In placing this little book before the public, the design of the writer is to make known to the young man, or the poor boy, the various ways of getting a living; the numerous branches of business which can be commenced without capital, which so many lack; and to familiarize him with the "ups and downs" of this lower world. The reader of this little work will find much in the experience and example of its author, to encourage him to perseverance in his career through life. Whether fortune smiles or frowns upon his efforts, let him adopt the motto of the brave and noble Decatur — "Never give up the ship!"
The reader will also find in these pages many original ideas and observations upon men and things, with which he may be both amused and instructed. That the work may prove a beacon-light to the poor and inexperienced young man, and direct him in the road to prosperity and happiness, is the highest ambition of
LOCK HAVEN, April 1, 1845.
I WAS born in the town of Jericho, now called Bainbridge, state of New York, and of course, must commence my journey from that place — and after travelling for thirty years, will stop for the present at Lock Haven, Clinton county, in the state of Pennsylvania. My parents were formerly from the state of Vermont. They did not direct me much whilst I was a boy, but let me take my own course through the world. They were always kind to me, and gave me a home whenever I felt inclined to stay with them; they also clothed me, and sent me to school when I thought proper go. I used to attend school in the winters, taught by a master, and summers, by what we called a school marm in those days. I thought the most of the ladies' summer school. I attended them until I was twelve or thirteen years old, and began to think that I was pretty smart; and concluded that I would try and kiss the school marm. However, I was mistaken; and it being found out, that I was trying to learn another branch of art and science, from the common school order, the select men of the school told my parents, that "I was getting rather large to be taught by a school marm, and I must be removed." That checked my education in some respect.
I then turned my attention to labor, and as I lived in a timber country, I went to making shingles for the Pennsylvania market, in the spring of the year, for that was the principle article manufactured in that country, at that time, to make money. However, I did not make a heavy sum at that. I worked about two years off and on, when work agreed with me, but I often got my day's work done by two o'clock, P. M., so that I could attend to parties and love scenes, &c., &c., as the reader would naturally suppose that a youth of fourteen or fifteen years of age, would be bound to attend to. However, in the two last years, I accumulated about three hundred dollars in cash. But I concluded, I must go into a speculation of some other kind, for hard work did not agree with me; it hurt my feelings. I therefore, made a bargain with one of my neighbours, who was a drover of cattle in the state of New York, to go with
8him. I told him I had three hundred dollars, and could get trusted for one or two more, and by so doing, I should be able to purchase a small part of the drove of cattle, and be called a drover. I did so; and we bought the cattle, and drove them to Orange county, New York. I felt at that time as large as life. However, I did not have that feeling long, for when we came to make sale of our stock, the price of beef had fallen so much, that we could not get first cost, and lost all our time and expenses; so that when I returned home, and paid off my debts, I had no capital left, but bare money enough to buy myself a new suit of clothes. I had purchased a few head of cattle of my father on credit, and I made application to him, to release me on my return home; but my father told me, "that speculators should never ask reduction on their paper — that I must cash up, and no grumbling, and try some other business." He said, he thought "that I was not made for a drover." So I stayed at home that summer, and not having much to do, I concluded that I would learn to play music. So I purchased a violin, and fetched it home, but my parents would not let me keep it in the house, and I had to take it to the barn. However, I learned to play pretty fair for a country dance.
The next thing that presented itself, was a gentleman from Connecticut by the name of Porter, with a museum of wax-figures, travelling the country as an exhibition, and wanted a young man to assist him in music and attending to the show. I therefore engaged with him, left my father's house, and travelled with this exhibition a few months, principally in the state of New York. I enjoyed myself at that time very well, for I saw all kinds of company, and our wax-figures were all of the distinguished officers of our country, and ladies and sleeping beauties, all dressed in the most costly style, and always gave great satisfaction to the company that called on us, and that was a pleasure to me. My friend Porter agreed to divide the profits of our show equally, but that did not take long, when I came to leave the business; however, it was all satisfactory, let it be more or less.
I then returned home to my father's, and went into partnership with a younger brother in making lumber again; — the old business that I first commenced the world with. We worked one season together. In the spring of the year we
9rafted our lumber in the Susquehanna river, and started for the Pennsylvania market. On the second day we met with a sad disaster, for we run our raft on an island called Compstock, in the river Susquehanna, and the water falling fast, caused us a great deal of trouble and expense; and before we got our lumber and hard work turned into money, we had not much more to divide than I had with the showman.
I then concluded, that it was too hard times for me in New York, and I would try my fortune in the Western country. So I started with a young friend of mine by the name of Solomon Dickey, a house carpenter, and we travelled into Upper Canada, and stayed there a while; but not liking the Canadians very well, we concluded that we would go to Olean Point, in the state of New York. When we got there, we hired out to build boats and skiffs, to navigate the Allegheny river (with emigrants that were moving to the Western country,) for the sum of sixteen dollars per month, each of us. Although I was not a mechanic, I could do a great many things; and also could play the fiddle. I recollect while I was at Olean Point, I was called upon to play music for a country ball, for which the company paid me twenty-five dollars for my services; and that felt very pleasant in a poor boy's pocket. My friend Dickey attended the ball, and he danced while I played, and we always divided the money. We stayed and worked at boats three or four months, and then made a skiff for ourselves, and went down the Allegheny river in it, to a place called Portsmouth, in the state of Ohio. There my friend Dickey left me, and I have never seen him since that time.
I stayed in Ohio a few weeks, and then went up the river to a place called Sisterville, in what is called New Virginia. From thence I went back to Middleburn, about fifteen or eighteen miles, and there I met with an old friend of mine from the state of New York, by the name of Hiland H. Parker, who had been a merchant in the country where I was raised, and failing in business, had removed to this new country, to save himself and family, after his property was lost. He was an enterprising man, and would not give up at hard luck. He told me, that he intended to build a still house of logs, and wished me to stay and assist him; and he told me, that he thought we could realize some money in that way; and if we could not, he said, we certainly
10could raise some corn whiskey to keep up our spirits with, which at that time were low enough, that is certain. My friend Parker, by the bye, was very fond of a glass of whiskey; and I was willing to take a touch occasionally myself. However, we went on with the still house; and got the tubs, and a wooden boiler for the steam to enter, principally made out of wood, with the exception of a small copper boiler to raise the steam; and Parker hired a yankee by the name of Root, who understood stilling, to be boss, and I was second mate. We went on with the whiskey business all winter, and in the spring, we had not made much more than we had consumed; for the inhabitants of that section were mostly poor hunting-shirt fellows, and could make use of whiskey as free as they could milk, if they could get it. Our rectifier stood in one corner of the still house, on the ground, and it reminded me of a deer lick that was all stamped up, with moccasin tracks to and from it!
I worked on there until the spring of the year, and then my friend Parker bought a small boat called a perougue, made out of two large trees split in two and a piece in the middle, which made what they called a boat to trade in to Kenhawa salt works, and I was placed Captain of the ship. We then loaded it with apples and cider and bacon to trade for salt, and I set sail for the salt works, down the Ohio river to the mouth of the Kenhawa river, thence up that river to Charleston in Virginia, near where the salt was made. I there exchanged my apples and cider for something like twenty-five barrels of salt, which would make a fair load for my boat; and then returning home, exchanged the salt for more produce, such as bacon, flour, or any thing that would keep up trade. I continued that business all that season, until cold weather. I often slept out on the bank of the river on the sand by moonlight, when the nights were cold and frosty.
I returned back the next winter to my old stamping ground at Middleburn, and stayed there until the next spring. I then purchased a keel boat that would carry about one hundred and fifty barrels of salt, and commenced on a larger scale. I also bought wheat, and had it made into flour by a horse-mill at Sistersville, and put into barrels, so as to make the barrels full without packing or weighing. It was
11always called a barrel, and no difference about the weight. I managed so as to get a load of produce of different kinds, and some I took on commission, and started Captain again for the salt works. When I arrived there, the salt makers had engaged all the salt they could make in all their furnaces for a term of years, to a company called "Steel's Co." I could not therefore trade for salt to make my back load for my boat, and was forced to sell my produce at a very low price for cash; and there was no freight that I could get for my own boat; so I had to discharge my crew of hands, and let my own boat be idle two or three months. In the course of that time I hired to go to Cincinnati with another boat as a hand, at fifty cents a day. We started for the city, and sailed down the Ohio very pleasantly, until we arrived at the port of Cincinnati. Then I had to commence the hard work of unloading the cargo of salt, and re-load the boat with goods for Charleston. I then had to take a pole and put it to my shoulder, and it never was made for that use, for it was so sharp that the end of the pole would slip off, and I would often pitch into the "drink," as the boatmen called it. However, I made the trip, although it was very hard for me. I settled with the captain and received my pay, and then told him that forever after I begged to be excused from boating, unless I could be Captain.
I then took my own boat and got a load of salt on freight, for the company, to Cincinnati. I arrived there safe and discharged my load and sold my keel-boat for cotton domestic goods — two hundred and fifty dollars worth. I then went into company with a young Frenchman by the name of David Defries, with a small store-boat on the Ohio river below Cincinnati. We then made up a small assortment of goods, such as calicos, domestic cottons, and some groceries and potters' ware — such as black tea-pots, pitchers, jugs, and any thing that would make a show like a store; and after having arranged them pretty fair, we raised a flag on a pole, with the name of store-boat wrote upon it, and set sail down the river. We stopped at every little town or village on both sides of the river, as we passed along the Kentucky or Indiana shore, traded with the settlers on the pleasant banks of the Ohio, and did a fair business, considering the capital invested. We enjoyed ourselves and lived fine aboard of our boat, but sold out in about two months and quit the trade.
I then met with a gentleman by the name of Col. M'Gowen, a very fine man, who was engaged in the show business, with a museum of wax-figures; and as I had been engaged in that line before, he insisted on my travelling with him. I engaged with him, and we exhibited through the state of Kentucky and Indiana in the winter season. In the spring I was taken sick with the fever and ague, and left the Colonel and his beauties, and went up to Cincinnati. There I stayed nearly a year with the fever and ague, and could not get well of it. I concluded that some days I shook three times a day with it, and I took all the medicine that the doctors would give me, but all to no purpose. I still could not get my health. At last I had a friend come in from the country and stopped where I was, and came to see me. He told me that he thought I would never get well in the city, and I must go out into the country with him; that he had a carriage and horse, and would like very much for me to go to his house and stay until I got well; so I concluded to do so. I then called on my landlord for his bill, and it was so large that I could not pay it all; I lacked six dollars. I told him that I was out of money, and could not pay him the six dollars, the balance of my boarding. He told me that I need not be alarmed about the money for the bill, but that I might make his house my home until I got well, money or no money. I thanked him for his generosity, and told him that I had a noble friend who wished me to go out on to the Big Miami with him, and I thought it would be good for my health to do so. My landlord's name was John Odell. I packed up my clothes and left the city with my friend Folluck, a Dutchman, who had worked for my father in the state of New York when I was a boy. He said that he would take care of me until I died, or got well, without fee or reward. He lived about thirty miles from the city, on the bank of the Big Miami. We arrived safe at his house, although I was very weak and feeble, and had a shake of the ague every day.
I had been at my new home about a week, when there came to the house an old man, who asked me if I had the ague. I told him that I had been sick with it for nearly a year. He said he could cure me, if I would try his medicine. I told him that everybody had a cure, but none had cured me, and I was willing to try anything. He then gave me the directions:
13He said I must get up between daylight and sunrise, take a table-spoon and go to the spring, and dip up nine spoonsfull of water, and swallow it by the spoonful, the first morning; and on the next morning eight; and on the next morning seven; and so on until I went through the nine; and the ague would leave me by the time I got down to three or four; and it did leave me just as the old man told me. So I stayed a few weeks with my friend Folluck, and then returned to the city of Cincinnati again.
I then became acquainted with a Jew, who lived in the city, and whom I had seen several times whilst I was sick. He was a merchant and kept a retail store. He told me that he would like me to come and stay at his house, and assist his clerk in the store, whilst he and his lady went into the country to visit his friends, and would probably be absent about four weeks. I told him, that I would do so, but I was not acquainted with store keeping. He said that it would make no difference, that his clerk would be with me. I went and stayed until the Jew returned. He was very much pleased with what the clerk and myself had done in his absence. He told me that his business would not afford to pay two clerks' wages, but he would like to have me make his house my home, until I got my health again. The force of experience told him, that I must do something soon for a living, for my clothes were wearing out, and my money was gone, and I was a poor stranger far from home. He asked me what I thought I could do. I told him, that I believed that I could make a pretty fair pedler in the country, if I had goods to commence with. The Jew said, if I was able to travel, he would let me have a few fancy goods, and I might try it, and if I could not make sale of the goods, that I might return them. So I packed up two small tin trunks of little articles, amounting in value to about forty dollars worth, all on a credit by the Jew. I then left for Kentucky with my two tin trunks of goods. In crossing the river from the city of Cincinnati to Kentucky, I went over in the horse boat, and had but three picayunes in my pocket at the time, and the ferryman charged me two of them for crossing. So I had but one six-pence left when I landed on the Kentucky shore, at the town of Covington, opposite the city of Cincinnati. I there went into a tavern and spent my last fippenny-bit for a glass of old whiskey,
14so that I started perfectly even with the world, as far as money was concerned, to try and make a raise with my tin trunks. I travelled nine or ten miles the first day, without trying to trade any, for I felt rather ashamed to enter a gentleman's house with my little articles for sale. Although I was poor and weary, I had still some pride left. However, it was getting near sun down, and I came to a pretty fair looking farm house, and ventured in, and desired to stay all night. The lady of the house told me that they "did not keep travellers, but they hardly ever turned any body away, and I might stay." There were one or two young ladies about the house, and seeing my tin trunks, they at last asked me if I had goods. I told them that I had a few fancy articles for sale; that I had been sick for a long time, and was travelling through the country to gain my health, and had a few goods along to trade with. So I unlocked my trunks, and the family all gathered round, picked out a few little things, amounting to one dollar and twenty-five cents, and paid me the money that evening; so that when I went to bed that night, I had money in my pocket, and felt pretty fair. I concluded that I was rising in the world slowly. The next morning I stayed until after breakfast, paid my bill in goods, and started fresh for my business again. I stopped at most of the houses along the road side and traded, until I sold out, which took about two weeks.
I then returned to the city to pay off my friend the Jew, which I could do in good order, and had about ten dollars left. I paid the Jew what money I had made, and got trusted fifty dollars worth of goods more; making my capital sixty dollars worth of assorted goods, at first cost. So I started for old Kentuck once more. Like a Paddy on a turnpike, I travelled on to seek my fortune on the same road that I first went on, so that where I traded once, I could trade again, if they wished any goods such as I had. I was not many days selling out and returning for a new stock of goods. I kept up trade in this manner for about four months, travelling on foot, and had become acquainted with the business, and the manners and customs of the inhabitants of noble Kentucky. It is no wonder that HENRY CLAY is so great a man, for he was raised in what I call a full blooded country, and noble souls live in it.
I then stopped travelling with my hand trunks, and obtained
15a horse from my friend (where I stopped,) by the name of Brumley. I made a stand at his house, about ninety miles from the city of Cincinnati, up a small river called Licking, which empties into the Ohio, at Covington, where I spent my last sixpence for a glass of whiskey. When I commenced the last trading expedition, I made my home at Mr. Brumley's nearly a year. He was a very kind, good man, and gave me a room, and I kept a small grocery in it; so while I was trading with my dry goods on horseback, with a large sack made out of hemp cloth, my friend Brumley, or some of the family, would make sale of some of my articles in the grocery line. I kept tea, coffee and sugar, and some whiskey, which, by the bye, my friend Brumley was very fond of, and a number of articles in the grocery way that were wanted in that country. I traded principally for feathers and cash, my feathers to be delivered at my grocery store; and when I had collected a number of sacks, I would forward them on to the city, and pay for my goods. I recollect, that I paid my friend the Jew, in eighteen months after he had started me with the tin trunks, with forty dollars worth in them, twenty-eight hundred dollars in cash and feathers for goods, besides what I had purchased elsewhere at auction, &c. I traded about two years and a-half; the last year I moved my little lot of goods to Mr. Humes', on the bank of the Licking river, one of the best men that ever lived. He treated me like a father. He was a plain, good farmer, and had a number of negroes, and they were always ready to wait on "Massa Church," at any time. I stayed at this place a year off and on, and enjoyed myself first rate.
I then concluded that I must go home to the state of New York. I told my friend Humes my intention — that I had been from home between six and seven years, and my friends I supposed had given me up for lost, and I was determined to see my native country once more. I asked Mr. Humes what my bill was for the year that I had been with him. He told me that it was nothing at all! He said that I had made a number of presents to his family, whilst I had been with him, and that he did not intend to take one dollar from me for living with him. All he asked of me was, when I had visited my friends, to return and make his home my home, to be company for him, as long as I thought proper
16to stay, free of charges of any kind. I told him that was more than I ought to receive or expect, but as it was his desire, I had no reason to refuse; therefore, I was very thankful to him and his family for the kind treatment that I had received whilst at his house. I further told him that I had a small present that I thought he would receive, and that was a barrel of old whiskey, that I had laid by for our own use; but as I was going to leave him, I was bound to give to him. "So," says I, "here's your good health in this world and the world to come." He said he would accept of that article, but nothing more.
I then purchased a horse and dearborn wagon, and placed the balance of my dry goods in it, and started for the state of New York, to see my friends. I travelled through the state of Ohio, crossed the river at Wheeling in Virginia, and came on direct to Harrisburg, the capital of Pennsylvania. Here I found my eldest brother Robert Church, and my sister Elizabeth, who had come down on a visit to my brother, and whilst there she was married to George Christ. They were all very much surprised to see me, and my sister said she would go home with me to New York to see our friends. She accordingly left her husband at home and travelled with me to Jerico, in Chenango county, New York, where we were both born. There we found our mother and brothers and sisters all well, and very glad to meet with us. We had no father at that time, for he had died a number of years before. We stayed with our relations a few weeks, and then returned back to Pennsylvania again.
Whilst I was visiting my friends at my old home, I had an offer from my younger brother Jesse, who was at that time a merchant in that country, that if I would stay in that part of the country, and go into trading, that he would be a partner, and furnish the principal portion of the goods. That we would have a new store built, in a settlement called Colesville, in Brown county, York state. I told my brother I would do so as soon as I could return after going home with my sister, Mrs. Christ, to Harrisburg. I did so, and went into business with my brother, in that new section of the country. A great many of the inhabitants were poor, and had hard struggling to live. All must have something new out of the store. They were not able to pay the money, but would give faithful promises to pay in lumber of any kind
17in the spring of the year. We all had to trade in boards and shingles, or some other kind of produce, in that country; and that made it principally a credit system from the end of one year to the end of the other, and frequently did not get our pay then. I once refused to trust a poor man on one day, and the next day he would come again and bring his wife along, and would both promise to pay, and then they had me — for I never could refuse the good lady, when I could see that she wanted a new calico dress, and some other small articles; so to sum up the whole matter, I was robbed by own consent. However, I stayed and traded for two years, and in the course of that time my brother died, and then I had to wind up the concern. In doing so I found that I never could collect the one half; so I gathered up what lumber I could get, and left what they called Colesville, in the state of New York; and in so doing I saved myself but lost the store. I run what lumber I had down the Susquehanna river, and made sale of it at Marietta, paid off the hands that were with me, and had a few hundred dollars left.
I then returned back to my brother-in-law's, living then near Middletown, and lived with him a short time, and then went up to New Cumberland and lived with my brother Robert a while. I did no business all that season, after I sold my lumber, but visit my friends and attend parties of different kinds. Some of these parties were called "poke parties!" I recollect the first time that I made a member of the poke party, was at a tavern in Middletown, Pennsylvania. The game was considered fashionable in those days. I told the gentlemen, as they were called at that time, that I did not know any thing about the game, and asked to know how much it would cost me to learn. They said it would cost me perhaps twenty dollars, if I had hard luck; and then on the other hand, I might win of them fifty dollars, if I was smart enough to do so. However, I missed it, for they win of me seventeen dollars the first night that I ever played that nigger game called "poke." But loosing my money the first time, did not discourage me from trying to learn the game. The company pokers told me, that I certainly would win after I understood the game. However, they poked me out of a good part of my money that summer.
In the fall they urged me to go to Lancaster, to attend the races at that place. So I went with the sportsmen, and
18when I came here I found all sorts of gaming. I joined in with them, and my friends told me of a number of bets that I was sure to win; all I had to do was to put up my money. They also told me of the best horses that could not be beat, and gave me their names. I recollect one horse that I bet on was the Red Rover, but he was beat, and I lost my money, so that by the next winter my pockets were perfectly empty, and I felt and looked a good deal like a rascal. At that time, however, I was still alive and in the world, with my brother Robert at New Cumberland. He would give me a home if I had no money.
About the first of January, 1831, my brother Francis came to Harrisburg from the state of New York with a fine horse and sleigh, going to the South, and wished me to go with him, I told him that I could not go, for I had no money to go with. He said that made no difference, for he had money enough for us both, and I must go with him. He said that he intended to go into some speculation in some way, but could not tell what it would be, until something turned up in our travels, that we could make money at. So we left our brother at New Cumberland, and went to Baltimore. There we sold our sleigh and horse to Mr. Boggs of that city, and then went to Washington, the Capital of the United States, and stopped at the hotel of Jesse Brown. We stayed there a few days, and then went to Alexandria. There we hired a carriage and horse and a nigger driver, and went to Fredericksburg, and from there to Richmond, in Old Virginy. We stayed a few days there, and then went on the Southern route into the state of North Carolina. We spent some time there, and visited some of the gold mines in that state — for that seemed like something that we were travelling for. Whenever we could hear of a place where there was plenty of gold or silver, that way we would shape our course; but we never found a place where we could pick it up by handsfull. It was always too precious to be plenty.
We stayed at one of the mines several days, and looked on, to see the gentlemen's sons and overseers ordering their slaves to dig and wash the veins of gravel, which was called the deposit mineral, located from five to ten feet under the surface of the red soil of that state. They expected every day to find a big piece of gold, that would make them all rich, but invariably missed it at night. One of the overseers
19asked me one day, if I would like to learn to be a gold digger. I told him that was the article I was after, but I did not think I could find it by digging the ground up, or washing gravel. He said I could not tell until I tried it. He gave me an iron pan that would hold about a gallon and-a-half or two gallons, filled it with gravel, and told me to go to a spout of water that was running near at hand and wash out the gravel, and see if I could find any gold in it. I went to work and washed away, until 1 had washed, as I thought, all the gravel and mud, almost to the bottom of the pan, and began to despair, and told the overseer that I had not catched any. But he told me to wash away — that I had not got the sand out sufficient to see it. So I let the water flow into the pan, and every time that it would go out, it would take some of the black sand with it, for that was the color, something like our ink sand. Thus I kept reducing the sand down to almost the bottom of the pan, and at last I discovered the shining jewel, in very small particles, like the heads and points of pins. I gathered it all up, and the overseer said I had about thirty-seven and-a-half cents worth in pure gold. I put it into a quill, corked it up, and carried it in my pocket as a sample for a long time, as evidence of my being a gold digger.
They also had another way of separating the gold from the sand and gravel. They had a large vessel that was rocked by levers, with a screen over it, made of iron, all full of small holes, so that the gold and sand would run through it, and the larger gravel would roll off the screen. They had water running on to the machine all the while they were working it. They always kept the machine locked up, so that the niggers could not steal the treasure. They gathered the gold by placing quicksilver in the machine, so that whenever there was a particle of gold dust, however small, that would pass through the screen, it was gathered by the quicksilver. And every night the overseer would unlock the machine and take out the gold, which looked then much like pewter. They would then put it into a pan, and put it over a hot fire and burn off the quicksilver, and leave the gold. It did not look so pure after it had been quickened as mine did, gathered by what they called panning.
After my brother and myself left the gold region, we put into what was called East Tennessee. We crossed the Comberland
20mountain, and stopped at a little town called Sparta, and stayed there a week or two. Here we ascertained that there was a large body of land in that section belonging to the state, called "State lands," that was not taken by any one, and which the government was anxious to have taken up by settlers, and improved, in order to receive some revenue from it in the shape of taxes. The expense of getting the land did not require much capital. It was a good deal like a game they play in Pennsylvania, called "open and shut" — a sure thing if you could sell it for any thing. However, we did not purchase any at this time, but passed on and went through where General JACKSON has his residence, at the Hermitage. We did not see any thing more here than a common brick house, and a low old-fashioned brick meeting house, where the old fellow went to confess his sins.
The next place we came to of any importance was Nashville, the capital of Tennessee, where we stopped for a few days and enjoyed ourselves very well. The town is located on the bank of the Cumberland river, and is a beautiful place. It is formed with a large square, the public buildings in the centre, and the hotels and stores and other business houses were placed all round it. From here we took the steamboat down to a place called Smithland, at the mouth of the Cumberland river, where it empties into the Ohio. We stayed there awhile, when we concluded to go to New Orleans; so we made a bargain with a captain of a steamboat to carry up to that city for twenty-five dollars a piece, if we thought proper to go all the way, and in proportion for a less distance. We accordingly embarked, but did not go further than the mouth of the Ohio river, stopping about six miles above where the Ohio empties into the Mississippi. Here we remained a few days and hunted birds, and then took another steamboat and went to St. Louis, in the state of Missouri. We stayed a short time there; and then took stage and went to St. Charles, on the Missouri river. We had a mind there to join a caravan of traders, who were going to the Rocky mountains, to trade with the Indians; but we did not engage in that business, but concluded that we would go across to the Mississippi river and go up to the lead mines. So we hired a Frenchman with a little cart with a willow box that was so narrow that we could not sit by the side of the other. The Frenchman sat
21before to drive the horse; my brother sat in the middle, and I had to sit and look behind. At last we arrived at a small French town on the bank of the Mississippi, and waited for a steamboat going up the river. We did not wait long until one hove in sight, and we hailed her and got on board and went up to the "lower rapids." The water was so low that the boat could go no further, so we returned with it to a place called Quincy, on the Illinois side of the river. There we met with a number of land speculators, and among them we became acquainted with a young doctor by the name of Fay, from the state of Massachusetts, who was travelling to find a place to settle and commence his business. He desired to be one of our company through the state of Illinois, so we hired a team to take us and our luggage through to a small town called Naples, on the bank of the Illinois river — a very unhealthy place at that time. We did not stay there long, but shipped aboard of a steamboat and went up the river to Pekin, a beautiful place for a village, but there was not much of one when we were there. The proprietors of the town, who owned the town lots, held them very high. They said they did not like to take less than from one to two and three hundred dollars for a small building lot, that contained probably a quarter of an acre, for they said that it could not help being a large city in a short time. They advised us to buy soon, for fear that lots would be scarce, and could not be obtained. It was very likely that the whole plot of the town did not cost more than one hundred dollars. Two years before that time there was prairie land enough adjoining the town to lay out a million lots, that could be bought for from three to four dollars per acre.
We concluded that we would go on further; so we went aboard of a country wagon that was going back into a settlement ten miles from Pekin, and found a very fine and beautiful country. We then hired a man to take us to Ottawa, in Lasalle county, a new county seat, lately laid out by the commissioners. There was not a house in town but one, and a little small grocery store that had Indian goods in it kept by Doctor Walker's sons. Dr. Walker was the man who constituted the whole town at that time. He was chief burgess, town council, justice, constable, physician, &c., &c., We stopped at his house. The scenery
22was splendid; and it appeared that the Maker had designed it to be a place of some importance in time. We stayed there two months. In that time the inhabitants of Lasalle had their first court, which was held at old Doctor Walker's house, where we boarded. It was a small log house with two rooms in it. The court occupied one and the family and the boarders the other, and the grand jury had to sit out on a log, under the shade of a large cotton-wood tree. They had to make a sheriff after the people had collected together, and a son of the old Doctor was duly elected for the present time. They had a very fair court.
My brother and myself concluded that we would go and examine the records of the Land Office, which was kept by a gentleman by the name of Campbell, then living within two miles of Ottawa; so we walked up to the gentleman's house, and found him to be very much of a gentleman indeed. He showed us all the land that was not then claimed by pre-emptioners. That was all the title that could be had at that time, for the land was not in market, and all the purchase that we could make was to make a possession, cultivate some part of the land, and hold by claim until the government sale would be made. Major Campbell said he could not tell when that would be, but it made no difference, for a claim was just as good as a deed, if we kept up the pre-emption right. So we took up a fractional section of one hundred and forty-three acres, adjoining the town of Ottawa, and went to work on it. It was located in the fork between the Fox and Illinois rivers. The town was located at the junction of those two rivers. We had a splendid piece of land. We hired a prairie ox team — five yoke of oxen and a plough — ploughed an acre or two, and planted some potatoes, melons, &c.
But my brother said the country was too new for him, and he could not think of staying there long, but wished me to stay, for he thought it would be a fortune for us some time, if we attended to it; and if I would stay and have a small store-house built of longs on our land, that he would go to St. Louis and purchase a small stock of goods to leave with me to trade on with the inhabitants and Indians, whilst he went east. I told him I would try it, but it was very hard work to watch the Indians and fight the musquitoes to keep a little blood in my veins; but I was willing to do any
23thing that he thought for the best. So he bought a canoe, hired a half-breed Indian to paddle it, and started for Peoria, a place about sixty miles below Ottawa, where he could meet with a steamboat, and go to St. Louis.
I went to work cutting logs for the house, and on the second day, at night, my brother returned with the canoe and Indian. He told me that the wind had blown against them, and they could not make any head-way down the river; so he had hoisted his umbrella and sailed back. He had changed his mind, and concluded that he would not go to St. Louis, but had determined to go to the state of Michigan, and attend some of the land sales there; and if I thought I could not stay at Ottawa, that I might go with him, for he had plenty of money for us both. I told him that I could not stay; so we had to make some arrangements about our pre-emption right to our land. We went to see Major Campbell on the subject. He said there had been a number of men speaking to him on the subject of the land we had taken up, and he himself would like to have an interest in it, if we were willing. We said we had no objections. If he wished he might put in one-third of the money, and we would put up the balance and leave it with him to pay into the land office whenever it came into market. We then concluded that, in order to improve our own land, and the town of Ottawa, we would lay out a part of our pre-emption right into lots. So we laid out a street one hundred feet wide, and half a mile long, which was the length of our section, and on each side we made ten two acre lots, making twenty in all, and agreed to give every other lot to ten persons who would each build a small frame house, and fence his lot within two years from that time. That would make five houses on each side of the street. For their compensation for doing so, we agreed to give them a deed for their house, and the two acres of ground, when we received our deed from government; and would leave the money with them to pay for the land, whenever it came into market, and get a deed for us, by their paying us interest for the money, until we received our title. Ten of the best men in that country did sign a bond to us to build the above named houses, and fence their lots, and we left the money with them, and Major Campbell was to manage the whole matters in our absence, and see that all was right.
We then prepared to leave, and hired a man with a yoke of black oxen and a wagon, to take us to Chicago, distant eighty miles, which we travelled in two days and a-half — two nights camped out. At last we arrived in front of a hotel, in the city of Chicago, (which at that time contained about half a dozen houses, and the balance Indian wig-wams,) with our ox stage. We stayed there a week or two with the French and Indians, and enjoyed ourselves very well. We then took passage in a wagon that was going to Michigan, through the Indian country, without any road. We followed round the beach of the Lake; camped out the first night and slept on a bed of sand. The next morning we came to an old Frenchman's house, who had a squaw for a wife. They had three daughters, and beautiful girls they were, and entertained us very well. My brother almost fell in love with one of the old fellow's girls, and I had hard work to persuade him along any farther. He told me that he thought he felt a good deal like "an Ingen," and if he had an "Ingen gal" for his wife, he thought he could be one. However, I persuaded him to travel on.
We went on through the Pottawatamie nation, until we came to a place called the door-prairie. There we stopped and tried to buy a piece of land, for the purpose of laying out a town at that place. We could not get any title but an Indian one, and we concluded that would not do, so we travelled on; and the next place we came to of any importance, was the River Raisin, in the state of Michigan. There we met with a number of gentlemen from different parts of the world, speculators in land and town lots and cities, all made out on paper, and prices set at one and two hundred dollars per lot, right in the woods, and musquitoes and gallinippers thick enough to darken the sun. I recollect the first time I slept at the hotel, I told the landlord the next morning I could not stay in that room again, unless he could furnish a boy to fight the flies, for I was tired out myself; and not only that, but I had lost at least half a pint of blood. The landlord said that he would remove the musquitoes the next night with smoke. He did so, and after that I was not troubled so much with them. We stayed there a few days, but they held the property so high that we did not purchase any. The River Raisin is a small stream of water, something similar to what the Yankees would call a brook. I
25was very much disappointed in the appearance of the country when I arrived there, for I anticipated finding something great, and did not know but that I might on the River Raisin find the article growing on trees! But it was all a mistake, for it was rather a poor section of country.
From this place we visited a number of new towns and villages in the state of Michigan, and found all the proprietors and land-jobbers in the best of spirits — all stating what immense fortunes they had made at buying land at one dollar and twenty-five cents per acre, and making towns, and selling the lots at one hundred dollars per lot, or asking that for them. But it was a good deal like the Frenchman's way of making money — taking down all his goods and marking them at double price, but never selling them for the money.
We at last arrived at Detroit, a very beautiful place, situated on the Detroit river, at that time the Capital of the state. We stayed there some time, when we crossed over into Upper Canada, went up the river Thames, and travelled through the province of Upper Canada, down to a place called Newark, located I think, at the mouth of the Niagara river. Here we concluded to go up and view the falls. From there we went to Buffaloe, in the state of New York, and there took a steamboat and went to Cleaveland, in Ohio. There my brother left me and went back to the state of Tennessee, to buy some of the land that belonged to the state, and I was to go back to the state of Illinois to attend to our location at Ottawa myself.
I shipped aboard of the first boat bound for Detroit, and arrived safe at that place. I bought myself a little Indian poney, and having met with a gentleman with a horse and wagon, who was going on to Chicago, we concluded to travel together. I was to place my Indian horse in front of his, and we would drive tandem. So we arranged our team and started. On the third night we loosed our horses, turned them out on the prairie for the night, and the next morning my horse was gone, and could not be found. The landlord said there was no doubt but that he was stolen by the Indians, and it was not likely that we could ever get the horse again; so I let him go, and we went on with the one. We travelled the same road that my brother and I had travelled when we first came through the country, so that in our route we came to the old Frenchman's house where the
26Indian girls were, and as my brother was not with me, I concluded that I would play "Ingen" awhile myself. We agreed to stay two or three days and rest, and asked the old man if he was willing that we should stay a short time. He said we might do so if we pleased. So we stayed and hunted some, and talked to the "Ingen gals" three days, and then set out for Chicago. It was fifty miles from the old Frenchman's house to the Calamink river, where the first white man lived in the road. He had a half-breed Indian wife, and kept the ferry across the Callamink river at its mouth. We thought we could reach his house the first day, but our horse got weary of travelling in the sand, on the beach of the Michigan lake, and we were forced to stop. We unhitched our horse and turned him out to graze on the sand rushes and juniper berry bushes, and my friend and myself had to lay down to sleep in part of an old canoe that had floated ashore, and fight the musquitoes all night, without any thing for supper, or any thing else for comfort. Next morning we travelled on until ten o'clock before we came to the crossing place, both tired and hungry. I was as near gone as any man could well be and live. I went to the hut and asked the man if he could give us some breakfast. He said he could not, for he had nothing in the house for his own family. He said that he had sent to Chicago for provisions by a wagon, and it had not returned, and he could not give us anything for breakfast. I told him I must have something to eat before I went farther, if I had to kill a young papoose and roast him. I saw a gun standing in the corner of the hut and I loaded it and went out on the beach and shot a black bird, took it down to the water and picked off the feathers and dressed it in good order, and went back to the house and asked the woman if she would roast it for me. She said she would. She also said she had a little coffee, and would make me a cup of coffee. I told her that was very kind indeed, and requested her to make it as soon as possible, which she did, and gave us a few Indian Cranberrys, and we fared sumptuously. I asked the man what the bill was. He said not anything; and I gave the woman a dollar, and told her that I should always remember her while I lived for saving my life.
We then crossed the river and had twelve miles to go to Chicago. We went there and stopped some time. I there
27left my travelling companion, and went down about forty miles to a small river called Dupadge, and while I stayed there I met with a young man who was travelling the country on horse back. He had been at Ottawa and liked the place very much. He told me he would like to buy some property there, and had understood that I had some land at that place, and would like to buy if he could trade with me for it. He said that he had a wagon and goods, which he had left in Michigan, at a place called the door-prairie, which, together with the horse he was then riding, he would give me a trade for. It did not take me long to buy the whole lot of goods, "unsight unseen," and we started back to the man with whom he had left his wagon, something like seventy miles. We took an Indian trail, camped out one night, and the second day arrived where the wagon was. I then took possession of the horse, wagon and goods, and started as a pedler once more.
I had a hard time to get my wagon around the lake, and finally concluded that I would try a new route. I was then about twelve miles from the Dismaugh creek, which empties into the Michigan lake, where Michigan city now stands. That was in the year 1830. As I was preparing to travel, a young man who lived in the neighbourhood came there. He told me that he was going to Chicago with his sister, and would like to have my company through. I told him that I was very thankful for the offer, and would probably have to get him to assist me with my carriage. He said he would do so, and took an axe with him. His sister rode on horseback and the young man went with me in the wagon. The first day we cleared a road and got down near to the lake and encamped. We spenseled our horses and turned them out, and struck up a smoke to keep off the musquitoes. When we prepared to go to bed, I gave the young lady my wagon for her bed room, and her brother and myself laid under it, and in the morning we gathered ourselves up, and again set off on our journey. We struck the lake where Michigan city now stands, ours being the first carriage of any kind that had ever been there; and there was not a white man lived within twelve miles of the place at that time. We then took the beach and followed it to Chicago. We had to camp out three nights, and in the course of our journey, stopped at the house where the Indian woman
28saved my life by roasting the blackbird, at the mouth of the Callamink river. The man said he knew me, and that he was better prepared now than he was at that time. He said he could now give me something to eat, and not only that, but some good old whiskey to drink beside. I told him such news as that was always pleasant to me, and I hoped he would always be blessed with plenty of those good things.
We then passed on to Chicago, and there I left my fair lady-traveller and her brother, and steered my course for Ottawa, in the county of Lasalle, Illinois. Arrived there, I put up at the widow Pembrook's, near the town, and intended to make her house my home for some time. I kept trading round in the neighborhood for some time, and at last was taken with a violent chill and fever, and had to take my bed at the widow's, send for a doctor, and commence taking medicine; but it all did not do me much good. I kept getting weaker every day, and after I had eat up all the doctor-stuff the old doctor had, pretty much, he told me that it was a very stubborn case, and he did not know as he could remove it, and thought it best to have counsel. So I sent for another doctor, and they both attended me for some time. I still kept getting worse, and became so delirious as not to know anything for fifteen hours. I at last came to and felt relieved. After that I began to feel better, and concluded that I would not take any more medicine of any kind, and I told my landlady what I had resolved. She said that I would surely die if I did not follow the directions of the doctor. I told her that I could not help it; that all they would have to do was to bury me, for my mind was made up. In a few days I began to gain strength, and in a short time I got so that I could walk about. I then concluded that the quicker I could get out of those "diggins" the better it would be for me. So I told my landlady that my intention was to take my horse and wagon and try to get to St. Louis; for I did not think that I could live long in that country, and concluded I must go further south. I accordingly had my trunk re-packed, and made a move. I did not travel far in a day, but at last arrived at St. Louis, very feeble and weak, and did not care much how the world went at that time. However, I thought I had better try and live as long as there was any chance.
I here made sale of my horse and wagon for a small sum
29of money, and shipped aboard of a steamboat bound for New Orleans, and as it happened, we had on board of the boat a very skilful physician, and he paid me considerable attention. He inquired of me how long I had been sick, what country I had been in, &c. I told him that I had been in the sucker state, called Illinois, and had taken all the doctor-stuff that two doctors had, and I believed it had ruined me, and that I was then travelling to the south for my health. He said I was right. That there was no medicine that would restore my health or do me much good, and he would advise me to take a voyage to sea, and if that did not help me, he did not know of any thing that would.
We landed safe at New Orleans, and I was a poor looking object I assure you, to think of trying to live in that unhealthy city; but I made up my mind that I would try it for a few days at least. I had not been more than one week there, before I concluded that I could not live in that city, but if I remained much longer I should surely die. I took a walk down the levee one day where the shipping from all parts of the world was lying, and I was then so poor in flesh that I could scarcely make a shadow in the sun. At last I spied a sign on a new brig — "Bound to Philadelphia — to sail to-morrow. For freight or passage apply on board." That was hard for me to do — to get on board — for I could not walk much on land. However, I managed it so as to get on deck of the brig, and asked one of the sailors if the captain was on board. He said he was down in the cabin, and wished me to walk down and see him. I told him I could not do that, but would like to see him. So the sailor went and told the gentleman that he was wanted on deck, and he made his appearance. I asked him if he took passengers. He said he did, and asked if I wished to go. I told him I did. He said he did not think that I could go. I asked him the reason I could not go. He said I was too weak and feeble to stand the sea. I told him then that it made no difference to him, only so far as the passage money was concerned, and I had the money to pay with, and something more, and all I desired of him was, that if I should die on the passage, he should wrap me up in a red blanket I had with me, heave me into the sea, and write to my friends that I was off. He then told me to come aboard; that he would take care of me in the best
30manner possible; for he said that a man having such a resolution as I might live some time. I then had my baggage put on board, and the next day we left the city of New Orleans, and dropped down the Mississippi, to the Balise at the Gulf of Mexico.
We entered the gulf about three o'clock in the afternoon. It was very rough indeed, and it made me sick almost immediately, and I commenced vomiting and continued it without stopping until dark, sitting on a box on the deck of the vessel, and holding on to the rigging. An officer of the ship then came to me, and said that he would assist me down into the cabin. I told him to do so, for I could not help myself at all, and he took me down into the cabin and laid me in a berth, where I stayed until morning. I then crept up on deck. We were out of sight of land and remained so for ten days. After the few first days I began to feel better and had some little appetite. My sea-sickness began to wear off gradually. We were twenty-two days before we arrived at Cape May. We then went into the mouth of the river and met with ice, and had to lay to and stay two days, when the wind arose and blew the ice away, and we set sail and landed at the mouth of Morris river. I think it is called sixty miles from the city of Philadelphia. The captain then told me that the vessel would have to stay there for the winter, and I would have to travel by land to the city. I was very thankful, for I was tired of being a sailor.
I left the vessel and walked across the Salt Marsh, about a mile, and came to a small white house in the state of New Jersey, where I found a very fine old farmer. I asked him if I could stay with him a few days. He told me he had no objections if I could put up with farmers' fare. I told him that was the kind I wished for. He introduced me into a very fine room, where there were two young ladies. That dashed me some, for I had not been in ladies' company for a long time. However, I took a seat and commenced a conversation with them; told them how I came to be reduced so much, and how I had suffered in the Western country, &c., and was now trying to get back to my native land once more. They all appeared to take an interest in my welfare, and treated me very kindly indeed.
I stayed at the old farmer's house a few days and then
31went to Philadelphia, and from there to Harrisburg, and thence across the river to New Cumberland, to my brother Robert's.
I stayed with my brother two months, and was attended by Dr. Lewis, who resided in New Cumberland at that time. I told the Doctor that I would take any kind of medicine except mercury, and that I would not take, for I had taken enough of that kind of medicine in the state of Illinois. The old Doctor said he would give me the right kind; and he did so, I believe, for I kept gaining strength, and felt much better. I then made a move down near to Middletown, to my sister's, Mrs. Christ's, and stayed there all summer, with my brother-in-law, George Christ, almost dead as to life, and dead broke as far as money was concerned. My sister was sick with the consumption, when I first went to her house, and did not live long after I arrived there. She died, and left a kind husband and two children. I stayed there all summer, sat under a small cottonwood tree the greatest part of my time, and read novels, on the bank of the Susquehanna river, two miles above Middletown.
I then consulted with myself on the subject of the balance of my days, and how I should obtain money to live respectably in this lower world. At last I made up my mind that I could make sale of some of the Tennessee land; for at time there was plenty of money, and a great number of land speculators. So I had a contract written and printed on parchment, to get signers for so many acres of land, located in Kentucky, Virginia or Tennessee, and obtain a deed for them, from the Governor and Secretary of State, where the land was so entered. I got subscribers enough to locate fifty thousand acres of land, at twenty-five cents per five acres, in five thousand, and twenty-five hundred acre tracts. The conditions instructed me to go on and make the purchase in the names of the signers, and get the deed for them; and when I presented them with these titles, they were bound to pay me twenty-five cents per acre, for every tract thus located. The next thing was, how to get the money for expenses and to make such a large purchase of land; for it looked very large on paper. I then told my brother Robert, and my brother-in-law, George Christ, that I wanted their names on paper, with my own, to the Harrisburg bank, for four hundred dollars for ninety days. That I was going to
32make a large sum of money on land in the South, and showed them my papers. They knew a number of my subscribers, for they were all Pennsylvanians, and concluded that they would endorse for me. They did so, and I got my four hundred dollars, and made a move for the state of Tennessee, as large as life once more.
I was gone about six weeks, and in that time had made the purchase, had the land all surveyed out in tracts of five thousand, and twenty-five hundred acres, the deeds all made out and signed by the Governor and Secretary of State of Tennessee, to all my subscribers, and put on record in their names, according to law. Then I returned with my papers to fulfil my contract with my patrons, presented them with their title, and demanded my money. There were some gentlemen who received their deeds, and there were others who did not. Some said it was too much land for one man to own, and some said that they did not think at the time of signing, that it would cost so much, and made a great number of old fashioned excuses. I did not get near what the bonds amounted to, for the whole transaction was no small sum. It amounted to twelve thousand five hundred dollars. However, I received a part of it to start me sailing again in the world once more.
I then left Harrisburg in the stage, in company with a reverend looking old gentleman, who wore a large brimed white hat. I concluded that he must be a preacher of the gospel, but I soon found out my mistake. I found him to be first-rate company. He could pass a joke, and tell a great many stories, and, by the bye, a number of love scenes with the ladies in old Lycoming county. I at last found out where he lived. He told me that he was a farmer, and owned a farm adjoining the borough of Williamsport, and would like to make sale of it. I told him that I had been in the habit of dealing in land for the last year or two, and if we could agree, I would purchase his property, and asked him his price. He said that he had one hundred and three acres of land, and a good brick house on the premises, and he must have for the property ten thousand dollars, or he would not sell. I told him that it was a very respectable price, but I would take a look at it, when we arrived at Williamsport. I did so, and found it a beautiful situation, and told the old gentleman that it was worth more than what
33he had asked me for it. He then told me that he was satisfied with that price, if I was, and would like to make the bargain with me. I told him that I was not prepared to purchase at that time, but was going on to a place called Wellsborough, in Tioga county, to meet my brother Francis Church, and if he would go in with me, that I would see him on my return.
I then went on to Tioga and met my brother, and in the course of two weeks we made our appearance in the town of Williamsport, and there met my old friend who had the farm again. He was fierce for a trade. My brother and myself took a look over the property, concluded that we would make the purchase, and told the old gentleman how we would like to make the contract: — that was, two thousand dollars in hand, four thousand dollars in three months, and four thousand dollars in four annual payments. The terms were agreed to, and we made the purchase. This was in February, 1833. We paid the two thousand dollars in hand, and were to have the property to do anything we pleased with, except the possession of the mansion house, and that we were to have on the first of May, when the four thousand dollars was to be paid. We then commenced laying out what is called Church's addition to the town of Williamsport. We made sales of lots, and kept a trading on with the property, until the first of May, and bound ourselves to give titles at that time, when we would receive full possession of the whole property. By that time we had made sales enough to pay the Old Squire off, and instead of paying four thousand, we were able to pay eight thousand, and take a receipt in full, and had some money left.
The next town we made our appearance in was Lewisburg, formerly called Derrstown. We there made a purchase of one hundred and twenty-five acres of land, of Gen. Green, at forty-five dollars per acre, laying on both sides of the cross-cut, from the end of the bridge to the Pennsylvania canal, opposite the town of Lewisburg. Having been in the habit of making towns, we concluded that we could make one most any where, and we thought we would try a small one in opposition to the one on the other side of the river — Lewisburg. However, we did not frighten them as a rival, but we got their feelings raised and blood up, so that they bought of us at beautiful prices. There was one
34gentleman who purchased seventeen acres at one hundred dollars per acre, the next day after we had bought it at forty-five. We laid out the balance into streets, alleys, and out-lots, and called it Churchville. We sold out the whole purchase in two weeks, and made some money, but not much of a town. It was a very pleasant place for a town, but there were no houses built in it but one, I believe, and that was a hotel; and in order to let the people know that that was the town of Churchville, the proprietor of the house had the name written on a large sign — "CHURCHVILLE HOTEL," and I am very thankful to the gentleman for keeping up appearances.
We then left the West Branch of the Susquehanna and went to Harrisburg. We stayed there a few days, and whilst we were there purchased a small mill patent, a mill and threshing machine and horse power, and all the apparatus for setting them in motion whenever we pleased, and shipped the whole concern to Pittsburg by canal. In a short time we left Harrisburg ourselves with a carriage and horses for the western country. When we arrived at Pittsburg, we found all our mill concerns in good order. I went aboard of a steamboat and enquired for the captain, when a very smart looking dandy fellow made his appearance, and said he was the captain. I asked him if his boat was bound for Louisville, and he replied it was. I told him that I would like to go down the river with him, and had some freight to take along. He said he could take any kind of freight, and asked me what it was. I told him that I wanted him to take a grist mill, a saw-mill, two churches and a carriage and horses! He replied that he did not take any freight of that kind, evidently in a rage. I then told him that I was one of the Churches, and my brother was in company with me and about the same size of myself, and the mills did not weigh more than four or five hundred apiece. He then concluded to take us aboard, and we went down the Ohio river to a place called Madison, in the state of Indiana.
We stopped there a few days, and put up our mill and horse power to try it, and see how it would make flour; but it did not answer. We could not make it grind. We were not yankees enough to make money selling patent rights; so we packed up our mills and made another move to Indianapolis, the capital of the state of Indiana. There we left
35our pattern mill, and sold our horses and buggy to a gentleman by the name of Noble, for three town lots, considered at that time worth four hundred dollars. It was considered a little the best carriage in those "diggins." We stayed there about two weeks, and in the course of that time there were one or two deaths by cholera. My brother was very much frightened and took medicine every day, in good health, for fear he would get sick and die with the cholera. For my part, I took no medicine but a little gin occasionally. However, we both kept our health very well.
We then concluded to go to the far west. We bought us a cream-coloured horse and a small red square box wagon to carry our trunks, made a spring seat in it, and got aboard and took the national road for Michigan lake, the mud about two feet deep, and as black as tar. But we waded through it, and at last arrived at a beautiful country on the St. Joseph river. Nothing troubled us then except musquitoes and prairie flies; they were very hard on us and our noble dun horse, and would almost take a suck at our red box wagon, thinking it was blood. We travelled through a pleasant part of the state of Indiana, as far as land is concerned, until we arrived at Michigan city, situate on the lake shore, where three years before I had slept under the wagon, and the young lady who was with us slept in it. There were no inhabitants within nine miles of it at that time, and now it was a considerable of a town, and called a city. We there took the beach of the Michigan lake and followed it to Chicago, and there we found a large town built up in three years; for it was only three years since we were there with the black oxen and wagon, and at that time there were but half a dozen houses in the place. It was very surprising what improvements had been made in the western country in that short time. Look at an Indian wigwam town changed into an American city in the course of three or four years! I know of a number of places in the west that would have been improved in the same way, if the government had let the currency alone, and had not taken what I call the one thing needful from us. The consequence now is, the land lies uncultivated, and nothing but a wild Indian sitting wrapped up in a red blanket on a log, where we might have had a good native American, or at least some imported voters from "the land of steady habits," to have been the cultivators at this time.
We stayed at Chicago a few days, and then went down to Ottawa, and found that place improving slowly. We took a look at our pre-emption right, and found that the men had not lived up to their contract with us. They had not built the houses they had agreed to build on the two acre lots that we had agreed to give to them for keeping up our pre-emption right until the land came into market. But they said it was all right — that they intended to live up to the contract, and purchase the land for us as soon as it came into market. That satisfied us. I then told my brother that I did not like the west so well; that it was rather too much of a savage country for me, and I made up my mind to return back to old Pennsylvania and give them another turn in that state, and see if I could not raise another town. My brother said he would not accompany me. That he was bound to go to the far west. So we divided our money and effects and parted — one went east, the other west. I returned to Pennsylvania myself, and my brother went to Missouri.
After I arrived at New Cumberland, where my brother Robert lived at that time, and had stayed a few days to rest myself, I left and went up to a place called Milton, on the West Branch of the Susquehanna river. I there found a younger brother, by the name of Willard Church, who had come down from the state of New York into the Old Keystone state to try his fortune, and was ready for anything that presented itself that he could do without capital. He told me that he knew of a splendid place for a town if we could get the land. He said it was located at the head of the West Branch canal, on the pool of the Dunnstown dam, and they were working on the Spring Creek and Bald Eagle cross-cut that emptied into the pool, and run through the place, or farm, that we must purchase for the town. I asked him how much he thought it worth per acre. He said he thought it worth one hundred and fifty dollars an acre for as much as we would want for the town lots, and that would be about fifty acres. I told him that was a beautiful price to think of giving; and in particular, when we had not much money. He said that if I would go with him and look at it and make the purchase, he would risk his capital at any rate. I concluded that I would go up and view the place. So we got aboard of the stage and went
37up to Williamsport, and from thence to Dunnstown, twenty-eight miles, crossed the river at that place, went up about one mile on the opposite shore, and put up with a man by the name of Develin, who lived on the farm as a tenant. The farm belonged to Doctor John Henderson, of Huntingdon, and there were two hundred acres in the tract. We took a walk over the premises, and found it to be a delightful spot; two hundred acres of the best kind of ground, beautifully located between two rivers, the Susquehanna and Bald Eagle, and the scenery nature had formed around it, could not be excelled in the state. I stood and looked at it with delight, and told my brother that we must have it, in some way.
We then left the place, and went down to Williamsport. There I met with a gentleman lawyer who I had been some acquainted with, and I told him that I had been viewing up at or near the Big Island, and would like to purchase it if I knew where to get the money; and also told him the object: That I intended to lay out a town on it, if I could obtain it. He said he thought the money could be got, and he would be willing to be a private partner — what I would call a sleeping partner. He proposed to put one-third of the purchase money in, and give me a letter to Dr. Henderson to that effect. I then left Williamsport and went to Huntingdon to see the Old Doctor. When I arrived there I called on him, and introduced myself, and handed him the letter the lawyer had given me at Williamsport. That informed him what my business was. He replied that it appeared by the letter that I wished to purchase his farm, near the Big Island, or a part of it. I told him that was my intention, if we could agree. He then said he would not sell a part. If he sold any it must be the whole farm, and he had his price set and could not be changed. I asked him what it was. He said twenty thousand dollars, and not a dollar less. I told him it was a beautiful sum for one farm. However, I said I had made up my mind to give him eighteen thousand dollars, if I could make the payments to suit him. I told him also that I was not rich, and had not the money, even at that price, in hand. He then repeated that his mind was made up not to take anything less than he had above stated. I saw that there was no use to parley any longer, so I told him that I would close the bargain
38if the payments I could make would suit him. He asked me how I wished to make them. I told him that I could pay five thousand dollars in hand, or when I took the pro-party in possession, and the balance in two years. The Doctor said that would do, but he could not give me full possession until the first of April, eighteen hundred and thirty-four. This was in October, thirty-three. I gave the Old Doctor a fifty dollar bill to bind the bargain, and then went into a lawyer's office and had our bonds made by a gentleman by the name of Steel — a very honest man, considering all things.
After we had all our writings finished, and took a few glasses of old rye, we got aboard of the stage and went to Bellefonte, and from there down to the river Susquehanna, on the property. The Doctor went with me, in order to give the tenant notice that he must leave by the first of April — that the property was to pass into other hands, and was no longer his — that he had sold the farm to Jeremiah and Willard Church. I got permission of the Doctor and the tenant to plot out a town on paper, and make a sale, if we thought proper, immediately, and give our titles and possession on the first day of April. We did so, and called the town Lock Haven. We made a public sale on the fourth day of November, eighteen hundred and thirty-three, and sold a number of lots, receiving ten per cent. on the purchase money, and the balance on the first day of April. That was the time we were bound to meet our old friend the Doctor, and I knew by the cut of his jib, that he would be on the ground at the proper time.
I then called on my sleeping partner for his share of the purchase money, but I could not wake him up for any part of it. He sent me his resignation in writing, stating that he had changed his mind on the subject, and could not put up the money, but wished to be excused from any further liability. A beautiful note to write at that stage of the game. However, I told my brother that we must try and make the payment ourselves; we had gone so far with it, there was no backing out; that he must watch while I would pray. I said I would go to Williamsport and try to make a raise of money to meet the Doctor on the first day of April, which was then drawing very near, and I was very doubtful whether we could meet our engagements or not.
39Accordingly, I went down to Williamsport, and there met with a gentleman who had money. I told him that I wanted three thousand dollars for a few weeks, and that I would give him for the use of it, five hundred dollars, and he let me have the money. I was very thankful for the accommodation, for it saved my credit, and that was worth more to me at that time than the five hundred dollars were. In that was we met our first payment. Then we made all the sales we possibly could in town lots, and the back land we sold to a gentleman from Chester county, by the name of James Jeffries. He paid us about nine thousand dollars in cash at one time, and that saved us the second time with the Doctor.
About that time my brother married a lady living near Milton, Pennsylvania. His wife had an interest in a store with her brother, Robert Montgomery. Of course my brother became a partner in the store, in the town of Milton, as large as life. They concluded they would move their store to our new town of Lock Haven, and did so; but it did not last long. They had to break the first year. They all lived together, and too fast for their income; so the sheriff came on them to show cause why they did not pay for their goods. They could not show any reasonable excuse, only that they had not the money; so the sheriff seized the goods and sold them for what he could get, and turned them out to the mercy of the world. My brother had all his interest in the town of Lock Haven sold for his debts, together with his dear brother-in-law's, and both were left even with the world once more. My brother then left the new town and went to the west, to the state of Missouri, and settled down with his family, and is living there at the present time.
I then undertook to manage the town of Lock Haven myself. All my sleeping partners had left me, and I had to be all the society there was at that time in the town. If there was any music to be played, I had to be a full band myself, having no person to assist me. I now undertook to divide the counties of Lycoming and Centre, and make a new county to be called Clinton. I had petitions printed to that effect, and sent them to Harrisburg, to have them presented to the Legislature, and then went down myself to have the matter represented in good order. My friend JOHN GAMBLE, was our member from Lycoming at that time, and
40he reported a bill. The people of the town of Williamsport, the county seat of Lycoming, and Bellefonte, the county seat of Centre county, then had to be up and be doing something to prevent the division; and they commenced pouring in their remonstrances, and praying aloud to the Legislature not to have any part of either county taken off for the purpose of making a new one, for it was nothing more or less than some of Jerry Church's yankee notions. However, I did not despair. I still kept asking every year, for three successive years, and attended the Legislature myself every winter. I then had a gentleman who had become a citizen of the town of Lock Haven, by the name of JOHN MOORHEAD, who harped in with me — a very large, portly looking man, and rather the best borer in town; and, by the bye, a very clever man. We entered into the division together. We had to state a great number of facts to the members of the Legislature, and perhaps something more, in order to obtain full justice. We continued on for nearly three years longer, knocking at the mercy seat, and at last we received the law creating the county of Clinton. In the year eighteen hundred and thirty-nine, the county was organized by the Hon. JUDGE BURNSIDE.
I then concluded that having a county seat and law and justice so handy, we could get judgment against our neighbors almost any time. However, I was mistaken about that, for when I went to law I could not obtain it, in consequence of not having just claims, as the lawyers told me. I then concluded I would change it, and have a suit on justice alone, which I could not obtain according to law. I soon found out that the less a person has to do with law and attending courts, the more money he can have in his pocket, and the happier man he will be. He has not the remorse of conscience on his mind, (that is, if he has any mind at all,) that he has taken from his neighbors by law what did not belong to him by justice, in consequence of having an opportunity to swear that the large Blue Book that he carries under his arm to the justice's office, is his book of original entries: — First-rate evidence, and can't be beat.
We had three commissioners appointed to locate the county seat. Their names were Col. Cresswell, Maj. Colt and Joseph Brestel. These gentlemen met at Lock Haven, and viewed the different places that were offered for the county
41seat, but there was none to be compared to Lock Haven. So they made up their minds that Lock Haven should be the place, and selected the square for the public buildings. My friend Moorhead was displeased with the location, and had a special law passed allowing the commissioners to alter the location, for his own interest and others, without my knowledge, and offered a bonus to the county to have it moved into another part of the town. But it would not do. The people sustained me; and the square I had located in the first place was retained. We went on and built the Court House, as good a one, perhaps, as any in Northern Pennsylvania. The inhabitants numbered about seven hundred, at this time: namely, in eighteen hundred and forty-four. Ten years ago there was but one house, and probably about a dozen inhabitants in the place, and now it is a beautiful village, and a place of considerable business. It has seven retail stores and groceries, one drug and two candy shops, three preachers, two meeting houses, (and one "Jerry Church,") six lawyers, two doctors, and two justices of the peace, and the balance of the inhabitants are what I call a fair community.
I SHALL now close the journal of my travels, and make some remarks on matters and things in general. In the first place I shall commence with what some persons call the "root of all evil" — money — though I differ myself from that opinion, for I have made up my mind that it is mixed with all good. I meet in my travels with all sorts of human species, and all colours, from white to black, red, and some "blue" ones, all enquiring after that evil root. Therefore I cannot think for a moment but that mankind are all desirous to have that article in our land, and in particular in Pennsylvania. It makes no difference what it is made of, if it only answers man's ends. We once had as good a currency in these United States as man could wish for, and it would have remained so for centuries, no doubt, if we had had wise men for our rulers. I don't mean Presidents of Banks, but Presidents of our country. One of our Presidents might be particularly referred to, who was not willing to receive any direction from the people, who placed him at the helm of state, but taking the helm in his own hands, a self-tribunal to execute his own will in all things, and to let the people know that he was the lord and director of this free country; and the people obeyed him in his commands, until they lost their money and character. The absolute necessity of a Bank was known to the principal founders of our country, without the assistance of which our liberties had never been fully accomplished. We many of us remember the continental currency, more worthless and ragged than our present shinplasters. Our good men at that time thought proper to establish an United States Bank, as the only means of saving our country.
Permit me now to make a few remarks on the subject of credit. Many woods-boys who I am personally acquainted with in these United States, are bound to work for twenty-five cents per day, who, at the same time, have far superior talent for any kind of business than their employers; but in consequence of not having so much money, are bound to be hirelings forever; under the principle of Jacksonism — that
44every man should trade on his own capital only! Credit may be considered in two ways. There is a rash and dishonest credit, and a prudent and wholesome credit. The former is practised by the imprudent and dishonest man, who intends only to obtain the property of his neighbour, calculating at the same time never to repay. He soon finds his career end in ruin and prostration of character. These kind of men soon become known to banks, and men of business, who are instrumental in putting a stop to their dishonest dealings. Such characters deserve no further notice.
But there is another kind of credit, which is honorable and just, and which leads to prosperity and fortune. We will suppose a case: — A young man totally destitute of capital, but possessed of talent, a useful education, and good moral character, obtains credit. This operates as a stimulous. He is aware of his responsibility, and his exertions are all called into action, to insure and sustain his character. He succeeds in business, and realizes a solid capital, which allows him to extend his concerns to any amount that prudence may dictate. Supposing a young man should be left with two hundred acres of timbered land, and nothing else; no money to improve the property with, and had to work for his board and clothing; and also for money to pay the tax on that wild land. How long would it be before the commonwealth would strip the boy of his legacy, left him by his honored parents, unless he would pay his taxes. That would be impossible for him to do, unless he could raise it off the land, and that was out of his power to do. Now we will take the credit system, endorse for the young man to the bank for two hundred dollars, and let him have the money. He now goes to work on the land, with another hand with him, cutting cord wood and timber, and clearing it for a crop of wheat the present year. In the course of six months these two men clear thirty acres of land, and seed it with wheat, and by the time the year comes round, when the money has to be paid, the boy has a crop of wheat ready for market, and fifty cords of wood, which is worth four hundred dollars. He then is able to pay the bank and interest, and relieves his endorsers. No person is injured, and the young man becomes a good, faithful farmer, and a worthy man, all made out of credit. He has a first-rate farm, and becomes a noble friend to other poor men. So I
45conclude, that Banks are not such "monsters" as they are represented to be by a number of persons that know nothing about them.
I am personally acquainted with a number of mechanics and merchants in the United States who are an ornament to this free country, who almost owe their birth-right to banking institutions — their education and wealth and character in society. It is useless to think for a moment that character and credit should not be sustained in this free country. It is out of power to meet all our obligations in gold or silver. The reason is, there is not gold or silver enough in the United States to pay the officers of the government, and the interest on private debts between man and man. Therefore it is highly necessary that the government, or the makers of the laws of the United States, establish a substitute, that will answer to pay them for their dear services — and the Lord knows they are dear enough as to price — and also pay me for labor. We had tried what the locos call "hard stuff," and the result is nothing more or less than hard times! Therefore, let us have another United States Bank and branches established, on the faith of the government and the public domain — with a charter for two thousand years! Let the character of this free country be reinstated once more, and our people go on with their native American improvements, cultivate the soil of this promising land, and make it valuable, and not try to curtail the honest laborer of his daily pay by telling him that he must not work for anything but the "hard stuff," and depend on the officers of the government for that! And also that the speculator is the man who ruins the country. This is all a mistake. Every man is a speculator, from a wood-sawyer to a President, as far as his means will go, and credit also.
And now let us dwell for a moment on parties. This spirit runs so high, and we get our blood so warmed up, that we will vote for a man who will take command of our country and scatter our currency to atoms, and we sustain him regardless of consequences. The question is come at last, and the enquiry is now made — "Who is President, and what will he do for me? I voted for him and think he is in duty bound to give me an office, so that I can make a fortune under his administration. I must have a chance at the public money. I must be Indian agent, or I must
46have a contract, or I will throw the party to the devil." The sum and substance is that the officers have lost sight of the people's interest. The people put up the money to pay the officers with, and they think there is nothing to be done at the present time, only to be appointed to office. For my part, I have made up my mind to be a soldier; for I conclude that after all the rest of the people are made officers, I shall be a full company alone. I feel at the present time like a full-blooded natural Native American — willing to live fast, and let my neighbor live also. Therefore, I do hope that the officers and rulers of this great country will take into consideration that it must be a poor fought battle where there is but one soldier and all the rest officers.
The pretended wise men of this dear commonwealth of Pennsylvania, have been a few years past making laws so that the public shall not be deceived by corporations. The consequence is that individual enterprise is checked, all business is curtailed, and what I call chilled, like a furnace that has blown out. I take a very different view of matters and things from our wise legislators. I think that the life of every country is the business that is done in it — no matter what it is, if it is for the use of man. Any corporation or individual enterprise that is intended to improve a country, is a benefit to that country, either directly or indirectly. It may not be a benefit to the operators themselves; but that is their look-out. So I conclude that any government that has got so unrighteous as not to trust its own subjects in matters of business, must of course come to a close; for they are the men that pay the money and keep up appearance. It is all a mistake to pass laws to keep a community poor, for the object of trying to make them honest. Poverty will often drive them to dishonesty. You oppress a man, or set of men, and you will make them steal. I shall here close my remarks for the present on corporations by adding, that I hope to live to see a bank at each end of these United States and one in the middle, for the use of all native Americans, and others concerned, for the improvement of this "promised land."
I shall now turn my attention to the subject of intemperance, and endeavor to show the evil of it, and the necessity of living a sober man. I think I have had some experience on both the questions now proposed. In the first place, I
47have been in the habit myself of taking a glass of what is called "bitters," in the morning, and occasionally a glass or two through the day. But I would not like the reader to suppose that in consequence of my having stated that I am a partaker of intoxicating drink, that I am in habit of getting drunk daily, for that is not the case.
I was raised an eye witness to dissipation. My father was what was called a hard drinker; although I have often heard him say, that it was a mistake, "for he drank as easy as any other man in the world." There is no doubt but that it shortened my father's days; for when he got into one of these sprees, as he called them, my mother and the family could not do any thing with him. He would have his own way in all things, right or wrong, when he was under the influence of liquor. There is no doubt at all, but the mind becomes totally lost and distracted when under its influence. I know it was so with my father, for he could not recollect what had passed, when he became sober; and when my mother would inform him of what he had done, and what a disgrace it was on him, and the family also, he would always promise not to do so any more; and no doubt, when saying so, he intended to live up to his word, for his word was to be taken in all things, with the exception of his promising not to drink whiskey. I have known my father to keep sober for weeks and months together; and no boy ever had a kinder father than I had, when he was in his right mind. He was good to the poor and charitable in all things. But alas! his appetite and taste ran away with his better judgment, and he fell a victim of this unholy, unrighteous, artificial spirit. Oh! that it could be banished from this our native land, never, at least, to make its appearance in the Native American ranks; for I consider it one of the greatest curses that ever has been introduced by man. It has been the cause of more deaths, more tears, and more trouble, than all other evils combined together. It may be considered here by the reader, that I am advocating a virtue that I did not practice myself. I admit that I have been overruled by taste and custom so much as to take a great deal more of the monster than was good either for my body or my pocket.
Some persons say that liquor is good for the sick, and it is very necessary to be taken as a medicine. Some say that it is good to color with, to establish fast colors. I admit this
48coloring business, for I have noticed in the human species, that it sets a red color to the body, and particularly the face and nose. I have struggled hard to keep myself from the paint pot, and have retained my natural color, I think, up to the present time; but for fear of the painter, I hope and pray to have it removed out of the world, and never to be heard of again whilst man exists. Let us look at the subject a minute: — Did any man ever receive any benefit from the use of rum, or any good result from it. Is a man prepared to attend to business better, by having this artificial spirit added to his natural mind? I think not. And I conclude, that all men will agree with me in this respect, that a man is far superior in point of judgment when he is perfectly sober, cool and deliberate. No man should get into the custom of having himself tuned up like an old fiddle, before he is fit for business. Look at our wise men, or what are called great men in matters concerning our laws. They often under the influence of — I was going to say the evil spirit — but I will say spirits, any way. I don't say that they are intoxicated in the Halls where the laws are made, but I do know of many instances when they were so full of spirits at night, that they did not know what the order of the next day would be; and hardly had time in the morning to arrange their disordered bodies, and get themselves in tune, and repair to the capitol to receive the prayers of the Chaplain.
And look at all sorts of men meeting in bodies to transact business of any kind, no matter what it is; let it be a raising or log rolling, or any thing where a multitude is collected, and see if there is not a wide difference in the management of that body where there is no liquor bottle handed round to excite the mind. All are united and attend to their business in good order, and when they finish, go home like men. And then we will look at another party that is commanded by a captain who is fond of all kinds of liquor, and in particular whiskey, and will have it wherever he is, and will hand round the bottle to all his men. See what a confusion there will be in the ranks in a short time — what a noise they will make — tear and rend every thing to pieces — no judgment. When wine is in, wit is out. And frequent accidents happen by doing business in such a hurry; limbs are broken, either by some one falling off the building, in consequence
49of having drank too much whiskey himself, or his comrade falling against him, who had got top heavy. And at last, at the winding up of the business, they often have a fight or two, to see who are the stoutest men, and often tear each others eyes out, all under the distracted mind occasioned by drinking whiskey. So you may take liquor in any way you please, and there cannot be any good derived from it, in any shape or form that it can be made use of by any man.
There is another article made use of by man that is almost as injurious as liquor, and that is tobacco. Although it does not operate in so destructive a manner on the system, it affects the nerves very much indeed, and I have made up my mind that tobacco has a tendency to shorten life. There is one thing certain, that if it affects the nerves of the body, it must of course affect the life; for when the nerves cease to act the body then, I conclude, is of not much use. We have a number of ways and customs of making use of this poisonous weed. We chew it, we smoke it, and we snuff it. I have tried it all ways myself, with the exception of snuffing, to excess, and I should have tried snuffing, only I concluded that it was a slow way of choking a man to death. Therefore I did not use it in that way. But I have found out that it is all folly to make use of it in any way. I commenced making use of tobacco when a small boy, I think before I had any pockets in my clothes to carry it in. I recollect I had to place it under my cap lining. They called it in those days ladies' twist. I thought to myself that I should soon be a man if I could chew ladies' twist; and I concluded also that it would introduce me into the company with the ladies. But I soon found out my mistake, for a majority of the ladies are very much opposed to tobacco chewers. So to sum up the whole matter, and take into consideration both the articles, whiskey and tobacco, we must admit that we love it to the destruction of our bodies, and I am not certain but that the soul goes with it. Therefore, let us sober up, and take into serious consideration the trouble it has brought us into; and the evil deeds, vice and immorality we have practised under the influence of liquor in particular. I speak now to those unhappy persons who are in the habit of taking too much daily, and say that they take it to make them feel well, and rich, and happy. And there is no doubt that it has that effect upon a great many
50who partake of it freely, and of course get mesmerized with it; and before the lecturer can throw the influence, as they call it, to make you feel pleasantly, you get so dry that you have no feeling with the exception of burning thirst, and all that the patient desires at that stage is water, mixed with a little more whiskey. Now if the reader thinks that I have not stated the general feeling of persons in that situation, all that I can say to him or her is, that they must try it themselves. For my own part I am satisfied not to try it any more.
It is now twelve o'clock, on the fourth day of March, one thousand eight hundred and forty-five. To-day I feel very much relieved, and hope I shall have the pleasure of rejoicing hereafter that this day has released us from being ruled by an old conscientious sucker, that the Lord placed at the head of our national government, I think, through mistake. However, let it be as it may, he was there any how, and I am thankful for one that he is out; for he never was fit to govern these United States. I have made up my mind that he was a bigoted old knave, and not fit to govern or manage anything at this time, not even the generation business. I am not going to say much more about him, for I don't know much about him; but I do hope that the Lord will not place him as an officer in this lower world again, either by accident or not. After to-day we are to be ruled by another man, a gentleman I hope, who came in not by accident actually, but with very little trouble on his part; and I also hope that the gentleman thus easily installed will not think that we, the people, will be bound to keep him there unless he does something for the community at large, as well as for his officers. It has been fashionable for the last twelve years for Governors and the Presidents who have the appointing power, to appoint all the old brandy-faced party men to office, merely for the salary alone, and pay no attention to the welfare of the "dear people," as they call them a few days before the election, but after that say nothing.
I have this moment finished reading the Inaugural Address of JAMES K. POLK, the President of the United States. I differ very much indeed with him on one vital matter. That is, he recommends no National Bank. I contend that there should be no other but a bank of that kind, and branches
51of it in every state in the Union. The President thinks that it would have a tendency to make the people corrupt, but I think right the reverse. I have made up my mind that it would make more just men than there are at the present time, for in all communities that I have been with in my travels, if money is hard to be got, and cannot be obtained by fair means, a great number of human beings will steal it rather than do without it. So it is all a mistake for the government to oppress a community, thinking to make them honest, for that is out of order, in my way of thinking. There is no doubt in my mind but that the President and all his train of officers are all perfectly satisfied with the precious shining "hard stuff," as far as salary is concerned. I therefore move to strike out that line where the President says that "the people do not want a national bank," and insert — "that we are bound to have, and will have one."
On the subject of the annexation of Texas, I am not certain but what it is right to do so, for I begin to think that it has had some impression on this old commonwealth already. I feel it sensibly while writing at Harrisburg, at Capt. COVERLY'S hotel, this present winter, eighteen hundred and forty-five, that it has had the appearance of summer, and it appears very much like a southern climate. I am not so certain but our principles are going south, and I cannot see how we are going to stop it, unless we annex the two Canadas; and that I think will fetch up on fair principles, and a pretty fair climate. However, I do not for a moment think that all I can write on the subject will make a particle of difference, for the majority of the people will rule, and I feel disposed to let them; only I am determined that my mind shall be known on a number of matters and things. As for the tariff, I think that the President is not quite right. I am satisfied for one, if the general government can raise sufficient funds to defray their expenses by a tariff, but I would like it still better, if they could raise a surplus in some way, to help the natives to pay their taxes in the state of Pennsylvania, and other states.
I shall now make a few remarks of a different character from any I have spoken of in this little work — that is the character of a gambler, as far as my knowledge and observation extends. I have been, in my travels, in company with almost all kinds of people, and sometimes had the
52pleasure of being with what are called sportsmen. The reader will excuse me for calling it a pleasure. It was a mistake. I have often felt miserable indeed, after I had been one of the subjects that surrounded the table that was spread with white and red chips — called a Faro Bank — a beautiful looking animal to be sure. Some call it a tiger. It is amusing to a neutral man to look on and hear the remarks that are made on the game they are playing, with regard to their winning or losing their money. Some will feel in the best kind of humor at the time when they are winning. Others will appear cast down with hard luck. Some will sigh, and sit and say nothing. Others will swear at the cards. Some will strike on the table and damn the chips. Some will say there goes the last dollar, and will ask the banker for more chips; but in almost all cases he refuses, and says that it is contrary to the rules of the game to pay any thing out unless the money is in the box. So the customer slips out of the room, and wends his way home with a heavy heart and a light pocket. Some persons will say that I was not wise in being with such company. I will admit that, unless a person can withstand temptation and guard well against the temptor, he had best be somewhere else; but as I had always been from my childhood, an adventurer, I have occasionally happened to be where these games were played; and being there, I think I have learned some lessons that have been of no disadvantage to me, for I learned to guard against deception by seeing it practised. That, if any thing, was all I made; for when I put up my money to try and beat them out of their's, I generally lost it. So I have concluded that no man, let him be ever so smart, young or old, can ever make any money out of this class of men. It is true there are some of these sportsmen who are very honorable in their dealings in community, in the form of business, as much so as any gentlemen, and are very intelligent men. But take them on the other hand, in their sporting operations, and they will practice all manner of deception, and will have your money at any rate, if you play with them. There are a number of other games about as bad as the Faro bank. There is the game called poke. That is a robbing, rascally game. And there is old sledge and suker, and a game they call whist, and I think that has the best name of all; and if a person
53cannot make up his mind so that he can keep from playing any game, he had best play this named whist; and he had better play entirely alone, so that he can neither lost or win. However, I don't know where to place these characters. They are a part of the people of this world. The Lord made them, and I cannot presume to tell what he will do with them. There are a number of them first-rate looking men, but I have to confess they are hard customers in these lower diggins; that is, if you undertake to beat them out of their money. But the company that presents themselves before them, is to blame very much. I never heard one of those kind of men insist on another playing with him, in any country. Now I shall leave this character for a short time, and let any person have their own opinion on the subject of the character of a sportsman, or the gambler. For my own part, I have made up my mind that it is best to keep a good look-out, watch them close, and keep entirely out of sight, if possible, and there will be no danger. Here I beg leave to be excused by the reader, for his mind might be made up that I have been a practical sportsman, from the above description, which is not the fact; for I cannot be considered any thing more than a looker on.
There is another class of gentlemen that stand high in society, who are splendid, talented men, and I think a little superior to any other class of men in the world, and that is the lawyer. They are the only set of men who can make falsehoods look a great deal like facts. That is one of the reasons why I think them the smartest, for they can stand right straight up and face a court and gentlemen of the jury, with as much dignity as a Roman Priest, and state their client's claim against his neighbor, when at the same time he has not the least shadow of a claim on the defendant, only to rob him out of his money by law, regardless of justice. And you state to one of these legal gentlemen the injustice of taking or obtaining money in that way, and they will reply that "they have law for it," and that they are bound to have it, if either party has any. They place the sin on the client, if there is any to answer, for making the false claim against his neighbour. All the lawyer has to do is to attend to the collection of the money, and keep the most of it, if he can find any law for that; and they are
54generally smart enough to turn to a page of some of their law books, and there they will read in the hearing of the client, that the law is plain on the subject — that they had a right to do just as they pleased. They then dismiss the man with their thanks, and invite him to call again as soon as he can have another account made out, and has any money to pay for legal advice; and "be sure to give me a call at my office, No. 10; and be sure to have good witnesses, for that is a very important point before the court." It is not so particular before the jury, for the court will charge the jury according to law; and that is, if a witness swears point blank to a claim against defendant, let it be just or not, if I aint mistaken in law, the judge is bound to take the evidence, unless the witness can be impeached in some way of false swearing; and that is a very difficult matter to make out on one that is fond of swearing, and knows how to do it. The jury sits all around as dignified as monks — not a smile upon their countenance — and the lawyers addressing them in the sweetest kinds of language — "and if the court please, gentlemen of this intelligent jury, &c." Then you will see all eyes turned to the gentleman that is calling them such pretty names; and the lawyer will state to the "gentlemen of the jury," that it is not necessary for him to say much on the subject before them, "that the case, gentlemen of the jury, if the court please, is so plain that it cannot be misunderstood. If the court please, gentlemen of the jury, we have proven the facts, gentlemen of the jury, by a witness, (one who is fond of swearing, and accustomed to it,) beyond a possibility of doubt. It cannot be disputed, gentlemen of the jury, if the court please, that my client's claim is a just and true one against the defendant in this case. Therefore, the court will instruct you on the points of the law, gentlemen of the jury, and I cannot for a moment think that a set of men, such as I now stand before, high minded, intelligent and intellectual, men of honor and good judgment, gentlemen of the jury, can fail in giving my client his just demands; therefore I shall conclude, by demanding a verdict from your honorable body of —;" no matter what, if the cost is paid.
Now the opposite attorney takes his station, and makes his defence. He proves that his client is perfectly innocent, and cannot possibly be indebted to the plaintiff, calls up
55testimony to destroy the evidence of the former witness, and tries to show that defendant is a perfectly honest man, and some of his witnesses swear right the reverse from others, and lawyers on both sides looking the witness in the face — one asking a question, and the other objecting, and cross-examining as they call it, and the court directing the witness to go on and tell all he knows about the matter of difference between the parties. The witness gives his knowledge of the matter, as he understands it, and no doubt, would tell the facts, if the lawyers did not interrupt him, but the moment that he comes to any thing that is in favor of the opposite party, he is told that he has no right to answer any such question, for that belongs to the other party to prove; even if it is one of the facts that he is bound to tell, according to what he is sworn to tell, that is if he told "the truth, and the whole truth." Finally the witness gets so discomposed that he don't know what the truth is, and cannot tell what he knew about the matter in the first place. However, both parties get out of him all they can, one-half the time answering the questions for him, and then the lawyer for the defendant addresses "the court and the gentlemen of the jury." And to hear him tell his story, the whole of the facts and all the justice is on his side, and "it cannot be possible that twelve honest men like the present jury, can have any difficulty in making up their minds that the defendant in this case is not guilty, and therefore, ought to be discharged, and the plaintiff pay the costs. There is no doubt but that the court will instruct you gentlemen of the jury, in his charge, and explain the law so that you will have no difficulty in making up your minds on the amount of your verdict."
And now the Judge takes the "gentlemen of the jury" in hand, and tells them the law and the operation of the law; and that one or the other must pay the costs, (that is a very essential part of the trial,) and generally tells them so plain, that nine times out of ten the verdict is precisely as the court gives the charge. I would therefore, for my part, like the "gentlemen of the jury" be dispensed with, and let them stay at home, and attend to their own business, unless they have a law suit themselves, and then let us have three judges learned in the law; and also have a desire to give every man justice, regardless of interest, and
56farther than their salary is concerned, and let them draw that from the treasury of the commonwealth. That would be what I call a revolving court. Then let them travel through the districts of the state, and try the matters of difference between man and man, and I am confident that we can have more justice done us than to have twenty-five men more added to the court to help make up the verdict.
Only look at it for a moment: Here are twenty-five different looking men, and different minded men, and all have their different views and feelings and interests in the cause before them. One has a very good feeling for the plaintiff and a dislike to the defendant, and it is very natural to lean towards your friend, and of course will not say anything in favor of the other party, but will, if possible, give his judgment in favor of his friend, if he can without effecting his oath very materially. It is human nature to do so. Well, now we will suppose that another of these men have an interest at stake not directly but indirectly, in the cause now pending. We will say for instance the plaintiff is a very poor man, and the defendant is rich. The poor man owes one of the members of this court five hundred dollars, and the plaintiff's claim against the rich man is not a very bad one although it looks not exactly to be a just one; but as the defendant is rich, and the plaintiff very poor, I am not so certain but he has some chance; and I know I have a right to think, if nothing more, that if he does gain this suit there is some chance for my five hundred dollars to be paid; if not it is lost. How would the reader suppose the feeling would be, and which way would it bear? I answer, for one, that I think he would think something about that five hundred dollars. I therefore conclude from what practice I have had with mankind, that the larger the numbers are that form a body, the less wisdom there is in it, and the more difficult to obtain justice from them. I mean this lower world — where interest is concerned between man and man. There are a great many large bodies, and sometimes there is, much wisdom attached to them; but when that is the case, they are looking out for some greater interests than they can obtain in this world; and I hope that all communities that have a desire to do as they would like to be done by, will receive their just interest both here and elsewhere.
There are a number of religious classes in the universe, that have a desire to do a great deal of good, and no doubt have effected their purpose in a great measure. For my own part, I am not claimed by, nor do I belong to any class of Christians, in particular, but intend to live as near a Christian as circumstances will admit of. I have attended almost every denomination, I think, in the United States, and received their directions, and was thankful to have the opportunity of doing so. I still continue to attend public worship, perhaps not so often as a great many others in the world, but I am bound to attend a part of the time. After I have heard all that has been said on the subject of the next life, I am forced to confess honestly, that I don't know much about the next world; but I pretend to say that I do know something about this one. I have been studying the operations of men in this lower world for some time, and I have come to a conclusion that a number of them don't seem to take any notice of the directions given to them, as to their destiny in the next, and pay very little regard to the law and order of the present one. For my own part, I intend to try and manage myself through this lower world in the best manner possible, by the will and blessing of the Creator that made them both; and when I get through this present journey of life, which has I know been a very hard one, and I am confident myself the Lord knows it also, and it is His will that I should leave this promised land, I hope I shall leave it with pleasure; thinking, as I do at the present time, that I have done what was placed here for me to do, perhaps some of it poorly done, but it was my intention at the time to do it right, as far as my knowledge extends. Therefore, I place all my hopes together on the Lord, not on what man can tell me about the next world. Anything in this world that man will establish, I will pay attention to, but nothing further.
Man, I perceive, is capable of doing a great many things, and he understands how to get a patent for almost every thing, with but one exception, and that is to be contented with his lot, and I do not believe there can be any patent made for that; not, at least, as long as there is any money in the world. If that article should become extinct, then I am not so certain but what the patent could be made, and mankind would be satisfied with a good living and a long
58life. Then it would not be necessary to have railroads and fiery dragons harnessed to your carriage, (if I may be allowed the expression,) and to be run through the world like a horse race, to see which of us would have the money first at the out-come. There is nothing makes us run these fast races, unless it is for gain. You don't generally see mankind in such a hurry as to run the risk of life, or wish to run a mile in a minute to see a worthy friend, or dear parents or connexions. They are generally satisfied to travel one hundred miles in three days, and take their rest every night to attend to those kind of sociable visits.
But you place possessions at the end, and see what a wide difference it will make with the most of mankind. They will then hardly be satisfied to travel an hundred miles in three hours. I have known old grey headed men, and sometimes women, that keep stage-houses and post-offices, attend to travellers and customers at all times of the night, and have their rest broken. I have made up my mind that it could not be anything more or less than getting the money before day; for I am very certain that they could obtain the same amount in money in the morning, if it was the custom to lay by at night. I contend that the mail that carries the news, is just as well to be carried fifty miles a day, and take their rest at night, as to go one hundred, and travel night and day — that is, if it was the custom to do so. If there was an invasion, or something that endangered the welfare of the community very much, in cases like that, it is very necessary to run; and I am satisfied myself to go as fast as any one else in cases of that kind. In speaking on this subject, I don't dare to think for a moment, that it will have any effect to lessen the speed of the public. I merely make these remarks according to my own feelings. If it had so happened that mankind could have been satisfied with a fair walk through the world, what a good old comfortable life we might have of it. However, it is altogether too late to have moderation take place now, for the cars are ready, and we must all go ahead or be left entirely behind, and I shall not stay behind for one. I am bound to go with the crowd, as long as I stay in the community of business men, or they would consider me an odd one. And I am not certain but the reader has already considered me an odd fellow.
I have come to the conclusion that all that man desires, is in a great measure connected with this world's goods, with a faint hope of being removed to another world, and there be located in a better situation. But he is very loth to leave his possessions here. Many say this is a hard world to live in, and I will admit myself, that the state of Pennsylvania is a little hard at the present time to make money in, for the law makers themselves, have to pass an especial law to compel the Commonwealth to pay her interest, and no matter about the principle.
There is now in session in this state a body called the Revenue Commissioners, who are making the necessary enquiries how much the land is worth? And how much a farmer can raise on his farm? And how much he can afford to pay into the treasury for the expenses of the dear officers of the government, and to equalize the payment by each and every man, and I am not certain but they are going to compel him to pay, whether he has anything or not. I for my part, would be satisfied if they passed the Irishman's law — that was, "to make a divide of all property and start even again." I know that I have been paying taxes to keep up appearances and the expenses of the government, until it has nearly broken me up; and it is rather a new idea that a man can have so much property as to be broke by paying the taxes on it. But I begin to believe that it is too true to make a joke of; and I think I shall have to make a move to the west. There I know there is plenty of the Lord's land in that country, that has not been taxed by the dear government. There I can take a country seat with the natives, and live on wild deer and prairie birds. It is true my living will not be so rich, but it will be in its purity, and it will not cost so much at any rate, and I shall not have much trouble in keeping up fashions, and attending parties, unless it be an Indian dance or something of that kind. Neither would I be troubled with tax gatherers or sheriffs, unless they called on me for protection, and if they did that they should be treated with the best the camp afforded. But if, on the other hand, they called for the purpose of making a levy on my little home, for the purpose of raising money to give to a set of officers for making laws, when the community is so poor that they are not able to live up to them when made, I would have
60them tommahocked by the Indians, if they didn't leave my diggins in short order. I don't believe that we are in duty bound to starve ourselves and families to keep up a set of suckers, that do the people no good.
I don't wish to be understood from the remarks that I have made, as intending to reflect on the present officers of the government; for if I was one of them myself I would say the same I do now; namely, that I was taking from the people that I gave no value for, in making laws that are of no manner of account whatsoever to any body. However, the people are to blame in part, for petitioning to the members of the Legislature to have them pass laws that are of no avail when made. I cannot see for one, how we are to stop it unless we stop putting money into the treasury; and then I think it will stop itself. And then it will not be so "sacred" a thing to vote, as the office seekers call it, when addressing the "dear people" — "that no nation on earth has such privileges as the American people — that they must rally to the polls and there vote for some gentleman that belongs to the party to which they belong." And for what? Why so as to let them cast your money into their pockets.
But it will make no difference to me which way they cast their votes, for when I get into my country seat, it is not likely that we will have any election. We shall all be natives, and they elect their chiefs by acclamation. I don't know but that I may get tired of living in a country without voting; and if I do, I am not so certain but what I had best go to Ireland, I think that it must be a very great privilege to vote there, for I see that the sons of the Emerald Isle are so anxious to vote after they arrive here, one would be disposed to think that they were accustomed to it in their own country. I have made up my mind that it must be a noble thing there. I don't pretend to know what they make in their own country by voting, but one thing I do know — they make a devil of a disturbance in some parts of ours. The "hull on it is," as the Yankee says, I am tired of all political parties of all kinds, and shall henceforth consider myself a native — one of the natural kind of white ones; and intend to remain so while I live.
In my travels I have met with an abundance of men of the human species, but there is one sort of specie that I
61have never been able to find in great abundance; namely, the hard stuff; and I begin to think that I never shall meet with it. I think that I know the reasons for it: — first, it is too hard to be obtained very easy; and it would be too heavy for my poor body to carry. However, it has never worried me in that respect. The other reason is, that I never valued a dollar at more than about sixty-two and-a-half cents. I had one brother who valued it still less than I did, for he concluded that it was not worth more than half a dollar. These are two good reasons why I have not made more money; one kind is too heavy to carry, and the other I never put the proper valuation on.
Men's judgments differ on almost everything under the sun, and I think myself, that there is as much difference in the receiving and paying out of money, as in any thing else. Some will hold on to it as firmly as they do to life, and it almost breaks their hearts when it is off. Now such men's valuation of money, is at least one dollar and-a-half to the dollar. There are others who will let go immediately, and thankful at that, for the blessing that will go with it. These kind of men should be patronized for their quick operations. They are what I call the right kind of community, who are willing to live and let live. They put a fair valuation on all things, and feel like birds, and are really nature's noblemen. Show me the man who is grasping for every thing, and almost worships money, and the Lord knows, I for one, would never take his judgment on any thing of mine; for I conclude that, unless he can have an interest either directly or indirectly, that it will be a poor thing, unless he can make money by it. Such men are illiberal in all matters and things, and never will be of any advantage to the public or any individual. I think they are made for no other purpose than to fill up the world for private interest alone. Give me the man who knows how to get rich, feel rich, and live rich, and make all that is around him feel and look rich.
The journey of life is short; and I begin myself to think that my journey will be short, and must as a matter of course, come to a stopping place some where, and if I wind up in the commonwealth of Pennsylvania any where, I should like it to be in Lock Haven — that is, if the Lord is willing. I concluded when I commenced this journal,
62that my travels, together with my original ideas and remarks, would make a pretty fair volume. But my manner of writing is very different from any kind of scientific writers, and void of all painting, and not intended to be any thing but plain common sense, and perhaps some part of it too plain, so that I shall have to fail in making a very large book. Perhaps some of my readers may say that it is not much more than half a one. But it expresses my mind and manner of doing business, and also my views on the different classes of mankind. If I had been intended for a book maker, I could have made four volumes out of the same materials that I made this little book of. But I do not pretend to be a writer. My ideas flow from natural feeling. Therefore, it does not require so many words to convey the ideas intended. There are many authors who make their living by making books, who commence their writings so far off from the main question, that the reader loses sight of the subject before he gets half way to it. I am determined that no one shall have this to say of my little book; for what I say, I intended to say, and it don't take me long to let it be known.
I stated in the commencement of this little book, "that I intended to stop at Lock Haven for the present." I will here further describe some of my works at that place. In order to carry out my originality, I built an office in the town, standing eight feet above the ground, on thirteen large posts, or pillars, to represent our thirteen continental states. In the first place, it is made by placing thirteen large pine trees, five feet in the ground, and thirty feet long, in their natural state, with the exception of taking the bark off, and painting them in imitation of marble, with a fourteen feet room formed inside of the posts, so as to form a balustrade all around it; and the roof projecting over so as to protect the building. I concluded when I was making it, that it was an odd looking office, and different from any one I had seen in this country. And as I was no lawyer, and could not expect any notice or business in that way, I concluded that I would build my office so that clients might look at it without any expense. If I am not very much mistaken, they would make as much at that, as they would if I had been a lawyer myself. I had a number of scientific gentlemen to view the little building, and they always asked
63what order I intended it to be. I told them I never did any thing according to order — it was all a matter of taste — that I never learned any thing by note, and therefore, could not inform them any more, than that it was my own order, and that appeared to satisfy their inquiries always. I had always concluded that there was no chance for me to have any kind of a monument erected in remembrance of me, unless I should place some of my odd matters and things before the public myself, so that they could not all pass by without observing that some person had been there before.
I had a summer seat built in the first place, at Lock Haven, so that if I got tired, I could go up and take a rest. It was formed in a cluster of black walnut trees. It was twenty-five feet from the ground, forty feet long, and seven feet wide, placed so as to be supported by the trees, bannistered, and a seat running all around, and winding stairs up one of the trees. And I must say that when I went up on to the upper seat I felt like a bird. I had it painted by a German painter, and I told him that I would like to have it made like marble; but as he did not understand English very well, he made it what I call Dutch marble, all full of white and black spots. The natives of that country thought it was a wonderful thing, that I should throw away my money so, to make a nice seat to sit on, and asked me why I did so. I told them that I sat far more comfortable on that seat, than I could on a bag of dollars. So they gave it up. It has ever since gone by the name of "Church's folly." However, all were willing to take a seat with me now and then.
I here close my remarks, stating that the times having changed so much within the few last years, I cannot make any thing in travelling or speculating, so I concluded that I would state what I have done. I hope my book will receive from the public such encouragement as it may merit, and I now subscribe myself a well wisher to all nations and friends.