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MONG the green hills of western Vermont, where the Pond Mountains almost overhang the beautiful Lake Austin, I was born on the 13th day of April, 1842. It was in the Town of Wells, Rutland County. We then lived by a small stream, the outlet of the lake, on which was a small flouring mill. In a room attached to this mill my father had a shop in which he manufactured hats, both the ordinary wool hats and the high beaver hats worn by many men on special occasions.
     My father, whose name was Daniel, was the son of Daniel Graves of Ira, Vermont, who kept the, hotel, manufactured shoes, leather and potash, and represented the town in the legislature. He had come as a young married man from Old Hadley in the western part of Massachusetts. My great-grandfather was Deacon Nathan Graves, who was fifth in descent from Thomas Graves, formerly of Hartford, Connecticut, and who came to this country from England about 1640. Deacon Nathan Graves, my great-grandfather, lived on Chestnut Mountain in Hadley, Massachusetts, and both he and his boys were considered great hunters. As they lived at the time of the Revolutionary War, no doubt game was plenty

The Farmer Boy

in western Massachusetts. Perhaps it was from them that I inherited my great fondness for hunting wild game. Nathan Graves bore arms in the French and Indian War and also in the Revolutionary War. My grandfather, Daniel, was too young, but five of his older brothers fought in the Revolutionary War. The great-grandfather of this Nathan Graves, John Graves, and his brother were killed in King Philip's War. My mother was the daughter of Jedediah Rogers, who had moved from Norwich, Connecticut. He was fourth in descent from James Rogers of New London, Connecticut, who came from England about 1635. My grandfather Rogers, when a child, saw the burning of New London by Benedict Arnold in the Revolutionary War.
     I was rather a feeble child the first two years and nervous, but gradually became strong and active like my brothers. One of my earliest recollections, was attending a district school over Culver Hill when I was three or four years old with my older sisters and brother Orson. My brother drew hand sled to school in the winter and on our way home we would all get on and coast down the Culver Hill for a quarter of a mile. There were two or three ridges across this road down the hill to turn the water into the side gutter. These we called "thank you ma'ams" and as the sled would strike these and take a jump we would all shout "Thank you ma'am."
     One time, when I was about four years old, while

Who Became a Bishop

coming up the other side of this hill with my father, we sat down by the road-side to rest. I remember asking my father how men when they cut down trees kept the trees from falling on them. He took a stick and stood it on end to illustrate and explained that when the tree began to fall it moved very slowly and the men could see which way it was going to fall and then ran around the other side. I was much with my father in those days, who seemed to enjoy answering all my questions and explaining things to me. He was a sedate, thoughtful and ingenious man, a friend and often a help to the school teachers in solving their more difficult problems. In those days he invented a waterwheel. on the principle of the turbine wheel, and put one into the flouring mill, but its power and velocity shook the mill so much that the owner became alarmed and had it taken out. That was about 1840, and before the turbine wheel was known or used in this country, as far as I can learn.
     During the Mexican War some one invented the way of making the high hats out of silk instead of beaver fur, and that ruined my father's business entirely. At the age of nearly fifty years, he found himself with a family of six children without a business or profession. Some of my uncles had moved before this to the northern part of Illinois and taken up land from the government. My oldest brother, Henry, had already gone out to the lead mines at Galena, Illinois. The uncles encouraged my father to move west and go

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to farming. His brother, Mr. George Graves, gave some money to help move us out.
     This removal to the far west in 1847 was a landmark in my life, for from that time on I remember everything that happened. Part of our household goods were sold and the rest carefully packed in large boxes. My mother cooked up a large quantity of food to last us on our journey. Several teams took us and our goods to Whitehall, New York, which was one terminus of the Erie Canal. While waiting for the boat there, my father took me up to the top of a steep hill to get a view of Lake Champlain and the country. On our way down, I fell and began to roll swiftly down the hill. Fortunately something brought me to a stop on the very brink of an overhanging cliff of rocks.
     Presently we entered the canal boat with one or two other families, where we lived for two weeks, while the boat was towed by horses through the State of New York to Buffalo. Somewhere along the line of the canal I saw the first locomotive. The first railroad in the state was just then being built. At one point in this journey, while the boat was being weighed something on shore attracted my attention and. I was thoughtlessly walking off the boat into the canal when some gentleman caught me by my clothes and saved my life. Quite often we passed under bridges and some of these were not much higher than the deck of the boat. Then some one would cry out, "Low bridge

Who Became a Bishop

ahead," and we would all lie down on the deck of the boat till we passed under the bridge.
     At length we reached Buffalo, where we were transferred to a large steamboat named the Empire State. We were four days passing through three great lakes to Chicago. On the steamer we could run about with great freedom and were very happy. Chicago, where we landed, was then a village of about five thousand people. We found some farmers who had been hauling wheat to Chicago to take us and our goods sixty miles to Marengo, Illinois, where my uncles lived. Before we got out of what is now Chicago the wagons stuck fast in the deep mud, so they had to double up the teams and pry the wheels up with rails taken from fences.



N arriving at the end of our long journey of a thousand miles, which had taken us three weeks, we moved into a log house which had been deserted by one of the uncles. This was covered with shakes, a kind of long shingle split out of oak logs. These had warped and twisted badly, so the snow blew in and the rain came through. However, my mother, who was a good housekeeper, kept everything neat and reason-

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ably comfortable. Here we lived for two years, my father cultivating some land of my uncle's and other neighbors, giving one-third of the crop for rent. Sometimes I rode horse for cultivating the corn, or attended school in a log school house about two miles away. While we were living here I had the measles and was so very ill that my life was despaired of. I can recall now some of the visions or dreams which I then had when delirious. As I became better, I remember falling down in my efforts to walk and how later on I cried because I was too weak to run races with the boys. I must have been for the most part very happy in those days, for besides my two sisters a few years older and my brother Daniel, two years younger, I had plenty of cousins and little friends to play with. I recall that I was ambitious to excel them in running, jumping and wrestling, and generally did those of my age and size. I was rather small of my age, but very quick and active. We lived at the edge of Pleasant Grove with the prairie stretching away to the north of us.
     After two years, my father rented a farm on the prairie two miles to the north near another uncle. We moved there into another log house the spring that I was seven years old. I should fail of my duty if I did not speak of another who for thirteen years was a faithful if not a bosom friend of my brother Daniel and myself. This was our dog, Watch. He was born in the family, so to speak, when I was six years old. He was a half-blooded pointer, but yellow as gold, large, strong

Who Became a Bishop

and brave; a great hunter of all kinds of game. Prairie chickens, quails, ducks, wild geese, rabbits and raccoons were plenty in those days, and some of these we hunted with Watch before we could carry a gun or shoot. During the wheat harvest of the summer when I was seven, while Dan and I were carrying together the sheaves of wheat for shocking, we heard Watch bark and leap high above the standing grain. My older brothers, Henry and Orson, who were swinging the cradles with which they cut the grain, went to see what was the matter and found a large rattlesnake coiled up which had just bitten Watch on the end of the nose. We dug the root of a plant called snakeweed, pounded it and steeped it in milk. This we applied to the wound and compelled the dog to swallow some of it. The end of his nose swelled up as large as the back part of his head and he was dreadfully sick for a week, but finally recovered entirely.
     Across the north end of the farm ran a good sized stream called the Kishwaukee. Muskrats, minks and coons were plenty along this creek. My grandfather Rogers, who lived with an uncle a mile away, had about a dozen traps and used to set them along this creek. He was fond of taking me along to the traps and would carry me on his back over the wet places. My excitement was always great as we drew near each trap to see whether anything was in it and whether it was dead or alive. Watch often went with us on these trips and when there was a coon in the trap, there

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followed a great fight between it and the dog. My grandfather taught me how to set the traps, bait them for the different animals, how to skin them and cure the skins. This was of great interest to me then and of use in later years.
     That winter my cousin, Henry Rogers, taught the district school in our neighborhood. One day a pupil came across a problem in the arithmetic which neither he nor the teacher could solve. Cousin Henry came to my father for help. That evening my father went as usual to the pasture to milk the cow. I followed along, but could get no response from my father to my chatter and many questions. He was "in a brown study." When we returned, he told my mother he had solved Henry's problem. Many years afterward, when home on a vacation from college, I asked my father about that problem. He told me what it was and how he solved it. To my great surprise, I found he had solved it by an algebraic process which he had invented for himself. He had never seen an algebra. In a similar way he had proved to his own satisfaction many of the theorems of geometry, inventing and studying his way along without a book. Every smooth board about the place was covered with geometric figures.
     At this time my two older brothers, being at home, did, with my father, all the work of the farm. My two sisters, Maria Jane, six years older, and Mary Adelia, four years older than myself, helped my mother in household duties. We never had, that I remember, a

Who Became a Bishop

servant in the house. 'When the mother was not well my sisters and all of us used to help with the housework. I can hardly remember the time when I could not make warm bread or cakes for breakfast. We took a pride in doing those things for our mother, who was generally sewing on our clothes late into the night and consequently not up early in the morning. Ready-made clothing was not found in the stores in those days, and my mother, who could do most anything with her needle, made all the clothing for the family from stockings to the best coat. She even carded the wool and spun the yarn for the socks, and used to show us woolen sheets she had woven when younger. She was a great reader, and used to read aloud to us such stories as came in the weekly paper.
     Daniel and I went to school when there was school, about seven months of the year, turned the grindstone for sharpening the scythes, axes and other tools, ran on errands, and played the rest of the time. Circus and Indian war dances were our favorite plays in those days.
     I remember at this time that we four younger children said our prayers on going to bed and cannot remember the time when we began. I suppose they were taught us by our mother, though neither she nor my father were ever members of any church. During the summer months there was often a Sunday school in the neighboring school house conducted by some Baptist or Presbyterian layman. I can remember commit-

The Farmer Boy

ting to memory some verses of Scripture at that time, but nothing more. Occasionally a rambling preacher gave us a sermon on Sunday afternoon. In religious matters we were left for the most part to ourselves and grew up like Topsy with little thought of such things. Still my parents were strictly moral and honest. No stimulants were used in the family and no tobacco by the children. I do not think any oath was consciously uttered by any member of the family. There was no serious quarrelling, but only slight jars and some complaining by the more ambitious ones.
     The singing school was a feature of our life then. An old man named Durgin with his fiddle conducted it for us children on Saturday afternoons and for the older ones in the evenings. He used to stay at our house a great deal, as my brother Henry took lessons of him on the violin. Mr. Durgin was a jolly old chap and a great delight to us children in our monotonous farm life. We all learned his songs and ditties, though most of them are long since forgotten.
     The next spring, when I was eight years old, my father rented another farm about two miles away and much farther from the district school. Here was a log house and a stable made of poles covered with straw. Though small of my age, I began that spring to plow in the field alone. My father did not own any horses, but at that time he had a gentle yoke of oxen. One day, when plowing alone at the back of the farm, the clevis on the plow broke. There was a blacksmith

Who Became a Bishop

a quarter of a mile from the place where I was plowing and instead of going home I took the clevis to the shop and had it mended and then went on with the plowing. At noon my father asked me why I let the oxen rest so long at one time? I then told him of the broken clevis. He was very much surprised and pleased that I had gotten it mended and gone on with the work instead of coming home discouraged.



BOUT this time I recall the first dawnings of an unusual ambition. My father, when a lad of fourteen, had played a fife for a recruiting officer during the war with England in 1812 and had told me stories of the late war with Mexico. These filled me with a heroic spirit and I often called myself General Scott or General Taylor. My mother made me a little flag of stars and stripes, and I would carry it around in the winter till my hands were nearly frozen. About this time I fought the only physical battles of my life. There was a boy about my age but somewhat larger who had said something insulting to a little girl I loved. We soon came to blows, or more likely to scratching and pulling of hair, and fought desperately till he gave

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up and cried. Another neighbor's boy a year older and larger than I insulted and kicked me. A while after I pitched into him with might and main. Some time after that my mother was at his house, and calling Erastus to her, asked him how he had scratched his face and hurt his finger so badly. She then learned with indignation that her son, Anson, had made the scratches and bitten his finger. She reported it to my father who punished me in some way for whipping the big lubber. While we lived at this place, the first railroad west of Chicago was built across the back end of the farm. To watch the men dig the cuts, fill up the low places and lay the rails was a matter of great interest and wonderment to Daniel and me. We kept our father busy explaining every detail. In the fall when I was eight years old I uttered my first and last oath. My father was digging an out-door cellar, as there was none under the house. He was doing the work very nicely, as he always did, making the corners perfectly square and the sides straight and smooth. I expressed my admiration, emphasizing my words with the name of our Savior. My father was shocked and asked me if I did not know that was swearing? I answered truthfully that I did not. There had been so little of it in our neighborhood that we had not been even taught about it. My father, though not a professing Christian, had a refined sense in regard to such things. He never told obscene stories and we did not venture to do it in his presence.

Who Became a Bishop

     For a mile around us the farms were all fenced in and cultivated, but a mile or more to the east there were vast stretches of uncultivated prairie. Here all the cattle of the neighborhood roamed and fed during the summer. After school was out at four o'clock the boys of the neighborhood went in a group with Watch, our dog, to fetch home the cows. We usually had to cross the south branch of the Kishwaukee River. It was a small stream in the summer with occasional deep holes. In these holes, for every one of which we had a name, the boys used to swim. My mother was a nervous, anxious woman, so Dan and I were forbidden to go in swimming, for fear we might drown. The temptation was often too great for us, and there was frequent disobedience, followed by fear of punishment. When questioned about it, we told the truth and took our whipping. The whippings were not very severe, but somehow we dreaded them next to death. Notwithstanding all these, we eventually learned to swim and dive. Some of the most delightful hours of my childhood were spent in the water.
     I remember with great affection some of our teachers. One was a spinster, Lydia Andrews, whom I almost revered. Another was my cousin, Lucinda Rogers, who was young, beautiful and lovely. She took much pride in my ability to work out simple problems in my head without slate or blackboard. May God bless them all. One of our teachers, Mr. Frank Warren, seemed to us rather severe. He was also a carpenter

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and had planed out a heavy pine ruler which some of the older boys had felt on the palms of their hands. Some neighboring boys and myself formed a conspiracy to destroy the ruler. One night we went nearly two miles to the school house, crawled in through a broken window pane, eight inches by ten, picked the lock of his desk and got the ruler. Half a mile from the school house we cut it to pieces and threw the remnant into a field. Mr. Warren was a good teacher, however, and we learned "to toe the mark" under him. I was not a bad boy in school, but was often careless and thoughtless. I was never severely punished, though sometimes made to stand on the floor for half an hour for some improper conduct.
     In the autumn of 1852, when I was ten years old, I remember taking my first interest in politics. Dan and I raised a pole twenty feet high in our front yard with a flag on it bearing the names of Pierce and King who were running for president and vice-president. The next spring my father moved again from the rented place to a farm which had been bought by my oldest brother, Henry. This was on Loco Prairie, adjoining the farm on which we had lived three years before. This farm was one-eighth of a mile wide and a mile long, running back across the Kishwaukee River and into the Big Woods, as they were called. A mile still north of this was a wood lot of thirty or forty acres belonging to the same farm. On this farm we lived in a log cabin for several years. I look back to it more than

Who Became a Bishop

to any one place as the home of my childhood. The Big Woods across the river were not fenced in and formed a free range for our cows and those of the neighbors who lived on the prairie. It was the duty of Dan, Watch and myself to start about an hour before sunset for the Big Woods to bring home the cows. We had the faculty of turning all our work into play. Thus, if we had to weed the carrots or hoe the potatoes, we took the job in our imaginations at so many dollars a row and in this way became very wealthy. We transformed ourselves into western rangers. Dan became Jack Rover and I was Sam Roger. Our legs were the finest Arabian horses on which we galloped and ran races and chased the buffaloes. The cows and oxen were the buffaloes. A day of twenty-four hours was a year. From 3 A. M. to 9 A. M. was spring, from 9 A. M. to 3 P. M. was summer, from 3 P M. to 9 P. M. was autumn and from 9 P. M. to 3 A. M. was the dead of winter. Each autumn we went on a great buffalo hunt which was really going after the cows. We crossed the Missouri River (the Kishwaukee Creek), then the great plains (the bottom land beyond) and penetrated the Rocky Mountains (the hills and openings of the Big Woods). Like David of old, we had slings of our own make, and a bag of pebbles at our side. The number of cows we hit with the pebbles were the buffaloes we slew each autumn and we often surpassed the feats of Buffalo Bill, It was not always easy to find the cows, and it

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was often after dark before we arrived home. We knew every cow-path in the woods for a mile or more, and being the bold rangers that we were, we were never afraid. My mother, however, used sometimes to become very an especially when the river was in flood, so we had to cross in a boat.
     My older brothers with Dan and myself had formed a boat company, each taking shares which were a dollar apiece. With this we bought the lumber, nails and pitch, arid Henry and Orson built a very plain scow. To this we gave the name of the Kishwäukee Schooner. We had great times navigating the river and its branches. We often used the boat in fishing with a net, which also belonged to a stock company. Sometimes strange hunters would come along, take our boat and run it two or three miles down the river and leave it there. Then we made up exploring parties and hunted the stream through brush and swamps to find it. Generally we had to bring it back in a wagon. There used to be plenty of fish called bull-heads in the deeper holes of the river. These we caught at night in the following manner. We would dig a large number of angle worms and string these on a strong linen thread a yard long. Then we would fold the string up to about three inches in length. Around the middle of this bunch we would tie a strong cord and four inches from the worms tie the cord to a long stick. Anchoring our boat in a place where the water was six or eight feet deep, we would fit the stick down to the

Who Became a Bishop

bottom and then raise it three or four inches. The bull-heads would bite into the bunch of worms and their hooked teeth become entangled in the threads. Feeling the stick wiggle, we would raise it quickly to the surface, hold the bob, as we called it, over the boat, and the fish would soon drop off. One night we caught a hundred in about an hour. Hot water dashed over these would cause the skins to slough off and my mother, who was an excellent cook, would prepare them as a feast for breakfast.
     This leads me to speak of our plain living and poverty. During these years, it was only with the greatest labor and economy that we were able to feed and clothe the family. The older brothers taught singing school each winter and with these earnings made payments on the farms they had bought. Henry played the violin and Orson the accordion and melodion (sic), so they could lead their singing school with instrumental music as well as with their voices. The rough work of the farm made their fingers rather stiff for playing, so a couple of months in the autumn before they started their schools, they would practice each evening at home. The neighbors would sometimes gather around to hear the practice.
     From our earliest years we were taught to save our pennies and small earnings. I do not remember ever buying a stick of candy with my own money. Our mother was our banker and kept carefully our savings in a special purse in a special chest. When we had

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thus gathered enough, Dan and I would go in company and buy a calf and let it run with the other cattle. It was only the penny earnings for little jobs that were our own. When we worked out regularly for the neighbors the earnings went to buy our clothing or to pay the family debts. With our small earnings and investments I had saved up thirty-four dollars by the time I was eighteen years old. For us that was a large amount of money, and this sum enabled me later to pay my fare to Vermont and start my school life with seven dollars in my pocket.
     During these years we always went barefoot in the summer and until quite late in the fall, so that one pair of boots would last us through the winter. In the latter part of October, when the nights were frosty, our feet and ankles used to become blue with cold when going for the cows in the evening. Although we still kept and worked oxen, my older brothers had horses, so we sometimes went for the cows on horseback and became expert bareback riders. We often rode the oxen, too, or one of the cows when bringing them home.
     When I was about thirteen, a man came through our part of the country teaching geography by singing. The countries, rivers, lakes, etc., were set to chants or familiar tunes. Either he or one of the pupils would point out on a large map the names as they came in the song. He had an evening class in each of the country school houses for miles around. At the end of

Who Became a Bishop

the winter he brought them all together for a final exhibition. It is one of the triumphs of my life that on this occasion he had me start the tunes, point the places and lead the exercises as his most accomplished pupil. In a similar way each country school district had its weekly spelling school in the evening and occasionally a tournament, or spelling match, between two districts. I was fortunate enough to spell the school down part of the time, but often some bright girl would spell me down. I have often wished in late years that I could spell as well as I could when I was eighteen. We also had debating societies at the school house on winter evenings. I must have been about twelve years old when I first took part in these. When I was fourteen, I made my first and last political speech. It was when Buchanan and Fremont were candidates for president. I had read an article in a book called "The Great West," on the Missouri Compromise. My oldest brother was a staunch democrat and persuaded me to deliver a speech on the Missouri Compromise, giving it a democratic bias. The family assembled in the parlor of his new house, and I delivered my address. I only remember that I was very much dissatisfied with myself, and never attempted it again.
     Our favorite sport in the winter was snow-ball fights and building of snow forts. Our school house was on the prairie and the wind drove the snow into great drifts along the fences. Our forts were sometimes dug into the snow drifts and sometimes we cut large blocks of

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crusted snow with wooden saws and built them high, and again we would wall in a corner of the rail fence. All the boys who came from the north and west were combined against the boys who came from the south and east of the school. Sometimes we fought so furiously and in dead earnest that the teacher had to interfere. Another fine game was "I spy," played on moonlight evenings around the great straw stacks. We would lean a large stick against the stack and one would blind and count a certain number while the others ran away and hid. Then he would find the boys, calling out, "I spy John James and touch the goal before him." If one could get to the goal before him, he threw it down, and all who had been found before him could run out and hide again. The cattle, in feeding, dug deep holes in the straw stacks, which made fine places for hiding. The bright moon, the crisp, frosty air and the keen rivalry all combined to enhance the joy of the game. Sometimes we had husking-bees on winter evenings, when both the boys and girls came. These generally ended up with a feast on pop corn and pumpkin pie. The older and braver boys would see the girls home from these gatherings and from the spelling schools. At the age of twelve I was deep in love with the brightest and to me the prettiest girl in the school. She was just my age and was earnestly religious. Her name was Betsey Ann Gardner and my love was as pure and chivalric as love can be. It was for her that I fought my first real fight as related above.

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