joined them -- Isaac Morley, Titus
Billings, N. K. Whitney, John M. Burk, and Jotham Maynard. The last two I am
not quite sure about. Burk had sold his farm some years before, and
Maynard's went into the hands of the Mormons. I heard they had joined, but
have no recollection of ever seeing them after my return. The minds of
Morley and Billings had become somewhat unbalanced on religious subjects
previous to the advent of Mormonism in Kirtland. I resolved to have no
controversy or words with the Mormons on the subject of their belief -- to
deal with and treat them the same as I did the rest of the world. My
dealings with them were quite large. I sold them some two hundred dollars
worth of lumber, much of it for the Temple. I also sold them my farm, took
$275.00 in notes, signed by President Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon,
payable in thirty days after demand, which they redeemed without delay of
thirty days, much against the will and determination of Rigdon. After I have
exhausted all arguments with Rigdon, and given up all hope of success, Smith
spoke for the first time and said: "President Rigdon, I have known Mr. Crary
for some time, and I believe him to be straight and honorable, and I think
we had better redeem his paper." Rigdon then paid the money without another
word. Joseph Smith was said to be ignorant and illiterate, but contact with
mankind and native ability had given him polished manners, and his language,
so far as I was qualified to judge, was correct, forcible, right to the
point, and convincing. From my acquaintance and dealings with him, I
considered him far superior to the educated Rigdon in intellectual ability.
But it would take very strong evidence to convince me that Joseph Smith was
not the originator of polygamy in this country. His institution of celestial
marriage was the initial, the germ, the bud that blossomed into loathsome
polygamy when his followers arrived at Salt Lake, beyond the reach of the
In the spring of 1831 there was much excitement over the murder of Sally
Russell, daughter of Isaac Russell, a bright girl of some thirteen or
fourteen years. She left her home at Brown's Corners to visit a neighbor,
some half a mile or so west of Park's Corners. Not returning home at night,
and not arriving at the place of her destination, the near neighbors hunted
for her during the night. The news spread rapidly during the night, and by
nine o'clock the
22 PIONEER AND PERSONAL REMINISCENCES.
next morning a large company had assembled at Park's
Corners, where she was last seen the day before. We all started off in
different directions -- the father requesting us to call Sally gently, as she
might be scared by loud or boisterous noise. We had not gone more than fifty
rods before she was found. Alva Brown was the first to see her; she lay some
four or five rods from the road, at the roots of a large tree. She had been
outraged and choked to death, as the finger marks showed. The grief of the
father was heart-rendering, and there were few dry eyes in the crowd that
soon gathered around her body -- and had the murderer been there, the country
might possibly have been saved the expense of a trial. Suspicion immediately
fell on a tin peddler, who had passed through the day before toward Chardon.
The land was cleared on the south side of the road, and some women a half
mile or more to the west saw his wagon standing in the road some time near
the place where she was found. The peddlar was arrested, and found to be a
young man by the name of Barnes, peddling tin for Eli T. Bruce, of Chardon,
who, of course, took an interest in seeing that he had a fair trial. After
nearly a year in jail he was tried and acquitted by a jury, but not by the
community. At that time the anti-Masonry excitement ran high, and many
believed that the acquittal of Barnes was obtained through undue Masonic
influence, Eli T. Bruce being a Mason. Barnes' home was in Medina county. It
was reported some years after that he had died of remorse, confessing the
There was considerable excitement some thirty or forty years ago over the
burning of Mr. Hoover's house, in the northeast part of Kirtland, in which
he was burned to death. He was living with his second wife; had two
daughters by his first wife; no children by his second wife. It was said
that they did not live happily together. For some reason, the night of the
fire she stayed at Mr. McCalls, a quarter mile distant. His two daughters
slept upstairs. It seems that he awoke in time to go upstairs, take his two
girls and drop them out of the chamber window, and then, overcome by smoke
and heat, fell back and was burned. There was some suspicion that his wife
knew something of the origin of the fire, but this was discredited by Mr.
McCall's people, and the fact that her things were burned in the house, and
that ashes had been taken up the day before and placed in the wood-house.
Some years subsequent to Mr. Hoover's death there was a tragedy enacted at
the old chair factory. A Mr. Worden and a man by the name of Harrington got
into a quarrel, and Harrington struck Worden with a billet of wood, killing
him instantly. How the quarrel began, or what the provocations, I do not
know. Harrington was arrested and jailed, the neighbors clubbed together and
bailed him out; he was subsequently tried and acquitted.
About the same time, in the neighborhood of the chair factory, a young
married man (I have lost his name) in felling trees, by some means got his
leg taken off at the knee. He tired a ligature around the stub, put on a
stick for twister long enough to let one end stick down the length of the
missing part of the leg, the other long enough to reach his shoulder, and
walked home on one leg and the end of the stick. One of the neighbors,
telling me about it not long since, said they were very poor, and, thinking
they might need cooked provisions,
PIONEER AND PERSONAL REMINISCENCES. 23
went over early in the morning with some,
and found the neighbors had preceded him with enough to last the family a
week. They were supported during his confinement and doctor's bills paid by
the neighbors. There have been four suicides in Kirtland -- R. C. Jerome, a
Mr. Jewell, Miss Sophia Speery and Chester Clapp.
I intended to say in a former communication that I remember hearing the song
mentioned by your Clinton correspondent sung, but I cannot recall the words.
I will add to his list of books in the Mentor library, "Rollins' Ancient
History," and I think he must admit one more novel besides the "Vicar of
Wakefield," "The Spy," one of Cooper's best. The scenes laid in the
revolution correspond with my father's yarns of those times that it seems to
me now I then believed every word of it to be true.
About the year 1819 Warren Corning, of Mentor, erected a log distillery at
Kirtland Flats. It was thought to be of great benefit and a valuable
acquisition; it would call in settlers, increase business, make a market for
corn, enable us to obtain whisky easily without paying cash. Another great
benefit would be the obtaining of yeast at the still-house better than could
be made at home. Baking powder was at that day unknown. Our expectations
from the distillery were fully realized but not appreciated. It made it very
convenient to get good yeast. I was sent for it once, and, being naturally
rather indiscreet, told my mother what I saw and the language I heard there;
she concluded that she could get along with home-made yeast after that, and
I was sent there no more. It made it convenient to get whisky, but did not
increase our home comforts. It made a market for corn, but did not increase
our cash receipts. It brought in some inhabitants, but did not improve the
morals of the place. It made some business for the magistrates and
constables, but did not promote peace, good will, charity, or any of the
graces that adorn the present age. From being a blessing, as was hoped, the
still-house became an unmitigated curse. It became a resort for a score or
more of hard drinkers, holding high and sometimes pugilistic carnival, while
some of the their families at home were suffering for the necessities of
life. I will say that those who frequented the old still-house were not all
from Kirtland; each adjoining township furnished its full quota of those who
congregated there, and made night, and sometimes day, hideous with the
revelry. I will relate their doings one night: A Methodist brother, whom it
was thought had joined the church for a cloak to hide his thievish
propensities, was caught one night with a sheep that did not belong to him.
He was brought before the church and excommunicated. The still-house
habitues, feeling sympathy for his lonely condition, concluded to take him
back into the world, set the time, and invited him to attend, which he
accordingly did. On so important an occasion there was a large attendance,
and with much ceremony he was regularly taken back into the world, and given
all the privileges and immunities of an unrepenting sinner. They procured a
quantity of codfish, and together with this and whisky, partook of the
sacrament and wound up with a kind of love-feast. They did not wash each
other's feet, as some sects do, but they painted
24 PIONEER AND PERSONAL REMINISCENCES.
each other's eyes black, and put on the head of one of their number into the arch, burning his hair off and disfiguring his face for life.
The old distillery may have been a success financially, but morally and
physically it was a failure. The son of the owner, a promising young man,
who bid fair to make his mark in the world, from constant use of whisky
became a sot, almost mindless. Of the half dozen or more men that operated
the still during its existence of thirteen or fourteen years, three of them
died from effects of occupation and excessive use of whisky. They were all
men in the prime of life, and bid fair, with prudence, to attain a good old
age. A young man left the still one cold night, loaded a little too heavy.
He lay down for a nap, and, when found, his feet and legs to his knees were
frozen. By taking the frost out with cold water I believe his legs were
saved, although in a crippled condition. An old gentleman from a neighboring
town brought his jug to the still, had it filled, and started for home. He
got up in the neighborhood of where Mr. Sleemin now lives, went into the
bushes, lay down and died. He was not found for several days, and was too
much decayed to remove. A hole was dug beside him and he was rolled in, and
his jug after him, to cheer him in his lonely grave. If the spot could be
found by digging, some pure whisky nearly fifty years old, might be
obtained, which would be valuable in these days of adulterated and poisoned
liquor. It would be both interesting and profitable could we know how many
years of life had been cut off and shortened by that still-house -- taking
those who operated it and those who patronized it, numbering perhaps
thousands during the fourteen years of its existence. But this can be known
only by Him who numbers the hairs of our head. In 1833 the distillery and
fixtures were to be sold, the owner William Carrel, having died. The concern
because such a nuisance that the temperance people clubbed together -- ten or
twelve of them -- Judge Allen, of Willoughby, bidding it off to them. When
sold, Captain Morse told me that he lost only seven dollars, and thought it
money well laid out. I should before this have stated that the old log still
was burned and replaced by a frame building.
I have before me two ancient documents -- the first quoted is one of the
account books kept at the Kirtland distillery. The first charge is dated
December 1, 1831, and it virtually closes February 1, 1833, though there are
a few charges two or three months later -- covering about fourteen months.
There are charges against 138 persons, and, as near as I can judge, about
twenty of them consumed a pint of whisky daily. Against one man, living
three and a half miles from the still, there were nineteen charges during
the last twenty-eight days of January, amounting to a pint per day. Some for
a time apparently used a quart a day, while others used not more than a
quart a week. Some of the accounts were very sad, showing extreme poverty.
One man worked by the day at 50 cents per day to the amount of $9.09; took
$5.22 in whisky by the pint and quart; $3.87 went for the support of his
family; 22 cents of it for a half bushel of corn meal; 44 cents for a bushel
of corn meal; at another time
PIONEER AND PERSONAL REMINISCENCES. 25
3 cents for three candles; 2 cents for two at
another time; 37 1/2 cents for meat; 50 cents for a hat; the balance in cash
12 1/2 and 25 cents at a time. There were several accounts showing poverty
and destitution in which whisky was the main item. A large number of names
were on the book that I did not know, but presume a large portion of them
belonged in Kirtland.
The other document referred to is the constitution, by-laws and signatures
of the Kirtland Temperance Society. There are 239 signatures attached to the
constitution. Among the names are a dozen or fifteen that were considered
hard cases, and six whose names are on the still-house book with long
columns of pints, quarts and gallons under them. The book has been badly
mutilated and much of it is missing, but think the first annual meeting was
held October 6, 1830 at which the following votes were taken:
Voted, that no member of this society dispose of grain of any kind to a
distiller of whisky.
Voted, that the executive committee be and they are hereby directed to
enquire into the situation and circumstances of the distillery in this
place, and whether some equally profitable and more laudable use may not be
made of it.
This vote culminated in the purchase of the still by members of the society,
under agreement that it should never again be used as a distillery. The
officers of the society were the president, vice president, secretary, and
an executive committee of eight ladies and eight gentlemen. The members of
the society were closely watched, and if one violated his pledge, a
committee was appointed to labor with him and if possible bring him back and
induce him to make another trial. It was painful to see what a struggle it
was for some of them to break off. Two or three of us went one evening to
see the man who went to the still nineteen times in one month for his daily
pint of whisky. He was really sick. We carried him some plums, which he ate
with a relish -- said they mitigated the distress of his stomach, and thought
it he had some chicken's liver a little bitter, it would give him relief.
The society met quite often and were addressed by able speakers. The names
of those mentioned in the records were: Rev. Nathaniel Cole, George Perkins,
Dr. Graham, Wm. L. Perkins and Rev. Truman Coe. When failing of a speaker, a
sermon on temperance was read from the "National Preacher." The last meeting
of the society recorded in the book was held October 6, 1834. John F. Morse,
president; Alfred Morley, vice president; George Smith, secretary; S. W.
Tinkham, C. G. Crary, Samuel Tomlinson, John Wells, S. R. Ladd, Emma
Rockafellow, Julia Morse, Mahitable Loud, Julia Rudd, Harriet Cleveland,
Melissa Pierson. Samuel Tomlinson, Truman Coe and Azariah Lyman were
appointed delegates to the convention to be held at Cleveland on the 21st
inst. Adjourned to two weeks from this evening 6 o'clock.
When or how the temperance society died I can only state from memory, but
think that October, 1835, was our last regular meeting, and the society was
overslaughed and smothered by the influx of Mormons -- not that they were
26 PIONEER AND PERSONAL REMINISCENCES.
for I believe they would compare favorably in that respect with
a large number of our old citizens. It was reported, however, that they
consumed a barrel of wine and other liquors at the dedication of the Temple,
enabling some of them to see angels, have visions, prophesy and dream
dreams. But many of the temperance workers were driven away, and those that
remained let the society die by default. Three of the hard drinkers returned
like "the dog to his vomit."
But I firmly believe that the Kirtland temperance society, short lived as it
was, did more to reclaim the drunkard, save the moderate drinker and protect
the rising generation than the whole Prohibition party of Ohio has ever done
or ever will do. Intemperance is a question of morals and should not more be
brought into politics than any of the crimes forbidden in the decalogue, for
it is the mother and breeder of all the crimes that disgrace mankind. The
Prohibition party, by bringing the moral question of temperance down into
politics, have divided the temperance forces, antagonized, disgusted and
paralyzed all temperance workers, and have united all liquor dealers in one
solid body, who, by their great wealth, large profits and lavish use of
money, hold the balance of power and can defeat any party that attempts to
legislate against their interests. The elections in Iowa, Ohio, and other
States last fall prove it.
I received a short time since by mail from a friend in California a work
entitled "Temperance and Prohibition," by G. H. Stockham, M.D. It is a very
able work, giving the effects of the various kinds of liquor upon the human
system; the efforts that have been made in England, Germany, Ireland and the
United States to restrain and lessen the evils associated from its use as a
beverage, and the poisonous drugs and materials by which it is adulterated.
He says: "We have collected facts from Hassel and other eminent chemists,
who assert that nine-tenths of all liquors used in the United States are
more or less poisoned by drugs. A variety of articles are used in these
adulterations, some of which are sugar of lead, capsicum, juniper berries,
aloes, logwood, virdigris, strychnine, alum, sulphate of ammonia and
sulphuric acid." He says that in the United States more port wine is drank
in one year than posses through the custom house in tea; and the same
proportion of champagne is used above what the entire district of Champagne
produces. The failure of the whole crop of Maderia causes no apparent
diminution of the quantity in the market, and the price of Cognac brandy is
four times as high in Frances as it is here. He says that since the art of
multiplication by adulteration, that dread disease, delirium tremens, is now
prevalent in all whisky drinking communities. That the lower grades of
whisky are strengthened by the addition of strychnine, which increases the
quantity. The more fatal effects among those suffering from delirium tremens
are attributed to this cause. He says that pure alcohol is a poison few will
doubt. If enough is taken it will destroy life in a short time; its
continued use will bring on various diseases of the heart, lungs, kidneys
and stomach, fatty degeneration of the heart and hob-nailed liver, so
PIONEER AND PERSONAL REMINISCENCES. 27
called, are directly the effects of ardent spirits. Thousands of lives are
annually sacrificed to the demon drink. Lives that promised a rich autumnal
fruitage have failed in their spring or summer time, leaving desolate once
happy homes. The habitual use of beer and portal leads to an increase of
bulk, dulls the brain, and the entire organization becomes lethargic. The
worst patients that enter the London hospitals are the brewery men. A bruise
or scratch, which in others would be insignificant, in them will often
fester and mortify. Every medical man dreads a surgical operation on a
confirmed beer drinker -- in such cases the mortality is frightful. Probably
the English language does not contain a more graphic denunciation of the
horrors of intemperance than is found in Mr. Ingersoll's address to a jury
in a case where the question of alcohol was concerned. I quote of it from
"I do not believe that anybody can contemplate the subject without becoming
prejudicial against the liquor crime. All we have to do is think of the
wrecks on either bank of the stream of death, of the suicides, of the
insanity, of the poverty, of the ignorance, of the destitution, of the
little children tugging at the faded and weary breasts of mothers, of
weeping and despairing wives asking for bread, of the talented men of genius
that it has wrecked of those struggling with imaginary serpents produced by
the devilish thing. When you think of the jails, of the alms-houses, of the
asylums, of the prisons, of the scaffolds on either bank, I do not wonder
that every thoughtful man is prejudiced against this damned stuff that is
called alcohol. Intemperance cuts down youth in its vigor, manhood in its
strength and age in its weakness. It breaks the father's heart, bereaves the
doting mother, extinguishes natural affection, erases conjugal loves, blots
out filial attachments, blights parental hope, and brings down mourning age
in sorrow to the grave. It produces weakness, not strength; sickness, not
health; death, not life. It makes wives widows, children orphans, fathers
fiends, and all of them paupers and beggars. It feeds rheumatism, nurses
goat, welcomes epidemics, invites cholera, imports pestilence and embraces
consumption. It covers the land with idleness, misery and crime. It fills
your jails, supplies your almshouses and demands your asylums. It engenders
controversies, fosters quarrels and cherishes riots. It crowds your
penitentiaries and furnishes victims for your scaffolds. It is the life
blood of the gambler, the element of the burglar, the prop of the highwayman
and the support of the midnight incendiary. It countenances the liar,
respects the thief, esteems the blasphemer and honors infamy. It defames
benevolence, hates love, scorns virtue, and slanders innocence. It incites
the father to butcher his helpless offspring, helps the husband massacre his
wife and the child to grind the parricidal axe. It burns up men, consumes
women, detests life, curses God and despises heaven. It suborns witnesses,
nurses perjury, defiles the jury box and stains the judicial ermine. It
degrades the citizen, debases the legislator, dishonors the statesman, and
disarms the patriot. It brings shame, not honor; terror, not safety;
despair, not hope; misery, not happiness, and with the malevolence of a
fiend it calmly surveys its frightful desolution; and unsatisfied with its
havoc, it poisons felicity, kills peace, ruins morals, blights confidence,
slays reputation and wipes out national honor -- then curses the world and
laughs at its ruin. It does all that and more. It murders the soul. It is
the son of all villainies and father of all crimes, the mother of
abomination, the devil's best friend and God's worst enemy."
Fifty years ago whisky was pure, and so cheap that there was no temptation
to adulterate it. The cost of drugs and materials would be more than the
increased quantity would be worth. Men could then use it daily, spree it
weekly, and live to be fifty, sixty or seventy years old. It is not so now.
28 PIONEER AND PERSONAL REMINISCENCES.
same quantity drank now will kill half our drinking population in a
short time. A pint or a half pint would make short work with many now in the
prime of life, and there would be great mourning over the "afflictive
dispensations of Providence in taking our esteemed friend from his bereaved
family," when, in fact, Providence had nothing to do with it. It was the
poisoned whisky that killed him. Man is apt to shirk off upon Providence the
results of his own sin and folly.
About 1821 or 1822 we had at Kirtland Flats a Fourth of July celebration. It was a very elaborate affair. John F Morse was orator of the day; Josiah Jones read the Declaration of Independence; Isaac Chatfield had charge of the cannon (an old musket); James Bradley and Nathan P Goodale gave the fife and drum music. I do not recollect who was president or marshal of the day, or whether we had any. The speaking took place in Peter French's new barn, which stood where R. B. Green now has a furniture establishment. The tables were set just back of the Damon store buildings. We had some song singing, and I am promised by Mr. Pitcher some of the verses that were used on that occasion, said to have been composed by the orator of the day. I took but little interest in the proceedings, and remember nothing of the speaking or toasts that were drank. My chief interest was after a good time with my mates, and the center of attraction the dinner tables. In those days children always had to wait and sit down at the second table. This detracted very much from our enjoyment on such occasions -- to see our elders sit and chat, sip their tea, and tell stories to prolong their meal, entirely oblivious of the terrible, gnawing pangs of hunger that we were suffering. But the fashion has changed and is vastly improved -- the children are served first and the older ones wait. It gives me not one-tenth part of the pain now to wait an hour for dinner that it did when I was fifteen, and had the stomach of a hyena and the digestion of an ostrich. In every department of knowledge man has greatly improved. The present generation knows a vastly more than the preceding ones. The young men of to-day can safely ignore the old-fogy notion that history repeats itself, or that like causes produces like effects -- that past experience is of any use whatever in forecasting the future. They can now get up fine-spun theories on tariff, finance, and other matters, an figure them out so clearly and with such certainty that there is no need whatever in looking at or taking into account past experiences. Old fogies and their notions are now relegated to oblivion, and of no more use than a last year's almanac.
I have received from Mrs. Pitcher one verse of the song composed by the late Colonel Morse, and sung with the other pieces at the Fourth of July celebration above mentioned:
"Columbia's sons and daughters, hail!
Fair Liberty doth here prevail;
In equal rights our lands shall vie
With any land below the sky.
The song and the oration were highly complimented and considered very fine, considering his age, eighteen or twenty. In those days song singing was
PIONEER AND PERSONAL REMINISCENCES. 29
much practiced, and brought to a high state of perfection. Church music was taught at singing schools. No one ever thought of taking his song book to church. After the reading of the hymn the leader pitched the tune and started off. The congregation -- all that could sing -- would join in, some a note or two too high, others as much too low, and most of them a little behind the leader. Uncultivated people did not mind the discord, and the congregations dispersed feeling spiritually refreshed. They had heard a good sermon, taken part in the worship, and were ready for the week's labors, anticipating a good time next Sabbath in airing their musical talents. Now the singing is mostly done by the choir, and is very artistic -- no discord -- all on time, and is very pleasing to cultivated ears. But whether it touches the heart, and leads to devotional feelings, like the old way, is somewhat doubtful.
I will close this chapter by telling a story. The orator at the above celebration had no ear for music. I believe he could not tell one tune from another, but at eighteen or twenty wished to learn to sing, and attended the singing school. One night, on returning home alone through the woods, he thought it would be a good chance to train his voice, and struck up a high key. His father stepped to the door and heard what he supposed to be wolves, and called the family out to hear them. (In those days, when the wolves howled, we all went to listen to their weird music.) After listening awhile the youngest daughter said, "That is not the sound of wolves; it is John trying to raise and fall the eight notes." Some years later Colonel Morse was in company, when it was proposed that each one should sing a song. When it came to his turn to sing; he told them that he would like to tell a story, and then, if they insisted upon it, he would sing. He then related the above story, and they concluded to dispense with a song from him.
When Mark Twain thought himself a member of President Grant's cabinet he called on the heads of different Departments and advised them that their reports were dry and uninteresting -- that if they would insert occasionally a conundrum, a witty saying, or a funny story, it would make their reports much more readable and interesting to the general public. In looking over my dry reminiscences, I think Mark Twain's advice would be suitable in my case, and will give a few stories.
About 1818 there came a man to father who wanted him to perform a marriage ceremony -- said that he had no money, but would like to come and work to pay him for the job, and said he understood dressing flax. He came and dressed flax two days, and father walked with him over into the edge of Chardon and tied the knot. He was probably about forty, and she, a widow, about the same age.
About 1817 or 1818, Stockwell S. Hilbert, a physician had hung out his shingle at Levi Marble's three miles west of us, in Willoughby. He had become involved in debt, and an execution was against him. He had some business at my father's, who was then justice of the peace. He learned in the evening that the constable was there, and fearing that his horse would be taken, he offered me a half dollar to take his horse down to Marble's and hitch
30 PIONEER AND PERSONAL REMINISCENCES.
it in the lane. The temptation was great -- it was more money than I had ever owned, but I was too green to ask pay in advance. I went down well enough, having the company of the horse, but on coming back through the woods, with the hooting of the owls and other strange noises, my hair stood on end, and my coat would have stuck out straight behind if I had had one. When I reached home Hilbert was gone, and I never saw him again. So my dreams of wealth vanished in thin air, and I keenly felt the loss of my bright prospects of anticipated wealth.
I will give one more story, and not a boy's story, either, as all the parties were men with families. I will only give initials -- D., J., N. and G. I had this story from D., and he was a capital hand at story-telling. He said that N. and J. ran a sugar bush together, and he ran one just across the lot line. Their camps were but a very few rods apart, the sap was crowding, and they had to boil all night. D. went over to N. and J.'s camp, and J. said: "Do you think it safe for us to be out all night without something to ward off the ill effects of the damp night air?" "I think not," said D. "Well," said J., "we have decided that you and I shall go down to Kirtland" (five and a half miles) "and get a jug of whisky, and N, will tend both camps while we are gone." "All right," said D, and off they started. At the still-house they found a congenial company, and had a good time till near midnight, then filled their jug and started home. About half way back they passed a barn. J. said: "Do you suppose C. has any straw in his barn?" "We'll go and see," said D. They found straw bound up, and took as many bundles as they could carry as far as the next house, and placed them against the door so that the straw would fall in on whoever opened the door in the morning. When they got to G.'s house, J. said: "Do you think Brother G.'s doorway is large enough?" "I think it is not," said D. "Well," said J, "he is too indolent and lazy to do it himself, and I think we had better do it for him." So they put down their jug and took his door-yard rail fence and built twice across the road. This done, they then took up their jug and went on, getting to the camp at daylight, where N. had been running from one camp to the other all night. In the morning G. came over to the camp and said, "Brother J., what do you think! some rascally fellows have taken my door-yard fence and run it twice across the road." "They have?" said J. "They ought to be punished. Now, look here; you go and put your fence back -- say nothing about it, keep dark, and it will leak out who did it. They ought to be prosecuted. It is too bad that a person can't sleep nights without his property destroyed in that way." Whether he ever found out who did it, D. did not tell me.
Weaver's reeds were rather scarce here in an early day, and were kept in constant use either by the owner or those wishing to borrow. Mrs. Stephen Ames had loaned one of hers to a lady living in the northwest part of Chester. When she wanted it she sent Lucinda Foster after it, who went on horseback, and, for company, stopped at Erastus Crary's and took Almeda Crary on behind her, who was eleven years old, Miss Foster three or four years older. Their road lay from Peck's Corners west a little over a mile, thence south two miles (a new road, only underbrushed out, and but little traveled) thence west a mile
PIONEER AND PERSONAL REMINISCENCES. 31
or so. They went all right, got the reed, and started back. Their horse was slow, and they were belated. Near the south line of Kirtland is a deep gully and a small brook; the brook had been crossed a number of places up and down the stream. When they got to the brook it had become quite dark and rainy, and they got bewildered at the many crossings. They said they crossed the brook three times. Finally, it became pitch dark, and they gave up in despair. They took the blanket from the horse, laid it by the side of a log, took off their shoes and laid them on the log, so that their friends, when they found the shoes, would know that they had been eaten up by wild beasts, and, as they expressed it, delivered themselves over to the Lord and lay down, but not to sleep, as they heard strange noises during the night, and believed that wild beasts were tramping about through the woods. The next morning they found the road and got to Captain Morse's about ten o'clock, both wet and hungry.
It is not strange, Mr. Editor, that people wishing to accomplish the same object should pursue a directly contrary course to effect the same object? I was forcibly reminded of this fact in my sojourn of a few weeks in South Dakota, during the heat of the campaign for the ratification of their new constitution. All the articles of the constitution, except one, were virtually settled in their favor. The only question was how large shall the majority be? But the article on prohibition was new and elicited a vigorous campaign on the part of its advocates. Led by able speakers, like Judge Moody and others, aided ably and efficiently by the W. C. T. U., they made it plain to all the prohibition was not a partisan question -- urged Republicans and Democrats to vote their respective tickets, but asked all who loved a quiet home, all we deprecate the many crimes and casualties caused by drunkenness, all who felt that Dakota was able to support her government without sharing in the profits of drunkard-making, all who felt unwilling to share in the robbery of the drunkard's wife and children, sending her to the rich man's wash tub for a precarious subsistence, or to the poor house, and her ragged and bare-footed children supperless to bed, to vote for prohibition. Vote now, that no future legislature shall haggle with the run seller for their share of the profits, either by high or low license -- but say to the rumseller, "Thou shalt no put the cup to thy neighbor's lips for gain."
The above is but a faint outline of the arguments used, but they were successful, and South and North Dakota will enter the Union with constitutional prohibition -- the latter, it is true, by a small majority, but all that could be expected from the large proportion of foreigners, who never heard of temperance, much less of prohibition. Mr. Joseph Edwards says it is an American institution, and not known in Europe.
Now, here in Ohio, the Prohibition party is intensely partisan, and seem to think that the only way to succeed and to build up their party is to break down
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the two old parties. I have the reading of the "Beacon," which some kind friend sends us -- a rabid partisan sheet -- about two-thirds of it filled with denunciation of the two old parties. The Republican party is represented as calling brewers, distillers, wholesale liquor dealers and saloonists to high seats in conventions, and given lucrative offices to secure the liquor vote. And the Democratic party but little better. A considerable portion of the paper was filled with letters from their speakers, giving glowing accounts of the interesting meetings they were holding and the many converts they were making. But their converts do not materialize at the polls, and the party hardly keeps pace with the increase in population.
A few years ago constitutional prohibition was nearly carried in Ohio; now it would probably be snowed under as badly as in Pennsylvania and other partisan ridden states. The partisan prohibitionists seem to think that if the old parties could be wiped out of existence, prohibition, as a matter of course, would follow. They forget, or ignore, the fact that the liquor interest is unscrupulous -- that it has hundreds of millions invested in the business -- that it will require united strength of all lovers of temperance of every party, sect or creed to effect the extinction of the liquor traffic as a beverage. I believe there are enough temperance people to do it, if not divided and antagonized by partisan rancor. There is one redeeming feature in the many third parties that have arisen and flourished for a few years and died out; they furnish a congenial home for cranks and soreheads who feel that their talents have not been duly appreciated by the party to which they belonged.
Kirtland will be immortalized in history as the site of the Mormon Temple and the first stake of the followers of Joseph Smith. The Temple stands on high land overlooking the valley of the east branch of the Chagrin river. In size it is 50 by 70 feet, two stories high of 20 feet each, with an attic partitioned off into school rooms. It was said that the size and inside finish was according to revelation from the Lord, given to Smith, and to be built of brick; but not succeeding in making good brick, it was changed to that of stone. The stone came from two quarries -- the Stannard quarry, two miles south, a very superior and durable quality of sandstone, and from the Russell quarry, one mile south, a finer-grained stone of a color inclined to purple or slate, but not quite proof against wind and weather. The building is of rough stone, except the corners, windows and door-frames. I think if now examined the fine-grained stone will be found perceptibly decayed and wasted away, and faded to nearly uniform color with the coarser-grained sandstone. The outside of the walls were plastered with a very superior quality of cement, as indestructible as the best quality of stone. Jacob Bump was the master mason, and the Temple will stand for unnumbered ages as a monument to his skill and genius. The inside, after passing through the vestibule, some twelve or fourteen feet, is finished off in one room, with three or four pulpits at each end, each rising a foot or two above and back of the one before it. There were curtains that could be let
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down from above to divide the room into four, able to divide the several pulpits from each other. Each pulpit was calculated for three persons, and all lettered in large gilt characters, showing the rank and standing of the occupant. The pulpits at one end were for priests of the Aaronic order; the other end for priests of the Melchisedek order. The Temple was built in 1834, at a cost of about $40,000 by donations. There seemed to be no lack of funds. Money was sent in from the brethren in all parts of the United States. The women are said to have contributed by knitting and otherwise. Property of all kinds were sent in. I one day bought a horse and yoke of oxen that had been donated towards the Temple, and I believe when it was finished there was no debt against it.
After the building was finished they (the Mormons) started a school, principally, I believe, if not exclusively, for teaching the Hebrew language. They procured several mummies from Egypt and Smith by revelation or interpretation, found some of them to be very distinguished characters and contemporaries of either Aaron, Joseph or Moses. They were not very pleasing objects to look up -- dried skeletons and as black as coal tar. Whether this was from age, the materials for embalming, or were real negroes, I could not tell. They employed a Hebrew teacher, a Jew by the name of Saixas. He was a man of much ability and I presume an excellent teacher of Hebrew. The Rev. Mr. Coe, wishing to visit Connecticut for several weeks, engaged Mr. Saixas to lecture at the Congregational church every Sabbath during his absence. He stipulated that he should not be asked to pray to take any part in the meeting, except to read his lectures. I think I never heard more eloquent and touching language used than in his lectures on Joseph and Moses in Egypt. What the mummies cost I do not know, but have been told that Mr. Andrews paid $800 towards them. What became of them I do not know, but suppose they were taken to Salt Lake.
In any allusion that I have made, or may hereafter make to the Mormons or Mormonism, I intend no reference whatever to the Church or the Latter Day Saints who now occupy the Temple. I have no acquaintance with any of them, but am told that they are good, honest citizens. I should have mentioned that I have received from the Secretary of the Pioneer Association of Lake County his manuscript and records of the pioneer meetings, which he intends to publish in book form. As my remembrances are evanescent, to be read today, destroyed and forgotten tomorrow, I will not detract from the interest in his more permanent and valuable work by quoting from it.
In 1836 the Mormons commenced preparations for a bank. It was to be a mammoth institution, and all who could were to take stock. Many put in all their available funds. For some reason there was a hitch and delay of several weeks. Many who had put in their all suffered for the necessaries of life. To bridge over this delay, and allay the clamor for funds, Smith and Rigdon issued a large quantity of their individual notes, payable thirty days after demand. I think they signed their names as President Joseph Smith and President Sidney
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Rigdon. These notes passed current with the faithful, but were handled quite sparingly by outsiders. When the printed bills came, these notes were redeemed with Kirtland Safety Bank notes. Before issuing them, they found that, without a charter from the state, they were violating the law. To obviate this difficulty, they printed with hand type, in very small letters, the word "anti" before "Bank," making it read "Kirtland Safety Society anti-Bank," thinking thus to evade the law. I am not sure but they omitted the "anti" in their later issues. The bank soon collapsed and shut down, and the boxes that purported to contain specie were found to be filled with lead, pot-metal or sand, and the packages of bank bills were found to be strips of newspapers carefully done up -- so said by those who examined. At any rate, the money was gone, and supposed to have been sent to Philadelphia and New York to buy goods, Smith having brought on a large stock of goods, and another large stock was owned by some of the dignitaries of the church.
The years 1834, 1835 and 1836 was a general season of speculation all over the country, and especially so in Kirtland. The city was laid out and platted two miles square, and much of it surveyed into half-acre lots. Lots that first sold for ten, twenty and fifty dollars, soon sold for many hundreds. Men who were not worth a dollar became immensely rich -- on paper. A Mr. Granger -- a relative of Postmaster General Granger, of New York -- also a distant relative of my first wife, boasted that he was the richest Granger that ever trod shoe leather, when at the same time his family was actually suffering for the necessaries of life.
There were probably nearly 2,000 Mormons in the place in 1837, composed of all classes, good, bad and indifferent. There was a large class of ignorant and fanatical people who placed full confidence in Joseph Smith's revelations and stood ready to execute his bidding, even to the taking of life. Smith was once arrested, taken to Chardon, and tried for inciting his followers to murder Grandison Newell. Marvel C. Davis and a Mr. Lake swore that they were ordered by Smith to assassinate him, and waylaid him for that purpose, but by some mishap failed to fulfill the will of the Lord as revealed by Smith. Mormon testimony not being first class, or by some technical flaw, Smith was acquitted. Then there was a large class of good, honest, quiet, credulous people, some of them quite well off, but they were soon relieved their surplus wealth and reduced to the level of the common herd. There were many who joined to become teachers, priests and missionaries, to make a living without hard labor; and still another small class of sharpers, lawyers, pettifoggers and doctors, who joined hoping to make money out of the concern. The speculation in the city lots had made many of them so rich that they bought farms, paying but little down, and found everybody willing to sell. With means they could have bought every farm in the township. The people all supposed they had got to leave. It was a time of terror. Property was not safe from theft, and many believed that life was not safe with such a crowd, who boasted that they should not hesitate to take life, if the Lord commanded them to do so through the prophet; that they should live off and suck the milk of the Gentiles; that the promise that the saints should inherit the earth was about to be fulfilled, and
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that they were the saints. And this crowd, controlled by one man, whom many believed capable of almost any crime which Satan should prompt, is there any wonder that everybody wanted to sell and get away? When their bank failed all their imaginary wealth vanished; their money was gone; their teams were gone; their provisions were gone; their credit was gone; their stores of goods disappeared. No community could be left in more destitute circumstances, and the only alternative was for them to leave -- leave their Temple, their homes, all that they had held dear, and go to, they knew now where. And how to go was a serious question. They had no teams; but fortune for once favored them. A few months after the failure of the bank, all the banks in the country suspended specie payment, which raised their bills about on par with Michigan wildcat money -- much of it like Mormon money -- worth no more than white paper. Runners were sent out with pockets full of Mormon money to buy teams where they could find people not posted on the value of Mormon promises to pay. In 1838 the camp was ready to start, and left in a body, making a string of teams more than a mile long. Many prosecutions for violations of the law were pending, and a judgment against Smith, on which the Temple was sold at public sale some time after they left.
After the Mormons left Kirtland, in 1838, a school was started in the Temple by Nelson Slater, styled the "Western Reserve Teacher's Seminary." It was duly incorporated. The trustees were Seabury Ford, of Burton (afterward Governor of Ohio); Mr. Nichols, of Perry; N. P. Goodell and John W Howden, of Painesville; T. D. Martindale, A. C. Russell, Truman Coe and C. G. Crary, of Kirtland. Governor Ford never acted with the trustees, but patronized the school. Nichols, Goodell and Howden attended one or two trustees' meetings, but the whole management of the seminary devolved on the Kirtland trustees. The Temple was used about a year, and found to be unsuitable for the purpose; the thick, damp walls and high ceiling made it difficult to warm, and the long flight of stairs was objectionable. There was much complaint of sickness, and the death of one lady was attributed to a cold contracted in the building. The trustees then procured the Methodist church for ten years and fitted it up for the school. In 1850 a commodious building was erected at the cost of $1,600. From that time the school gradually failed. High schools were started in all adjoining townships, confining the scholarship exclusively to Kirtland. The last year of the school was on a guarantee subscription by the citizens, which was never paid, the whole loss falling on Crary. At the death of Martindale and Coe, E.G. Bunnell and Demas Bryant were elected trustees, and at the last meeting of the trustees, C. B. Rising was elected trustee, and a vote was taken authorizing C. G. Crary to sell the building and other property belonging to the seminary.
The early students of the W.R.T. Seminary, for intellectual ability, would compare favorably with an equal number of students in any of our colleges and institutions of learning. I will mention a few of them that placed their names high on the roll of fame as educators: Dr. Lord, at the head of the institution for the education of the blind at Columbus for many years, and held a
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similar position at Batavia, N.Y., until the time of his death; Dr. Nichols, for many years principal of the girls' industrial home at Delaware, O; Prof. T. W. Harvey, commissioner of schools for Ohio; Geo. E. Howe, principal of the reform farm at Lancaster, O, and now holding a similar position at Meriden, Conn.; M. F. Cowdery, superintendent of schools for Sandusky City. In the military line I mention General Leggett, afterward Commissioner of Patents, now practicing law in Cleveland, and two by the name of Wilcox, given names not remembered, one of them made prisoner by the rebels. Then there is a long list of ministers, lawyers, bankers, and doctors, too numerous to mention, all, so far as I know, strong supporters of the Union during the rebellion, with two or three exceptions. One of the exceptions was Harrison Dodd, who went to Indiana, became the leader of the Golden Circle, a treasonable organization, which was broken up, and if he had been caught at the time he would have been hung.
The lady students were perhaps equally as talented as the gentlemen. I will mention but two or three of them. Mr. Elizabeth Russell Lord assisted her husband in his labors for the blind, and is said to have taught more blind persons to read than any other person in the United States, and was invited by the Queen to visit England to engage in the same philanthropic work. She now holds an important position at Oberlin College. Miss Maria Whiting is lady principal of Knox Seminary, Ill; and I believe that much of the popularity of Geo. E. Howe is due to his wife (sister of Mrs. George Frank, of Kirtland) who by her kindness and motherly care has a restraining influence on the wayward youths, and the most incorrigible dislike to give her pain or cause her trouble.
Found, by a lady in Chardon, April 19, 1890, in an old desk, in a secret drawer, between the leaves of an old account book, ninety-five dollars in Kirtland bank bills, thirty-one in number, consisting of ones, twos, threes, fives, tens and twenty dollar bills. How long they had remained there no one now can tell. The desk once belonged to the old grandfather of the family. How he obtained they, and why he laid them by, we can only imagine. They were all issued in 1837, and the officers of the bank were the officers of the Church of Latter Day Saints, commonly known as Mormons. The bank officers' names, as they appear on the bills, are J. Smith, Cashier; S. Rigdon, President; sometimes J. Smith, Jr., O. Pratt, S. G. Williams, N. R. Whitney, W. Parrish and Omo [sic] O. Hyde and S. Smith, on different bills, and officers. The engraver's names were: Underwood, Bald, Spencer and Hufty, New York and Philadelphia. The name of the bank was the "Kirtland Safety Society Bank." But in 1838 the Mormons began to leave Kirtland for Illinois, and at one time I counted thirty-eight covered wagons on the road south of Aurora Center, going south. They had a large number of horses, probably bought with Kirtland Bank money, and this $95 may have been given for a horse. I think the bank was not a chartered institution from the State of Ohio, but was a society bank, gotten up by the society of Kirtland on their own authority and responsibility.
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I remember, at that time and shortly after, there were a great many banks in Ohio, Indiana and other States that issued paper money, not very safe to keep over night. It was called wildcat money. Nearly all of the States issued more or less of it. We used to regard eastern money far better than western generally, yet we had two banks in Ohio that we called good and safe. One was the Bank of Geauga, at Painesville, the other the Western Reserve Bank, at Warren. Afterward we had the State Bank of Ohio, good near home, within the State, known as the "Red Bank," long before the "greenback," that has filled a large a place in the currency of the United States, was known. Now, we hardly look at a bill to see whether it is good or not, only to see the amount; but in wildcat times we dare not take money, unless we had "Thompson's Bank Note Reporter," issued every week, to see if the bills offered were worth more than the paper in blank. Besides the wildcat banks, there was a large per cent of bills in circulation that were counterfeit. There was very little specie then in circulation, and what there was was very likely to be bogus. This generation cannot realize the vast benefit to the people of the United States -- yes, and to the world, -- of our present currency. It is as good as gold the world over, and far more convenient to carry about, doing business. Our greenbacks and National bills are as safe as Uncle Sam's mountain of gold or vault full of specie. Nobody wants to carry around a load of specie when Uncle Sam's promise on paper is just as safe and far more convenient. No one thinks to see what bank it is on, whether issued in Maine or Texas. As soon as he sees the amount he is ready to stuff it into his pockets, not thinking it may be a counterfeit, so few are now in circulation. Old Baron Rothchild of England, said, not long ago, that the United States had the best currency of any nation in the world, and he was probably as good a judge as the world afforded then. Forty years ago, and now, what a change in money matters! The young business man of to day cannot realize it. H. B.
In looking over the yarns I have been knitting together for a few months past, many stitches have been dropped and I will try to take a few of the most prominent ones. A Mr. B., of Kirtland, obtained work at Fairport, and after a few weeks secured a horse and buggy and a boy to bring him set to Kirtland. The owner of the rig, knowing of Mr. B.'s dissipated habits, charged the boy not to let him drive. He liquored up on the way, and when he got to the Mentor hill he had lost all reason; he took the lines out of the boy's hands and whipped the horse into a run down the hill. There was a sharp turn in the road and the horse took it all right, but B. kept straight on, striking on his bead and breaking his neck. W. P. Whelpley, now of Painesville, then a lad, and some other boys were there, and stopped the horse and sent for a doctor. A crowd soon fathered, and when Dr. Whitley arrived he cried out: "Set him up, boys; give him a chance to breath." But he had drawn his last breath and taken his last dram.
Another strange drunken affair, but not quite so tragical, happened a short time after. A Mr. R. went to Painesville after a hogshead of sugar for one of Kirtland's merchants. In coming home he imbibed quite heavily, but came
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down the hill all right. The road at that time crossed the river below the dam and then crossed the race between the dam and the mill. The race was some fifteen feet deep, with five or six feet of water. The bridge over it was fifteen or twenty feet long, without any railings on the sides. It was very dark, but the horses had not been drinking and were perfectly sober, and would have crossed over all right if they could have had their own way; but the driver must get out and lead them across. Not starting in the right direction, and walking backwards, he went off the upper side of the bridge, pulling the horses and wagon off after him. He and the horses must have swung partly under the bridge, or they would have been crushed by the wagon and sugar. They were got out that night, not badly injured. The next day the wagon was brought to land, but little damaged; but the sugar was a total loss, as the mill made no better flour with sweetened water than it did with clear.
After the Kirtland distillery was closed, as mentioned in a former communication, there were people determined that liquor should be manufactured in Kirtland, and a cider brandy distillery was started up the river from the flats. The poor man who operated it was blown up, injured and scalded by the explosion of the boiler, and was for a long time cared for and supported by the charity of neighbors.
The whisky people were still determined that the township should not go dry, and erected a building for a distillery at the cold spring near the Willoughby line, on the farm now owned by the heirs of the late Hon. H. G. Tryon. But death by delirium tremens of the man who was to operate it , and the strong opposition of the temperance people, put a stop to its completion as a distillery, and the enterprise was abandoned.
Several tragedies have taken place in Kirtland which were not caused by liquor. Mrs. Quartus Clark, on the Temple hill, was by some means thrown from her buggy and killed. Some girls visited the grist mill, when the clothes of one of them caught by a rapidly revolving shaft, whirled her around it, killing her. Ervine Peck, in stooping to pick up a pail of water from the spring, some two feet deep, slipped, went in headforemost, and was drowned. If my memory is not at fault, two girls were drowned in the mill pond at the flats -- drowned in a washtub, and two boys, sons of C. Sperry and W. Plaisted, were playing in a sand bank which caved in and crushed their tender lives. The friends of the victims of the above mentioned casualties should have one consolation -- that their loved ones left this land of sin and sorrow for the other shore unpolluted by the sin and crime of intemperance.
In the year 1846 I was appointed by the county commissioners to appraise the townships of Mentor, Kirtland and Willoughby, under the new law taxing all property at its true value in cash. It was a very intricate and difficult task. Everything was new; the former assessment was no guide to go by, and the people generally believed it was going to raise their taxes. When I commenced on the township of Willoughby I had no acquaintance with the south and west
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parts of the township, but I found a very intelligent, upright and straight-forward people. There was but little effort made to impress my mind with the great value of their neighbor's farm and depreciate their own. When I made my business known to them, the general reply was: "You may value our land on this street all alike; there is no difference: you must look at our buildings and improvements, and exercise your own judgment in placing a valuation on them." I could recall the names of a majority of the farmers, but no doubt a large portion of them have passed over to the other shore, and I trust their places are filled by worthy sons of noble sires.
Some years later I met an old Democratic friend, a former resident of Kirtland. He said that when I was appointed to that office he thought the Democrats would suffer, but he could not see that I had made any difference; if there was any difference, he thought I had favored the Democrats, as I had appraised his Whig neighbor's fifty acres at 50 cents an acre higher than his fifty by the side of it, which he thought equally as good. I told him that I was sorry if I had wronged my Whig friend the tax on $25 by appraising his land too high, or had wronged the county that much by putting his land too low. But possibly I was right, and he was over-valuing his own land.
In 1851 the land was to be re-valued. The office of assessor had become elective. The commissioners divided the county into four districts, putting Willoughby and Kirtland together. There were then three political parties. The Free Soil party, out-numbering both the others, nominated John Babcock; the Democrats nominated Samuel Metcalf, and the Whigs nominated C. G. Crary. I had no expectation of being elected, and fell a little behind Babcock in my own township; but the township of Willoughby gave me a large vote, electing me by majority. For this mark of confidence I have always felt grateful to the people of Willoughby, and of course commended them highly for their good judgment and discrimination. The foregoing may look like self-boasting, but I hope my readers will pardon an old man in reviewing the events of long years ago in re-telling only the bright and sunny side, ignoring the dark clouds that have shaded much of his life.
In June, 1850, the steamer "Griffith" was burned on Lake Erie, near the shore of Willoughby, when all hope of saving the boat was abandoned. It was headed for the shore, but did not quite reach it. The passengers -- between 300 and 400 in number -- jumped into the water from the side of the boat nearest the land, and so rapidly that good swimmers stood no chance of escape. But few were saved. Several, having presence of mind, jumped from the other side of the boat, and swimming around the surging mass in front of the boat, reached the shore. The bodies were raised and buried on the bank of the lake. Thirteen years later I visited the scene of the disaster, and found the lake had encroached upon the land and carried away nearly all of the burying ground. A few rough coffins were striking out of the bank, ready to fall in when old Lake Erie should again show her angry and mighty power.
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I have been reading the life and confession of John D. Lee, who was executed for participation in the Mountain Meadow massacre, which took place in 1857, in which 121 persons, according to Lee, and 123, according to the skulls gathered up years after, were slain. They were emigrants from Arkansas going to California through southern Utah with a large drove of cattle. The Indians, instigated by the Mormons, commenced the attack, killing ten of the emigrants and suffering considerable loss themselves. The emigrants formed a corral with their wagons, chaining them together, dug a rifle pit in the center of the corral, where they were out of reach of Indian bullets. The siege lasted four or five days. The Indians becoming discouraged, the Mormons had to assist. Fifty-eight of them had assembled, well armed, when word came from Isaac C. Haight and others that for the glory of God and upbuilding of the kingdom, the emigrants must be destroyed. They could not be driven from their stronghold, and must be decoyed by stratagem. Lee, who was an Indian farmer, had perfect control of the Indians and stood high in the Mormon priesthood, went with a flag of truce to the emigrant camp. The emigrants, being short of water and ammunition, gladly capitulated on condition that their lives should be spared. The arrangements were that the corral should be opened; two Mormon wagons should drive in, take all the arms, the sick, wounded and small children, drive past the Mormons, who should stand in single file with arms at rest -- Lee to go with the wagons. When the wagons had reached a certain distance (where there was a cedar thicket) the women and children were to follow in single file. When they arrived at the proper distance the men were to follow in single file. The Indians were to be sent away. They were sent away, but only to the cedar thicket, where they lay in ambush. When the men arrived opposite the Mormons they were all shot down, and the firing was the signal for the Indians to dispatch the women and children, and for the drivers with Lee to kill the sick and wounded.
The program was carried out to the letter. The whole company of emigrants was slaughtered, except sixteen children in the wagons who were too young to talk or remember; they were finally sent back to Arkansas. For cold-blooded deviltry the crime has hardly a parallel in all history, and all for the glory of God! and the advancement of the Mormon Church of Latter Day Saints! The Mormons then rifled the bodies of all valuables, money, jewelry and watches, and the Indians stripped them of all their clothing. The next day Dame, Straight, Higby and other dignitaries of the church viewed the naked bodies and ordered them thrown into a small ravine and covered with dirt, which was but slightly done for the want of suitable tools. They then bound themselves by solemn oath to secrecy and to kill any one who should say anything about it, even to their wives. Lee was sent to Salt Lake to lay the matter before Brigham Young. Brigham appeared very uneasy about it at first; wanted Lee to call the next day. When he did so, Brigham appeared very cheerful; said he had laid the subject before the Lord and had been assured that it was all right, but enjoined great secrecy. Brigham afterward expressed
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anxiety to find out the guilty ones; went with a United States officer to the Meadows to find out the murderers, but managed to throw him off the scent, although he knew the name of every man engaged in the massacre. Lee was the only one ever brought to justice, and then nineteen years after the commission of the crime. Lee was a fanatic; stood high in the Mormon church as a business man and high as a priest. He cites many instances where God had warned him in dreams and visions, enabling him to escape dangers seen and unseen. He held that all his crimes had been committed in accordance with God's will, and that he was proof against the wiles of the devil and the machinations of the gentiles. When he was convicted and sentenced to be shot his faith left him. He then saw that God was not his protector, and that the moloch Brigham, whom he had worshipped, had deserted him. Then he felt it his duty to expose the crimes of the priesthood. He gives account of many murders, of young men deprived of manhood that some lecherous bishop might add his intended wife to his harem. That trading and stealing of wives were quite common that he had eight wives stolen from him at one time when he was absent. He describes the state of society at Nauvoo as but little short of a brothel, and says that Joe Smith got a man to select all the passages in the Bible in reference to polygamy and had them published in pamphlet form, advocating that doctrine.
Lee joined the Mormons after they left Kirtland. He brings in many Kirtland names. He received the patriarchal blessing from Isaac Morley. I can discover but one mistake. He makes Luke Johnson one of the witnesses to the Mormon book and tells of his renunciation. I think he has only mistaken the name of Johnson for that of Oliver Cowdery, whom I have understood did renounce the whole thing privately, but did not dare to publish it openly for fear of assassination by the Danite band.
On a trip to Northern Michigan, a few weeks ago, I visited a lady near ninety years old who formerly lived in Kirtland. She had in her younger days a very retentive memory. It used to be said that she remembered all that she ever heard, and a great many things she never did hear. But the loss of property, the death of her husband and all her children, had completely demoralized her mind. She could repeat mechanically many of the songs of olden times, but if interrupted could not be brought back to where she had left off or even to the same verse or song. She repeated to me many of the verses of the song that your Clinton, Iowa, correspondent wished to have resurrected. I agree with him that they were too personal and bit too hard to appear in print -- sparing neither character, habit or misfortune. I will give as a sample one verse merely, which does not give the name, and cannot wound the feelings of relatives or descendants, if he has any this side of Salt Lake. He lived a bachelor for some years, and did not patronize the washerwoman very liberally,
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and had the misfortune to have his face considerably pitted with smallpox. The verse ran thus:
"His Sunday clothes looked like those
Unknown at the washer's tub,
And his gnarly face looked like the place
Where woodpeckers hunt for grub."
When the song was rendered at a large gathering it was amusing to see how different persons received their portion of it. Some seemed to enjoy having their short-comings and deformities of mind or body portrayed; often laughed when it was the other fellow that suffered, but when their turn came looked as if choking with internal profanity, but dare not spit it out for fear it would double the laugh against them. Such biting and stinging sarcasm would not be tolerated at the present time. But then the people were good natured, had but few amusements, and when they did get together for house-raising, logging-bee or training, calculated to have a good time and enjoy a good joke, even if it was at their own expense. Now all is changed. and sarcasm, irony, and ridicule are merged into politics, and people are careful not to injure the feelings or character of their neighbor, unless their neighbor happens to be a candidate for office on the other side, then all the vials of wrath, vituperation calumny, falsehood, forgery and abuse are poured upon his head without mercy. I learned from this lady in Michigan the first verse of the song in reference to the raising of their wages by Congress --
"O, would you hear what roaring cheer
They had at Uncle Sam's Congress, O;
How they gabbled so gay as they doubled their pay,
And doubled the people's taxes, O."
I regret that I could not obtain the whole song. It would apply so aptly to the city officials of New York, Chicago and some other large cities, who double their pay -- not openly, as Congress did, but by bribes and selling official patronage. I learned also at Michigan that the president of the day at our great 4th of July celebration, to which I once made reference, was Mr. Waite, grandfather of A. G. Waite, who has waited so long as agent at the Lake Shore depot in Willoughby.
I will close this article with a, short story which ends in poetry. In an early day dancing parties were not very common, for the want of a good violinist that liked to play for hire, until after Samuel Force came to Kirtland, when that long-felt want was supplied; but the young people held their social gatherings all the same. There was a New Year's party at Esq. Moore's, and James Bradly went up the road after a girl. Some mischievous person, after he had gone, felled a small sapling across the road, leaving the butt on the stump so high that he could neither go over or under it; but he managed to get around it, and thought it best to keep dark and say nothing about it. In the sports of the evening, for some delinquency or bad guessing, many of the company had to be
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judged. The sentence of a lady and gentleman were that they should stand in opposite corners of the room and compose a verse. The gentleman led off --
James Bradley did on New Year's day
Go up the hill in a jumper sleigh.
To which the lady replied --
When coming back he found a pole
He could not cross to save his soul.
I gave you a short time ago some items from the life and confessions of John D. Lee, but omitted many of the most horrible and disgusting details. The doctrines and practices that he claimed the Mormons of Salt Lake had, correspond so closely to those practiced and promulgated more than fifty years ago, and the truth of the statements can hardly be doubted. The doctrines that they were the chosen people of God; that they were to inherit the earth; that the gentiles had no rights that they were bound to respect; that it was doing God service to despoil them of property, and even of life, when it was thought necessary for the advancement of the Mormon church. The practice of these doctrines at Kirtland were not fully lived up to, owing to public sentiment and the strong arm of the law, but in Salt Lake, where no law existed, were fully carried out. The doctrine of celestial marriage, carefully and rather secretly advocated in Kirtland, was practiced openly at Nauvoo, and at Salt Lake became the most prominent feature of the Mormon church.
Lee says that he was instructed in the doctrine of celestial marriage by Hyrum Smith, who said that it was according to revelation received direct from God. Lee says that the doctrine accorded with his view of scripture, and he soon took his second wife, and had married ten before leaving Nauvoo, three at Council Bluffs, on his way to Salt Lake, and five after he got to Utah. He took his eighteenth wife by order of Brigham Young, the ceremony performed by Amasa Lyman. He claimed but eighteen wives, but says be was sealed to old Mrs. Woolsey. She was sixty years old, the mother of three of his wives -- for her soul's sake, for her salvation in the eternal life, he married her. He never really considered her his wife, but treated her well. He was the father of sixty-four children: ten had died and fifty-four were then living. Lee mentions but two women as sealed to Joseph Smith, but says that he tried to have a beautiful woman sealed to him -- the wife of a wealthy man from Canada; also the daughter of another wealthy man, which incensed them very much, and they started a newspaper, called "The Expositor," in which, as Lee expresses it, they set Smith up without mercy. This quarrel finally culminated in the death of Joseph Smith and Hyrum by a mob headed by men who had been taught how to dispose of enemies and seceders from the Mormon faith. A short time before Smith's death be was nominated for president of the United States, and a large force sent in all directions to electioneer for him. About one hundred went down to St. Louis. where they separated. Lee, with ten assistants, went to Kentucky to convert that State, but the death of Joseph blasted all their bright hopes of having a prophet of the Lord for president.
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I mentioned in a former letter that many prosecutions were pending over Mormons at the time they left for Missouri in 1838. I will mention one that is rather amusing. Patriarch Smith, Joseph's father, was arrested a few weeks before the camp started, for performing the marriage ceremony without authority from the State of Ohio to do so. He was brought before a magistrate, and a number of lawyers and pettifoggers assembled -- mostly ex-Mormons -- ready to prosecute and defend. But all expressed much sympathy for the old man, and urged the prosecutor to drop the suit; that the old man did not know that he was violating the law: that be meant no harm; that he would soon leave the country, and that it would save the county much expense to let him go. But the prosecutor was firm; he would not let the laws of Ohio be violated with impunity. When they could not move the prosecutor, Smith's lawyer took him into the consultation room to prepare the case for defense. The room was small; had one window and no outside door. They remained an unreasonable length of time. When the patience of the court and lawyers became exhausted, they opened the door, and there sat the lawyer; the window was shoved up and Smith was gone, and kept secreted until the camp left. He was often called "Seven-by-nine' after this. The seceding Mormons had very expressive name for many of the Mormons, such as "Barebait," "Gravy Eye," "Cold Chisel," and others equally as expressive.
My recollections of Kirtland would not be complete without mentioning a few of the followers of Joseph Smith. Martin Harris, Oliver Cowdery and David Whitmer, witnesses to the Mormon book, or rather, testified that they saw and "hefted" the plates from which the book was transcribed. I believe they all admitted that the plates were covered with a cloth, and they only saw them by the eye of faith. I do not recollect of ever seeing Whitmer, but believe that both he and Cowdery left Kirtland before the camp left, and did not follow Smith to Nauvoo or Missouri. Martin Harris remained in Kirtland twenty-five or thirty years after the Mormons left. His mind, always unbalanced on the subject of Mormonism, had become so demented that he thought himself a bigger man than Smith, or even Christ, and believed that most of the prophecies in the Old Testament referred directly to him. One day, when working for me, he handed me a leaflet that he had got printed, taken from some of the prophets, telling of a wonderful person that should appear and draw all men after him. I looked it over and returned it to him. He said, "Who do you think it refers to?" I said, "Why, of course, it refers to you." He looked very much pleased, and said, "I see you understand the scriptures." In 1867 or 1868, while acting as township trustee, complaint was made to me that Martin Harris was destitute of a home, poorly clothed, feeble, burdensome to friends, and that he ought to he taken to the poor-house. I went down to the flats to investigate, and found him at a house near the Temple, with a family lately moved in, strangers to me. He seemed to dread the poor-house very much. The lady of the house said she would take care of him while their
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means lasted, and I was quite willing to postpone the unpleasant task of taking him to the poor-house. Everybody felt sympathy for him He was willing to work and make himself useful as far as his age and debility would admit of. Soon after that he was sent for and taken to Salt Lake, which was the only act of sympathy I ever knew of the Mormons bestowing on any of their dupes who had been ruined by them.
One day I met John Tanner coming out of the bank. I saw that he was feeling bad, and spoke to him rather sympathizingly. He said he wanted to tell me how he had been used. We stepped to one side and he said that he had put all his money into the bank, and now, when he wanted to draw a few dollars to support his family, they refused to let him have a dollar, and abused and threatened and insulted him for asking. Subsequently he had some articles of property which he took into Portage county and traded for cheese; this he brought to Kirtland and traded for other provisions. This was violating Mormon rules -- that all marketing should be done through the market-master. He was brought up before the church. I happened down there and went into the Temple to hear the trial. The market-master stated his case, and Joseph Smith made a speech showing the necessity of strictly obeying the rules. He was convicted, but I do not recollect amount of fine. Yet John Tanner stuck to his faith. and left for Missouri with the camp, though he was a man of good ability, strict integrity. and respected by all who knew him. It was marvelous to see with what tenacity they held to their faith in the prophet, when they knew they had been robbed, abused and insulted.
I will mention one more instance of strong faith. Oliver Snow was an old neighbor of both my father and father-in-law in Massachusetts. He was of more than ordinary ability and undoubted integrity. He removed to Mantua, Portage County, and with his family became followers of Alexander Campbell under Rigdon's preaching, and followed him into Mormonism. The sons stood high in the Mormon priesthood, and a daughter became infatuated with Smith, and was reported to have been sealed to him as his spiritual wife. She was quite a literary person with much poetic talent. Her poetry was superior to that of our early Kirtland poets. A poem of hers of some four or five verses, the last one only remembered, read thus:
We thank thee for a prophet's voice,
His people's steps to guide;
In him we do and will rejoice,
Though all the world deride.
Mr. Snow came to Kirtland in 1836, and purchased the farm at the Center now owned by David Traver. He decided not to go with the camp, but to remain in Kirtland. He was quite intimate at our house. I then lived with my father-in-law. After the Mormons had got settled at Nauvoo, Joseph Smith had a revelation that Snow must turn out his farm to pay a debt that he (Smith) owed at the Geauga Bank and take an order on the bishop at Nauvoo, where the amount would be made up to him. The old man hesitated. He did not like to go, but as he had
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two sons and a daughter that stood high with Smith, they would not see him wronged, and as it was the will of the Lord, he felt it his duty to go. A few days before he left he came up to bid his old friends good-bye. He had some fine blooded cattle of the Hereford breed, and wanted to make me a present of a calf three or four days old -- he should take the cow with him. I went down for the calf and had quite a talk with him: told him I feared he would never realize anything from his order on the bishop. He said, "If I don't it is the last they will ever get out of me; I have still a good farm in Mantua and enough besides to carry me through this world, and if the order is not paid I shall leave them." Some three or four years after he left I heard that he remained with them till they had robbed him of all that he had; that he had sold the farm in Mantua and the church had got all of that but the last payment of $800, with which he intended to leave, and that was stolen from him, it was thought, by some of the brethren, leaving him entirely destitute. He then gave the worthless order on the bishop to his son, and told him if he could find any one wishing to come to Nauvoo, to trade it to them for a farm. His son succeeded in trading the order for a farm, and the broken-down, feeble old man left Nauvoo for his new home.
I was reminded the other day by an old school teacher that in my reminiscences I had said nothing about common schools. I told her that common schools were invented since my day. She seemed to doubt my word. On collecting my thoughts together l found that I did remember some things about schools, but they were not very common. When I was five years of age I had learned to read, and thought myself quite proficient in that branch of education, and on reading a chapter in the Testament to my mother, she confirmed me in my good opinion of myself. After we came to Ohio and settled in Kirtland, there was not much chance for schooling in our part of the township. I think in 1813 a school was started at the Flats, in a private house, and my sister hired to teach it. If remembered aright, her wages were fifty cents a week and board around -- that is, with each family, according to the number of scholars sent. My parents, wishing to give me a good education, hired me boarded at the Flats. I do not know the price of board, but, if it corresponded with the quality, it should be low. We had for breakfast johnny-cake, boiled potatoes, fried pork and the grease that was fried out of it -- which the lady of the house called sop -- and sometimes butter. For dinner it was cold johnny-cake, or cold boiled potatoes; and I will say that l never before or since ate potatoes that, equaled them; they were of an old English variety, large, dry and mealy. A little salt might have improved their flavor, but salt was scarce and high in those days. For supper, the best meal, it was johnny cake or potatoes and milk. I could have stood the fare well enough, for I was well seasoned to short commons and hard fare, if the lady had not been an intolerable scald. She did not scold at me, but at her son, who was about my age. He could do nothing right.
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She scolded him for eating so much; scolded him for eating so much butter. "Why don't you do as Christopher does? He eats sop on his bread and he don't eat half as much as you do; eating so much will make you sick." I was very bashful, and of course let the butter alone, and did not quite satisfy the cravings of hunger. I became homesick in a week, and concluded that my education was sufficient.
About 1817 a school was started by Mrs. Aaron Metcalf, in their house, which stood a little above the residence of Mrs. Myers. Mrs. Metcalf was an excellent teacher, and all liked her. After my mother, I thought her the nicest woman I had ever seen. She taught two winter terms of three months each. I do not know what wages she had -- probably not much over a dollar a week. There was no public school fund in those days, and think there was none until about 1835 or 1836. The teachers were paid in different ways: sometimes by subscription, and then sometimes the patrons signed for so many scholars; and after the township was settled so that there was no lack of scholars they paid according to the number of days sent.
Teachers were not required to understand grammar or teach it till about 1836, when the common school law went into effect. The wages of female teachers rose from 50 cents a week up to $1.50, and male teachers generally got $12.00 per month for the winter term, and board around. I think Geo. A. Russell's father taught for two or three winters for $12.00 a month and boarded himself. Of school books we had but few, and hardly two of a kind, except the spelling book. Webster's spelling book was universally used for spelling and reading by all except the first class, or more advanced students. They had the Columbian Orator, the American Speaker, Morse's Geography and the Testament. I think my father never paid more than two dollars for books for my use -- a Webster's Spelling Book, an American Reader, Gough's Arithmetic, and a slate, I believe was all. Pencils we made ourselves from soapstone. Now it costs a small fortune to supply a family with school books. New books have to be bought with every change of teachers, and prices have unreasonably advanced. A gentleman moved into Marshalltown, Iowa, a few years ago. His family was well supplied with school books, but not of the kind used in town, and it cost him $18.00 to furnish them with new books. Certainly reform is needed in the matter of school books.
In 1832, feeling the need of some knowledge of grammar, we hired a gentleman by the name of Moran to give us twenty-four evening lessons in that study. He taught principally by lectures. He was social and genial, a perfect master of grammar, and we anticipated much good from his labor: but in a week or so he did not appear for four or five days, but was found down at the still-house nearly dead drunk. When sufficiently sobered up, he came back and tried to make light of his spree; said that he was not drunk; that he did not consider a man drunk so long as he could sit, stand or lie in a ten-acre lot., Our temperance society was then in full blast, and we decided to live up to our principles in laboring for the reformation of the erring, and gave him another chance on promise that he would refrain from intoxicants -- but with the understanding
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that it would not be so easily overlooked. The second time, school went on for a week or so, when he went off on another bender, and we never saw him again. Thus our fond hopes of becoming grammarians were forever blasted.
Are we not a nation of grumblers? We grumble when it is too hot, too cold, too wet or too dry. We grumble at working ten hours for a day's work, and would do the same at eight hours. We grumble at $1.50 and $2.00 per day, because some get more. We grumble because some of our neighbors are getting rich faster than we are. We grumble at the extortions of railroads, bankers, manufacturers, merchants and professional men. We grumble at paying five cents or ten cents a yard for calico sheeting and shirting, because there is a duty on the imported article. We grumble at paying 75 cents for an axe, for the same reason. We grumble at paying $25.00 for a suit of clothes, because the same can be bought in Canada for $20.00. We grumble at paying three cents a mile railroad fare, and would grumble the same at two cents. We grumble at two cents letter postage, and want it reduced to one. Those that have to sell grumble at low prices -- at the low price of beef, pork and grain: and those that have to buy grumble at the high prices. In fact, we all have something to grumble about. I think we grumble ten times as much as we did sixty to eighty years ago, when we had ten times the cause for it than now,
I will mention a few of the inconveniences, hardships and privations that we endured without much grumbling. Lucifer matches were not invented, and we had to keep our fire alive the year around. In summer we buried a few brands in ashes to keep the fire alive during night if by any mishap it went out we had steel, flint and powder with which to start a fire. Breakfast would be delayed a half hour or more. But neither government or providence were to blame, and we had nobody to grumble at. We worked for 50 cents a day of twelve house and were satisfied, as it was the highest price. We sold wheat for 37 cents a bushel, and bartered corn for whiskey, and were happy. We paid 25 cents letter postage freely, because the postoffice department did not support itself. We paid $2.00 for an English axe, $1.50 for an English sickle, about 'the same for a scythe, six cents to eight cents per pound for nails. We knew there was a tariff on all foreign goods -- tea, coffee, iron, cutlery, and most everything else -- but we paid it without grumbling because our government was poor and had about as close work to make the year ends meet as we had. The government had frequently to borrow to do it. Even as late as 1860 it had to borrow millions to meet its current expenses in a time of peace, and that at a ruinous rate of interest. We paid duty on the goods we bought and the merchants' profits more freely than any other part of the amount, as that remained in the country and entered into circulation, while the balance went to England never to return. We have paid to England in the last twenty five years about $300,000,000 for tin plate, which has taken that much money out of the country.
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In addition, we have paid about $78,000,000 duty, but that bas been retained in the country and helped to furnish our circulating medium.
Axes in an early day came from England. They were an awkward looking tool and cost $2.00. Blacksmiths made some that looked not much better and cost about the same. As I considered myself A No. 1 in the use of an axe, I will relate how I obtained my first one. I gathered a load of black walnuts and bartered them off in Plainsville, at a5 cents a bushel. Took in part pay 1 1/4 lbs. of English blistor steel, the only kind then fit for edge tools. Took an old axe pole to Chatfield's blacksmith shop and had it jumped. The charge was only 75 cents, as I found the steel. I paid him at N. K. Whitney's store and paid Whitney with wood at his ashery. It took two of us a day to grind the axe, and when finished it had cost me about seven days' work. I did not grumble but rather felt proud that I had obtained it so easy. I had plenty of days' work but little cash. It was a good axe, but I can now buy one just as good and much handsomer for 75 cents.
I see by the last issue of your paper that E. L. Kelley has a long-winded article criticizing my remembrances of Kirtland. I had made no allusion to the church of the Latter Day Saints who now occupy the Temple at Kirtland, and disclaimed any intention of doing so: but a wounded bird will flutter, and when a coat fits there is no objection to its being worn. I have written reminiscences mostly from memory, but intend to have all the matter stated to be substantially true -- and still believe they are so. I will only notice a few of his most prominent charges against me, leaving the most of his sophistry for future comment.
He says that the Mormon bank was not based on cash in the vaults, but on the pledge of real estate. I deny that there was any tangible pledge of real estate whatever. It was an unchartered institution, and therefore a violation of the laws of Ohio. But, says Kelley, there were one hundred and seventy-five stockholders whose real estate was pledged for the redemption of the bills. From what I knew of the Mormons at that time I think not one in ten owned unencumbered real estate; and whatever talk there may have been among themselves of pledging the half acre lots they had bargained for at $500 or $1,000, with but little if anything paid down, it amounted to nothing that holders of the bills could reap any benefit from whatever. The bank collapsed in a few weeks after the first issue of bills, and there was considerable clamor among the brethren, and the building was searched but nothing found except lead, etc. I had this from a Mormon, who then renounced his faith.
As for Smith's store, he certainly had one in the fall of 1836. It was reported to be his; he claimed it to be his. I saw him in it several times, apparently the owner of it -- Kelley to the contrary, notwithstanding. I never claimed that they sent money to New York or Pennsylvania to pay debts -- I think their credit would not enable them to make debts there. The story that Smith endeavored by publication of the press or otherwise to stop the circulation
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of Mormon money, is rather fishy. As men went out with pockets full of the stuff, signed by Joseph Smith, during the winter of '37 and' 38, to shove it off, mostly for horses. They were down in Central Ohio where my father and brother lived, trying to get rid of it.
Last April, a lady in Chardon found in grandfather's old desk in a secret drawer $95 Mormon money. It is quite probable that it was taken for a horse. Brother Kelley seems to draw some consolation from the fact that it was hard times, and that other banks with fictitious capital failed. All banks did suspend specie payments several months after the Mormon bank collapsed, but all honest banks based upon capital came through all right. I was living near there at the time and took much interest in the bank, hoping it would succeed and enable us to sell out and get away. I attended one or two meetings where bank business was talked up, and believe that I know more about the inside and outside workings of the bank than E. L. Kelley, who was probably not born at that time, and has obtained his knowledge second and third-handed and from a one-sided source,
I will notice but one other charge at this time that Kelley makes. That is, that I have quoted Lee against Joseph Smith, and never lost faith in him even to the last. He did not intent to say anything derogatory to Smith's character as a christian and a gentleman, and considered his practice and teaching polygamy corresponded with the scriptures of the Old Testament, and was the crowning glory of his doctrine, that doctrine that sanctioned him (Lee) in the enjoyment of the society of nineteen wives and fifty-four living children.
I suppose it is a matter of history, or at least of record, but perhaps not generally known to the present generation, that the states of Ohio and Michigan once stood facing each other in battle array. The way it happened was this: When the states of Virginia, Connecticut, and others whose colonial charters from the British crown extended across the continent to the Pacific ocean, relinquished to Congress their western claims, it was decided by Congress to divide the north-west territory into five territories for admission as states, to be bounded as follows -- Ohio on the east, and south by Pennsylvania and the Ohio River, west by Indiana, and north by a line running due east from the south end of Lake Michigan to Lake Erie; thence by the Lake to the Pennsylvania line; Indiana north by an east and west line ten miles north of the south end of Lake Michigan; Illinois to extend on the west side of Lake Michigan, distance not recollected; and on the west by the Mississippi River, which was then our western boundary. The territory west of the Mississippi was afterward obtained by the Louisiana purchase. Wisconsin was bounded west by the Mississippi, north and east by Lake Superior, St. Mary's River, and Lake Michigan; Michigan by the lakes on the west, north and east, and by Ohio and Indiana on the south.
Ohio was the first to apply for admission to the Union. In her constitutional convention in 1802 it was found that her north line would not include the mouth of the Maumee River, then called the Mayme of the Lakes, a navigable
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stream for some distance. Ohio wanted control of it mouth, knowing that some day there must be a large city near its mouth. The convention fixed her northern boundary on a line running a little north of east from the south end of Lake Michigan to the north bank of the Maumee River at its mouth. She sent a commission to run and mark the line through and was thus admitted to the Union.
In 1834 Michigan applied for admission and claimed to the east and west line. Ohio, to prevent trouble, sent a commission to trace and re-mark the line. The commission consisted of Uri Seeley, of Painesville, a Mr. Taylor of Columbus, and Mr. Patterson of Cincinnati. Messrs. Hawkins and Fletcher were the surveyors, and Zophar Warner, lately of Willoughby but now of Kirtland, as an assistant. To Mr. W. am I indebted for many of the names, facts and circumstances. Governor Mason, the acting governor of Michigan -- (l think he was lieutenant under Cass, whom I believe was in General Jackson's cabinet) -- sent an officer by the name of Brown with a posse and arrested the commissioners and surveyors and marched them to Tecumseh. Governor Lucas of Ohio at once called for troops to release and protect the surveying party, and Governor Mason prepared to defend his officers.
At this stage of the proceedings Congress interfered. Ohio could not be dispossessed -- but to pacify Michigan, Congress gave to her a large territory from Wisconsin across the lakes. There were but few settlers in Wisconsin at that time to complain, but she lost a valuable portion of her territory, rich in mineral and timber. Lewis Cass had much influence in national affairs at that time, and managed to give Michigan the best end of the bargain at the expense of Wisconsin, and Ohio held all she claimed. The Fletcher, mentioned with Colonel Dodge, surveyed the Ohio Canal; and the Mr. Hawkins, spoken of, was afterward speaker of the House of Representatives at Columbus. There was a man often mentioned in the papers at that time by the name of Stickney. He bad two sons, the oldest of which he named One Stickney and the second Two Stickney. They always retained those names, and were often mentioned during that trouble; but I do not know that they had anything to do with the matter. Mr. Warner thinks they had not, but only lived on the disputed strip of land.
I am offered the names of people in Kirtland who have lived through the reign of Mormonism there, to substantiate what I have said about the followers of Joseph Smith in my history of Kirtland, which has so badly disturbed brother Kelley, but I think I can substantiate what I have written and possibly some more, without exposing my friends to his criticism or to the anger of the Danite band. In this article I propose to give a short sketch of Mormon history. Their first intention was to make their headquarters, their Zion, in Missouri. I think they purchased some land there. If they promulgated the same doctrines there that they afterwards did in Kirtland -- that the Gentiles were to be destroyed, and they, the Saints were to inherit the earth -- there is no wonder that the hot southern blood rose in anger and fired them out of the state. They then lit down in Kirtland upon a law-abiding and long-suffering
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people. To some of their proceedings there I have alluded in my recollections of that township, and will not repeat at this time; suffice it to say, that with God within call to advise and direct they saw themselves completely aground, and had to leave from the folly of their own acts without much outside pressure.
Feeling themselves now strong enough to assert their rights in Missouri, they went back again there, but soon got in difficulty with the Missourians and after considerable blood-shed were again driven out of Missouri. They then took refuge at Nauvoo, Ill.; here they quarreled among themselves and also with the Gentiles around them. According to Lee, the quarrel among themselves led to the murder of Joseph and Hyrum. Whether Mormons or Gentiles were guilty will probably never be known. I think no one was ever brought to justice for the crime. Their religion is an aggressive one. They are the true Saints. The Gentiles are to be destroyed and the end justifies the means.
Kelley says, "If he (C. G. C.) will get the publications of Frank and Jesse James and the Cleveland fur robbers, they will prove another valuable addition to his theological library." The meaning of the sentence is to me rather obscure. I can see no theology in the crimes of Blinky Morgan, Frank and Jesse James. They were not committed under the cloak of religion -- did not throw the responsibility off upon God and claim him as a partner; and wherever the James boys and Blinky Morgan may be placed in the hereafter, it seems to me in justice that Rigdon, Smith, and Young should have assigned to them much the hottest corner.
In Kelley's examination he makes many insinuations and flings that I shall not notice. Neither his quotations from Bancroft and others, or from the Scriptures and Book of Covenants. We read of those who put on the livery of heaven to serve the devil in. Kelley seems the most disturbed at my quotations from Lee, the warm friend and firm believer in Joseph Smith, because it proves Smith to be the author of polygamy. I think I have proved conclusively, independent of Lee, that Smith taught and practiced the doctrine of celestial marriage in Kirtland, and that Kelley's strong effort to make out a distinction between the early Saints and those of Salt Lake City is like the lady that upset her churn in a certain portion of the house where the children were, but in gathering up the contents she rejected that which smelt bad and thus succeeded in saving most of the butter. So Kelley, with his acute olfactories and sophistical education may select out of the Book of Mormon, the Book of Covenants, the proceedings of the Saints in Kirtland, Missouri, Nauvoo and Salt Lake, with the numerous off-shoots of Mormonism, and from his theological friends, Jesse and Frank James, quite a palatable dish for his depraved appetite, but an intelligent community cannot make a distinction and will consider the whole an unsavory, disgusting, filthy mess. For truth and veracity the Salt Lake Saints, who act according to their belief and take the consequences, stand much higher than those quibbling and shirking Saints who, through fear
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of law and public sentiment, deny much of the teachings and practices of Joseph Smith.
The subject of Mormonism is not a pleasant one to write about. Many of my own family are connected with those having relatives in the Mormon faith and my valued friends; in fact, nearly all families in Kirtland are more or less connected with Mormons. Though I have not said half that the subject demands or that I would like to say, yet I will drop it and say no more about it unless forced to do in self defense.
And now Mr. Editor, I feel that an apology is due from me to you and my readers for pressing upon their attention such a belligerent, loathsome, polygamous subject as Mormonism. I am aware that I shall be likened to the boy that rubbed asafetida under his grandmother's nose, saying Granny, see how nasty it is.
I wrote the foregoing some two weeks ago, but forgot to mail it before I left for a visit in northern Iowa. I find this morning another blast from Kelley but will only refer to two or three of his statements. He says, "I now introduce the testimony of I. P. Axtell, a well known Lake County man, published on the 15th of March, 1880. He was for years a director in the First National Bank of Plainesville." "My father moved here with his family in the year 1830. He was a Baptist minister." The testimony is very long but not a word of truth in it. Silas Axtell was not a Baptist preacher -- was not a professor of religion -- belonged to no church, and never lived in Plainesville. I. P. Axtell's wife is a cousin of mine, his father's widow is a sister-in-law of mine, and I am satisfied from my acquaintance with the family that the whole article is nothing but gossip, with I. P. Axtell's name forged if it is attached. In regard to the theft of the plow, when the young man was converted and embraced religion he felt it his duty to confess the theft and make restitution. Did a saint ever confess and make restitution? As for an innocent Saint having to pay for that plow I think it is Latter Day Saint gossip and destitute of truth. I never heard of Hine's tool chest. If it was found in possession of a preacher of a popular denomination, I think it must have been a Latter Day Saint preacher, as they were numerous and popular at that time. Kelley wants proof. I append hereunto three affidavits of Latter Day Saints, showing that Smith not only instituted celestial marriage in Kirtland, but polygamy in Nauvoo. Kelley shows ignorance about the early Saints if he does not know that the first stake of Zion was to be in Missouri.
"I hereby certify that Hyrum Smith did, in his office, read to me a certain written document which he said was a revelation from God; he said he was with Joseph Smith when it was received, He afterwards gave me the document to read, and I took it to my house and read it, and showed it to my wife and returned it next day. The revelation, so called, authorized certain men to have more wives than one it a time, in this world and the world to come. It said this was the law and commanded Joseph to enter into the law, and also that he should administer to others. Several other items were in the revelation, supporting the above doctrines. WILLIAM LAW.
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STATE OF ILLINOIS.
Hancock County. ss
I, Robert D. Foster, certify that the above certificate was sworn to before me as true in substance, this 4th day of May, A. D. 1844.
ROBERT D. FOSTER, J. P."
I certify that I read the revelation referred to in the above affidavit of my husband; it sustained in strong terms the doctrine of more wives than one at a time in this world and in the next. It authorized some to have to the number of ten, and set forth that those women who would not allow their husbands to have more wives than one should be under condemnation before God.
Sworn and subscribed to before me this 4th day of May, A. D. 1844.
ROBERT D. FOSTER, J. P."
"To all whom it may concern: -- For as much as the public mind hath been agitated by a course of procedure in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints by a number of persons declaring against such doctrine and practices therein (among whom I am one) it is but meet that I should give my reasons, at least in part, as a cause that hath led me to declare myself. In the latter part of the summer of 1843 the Patriarch Hyrum Smith did in the High Council, of which I was a member, introduce what he said was a revelation given through the Prophet; that the said Hyrum Smith did essay to read the said revelation in said Council, that according to the reading there was contained the following doctrines: First, the sealing up of persons to eternal life against all sins, save that of shedding innocent blood, or of consenting thereto; second the doctrine of plurality of wives or marrying virgins, that David and Solomon had many wives, yet in this they sinned not, save in the matter of Uriah. This revelation with other evidence that the aforesaid heresies were taught and practised in the church, determined me to leave the office of First Counselor to the President of the Church at Nauvoo, inasmuch as I dared not teach or administer such laws. And further deponent saith not.
STATE OF ILLINOIS.
Hancock County. ss.
I hereby certify that the above certificate was sworn and subscribed to before me this 4th day of May; A. D., 1844.
ROBERT D. FOSTER, J. P."
In my sketches of Kirtland history, contributed to the Willoughby Independent, I made some statements in reference to Joseph Smith, the Mormon prophet, and his fanatical followers who made their home in Kirtland for some ten years, I disclaimed any intention to reflect on the community that now occupy the Mormon Temple at Kirtland who style themselves the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints who still hold that Joe Smith was a Prophet of the Lord, but ignore much of his teachings and practice. One E. L. Kelley, of the Kirtland branch of the Mormon Church, and now Bishop, took offense and in a three column newspaper article denies many of my statements and by sophistry insinuates falsehood against many more. He denies that the Temple was sold on a fine against Joe Smith. The record of the probate court of Lake County will show that it was sold and bid off by Wm. S. Perkins; Kelley says there were about one hundred and seventy-five stockholders to the Kirtland Bank, whose real estate was pledged for the redemption of the bills, when in fact, there was but one stockholder, and that one was Joe Smith.
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Sidney Rigdon may have thought himself a stockholder, and no doubt had some share of the swag, but Smith was the real stock or stakeholder. Having sold my farm to a Mormon on credit, and bought again, I looked to the success of the bank to save me from financial ruin. On investigation, I found that no one had taken stock, but a few had deposited with Joe Smith small amounts, as they would in a savings bank, for safe keeping, to be drawn out at pleasure. (It was so safe they never saw but little of it again.) When the bills were received from Philadelphia, (I think in January, 1837,) the private notes that Smith and Rigdon were owing were taken up with the bills, and a small portion of the deposits were drawn out. The bank then closed its doors. I think no one ever borrowed a dollar or discounted a note at the bank. In a few weeks the bills were sold for $3.00 per $100.00. A gentleman of Kirtland told me last fall that he bought several hundred dollars of the stuff, paying $3.00 in good money for $100.00 of it. It was sent off to distant parts, where Mormon credit was not known, and shoved off; mostly for teams, which enabled the whole community of the faithful to move off to Missouri in the spring of 1838. About October, 1836, Joe Smith brought on several thousand dollars worth of dry goods. It was generally believed they were paid for with money deposited with him to start the Kirtland Bank. In a month or so the goods were turned out to pay for farms, the purchasers paying the cash to Smith and Smith paying the seller in goods. My brother's father-in-law, Deacon Holbrook, took $1,500 in goods; the first and only payment on his farm. Lory and Charles Holmes sold their farms and took payment out of Smith's store, and some others not now remembered at any rate, the store was closed out before the bank started, as it would be very unpleasant for Smith to sell goods and refuse to take his own paper in payment.
That Kirtland Bank was a swindle from beginning to end. Kelley quotes a caution, purporting to be from Joe Smith, as follows: "Caution. -- To the friends and brethren of the Church of Latter Day Saints: I am disposed to say a word relative to the bill -of the Kirtland Safety Society Bank. I hereby warn them to beware of speculators, renegades and gamblers who are duping the unsuspecting by palming upon them those bills, which are of no worth." Now, I don't believe Joe wrote it; it does not sound like him. But if he did, why the caution to the brethren. He had the custody and control of the bills, while he or his agents or followers were selling them for three cents on the dollar, to be palmed off upon the Gentiles. From my acquaintance with Joe Smith of six or seven years, and considerable dealing with him, I have formed this opinion of him: That he was a man of great magnetism, plausibility of speech that carried conviction of truth and sincerity; an inordinate love of flattery and a cold, heartless, grasping cruelty of disposition not surpassed by that of Jesse James. His magnetism and plausibility are proved by the unquestioning belief of his followers. His greed is proved by his ownership of the Temple, the printing press, the bank and all the money that he could lay his hands on. His cruelty is proved by his inciting his followers to murder Grandison Newel, as sworn to by two of his Danite band, and the cruel treatment of his dupes, in robbing them without pity or compassion, like Martin Harris, who from competence
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was reduced to poverty, and left, as the old saying is, to "root hog or die." And more especially the case of Oliver Snow, the father of Smith's plural wife, who was robbed of wealth and left penniless in his old age. That Joe Smith was murdered by the anti-polygamous faction of his church hardly admits of doubt. First, we have the dying statements of John D. Lee, the warm friend and firm believer in Joe Smith and his polygamous doctrine. He says that Smith got a man to look up all the passages in the Old Testament in reference to polygamy, and had them printed, advocating that doctrine. That through friends, Joe attempted to get the wife of Wm. Law, a very beautiful woman, also the daughter of a Mr. Brotherton, to grace his harem. That Wm. Law, his brother, Brotherton, Higby, and several other wealthy men, started a paper called the "Nauvoo Expositor," in which they "set Joe up," as Lee says, "without mercy," which enraged Joe so that he raised a mob and destroyed the printing press, also the grocery store of Higby, where the parties had a knock-down fight. For this breach of peace Joe was arrested and, with his brother Hyrum, was taken to jail, followed by the mob, who shot them both through the windows of the jail. Lee's statement is fully corroborated by the "Nauvoo Expositor" and the sworn testimony of Wm. Law and wife and Austin Cowles, of the non-polygamous faction of the Mormon church. For this crime, I believe, no one was ever punished, the State considering it a Mormon quarrel, not worth investigating. It seems strange that young Joe Smith should aspire to the leadership of the faction that either did or caused the murder of his father. He should be warned by the fate of his father, Mr. Strang and Mills, that the leadership of such fanatical factions is not a safe office to hold.
And now let me give a few facts in regard to my friend E. L. Kelley. I am told that he studied law, hoping to make his living by his wits, but, failing in this, he tried preying on the credulity and gullibility of mankind, and has found it a rich field, which his sophistical and quibbling talents well qualified him for. He makes statements, denials and insinuations without any regard for facts or truth. He denies that Oliver Cowdry ever publicly or privately renounced his testimony to the Mormon book, or any part of it. I had it from his own brother that Oliver thought it would now do no good to publicly renounce it, but only subject him to the anger of the Danite band and, two or three years before the Mormons left Kirtland, went off by himself, and did not consort with or follow them. David Whitmer left them soon after they came to Kirtland, and, I think, never again associated with them. Harris, the other witness, remained in Kirtland many years, supported by the charity of the people, almost mindless. Kelley does not deny the existence of the Danite band; probably too many of his followers belong to it. Seceders from the Mormon faith, after the break-up in Kirtland, in 1838, reported that the oath taken by the Danites was to defend the brethren under all circumstances, and to fulfill the will of the Lord as revealed to His prophet, Joe Smith, even to the taking of life. Lee, the friend of Smith, said he saw two men fighting in Missouri; -- one of them gave the Danite sign, which was a call for him, as a member, to pitch in and help the brother. He also admits that one of the witnesses to the Book of Mormon did renounce his testimony, and left the church. Kelley says:
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"The Church of the Latter-Day Saints was disorganized in 1844. Faction after faction, to the number of over twenty, went away, drawing disciples after them, and organized on their respective claims." One faction, led by Brigham Young, the successor of Joseph Smith in the presidency of the orthodox polygamous church, located at Salt Lake. One faction, led by Joseph Smith, Jr., located at Lamoni, Iowa, and, I believe, claims the prophetic inspiration of his father. One faction, led by one Schweinfurth, located at Rockford, Illinois. He has made an improvement on Smith's polygamous doctrine, by making the virgin members of the community swear the paternity of their children upon the Holy Ghost. Another faction, led by Strang, located at Beaver Island. Strang, like Joe Smith, was murdered by his followers. Another faction, led by E. L. Kelley, came back to Kirtland. They hold that Smith was a prophet, but disclaim his polygamous, spiritual-wife doctrine, and that the Gentiles are to be destroyed. One faction was led by James White. He took his followers to England, changed his name to Jasrael, styling his community the "Later House of Israel, " instead of Latter-Day Saints. Another section, led by Michael Mills, located at Detroit. He believes in Smith's spiritual-wife doctrine and was sent to the penitentiary for practicing it. One other faction, led by one Neil, located at Chicago, and was sued for a large amount for spiritually enticing away another man's wife. These are all the factions that I know anything about. Kelley says there were more than twenty. Can he locate the other thirteen, and trace their doctrine and practice back to the teachings of Joe Smith? Or is it like most of his other statements -- wanting in truth?
The evils that men do live after them. Their good deeds are often interred with their bones. Complaint has been made to me that my reminiscences give rather a dark and shadowy history of Kirtland. I have not intended to do so, but history is made up of the sayings and doings of men -- and a Judas Iscariot, a Napoleon, a Guiteau, a Joseph Smith or a Brigham Young will make more history than a score of men that have tried to make the world better for their having had an existence in it. I may have done Judas Iscariot injustice by placing him in a class with some others I have mentioned, for he repented and did all that lay in his power to atone for the evils he had done; but we have no evidence that others ever repented or felt the least sorrow for the evils they had inflicted on mankind. The history of Mormonism is distinct from and does not belong to Kirtland, but to the age in which we live; but the history of Kirtland is so linked in with Mormonism that it is impossible to give her history without bringing in some mention of Mormonism. At an early day she had a large transient population, but they had been sifted out, leaving a substantial, upright, and intelligent population, comparing favorably with any of her sister townships.
Kirtland is a small township, over a thousand acres less than a five-mile township -- not two-thirds the size of Willoughby -- but I think she has done her full share of state and county business, and, if an office is vacant, she always has a candidate ready and willing to fill it. For kindness, sympathy and
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charity, she has but few equals. The calls of distress are, according to her means, liberally responded to. I know of no people, were I by misfortune reduced to the necessity of asking charity, that I should apply to with more assurance of help than I would to the people of Kirtland. I will mention one instance of comparatively recent date, And one familiar to your readers, which, I think, will bear repeating. Preserved Sweet, a former resident of Kirtland, with his family got caught in a Dakota blizzard, and were frozen and suffered severely. One of the girls, who had lost both hands, could neither dress or feed herself, perfectly helpless, visited Kirtland. The citizens got up a donation supper for her benefit, and raised nearly $140. It is true that much of it was raised by a silk crazy bed quilt that had been donated her by a benevolent and sympathetic lady, which had sold by tickets at twenty-five cents each. The tickets were taken liberally by the citizens, from on up as high as twenty -- many putting in a dollar and taking four tickets, not that they wanted the quilt, but hoped to have the pleasure of redonating it to the lady. I do not believe the Shylock lives in Kirtland that would take from that unfortunate lady the quilt, endure the loss of self-respect, and bear the contempt of the community, for the paltry sum of twenty-five cents.
I will close this dry article with a short story. An old gentleman from Canada, of considerable wealth joined the Mormons, and bought a farm adjoining mine. On the back end of his farm was a fine grove of second-growth hickory timber, from four to six or eight inches in diameter. Going by there one day, I saw that all of the trees were hacked from the ground up four or five feet high all around, so as to destroy their value for timber, but not thick enough to kill the tree. I felt indignant at this act of vandalism: as the old man was a quiet, good, honest citizen. I could not account for it. I went up to the field where his sons were at work, and spoke to them about it. They said their father had done it. On enquiry for the reason of so strange an act, they said their father believed that he should die and be buried like other people -- that in the fullness of time, which was near at hand, when Gentiles were to be destroyed, would come the resurrection, and he should come back and occupy his old farm -- and destroyed the present value of the young hickories to prevent their being stolen while he was sleeping quietly in his grave and could not protect them.
The year 1837 witnessed the collapse of the most wild, gigantic, and widespread spirit of speculation ever known in the country. Some six or seven years previous the government funds had been withdrawn from the United States Bank, which was a mammoth institution located in Philadelphia, but had branches in all the principal cities of the Union. It was as good in New Orleans, New York and London as in Philadelphia, and did the principal and general banking business of the country -- the local banks doing only a local business, The withdrawal of government funds from the United States Bank, and the poor prospect of the renewal of its charter, which was soon to expire, so crippled the bank that it withdrew its circulation and curtailed its business preparatory to the winding up, which it did a few years later.
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The deposit of the government funds with the state and local banks, and the large vacancy left by the withdrawal of the United States Bank, gave a wonderful impetus to the banking business. Old banks doubled their circulation, and new banks were organized sufficient to more than twice fill the vacuum caused by the withdrawal of the United States Bank. Western bank bills became very cheap. A general distrust of their solvency, and a feeling that it would be safer to invest in land and other property than to hoard them, made them circulate very rapidly. Property of all kinds advanced in price. People bought freely and lived extravagantly; went in debt for goods that they could have done without. In the meantime the specie was drained out of the country, to pay for goods in Europe, till I think it safe to ray that there was not gold and silver enough in the country to redeem two per cent. of the amount of bills in circulation. In 1837 the crash came; the banks could hold out no longer, and all suspended specie payment.
In the crash, stagnation of business, and depreciation of values that followed, the township of Kirtland suffered very severely -- really much more than any other section. The township had become the gathering place of a new religious sect, the leader of which was Joseph Smith. They styled themselves "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints." They purchased large quantities of land, paying but little down. Those who sold their farms generally bought elsewhere, paying down all that they had received; and most of them some more. Failing to collect, they failed to pay on their new purchases, and lost all they had invested. Some of them got back to their farms in a year or two in destitute circumstances. I Will give two or three instances. David Holbrook sold his farm and took for the first payment $1500 in dry goods from Joseph Smith's store. He took the goods to Southern Indiana, lost all, and got back in a few years to his old farm, a destitute, broken-down old man. Lory Holmes sold his farm, taking the first payment in goods from Smith's store. He purchased more land near Columbus, Ohio, where he died. His family in a few years got back to the old farm. Mr. Holmes' son also sold and took from the same store his first and only payment. I do not think that Smith bought land, but took cash from the purchaser and paid the seller in goods. This was in the fall of 1836, and I think the store was closed out early in the following winter, and the store of Boyington & Co. was wound up not more than a year later. Some thirty or forty of Kirtland's substantial citizens sold out and left; but few of them ever came back, and not many of them bettered their condition financially.
The hard times were equally as hard upon and as disastrous to the Saints who purchased. They lost all they had paid, and the failure of the Kirtland Bank left them in destitute circumstances, and with very ill feelings with those who had placed their money in the bank. Many, not strong in the faith, succeeded. Among them, some who were supposed to have joined the church out of speculative motives, hoping to make money out of the concern. The quarrel became quite serious, resulting in the burning of the printing office. I never heard a doubt expressed but that the fire was incendiary, burned by one party to prevent some damaging facts from coming to light against them. Smith soon after
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left Kirtland for a time, and, it was thought by some, through fear for his personal safety, I think but a few hundred dollars had been issued from the Kirtland bank when it went down, and am satisfied that no outsider -- Gentiles, as they were called -- ever borrowed a dollar from the bank. When the Saints left Kirtland, in 1838, several families who were not strong in the faith remained, and were good citizens -- and their descendants and relatives would stand high in any community. The cheap houses left vacant by the departure of the Saints were, some of them, for a time, occupied by a transient population: but they, with their tenements, have disappeared, and for intelligence, integrity, temperance, and morality, Kirtland now stands on a par with neighboring towns.
Can prohibition of the liquor traffic, the evils and crimes resulting from it, or the cause of temperance be promoted, and its benefits secured, by making it a political question? or will not such political action spread and increase the evil, unite and consolidate the liquor interest, giving it a controlling power in legislation? are questions which every lover of temperance, every well wisher of his country, should carefully and prayerfully consider. A review of prohibition in Iowa may assist in giving answers to the above questions. Iowa is an agricultural state, without large cities. Her people, for temperance, intelligence, and education, are second to no state in the Union. In 1882, a vote of the population was taken, to incorporate prohibition in their state constitution. Precaution was taken to have the vote entirely non-partisan. A special election was held; unconnected with any political question, and the amendment was carried by some 30,000 majority. But, by a clerical or technical error in the proceedings, the court decided that the amendment was not legally carried. The legislature then, in accordance with the will of the people, as expressed by their vote, passed a prohibitory law. Constitutional prohibition would take the subject measurably out of politics, People could support and advocate temperance principles without losing standing in the parties to which they belong. But an act of the legislature, which may be amended or repealed at the next session, becomes at once a matter of politics. People must take sides or lose standing in their respective parties,
The Republicans had a majority in the Legislature in 1882, and placed prohibition in their platform, The Democrats adopted license for theirs, and those who had voted for constitutional prohibition followed suit, placing party above principle. And many Republicans, who love their dram and must have their beer, went over in favor of license; and the partisan Prohibition party, placing party above principle, have kept up their organization, placing a full State ticket in the field each year, dividing the temperance strength and destroying practical prohibition.
These political forces combined have wiped out the 30,000 prohibition majority and so reduced the Republican vote till in 1889 the license ticket carried on Governor, with nearly a tie in the Legislature. To corroborate the above, I
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(Pages 62-71 are under construction.)
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or wishes -- but it is now mostly gone (January 26th), except in patches. We have had all the fall and winter so far as the most beautiful and brilliant sunsets and risings, giving everything a rich, golden hue. We are also having a boom in farming lands. Farms that were held a few years ago at $40 an acre are now selling at $60.
I received a few days ago an account and copy of some papers relating to the sale of the Mormon Temple, which confirms every word that I said about it in my recollections of Kirtland, except that I said it was sold by the sheriff, when it was sold by a person appointed by the court for that purpose. It was sold on a judgment or fine held by the State against Joseph Smith, and donated by the State to Grandison Newell, in consideration of the trouble to which he had been subjected in bringing the Mormons to justice -- being waylaid for assassination by order of Smith, as sworn to by two of the Mormon brethren. It was sold at the court house in Painesville and bid off by William L. Perkins, who had half of the avails for attending to the business for Newell.
(By request we give the following poetry, taken from a newspaper issued in May, 1837 -- nearly fifty-four years ago. The "Saints" have had so many hard knocks from one source or another, and always came up smiling, it is presumed that this reference to their ancestors in the faith will be received in the same spirit others have been.)
THE GOLDEN BIBLE.
A new golden bible was lately discovered.
Which for six thousand years could not be found.
But was lately by hoes, spades and shovels uncovered --
The new golden bible, that lay under ground.
The new golden bible, the new-fangled bible,
The fictitious bible that lay under ground.
The law giving Moses, went up to the mount.
Fire, earthquakes and darkness encircled him round,
They were written, the heathen were smitten,
But safe was the bible that lay under ground.
But Joshua next in the line of succession.
Fought, conquered, and spread desolation around,
Approved by his God he adorned his profession,
But ne'er saw the bible that lay under ground.
King David was set as a brilliant example,
His praises were sung by the ladies' sweet sound.
Performed mighty deeds, o'er the Philistines trampled,
But ne'er found the bible that lay under ground.
King Solomon was wiser than any before him.
A house built for God as a star in his crown.
And for his great wisdom, many adore him.
But he ne'er read the bible, that lay under the ground.
There's Daniel, the captive, whose prophetic vision.
Rose high, and dug deep into darkness profound,
For telling strange things with the utmost precision.
But he spake not of Mormon that lay under ground.
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Nehemiah, the cup-bearer, prayed for his nation,
And was sent to rebuild what the heathen pulled down:
Removed the old rubbish and laid the foundation,
But raised not the Bible, that lay under ground.
The prophets foretold of the glorious Messiah.
And the shadows and types of that day abound.
But ne'er a word from the prophetic lyre.
About the new Bible, that lay under ground.
John Baptist, forerunner, repentance came preaching.
And thousands to hear him did gather around.
And many were pricked to the heart by his teaching,
Though he saw not the bible, that lay under the ground.
When Luther arose from Rome's superstition,
He aimed at Popery, for to pull it down.
Yet nothing appeared of the late speculation
Of the new golden bible that lay under the ground.
Next appeared Calvin, in the great reformation,
A man of ability and famed for renown.
And he assisted Luther in his great undertaking,
Yet he saw not the bible that lay under ground.
At length appeared Wesley, a Fletcher, a Coke,
All skilled in the arts that before them were found --
Amidst all their learning they never have spoken
About the new bible that lay under ground.
At length arose Campbell, from the old Scottish nation,
And with his great learning did many confound;
With all his researches, likewise meditation.
He found not the bible that lay under ground.
Then Smith, that is Joseph, the prophet indeed,
In search of some treasures, at last he has found.
A pair of white glasses, of stone, it is said,
And they saw the bible that lay under ground.
Joe Smith has pretended to a new revelation,
While angels and spirits encircled him round;
He professed to translate, by divine inspiration.
The new golden bible that he dug from the ground.
'Twas through the stone glasses those wonderful stories
Were read to the people with sacred renown,
In language unknown, the mysterious glories
Unfolded by Mormon just raised from the ground.
Joe Smith and S. Rigdon, the chiefs of their people,
While declaring abroad the new gospel they;d found.
Got their bodies well covered with tar and good feathers
For spreading the bible they raised from the ground.
The Mormons have built them a mighty great tower,
In which they declare many angels abound,
To endow them afresh with apostolic power,
Proved by the new bible they raised from the ground.
In the fall of 1825 I hired out to Elijah Warner, of Lexington, Ky., to sell wooden clocks. My pay was to be $200 a year -- considered large pay for those times, as I could hire a man to fill my place on the farm for less than half that
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(Pages 74-79 are under construction.)
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part of the State on the first day of election, and worked my way up to Lancaster, the county seat of Gerard, and stopped for dinner. The third day of the election, while at dinner, there was an outcry on the street, and we all went out to see what it meant. The fight was over when we got out, and they were carrying up the street four men, and we learned that the Bests had killed all the Shumates. I followed and went into the large room where they had carried Michael Shumate and laid him on the floor. When he saw me he beckoned to me to come, and after a nod of assent from the doctor in charge, I went in and shook hands with him. He said, "I have got to go, but if I could only live to kill old Best I should die happy." I went up to the court house and found that Bests' friends had had them arrested, and were hurrying their trial so as to have them admitted to bail before any of the Shumates should die. Michael Shumate received six stabs, three in the front and three in the back; John had five stabs; the old man had his jaw broken with a club, and young Dan was knocked senseless with a club. But they all pulled through. I saw the doctor that attended Michael: he said his spunk was all that saved him. The Bests did not get a scratch. They were prepared, and meant to end the feud that had existed for years. I read not long since of a bridegroom in Kentucky by the name of Best that was killed on the night of his wedding. The name and State suggested to me that it might be the result of that feud, handed down from father to son. The original quarrel began about a watermelon.
EDITOR PAINESVILLE TELEGRAPH: -- Your correspondent, in treating of "The Religion of Mormon," recently, says that Perkins and Osborn were employed by the Kirtland Bark officials to wind up the affairs of the bank, and took the bank safe in part pay for their services. The facts are, that Perkins and Oshorn were attorneys for Grandison Newell in the prosecution of Smith and Rigdon for illegal banking. Judgment, or a fine, was obtained against them, and the printing office, and probably the bank safe, and a village lot or two, were levied upon. At that time, the quarrel between the Saints and the seceding Saints was very bitter, and it was supposed that the seceders intended to bid off the printing office. From threats and insinuations, Newell thought best to guard the office nights, until sold, and employed two men for that purpose, armed with guns. It was said they were decoyed away for a treat, and, while absent, the office was fired. Nothing was saved. Even the guns of those guarding the building were burned. One of the guns Newell had borrowed of Christopher Quinn, for which he paid Quinn twelve dollars. Perkins bid off about all that was sold, which accounts for his possession of the bank safe. The Temple was afterwards sold on the same judgment, and bid off by Perkins. The Saints of to-day dislike to be called Mormons, and are quite sensitive to the application of Mormon to their religion.
Early in 1829, Mr. Warner took an inventory of all worldly effects, and found that it footed over $100,000 which was, at that time, considered very great wealth. People worth that sum were not as plentiful then as millionaires
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(Pages 81-85 are under construction.)
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tensive one known. There are many others in the State; one or two in the blue grass region.
"Watchman, tell us of the night,
What its signs of promise are."
It does not require a very close watch to discover that Iowa is approaching one of the hardest political contests ever witnessed in the history of the State. Reform tariff and the McKinley tariff will be mentioned in the contest, but the real question at issue will be prohibition. Money furnished by liquor dealers of other States will be freely used, and the State will be flooded with the Omaha Bee and Chicago Tribune, both nominally Republican papers, but with Democratic principles on the tariff and temperance. There are four political parties in the field. The Republican party, for protection and prohibition; the Democratic party, for tariff reform and license; the People's party, for low interest, cheap money and more of it. From which of the old parties they will draw the heaviest is a matter of uncertainty; their platform rather favors Democratic ideas, but their nominees for State offices are mostly Republicans, The partisan Prohibition party polled nearly 1,700 votes in the State last fall; but this year have nominated a strong ticket, and added tariff, silver, and nearly all the other political questions to their platform, and expect to make large gains for their party, and any gains they may make will be drawn mainly from the Republican party -- the only practical prohibition party -- and as it had but 300 plurality last fall, the outlook for retaining prohibition in Iowa is not flattering. And if prohibition cannot be sustained in Iowa, politically, no other State need try it.
Crops are very promising here in Iowa, and farmers are prosperous and happy, notwithstanding the adverse reports that have been proclaimed at the east. A little more rain would be acceptable, except in the northwest corner of the State, where the rainfall has been disastrously large.
I read a few weeks since a notice of the death in Iowa of Mrs. Josiah Goddard, at 91 years of age. Mr. Goddard died six or seven years ago. They came to Kirtland in 1817, remaining about two years. I presume that no one living in Kirtland or Lake county remembers them or even their names, so effectually does time obliterate our tracks as we pass down its stream to the ocean of oblivion.
History gives many instances of great sacrifice, endurance and suffering, even unto death, for their religion and for the privilege of worshipping God in accordance with what they believe to be his will. For this the children of Israel left the land of Egypt. For this men have praised God while burning at the stake. For this the Pilgrims left home and civilization, braved the rigors of a New England climate and the cruel, savage Indians. But none of them exhibited more faith and heroic endurance than did the Mormons in their migration from Nauvoo to Salt Lake. When unable to continue the contest with the
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Gentiles at Nauvoo, Brigham Young, in the fall of 1846, decided to move the whole church to Salt Lake, where there would be none to molest or make them afraid. He directed that they should leave in different bands, assuring them that God would miraculously feed and direct them. At Iowa City a large body branched off and followed up the Iowa river as far as Minerva creek, some three or four miles northwest of LaMoille, in Marshall county. Worn out with their long walk from Nauvoo, the men carrying heavy packs, with rifles and axes, and the women trundling wheelbarrows or handcarts loaded with all their worldly effects, and possibly a baby. At the mouth of Minerva creek is a ridge of land, now known as Mormon ridge, thickly timbered, and here they concluded to stop and brave the rigors of an Iowa winter. They dug caves in the side hill, and with a big fire at its mouth they bade defiance to the elements. Deer, elk and buffalo furnished them meat in plenty, and for bread they used slippery elm bark. But the mortality among them that winter was frightful, especially among the women and children. It is a wonder that any of them survived -- after walking several hundred miles, heavily laden, in an inclement season of the year, sleeping on the ground, and then spend a long Iowa winter in a damp cave. What wonderful endurance! What enthusiasm! Some of them may have been descendants of the Pilgrims, and had the same heroic stuff in them, but carried away by this new religion. The Pilgrim mother did not have to share her home and love with another she was the queen of her home circle: but the poor Mormon wife, for the sake of her religion, consents to leave home and friends, walk 2,000 miles to a new home, sharing her husband's love and affection with another, and perhaps half a dozen younger and more attractive than herself. No wonder that they died by the score in the caves of Mormon ridge. In the spring the remnant of the band moved slowly onward to Council Bluffs and from thence to Salt Lake. Some who wintered at Mormon ridge are said to be still alive at Salt Lake but they are being surrounded and outnumbered by the Gentiles, and are preparing to make another move into Mexico. In the winter of 1846-7 there was no white man within twenty miles of them at Mormon ridge.
Much sympathy appears to be felt here in the east for the poor, downtrodden, heavily-mortgaged farmers of the Western States -- much of it of a political character. So far as the State of Iowa is concerned, the sympathy is not needed and uncalled for. There is no farming community in any portion of the Union where the farmers are as prosperous as those of Iowa; where a mortgage can be lifted from a farm with as much ease; where a man can buy a farm on credit and pay for it with the avails of the farm by having a sufficient length of credit,
Our mortgages are generally larger than in Ohio, but our farms are larger, and it is much easier to lift a $5,000 mortgage in Iowa than to lift one of half that amount in Ohio. There are eight or ten Kirtland boys in Iowa, with farms ranging from two hundred acres up to a thousand, all prac-
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(Pages 88-94 are under construction.)
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against one. The McKinley law and free coinage were merely side issues and had but little influence in the campaign. According to Governor Boise, prohibition was impoverishing the State, reducing more people to want and misery than the saloon ever did: destroying personal liberty and God-given rights: that it is not and can't be enforced, and that the boy who can't be saved without prohibition is not worth saving. He and his party would let the boy go without restraint until he became bad, murderously bad, and then hang him. Extremes meet at the gallows. The partisans of the Boise stripe will say we voted to remove the barrier between the young man, created in the image of God, and the drunken brute upon the gallows, because our party required it: and the partisans of Rev. Mr. Lanphear's stripe would say we ignored moral suasion, education and kindness, but clamored for law, and voted indirectly to remove the barrier between the boy and the drunken brute upon the gallows, because our party required it. The fact is, these people were " born out of due time." They should have lived under the Mosaic dispensation, when the poor man, for want of moral restraint, was stoned to death for gathering a few sticks on the Sabbath day. They are out of place in this nineteenth century of the Christian era of peace, love and good will to men. Bear ye one another's burdens, and do unto others as ye would they should do unto you.
It seems it has all been a wretched mistake, involving injustice for which the repentant tears of a generation alone can atone. The Gentile world is the sinner the polygamous Mormon is sinned against. The Gentile world has held polygamy to be an abomination before God and men it now seems that it is a beneficent institution, tending to mental and bodily soundness and productive of a patriarchal domestic happiness too sweet and holy to be rudely handled. The person to set the world right in this is a daughter of Brigham Young, who is given whatever prestige comes from the "North American Review" for her paper, "Family Life Among the Mormons," descriptive of the domestic economy, habits and discipline of the "Lion House." In opening, she says:
The common statement that plural marriage debases husbands, degrades wives and brutalizes offspring is false. It was not the case in ancient Israel it is far less so in this enlightened age. If any one wishes to provo this, here in Utah are men, women and, above all, children, to speak for themselves.
My father, Brigham Young, had fifty-six living children, all born healthy, bright, and without "spot or blemish" in body or mind. Thirty-one of the number were girls twenty-five were boys. Seven died in infancy, three in childhood, seven more since reaching maturity.
Let anyone who wishes to know the mental caliber of polygamous children ask the genial and learned Dr. Park, who has stood at the hcad of this university for twenty years, who have been his brightest and keenest pupils. His unhesitating answer will be a convincing argument for my position.
Here comes in the sweetness of that domestic life so sadly misrepresented:
How pleasant were the seasons of evening prayer, when ten or twelve mothers with their broods of children, together with the various old ladies and orphans who dwelt under the sheltering care of this roof, came from every nook
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and corner of this quaint, old-fashioned, roomy house at the sound of the prayer-bell. Even the bell has a memory all its own, for no matter how faintly the sound came to our distant ears, we always knew whether father rang it or some of the others. He had a peculiar, measured, deliberate ting-tang that could not be successfully imitated. To the clang of the familiar bell we crowded from upstairs and downstairs, each one taking his accustomed place, mothers surrounded by their children, while near father sat Aunt Eliza Snow, the honored plural wife of Joseph Smith, the prophet. A little merry or grave chat, questions asked and answered then the quiet paternal request, "Come now, let us have prayers," succeeded by a subdued rustle, as every knee bowed and every tongue was stilled while the dear voice prayed for "the poor, the needy, the sick and the afflicted, the widow and the fatherless, that He might he a stay and a staff to the aged and a guide to the youth." The prayer was always a short, simple, earnest one, never too wearisome for the tiniest restless listener, while the sweetly solemn hush of the room held a calm over the baby's laughing voice.
With the general amen, all resumed their seats and were at liberty to return to their rooms or stay and hear the chat that usually followed. Sometimes especially on Sunday evenings, the girls would be requested to sing and play or we would all join in a hymn. Afterward father would kiss the children, dandle a baby on his knee with his own familiar accompaniment of "link-e-toodle-ladle-idle-ardle," surprising baby into round eyed wonder by the odd noise; then a general good night, and we would all separate, father returning to his duties in the office.
What a world of suggestiveness there is in the use of the phrase "a baby," instead of "the baby," and is it wonderful that "a baby," having an undivided one-fifty-sixth interest in its father, should be surprised when the whole father came around petting it. Yes, it is evident that Brigham and his little system have been mis-represented, and here is our share of the apology.
If the saying that from the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh, is correct, then it is evident that the heart of the people of Iowa is crowded with prohibition, local option, high license and repeal, for they are the only questions now considered by the people. All other political questions have been dropped or left for Congress to settle. Our legislators are wrestling with the subject of temperance without any definite idea of which way to steer, being at sea without compass. The Democrats do not wish to repeal prohibition, if they can effect the same object by local option or high license, as they consider prohibition their winning card for future campaigns. The Republican party would be glad, apparently, to unload prohibition, but cannot do it very gracefully under fire, and entertains fears of a fire in the rear, as there are some sanguine people who believe that the defeat of Republican prohibition last fall was not final -- that a future election may reverse it.
I agree with my esteemed friend, your Perry correspondent, that people do not vote their party tickets, right or wrong, as much as they did some years ago. Our Republican prohibition party here in Iowa shows it. We had the partisan Prohibition party, that a few years ago cast some 10,000 votes. Last fall 1,000 of them stuck to their party, right or wrong -- in this case certainly wrong, for their vote was token from and cast against a principle that they claimed to bold
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of reducing them, On a former visit to the Hills I called on him. He showed me specimens of ore labeled one-half per cent., one and one-half per cent. Said he had spent $10,000 in the Hills and received but 75 cents.
In my several visits to the Black Hills I have discovered none, and I believe there are no signs of glaciers -- none of the kind of rock brought by glaciers from northern regions and scattered so profusely over Iowa and Ohio, as far south as the latitude of Columbus -- which I think is conclusive evidence that the upheaval of the Hills took place prior to the glacial period, or there would have been lifted with the Hills some boulders of the glacial kind. I believe it is claimed and generally believed that this world is so flattened at the poles that a line drawn from pole to pole would not be as long by about eight miles as a line from the equator through the center to the other side: that the equator is four miles higher or farther from the center of the earth than the poles. May there not be some error in these claims? The facts do not confirm them. Water does not run up hill, yet most of the great rivers of the world tend toward the equator. There are some exceptions, caused by the uneven surface of the earth, like the high lands south of Lake Erie, forcing its waters around by way of the St. Lawrence. Can it be possible that the Mississippi or the Amazon are much higher at their mouths than at their source? -- or at the time of the glaciers, the immense sheets of ice, loaded with unnumbered millions of tons of rock, should be forced up hill toward the equator?
Various theories have been advanced to account for the ice period. The most reasonable one to me is, that this world has not always held the same position in reference to the sun that it now does, at an angle of about twenty-two degrees. But at some period of its existence the north end, or pole, faced the sun, giving the pole a tropical climate in proof of which, the bones of tropical animals and other evidences of a once tropical climate are found in extreme northern regions. But in the lapse of ages the position was reversed, and the south pole faced the sun. Then came the ice period, when the vast accumulations of ice and intense cold disrupted the rocks, mixing them with the ice and pushing the mass towards the equator, until within reach of the melting influence of the sun, when the rocks were dropped as we now find them. Who knows that this earth is not constantly changing its position? That in time it may not again turn its north pole to the sun? Would it not be well for our adventurers, who are so anxious to find the north pole, to wait until that time, when they can go there under a tropical sky and without danger of frost bites? But speculate as we may about the history of this, our earthly home, its origin is shrouded in darkness, known only to Him who created it and has guided its changes and revolutions, fitting it for the abode of man.
I see in the Chagrin Falls' paper that Prof. J. F. Wright is preparing to exhibit at the World's Fair specimens of boulders brought to Ohio by glaciers from Canada, together with samples from the original ledges from which the boulders were broken off and transported to Ohio in ice, with maps showing the
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course they have been brought, and placards detailing the principal glacial facts. To the geologist his work will be very interesting. (I hope he may have the luck to see my theory of the ice theory.) We could make a very good display of the kind in Iowa; although we have not as many or as great a variety as in Ohio, still have them very much larger. There is one on our farm here that is forty feet long and twelve or fifteen wide -- a fine quality of granite. It is broken near the middle, but was evidently broken intact. Edmond Davis has one in his door-yard as large but not quite so long. Our state house at Des Moines, from the ground up to the water table, I should think about four foot, are of solid granite boulders, picked up in different counties. They are nicely dressed and uniform in length, but not in color -- dark and light gray, light red and yellow. The steps in front the whole length of the building, rising eight or ten feet, are all of dark gray granite
There are but few stone quarries in the state, and the ice period, though rough at the time, now proves to be a blessing. We have in our yard a glacier stone, used for a horse block, which I think cannot be duplicated in Ohio. The body of the stone is blue, is harder and appears heavier than granite, and is filled with white quartz gravel of all sizes from that of a small pea to a hickory nut, and do not seem to have been subjected to commotion in water, as their corners and angles are sharp, not worn off and rounded. The stone has evidently been brought a long distance, as about three inches of the corners have been worn and rounded. The face of it, some two feet wide by three feet long, is perfectly true and level, and in its last ride on its face it was pushed corner ways, as indicated by scratches and a slight elevation of the back part of the pebbles, which are a little harder than the body of the stone. I will say no more about [the] stone till I hear from Prof. Wright.
In regard to Iowa crops, hay was heavy; spring wheat badly damaged by hot weather; oats not half a crop, lodged and did not fill: corn a fair crop but not equal to that of last year by one third: fruit a failure except grapes and berries. Farmers for three or four years past have cut and shocked corn: but none has been cut this year for want of help -- probably owing to the McKinley tariff. Land is rising in value and selling quite freely at about fifteen dollars per acre more than it would have brought fifteen years ago.