Three Score Years and Ten.
"THREE SCORE YEARS AND TEN,"
FORT SNELLING, MINNESOTA,
OTHER PARTS OF THE WEST,
CHARLOTTE OUISCONSIN VAN CLEVE.
HARRISON & SMITH, 257 AND 259 FIRST AVENUE SOUTH, MINNEAPOLIS, MINN.
"To the husband of my youth, by whose side I have journeyed more than half a century, and whose tender love has brightened my whole life, this book is dedicated."
ST. PAUL, MINNESOTA,
515 Portland Avenue.
March 14, 1888.
MY DEAR MRS. VAN CLEVE:
Whenever there is growth in any community the desire arises to know something of what was in the beginning. It was with no weariness I read in manuscript the "Reminiscences" from your pen. Each chapter contains something in connection with the dawn of civilization in the west, which is worthy of being preserved. The incidents related are stirring, and the style is graphic. When I finished the perusal I felt the force of the adage, that "Truth is Stranger than Fiction." As the diary of John Evelyn, throwing light upon the days of Charles the Second, is still read, so I think, if printed, your unaffected narrative will always find a place in the private and public libraries of Minnesota and the Western States.
EDWARD D. NEILL.
* * * * *
TABLE OF CONTENTS
VI. A COINCIDENCE. 45
VII. ANDREW TULLY. 49
VIII. A WOLF STORY. 62
IX. RED RIVER OR SELKIRK SETTLEMENT. 68
X. RUNNING THE GAUNTLET. 74
XII. CINCINNATI. 91
XIII. NEW HOME—SCHOOL DAYS. 99
XIV. FATHER'S DEATH, ETC. 105
XVIII. MALCOLM CLARK. 148
XXII. THE GOLDEN WEDDING. 173
* * * * *
"Three Score Years and Ten."
One evening long ago, when this wonderful century, now in a vigorous old age, had just passed its nineteenth birthday, in a bright, cheerful sitting-room in the good old city of Hartford, Conn., sat a fair young matron beside a cradle in which lay sleeping a beautiful boy a year and a half old. The gentle motion of her little slippered foot on the rocker, keeping time with the soft humming of a cradle hymn; the work-basket near by; and the dainty needle work in her hand; the table tastefully spread for two, and the clear wood fire in the old-fashioned fireplace, formed as restful a picture of domestic peace and content as one could wish to see.
But the expectant look in the bright blue eyes, uplifted at each sound, clearly indicated that some one was coming who should round out this little circle and make it complete.
And now the familiar footstep draws near and the husband and father enters; she rises joyfully to meet him, but seeing in his face a look of grief or pain, exclaims, "What is it, dear husband?" He holds her very close, but cannot find words to tell her that which will cross all their cherished plans of a year's quiet resting in her native city; and handing her an official document, with its ominous red seal newly broken, he watches her anxiously as she reads:
Lieutenant Nathan Clark, U. S. Fifth Infantry: You are hereby appointed Assistant Commissary of Subsistence, and will forthwith join your regiment at Detroit, which is under orders to move to the Mississippi river and establish a military post at the mouth of the St. Peters river.
With respect and esteem,
GEORGE GIBSON, Com. Gen. of Subsistence.
Twice she reads this order, and then, looking up with a smile, says, with a slight tremor in her voice: "Is this all, beloved? Why should it so distress you? You surely do not flinch from duty?" With a perceptible start at such a suggestion, the gallant young soldier replies: "No, no, my precious wife; but this means separation from you and our boy, for you cannot venture on so long and perilous a journey as that, and our separation is not for days and months, it may be for years; how can I endure it? And we were so happy here in our snug little cottage—you in the midst of early friends and beloved relatives, your childhood companions and associations all about you; and I with my duties as recruiting officer. We had reason to hope and expect at least a year longer of this life, and this sudden blasting of our hopes seems cruel. Oh, Charlotte! how can you bear the thought?" As he thus poured out his heart, her eyes regarded him with wonder, and when he ceased she drew him to his favorite chair, and, seating herself on a low stool beside him, took his hand in hers, and, looking up at him through her tears, said with ineffable tenderness: "My own dear husband; how could you for a moment imagine that this order means separation? Could you believe that I would remain here in comfort, and suffer you to go alone to that far-off region where, if ever, you will need me to cheer and aid you? If my marriage vows mean anything, they mean that I am not to forsake you at such a time as this. What would the comforts of this dear home, what the society of relatives and friends be to me, with you in a wild country, in the midst of a savage people, deprived of almost everything that makes life dear? No, no, my beloved; where thou goest I will go; thy people shall be my people; entreat me not to leave thee, or to refrain from following after thee, for naught but death shall part thee and me."
The young soldier took his true, brave wife to his heart, and, holding her close, exclaimed: "How deep and sacred is the love of woman! who can comprehend its entire unselfishness?" and both found relief in blessed tears of love and thankfulness which cleared away all doubts and anxieties and filled them with hope and happiness. Over the evening meal future plans were cheerfully discussed, dangers and difficulties were looked bravely in the face, and feeling that, with undying love for each other and entire trust in God, they could meet and conquer whatever lay in their way, these young people rested peacefully during that night, which had shown them how firm was the bond which held them to each other, and were strengthened to meet the storm of opposition that broke upon them in the morning from the relatives and friends of the young wife and mother.
Preparations were rapidly made; household goods disposed of; all things necessary for a long, toilsome journey packed; heart-breaking "good-byes" were spoken, and the faces of the travelers were turned westward.
A wearisome stage journey of many days brought them to Buffalo, where, after resting a short time, they embarked in schooners for Detroit on the 1st of May, which city they reached in time to move forward with the regiment by water to Green Bay; thence in batteaux they ascended the Fox river to Lake Winnebago. Col. Leavenworth, then in command of the regiment, having received instructions to conciliate the Indians, and avoid everything which might arouse the opposition of these owners of the soil, determined to stop at this point to hold a council with them, and crave permission to proceed on their journey. This being announced to the chiefs of the tribe, they assembled to hear what the "white brother" had to say. The day was beautiful; the troops, all in full uniform, "with bayonets glancing in the sun," made an imposing display, and everything was done to render it a memorable and impressive occasion. The ladies of the party—Mrs. Leavenworth, Mrs. Gooding, with their young daughters, and Mrs. Clark, with her baby boy were seated on the turf enjoying the novelty and beauty of the scene, when some Indian women, attracted by the unusual sight, drew timidly near and gazed in wonder at what they saw. One of the officers, Major Marston, the wag of the party, learning that one of them was the head chief's wife, desired to show her some distinguishing mark of respect, and, leading her into the group of ladies, said, with due ceremony, "This is the Queen, ladies; make room for the Queen;" but as this specimen of royalty was almost too highly perfumed with a mingled odor of fish and musk-rat to suit the cultivated taste of her entertainers, they did not hail her advent with any marked enthusiasm.
When all was in order, Colonel Leavenworth stepped forth, and, through an interpreter, formally requested of the Chief permission to pass peaceably through their country. The Chief, a very handsome young brave, advanced, and, with his right arm uncovered, said, with most expressive gestures: "My brother, do you see the calm, blue sky above us? Do you see the lake that lies so peacefully at our feet? So calm, so peaceful are our hearts towards you. Pass on!" With this full permission so gracefully bestowed, after resting and refreshing themselves among their newly-made friends, the troops left among them a liberal supply of beads and trinkets and passed on to that point on the river, least distant from the Ouisconsin, where they made a portage, transporting their boats and supplies, by the aid of Indians hired for the purpose, a distance of a mile and a half. This was a tedious process, but was at last successfully accomplished, and the boats were again afloat on the stream, called by the Indians the "Nee-na-hoo-na-nink-a," (beautiful little river), and by the whites "Ouisconsin," the French orthography for what we now write "Wisconsin." The place of transit from one river to the other was known for years as the Portage. At the point where the troops made preparations for crossing it was afterwards built Fort Winnebago, and directly opposite the fort, on a pretty knoll, stood for many years the Indian agency occupied for a long time by John Kinzie, agent, afterwards better known as one of the first owners of Chicago, and Mrs. Kinzie's "Waubun," or early day, gives a very pleasant and reliable account of that locality and the surrounding country. The point on the Wisconsin where the re-embarkation of the troops took place has grown into Portage City.
In spite of heavy rains and other discouraging circumstances, the tedious descent of the Ouisconsin was at length successfully accomplished, and at its mouth stood old Fort Crawford and a settlement of French and half-breeds called "Prairie du Chien." This fort was simply a rude barracks, and far from comfortable. The two months' journey from Buffalo had been very trying, serious obstacles and hindrances had been encountered and barely overcome, but instead of reaching their final destination in June, as they confidently expected to do, the troops arrived at Fort Crawford on the morning of the first day of July, worn out and exhausted. It was therefore determined to remain at this point some weeks for rest and renewal of strength, before making the final plunge into the unknown wilderness, into the very midst of savages, who might resist their progress and cause them much trouble.
The transportation of their supplies had been attended with so much difficulty that, notwithstanding all possible care, the pork barrels leaked badly and the contents were rusty; the flour had been so exposed to dampness that for the depth of three inches or more it was solid blue mould, and there was no choice between this wretched fare and starvation, for the miserable country about the fort afforded no supplies.
Just at this juncture, scarcely an hour after her arrival, Mrs. Clark's second child was born, and named Charlotte, for her mother, to which was added by the officers "Ouisconsin." When one calls to mind all the care and comforts and luxuries demanded at the present time on such occasions, it is difficult to realize how my mother endured her hardships, and when I add that almost immediately both she and my brother were seized with fever and ague, which soon exhausted their strength and made them very helpless, it would seem almost beyond belief that she should survive.
The new-born infant was entirely deprived of the nourishment nature kindly provides for incipient humanity, thus complicating to a great degree the trials of that dreadful time. My dear father could never speak of that experience without a shudder, and has told me, with much emotion, how he scoured the whole country to find suitable nourishment for mother and children, with wretched success; adding that, but for the dear mother's unfailing courage, her wonderfully hopeful disposition and her firm trust in God, he could hardly have endured these heavy trials. The surgeon of the regiment at that time (I think his name was Burns) was a man of science and great skill in his profession, but an inveterate drunkard, and it was no uncommon occurrence, when his services were needed, to find him so stupefied with liquor that nothing but a liberal sousing in cold water would fit him for duty, and I imagine that "soaking the doctor" became a source of merriment which may have diverted their minds from heavier trials.
So long a time must have elapsed before the provisions could have been officially condemned and fresh supplies sent from St. Louis, the nearest base of supplies, for red tape was more perplexing and entangling then than now, when it is sent back and forth by lightning, that it was concluded to continue the journey with what they had, and so the troops moved on, and the feeble mother, the sick child and the little "Daughter of the Regiment" went with them.
By reference to "Neill's History of Minnesota," I see mention made there of the arrival of ordnance, provisions and recruits from St. Louis before the departure from Prairie du Chien, but am inclined to believe that the additions to the commissariat could not have been adequate to the needs, as there was much suffering for want of proper supplies.
When all was in readiness the expedition finally began the ascent of the Mississippi. The flotilla was made up of batteaux and keel-boats, the latter having been fitted up as comfortably as possible for the women and children, and my father has told me that, notwithstanding the inconveniences and annoyances of such a mode of traveling, the hope that the change might benefit all, and the fact that they were making the last stage of a very wearisome journey, inspired them with fresh courage, and a general cheerfulness prevailed throughout the command.
Of the difficulties and delays of that eventful journey up the Mississippi, few at the present day can form a clear conception. The keel-boats, similar in construction to a canal-boat, were propelled by poles all that three hundred miles, in the following manner: Several men stood on each side of the boat on what was called a running-board, with their faces to the stern, and, placing their long poles on the river bottom, braced them against their shoulders and pushed hard, walking towards the stern. Then, detaching the poles, they walked back to the bow, and repeated this operation hour after hour, being relieved at intervals for rest.
The perfect safety of this mode of travel commends itself to those who are in no hurry, and desire to learn all about the windings of the river and the geological and floral attractions along its banks.
At night the boats were tied up, camp-fires were lighted, tents pitched, sentinels posted and everything made ready, in case of an irruption of Indians.
Arriving at Lake Pepin, a few days were spent on its beautiful shores, resting, during which time the stores were overhauled and rearranged and the boats regulated and put in perfect order. The sick were growing stronger, and the little baby who was living on pap made of musty flour and sweetened water, tied up in a rag, which did duty for a patent nursing bottle, grew wonderfully, and bade fair to be a marvel of size and strength.
Sometime in September the pioneer regiment arrived in pretty good condition at—where? No fort, no settlement, no regular landing even; simply at the mouth of the St. Peters river, where we had been ordered to halt, and our long march was ended.
For many weeks the boats were our only shelter, and the sense of entire isolation, the thought that the nearest white neighbors were three hundred miles away, and that months must elapse before they could hope to hear a syllable from home, proved, at times, exceedingly depressing to these first settlers in Minnesota. I record, with pleasure, what has been often told me, that in that trying time the courage of the ladies of the party did not fail them, and that their cheerful way of taking things as they came and making the best of them, was a constant blessing and source of strength to that little community.
Without loss of time a space was cleared very near the site of Mendota, trees were cut down, a stockade built enclosing log houses erected for the accommodation of the garrison; everything being made as comfortable and secure as the facilities permitted. The Indians proved friendly and peaceable, and the command entered upon their life at "St. Peters," as it was first called, cheerfully and hopefully. A few days after their arrival Colonel Leavenworth, Major Vose, Surgeon Purcell, Mrs. Captain Gooding and my father made a keel-boat trip to the "Falls of St. Anthony," and were amazed at the beauty and grandeur of the scene.
A prediction at that time that some then living would see these mighty falls turn the machinery of the greatest mills in the world, and a great and beautiful city arise on the adjacent shores, would have been called a visionary and impossible dream by those early visitors who saw this amazing water power in its primeval glory.
That first winter of '19 and '20, like all winters in this latitude, was very cold, with heavy snows and fierce winds, but there were many sunshiny days, and there was little or no complaining.
The quarters, having been put up hastily, were not calculated to resist the severe storms which at times raged with great violence. Once during that memorable six months the roof of our cabin blew off, and the walls seemed about to fall in. My father, sending my mother and brother to a place of safety, held up the chimney to prevent a total downfall; while the baby, who had been pushed under the bed in her cradle, lay there, as "Sairey Gamp" would express it, "smiling unbeknowns," until the wind subsided, when, upon being drawn out from her hiding-place, she evinced great pleasure at the commotion, and seemed to take it all as something designed especially for her amusement.
By the prompt aid of a large number of soldiers the necessary repairs were rapidly made, and soon all was comfortable as before. But late in the winter, owing to the lack of proper food, scurvy broke out among the soldiers, and forty of them died of this dreadful disease. Many more were affected with it, and far removed as we were from all relief in the way of change of diet or suitable remedies, it was a matter of great uneasiness and alarm, as in the absence of necessary preventives or restoratives medical skill availed nothing.
However, as soon as the frost was sufficiently out of the ground to enable them to dig it, the Indians brought in quantities of the spignot root, assuring the surgeon that would cure the sick. This proved entirely efficacious. The scourge was removed, and after that trial passed away the command was peculiarly exempt from sickness of any kind.
As soon as possible gardens were made. Everything grew rapidly, and a sufficient supply of vegetables was secured to prevent any recurrence of the evil.
More permanent and comfortable quarters were built during the spring at the beautiful spring on the fort side of the river, and named by the officers "Camp Coldwater;" but before moving into the new camp Colonel Leavenworth was relieved from the command by Colonel Josiah Snelling, who, with his well-known energy and promptitude, immediately began preparations for building the fort, the site of which had been selected by Colonel Leavenworth. The saw-mill at "St. Anthony's Falls," so long known and remembered as the "Old Government Mill," was started as soon as practicable. Quarries were opened, and everything was done to facilitate the work, Colonel Snelling proving himself well fitted for the duty assigned him, and the spring of 1820 was a very busy one for the old Fifth Regiment.
MRS. SNELLING'S LIFE.
Mrs. Abigal Hunt Snelling was born at Watertown, Mass., January 23d, 1797. Her father's name was Thomas Hunt, Colonel of the First Regiment of Infantry, U. S. A., stationed then at Fort Wayne, Indiana, to which place his little daughter was taken when only six weeks old. The journey was performed on horseback, and the little baby was carried on a pillow, a long, rough trip for so young a traveler, and clearly indicative of her subsequent experience. She tells in her old age of a coincidence in her life which impressed her forcibly. Her father died and was buried at Bellefontaine, Ohio, and some years afterward Colonel Snelling was at this place with his family waiting orders, when their youngest child, an infant, named Thomas Hunt, sickened and died, and was buried by the side of his grandfather. An incident in her eventful life well worthy of mention in a record of the early days of our State is that she gave birth to the first white child born in Minnesota sixty-six years ago, and at the advanced age of ninety years she is alive to tell of it. Her ninetieth birthday was celebrated a few months ago in Newport, Kentucky, where, with the husband and children of a beloved daughter, who died some years ago, she is "only waiting till the shadows are a little longer grown."
She has been blind for many years, but otherwise her faculties are unimpaired and her health is excellent. I should like to have seen my old friend on that occasion, but could only send a congratulatory letter, recalling the memories of old Fort Snelling, with which she and I am so thoroughly identified. I am told she looked very lovely, and was much gratified at the pleasant surprise her friends had prepared for her, but was somewhat excited, and was carefully watched by her granddaughter, Miss Abby Hazard, who takes the most tender care of her precious grandmother.
It is somewhat remarkable that just about that time I learned through Hon. Fletcher Williams, who has a special gift for finding antiquities, that an old lady who had been a member of Mrs. Snelling's family at the fort was visiting her grandchildren at West St. Paul. I lost no time in calling on her, and found that she was one of the Swiss refugees who came to Fort Snelling from the Red River country. Her maiden name was Schadiker. She had married Sergeant Adams, of the Ordnance Department, whom I remembered well as a most faithful and highly respected man. After serving in the army many years at different posts, he resigned and took up land not far from Chicago, near which city he made a home and lived a long while very happily, dying only a year or two ago at a very advanced age. Mrs. Adams and I had a most enjoyable visit together. She is in very comfortable circumstances, and bears her age so bravely that it is hard to realize that she is seventy-seven years old. She told me, among other things, of a voyage Colonel Snelling and family made up the Mississippi, returning from a visit to the East. The weather was very rough, and at Lake Pepin, their boat having been wrecked, of course their provisions and many things were lost. With what was left of the craft they hugged the shore, and the crew made every effort to go forward, but, in their dismantled condition and with little or nothing to eat, it was very discouraging work. She tells me that in this extremity the men caught hold of the branches of trees which hung over the water and propelled the boat forward by inches, and Mrs. Snelling said to her: "Hannah, let us take hold of the willows, too, and pull. We may help, if it is ever so little," and they did so, pulling with all their might. She says she shall never forget their arrival at the fort at last. My father was in temporary command, and, learning in some way of their approach, sent help to them. He had had the fort illuminated and a Colonel's salute fired in honor of the return, and finally the weary ones reached the old headquarters, where my mother had provided for them a bountiful repast, and where they received so hearty a welcome that they soon forgot their weariness and the hardships and perils through which they had passed.
NOTE.—Since this account was written, my dear old friend has gone to her rest; she died at the home of her son-in-law, Mr. Hazard, in Newport, Kentucky, September 6th, 1888, aged 91 years and seven months. She lived to hear the "Life-long memories of Fort Snelling" read to her by her loving relatives and enjoyed it exceedingly.
It seems proper to record here the names of the officers at the post at this time. They are as follows:
Josiah Snelling, Colonel Fifth Infantry, commanding. S. Burbank, Brevet Major. David Perry, Captain. D. Gooding, Brevet Captain. R. A. McCabe, Lieutenant. N. Clark, Lieutenant. Joseph Hare, Lieutenant. P. R. Green, Lieutenant Acting Adjutant. W. G. Camp, Lieutenant Quartermaster. H. Wilkins, Lieutenant. Edward Purcell, Surgeon.
In addition to these I give the names of some who came afterward. All of them are among my earliest recollections, and I can remember each by some peculiarity of speech or characteristic anecdote. In my old age I find myself dwelling upon these recollections of my early years with pleasure, till the flight of time is forgotten, and in fancy I am back again at the old fort, a happy, light-hearted, petted child:
Major Hamilton. Captains Russell, Garland, Baxley and Martin Scott. Lieutenants Alexander, Hunter, Harris, St. Clair Denny and Johnston. Major Laurence Taliaferro, Indian Agent. Captain Leonard and Mr. Ortley, Sutlers.
Lieutenant Alexander was very popular, very kind-hearted and genial. A reply of his, when cornered in a discussion at one time, caused much merriment. The subject was bald-headed men. Some one remarked that those who became gray were seldom bald. Alexander replied with considerable warmth: "I know better than that, for my father is as gray as a badger, and hasn't a hair on his head."
Lieutenant Hunter was a great favorite, and in his way a model man, always courteous and attentive to ladies, and especially kind and considerate to the little ones, but wonderfully firm and unyielding in his views, which peculiarity on more than one occasion caused him serious trouble. As an instance of his persistence: at one time he and Captain Scott determined to find out by actual experiment which could hold out the longest without eating anything whatever. As both were very firm in their determinations, the affair was watched with great interest. However, after two days Captain Scott surrendered unconditionally, and it was generally admitted that Lieutenant Hunter would have perished rather than yield.
Lieutenant St. Clair Denny was an exceedingly estimable young man, a native of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, a Christian gentleman in the highest sense of the term. My recollection of him is of one better calculated to inspire awe and respect than confidence. A memorable event in his life was his marriage with Miss Caroline Hamilton, a beautiful girl of fifteen, as full of fun and lady-like mirth as he was of dignity and reserve. I can barely recall their going in sleighs on the ice to Prairie du Chien accompanied by Lieutenant Hunter and one of the ladies, to be married, that being the nearest point where the ceremony could be performed, for we had neither Chaplain nor Justice of the Peace at the new fort. I have dim recollections of the preparation of the trousseau by the nimble fingers of the officers' wives, of the pleasureable excitement and merry chat over the unusual event, and of the starting off of the excursion on that long, cold ride, the "good-byes," the tears, the smiles and the blushes, and of the hearty welcome home of the beautiful, happy bride, and the proud but dignified bridegroom, and I there and then yielded my fealty to the sweet child-wife, and always loved her as a dear relative. She was a most loving wife and mother, and some who read these records will call to mind her lovely, interesting daughter, the wife of Mr. Corcoran, for some time Postmaster at St. Paul, and her son Brooke Denny, whose home, when the dear mother passed away, was with his sister in that city, and whose gentlemanly manners and kindness of heart won for him the love and confidence of his associates. An anecdote of Lieutenant Denny, characteristic of his precision of speech, his perfect self-control under the most exciting circumstances, and his strict regard to military etiquette, may be related here:
At one of the frontier stations, where he was doing duty as Quartermaster, he was in his office one day during a fearful thunder storm, accompanied with high wind and pouring rain, which threatened to demolish the building. Every one was alarmed for its safety, and the whole garrison was in a high state of excitement. After the storm had subsided, a group of officers were talking it over, and Lieutenant Denny, speaking of it in his peculiarly measured tones, ended his remarks with this climax: "I was standing in the door of my office when the storm was at its height, and it was so terrible that I was forced to turn and say, even in the presence of my clerk, 'Bless me! how the wind blows!'"
Any member of the old Fifth Regiment can recall that remark, for it became a household word; but alas! who are now living of that gallant old regiment? Of all the names recorded in these annals, I know of not one left to answer to roll-call, the last survivor, General David Hunter, having passed away at an advanced age only a few months ago. The old Mexican war decimated the regiment, which was always placed in positions of danger, requiring brave, cool, determined men, and it was then that Captain Martin Scott poured out his heart's blood in defense of his country. Who has not heard of him and his indomitable courage? Some of the most pleasant recollections of my childhood are associated with that brave, true man, who was a member of our family for many years, and was dearly beloved by us all. His eccentricities were numerous, but did no one any harm, while his fondness for hunting, his love for his dogs (of which I can clearly recall by name eight or ten), his almost incredible skill as a marksman, and his unvarying success as a hunter, made him the hero of our childish admiration, and won for him the reputation of a veritable Nimrod. I remember very clearly his habit of asking my mother what and how much game she would like for the table, and invariably bringing her just what she named. He was an admirable purveyor, and we lived on the fat of the land, for there was no delicacy in the way of wild game which he did not, in its proper season, bring from the forest and wild-wood to make savory meat which, like old Isaac, we all loved. He had the reputation at one time of being parsimonious, and some were inclined to treat him coldly on that account; but in time it was found that out of his small pay he maintained his widowed mother and a lame sister in their New England home, and that while niggard in regard to his own personal wants, the dear ones at the old home were generously provided for. So, although at first the West Point graduates were disposed to treat with contempt the Green Mountain boy who had entered the army as a volunteer in the war of 1812, and had been retained in the service, his sterling qualities and his dignified self-respect won for him finally the regard of all who knew him. Indeed, it was found out very soon that it would not do to slight or insult "Scott," and he gave some practical lessons on that point that were never forgotten. He was a thorough-going total abstinence man, a "rara avis" in those days. He seldom drank even of "the cup that cheers and not inebriates," never anything stronger; and my impression is that one great reason for his extreme temperance was that his aim as a marksman might be perfect and unerring. He did not marry till somewhat late in life, owing to his inability to support a wife in addition to the care of his mother and sister, although I have heard my father say to him, jokingly, "Scott, it would not cost you so much to keep a wife as it does to keep all these dogs; she'd save more than she'd cost. Try it now, and take the word of one who knows." The lady whom he finally chose was a Miss McCracken, of Rochester, New York, with whom he lived happily for some years. At the battle of Cerro Gordo he was warned to be more careful of the bullets, but he replied, "Never fear; the bullet is not run that is to kill Martin Scott," and almost immediately fell from his horse pierced to the heart by a Mexican bullet. Knowing that his wound was mortal, he, with his usual presence of mind, took from his pocket his purse, containing quite a large sum of money, and, handing it to a soldier who stood near, said: "Give that to my wife." And the brave, true heart was still forever.
Major Laurence Taliaferro was for many years a member of our household, and we all loved and honored him. He was very entertaining in conversation and full of anecdotes of Virginia, which was his boyhood's home. His father owned many slaves, and when he, as a student in an Eastern college, was home for vacation, he delighted to amaze the negro boys with his knowledge and excite their admiration. On one occasion he had been using some pretty big words in a speech for their edification, branching out now and then into Greek and Latin quotations, when one of them, overcome by his young master's proficiency, exclaimed: "Oh, Massa Laurence; you larn so much since you done been to college, you clar fool." He liked to tell this story of himself, and admitted that the boy had good ground for his sweeping conclusion. Dear Major Taliaferro, our happy-hearted, beloved and trusted friend, the faithful servant of the government, and humble follower of Christ. His picture and an accompanying letter, sent me from his home in Bedford, Pennsylvania, when he was eighty-two years old, are before me, and as I look on the well-known features, I repeat from my heart the testimony of his biographer: "For more than twenty years an Indian Agent, and yet an honest man."
A few years ago, in an interview with Major Joseph Brown, so well known to the early settlers of Minnesota, he reminded me of Colonel McNeil's short stay at "Fort St. Anthony," as it was first called, previous to the arrival of Colonel Snelling, and of Mrs. McNeil, a sister of Franklin Pierce, a most estimable woman, of whom he spoke in the most affectionate, grateful terms, saying that her kindness to him, a mere boy, and her wise counsels had had a beneficial influence on his whole life. He spoke most gratefully of all the ladies at the post, and remembered our Sabbath school, established somewhat later, with real pleasure. He went up the river with the regiment as drummer-boy, and was always considered a faithful, well-behaved soldier.
His whole life was passed in the Northwest. He was at one time Representative in the Wisconsin Legislature, and was afterwards appointed Secretary of the First Legislative Assembly of the Territory of Minnesota. He died only a few years ago at an advanced age.
In 1821 the regiment moved into the beautiful new fort, although it was by no means completed. The outside wall was up on three sides only, and a heavy guard was stationed on the fourth, not only to prevent desertions, but to keep the Indians, our only neighbors, at a respectful distance. The occupation of the new and comfortable quarters was made an occasion of great rejoicing, an event never forgotten by those who took part in it. Then began our regular fort life, the flag-staff was raised in front of headquarters, the stars and stripes were run up at the roll of the drum at "guard mounting" and lowered with the same accompaniment at retreat day after day, and we children learned to love its graceful folds as it floated on the breeze and to feel no harm could come to us under the "Star Spangled Banner."
The only white people within three hundred miles were shut within that hollow square, a community, dependent largely on each other for all the little every-day kindnesses and amenities which make life enjoyable, having no regular intercourse with the civilized world, except by mail, which at first was received semi-annually, after a while quarterly, and for many years not more frequently than bi-monthly. For a long while it was brought from Prairie du Chien by an Indian on a pony, and there is no record of any unfaithfulness on the part of our dusky carrier. But those who enjoy daily mails know little of the excitement and tearful gratitude of those pioneers at Fort Snelling when the announcement was made, "The mail has arrived." Isolated as we were from the privileges and recreations and distractions of town or city, we were drawn very closely together, were, in fact, like one large family, and news for one was news for all. We really "shared each other's pleasures and wept each other's tears," and there was great rejoicing in the fort over news from "home." I have in my possession a collection of letters from General Gibson, Commissary General of Subsistence, received by my father, which are interesting relics of those eventful years of privation and hardship, of which the soldier of the present day can have but a faint conception.
The first few letters are directed to St. Louis, to be forwarded to the Fifth Regiment, wherever it might be; one or two are in regard to furnishing rations to Indians who may visit the agencies of the United States on business or otherwise, and authorizing the Commissary to issue rations to them on the requisition of the Indian agents. I find here a letter of instruction from the War Department to General Gibson, and insert it, as indicating the policy of the Government in regard to the Indians:
"Sir: It is customary for the Government to furnish rations to the Indians who may visit the agencies of the United States upon business or otherwise, and I have to request that you will direct the officers of your department, stationed at posts in the vicinity of the agencies at Fort Wayne, Piqua, Chicago, Green Bay and Mitch-ele-mack-i-nack[A] to issue rations on the returns and requisitions of the Indian agents at those places. The requisitions in every case must be accompanied by a return of the number of Indians to be furnished, and both must be filed with the account of the officer making the issue to obtain a credit for the amount of settlement.
I am, etc., J. C. CALHOUN.
To Colonel George Gibson, Com. Gen. of Subsistence."
This letter is dated August 30th, 1819, before the troops had reached the mouth of the St. Peters, and was intended, no doubt, as a guide to the officers in their dealing with the Indians.
In the list of rations to be issued to the command, I notice that whisky has its place, and in turning over the leaves of this manuscript book, I find a letter from an officer of the army, Captain J. H. Hook, on duty at Washington, D. C., making various inquiries of my father relative to the condition of the troops, the best way of issuing rations, the best and most desirable articles as rations, the wastage of each article, the precaution to guard against wastage, etc.
One inquiry will be interesting, in the light of the present feeling on the temperance question: "First—Would not, in your opinion, the service be benefitted by dispensing with the whisky ration? Second—Could the soldier be brought to submit cheerfully to the privation?"
This suggestion seems to have been acted upon, for I see a general order dated May 11th, 1820, to the effect that "the President was authorized to make such alterations in the component parts of the rations as a due regard to health and comfort may require; and it is hereby ordered that hereafter no issues of whisky will be made to boys under eighteen or to women attached to the army." In the case of soldiers on "extra duty," each was to receive one gill a day, and I distinctly recall the demijohn with the gill cup hanging on its neck, and the line of "extra duty men" who came up each morning for their perquisite. In those days there seemed nothing wrong in this; but, with the added light and wisdom of sixty years, all right-minded people would now regard it as every way evil.
I find a letter concerning a contract with Joseph Rolette, of Prairie du Chien, for furnishing the troops at Fort Snelling with fresh beef. "The Commissary General directs that Mr. Rolette shall give a bond duly signed by him, that Colonel Snelling may designate and transmit it to this office, with the understanding that the Messrs. Astors, of New York, will unite with him in the bond." In consequence of some misunderstanding, owing to the extreme delay of communicating with headquarters, the contract was cancelled, much to the disappointment of Mr. Rolette. In examining these letters of directions with regard to supplies and the time consumed in their transmission from the seat of government, my wonder is, that the troops at this remote station did not starve to death while waiting for authority to obtain supplies. Pork, flour, whisky, beans, candles and salt were sent from St. Louis, but, owing to the great difficulty of transportation, there was much delay and frequent loss by depredations of the inhabitants of the country through which the Government wagons passed. Beef was supplied from Prairie du Chien, or some point nearer than St. Louis. The following is a list of contract prices of articles purchased at St. Louis:
$ Cts. Mills. Pork, per pound, 7 1 Whisky, per gallon, 50 Soap, per pound, 10 Salt, per bushel, 2.00 Beans or peas, per bushel, 1.80 Vinegar, per gallon, 22 Corn meal, per pound, 2 2-1/2
Soon after the establishment of the fort, my father, as Commissary, was requested by General Gibson to learn by experiment if wheat could be raised in this part of the world, and the result proving that it was a possibility, he was ordered to supply the garrison, at least in part, with flour of their own raising. A letter bearing date August 5th, 1823, informs him that, "having learned by a letter from Colonel Snelling to the Quartermaster General, dated April 2d, that a large quantity of wheat may be raised this summer," the Assistant Commissary of Subsistence at St. Louis had been directed to send to St. Peters (as the fort was often called) such tools as should be necessary to secure the grain and manufacture the flour, adding, "if any flour is manufactured from the wheat raised, please let me know as early as possible, that I may deduct the quantity manufactured at the post from the quantity advertised to be contracted for," and here follows the bill for the articles ordered for the purpose specified above:
One pair burr mill-stones, $250.11 337 pounds plaster of Paris, 20.22 Two dozen sickles, at $9, 18.00 ———- $288.33
This, then, was the outfit for the first flour mill in that part of the great Northwest which was to be named "Minnesota" in later years, and to become the greatest flour manufactory in the world. Remembering clearly the great complaint of the destruction of grain by black birds, I cannot think that the amount of wheat raised ever made the command independent of outside supplies; but, having played around the old mill many times, I know it was used for the purpose for which it was fitted up.
[Footnote A: Mackinaw.]
Soon after we took possession of the fort, a post school was established and some will remember the old school house just beyond the main entrance, which has been used for various purposes, in later years. It was there we children assembled day after day to learn to spell in Webster's spelling book and to read in that time-honored volume, of the "boy who stole the apples;" of the conceited "country milk maid" who spilled her milk with a toss of her head; and of the good "dog Tray," who fell into bad company and suffered the consequences.
Our teacher was considered very competent for his work, but was a violent tempered man and only maintained his position a few years, but what we learned then, we know now, and the thorough drill we received each day, turned out correct spellers, and good readers; with all the improvements in the way of text books and methods, I do not think the results, as far as fundamental education goes, are more satisfactory now than then.
Another of my earliest recollections is the Sunday School, established by Mrs. Colonel Snelling and my mother. There was no Chaplain allowed us then no Sabbath service and these Christian women felt they could not live or bring up their children in that way. They therefore gathered the children together on Sabbath afternoons in the basement room of the commanding officer's quarters, and held a service, with the aid of the Episcopal prayer book, both of them being devout members of that branch of the church, and taught the little ones from the Bible. They had no lesson papers; no Sunday School library; no Gospel songs; no musical instrument, but they had the Word of God in their hands, and His love in their hearts, and were marvellously helped in their work of love, which grew and broadened out, till it took in the parents as well as the children, and a Bible class was formed in which all felt a deep interest. Some who were not firm believers in the truths contained in the Book of books, but who came together just simply to pass away the time, were convinced of its truth and found there the hope which is an "anchor to the soul both sure and steadfast." I can remember the deep interest which all, even the little ones evinced in the characters of whom we studied, how we talked of them during the week, and chose our favorites, and how all became deeply attached to Moses and dwelt upon his loveliness, his unselfishness, his patience and his great love to the rebellious people under his care. And we wept as for a dear friend when we read that "he went up from the plains of Moab into the mountain of Nebo to the top of Pisgah, that is over against Jericho" and viewed the land which he might never enter, and died there and was buried by no human hands; and "no man knoweth of his sepulchre unto this day." The day following this sorrowful lesson, my mother in crossing the parade ground, met Captain David Hunter who looked so sad and downcast that she was distressed for him, and said: "What is the matter, Captain? are you sick or have you had bad news?" He replied: "Oh, no! Mrs. Clark, I am not sick or in personal trouble, but don't you feel sorry that Moses is dead?" I have enlarged somewhat on this Sunday School because it was somewhat peculiar, and because it was, as there are good grounds for believing, the first Sunday School organized in this Northwestern region, perhaps the first Northwest of Detroit.
The country around the fort was beautiful, the climate invigorating, and in spite of the inconveniences and annoyances experienced by the pioneer regiment they were not without their enjoyments and recreations, and looking back through the years, recalling the social gatherings at each others fireside in the winter, the various indoor amusements, and the delightful rides and rambles in the summer, I feel that ours was a happy life.
But the most charming of all our recreations was a ride to "Little Falls" now "Minnehaha." The picture in my mind of this gem of beauty, makes the sheet of water wider and more circular than it is now, I know it was fresher and newer, and there was no saloon there then, no fence, no tables and benches, cut up and disfigured with names and nonsense, no noisy railroad, no hotel, it was just our dear pure "Little Falls" with its graceful ferns, its bright flowers, its bird music and its lovely water-fall. And while we children rambled on the banks, and gathered pretty fragrant things fresh from their Maker's hand, listening the while to sweet sounds in the air, and to the joyous liquid music of the laughing water, there may have been some love-making going on in the cozy nooks and corners on the hill side or under the green trees, for in later years, I have now and then come upon groups of two, scattered here and there in those same places, who looked like lovers, which recalled to my mind vividly what I had seen there long ago. That enchanting spot, so dainty in its loveliness, is hallowed by a thousand tender associations and it seems more than cruel to allow its desecration by unholy surroundings and various forms of vice. Standing beside it now, and remembering it in its purity, just as God made it, my eyes are full of unshed tears, and its mellifluous ceaseless song seems pleading to be saved from the vandalism which threatens to destroy all its sweet influences and make it common and unclean. But as I, alone, of all who saw it in those days long gone by, stand mourning by its side, there dawns in my heart the hope that the half formed purpose now talked of, for making it the centre of a park for the delight of the two cities between which it stands, may be perfected, thus saving it from destruction and making this bright jewel in its setting of green, the very queen of all the many attractions of this part of our State. Surely no spot in ours or any other State offers such beauty or so many inducements for such a purpose, and coming generations will forever bless the men who shall carry it out, thus preserving our lovely Minnehaha and the charming surroundings for their own delight and the enjoyment of those who shall come after them. And we went strawberrying too, children and mothers and fathers, and young men and maidens, and often now, when passing through the crowded streets of our great city, I feel that I am walking over our old strawberry patch. How sweet those berries were, and how delicious the fish which we caught in the pretty Lakes Calhoun and Harriet, the one named for the great statesman, the other for Mrs. Leavenworth. We generally carried our treasures from field and lake to the "old Government Mill" at the "Big Falls" St. Anthony and had our feast prepared and set in order by the miller's wife. And then we had games, not croquet or any of those inventions which were then in the far future, but "hide and seek;" "blind man's buff;" "hide the handkerchief;" "hunt the slipper," and such old-fashioned sports which all enjoyed most heartily, till warned by the lengthening shadows that it was time to go home, which we generally reached in time to see the flag lowered to the roll of the sunset drum. Writing poetry is beyond me, but there was an inspiration in that beautiful banner, as each day it flung out its stars and stripes over my first and dearly loved home, which thrills my frame even now, and since the terrible days when precious blood was poured out so freely to maintain it in its proud position, it has become indeed a holy thing. May God protect and bless it, keep it unsullied and speed the day when it shall float over a nation whose rulers and law-givers shall lay judgment to the line and righteousness to the plummet, and forever purge from it everything that in any way dims the brightness or retards the progress of this beloved "land of the free and home of the brave."
It must have been difficult to find amusements and recreations for the winters in that fort, so completely shut away from the world, and so environed by snow and ice, but various devices were planned to keep up the general cheerfulness and to ward off gloomy feelings and homesickness. I can dimly remember the acting of plays in which the gentlemen personated all the characters and the ladies and children looked on. I know the women of the plays looked very tall and angular, and there was much merriment about the costumes which were eked out to fit them. It may be that the performances were as much enjoyed as if everything had been more complete, for I know there was a great deal of fun and jollity at their theatricals.
Among my earliest recollections is that of sitting on a low stool beside Mrs. Snelling and my mother while they read and studied French under the instruction of a soldier named Simon, and the memory of those days was revived a few months ago by the receipt of a card from "Zeller C. Simon," now Mrs. F. L. Grisard, Vevay, Indiana, daughter of the old man, as a reminder of 1822 and 1823 when she and I quietly amused ourselves while these ladies received instructions in that language. In Mrs. Ellet's "Pioneer Women of the West," Mrs. Snelling alludes to this old French teacher and regrets his loss by discharge, adding that, when on the arrival of the first steamboat bringing among other passengers, the Chevalier Count Beltrami, an Italian adventurer, she expressed this regret, he kindly offered to continue the lessons during his visit. He could speak French fluently, but did not understand English, and was therefore much gratified to find anyone who could converse with him.
In the month of May, 1823, the steamboat Virginia, 118 feet in length and 22 in width, arrived at the fort. "It was built by Knox and McKee at Wheeling, Virginia, and loaded with Government stores for Fort Snelling," so writes one of the firm, Mr. Redick McKee to the secretary of "Historical Society of Minnesota." Its arrival was a great event indelibly impressed upon the memory of all who were there to witness it.
"Backward! turn backward, O Time, in thy flight; Make me a child again, just for to-night."
Take me to my early home at Fort Snelling, and help me to live over again that happy time, when I knew nothing of care and sorrow, and when the sight of the dear old flag, run up, each morning, to the roll of the drum, and the sentinel's call, each night, "All's well around," made me feel secure and at home, even in what was then a wilderness. Many pleasant scenes, and many startling ones, come at my call. Some are more vivid than others, and perhaps the most distinct of my early remembrances is the arrival of the first steamboat. It had been talked of and expected for a long time; it is hard to realize in this age of rapid traveling how deeply interested and excited every one felt in anticipation of what was then a great event. It was to bring us into more direct and easy communication with the world; and small wonder that the prospect of being at the head of steamboat navigation should have caused excitement and rejoicing to those who had been receiving their mails at intervals of months instead of hours. To me, of course, child that I was, it only meant a sight never before witnessed, a something heard of, and seen in pictures, but never realized. But even we children felt in listening to our elders, that something great was about to happen.
At last, one bright summer morning, while amusing myself on the piazza in the rear of the officers' quarters, there came a sound new and very strange! All listened a moment in awe and gratitude, and then, broke out, from many voices, "The steamboat is coming! the steamboat is coming!" And look! there is the smoke curling gracefully through the trees; hark! to the puffing of the steam, startling the echoes from a sleep co-eval with the creation; now she rounds the point, and comes into full view. I stand on tiptoe, but cannot see all I long to, till Lieutenant David Hunter, my special favorite, catches me up and holds me on the balustrade; and now I clap my hands, and almost cry with delight, for there she is, just landing, in all her pride and beauty, as if she felt herself the Pioneer Steamboat, and knew she would become historic.
Officers and soldiers, women and children, are hurrying down the hill; terrified Indians rush from their wigwams and look on in amazement, utterly confounded, refusing to go near what they call the "Bad Spirit."
Greetings and congratulations warm and heartfelt are exchanged; and speedily the mail is opened, papers and letters are distributed; all search eagerly for news from home, and my joy is turned into grief for my friend Lieutenant Hunter, who learned, by the very boat whose coming he hailed with so much pleasure, that he is fatherless. All sympathize deeply with him; few know how closely drawn together are the occupants of a frontier post; but the common joy, although dampened, was not destroyed, and civilities were tendered to the captain and officers of the boat, who were real gentlemen, and became great favorites at the fort. They came again the next year, perhaps more than once, and pleasant excursion parties on the boat relieved the monotony of fort life.
The steamboat was the topic of conversation for a long time. The day of its arrival became an era from which we reckoned, and those of the first occupants of Fort Snelling who still survive, can scarcely recall a more delightful reminiscence than the arrival of the first steamboat, in the summer of 1823. Years passed away, childhood with its lightheartedness gave way to youth, and that again to womanhood, and then came middle life with its many cares, its griefs, its joys too, and its unnumbered mercies, with bright anticipations of a blessed rest from toil and pain,—when on one pleasant summer day in 1864, I find myself, with a party of friends who have come to visit Fort Snelling and its many interesting surroundings, standing, side by side with my mother, on the bastion of the fort, recalling days and scenes gone by. Leaning against the railing, and contemplating the river, so beautiful from that height, she remarked to me: "Can you remember, my child, when the first steamboat came up this river?" I answered, "Yes, oh yes! most distinctly do I remember it." And then we talk of the event, and recall the many pleasant things connected with it, when, lo! a whistle, and the loud puffing and snorting of the iron horse! Captain Newson, standing near and listening to our conversation, exclaimed, pointing over to Mendota, "And there goes the first train of cars that ever started out from Fort Snelling!"
Hushed and breathless, we gaze at the fast vanishing train, feeling, as we stand there, we two, alone, of all who saw that other great event, over forty years ago, like links connecting the buried past with the living present. And we would fain weep as we think of those who stood beside us then, now long since passed away—but living, loving friends are about us, and we will not let our sadness mar their pleasure; so down in the depth of our hearts we hide these tender recollections, to indulge in when we are alone. I look long at the beautiful river, and think, as it ripples and laughs in the sunlight, that, could our ears catch the language of its murmurings, we should hear:
"Men may come, and men may go, But I go on forever."
"Oh! Malcolm, look at that little boy on the steps of our quarters; who can he be? Where did he come from?" "Oh, sister, do you think he can be the little brother we have been praying God to send us? Let's run home and ask mother about it."
The scene of this dialogue was the parade ground of Old Fort Snelling, in the spring of the year 1823; the two little children had just been dismissed from the fort school house, and were going home to dinner. The sun shone very brightly that day. The dinner drum was beating, the soldiers, by companies, were in line before their quarters for roll-call, and the dear old flag floated gracefully in front of headquarters. I can see it all now, through my tear-dimmed eyes, and recall the mingled feelings of joyful surprise and expectation with which we, the little son and daughter of Captain Clark, hastened to our home, our eyes all the while fixed on the little fair-haired stranger, who stood on the porch of our father's quarters, the first in the row of officers' quarters as you enter the Fort by the front gate, and just beyond the steps leading down to the old Commissary's store.
When we reached our goal, there stood the pretty blue-eyed boy, looking about with wonder at all he saw, and smiling at us as we came up to him, and laid our hands on him gently, to assure ourselves that he was real. Just inside the door stood dear mother, with a bright happy look, enjoying our surprise, and we, with one voice, exclaimed: "Mother, who is this little boy? where did he come from? is he going to stay with us always?" As soon as we gave her a chance to reply, she said: "Don't you know that every night when you say your prayers, you always say, 'please, God, give us a little brother!' How do you know but God has heard your prayer, and sent you this little brother?" We were very quiet now, and tried to take it all in, but before we had succeeded to our satisfaction in fully comprehending it, our father came from roll-call, and taking us by the hand, said: "Come to dinner now, mother will lead little Andrew to his place and we will tell you all about it." And this is the story we heard on that ever to be remembered day, as we sat by our father and mother, and our hearts went out with love to the little boy beside us:
"A few weeks ago, Col. Snelling heard from some hunters, who had been far out west, that there were two little white boys held captive by a band of Sioux; he sent out some troops, who rescued the children, and they reached the Fort this morning with the boys; the oldest one, John, is at the Colonel's, and this is the other, 'Andrew Tully;' shall we keep him with us?" "Oh, yes! father, we want him for our little brother;" and he became one of us. In time we learned from John, who was a bright boy, and from the rescuing party, who had heard some particulars, that Mr. David Tully, a Scotchman, had been living three years at the Selkirk settlement, where the crops had been so poor, from various causes, notably from the grasshoppers and the ravages of innumerable black birds, that a famine was threatened, and he, becoming discouraged, had started, with his wife and children, two boys and an infant daughter, to come to the Fort, hoping in some way to continue his journey from there to the white settlements, and find work to enable him to live and support his family comfortably.
After traveling for many days, they were overtaken by a party of Sioux, who, returning from an unsuccessful hunt, were in a very bad humor, and attacking Mr. Tully, demanded such provisions as he had. He refused, of course, to give up that, without which his family must perish, and they fell upon him, soon disabled him, and seizing the little baby, dashed its brains out on the ice, then mortally wounded his wife, and with a blow of his hatchet, one of the party finished them both. John says he remembers seeing his father, who had broken through the ice, struggling to save his mother and the baby, but that when they knew there was no hope left, his parents told him to take his little brother and hide in the bushes, and to try in every way to get to the settlements. Then, with their dying breath, they besought God to take care of their little boys, and their freed spirits went beyond the reach of pain and suffering. The little fellows obeyed them, and ran for safety to some hazel brush near by, where, of course, the Indians soon found them, but their thirst for blood being somewhat allayed, and their object attained, they contented themselves with cutting off a piece of John's scalp, tearing it most brutally from the quivering flesh, when the squaws from some tepees near by, hearing his heartrending screams, came to the rescue, and begged that they might keep the children. And there they had remained, receiving such care as the Indian women give their own pappooses, and making friends of all in the wigwam. When the troops came to the rescue, the Indian women were unwilling to give them up; they had taken an especial fancy to Andrew, who was very fair, and of a sweet, gentle disposition. He was not quite three years old, and, of course, could not so well understand the dreadful loss they had sustained as John, who was two years older, and who never recovered from the shock of the fearful tragedy, and from the injury done his nervous system by the cruel scalping-knife.
He remained at Col. Snelling's during his life, two or three years, and then, from an injury received from an axe, was taken with lock-jaw and died. During his illness he raved of the barbarous Indians, who killed his dear ones, begged them to spare the baby, and not hurt his mother; then he would seem to be hurrying Andrew out of the way of the murderers, and hiding him as well as he could. He suffered terrible mental agony, but he had been carefully taught by Mrs. Snelling, whom he learned to love very dearly, and, reason returning before he died, he gave clear evidence that he loved the Savior, and felt sure that he would take him to heaven, where his father and mother, and precious little sister were awaiting him.
Little Andrew grew finely and proved a perfectly healthy child. His preservation and rescue were so remarkable that my father gave him the name of "Marvel," and almost always addressed him as "Andrew Marvel." He had been our little playmate and brother for two years when our father obtained a furlough and took us all to New England to visit our relatives there, and we went by the way of New Orleans, that being the only comfortable and continuous route to New York at that time. It was our first journey since we children could remember, and we were all delighted beyond measure at the thought of it. A keel-boat was fitted up nicely for the occasion, and in addition to our immediate family, including Andrew of course, we had as fellow travelers Captain Leonard, his wife and two children, making quite a large party. I remember distinctly our starting, the good-byes from those who stood on shore, the slow progress of the boat as it was poled along by the crew, and it was not without a quiver of sadness that we turned the point where we lost sight of the flag. We felt then that we were away from home and all seemed very strange, but there was much to interest us, and we soon became accustomed to our new experiences. The ceaseless walking to and fro of the men who propelled us along was an accompaniment to all our daily amusements and we went to sleep lulled by their regular footfalls.
And so we journeyed on, day after day, until we made the whole three hundred miles and landed at Ft. Crawford—Prairie du Chien. I do not remember how many weeks we traveled thus, but I know that all the children on board the boat had chicken pox and recovered during the trip. Arriving at the "Prairie," as it was frequently called in those days, we were to take a steamer for St. Louis and New Orleans; but before our departure I remember we were all vaccinated by the surgeon at that post, whose name was Dr. James, and I know that in every case he was very successful. Our arrival at St. Louis, the first city the children had ever seen, was an epoch in our lives, and I can clearly recall my feeling of loneliness at the utter absence of everything military. It was indeed a new world to me. I could not understand it, and felt not a little indignant that so many men passed and repassed my father as we walked along the streets without saluting him, for which remissness in duty I suggested the guard-house. Arriving at New Orleans, where we were much overpowered by the heat, we remained only long enough to secure passage to New York on the sailing vessel "Crawford," and departed on our first sea voyage. We were twenty-seven days out of sight of land, encountering a fearful storm off Cape Hatteras, and the crimson light from the light-house there, like the red eye of some great monster gazing at us through the gloom, when we were every moment expecting to be engulfed, made an ineffaceable impression upon me. But He who is "mightier than the noise of many waters, or the mighty waves of the sea," delivered us from our peril and brought us safely to our desired haven, where we were warmly welcomed by dear friends and where we found ourselves famous as having come from the "Far West," a part of the world of which their ideas were most vague and imperfect. The story of our little Andrew created intense excitement, and crowds of people came to see a child who had so thrilling a history. Among these visitors came Mrs. Divie Bethune and the widow of Alexander Hamilton, who were lady patronesses of an orphan asylum in the city. They urged strongly that he should be placed under their care, planning to educate him for the ministry, and send him out to preach the gospel of peace to the tribe of Indians who had murdered his parents. We all objected strongly to giving him up, but the ladies at length persuaded father that they could do better by him than one whose life was one of constant change and uncertainty, and, with a view to the boy's best interests, he yielded to their entreaties, and our little brother passed into the hands of the orphan asylum. We remained at the East a year visiting dear friends in New England and spending some time in New Haven, where a precious little sister, born at Fort Snelling, died and was laid to rest in the burial lot of Joseph Brewster, whose wife was our father's much-loved cousin. When years afterward I went from a frontier post and became a pupil in Mrs. Apthorp's seminary, in the lovely City of Elms, that little grave in the beautiful cemetery comforted me in my homesickness.
In 1833 my father made a second visit to the East, and while in New York hunted up Andrew, whom he found apprenticed to a wagon maker, and could not learn why the original purpose of fitting him for the ministry had been abandoned. But the boy seemed doing well and was happy and content. Three years later, when our father lay on his death-bed at Fort Winnebago, a letter came to him from relatives of the Tullys inquiring about these boys, stating that some money from their mother's family was awaiting them. Father dictated a reply telling the writer all he knew of them and gave him the address of Andrew in New York; and for years afterwards we heard nothing of him. My mother made inquiries by letter of parties whom she thought might tell her something concerning him and used all available means to find him, in vain, much to the regret of all our family, and we came to the conclusion that he was dead. A few years ago, after our mother had gone to her rest, we saw in an eastern paper the obituary of Rev. Abraham Tully, of New Jersey, in which reference was made to these "Tully boys," stating that the only survivor of that branch of the family was Andrew, a carriage maker in New York city. Immediately we procured from the New Jersey family his address and communicated with him. A cousin of his, the Rev. David Tully, well known and beloved as the pastor of the Presbyterian church in Jacksonville, Florida, spent a summer in Minnesota, and calling on me told me he thought Andrew might visit this part of the country during the season. And one day, just at sun-setting, our door bell rang, and answering it in person, I saw a gentleman whom I did not know, who looked at me without speaking, for a moment, and then said: "Is this my sister Charlotte?" Like a flash it came to me, and I replied: "Is this my brother Andrew?" And we kissed each other, we two old people who had parted when we were little children and had not met for more than sixty years. He spent some days with us and we learned that he was an active, earnest Christian, an honored member of the Reformed Dutch Church in Harlem, New York, Rev. Mr. Smythe, pastor; that he had married and had one son who grew to manhood, but had been bereft of all and was alone in the world. He knew so little of his early life, that the story I could tell him was a revelation to him. He had preserved, through all his reverses and trials, his sweet, sunny temper, and soon made friends of the whole household. We rode together to the old fort and I pointed out to him the very spot on which he stood on that spring morning long ago when we first saw our "Brother Andrew."
We visited the graveyard and I showed him the grave of his brother John, which having no headboard or name, could only be identified by its being next to the little stone inscribed "E. S.," which I knew marked the grave of Mrs. Snelling's little daughter. We searched the records at the quartermaster's office in vain for a description of his brother's grave, that we might make sure of the spot, as the Tully family wish to erect a monument to his memory.
We walked about the fort, went to the brow of the bluff where the old bastion formerly stood, and while strolling around the home of our childhood were met by General Gibbon, then in command, who, learning who we were and what was our errand, took us to his quarters and showed us much kindness. I told him many things of the old fort which were never recorded, pointed out to him where the stones in the front wall of headquarters had been riven by lightning when I was a little girl, and our pleasant visit rounded up with a ride in his carriage to call on General Terry and other officers, who all seemed interested to see us; relics, as it were, of the times before their day.
Our courteous escort drove with us to the site of the old Camp Coldwater, and we drank from a tin cup of the clear spring which now supplies the garrison with water, as we had done more than half a century before. Driving back to the fort just as the bugle sounded for "orderly call," the General, in tender consideration of my deafness, called the bugler, and bade him sound it again by the side of the carriage. To hear is to obey, and the musician, ignorant of the reason for the command, repeated the clear, ringing call, where my dull ears could take it all in. No words can describe my sensations, as, with Andrew Tully beside me, I listened with bated breath to the familiar notes unheard for years, and, with eyes brimming with tears, I could only say, "Oh, General, I thank you; this makes me feel that I must hear my mother's voice calling me home to the dear old quarters over there, 'to get ready for dinner.'" And then, as our carriage drove up, and we thanked our noble host for his kind and considerate attentions to us, he said, "I have to thank you for more information about Fort Snelling than ever I had before." And so, past the old sutler's store, the guard house and the vine-clad tower, we drove away very silently from our early home, and after an hour's resting at Minnehaha, returned to Minneapolis, talking by the way of the strange experiences of our lives, and the wonderful way in which God had brought us together again in our old age.
Andrew made a visit to Winnipeg in search of some one who had known his parents, and there he found an old man named Macbeth, who had blown the bellows in his father's shop, which stood just in one corner of what is now the city of Winnipeg. He told him how the friends there opposed his father's leaving the settlement when he did, as he had remained there three years, and they felt the times would be better soon; but he had made up his mind that he could improve his condition by seeking a more congenial home, and they could not dissuade him. He also told him that, from the accounts of the Indians and others, it was generally believed that the scene of his parents' murder must have been where Grand Forks now stands. He made some inquiries as to the possibility of recovering anything on his father's claim, but could learn nothing encouraging. He hopes to visit Minnesota again; meantime we correspond regularly, and he takes a deep interest in the growth and development of the great Northwest, with which his early life was so singularly identified. He is still in the business for which he was trained, and, by patient industry and skilled workmanship, has reached the summit, and receives satisfactory returns for his labor; and so, although his life has not been without its trials, yet an overruling Providence has dealt graciously with the little fair haired orphan boy who hid from the savages in the hazel copse so many years ago.
We returned home from our eastern trip by the way of the great lakes, as the route was called in those days; and although we left dear friends and many pleasant things behind us, we were rejoiced to be once more in the fort, in the midst of military surroundings.
Soon after our return, my father and Major Garland obtained permission to build more commodious quarters outside the walls, and the result was the erection of the two stone cottages nearly opposite the old Indian Agency, a few rods from the fort. The grounds about them were improved and beautified with flowers and shrubs, and the change was very beneficial and agreeable to us all. Here, I remember, we had regular instruction in the fundamental English branches from our father, whose great anxiety was that we might suffer for want of good schools; and so great was his zeal and thoroughness in this direction, that in after years, when we had greater advantages, it was found that we were fully up to the grade of children of our age who had been to school all their lives.
The two families became much attached to each other, and when Major Garland was ordered elsewhere, we felt the separation keenly. We have never met since that time. One of the Major's daughters, my early friend and playmate, married General Longstreet, and the time came when our husband's stood on opposite sides in the lamentable civil war. Thank God, that is all over now, and should we ever meet again, we could talk lovingly of the old times when, as children, we played together under one flag, in happy unconsciousness of the trials and sorrows that lay before us.
A WOLF STORY.
Among the recreations which relieved the tedium of garrison life, was an occasional wolf chase. I am too tender hearted to call it an amusement, but it was exceedingly exciting. The animal having been caught in a box-trap, and not maimed or crippled in any way, was first muzzled, and then let loose for a race for its life over the prairies, with hounds and hunters in full pursuit. All the blue coats and brass buttons of the hunters did not make that a brave thing to do, but the wolves were great nuisances, and it was long before the days of Bergh. On one of these occasions, the wolf was led to the starting point by some soldiers to be prepared for the chase, but none of them really liked the idea of taking hold of his fierce looking jaws while the muzzling process was going on. My brother, Malcolm, a boy of seven or eight, and already an apt pupil of Martin Scott, stepped up and grasping the animal's snout with his little hands, called out: "Muzzle him now, I'll hold him," and they did it. Those who know how the land lies, and how well adapted it was for such a chase, can readily imagine that for those who like such sport, it must have been very enjoyable, and a great relief from the monotony of life in a frontier fort.
During the winter of '25 and '26, the wolves were unusually troublesome, and came every night to the barns and out-houses, carrying off any small stock they could find. We were occupying the stone cottage at that time, and my brother and I were much interested in the case of some chickens and other pets which we were allowed to call ours.
Of course we grieved over the result of these nightly raids, and, finally, thought we would try and catch some of the marauders; so procuring a steel-trap, we had a dead carcass of some animal hauled to the foot of our garden, and began our work in real earnest. Our success was far beyond our hopes, and it was our custom to rise every morning at reveille, dress ourselves hastily and run down to look at the trap, which was rarely without an occupant. One morning, to our astonishment, the trap was gone, but the blood on the snow, and the peculiar track leading toward the woods, satisfied us that a wolf was in that trap somewhere between the fort and the "Little Falls." Hoping to find him near home, we started in pursuit, without any protection from the cold, which was intense, but the sun shone so brightly that we did not think of the cold; our one idea was—the wolf, and how to catch him. I was bare-headed and bare-handed; my brother, boy-like, had seized his cap and mittens as he left the house, and was better off than I. After traveling on, and on, not in the beaten path, but wherever that track led us, we, of course, became cold and very tired, but still could not think of giving up our search, and my dear, brave brother insisted on my wearing his cap and mittens, saying, "boys can stand the cold better than girls." We must have gone more than a mile when our consciences, aided by the cold, began to warn us that we were doing wrong, that our parents would be anxious about us, and we ought to go back, but how could we give up the pleasure of taking that wolf back in triumph, for the track assured us we should find him crippled and fast to the trap, and we thought how pleased Captain Scott would be to see us there with our prisoner as he came out to breakfast. Looking back over the long years, I can clearly remember that that thought gave me courage, and enabled me to hold out so long. But, as we talked the matter over, setting duty against inclination, and unable to decide, there appeared to us what may have been an angel in disguise; to us it was an Indian boy in a blanket, with his bow and quiver, emerging from the bushes very near "Minnehaha," and thus my brother accosted him: "How! Nitchie." After a friendly reply to this invariable salutation, Malcolm told him in the Indian language, which was then as familiar to us as our mother tongue, why we were there and what we wanted, offering him a loaf of bread and piece of pork if he would find our wolf and bring him to our door immediately. The lad gladly closed with the offer, took the trail and started after him, while we turned our faces homeward. And now, the excitement of expectancy being over, we began to have serious misgivings as to the propriety of having gone so far from home without the knowledge of our parents, and the wind, which blew keenly in our faces, sided with our consciences, and convinced us we had much better have either staid at home or prepared ourselves with a permit and good warm wrappings. It all comes back to me so plainly that I can almost feel the pinchings of the cold and the torment of a guilty conscience as I write, and I feel a real pity for these two little children as they trudge along over the prairie, so troubled and so cold. My dear brother being older than I, and the chief party interested, generously took most of the blame to himself, and comforted me as well as he could, running backwards in front of me to shelter me from the wind, and assuring me he would tell father all about it, and he would forgive us. I have carried in my heart of hearts for sixty years the image of that beautiful, bright-eyed, unselfish brother; and when, not many years ago, the terrible news came to me that treacherous hands had taken his precious life, like one of old I cried in my anguish, "Oh, Malcolm! my brother, would to God that I had died for thee, my brother, oh, my brother!" Just as we reached our garden fence we heard the familiar breakfast drum, and saw our father and Captain Scott walking in a somewhat excited manner, back and forth, and discussing something, we could not hear what. We afterwards learned it was our conduct, and that while father felt that we should at least be severely reprimanded, our friend, the Captain, made him promise he would say nothing in the way of reproof, until he had drunk his coffee. In consequence of this we were simply saluted kindly, but not warmly, and we followed the gentlemen to the breakfast-room, where a rousing fire in the great fireplace, and a most appetizing breakfast awaited us, which our long tramp in the bitter morning air had prepared us to enjoy most thoroughly, notwithstanding the mental disturbance which could not be allayed, until confession had been made and forgiveness granted. Just as our meal was ending, a soldier entered the room, and said: "Malcolm, there is an Indian boy here with a wolf, who wants to see you." This announcement brought all to their feet, and every one rushed out so see the sight, and there, with his foot fast in our trap, lay a large timber-wolf, exhausted with pain and fatigue. Captain Scott examining him carefully, pronounced him the very one they had tried in vain to capture, and he congratulated the little boy and girl who had succeeded so fully where older ones had failed. That was a proud moment in our lives, but until we had told our parents how sorry we were to have grieved and distressed them, and had obtained full pardon, sealed with a loving kiss from each, we could not wholly enjoy it. Then we gave our Indian a royal breakfast, and his promised reward beside, and the wolf was taken away and put out of his misery, while beside the comfortable fireside we told all about our morning walk, from reveille to breakfast-drum.
After this Captain Scott took me to the Sutler's store, and made me select for myself a handsome dress, as a present from him, to a brave little girl, as he was pleased to call me, and he took me in his sleigh, drawn by one of his beautiful horses (I think his name was "Telegraph"), back to my mother, telling her, not many little girls of seven years old could go out before breakfast on a cold morning, and chase a wolf so successfully. To my brother he gave a pretty pony, which was a never-ending source of joy to him, and which, under the skillful training of the mighty hunter, he learned to ride fearlessly and most gracefully.
The story of this, my first and last wolf hunt, has entertained children and grandchildren, not only mine, but many others, and has been repeated so often that it has been learned by heart, so that if, in telling it, I have sometimes varied the phraseology, I have been promptly corrected and set right. If any of those, once my little hearers, should read this written history, it may carry them back to the days when life was new and fresh, and when adventures of any kind seemed greater and more important than they do now. "God bless them, every one."
RED RIVER OR SELKIRK SETTLEMENT.
The story of the early days of Minnesota would be incomplete without a more detailed account of the Red River or Selkirk settlement than the allusions made to it in the history of the Tully boys, and turning to "Harpers Monthly" of December 1878, I find a most satisfactory and interesting history of the enterprise, by General Chetlain of Chicago, who is a descendant of one of the settlers and is so well and favorably known in the Northwest as to need no introduction from me.
After speaking of the disastrous effect of the Napoleonic wars on the social relations of Europe he alludes to the extreme suffering in Central Europe, and in Switzerland particularly, owing to a failure of crops from excessive rains in 1816, and says: "the people wearied of struggles which resulted in their impoverishment, listened eagerly to the story of a peaceful and more prosperous country beyond the sea." A few years earlier Thomas Dundas, Earl of Selkirk, a distinguished nobleman of great wealth had purchased from the Hudson Bay Company a large tract of land in British America, extending from the Lake of the Woods and the Winnipeg River eastward for nearly two hundred miles, and from Lakes Winnipeg and Manitoba to the United States boundary, part of which is now embraced in the province of Manitoba and in which are the fertile lands bordering on the Red and Assinniboine Rivers. It formed a part of "Rupert Land," named in honor of Prince Rupert or Robert of Bavaria, a cousin of King Charles II of England and one of the founders and chief managers of the "Hudson Bay Company." In the year 1811 he had succeeded in planting a large colony of Presbyterians from the North of Scotland on the Red River, near its junction with the Assinniboine; this was followed four years later by another but smaller colony from the same section of Scotland. In consequence of the stubborn competition and the bitter dissensions between the Hudson Bay Company and the Northwest Company of Montreal, these were compelled to abandon their new homes, nearly all of them removing to Lower Canada. This Scotch settlement having proved almost a total failure Lord Selkirk turned his attention to the Swiss, for whom he entertained a great regard. By glowing accounts of the country, and by the offer of great inducements, which were endorsed by the British government whose policy it was to favor these emigration schemes, he succeeded in persuading many young and middle aged men to emigrate to this new world. The colony numbered two hundred persons, nearly three-fourths of whom were French or of French origin, they were Protestants and belonged to the Lutheran church. Some of the families were descendants of the Hugenots of Eastern France, all were healthy and robust, well fitted for labor in a new country; most of them were liberally educated and possessed of considerable means. Among the more prominent were Monier and Rindesbacher, Dr. Ostertag, Chetlain and Descombes, Schirmer, afterwards a leading jeweller at Galena, Illinois, Quinche and Langet. In May 1821, they assembled at a small village on the Rhine near Basle and in two large flat-boats or barges, floated down the Rhine, reaching a point near Rotterdam where a staunch ship, the "Lord Wellington" was in readiness to take them to their new home towards the setting sun. Their course lay North of Great Britain and just South of Greenland to Hudson Strait. After a tedious and most uncomfortable journey they arrived at Hudson Strait, and after a hard journey of four months they landed at Fort York. Embarking in batteaux they ascended the Nelson River, and at the end of twenty days reached Lake Winnipeg, and after encountering all manner of discouragements arrived at the mouth of the Red River, only to learn that the locusts or grasshoppers had been before them, and had literally destroyed all the crops. With heavy hearts they proceeded up the river thirty-five miles to Fort Douglas, near the site of the present Fort Garey, then the principal trading post of the Hudson Bay Company. Governor Alexander McDowell and the other officers of the company welcomed them cordially and did what was in their power, to supply their wants and make them comfortable, but they were by no means able to furnish them with supplies for the coming winter, and as it was terribly severe there was untold suffering among them. But by scattering to different points and struggling bravely against great difficulties, they managed to exist and some of them in time made permanent homes for themselves, while others feeling they could not content themselves in what had impressed them as an inhospitable country, left the settlement as opportunity offered and came nearer civilization. As early as 1821, some who had put themselves under the protection of a party of armed drovers, on their return to the States, having taken some cattle to the settlers, arrived at Fort Snelling and were kindly cared for by Colonel Josiah Snelling who consented to let them remain at the fort during the winter. The next spring they settled on the military reservation near the fort and made homes for themselves. I well remember my mother's descriptions of these emigrants as they arrived, so nearly famished, that the surgeon was obliged to restrict the amount of provisions furnished them lest they might eat themselves to death.