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Who Became a Bishop

ninety-four sermons or addresses; administered communion thirty-three times; baptized thirteen persons; confirmed in the District two hundred and sixty-four; married one couple; buried one person; licensed twenty-six lay-readers; ordered one deacon; ordained one priest; received one priest into the Jurisdiction; gave letters dismissory to four clergymen.


     The Platte Collegiate Institute, or Kearney Military Academy, has had a most interesting and useful year. Over eighty students were enrolled with an average attendance of about seventy. The low price of two hundred and ten dollars a year has brought us many boys from the farms, ranches and small villages, who could not attend our higher-priced Church schools farther east. We are confident in saying that such boys are not only better boys in school, but that they give better promise of a career of usefulness hereafter than the sons of wealthy people. Many of the pupils are communicants of the Church, a number are confirmed every year and most of the younger ones will be in due time. Still a majority of them were not attached to our Church on entering the school."



HE middle of January, the Missionary Conference of our Department, the Sixth, met in Omaha, at which we had some interesting and spicy

The Farmer Boy

discussions. My visitations went steadily on through the spring. The following will illustrate some of our trips off the railroad:
     On Sunday morning, May 7th, I began the visitation of Rev. P. B. Peabody's field, that being the two large counties of Crook and Weston in the northeast corner of Wyoming. We had communion service in the neat wooden church at New Castle Sunday morning. This church, with the rectory beside it, stands on a hill overlooking the town and the vast plains stretching west a hundred miles to the foot of the Big Horn Mountains. Immediately on the east of New Castle are the Black Hills, extending into South Dakota. The little board shack, twelve by fourteen feet, in which the bachelor missionaries used to live, is now replaced by a comfortable rectory occupied by the missionary's family.
     After dinner at the hospitable home of Mr. and Mrs. Baird, Mr. Peabody came with his horse and buggy to take me to the mission at Cambria, nine miles away. Our road lay up through a deep gorge, down which comes a small stream and the railroad leading from the coal mines. Arrived in Cambria, which is entirely a coal camp in the narrow gorge, we called on those families interested in the Church. At evening the little church was filled and four young people were presented for confirmation. We were hospitably entertained by the people over night.
     The next morning the missionary was ready with his

Who Became a Bishop

buggy and we drove on up the gorge and over a high divide in the Black Hills. From there we descended what is aptly termed Break-Neck Hill. The last time I was on this steep, narrow road, a great boulder had rolled down into the middle of the way, and it was with the greatest difficulty that we got our buggy over and past the obstruction. On we drove many miles to a lonely ranch nestled in the edge of the hills. Here we stopped for dinner and found refined Church people, who most heartily welcomed us to their home. Again we drove on northward over the undulating plains until twenty miles from our starting point we came to a store and not far away a white school-house in a grove of pines. This place was called Horton. Two miles farther on we came to the home of Mr. Cleave, where we were to stay for the night.
     After supper neighboring people joined us to drive back to the school-house for service. It soon began to rain and blow and became very dark. The schoolhouse was reached and the horses tied under the shelter of the pines. A wood pile of pine chunks was found, from which we broke splinters and started a fire, for it was wet and chilly. Then we tried to light the lamps, but found that they had neither chimney nor oil. One of the party was sent to the nearest house to borrow a lamp or lantern, but he found the house locked up and the people away. There were nine of us, counting the clergy, and we determined to have the service. The missionary felt his way through the dark-

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ness to the cottage organ and announced a familiar hymn, which we sang from memory. Then followed the Lord's prayer and the twenty-third psalm, which we repeated in unison. I lighted a pine splinter at the stove and held it while Mr. Peabody read the Gospel for a lesson. After the creed and evening prayers, said from memory in the dark, followed another hymn. Then came the sermon, while an occasional flash of lightning revealed to my invisible hearers that I was making the appropriate gestures. For a collection, each one handed me his offering in the dark, and we closed with another hymn.
     The next day we drove on twenty-five miles to Sundance, the county seat of Crook County. Here we have a church, which cost sixteen hundred dollars. It was lost on the mortgage being sold at auction to Romanists for one hundred ad fifty dollars and finally rescued from them by our people. At six o'clock that evening we had a wedding and after that service in the church. The next day I took the stage forty miles to Moorcroft and Mr. Peabody returned as he came.
     The spring visitations having all been made, on the Fourth of July my two younger sons, David and Paul, Rev. J. L. Craig and wife and several others started from Casper, Wyoming, for a long camping drive four hundred miles through the Big Horn Basin to the Yellowstone Park. We visited the famous Hot Springs at Thermopolis, spending Sunday there and giving them

Who Became a Bishop

a service. We had a large baggage wagon drawn by four horses and a spring wagon with two horses. Five of the party were on horseback. We made about thirty miles a day, camping at night by some stream. We carried water in kegs, as many of the streams were so strong with alkali that even the horses would not drink from them. We passed by post offices once in thirty or forty miles, but no villages until we reached Cody, two hundred miles from Casper. Up to that point the roads had been very rough, cut up by the heavy wagons hauling wool to the railroad at Casper. There would be four or five wagons, heavily loaded, fastened together and in front of them ten or twelve spans of horses with one or two drivers.
     After passing Cody we found the United States Government road very fine to the Park. While camping over Sunday by the Shoshone River one hundred miles from the Park, I was taken with an intense agony in the stomach and for ten hours had to fairly gasp for breath. There was no physician or hotel within a hundred miles. After waiting for me two days, they placed me on an air bed in the bottom of the spring wagon and moved on about fifteen miles a day. We at last came to the edge of the Park and a large hotel, but the doctor who happened to be there had no medicines. After viewing the falls and cañon of the Yellowstone River, we moved on through the Park, by the Mud Springs and the Norris Geyser Basin to Mammoth Hot Springs. There we found an army surgeon,

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who came to my relief. I was placed in the hotel, under the kind care and hospitality of Bishop Nichols of California, who was spending his vacation there. The rest of the party went on through the south part of the Park, by the great geysers, Jackson's Hole, the Wind River and Lander back to Casper. After two weeks at the hotel, during which I gained very slowly, I started for home by the stage and train. 1 was very sick all the way. I had to change cars and wait at Grand Island, forty miles from my home. I managed to get to the house of my good friend, Dr. H. D. Boyden, who put me to bed in his house and telephoned to my daughter, Gertrude, to come. Under his skillful treatment I gained rapidly and was able to get home in a week. Since that breakdown, I have never been as strong and have had to take the greatest care of my health and diet. Still, with the illness which came then in my vacation and since up to 1911, I have never lost a single appointment as bishop on account of sickness. In fact, I have lost only three Sunday services on account of sickness in a ministry of over forty years. While this strenuous camping trip did help to break me down, I believe the many other camps and out-of-door life have helped greatly to maintain my health and strength through a long and arduous ministry.
     After this illness, I regained my strength slowly, but was able to make my fall visitations. I thought it best to spend the following winter in the south, as the cold weather was a strain on my nervous system. Accord-

Who Became a Bishop

ingly, early in December, with my wife and daughters we settled in Bradentown, Florida. For three months I had charge of the mission there under Bishop Gray. I prepared a class for confirmation, confirmed them and made many good friends.



N February of this year I made an interesting trip from Bardentown to Fort Myers, then up the Caloosahatchee River to and across Lake Okeechobee on a small steamer. For the first fifteen miles the banks were low and marshy. Then for many miles the banks were high and orange groves were on either side. As I stood on the front deck with my rifle the Captain called my attention to a good-sized alligator sleeping on the bank. I aimed at his eye and fired. The bullet struck him just below the eye and passed through his brain to the skin on the other side of his head. We lassoed him with a rope and drew him on board. He was as dead as a bullet could make him, but for six or eight hours he would squirm when touched. I saved his skin as a trophy.
     At some distance from the river we could see camps of the Seminole Indians. The upper part of the river was marshy and passed through shallow lakes until we

The Farmer Boy

came to the big lake. Off to the south of the lake the everglades extended as far as the eye could reach and much farther. We crossed Lake Okeechobee and ascended a crooked river for six miles, where there was a store and a small settlement. On our return we secured a supply of fish from fishermen on the lake. During this winter I wrote the earlier portion of these memoirs. The latter part of March I returned to my own District and to my spring visitations.
     During the summer I had another interesting trip to the missions of the Snake River country in southern Wyoming. After a whole day and night on the train from my home at Kearney, Nebraska, I met, at Rawlins, Wyoming, July 12, 1906, Rev. W. H. Frost, our missionary at Alliance. We were out for a missionary trip and a vacation combined. The next day we rode in the stage seventy miles across the desert to the village of Baggs on the Little Snake River. After eating supper there and making five calls on our people with the missionary, Rev. Wm. Toole, he drove us eight miles farther to Kane's Ranch, where we were entertained and rested the next day. The fifteenth being Sunday, Mr. Toole drove Mr. Frost six miles up the river to Savory school-house, where they had a fine service, Mr. Frost preaching the sermon. Mr. and Mrs. Kane drove me eight miles down the river to Baggs, where we had ninety people crowded into our little brick chapel. I preached and nine received the communion. On Monday Mr. Frost, who was an

Who Became a Bishop

enthusiastic fisherman, and myself drove fifteen miles up the river to Slater in the edge of Colorado. The water was too high for good fishing, so we got only five trout. While fishing I looked up the river just in time to see Mr. Frost swept from the rapids by the swift current into a deep hole. For some time nothing but the top of his hat and fish pole were seen above the water. I was greatly frightened and ran with all my might to his rescue. When I tore through the bushes to the bank, he was coming up slowly out of the water, his rod still in one hand and the stub of a cigar in his mouth. I asked him if his cigar had gone out, whereupon we both had a good laugh. He caught a bad cold from this dipping, so he was not well all the rest of the trip.
     The next day I drove with Mr. Toole twenty miles up Savory Creek and called on the families of eight ranchmen. On Wednesday Mr. Frost and myself were driven eighteen miles up the river and pitched our tent under Battle Mountain. There we camped and fished the rest of the week, getting from twelve to twenty-five trout each evening, thus supplying the neighbors and ourselves with plenty of fish.
     On Sunday, the twenty-second, Mr. Kane drove Mr. Frost to Baggs for service, while Mr. Toole and myself held service in the Slater school-house in the morning, where I preached to twenty-five people. In the afternoon I preached again to fifty people in the Savory school-house. In the evening we were all to-

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gether in the Dixon church and Mr. Frost preached a rousing sermon.
     During that week we were in camp again near Battle Mountain, Mr. Kane and his good wife being with us. On Sunday morning we held service in the little school-house at Battle Creek, which was crowded with twenty people. I talked to them on the text, "Fear not, little flock, it is the Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom," after which Mr. Frost preached them a sermon. In such places the people would gladly sit and listen to two or three sermons at one service, so rarely do they hear preaching. As Mr. Kane and his wife were anxious to drive with us over the continental divide to Saratoga, we started that afternoon and drove up the river to Honold's Ranch, the last of our Church families in that direction. That night, Mr. Frost was very ill with vomiting and high fever. We thought he must have mountain fever and we had to remain with him the next day. As he was much better on Tuesday, we drove on over two spurs of the Rockies and up a long gorge to Columbine in Colorado, where we spent the night. We had intended to go to Steamboat Springs, Colorado, but as it rained the next forenoon, we had to give that up. We then drove on sixteen miles to the Elkhorn Mine in the heart of the mountains. We spent the night in the log huts of the miners. We found here an English Church woman who had not been inside a church for years,
     On Thursday we drove twelve miles over the top

Who Became a Bishop

of the Rockies ten thousand feet above sea level. The road was very rough and we all had to walk down the steep mountain road. I was becoming worn out and Mr. Frost was sick again and suffered much that night. We spent the night in a camp of men who were getting out ties for the railroad to float down the Encampment River in the spring. They were very kind to us. Although two of us were ill, we thought best to drive on the next day twenty-seven miles over another high spur of the Rockies to Grand Encampment, where we could find a doctor. The next day being Saturday, I called on all our people and made arrangement for service Sunday morning. That morning Mr. Frost was not able to get to the service, so I preached to twenty-two of our people in a public hall and administered the communion. In the afternoon Mr. Kane drove us to Saratoga, eighteen miles. As we have no missionary in these stations at present, I again preached in the little church and administered the communion. The next noon Mr. Frost and myself, both sick, took the stage twenty-five miles to Walcott on the railroad and then the night train five hundred miles toward home. We had traveled by stage and wagon over three hundred miles and by train over a thousand miles. We had hoped that the camping and change would do us good, but the hard journey made us both sick, so I was in bed most of the time for ten days after reaching home.
     In September 1 joined the Minnesota friends in a

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quiet camp at Mekenock, or Turtle Island, in Turtle Lake, northern Minnesota. While there, I wrote a historical sermon, covering the fifty years life of Gethsemane Parish, Minneapolis, in which I was once an assistant minister for a year and afterwards rector for six years. On October 14th I preached that sermon at the Jubilee Service. There were other services and festivities for a week with great rejoicing. These were followed by the meeting of the Missionary Council of the Sixth Department, held in Minneapolis.
     This was a crowning year in our Church school for boys, The Kearney Military Academy. There were over eighty pupils and the old buildings were crowded beyond all comfort. On the eighteenth of December I presided at the ceremony of laying the corner-stone of the new Cochran Hall. Although it was zero weather, hundreds of people from far and near assembled to take part in the ceremony in the open air. A procession was formed at the old buildings and marched to the foundation of the new one in the following order: The Kearney Midway Band, The Knights Templar, Blue Lodge Masons, Kearney Militia Company, Cadets of the State Normal School, Kearney High School, The State Industrial School, and those of the Kearney Military Academy. Then followed the officials, speakers and the orator of the day. During the exercises, I read a brief history of the school, Archdeacon Cope delivered an able address and Wm. Jen-

Who Became a Bishop

nings Bryan an eloquent oration. I give below the historical address substantially as delivered by myself:


     On my second visit to Broken Bow, in the year 1890, I had gone to my room for a little rest on Sunday afternoon. Soon after, my hostess called me, saying that a caller had come to see me. Supposing that some prominent Churchman had come to pay his respects to the new Bishop, I went down to the parlor. I found there a lad about twelve years of age. I was pleased that a boy should be so thoughtful as to call on his Bishop. After a little talk together, he looked earnestly at me and said, "When can the Church take me?" I supposed he was thinking of confirmation, so I asked him if he knew his catechism and what preparation he had had? He replied, "Oh, I don't mean that. When can the Church take me and educate me for the ministry?" That question was a poser to me. I could not make any promises, but it set me to thinking very seriously. I knew there must be many boys like him on the farms and lonely ranches of Nebraska.
     Some time after this a committee of the United Brethren Church came to Kearney with the intention of starting a school there. They canvassed the town to see what could be raised for the purpose. They got the promise of twenty-five acres of land in the eastern part of town and a promise to put up one large building costing seven thousand and five hundred dollars. The committee then went to York, Nebraska, and succeeded in getting a better offer there, so they declined the offer at Kearney. Some of the citizens then came to me and asked me to take up with the offer made

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to the United Brethren. I did not see how I could do so then, but promised that on my trip east I would see if I could get sufficient help to enable me to found a school.
     On my first trip east to raise money for our missionary work in October of 1890, I was invited to address a branch of the Woman's Auxiliary of a church in Yonkers, New York. There were about thirty ladies present. I told them of our missionary work and then I told them the story of the little boy at Broken Bow and of the offer made me by the people of Kearney. I said I needed three thousand dollars to build a dormitory and with that help I thought I could found a Church school. After the meeting had adjourned, a lady whom I had never seen came to me and said, "I will give you the three thousand dollars." I almost broke down with emotion. Something for which I had pleaded before several wealthy congregations in vain was now put in my hands without much effort. This lady was Mrs. Eva S. Cochran, who became a mother to the school and gave to its upbuilding at one time or another about thirty-five thousand dollars.
     On my return to Kearney I told the people that I was ready to go ahead with the school and directed them to go on and put up the large, central building. At the same time the contract was let for the dormitory of forty rooms. It was slow work getting the buildings finished and furnished, so we were not able to open the school until the September of 1892. At first we had both boys and girls in the school and it ran in this way for about seven years. Gradually the boys increased in number and the girls became fewer and fewer until the girls were reluctant to come at all

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