Posts Tagged ‘1855’

Time — The Ferryman

June 3, 2012

Image from Metal on Metal

From the Louisville Bulletin.

Time — The Ferryman.
The ferryman time, with his locks of rime
And his ever-waning glass,
Hath laid on his bier another year,
And chaunted the midnight mass;
From the forest dim swelled the midnight hymn,
As earth bewailed the dead,
And the ocean bell rang out a knell
As the winged spirit fled.

The ferryman stands on the Stygian lands
By the flow of that sable river,
Mid a grisly throng whose sorrowful song
Like a dirge ascendeth ever;
And he hastens to row over that river of woe
The shrouded and coffined year,
Through the murky night that hath never the light
Of a single star to cheer.

The winds blow high — through the starless sky
Fly the storm clouds thick and fast,
And spectres float by the phantom boat
And shriek on the driving blast.
On, ferryman, on! Ere the night be gone
Thou hast many a league to row,
And many a shade, ere the darkness fade,
Shall tell it’s tale of woe.

Ambition shall tell how his castle fell,
Whose turrets mocked the clouds,
And point to the ghosts of his vanquished hosts,
Arrayed in gory shrouds.
No revellers call in his lordly ball,
Unstrung is the minstrel’s viol,
Not a sound to greet, save the pendulous beat
From the lone, monotonous dial.

Genius shall mourn how folly’s scorn
His heavenward flight depressed —
How the only food of his eagle brood
Was the life-tide of his breast.
Bright were the gleams that lit his dreams,
But oh, when he awoke
The light was gone — the vision flown,
And spell — and heart were broke!

Pure as the light of an Eastern night,
As it strays through the orange bowers,
Comes the lovelorn maid, Ophelia sad,
White robed and crowned with flowers.
Unhappy love! Thy plaint would move
To tears the coldest eye,
Rain pity’s showers and strew sweet flowers
Where the broken-hearted lie!

On, ferryman, on! for pale and wan
Is the crew that sails with thee,
Racked with all woe that mortals know,
And hopeless misery;
The whistling gales that fill thy sails
Are rapture to the soul,
When all the mirth and joy of earth
Have heard the death bell toll.

On, ferryman, on! Ere morning dawn
Thy prow must strike the shore —
Where the lethein draught of peace is quaffed,
And the struggle of life is o’er.
Our feet shall stand on the shining strand
Of life’s eternal river;
Where the buds of hope in beauty ope,
And the heart is young forever.

The Mountain Democrat (Placerville, California) Mar 24, 1855


May 29, 2012



Hail Wisconsin! lovely State!
Thou art young, but thou art great;
Mighty waters have thy shore;
Mighty rivers through thee pour;
Rich, exhaustless are thy mines;
Priceless are thy noble pines.

Hail Wisconsin! young and fair!
O! how grand they landscapes are!
Modest plains and groves of trees
Intermixed, the eye to please;
Silver lakes lie ‘mong thy hills;
Through thy vales leap laughing rills.

Hail Wisconsin! who would not
Share the happy Badger’s lot?
Cultivate the fertile soil;
On the fair prairie’s toil;
Sure a hundred fold to reap;
Sure in plenty’s lap to sleep.

Hail Wisconsin! thou hast health;
Hail Wisconsin! thou hast wealth;
Hail Wisconsin! thou hast laws
To protect the poor man’s cause;
Schools to make they children wise —
Who does not Wisconsin prize?

Richland County Observer (Richland Center, Wisconsin) Nov 27, 1855


 Title: A political History of Wisconsin
Author: Alexander McDonald Thomson
Publisher: E.C. Williams, 1900
Page 57 (Google book link)

Woman’s Lot

May 22, 2012

Image from Women on the Border: Maryland Perspectives of the Civil War


Oh! say not woman’s lot is hard,
Her path a path of sorrow;
To-day perchance, some joy debarred
May yield more joy tomorrow.

It is not hard — it cannot be,
To speak, in tongues of gladness,
To hush the sigh of misery,
And sooth the brow of sadness.
It is not hard sweet flowers to spread,
To strew the path with roses;
To smooth the couch and rest the head,
Where some loved friend reposes,

It is not hard, to trim the hearth
For brothers home returning;
To wake the songs of harmless mirth,
When winter fires are burning.

It is not hard, a sister’s love
To pay with love as tender;
When cares perplex, and trials prove,
A sister’s help to render.

It is not hard, when troubles come,
And doubts and fears distressing,
To shelter in a fathers home,
And feel a mother’s blessing.

It is not hard, when storms arise
‘Mid darkness and dejection,
To look to Heaven with trusting eyes,
And ask its kind protection.

Then say not woman’s lot is hard,
Her path the path of sorrow ;
Today, perchance, some joy debarred
May yield sweet peace tomorrow.

Richland County Observer (Richland Center, Wisconsin) Dec 25, 1855

The American Girl

July 2, 2011

The American Girl.

Our hearts are with our native land,
Our song is for her glory;
Her warrior’s wreath is in our hand,
Our lips breathe out her story.
Her lofty hills and valleys green
Are shining bright before us,
And, like a rainbow sign, is seen
Her proud flag waving o’er us.

And there are smiles upon our lips
For those who meet her foemen,
For glory’s star knows no eclipse
When smiled upon by Women.
For those who brave the mighty deep,
And scorn the threat of danger,
We’ve smiles to cheer, and tears to weep
For every ocean danger.

Our hearts are with our native land,
Our songs are for her freedom;
Our prayers are for the gallant band
Who strike where honor leads them
We love the taintless air we breathe —
‘Tis freedom’s endless dower —
We’ll twine for him an endless wreath
Who scorns a tyrant’s power.

They tell of France’s beauties fair,
Of Italy’s proud daughters;
Of Scotland’s lasses — England’s fair,
And nymphs of Shannon’s waters.
We need not boast their haughty charms,
Though lords around them hover,
Our glory lies in freedom’s arms —
A freeman for a lover!

The Mountain Democrat (Placerville, California) Apr 28, 1855

May Day Moving

May 1, 2011

With May Day comes the annual moving proposition. It carries with it the usual annoyance of shifting your abode, for what would the first day of May come to if we didn’t continue the practice of moving? Beautiful May, all except the inconvenience of moving – a custom that won’t live down.

Portsmouth Daily Times (Portsmouth, Ohio) May 1, 1912

May Day Moving Sets New Chicago Record
(International News Service)

CHICAGO, May 24. — May Day moving here set a new record for the period of the housing shortage, according to the requests for changes to telephone and gas companies. More than 3,000 changes daily were asked of a gaslight and coke company before the yearly exodus to new homes. This is 50 per cent higher than 1921.

J.S. Waterfield, Chicago Real Estate board said the “own your own home” idea is responsible for hundreds of the movings.

New Castle News (New Castle, Pennsylvania) May 24, 1922

CHICAGO, May 1. — Thousands of families in Chicago went on a “rent strike” today and refused to vacate their apartments in accordance with May Day moving orders, H.S. Standish, president of the Chicago Tennants’ Protective League, asserted.

Mr. Standish predicted that 10,000 tenants would defy efforts of landlords to evict them.

Some of the disputes would be settled by arbitration, Mr. Standish said, but others would be carried into court for jury trials.

Battle Landlords
N.E.A. Staff Correspondent.

NEW YORK, May 1. Two men are largely responsible for starting in this state the anti-rent profiteering crusade which, unless the laws are finally thrown out by the courts, has limited landlords to 25 per cent increases.

One of them is not even a New Yorker. His name is James F. Gannon, Jr., and he is city commissioner of Jersey City.

The other no longer hold any official post. His name is Nathan Hirsch and he was formerly chairman of the Mayor’s Committee on Rent Profiteering.

Victims Aided

It was Hirsch’s committee — and largely Hirsch himself — who first came to the aid of the victims or rent profiteers. Before this persons who objected to extortionate rent increases were called “Bolsheviki.” Hirsch had little real authority, but he used what he had with good effect.

The result was that any number of cases were compromised last year by the landlords, and tenants were enable to stay on by paying only moderate increases in rent. A strong public sentiment was built up to oppose rent hogs.

Hirsch was serving without pay and when the appropriation he asked to continue the committee’s work was refused he resigned.

Hug[e] Rent Strike

Then came Gannon. Early this year he engineered the biggest rent strike ever conducted and won it. Thousands of tenants with the city’s backing, refused to pay unreasonable rent increases and won in the courts.

This woke New York up. If Jersey City can do it, why can’t we? was the comment. The result was a wave of popular sentiment that swept everything before it and resulted in the enactment by the Legislature of a dozen laws to protect the tenant, the most important of which is the measure limiting rent increases to 25 per cent.

Ogden Standard Examiner (Ogden, Utah) May 1, 1920


The month of May, when poets sing of roses and meadows decked with green, is, in the vicinity of New York, the flitting time for half the world — or has been. Fortunes are changing and even the May moving day, so long sacred to New Yorkers, is giving way before the iconoclastic spirit of the age. Enough, and more than enough of it, is left however. The removals of the great annual flitting time, often useless, often undertaken without clear reason than that restlessness so peculiar to American life, must cost the people of New York, Brooklyn and Jersey City, directly and indirectly, not less than $3,000,000 in actual money outlay, to say nothing of personal discomfort. Moving time entails an endless train f discomforts and disorders. It means a clear month’s comfort gone out of the year in preparing for the move and getting over it; is the direct cause of broken furniture not a little, of wrecked tempers by the thousands and of much actual suffering.

But moving day is not what it used to be. People who move in spring are beginning to discount it by removing at any time during the latter part of April, so that the first of May no longer resembles the fag end of a furniture dealer’s nightmare so much as it did. The real estate agents, too, have conspired against moving day. Not that the agents want people to stay where they are and forswear change. By no means. The more removals the more commissions for the agents. It is to increase their own profits and those of the owners that such strenuous efforts have been made, and with much success, to substitute October for May as the moving time. Many landlords now let  houses from October to October, and more are anxious to do so. The reason is that a good many people of moderate means, whose only hope of getting wives and babies into the country for the summer is to stop paying rent, and have been in the habit of giving up their houses on May 1, storing the furniture, packing off the family and seeking board until October, when the city residence could be safely resumed in another quarter. This arrangement was fine for the tenants, but it was bad for the owners and agents, consequently it had to be stopped. And it is being stopped.

Morning Oregonian (Portland, Oregon) May 1, 1887


The following unjustifiable case of landlord oppression is one of the many cases which May day moving has developed in Jersey City: — A widow named Jane Meara, with her five children, occupied a small store in Prospect street, near Morgan. The property changed hands, and as a consequence the widow was doomed; but her lease had not expired and she held a receipt for the rent of the premises, paid in advance, for the month of May. Under these circumstances the poor woman felt secure, at least for the present; but on May day, during her absence, her furniture and goods were thrown out of doors, and when she returned to her house she found the premises so locked and fastened that ingress was impossible, while every article of her household goods was drenched with rain on the sidewalk. She at once proceeded to Justice McAnally, who very humanely allowed her the use of a house for herself and her children till she can procure other quarters, as this was the only relief he could afford in the case. The woman has commenced a suit against the new proprietor, laying damages at $10,000.

New York Herald (New York, New York) May 3, 1869

First of May — Moving Day.

There was not as much moving yesterday as is common upon the last of April — pretty good evidence that landlords generally were wise enough to fall somewhat from their old rates of rent, and so far accommodate tenants that they could afford to keep their old premises another year. Whoever is abroad to day, however, will be disposed to think there never was so much moving before. It will begin early — before some of us are up, no doubt, and it will continue late. The sidewalks will be worse obstructed in every street than Wall-street is where the Brokers are in full blast. Old beds and ricketty bedstands, handsome pianos and kitchen furniture, will be chaotically huddled together. Everything will be in a muddle. Everybody in a hurry, smashing mirrors in his haste, and carefully guarding boot boxes from harm. Sofas that go out sound will go in maimed, tables that enjoyed castors will scratch along and “tip” on one less than its complement. Bed-screws will be lost in the confusion, and many a good piece of furniture badly bruised in consequence. Family pictures will be sadly marred, and the china will be a broken set before night, in many a house. All houses will be dirty — never so dirty — into which people move, and the dirt of the old will seem enviable beside the cleanliness of the new. The old people will in their hearts murmur at these moving dispensations. the younger people, though aching in every bone, and “tired to death,” will relish the change, and think the new closets more roomy and more nice, and delight themselves fancying how this piece of furniture will look here and that piece in the other corner. The still “younger ones” will still more enjoy it. Into the cellar and upon the roof, into the rat-holes and on  the yard fence, into each room and prying into every cupboard, they will make reprisals of many things “worth saving,” and mark the day white in their calendar, as little less to be longed for in the return than Fourth of July itself.

Keep your tempers, good people. Don’t growl at the carmen nor haggle over the price charged. When the scratched furniture comes in don’t believe it is utterly ruined, — a few nails, a little glue, a piece of putty, and a pint of varnish will rejuvenate many articles that will grow very old ‘twixt morning and night, and undo much of the mischief that comes of moving, and which at first sight seems irreparable.

At night, after you have kindled a fire in the grate, — don’t, because you have cleaned house, make your house a tomb for dampness, nor let the children shiver through the evening, — after the tea things have been set aside, be sure to take one peep of the moon in her eclipse. Nor stay too long to look at her, for her exhibition begins rather late, and you should be up early next day to tack down the carpets, set the furniture to rights and make a home of your new house. Moreover, if it rains or is very cloudy, take our advice and don’t look at the eclipse — it’s no great affair after all.

New York Daily Times (New York, New York) May 1, 1855

In Lighter Vein

The May Queen

“You must wake and call me early,”
The prospective May Queen said.
But when called, the foxy girlie
Stayed in bed.

And her plan was far from silly
Though another served as Queen,
For the winds were raw and chilly
On the green.

To the first my hat I’m doffing,
She who dodged the breezes bleak,
For the other will be coughing
All the week.
Bolting The Ticket.

“The young men have chosen her to be Queen of May.”

“And how do the other girls like that?”

“Don’t seem to like it. They’re all insurgents.”
May 1 In History.

May 1, 1589 — Queen Elizabeth is Queen of May, catches cold, and has the snuffles all day.

May 1, 1755 — Moving day, Dr. Johnson evicted for non-payment of rent.

“Going Maying today?”


“Why not?”

“I went Maying once.”
Everything Upset.

A book of verses underneath the stove,

A lump of coal upon a silver tray;

Such are the things that make a terror of

The first of May.
Moving Day.

“The May migration is very ancient.”


“Yes; Shakespeare speaks of moving accidents by flood and field.”
Nothing Romantic.

“Got your wife out for a May day stroll I see. Going to hunt for arbutus?”

“Quit your kidding. We’re going to hunt for a flat.”
May Moving.

“You ought to read this book. It will move you deeply.”

“Do you know any concern that will move me cheaply? That is what I’m interested in just now.”

— Washington Herald.

Evening Post (Frederick, Maryland) May 1, 1912

True Realism.

Dramatic Author — I understand that you are looking for a new play.

Manager — Yes, but I am very hard to suit. I want a play which shall combine all the elements of tragedy, comedy, farce, pantomime and spectacle.

“That’s it. That’s what I’ve got. Chock full of tragedy and human suffering, tears and smiles, joy and woe, startling surprises, unheard of mishaps, wreck and ruin, lamentations and laughter.”

“What’s the title?”

“‘A May Day Moving.'”

“What’s the plot?”

“Hasn’t any plot. Just and ordinary May day moving.”

— New York Weekly.

The Marion Star (Marion, Ohio) Nov 9, 1895

The Bradford Era (Bradford, Pennsylvania) Apr 12, 1946

I thought the May Day moving had petered out in the 1920s, but evidently it was still going strong in Pennsylvania as late as the 1940s!

Images from the Newman Library – Baruch College

The Murder of Chief Logan Fontanelle

June 1, 2010

Omaha Scouts - 1865

Image from Legends of America with article about the Omaha Indians HERE.

From the St. Louis Republican

Death of Logan Fontanelle, The Omaha Chief.

Logan Fontanelle, Chief of the Omahas, has just been slain and scalped at Loup Fork, by a band of Sioux. Logan was a noble fellow, and in this last mortal conflict he dispatched several of the enemy to the spirit land before, to herald the coming of his own brave soul. He fought long, desperately, and with great effect, but numbers finally overcame him, and his life departed through a hundred wounds. He died a martyr for his people, and his name should be carved on fame’s brightest tablet.

Omaha Camp - 1898 (Image from

He was on his annual hunt with his nation. A number of his lodges were pitched on the plains near Loupe Fork. — As a young warrior one day rode around the adjacent hills he espied a powerful band of Sioux encamped along a stream in a sequestered vale. He hastened to inform Logan of the propinquity and power of their natural foe. Logan ordered his people to pack immediately, and proceed in a straight line and with all speed for home, while he would remain behind and divert the Sioux by false camp fires and other devices, from a direct purusit of them. This was about twilight. The people got under way as quickly as possible, but not too soon; for scarcely had they turned a highland, when several Sioux warriors came in sight and discovered the place of their recent encampment. They examined it, and found that Omahas had been there, and then they returned to notify their chief, and bring an adequate force to pursue and slaughter them. Logan, from a hiding-place, saw all, and knew no time was to be lost in drawing their attention from the trail, which they would soon discover and follow, and mounting his horse, he dashed away at full speed across the prairie, at right angles with the route his tribe had taken, and struck a fire about eight miles distant, on an eminence where the Sioux could distinctly see it. He had scarcely done so before a powerful band were upon the spot that he and his people had so lately left, and who, without stopping to distinguish the trail, started for the fire, which they saw rising against the clear blue sky, and where they expected in another moment to imbrue their hands in the gore of their unguarded victims. But Logan had not been unwary. As soon as the fire was lighted, he again mounted and rode on eight or ten miles further, and kindled another fire just as they reached the first. This rather bewildered them. They dismounted and examined the ground. Logan, anticipating this, had trotted and walked his horse around it, so as to make the appearance upon the grass of the treading of a dozen horses; and this drew them into the belief that a small body had lingered behind and kindled this fire, and then gone on to where they could see the new fire burning; and so they followed with renewed avidity. The same thing happened as before. Logan had gone on, and another fire met their astonished gaze, while the same sort of foot-prints were about the one around which they were now gathered. Their suspicions were now awakened. They examined the ground more closely, both far and near, and discovered that a solitary horseman had deceived them, and they knew it was for the sole purpose of leading them off from the pursuit of the party whose encampnent they had first discovered.

Logan saw them going round with glaring torches and understood their object, and knew that his only chance of safety was an immediate flight towards his home; and he further knew that by the time they could retrace their way to their place of starting, and find the trail that his own people had taken, they would be beyond the reach of danger.

The Sioux, in the meantime, had divided into smaller bands, the largest of which was to return and pursue the Omahas, and the others to endeavor to capture the one who had misled them. They knew that he must be an Omaha, and that he would either go further and kindle another watch-fire, or start for his nation in a straight line; and, therefore, one party went on a little further, and the others spread out toward the Omaha country for the purpose of intercepting him. Logan pressed forward as rapidly as his jaded steed could bear him, until he thought he had entirely eluded them; but as the day dawned, to his horror and dismay, he saw his pursuers close upon his track. He turned his course for a ravine, which he distinguished at a distance, covered with trees and undergrowth. He succeeded in reaching it, and just within its verge he met an Indian girl dipping water from a spring. She was startled, and about to cry for help, when he hastily assured her that he needed protection and assistance. With the true instincts of noble woman, she appreciated his situation in an instant, and all her sympathies were with him. She directed him to dismount and go to a small natural bower to which she pointed him, in the verge of the woods, while she would mount horse and lead his pursuers away. He obeyed her, and she mounted his horse and dashing on in a serpentine way through the woods, leaving marks along the brushes by which she could be traced. The pursuers soon followed. When she had got some distance down the branch, she rode into the water and followed its descending course for a few steps, making her horse touch its sides and leave foot-prints in that direction, and then turned up the bed of the stream and rode above the place at which she entered it, without leaving a trace, and back to where Logan was concealed. She told him to mount and speed away, while his pursuers were going in a contrary direction down the ravine. He did so, and got a long distance out of sight, and again thought himself beyond the reach of danger, when, in a valley just in front of him, he saw fifty braves coming up the hill and meeting him. — They were some of those who were returning from the pursuit of his people. He changed his direction and tried to escape, but his poor horse was too much exhausted to bear him with sufficient speed. With savage yells they plunged their rowels into their horses’ sides and gained upon him. As the foremost approached within good shooting distance, Logan turned suddenly and sent a bullet through his brain. Then, loading as he galloped on, he soon after made another bite the dust; and then another and another, until four were strewed along the plain. Just then, however, as he was again reloading, his horse stumbled and fell, and the band rushed upon him before he had well recovered from the shock. He was shot with bullets and arrows, and gashed with tomahawks, and pierced with lances; notwithstanding all which, he arose amidst his foes, and with his clubbed rifle and hunting knife, he piled around him five prostrate bodies, and fell with his back upon their corpses and expired, still fighting.

He was scalped, and hundreds of warriors held a great war-dance over him.

Thus Logan Fontanelle departed, and his noble spirit was followed to the spirit-land by the sighs and lamentations of his nation and the sympathies and aspirations of the brave of every land.

The Mountain Democrat (Placerville, California) Oct 25, 1855


Woe for the proud departed!
Bowed in grief.
Wail for the lion-hearted
Not from the white man’s steeple
Moans thy knell,
But from thy stricken people

They wail thee in thy mystic
Temple’s dome,
The shades of thy majestic
Forest home.
Like some great warrior-eagle
Fought and fell,
Their Sachem, brave and regal —

Sublime and self-reliant,
Stern he stood,
High heart and brow defiant
Raining blood,
Death-waters like a river
Rage and swell,
Then didst thou blench? No — never!

Like Death himself, thou’rt scything
Down the foe!
Around thee they are writhing
Prone and low,
Yet shadows darkly, dimly,
O’er thee fell;
Thy soul fled, strong and sternly,

Thy clay in scorn they taunted,
Stark and frore;
The owl’s cry from the haunted
Echoed the Sioux’ sharp, savage
Whoop and yell,
Over their deeds of ravage,

The springtime blooms in gladness
Yet dwells a tone of sadness
On the air;
And rythmic winds are sighing
Down the dell,
Where they dead heart is lying,

In thine ancestral bowers,
Long ago,
Where through their banks of flowers
Streamlets flow;
A voice, like some soft-ringing
Fairy bell,
Was wont to greet thee, singing —

Did life-joys like a river
Sweeping by,
In death’s dread moment quiver
O’er thine eye?
And, did thy brave heart dying,
Strive to quell
Thought of that lone one, crying

Did one sweet face, elysian,
Fond and dear,
Seem to thy failing vision
Floating near?
Did eyes that thou wert loving
Passing well,
Look forth to find their roving

Aye! Eyes watch from thy fortress
Keen glances of the portress
Pierce the shade;
And footsteps like the markless
Fleet gazelle,
Come bounding through the darkness —

That eye-beam ne’er shall greet thee
Home again,
Her fleet foot spring to meet thee
O’er the plain;
Yet all the world, admirant,
Owns thy spell,
Oh! Glory’s young aspirant,

We’ve known no sadder story
Yet live — live in thy glory
Let age to age thy stately
Triumphs tell,
Thou’st perished — but how greatly,

By Lucy Virginia French

Title: One or Two?
Authors: Lucy Virginia French, Lide Smith Meriwether
Publisher: Meriwether Bros., 1883
(Google book LINK) pgs. 76-79

From the following book:

Title: Our Debt to the Red Man; The French-Indians in the Development of the United States
Author: Houghton Louise Seymour
Publisher: BiblioBazaar, LLC, 2009

Page 70 – Limited Preview only on Google Books

From the following book:

Title: The American Cyclopaedia: A Popular Dictionary of General Knowledge, Volume 12
Authors: George Ripley, Charles Anderson Dana
Publisher: D. Appleton, 1883
(Google books LINK page 624)

Felix Tracy, Jr. – 1855 Travel Diary – Los Angeles to Salt Lake

April 19, 2010

Felix Tracy, Jr.

Image from the Wells Fargo Guided By History blog. (Two Felix Tracy posts on the blog are linked below.)

From Los Angels to Salt Lake.

We have been permitted by Messrs. Adams & Co. to publish the following diary of Mr. Felix Tracy, Jr., during his late journey through from Los Angeles to Salt Lake.

This diary, though brief, will be of value to those who may wish to travel through to Salt Lake by the same route, and it will also give a very correct idea of the country to the general reader. —

The indefatigable and ubiquitous Adams & Co. will soon dispatch messengers through all the principle routes to Salt Lake, for the purpose of ascertaining by direct observation the best route for an Expresr. The enterprise of this firm bids fair to establish the best route for the Pacific Railroad, while Congress is quarrelling about appropriations for engineers to do the same work.

City of the Great Salt Lake.}
To I.O. Woods, Esq., Resident Partner of Adams & Co., of California.

DEAR SIR: — In compliance with your request, I hand you enclosed so much of the Journal of my late trip from Los Angeles to this place as is of public interest, and calculated I think to be of value to the Pacific Emigrant Society, in which, if I remember rightly, you hold a prominent position. I have omitted all of my own speculations on the route, which I will give in a subsequent letter, and confine myself to noting the essentials for emigrants, namely: grass water and wood.

Nov. 25th. — Leaving San Francisco. as you remember, this day per steamer Goliah, at half-past 5 P.M., we reached San Pedro Nov. 28th 8 A.M., which small place of a few houses, and proportionally smaller number of people, is the port of Los Angeles, twenty-five miles inland, to which place I proceeded in Alexander & Banning’s line of coaches, on which our Express matter is carried, and reached Los Angeles the same night, 28th.

Los Angeles - 1850 (Image from

This place is too well known to you to demand description from me, and I content myself with stating a few facts to which I would specially call your attention in the future. One is that corn is said to grow here splendidly and the ears to fill and ripen equal to anything in the older States, a fact, if a fact, which is not known on the bay of San Francisco, or in the mining regions where corn is grown with difficulty. — The raising here of a sufficient supply of maize for the California demand, would enrich the country by keeping thus much of our gold at home.

The culture of grapes and manufacture of wine is destined to become a feature of this part of California, and I confidently predict that, if fostered properly by those having as deep an interest as yourself in the welfare of California, the wine of this section will cause importations to nearly cease, and we shall become large exporters, besides doing a wonderful work in the way of temperance. Drinkers of Sherry and Madeira in San Francisco are probably aware that their best English imported wines are nearly all manufactured in London, from the cheap wines of the Cape of Good Hope. Los Angeles can supply the basis in place of Cape Town, and our ingenious merchants can do the manufacturing, including stamping the boxes and copying the labels.

Dec. 1st. — Left Los Angeles this morning, 10 A.M. Eight miles this side, passed San Gabriel, an old mission, in the vicinity of which is said to be some of the best land in California. The Padres here fenced many of their fields with the cactus.

At noon, we stopped at a placed called Monte, which has about five hundred inhabitants.

Water abundant; land very fertile, one squash vine producing three squashes which weighed four hundred and thirty-nine pounds; and I also saw a corn stalk seventeen and a half feet high.

Saturday, 2d — Staid last night at an old Spaniard’s by the name of Palemeros, who has a fine, large ranch well stocked. A few years since, the Utah tribe of Indians, led by their Chief. Walker, were in the habit of driving off several hundred head of cattle, the Spaniards in this vicinity not being about to resist them.

Distance to-day, thirty-two miles.

Sunday, 3d — For twenty miles it is nearly a desert, without water. Arrived at San Bernardino, this evening. Distance to-day, thirty-two miles.

Monday, 4th — San Bernardino is the Mormon settlement, containing about one thousand inhabitants.

The Mormons have possession of some eight square leagues of land, well watered, which produces well. Timber is scarce, consequently the houses are built of adobes. Within five miles of this place are hot springs, from lukewarm to hot enough to cook an egg.

Tuesday, 5th — Left San Bernardino to-day, at 2 p.m., in company with J.B. Leach, Jas. Williams, Jacob Mozier, and Mr. Pinney. We have four mules. Camped at 6 p.m. Good road and plenty of water. Distance to-day, 12 miles.

Wednesday, 6th — Left camp at half past seven this morning. Crossed the Sierra Nevada at Hunt’s Pass, which is ten miles nearer than by Cajon, and to the south of it, although the latter is much the best for wagons, and, in fact, one thousand dollars would make it a first-rate road. Camped at 6 p.m. — Distance to-day, 28 miles; the last 20 without water, and poor land.

Thursday, 7th — Left camp at half past 7. Distance to-day, 35 miles; water half way, good wagon road, land poor.

Camped at Sugar Loaf, on the Mohave River.

Friday, Dec 8 — Started at 8 o’clock traveled 25 miles northerly, along the Mohave. The soil could be made to produce well by irrigation. Road level and sandy.

Camped at 8 p.m., near a small lake; good grass. Distance to-day, 35 miles. We have seen some alkili.

Saturday, 9 — Left camp at half past 8 a.m. To-day we have traveled 25 miles without water; road good, through a desert. Camped at 4 p.m. Water bad, grass scarce. We passed through a canon [canyon?] three miles long, through a range of low mountains; the ascent was gradual.

Sunday, 10th — Left camp last night at 8 o’clock it being thought best to travel after night on the desert. From Bitter Springs, where we camped last night, to Kingston Springs, where we camped this morning at 11 o’clock, is 40 miles, over a desert; water to be had at a small lake, about half way; road fair. We fed our mules with barley last night and this morning. Started this afternoon, at half past 3 o’clock.

Monday, 11th — Camped this morning at half past 8. all tired and very sleepy. Distance last night, 40 miles; road good, — over a desert. This place is called Mountain Springs; grass is poor, and we here fed the last of our barley. About twenty miles from Bitter Springs, we left the regular emigrant road, and came on to it within four miles of Mountain Springs, saving about forty miles, and avoiding Salt Springs, the Highlander, Resting and Stump Springs. — Left Mountain Springs at half past 11 a.m., and traveled 12 miles to Cottonwood. Road good.

Tuesday, 12th — Left Cottonwood at half past 7 a.m., and camped at 3 p.m., on the Las Vegas. This is a small stream but very rapid, and waters several hundred acres of good land.

Here there is a spring in which a person cannot sink.

It is twenty-five miles over to the Colorado River. Road somewhat uneven but not bad. Distance to-day, twenty miles without water.

Wednesday, 13th — Left Vegas River at half past 1 a.m., and camped at 7 a.m.; good bunch grass but no water, so far, to-day, and we have traveled twenty-three miles. Started again at half past 10 a.m., and camped on Muddy River, at half past 8 p.m. Distance to-day, 27 miles, without water; road uneven, grass good.

Thursday. 14 — This morning five Indians came into camp, and wished to trade for blankets &c; we gave them some tobacco. There is some good land here. The Indians raise corn, wheat, pumpkins &c.

Left camp at 8 a.m., and camped on the Rio Virgin, at 5 p.m. The road to-day has been bad, passing over some very steep hills. An empty wagon would be load enough for four mules. Distance to-day twenty-five miles, without water.

Friday, 15th — Started this morning at 4 o’clock. We have followed the Rio Virgin up to its source. Camped at 6 p.m.; road fair. Distance to-day, 33 miles. The Muddy River empties into the Rio Virgin, and the latter into the Colorado.

Saturday, 16th — The road for the first fifteen miles has been a gradual ascent, and the last ten uneven and bad. No water to-day.

Camped on the Santa Clara River. — Twelve miles below us the Mormons are building a house. The Indians have three corn-fields on this river; twelve acres in all, one of which we are encamped in. There are a few cottonwood trees along the river, which is the first timber we have seen.

Sunday, 17th — Camped at the Mountain Springs, which is also called the Rim of the Basin. The road, to-day, has been bad, being quite rough. Distance, to-day, 35 miles, without water. The land in this vicinity would produce will if there were water to irrigate with.

Monday, 18th — Camped at Iron Springs. Distance to-day, 43 miles. No water, but plenty of ice.

Tuesday, 19th — Arrived at Cedar City, on Coal Creek, this morning; this is the first of the Mormon settlements. Here iron ore is found, and the Mormons expect to manufacture iron in the course of a month. Coal is also found here. This place is surrounded by an adobe wall, ten feet high and from two to three feet thick. There are about one hundred families here, whose farms are three or four miles distant, and are said to produce corn, wheat, oats, barley, &c., the land being irrigated. All the timber found here is a few small cedar trees.

Cedar City, Utah (Image from

From San Bernardino to Cedar City, there is probably not 1000 acres of good land, all in one body; all there is is situated on the Vegas, Muddy and Santa Clara rivers; and there is no timber except a few Cottonwood trees on the Santa Clara. There are no streams that require bridging. The road from the Rim of the Basin to this place is splendid — from the Vegas to the Rim of the Basin, it is quite rough, that is, it is up and down.

We came through with nine mules. Mr. Leach is of the opinion that a wagon and six mules would have come through easier.

You will see by what I have already written, that there are stretches of thirty to fifty miles without water. Four or five artesian wells would probably be all that would be required. We crossed small mountains almost every day, thro’ canons.

If this route should ever become much traveled, it would be difficult to find grass for animals, for the whole country is nearly all a desert, producing nothing but a little sage brush or grease wood.

By next express I will finish copying my diary, but in the meantime would remark, that the road from Cedar City to this place is a very good one about three streams requiring bridges.

Yours truly,


Mountain Democrat, The (Placerville, California) Feb 17,  1855

Mountain Democrat Advertisement 1854

*  *  *  *  *

Image from the Wells Fargo Guided By History blog, where they have two blog posts about Felix Tracy HERE and HERE.

Felix Tracy.
Sacramento & Shasta Cos.

The agent for Wells, Fargo & Co., at Sacramento, was born at Moscow, Livingston County, New York, March 19, 1829. Left New York for California March, 1849, arriving at San Francisco, September 18th of the same year, where he engaged in merchandising until 1850. He then went to the mines, working for a time on the North Fork of the American River; afterwards in the vicinity of Downieville.

In the Summer of 1850 when he entered the employee of Sam. W. Longton’s Express, as Messenger, between Marysville and Downieville, a position full of incident and adventure, a portion of the route being at times only passable by means of snow-shoes, employing and traveling in company with Indians. In June, 1852, he entered the service of Adams & Co. as Messenger between Shasta and Marysville; made one or more trips as Messenger to Portland, Oregon, and also a trip in the same capacity between San Francisco and New York City; upon his return from this trip he entered the San Francisco office as clerk, and shortly after was sent by the company to Salt Lake City to establish an express and stage line between Los Angeles and St. Louis. This was the first express ever carried into Utah Territory.

But in consequence of the failure of Adams & Co., in February, 1855, the enterprise was necessarily abandoned. Mr. Tracy, being left entirely without means by the failure of the company, was so fortunate as to secure the position of Clerk of Quartermaster’s Department under General Steptoe, then in command of the troops then stationed at Salt Lake, and so worked his passage back to California. Arriving in Shasta in July, 1855, he was appointed by the Pacific Express Company their agent at that place, then one of the most flourishing mining towns in this State. Upon the failure of this company, in the Summer of 1857, he entered the service of Wells, Fargo & Co., at Shasta, with which company he has remained until the present time, a period of nearly twenty-one years. Mr. Tracy took charge of the Sacramento office in March, 1868, and is probably the oldest expressman in California, having been engaged in this business, with less than three months’ interim, a period of nearly twenty-seven years.

While living in Shasta, Mr. Tracy served that county two terms as its Treasurer. In Sacramento he occupied the position of School Director for the city two terms, and for three years was President of the Board. Mr. Tracy is respected and trusted by all who have the pleasure of his acquaintance. He has long been a prominent leader in the Presbyterian Church, and last year went as delegated from this State to the General Assembly held at Chicago. Though modest and retiring, Mr. T. is a first-class businessman, and so recognize not only by the firm he has so long and faithfully served, but by all with whom he has done business during his long residence in California.


From the Sacramento Historical Society: (PDF LINK)

Evening Bee
Sacramento, June 12, 1902
TRACY – In this city, June 12, Felix Tracy, a native of New York, aged 72 years, 2 months ans 13 days.

Friends are respectfully invited to attend the funeral Saturday at 10 a.m. from the Fourteenth-Street Presbyterian Church, Fourteenth Street, between O and P. Interment private. Omit flowers.

Sacramento Evening Bee (Sacramento, CA)  Jun 12, 1902


Felix Tracy passed away at his home in this city to-day after a period of failing health of many months duration. Mr. Tracy was one of Sacramento’s most highly respected citizens.

Deceased was one of the oldest express agents in California, his service dating back to the 50s, when he was Wells, Fargo & Co.’s representative in Shasta. He was placed in several important positions by Wells, Fargo & Co, and finally sent to Sacramento, when this was the most important office in the State, it being the distributing point for all the best mining counties.

In those days, Wells, Fargo & Co. carried all the gold dust from the mines and returned the gold coin from the Mint to the miner. In this way they caught a percentage going and coming, and the Company grew to be a wealthy corporation.

It always, however, took good care of its faithful servants. Several years ago, Felix Tracy was tendered retirement on a handsome pension, and could have done so had he listened to the importunities of his employers. However he had quite a snug fortune of his own, and he remained “in the harness” until his physical condition compelled his retirement.

He was strictly temperate in his habits, and an active advocate of temperance in others. More than one young man was reclaimed through his influence. He was a member of the Presbyterian Church and a faithful attendant to its services. He was born in New York State seventy-three years ago. The funeral will take place from the Fourteenth-Street Presbyterian Church Saturday next at 10 a.m.



Well Known in Sacramento, She Was Typical Californian, Known for Deeds Mrs. Martha GARTER TRACY, wife of the late Felix Tracy and mother of Henry W. and Mary F. Tracy, died at the family home at 1706 P Street on Saturday evening.

Mrs. Tracy was an old-time resident of Sacramento, respected and honored wherever known. She was one of the typical women of the early days of California – splendid wives and mothers, to whom California owes as much as she does to the men pioneers. She was a woman of deep religious convictions, full of genuine kindness and charity, sympathetic at heart and keen in intellect. She was author of several excellent short stories, but found her greatest pleasure and devoted almost all of her time to her home.

A leader in the Presbyterian Church on this Coast for many years, she was widely known among the followers of that faith and held in the highest esteem.

With her brother, the late Judge Charles A. GARTER of Red Bluff, Mrs. Tracy came as Miss Garter to California in 1856, joining her father and mother, the late Judge GARTER and wife in Shasta, where Miss Garter was married to Felix Tracy, then connected with Wells, Fargo & Company. Later they came to Sacramento, where Mr. Tracy was the local Manager of Wells, Fargo & Company until his death in 1902.

Sacramento Bee  (Sacramento, CA) Feb 16, 1914


In the summer of 1857, Col. J. B. Crandall established a tri-weekly line of stages between Placerville and Genoa, and carried the “Carson Valley express,” which was managed by Theodore F. Tracy. E. W. Tracy was agent at Placerville, and Smith and Major Ormsby were agents at Genoa. In June of that year, T. F. Tracy, accompanied by J. B. Crandall, Mark Hopkins, J. H. Nevitt, Wm. M. Cary, John M. Dorsey, Theron Foster, C. A. Sumner, and K D. Keiser, passed over the route, and established the following stations between Placerville and Genoa, viz.: Sportman’s Hall, Brockliss Bridge, Silver Creek, and Cary’s Mill. This was called the “Pioneer Stage Line,” and connected at Genoa with the Chorpening wagons to Salt Lake.

Nevada Observer (LINK)

Death of Theodore F. Tracy

Felix Tracy, agent for Wells, Fargo & Co., in this city, received news this morning of the sudden death of his brother, Theodore F. Tracy, of San Francisco, a prominent Republican candidate for State Treasurer. In speaking of his candidacy the Oakland Tribune of a late date gave this brief sketch of him:

He was for nine years a Postoffice Inspector on this coast, and in that capacity acquitted himself with distinguished ability. In the course of his inspection tours throughout the State he made friends wherever he went, and, as a natural consequence, he will add strength to any ticket on which he may be nominated. In addition to his experience in the Postoffice Department he has had a thorough business training, and he held an important position under Wells, Fargo & Co. for many years. Mr. Tracy has resided in San Francisco for the past ten years, and before that was a resident of El Dorado county.

Sacramento Daily Bee (Sacramento, CA) Aug 18, 1886

Placerville: Miners, Bankers, and Runaway Hogs

April 15, 2010

Miners’ Meeting.

At a meeting of the miners of Smith’s Flat, on the evening of September 21st, 1854, E. Gage, Esq., was called to the chair, and T.M. White appointed secretary, and the following laws for the government of claims in Smith’s Flat District, were unanimously adopted.

Mining Laws of Smith’s Flat.

1. The boundaries of Smith’s Flat Mining District shall be as follows, viz:

Beginning at the south east corner of Negro Hill District, thence east until it strikes where the road running through Smith’s Ranch intersects the emigrant road East; thence south until it strikes the Coon Hollow ditch; thence west, along said ditch, until it strikes Spanish Hill District; thence north to the south line of Negro Hill District; thence east on said line to the place of beginning.

2. The size of mining claims shall be 50 by 100 yds.

3. Each miner may hold two claims — one by location and one by purchase, or both by purchase.

4. All claims must be recorded by a Recorder duly elected; and he shall receive one dollar for recording each claim. He shall set a permanent stake at each corner of each claim, and put a written notice on each, giving the name or names of the party or parties, having such claims recorded, with the number of the claim and time of recording, and shall file a duplicate of such notice in a book kept for the purpose. It shall be his duty, also, to record all claims that he may be requested to.

5. No claim shall be forfeited by not being worked between the first day of July and the first day of December; provided the owner of any claim shall notify the Recorder of his intention to work said claim before he leaves it.

6. Any person having a claim shall forfeit it, by neglecting to work it one whole day in every seven, between the 1st of December and the first of July following.

7. Any person having two claims may hold both, by working either, as above mentioned.

8. Any difficulty that may arise relative to mining interests, shall be referred to a jury of five miners; — four of them to be chosen by the parties, and the fifth by these four.

9. Any person having a claim that requires a tail race, shall have the privilege of cutting it through the claims adjoining it below, (provided, said cutting shall not interfere with the working of the same,) until he has obtained sufficient fall for all reasonable mining purposes. But he shall in no case permit his tailings to accumulate on the claims below, to the detriment of the working of said claims.

Hill Claims.

1. A tunnel claim shall be 150 feet front, and run to the centre of the hill.

2. A claim must be worked within ten days from the time at which it is taken up, and as often as one day in each week thereafter.

3. Two or more holding claims, may form a company to work any one of them, without being bound to work each of them.

4. Any miner or miners finding new diggings in this district, shall be entitled to one extra claim for each member of the company, on any vacant hill ground in the district.

5. Any tunnel company who shall have expended $200 upon notifying the recorder of their intention to leave their claim, shall not forfeit the same, provided, they resume operations within three months from the time of giving said notice.

Resolved, That the old code of laws be repealed, so far as they conflict with those now adopted.
Resolved, That the above be published in the Mountain Democrat.
Meeting adjourned.
E. GAGE, President.
T.M. WHITE, Sec.

Mountain Democrat, The (Placerville, California) Sep 30, 1854


Owing to the scarcity of water in many localities, mining is not carried on so actively as in the early part of the summer. But, where water is to be had, at Negro Hill, the Reservoir, and the various tunnels in the vicinity supplied by the South Fork Canal, and on the creeks and bars, the miners are making their usual good wages. Next month the South Fork Canal will be completed, and will afford an abundance of water. We may then look for an activity in mining operations, that has not been equaled in any portion of the State heretofore, during the dry season.

Mountain Democrat, The (Placerville, California) Jul 22, 1854

A Placerville Church (Image from

NEW CHURCH. — The enterprising citizens of Negro Hill have erected a fine church and school house at this point, which was dedicated to religious and educational purposes, on last Sunday evening, by Rev. G.B. Taylor.

Mountain Democrat, The (Placerville, California) Dec 23, 1854

Placerville - 1851 (Image from


“Let other poets raise a fracas
‘Bout vines an’ wines, an’ drunken Bacchus,
An’ crabbit names an’ stories wrack us,
An’ grale our lug,
I sing the juice Scot’s bear can mak us
In glass or jug.”

The above verse, as every body knows, is the beginning one of Robert Burns’ eulogy on “Scotch Drink;” the peculiar national beverage of his fatherland. The pride which animated him in the witty composition may have been different in [spirit], yet the same in kind with ours, in referring to the excellence and completeness of our street improvements. San Francisco, Stockton, and Sacramento have, for months, literally “grated our lug” ’bout piles, and planks, an’ pitfull sidewalks, while it has been equally the custom of visitors from either of those illustrious localities, to harp and carp about the alternate dust and mire of our mountain City.

In the future, however, for these croakers, “Othello’s occupation’s gone.” The principal streets of Placerville now present an appearance of substantial firmness not equalled in the State. Not of combustible or decaying boards — eternally wearing and shivering into yawning man-traps and requiring a perpetual re-taxation for repairs, — but deeply Macadamized with imperishable stone alike impervious to heat or cold. — The substratum is of stone blocks of considerable size, covered with gravel or small cobbles, which effectually fill up all the interstices, and render the surface smooth as a carpet.

You will not, O denizens of plank-bottomed towns, hope, therefore, any reciprocation from hitherward, of your melting records of fractured limbs or skulls insensate — the fruits of planking discrepancies.

Mountain Democrat, The (Placerville, California) Feb 3, 1855



OWNERS of hogs within the city limits, are hereby notified that the City Pound had been moved to the alley in the rear of the Station House; and that sales of hogs that may be impounded, will take place every Saturday, at 11 o’clock A.M. — commencing on Saturday, the 3d day of March.

RENICK CONE, Pound Master.
City of Placerville, Feb. 24, 1855

Mountain Democrat, The (Placerville, California) Feb 24, 1855

From the Town Talk.

A Node to a Bank.

Oh, Bank, grate malstrom for koin!
How yew swaller up things. What
A maw yew hev got for Bull-Lion.
And when yu hev filled yourself chock
Full how yew luv to bust up
And brake things.

Yew grate malstrom for koin!
Grate bank! What air you good for
Eny how, yew overgrown cirtter, but
To chaw up all a feller has got
and then larf into his face and sa,
“Oncet I had koin but now eye’m
Bust and can’t do nothink!”

Grate malstrom for koin!
Yew are a ga deceiver — yew fell
Into a feller’s pocket for speshe and
Tickle him up ’bout keepin it safe
Wen you knowd yew warnt
Safe enny how. You’ve played H-ll.

Grate malstrom fur koin!
How du yew feel now, yew old buster?
Yew hev dun it — yew hev
Put your foot into it and
Yew hev split menny hopes.
Where do you Xpect to go tu,
Yew old buster? Hev yew
Kicked up sich a dust that
Yew can’t tell what its all
About? Hev yew?
You nasty, vile malstrom fur koin?


Mountain Democrat, The (Placerville, California) Mar 31, 1855

From the Mountain Democrat

Part 2


Auburn Ravine (Image from


One day last week three miners in prospecting a ravine emptying into the South Fork, opposite the mouth of White Rock Canon, took out a lump weighing twelve ounces besides other gold, amounting in all to near sixteen ounces, and have been making good wages since.

Would it not be a good idea in some of those who are lying around the taverns doing nothing, to start out with a pick and shovel and try their luck a little further in the ravines hereabouts?

There are many hillsides that have not been prospected at all, which, perhaps, are richer than any that have yet been opened in our vicinity. No miner is “hard up” long at a time who is industrious and persevering. Dame Fortune, like the rest of her sex, is capricious; and if she frown, to-day may relent to-morrow; and is sure to reward, with her choicest favors, continued exertion.

“Better luck next time” must be the miners motto if he would succeed; he must [keep at work] if he would make money. We were once a miner ourselves and know from experience, that loafing is a poor way to strike good diggings, and that playing seven up for the whisky won’t pay board bills.

Mountain Democrat, The (Placerville, California) Apr 22, 1854

Sam: The Ruling Spirit of America

April 15, 2010

“Who is Sam?”

He is the worthy son of old granny FEDERALISM, whose history is recorded in the alien and sedition laws, and such other kindred measures of government, as her ardent worshippers labored to perpetuate as best adapted to keep in check the impertinent spirit of republicanism, which was manifest in this country at an early day, and to promote which the republican or democratic party labored hard, and triumphantly.

“Sam” is now nearly forty-one years of age, having been born at Hartford, Connecticut, in the first “Know Nothing lodge” ever created in this country, in the fall of 1814. The “lodge” was held in session for three weeks, and no outsider knew what was going on within. Finally the doors were thrown open, and it was proclaimed that a new ruler was born, and the principles of his code were proscription of the South; and vengeance on foreign-born citizens, viz: Representation according to free population, and entire prohibition of foreign-born citizens from voice or place, in any degree, in the administration of the affairs of government; which, interpreted, means abolitionism in its Yankee form, and repeal of all naturalization laws.

“Sam,” at his birth, was an ill-looking, unpromising little creature, almost an abortion — so much so, indeed, that his parents and godfathers were ashamed to have him christened in public, and it is believed that the ceremony was not performed until 1854, when the “lodge” again secretly met, and, after great deliberation, it was decided to have the ceremony performed at midnight, and announced “Sam” as the ruling spirit of America, and he issued his bull accordingly, proclaiming that “Americans should rule America.”

Mountain Democrat, The (Placerville, California) Jul 21, 1855

From Those Left Behind

April 14, 2010

Image from The Adventures of a Forty-Niner: An Historic Description of California
Author:   Daniel Knower
Publisher:   Weed-Parsons printing co., 1894 – (Google book LINK)


From the Florence (Ala.) Gazette.

To an Absent Brother.


Brother, thou art far away, in California’s land,
Long years ago, with trembling heart, I clasped they parting hand,
A tear was in thy drooping eye, and sparkled as it fell
Upon the sod beneath us, as you breathed a long farewell.

Oh! sad indeed the parting hour, from childhood’s home that day,
When the language of each tear-gemmed eye, was God be on thy way —
I stood beneath the dim old trees, on that sad parting morn,
Until the cool winds kissed my brow and whispered — he is gone.

The birds sang sweetly as before, their songs were naught to me,
I heard their wild notes o’er and o’er, but only thought of thee —
The wildwood where we loved to roam, the pleasant forest shade,
Looked desolate without the light, affection’s smile had made.

Oh! do you still recall as I, each beauteous moon-light night,
We sat upon the old oak steps, and talked of visions bright?
Those treasured step are not there now, but oh! I love them still,
For there so oft your dulcet flute, you touched with magic skill.

The school house of your early years, stands in the same old grove,
But college boys now ramble through the paths you loved to rove —
The same old trees are standing there, beneath whose pleasant shade,
You rambled with some valued friend, or at some dear game played.

But the playmates of those hours, you ask me where are they?
Oh! some have at the altar stood, and some are far away —
And many dear young friends of thine, sweet dreams that now are not,
Have left us in their bright spring time, and sleep in some green spot.

Oh! leave that El Dorado, the land to all so bright,
And come once more to loved ones, who’ll greet thee with delight —
Our hearts would all be wild with joy, to see thee once more here,
Then come to Woodlawn’s lovely shade, my absent brother, dear.

Woodlawn, February 26, 1855.

Mountain Democrat, The (Placerville, California) May 19, 1855

Image from The Forty-Niners: A Chronicle of the California Trail and El Dorado
Volume 25 of Chronicles of America series
Author:   Stewart Edward White
Publisher:   Yale University Press, 1921 (Google book LINK)




You’ve learn’d, ere this, that home is not
In distant lands, where gold is got;
That it is not, where day by day,
You wear your busy hours away;
Nor yet, indeed, where lonely night
Prepares you for the toils of might;
‘Tis hope, and joy, and mem’ry give
A home in which a heart can live.
‘Tis where friends are, is home to thee,
And home, without them, cannot be.

Look round the room where now you stay,
And think of friends who’re far away;
Those walls no ling’ring hopes endear —
No fond remembrance chains you there —
And though you try, while yet you roam,
To find, in wildest haunts, a home,
You’ll soon behold, though not too soon,
That ‘way from friends, you seem alone —
That where friends are, is home to thee,
And home, without them, cannot be.

And if you strive, in halls of state,
Home joys to find, with heart elate,
Defeated hopes will break the spell,
And cause your heart in gloom to swell,
And then will you the truth behold,
That home is neverr bought with gold —
That stately halls, or valued cot,
Is ne’er a home where friends are not.
But where friends are, is home to thee,
And home, without them, cannot be.

And here a truth we might unfold,
Which poets, yet, have never told;
The wand’rer’s home is ne’er complete —
The exile’s a lone retreat —
The sailor’s on the widened main —
The warrior’s on the tented plain —
The maiden’s in her bower of rest —
The infant’s on its mother’s breast —
Yet, where friends are, is home to thee,
And home, without them, cannot be.

There is no home in halls of pride;
They are too high, and cold, and wide;
No home is by the wand’rer found —
‘Tis not in place — it hath no bound.
True home’s a circling atmosphere,
Investing all the heart holds dear —
A law of strange attractive force,
That holds the feelings in their course;
Hence, where friends are, is home to thee,
And home, without them, cannot be.

Oh! who’ll deny that home’s a place,
Where hope and joy find kind embrace?
Where kindred all, with other friends,
With warmest hearts their love extends?
That ’tis a place quite undefined,
O’ershadowing each conscious mind —
Where love and beauty sweetly blend,
To consecrate the name of friend?
That where friends are, is home to thee,
And home, without the, cannot be.

Wabash, January 1862.

The Golden Era (San Francisco, California) Mar 16, 1862