Posts Tagged ‘1887’

Sarah Winnemucca: An Indian Princess

April 2, 2012


Miss Sarah Winnemucca recently passed through Carson, Nevada, on her way to Virginia City. This notable woman is commonly reputed to be the daughter of the old war chief of the Piutes, but this statement is denied, and it is represented that she was born of Digger parents somewhere in the foothills of the Sacramento Valley, and was educated by “The Sisters” at their Catholic academy in Marysville. Still the fact remains that she is enough versed in the Piute tongue to be able to talk fluently with the people of the tribe, for whom she had frequently acted as an interpreter. She is popularly regarded as the virgin queen of the Piutes; is a plain little woman, pretty dark; dresses like an American female, of rustic habits and modest pretensions; and talks English without any perceptible accent. She is a capable person, and reads our language and expresses herself in writing quite correctly, and with considerable force of expression. We have also heard of her writing poetry. As a reputed princess of the Piute blood royal she is a famous character. — [Carson, Nevada, Appeal.

The Fitchburg Sentinel (Fitchburg, Massachusetts) Aug 2, 1873


A Letter From Her Highness to Chief Naches.

[Winnemucca Silver State.]

Naches, Chief of the Piutes, has received a letter from Sarah Winnemucca, the Piute Queen, now at Fort Simcoe, Washington Territory. She says she is well and doing well, and is now teaching a school among her people, which sixty of them, and sometimes more, attend. They have cleared about 70 acres of land and put in quite a crop of corn and potatoes. Lee Winnemucca is working for the agent at Simcoe Reservation, and Mattie, her niece, who accompanied her through the war last Summer, is dead. Twenty-one of the Piutes, who were taken to Simcoe last Winter have died, and there are quite a number of others on the sick list, many of whom are not expected to live. Those of the tribe who were taken to Vancouver as prisoners of war, she has not heard from, and she does not know what is going to be done with them. Princess Sally hankers for pine nuts, and wants Naches to send her as many of them as he can. She cannot tell when, if ever, she and her people are coming back, as they cannot leave without orders from Washington to that effect.

Daily Nevada State Journal (Reno, Nevada) Jul 17, 1879

Sarah’s Challenge.

The following is said to be a literal copy of Sarah Winnemucca’s challenge to the editor of the Silver State:

Your statement that I am a drunkard is an infernal lie, and you knew it was false when you wrote it. If you are anything of a man you will meet me and give me satisfaction. I will cram the lie down your throat at the point of a bowie knife. An early answer will oblige.


Reno Evening Gazette (Reno, Nevada) Feb 24, 1880

Image from dragonflydesigns – Ancient Voices

Married a California Princess.

SAN FRANCISCO, December 8. — The princess of the Piute Indians of Nevada, commonly called Sarah Winnemucca, was married last night at the Russ house, in this city, to L.H. Hopkins, an ex-soldier of the United States army, who arrived here from Arizona on November 3. The bridegroom informed a reporter that as far back as 1879, during the Bannock campaign, he first met the princess, and was smitten with her charms. Since then mutual feeling has inspired them and, an opportunity presenting itself, they resolved never to be separated again. Dr. Beers was the officiating minister. Princess Winnemucca Hopkins and Mr. Hopkins will take their departure for the east at an early date. The princess is well known on this coast. She has lived mainly in Carson, Nev., with her father, the old Chief Winnemucca, who died a few months ago. She is a bright girl, has a good English education, and looks more like a Mexican girl than Indian. She has regular features and dresses fairly. She is a great advocate of education and has lectured in this and other cities on the wrongs of her tribe.

The Atlanta Constitution (Atlanta, Georgia) Dec 9, 1881

Image from Fort Tours


The Princess Winnemucca Before the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs.

WASHINGTON, April 22. — The Princess Sarah Winnemucca, of the Piute tribe of Indians, was before the senate committee on Indian affairs to-day, pleading for a setting apart of a reservation for her tribe. She was accompanied by a delegation of ladies and gentlemen from Baltimore. The Indian woman spoke in good English, emphasizing her remarks with graceful gestures. As she depicted the griefs of her people, she was frequently moved to tears. She said her tribe was scattered, that they had been driven from place to place, “Two winters ago,” she continued, “while being driven from one point old men and children were frozen to death. She also said that the Indian agents had deprived the tribe of the stores provided for them by the government. The Piutes are located in Nevada. The princess asked that camp McDermott be set apart for them.

The Atlanta Constitution ( Atlanta, Georgia) Apr 23, 1884

Google Book link – Read Online

An Indian Tale.

Life Among the Piutes,” is the title of a new book just published in the East, the authorship of which is accredited to Sarah Winnemucca, the Piute princess. In the introductory chapter the reputed authoress informs the reader that “I was born sometime about the year 1844. My grandfather, Winnemucca, was then camped at Humboldt Lake with others of his tribe. It was about that time that a party of white men returning from California, was seen approaching our camp,” etc., etc.

The book is said to be full of thrilling incidents in the life of the dusky heroine, (which of course never happened.) It tells all about the capture of Sallie and her brother by the whites and how they were taken to California and educated; how they rejoined the tribe as soon as liberated; how in after years they labored to keep peace between the whites and Indians; how the heroine wrestled with her people to make christians out of them, and to prevent them from becoming victims to King alcohol and other besetting sins forever thrown in their way by conscienceless white men, and all that sort of thing. One or two heart rending love stories, in which the authoress plays a conspicuous part, are also woven in to give spice to the narrative. All of which, no doubt, will be entertaining to people in the East who know the Indian and his mode of life simply through pictures drawn in fancy by Cooper and other blood and thunder novelists, but to those who have lived in Nevada a quarter of a century and are somewhat familiar with the Piute tribe and the career of this dusky heroine, whatever interest the book may contain will be from another and very different standpoint.

Weekly Nevada State Journal (Reno, Nevada) May 3, 1884

Daily Nevada State Journal (Reno, Nevada) Sep 7, 1884


They do Not Want to Go to Pyramid Reservation, and No Room For Them There if They Did.

The Silver State says:

Leggins’ band of Piutes, who remained peaceable during the Bannock war, were treated upon the cessation of hostilities exactly the same as the captured hostiles. By order of the Indian Bureau, they were taken under military escort from Fort McDermit, by way of Camp Harney, where they were joined by the hostiles, to Yakima, Washington Territory. Naches and Sarah Winnemucca went from here to Washington to intercede for Leggins’ band, and upon the representation of General Howard and other military officers, who were in the campaign against the Bannocks, and who knew that Leggins’ band was not on the warpath, the Secretary of the Interior promised Naches that the exiled Piutes should be permitted to return to their own country, and that they should be furnished a military escort through Oregon. Owing to opposition of the Indian Bureau and a change in the Cabinet, this promise was not fulfilled, although the Indians expected it would be; and after patiently waiting nearly three years, they made their escape from Yakima, crossed the Columbia river, and evading as far as possible the settlements in Oregon, finally reached their native hunting grounds, near Fort McDermit, almost naked and starving. During the intensely cold weather tow years ago, they suffered from hunger, as they had been on the road from Yakima all Summer, and had it not been for the military and settlers, many of them would have starved to death. The Legislature of 1883 asked Congress to provide for their immediate wants, and Congressman Cassidy succeeded in getting $5,000 appropriated to purchase food and clothing for them. About $1,000 of that amount was expended under the direction of the military at McDermit for their benefit, and possible the Indian Bureau may be able to account for the balance of it, though the Indians derived no benefit from it. Subsequently an appropriation was made to be expended in removing Leggins and his band to some reservation. A week ago, E.C. Ellet, a special Indian Commissioner, arrived from the East at McDermit to arrange for removing the Indians. He held a council with the head men of Leggins’ band, and they protested against being taken away from the land of their birth, stating that as their young men could work for the settlers herding cattle, etc., and hunt deer and other game, they preferred to remain, but expressed the hope that the Government would provide, during the Winter months at least, for the old and decrepid of the band, through the military, who always befriended friendly Indians. Commissioner Ellet, accompanied by Lieutenant Colville P. Terrett, then went to the Pyramid Reservation to see what provision, if any, had been made for the northern Indians, and if there was sufficient arable land there to accommodate them. We learn that they found that the lands which the northern Indians would have to occupy on the reservation are not susceptible of cultivation; that the best lands along the Truckee for eight or nine miles below Wadsworth are occupied by white squatters, who have good fences, and comfortable houses; and that Winnemucca Lake, which the Indians claim was originally included in the reservation, is now a resort for Chinese fishermen. They also ascertained that the supplies furnished the reservation were not sufficient for the want of the Indians now there, and that Leggins’ band would have to support themselves or starve if removed there. Commissioner Ellet, after due consultation with Agent Gibson at the reservation, did not hesitate to say that he would recommend the removal of the squatters from the Reservation, but even if that is accomplished there will not be room there for Leggins’ band, the old and feeble of whom, in his opinion, should be provided for where they are.

Daily Nevada State Journal (Reno, Nevada) Dec 11, 1884


Her Story of the Wrongs of Her People and False Charges of Dishonesty Against Indian Agent Gibson.

Sarah Winnemucca is the champion light-weight of the season, as will appear from a perusal of the following interview taken from the San Francisco Call of the 22d:

When old Winnemucca, the chief of the Piute Indians, died, he committed the interests of his people to his daughter Sarah. It was one of the most sagacious actions in the old man’s life. From that day to this Sarah Winnemucca has been the tireless friend of her people. She has brought to her work a fine mind, a generous nature, a fair education and indomitable energy. The first book written in the English language by an Indian is her vivid narrative of the wrongs of the Piutes and her eloquent appeal for justice for her people. In the history of the Indians she and Pocahontas will be the principal female characters, and her singular devotion to her race will no doubt be chronicled as an illustration of the better traits of the Indian character.

Sarah Winnemucca first spoke to a white audience several years ago in this city. The years that have intervened have been spent by her in addressing audiences in the East, relating to them the sad history of her tribe, and appealing to them to aid her people in their destitution. She has returned to San Francisco again. A Call reporter called upon her yesterday to inquire what the condition of her tribe was and what she proposed to do for them.


“My people are famishing in the snow about Pyramid Lake, in Nevada,” she said sadly. “They are utterly destitute. My brother Natchez, the chief of the Piutes since the death of Winnemucca, my father, has only pine nuts to eat, and the speckled trout he catches in the lake. If he had not foreseen the need of the Winter last Summer, when he went into the mountains for the nuts, he would have had nothing. The Piutes are on the verge of starvation. They are growing weaker and weaker every day for want of food. They have been driven like wild beasts from place to place, and forced back from the meadows and the banks of rivers and streams into the mountains that are barren and wholly destitute of game.”

As Sarah Winnemucca, in these brief words, painted the destitute condition of her tribe, she expressed in her intelligent face the sorrow and indignation she felt. She is a woman slightly apast 40, with a heavy, yet shapely figure. Her face is exceedingly intelligent. She has strong jaws, with a delicate mouth, and cheek bones that are not so prominent as is usual in Indian faces. Her forehead is rather low, but broad, and her eyes are large and expressive. Her glossy black hair was gathered in a Grecian coil at the back, which showed the outline of her shapely head. She has easy command of colloquial English, and frequently expresses herself forcibly and eloquently.

“The Piutes are now on the reservation about Pyramid Lake,” she continued. “They number about 7,000 in all. It has been falsely said that the Pyramid Lake Reservation is rich in game and good lands. That was the representation made to the authorities at Washington when we were driven from the Malhuer Reservation. General Sheridan asked me, a short time ago, if our reservation did not afford us a good living. I told him that high bleak hills that only a goat could safely climb rose out of the water all around the lake; that the only arable lands were four acres on the river. He seemed astonished at the revelation, for he feels very kindly toward my people.”


“How do your people live?” asked the reporter.

“Ah, that is a sad story, It is a wonder that they do live at all. They would all surely have perished long ago if their life-long experience with hardship had not inured them to scant food and exposure to cold. It is snowing now, doubtless, on their reservation, the lake and river are full of ice, yet they have no shelter except the wigwams, made of reeds and tule, no clothing save the bit of calico or blanket that they have picked up. Some of the young men herd cattle in Summer or work on farms near the reservation, and in that way they get a little money to buy blankets for the Winter; but they are the fortunate few. The rest have little to protect them from the cold.”

“What have they for food now?” inquired the reporter.

“Pine nuts, fish and rabbits. The latter is the only game on the whole reservation, and you may imagine how quickly they will disappear when hunted by 7,000 starving Indians.”

“Has no appropriation been made by the Government for the support of the Piutes?”

“My people do not belong to that class of Indians who are regularly provided for by the Government. At the last session of Congress Senator Dawes, of Massachusetts, secured an appropriation of $17,000 for the support of the Winnemucca tribe and Leggin’s band during this Winter, but not a cent of it has yet been spent for us, and I am afraid that it will never get farther than the hands of the rascally agents, who steal all they can get. My people are suffering for it now.”


“Who is the Indian agent at your reservation?” asked the reporter.

“One Bill Gibson,” she replied with scorn. “He has employed all his relations in positions provided for by the Government, such as teachers, carpenters, blacksmiths and farmers. But they never do anything for the Indians. They live in idleness and draw their salaries regularly. The carpenter has not driven a nail for months; the teachers have never given a lesson; the blacksmith rarely lights a fire in his forge, and the farmer plows only for the white people. If a conspiracy were formed by the most cunning men to desert and neglect the Indians on our reservation, it could not succeed better than the selfish policy of Bill Gibson, the agent, and his hungry relations. Not a cent of the $17,000 which was appropriated for the support of the Piutes has been spent for us. Where it has been side-tracked on its journey from Washington I do not know.”

“Don’t the Indians sell fish and get money that way?”

“Yes; but they are robbed of that too. They are allowed to trade only with the settlers of the reservation. They but their fish at 5 or 6 cents a pound and sell it for 15 to 18 cents. My people don’t understand weighing either. They bring in a load of fish and the settler goes through the form of putting them on the scales and then tosses the Indian a silver dollar or two and goes off satisfied. Everyone connected with the agency is wholly devoid of conscience. They are there to get rich. There are people there who steal everything that the Government sends to us. They steal everything that the Indians own, and they run their cattle on our reservation, driving ours and the game off. It is a wretched state of affairs.”

“Are your people willing to become farmers?” asked the reporter.

“Yes, indeed, if they had but a chance. They are not a roaming, shiftless, lazy people. They want to work in the Summer they take it eagerly. If we could only get a start in agriculture, if we could only get arable land, we could take care of ourselves, but we have been driven from good land to worse, till now we are on about as bleak and barren a spot as there is in the whole state of Nevada.”

Nevada State Journal (Reno, Nevada) Jan 25, 1885

Image from the National Park Service

Wants Protection.

Sarah Winnemucca writes the Silver State from Lovelock, complaining about the destruction of the Indians’ crops by the cattle and hogs belonging to white people, and asks if there is no law for the protection of the Piutes’ crops.

Reno Evening Gazette (Reno, Nevada) Dec 4, 1886

Image from A Landing A Day

An Indian Industrial School.

A Lovelock correspondent, under date of the 1st instant, writes to the [Silver State] as follows: “Princess Sarah Winnemucca goes East to agitate the matter of getting aid for building an industrial school on Chief Naches farm at Lovelock. Naches offers to donate a 40-acre tract for that purpose. The Princess will canvass among her eastern friends for their support and influence in trying to get Government aid towards the building of such an institution. There are some 400 Indian children within the country to be educated, and Sarah believes in educating them at home. She says it is all nonsense about the Indian children’s features changing when taken from home to be educated, as some papers go so far as to say, and that their features always remain as God made them. They learn rapidly at almost any school under proper treatment, but the right place to teach them is at home in their own State amid the surroundings of their childhood, with their parents, not among strangers in some distant land. Experience has taught her what her young people need, and the Government should make an appropriation and place her at the head of an Indian industrial school. So far she has conducted her school here without Government aid, having received assistance from her eastern friends, among them that grand old lady — Miss Peabody.”

Reno Evening Gazette (Reno, Nevada) Jun 4, 1887

Superintendent W.I. Davis, of the Grand Junction School, with several Indian pupils, will leave here to-morrow morning for home. He expected to take with him at least forty recruits for his excellent school. He would have done so had not Piute Natchez, and his lovely relative the far-famed Princess Sarah Winnemucca, interposed a veto. This latter idolized friend of Mrs. Horace Mann and Miss Peabody can shed crocodile tears over the misfortunes and lamentable ignorance of “my people,” but now that the opportunity offers this “patron of learning” shows her hand. She is soon to go East to collect money to educate “my people,” but she protests against the Government educating them. She dislikes the Government and the dislike is mutual. Her dislike to the Government is her objection to “my people” being educated at the Government’s expense. If Sarah could handle the Government’s money as she does that of the misguided religious enthusiast there would never be a whisper by her against the Government educating the Piute people to which, unfortunately for them, she is a member.

Reno Evening Gazette (Reno, Nevada) Jun 7, 1887

PDF Link  Newspaper article:  Johnson Sides == “United States Peacemaker”

Combatting Superstition.

Princess Sarah Winnemucca came in from Humboldt last evening and had a long talk with Johnson Sides and other Piutes relative to the fraudulent prophet of Walker River, who is telling the Indians of that locality that the braves of former ages are soon to reappear on the earth to destroy all Indians who have adopted the habits of white people. Sarah and all the better informed of her tribe do not believe in any such foolishness.

Reno Evening Gazette (Reno, Nevada) Mar 25, 1889

Sarah Winnemucca, the Indian princess who attended Wellesley college, and under the nom de plume of “Bright Eyes” has written several frontier stories, is now teaching an Indian school of her own. She reports that she has fifteen or sixteen pupils, and is getting along nicely.

Daily Nevada State Journal (Reno, Nevada) Apr 16, 1889


They Want Tuscarora Jake to Stretch Hemp.

A council of Shoshone Indian braves was held at Elko last week. Tuscarora Jake, the Indian thug, is in jail for the murder of two members of his tribe. The relatives and friends of Jake offered to give the relatives of the murdered men a certain number of ponies, blankets and money if they would consent to have him set at liberty, and to put up a number of ponies as indemnity for the future good behavior of Jake.

The relatives of the murdered men refused the offer, and said that Jake ought to be hanged, as he not only killed members of his own tribe, but a Chinaman also, for which another and an innocent Indian was sent to State Prison. The head men of the tribe concluded that Jake should be punished as an example and a warning to Indians who are disposed, while drunk, to murder members of their own tribe or others who happen in their way. They think Jake is guilty of a cold-blooded murder and ought to be publicly hanged, so that Indians and whites could see him die. Sarah Winnemucca and Nachez attended the council.

Weekly Gazette Stockman (Reno, Nevada) Oct 10, 1889


Colonel Frank Parker Tells How She Once Saved His Life.

Princess Sarah Winnemucca, who died recently in Montana, was a remarkable woman in many respects, and a prominent feature in the Indian relations of the Pacific Coast for the past quarter of a century. She had but one idea, and that was the civilization of her people. She was the daughter of old Chief Winnemucca, of the great Piute tribe, which included the Bannocks, Sheep-eaters, Weisers, Malheurs and the Snake River Indians, who committed so many depredations in early days in Oregon and Idaho. Winnemucca and her whole family were ever true to the whites, and so far as their jurisdiction extended forced their tribes to peace. Colonel Frank J. Parker, editor of the Walla Walla Statesman, tell how she saved his life and that of his companions in the Malheur country in the spring of 1878:

Sarah was then on her way to the Malheur reservation in the vain endeavor to prevent the reservation Indians there from going on the warpath with Buffalo Horn. One night one of the horses of her team got away, and to help her out we loaned a young fellow, who was along with her, one of our horses to hunt the lost one. Charles Robinson of this city and a boy were along with us at the time, and for the help we rendered her we always gave credit for saving our little company from being killed. The Indians had already donned their war paint and we were in their midst. The very day we arrived on the reservation everything was looking dark. Sarah was all the time in consultation with Chief Egan, and sent for us. Going to her wickiup, she introduced Eagan, and intimated that we had better get, and stand not upon the order of getting. As we only had one gun among our crowd, the advice was taken.

After this Sarah joined Howard‘s outfit, and followed him throughout the Bannock campaign as a guide and a possible interpreter in case of a desire to surrender on the part of the hostiles. When the war ended she was in great demand by the Interior Department authorities, and did good work in having the remnants of her tribe removed to various other reservations where they could do no mischief. She was the only Indian on this coast who ever took any prominent part in settling the Indian question, and as such her memory should be respected.

Col. Parker could not have known old Winnemucca very well, for a more treacherous wretch never lived.

Reno Evening Gazette (Reno, Nevada) Nov 20, 1891

We called her Sarah Winnemucca, of the mint family? Well, Toc-me-to- which means shell-flower. Have you ever seen these flowers growing in an old garden among their many cousins of the mint family? Well, Tocme-to-ne loved them of all flowers best, for was she not herself a shell-flower?

Her people were Piute Indians, and they lived in every part of what is now the great state of Nevada.

Toc-me-to-ne had a flower name, so she was followed to take part in the children’s flower festival, when all the little girls dance and sing, holding hands and making believe that they are the very flowers for which they are named. They wear their own flowers, too, and after they have sung together for a while one will dance off on the grass by herself while all the boys and girls look on and she sings:

I am a daisy gold and white
Somebody catch me — me!

The grown-up people watch, too, as their children play, and Toc-me-to ne was never happier than when, light as a bird, she danced and sang her shellflower song:

See me – see me, a beautiful flower,
Give me a hand and a dance.

Then after the plays and dancing the children had all sorts of good things to eat, and the flower festival was over for a year.

Only three times did Toc-me-to-ne take part in the flower festival, for when she was quite a little girl, her grandfather, Chief Winnemucca, took his family and went to live in California, and when they came back she was almost grown up.

Her grandfather was very fond of her, and called her sweetheart, so she was sad and lonesome indeed when he left her and went to the Happy Spirit Land; but she did not forget his last words to her before he went. “Sweetheart,” he said, “do not forget my white brothers; be kind to them and they will be kind to you and teach you many things.”

In California the old chief gave to grandchildren new names — Natchez, Lee, Mary and Sarah, and Sarah learned to speak fairly good English. Later, when she came to Pyramid lake, she played with Mr. Ormsby’s children and learned to speak better English. Besides this Mrs. Ormsby taught her to cook and sew and to do housework.

When Sarah was fifteen years old she made the long 500-mile journey to California once more with her brother and sister and her grandmother. Her brothers took care of cattle for good Mr. Scott, who had known and loved Chief Winnemucca, and he gave them good wages, several fine horses, and two ponies for Sarah and Mary to ride. The sisters had always ridden bareback like Indian men, but when Christmas came Sarah was surprised to find a beautiful Mexican side-saddle from her brother Lee, and she learned to ride like the white ladies, and was very proud and happy.

Now the Piutes always would wander about. They lived by hunting and fishing, not by farming, so they moved from place to place wherever there was game. When they were in the mountains rough white settlers came to Pyramid lake and caught almost all of the fish with nets, so that there were no fish when the Indians returned. This made the Indians angry, and so trouble began. All this time Sarah was in California. Her father, Chief Winnemucca Second, and her mother were in Nevada, and she often heard good news from them, but one spring when she was seventeen years old two Indians came bringing the news from her father that he was in the mountains and wanted all his children to come to him, but especially Sarah.

Starting on their ponies they began the journey, riding beside the wagon where the grandmother rode. It took twenty-five days to reach Carson City, but here their father and mother met them, and next day all went to see Gov. Nye, whom Sarah told in English what her father, the chief, wanted to say.

Gov. Nye was very jolly and good, and when he knew how things really were he told the white settlers not to interfere with the Indians, and sent soldiers from the fort to drive the rough men away; so Gov. Nye and Chief Winnemucca became good friends, as they never could have been but for little Toc-me-to-ne and her bright interpretations.

For the next year Sarah talked both Piute and English, and settled many little troubles. She was called friend both by the Indians and soldiers, and her father and she thought often of old Chief Winnemucca’s words and kept peace with their white brothers.

New Oxford Item (New Oxford, Pennsylvania) Nov 5, 1908

Image from Nephilim Skulls International

Seek to clarify Indian myth about tribe of cannibal giants

Associated Press Writer

LOVELOCK, Nev. (AP) — Times are tough for the legendary red-haired cannibal giants whose alleged existence here centuries ago has been debated for nearly 100 years.

Scientists have said there’s no proof the “giants” first described in old Indian tales were cannibals. Chemical staining by earth after burial was advanced as a likely reason why mummified remains have red hair instead of black like most Indians in the area.

Now a new study under way at the University of Nevada indicates the “giants” were about six feet tall, and not up to 10 feet tall as had been claimed.
What’s left is evidence of a tribe separate from principal tribes whose Paiute descendants live here — perhaps a wandering, more aggressive but outnumbered band finally hunted down and killed or chased off.

Anthropologists say the story, while somewhat tamer, is still fascinating. But they concede the old myth has more appeal and, no matter what they say, will probably persist.

Don Tuohy, curator of anthropology at Nevada State Museum, says he’s confident the “giant” myth is about to be debunked. He asked for the latest study after a bundle of “giant” bones were found in a long-overlooked cabinet at the Nevada Historical Society building in Reno.

But Tuohy says the old tale will probably live on.

Dr. Sheilagh Brooks, chairwoman of the anthropology department at UN-La Vegas, is now analyzing the bones which apparently came from the Lovelock Cave, a nearby treasure trove for scientists trying to reconstruct Nevada’s early history.

Dr. Brooks says her initial investigation shows some of the bones were from cows, not giants. The human bones appear to be remains of Indians “maybe six feet tall — big, but not that big,” she says.

The myth was written down in 1883 by Sarah Winnemucca Hopkins, daughter of a Piaute Indian chief. She told of a strange, red-haired tribe of cannibals her ancestors drove into a cave and suffocated by lighting a fire at its entrance.

She said the “people eaters” were so fierce they would leap into the air, snatch arrows whizzing over their heads, and shoot them back at the Piaute attackers.

John T. Reid, a Lovelock, mining engineer, said Indians took him to the cave in 1886 and told him the same tale. But when he entered the cave he found nothing but tons of bat guano.

Reid was unsuccessful in getting an archeological dig started immediately. But miners realizing the value of guano as fertilizer started hauling it out in 1911. They promptly turned up bones, baskets, weapons, tools, duck decoys, various other artifacts and what they described as a 6-foot-8 red-haired mummy.

That spurred the first archeological dig in 1912. A second dig took place in 1924. Thousands of artifacts and about 60 average-height mummies were recovered. More studies followed, including radio-carbon dating which showed the cave was occupied from about 2,000 BC to about 900 AD.

Daily Leader (Pontiac, Illinois) Oct 4, 1976

Dorothea L. Dix – Worked to Alleviate the Sufferings of Humanity

February 10, 2012

Miss Dorothea L. Dix.
[From the Galaxy, March 15.]

Who is Miss Dix? The name has, for over a quarter of a century, been a household word in our land, as a symbol of philanthropy, of unselfish heroic devotion in alleviating the sufferings of humanity. Yet how little does the public know of her personality, her habits, where she was born, or where she resides. Like Shakespeare, she has lost her individuality in the greatness of her work. Her presence is felt but not perceived, just as a single grain of subtle perfume fills a whole room, but is itself unseen.  Still, Miss Dix is no myth, but only a flesh and blood marvel.

When her achievements are stated in the aggregate they suggest miraculous power, but are in fact, a practical illustration of what one woman can do in thirty years, when inspired by a noble purpose, and working unceasingly for the good of the race.

She has been instrumental in establishing thirty-two public hospitals for the insane: one in Rome, one in Dalmatia, one on the Isle of Jersep, one in Nova Scotia, one in New Foundland, and the remainder chiefly in our own country. With the episode of four years and a half of service in the military hospitals during the rebellion, this stupendous labor constitutes the story of her life. Her career as a philanthropist is all that the world has any right to know, and yet, apart from all vulgar curiosity, it feels a natural desire to learn something of the personnel of this angel of mercy. Her carte de visite is seen in none of the shops, few people seem to have met her, and the sketch given of her in the American Encyclopedia is very incorrect, was written by one who never saw her, and even mistakes the place of her birth.

Boston is the city of her nativity. Her grandfather was a physician, but her father, owing to delicate health, never adopted a profession. General John A. Dix in not, as is often stated in the papers, her brother, but is a near blood relative.

Miss Dorothea L. Dix was once a young lady of the American Athens, in affluent circumstances, and, like a thousand others, in a situation to lead a life of aimless ease. Like Jno. Howard, she had, when young a very frail and impaired constitution. She was sent to England, and on several voyages to warmer climates, to recover her health. When she first arrived in Liverpool she was prostrated with illness, and it was eighteen months before she was able to be borne in the arms of her nurses to the home bound ship. It is probable that she rescued herself from chronic invalidism by her strong will and the inspiration of the philanthropic labors which she began before her girlhood was ended.

One Sabbath, as she was coming out of Dr. Lowell’s church in Boston, the steps were crowded in front, and she overheard two benevolent gentlemen talking about the horrible condition of the jail in East Cambridge, where there was a number of young prisoners awaiting trial. Early that week, although under the care of a physician, she visited this institution and there found, in addition to other inmates, thirty insane persons, in the most wretched state of filth and rags, breathing a pestilential air, shut up in dark, damp cells, and receiving no treatment whatever.

The surroundings of the others confined there were not much better. She began her task by conducting religious services in the jail on the Sabbath, which had been wholly neglected. soon after, she set about relieving the physical sufferings of these unfortunate outcasts of society.

As the accommodations for the insane were insufficient in her own State, she applied to its Legislature, and on the facts being brought to their knowledge, an appropriation was made for enlarging their asylums. In her younger days Miss DIX was very intimate in the family of William Ellery Channing, the celebrated Unitarian divine, but it does not appear that he gave direction to her philanthropic enterprises, for while sympathizing fully with their purposes, he rather opposed her exhaustive exertions, on the ground that she would destroy her health. But she had received a thorough education, which had taught her to rely on her own powers, and when resolve had been deliberately formed, opposition only increased its strength.

After her success in Massachusetts, she went on a visit to Washington, and while there examined into the condition of the insane, and found sad need of reformation. She called on John Quincy Adams, then a Representative in Congress, after having held the highest office in the gift of the nation, and the sympathies of the “old man eloquent” were at once excited. He secured at her suggestion, the passage of a bill making a very adequate appropriation for the cure of the insane in the District of Columbia.

Her life work was now fairly begun. She comprehended its scope and magnitude, she prosecuted it with system, practical method, and indomitable energy. With a quiet persistency that excited no opposition, and a persuasive earnestness which won the support of those whose aid she required, she gave up her home, her friends, quiet; renounced the literary leisure for which she had a decided taste, the joys of domestic life, the fascinating pleasure of society — she consecrated everything which had in it any element of selfishness to the service of humanity.

Alton Weekly Telegraph (Alton, Illinois) Apr 26, 1867

Image from Find-A-Grave


The Worcester Woman Who Devoted Her Life to the Unfortunate

TRENTON, N.J., July 20 — Dorothea L. Dix, who acquired a national reputation by her efforts to relieve the condition of the pauper, criminal and insane classes of the country has died of heart disease at the Trenton asylum, aged 85.

She was instrumental in having the asylum founded as well as many other similar institutions throughout the country. While visiting here five years ago, she was taken sick, and the state authorities, in recognition of her services, offered her a home for life at the asylum.

In 1848, MISS DIX petitioned congress for an appropriation of public lands to endow hospitals for the insane in the various states, and in 1854 a bill was passed granting 10,000,000 acres for the purpose but the measure was vetoed by President Pierce.

Miss Dix was born at Worcester, Mass., and for many years resided at Boston, to which city her remains will be sent.

The Fitchburg, Sentinel (Fitchburg, Massachusetts) Jul 20, 1887

Death at a Crossing

October 25, 2011

Image from the Oakland, IL Genealogy website


Levi Alsbury, an Old Veteran, Instantly Killed.

An old invalid soldier, Levi Alsbury, more familiarly known as “Button,” was instantly killed at 11:35 a.m. to-day at the Priest street crossing of the Illinois Central road, just east of the tray factory. He had been up town after some nails, and was returning to a new house in the fourth ward he was building, when he sat down on a log near the factory to rest. The Terre Haute and Peoria passenger train going toward the depot came along, and just before the train reached the crossing, Alsbury arose to cross over. The old man was subject to fainting spells and may have been suddenly attacked with a feeling of weakness as he arose from the log. The cow-catcher struck him and hurled him upward against the steam chest with great force, when the lifeless body dropped into the ditch. Nearly every bone in his body was broken. The body was removed by Coroner Perl to his office, where the inquest will be held this evening at 8 o’clock.

Mr. Alsbury was 48 years of age, and resided at 900 West Macon street. He leaves a wife and two children. Brice Alsbury, a son of his wife by a former marriage, was murdered at Kinney, Ill., a few years ago. Mr. A. served through the war as a member of Co. H, 63d Ill. Regiment and received a pension of $30 a month. His back pay received not long since was $1900.

It was T.H. & P. train 1, engine 4, that struck the man; Buchanan, conductor; George Winn, engineer; Jerry Ryan, fireman.

Decatur Daily Republican (Decatur, Illinois) May 14, 1887


Levi Alsbury Struck Down By a T-H.& P. Train.

From Sunday’s Daily.

Levi Alsbury, a union ex-soldier, was killed at the Priest street crossing of the Illinois Central railroad a few minutes before 12 o’clock noon yesterday, by a Terre Haute & Peoria passenger train. He was struck by the pilot of the engine and his body was hurled a distance of nearly twenty feet. Alsbury had been up town to get a bundle of nails and was on his way to work on a dwelling which he was erecting in the Fourth ward, when he met his death. An inquest was held last night by Coroner Perl at his undertaking establishment on South Main street. The witnesses were John Sheeney, a bricklayer, George Winn, engineer, and Eugene Ryan, fireman on the engine of the train, and Mrs. S.J. Alsbury, wife of the deceased. Sheeney testified that Alsbury walked toward the crossing without looking down the track and was seemingly unmindful that the train was coming, although the engineer was sounding the whistle and the fireman was ringing the engine bell. The engineer testified that he sounded the station whistle at the usual place and subsequently sounded the whistle again to attract Alsbury’s attention. The fireman testified to the same fact. Alsbury did not discover his danger until he was on the track. Then he made a leap to get out of the way but was too late. He was struck by the top of the right side of the pilot and instantly killed. His neck, both arms and both legs, and his ribs were broken. The train at the time of the accident was running, according to the testimony of the engineer, fireman and Sheeney, not faster than six miles an hour.

The deceased was aged 48 years, and resides at 900 West Macon street. He leaves surviving him a wife and two children. He was the father of Brice Alsbury who was murdered at Kenney two years ago. Mr. Alsbury served in the union army during the late war as a member of Co. H, 63d Ill. Inf. He was wounded and lost a portion of the bones of his left arm. For this disability he was allowed a pension of $30 per month, and received back pay amounting to $1900.

Saturday Herald (Decatur, Illinois) May 21, 1887

EDWIN PHILBROOK, pension attorney, has received notice of a pension of $12 per month for Sarah J. Alsbury, Decatur, Ill., widow of Levi Alsbury, Company H, 63d Illinois Infantry.

Decatur Daily Republican ( Jan 15, 1890

Brice Alsbury’s Murder:

From Tuesday’s Daily.

Held for Trial.

Henry Teal, of Waynesville, was arrested on Friday for the murder of Brice Alsbury, upon a warrant sworn out by State’s Attorney Booth, of DeWitt county. He was taken to Clinton, and was given a preliminary hearing before Judge McHenry. The judge was of the opinion that Teal’s provocation for shooting Alsbury had a tendency to somewhat mitigate the enormity of the crime, and, on the plea of manslaughter, admitted him to bail in the sum of ten thousand dollars, for his appearance at the next term of the circuit court. Teal was released upon his furnishing the required bond. Wiley Marvel, John Teal and George B. Graham are his securities.

Saturday Herald (Decatur, Illinois) Mar 15, 1884

Murder Trial.

Henry Teal is on trial at Clinton before Judge Herdman for the murder of Brice Alsbury, at Waynesville, a year ago. Alsbury is well known about Mt. Zion, in this county, where his relatives reside. Attorneys Booth and Warner represent the People, and Dan Voorhees, of Indiana, and Lawyer Graham the defendant. A jury was secured last evening.

Decatur Daily Republican (Decatur, Illinois) Dec 11, 1884

SATURDAY last, at the second trial at Clinton, Henry Teal was found guilty and sentenced to one year at Joliet, for the murder of Brice Alsbury. Teal has applied for another new trial.

Decatur Daily Republican (Decatur, Illinois) Sep 7, 1885


Henry Teal, for the murder of Brice Alsbury at Waynesville, Ill., more than a year ago, has been sentenced to one year’s imprisonment in the penitentiary of Illinois.

Oshkosh Daily Northwestern (Oshkosh, Wisconsin) Sep 8, 1885

HENRY TEAL, who was found guilty of the murder of Brice Alsbury, was granted a new trial at Clinton, Thursday, by Judge Epler, on the grounds that two of the jurymen had previously expressed themselves as to Teal’s guilt.

Decatur Daily Republican (Decatur, Illinois) Sep 12, 1885

Teal Discharged.

Brice Alsbury, whose parents reside at Mt. Zion, this county, was injured at Waynesville, in DeWitt county, some years ago, and died. Henry M. Teal was indicted for the murder, and found guilty by a jury. He was granted a new trial and a change of venue to Havana. Yesterday State’s attorney Booth, of Clinton, entered a nolle in the case and Teal was discharged. Important witnesses have disappeared.

Decatur Daily Republican (Decatur, Illinois) Aug 7, 1886

Before the murder of Brice Alsbury:

YESTERDAY Brice Alsbury was arrested in Decatur on a state warrant charging him with having made an assault upon one James Houchens, at Waynesville, Ill., with intent to kill. The assault is alleged to have been made on October 17, since which time Alsbury has been skirmishing around for the benefit of his health. The prisoner was lodged in the county jail and the DeWitt county sheriff notified of the arrest.

Decatur Daily Republican (Decatur, Illinois) Dec 28, 1882

Alvan Clark: Artist, Astronomer – Telescope Maker

August 18, 2011



The Story of His Useful and Busy Life.

How He Became an Astronomer — How His Telescopes Were Manufactured — His Honors at Home and Abroad.

Alvan Clark, whose death at Cambridge, Mass., at the age of 83, was recently recorded, did more to advance astronomical science than any other person of this century. As a telescope maker his reputation is world wide. when Dom Pedro, of Brazil, visited this country some years ago he said there were three persons in Cambridge whom he wanted much to see. These were Longfellow, Professor Agassiz and Mr. Alvan Clark.

At the age when most persons think they are too old to begin any new business or learn anything, or even go on energetically with what they do know, Mr. Clark began the work which made him famous. He did not so much as know anything about it. Nor did he ever see a lens in process of construction outside of his own shop. He lived on a farm until he was 22 years old. His early education was such as the common schools afforded. In his 23d year he went to Lowell and became a calico engraver. He had a talent for drawing which he developed unaided. For nine years Mr. Clark was a calico engraver. Meanwhile he took up portrait painting. He located in Boston and painted heads for twenty years, earning over $20,000 with his brush, without ever having been taught anything about art. Though he grew famous in quite another field, it was to his days of artist life that he always went back in memory with the most affection. And during his later years he again took up the brush and found pleasure and recreation in the work of his young manhood.

He was more than 40 when he became interested in telescopes. Assisted by his two sons he afterward produced the most accurate and the two largest instruments in the world. His oldest son, George B. Clark, while in college at Andover read a treatise on “Casting and Grinding the Speculum.” Inspired by that he conceived the idea of making a telescope. He consulted his father, who at once became deeply interested in it. They worked together at the experiment, and from this small beginning came the great work which brought them fame and wealth. Both sons were later included in the business, and the firm was known as Clark & Sons, and they worked together nearly forty years.

Grinding lenses is a work which requires the utmost nicety. Often, after months of careful labor, a flaw is found and all the work must be lost. Once when Mr. Clark was giving the final polishing to a lens upon which a year’s time had been expended, it fell to the floor and was broken. Looking woefully at the fragments a few moments in silence, he stood up saying: “Boys, we will make a better one.” The unlimited patience, which enabled him to be cheerful under such a disaster was his chief characteristic. And he was ever cheerful and companionable.

Mr. Clark was the first optician in the United States to make achromatic lenses, each completed lens being composed of two pieces, one of crown and the other of flint glass, and he invented numerous improvements in telescopes and their manufacture, including the double eye piece, an ingenious method of measuring small celestial arcs. He made the 18.5 inch glass now in the Chicago observatory; the one of 24 inches aperture for the Washington observatory, and the 30 inch refractor for the Imperial observatory of St. Petersburg, for which the honorary medal of Russia was awarded — the only one ever conferred upon an American. The last and greatest work of Mr. Clark and his sons was the construction of a 36 inch refractor for the Lick observatory on Mt. Hamilton, in California. This will be finished in a few months, and will be the largest in the world. Mr. Clark was also an astronomer of note, and made some valuable discoveries, for which the Lalande gold medal was awarded him by the French academy. The cheapest telescope Mr. Clark ever made cost $300, while the National he sold for $16,000, and the Lick glass will cost $50,000 without the mounting. The objectives alone to these instruments are worth $25,000 each, and are capable of a magnifying power of 2,000 diameters, and of increasing the surface of the object viewed to 2,500,000 times its natural size. It takes a month’s solid labor to make a good 4 inch objective, and a year for an 8 or 10 inch one.

In recognition of his great contributions to science degrees were conferred on Mr. Clark by the universities of Harvard, Amherst, Princeton and Chicago, but he had worked at telescopes for ten years without receiving the slightest recognition or encouragement from any official, scientific or educational quarter. And yet these ten years were those of the revival or foundation of practical astronomy in the United States. To Mr. Dawes, a scientific divine of Europe, is due the credit of bringing out this telescope maker. At the time Mr. Clark began a correspondence with Mr. Dawes there was not in all England an establishment which could grind a large object glass into accurate shape. England had lost the art of shaping object glasses, but rough glass of the necessary purity and uniformity was cast there as in no other country. Mr. Clark for some time imported his rough disks to fill the orders he received from Mr. Dawes, who was a telescope fancier, always on the lookout for improvements in construction and mounting.

Only the very largest lenses are ground by machinery. The tools for grinding a lens are very simple — merely round plates of cast iron, about three feet in diameter, hollowed out to suit the curves of the lens. They look like huge, shallow saucers. Three of these tools are necessary, one nearly flat for the inner surface of the flint glass, one convex, for its outer surface, and one concave, for the crown glass. The surface of the tool is covered with coarse emery and water, the glass is laid upon it, and the grinding is carried on by sliding the glass back and forth on the tool. While sliding, the glass is slowly turned around, while, at the same time, the operators continually move around in the other direction, so that the strokes are made successively in every direction on the tool. By these combined motions every inequality, either on the glass or the tool, is gradually worn away, and both are reduced to portions of nearly perfect spheres. Then finer emery is used until the surface becomes quite smooth. Then comes the polishing. The whole tool is covered with a thin coating of pitch, which is pressed, while still warm, into the proper shape. It is then covered with a layer of water and the polishing rouge, and the glass is again laid upon it, and kept in motion in the same way as in the fine grinding. Thus each surface of the two glasses is speedily brought to a high polish. Then the glass is tested to find the defects. It is set up on edge, facing a luminous point at a distance equal to ten or fifteen times the focal point. The image of the point formed in the focus of the glass is then examined with an eye piece of high power. The glass is then taken back to the tool and the polishing process is recommenced, only pressing upon those parts of the glass where it has to be ground away. It is tried again, and again goes to the polisher.

So far no extraordinary skill on the part of the workman is required; but as the size of the glass is increased the process becomes more difficult and tedious, and the difficulties of judging what the defects are increase enormously.

The telescope is by no means finished with the glass. It must be tubed properly. It must admit of being moved by clock work in such a way that as the earth revolves from west to east the telescope shall revolve from east to west with exactly the same velocity, and thus point steadily at the same star. The details of the machinery for attaining these and other results have required a large amount of thought and care.

Bismarck Daily Tribune (Bismarck, North Dakota) Sep 8, 1887

Specification forming part of Letters Patent No. 8,509, dated November 11, 1851.

To all whom it may concern:
Be it known that I, ALVAN CLARK, of Cambridge, in the county of Middlesex and State of Massachusetts, have invented a new and useful Improvement in Telescopes…

Specification of Letters Patent No. 1,565, dated April 24, 1840.

To all whom it may concern:
Be it known that I, the undersigned, ALVAN CLARK, of Cambridge, in the county of Middlesex and State of Massachusetts, artist, have invented a new and useful Improvement in Rifles, which I call a “Loading-Muzzle,” …

The Summer Solstice

June 21, 2011

The Summer Solstice.

We have entered the summer solstice, and the astronomical summer has commenced. The sun has reached its farthest point from the equator north and shines vertical over the Tropic of Cancer. The literal meaning of the word sol – stice is turning of the sun, as that orb will apparently retrograde and the days become shorter.

The News (Frederick, Maryland) Jun 28, 1887

Image from the Richard the Lionheart page on Rootsweb.

An Old Custom.

A quaint old custom still prevails in the beautiful country on both sides of the Danube, some hundred miles above Vienna, commonly called the Wachnau. At the summer solstice fires are lit on all the more prominent heights of the mountains that give the Wachnau its peculiar charm.

The picturesque towns and villages on both shores are beautifully illuminated and the bridges across the great river are ablaze with a million lights. The most charming sight of all this year was the illumination of the ruins of Castle Durenstein, above Krems, the legendary castle where Richard Coeur de Lion heard Blndel sing outside his prison walls. This festival is now called Jahannisfier, or St. John’s fete, by a devout population, but the old people call it by its real Papan name, Sonnenwendfeuer — Solstice Fires. — London News.

Lima News (Lima, Ohio) Nov 16, 1899

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

Socialists in Nebraska

January 26, 2011

Image of Broken Arrow, Nebraska from the Old Picture of the Day blog.

Nebraska farmer — “Socialists? Socialists? Oh, yes, I know what you mean. I have met a good many of ye!”

Omaha socialist — “Eh? In your parts?”

“Plenty. Yes, now I think of it, they do want everything in common — except work. Out our way we call ’em tramps.”

–[Omaha World.

The Fitchburg Sentinel (Fitchburg, Massachusetts) Aug 16, 1887

Primitive Cooking: Early Days in California.

January 14, 2011

This image (from Corbis) is actually from the Yukon gold rush.


Some Reminiscences of Early Days in California.
[Special Correspondence.]
BOSTON, May 5.

Of the 150,000 males who in 1849-50 were avalanched on California from all parts of the world not one in 100 could boil a potato properly.

A good bread maker easily got his $400 a month. For the first two years, cooks, blacksmiths and carpenters could make far more than lawyers. People on a pinch could get along without lawyers. They couldn’t without cooks.

Many lawyers became good cooks, and stuck to their adopted calling at $300 per month until law practice began to pay. Law didn’t begin to pay until the miners’ juries stopped hanging men for stealing. Their hangings cost the county nothing. Sometimes, it is true, they hung the wrong man, as a warning to the right one. But when the lawyers stopped cooking and got in at their legitimate work, crime became safer.

Indifferent wretches, who could stir flour and water together, fling in a handful of yeast powder and scorch this compound on a frying pan, set up for cooks and made their $200 per month. “Flapjacks” were universal. Within the first year of the raw cookery era of California hundreds of amateur cooks could flip a flapjack on a frying pan by an imperceptible turn of the wrist and flop every inch of the unbaked side squarely on the pan’s bottom. A meal of bull beefsteak, flapjacks and dried apples at the “Astor house” cost $1. The “Astor” was an old ship’s caboose moved on shore, with a brief addition in its rear. Levy, the landlord, used to hang out the sign “Potatoes to-day!” Potatoes were then a rarity. There were no eggs, nor hens to lay them. Mince pies were made of salt beef, soaked to a dead sort of freshness, dried apples and molasses. They sold at $1 each, and were not much thicker than a cake of hard bread. It was no great fete there to bite through four pies if a man could afford it. Beans were universal. In many circles they had them twenty-one times a week. Most American cooks would at first put the pork to boil at the same time as the beans and with the beans. Then they wondered why the beans were so hard. Salt hardens the bean’s heart. They found out at last that the pork should not go into the pot until about fifteen minutes before the beans come off the fire.

Beans were generally cooked out of doors in “Dutch ovens.” The beans cooked while the boys dug on their claims. This peaceful state of things lasted till the miners took to keeping hogs and developed an ambition to cover the Sierra foothills with countless herds of swine. The swine would nose around the cooking beans while the boys were away, and eventually upset the pot and devour the beans. Such depredations led to shootings, sometimes of hogs, sometimes of hog owners, or the hog owner shot the man who shot his hogs or whom he thought had shot his hogs.

Cows also were destructive. The cows would sometimes eat through our houses, of cotton drilling. I returned to my home on Swelts Bar after attending a county convention and found that a cow had eaten through one side of my house and gone out at the other, and on the way devoured all my flour and potatoes. It was indeed a wrecked ranch, for she had not been at all nice and particular while feeding at the expense of a Democratic delegate. The cattle were crazy after salt. Anything which had held salt or tasted of salt would attract legions of cows. An empty mackerel keg, which once unwisely I threw out of doors, brought down from the hills that night, I should think, about forty cows and bulls, who tramped and bellowed and gored each other all night for a lick at that keg. On another occasion they chewed up two flannel shirts and two pairs of drawers — my week’s washing left to dry on the line — for the sake of the salt in the cloth. Of course I got the clothes back, but they had been too thoroughly digested to be wearable. I met a cow one day running off with my best coat. She had chewed and partly swallowed the coat the right sleeve. I chased her and pulled the coat out of her. All this was for the sake of the salt in the coat.

Thousands of miners tried to cook a quart of dry rice at once. The power of rice to swell — and swell when it once fairly gets en rapport with hot water, is something miraculous. It would fill everything fillable in the cabin and keep up a never ceasing overflow over the pot’s rim. I found Jack Ward once in his cabin at 9 o’clock in the evening, so ladling rice from off his pot. He said he had been thus engaged since 7 o’clock, and the end was not yet. Everything hollow in the house was full of half boiled rice. Jack had bought a whole sack. He carried it back next day to the Indian Bar store and exchanged it for other provision, remarking that he thought a pound would last him for the remainder of his days.

The first eggs we had were from the Farallon islands, situated in the ocean about fifty miles from San Francisco. They were laid by sea gulls and “murs,” a black bird with a red bill about the size of a half grown hen. These eggs are about twice the size of a hen’s product. The gulls color their eggs brown. The “murs” put on a mottle of blue, white and black. They are in taste fishy. We did not taste much fish in the first eggs because we were hungry for eggs. But the second panned out piscatorially as much as was agreeable, and by the time you reached the third you could hardly tell whether it was a porpoise or eggs you were eating.

Most miners at first had crude ideas as to the amount of provisions they should buy for times and seasons. Mike Barton came one day in October to the Hawkins Bar store and said he wanted to lay in a stock of grub for the winter. Mike had struck a rich “pot hole” on Gawley’s point. A “pot hole” may be two or three feet deep and as round and even as a stove pipe. Some loose stone lving on the bed rock, and turned for countless ages by a whirlpool, bores it. Then it fills up with gravel and gold dust. Mike had pickle jars full of gold dust buried about his cabin. He kept a keg of brandy on free tap for his friends. Mike was rich for the first time in his life, and life for him without plenty of whisky hadn’t much in it.

Said the storekeeper to Mike: “Give us your list of provision for the winter.” Mike hesitated, “I guess, said he at last, “I’ll have a sack of flour, a sack of potatoes, then pounds of pork, five pounds of coffee, three of sugar, a pound of tea — and — and — a barrel of whisky.”

On Fourth of July Bob Gardiner gave a dinner at his store on Swelt’s Bar. The “boys” smelt that dinner for three miles along the river. Bob waxed patriotic at the close of the feast, which terminated with a plum pudding and “hard sauce.” Bob mounted the table and straddled what was left of the pudding. Next him sat old Turley. Turley’s head was bald. It had gone to sleep and laid on the table beside his plate. Next is was the bowl of hard sauce. Bob emphasized every telling sentence by dipping from the bowl a ladle full of sauce and bringing it down on old Turley’s cranium. This brought down the house every time. When the oration was over you could have taken a cast of Turley’s head in “hard sauce.”

Those were indeed happy, hopeful, flush times. Wages then were still $4 a day, and hen’s eggs were $1.50 per dozen. The hens had then arrived and commenced laying. There’s some fun in laying eggs at $1.50 per dozen.


The News (Frederick, Maryland) May 14, 1887

This advertisement is not  related to the article, but was on the same newspaper page.

Tick-tock Goes the Clock

January 3, 2011




The old clock croons on the sun-kissed wall —
Tick, tock! tick tock!
The merry seconds to minutes call:
Tick, tock! ‘Tis morn.

A maiden sits at the mirror there,
And smiles as she combs her golden hair;
O, in the light but her face is fair!
Tick, tock! tick, tock!

Far over the sea the good ship brings
The lover of whom the maiden sings;
From the orange tree the first leaf springs:
Tick, tock! tick, tock!


The old clock laughs on the flower-decked wall —
Tick, tock! tick, tock!
The rose-winged hours elude their thrall:
Tick, tock! ‘Tis noon!

The lover’s pride and his love are blest;
The maiden is folded to his breast;
On her brow the holy blossoms rest;
Tick, tock! tick, tock!

O thrice, thrice long may the sweet bells chime,
As echoing this thro’ future time!
Still to my heart beats that measured rhyme —
Tick tock! tick, tock!


The old clock moans on the crumbling wall
Tick, tock! tick, tock!
The drear years into eternity fall;
Tick, tock! ‘Tis night!

The thread that yon spider draws with care
Across the gleam of the mirror there,
Seems like the ghost of a golden hair;
Tick, tock! tick, tock!

The sweet bells chime for those that may wed;
The neroll-snow crowns many a head —
But tree and maiden and lover are dead,
Tick, tock! tick, tock!
— Life.

The Oshkosh Northwestern (Oshkosh, Wisconsin) May 16, 1883


(John Vance Cheney in The Century.)

Knitting is the maid ‘o the kitchen, Milly,
Doing nothing, sits the chore-boy, Billy:
“Seconds reckoned,
Seconds reckoned;
Every minute,
Sixty in it.
Milly, Billy,
Billy, Milly,
Tick-tock, tock-tick,
Nick-knock, knock-nick,
Knockety-nick, nickety-knock: —
Goes the kitchen clock.

Closer to the fire is rosy Milly,
Every whit as close and cozy, Billy:
“Time’s a-flying,
Worth your trying!
Pretty Milly —
Kiss her, Billy!
Milly, Billy,
Billy, Milly,
Tick-tock, tock-tick,
Now — now, quick — quick!
Knockety-nick, nickety-knock” —
Goes the kitchen clock.

Something’s happened; very red is Milly,
Billy boy is looking very silly:
“Pretty misses,
Plenty kisses;
Make it twenty,
Take a plenty.
Billy, Milly,
Milly, Billy,
Right-left, left-right,
That’s right, all right,
Skippety-nick, rippety-knock” —
Jumps the kitchen clock.

Night to night they’re sitting, Milly, Billy’
Oh, the winter winds are wondrous chilly!
“Winter weather,
Close together;
Wouldn’t tarry,
Better marry.
Milly, Billy,
Billy, Milly,
Two-one, one-two,
Don’t wait, ‘twont do,
Knockety-nick, nickety-knock” —
Goes the kitchen clock.

Winters two have gone, and where is Milly?
Spring has come again, and where is Billy?
“Give me credit,
For I did it;
Treat me kindly,
Mind you wind me.
Mr. Billy,
Mistress Milly,
My — Oh, Oh — my,
By-by, by-by,
Nickety-knock, cradle rock” —
Goes the kitchen clock.

The Bismarck Tribune (Bismarck, North Dakota) Sep 19, 1884

My Little Bo-Peep

By S.B. M’Manus

MY Little Bo-Peep is fast asleep,
And her head on my heart is lying;
I gently rock, and the old hall clock
Strikes a knell of the day that’s dying.
But what care I how the hours go by,
Whether swiftly they go or creeping?
Not an hour could be but dear to me,
When my babe on my arm is sleeping.

Her little bare feet, with dimples sweet,
From the folds of her gown are peeping,
And each wee toe like a daisy in blow,
I caress as she lies a-sleeping;
Her golden hair falls over the chair,
Its treasures of beauty unfolding;
I press my lips to her finger tips

That my hands are so tightly holding.
Tick, tock, tick, tock! You may wait, old clock,
It was foolish what I was saying;
Let your seconds stay and your minutes play,
And bid your days go all a-Maying.
O, Time — stand still — let me drink my fill
Of content while my babe is sleeping;
As I smooth her hair m life looks fair,
And to-morrow — I may be weeping.

The Wellsboro Agitator (Weillsboro, Pennsylvania) Jun 28, 1887



Tick-tock, tick-tock,
Such a busy, busy clock,
All the year you go just so
Never fast and never slow.

Tick-tock, pretty clock,
And this is what you say:
“Never till tomorrow leave
What should be done today.”

You are always in your place
With your hands before your face;
Run and run, and never stop —
Tick-tock, tick-tock.

–[New York World.

Indana Progress (Indiana, Pennsylvania) Dec 2, 1891

The White Brigade.

The old hall clock goes hurrying on:
Tick, tock. ‘Tis getting late!
Tick, tock, tick, tock, hark! one, two, three,
Four, five, six, seven, eight.

The white brigade is marching now,
In every town and street
You hear the patter, patter soft
Of little naked feet.

The girls and boys have left their toys,
And now with sleepy head
Each joins the throng (ten thousand strong,)
Going up stairs to bed.

Sandusky Regiser (Sandusky, Ohio) Feb 23, 1895

The Washington Post – Feb 21, 1913


In the silence of the night,
If I waken with affright
From a dream that’s full of terror and annoy,
There’s a sound that fills my heart
With a melody of art
Fully of beauty, full of pleasure, full of joy.

‘Tis the steady “tick, tick, tock,”
Of my sturdy little clock,
As it sits across the room upon a shelf,
And it says: “Don’t be afraid,
For I’ve closely by you staid
While you were off in the land of dreams yourself.

“With a steady ‘tick, tick, tick,’
I am never tired or sick,
And I count the minutes ever as they fly.
I’m the truest friend you’ve got,
And share your ev’ry lot,
And I’m ready to stand by you till you die.”

It’s a common sort of clock,
But I like its lusty “tock,”
And it fills my soul with courage by its song.
In the storm or cold or rain
I hear its bright refrain
As it faithfully pursue its path along.

For it tells me to be true
To each thing I have to do,
And no matter if the world applaud or scorn;
That full soon must pass the night
And the sweet and precious light
Be unfolded with the coming of the morn.
— Hamilton Jay in Florida Times-Union.

Sandusky Register (Sandusky, Ohio) Jun 1, 1895


Up in my room, when comes the dark,
My door with care I lock,
And sit down, all my company
My little talking clock.

With round, bright open face it stands
Upon my mantel shelf,
And “tick, tick, tick” — how sweet and low!
Keeps talking to itself;

While loud and clear, that I may hear
When I am out of sight,
It calls to me twelve times each day,
And twelve times every night.

I always listen for its voice —
‘Tis like a silver bell —
And just the thing I need to know
It will be sure to tell:

“Wake up! wake up! ’tis morning light!”
“To bed! the hour is late!”
“The minutes fly! make haste! make haste!”
“Have patience; you must wait!”

My faithful little talking clock!
O If I only knew
Exactly when I ought to speak
And what to say to you,

And could, when I had said enough,
Just stop, without delay,
I might, almost as calm as you,
Be happy all the day!

— Marion Douglass in “Our Little Men and Women.”

The Daily Northwesterm (Oshkosh, Wisconsin) Nov 20, 1897


Old clock
So tall,
In your niche in the wall,
What is it you say,
As you tick all day,
With your smiling face,
And your polished case?
Tell me, I pray,
Is this what you say?

“Tick, tock,
I’m the family clock,
A hundred years old,
Of good old stock!
Tick, tock,
Good old stock,
A hundred years old,
The family clock!”

Old clock
So tall,
In your niche in the wall,
Have you memories faint
Of dear ladies quaint,
With high powdered hair,
Who tripped up this stair?
Tell me, I pray,
Is this what you say?

“Tick, tock,
I’ve seen many a frock,
And the witchery fair
Of a gleaming lock!
Tick, tock,
Many a frock,
And the witchery fair
Of a gleaming lock!”

Old clock
So tall,
In your niche in the wall,
Do you never feel affright
In the dead of the night
When the winds howl drear,
And strange noises you hear?
Or ell me, I pray,
Is this what you say?

“Tick, tock,
I’m a doughty old clock;
I know no fear;
Let them rage and knock;
Tick, tock,
Rage and knock;
I know no fear —
A doughty old clock.”

Old clock
So tall,
In your niche in the wall,
Will you still tick away,
A hundred years from today,
With your smiling face
And your polished case?
And then, I pray,
Is this what you’ll say?

“Tick, tock,
I’m the family clock,
Two hundred years old,
Of good old stock!
Tick, tock,
Good old stock,
Two hundred years old,
The family clock!”

— Jane D?msfield, in the St. Nicholas

San Antonio Light (San Antonio, Texas) Apr 8, 1900

The Clock.

He stands in a corner from morning till night,
A patient old thing with no feet
His face is as solemn and round as a moon
And oh so exceedingly neat
From breakfast to supper,
Bright on through the day,
“Tick-tock, tick-tock, I am only the clock,
Tick-tock, tick-tock,” he’ll say.

His hands are quite tidy, they grow on his face
When I grow to be big I shall know
Why one is so long and the other so short
And one he moves fast, and one slow,
From breakfast to supper,
Right on through the day.
Tick-tock, tick-tock, I am only the clock,
Tick-tock, tick-tock,” he’ll say.

At night when I’m sleeping he keeps wide awake
To see what the little mice do,
He watches the brownie creep in through the blind
His little red shoes wet with dew
From night-time to daytime,
Right on through the day
“Tick-tock, tick-tock, I am only the clock,
Tick-tock, tick-tock,” he’ll say.

And when it comes morning I wish he would tell,
I ask him but never a trace
Of the wonderful things which he saw in the night
Does he show in his sober old face,
From breakfast to supper
Right on through the day
“Tick-tock, tick-tock, I am only the clock,
Tick-tock, tick-tock,” he’ll say.

Trenton Evening Times (Trenton, New Jersey) Mar 30, 1909

The Old Hall Clock.

What a store of information
You must have in stock,
Not a word of revelation
In your staid “tick-tock.”
You have watched the decades passing as the ships upon the sea,
Stores of knowledge e’er amassing as the generations flee.
Can’t you tell some of your secrets to a little boy like me
But the old hall clock
Answered just:

Never changing the expression
Of your placid face.
Never making a confession
Any time or place.
Can’t you tell me of the courting you have seen upon the stairs?
Of he stately wedding marches, of the ministers and prayers?
Of he good old squires and damsels who have come and gone in pairs
But the old hall clock
Answered Just:

It’s for history I’m seeking
And you’ve got to tell.
It’s of father I am speaking
And you might as well.
When a youngster, was he always doing just exactly right?
Did he have to have a licking almost every single night?
Now, you needn’t fear to trust me, for I’ll keep it secret, quite,
But the old hall clock
Answered just:

Bland recorder of the ages,
If you’ll be so kind,
Turn ahead among Life’s pages,
Tell us what you find.
When you look into the future, tell me what it is you see.
What in just another decade, is this old world going to be?
Tell me, what is going to come of just a little boy like me?
But the old hall clock
Answered just:

Eau Claire Leader (Eau Claire, Wisconsin) Dec 19, 1912

Image from flickr – vera 1955

Jens Galtheen/Galthen was born about 1839 in Denmark, and immigrated to America about 1865. On June 24, 1879 he married Helen Lager. His was listed as a jeweler on the 1880 and 1900 census records and his shop was at 415 Water St. in Eau Claire, Wisconsin.


(By Violet Leigh.)
(In memory of Jeweler Galthen of Water St.)

Silent they stand in a row on the shelf,
Not one moves a hand alone by itself.
Not long ago the ormelu clock
Was merrily saying, “tick-tock, tick-tock”;
And its dainty hands in a charming way
Pointed out the time of day.

The beautiful clock of porcelain
Was also ticking with might and main;
And all the other clocks in the row
Showed one another how to go.
But they’re silent now as death itself
Standing there in a row on the shelf.

Where is the one who made them go?
Jeweler Galthen is lying low.
The pale clock-faces are not more white
Than the face of that aged man tonight.
And the hands of the clocks are not more still
Than his nerveless hands in the grave on the hill.

— Eau Claire, Wis., Nov. 22, 1913.

Eau Claire Leader (Eau Claire, Wisconsin) Nov 26, 1913

UPDATE: I found an obituary for Mr. Galthen:


Aged Jeweler Summoned

Jens Galthen, an aged jeweler, who has been carrying on a small business at 415 Water St., died very suddenly yesterday morning, some time between 8:30 and 11 o’clock.

Death is said to have been due to a stroke of appoplexy, the aged man surffering a like stroke some time ago. Mr. Galthen was seen at 8:30 o’clock in the morning at which time he appeared to be in his usual health and spirits. At 11 o’clock, the store was entered by Sidney Robillard, who found the body of the victim of the stroke of appoplexy lying on the floor face down.

The deceased was about 70 years of age. He was a widower and lived alone in the store, a screen separating his living apartment from the store. No known relatives reside in this country. It is learned that relatives live in Copenhagen, Denmark, and County Coroner R.H. Stokes will endeavor to get in communication with them to ascertain what disposition they wish to make of the body.

Eau Claire Leader (Eau Claire, Wisconsin) Nov 2, 1913



Some one has made the clock go wrong,
Not in its time, but in its song.
At twelve at night!
Its face is bright
And the sound of its stroke is a soft delight; —

“Tick! tock!
Oh, what a flock!
Flock of long hours that are left in the clock!
Time is unending,
Life is for spending;
What though I strike,
Do as you like!
Tick! tock!
Oh, what a flock!
Do what you will, but don’t look at the clock.”
Oh, kindly clock! had you a robe, I’d surely kiss its him;
Let us be friends forever, clock; aye, even at six A.M.!

But oh! at morning when I yawn
And much desire to slumber on,
Its white face stares,
Its eye-hole glares
And its lean hands point me down the stairs; —

“Tick! tock!
Knickety Knock!
Oh, but such laziness gives me a shock!
Time is for working;
Why are you shirking?
Now, as I strike,
Get up and hike!
Tick! tock!
Oh, what a shock!
Look at me! Look at me! Look at the clock!”
Oh, cursed clock! such two-faced talk I must, and do condemn;
You are so suave at twelve at night, so harsh at six A.M.!

(Copyright, 1919, N.E.A.)

Decatur Review (Decatur, Illinois) Aug 17, 1919

Gettysburg Times (Gettysburg, Pennsylvania) Jan 27, 1921


I sing of clocks that I have known,
In other years, now long since flown,
When I but just a little child,
For many hours was beguiled,
In listening to the tick, tick, tock,
Of one, to me, most wondrous clock.

My father bought that fine old clock
To quite complete our household stock,
When I was but one short year old,
It should be mine, I then was told;
When it wore out, its lovely case,
My little toys, in it to place.
The brilliant peacock on the door,
No bird like it since or before.
It’s good strong tick and ringing strike,
No other clock can sound the like.

Sometimes quaint old clock tinkers came,
To see if it was sick or lame;
They’d shine it up and set it back,
To tick and strike, as strong as ever,
Itinerant tinker were clever,
I would look on and sigh, alack,
“I’ll get my playhouse never, never.”

The years rolled on and strangely on,
Parents, brothers and sisters gone,
Still that old clock with calm, clear face,
Ticks for the remnant of our race;
Has struck the hours of death and birth,
For those dearest to me on earth.
Has through my four score years and one,
And still with undiminished strength,
Bids fair to wear me out at length.

Dear old home clock tick on and on
All my playhouses no ware gone;
I love to see your dear old face,
But no more now covet your case,
You’re worth to us, your weight in gold,
Tick on until your centurys old;
My playhouse I relinquish still,
So beat me to it, if you will.

One old clock with a friendly face,
Greeted me in my new home place;
Through many changing years it told,
Vicissitudes most lives unfold;
Reunions and each glad event,
That marked the way on which we went,
High hopes, and dreams that disappear,
And still that old bronze clock is here.

Another clock so plain and small,
It would not be valued at all;
Yet once it ticked the hours away,
For one who is no longer here,
It has been silent since that day,
A clock may hurt as well as cheer.

A welcome gift, a clock late come,
To wake it’s echoes in our home;
Welcome it is our home within,
It’s muffled strike to slumbers win.
Old clocks are like dear human friends,
They cheer life’s way until it ends.

The clock on old Northwesterns tower,
When chasing trains it marked the hour,
Warned us we would be all too late
Just as we reached the closing gate.
Old station clock of you I sing,
You were a kind and friendly thing.

Our bank clock, how we love its chimes,
Recalling other happy times;
And that one to so many dear,
Who made it possible to hear,
All over this old Arlington,
The echoes of its carrillion,
A treasure is that grand old clock,
May it abide firm as a rock.

There hangs a cheery little clock,
Here on the stairs, with quick tick tock;
It was a gift at Christmas time,
From one now gone to kinder clime
A bright, a cherry little thing
That through the passing hours will bring,
Sweet memories into the mind,
Of the dear giver, every kind.

There’s something odd and whimsical,
About old clocks that thrills us all
Yet no clock in our lives can come,
Like the clock in our childhood home.

— Elinore Crisler Haynes

The Daily Herald (Chicago, Illinois) Aug 10, 1928

A Football (player) Clock

The Times Recorder (Zanesville, Ohio) Nov 13, 1925

Good-Night Stories


Wind the clock.
Snap the lock.
Shut your eyes.
How time flies!

— Shadow Sayings.

The Athen Messenger (Athen, Ohio) Sep 19, 1930

Good-Night Stories


Wind the clock
Snap the lock,
I won’t be back,
I’m taking the train
On the railroad track.

— Shadow Song.

Van Wert Daily Bulletin (Van Wert, Ohio) Aug 10, 1932

The Brave “Old Bucktails”

November 11, 2010

Image from the National Music Museum

Some Recollections of the Late War.

[Late of the Forty-Fifth Pennsylvania Volunteers.]



Those who saw General Burnside on the morning of December 13, 1862, say that his countenance wore a look of anxiety and depression quite unusual. It was perhaps the most momentous day of his life. No one appreciated better than he the difficulty and hazards of the task before him, and his mind must have been burdened with misgivings. The prospect for winning a victory was not encouraging. His well-laid plans, so far, had failed. The unexpected delay in crossing the river had dissipated all his hopes of taking Lee by surprise. No strategy or rapid maneuver would avail now. If he beat his adversary at all, he must seek him in his own chosen position or fight at fearful disadvantage. The Confederate position was one of great strength naturally, and when elaborately fortified and defended by at least eighty thousand determined, disciplined veterans the Rebels might with good reason feel tolerably secure.

Briefly stated, the position of Burnside’s army before the battle was something like this: Sumner’s grand division, composed of the Second Corps, under couch, and the Ninth, (Burnside’s own,) commanded by Wilcox, occupied the right of our line, being in and about the town and extending some ways below to a considerable stream called Deep Run. Then came Franklin, with the Sixth Corps under W.F. Smith and the First commanded by Reynolds. The cavalry, under Bayard, were also with Franklin, whose lines reached some three or four miles below Fredericksburg. Hooker, with the Third Corps under Stoneman and the Fifth then commanded by Dan. Butterfield, was to support Franklin or Sumner, as the exigencies of the battle might demand. Below Deep Run, along Franklin’s front, there was a plain, from one to two miles wide, between the river and the wooded hills on which were planted the enemy’s batteries. The Richmond and Fredericksburg railroad and the road to Port Royal, which cross this valley, were fringed with fences and thick hedges which, with some deep ditches that had evidently answered the purpose of fencing, afforded shelter to the Rebels and would impeded the progress of our troops. General Lee expected that the main attack would be made on this part of his line, and had placed his most trusted lieutenant in command there. Stonewall Jackson would hold it if anybody could. Stuart with his cavalry and light infantry protected the flank, his line, which extended to the river, being formed at right angles with Jackson’s infantry. He would have an enfilading fire on our lines when they advanced.
Burnside proposed that Franklin, who, with the addition of Stoneman’s two divisions, (Birney’s and Sickle’s,) which were to support him, had about sixty thousand men at his disposal, should make a vigorous attempt to beat Jackson and get possession of the railroad, by which the Rebels received their supplies from Richmond, and at the same time send in Sumner to storm the heights opposite the town. If these movements succeeded, or even if the railroad could be taken and held, Lee would have to retreat. The principal attack on the left was to be made by Gen. Reynolds with the First Corps, consisting of three divisions — Gibbon’s, Meade’s and Doubleday’s. Gibbon joined the Sixth Corps on the right. Meade, with the Pennsylvania Reserves, came next, being directly in front of the railroad crossing which it was intended to seize. Doubleday’s division was drawn up nearly at right angles with Meade, facing Stuart.

A dense fog hung over the valley of the Rappahannock on the morning of December 13, delaying active operations several hours during the earlier part of the day. The artillery kept pounding away; however, and there was considerable skirmishing in the forenoon. Meanwhile Meade, supported by Gibbon, had advanced fully a half-mile and taken position beyond what was called the Bowling Green road, and was forming his line to assault the intrenchments in his front, his division having been selected to lead the attack. Meade had three brigades. The First, under Col. Sinclair, was composed of the First Rifles (Bucktails), the First, Second and Sixth Regiments of the Pennsylvania Reserves. The Second Brigade was commanded by Colonel Magilton, and consisted of the Third, Fourth, Seventh and Eight Regiments of he Reserves and the 142d Pa. Vols. The Third Brigade, commanded by Gen. C.F. Jackson, consisted of the Fifth, Ninth, Tenth, Eleventh, and Twelfth Reserves. Sixteen pieces of artillery were attached to his division. Stuart was pitching solid shot and shells into Meade’s lines. Doubleday answered vigorously, keeping the Rebels at a respectful distance.

Shortly after noon, everything being ready, Meade advanced, with the Sixth Reserves thrown out as skirmishers. Our batteries opened on the enemy’s position. Jackson’s guns thundered back. More than two hundred pieced were in full play. “The direction of Meade’s advance brought him against Lane’s and Archer’s (Rebel) brigades,” writes the correspondent of the Boston Journal, whose graphic description of the battle is the best ever printed. “They were on the railroad and in the woods. There was a gap between the brigades, and there Meade drove the entering wedge. It was a fierce and bloody contest along the railroad, in the woods, upon the hillside, in the ravine, on the open plains and on the crest of the ridge. The fourteen guns on the hill poured a murderous fire into Meade’s left flank. The guns by Deep Run enfiladed the line from the right, while in reserve were two full brigades — Thomas’s and Gregg’s — to fill the gap. But notwithstanding this Meade, unsupported, charged down the slope, through the hollow, up to the railroad and over it, routing the Fourteenth Tennessee and Nineteenth Georgia of Archer’s and the whole of Lane’s brigade. With a cheer the Pennsylvanians went up the hill, crawling through the thick underbrush to the crest, doubling up Archer and knocking Lane completely out of line. It was as if a Herculean destroyer had crumbled with a sledge-hammer stroke the keystone of an arch, leaving the whole structure in danger of immediate and irretrievable ruin. Gibbon ought to have been following Meade, driving up the hill through the gap, but he halted at the railroad.” Gibbon’s division were hotly engaged, made a gallant charge, the General himself being wounded, but were unable to force the enemy’s position and keep up with Meade.

Doubleday had his hands full attending to Stuart. Several divisions which were to support Meade had not even been ordered to advance. The Pennsylvania Reserves were struggling alone. Stonewall Jackson was quick to take in the situation. His line was broken. Meade had cut it in two. The Pennsylvanians must be driven back, or the day was lost to his chief. Massing all his available forces, he hurled them with terrible energy and effect upon Meade’s front and his exposed flanks.

A member of Company E of the  Bucktails, Sergeant J.V. Morgan, who participated in the fight, says in substance: “Our brigade — the First — occupied the right of Meade’s line. We moved forward about 12 o’clock. The enemy defended his first line along the railroad with great determination, but the steady advance and accurate fire of our brigade were irresistible, and the moment the rebels seemed to waver orders were given for us to charge. Rushing forward upon the run, we leaped a deep ditch, drove the enemy from a cut of the railroad and pressed them back to their second line before they could re-form their broken ranks. The Rebels threw down their arms and fled in confusion. Following them up, we came to a third line, where we found several stacks of guns which the enemy in his haste to get away had abandoned. The First and Third Brigades had broken clear through the enemy’s line, taking about 300 prisoners. So far our success was complete. The victory was won. Unfortunately, however, we had no support, and pretty soon long lines of Rebels came down upon us in front and on both flanks. Yet believing that help would surely come, we fought on until our last cartridge was expended, and then fell back to avoid being captured. Our Company had four killed and twenty-one wounded. Henry Jackson had both legs torn off by a shell, yet he insisted on sitting up while being carried to the rear on a stretcher, and even begged a chew of tobacco from his comrades. He died that night. William M. Morgan was shot through both lungs and left upon the field. In his pocket diary, which I have before me, I find recorded in his own hand that he laid upon the battle-field from Saturday afternoon until the following Tuesday, without care of any kind, and with no food save a few crackers which he happened to have in his haversack; and that upon his arrival at Libby prison, in Richmond, to which place he was conveyed in a freight car, he received no treatment whatever except the bathing of his wound by his fellow-prisoners. He died — of course. The death of Henry Rote, another comrade, was tragical and extraordinary. Henry was a man of great piety, and frequently engaged in prayer. In the uproar and confusion of the battle he got down upon his knees to pray, and while in this attitude was shot dead.”

“A battery which had an oblique fire upon our position raised the mischief with us,” adds Lieutenant-Colonel (then Captain) Niles, “”One shot knocked over seven of my men. We were badly cut up. Our ranks were much broken, and there were not men enough left to close them up. Each man stood up — a brigade in himself — and blazed away. Wallace Moore, of my company, having used up all his ammunition, took some thirty rounds from his fallen comrades, and standing up with no-one near him, fired them at the advancing Rebels. The order to fall back was repeated several times before the men could be persuaded to start, and even then, as long as they had a cartridge left, the boys insisted upon facing about occasionally to make a stand and let drive with their rifles. The Bucktails were not worth a copper to retreat.”

Captain Charles F. Taylor (brother of the renowned traveler, Bayard Taylor,) commanded the Bucktails at Fredericksburg, and was wounded. The Captain was only about twenty-two years of age. He was shortly after promoted to Colonel, but enjoyed his well-earned laurels only a short time, being killed at Gettysburg in July following.

Gen. C.F. Jackson, commanding Meade’s Third brigade, was killed, and Col. Sinclair, another brigade commander, was severely wounded. But perhaps the greatest individual loss on that part of the field was the death of Major-General Geo. D. Bayard, in command of the cavalry, who was killed by a shell. Gen. Bayard was but twenty-eight years of age. He was expecting to be married very soon to an estimable young lady, upon whose heart the death of her hero must have fallen with crushing weight. But, dear reader, hers was only one among a thousand or more tender hearts that ached and were desolate on learning the result of that fatal day.

The attack on the left was not renewed. Of the sixty thousand men whom Franklin had at his disposal that day less than twenty thousand were engaged at all, and not more than ten thousand were in action at any one time. That fifty thousand soldiers should be allowed to lean passively on their muskets while a mere division or so of their comrades were being overwhelmed and crushed by thrice their number must ever remain one of those mysteries which genius and generalship may be able to understand; but common-sense and patriotism will always look upon such “strategy” with suspicion and regret.

Of the troops who participated in the battle a large proportion were Pennsylvanians. Tioga county was well represented; and having no achievements of the Forty-fifth to relate this time — our division was in reserve during the fight — it becomes a pleasure not unmixed with sadness to notice, so far as I know, the fruitless valor displayed by other men from this county on the luckless and bloody field of Fredericksburg. In Meade’s First brigade were two regiments whose movements were watched with a deal of interest by many anxious readers of the AGITATOR during the war. I allude, of course, to the Bucktails and the Sixth Regiment of the Reserves.

Company E of the Bucktails, many of your readers will remember, was composed mostly of young men from Wellsboro and the adjacent townships; and on making inquiry one is astonished to discover how very few of the original members came back. Dranesville, the battles n the Peninsula, the second Bull Run, South Mountain, Antietam, Fredericksburg, Gettysburg, the Wilderness, Spottsylvania, and many other minor engagements in which the Regiment bore a prominent part — beig often deployed as skirmishers and always filling a place of danger and trust — together with long marches and three years and a half of exposure, had thinned their ranks until barely a corporal’s guard of the old boys remained. The Company, it is hardly necessary to mention, was commanded most of the time by Captain A.E. Niles, who, though twice grievously wounded and for several months a prisoner in the hands of the enemy, managed to pull through. He came out as Lieutenant-Colonel, and is with us to-day, reclining on his laurels, well preserved, and modest as ever; and, with his trusty rifle — which he has not forgotten how to use, as many fine bucks have found to their sorrow — on his shoulder, the Colonel is just as eager now to guide a squad of his cronies in search of bear-meat and venison as he was to lead a skirmish line of Bucktails twenty years ago.

Of the members of Company A of the same Regiment, recruited in the northern part of the county, who of course shared the same fate and are entitled to as much credit, I knew but little during the war, but have met many of them since — some maimed and with empty sleeves.

What has been said of the Bucktails will apply in most part to the Sixth Regiment of the Reserves. The tow regiments were much of the time together, in the same brigade. They fought side by side. Their dead are buried beneath the sod of the same battle fields — from Dranesville, 1861, to Bethesda Church, 1864. They marched together, tented on the same grounds and were disbanded about the same time. There was however, but one company from this county in the Sixth. Some of the finest young men of Wellsboro and the vicinity buckled on their armor and went out with Julius Sherwood in the spring of ’61; and alas! how easy it is to count the number of those who came back. Captain Jas. Carle commanded the Company at Fredericksburg, as he did most of the time during the war.

Among those who fell that day perhaps the memory of none is greener in the hearts of the people of Wellsboro than that of Lieutenant R.M. Pratt, of the Sixth Reserves. I knew him well. Reuben was not only a faithful soldier, but a gentleman of culture and refinement as well. Yes, and more than that; for he was a devout Christian. I remember very well that a few years before the war Mr. Pratt, with another young men from the borough, came up here on the hill to establish a Sunday school. They succeeded; and I will undertake to say that the good seed which was sown that summer did not fall on stony ground. A prize was offered to the scholar who should recite the longest lessons, and I have now before me a neat pocket Bible which I have kept more than a quarter of a century. On its fly-leaf is written, “Presented by R.M. Pratt;” and whenever I take up the book, which is less often that it should be, I am reminded of one who, in common with thousands of other young men, sacrificed a life full of hope and promise — offering it freely as an atonement, so to speak, for the shortcomings of his race and his country.

And while writing of soldiers from Tioga county who fought at Fredericksburg let us not forget the 136th Pennsylvania Volunteers. In this regiment, which was commanded by Colonel Bayne, now member of Congress, were at least two companies from this county. “We (the 136th) went into the fight some two miles below Fredericksburg,” says Sergeant C.W. Barlow, who participated in the engagement and was wounded, “and drove the enemy from his breastworks along the railroad. Our Color-Sergeant being shot down, Corporal Petty, of the color-guard, seized the flag, and planting the staff firmly in the ground, the brave little fellow fired thirty rounds before our Regiment was rolled back by the enemy. We were on the right of the Reserves, [evidently in Gibbon’s division]. Theodore Bacon, of our Company [A], was killed, and William Gridley and Moses Locey died of wounds soon after. The overcoat of Harlan Prutsman, our First Sergeant, was riddled with bullets, yet he escaped without a scratch.”

The writer was acquainted with only some of the members in Company A — Company D, I think, was also from this county, and was commanded by Captain Phillips — which was recruited and commanded most of the time by Captain John J. Hammond, with John I. Mitchell and R.C. Bailey as Lieutenants. Michell wore a Captain’s bars on leaving the service; and it seems to me that we have heard that name occasionally — if not oftener — during the last dozen years. It is a name which the people of this county have honored very many time with pleasure, and honor to themselves. But now Senator Mitchell does not belong to us in the sense in which he once did. We have lost him. He has gone up higher — a good deal higher. So rapid, indeed, has been his promotion that, although scarcely turned the corner of middle-age, only one step intervenes between the position he now occupies and the topmost round of the ladder which leans against the suffrages of a free people. What if this great big Nation of ours should have to come up here among the hills and hemlocks of Tioga county for a President? Well, more surprising events than that have happened.

But whither am I drifting? Our next will tell something of the assault on Marye’s Hill.

The Wellsboro Agitator (Wellsboro, Pennyslvania) Mar 20, 1883

The Brave “Old Bucktails.”


Last Thursday and Friday the survivors of he famous “Bucktails,” or the first Rifles Pennsylvania Reserve Volunteer Corps, was held at Williamsport. It was the first time since the war that many of the brave men who shared the privations of the field and the thrilling scenes of the war had looked into the eyes of their comrades. Twenty-two years have furrowed their faces and whitened their beards, but their hearts are still warm with fraternal love as when they marched shoulder to shoulder in the ranks of the grand volunteer army of the Union.

The famous Bucktails was the Forty-second regiment from the State and it was organized May 31, 1861. It was also called the First Pennsylvania Rifles, and Kane’s Rifles, being commanded at first by Col. Thomas L. Kane. The regiment took a very active part in the war, and the excellent marksmanship of the sturdy mountaineers and the bucktails worn in their hats soon made them well known and feared by the Rebel soldiers. The regiment took a gallant part at Gettysburg and there lost its brave Colonel Taylor, and many of its men. It was subsequently led by Colonel Hartshorne through that battle and until it was mustered out in June, 1864. Many of the men re-enlisted and were transferred to the One Hundred and Ninetieth regiment. By the death of Colonel Taylor Lieutenant Colonel A.E. Niles, of this borough, became commanding officer, the regiment not being large enough at that time for a Colonel. But Niles was wounded at Gettysburg, and thereafter Hartshorne was the active commanding officer until the following fall, when Niles was forced to leave the regiment because of his wounds.

In every important battle during the war the Bucktails faced the enemy. They were usually ordered to perform light infantry duty in skirmishing, and they never failed to drive out the Rebel sharpshooters. After this work was accomplished the Bucktails were formed in a solid column to share the heavy work of the battle-field. They never flinched. Their faces were always to the foe. The “bucktails” on their hates became the symbol of all that is brave and true in soldierly character.

In the spring of 1861, when Northern hearts were burning with indignation because of the insults offered to our flag by the traitors at the South, there appeared in the AGITATOR of the 17th of April the following notice:


In consequence of the existing deplorable crisis of affairs in the Southern part of this Confederacy the Governor of Pennsylvania has recommended and the Legislature has passed a law for the better arming of the State. The latest dispatches assert that the President has called upon this State for sixteen regiments for the purpose of preserving the Union as our fathers made it and enforcing its laws. In obedience to the calls of true patriotism the undersigned would respectfully call upon the young men of Tioga county to meet them on Saturday, April 20th, 1861, at two o’clock p.m., at the Wellsboro House, in Wellsboro, where we will receive the names of such volunteers as wish to form an independent uniformed rifle company. The Wellsboro Brass Band will be present.


Short as this notice was it was enough to arouse the patriotism of this borough and the whole county. The ladies began making flags, and soon the Stars and Stripes were floating from all the principal buildings in town. In that hour, when our flag was being trampled in the dust by Southern traitors, it was thrice dear to Tioga county’s sons, and they stepped forward and offered their lives in defense of the Republic.

The first company organized consisted of eighty-seven men under Captain A.E. Niles. Almond Wetmore was First Lieutenant and Samuel A. Mack was Second Lieutenant. This company, together with Captain Sherwood’s company, started for the front by way of Troy in 78 wagons on Wednesday, April 24, 1861.

On the 3d of May the three companies from this county, under Captain A.E. Niles, of this borough, Philip Holland, of Lawrenceville, and Hugh McDonald, of Tioga, together with the companies raised in Potter, Elk, Clearfield, McKean and Cameron counties, were formed into a regiment at Camp Curtin near Harrisburg, and the following officers were elected: Colonel, Thomas L. Kane; Lieutenant-Colonel, T.B. Eldred; Major, Julius Sherwood. a correspondent of he New York Tribune, who was writing from Harrisburg, said: “One of hte most notable instances of persevering patriotism and determination is that of the mustering of the ‘Wild-cats’ of this State by Col. Thomas L. Kane, of McKean county, the very heart of the ‘wild-ca district.’ He traveled over 500 miles on his horse, enlisting three hundred and seven men in thirteen days. Over one-half of these men are ‘crack’ shots who are armed with their own rifles. They came into this city bearing a huge pair of buck horns in front and each man having the tail of a deer ornamenting his soft felt hat. They have been mustered in and form a regiment with the companies from Tioga county, who have the same characteristics. These men are in earnest, and when they draw the trigger of their rifles they do not intend to waste powder.”

One remarkable characteristic of this regiment was that when it was organized almost every trade and profession known in this country had a representative in his ranks.

On the 26th of June, 1861, the AGITATOR learned from a private letter that the “Wild-cat” regiment left Harrisburg on the 22d for the South, to begin its active and memorable career at Cumberland.

In another private letter dated Jul 18th the first engagement of the “Wild-cats” is chronicled. The boys went up the Potomac from Cumberland and met a detachment of rebels whom they quickly whipped. The “rebs” couldn’t stand the superior marksmanship of these “wild-cats” from the wooded districts of Pennsylvania. By this time the regiment had come to be generally known as the “Bucktails” and under this honored name it became famous throughout the North and the South. A special order from the War Department allowed this regiment alone to wear the bucktails in addition to the regulation uniform.

The surviving veterans of the gallant Bucktails made their headquarters during the reunion at the City Hotel in Williamsport last week. On the balcony of the house a fine stuffed buck was mounted. This was contributed by the boys from Clearfield county, who also produced the tattered battleflag that belonged to the regiment. That flag was presented to the boys when they started out in 1861. It is now stained with the blood of a gallant Bucktail and is riddled with rebel bullets.

On Thursday afternoon an election of officers was held at the Reno Post rooms, with the following result: President, General W.R. Hartshorne, of Academia; Vice-Presidents, Colonel A.E. Niles, of Wellsboro, and Colonel E.A. Irwin, of Curwensville; Secretary and Treasurer, W.H. Rauch, of Philadelphia; Chairman of Executive Committee, Captain John P. Bard. In the evening a public meeting was held in the Court-house, Mayor Jone presiding. Addresses of welcome were delivered by Congressman H.C. McCormick and H.C. Parsons in behalf of the city and the Grand Army of the Republic, and they were responded to by ex-Congressman W.W. Brown, who was a Corporal in the regiment. Other addresses were delivered as follows: On Colonel Hugh McNeil, killed at Antietam, by Colonel E.A. Irwin; on Colonel Fred Taylor, killed at Gettysburg, by General W.R. Hartshorne; on line officers killed in battle, by Captain L.W. Gifford, of St. Mary’s; on enlisted men killed in action, by Captain John P. Bard, of Curwensville. Impromptu addresses were made by Dr. W.C. Doane, of Williamsport, and Sergeant W.H. Rauch, of Philadelphia.

Image of 1914 Buckails Reunion from Rootsweb.

Dr. W.C. Doane read the following poem, written by Mr. M.H. Cobb, who was editor of the AGITATOR during the stirring scenes of the war:

Six and twenty years ago —
When the tide of war’s alarms
Made the fires of Freedom’s altar brightly glow,

From these hills the sturdy yeomen
Answered to the patriot call,
Moved by sternest purposes all,
Sworn to fight the fight as treason’s foemen.

Resolved they gathered then —
Form workshop and from field,
Our liberties to shield —
The best defense of all — a wall of living men;

Nor shrank they from the trial —
The mothers and the wives;
The treasures of their lives
They laid upon the altar with noble self-denial.

They questioned not, they gave,
Those hero wives and mothers,
Sones, husbands, lovers, brothers,
To find returning welcome or perish with the brave.

And thus they marched away —
That band of hardy yeomen,
And worthier foes than they
Never were matched with foemen;
In many a bloody fray,
Wherever MEN were wanted,
The Bucktails led the way
And bore the brunt undaunted.

As face to face we stand
We raise familiar faces,
A shattered, grizzled band;
And many vacant places.
Yet, brothers, not in vain
Did these our comrades perish,
They rise, they live again
In memories we cherish.
They fought the fight — they bought
A purer, higher freedom,
Their sacrifices wrought
The death of what was fraught
With all that blighted Edom.


Ho, Bucktails! listen while I sing
Of a most wondrous transformation
Which happed anent that grewsome thing
Which killed a crime and made a Nation.
Some of you know, and maybe all
That every buck’s a double-ender,
And some perhaps have had a call
To make a choice or else surrender.
I never hunted much, but yet
If left a choice I’d choose the latter,
Because the horns are bad, you bet,
When an old buck goes on a batter.
And yet the buck’s tail came to mean
A mighty dangerous thing to Johnny,
He ducked his head when that was seen
Borne by the Bucktail lads so bonnie.

On Friday morning a business meeting was held and a Monument Committee was appointed. A motion prevailed declaring it to be the desire of the “Bucktails” that their Monument Committee be instructed to urge upon the Commission appointed by the Governor the consolidation of the appropriations to each regiment and battery of Pennsylvania, the same to be applied to the erection of a memorial building on the battle-field of Gettysburg.

It was also decided that the next reunion should be held at Bradford, McKean county.

At three o’clock on Friday afternoon there was a parade in the following order: Platoon of policemen under Captain John Stryker; Chief Marshal D.R. Foresman and aides, Colonel A.H. Stead and Chaplain Woodruff; Fisk Military Band; Companies D, G and B, National Guard, under the command of Lieutenant-Colonel Thomas W. Lloyd; the Bucktail veterans; carriages in which were Mayor Jones, General Harshorne, Colonels Niles, Irwin and other officers of the Bucktail regiment; Twelfth Regiment Drum Corps; Reno Post and Barrows Post.

In the evening a camp-fire was held at the Court-house, which was largely attended. Captain John P. Bard presided. Addresses were made by Comrades Brown, Smith, Allen, Truxem, Corcoran, Hartshorne, Irwin, Freeman, Dr. Doane and others. The “little orderly,” Comrade Rauch, furnished amusement by several German dialect recitations. Excellent music was furnished by the Fisk Military Band. The camp-fire proved a very happy and interesting affair, and at its conclusion all were loath to depart.

After the close of the camp-fire the “Bucktails,” escorted by the members of Reno Post, and headed by the Fisk Military Band, proceeded to the Reno Post rooms, where an elegant lunch was served.

There are about three hundred survivors of this historic regiment, and something over one-half that number were present at the first reunion. Many of the men wore the same bucktails that graced their hats when they went down to the front in ’61, and which gained for them a national reputation for endurance and bravery.

Over twenty veterans from this county were present.

Including the original number and the recruits to the Bucktails during the war, about two thousand men belonged to that regiment. Think of it, — seventeen hundred brave men waiting on the other side for the great reunion when the scattered three hundred grizzled veterans shall join them!

The Wellsboro Agitator (Wellsboro, Pennsylvania) Oct 25, 1887


When President Lincoln called for troops to serve for three months, the War Department directed the State of Pennsylvania to furnish seventeen regiments. The Keyston State responded with twice that number, and thousands of men were sent back to their homes after reaching Harrisburg. Among those who reached Camp Curtin too late was a battalion from the “wild-cat” district. They were commanded by Thomas L. Kane, a brother of the Arctic explorer. They came floating down the Susquehanna river on rafts, and they were 300 strong, each armed with his hunting rifle and wearing in his hat the tail of a deer. When they found that they were too late, they decided not to return home but to await further developments.

Then came the meeting of the Legislature, and the act was passed authorizing the enlistment of the fifteen regiments of Pennsylvania Reserves to serve for three years or the war.

On June 12, 1861, the Bucktail regiment was organized as follows: Colonel, Charles J. Biddle; Lieutenant-Colonel, Thomas L. Kane; Major, Roy Stone; Captain Co. A, Phil. Hollands; Captain Co. B, Langhorn Wistar; Captain Co. C, J.A. Eldrid; Captain Co. D, Hugh McNeil; Captain Co. E, Alanson E. Niles; Captain Co. F, Dennis McGee; Captain Co. G, Hugh McDonald; Captain Co. H, Charles F. Taylor; Captain Co. I, W.T. Blanchard; Captain Co. K, Edward A. Irwin. Thomas L. Kane had been elected Colonel, but he believed that the regiment should be commanded by an officer of experience, and so he resigned and recommended the election of Captain Biddle, a veteran of the Mexican war and a thorough disciplinarian, in his stead.

The regiment was designated as the Thirteenth Reserves, the First Rifles, the Kane Rifles, and the 421 of the line; but the name by which it is known to all “Yanks” and “Rebs” is the “Bucktails.”

Upon going to the front the Bucktails were attached to the Second Brigade of the Reserves, commanded by the then Brig. Gen. George B. Meade. That fall Colonel Biddle was elected to Congress and resigned the command. At Dranesville, December 20, 1861, the Bucktails won the first victory for the army of the Potomac. At that battle Lieut. Col. Kane was seriously wounded and Captain McNeil was soon after made Colonel.

Six companies of the regiment were in the Peninsula campaign. At Mechanicsville Companies E and D were left to guard a detached position and were captured. At Charles City Cross-roads Captain Phil. Hollands was killed and Generals McCall and Reynolds were captured.

Shortly after, Major Stone resigned to recruit a “Bucktail” brigade under special orders from the War Department. He was made Colonel of the 149th, and Captain Wistar became Colonel of the 150th.

The remaining four companies commanded by Kane were sent to aid Fremont in the Shenandoah valley. At Harrisonburg Kane was wounded, and as Captain Taylor refused to leave his chief, both were captured.

The regiment was at Second Bull Run, after which, in recognition of his own gallantry at that battle and at Callett Station, Kane was made a Brigadier-General. Captain Irvin, of Company K, was made Lieutenant-Colonel, and Captain Niles, of Company E, was promoted Major.

The Bucktails participated in the battles of South Mountain and Antietam. At the latter engagement McNeil was killed. Captain Taylor of Company H, a brother of Bayard Taylor, then became Colonel. Lieut.-Col. Irvin resigned on account of wounds and Major Niles succeeded him, and Adjutant, now General, W.Ross Hartshorne, was promoted to Major.

At Gettysburg the regiment suffered severely. Colonel Taylor was killed and Lieut.-Col. Niles and three Captains were wounded.

The brave men were at the front during that terrible campaign from the Wilderness to Petersburg, and this famous regiment filled the cup of its glory to over-flowing by fighting the battle of Bethesda Church after its term of service had expired.

Many of the men re-enlisted, and these, with the other re-enlisted men of the Reserve Corps, were formed into the 190th regiment, of which Major Hartshorne was made Colonel.

Including the original number and the recruits to the Bucktails during the war, about 2,000 men belongs to the regiment. There are not less than 300 of these brave men left, and they are scattered in 28 States of the Union to day. Last year 11 joined the 1,700 and more on the other shore, and it will not be many years until there will be a grand reunions of them all on the other side of the dark river.


Col. S.D. Freeman, of Smethport, who was the first Surgeon of the Bucktails, says that several erroneous statements have been published regarding the origin of hte use of the buck’s tail as a symbol for the regiment. He says that after the enlistment of the regiment in 1861, Capt. W.T. Blanchard, of Co. I, and Col. Kane, were discussing the question on the streets in Smethport, McKean county. A large deer was hanging cut in front of a market opposite the public square. Blanchard noticed it and said, “Why not take a buck tail?” Kane replied, “That’s just  the thing!” They went over and cut the tial off that deer and the hide was cut up into small pieces and put on the soldiers’ hats. The first man to wear the bucktail was James Landragan, of Kane. He attended the reunion last week.

The Executive Committee of the Bucktails desire to thank the citizens of Wellsboro for their assistance and generosity and the ladies of Co. E for their activity in arranging for the entertainment of the visitors.

The Wellsboro Agitator (Wellsboro, Pennsylvania) Oct 21, 1890

The Seven-Days Fight.

Forty-nine years ago this week the famous “Bucktails” were under fire in the seven days’ battle in front of Richmond, beginning at Mechanicsville and ending at Melvern Hill. Two companies of this regiment were recruited in Tioga county. It was in this battle that Capt. Phil Hollands and Orrin Stebbins, who was the Agitator’s correspondent known as “Colonel Crocket,” were killed and many of the Bucktails wounded or captured.

So far as is known, the only survivors of the two companies under Capt. Phil Hollands and Capt. Alanson E. Niles are as follows: A.K. Sayles, Westfield; Eli B. Seamons, Westfield; Luther Wiles, Nelson; J.V. Morgan, Wellsboro; Wallace M. Moore, Iowa; E.A. Allen, Washington, D.C.; Lorenzo Catlin, Charleston; William W. English, Delmar; John English, Morris; James Olmstead, Tiadaghton; B.B. Potter, Michigan; William Pitts, Mansfield; Eugene Stone, Delmar; O.B. Stone, Corning; A.F. Spicer, Washington state; Henry Varner, Corning; Peter B. Walbridge, Wellboro; Geo. A. Ludlow, Aberdeen, South Dakota; George O. Derby, Wellsboro; Jacob Cole, Wellsboro.

Wellboro Agitator (Wellsboro, Pennsylvania) Jun 28, 1911

Battle of Dranesville image from Wikipedia


Veterans in Wellsboro Celebrate the First Union Victory.

Last Wednesday evening the veterans of Wellsboro who are survivors of the fight at Dranesville, December 20, 1861, with other comrades and their wives and a few invited guests, commemorated the fiftieth anniversary of the first Union victory. They arranged for a banquet at the Hotel Wilcox and some after-dinner speaking. The event was enjoyed by all who were fortunate enough to be present.

At the tables were seated about seventy-five persons among the number being the following members of the regiments in the Sixth Pennsylvania Reserves which participated in the victory which caused the North to take heart in ’61: Company H of the Sixth — Major George W. Merrick, Ransford B. Webb, D.D. Holiday, Job Wetmore, James Hazlett, Almon Wetmore, Asa Warriner; Company E of the First Rifles, or “Bucktails” — Geo. O. Derby, William W. English, J.V. Morgan, Peter D. Walbridge and Henry Varner, of the 12th regiment — Nelson H. Robbins and James N. Herbert.

The banquet was all that could be desired. Messrs. R.L. Tomb & Sons, the new proprietors of the Hotel Wilcox, made a fine first impression, the menu being excellent in every detail and the service of the best. The patriotic decorations of the dining-room were excellent in arrangement. Everybody was in good spirits and the hour passed quickly.

Comrade George O. Derby was the toastmaster. He read letters of regret from Hon. Henry M. Foote, of Washington, D.C., who enlivened the occasion with reminiscences and anecdotes of his comrades, also letters from Capt. George A. Ludlow, of St.Cloud, Florida; Benj. B. Potter, now in Michigan, and Harry C. Bailey, who recently went from Mansfield to Oregon, an a number of other  comrades.The toastmaster then called on his comrades and the guests about the board for entertainment. Brief addresses in reminiscent vein, with anecdotes, humor and congratulation were made by the following persons: R.B. Webb, W.W. English, Major Geor. W. Merrick, J.V. Morgan, Dr. J.M. Gentry, Hon. F.H. Rockwell, Rev. C.G. Langford, Rev. A.C. Shaw, D.D., Rev. John O’Toole, Rev. P.H. Hershey, Rev. F.P. Simmons, Prof. W.H. Longstreet, Supt. E.E. Hubble of the Corning M.E. district, Prothonotary E.J. Channell, Arthur M. Roy and N.H. Robbins. It was near midnight when the company dispersed, the universal opinion being that it had been a well-spent evening.

The engagement at Dranesville was a bloody skirmish between Federal and Confederate foraging parties. It was the first time that a Union victory could be claimed in any considerable action in which any Tioga boys were engaged and it caused great rejoicing in the North. It was particularly of moment to the people of this region because the Tioga county boys there got their baptism of fire. George Cook, the first man from Tioga county to fall in battle, was killed at Dranesville. His memory lives in the name of the George Cook Post, G.A.R., of Wellsboro. Capt. Alanson E. Niles, of the Bucktails, was wounded there, and a number of other Tioga county boys. The people at home, as well as the men at the front began to realize fully after Dranesville what war really meant.

The Confederate left 43 dead and dying on the field. Their wounded numbered 143, and eight men were missing, a total of 194 casualties. The Union loss was seven killed, 61 wounded, and three missing; total, 71. Lieutenant Colonel T.L. Kane, of the Bucktails, was wounded in the mouth. Four captains also were wounded.


From the Agitator files of 1861 we extract the following notes, some of which were contained in the letters of “Col. Crocket,” who is remembered as Orrin Stebbins, of Company A of the Bucktails. He was a regular correspondent of the Agitator, among others from the front, till he was killed in the battle of the Peninsula, in 1862.

The members of the Bucktail regiment were feeling quite despondent about the first of December, 1861, because of the resignation of their Colonel Charles J. Biddle, who had been elected to Congress.

“Last Thursday,” said Crockett, under date of Dec. 8, 1861, “a large foraging party from Gen. McCall’s division went out to the vicinity of Dranesville. They brought back 24 loads of wheat, 19 of corn, five of potatoes, two of brick, 27 hogs, 40 hams, seven horses, five negro slaves, five prisoners, and turkeys, geese, duck, chickens, etc., by the wagon-load. Another party from Smith’s division had still better success.” This shows what war meant to the inhabitants between hostile armies. The Rebels cleaned up everything that the Federals left.

In its issue of Dec. 25th the Agitator contained a full report of the battle of Dranesville. This is an extract: “For some days previous to the battle about a hundred of the enemy’s cavalry had been in the habit of coming down to Dranesville and foraging between there and the Potomac. Gen. McCall determined to attempt their capture. He ordered the Third Brigade, consisting of four regiments commanded by Gen. Ord, to Dranesville for that purpose and to forage. Forty or fifty wagons were taken along.

“The skirmishers of the Sixth regiment were fired upon by the Rebels in ambush. The Bucktails returned the fire. After a few rounds a Rebel battery opened up on our men, but with little effect as the falls passed over their heads. The Rebels it seems had knowledge of the attack and were prepared to meet our boys. The Rebels were concealed in a thicket and did not leave it during the fight.

“When our forces charged the enemy was completely routed, their retreat hastened by a galling fire from the Pennsylvania Reserves, leaving the {field?} strewn with their dead and wounded. Our men loaded their wagons with the forage the Rebels had abandoned. 17 loads of hay, 22 loads of  corn in the ear, the  arms, accoutrements and clothing the Confederates had thrown away in the panic.”

Mr. M.H. Cobb, who was in Washington, wrote home that “the Tioga county boys gave a glorious account of themselves.” He spoke of Capt. A. E. Niles as a fearless leader, who received a bullet through his lung. George Cook was shot through the heart; Benj. Seely got a bullet through his cheek; Tom Conway a slight wound over the eye; Charles Yahn a wound in the cheek. The Bucktails lost three killed, one in Co. E, and thirty wounded. Mr. Cobb adds, “Tioga county sent no cowards to the front.”

Lewis Margraff, of Wellsboro, was taken prisoner at Dranesville.

Soon after New Years, 1862 in the Virginia camp, the regiments which participated in the Dranesville fight were presented with their battleflag by Hon. Galusha A. Grow. Inscribed in letters of gold on the white stripes was “Dranesville, Dec. 20, 1861.”

The Wellsboro Agitator (Wellsboro, Pennsylvania Dec 27, 1911


Looking Back Half a Century or More to Incidents of Those Days.

The report of the fiftieth anniversary of Dranesville printed in the Agitator last week reminds some of us a couple of our most interesting war relics — reminders of the great conflict that are sure to attract the attention of the observing visitor in Grand Army Hall. One of these is the original muster roll of Company H of the 6th Pa. Reserves. Naturally, the paper, written fifty years ago, is somewhat faded, but remarkably well preserved, as though some one had taken good care of it. The document was presented to the Post by Captain R.B. Webb, a year or two ago, and is now in a substantial frame and will be cared for as one of our most valued mementoes of the civil war.

What makes the paper peculiarly interesting to me is that it is in the beautiful handwriting of Erwin R. Atherton, one of my boyhood companions, and whose name appears on the list with the pathetic remarks written later on by another hand — “Died, June 12, 1862.”

Many old-timers who read this will remember Erwin Atherton. He was a Charleston boy and taught school several terms before the war. Members of his company say he was a good soldier, it is nothing against him that he died of disease instead of being killed in battle. Twice as many soldiers died of disease as were killed or died of wounds during the war. And it often required more courage to meet death uncomplainingly — to die by inches in hospitals, as many poor fellows did — than to be killed in a great battle where the inspiration and excitement of the conflict made it comparatively easy to face the music and to die if necessary.

Look over the names on the muster roll of Co. H when you are in G.A.R. hall and see what happened to the boys during the war and then look around and see how many of them are left.


Alanson E. Niles

The other relic referred to is the vest that Captain Niles, of the Bucktails, had on when he was shot through the right lung at Dranesville. The vest, with a ragged hole in front showing where the bullet went in may be seen behind the glass in our “show case” in the Hall. We all remember Captain Niles. The mere mention of his name carries me back sixty years instead of fifty. Along in the late forties or early fifties “Lant.” or “Shiner,” Niles, as we affectionately called him, taught school at the old Young (if that isn’t too much of an Irish bull) schoolhouse that stood near where the little church on “Mount Zion” now stands, a couple miles east of Wellsboro.

Niles was a good teacher all right. If he was as strict a disciplinarian in the army as he was when teaching young ideas how to shoot ten years before the war, Company E of the Bucktails had to walk the chalk line and do it scientifically.

Image from roster of Co. G, 45th Pennsylvania Infantry

I know he scared me out of a year’s growth (more or less) one day when I was a kid, telling me what he would do if I didn’t quit walking across the floor between the boys’ and girls’ sides of the house, which I thought I had a perfect right to do without asking permission of his “Royal Nibs.” Of course he had told us what we could do and what we mustn’t do in good plain English; but much of the English language was like Greek to me in those days. And I have thought since that the big boys used to grab my hat and run off with it just to hear me take on in French and yell after them, “Sacre cochon donne moi mon chapeau!” (D__n pig, give me my hat) I was big enough to know that “sacre” was a bad word because my father had promised to skin me alive, or something of that kind, if he ever caught me using it. Anyway, I never said “sacre” or its equivalent unless I thought the occasion required it. All of which carries us back to the old days — the care-free school days of the long ago! The days of the spelling schools, when the big boys and girls met occasionally of an evening when the days were short, on Shumway Hill at the Round Top, in Dartt Settlement, or at the Young schoolhouse, to choose sides and “stand up and spell down,” and then (if we had spunk enough to ask them and they didn’t give us the mitten) go home with the girls.

The days of the husking bees, apple cuts and sociables, where the boys and girls played “wink and catch ’em,” “ring round the rosy” and other delightfully silly games which with the trimmings and incidentals that go with that sort of thing, were dear to the heart of every healthy boy and girl, and always will be as long as boys are boys and girls are girls! The good old days of Auld Lang Syne! How much of the fag end of life do you suppose some of us would give — if we had it to give — to be back there a year, or a month even?

But there it is again — always wanting something we haven’t go. When we are kids we want to be grown ups. When old and gray nothing looks quite so good as the happy-go-lucky days fifty, sixty, maybe seventy years ago. Why not take our “medicine” as it comes and quit finding fault? Take it as we used to take our castor oil and our quinine, fifty years ago. Nasty and bitter was it? Sure. But the blamed stuff was good for what ailed us then, and whatever the Great Physician prescribes for us now must be all right!


The Wellsboro Agitator (Wellsboro, Pennsylvania) Jan 3, 1912