Archive for the ‘African Americans’ Category

Running Fire: A Race for Liberty

July 26, 2012

Shortly after 1 o’clock this morning John Riedmiller’s valuable pacing horse, with a mark of 2:20, was standing, hitched to a post at the corner of Wayne and Calhoun streets. Officer Bower saw the animal there and had been watching it for some time. A few minutes after 1 o’clock the policeman saw a negro step into the buggy quietly and drive away without any evidence of being in a hurry or any movement to conceal his identity. The officer watched the colored man drive the horse east on Wayne street.

Image from WHDH 7News

The carriage was about a block east of Calhoun street, when in an excited manner Mr. Reidmiller made inquiries concerning his horse.

Officer Bower informed him that a colored man whom he supposed was a stable boy taking care of the animal, had driven it east. After a hasty exchange of explanations in regard to the disappearance of the horse, both men concluded that the animal had been stolen.

The patrol wagon was called out in a few minutes and sent east over the East Wayne street pavement at a wild run, manned by Capt. Borgman, Sergt. Dasler and Officer Gallmeier.

The officers flew down the thoroughfare with the horses at breakneck speed. Near the Concordia college they met a farmer driving into the city. He have the officers a clew and the panting patrol steeds were turned south on Walton avenue. Through the drizzling rain, with mud flying in all direction, the steeds galloped in a maddened run.

Fresh tracks were noticed on the Wayne ?ace going east, and the officers turned in that direction. In the darkness a few hundred feet away they saw the outlines of a carriage. The speed of the patrol wagon never faltered, and the policemen yelled “halt.”

The vehicle in front forged ahead with unchecked speed. Several shots were fired into the air to frighten the driver of the horse in front of the patrol wagon. The running fire had no effect. After a hot chase for a quarter of a mile, with neither the police nor the fleeing horse-thief gaining or losing any ground, there was a sudden halt.

The carriage in front of the patrol wagon stopped and almost instantly the patrol wagon wheeled up beside the foaming horse.

The drive had escaped, and only a few seconds before, as the lines were warm where he had held them in his grasp.

The ditch, culvert and fences in the vicinity were searched in vain. Not a trace of the horse-thief could be found. He successfully eluded the officers and escaped. The horse and carriage were brought back to the city.

This is the wildest ride the Fort Wayne officers have experienced since the patrol wagon has been in the police service.

The thief’s daring was bold in the extreme, and his escape was miraculous.

Fort Wayne News (Fort Wayne, Indiana) Oct 5, 1894

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The Colored Soldier

May 27, 2012

Image from The USCT Chronicle

“For the Union.”

The Colored Soldier.
—–
BY REV. S.E.M.
—–
Loud o’er the haughty South, pillaged and torn,
Rang out the battle cry to Afric’s born;
Up from the slaver’s lash, bloody and keen
Up from the bed of woe, life to redeem,
Sprang the dark ranks at Columbia’s call,
Daring to save Liberty — or fall.

Up from their gory paths, beaten and scarred,
Out from their cheerless homes; scorning regard,
Craving but freedom to bare their dark breasts,
To triumph or die, e’er their saber should rest,
On rushed the slave-bands from tyranny’s van,
On from the homes where man is not man.

Off to the field of strife, hopeful and brave,
Off to the rest of a patriot’s grave,
Steadily, fearlessly, stearnly they trod,
Trusting for courage to Liberty’s God,
Swearing to purchase the boon of the free,
Shouting, “on to death or victory!”

Up to fire cannon’s mouth, gladly they went,
Over the slain “in red burial blent,”
Into the fangs of death, manfully strode,
Blood of the white and black, fearfully flowed,
Mingled and gurgled in one crimson stream,
And swords of bond and free mingled their gleam.

Hearts of one purpose, and men of one mind,
Thoughts of one prospect and strokes of one kind,
Visions of light neath the same banner’s blue,
Clad in the same garb of a Nation true,
Evermore true to the “Union” and Right,
True to the black man and true to the white.

Bleeding and fighting and dying they fell
How many and true, the red records tell,
Fell in the hope that the nation was true,
True to her free ones and her shackled too,
Breathed out their lives that their children might live,
For the rights that a grateful land can give.

Sweet o’er Columbia hills, lonly and bare,
Mounted the sun of Peace, cloudless and fair,
Back from the cannon’s mouth, victory crowned,
Came on the white and black o’er many a mound,
Came on, with their armless and legless frames,
White men and black men had suffered the same.

Image from “Freedom Fighters”

Loud from the lip, of men, pealed the glad strain,
“Long live Columbia,” triumphant again,
On the broad brow of the white chieftan placed,
The laurel of fame from a thankful race,
While back to his hut the black hero goes,
Unnoticed, unhonored, to his repose.

Far to the field of blood, gladly he went,
To where the ballot-box was torn and rent,
Like the sons of Eli, about the Ark,
He fought beside it when the night was dark;
He stood between it and the traitor’s steel,
He struck and bruised the bold oppressor’s heel.

Down by its sacred place, humbly bending,
Down with a tearful heart, of rings blending,
Glad that to Freedom there lives a strong shield,
Glad that the ballot a black man may wield,
When lo! proud Columbia spurns her black son
From altars and rights which his valor had won.

Wide were the gates she had opened to him,
Broad were the fields that lay peaceful within,
Bright was the change from the scourge to the crown,
And gladsome the life-strains that echoed down,
But, when from his hands the chains she had flung
It changed; and o’er all dead barrenness hung.

Shame, shame on Columbia, great thought she be,
To fetter minds and hearts, while hands are free,
To grant to her traitor offspring a voice,
While her dark-browed heroes cannot rejoice,
Look well to thy bulwarks, for God is true,
The blackman’s his child and brother to you.

The Union (Georgetown, Delaware) Jul 21, 1865

Homely Philosophy

March 23, 2012

Image from Historical Stock Photos

HOMELY PHILOSOPHY.

(By Alice D.O. Greenwood.)

Don’t set there a-whinin’
‘Taint no use to pout.
‘Spose the Lord ‘ll alter
Work he’s got laid out,
Jis kase you git balky,
An’ don’t wanter draw?
Tighten up yer traces,
Mind yer gee an’ haw.

Lawsy massy neighbor
Ain’t this world chuck full
Of us workin’ critters?
We’ve all got to pull.
If yer crap’s a failure
No use takin’ on,
There’ll be craps a plenty
When we’re dead an’ gone.

Jist git up an’ hustle,
Farily make things bile,
Never mind yer neighbor,
Let him put on style.
Say I kaint affoard it,
An’ I won’t ye bet,
Sling on any tiffics,
Till I’m out o’ debt.

S’pose yer close is seedy,
An’ all out o’ style?
There’s no law agin it,
Better wait awhile.
Don’t go gittin’ funny
Till ye git the cash;
There’s a day o’ recknin’
Fer the chap that’s brash.

There’s wuss folks than pore folks,
Don’t fergit that, pard;
Course it’s onconvenient,
Sometimes powerful hard.
Take it all good natered,
Whistle, an’ be gay,
Sun’ll shine tomorrer,
Never mind today.

Oakland Tribune (Oakland, California) Apr 29, 1907

Image from NCSU Libraries’ Digital Collection

Claiborne Addison Young – Alone

February 27, 2012

A reader commented on a previous post, Speaking of Collard Greens, wanting more information about the author, whose book somehow ended up in Jamaica! Here is what I was able to find:

ALONE

I saw an eagle cleave the air;
He flew alone.
I tracked a lion to his lair;
He crouched alone.
II.
A river started to the sea;
It wound alone.
A mountain rose up haughtily;
It towered alone.
III.
I looked into eternity, —
Lo ! God was alone.
And then I sang on cheerily,
But not alone.

BIOGRAPHICAL NOTE
By THE EDITOR

One can better appreciate Mr. Young’s verse with some insight into his antecedents, his life and his personality. Claiborne Addison Young was born May 29, 1843, in Boone County, Indiana, near Thorntown. He came of a race of pioneers. He was the son of the Rev. Claiborne Young, who was born at Stony Creek, East Tennessee, and educated for the Presbyterian ministry at Maryville College. His mother was Mary Russell Young, born at Maryville, Tenn. Her brother, Addison Russell, was for many years a prominent judge at Fort Madison, Iowa. In 1831 Mr. Young’s father came to Montgomery County, Indiana, to organize the three churches of Shannondale, Thorntown and Lebanon. It was a time when life in Indiana was primitive and coon skins were a legal tender for taxes and marriage fees. The father was one of the most conscientious of men and this characteristic, with others, the son seems to have inherited.

The poet’ was brave, patriotic, impulsive, sometimes almost erratic, always genuine and spontaneous. Captain Young served through the Civil War, enlisting at the first call with General Lew Wallace in the Eleventh Indiana. He afterward received a commission in the Eighty-fifth United States Colored Infantry, which he assisted in organizing, and served in that command until the close of the war, with credit and distinction.

Image from Factasy — Below, Civil War records are from Ancestry.com

Name: Claiborn A Young
Residence:     Montgomery County, Indiana
Enlistment Date: 31 Aug 1861
Rank at enlistment: Private
State Served: Indiana
Survived the War: Yes
Service Record: Enlisted in Company G, Indiana 11th Infantry Regiment on 31 Aug 1861.
Mustered out on 02 Jan 1864.
Commissioned an officer in on 02 Jan 1864.
Sources: Report of the Adjutant General of the State of Indiana

American Civil War Soldiers
Name: Claiborn Young
Residence:     Montgomery County, Indiana
Enlistment Date: 31 Aug 1861
Side Served: Union
State Served: Indiana
Service Record: Enlisted as a Private on 31 August 1861.
Enlisted in Company G, 11th Infantry Regiment Indiana on 31 Aug 1861.
Commission in Regiment U.S. Colored Troops on 2 Jan 1864.
Discharged for promotion Company G, 11th Infantry Regiment Indiana on 2 Jan 1864.
Sources: 76

When the war was over he returned to Wabash College and received his A. B. in 1869. After graduation he matriculated at Union Theological Seminary, intending to become a minister in accord with the tenets of that great school. But a change came upon his theologic vision and he entered the Harvard Divinity School, which he calls “The Minister Mill.” Before the “Mill” had turned out the finished product he went to the forests of Maine to engage in missionary work among the lumbermen. Later he entered the Unitarian ministry, filling pulpits in Boston and other places in the East and the Middle West. The great griefs of his life were the loss of his wife and son.

He died November 3, 1912, in the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Home at Lafayette, so nobly provided by the state of Indiana for her veterans. Like Thoreau and Joaquin Miller, he loved Nature as God made her, uncombed, unbridled by art and unharnessed by commerce. He wandered wide, from the Maine woods to the plains of Texas, from the Cumberland Mountains and the Carolinas to the land of the Modocs. His view of Nature is that of Wordsworth—the Omnipotent Divine Spirit ever revealing His presence in all forms of life. When one of his old professors reminded him of what did not happen to the “rolling stone,” he replied that he was “not in the moss business.”

Mr. Young’s sympathies were always with the “under dog” and his heart and labors went out warmly to the freedmen and the red men. He loved solitude and the lonely places and now and then he reminds one in his life and his song of that other lonely poet, Richard Realf. Many songs, doubtless, sung themselves to his heart in those solitary wanderings, that never found expression.

His first volume of verse was published in 1897 under the title “Way Songs and Wanderings,” and a few of these “Way Songs” are included in this volume. His letter in verse to his brother, “The Frogs of Boone,” he recited to Emerson, who much enjoyed it, and the elder poet and philosopher greatly encouraged the younger singer. His love of freedom and lack of sympathy with conventions led him at times over hard and stony paths but he ever kept a brave heart and never lost faith in God, or man, or life.

This soldier, wanderer, preacher and poet is no mere echo. His song is unconventional and spontaneous. As he traveled Life’s furrowed roads, and went up the many hills of difficulty, he kept on good terms with truth and loyalty and held the faith that the word “all is good” had never been taken back. He has, even in forms of construction that are faulty, the genuine lyric spirit. His motto seems to have been Walt Whitman’s “Allons ! Let us be going after the great companions.”

J. E. C.

The above poem, biography an image are all from the following book:

In the Red Man’s Land and Other Poems
by Claiborne Addison Young.
Publisher: The Hollenbeck Press in Indianapolis 1915
Read online at Open Library

*****

A Claiborne Addison Young poem, The Chickadee, was included in the following:

THE CHICKADEE (Volume 1: Verse)
A Public Domain Project
Published by Gull City Press 2008
Page 24  (scroll down to page 24)

The House that Jeems Built

January 16, 2012

Image from U.S. History ImagesBleeding Kansas

THE HOUSE THAT JEEMS BUILT. —

Kansas with Slavery. — This is the house that Jeems built.

Southern influence and Gold. — This is the malt that lay in the house that Jeems built.

Shannon. — This is the rat that eat the malt that lay in the house that Jeems built.

Walker. — This is the cat that killed the rat that eat the malt that lay in the house that Jeems built.

Lecompton Constitution — This is the dog that worried the cat that killed the rat that eat the malt that lay in the house that Jeems built.

Douglas — This is the cow with crumpled horn that tossed the dog, that worried the cat that killed the rat that eat the malt that lay in the house that Jeems built.

Kansas without Slavery — This is the maiden all forlorn that milked the cow with the crumpled horn that tossed the dog that worried the cat that killed the rat that eat the malt that lay in the house that Jeems built.

The Union. — This is the man all tattered and torn that married the maiden all forlorn that milked the cow with the crumpled horn that tossed the dog that worried the cat that killed the rat that eat the malt that lay in the house that Jeems built.

The American People. — This is the priest all shaven and shorn that married the man all tattered and torn unto the maiden all forlorn that milked the cow with the crumpled horn that tossed the dog that worried the cat that killed the rat that eat the malt that lay in the house that Jeems built.

Kansas Crusader for Freedom.

The Berkshire County Eagle (Pittsfield, Massachusetts) Mar 5, 1858

Jean Lafitte, and the “Pirate Trust”

October 23, 2011

Jean Lafitte, and the “Pirate Trust”

TWO young Frenchmen — Jean and Pierre Lafitte — started a blacksmith shop in New Orleans in 1809. They had not the look or manner of blacksmiths. Probably Jean — a splendid, handsome giant, the hero of this story — never wielded hammer or shod a horse in all his career. Instead, he made negro slaves do the rough work while he strolled about the city and planned bigger enterprises.

Jean Lafitte was a blackguard. But he was a manly, likeable blackguard. And, once at least, he did our country valiant service. He was a pirate. Yet some historians say he went to sea but twice in his life — once when he came from France to New Orleans as a youth and once when he sailed away from America in 1820, never again to be heard of. Others say it was Pierre who set sail in 1820 and who perished somewhere in the ocean, while Jean went to Yucatan and lived six years longer in ill-earned luxury. The fact remains that there is no absolute knowledge as to whence Jean Lafitte came or whither he vanished. He was a man of mystery.

Louisiana in those days consisted largely of rich, unsettled land. Into these waste spaces the pioneers began to come. Huge plantations sprang up. To work the plantations there was need for thousands of negro slaves. And the slave trade between Africa and America throve tremendously. A negro that cost $20 in his African jungle could often be sold for $1,000 in the New Orleans market. Then the United States declared the horrible African slave trade illegal. This stopped the imports. The planters clamored for more slaves. Gangs of smugglers met the demand by secretly buying slaves intended for Spain’s Cuban and South American plantations and landing them by night in the Louisiana bayous. There was money in this sort of business. More than in blacksmithing. So, the Lafitte brothers became slave smugglers.

Then Jean’s fertile brain still further improved his business in a rather original way. What was the use of buying negroes from the Spanish slave ships off the Cuban coast when, by seizing those ships, he could get the negroes for nothing? It was a clever idea and he at once put it into practice. He also seized vessels laden with other valuables, and altogether he prospered exceedingly.

Lafitte himself did not go in search of such prey. He was a business man, not a cheap sea rover. By this time he had a number of good ships and nearly one thousand men to send on his piratical errands. He had a fortified town and harbor of his own at Barataria and made that place his headquarters. Jean had marvelous control over his men, and, though he seldom troubled himself to fight, he was unconquerable. One night a band of mutineers attacked him in is cabin. Lafitte, single-handed, slew six of them and beat off the rest.

The pirates called Lafitte, behind his back, “The Old Man.” To his face they called him “Bosse” (meaning literally “prominence”). And thus the word “boss” came into our own language. He seldom spoke to his men except when he had to and held aloof from them.

By judicious bribes to the right authorities he managed to steer clear of active prosecution, though countless governmental threats were hurled at him.
When the British planned their attack on New Orleans in the War of 1812 they offered Jean Lafitte a captain’s commission and $30,000 to join them with his men. Instead of accepting, he sent word of the offer (and of the British plot against New Orleans) to the American government, volunteering his services in exchange for a pardon. The British, in revenge, destroyed his Barataria stronghold and seized his ships. But the American general, Andrew Jackson (after cursing him for a “hellish bandit”) accepted Lafitte’s offer. And the pirate fought bravely for America in the battle of New Orleans, receiving a pardon for all past crimes.

After the war Lafitte went blithely back to his old ways. With his men he settled on an abandoned island, where now stands the city of Galveston, and made that place his new headquarters. Thus he was in a sense the real found of Galveston. He hit on an odd way to sell his smuggled slaves. He would arrange for Colonel Bowie (inventor of the bowie knife) to seize them from him and take them to New Orleans. There, as confiscated goods, they were placed on sale, and Lafitte and Bowie each reaped a goodly profit.

A visitor to the pirate lair wrote:

“Gold pieces are as plentiful here as biscuits.”

In 1820 the government captured Lafitte’s Galveston camp and hanged many of his followers.

Adams County News (Gettysburg, Pennsylvania) Jun 8, 1912

UPDATE:

Thanks to commenter, Robert R., here is a Google ebook preview link regarding Jean Laffite’s death:

Title: The Pirates Laffite: The Treacherous World of the Corsairs of the Gulf
Author: William C. Davis
Edition: reprint, illustrated, annotated
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2006
ISBN: 0156032597, 9780156032599
Google eBook preview (can be purchased for $9.99)
Jean Laffite’s death – Page 463

This might not be the same book, but it is the same author. Thanks, Robert!

Charge of the Black Brigade.

June 30, 2011

Charge of the Black Brigade.
—–
MAY 27, 1863.
—–
Dark as the clouds of even,
Ranked in the western heaven,
Waiting the breath that lifts
All the dead mass, and drifts
Tempest and falling brand
Over a ruined land;—
So still and orderly,
Arm to arm, knee to knee,
Waiting the great event,
Stands the black regiment.

Down the long dusky line
Teeth gleam and eyeballs shine;
And the bright bayonet,
Bristling and firmly set,
Flashed with a purpose grand,
Long ere the sharp command
Of the fierce rolling drum
Told them their time had come,
Told them what work was sent
For the black regiment.

“Now,” the flag-sergeant cried,
“Though death and hell betide,
Let the whole nation see
If we are fit to be
Free in this land; or bound
Down, like the whining hound —
Bound with red stripes of pain
In our old chains again!”
Oh! what a shout there went
From the black regiment.
” Charge!” Trump and drum awoke;
Onward the bondmen broke;
Bayonet and saber-stroke
Vainly opposed their rush.
Through the wild battle’s crush,
With but one thought aflush,
Driving their lords like chaff,
In the guns’ mouths they laugh;
Or at the slippery brands,
Leaping with open hands,
Down they tear man and horse,
Down in their awful course;
Trampling with bloody heel
Over the crashing steel,
All their eyes forward bent,
Rushed the black regiment.

“Freedom!” their battle-cry —
“Freedom! or leave to die!”
Ah! and they meant the word,
Not as with us ’tis heard,
Not a mere party shout:
They gave their spirits out;
Trusted the end to God,
And on the gory sod
Rolled in triumphant blood.
Glad to strike one free blow,
Whether for weal or woe;
Glad to breathe one free breath,
Though on the lips of death.
Praying,—alas! in vain!—
That they might fall again,
So they could once more see
That burst to liberty!
This was what “freedom” lent
To the black regiment.

Hundreds on hundreds fell;
But they are resting well;
Scourges and shackles strong
Never shall do them wrong.
Oh, to the living few,
Soldiers, be just and true!
Hail them as comrades tried;
Fight with them side by side;
Never, in field or tent,
Scorn the black regiment!

GEORGE H. BOKER.

Janesville Daily Gazette (Janesville, Wisconsin) Jun 17, 1863

Read more about the Black Brigade:

Written in Glory
Letters from the Soldiers and Officers of the 54th Massachusetts

the ROOT
Revising the Civil War Record
The 54th Massachusetts Regiment, featured in the film Glory, was not the first black unit to fight.

HON. GEORGE H. BOKER.

Death in Philadelphia of a Man Famous in Many Ways.

Mr. George H. Boker, whose death took place recently at Philadelphia, combined two rare gifts seldom found in one person. He was both poet and diplomat. His verses were of sufficient merit to attract the attention of no less a literary light than Leigh Hunt, and as a diplomat he once succeeded in averting a war between the United States and Spain.

George Henry Boker was born at Philadelphia in 1823. His family, originally French, removed to Holland, and thence to England. There becoming identified with the “Quakers,” they emigrated to America and settled in the City of Brotherly Love. Mr. Boker was educated at Princeton college, where he was graduated at 19, and soon after married and went abroad. He had written verses at college, and while abroad wrote more, publishing a volume in 1847, on his return. In 1848 he published “Calayno,” a tragedy. It was the first marked success he attained, and was played to admiring audiences in England and the United States. Then came “The Betrothal,” “Francesca da Rimini” and “Anne Boleyn.” He also wrote many short pieces. Leigh Hunt regarded him as the best sonnet writer of his time.

In 1852 Boker dined one day with Daniel Webster at a dinner party given by the later in Washington. Webster had been speaking to his guests on the relations then existing between the United States and England. Suddenly turning to young Boker he said: “I think you have expressed the true sentiment concerning this subject in that admirable sonnet of yours.” He then recited the lines referred to to the party much to Boker’s surprise, who sat listening to the splendid performance in elocution doubtless with great delight:

Lear and Cordelia!  ‘Twas an ancient tale
Before thy Shakespeare gave it deathless fame;
The times have changed, the moral is the same,
So like an outcast, dowerless and pale,
Thy daughter went; and in a foreign gale
Spread her young banner, till its sway became
A wonder to the nations. Days of shame
Are close upon thee; prophets raise their wail,
When the rude Cossack, with an outstretched hand,
Points his long spear across the narrow sea —
“Lo, there is England!” when thy destiny
Storms on thy straw crowned head, and thou dost stand
Weak, helpless, mad, a byword in the land —
God grant thy daughter a Cordelia be!

Mr. Boker wrote very prettily in the way of light love verses. Here is a dainty bit which reminds one of some of Leigh Hunt‘s work:

ON MY LADY’S LETTER.

This slip of paper touched thy gentle hand,
Doubtless was sunned beneath thy radiant eye;
Perhaps had clearer honor, and did lie
Upon thy bosom, or was proudly fanned
Within thy fragrant breath. At my command
A thousand fancies, growing as they fly,
To maddening sweetness, flit my vision by,
And mingle golden vapors with the sand,
That times my idle being. Senseless things
Start into dignity beneath thy touch,
Mount from the earth on love’s ecstatic wings,
And to my eyes seem scared, If from such
I draw such rapture, who may say how much,
Wert thou the theme of my imaginings?

But Mr. Boker’s main work was in diplomacy. During the civil war he was an indefatigable worker in the Union cause being one of the organizers of the Union League club, of Philadelphia, for the purpose of standing by the government. Besides this he devoted his pen to the service of the Union. When Grant became president he made Mr. Boker minister to Turkey. He soon showed great talent for the work before him, and left Turkey with the approval of the United States government and the good will of the sultan. From this mission he was promoted to St. Petersberg.

While minister to Russia, the Virginius affair occurred. A wanton outrage on a United States ship had been perpetrated by the officers of a Spanish vessel. President Grant was very much opposed to going to war with Spain, but the case demanded either war or an apology from the Spanish government.

From Washington instructions were sent to United States ministers abroad to endeavor to gain the influence of foreign governments to the cause of the United States. All the efforts of those who followed these instructions failed, except in Mr. Boker’s case. The work required great delicacy, and the Spanish minister at St. Petersberg sought to thwart the Americans efforts. However, he succeeded in inducing Prince Gortschakoff to send instructions to the Russian minister at Madrid taking ground in favor of the United States. This settled the question; Spain apologized for the Virginius affair and was was averted.

Mr. Boker was doubtless aided by the friendly relations between Russia and America, which sprang from Russia’s pronounced declaration in favor of the Union in sending a fleet of war vessels to New York during the civil war. But he unquestionably gained a great ascendency over the Czar Alexander and his minister of state. Both requested that his term as minister to Russia might be prolonged. When his successor arrived at St. Petersberg it is related that Gortschakoff said to him:

“I cannot say that I am glad to see you. In fact, I’m not sure that I see you at all, for the tears that are in my eyes on account of the departure of our friend Boker.”

For many years Mr. Boker was a conspicuous light in Philadelphia, and it is due to his efforts that Egypt, Turkey and Russia were led to take an interest in the Centennial exhibition of 1876. He had a fine library, to which he devoted himself during his later days. His house was decorated with many articles of vertu, obtained during his residence abroad.

Newark Daily Advocate (Newark, Ohio) Jan 15, 1890

Image from the Old Pictures website.

Poets Are Not Like Birds.

The late George H. Boker wrote to his friend, R.H. Stoddard: “Read used to tell a story of some Yankee poet who resolved to wait for an impulse from the Muse. He waited thirty years, and at the end of that time concluded himself no poet, although his youthful poems gave promise of great things. That man perhaps wanted but industry to make him immortal. I hold that there is a labor connected with all great literary achievements sufficient to drive any but a man of genius stark mad. This the world will never believe. It has an idea that poets write as birds sing, and it is this very false idea which robs us of half our honors. Were poetry forged upon the anvil, cut out with the ax or spun in the mill, my heaven! how men would wonder at the process! What power, what toil, what ingenuity!”

Woodland Daily Democrat (Woodland, California) Aug 8, 1890

The White Man’s Burden

January 7, 2011

Click images for larger versions.

Here is a hodge-podge of the White Man’s Burden, including imperialism, alcohol, women, in-laws, war, clothing, taxes, education, politicians and even himself!

THE POET’S CALL

“We Ask American Manhood What Its First Duty in This Matter Is”

There was a ringing poem of Kipling’s printed in the News yesterday. Like much of his verse, it has the searching quality. It cannot be evaded. The same stern logic that speaks through his poem “An American” that speaks through his “Song of the English” and through his “Recessional,” speaks through this, “The White Man’s Burden:”

Take up the White Man’s Burden —
Ye dare not stoop to less —
Nor call too loud on Freedom
To cloak your weariness.
By all ye will or whisper,
By all ye leave or do,
The silent, sullen peoples
Shall weigh your God and you.

Through all this time of uncertainty, this time in which the American people apparently are halting in their course, there is one great characteristic element in the situation which cannot be explained away, and which, as the poet seems to reveal with prophetic insight, is not going to be dodged, unless to our everlasting degradation, and that is the responsibility which has been thrust upon us. It has the double quality. It is not something we sought. It is something that sought us. For years we had seen the suffering of a helpless people at our very doors until we could almost arraign ourselves for cruel indifference. Finally, with as pure a motive as ever a nation undertook anything, we attempted to relieve that suffering.

“In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye,” we were just where we find ourselves today. We had crushed the remnant of Spain’s authority in the Philippines, driven her from Cuba and Puerto Rico. Never, we believe, has history recorded an instance in which a nation was confronted with such responsibility so clearly without premeditation, or intention of its own, as in this instance. With no desire to say a word for expansion or against expansion, we ask American manhood, we ask the higher self of this land, what its full duty in the matter is. The poet asks it with searching inquiry:

Take up the White Man’s burden!
Have done with childish days —
The lightly proffered laurel,
The easy ungrudged praise.
Comes now, to search your manhood
Through all the thankless years,
Cold, edged with dear-bought wisdom,
The judgment of your peers.

Indianapolis News.

The Arizona Republican (Phoenix, Arizona) Feb 18, 1899

THE WHITE MAN’S BURDEN.

(With apologies to Rudyard Kipling)

Take up the white man’s burden
Lift up the white man, too,
He has dallied with the booze can
And a small bottle or two.
He has fallen down by the wayside;
Far away from his own abode;
It seems that the white man’s burden
Is a very unwieldy load.

Take up the white man’s burden
And help the poor chap to stand,
Once  he possessed his senses
And had a pull in the land;
Once he was upright and sober,
Was able to talk and to think,
But the war with the Filipinos
Has driven the white man to drink.

Take up the white man’s burden
And bear it away to a cell,
‘Twill be better away from the rumsters
Who would aid it to trip and fall;
Who gloat o’er the bond i? that feller
The slaves of King Alcohol.

Take up the white man’s burden
When the maudlin night is o’er,
When the head of the suff’ring white man
With expansion’s swelled and sore;
Take the victim to his fireside
Where a broomstick’s lying in wait
And then if you know your business
You’ll escape ere it is too late.

— Bradford Era.

The Evening Democrat (Warren, Pennsylvania) Feb 14, 1899

***

***

Wow, Mr. Henderson, tell us how you really feel:

OUR “WHITE MAN’S BURDEN.”

[With no Apologies to R. Kipling.]

[By W.J. Henderson.]

“Take up the White Man’s Burden!”
What hollow words are these?
‘Tis the croak of the ink-pot raven
That flits on the seven seas.
“Take up the White Man’s Burden!”
Why, who are you to prate
To those who swept the desert
From Maine to the Golden Gate?

Who gnawed the crusts of famine
Beneath Virginia skies,
Till the white man’s blood ran water,
But never the white man’s eyes?
“Take up the White Man’s Burden!”
Who set their backs to the main,
And sent the sons of the forest
To skulk on the treeless plain?

Who harried the fiends of torture,
And gave their sons to fight
With the poisoned arrow by daytime,
The brank and the knife by night?
Who shackled the scalp-locked chieftains,
And bade them abide in peace,
And housed them and clothed them and taught them,
And gave them the land’s increase?

Who fondled their sons and daughters
and showed them the way of life,
While their fathers crept out of the mountains
To flood the valleys with strife?
Got look at the long, red roster
Of dead in our rank and file;
Yet we nurture and pray and are waiting
At Hampton and Carlisle.

Who struck the fetters of thralldom
From off the limbs of the limbs of the slave,
And thundered the anthem of freedom
Through cloister and choir and nave?
We gave the blood of our fathers —
We children who cast out Spain —
To pay white debt to the black man,
and we split our home in twain.

“Take up the White Man’s Burden!”
Gods! was a Lincoln’s death
The pause of a life of shadow,
The end of an empty breath?
An era of white men’s burdens
Ran out with that one life’s sand,
And the sweat of that day is yet heavy
On the brow of our southern land.

“Take up the White Man’s BUrden!”
Oh, well have we borne our share
Till our heart-strings cracked with the straining;
But we knew not how to despair.
And now if the load has grown greater,
Well, we have grown greater, too.
We’ll tread our measure in South and East,
And we’ll ask no help of you.

Fort Wayne News (Fort Wayne, Indiana) Feb 17, 1899

THE WHITE MAN’S BURDEN.

“What is the White Man’s Burden?”
A man asked me today
“I hear so much about it,
What is it, anyway?
Is it debt, or money, or a jag,
That a burden makes of life,
Or — his voice dropped to a whisper —
“Does it mean his wife?”

“What is the White Man’s Burden?”
About the first is clothes,
He starts in life quite minus,
As everybody knows.
But soon begins a struggle
To get the latest style,
And when they’re bought and paid for
To wear them with a smile.

Another of his burdens,
And one that’s hard to bear,
Is getting proper food to eat,
Which requires greatest care.
To all the cook’s enticements,
To all the pastry’s lures,
He falls a willing victim —
Then takes dyspepsia cures.

“What is the White Man’s Burden?”
Go ask the plumber bold,
The iceman and the coal man
Who revel in the cold.
The funny man and the poet,
The politician shrewd,
The deadbeat and his mother-in-law,
The masher and the dude.

“What is the White Man’s Burden?”
The war inquiry boards,
The yowlers ‘gainst expansion,
The yellow journal hordes.
The only thing surprising
That cause for wonder gives,
Is how, ‘neath all his burdens,
The average white man lives.

— Topeka Capital.

The Daily Northwestern (Oshkosh, Wisconsin) Feb 21, 1899

***

Here, let me relieve you of that turkey, I mean burden:

***

Someone isn’t very fond of his wife’s family:

ANOTHER VERSION.

Take up the white man’s burden,
And blow in your hard-earned tin
For codfish and canned tomatoes
To fatten your wife’s lean kin;
Her aunts and her wicked uncles
Are coming to drive you wild;
These half-starved, sullen people,
Half devil and half child.

Take up the white man’s burden,
And fill your house with bunks,
That kinfolks may sleep in comfort;
They’re coming with bags and trunks.
They’re coming to stay all summer,
To die in your yard next fall —
These half-shot, sullen people,
Half stomach and half gall.

Take up the white man’s burden,
And sit on the porch and swear,
For kinfolks will use the sofa,
And loaf in your easy chair.
They’ll cut all the pies and doughnuts,
And you must subsist on prunes —
These fine-haired, silken kinfolks,
Half pelicans and half loons.

Thrown down the white man’s burden,
And get a breech-loading dog,
And mangle the first relation
(Half crocodile and half hog)
Who comes with his ten valises
And seventeen tourist trunks
To eat up your canned provisions
And sleep in your ill-spared bunks.

— Atchison Globe.

The Daily Northwestern (Oshkosh, Wisconsin) Feb 28, 1899

Below, the women’s libbers jump on the parody bandwagon:

THE LADY SPEAKS.

Take up the white man’s burden,
And put yoru own away;
‘Tis only right that woman
Should run affairs today;
We want to sit in congress,
We’re bound to be supreme
In everything that’s going,
And that’s no idle dream.

Take up the white man’s burden,
And drive him from the scene;
He’s growing pale and puny,
And “parts his hair between.”
Come on, O sturdy sisters,
Let’s show slow-going man
How we would run the nation
On the bargain-county plan.

— Exchange.

The Daily Northwestern (Oshkosh, Wisconsin) Mar 4, 1899

One of the TRUE White Man’s Burdens:

“THE WHITE MAN’S BURDEN.”

(Bjorge Djenison.)

What is the “White Man’s Burden?”
It surely can’t be coons;
Though Kipling oft avers it is
In very rhythmic tunes.

What is the white man’s burden?
The preacher thinks it’s sin,
The poor man thinks it’s poverty,
The banker thinks it’s tin.

What is the white man’s burden?
The coward thinks it’s fear,
The brave man thinks it’s bravery,
The brewer thinks it’s beer.

What is the white man’s burden?
To the question will return,
Perchance, by often asking,
The truth we may yet learn.

What is the white man’s burden?
The fat man thinks it’s girth,
The lean man thinks it’s leanness,
The joker thinks it’s mirth.

What is the white man’s burden?
The mourner thinks it’s grief,
The soldier thinks it’s discipline,
But Alger thinks it’s beef.

What is the white man’s burden?
The aged think it’s years,
The youngster suffers for his youth,
The weeping with their tears.

What is the white man’s burden?
Ere he’s laid upon the shelf
Ere Father Time has cut him down,
He’ll know it is himself.

Trenton Evening Times (Trenton, New Jersey) Mar 15, 1899

***

Still a burden after all these years:

This one is kind of amusing:

GETS COLTISH AT ONE HUNDRED TEN

Indian Stumbles When Attempting to Take up the White Mans’ Burden

Captain Jones fell from grace yesterday at the age of 110 years. He assimilated too much liquid refreshment and was gently escorted to the city bastile although the police declare he felt younger than ever.

According to the declaration of Chief Hillhouse, this is the first time Captain Jones, a redman, native of Nevada, has ever been “pinched” or even known to take a drink. He is known about the city because of his appearance with his wife on the streets dispensing pictures to those who will buy.

At the age of 110 which he gave at headquarters, his qualities of absorption seem unimpaired although he was found slightly wanting when it came to carrying the white man’s burden.

Nevada State Journal (Reno, Nevada) Nov 10, 1913

I think it could be said that  we stepped up and took on that burden and then some:

“The White Man’s Burden.”

Rudyard Kipling recently told an American visitor in London that when he wrote “The White Man’s Burden” he had America in mind, not Great Britain. America’s isolation has now ceased. She is responsible with the other nations who helped whip Germany for the orderly and safe conduct of the world. She must take upon her own shoulders a large share of the burden. If this means additional privileges it means also vastly augmented responsibilities. Upon England and America together rests the chief duty of a decent place in which to live and work.

— Lothrop Stoddard in the World’s Work.

The Daily Northwestern (Oshkosh, Wisconsin) Jul 3, 1919

The most painful (and never ending) of the burdens:

THE WHITE MAN’S BURDEN

Taxes
More taxes
And some more taxes.

The Times Recorder (Zanesville, Ohio) Sep 22, 1933

And golf!

Shucking Corn

October 24, 2010

Corn-shucking.

Lo! in the east, the harvest moon
Peeps cautious o’er the heaven’s rim,
Half trembling lest she be too soon,
And in the sun’s bold kisses dim.

What sees the moon as she doth roam
This upper world with fairy tread?
She sees the humble harvest home.
The patient toiler making bread.

Before the spacious barn up-piled,
Beholds the heap of yellow corn;
Just as if Ceres, when she smiled,
Has dropped it from her golden horn.

All day the toiling hands have wrought
To rob the hillsides of their store;
All day the creaking wains have brought
Great loads before the barn-house door.

Now laughter loud and carols sound
Adown the green moon-lighted lane;
The darkies all, for miles around,
Haste in to husk the waiting grain.

They fling themselves upon the corn,
And tear apart, with gibe and jest,
The silken robes that do adorn
The ripened beauty of the breast.

Into the barn whose cob-webbed beams
Suggest the plenteous crops of yore,
The corn flows on in steady streams,
And heaps itself upon the floor.

Behold, enthroned upon the heap,
The just that hold the soul of corn!
How every darkey’s heart doth leap
While kissing off the drinking-horn.

Cheered by the draught that tickles brains,
Wild grow the corn songs of the south,
And fast the precious shower rains,
And merry every ample mouth.

The idle youngsters dance around,
Their antics shadowed by the moon;
And Tom, to swell the banjo’s sound,
Strums on it like a frantic loon.

Broad Mirth that almost shuts the eyes,
And draws the mouth from ear to ear,
With Banter ’round the circle flies,
For both are in their kingdom here.

There roaring loud is grinning Jake,
Rejoicing in his station snug;
Who, ever, like a cunning snake,
Keeps inching towards the brandy jug.

Obstrep’rous grows the din and fills
With gleeful sounds the sloping plain;
And watch-dogs, on the distant hills,
Bark as they hear the mad refrain.

Your work is done and you are dry;
Drink, since your thirst has so increased,
And lift the good old master high,
And bear him to the harvest feast.

The corn your deft hands shucked tonight
May pink my lady’s finger tips,
May fill her chastened eyes with light,
And bloom anew upon her lips.

Now, simple, merry souls, adieu;
You’ve had enough of our good cheer;
The moon wades westward thru’ the blue,
And sound the morning chanticleer.

Go, lest an angry master chide
That you have stayed away too long;
Go, while the dew is yet undried,
and wake the woodlands with your song.

— W.T. Dumas
Monticello, Ga.

The Atalanta Constitution (Atlanta, Georgia) Jul 10, 1887

Ruth Ann Carr Buckner

January 15, 2010

AN OLD IOWA WOMAN DIES.

Mrs. Buckner of Montezuma, a Slave, Was 110 Years of Age.

One of the oldest, if not the oldest person in Iowa, died at Montezuma at the age of 110. She was a former slave, but had been a resident of that city for a number of years. Ruth Ann Carr was born in Lee County, Ky., the exact date of her birth being uncertain, but from certain other dates and knowledge of deceased it is supposed that her age at the time of death was not far from 110 years. She was married to Henry Buckner in 1850, at Memphis, Mo. No children were born to this union. In 1863 they moved to Poweshick County, and in 1877 to Montezuma. Mrs. Buckner was born in bondage and remained so until the civil war set her free. She has been a helpless invalid for twelve years.

Carroll Sentinel (Carroll, Iowa) Sep 29, 1903

*****

Based on census records, I think they may have exaggerated her age slightly:

1885 Iowa Census -Montezuma Poweshiek Co. IA

The 1885 census states she is 68, which would mean she was born about 1817. In 1903, she would have been about 86.

1900 Federal Census - Montezuma, Poweshiek Co. Iowa

The 1900 census gives her birth as May of 1820.