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Who Became a Bishop

     In the summer time the boys far and near came together, when possible, on Saturday evening for a great swim in the Kishwaukee River. There were some deep boles on my brother's farm, which made fine places for swimming. My forte was to swim the farthest with the fewest strokes and to beat the others in ducking each other in deep water. One time I held my big brother Orson under water till he strangled and I feared he would drown. We also had great contests in splashing water on each other till one gave up.



LL these years we had to work hard on the farm eight months of the year, going to school in the winter as soon as the corn was husked. We usually had chapped hands and cold fingers before the fall work was done. My last work of the kind was gathering up small piles of husked corn from the ground out of the snow with my bare hands. I early became quite an expert in dropping corn for planting. I had to drop the corn in hills, four kernels at a time from a tin pail hung by a string from my neck. I was able to drop a row of corn with each hand as fast as two men could cover it behind me, That was an unusual accomplish-

The Farmer Boy

ment. I was always small of my age, but very quick and nimble. Another kind of work in which I had special skill was stacking hay and grain. My father, who was thoughtful and scientific in his work, had taught me to keep the stack full and hard in the center, and I acquired such skill in it that the rain never wet into my stacks. The neighbors used to exchange work with us in order to have me do their stacking. At fifteen I could bind grain after the reaper as fast as the men and earn a man's wages. I could rake and bind and keep up with a cradler, which was considered a difficult task.
     These little triumphs fanned the ambition of a heart naturally, aspiring and proud. I was not contented with my lot as a farmer boy, and longed for an education. It was in these days that I formed the definite ambition to become a statesman--a United States senator. I remember coming in from plowing one day, my eyes red and my face covered with dust and white streaks down my cheeks. My mother asked me what I had been crying about. I told her it was because I could not get an education and become a great man. Still, for the most part, I was brave and confident that the opportunity would come. With this ambition, I became almost a miser in saving money for the time when I could go away to school.
     An incident occurred one spring which was not so creditable to my intelligence. Dan and I were sent to cut down willows in the meadow, The long, dry

Who Became a Bishop

grass among the willows was bothersome, and we thought it would be a good scheme to burn it out. We lighted the grass, but the first we knew it had spread into the meadow and was beyond our control. I ran frightened and crying to my father, who was plowing in a neighboring field. He came in haste and fought the fire, but it was not subdued until it had burned over many acres in our own and neighbor's meadow and some of the fence between. Our father did not punish us, but explained how by back-firing along a road in the neighbor's meadow he stopped the fire. We learned more than one lesson that day.
     Dan and I began to hunt with a real gun the spring that I was ten years old. There was an old, single-barrel shot gun in the family, the barrel of which was four feet long. It was so long and heavy that I could not hold it out or shoot without a rest. One of the older brothers, probably Orson, showed us how to load it. We started out, Dan carrying the front end and I the butt. We soon spied a small bird, but there was nothing to rest the gun on. Dan offered his shoulder, but that was too high. He then bent over and I rested the gun across his back and fired away. The butt of the gun hit my shoulder pretty hard, but the shot hit nothing. We reloaded and I was putting on the percussion cap, the butt of the gun against my stomach and the distant muzzle on the ground. In letting down the hammer, my thumb slipped and off went the gun, blowing a hole in the ground near where Dan stood.

The Farmer Boy

We looked at each other in surprise and fear. We recovered and went on our way, arriving safely at home. From that time we frequently went hunting and often brought in wild ducks and other game. Later on we used to hunt coons at night in the fall of the year. Two cousins, Virto and Charles Rogers, used often to go with us. When the October moon was full, we would start about ten o'clock with our old dog, Watch. There were some cornfields between the Big Woods an the river. We knew that the coons would stop in these on their way from the woods to the river. The dog would take the fresh tracks of the coon and generally overtake the coon before he could reach a tree. Then followed a furious fight, which sometimes lasted twenty minutes. Whenever the dog made a dash, the coon would rise on its hind feet like a bear, open its fore paws to scratch and its mouth to bite, emitting at the same time a gruff noise between a growl and the spitting of a cat. We could do little to help the dog, but the excitement was intense until the coon was overcome. We rarely failed to bring one or two home. One night, while crossing the river, the dog got something up a tree which we supposed was a coon. Two of the party went back to the house for a gun while the other two and the dog watched by the tree. When they returned, Virto took the gun, and getting the object between him and the moon, took the best aim he could and fired. Down came something end over end which Virto declared was a bear. It proved to be a

Who Became a Bishop

bob-cat, or lynx, which weighed twenty-eight pounds. Fortunately the fine shot struck it between the eyes and it fell dead, otherwise it might have given us serious trouble.
     Our father had explained to us what banks and banking were, probably in answer to some question about paper money. Thereupon Dan and I each started a pin bank, using pins for specie. With these we redeemed the five, ten and fifty pin bills which our banks issued. With us, and to some extent with our older brothers, these pin bills became the currency for all minor transactions. Our parents so far humored us in this that mother enabled us to get the pins and father made a nice wooden bank vault for Dan. His was called the Putnam Bank and mine the Seneca Bank. To some extent, our paper money became current among our schoolmates and pin lotteries were sometimes drawn.
     The fourth of July was the great day of the year with us. We rarely went to town to celebrate it, but devised our own amusements in the country. For months we saved our pennies and invested the money in gun-powder. We had a little cannon made of a piece of old gun barrel, with a wooden plug in one end. We would build forts out of chips and sticks and then set up other sticks behind the fort for soldiers. Planting our cannon in front, we would load it with gravel stones which we called grape-shot and batter down the fort and soldiers. One fourth of July we joined with

The Farmer Boy

some neighboring boys and went to an old, deserted brick-yard in the woods two miles away. We hitched up our old dog, Watch, in a harness and cart we had made for him, put our dinner, firecrackers and little cannon in the cart and away we went. In the brickyard were some pools of water. On these we launched chips for men of war, then sunk them with our cannon from a fort on the shore. While we had very little money to spend on amusements, we managed by our ingenuity to have a better time than most other boys who had more money.
     In the spring of the year, Dan and I had to leave the school early in March to "get up" stove wood for the summer. Our wood lot was two miles north of our home and across the river. Taking our axes and our dinners we would start in the early morning and plod through snow and mud to our work. At noon we would build a little fire, thaw out our dinner and eat it with a relish known only to a hard-worked, growing boy. One day we resolved to chop up a certain tree before quitting work, which took us until after sunset. We then started for home, but it soon became dark. The river was in flood and had overflown the bottom land so we had to cross in a boat. On the farther bank we were surprised to meet our father, who had come to look for us. Our mother had become greatly alarmed and felt sure we were drowned in the flood.
     When I was about seventeen, Dan and I conceived the idea of earning some money by trapping. About

Who Became a Bishop

a dozen old steel traps had been left by my grandfather Rogers to brother Henry and we had the use of them. The days were getting short in the fall and the work on the farm was pressing. But by rising an hour earlier in the morning Dan could do all the chores allotted to us both and I could visit the traps before breakfast. I fear the first setting of the traps, selecting the places and changing them were attended to on Sundays. We had planned for this enterprise some months ahead and built a canoe suited to go rapidly up and down the stream. We had found near the river two long, narrow pine planks, which had floated down from some bridge above in the floods. These we dowelled together with wooden pins and fastened with cross cleats. We then hewed off the edges to a point at both ends. We bought three long clapboards, or siding, which were then made half an inch thick and six inches wide. Two of these we nailed to the edges of the plank bottom. As the planks were two inches thick, the boat would thus be only four inches deep inside--so shallow that it would surely dip water when the canoe tipped, or rocked. By ripping the third piece of siding lengthwise and riveting these to the upper edges of the low sides, we increased the depth of the boat nearly three inches. We then made a long paddle with a blade at each end for propelling it as we had read the Esquimaux did. The heavy bottom kept the canoe quite steady and it ran swiftly through the water. I managed to get to the first trap in the morning

The Farmer Boy

as soon as it was light enough to see, going rapidly from the upper trap down stream one morning, leave the canoe there and the next morning going from the lower trap up the stream. While the others were taking their "nooning," that is, the customary hour's rest at dinner time, Dan and I skinned our catch and stretched the skins on boards to dry. That fall we caught eighty muskrats, three minks and a coon. The muskrat skins brought us twelve and a half cents each and the other skins more.
     We all inherited from our parent's mechanical ingenuity so we could make our own carts, boats and other playthings. We made cross-bows which would shoot so accurately that we used them after the manner of William Tell to shoot small, round squashes, the size of an apple, from each other's heads. We also made large squirt-guns which we played were fire engines with which we extinguished small fires we lighted for the purpose.
     We had almost no religious privileges. The nearest church was three miles away which was rather far to walk after working hard in the fields all the week. Occasionally some roving preacher, or circuit rider, would preach in our school house and such services we usually attended. In the winter and spring of 1857, when I was fifteen, a remarkable revival of religion swept over all the western states. Excited meetings were held in all the churches every night for three months. Everybody seemed to attend and thousands were converted.

Who Became a Bishop

     My two older sisters, Dan and I went when we could have the team or ride with the neighbors. We all became" converted," or "experienced religion," as it was called in the Methodist Church. My sisters joined the church, but Dan and I were so young that our father bid us wait. I remember how earnest and happy I was for a while and how, after the meetings were over and the hard work on the farm came on, the interest died away, and the prayer meetings became duller and duller. We said our prayers and tried to be pious, but were never looked after by the minister or class-leader. After a year or two, Spiritualist lecturers came along preaching infidelity and I am sorry to say I became a downright atheist, or as nearly so as one so young and ignorant could be. I remained in that condition spiritually for about three years and in my conceit could confound the simple religious people with the arguments which the Spiritualists had drawn from Tom Paine and others.



N the autumn of 1860 came the memorable presidential election when Lincoln, Douglas and Breckenridge were candidates. Companies of a semi-military character, called Wide-Awakes, were formed

The Farmer Boy

by the Republicans and we had never known such political excitement. Our own family was divided. My father had always been a Democrat, but bolted from that party when the Kansas-Nebraska Bill was passed by Congress. Brother Orson also was a Republican, but Henry and myself were still Democrats. I had heard Stephen A. Douglas speak two years before and was enthusiastic for the little Giant, as he was called. I remember shedding tears when the news came that Lincoln was elected. Four years later, during the Civil War, I cast my first vote for Lincoln's reelection. But great events and changes had come to the country and myself. While in college, my studies in political economy led me to believe in a protective tariff as the best policy for a young country like ours with manufactories only partially developed. Though largely an independent in politics all my life, I have generally voted the Republican ticket at national elections.
     I spoke above of my military spirit and aspirations when I was eight years old. As years of peace passed by and I never saw a soldier or a uniform to feed my aspirations in that direction and as I began to read political newspapers and the proceedings of Congress, my ambition took a turn toward a political life. The brilliant and unprecedented career of Stephen A. Douglas, senator from our state, captivated my imagination. I was never so wild as to dream of being president of the United States, but thought possibly I might become a senator and make speeches in Congress.

Who Became a Bishop

     These aspirations fired my energy and led me on until after I graduated from college. With that career in view, I took great interest in declamation and oratory and took an active part in all debating societies. I afterwards organized one in high school and an extra one in college. As most statesmen were also lawyers, I planned to make that profession a stepping stone to greater things.
     The school in our country district was sometimes fairly good, but quite as often miserably poor, according to the teacher we happened to have. From the time I was ten years old I had to stay out of school summers to work on the farm. I attended the winter school about three and a half months each year. One winter when about sixteen I walked three miles to an academy at Marengo, taught by the Presbyterian minister. I made good progress that winter. By the time I reached my eighteenth birthday, April, 1860, I had learned to read, write and spell, and had a fairly good knowledge of geography and arithmetic. I had tried to learn something of algebra from our last teacher, who knew little or nothing about it.
     The summer of 1860 was my last one on the farm. Three years before that my Uncle George Graves and his wife, from Rutland, Vermont, had visited us. My father had told him how anxious I was to get an education and had probably commended my natural ability. At all events he offered if I would come to them to let me live in their family and attend the fine school at

The Farmer Boy

Rutland for a year. His son, Cousin Charles Graves, had previously promised that when I was ready I might study law in his office. The two offers seemed to open the way for me to realize the great dream of my life. My father told my uncle that he could not spare me yet, as there were debts contracted some years before which had not been paid, but that when they were cleared off I might go. In that hope I lived and toiled on for the next three years. My brother Daniel entered into my hopes and aspirations most heartily. We planned and toiled and saved together to pay those debts and hardly a day passed that we did not talk of the coming day of freedom. We paid off one of the debts due to a store-keeper by cutting broom-corn for him at seventy-five cents a day. We had to walk three miles to the work and be there at seven o'clock, carrying a cold lunch for dinner and walking home after sunset. A month or more of this work paid that debt. We estimated that the crop of the third year, 1860, when sold would pay the remaining debts, so we began to make plans and preparations for my long-looked-for departure from home. It was late in December before the corn was all gathered in. My mother was busy making me a new suit of clothes. I sold my interest in a cow and some young stock to my brother and sister and got together about thirty-four dollars from my many years' savings. This was in bills on western banks, called wild-cat banks. The bills would be taken for my railroad ticket, but

Who Became a Bishop

would not pass current in the east. I had to pay fifteen per cent exchange for the seven dollars in silver which I would have left after paying for my ticket. Those seven dollars bought my books and all other necessaries until the next summer vacation, when I was able to earn something more.
     Some home-made socks and a few other things were packed in a small, oil-cloth satchel with lunch to last two or three days. On the last day of the year the horse was hitched to the homemade pung, or sleigh, and Brother Dan drove me to the station. It nearly broke my heart to say good-bye to the dear ones at home whom I had never left for any length of time before. Both Dan and I wept all the way to the station. The man who sold me my ticket asked if I were sick, remarking that I looked very pale. No doubt my eyes were very red. The train soon came along and the last tie was broken. A thousand miles were soon between me and my home. It was three and a half years before I saw any of my own family again.
     On the train which bore me from home I sat beside an intelligent man whose observations were interesting to me. He told me that I had always lived on a farm. I asked him how he knew that? He answered that he knew it from the shape of my hand -- that my fingers were thick and strong. He called my attention to a young man in a seat ahead of us who was reading a book and bid me observe how slim and tapering his fingers were. He said that such fingers were very good

The Farmer Boy

for thumbing a dictionary, but were of little use for such work as I had been doing.
     I arrived in Chicago about noon and as my train for the east did not leave until toward evening, I left my satchel under a seat in the station and wandered about the great city. I had learned so much about it from the neighbors who had been there that I was not much surprised at what I saw. On the train I remember remaining awake most of the night to see all I could of the country through which we passed. It was mostly covered with snow, but I recall the great apple orchards of Michigan. The second night I slept in my seat. There were no sleeping cars in those days and I should not have spent my money for a berth if there had been. It was many years after that before I could afford the luxury of a sleeping car. In the forenoon of the third day we entered the mountains of Vermont. My heart swelled within me as I saw the great, snow-clad hills rising up on either side. had not seen a mountain before since my earliest childhood, but I soon grew to admire and love them.



Y Uncle George and Cousin Charles happened to be at the station when I arrived and took me at once to their home. I was given a nice room to

Who Became a Bishop

myself and had around me luxuries of which I had never dreamt. I entered the public high school after what was to me a tedious and difficult examination. I think I must have been taken in as a special favor, for I do not believe I answered correctly half the questions, so rusty was I in my studies and so bewildered by my new surroundings. My Uncle had a horse and cow whose care was committed to me, and I had the wood to bring in from the woodshed. I gathered up all the tools scattered about the place and had a special place for each. My Uncle soon discovered this and was mightily pleased.
     My Uncle's family consisted of a wife, three sons and two daughters. The sons were married and had homes of their own. The two daughters, Emily and Lucy, were at home. Emily was several years older than myself and Lucy was a year younger. Both were highly educated. They were very helpful to me in my studies, correcting my ungrammatical expressions and were lovely to me in every way. My aunt was a modest, retiring woman of much natural refinement. All were earnest communicants of the Episcopal Church and every morning they had family prayers. As my western roughness and rural habits wore off, I fitted in perfectly to the family and came to love them all. I believe in turn I was loved by them as the nearest of kin. It became equally dear to me as my western home and I often returned to it in later years with the greatest joy,

The Farmer Boy

     I settled down to my studies with great zeal and was soon at the head of most of my classes, but that did not satisfy me. I was far behind others of my age. From my cousins and the older boys in school I learned about a college career and became fired with the desire to go through college. To prepare for college required in the regular course four years of Latin, two of Greek and one of algebra, and I knew practically nothing of any of them. Four more years in school from the next fall and four years in college seemed to me then an endless period and I could not bear the thought of such delay. It was now at the beginning of the spring term of school, and I was nineteen years old. I asked my Cousin Charles to help me in Latin, which he gladly did. I studied it nights and Saturdays and in one month I was reciting with the class which began it the fall before. As the end of the term drew near, the class in primary algebra was to review the whole book in three weeks, preparatory to examination. I begged the Principal to let me go through it with them. This was about the most difficult thing I ever undertook. Cousin Lucy kindly helped me. I studied nearly every night till midnight and went to bed weeping over my difficulties. I had to skip many of the examples for lack of time to solve them, but in some way I scratched through the examination at the end. The following extract from a letter written home at that time will show the struggle through which I passed

Who Became a Bishop

"RUTLAND, VT., June 9th, 1861.

"Beloved Friends:
     "When I wrote you last I was about to begin algebra with high hopes of going through it this term, but I have found it, as I said then, more easily said than done. We have had five recitations in it. With the first four I got along very well, but the last lesson on Friday I did not have. I studied all day yesterday on it except about two hours. During one of these I hoed in the garden and got my Latin lesson while so doing. In the other hour I rode out horse-back, but did not enjoy my ride for thinking of my algebra. I studied it in the evening, didn't get through with Friday's lesson, cried over it nearly two hours, went to bed half-past eleven, got up this morning at five, studied till 3 P. M., not going to church this forenoon, and got two-thirds of my lesson for to-morrow. The reason I am so anxious to get through it now is that I want to finish preparatory mathematics this term in order to attain the end I am now striving for. If the teacher we had at home a year ago could have taught algebra as she said she could, I should not now have all this trouble.
     "I have not gone to the war, as it seems you expected from what I wrote, but I thought it would be well enough to know how you felt on the subject in case a favorable chance might offer. I must now bid you good-bye for a little while to take exercise, without which I should not be able to stand it long."
     On entering the school I was told that each boy had to speak a piece once in three weeks and write a composition once in three weeks, but those who wrote their own declamations and spoke them need not write com-

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positions. I told the teacher that I would write my declamations. My first one was a very tame composition on the Missouri Compromise. The principal advised me to read it as a composition, but I begged him to let me speak it and I would try to do better next time. After that I seemed to get into the oratorical style and improved rapidly. Later on one of the boys who was about to graduate delivered an oration to prove that barbarism was a stronger and happier condition than civilization. I asked permission to answer him in my next oration and did so to the apparent amusement and satisfaction of all.
     During these months the great Civil War was coming on and both my declamations and letters home were full of the subject. I asked my parents' permission to enlist in the Northern army but this was refused. On the last day of school, the day before the Fourth of July, my declamation was in the form of verses and was full of the patriotic and heroic. I was honored by being placed next to the last on the programme.
     My teachers were Mr. D. C. Moore, principal, Miss Hudson and Miss Hodges. I soon came to like them very much, and I think now from the way they overlooked my faults and helped me on that they must have liked me. Some years later, Mr. Moore married Miss Hudson and became a prominent man in Illinois. Miss Hodges was married to Mr. Everett P. Wheeler, a leading lawyer and Churchman of New York City. Not knowing this latter fact, about eight years after-

Who Became a Bishop

ward I was calling on Mr. Wheeler for a subscription toward the endowment of the Diocese of Albany. He invited me into his house to entertain me for the night. Great was my surprise and joy to find that my hostess was my old teacher.
     During the summer vacation, I worked to earn money for clothes and books. I first hoed the gardens for my Uncle and Cousin Charles. I then made the hay in Uncle's meadow of seven acres and put it in the barn. The rest of the vacation I worked in his boot factory.
     When I left home, I weighed one hundred and seventeen pounds, was well knit and strong. During the six months of school and hard study I lost five pounds, but regained it and more during the summer, so that I weighed one hundred and twenty-two pounds. I wrote home at this time as follows:
     "I do not think I am delicate, for I eat more than any other person at the table and am the strongest boy in school except the soldier. It is my practice to take plenty of food, sleep and exercise, bathe twice a week and, most important of all, sleep with my windows open, summer or winter, so that I breathe the pure air which is enough to make most any person healthy."
     Owing to the hard times caused by the war, it had been doubtful about the school reopening, but the teachers accepted reduced salaries and the school went on August 20th. If the school had not reopened, I had decided to enlist in Berdan's Sharp

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Shooters and go to the war. The previous term I had earned five dollars by sweeping and dusting the school-room, bringing in the wood and ringing the bell. I undertook the same again. My principal studies were Latin reader, Cæsar and Greek. My time was divided into regular hours, which were systematically observed. I rose every morning at five o'clock, studied until seven, did the chores at home and school until nine, after school until six I swept the school-room and studied. After supper until bed time I did the evening chores and took gymnastic exercises. On the horizontal bar I could draw myself up to my chin twenty-seven times in immediate succession. I was usually in bed by nine o'clock.
     The older girls and boys of the school formed a reading circle to which I belonged and the boys organized a debating society. Among my schoolmates and boon companions were the following: Edward L. Temple, who afterwards became the treasurer of a savings bank and the author of several books. He married my Cousin Lucy Graves; Wilbur Atwater, who left that fall for college and afterwards became professor of chemistry in Wesleyan University and one of the leading chemists of the country; Eugene Kelley, who enlisted in Berdan's Sharp Shooters and died in the war; his brother, Edwin D. Kelley, a fine linguist, who graduated at the University of Michigan and became a Baptist missionary in Burmah. He partly translated the Bible into Burmese and was drowned

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