The dieresis is transcribed by a preceding hyphen. "Employe" is replaced by "employee". The author's capitalization and spelling are followed when consistent, but probable mistakes of the typesetter have been corrected.
The right brackets (}) in the heading of quoted letters represent a single bracket grouping those lines in the book, which indicates a typeset heading on the stationery used.
LoC call number: E664.S57 1968
JOHN SHERMAN'S RECOLLECTIONS OF FORTY YEARS IN THE HOUSE, SENATE AND CABINET. AN AUTOBIOGRAPHY.
ILLUSTRATED WITH PORTRAITS, FAC-SIMILE LETTERS, SCENES, ETC.
GREENWOOD PRESS, PUBLISHERS NEW YORK 1968
Copyright, 1895, By John Sherman
First Greenwood reprinting, 1968
LIBRARY OF CONGRESS catalogue card number: 68-28647
Printed in the United States of America
These Recollections grew out of a long deferred purpose to publish a selection of my speeches on public questions, but in collecting them it became manifest that they should be accompanied or preceded by a statement of the circumstances that attended their delivery. The attempt to furnish such a statement led to a review of the chief events of my public life, which covers the period extending from 1854 to the present time. The sectional trouble that preceded the Civil War, the war itself with all its attendant horrors and sacrifices, the abolition of slavery, the reconstruction measures, and the vast and unexampled progress of the republic in growth and development since the war, presented a topic worthy of a better historian than I am. Still, as my life was interwoven with these events, I concluded that it was better that I state my recollection of what I saw or heard or did in those stirring times rather than what I said. Whether this conclusion was a wise one the reader must judge. Egotism is a natural trait of mankind. If it is exhibited in a moderate degree we pardon it with a smile; if it is excessive we condemn it as a weakness. The life of one man is but an atom, but if it is connected with great events it shares in their dignity and importance. Influenced by this reasoning I concluded to postpone the publication of my speeches except so far as they are quoted or described in these memoirs.
When I entered upon their preparation the question arose whether the book to be written was to be of my life, including ancestry and boyhood, or to be confined to the financial history of the United States with which I was mainly identified. This was settled by the publishers, who were more interested in the number of copies they could sell than in the finances of the United States.
Every man has a theory of finance of his own, and is indifferent to any other. At best the subject is a dry one. Still, the problem of providing money to carry on the expensive operations of a great war, and to provide for the payment of the vast debt created during the war, was next in importance to the conduct of armies, and those who were engaged in solving this problem were as much soldiers as the men who were carrying muskets or commanding armies. As one of these I feel it my duty to present the measures adopted and to claim for them such merit as they deserve.
These volumes do contain the true history of the chief financial measures of the United States government during the past forty years. My hope is that those who read them will be able to correct the wild delusions of many honest citizens who became infected with the "greenback craze," or the "free coinage of silver."
My chief regret is that the limit of these volumes did not permit me to extend my narrative to the memorable battles and marches of the Civil War, nor to a more general notice of my associates who distinguished themselves in civil life. The omission of military narrative is admirably compensated by the memoirs of the great commanders on either side, and better yet by the vast collection and publication, by the United States, of the "Records of the Rebellion." The attempt to include in these volumes my estimate of distinguished men still living who participated in the events narrated would greatly extend them and might lead to injustice.
One of the fortunate results of the Civil War has been to diminish the sectional prejudice that previously existed both in the north and in the south. I would not check this tendency, but will gladly contribute in every way possible to a hearty union of the people in all sections of our country, not only in matters of government, but also in ties of good will, mutual respect and fraternity. The existence of slavery in some of the states was the cause of the war, and its abolition was the most important result of the war. So great a change naturally led to disorder and violence where slavery had existed, but this condition, it is believed, is passing away. Therefore I have not entered in detail into the measures adopted as the result of the abolition of slavery.
This preface is hardly necessary, but I comply with the general custom of adding at the beginning, instead of the end, an apology for writing a book. This seems to me to be the chief object of a preface, and I add to it an appeal for the kindly consideration of the readers of these volumes.
John Sherman. Mansfield, Ohio, August 30, 1895.
ILLUSTRATIONS VOLUME I.
John Sherman Dedham Street, Dedham, Essex County, England Birthplace of John Sherman at Lancaster, Ohio Mr. Sherman at the Age of Nineteen Charles T. Sherman First Court House at Mansfield, Ohio Mr. Sherman's First Home in Mansfield, Ohio Kansas Investigating Committee Mr. Sherman at the Age of Thirty-five Mr. Sherman's First Residence in Washington, D. C. Senator Justin S. Morrill Abraham Lincoln General W. T. Sherman Three Ohio Governors—Dennison, Tod, Brough Colfax, Douglas, Fessenden, Ewing (Group.) Edwin M. Stanton U. S. Grant United States Senators—43rd Congress Mr. Sherman's Present Residence at Mansfield, Ohio Library of Mr. Sherman's Mansfield Residence
AUTOGRAPH LETTERS VOLUME I.
Certificate of Admission to Practice in Supreme Court, January 21, 1852 T. Ewing, December 31, 1848 Wm. H. Seward, September 20, 1852 Certificate of Election as United States Representative, December 9, 1854 Justin S. Morrill, April 1, 1861 W. B. Allison, March 23, 1861 John A. Dix, February 6, 1861 Simon Cameron, November 14, 1861 Edwin M. Stanton, December 7, 1862 Horace Greeley, February 7, 1865 Thurlow Weed, February 28, 1866 Schuyler Colfax, February 17, 1868 Vote on the Impeachment of Andrew Johnson, May 16, and 26, 1868 U. S. Grant, June 14, 1871 M. H. Carpenter, July 20, 1871 Roscoe Conkling, October 13, 1871 J. A. Garfield, September 25, 1874 R. B. Hayes, June 19, 1876 R. B. Hayes, February 19, 1877 Cyrus W. Field, March 6, 1877 Wm. M. Evarts, August 30, 1877
TABLE OF CONTENTS. VOLUME I.
CHAPTER I. ANCESTRY OF THE SHERMAN FAMILY. Family Name is of Saxon Origin—"Conquer Death by Virtue"—Arrival of Rev. John Sherman at Boston in 1634—General Sherman's Reply to an English Sexton—Career of Daniel Sherman—My First Visit to Woodbury—"Sherman's Tannery"—Anecdote of "Uncle Dan"—Sketch of My Father and Mother—Address to Enlisting Soldiers—General Reese's Account of My Father's Career—Religion of the Sherman Family—My Belief.
CHAPTER II. MY BOYHOOD DAYS AND EARLY LIFE. Born at Lancaster, Ohio, May 10, 1823—Death of My Father and Its Effect on Our Family—Early Days at School—A Dead Sheep in the Schoolroom—Lesson in Sunday Sport—Some of My Characteristics—My Attack on the Schoolmaster—Robbing an Orchard—A Rodman at Fourteen and My Experiences While Surveying—Debates at Beverly—Early Use of Liquor—First Visit to Mansfield in 1839—The Famous Campaign of 1840—I Begin the Study of Law.
CHAPTER III. OHIO, ITS HISTORY AND RESOURCES. Occupation by the Indians—Washington's Expedition to the Head of the Ohio River—Commencement of the History of the State—Topography, Characteristics, etc., in 1787—Arrival of the First Pioneers—The Treaty of Greenville—Census of 1802 Showed a Population of 45,028 Persons—Occupation of the "Connecticut Reserve"—Era of Internal Improvement—Value of Manufactures in 1890—Vast Resources of the Buckeye State—Love of the "Ohio Man" for His Native State.
CHAPTER IV. ADMISSION TO THE BAR AND EARLY POLITICAL LIFE. Law Partnership with my Brother Charles—Change in Methods of Court Practice—Obtaining the Right of Way for a Railroad—Excitement of the Mexican War and its Effect on the Country—My First Visit to Washington—At a Banquet with Daniel Webster—New York Fifty Years Ago—Marriage with Margaret Cecilia Stewart—Beginning of My Political Life—Belief in the Doctrine of Protection—Democratic and Whig Conventions of 1852—The Slavery Question—My Election to Congress in 1854.
CHAPTER V. EARLY DAYS IN CONGRESS. My First Speech in the House—Struggle for the Possession of Kansas —Appointed as a Member of the Kansas Investigating Committee—The Invasion of March 30, 1855—Exciting Scenes in the Second District of Kansas—Similar Violence in Other Territorial Districts—Return and Report of the Committee—No Relief Afforded the People of Kansas —Men of Distinction in the 34th Congress—Long Intimacy with Schuyler Colfax.
CHAPTER VI. BIRTH OF THE REPUBLICAN PARTY. The Name Formally Adopted at Jackson, Michigan, in 1854—Nomination of John C. Fremont at Philadelphia—Democratic Convention Nominates James Buchanan—Effect of the Latter's Election on the North—My Views Concerning President Pierce and His Administration—French Spoilation Claims—First Year of Buchanan's Administration—Dred Scott Case Decision by Supreme Court—The Slavery Question Once More an Issue in Congress—Douglas' Opposition to the Lecompton Scheme—Turning Point of the Slavery Controversy.
CHAPTER VII. RECOLLECTIONS OF THE FINANCIAL PANIC OF 1857. Its Effect on the State Banks—My Maiden Speech in Congress on National Finances—Appointed a Member of the Committee on Naval Affairs—Investigation of the Navy Department and its Results—Trip to Europe with Mrs. Sherman—We Visit Bracklin's Bridge, Made Famous by Sir Walter Scott—Ireland and the Irish—I Pay a Visit to Parliament and Obtain Ready Admission—Notable Places in Paris Viewed With Senator Sumner—The Battlefield of Magenta—Return Home.
CHAPTER VIII. EXCITING SCENES IN CONGRESS. I am Elected for the Third Term—Invasion of Virginia by John Brown —His Trial and Execution—Spirited Contest for the Speakership— Discussion over Helper's "Impending Crisis"—Angry Controversies and Threats of Violence in the House—Within Three Votes of Election as Speaker—My Reply to Clark's Attack—Withdrawal of my Name and Election of Mr. Pennington—Made Chairman of the Committee of Ways and Means—President Buchanan Objects to Being "Investigated"— Adoption of the Morrill Tariff Act—Views Upon the Tariff Question —My Colleagues.
CHAPTER IX. LAST DAYS OF THE BUCHANAN ADMINISTRATION. My First Appearance Before a New York Audience—Lincoln's Nomination at the Chicago Convention—I Engage Actively in the Presidential Canvass—Making Speeches for Lincoln—My Letter to Philadelphia Citizens—Acts of Secession by the Southern States—How the South was Equipped by the Secretary of the Navy—Buchanan's Strange Doctrine Regarding State Control by the General Government—Schemes "To Save the Country"—My Reply to Mr. Pendleton on the Condition of the Impending Revolution—The Ohio Delegation in the 36th Congress —Retrospection.
CHAPTER X. THE BEGINNING OF LINCOLN'S FIRST ADMINISTRATION. Arrival of the President-Elect at Washington—Impressiveness of His Inaugural Address—I am Elected Senator from Ohio to Succeed Salmon P. Chase—Letters Written to and Received from My Brother William Tecumseh—His Arrival at Washington—A Dark Period in the History of the Country—Letter to General Sherman on the Attack Upon Fort Sumter—Departure for Mansfield to Encourage Enlistments —Ohio Regiments Reviewed by the President—General McLaughlin Complimented—My Visit to Ex-President Buchanan—Meeting Between My Brother and Colonel George H. Thomas.
CHAPTER XI. SPECIAL SESSION OF CONGRESS TO PROVIDE FOR THE WAR. Condition of the Treasury Immediately Preceding the War—Not Enough Money on Hand to Pay Members of Congress—Value of Fractional Silver of Earlier Coinage—Largely Increased Revenues an Urgent Necessity —Lincoln's Message and Appeal to the People—Issue of New Treasury Notes and Bonds—Union Troops on the Potomac—Battle of Bull Run— Organization of the "Sherman Brigade"—The President's Timely Aid —Personnel of the Brigade.
CHAPTER XII. PASSAGE OF THE LEGAL TENDER ACT IN 1862. My Interview with Lincoln About Ohio Appointments—Governmental Expenses Now Aggregating Nearly $2,000,000 Daily—Secretary Chase's Annual Report to Congress in December, 1861—Treasury Notes a Legal Tender in Payment of Public and Private Debts—Beneficial Results from the Passage of the Bill—The War Not a Question of Men, but of Money—Proposed Organization of National Banks—Bank Bills Not Taxed—Local Banks and Their Absorption by the Government—The 1862 Issue of $150,000,000 in "Greenbacks"—Legal Tender Act a Turning Point in Our Financial History—Compensation of Officers of the Government.
CHAPTER XIII. ABOLISHMENT OF THE STATE BANKS. Measures Introduced to Tax Them out of Existence—Arguments That Induced Congress to Deprive Them of the Power to Issue Their Bills as Money—Bill to Provide a National Currency—Why Congress Authorized an Issue of $400,000,000, of United States Notes—Issue of 5-20 and 10-40 Bonds to Help to Carry on the War—High Rates of Interest Paid—Secretary Chase's Able Management of the Public Debt—Our Internal Revenue System—Repeal of the Income Tax Law—My Views on the Taxability of Incomes.
CHAPTER XIV. LINCOLN'S EMANCIPATION PROCLAMATION. Slavery in the District of Columbia Abolished—Law Goes Into Effect on April 10, 1862—Beginning of the End of Slavery—Military Measures in Congress to Carry on the War—Response to the President's Call —Beneficial Effects of the Confiscation Act—Visits to Soldiers' Camps—Robert S. Granger as a Cook—How I Came to Purchase a Washington Residence—Increase of Compensation to Senators and Members and Its Effect—Excitement in Ohio over Vallandigham's Arrest—News of the Fall of Vicksburg and Defeat of Lee at Gettysburg —John Brough Elected Governor of Ohio—Its Effect on the State.
CHAPTER XV. A MEMORABLE SESSION OF CONGRESS. Dark Period of the War—Effect of the President's Proclamation— Revenue Bill Enacted Increasing Internal Taxes and Adding Many New Objects of Taxation—Additional Bonds Issued—General Prosperity in the North Following the Passage of New Financial Measures—Aid for the Union Pacific Railroad Company—Land Grants to the Northern Pacific—13th Amendment to the Constitution—Resignation of Secretary Chase—Anecdote of Governor Tod of Ohio—Nomination of William P. Fessenden to Succeed Chase—The Latter Made Chief Justice—Lincoln's Second Nomination—Effect of Vallandigham's Resolution—General Sherman's March to the Sea—Second Session of the 38th Congress.
CHAPTER XVI. ASSASSINATION OF ABRAHAM LINCOLN. Johnson's Maudlin Stump Speech in the Senate—Inauguration of Lincoln for the Second Term—My Trip to the South—Paying off a Church Debt—Meetings to Celebrate the Success of the Union Army— News of the Death of Lincoln—I Attend the Funeral Services—General Johnston's Surrender to General Sherman—Controversy with Secretary Stanton Over the Event—Review of 65,000 Troops in Washington—Care of the Old Soldiers—Annual Pension List of $150,000,000—I am Re- elected to the Senate—The Wade-Davis Bill—Johnson's Treatment of Public Men—His Veto of the Civil Rights Bill—Reorganization of the Rebel States and Their Final Restoration to the Union.
CHAPTER XVII. INDEBTEDNESS OF THE UNITED STATES IN 1865. Organization of the Greenback Party—Total Debt on October 31st amounts to $2,805,549,437.55—Secretary McCulloch's Desire to Convert All United States Notes into Interest Bearing Bonds—My Discussion with Senator Fessenden Over the Finance Committee's Bill —Too Great Powers Conferred on the Secretary of the Treasury—His Desire to Retire $10,000,000 of United States Notes Each Month— Growth of the Greenback Party—The Secretary's Powers to Reduce the Currency by Retiring or Canceling United States Notes is Suspended—Bill to Reduce Taxes and Provide Internal Revenue—My Trip to Laramie and Other Western Forts with General Sherman— Beginning of the Department of Agriculture.
CHAPTER XVIII. THREE MONTHS IN EUROPE. Short Session of Congress Convened March 4, 1867—I Become Chairman of the Committee on Finance, Succeeding Senator Fessenden—Departure for Europe—Winning a Wager from a Sea Captain—Congressman Kasson's Pistol—Under Surveillance by English Officers—Impressions of John Bright, Disraeli and Other Prominent Englishmen—Visit to France, Belgium, Holland and Germany—An Audience with Bismarck—His Sympathy with the Union Cause—Wonders of the Paris Exposition—Life in Paris—Presented to the Emperor Napoleon III and the Empress Eugenie —A Dinner at the Tuileries—My Return Home—International Money Commission in Session at Paris—Correspondence with Commissioner Ruggles—His Report—Failure to Unify the Coinage of Nations— Relative Value of Gold and Silver.
CHAPTER XIX. IMPEACHMENT OF ANDREW JOHNSON. Judiciary Committee's Resolution Fails of Adoption by a Vote of 57 Yeas to 108 Nays—Johnson's Attempt to Remove Secretary Stanton and Create a New Office for General Sherman—Correspondence on the Subject—Report of the Committee on Impeachment, and Other Matters Pertaining to the Appointment of Lorenzo Thomas—Impeachment Resolution Passed by the House by a Vote of 126 Yeas to 47 Nays— Johnson's Trial by the Senate—Acquittal of the President by a Vote of 35 Guilty to 19 Not Guilty—Why I Favored Conviction—General Schofield Becomes Secretary of War—"Tenure of Office Act."
CHAPTER XX. THE FORTIETH CONGRESS. Legislation During the Two Years—Further Reduction of the Currency by the Secretary Prohibited—Report of the Committee of Conference —Bill for Refunding the National Debt—Amounted to $2,639,382,572.68 on December 1, 1867—Resumption of Specie Payments Recommended— Refunding Bill in the Senate—Change in My Views—Debate Participated in by Nearly Every Senator—Why the Bill Failed to Become a Law— Breach Between Congress and the President Paralyzes Legislation— Nomination and Election of Grant for President—His Correspondence with General Sherman.
CHAPTER XXI. BEGINNING OF GRANT'S ADMINISTRATION. His Arrival at Washington in 1864 to Take Command of the Armies of the United States—Inaugural Address as President—"An Act to Strengthen the Public Credit"—Becomes a Law on March 19, 1869— Formation of the President's Cabinet—Fifteenth Amendment to the Constitution—Bill to Fund the Public Debt and Aid in the Resumption of Specie Payments—Bill Finally Agreed to by the House and Senate —A Redemption Stipulation Omitted—Reduction of the Public Debt— Problem of Advancing United States Notes to Par with Coin.
CHAPTER XXII. OUR COINAGE BEFORE AND AFTER THE WAR. But Little Coin in Circulation in 1869—General Use of Spanish Pieces—No Mention of the Dollar Piece in the Act of 1853—Free Circulation of Gold After the 1853 Act—No Truth in the "Demonetization" Charge—Account of the Bill Revising the Laws Relative to the Mint, Assay Offices and Coinage of the United States—Why the Dollar was Dropped from the Coins—Then Known Only as a Coin for the Foreign Market—Establishment of the "Trade Dollar"—A Legal Tender for Only Five Dollars—Repeated Attempts to Have Congress Pass a Free Coinage Act—How It Would Affect Us—Controversy Between Senator Sumner and Secretary Fish.
CHAPTER XXIII. SOME EVENTS IN MY PRIVATE LIFE. Feuds and Jealousies During Grant's Administration—Attack on Me by the Cincinnati "Enquirer"—Reply and Statement Regarding My Worldly Possessions—I Am Elected to the Senate for the Third Term —Trip to the Pacific with Colonel Scott and Party—Visit to the Yosemite Valley—San Diego in 1872—Return via Carson City and Salt Lake—We call on Brigham Young—Arrival Home to Enter Into the Greeley-Grant Canvass—Election of General Grant for the Second Term.
CHAPTER XXIV. THE PANIC OF 1873 AND ITS RESULTS. Failure of Jay Cooke and Co.—Wild Schemes "for the Relief of the People"—Congress Called Upon for Help—Finance Committee's Report for the Redemption of United States Notes in Coin—Extracts from my Speech in Favor of the Report—Bill to Fix the Amount of United States Notes—Finally Passed by the Senate and House—Vetoed by President Grant and Failure to Pass Over His Objection—General Effect Throughout the Country of the Struggle for Resumption— Imperative Necessity for Providing Some Measure of Relief.
CHAPTER XXV. BILL FOR THE RESUMPTION OF SPECIE PAYMENTS. Decline in Value of Paper Money—Meeting of Congress in December, 1874—Senate Committee of Eleven to Formulate a Bill to Advance United States Notes to Par in Coin—Widely Differing Views of the Members—Redemption of Fractional Currency Readily Agreed to—Other Sections Finally Adopted—Means to Prepare for and Maintain Resumption —Report of the Bill by the Committee on Finance—Its Passage by the Senate by a Vote of 32 to 14—Full Text of the Measure and an Explanation of What It Was Expected to Accomplish—Approval by the House and the President.
CHAPTER XXVI. RESUMPTION ACT RECEIVED WITH DISFAVOR. It Is Not Well Received by Those Who Wished Immediate Resumption of Specie Payments—Letter to "The Financier" in Reply to a Charge That It Was a "Political Trick," etc.—The Ohio Canvass of 1875— Finance Resolutions in the Democratic and Republican Platforms—R. B. Hayes and Myself Talk in Favor of Resumption—My Recommendation of Him for President—A Democrat Elected as Speaker of the House— The Senate Still Republican—My Speech in Support of Specie Payments Made March 6, 1876—What the Financial Policy of the Government Should Be.
CHAPTER XXVII. MY CONFIDENCE IN THE SUCCESS OF RESUMPTION. Tendency of Democratic Members of Both Houses to Exaggerate the Evil Times—Debate Over the Bill to Provide for Issuing Silver Coin in Place of Fractional Currency—The Coinage Laws of the United States and Other Countries—Joint Resolution for the Issue of Silver Coins—The "Trade Dollar" Declared Not to Be a Legal Tender—My Views on the Free Coinage of Silver—Bill to Provide for the Completion of the Washington Monument—Resolution Written by Me on the 100th Anniversary of the Declaration of Independence—Unanimously Passed in a Day by Both Houses—Completion of the Structure Under the Act.
CHAPTER XXVIII. THE HAYES-TILDEN PRESIDENTIAL CONTEST. Nomination of R. B. Hayes for President—His Fitness for the Responsible Office—Political Shrewdness of Samuel J. Tilden, His Opponent—I Enter Actively Into the Canvass in Ohio and Other States —Frauds in the South—Requested by General Grant to Go to New Orleans and Witness the Canvassing of the Vote of Louisiana— Departure for the South—Personnel of the Republican and Democratic "Visitors"—Report of the Returning Board—My Letter to Governor Hayes from New Orleans—President Grant's Last Message to Congress —Letter from President Hayes—Request to Become his Secretary of the Treasury.
CHAPTER XXIX. I BEGIN MY DUTIES AS SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY. Legislative Training of Great Advantage to Me in My New Position— Loan Contract in Force When I Took the Portfolio—Appointment of Charles F. Conant as Funding Agent of the Treasury Department in London—Redeeming Called Bonds—Sale of Four Per Cent. Bonds Instead of Four and a Half Per Cents.—Popularity of the New Loan—Great Saving in Interest—On a Tour of Inspection Along the Northern Atlantic Coast—Value of Information Received on This Trip—Effect of the Baltimore and Pittsburg Railroad Strikes in 1877 Upon Our Public Credit.
CHAPTER XXX. POLICY OF THE HAYES ADMINISTRATION. Reception at My Home in Mansfield—Given by Friends Irrespective of Party—Introduced by My Old Friend and Partner, Henry C. Hedges —I Reply by Giving a Resume of the Contests in South Carolina and Louisiana to Decide Who Was Governor—Positions Taken by Presidents Grant and Hayes in These Contests—My Plans to Secure the Resumption of Specie Payments—Effects of a Depreciated Currency—Duties of the Secretary of the Treasury—Two Modes of Resuming—My Mansfield Speech Printed Throughout the Country and in England—Letters to Stanley Matthews and General Robinson—Our Defeat in Ohio—An Extra Session of Congress—Bills Introduced to Repeal the Act Providing for the Resumption of Specie Payments—They All Fail of Passage— Popular Subscription of Bonds All Paid for.
CHAPTER I. ANCESTRY OF THE SHERMAN FAMILY. Family Name is of Saxon Origin—"Conquer Death by Virtue"—Arrival of Rev. John Sherman at Boston in 1634—General Sherman's Reply to an English Sexton—Career of Daniel Sherman—My First Visit to Woodbury—"Sherman's Tannery"—Anecdote of "Uncle Dan"—Sketch of My Father and Mother—Address to Enlisting Soldiers—General Reese's Account of My Father's Career—Religion of the Sherman Family—My Belief.
The family name of Sherman is, no doubt, of Saxon origin. It is very common along the Rhine, and in different parts of the German Empire. It is there written Shearmann or Schurmann. I found it in Frankfort and Berlin. The English Shermans lived chiefly in Essex and Suffolk counties near the east coast, and in London. The name appears frequently in local records. One Sherman was executed for taking the unsuccessful side in a civil war. It was not until the beginning of the 16th century that any of the name assumed the arms, crest, and motto justified by their pride, property or standing. The motto taken, "Conquer Death by Virtue," is a rather meaningless phrase. It is modest enough, and indicates a religious turn of mind. Nearly every family of the name furnished a preacher. A few members of it attained the dignity of knighthood. A greater number became landed property-holders, and more were engaged in trade in London. Sir Henry Sherman was one of the executors of the will of Lord Stanley, Earl of Derby, May 23, 1521. William Sherman, Esq., purchased Knightston in the time of Henry VIII; and a monument to him is in Ottery St. Mary, dated 1542. As a rule the family belonged to the middle class and were engaged in active occupations, earning their own bread, with a strong sense of their rights and liberties as Englishmen.
The principal family of the name in the 16th century were the Shermans of Yaxley in the county of Suffolk, a full detail of which is given in Davy's Collections of that county. Edmond Sherman, my ancestor, was a member of this family. He was born in 1585 and was married to Judith Angier, May 26, 1611. He resided at Dedham, Essex county, England, then a place of some importance. He was a manufacturer of cloth, a man of means and high standing. He was a Puritan, with all the faults and virtues of a sectary. He resisted ship-money and the tax unlawfully imposed on tonnage and poundage. He had the misfortune to live at the time when Charles I undertook to dispense with Parliament, and to impose unlawful taxes and burdens upon the people of England, and when the privileges of the nobility were enforced with great severity by judges dependent upon the crown. He had three sons, John, baptized on the 4th of January, 1614; Edmond, baptized June 18, 1616, and Samuel, baptized July 12, 1618. He had a nephew, known as "Captain John," somewhat older than his sons, who was an active man in 1634.
At this time the migration to Boston, caused chiefly by the tyranny of Charles I, was in active operation. Hume, in his history, says:
"The Puritans, restrained in England, shipped themselves off for America, and laid there the foundations of a government which possessed all the liberty, both civil and religious, of which they found themselves bereaved in their native country. But their enemies, unwilling that they should anywhere enjoy ease and contentment, and dreading, perhaps, the dangerous consequences of so disaffected a colony, prevailed on the king to issue a proclamation, debarring those devotees access, even into those inhospitable deserts. Eight ships, lying in the Thames, and ready to sail, were detained by order of the council; and in there were embarked Sir Arthur Hazelrig, John Hampden, John Pym, and Oliver Cromwell, who had resolved, forever, to abandon their native country, and fly to the other extremity of the globe; where they might enjoy lectures and discourses, of any length or form, which pleased them. The king had afterward full leisure to repent this exercise of authority."
It appears that, influenced the same motives, Edmond Sherman determined to remove his family, with his nephew, "Captain John," to Boston. In one statement made in respect to them it is said that the father and his three sons and nephew embarked for Boston, but this is doubtful. It is certain, however, that his son, Rev. John Sherman and his son Samuel, and his nephew "Captain John," did go to Boston in 1634. It is quite as certain that if they were accompanied by their father and their brother Edmond, that the two latter returned again to Dedham in 1636. Edmond Sherman, senior, lived and died at Dedham. One of his descendants, Rev. Henry Beers Sherman, a few years ago visited Dedham and there found one of the church windows of stained glass bearing the initials of Edmond Sherman as having been his gift, and the record shows that one of the buttresses of the church was erected at his expense. Mr. Henry Beers Sherman there saw the pupils of a free school, endowed by Edmond Sherman and still in operation, attending the church in procession.
When in London, in the summer of 1889, I concluded to make a visit to "the graves of my ancestors." I examined Black's Universal Atlas to locate Dedham, but it was not to be found. I made inquiries, but could discover no one who knew anything about Dedham, and concluded there was no such place, although I had often read of it. I was compelled, therefore, to give up my visit.
Senator Hoar, a descendant, through his mother, of Roger Sherman of Revolutionary fame, was more fortunate or more persistent than I, for he subsequently found Dedham and verified the accounts we had of our common ancestor, and procured photographs, copies of which I have, of the monument of Edmond Sherman, of the church near which he was buried, and of the handsome school building, still called "the Sherman Library," that he had left by his will for the youth of Dedham, with a sufficient annuity to support it. Dedham is but two or three miles from Manningtree, a more modern town on the line of railroad, which has substantially obscured the ancient and decayed village of Dedham.
The sexton of this church wrote General Sherman soon after he had become distinguished as a military leader, calling his attention to the neglected monument of his ancestor, Edmond Sherman, in the churchyard, and asking a contribution for its repair. The general sent a reply to the effect that, as his ancestor in England had reposed in peace under a monument for more than two centuries, while some of his more recent ancestors lay in unmarked graves, he thought it better to contribute to monuments for them here and leave to his English cousins the care of the monuments of their common ancestors in England. This letter is highly prized by the sexton and has been shown to visitors, among others to Senator Hoar, as a characteristic memento of General Sherman.
Captain John Sherman, "Captain John," soon after his arrival in Boston, settled in Watertown, Mass., where he married and had a large family of children. Among his descendants was Roger Sherman of the Revolution, by far the most distinguished man of the name. He had the good fortune to contribute to and sign the three most important papers of American history, the "Address to the King," the "Declaration of Independence" and the "Constitution of the United States." Among other descendants of Captain John Sherman were Hon. Roger Minot Sherman, of New Haven, a nephew of Roger Sherman, a distinguished lawyer and a leading participant in the Hartford Convention. William M. Evarts, George F. Hoar and Chauncey M. Depew are descendants of Roger Sherman or of his brother.
Rev. John Sherman, the eldest son of Edmond Sherman, was born on the 26th of December, 1613, at Dedham, England. He graduated at Immanuel College, Cambridge, left college a Puritan and came over to America in 1634, as above stated. He preached his first sermon at Watertown, Massachusetts, under a tree, soon after his arrival in this country. In a few weeks he went to New Haven, Connecticut, and preached in several places, but finally settled at Watertown, where he had a large family of children. His numerous descendants are well distributed throughout the United States, but most of them in the State of New York.
Samuel Sherman, the youngest son of Edmond Sherman, is the ancestor of the family to which I belong. At the age of sixteen years he came with his brother, Rev. John and his cousin "Captain John," in April, 1634, in the ship "Elizabeth" from Ipswich, and arrived in Boston in June, and for a time settled in Watertown, Massachusetts. He afterward moved to Weathersfield, Connecticut, thence to Stamford and thence to Stratford.
In Cothron's "History of Ancient Woodbury" there are found full details of the life of Samuel Sherman and his numerous descendants to the present generation. Of Samuel Sherman Mr. Cothron says:
"He was from Dedham, Essex county, England, came to this country in 1634, and previous to the date of the new plantation, at Woodbury, had been a leading man in the colony of Connecticut. He had assisted in the settlement of several other towns in the colony, and now undertook the same for Woodbury. He had been a member of the Court of Assistants, or Upper House of the General Court, and Supreme Judicial Tribunal, for five or six years from 1663, and held various offices and appointments of honor and trust. He is referred to in ancient deeds and documents as the 'Worshipful Mr. Sherman.' In 1676 he was one of the commission for Stratford and Woodbury."
The order of succession of the descendants of Samuel Sherman, the ancestor of the family to which I belong, is as follows:
1. John Sherman, the fifth child of Samuel Sherman, was born at Stratford, Conn., February 8, 1650. He early moved to Woodbury. He died December 13, 1730.
2. John Sherman 2nd, the fifth child of John, was baptized June, 1687. He married Hachaliah Preston, July 22, 1714. He died 1727.
3. Daniel Sherman, the third child of John 2nd, was born August 14, 1721, and died July 2, 1799.
4. Taylor Sherman, the sixth child of Daniel, was born in 1758. He married Elizabeth Stoddard in 1787, and died in Connecticut May 15, 1815. His widow died at Mansfield, Ohio, August 1, 1848.
5. Charles Robert Sherman, the eldest child of Taylor, was born September 26, 1788, married Mary Hoyt, of Norwalk, Conn., May 8, 1810. He died on the 24th of June, 1829. His widow died at Mansfield, Ohio, September 23, 1852. The had eleven children, six sons and five daughters, all of whom lived to maturity. I am the eighth child of this family.
The names and dates of the birth of the children of my parents are as follows:
Charles Taylor Sherman . . . . . February 3, 1811. Mary Elizabeth Sherman . . . . . April 21, 1812. James Sherman . . . . . . . . . December 10, 1814. Amelia Sherman . . . . . . . . . February 11, 1816. Julia Ann Sherman . . . . . . . July 24, 1818. William Tecumseh Sherman . . . . February 8, 1820. Lampson Parker Sherman . . . . . October 31, 1821. John Sherman . . . . . . . . . . May 10, 1823. Susan Denman Sherman . . . . . . October 10, 1825. Hoyt Sherman . . . . . . . . . . November 1, 1827. Fanny Beecher Sherman . . . . . May 3, 1829.
Mr. Cothron, in his "History of Ancient Woodbury," after referring to Samuel Sherman, makes this reference to his son John:
"The fame of his son John is particularly the property of the town. He was distinguished, not only at home, but also in the colony. He was Justice of the Quorum, or Associate County Judge, for forty- four years from 1684; a Representative of the town for seventeen sessions, and Speaker of the Lower House in May and October, 1711, and Captain in the Militia, a high honor in those days. He was the first Judge of Probate for the District of Woodbury, from its organization in 1719, for nine years. The District them comprised all of Litchfield county, and Woodbury in New Haven county. He was an assistant, or member of the Upper House, for ten years from 1713."
John Sherman 2nd, does not seem to have taken any active part in public affairs, and died before his father, at the age of forty. His son Daniel, who lived to the age of eighty, covering the period of the Indian wars, the French Canadian war, and the war of the Revolution, took an active part in all the great events of that period. Mr. Cothron says of him:
"Judge Daniel Sherman was perhaps the most distinguished man that had arisen in the town previous to his day. He was a descendant of Samuel Sherman, of Stratford, Connecticut, who emigrated to this country from England, in company with his brother, Rev. John Sherman, and his nephew, Captain John Sherman, ancestor of Hon. Roger Sherman. He was a Justice of the Quorum for twenty-five years, and Judge of the Litchfield County Court five years from 1786. For sixteen years he was Probate Clerk for the District of Woodbury, and Judge of that District thirty-seven years. He represented his native town in the General Assembly sixty-five semi-annual sessions, retaining the unbounded confidence of his fellow citizens. This was by far the longest period of time anyone has ever represented the town. He was a man of commanding powers of mind, of sterling integrity, and every way qualified for the various public trusts confided to this care. He died at a good old age, full of honor, and was followed by the affectionate recollections of the inhabitants of the town, among whom he had so long lived."
No portion of the people of the United States took a more decisive part in the Revolutionary contest of 1775 than those of Connecticut. The people of Woodbury caught the prevailing spirit, and, as early as September 20, 1774, had a public meeting and made patriotic resolves, and entered into associations for defense. Daniel Sherman, then fifty-four years old, presided at this meeting and was appointed president of the association of the delegates. Among other duties they were to perform, was to ascertain whether any persons within the limits of the town were hostile to the objects of the association, and in that case they, using the spelling of the time, were to
"Cause the truth of the case to be published in the Gazette, to the End that all such foes to ye Rights of British americai may be publikly known and universially Comtemned as enemies to american Liberty and thensforth we Do bind ourselves to break off all Dealings With Such Persons and also will all Persons in other Towns and Citys who shall be found Guilty as above Expressed, and that it shall be ye Duty and Business of the sd Comtee to Receive and Communicate all Such intelligence as they shall judge to be conducive to ye Peace and Tranquility of this and the Neighboring Colonies; this meeting presents their most thankfull acknowledgments to those truly Honourable and Worthy Gentlemen members of ye Congress who have Shewn themselves able advocates of the civil and Religious liberty of the american Colonys.
"Voated, that the doings of this meeting be Recorded by the Town Clerk, and a Copy thereof be forthwith sent to one of the printers of the Connecticut Journal to be published accordingly. The Whole of the above Written as voated in said Meeting."
He was a member of the "Committee of Inspection" of thirty, appointed at the beginning of the war. On the 12th of April, 1784, they resolved as follows:
"Voted, that those persons who joined the enemies of the United States in the course of the late Civil war of what description soever are denyed a residence in this Town from this date until the Genll Assembly shall grant them full liberty for that purpose."
At a meeting held on the 3d of April, 1777, at which Daniel Sherman was the Moderator, it was:
"Voated, that Each Able Bodied Effective man, who hath or shall voluntarily Inlist into the Continental Army in such way and Manner toward makeing the Quota of this Town for the space of Three years, or during the war shall be Intitled to Receive out of the publick Treasury of the Town the sum of Twenty Shillings Lawful money, as an Addition to Each month's Wages he shall continue in the service, to be paid to him, or to his order, at the End of Each six month's service."
This was kept up during the war. Provision was made for a Council of Safety, appointed annually by the Assembly, of from nine to fourteen of the most distinguished men in the state, to aid the governor in the organization and conduct of troops, of which Daniel Sherman, his cousin Roger Sherman, Benjamin Huntington, and other distinguished men were members. This committee was frequently in session and the most responsible, arduous and difficult details of the service were confided to its care. It was shown that during the war Daniel Sherman contributed provisions to soldier's families to the value of 2,718 pounds, 7 shillings and 8 pence. It would seem from the following anecdote told of Daniel Sherman, that some of his neighbors thought he had enjoyed his full share of honor:
"Mr. Sherman was a representative at the May session of the General Assembly in 1791, and, it is related, desired to be elected to the October session of the same year, in order to make the full number of thirty-three years that he would have then represented the town. But at the time of the election for the October session, the Moderator of the meeting happened to think that he had his share of honors, and when he made proclamation that the ballot-box was open for the reception of votes, remarked in a loud tone of voice, 'Gentlemen, the box is now open; you will please to bring in your ballots for him whom you will have for your first representative —Honorable Daniel Sherman, of course! This simple incident gave a change to the popular current, and on counting the votes it was found that Honorable Nathaniel Smith was elected, instead of Mr. Sherman."
Taylor Sherman, my grandfather, the son of Judge Daniel Sherman, was born in 1758. He was married in 1787 to Elizabeth Stoddard and removed to Norwalk, Connecticut, where he lived during the remainder of his life. He died on the 15th of May, 1815.
My grandmother was born at Woodbury, Connecticut, on the 14th of June, 1767. She lived to a good old age and died at Mansfield, Ohio, on the 1st of August, 1848. She was a remarkable woman in many respects, a Puritan of the strictest faith, of large mold, being nearly six feet tall, and well proportioned. She was a granddaughter of Rev. Anthony Stoddard, a man whose history strikingly presents the peculiar characteristics of life in Connecticut during the 18th century. The contract between the church and town of Woodbury and Mr. Stoddard, for employment as pastor, commences as follows:
"At a lawfull Towns-meeting ye 13th of August, 1700, in ordr to ye settling of ye Reverend mr. Anthony Stoddard amongst us, in ye work of ye ministry. And for his encouragement so to do;
"It was voted and agreed to allow him, as Maytenance in ye Work of ye Ministry, seventy pounds per Anuu, in provision pay, or to his Satisfaction, in Case of Faylure of provision pay. By provision pay, is intended, whet, pease, indian corn & pork, proportionally: Also fire wood:
"We do also promise, to build him an house here in Woodberry of known Demensions; yt is to say, the Carpetners work & Masons work; hee providing nayles and glass; by building ye sd house is intended, doors, floures, fitting up and playstering and partitions, finishing it, as also a well."
Then follow many other mutual stipulations, to which was added a supplemental agreement as follows:
"Since wch time at a Lawfull Towns-meeting ye 25th of Novembr, 1700, It was Voted and agreedyt ye abovesd specices for mr Stoddard's yearly maytenance bee levyed at ye prices following: Wheat at 4s 6d per Bush: pork at 3d pr lb: Indian Corn 2s 6d per Bush: Pease three shillings per Bushll: And these prices for this yeare ye Town will not vary from for ye future Exterordinary providences interposing being exceapted.
"Recorded from ye originalls pr Jon Minor, Recorder, March, 1700- 1701."
Under this contract Mr. Stoddard served his congregation for sixty years, and died September 7, 1760, in his eighty-third year, and the sixty-first of his ministry. He was educated at Harvard College and graduated in 1679. Mr. Cothron, in 1872, says of him:
"He was at the same time minister, lawyer and physician. Like many of the early ministers of the colony, he prepared himself for the practice of physic, that he might administer to the wants of the body, as well as those of the mind. In this capacity he was often called. The only person the author has found who ever saw him, was Deacon Amos Squire, of Roxbury, who died two or three years ago, aged ninety-nine, and who recollected having seen him when a lad about eight years of age, while on a visit in this capacity to his father, who had received a severe wound from an ax. He had also done what other ministers did not, and that was to perfect himself in legal knowledge."
It must be remembered that the pastor of a church in those days was in quite a different position than one now, when the constitution guarantees to every one liberty to worship God according to the dictates of his conscience. The Congregational mode of worship was then adopted and established by law in Connecticut, but it was provided that all sober orthodox persons dissenting therefrom should, on representing it to the General Court, be allowed to worship in their own way. Such a privilege, however, was regarded with distrust. Our fathers who desired religious freedom and periled all for it in the wilderness, had not anticipated that they would speedily have an opportunity to extend that toleration to others which in the fatherland they had in vain sought for themselves. The town church was, therefore, in substance, the only church, and the preacher was the autocrat of the place.
Mr. Stoddard was not only a preacher, lawyer and doctor, but he was also a fighter. In 1707 an expedition was made by the French and Indians against New England, which created general alarm throughout the country. Woodbury was exposed to the raids made by the Indians, and suspicions were entertained that the neighboring tribes would join the French and Indians in their foray. During the continuance of this war, on one Sabbath evening, after the conclusion of the services at church, while he was walking in his garden, he discovered an Indian skulking among the surrounding trees and bushes. Apparently without noticing the movements of the Indian, he contrived to re-enter his house, and obtained his gun. After playing the same game of skulking with his adversary for a while, Mr. Stoddard got a fair view of him, discharged his piece, and the Indian fell among the bushes. He dared not investigate farther that night, but having quietly given the alarm, the inhabitants sought their palisaded houses for the night. Early in the morning he discovered another red foe, in the vicinity of his companion, and whom he also laid low with his musket. By this time the people had assembled, and after the country was scoured in all directions for several hours, and no other savages were found, the alarm subsided.
Before leaving my Woodbury ancestors, who resided there nearly one hundred and fifty years, I wish to relate my first visit to Woodbury. I was at West Point, as one of the Board of Visitors, one Saturday in June, 1873, when I concluded to respond to an invitation I had received, and go to Woodbury and spend the Sabbath there. I did so and found, as I had anticipated, beautiful valleys with picturesque hills, a rural air and a quiet, peaceful, Sunday outlook. I knew no one except Hon. William Cothron, and him only by correspondence. I believe he was superintendent of the Sunday school; but, at all events, upon my presenting myself, and stating my desire to explore Woodbury, he kindly consented, and went with me. I located many of the most interesting objects in the town. The large, well-built stone house of Daniel Sherman was still standing, made after the usual pattern, two stories high with a lean-to roof in the rear, and with low ceilings. He had lived there during most of his active life, and had entertained Washington and Lafayette, when they at different times visited the French vessels at Newport. The fortified house of Rev. Anthony Stoddard was in a good state of preservation, with its projecting eaves and loop holes for defense. We visited the old church and graveyard, and drove southward to what were called the "Sherman settlements." Evidently the comparatively few families in Woodbury were in a state of comfort as they were found to be living in good houses and drawing, no doubt, an income from investments in the great and growing West.
On that quiet Sabbath day the village of Woodbury recalled to me Mr. John H. Bryant's description of his native village:
"There lies a village in a peaceful vale, With sloping hills and waving woods around, Fenced from the blasts. There never ruder gale Bows the tall grass that covers all the ground; And planted shrubs are there, and cherish'd flowers, And a bright verdure born of gentle showers."
Subsequently I again visited Woodbury with General Sherman. Mr. Cothron was still there and was very kind to us. It seemed to me that the old place had run down a little, that the walks were not so clean, the grass was not as fresh in the fields, and evidently the graveyards had lost some of their monuments, but a prominent one had been erected in the churchyard to Rev. Anthony Stoddard, to which General Sherman had contributed. We heard of no one of our name in Woodbury, but when General Sherman saw an old sign, "Sherman's Tannery," he said that he believed he had at last found some tangible evidence of the residence of our fathers in Woodbury; that Sherman had been a good honest tanner no doubt, and that was the most that could be said of any one.
As I have said, my grandfather, Taylor Sherman, and his wife, Elizabeth Stoddard, moved from Woodbury to Norwalk, where he practiced his profession as a lawyer. He attained a good position as such, and for many years he was a Judge of Probate. He became early associated with the proprietors of the half million acres of land lying in the western part of the Western Reserve in Ohio, called "Sufferers' Land."
In the period immediately before and after the adoption of the constitution several of the states laid claim to western lands, founded upon grants by James I, the chief of which were the claims of Virginia to the region north and west of the Ohio River, and the claim of Connecticut to all the land lying west of Pennsylvania to the South Seas and north of the 41st parallel of latitude. These claims were finally compromised by Congress granting to Virginia all the land lying between the Scioto and the Miami Rivers in Ohio, and to Connecticut the land in Ohio north of the 41st parallel, extending westward of Pennsylvania one hundred and twenty miles.
During the Revolutionary War the coasts of Connecticut had been subjected to several raids by the British and Tories, and several towns, including Norwalk, Greenwich, Fairfield, Danbury, New Haven and New London, had been burned. Indemnity had been proposed, but the state was in no condition to pay such losses.
In the year 1800, the State of Connecticut granted to her citizens, who were sufferers by fire during the Revolutionary War, a half million acres of land, lying within the State of Ohio, which was to be taken off the west part of what was called the "Western Connecticut Reserve," now embraced in the counties of Huron and Erie. By an act of the legislature of the State of Ohio, passed in 1803, the sufferers were incorporated under the name of "The proprietors of the half million acres of land, lying south of Lake Erie, called 'Sufferers' Land.'" The affairs of this company, by that act, were to be managed by a Board of Directors which, among other things, was authorized to locate and survey said half million acres of land, and partition it among the different claimants.
On the first day of November, 1805, Taylor Sherman was appointed by the Board of Directors an agent to survey the above tract of land, and, on the 16th day of December, of the same year, he entered into a contract with John McLane and James Clarke, Jr., to survey, or have surveyed, said tract. Taylor Sherman visited the fire lands, and fully performed the duty imposed upon him. He also purchased a considerable tract of this land in Sherman township, Huron county, which was the foundation of the little fortune which he left to his widow and children.
The whole of the Western Reserve, especially the western part of it, was at that time in the possession of the Indians, who soon afterwards engaged in open warfare with the white settlers. Surveys, especially along the shores of Lake Erie, were extremely difficult, owing to extensive bayous and swamps, but the surveys were made where practicable, and where lines could not be run, straight lines were drawn on the map, and the contents estimated. This gave rise to long litigation, one case being reported in the 13th Volume of Ohio Supreme Court Reports.
The gift of Connecticut to the sufferers was a wise and liberal one, and after the War of 1812 it led to the migration to the counties of Huron and Erie of a great number of persons from the towns of Norwalk, Greenwich, Danbury, New Haven and New London. The losses of the sufferers in these different towns had been carefully examined and stated, and the sufferers were allowed land in proportion to their losses. The formidable list of these sufferers is a striking proof of the savage and destructive manner in which the Revolutionary War was conducted by the British troops. The whole Western Reserve at the beginning of the 19th century was a wilderness, with not a single white inhabitant. The census of 1820, however, showed that it then contained a population of 58,608, while that of 1890 showed a population of 678,561. Of these a larger number and proportion were descendants of Connecticut parents than are most inhabitants of that state. The industries, commerce, wealth and intelligence of this region are not excelled by any community of the same size anywhere else in the country.
As an illustration of the condition of this region in 1812, it may be worth while to here record a truthful anecdote of Daniel Sherman, the son of Taylor Sherman, and whom we knew as "Uncle Dan." In the spring of 1812, when twenty-two years of age, he was sent by his father to make improvements on his land in Huron county, by building a log cabin and opening a clearing. He had with him a hired man of the name of John Chapman, who was sent to Milan, twelve miles away, to get a grist of corn ground, it being the nearest and only mill in the county. Either on the way there, or while returning, Chapman was killed by the Indians. Uncle Dan did not hear of this until the next day, when, with a knapsack on his back, he started for Mansfield, forty miles away. For thirty miles there was a dense and unbroken forest without a settler. He arrived at a blockhouse, six miles from Mansfield, but concluded that was not strong enough to protect him. He then went to Mansfield, where they had a better blockhouse, but he heard so many stories of Indians that he did not feel safe there, and walked thence to his brother's house in Lancaster, about seventy-five miles away, through an almost continuous forest.
In November, 1813, Taylor Sherman was appointed, by President Madison, Collector of Internal Revenue for the Second District of Connecticut. He enjoyed the office but a short time and died, as already stated, on the 15th day of May, 1815.
A sketch of my mother and father will throw some light upon the lives of their children, but it is a delicate task to write of one's parents. As I was but six years old when my father died I have only a dim recollection of him, but materials for an interesting sketch of his brief but active career are abundant. I know of no citizen of Ohio of whom more anecdotes have been told, or whose general and social life has been more highly appreciated, or whose popularity has been more marked, than that of my father. During the early years of my life at the bar I met many of the older lawyers, contemporary with my father, and they all spoke of him in the highest praise, and generally had some incident to tell of him that happened in the days of the "Stirrup Court."
Charles Robert Sherman, my father, was born in Norwalk, Connecticut, September 26, 1788, the eldest son of Judge Taylor Sherman and Elizabeth Stoddard. He received the best educational advantages of his day, and, when fully prepared, commenced the study of law in the associated offices of his father and the Hon. Judge Chapman. He was admitted to the bar in 1810, and on May 8, of that year, married Mary Hoyt, also of Norwalk, who had grown up with him from childhood. He could not go into the northern part where his father's land lay, as it was then roamed over by hostile Indians, but followed the usual route to Ohio by Pittsburg and Wheeling to Zanesville. He located at Lancaster, but returned to Norwalk, Connecticut, in the fall of 1810. In 1811 he returned to Lancaster, accompanied by his wife. Ohio was then a frontier state, and in large portions of its territory an unbroken wilderness. The way to it from their New England home was far and weary, beset with many hardships and exposed to great dangers. My father and mother were obliged to journey the greater part of this distance on horseback, alternately carrying their infant child upon a pillow before them. I only advert to these incidents as they illustrate the self-reliant character of the man, and the brave, confiding trust of his wife. The little boy they carried upon the pillow, then their only son, was Charles Taylor Sherman.
Soon after their arrival in Lancaster my father took a leading part in the measures of defense against the British and Indians. I find in an old and weather-beaten newspaper of Lancaster, Ohio, called the "Independent Press," that on the 16th of April, 1812, at a meeting of the first regiment of the first brigade of the third division of the militia of Ohio, assembled at Lancaster for the purpose of raising a company of volunteers to march immediately to Detroit, my father, then major of that regiment, made a very effective address to the regiment, the result of which was the voluntary enlistment of the company required from Fairfield county. He was then twenty-four years of age, and as this address is short, and is the best evidence of his mental qualities, and of the standing he had so early attained among the hardy settlers of that section, mostly from Pennsylvania, I here insert a portion of it:
"Fellow Soldiers:—The crisis has arrived in which your country calls upon you, her constitutional guardians, to rally round her standard and to defend her rights and liberties—you are this day assembled to declare whether you will voluntarily answer this call or not. Fellow soldiers, the general of brigade and at whose command and in whose name I now address you, cannot help but believe that in this regiment which he once had the honor, personally, to command, those choice spirits are to be found, that will not for a moment hesitate to come forward and give the answer to their country's call.
"You are not called upon to guard a tyrant's throne, or to enslave a nation of freemen, neither are your exertions required to redress a fancied wrong, or to revenge a supposed insult; but you are called upon to preserve your own dwellings from the flames—your families from destruction. Neither are you requested to go unprotected nor unprovided;—everything that the patriot soldier could possibly wish will be furnished you by the government—food complete and sufficient for the necessities or conveniences of life—compensation for your clothing,—arms of the best quality will be placed in your hands, which will be generously given you if you do, as I know you will, your duty.
"Should you chance to be disabled in the service, a pension will be given you that will enable you to live in comfort and in ease; or should the fortune of war number you with those brave and gallant patriots that fearlessly poured out their life's blood upon the heights of Bunker, the plains of Saratoga, or at the siege of Yorktown—your families shall not be left unprotected or unprovided; a generous and faithful government has promised that one hundred and sixty acres of land shall be given to your heirs, the more than means of existence, the means of every comfort that can render that existence desirable.
"These, then, fellow soldiers, are the terms upon which sixty-four of you are requested to draw your swords, shoulder your arms and march to Detroit to defend the frontiers of your own territory. And from these columns are there not more than this small number that would rush upon even certain death at their country's call?
"The services required of you will not be arduous—'tis not that you should invade the territory of a distant enemy—'tis not that you should march far from your homes to fight battles in which you are not, and which you do not feel yourselves, interested; but it is to prevent the hostile foot of a foe from invading your territory —it is to guard the sacred altar of your liberties, cemented by the blood of your fathers, from the profanation of a tyrant's polluting touch—it is to guard your dwellings, your friends, your families, your all, from the desolating warfare of a fell savage foe—it is that the midnight and sleeping couch of our infants may not be awakened to death by the tremendous yell of an Indian warwhoop —it is that the gray hairs of our fathers may not become the bloody trophies of a cruel and insidious foe. Cruelty and a thirst for blood are the inmates of an Indian's bosom, and in the neighborhood of two contending powers they are never peaceful. If the strong hand of power does not bend them down they will raise the tomahawk and bare the scalping knife for deeds of blood and horror: The purity of female innocence, the decrepitude of age, the tenderness of infancy afford no security against the murderous steel of a hostile Indian: to guard against the probable incursions of bands of these murderers, I will not call them by the dignified name of warriors, are you called upon to arm: and who in such a cause would refuse to march or to bleed? And who would refuse to protect the scattered settlements on our frontiers—the humble cottage and its peaceful inhabitants?—Who would refuse to guard our fields from desolation, our villages from destruction, or our towns from ruin? —None, in whom there is a spark of patriot valor.
"But, fellow soldiers, you may be called upon the meet the legions of Great Britain; every appearance indicates a state of approaching hostilities—year after year has insult been added to insult—injury has followed injury with rapid strides, and every breeze comes laden with its tale of wrongs, and while we have borne their injuries and their insults our government has endeavored, but in vain, to reconcile our differences by amicable negotiation.
"The cup of our wrongs is full, and the voice of an indignant people demands redress and revenge by every means in our power; 'tis that voice that calls upon you to arm and meet the hosts of England.
"Do you fear the event of the contest? Call but to mind the period of '76, without a government, without friends, without armies, without men, without money, our fathers dared to resist her aggressions upon our liberties; she determined to enslave us, and a hardy band of freemen resolved on death rather than slavery, encountered and conquered her boasted legions, established our independence and left it as their richest legacy for us to maintain: and do we, their sons, possessing all the advantages that we could wish, all that they were deprived of, do we fear the contest when half the world is confederate against her? Where is the spirit of our fathers that urged them to battle and to victory? Is there no latent spark of patriot ardor that the wrongs and indignities of our country will kindle into a flame? Is there no thirst in our bosoms for glory? Is it nothing for your names to be enrolled on the list of fame? Does it rouse no generous and noble feelings in your breasts to be a guardian shield and avenging sword to your country? Are the grateful thanks of your countrymen and posterity no inducement to valorous acts?
"Go then, fellow soldiers, assist to shield your country from the destruction of an internal warfare, awake to honor and to glory, rouse the native courage of an American freeman and march to deeds of valor!
"Let the wings of fame come laden with the tale of your honors, and bring joy to your mothers' hearts, and the pride of valorous deeds to your fathers' bosoms; then shall your country reward and bless you—posterity shall venerate your names, the world shall own you as the constituent guardians of liberty and the bulwark of your nation's freedom!"
I presume the soldiers enlisted at Lancaster were a part of the army infamously surrendered by General Hull on the 16th of August, 1812. This event opened up the whole of the then western states and territories to the inroads of the British and Indians, but was brilliantly compensated by the splendid victory of Commodore Perry at the battle of Lake Erie, on the 10th of September, 1813, in which he destroyed the British fleet and announced his victory in the stirring words, "We have met the enemy, and they are ours!" This was followed by the complete triumph of General Harrison in the battle of the Thames, October 5, 1813, in which Tecumseh was killed, and the power of the British and Indians in that portion of the field of operations practically destroyed.
My father was appointed by Mr. Madison, on the 9th of November, 1813, as Collector of Internal Revenue for the Third District of Ohio. He was then engaged in the active practice of his profession. He was required to employ deputies in each of the counties of Fairfield, Pickaway, Madison, Franklin, Delaware, and Knox to collect internal revenue taxes, when assessed. He took great care in the selection of his deputies, and in all cases required bonds, with security, from each deputy. At this period the only money in Ohio was local bank paper money. No silver or gold coins could be had, and the purchasing power of notes varied with the success or defeat of our armies in the field. Internal taxes were imposed on distilled spirits, on the retailing of spirits, on salt, sugar, carriages, sales at auction, a stamp duty of one per cent. on bank notes, on all notes discounted by a bank, and on inland bills of exchange.
It is clearly shown by the papers on file in the treasury department that Mr. Sherman exercised the utmost care in the collection of these taxes through his deputies. No difficulty seems to have occurred until July, 1817, when the government, without previous notice, refused to take the paper then in circulation in Ohio, but demanded notes of the Bank of the United States, or its branches, one of which was located at Chillicothe. This left upon the hands of his deputies a large amount of money that soon became utterly worthless. The system of local banking failed and the loss fell upon the holders of notes, and, largely, upon the collectors of internal revenue and their deputies. Among my father's deputies the principal one seems to have been Peter Apple, of Pickaway county, who at the time of his appointment held a county office, was postmaster, and a justice of the peace. He was a leading man, of high character and standing, and supposed to be of considerable wealth. In 1817 he became embarrassed and insolvent, and was removed from his position as deputy. His bonds proved worthless, and the whole loss and liability fell upon my father. This, with other losses occurring through the failure of other deputies, was the most unfortunate event of his life. His correspondence with the Internal Revenue Bureau shows that he exercised the utmost care in keeping and reporting his accounts, and the difficulties and losses he sustained in converting local bills into such notes as the government would receive in payment of taxes. It is clearly shown that the loss was not caused by any failure or neglect on his part. In like circumstances, under the existing law, Congress has, in all cases where due diligence on the part of the collector has been proven, relieved the collector. My father declined to make any appeal for such relief, but applied the proceeds of all his property, and a large part of his earnings, to make good, as far as he could, the defalcations of his deputies. This loss was a great embarrassment for him and his family during his life. It did not affect his standing, either at home or with the government, but it deprived him of many comforts, and his family of advantages and opportunities for education which they otherwise would have had.
In the spring of 1815 my father was notified of the illness of his father in Norwalk, and immediately went to Connecticut, but, owing to the nature of the long journey, did not arrive until after his father's death. The will of Taylor Sherman gave to his wife, and daughter Elizabeth, all his real and personal estate in the State of Connecticut, subject to the payment of his debts, which were very small. He bequeathed to his two sons, Charles Sherman and Daniel Sherman, ceratin lands in the town of Sherman, county of Huron, Ohio, being part of the "Sufferers' Lands." The remainder of his property lying in the State of Ohio he gave equally to his wife and children. The estate was soon settled, and in the following year, 1816, my grandmother and her daughter, Elizabeth, moved to Ohio and became a part of the family of my father.
Under the old constitution of Ohio prior to 1850, the Supreme Court was composed of four judges. They met at Columbus in the winter to hold the court of last resort, but at other seasons they divided into circuit courts composed of two judges, and went from county to county attended by a bevy of the leading lawyers of the state, all mounted on horseback and always ready for fun or frolic. I gladly acknowledge that I have received many a kindness, and much aid in business as well as political and social life, from the kindly memory of my father. I shrink from writing of his personal traits and genial nature, but insert, instead, brief extracts from a sketch of him written, in 1872, as a part of a local history of Fairfield county, Ohio, by General William J. Reese, who knew him intimately. General Reese says:
"Established permanently at Lancaster in the prosecution of his profession, the subject of this sketch rapidly rose to eminence as a polished and eloquent advocate, and as a judicious, reliable counsellor at law—indeed, in the elements of mind necessary to build up and sustain such a reputation, few men were his equals, and fewer still his superiors, in the State of Ohio or out of it. But it was not only in the higher region of legal attainments that he gained superiority; his mind was enriched with choice classic cultivation also.
"Judge Sherman not only mastered the intricacies of Coke and Littleton, but, as I have stated, he made himself familiar with whatever was worthy of reading outside the books of law, and was therefore fitted to shine in the domain of general literature as well as in the realm of technical jurisprudence.
"During the pioneer years of Ohio its lawyers were obliged to perform extensive circuits to practice their profession; they were accustomed to accompany the courts from county to county, and in this way to traverse an extent of country which, being uncalled for at present, would appear fabulous in statement and difficult to realize.
"Those early days also commemorated the warmest personal friendships in the profession, and, indeed, this could hardly have been otherwise, as they compelled its members into the closest habitual companionship. They rode together in the same primitive style, their saddle-bags stuffed with papers, documents, briefs, law-books, clothing, and, peradventure, some creature delectation also. They were exposed in common to the same inclemencies and impediments of travel, they lodged together at the same inns or taverns, messed at the same table, slept in the same rooms, and were not unfrequently coerced by twos into the same bed. Free, jovial, genial, manly, and happy times they were, when, after a hard-fought field-day of professional antagonisms in court, the evening hours were crowded with social amenities, and winged with wit and merriment, with pathos, sentiment and song.
"If the sayings and doings at the festive evenings of the early Ohio bar could be collected, there would be materials in rich abundance from which a sympathetic and facile pen could compile a volume of equal piquancy and sentimental refinement of patriotic detail and humor, that alternate the pages of Sir Jonah Barrington, or any other winsome work of the kind. This will not be questioned for a moment when it is remembered that Henry Clay, Lewis Cass, Philip Doddridge, Willis Silliman, David K. Este, and Charles Hammond were frequent participants; that Philoman Beecher, William W. Irvin, Thomas Ewing, William Stanberry, Benjamin Tappan, John M. Goodenow, Jacob Parker, Orris Parrish, and Charles Goddard habitually contributed to their entertainment, and that these were often signalized with the hilarious fun of Creighton and the quaint drolleries of Douglas. At these symposiums of recreation, and they were held whenever the courts used to meet, Charles R. Sherman was always the most welcome of companions, and contributed his full share even to the ambrosial feasts,
'When all such clustering portions had As made their frolic wild, not mad.'
"Thus endowed and so associated, he became a leading and a popular people's lawyer, from the Ohio River to our northern lake.
"In 1823 he was elected by the legislature to the bench of the Supreme Court of Ohio, and perhaps the only man in the state who doubted his ability for this high position was himself. He told the writer of these lines when speaking on the subject of his appointment, that he assumed its duties with great personal diffidence and apprehension. He feared that he lacked the ripe experience of years necessary to hear and determine cases of magnitude in a court of the last resort. His official associates were Calvin Pease, Jacob Burnet, and Peter Hitchcock, and these are names of renown in the judicial history of Ohio.
"Judge Sherman upon the bench fully realized the large expectations of his professional friends and the public.
"His written opinions, published in 'Hammond's Reports of the Supreme Court,' demonstrate a mind of the choicest legal capabilities. They are clear, compact, yet comprehensive, intuitive, logical, complete, and conclusive, and are respected by the bar and courts in this and other states as judicial dicta of the highest authority. He won upon the bench, as he did at the bar, the affection and confidence of his associates. They esteemed him for his gentle and genial nature, for the brilliant flashes of his mind and the solid strength of his judgment; above all, for the stainless integrity of his character, as a judge and as a man.
"Under the provisions of our old constitution, the Supreme Court was required to hold an annual term or sitting in each county of the state, two of the judges officiating. In every court-room in Ohio where Judge Sherman presided he made friends. His official robes were worn by him as the customary habiliments of the man. He was never distant, haughty, morose, austere, or overbearing on the bench. It was not in his nature to be so anywhere, and it was therefore always a personal pleasure to practice in his courts. The younger members of the profession idolized him in every part of the state; for them and their early efforts he systematically sympathized, and he uniformly bestowed upon them the most gracious compliment that any judge upon the bench can render to the oldest practitioner at the bar—he gave them his interested and undivided attention.
"He had entered upon the sixth year of his official term, was in his manly meridian of life, in the full fruition of his matured intellectual powers, in the plenitude of his public usefulness, and in the enjoyment of apparent robust physical health, out upon his circuit, and about to hold a session of the Supreme Court at Lebanon, in Warren county, when suddenly, without any premonition, he was struck down with a fatal malady, that was frightfully rapid in its termination. The best medical aid was summoned from Cincinnati; it was in vain. An express messenger was hurried to Lancaster for Mrs. Sherman, but before she reached him her lamented husband was dead.
"He died in Lebanon, June 24, 1829, in the 41st year of his age.
"I will not attempt to describe the outburst of public sorrow that prevailed over this event. It was general and sincere, touching and outspoken; but it was in Lancaster, it was here in his happy home, which he made the home always of genial and open-hearted hospitality—here among his neighbors and fellow-citizens of every class and description, all of whom knew him and all of whom loved him—that the intelligence of his death came with the most painful and startling abruptness. They could not comprehend it. But yesterday he was among them in perfect health, and now he is dead. Men wept in our public streets. I do not believe he had a single personal enemy on earth.
"Had Judge Sherman lived, higher and broader spheres of public usefulness would have opened before him. There is no doubt whatever that the same spontaneity of opinion that placed him upon the supreme bench would have again united, when the vacancy happened, to have sent him to the Senate of the United States, and those who know him knew full well that his first prepared public utterance in that chamber upon any pending matter of national importance would have secured to him a brilliant national name. This is no fancy penciling. It was conviction with his contemporaries, and it would have been the record of history had he lived. As it is, he has left to his children the heritage of his spotless public reputation—of his loved and honored name.
"This fragmentary sketch would be more incomplete did I not mention that Judge Sherman was a zealous and prominent member of the Masonic fraternity, and that he filled its highest offices of honor in the several grand bodies of Ohio."
General Reese, the author of this sketch, was born in Philadelphia, Pa., on the 5th of August, 1804. He was a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, studied law and was admitted to practice in Philadelphia. He then came to Ohio and was admitted to the bar in Cincinnati and soon after settled in Lancaster. In 1829, soon after the death of my father, he married my eldest sister, Mary Elizabeth. He did not long pursue his profession but became a merchant. He was prominent as a member of the board of public works. In old militia times he was in command of the forces of the state as its only major-general. He was grand master of the Grand Lodge of Masons in Ohio for a series of years, and at the same time held high rank in the Grand Lodge of the United States. He was a handsome and accomplished gentleman, of pleasing manners and liberal to a fault. He died on the 17th of December, 1883, at Lancaster, in his eightieth year.
Of my mother I can scarcely write without emotion, though she died more than forty years ago. Her maiden name was Mary Hoyt. She was a member of a family, mostly merchants and sailors, who had lived in Norwalk, Connecticut, since its first settlement. At the period of the American Revolution the Hoyt family, composed of several brothers, was divided in their allegiance, some as Tories, some as Whigs. My mother's grandfather was a Whig. It is a tradition in the family that one of the Tory brothers pointed out the house of his brother, at the capture of Norwalk by the British and Tories, as the nest of a rebel, and it was burned to the ground. In this it shared the fate of the greater part of the town. The Tories of the family went to St. Johns, but years after the war was over they and their descendants returned to Connecticut and New York, and many of them became prominent and respected citizens. Isaac Hoyt, my grandfather, was a prominent citizen of Norwalk, possessing considerable wealth for those days.
My mother was carefully educated at the then famous female seminary at Poughkeepsie, New York. I remember the many embroidered pictures, made with the needle and silk thread by the handicraft of my mother, as a school girl, carefully framed, that decorated the old house in Lancaster. The women of that day were trained more for the culture and ornament of the house, more to knit stockings and weave home spun than to make speeches on woman's rights. Soon after her graduation she married Charles Robert Sherman, as before stated, and their lives were blended. She sometimes rode with him when on the circuit, and always on horseback. It was an adage in the family, even to her grandchildren, that she was always ready for a visit. I never knew her to scold, much less to strike, her children. She was our sure refuge against grandmother, between whom and my mother there was, however, the warmest affection. When Aunt Elizabeth married Mr. Parker, grandmother followed her daughter to their home in Mansfield.
When my mother, by the death of her husband, was left a widow with eleven children and spare means of support, she received the sympathy of all her neighbors and the kindly encouragement of everyone in Lancaster. As her children scattered her resources increased, so that after one year of widowhood she was quite independent. Like Goldsmith's Vicar of Wakefield she was "passing rich" on four hundred dollars a year. Soon the houses of her children were open to her, but she clung to Lancaster until all her children had taken flight, when, in the summer of 1844, she accepted the invitation of her sons to make her home in Mansfield and removed there. She had there her house and home. Her two youngest daughters, and the writer of this, were her family, but in a very brief period all around her were married. She still continued to occupy her home, and always with some of her numerous grandchildren as guests. She often visited her children, and her coming was always regarded by them as a favor conferred by her. And so her tranquil life flowed on until 1852, when she attended the state fair at Cleveland and contracted a bad cold. She returned to Mansfield only to die on the 23rd day of September, 1852, at the residence of her daughter, Mrs. Bartley.
Before closing this sketch of my ancestors, it seems proper that I refer to their religious beliefs and modes of worship. In England they were classed as Puritans, and were members of the Presbyterian church. In Connecticut they followed the doctrine and faith of the Congregational church of Anthony Stoddard. Daniel Sherman had his father were deacons of the congregation of Mr. Stoddard, and his granddaughter, the wife of Taylor Sherman, carried her faith and practice into her family, and maintained to her death the strict morals, and close observance of the Sabbath day, that was the established rule and practice of the Connecticut Congregationalist.
My mother's family, the Hoyts, were, with scarcely an exception, members of the Episcopal church. My mother was reared in that faith and practice from infancy, and was a member of that church at the time of her marriage. When she emigrated to Lancaster she found there no church of that denomination, and, therefore, joined the Presbyterian church under the pastorage of Rev. John Wright, who baptized all her children. At a later period, perhaps about 1840, when an Episcopal church was established in Lancaster, she resumed her attendance and worship in that church. When she removed to Mansfield she attended the Episcopal church at that place, partook of its sacraments and usages, and died in that faith and worship. All her living children and their families recognized and supported the Episcopal church as their church, except the children of General Sherman, who followed their mother and her maternal ancestors in the faith and worship of the Catholic church.
The writer of this has a firm belief in the Bible as the only creed of religious faith and duty, and willingly accords to every human being the right to choose his form of worship according to his judgment, but in case of doubt it is best to follow the teachings of his mother.
With this, the sketch of my ancestors closes. Many will think it is not part of my life, and that I have given too much space and importance to it. If so, I hope they will pass it over without reading. Each individual life is molded by one's ancestry, by the incidents of his childhood, the training he receives in the family and the school and the conditions and surroundings of his early days. The boy is father to the man. It is difficult for one in advanced age to recall or to measure the influence of each of these in forming his character, but a statement of them is a necessary preface to a history of his later life. My information as to my ancestry is chiefly derived from the admirable local histories of Connecticut, and, especially, from "Cothron's History of Ancient Woodbury," "Hutchinson's History of Connecticut," and the local records and traditions of Essex and Sussex counties in England.
I cannot claim for my ancestors superior rank, wealth or ability. They were not specially distinguished for any of these, but they were men of useful and honorable lives, of untarnished reputation, highly esteemed by their contemporaries, thorough republicans in the broad sense of that word, always for their country in any contest for the right, and willing to yield equal political and civil rights to all their countrymen of every creed and color.
CHAPTER II. MY BOYHOOD DAYS AND EARLY LIFE. Born at Lancaster, Ohio, May 10, 1823—Death of My Father and Its Effect on Our Family—Early Days at School—A Dead Sheep in the Schoolroom—Lesson in Sunday Sport—Some of My Characteristics—My Attack on the Schoolmaster—Robbing an Orchard—A Rodman at Fourteen and My Experiences While Surveying—Debates at Beverly—Early Use of Liquor—First Visit to Mansfield in 1839—The Famous Campaign of 1840—I Begin the Study of Law.
I was born at Lancaster, Ohio, on the 10th day of May, 1823, the eighth child of Charles and Mary Sherman. My first distinct recollection of events is connected with the scenes and incidents that followed the death of my father on the 24th day of June, 1829. I have a dim recollection before that time of being sent to school with my elder brothers to keep me out of mischief, and of my father praising me for learning the alphabet, but all other impressions of my infancy were absorbed in the great family tragedy. We were warned to keep quiet, and to remain out of doors, so as not to disturb mother, who was critically ill, and, as our grandmother was then supreme in the household, we knew that her will was law, and that punishment invariably followed an offense. During these enforced absences many were the wise resolves, or, rather, the conceits, that the boys discussed for "helping mother."
But time, which mellows every misfortune, brought so many changes. My sister, Elizabeth, was soon married to General William J. Reese. My brother, Charles, came home a full-fledged graduate, and, as we thought, very learned. Everybody was kind. The affairs of my father were settled. The homestead and garden were secured to my mother, and she had, in addition, a settled income from her father's estate of $400 a year, while grandmother had her "fire lands," and an assured but small income besides. In those days a little money went a great way; but there were eleven children of us to be cared for,—from Charles, aged eighteen, to Fanny, aged three months. The separation of this family was imperative, but the friends of my father were numerous, and their offerings were generous and urgent. Charles entered the family of our cousin, Mr. Stoddard, an old and leading lawyer in Dayton, Ohio, studied law, and in two years was admitted to the bar. James, the next eldest brother, accepted a clerkship in a store in Cincinnati, and from that time paid his own way, becoming a merchant, first in Lancaster, and later in Des Moines, Iowa. William Tecumseh was adopted into the family of Hon. Thomas Ewing, who lived in the same square with us in Lancaster. The two families were bound by ties and mutual aid which were highly creditable to both. My father, Judge Sherman, had been able to help Mr. Ewing in the beginning of his professional career, and Mr. Ewing gratefully and generously responded. They maintained the most intimate and cordial relations during their lives and their families have since continued them, the bond being strengthened by the marriage of William Tecumseh to Mr. Ewing's daughter, Ellen. Lampson P., the fourth son, was adopted into the family of Charles Hammond, of Cincinnati, a distinguished lawyer of marked ability, the reporter of the Supreme Court of Ohio, and editor and chief proprietor of the "Gazette," the leading newspaper published in his day in Cincinnati.
While the reduction of our family was thus taking place I was kept at school at Lancaster, where I made considerable advance in such studies as a lad from six to eight years of age can pursue. I have forgotten the names of my tutors. The present admirable system of common schools in Ohio had not then been adopted, but the private schools in Lancaster were considered very good, and most of the boys of school age were able at little cost to get the rudiments of an education.
In the spring of 1831, my father's cousin, John Sherman, a prosperous merchant of Mt. Vernon, Ohio, accompanied by his bride, visited my mother, and proposed to take me into his family and to keep me at school until I was prepared to enter Kenyon College, five miles from Mt. Vernon. This was a kindly offer and was gratefully accepted. But I remember well the sadness I felt, and the tears I shed, over the departure from home into the midst of strangers. The old-fashioned stage coach was then the only medium of travel and the fifty miles between Lancaster and Mt. Vernon were to me a wearisome journey. For days after I arrived at Mt. Vernon I was moping either at the house or at the store, but ere long became accustomed to the change, and commenced my studies in the schools, which, as I remember them, were admirably conducted by teachers of marked ability, among whom were some who became distinguished in professional and business life. One of the families that I became intimate with was that of Mr. Norton, one of whose sons, J. Banning Norton, who lately died in Dallas, Texas, was my constant companion. We studied our lessons together, but frequently had quarrels and fights. It was a "fad" of his to wear his finger-nails very long. On one occasion I pummeled him well, but he scratched my face in the contest. When I went home, marked in this way, I was asked how I came to be so badly scratched and the best answer I could make was that I had fallen on a "splintery log," and this got to be a by-word in the school.
According to the usages of the time I was put early to the study of Latin, which then seemed to be regarded as the necessary foundation for an education. I must confess that during my stay in Mt. Vernon I was rather a troublesome boy, frequently involved in controversies with the teachers, and sometimes punished in the old-fashioned way with the ferule and the switch, which habit I then regarded as tyrannical and now regard as impolitic. I do not believe that the policy of punishment adopted in the schools of those times would be expedient to-day. It tended to foster a constant irritation between the teacher and the pupil.
Among my school adventures at Mt. Vernon was one I heartily regret. We had a teacher by the name of Lord. He was a small man, and not able to cope with several of the boys in the school. We called him "Bunty Lord." One evening after school four boys, of whom I was one, while playing on the commons, found a dead sheep. It was suggested that we carry the sheep into the schoolroom and place it on Lord's seat. This was promptly done and I wrote a Latin couplet, purporting that this was a very worthy sacrifice to a very poor Lord, and placed it on the head of the sheep. The next morning Lord found the sheep and made a great outcry against the indignity. Efforts were made at once to ascertain the actors in this farce, and proof was soon obtained. My handwriting disclosed my part in the case, and the result was a prompt discharge of the culprits from school; but poor Lord lost his place, because of his manifest inability to govern his unruly pupils.
Another teacher I remember was of a very different type. This was Matthew H. Mitchell. He was severe and dogmatic, allowing no foolishness in his school. He was strict and impartial in his treatment of the boys, and, though we did not like him, we respected his power.
I had one adventure during these early boyhood days which nearly cost me my life, and which Uncle John (as I called Mr. Sherman) converted into a religious warning. One Sunday there was a freshet in Owl Creek, on the south side of the town, and many people went to see it, I among the rest. I was reckless, and, against the advice of others, went out on a temporary foot-bridge which fell and I dropped into the raging waters. How I escaped I hardly know, but it was by the assistance of others. Uncle John said that I was punished by the Almighty for violating the Sabbath. Ever after that I was careful about Sunday sport.