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Title: A Biographical Sketch of the Life and Character of Joseph Charless - In a Series of Letters to his Grandchildren
Author: Charless, Charlotte Taylor Blow
Language: English
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A BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH
of the
LIFE AND CHARACTER
of
JOSEPH  CHARLESS,
IN A SERIES OF LETTERS TO HIS GRANDCHILDREN.


Whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever
things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are
lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue,
and if there be any praise, think on these things.  Phil., chap.4,
verse 8.

SAINT LOUIS:
A. F. COX, PRINTER, OFFICE OF THE MISSOURI PRESBYTERIAN.

1869.



Letter One



MY DEAR GRANDCHILDREN:

We are reminded daily of the uncertainty of human life: for the
young and the old, the gay and the grave, the good and the wicked, are
subject to death.  Young people do not realize this, but it is
nevertheless true, and before you are old enough, my children, to
understand and lay to heart all that your mother would tell you of her
dearly beloved father, she may be asleep with grandma, close beside him
in Bellefontaine.  An earthly inheritance is highly esteemed among men.
For this reason great efforts are made by them to lay up treasures for
their children.  They know not, however, who shall gather them, for
“riches take to themselves wings and fly away.”  But a good man leaveth
an inheritance to his children, and to his children’s children, which
is as stable as the throne of the Most High.  Like the stream that
gathers strength from every rivulet, and grows deeper, and broader, and
more majestic, until the myriads of crystal drops are received into the
bosom of the mighty deep, so likewise is the legacy of a good man.  It
descends to his child by birthright, and through the rich mercy of a
covenant-keeping God, widens and extends its life-giving power, flowing
on and on, as rivers of water, into the boundless ocean of God’s love.

Your grandfather, my beloved children, was a great man.  Not as a
warrior, nor as a statesman, nor in any sense which is simply of the
earth, earthy.  But he was great by being the possessor of a rare
combination of moral worth and Christian excellence, which made him a
blessing to his race.  In other words, he was great because he was
truly good.  In the midst of his days of usefulness he was cut off from
the land of the living.  His precious remains rest quietly in the fresh
made grave; his immortal spirit has winged its flight to the mansions
of the blessed, for “blessed are the dead who die in the Lord, for they
rest from their labors, and their works do follow them.”

While endeavoring, in much weakness, to put together for your perusal such
facts as may present to your minds a faithful likeness of the noble man
from whom you have descended, I sincerely pray that you may be stimulated,
by the grace of God, to follow him even as he followed Christ.

Affectionately yours, GRANDMA.

BELMONT, January 7, 1860



Letter Two



MY DEAR GRANDCHILDREN:

If you will look in your mother’s Bible, you will find that your
grandfather, JOSEPH CHARLESS, was born in Lexington, Kentucky, on the
17th of January, 1804; that his father, whose name was also Joseph
Charless, was born July 16th, 1772, in Westmeath, Ireland, being the
only son of Captain Edward Charles, whose father, (or paternal
ancestor, John Charles), was born in Wales and emigrated to Ireland in
the year 1663.

Your great-grandfather, Jos. Charles, fled from his native country to
France, in consequence of his having been implicated in the Rebellion of
1795, “at the head of which figured the young and noble
Emmet, who fell a sacrifice for loving too well his enslaved country.”
After remaining a short time in France, he sailed for the United States
of America, where he arrived in 1796, landing at the city of New York.
Upon his arrival in the United States he added an s to his name to
secure the Irish pronunciation of Charles, which makes it two syllables
instead of one, as pronounced by us.

He settled in Philadelphia, and being a printer by trade, he
secured a situation with Matthew Carey, “who, at that time, did the
largest publishing business in the Quaker City.”  He often boasted of
having printed the first quarto edition of the Bible that was ever
issued in the United States.  In 1798 he married Mrs. Sarah McCloud, a
widow (with one child), whose maiden name was Jorden.

Sarah Jorden was born January 28, 1771, near Wilmington,
Delaware.  During the American Revolution her parents, with their
family, were driven by the Hessians from their home in Delaware, and
resided subsequently in Philadelphia.

In the year 1800 Mr. and Mrs. Charless removed from Philadelphia
to Lexington, Kentucky; to Louisville in 1806, and to St. Louis in
1808.  In July of that year Mr. Charless founded the “Missouri
Gazette,” now known as the “Missouri Republican,” of which he was
editor and sole proprietor for many years.  This is the first newspaper
of which St. Louis can boast, and I am told it still has the largest
circulation of any paper west of the Alleghany Mountains.

As regards the character of your great-grandfather, he was a
noble specimen of the Irish gentleman-–impulsive-warm-heartedness being
his most characteristic trait. He was polite and hospitable, his
countenance cheerful, his conversation sprightly and humorous.  Sweet
is the memory of the times when his children and friends gathered
around his plentiful board.  Often have we seen him entering his
gateway, followed by the mendicant, who would soon return thither
literally laden down with provisions from his well-stored larder.  His
wife was no less hospitable, not less charitable and kind to the poor,
but more cautious.  She was of the utilitarian school, and could not
bear to see anything go to waste, or anything unworthily bestowed.  Not
so easily touched with the appearance of sorrow as her husband was, but
always ready to relieve the wants of those she knew to be destitute,
she would herself administer to the sick with a full heart and a
generous hand.  But she had a natural aversion to indolence, and would
not give a penny to any she esteemed so, lest it should tend to
increase this unmeritorious propensity.  She was herself exceedingly
industrious, and took great delight in making her family comfortable,
and, in fact, supplying the wants of every living thing about her, even
to the cat and the dog.  “She layeth her hands to the spindle, and her
hands hold the distaff.  She riseth also while it is yet dark, and
giveth meat to her household, and a portion to her maidens.”

Both possessed honorable pride, and were plain, unpretending
people, making no claim to an aristocratic ancestry, but, after a long
life spent in a growing city of considerable size, they died, leaving
many to speak their praises, and not one, that I have ever heard of, to
say aught against them.  He departed this life at the age of sixty-two,
having enjoyed robust health until within two weeks of his death.  His
widow was “gathered as a shock of corn, fully ripe, into the garner of
the Lord,” at the advanced age of eight-one.

From an obituary notice of her I will quote the following lines:
“Mrs. Sarah Charless was an exemplary Christian, and was one of the
most zealous and untiring in her exertions to build up the Presbyterian
Church established in this city under the pastoral care of the Rev.
Salmon Giddings.  Eminently charitable in her disposition, and ever
willing to alleviate the evils of others, she endeared to her all upon
whom the hand of misfortune hung heavily.  Well was it said of her by
one of the most eminent men of our State–-the Hon. Edward Bates–-that
she was a woman upon whom the young man, far from friends and home,
could always rely.”

Of a family of eight children, viz:  Robert McCloud, Edward,
John, Joseph, Anne, Eliza, Chapman, and Sarah Charless, Joseph alone
was left in this pilgrimage word to mourn for his mother.  Eliza
Wahrendorff, daughter of Anne Charless Wahrendorff, and Lizzie
Charless, your own dear mother, were the only grandchildren left to
mingle their tears with his.  Great was the void caused in our small
family circle when this excellent woman, this aged Christian, this
revered and much loved parent was laid in the silent tomb.  It is sweet
now to think about her love of flowers, and how often she would say,
when they commenced shooting up in early spring, that they reminded her
of the resurrection morning. May you, my dear mother, realize the
blessedness of this truth–-when Jesus shall bid his redeemed ones rise
from the cold ground which has so long shrouded them-–and come forth,
more beautiful than the hyacinth, to bloom forever on the borders of
the river of life!  And may you, my sweet children, have a pleasant and
happy childhood, loving all that is lovely and hating all this is evil,
that you may grow up to be good men and women; and in old age, when
memory fails, may you, like her, rejoice and revel again amid the
innocent scenes of early life, looking through them up to that glorious
world above us, where the “inhabitant shall no more say he is sick,” or
shall feel the infirmities of age.

Affectionately,	GRANDMA.



Letter Three



MY DEAR GRANDCHILDREN:

You, Charless and Louis, often say to me, “Grandma, tell me about
when you were a little girl,” and many a little story have I told you.
But now I am going to tell you about “Grandpa,” when he was a little
boy.

That dear, good grandpa, who looked young to grandma, but who
looked so old to you, with his pretty, glossy grey hair, was once a
little boy, just like you are.  He had a dear mamma, too, who tenderly
loved him, but she used to punish him when he was naughty, and kiss him
when he was good, just as your mamma does to you.  He was a very
obstinate little fellow, though, and generally submitted to a good deal
of punishment before he would confess his fault and beg for
forgiveness.  His mamma would sometimes tie him to the bed-post, but he
would pull against the string until his arm would almost bleed, and
frequently he would free himself by gnawing the cord in two.  But he
was a good-humored little boy for all that, and “mischievous as a house
pig,” his mother used to say.  Once she locked him up, for some naughty
trick, in a room where there were a number of nice fresh made cheeses,
arranged around for the purpose of drying, and said to him, “Stay
there, Joe, until you mean to be good, and then I will let you out.”
He very soon knocked at the door, calling out, “Mamma, mamma, I’ll be
good now,” and his mamma thought “my little son is conquered very soon
this time; he is certainly improving.”  She opened the door, but what,
do you suppose, was her dismay, when she found that the “little rogue”
had bit a mouthful out of every cheese!

When he was a small child he strayed off from the house, away
down to the spring, and, stooping down to see the pretty clear water,
fell in, and came near being drowned.  Oh, how his poor mother did cry,
when her sweet little boy was brought to her so pale, and almost
lifeless.  But she rubbed him and warmed him until he came to, and was
as well as ever; and his mamma thought “surely such an accident will
never again happen to my dear little son.”  But when he grew to be a
larger boy, some time after his parents had removed from Kentucky to
St. Louis, he went one day with some boys to have a swimming match in
the Mississippi river.  Most boys like to swim or wade in the water,
and sometimes are so eager for the sport that they forget, or give no
heed to the expressed commands of their parents; and many a boy has
lost his life by breaking the fifth commandment, which says, “Honor thy
father and thy mother, that thy days may be long in the land which the
Lord thy God giveth thee.”  Many a boy who, had he lived, might have
become a good and noble-hearted man, doing much good in the world, has
thus early been summoned suddenly and unprepared before the judgment
bar of God, simply for having forgotten, in a moment of pleasurable
excitement, to honor his parents by a strict obedience to their
commands.  But, thanks to our Heavenly Father, this was not the case
with little Joseph Charless, for, although he was drawn by the current
of the terrible Mississippi into a whirling eddy, he was saved from
such a dreadful doom.  A good, brave boy, who was larger than he, and a
better swimmer, rushed into the whirl and pulled him out to the shore.
Poor little fellow! he was almost gone, for he was insensible, and it
was some time before he breathed freely again.  He was carried home–-to
that dear home which came so near being made desolate-–and with
deep penitence did he confess his fault and beg for pardon.  His last
thoughts when he was drowning (as he thought) were, “I have disobeyed
my mother!  It will break my poor mother’s heart!”

Children have a great deal of curiosity, and perhaps you will
ask, “how did grandma know so much about grandpa when he was a little
boy?  Was she a little girl then, and did she live in St. Louis, too?”
No, my children, when my parents moved to St. Louis I was a young lady
and grandpa was a young gentleman.  We soon became acquainted, however,
and after awhile we were married, and then I took a strange fancy to
learn all about him from the time he was a little baby in his mother’s
arms; and when I ventured to ask his mother a few questions about him,
I found it pleased her so much that I was encouraged to ask many more.
And now it seems to me I have known grandpa always, and was with him
when he used to go with his mamma and little brothers and sisters into
the country, with a company of the neighbors, all in little French
carts, to gather strawberries and blackberries, which grew in abundance
in Lucas Place, Chouteau avenue, and all about, where now are elegant
mansions and paved streets.  It was then a prairie, with clumps of
trees here and there, springs of water and sweet wild flowers.

He told me himself about his frolics with the French boys (many
of whom were his earliest and truest friends), how they used to have
match-eating pancake parties, in the day of the pancake festival in the
Catholic Church; and about his youthful gallantries, and how
desperately in love he was once with a very smart, pretty creole girl,
and how the discovery of “a hole in her stocking” drove the little god
of love from his breast.

But these anecdotes and incidents were, perhaps, more interesting
to his wife than they will be to you.  Well, then, I will tell you an
Indian story, for I have never known a boy yet that did not like to
hear about the Indians.  You know the poor things are now nearly
exterminated from the face of the earth.  In the early history of St.
Louis, I find that they lived not far off, having pitched their wigwams
only a little farther to the west, for the white man, in intruding upon
their hunting grounds, had driven them, with the elk, the deer and the
buffalo, still farther from the Atlantic coast, which they once claimed
as their own rightful property.  These poor savages, however, would
often come into the town to see “the white-faced children of the Great
Spirit;” to buy their beads and other fine things to dress up in; and
that they might show them how fierce they looked, their faces streaked
with every variety of paint, and their hair all shaved off excepting a
little bunch on the top of their heads which they reserved as a
fastening for their feathers and other head ornaments, of which they
were very fond.  But, I dare say, if you have never seen Indians, you
have seen their pictures.  It was real sport for the boys to see them
dance, and listen to their wild songs and savage yells.

But to my story.  There was an old Indian who was a great thief.
He was seen alone, generally, prowling about the town, peeping through
the fences into the yards, watching out for chickens, or anything he
could shoot with his arrow, or slip under his blanket.  Little Joseph
Charless had watched this famous old Indian thief, and determined to
punish him for his wickedness.  To accomplish this purpose, he armed
himself with plenty of dried squashes, which he kept in the garret of
his father’s house, near to the gable window, that fronted on the
street.  He watched his opportunity, and one day, as the Indian passed
by, he threw a squash down upon the old fellow’s head.  Soon after he
peeped out to see if it had struck him, when whiz went the arrow, just
grazing his face and sticking tight and firm into the window beam above
his head!  This fright cured him of “playing tricks upon travelers,” at
least for awhile.

You see now, my dear children, from what I have told you, that
“grandpa” was just such a boy as you are–-fond of fun and frolic, and
of playing tricks.

I have said nothing of his love of school and books.  But I think
he was about as fond of both as boys usually are. When a little boy he
was sent to the village school, and after he became large enough to
work, he was put to work in his father’s printing office.  By the time
he became a pretty good printer, a school of a higher grade than any
St. Louis had yet afforded was opened in the country, and his father
gladly availed himself of this opportunity to continue the education of
his son.  He was a pupil in this school for some time, after which he
commenced the study of the law, agreeably to his father’s wishes, under
the supervision of Francis Spalding, who was at that time an eminent
lawyer in St. Louis.  After having read law awhile, he was sent to
complete his legal education at the Transylvania University, Kentucky.

While in the printing office he and another boy received a
terrible flogging one day for laughing at a poor, unfortunate man, who
had a very bad impediment in his speech, which being accompanied, with
ludicrous gestures and grimaces, was more than their youthful
risibility could withstand.  They made a manly, but vain attempt to
suppress a roar of laughter, which only gathered strength from being
dammed up, and at last burst over all bounds.  I never could forgive
his father for whipping the poor boys so severely for what they could
not avoid.  He was too just and generous a man, however, to have been
so unmerciful, if his better feelings and his better judgment had not
been warped by a burst of passion.

The following is from the pen of his old friend and playmate, Mr.
N. P., of St. Louis:

“You ask me to state what I know of the early character of your
late husband.  This I proceed to do.  In his boyhood there were not the
same temptations in St. Louis to irregularity of habits and vice that
assail the young men of the present day.  I do not think I err when I
say that Joseph Charless was a good boy-–kind, tractable, obedient to
his parents, and giving them no further solicitude than such as every
parent may well feel when watching the progress of a son to manhood.
He had no bad habits.  As a boy, there was nothing dishonorable about
him, and he had quite as few frailties, or weaknesses, as attach to any
of us.  In the sports and amusements of that day he stood well with his
fellows, and was well received in ever society.  Of course, from what I
have said, you will infer that he was of an amiable disposition,
exhibiting less of heated temper than most of us.  Not quick in
inviting a quarrel, but, being in, defending himself resolutely and
manfully.  I do not think he was the favorite of his parents at that
day.  Edward was.  John, another brother, was passionate and hard to
govern, but he was the only one of the family who had these qualities
in a marked degree.

“I think Joseph gave as little cause for anxiety to his parents
and friends as any boy could possibly do.  He has been taken from us,
and I have written in a more public manner (as editor of ‘The
Republican’) my estimate of his character in all the relations of
life,” &c.,&c.

At the age of twelve years, his brother John, who was two years
older than himself, was taken sick and died.  This was the first great
sorrow that your dear grandfather ever knew.  I have often heard him
speak of it, but never without a shade passing over his countenance,
denoting that time could not efface the recollection of that painful
event.  Oh, how his loving young heart must have swelled with
unutterable grief when his playmate brother lay in his coffin, so still
and cold, his hands clasped upon his breast, with cheeks so pale, and
his bright blue eyes dimmed and closed!  But grandpa still had brothers
and sisters left, and a kind father and mother.  The world which looked
so dark, soon became a pleasant world to him again; the flowers looked
pretty and the air was fresh, and he was again seen sporting and
romping.  But at night, when he knelt down to pray, and his thoughts
went up to Heaven, he would think of his brother, and, weeping, to
relieve his little, aching heart, he would go to bed, feeling lonely
and sad.

Did you ever think what a blessing it is to go to sleep, my dear
little children?  What pleasant dreams; and how gay and bright the
morning appears after a good night’s rest upon a comfortable bed.  And
do you ever think how good God is to have given you a praying mother,
when so many little children have never heard of God or Heaven?
Grandpa had a Christian mother, too, and she taught him to pray.  She
told him all about the great God who made Heaven and earth, and all
things, and about his SON JESUS, who came into the world as a little
child; that, though rich, he became poor, and was laid in a manger.
This blessed Jesus is your friend.  He can hear, and he can answer your
prayers, and knows all you think and feel, all that you say and do.

Affectionately yours, GRANDMA.

BELMONT, January, 1860.



Letter Four



MY DEAR GRANDCHILDREN:

Twelve months have elapsed since I first made an attempt, by
writing, to make you acquainted with your beloved grandfather, who
departed this life on the 4th of June, 1859.

I am still a mourner-–such an one as I hope, as I earnestly
pray, none of you may ever be.  My poor heart is desolate!  I have no
home in this world, and I long for Heaven.  I would gladly lay me down
in the grave, but God knows what is best for me, and He does all things
well.  Then to my task, for I have a portrait to make-–a portrait for
you to look at, to imitate, to love, and to reverence.  Not a likeness
of the external man: you have that to perfection-–so perfect that a
friend, who knew him well, remarked, upon looking at it, that the
artist must have been inspired.  But to show the inner life and the
daily walk of that dear man who, for twenty-seven years, six months and
twenty-seven days, was the sharer of my joys and sorrows, and the prop
of my earthly existence, is a more delicate task.  In a few words I
could sum up his life and character, for there was nothing
extraordinary in it, excepting extraordinary goodness; but, then, how
could my dear children, from a few abstract ideas thrown hastily
together, see the path he trod, in all its windings, compare it with
that of others, and with their own, and learn the lessons it teaches?
I do not mean by “extraordinary goodness” that your grandfather had no
faults-–that he never did wrong-–for then, you know, he would have
been an angel, not a man.

With these preliminaries, I shall endeavor, in much weakness, to
set him before you in such a light that you will not fail to see and
understand him, and to feel, too, the sweet influences of a presence
that always brought with it happiness and peace.

On the 8th of May, 1830, my father, Captain Peter Blow, arrived at
St. Louis with his family, consisting of my mother, my two sisters, my
four brothers, and myself.  We landed at the wharf of our future home
on the steamer Atlantic.  This being the finest boat that had ever
reached this distant western city, the Captain, who was evidently proud
of it, proposed to give to the good citizens of this goodly city of ten
thousand inhabitants a select pleasure-party on board of her, that,
with music, dancing and feasting, they might, to the best advantage,
appreciate its dimensions, its comforts and elegancies.  My sisters and
self having accepted the cordial invitation of the Captain, who had
treated us with great kindness and consideration while passengers on
his boat, and, attended by our father and a gentleman whom we had
formerly known, and who had been residing in the city for a few months,
made our appearance for the first time in St. Louis society.  Our
mother, who was a perfect pattern of propriety, advised us to equip
ourselves in our nicest street dresses, and, being strangers, not to
participate at all in the dance.  Consequently, we were there in the
position of “lookers-on in Vienna.”  We made good use of our eyes, and
kept time to the music in our hearts, but used our feet only in
promenading.  During the evening I observed several ladies with much
interest, but was greatly attracted with but one gentleman, whom I
first noticed sitting opposite to us, leaning back in his chair.  There
was a calm serenity overspreading his handsome features, which wore a
joyousness of expression that was irresistible.  I pointed him out to
our escort, and inquired who he was.  He could not tell me; still I
could not but observe him.  He waltzed once with the belle of the
evening (a Miss Selby). My eyes followed them; and I see your dear
grandfather now, just as he looked then.  He was about the medium size
–-five feet nine inches high, and well proportioned; his complexion
rather fair, hair dark.  His beard was closely shaved, but showed, from
the soft, penciled tints about his mouth and chin, that it was likewise
black.  His eyes were grey.  With considerable gaiety of disposition,
he evinced a gentleness, a suavity, and a modest grace of deportment,
which I have never seen surpassed, if equaled.

In a few weeks Mr. Charless sought an introduction to us, and
from that time he became a constant visitor at our house, and in
fifteen months from our first acquaintance, he declared himself a
suitor for my hand and heart, promising to use the best efforts of his
life to make me happy.

I could tell you a good many incidents of our early acquaintance
–-of our pleasure-rides in pleasant weather, in gig or on horseback,
and of our merry sleigh-rides in winter.  Delightful recollections
crowd upon me, and, if I were given to novel-writing, I could weave
them into a very pretty little love-story; but then I would have to
make myself the heroine.  There was a little Scotch song, however, that
he used to sing to me, and as it will afford me a sweet, sad pleasure
to recall it, I will do so, at least as much of it as I can recollect:

“Come over the heather, we’ll trip thegither
All in the morning early;
With heart and hand I’ll by thee stand,
For in truth I lo’e thee dearly,
There’s mony a lass I lo’e fu’ well,
And mony that lo’e me dearly,
But there’s ne’er a lass beside thysel’
I e’er could lo’e sincerely,
Come over the heather, we’ll trip thegither,
All in the morning early;
With heart and hand I’ll by thee stand,
For in truth I lo’e thee dearly.”

I have before me now the first letter I ever received from him,
expressing what he had several times in vain attempted to speak.  For
although he was at no loss for thoughts, or words in which to clothe
them, in ordinary conversation, yet, whenever he felt a desire to open
his heart to me on the subject of his love, he became so much agitated
that he had not the courage to venture, and finally wrote and sent me
the following letter:

After a brief and simple introduction, he says: "That I love, you
is but a faint expression of my feelings, and should I be so happy as
to have that feeling reciprocated by you, I pledge you the best efforts
of my life to promote your happiness.  Nature, I fear, has wrought me
in her rougher mould, and unfitted me to appear to advantage in an
undertaking like this, in which so much delicacy of sentiment seems to
be required in these, our days of refinement. Such as I am-–and I have
endeavored to appear without any false coloring--I offer myself a
candidate for your affections, for your love. You have known me long
enough to find out my faults--for none are without them--and to
discover what virtues I may have (if any), and, from these, to form a
just estimate of my character.

"I feel that my future happiness, in a great measure, depends on
your answer. But suspense to me is the greatest source of unhappiness.
Naturally impatient and sanguine, I cannot rest until the result is
known. May I hope that my offer will be favorably received, and that
hereafter I may subscribe myself, as now, Your devoted, JOS. CHARLESS,
Jr.”

If this seems like a "love-letter" to you, my dear children, it
does not to me, for it does not embody half of the love and devotion
which I ever received from my husband, from the time we stood at the
hymenial altar, until, in his last, faint whisper, while he gazed with
unutterable tenderness, he said, "I--love--you!"

But I must try to forget, while I am writing to you, my dear
children, that I am bereaved. I must not let my sorrows give a coloring
to every page, for I know how natural it is to the young to delight in
pleasant things, and to flee from that which is gloomy; and, besides, I
cannot leave a faithful impression upon your minds of what he was,
unless I enter into the spirit of the past, when our sweet home was
full of joy, and gladness.

And why should I not be joyous again?  Have I not dear children
to love me, and is not my dear husband alive, and shall I not see him
again?  Is not God still good, and has he ever tried me more than I am
able to bear?  Was he not with me in the deep waters?  "I know that in
very faithfulness Thou hast afflicted me."

Then let me cease my murmurings; or, rather, let me check my
yearnings for what I can never have again--a faithful, loving heart,
to bear with me my sorrows, and a strong arm to lean upon. Yes, there
is a strong arm upon which I can lean.  May I have faith to make use of
it!  There is a "Friend who sticketh closer than a brother," to whom I
can unburden my heart.

Affectionately yours, GRANDMA.

BELMONT, January, 1861.



Letter Five



My DEAR GRANDCHILDREN:

We were married on the 8th of November, 1831.  No costly
arrangements were made for the occasion. The death of my sweet mother
having occurred a few months previous would alone have prevented
display and revelry; but, besides this sad event, my father had become
greatly reduced in circumstances, and could afford no better
preparations for the wedding of his child than such as could be made at
home.  Evergreens, provided by my little brothers, and festooned with
flowers by my sisters, set off to great advantage the transparent white
curtains, and gave a look of freshness and gaiety to our neat, but
plain parlor; and the cake, with its plain icing, showed more than the
confectioner's skill in its whiteness and flavor.

The circle of Mr. Charless' own immediate family, and a few
friends he wished to invite, with some of our own, composed the
company.  And, since I am dealing in minutiae, I will tell you how the
bride was dressed.  She wore a plain, white satin dress, (made by
herself), trimmed about the waist and sleeves with crape-lisse, which
gave a becoming softness to the complexion of the arms and neck, which
were bare. A simple wreath of white flowers entwined in her black hair,
without veil, laces or ornaments, (save the pearls which were the
marriage gift of her betrothed), completed her toilet. The graceful and
talented Dr. Potts (Mr. then) performed the marriage ceremony, saying,
"what God hath joined together, let not man put asunder."

My father, who had always been in comfortable circumstances, had,
however, never been rich; and, notwithstanding he had been called to
encounter many untoward events in life, we had never known what it was
to want, until we came to St. Louis.  This last move, which was fraught
with brilliant hopes, in a monetary point of view, proved most
disastrous, and, in a few short months, his little all of earthly goods
was gone, and his faithful, loving help-meet laid away to sleep in the
cold earth, and he, himself, declining in health, depressed and
discouraged.

Our new home was a sad place, and it was joyous, too; for young
hearts were there throbbing with pleasurable emotions, which sorrow and
disappointment, though they checked, could not destroy.  And young
heads were there, big with the future; and Hope, which could not be hid
by the darkness that surrounded us, sat enthroned as a queen, ever
pointing us to the beautiful castle in the distant mist, and by her
reflex influence coloring even the dreary present with her rainbow-tints.

A few days after our marriage we were received, as members of the
family, at the house of my husband's parents. Upon our arrival there,
we found the house brilliantly illuminated, for "Joseph was coming home
with his bride," and the old people must have a grand reception!
Everybody came that evening, and everybody called on the bride
afterwards.  Next morning, however, some of the realities of life
commenced.  We were late to breakfast, and, to my dismay, the breakfast
was over. I glanced at my husband, who seemed a little embarrassed. But
a cordial greeting from his mother, who was busy in the adjoining room
"ridding up," and an affectionate kiss from his sister (Mrs.
Wahrendorff), who immediately advanced upon our entrance into the room,
made things a little more pleasant.  We sat down together, and alone.
Hot batter-cakes, etc., which were covered up near the fire, were soon
placed upon the table, by the servant, and our plain, old-fashioned
mother (who was no woman for nonsense) very unceremoniously told me to
"pour out the coffee."  What a downfall for a bride!

But this was not all.  Upon my return to my room, after the
departure of Mr. Charless to the store, I found that it was just as we
had left it, and not cleaned and put in order, as I supposed it would
have been. Mrs. Wahrendorff followed me, and offered (smiling) to
assist me in making my bed, which I courteously accepted; and, finding
that I was to be my own chamber-maid, I asked for a broom, which she
sent to me.  How long I had had that broom in hand I do not remember,
but, while standing in the middle of the room, leaning on its handle,
absorbed in rather disagreeable reflections, (all of which I might have
been saved if I had known then, as I do now, that no disrespect was
intended by these stranger relations), I happened to look out of the
window, down into the street, when what should I see but the uplifted
countenance of my husband, beaming with happiness and joy.  Our eyes
met, and, in a few moments, he entered the apartment, which had been
very prettily fitted up, expressly for us.  There was a shade of
mortification on his whole-souled face, mingled with a playful humor,
as he said: "Has mother put you to work already?"  A kind embrace, with
"I must make some other arrangement, dear--this will not do"--brought
me to my senses, and I insisted (without prevailing, however), upon
conforming to his mother's wishes in all things.  "I had been
accustomed to do house-work (much to the credit of my sensible mother,
who, although a Virginian, taught her daughters self-reliance and many
useful lessons in house-wifery), but I only felt strange, and a little
home-sick; I would soon get over that, however."  A few crystal tears
fell, not mixed with sorrow; for how could sorrow find a place for such
trifles in a heart so conscious of having just obtained a treasure, in
a noble and devoted husband?

The next event of consequence that will aid in developing to your
minds the character and disposition of your revered grandfather,
occurred a few weeks after the circumstances related above.  Mr.
Edward Charless, who was married and settled a few squares from us,
sent one evening an invitation to his brother to come over and make one
of a card-party-–to be sure to come, for they could not do without
him.  He went.  Upon his return, about twelve o'clock, he found me
still up, waiting for him.  He saw I felt badly.  Not an unpleasant word
passed between us, and nothing was said about it afterwards, that I
recollect.  Again his brother sent a similar message--"one wanting in
a game of whist."  He promptly replied, (very good-humoredly), "tell
your master I am a married man now, and cannot come.  He will have to
look out for some one else to fill that chair."  And if my husband ever
spent half a dozen evenings from me in his life--except when attending
to business of importance, or when necessarily separated--I do not now
remember it.  His pleasures were with his heart, and that was with his
family.

Not long after this, news came that his half-brother (Robert
McCloud) was in a declining state of health.  His mother expressed a
desire to have him brought home.  Joseph immediately offered to go for
him, and in a few days he took leave of me for the first time; left in
his sister's (Mrs. Kerr's) carriage, with two good horses and a careful
driver.  And it was fortunate that he was so well equipped, for it was
a hard trip, at best, for a poor invalid who was a good many miles
distant.  He returned in a few weeks with his emaciated brother, who
lingered a few months, and died.

During this winter my own dear father declined rapidly, and no
hopes were entertained of his recovery.  This state of things passed
heavily upon me.  It was painful enough to know that he, too, had to
die soon.  But what was to become of my dear sisters, and our brothers
--all of whom were younger than ourselves?  The eldest, who was about
sixteen years old, and our second brother (two years younger), had just
commenced business as store-boys--one in a dry-goods store; the other,
my father had placed under the care of my husband.  Mr. Charless had,
but a few years previous to this time, become a partner of his father
in the drug business, (having abandoned the profession of the law, as
it was not at all suited to his taste, and, perhaps, not to his
talents), and, as he had frankly told me, immediately after our
engagement, he was a new beginner in the world, and poor; under such
circumstances I could not hope that it would be in his power to do
anything for my father's helpless family.  Tears, scalding tears,
nightly chafed my cheeks, and it was only when emotions were too strong
to be suppressed that I would sob out in my agony sufficiently loud to
awake my husband from sound repose; for, through the day, I always
controlled myself, and waited at night until deep sleep had fallen upon
him before I would give vent to my burdened heart.  At such times he
would sympathize with me, and speak words of encouragement and comfort:
not embracing promises, however, for he was not a man to make promises,
unless he felt at least some assurance of an ability to perform them
them.  True, to his heart's core, he could not, even under the
excitement of the moment, awaken hopes, perhaps to be blasted.  And,
young and warm-hearted as he was, so alive to the sufferings of others,
I wonder now, when I think of it, that sympathy such as his, and love
such as his, had not overbalanced his better judgment, and induced him,
in such trying circumstances, to promise any and everything to soothe
the troubled soul of one he loved better than himself.

He weighed matters. He planned, and thought of every expedient.
As respectful as he ever had been to his parents, and tenderly as he
loved them--fearful as he was of any step which they might not
cordially approve--a new and nobler feeling was struggling in his
breast; for a sorrowing one, whom he had promised to love and cherish,
looked up to him as her only solace; and, while a thousand conflicting
emotions forbade her utterances and requests, he divined all, and,
folding me tenderly to his breast, said, emphatically: "Charlotte, your
sisters and your brothers are mine."  Sweet words, that acted "like oil
poured upon the troubled waters." And has he not proved himself
faithful to that declaration?  Has he not been to us, in our destitute
orphanage, more than a husband and a brother?  Did a father ever bear
more patiently with the foibles and imperfections of his children?  Was
a father ever less selfish than he has been?  Has not his loving arm
embraced us all?

But, my children, I forgot I was writing to you, and I have
already written a long letter--so, will conclude with the injunction:
If you want to be happy--if you want to make others happy--if you want
to be truly noble, make this dear grandsire your model.

It was truly said of him by his pastor, Rev. S. B. McPheeters,
that "Mr. Charless was a man of unusual loveliness of character,
irrespective of his religious principles.  By nature frank and
generous, full of kindly emotions and noble impulses, if he had
remained a man of the world, he would have been one of those who often
put true Christians to the blush, by his deeds of benevolence and acts
of humanity."

As regards his devotion to me and mine, I would say, there are
but few brothers-in-law, and they hard-hearted, and regardless of the
world's opinion, who could have refused to be the friend and brother of
a helpless family, thus left in the midst of strangers.  But how often
do you see men so steadfast, so disinterested and devoted through life?
Where is the man to be found that would not have murmured--that would
not, at some time, have let an impatient word drop, showing that he
felt the burden of the care and responsibility brought on him by
marrying, and thus, at least, have wounded the wife of his bosom?
Where is the man to be found, that, under such circumstances, has
secured to himself the devoted love, and the unbounded confidence and
admiration of a proud-spirited family, such as mine are?  Many, indeed,
must have been his virtues, clear and sound his judgment, upright and
pure his daily walk and conversation, cheerful and confiding his
demeanor.

Affectionately yours, GRANDMA.

BELMONT, January, 1861.



Letter Six



MY DEAR GRANDCHILDREN:

In my previous letters I have endeavored, with the best lights I
have, to show you the circumstances and surroundings of your
grandfather’s early life, by giving you a sketch of his parentage,
associations, youthful characteristics, etc.

But now, I am entering upon a new era.  He is a married man-–has
left the paternal roof, and is forming new associations.  The romance
of the vine-covered cottage, with the girl of his heart-–which, as
fortune smiled, should gradually grow into the stately mansion, with
none to share or distract the peculiar joys of early married life, when
all is couleur de rose-–were not for him.  Life is too earnest for
romance; for high and holy responsibilities, in the dispensations of an
all-wise Providence, he has to meet and to discharge.  He is young and
inexperienced, but here are boys, bound to him by a new, but tender
tie, just entering the most dangerous period of life, without their
natural guides; here are girls, unused to the hard usages of
misfortune, suddenly deprived of all “save innocence and Heaven,” and
he is their only earthly protector and friend.

Our parents were both of English descent, and Virginians by
birth.  They were married young, and settled upon the hereditary estate
of my mother, which consisted of a well-improved Virginia plantation.
There they lived, with nothing to interrupt the quiet and ease of their
existence, excepting the war of 1812-13, between the United States and
England, when my father had to shoulder the musket, as captain of a
volunteer company, and leave his family, to fight for his country.
This was the only eventful period of their lives, until my father
became fired with the Western Fever, that about that time (the year
1818) began to rage, and which resulted in the purchase and settlement
of a cotton plantation in North Alabama.  Alabama was then the Eldorado
of the far West, and I well remember the disappointment I felt, upon
our arrival there, at not seeing “money growing upon trees,” and “good
old apple brandy flowing from their trunks!”

From this period commenced our misfortunes, which, although
trying to my parents, were, by dint of energy and perseverance, readily
overcome, at least so as to enable them to support and educate their
growing family-–securing the comforts of life, with some of its
luxuries–-until, very naturally, aiming at more than this, my father
again made a sacrifice of much, with the hope of gaining the more, by
removing to St. Louis-–the result of which I have already told you.

My father was honest, frank, social, communicative, and
confiding.  He possessed an unbounded confidence in his species,
believing every man a gentleman who seemed to be one, or was by others
esteemed as such, and, in transactions with them, considered their
“word as good as their bond.”  From which, as soon as the old and
well-tried associations of his native State were dissolved, he suffered
many pecuniary losses.  He was passionate, but not revengeful; gay and
animated, but subject to occasional reactions, when he became much
depressed.  He was a high-toned, honorable gentleman, very neat and
exact in his personal appearance, but entirely free from pretension.

My mother was orphaned in infancy, and brought up by her grand-parents
–-Mr. and Mrs. Etheldred Taylor.  She was proud of her
ancestry.  I can see and hear her now, when, under circumstances where
her pride was touched, she would say, “Daughter, remember that pure and
rich blood flows in your veins-–the best in the land.  If your mother
had to live in a hollowed stump, she would be what she is; no outward
circumstances could lower or elevate her one iota;” and she would raise
her proud head with the air of an unrighteously dethroned queen.  This,
I may say, was mother’s great, if not her only fault.  She was a pure,
lovely, estimable woman; quick and sensitive, but, as a friend, a wife,
and mother, she was unexceptionable.  Like the Grecian matron, her
children were her jewels.

Her education would have been considered limited for these days,
yet she was a woman of fine sense and quick intellect.  She possessed
great delicacy of feeling, an inflexible will, an unusual energy (for a
woman) in carrying out what she esteemed right, and an uncontrollable
aversion to whatever was mean or cowardly.  The training of their
children devolved mostly up her, my father finding enough out of doors,
in business or pleasure, to occupy him.  And faithful she was in
teaching them the practical lessons of industry and economy; faithful
in dealing with their faults.  The only one never checked was pride.
This she appealed to as a stimulant to every other virtue; for virtue
she esteemed it-–and virtue it is, in its proper place, and under
proper control.

My parents were brought up in the Episcopal church-–with a form
of godliness, without the substance.  But the sufferings and death of
my eldest sister, who had become a true convert to the religion of
Jesus Christ, in the Methodist church, and who died rejoicing in the
hope of everlasting life, so impressed my mother that she, too, sought
and found the “one thing needful”-–which happy change, although it
took place late in life, was long enough to evince to her children the
genuineness of her faith, and the power of the Gospel in making the
“proud in spirit” meek and lowly at the feet of Jesus.  She united with
the Presbyterian church a few years before her death; and now, as I
look back at the days of my childhood and youth, and call to mind all
the pleasant and sweet things which memory cherishes, there is nothing
so refreshing as the piety of my mother, and that of the dear sister,
who, like a pioneer, went before to show us the "straight and narrow
path” through the rugged scenes of this sinful world. Like an oasis in
the desert of life, it lives, fresh and green, and ever and anon
directs my vision above the storm and tempest to the pure and bright
realms of the redeemed.

With this short sketch of the life and character of my parents,
from which you can form an idea of the peculiar characteristics and
dispositions of their children, who now have become so intimately
associated with your grandfather, I will proceed to say, that, after
the death of my father, which occurred in June, just eleven months
after that of my mother, he at once became our loving and beloved head.
We took an affectionate leave of his dear parents, and removed into our
own "rented house;" and that you may be enabled to place us there, I
will describe our two best rooms, which were separated by a folding-door,
and used as parlor and dining rooms.  They were neatly furnished,
with nice ingrain carpets, cane-bottom chairs, an extension dining
table, and very pretty, straw-colored Venetian window-blinds, trimmed
with dark blue cords and tassels. A mahogany work-stand--the only
article ordered from "the east," because it was a gift for his
wife--was placed in the parlor, for it was too pretty to stay up stairs,
(perhaps the emptiness of the parlor made me think so).

Now, my dear children, you may laugh, and, perhaps, feel ashamed
that your grandparents should have started in life with so little, and
that so plain, especially if you hear others boasting of the wealth and
grandeur of theirs. But, when I tell you that after awhile we had a
nice sofa, (bought at auction, because it was cheap), and that at
another time a small side-board was provided, in like manner, by that
dear grandpa, who always did the best he could; and when I tell you
that "grandma" was so happy, and so well satisfied; that nobody's
house--not even those furnished in the most expensive manner, with
the richest carpets, the most massive and elegant furniture, mirrored
and draped in costly brocatelle--looked half so sweet and pretty to
her; when you know, my dear children, and understand, that those people
who have so far deteriorated, by false teaching, and the glitter of the
world, as to esteem such things more highly than the far richer
treasures of the heart, which alone can garnish a home with unsullied
beauty, and feel the pity and contempt for them that I do, these
trifling baubles will take their appropriate place, and you will see
life as it is, and value it for what is pure and genuine--not for
that which is false and worthless.

On the 8th of November--exactly one year after our marriage
--your dear mother (then our sweet little Lizzie) was born. Not long
after this, I was taken extremely ill with a fever, which lasted many,
many weeks. My dear husband is now seen as the tender and devoted
nurse. With my sisters, he watched beside me, with his own hands
wringing out the flannels from strong, hot lotions, and applying them
to my aching limbs, which gave relief (but that only momentary) when as
hot as could be borne. No nurse could be procured. The few that were in
the city had left from fright when the cholera made its appearance
there that fall, and had not returned. But "grandpa" never wearied in
attentions to his wife. After the violence of my disease had abated,
and I was pronounced by my physicians "out of danger," I continued weak
and in a bad state of health for months. Still, how thoughtful, how
watchful and attentive he was! Often at night have I waked, and the
first object that would meet my eyes would be my husband, walking to
and fro with the baby in his arms, trying to hush her to sleep, lest
she should disturb me.

For at least six months after my partial recovery my limbs had to
be bandaged, to lessen the swelling. No one but he could do this
properly. At night he would prepare the bandages, by rolling them
tightly, and in the morning, immediately after returning from market,
(that he might not lose time from business), he would go through with
the tedious process of bandaging--meanwhile keeping up a cheerful
conversation, which is so reviving to the invalid; and, after
breakfast, he would return to my room, to bid me an affectionate adieu,
before leaving for the store.

During this sorrowful year, my dear husband lost both of his
sisters. Mrs. Wahrendorff died in November; Mrs. Kerr the May
following. In this severe dispensation he derived comfort from the
belief that they had exchanged this for a better world, for they both
had a well-grounded hope in the merits of a crucified Redeemer; and,
even while he mourned for his sisters, he was cheerful.

It is surprising how much real happiness we can have in the midst
of trouble, when the heart is right; and it is surprising, too, how
much real misery we can have in the midst of prosperity, when there is
everything apparently to make life pleasant and blissful, when the
heart is wrong.

You know the little song, "Kind words can never die." "Grandma"
realizes to-day that they never do; nor kind looks either, nor good
deeds.  With the God of love, nothing is small. He stoops "to feed the
young ravens when they cry," and yet there are men, (not many, I hope),
who, from pride, selfishness, and ill-nature, imagine that, as "lords
of creation," it is utterly beneath them to minister with their own
hands to the sick and feeble, not even excepting the wife of their
bosoms. Life is made up of little things. "A cup of cold water" from
the hand of a loving, gentle, sympathizing friend, does more to
alleviate suffering than rich gifts bestowed by the unfeeling and the
proud; than many luxuries provided by the harsh and exacting.

I have first particularized, and then drawn a contrast, my dear
children, that you may be the better able to see the beauty and
excellency of true goodness; and that, like your grandfather, who has
gone to reap the reward, through grace, of a well-spent life, you may
be self-denying, gentle, loving, and kind.

Devotedly yours, GRANDMA.

Belmont, January, 1861.



Letter Seven



My Dear Grandchildren:

With a return of comparative good health, "grandma" is again
enabled to resume her duties as housekeeper, and is daily seen, with
"grandpa," presiding at their family board. Our sisters and brothers,
with two young men from "the store," (who, from motives of economy,
board with us), and our little daughter, who sits to the left of her
father, in her baby dining-chair, constitute the family. How cheerful
the scene, after months of sickness and anxiety! "Grandpa," at least,
is radiant with happiness and good-humor. No unpleasant word or look is
seen or heard during our family repast. Perhaps an awkward boy upsets
his cup of coffee, but the quaint remark, "accidents will happen in the
best regulated families," spoken with a native courtesy, rarely seen,
restores his equilibrium; and thus peacefully, (in the main), day after
day passes along, although many little perplexities and cares arise,
such as every family are subject to, especially where there are sons
just entering the dangerous and tempting paths of youth.

In my particular duties and unavoidable anxieties I had a warm
and sympathizing friend, and a good counsellor, in the person of my
precious husband. But I felt that I needed more than this to sustain me
in the cares, and trials, and sorrows of life. And, besides, I carried
about with me a troubled conscience. For, at the commencement of my
illness, in the fall of 1832, I was perfectly aware of the approach of
danger, and, as I took a look from this world into Eternity, all was
dark and void, and the thought of having to meet death thus alarmed me.
While a raging fever was fast making me wild, I drew the sheet up over
my face, and said, "Let me be quiet."  All was stilled, no sound being
heard, save an occasional whisper from some loved one, (who was too
anxious to be mute), and my own quick breathing, while my heart was
struggling for communion with God. Vague as were my ideas of that
glorious Being, I prayed that He might spare my life, promising, most
solemnly, that if He should do so, I would, upon my recovery, turn my
attention to the consideration of Divine Truth; that I would search the
Scriptures, to know what they taught, and, should I be assured that the
Bible contained a revelation from Heaven, I would, in the future,
govern my life by its precepts and doctrines.

Weak and sinful as this prayer was, I believe the God of pity
heard and answered it; for, notwithstanding my disinclination to the
fulfilment of this vow, made under circumstances so appalling, He bore
with me, but never allowed me to forget it. Every appearance of evil
--and especially the return of the cholera in our midst the next fall
--seemed to me, "like the fingers upon the wall," ready to write my doom.
I often tried to become interested in reading the Bible, but that
sacred book possessed no charm to me. I found it a hard and unpleasant
task to read it at all. At length I summoned up courage to communicate
my difficulties and fears to my husband. Prompt in action, he
immediately purchased for me "Scott's Commentary," which, he said,
would aid me in understanding the Bible; the want of which, he thought,
was the reason I could feel no interest in it. He was right; for,
before I had finished the book of Matthew, with the systematic and
attentive reading of "the notes" and "practical observations," I was
convinced that this was none other than the word of that great Being
who had made and preserved me all the days of my life. This blessed
book--which, hitherto, had been a sealed book to me--now seemed to
glow with real life, and unwonted beauty! It was no difficult task for
me then, hour after hour, to pore over its sacred pages.

Your grandfather, at this time, was only a nominal believer. He
had not earnestly examined this all-important matter, and made it a
personal one. Engrossed in business, young and healthy, he no doubt
felt, like thousands of others, that there was time enough for him to
attend to the interests of his soul, (which, to the natural heart, is
insipid, if not distasteful); but, when he saw his wife so deeply
interested, he did all he could to encourage her. He knelt with her at
the bedside in secret prayer, conversed with her on the subject, went
with her to church, and sympathized with her; until, as a reward, I
truly believe, for all his kindness to me, at a time when I was ashamed
of myself--ashamed to let anyone know (even him) that I felt the
weight of unpardoned sin-–“God touched his heart as with a live coal
from off His altar."  So, hand and heart, we went together.
Sweet is the memory of the ever-to-be-remembered day, when, "in
the presence of men and of angels, we avouched the Lord JEHOVAH to be
our God, the object of our supreme love and delight; the Lord Jesus
Christ to be our Saviour from sin and death, our Prophet, Priest, and
King; and the Holy Ghost, our Illuminator, Sanctifier, Comforter, and
Guide;" when we gave ourselves away in "a covenant, never to be
revoked, to be his willing servants forever, humbly believing that we
had been redeemed, not with corruptible things, as silver and gold, but
with the precious blood of the Son of God."

How different is the scene now presented at that fireside, where
no God had heretofore been acknowledged! For, morning and evening, we
surround the Throne of Grace; the Bible is read, a hymn sung, and that
sweet voice, which we shall hear no more on earth, with a full
confession of sin and unworthiness, humbly pleads with Him "in whom we
live, and move, and have our being." A blessing is asked at our meals;
preparations are made on Saturday for the holy Sabbath, that no
unnecessary work may be done on that day, and servants are exhorted to
improve its sacred hours.

After having dedicated ourselves to the service of the living
God, we took our little Lizzie--the dearest, richest treasure of our
heart and life--and presented her, in the solemn ordinance of baptism,
to that Saviour who, when all earth, "took little children in his arms
and blessed them," and there promised to pray with, and for her; to
impart to her the knowledge of God's holy word, and to bring her up,
not for this vain and perishing world, but for Heaven.

Now, my dear children, that I have given you a peep into the home
and household of your grandparents, when your mamma was a little
babe--before and after they became members of the Church--I will proceed,
by telling you that, during that summer, (in July, 1834), your beloved
grandfather met with another heavy bereavement, in the death of his
father. None were then left of all that united and happy family circle,
which caused the homestead to ring with mirth when "grandma," as a
bride, first became a member of it, excepting his mother, his brother
Edward, and himself. Deep sorrow pervaded our souls, most of all
because, before this sad event, we had learned to feel, most keenly,
the importance of a careful preparation for "the great change," which
we do not know that his father ever made. But, (as I once heard a
minister say at a funeral), "we will leave him where he left himself,
in secret with his God," with the hope that he was enabled, by that
grace which is rich in Christ Jesus, to "make his calling and election
sure."

Life is made up of lights and shadows, and, before closing this
letter, I will give you an account of a delightful little journey which
we made early in September of that year.

Your mamma, who was then just twenty-two months old, was quite
delicate, and we thought a little trip into the country would be of
service to her; and her papa, having some business in Illinois that
would cause an absence of ten or twelve days, concluded to hitch up our
little barouche and take us with him. So we started, in fine style, on
a beautiful morning--"grandpa," and "grandma," our little Lizzie; and
her nurse--which, with a small trunk, a carpet-bag, and a little
basket, containing some crackers, etc., for the baby, quite filled the
carriage.

I’ll tell you there is no such traveling these days of railroads
and steam boats! Every body is in too great a hurry to stop and go
slowly, as we did in our little barouche, trotting gently along across
the prairies of Illinois. How balmy and bracing the air; how quiet the
scene; how beautiful the prairies! Some four, some ten, some twenty
miles in width--all covered with tall grasses and a profusion of large
autumn flowers that waved in graceful undulations before the sweeping
breeze. An apt representation of a gently swelling sea, upon whose dark
green waves, nature had emptied her lap of richly varied blossoms.
We traveled from twenty-five to thirty miles per day; starting
early in the morning--while yet the dew glittered before the rising
sun. We always took care to learn from our host, the distance and
situation of the next good stopping place, where we might dine, and
rest a few hours in the heat of the day, after which we would again
"hitch up" and start refreshed and strengthened for our evening ride.
What magnificent sunsets! How picturesque the woodland bordering
of these beautiful prairies, with here and there an humble residence,
and a cultivated field. We could not but lift our hearts in adoration
and praise.

“If God has made this world so fair, where sin and death abound,
How beautiful, beyond compare, will Paradise be found.”

On we went--passing occasionally through neat little villages,
sometimes large towns, such as, Springfield and Jacksonville--until we
reached Lewiston, where we spent the Sabbath and attended the village
church. In the afternoon of the next day we went to Canton which was
the end of our journey. And when "grandpa" had transacted his business
there we turned our faces homeward.

The first day upon our return, we lost our way--then appeared
clouds and mists, just enough rain falling, to make the high hills we
had to climb, slippery and hard upon our poor horse, who manfully
pulled away without flagging, until we found a shelter for the night;
which, although a wretched one we were very thankful for. From this
time, there is but a faint impression left upon my mind of our return,
until within a few miles of Alton, when, as the sun was fast sinking
into his glorious bed of cloud and fire (giving strong indications of
an approaching storm), my anxious husband, after having made a
strenuous but vain attempt to obtain a shelter for the night "whipped
up" his jaded horse and pressed forward.

It grew dark rapidly. As we passed from the open prairie into the
dense forest, we seemed to leave light and hope behind us--for cloud
and tempest, lightning, and loud claps of thunder quickly succeeded.
For awhile we could discern the road; at length, enveloped in total
darkness, it was to be seen, only by the flashes of lightning, which,
while it horrified our horse and ourselves, served to guide us and also
to show us our danger, from the tall trees as they swung to and fro
above and around us. About nine o'clock we discovered (as we thought)
in the distance a light from a window, of which we were soon assured
--and our fears allayed by hearing "the watch-dog's honest bark."

Next day we reached our snug little home, where we entertained
the family with the incidents of our trip--its pleasures, hair-breadth
escapes, &c.  None were more delighted in that group than our sweet
Lizzie, who brought the roses of the prairie home upon her little
checks, which were more than a reward for a few untoward events of that
delightful and long remembered journey.

Affectionately yours, GRANDMA.

Belmont, January, 1861



Letter Eight



My Dear Grandchildren:

There is a circumstance connected with the death of my father
Charless, which I cannot pass over without omitting a very striking
feature in the character of my husband, delineating his unselfishness,
brotherly affection, and his strict sense of justice. I think his
father had deferred making his will until his last illness. At any rate
it was not until then that his son, Joseph, learned (from his
brother-in-law, Mr. John Kerr), the contents of his father's will, which
were, in substance, as follows: Joseph was to inherit all of his father's
estate, excepting a lot of ground, fronting on Walnut street, of sixty
feet, which was bequeathed to his mother. Thus his brother, Edward, was
disinherited.  Eliza Wahrendorff, the only child of your grandfather's
sister, who afterwards became the wife of my brother, Taylor Blow,
had, by the death of her parents, inherited a beautifully improved lot
of sixty feet front, on Market street, which was the gift of Eliza's
grandfather to her mother, Ann Charless.  Edward Charless had
unfortunately displeased his father; for, although he was a genial,
honorable, and kind-hearted man, he had, in early life, contracted
habits of dissipation, which clung to him through life, and which were
very displeasing to his father. He had been married a number of years,
too, but had no children. The information of Mr. Kerr, respecting the
will of my husband's father, was anything but pleasing to him--for he
loved his brother, and had a very tender regard for his feelings--and
as much as he valued the love and approbation of his father, he could
not enjoy it at the expense of his brother. He was very much worried,
and seemed scarcely to know what to do. Finally he repaired to the
bedside of his father, and, painful as it must have been to him, at
such a time, he gently, but earnestly, expostulated with him on the
subject. The old gentleman, for some time, persisted in saying, Joseph,
you are my favorite son; you have a child, too; while Edward has none.
I do not wish my property to be squandered, or to go out of my family:
but always received the reply, father, you have but two children, do
not, I beg you, make a difference between us, or something equivalent
to that. At length he prevailed, and his father had a codicil added to
his will, which made his brother an equal heir with himself, the
property to come into their possession after the death of their mother,
and should these brothers die, leaving no heirs, the estate should
belong to his granddaughter, Eliza Wahrendorff. I am sure you will
agree with me, dear boys, that your grandfather was right, but how
seldom do we see an exhibition of such firm integrity among men, (even
among brothers), of whom the poet truthfully says, "If self the wavering
balance shake, it's rarely right adjusted."

In the winter of 1836 my husband paid a visit to the eastern
cities, for the purpose of purchasing a stock of goods.  Previous to
this I had always accompanied him, so that, excepting the time he went
for his sick brother, (Robert McCloud), to which I have alluded, we had
never been separated.  He was absent seven weeks, during which time he
wrote me twenty-one letters, of which I will quote one entire, and give
a few extracts from others, that you may read from his own pen.

"Steamboat Potosi, below Cincinnati, Jan. 1st, 1836.

"A happy new year to my dear Charlotte and to all my dear friends
at home! I feel that I should be happy to spend today with you, but
though absent, still, in spirit, I am with you, for my thoughts have
dwelt all the morning with my dear friends in St. Louis.  We left
Louisville last night at seven o'clock and are now passing "Rising
Sun," a village in Indiana, thirty-five miles below Cincinnati, which
we hope to reach by dinner time. I saw no one in Louisville that we
knew. Mr. B. was not there and I made no inquiries about his family, as
I do not know his partner, Mr. G., and we remained there but a few
hours. I read, this morning, the 46th chapter of Isaiah, and, from the
fact of this being new year’s day, my mind has been carried to the
goodness of God to usward, in granting all the blessings we enjoy:--His
infinite greatness, wisdom and mercy. I feel greater reliance on the
atonement of our divine Saviour, and a full assurance that if we are
faithful unto the end, we shall reap a crown of immortality and be
forever blessed by His presence. Let us then, dear Charlotte, endeavor
to realize more than we ever yet have done the reality of eternal
things, and fix our minds more on the attainment of the salvation, not
only of our own souls, but of all those who are near and dear to us.
Let us "seek first the kingdom," feeling assured that all things else
will be given us that is best for us. I am satisfied that love to God
will purify our souls, and make us better fitted for the trials of this
world, and will ensure eternal happiness to us hereafter.

"I send you a kiss, which you must share with our dear little
girl, not forgetting aunt Loo's share. When you write, let me know how
the boys (my brothers Taylor and Wm.) get on at St. Charles, and the
news generally of all the family."

CINCINNATI.

"I have just called on Dr. Drake and family, and find them very
pleasant people. We stay here but a few hours, and leave for Wheeling,
at 8 o'clock to-night. Remember me to mother, and to all our dear
friends at home. Yours truly, JOS. CHARLESS."

This is a very characteristic letter, and I will take occasion
here to acknowledge, with shame, that, with my ardent temperament, I
was not always pleased with my husband's universal care, and love, and
consideration of everybody, without a stronger expression of his
feelings for me.  When he presented me with a set of pearls, before our
marriage, he brought two sets for me to select from, not being able
himself to decide which was the prettiest.  As soon as I expressed a
preference, he handed that set to me, and the other to my sister,
politely asking her acceptance of it.  While I was pleased to see my
sweet sister with a set of pearls, like mine, I would have been more
pleased with his attention if it had been directed to me only; and
often have I lost sight of his devotion to me--by every act of his
life, not less in his love to those most dear to me, than in thousands
of other ways--because he did not make a more marked difference in
his acts, and bestow upon me, in words, a stronger expression of his
love.

But I have lived long enough to find out what empty things words
are: how poor and mean, compared with a life which, like "a living
epistle, is known and read of all men."

"A happy New Year to my dear C., and all my dear friend’s," etc.
His was a courtesy which sprung from the heart--which was seen alone
with his wife in the cordial New Year's greeting, or at the fireside,
with familiar loved ones there; that came from his pen, or flew upon
the telegraph; a courtesy that carried soul with it, and made everyone
feel the value of his friendship and love; not that which is the result
of false teaching, or a false heart--to be put on, or put off, as it
suits the place or the whim of its possessor.

But I promised to quote some extracts from other letters. Well,
here is one: "I hope, dear Charlotte, you have taken care of your
health in my absence, and that I shall have the happiness to see you
yourself again. I pray the Lord to be merciful unto us, and grant that
we may meet again, and that our hearts may once more be raised, with
our voices, around our family altar, to Him who purchased us by His
blood, and, as we hope, redeemed us unto a new life; and that His
blessing may extend to all who are near and dear to us; that all our
family may be united in serving the Lord fervently and affectionately."

Again he says: "I hope that, in the letters you have written, you
have told me all about the business of the store, and house, and farm,
and generally all the news of home, as I will not be able to receive an
answer to this, or any of my subsequent letters from the east."

My husband made me his confidant. He did not think me so far
beneath him as not to be able to understand, and to appreciate all that
interested him--his "business," his "farm.” At "the house" he ever
considered me the head, while he relieved me of every possible care, by
strict personal attention to all out-of-door work connected with
housekeeping. This little farm to which he refers was his delight; for
it served as recreation from the toils of mercantile life, and afforded
him unalloyed pleasure. He was fond of flowers, of fruits, of trees, of
meadows, and everything pertaining to country life. It was impossible
for him to stand and look at others who were at work in the garden. He
would throw off his coat, seize the spade or the hoe, and go to work
himself with the most intense relish. Not the most minute little wild
flower ever escaped his notice, or was ruthlessly trodden under foot;
but, stooping down, he would take up the tiny thing, and hold it up for
admiration, seeming to think that others could not but admire it as he
did. Oh, my husband! how sweet and pure was your life! Tears fall as I
think of thee.

Before this period in the history of your grandfather, we had
exchanged our old residence for a very delightful one, near to his
paternal home, on Market and Fifth streets. It had been built by Mr.
and Mrs. Wahrendorff, for their own use; had a large yard, and every
improvement necessary to make it second to none in the city. Here your
dear mother passed seven years of her happy childhood, and still
remembers what romps she used to have with her papa; how she would
watch for him at the alley-gate, with hands full of snow-balls to pelt
him with, and how he would catch her up in his arms, kiss her cheeks,
plunge them into the snowbank, and then give her a fair chance to pay
him back. She remembers what assistance he would render her in the very
grave business of catching pigeons, by creeping up behind them, and
sprinkling "a little fresh salt upon their tails." She has not
forgotten the happy Christmas mornings, when old Santa Claus was sure
to load her with presents; nor her school-girl parties, which would
have been no parties at all without "papa" to make fun for them; and
many other things, perhaps, which I never knew, or noticed, she could
tell you. But "grandma" remembers some things, which, as she wants you
to see "grandpa" just as he was, she will relate to you.

About this time, we had a dining-room waiter, who, one day, was
such a luckless wight as to be very impertinent to me. He was an
"exquisite," (in his way), although as black as the "ace of spades;"
wore a stiff shirt collar, that looked snow-white, from the contrast,
and combed his hair so nicely that it appeared as fleecy as
zephyr-worsted. He had, however, a habit of going off, without
anybody's knowing where, and staying a long time, neglecting his work,
and provoking "grandma." Upon his return, when she would inquire
where he had been, his answer invariably was, "To the barber’s,
ma'am"--accompanied by a bow, and an odoriferous compound of barbarous
perfumes, presenting altogether such a ludicrous picture that I could
not possibly avoid laughing; after which, of course, I would have to
excuse him, with the mild injunction not to stay so long again. Anthony
presumed upon this mode of treatment until it ceased to be amusing to
me, when, with a good grace, I was enabled to administer a severe
reproof, which he returned with the most unheard-of impudence. As soon
as his master came in, I related the fact to him. In an instant, as
Anthony was passing the dining-room door, my husband sprang at
him--caught him by the collar, shook and twirled him around into the
gallery, and pounded him with his bare fists to his heart's content.
In this changing world, I do not know but that, in the course of
time, you little Southerners may become fanatical abolitionists, and,
losing sight, in the above case, of the cause of provocation, in your
tenderness and sympathy for the slave, will attribute this
unceremonious treatment of poor Anthony to the fact that he was one of
those "colored unfortunates." Therefore, to set you right, at least,
with regard to the character of your grandfather, I will give you
another instance of his impulsiveness, which, perhaps, may be
considered a flaw in the character of this singularly pure and noble
man.

Some years after the circumstance related above, a young friend
was living with us who had a hired white girl for a nurse. I soon
discovered that she was an unprincipled, saucy girl; but she was smart
enough to get on the "blind side" of this young mother, by nursing the
babe (as she thought) admirably well. When I could no longer put up
with her encroachments, I took the girl to one side, and laid down the
law; whereupon the enraged creature was excessively impertinent. After
finding that my dear little friend had not the moral courage to dismiss
the girl (which she might have done, for I offered to take care of the
baby myself until another could be procured), I suppressed my emotions,
and bore it as well as I could. From reasons of consideration for my
husband, who seemed much wearied that evening after returning home from
business, I concluded not to consult him about what was best to be done
until next morning, when, upon hearing the particulars of this little
episode in domestic life, he arose in great haste, and so excited as
scarcely to be able to get into his clothes. I begged him to be calm,
but there was no calmness for him until he got hold of the girl, ran
her down two flights of stairs, and out of the door into the street,
having ordered her, in no very measured terms, never again to cross his
threshold.

In the course of his whole life, I witnessed but one (or perhaps
two) other instances of like impetuosity. They were rare, indeed, and
always immediately followed, as in the cases above referred to, by his
usual calmness and good humor, no trace being left of the storm within,
save a subdued smile, which had in it more of shame than triumph. I
have been told that, in his counting-room, he has occasionally produced
a sensation by like demonstrations, caused, in every case, by the
entrance of some person who, not knowing the stuff he was made of,
would venture to make an attack upon the character of some friend of
his; or, perhaps, would make a few insidious remarks, "just to put Mr.
Charless on his guard." But the slanderous intruder would soon find out
the quicker he was outside of the store the better for him, much to the
astonishment, and amusement, too, of his partners and clerks, who, but
for those rare flashes of temper, and an occasional "stirring up" of a
milder sort among the boys in the store, could not be made to believe
it possible that Mr. Charless could be otherwise than mild and genial
as a sunbeam.

He was never known to resent, in this kind of way, any indignity
shown to himself, which was rarely done by any one. Unfortunately,
however, on one occasion, he gained the displeasure of an Irishman,
(from whom he had borrowed some money), who was half lawyer, half
money-broker. Standing with a group of gentlemen, in conversation about
money matters, per centage, etc., your grandfather remarked that he had
borrowed a certain amount from Mr. M., for a certain per cent., (naming
it). One of the gentlemen asked, "Are you sure, Mr. Charless? for that
was my money Mr. M. lent you, and he informed me that you were to pay
him only so much," (naming the per cent., which happened to be less
than that agreed upon).  Mr. Charless, perceiving his faux pas,
expressed a regret that he had so unwittingly mentioned what, it
seemed, should have been kept secret; which was all he could do. Mr.
M., of course, heard of it. He knew well that he could not revenge
himself upon him who was the innocent cause of his exposure, in St.
Louis; but in New York, where neither were so well known, he did all he
could to injure Mr. Charless' reputation. The friends of the latter,
having heard of Mr. M.'s unprincipled conduct, in insidiously striving
to undermine the confidence reposed in him there, informed him of it,
expecting that he would take some notice of the matter--which he did
not do.  They came again, and protested against his allowing “that
fellow” to continue these aspersions.  He smiled, and replied, “I am
not afraid of his doing me any harm; let him go on.”  He did go on, and
after awhile he returned to St. Louis, when some mutual friend (poor
Mr. M. still had friends among gentlemen) informed him that certain
reports against Mr. Charless, which had reached St. Louis, as coming
from him, were doing him considerable injury; not Mr. C, for he stood
too high in the estimation of the community to be injured by slanderous
reports of any kind whatever.  Whereupon Mr. M. denied having made
them, and expressed a determination to explain, and make the matter all
right with Mr. Charless.  For this purpose, one day, as the latter was
passing a livery stable, where Mr. M. was waiting for his buggy to be
brought out, he called to Mr. Charless, who passed along without
noticing him.  Again he called saying, “Mr. Charless, I want to speak
to you.”  Mr. Charless waved his hand back at him, and went on.
Elevating his voice, said he, “Do you refuse to speak to me, sir?”
Still a wave of the hand-–nothing more.  This was too much for the
hot-headed gentleman.  His raving and abuse attracted the attention of
everybody about there to the hand, which still waved, as “grandpa”
walked on, and said, too plainly to be mistaken, in its silent
contempt, “ I can’t lower myself by speaking to such a dirty fellow as
you are.”

Without a word or circumstance from your grandfather, it
circulated from mouth to mouth, with considerable gusto; from which, I
need not say, Mr. M. had the worst of it.

It has given me some pain, my dear children, to speak of these
incidents; and, indeed, there are many things (some very sweet to me)
that I feel constrained to write which I would gladly keep secret and
sacred in my soul, but for a firm conviction that such a halo of light
as has shone about my path, from the pure life of your beloved
grandfather, should not be allowed to go out.  And the faithful
historian cannot give the light without the shadows.

Affectionately yours, GRANDMA.

Belmont, February, 1861.



Letter Nine



My Dear Grandchildren:

Before the fire companies were properly organized in St. Louis,
or, perhaps, before there were any at all, I was perfectly miserable
whenever a fire occurred, for “grandpa” would be sure to rush to the
spot, and up, probably, to the most dangerous places on the tops of
houses, or anywhere else, to assist in protecting life or property.
Besides the fear that he might lose his life in this way, I felt
considerable anxiety on account of his health; for, after these
extraordinary exertions, he would return home nearly exhausted.  No
entreaties or arguments, in urging him to desist, had any weight, until
he found that his services were no longer needed.

With this impetuosity of character, he possessed a large share of
moral courage.  He dared to do right, or what he deemed right, always,
and that without display or fear, and entirely indifferent to the
opinion of the world.  With a modest estimate of himself was blended a
quiet satisfaction in the discharge of duty.  But not over-careful
about what others did or did not do, or at all dictatorial, he
cheerfully accorded to all what he claimed for himself, viz:
independence of thought and action.  No one was more willing to give
advice, when asked; none more free from obtruding it uninvited.
Thankfully and courteously he always received it, even when pressed
upon him beyond what was proper; and although to some of it he might
not give a second thought, perceiving at once its invalidity; yet he
was too modest, and too polite to intimate the fact–-leaving an
impression upon the mind of the giver (without the slightest intention
to deceive) that he had conferred a favor: which, indeed, by
considering the kindness of the motive, he appreciated as such.  This
was the result of a profound respect for the opinions and feelings of
his fellow-men, to whom he would listen patiently, even to the ignorant
and the weak, meanwhile giving kind and considerate responses, causing
them (no less than his equals) to feel satisfied with themselves and
with him, whom each one, high and low, rich and poor, esteemed as his
own particular friend: and all this without study, without an effort,
because the offspring of a kind, generous, and appreciative nature.

A circumstance occurs to my mind, which, perhaps will give you an
idea of your grandfather’s kindness and consideration towards those in
the humbler walks of life:  One morning a plain, honest looking youth,
from whom he had purchased some marketing, accompanied him to the
house, for the purpose of bringing it.  They went into the kitchen
together, to warm and dry themselves, and when, in a few moments
afterwards, breakfast was announced, “grandpa” asked me to have a plate
placed for the lad; to which I demurred, inquiring if I had not better
send breakfast to the kitchen for him?  He replied, “No. The golden
rule directs us to do unto others as we would they should do unto us.”
Whereupon an argument ensued, I insisting that, according to that rule,
his breakfast should be sent out, as I had no doubt that the boy would
feel more at ease, and would enjoy his breakfast more in the kitchen
than he would at our table.  Fixing his eyes upon me, with that kind
but reproving expression which was characteristic of him, he said:
“Charlotte, if we were to stop at the house of that young man’s father,
I doubt not but that he would give us the best place, and the best of
everything he has.” Even this did not convince me; when, with his usual
dislike to argument, and with that conciliatory kindness which ever
marked his intercourse with his family, he yielded the point,
gracefully, as though it was a matter of little consequence, so that
the young man was only well provided for; but not without a mild, and
well-merited reproof, in which he playfully reminded me of my “Virginia
pride.”

And thus it ever was, my dear children, with your honored
grandfather.  Firm in principle–-kind in action; but most kind to
those who had the first and highest claim upon him.  Never afraid of
compromising his dignity or position as head of his family, he always
retained it unabated.  How unlike some men, who, by attempting to
maintain their rights by an overbearing, arbitrary manner, and harsh
and unbecoming words, evince a weakness which makes them contemptible,
if not in the estimation of the wife and children, at least so in that
of others, who plainly discern that littleness, in some shape or other,
and not manly dignity and good sense, places them in their unenviable
position of “master of my own house.”

And yet how much do I regret, now, when it is too late to remedy
it, that I did not, readily and cheerfully, accede to every wish of
this dear friend, whose truly consistent and beautiful character shone
out most clearly at home.  How much do I regret now, that I should have
allowed his few little foibles to annoy me.  The greatest of these, and
the one that caused more unpleasant words between us than any and all
things else, was his carelessness in dress.  I do not know that I am
scrupulously neat, but I did pride myself in the personal appearance of
my husband, which was sometimes seriously marred by an unshaved beard
or a soiled shirt.  We were once traveling on a steamboat, and,
standing on the guards, I discovered him on the wheel-house, and called
to him to come to me.  A lady asked if “that old gentleman” was my
husband, and said: “You look so young, I am surprised that you should
have married so old a man.”  She seemed to be an unoffending,
simple-hearted woman, such as we frequently meet in traveling, and I
replied, with a smile, “He suits me very well, ma’am;” but made use of
the earliest opportunity to tell him of it–-really taking pleasure in
doing so-–for I had often expressed my own views on that subject,
assuring him that he looked at least twenty years older when he
neglected to dress with care, especially if he had not shaved.

Next morning he paid particular attention to making his toilet,
declaring it to be his intention “to create a sensation,” which he
certainly succeeded in doing, much to our mutual amusement; for the
same lady, eyeing him closely at breakfast; expressed to me afterwards
her amazement at the change, giving it as her opinion, that “he was the
handsomest young gentleman she had ever seen.”

I went too boldly to work in trying to correct his careless
habits in dress.  I formed an idea that it was my duty and my
privilege, not only to attend to my husband’s wardrobe, but to direct,
too, how it should be disposed of; but soon found that he was not to be
made to do anything.  And, as “straws show which way the wind blows,” I
learned, in most things, to influence him by silken cords.  He was
willing to be led captive by love and tenderness.  Why, when your dear
mamma was not more than four or five years of age, she had learned the
art of making “papa” do as she liked.  I remember to have heard her say
once (slyly to one side), “I am going to make papa let me do it.”  And
when asked “Make papa?” answered, “Yes, the way mamma does;” and
immediately turned to him with her most bewitching little smile, and
said, “Do please, dear papa, let me.”

O! what a joyous home we had! And what changes time has made!
The old Wahrendorff house has been rased to the ground, and stores
stand in its place.  Where domestic peace and happiness reigned-–where
flowers bloomed-–where childhood held its sports and holidays, now is
seen the busy mart of this bustling, plodding world.  The merry little
magnet of that grass-covered spot is now the mother of four children;
and the beloved father, upon whom her mother fondly hoped to lean, as
she tottered down the hill of life, lies low, at its base.

One of my dear sisters was there seen in her bridals robes, pure
and sweet.  But now, she is among the angels (as I humbly trust,)
clothed in the white robe of a Saviour’s righteousness.  The other
still lives to bless us with her presence and her love.

Our brothers have passed their truant school-boy days-–“sowed
their wild oats”–-have taken their stand among men, and are realizing
themselves now the blessedness of a home of conjugal and paternal
happiness, and begin to know something of the care and anxiety that has
been felt for them, and of the hopes which stimulate to duty.  And
thus, Time, as he passes, leaves foot-prints, which make the children
of to-day the men and women of to-morrow; brings changes which blight
our fondest hopes, crush the heart, and leave us, in our tempest-tossed
bark, to weather awhile longer the storms upon the voyage of life.

But my mind still reverts to this home of my happy married life.
It is Sabbath morning there, and we are around the family altar.  The
chapter has been read, and we are singing a favorite hymn of the one
who reads and prays.  It is spring time, and the fresh air comes in
through the opened window, perfumed with the rose and the sweet-brier.
But we are singing:

“The rosy light is dawning,
Upon the mountain’s brow:
It is the Sabbath morning,
Arise, and pay thy vow.
Lift up thy voice to Heaven,
In sacred praise and prayer,
While unto thee is given
The light of life to share.

The landscape, lately shrouded
By evening’s paler ray,
Smiles beauteous and unclouded
Before the eye of day;
So let our souls, benighted
Too long in folly’s shade,
By the kind smiles be lighted
To joys that never fade.

O, see those waters streaming
In crystal purity;
While earth, with verdure teeming,
Give rapture to the eye.
Let rivers of salvation
In larger currents flow,
Till every tribe and nation
Their healing virtue know.”

The morning is past–-we have been to church, and dined; and now
our little daughter is listening, most eagerly, to the Bible story,
which was promised her as a reward for good behavior.

The afternoon has passed.  We have had an early tea, and again we
surround the Throne of Grace before going to church.  The same loved
voice is heard again joining in another favorite hymn:

“Sweet is the light of Sabbath eve,
And soft the sunbeams lingering there:
For this blest hour the world I leave,
Wafted on wings of faith and prayer.

The time, how lovely, and how still!
Peace shines and smiles on all below;
The vale, the wood, the stream, the hill,
All fair with evening’s setting glow.

Season of rest, the tranquil soul
Feels the sweet calm, and melts to love:
And while these peaceful moments roll,
Faith sees a smiling Heaven above.

Nor shall our days of toil be long;
Our pilgrimage will soon be trod,
And we shall join the ceaseless song,
The endless Sabbath of our God.”

Affectionately yours, GRANDMA.

Belmont, February, 1861.



Letter Ten



My Dear Grandchildren:

I see in casting a glance back, that I have passed over a good
deal in the life of your grandfather, which will, perhaps, be of
interest to you; without which, at any rate, this sketch would not be
complete.  And I intended, when I closed my last letter, to commence
this with his career as a business man, and to continue the narrative
to the close of his life; and then to give you a distinct account of
his influence and deeds in the Church, and in the world, as a
Christian.  But I do not know, upon further reflection, that it is best
to divide up his life in that way; and, indeed, it seems to me rather a
difficult and unnatural task to do so, for he strictly followed the
injunction of the Apostle: “Be diligent in business, fervent in spirit,
serving the Lord.”  The dividing line, therefore, would be hard to
find, if there was one at all.

And these letters, which are a pleasant recreation to me while I
write them–-and of profit, too, I hope, as I carefully review the life
of him who, “though dead, still speaketh”–-would, I fear, become a
task, should I change the simple and pleasing plan I have adopted of
recalling the past, with the incidents as they occurred, and from them
selecting such as I think will best unfold to your view the real,
every-day life of him, which, if fairly seen, cannot fail to plant in
your young hearts a just pride for such an ancestor, and a holy desire
to walk in his steps.  With this view, I will retrace, and bring up,
briefly and in order, the omissions to which I have alluded.

You remember, I mentioned to you the fact, that your grandfather
commenced life, as a business man, by becoming the partner of his
father in the drug business.  His father had, a few years previously,
given up his interest in the “Missouri Republican” to his son Edward,
and commenced a business which was new to him, and that upon a small
capital.  He found it so profitable, however, that he prevailed on
Joseph to abandon his profession, (the practice of which he had but
just commenced), and to join him, believing that it would ultimately be
more to his advantage to do so.  From the profits arising from this
business–-which regularly increased, with the increase of the city,
and that of the country, from the rapid emigration to the Western
States-–combined with his success in an occasional speculation in
land, I doubt not, if “grandpa” had been at all given to the love of
money, or had been ambitious of attaining to great wealth, and had bent
his powers of mind and body in that direction, he would have reached
the desired goal, perhaps to becoming a millionaire.

But very different from this were the tendencies of his nature.
He appreciated money as the means of adding to the sum of human
happiness; and, while he was by no means reckless in the use of it, it
was a source of great pleasure to him to have it in his power to
indulge his family in having what they desired and in living as they
pleased, and still to have something over to distribute to the
necessities of the indigent.  To the Church of Christ he cheerfully
contributed to the extent of his ability, esteeming it one of his
highest privileges.  Pursuing this course, his business meanwhile
widening, and constantly becoming more profitable, in the year 1837 or
’38, he decided to take a partner, and offered the situation to my
brother Henry, which was gladly accepted.  After this, (I do not know
exactly how long), he purchased a valuable piece of ground in the city,
upon a part of which “the firm” determined to build an oil and lead
factory.  This proved to be a very expensive and arduous undertaking;
and, although it promised, after being fairly established, to be a most
profitable investment, yet the capital of “the firm” was not sufficient
to complete and to carry it on successfully until it should reach a
self-sustaining point, without doing serious injury to “the store,” by
depriving it of the necessary capital for its success.

During this state of things, which grew worse every day, my
husband discerned a portentous cloud in the sky of his commercial
prosperity, which resulted after days and nights of anxiety and
overtaxed strength of body and mind, in a low state of health and
spirits that almost unfitted him for his accumulated business, which,
nevertheless, he continued to prosecute with avidity.  This was about
the year 1841.  I do not recollect how long his ill health lasted, but
I well remember how his flesh went away–-how pale he was–-how he
perspired at night, from nervous prostration, and how his skin seemed
to cleave to his bones.  He was still amiable and uncomplaining; but
his elasticity, his free-hearted joyousness was gone.

After pressing him for some time to tell me his troubles and
difficulties, and sympathizing with him because of them, until a far
deeper concern took possession of me on account of his health, and,
finding that moderate expostulations did not better things, I
determined to make an effort by trying a wife’s skill in arousing him
from this state of despondency, which threatened such serious
consequences; for I might well feel that fortune would be nothing to me
without my husband-–my husband as he ever had been.  And “if the worst
came to the worst,” if he only had sufficient means to pay his debts,
(which he said, without doubt, he had), I cared for nothing better than
to begin life afresh, with such a husband as I had, with health, youth,
business capacity, and a good reputation.

This conversation was not without effect; and he determined, by
way of recruiting, to “knock off” from business, and to make an
excursion into the country.  This little trip–-which was not simply
without aim, other than for his health, as he had some business to
attend to on the way-–acted like a charm, by restoring his wasted
energies and his cheerfulness.  He returned, in ten or fifteen days,
more like himself than he had been for months.  After this, he soon
recovered entirely; and never again did he lose his equanimity for
more, perhaps, than a day or two at a time, although the dreaded blow
did come, but not before he had taken a step in the divine life, which
served to buoy him up above the ills of this checkered existence.

During the year 1839, about five years after we became members of
the Church, your grandfather was ordained “Ruling Elder” in the Second
Presbyterian church.  We united with the “First Presbyterian church”
(which I believe, I told you in a previous letter), which was then the
only one in the city, but were induced, from a sense of duty, to go
out, with a few others, to assist in strengthening a small colony that
had been struggling for existence almost from the time it had left the
mother church, some two or three years previous.  In the building up of
this church he was one of its most efficient agents.  Besides having
the duties of an Elder to perform, he was appointed a Trustee, and,
with others, was very active in planning, and carrying forward to its
completion, a large and expensive building, bearing a heavy part of the
debt of it for years, until the means were provided for his relief,
which was not until long after he had met with heavy pecuniary losses.
He was regularly in his place at all the meetings of the church, both
for spiritual and secular purposes.

Now, my dear children, if you have conceived an idea, from the
insight I have given you, of the numerous occupations of your
grandfather, that he must have been bustling about, having so much to
do--hurrying things at home, and having no time for pleasure or
recreation-–you are greatly mistaken.  A day rarely passed that he did
not take a ride with his family, or some member of it, to “the farm,”
(except during the period of his ill health, when he oftener sought
repose in the afternoon), enjoying, with the fresh air, exercise, and
charms of the country, the society of those so dear to him.  He never
came home with a surly look–-like some people who want to make an
impression that they have the world on their shoulders-–to talk about
hard work, and hard times, or disagreeable matters, or to recount all
the wonderful things he had done, or had to do.  But, with a step and a
countenance that seemed to say, “What a blessed and happy man I am!”
his presence always brought with it happiness and peace.  He was not a
great talker, but he generally had something pleasant to say, or an
interesting anecdote to relate; for, with a keen perception of the
ludicrous, he possessed a talent for telling anecdotes admirably well,
and a humor that was irresistibly pervasive.  No one could help feeling
its influence, and being all the happier for it.

I wish I could remember some of his anecdotes, and do them
justice in the relation; but I know the attempt would be futile: for
there was so much in the look and manner that gave a zest to his
conversation, and rendered it attractive, that it would be impossible
to convey a correct idea of it in words.  None can feel, or fully
appreciate it, without having had the privilege of being in his
presence.  A friend, to whom he was much attached, and at whose house
he frequently visited, mentioned to me, since his death, that he and
his wife had, from their early acquaintance with him, been in the habit
of referring often to what “Mr. Charless” would say, recalling his
conversation, and talking so much about him, that one day he asked,
“Wife, how is it we cannot help talking of Mr. Charless?–-what is
there about him that impresses us so?  It is not really what he says,
but the way he says it.  It is his humor, his benevolence of manner,
his inimitable pleasantry, etc.”

With these qualities, I need not say that he was an acquisition
to society.  He enjoyed it at home or abroad; at the evening party, or
with a few friends around the social board.  With a genial nature, he
had a facility for adaptation, so that it was easy for him to feel
perfectly at home, and unrestrained, with all classes and conditions of
men, young or old, gay or grave.  He was particularly fond of young
people, and generally had a “little sweetheart” among the girls, with
whom he would occasionally carry on a spirited flirtation.

In the fall of 1841, immediately after his period of dejection,
and consequent ill health, your grandfather and myself mutually agreed
that it would be best for us, by way of lessening our expenses, to sell
our furniture, and break up housekeeping for a few years.  My health,
which had never been good since that severe illness, of which I have
spoken, was the palpable cause; for my husband had often expressed a
desire to try the effect of rest from the cares and fatigue of
housekeeping, and now, that one sister and two of my brothers were
married and settled, there was not difficulty in the way of our doing
so.  This proved to be a very fortunate step, for at the time things,
almost anything, sold well.  The city was prosperous, and everybody
felt rich.  Our furniture, of which we reserved sufficient to furnish
two bed-rooms, besides our valuables of plate, etc., sold for as much,
some of it for more, than we paid for it when new.  And in one year
from that time, suddenly, there was a monetary pressure, which brought
every kind of property down to less than half of its value or original
cost.  It was one of those pecuniary tornadoes which occasionally sweep
through the whole length and breadth of the land, levelling and
blighting everything as it passes, putting a stop to the wheels of
commerce, and bringing terror into almost every family.  It came with
an astounding effect upon St. Louis.  Many who felt themselves rich
were in a few days reduced to a state of poverty, not having the means
wherewith to pay their honest debts.

The firm of “Charless & Blow” were compelled to “suspend
payment.”  This reverse came upon them like a shock, for,
notwithstanding my husband’s fears, a year or two previous, with regard
to his mercantile affairs, he had informed me, but a short time before,
that he had no doubt now but that they would be enabled to get through
with the difficulties that had been pressing him down; for, as he
expressed it, “we begin now to see our way clear.”  They had had no
apprehensions with regard to their endorser (for whom they also
endorsed), for “his house” was one of the oldest and (it was thought)
one of the most opulent in the city.  But when the fact was known that
Mr. T had failed, and when his creditors called upon the firm of
“Charless & Blow” to respond to his notes, which were then due, it was
too much for them.  At first my husband (pale from emotion) thought all
was over!–-all for which he had been toiling for years; reduced to
poverty, his reputation as a merchant, perhaps, greatly weakened; and,
what was worse still, (not knowing the extent of his losses by Mr. T.),
he might not be able, after sacrificing everything he had in the world,
to pay his debts!

In a crisis like this, developments are exceedingly rapid, and
revulsion of feeling just as much so.  The excitement is too intense to
endure delay.  The best and the worst must be known, if possible, and
that at once.  It was soon ascertained, therefore, in the case of
“Charless & Blow,” that their loss, by the failure of our good and
honorable old friend, was not much; and the chief difficulty with them,
as with all other sufferers, lay in the loss of confidence between men,
and the consequent scarcity of money in circulation.

Your grandparents passed one troubled night in consequence of
this event, in which sleep–-“tired nature’s sweet restorer”-–forsook
them.  But the next afternoon found them taking a drive in grandpa’s
buggy, calmly talking about their new circumstances, and resolving,
with a courageous heart, to meet them, whatever they might be.  Of
course, I did all I could to encourage him, (else I would not have been
worthy the name of wife); became very self-sacrificing for a lady–-willing
to part with my tea service, and all my silver-ware-–any and
everything I had of value, except my bridal gifts; and then began to
speculate upon how very nice it would be to live in a neat little
cottage, etc., etc.  For I was not too old to be romantic; and I do
really believe now, as I recall my enthusiasm on the subject, that I
would have been disappointed had anything occurred to prevent me from
exhibiting to my husband how cheerfully I could submit to misfortune.
No such test came; for the very next day a widow, who had deposited a
few hundred dollars with “the firm” for safe keeping, hearing of their
reverses, called to get her money.  They had none; and my husband,
remembering my offer, sent a messenger, with a note, requesting me to
send the tea-service, with which to secure her.  Cheerfully–-for I was
glad it was in my power to secure the widow against loss, and to
relieve the mind of my husband to some little extent-–but with a
beating heart, (for this was a birth-day gift from him), I parted with
my beautiful tea-service, and have never seen it since.  It was sold to
pay that debt.

Our dear old mother was greatly afflicted because of our reverses
in fortune, and wept like a child; but her amazement was to see me so
unmoved.  I thought then it was Christian submission that enabled me to
bear up so well; but I see now there was a great deal of human love,
and sympathy, and human pride, too, mixed with it.

Although we were not keeping house, at that time, we were very
delightfully and happily situated, for we were boarding (as an especial
favor) at our eldest brother’s.  He had a sweet wife, and they lived in
their beautiful new house, which, years after, “grandpa” purchased.  It
was there your dear mamma passed her young lady days-–where she was
married-–where her little sons, Charless, Louis and Edward, were born;
and where their loving grandpa breathed away his precious life.  But
the same reasons which made it necessary for us to submit to loss and
inconvenience, made it incumbent on my brother to sell his residence.
Consequently, we accepted the kind invitation of our mother to occupy a
part of her house; and, by strict economy in every practicable thing
-–paying her a very low price for our board, which the old lady would
receive, but “not a cent more”-–we passed three of the happy years of
our life, at the end of which time, we had regained a considerable
amount of our losses; and, what was better still, your dear grandfather
had become firmly and prosperously re-established in business, without
having lost an atom of his reputation as a judicious and energetic
merchant.

“The suspension” of Charless & Blow did not result in a complete
failure, by any means.  They solicited an examination into their
affairs, exhibited their books, making a complete and full exposition
of the condition of their business, and it was unanimously agreed upon,
by the committee chosen for the purpose, that it would be greatly to
the advantage of their creditors for “the firm” not to close up, but to
continue the business, each binding himself to extract, for the two
succeeding years, only a small (stated) sum for private use, from the
proceeds of the store.

As soon as the adverse condition of “C. & B.” was relieved, and
they had regained their former position-–which, I think, was in about
two years from the time of the crisis-–they made up their minds to
dissolve partnership: one to take “the store;” the other, “the oil and
lead factory.”  Accordingly, terms of dissolution were drawn up.  Mr.
Charless, being the elder, had the privilege of choosing, and, after
reflection, decided upon retaining the store.  My two younger brothers
afterwards became his partner in the business, and remained as
“Charless, Blow & Co.” until dissolved by the death of their beloved
senior.

This is a long letter, my dear children, and I will close it,
with the promise of letting you know something more about our three
years’ sojourn at your great-grandmamma’s: in which I hope to show you
how happy we can be under adverse circumstances, and how much less the
evil of “coming down in the world” is, than generally is supposed.

Affectionately yours, GRANDMA.



Letter Eleven



My Dear Grandchildren:

Man is naturally aspiring, and the more he attains to in life,
the more earnestly he reaches after something higher still.  And it is
well that it is so, for, without this spirit, there would necessarily
be but little or no advance in the world.  The old land-marks would
stand unmolested, forever; and the human family, instead of developing,
could not but deteriorate, from generation to generation.  But for the
fall of man, his highest aim would have been such as the angels have,
viz: to see, and to be with God, whose exceeding greatness and glory
would tend to ravish the soul with delight, enlarge its capacity, and
yet keep it at an humble distance, reverent and lowly.  But I am
stepping beyond my reach, and will come back again to what is, not what
might have been.

As soon as you observe at all, you must perceive what a constant
struggle there is going on here below.  Some aim at “fortune’s gaudy
show,” while others strive to catch the wreath of fame, and crown
themselves with that.  Few are so indifferent, unless besotted by
ignorance and degradation, as not to aspire, in some shape or other, to
something more or better than they ever had, or better than others
have; and, in this age of the world-–at any rate in this country-–money
seems to be esteemed the chief good.  Not the miser’s money, for,
while that is locked up, and he hoards, and hoards, and still locks it
up, it narrows down the soul, and expunges from it all the milk of
human kindness.  What are the orphan’s tears, or the widow’s groans–-what
is human suffering to him?  Gold! gold!  His precious gold fills
the contracted, dark place, which the soul, made in the image of its
Creator, has forsaken, and leaves him more brute than man.

Money is a good and valuable possession, but not to the
spendthrift, to whom it becomes a temptation to vice.  Better be poor
forever, and, by the sweat of the brow, eat your daily bread,
maintaining, at the same time, a pure and unblemished character, than
to have a fortune that only induces idleness and self-indulgence,
opening to you an avenue for the destruction of soul and body; and,
perhaps, too, as is often the case, cause you to blindly drag your wife
and children with you, if not to vice, at least to want and to
disgrace.  Money is only good when properly valued, and properly used.
It is desirable as a means of education, and of refinement; for the
cultivation of one’s taste in the field of nature, or in the arts and
sciences.  It is gratifying, and not wrong, to have handsome houses and
grounds, tasteful furniture, fine paintings, or statuary, libraries,
and everything pertaining to an elegant establishment.  It is very good
when used to make people happy who, in the providence of God, are not
supplied with the necessaries of life.  “The poor ye have always with
you”-–why if not to keep the stream of benevolence running fresh and
sweet?  And money helps materially, perhaps too much, toward giving one
position in society.  All things considered, it is hard to lose it.  It
is trying to feel, as you pass along, people are saying, “There goes
poor Mrs. A., or B.  She has come down in the world!”  Some malicious
ones will say, “Well, she deserved it, for she was very extravagant,
and she held her head too high.”  Women, no doubt, are more susceptible
to suffering and mortification, from reverses in fortune than men are;
yet there are many ways in which they feel it, too-–according to their
characters and dispositions.  And, my dear children, if I were to say
that we had not felt or cared for the reverses in life of which I told
you in my last letter, it would not be true.  We did feel it, and that
in many ways.  My husband was humbled, and disappointed, but entirely
submissive to the will of God; for he believed that adversity, as well
as prosperity, came from His loving hand, and was designed for the
highest good of His people.  Instead of having the effect to lessen, it
strengthened his faith.  Instead of making him more anxious and
striving for the accumulation of wealth, he was less so; and he
continued to be less so throughout the remainder of his life.
Notwithstanding he was quite as industrious, just as energetic; yet
there was less of dross mixed up with the pure metal in his soul.  To
me, it was evident that he advanced rapidly in the divine life; of
which I felt the influence, if I caught none of its spirit.

In a letter from him, dated that fall, soon after our removal to
his mother’s, he says: “The scenery of the Mississippi, from the rapids
north, is very beautiful.  The frost having changed the color of part
of the leaves, the forest presents an endless variety of colors; and
the great number of farms and villages add much to the beauty of the
landscape.  But everywhere I find the people complaining, and many
suffering from actual want.  Although Providence has provided a most
bountiful harvest, many, who have been accustomed to have every
comfort, and many luxuries, around them, are now almost destitute.  It
makes me feel more resigned to our losses and poverty, seeing we are so
much better off than thousands who are more deserving than we.  They,
it seems, are resigned, and submit most cheerfully to all the
dispensations of their Heavenly Father.  Let us, dear Charlotte,
hereafter endeavor to show, in our lives, greater devotedness to Him
who has done so much for us, and who promises to be our support and
stay in every hour of need; who will never desert any who put their
trust in Him.

“Let us, therefore, exhort one another, and provoke each other to
well-doing, in the service of our God.  Let us love each other more and
more, and make Jesus the great object of our praise and prayer.  I hope
and pray that the chastenings of our blessed Lord, in depriving us of
our worldly possessions, may be sanctified to us, and lead us, more
earnestly and undoubtingly, to seek for possessions in that Kingdom
where all is joy, and peace, and love.  Oh! That we may be enabled,
with all our dear kith and kin, and kind friends, to attain unto this
glorious and happy state, to dwell forever in the presence of our God,
and enjoy Him throughout eternity.  Dear C., are not these things worth
our most strenuous efforts?  And yet how little do we do! How poor our
best attempts to serve Him who has done everything for us.”

With these earnest desires for closer communion with God, and for
those treasures which fade not away, he necessarily had a hard struggle
to prosecute his worldly affairs, under circumstances so
disadvantageous as that of carrying on a large business without the
necessary capital, greatly weakened, in fact, by pecuniary losses, and
more still by the misfortune of being compelled to “suspend payment,”
and the consequent exposure of the internal difficulties with which
“the firm” had to contend.  Anxious and toiling, week after week, he
was always rejoiced when Saturday night came, that he might, as he
generally expressed it in his prayer that night, “lay aside the world,
and engage in the delightful exercises of the holy Sabbath.”  And I
will here mention, for the benefit of those among you (if there are any
such) who, in your eager pursuit of wealth, or honor, or are battling,
as he was, with the untoward events of life, are tempted to desecrate
the Sabbath to secular purposes, that I have often heard your
grandfather say (about that time) that on Monday his mind was clearer,
and his hopes stronger of success, than at any other time.  And towards
the close of the week, after his mental energies had been on the
stretch for days, things looked darker; that sometimes he felt as
though he must give up; that it would be impossible to meet his
payments; but that on Monday, with both mind and body invigorated from
the holy rest of the Sabbath day, the mists had cleared away, and
everything looked bright again-–so bright that he often felt surprised
that he should have been in such a desponding condition on Saturday.

There is sound philosophy in this; but I will leave it for you to
work out the problem, and will proceed to say, that with the opening of
the spring of 1843, business prospects really did brighten.  And our
new home, though humble, we had found vastly comfortable.  It looked
familiar and home-like, too; for the furniture to which we had been
accustomed had been removed into our suite of rooms, one of the
bedsteads minus only the cornice and the feet, which had to be taken
off to accommodate it to the height of the ceiling-–of which, for
awhile, I had so constant and disagreeable an impression that often,
when rising suddenly from my chair, I would dodge, from fear of bumping
my head against it.  And no wonder! For this was an old house, built in
“the year one,” before people (poor things!) found out the necessity of
having their ceilings pitched so high above them!  But our front room
was otherwise capacious; for several partitions had been knocked down,
which added a small room and part of a hall to the main one, and
extended it entirely across the front of the house.  It was so large
that it accommodated the piano, and a pier-stand, besides every
necessary article for a completely furnished bed-room.  The piano and
pier-stand-–the latter of which was a particular object of attraction
to your mamma (for bon-bons were kept in that)-–gave to the room the
air somewhat of a parlor.  At least, we esteemed it so cosy, and
appropriate for the purpose, that we more frequently received the calls
of friends there than in our mother’s little reception-room.

What right had we to murmur?  It would have been ungrateful if we
had done so; for, although not by any means elegant, we were
comfortable.  True, my nice carriage and beautiful horses had been
sold; but mother had quite a nice little carriage, and a fine old gray
horse, that would have appeared very respectable, if (as the stable boy
said) the calves had not “chawed of his tail!”  However, that was a
source of amusement.  We rode often, for both mother and I needed the
exercise; and the rides were delightful, as ‘Joseph’ was generally our
driver; and a merry chase he would lead us sometimes, for when he no
longer had “the farm” to go to, (that had likewise been sold), he
seemed determined to find out the merits, or demerits, of every road in
the vicinity.  This made quite a variety for us, for, besides the
change of scenery, it usually called forth ejaculations from his
mother, and answers from him, which were very amusing.  She saw no
sense in ”rambling the country over, going into every nook and corner,
and jolting people to death!”  But he would earnestly assure her that
he had not gone into half yet-–looking round at her with a provokingly
mischievous expression, which seemed to intimate that he meant to try
it, though-–and as for the roads, he could “find much worse roads than
that!  And as to driving–-he hadn’t begun to show how many stumps he
could go over, without upsetting.”  This playful, jocose, merry mood of
her son, frequently recalled to the old lady’s mind some incidents of
early times, when she was young, and Joseph was a boy, which she would
relate, and laugh all over at, shaking her fat sides most merrily.
And, notwithstanding her outbursts of hastily spoken words of
disapprobation to him for his temerity, she always wondered, after
being safely landed at home, why she enjoyed her rides so much more
when Joseph drove!

When we think about it, there are really no enjoyments in this
wide world equal to home enjoyments.  And when we have to go away from
that hallowed spot, to seek for some longing of the soul which we
cannot find there, or return to it with distaste, after having dipped
into the pleasures (even the refined and reasonable ones) of the world,
we are to be pitied, greatly pitied; for we are strangers to the purest
and sweetest joys that are known this side of Paradise.  And, thank
God! this happiness is not confined to the mansion of the rich and the
great.  Perhaps it is less felt there than in the cottage of the
virtuous and intelligent poor.

At our mother’s we had quite as much of domestic peace and
happiness as we had ever known.  Our little daughter, who, to us at
least, looked just as sweet and pretty in her bit calicos as she had
ever done in better and more expensive clothes, beguiled a portion of
our evenings with her music.  She played delightfully on the piano, for
a child of her age; and then she had conceived an idea (perhaps from
something her father or mother had said) that the day might come when,
by teaching music and French, she would be their support in old age.
This was a new and beautiful stimulant to study, and we were no less
pleased with this virtuous devotion of her young life, because we
confidently believed that no such necessity would ever arise.

We enjoyed society, too–-not quite so much or half as often as
when we could return civilities; but there was an abandonment of
feeling, or freedom from care, when we did participate; something like
that expressed by a clerical friend of ours, who, upon beholding the
beautiful grounds of a wealthy gentleman, congratulated himself upon
his capacity for enjoying them as much as the proprietor could,
“without having his responsibility and care,” which, in some measure,
compensated us.

And, then, your grandfather found out what “a jewel of a wife” he
had; how, as with a magic touch, she could make old things perfectly
new, in which she appeared more charming to his eye than ever before.
We are really not dependent upon external circumstances for happiness.
That ingredient of life is found within us; and every one has a share
in promoting it.  One gentle, patient, unselfish, cheerful member of a
household, can do wonders towards making the whole atmosphere of home
redolent with his soul-reviving influences.

From what you have seen of your grandfather, you will readily
imagine that he must have been a good son.  He was: one of the best, if
not the best, I have ever known.  But facts speak for themselves.  I
have never once heard him speak a hasty or unkind word to his mother.
He was her staff, upon whom she lovingly leaned; and yet, at her
bidding, he was her boy, obedient, and respectful.  As she declined in
life, “when they shall be afraid of that which is high, and fears shall
be in the way,” and many infirmities made her irritable and exacting,
the charm of his loving voice, playfully and skillfully giving a turn
to the current of her feelings, would alternately soothe, comfort, and
amuse her.  He was thoughtful of her every wish and comfort, and did
all that he could to fill the void which death had made in that aged
heart.

Some of the most striking proofs of his pure and elevated
character, of his disinterested friendship and love, delicacy forbids
me to speak of, as there are those living who might be touched by them.
But I have given facts enough to show that he was no ordinary man.  He
was fond of reading, quick of perception, and given to investigation.
There were but few subjects with which he was not more or less
acquainted.  For, notwithstanding his close business habits, he found
much time for his favorite occupation of reading; by which means he
kept up with the religious, political, and literary news of the day.
He was a good historian, and possessed a retentive memory.  I never
thought of referring to an encyclopedia, or to a dictionary, when he
was present; for I found it so much easier, and more pleasant, to
obtain needed information from him.  As regards the intellectual
character of his mind, however, I do not think it was of the highest
stamp.  Of all practical things he had a decided opinion.  His judgment
was sound.  Not marred by prejudice, nor warped by self-love, or
self-praise, or self-aggrandisement, he was enabled coolly to exercise
his powers of mind in forming a just estimate of men and things.  He
possessed strong common sense, which, being balanced by a high moral
tone, and refined sensibilities, enabled him to be quick in discerning
the characters of men, but tenderly careful of their feelings and
reputation.  I do not think his mind was of a metaphysical cast.  He
never willingly engaged in argument of any kind, nor conversed upon
abstruse subjects.  He might have said, with David, “Lord, my heart is
not haughty, nor mine eyes lofty, neither do I exercise myself in great
matters, or in things too high for me.”  Yet he had a profound respect,
and great admiration, for the highly gifted, and the learned;
especially for those who, with these extraordinary gifts and
attainments, possessed sincere piety.  He enjoyed learned disquisitions
just as he did a fine painting, the excellencies and beauties of which
he appreciated, and could point out, without knowing how to use the
brush or the pencil.

He had a keen appreciation of natural beauty, and of the art
which could represent it, either on canvas or in marble.  He was fond
of poetry.  But of all the poets, Burns stood first in his estimation.
He could enter so easily into the spirit of this writer, because, in
some respects, they were kindred spirits.  Burns’ touching pathos, his
humor, his love and pity for man and beast, penetrated his own humorous
and nature-loving soul. When the centenary celebration of the birth of
this great poet took place in St. Louis, a few years ago, he was
absent, and I attended, not only for personal gratification, but that I
might, upon his return, give him an account of it.  In a letter to your
mother (who was at Belmont) I alluded to the celebration, and said, “It
only needed ‘father’ to read the ‘Cotter’s Saturday Night’ to have made
it complete in interest.”  He did read those poems beautifully; and
many of his anecdotes embodied Scotch and Irish nature, and every-day
life, which he would relate with all their native simplicity and humor,
using the brogue of the one, and the accent and provincialism of the
other, to perfection.

He was fond of music; but that, like his love of poetry, was a
simple taste, his decided preference being for Scotch and Irish
ballads.  He could speak and read French well-–very well, when in
practice.

In much weakness, my dear children, but looking up to God to
guide me into all truth concerning this matter, I have endeavored to
give you a faithful history of the life (as far as it goes) and
character of your beloved grandfather.  I am afraid it does not do him
justice, for I have often felt how meager words are to convey an idea
of what he really was.  But look at his portrait, and that benevolent,
honest, cheerful countenance, may, in some measure, make up to you what
my pen has failed to do.

I do not believe I have spoken to you of his kindness to the
poor.  But ask, in St. Louis, who were among those who wrung their
hands and wept big tears around his cold remains, and you will find he
was the poor man’s friend.

I have made but slight allusions to his self-denying labors in
the Church of Christ, because I know comparatively, but little of them.
He never spoke of his good works, as such, not even to me.  “Let not
thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth” was no difficult task
for one who, alone conscious of his “many infirmities,” was kept truly
humble before the eye of the heart-searching God.  His humility was his
crowning virtue.  It adorned all the rest, and gave a certain kind of
grace, even to his greatest faults.

Affectionately yours, GRANDMA.



Letter Twelve



My Dear Grandchildren:

In this simple sketch of the life of an unpretending Christian
man, whose highest aim was to discharge his duties, as such, in the
position in which God had placed him, I am aware there is nothing
particularly interesting, or congenial, to the feelings or taste of the
worldling.  By “the worldling” I mean a man, or woman, who-–perhaps
without deliberately weighing things as they exist, and regardless of
the future-–is content with the short-lived pleasures and advantages
of this world.  But I cannot better describe the worldling than in the
language of your grandfather, taken from a letter which lies open
before me.  In speaking of a certain lady who expressed to him a regret
that she had not fifty thousand dollars per annum to spend in living,
he says:  “She is a poor, worldly woman, whose chief end in life is to
dash!–-shine, and out-shine-–consequently envies those who have more
means, or appear to out-shine her.  I would not swap my old woman for
as many of such as could stand between this and Mobile, and the fifty
thousand per annum in the bargain!”  To such among you (God forbid that
there should be such!) I do not write; for I know how the world blinds
by its dazzle, and you could see no beauty or use in living for the
glory of that Being who made and preserves you, and before whom you
must stand to be judged.  Made in His image, with an immortal soul, you
might dwell forever with the Redeemer, in the mansions he has gone to
prepare.  But, like the butterfly, you fritter away your earthly
existence, and, by so doing, throw away the only cup of real,
unadulterated pleasure of this present life; and, when Time, with all
its fleeting joys, has passed away forever, where, oh, where! do you
expect to dwell?

But for those who are the worthy descendants of him who lived the
life of the righteous, and who find pleasure in reading these imperfect
letters, I will recommence a review of the past, recording, as I have
done, such facts as I think will interest you, and acquaint you still
better with him.  You have seen his Christianity exhibited in many
ways; and I have not kept from your view his faults and imperfections.
You have seen him as a son, and as a brother, a friend, and a husband.
As a father, you know but little of him; and now I will relate the
circumstances which led to a temporary separation from his child and
her mother, and will quote from his letters, that you may learn, from
himself, his views and desires as a father, and his manner of
intercourse with this only child of his heart.

During the winter of 1846–-after we had removed from your
great-grandmamma’s, and were again enjoying a home of our own--my health
gave way, to an alarming extent.  Although able to go about the house,
it was evident (declared so by my physicians) that I was in a decline.
When I grew no better from the concentrated wisdom of three of the
Faculty, my husband determined to try the effect of a change of air and
scene, first having consulted the doctors as to the expediency of it,
and having been assured by them that, if it did me no good, it could do
me no harm.  With his accustomed dispatch he hastened to the river,
secured our passage on a boat, which was to leave in three days, and at
dinner asked me if I would not like to take a trip to Havana?  The
question startled me, for there was more business done in March and
April than in any other two months of the whole year, and I could not
see the practicability–-indeed, it had previously seemed almost
impossible for him to leave home at that time.  But his answer to my
exclamations of surprise-–“Business is of no importance compared to
health,” and the question, “Can you be ready by day after tomorrow?”
accompanied by the assurance that our state-rooms were already engaged
–-put a stop to further discussion, and set my sister earnestly to work
to get me ready.  “Lizzie must leave school,” (”papa” said), “for she,
too, may go along to help take care of mamma”-–and never was a mamma
better taken care of, with two such nurses as she had.

This arrangement acted like a charm, for I began to mend before
we started, from the effect upon my mind, in being drawn off from
myself and my ailments to the necessary thought required in giving
directions for the packing of trunks, and in making arrangements
generally for leaving home.  After reaching New Orleans, we were
advised that it was too late in the season to visit Havana, and we
determined to steer our course toward Pensacola; but, upon our arrival
in Mobile, our friends there suggested Pascagoula, as a better place,
and, as it was more accessible than the former, we decided upon trying
the effect of the sea-breeze there.  It was early in the season to
visit a watering-place, but we were not the less welcomed by the
proprietors of a delightful hotel, (which has since been burned down),
for, as it happened, they were old acquaintances of ours.  This hotel
was a commodious, and cheerful looking establishment, with its large
dancing saloon attached, and had every convenience for the amusement
and comfort of the gay crowd that assembled there in the summer months
for pastime or health.  It stood on an eminence, and commanded a
beautiful view of the bay.  The large yard in front, which gradually
sloped down to the beach, was planted with evergreens and shrubbery,
presenting a gay contrast, which, with the flowered vines, so prettily
trained around the pillars of the long piazza, made it rurally
picturesque, and filled the air with odors of the sweetest kind.  But
nothing was so sweet to me as the unadulterated sea air, which I
delighted to drink in, every breath of which seemed to send vigor into
my wasted and weakened frame.  At first, I could walk but a little way
along the beach; but soon, by leaning on the arm of my husband, I could
walk half a mile out on the pier, and, sitting down in a chair
(provided for me), would remain there, with the rest of the party, for
hours, as deeply interested in fishing as ever that famous old angler,
Sir Izaak Walton, could have been.  And if he had been as successful as
we were in hooking and pulling out the great variety of fish, large and
small–-with an occasional monster of the deep, which caused us to open
our eyes in amazement-–I am sure he could not have ruminated to his
heart’s content, as he did, and made the world so much the wiser for
his having lived and angled in it.

Pascagoula, as it was then, was by far the most fascinating place
I had ever seen.  Besides its natural beauties and advantages, (its
health-giving influences being, no doubt, the greatest to the invalid),
we had a pleasant little society of cultivated people, all bent on
pleasure and sport.  Sometimes we would go rowing, and then sailing.
At other times we would course up the Pascagoula river-–a beautiful
little stream, all studded with the gardens of cottagers.  One of these
was an Italian, who, devoted to the land of his birth, had, as it were,
transplanted the home of his heart to this romantic spot in the far-off
world.  It looked decidedly foreign; but its greatest beauty (to my
taste) was the background, which was composed a grand old forest of
towering pines.

In contrast with this little river, were the island which dotted
the bay, adding beauty to the scene and affording tempting attractions
to those who are fond of pic-nics.  One especially-–“Island Casot,”
formed by the beautiful bayou of the same name-–is shaded by immense
live-oak trees, and lies just south on the border of the finest oyster
bed (for flavor) in the South.  We spent a whole day there, having
first amply provided ourselves with every luxury, even to comforts and
pillows to lounge on.  Your grandfather admired this beautiful little
island so much that he thought seriously of purchasing it, to improve
in a cheap and simple way, to be used as an occasional resort for
health and pleasure.  He and your mother were evidently as much charmed
with Pascagoula, and its surroundings, as I was.  Both were the picture
of happiness.  They engaged in many amusements, of which I was
incapable, and could only look on and laugh at-–such as catching
crabs, and speering flounders by torchlight.  They bathed and swam,
too, (the latter with a life-preserver), but they were afraid to
venture out too far, on account of sharks, which were occasionally seen
near the shore.  At a certain season of the year there was frequently
heard, near the bath-houses, a strain of music, like the Aeolian harp,
which had never been satisfactorily accounted for, although many wise
heads had pondered over it.  Some supposed that it proceeded from a
certain kind of small fish, which, in their perambulations through the
mighty deep, for some secret reason best know to themselves, touched at
this point at the stated season, just to whisper a few sweet notes, and
would then retire.  Other said it was only an echo borne upon the
waters (when the wind was in a certain direction), from the playing of
the waves against the sandy shore of an island, three miles distant.
There is an Indian legend, which I will relate, that gives a more
interesting account of this phenomenon than either of these.  A war
party of the Pascagoula tribe, headed by their chief, having been hotly
pursued by a victorious enemy, had rushed into the bay (sooner than
submit), and were drowned, while singing a melancholy dirge, which
annually returns in token of the sad event.  They:

“Sing of death and life undying,
In the Islands of the Blest
In the kingdom of Ponemah,
In the Land of the Hereafter.”

But perhaps it is irrelevant to my subject to dwell so minutely
upon scenes and incidents so remotely associated with it.  He was with
me then, and it makes me for awhile forget my loneliness.

The result of this little excursion, which proved so beneficial
to my health, was a sojourn of one whole winter and spring, and part of
another, in Mobile.  We found there a boarding-school for young ladies,
of high standing, in which we determined to place our daughter; and a
very delightful boarding place for me, about three miles from the city,
in the family of an old friend and relative, who, some years previous,
had been the family physician of my father, in North Alabama.  Feeling
quite at home here, among these kind friends, with the advantages
resulting from a mild climate, and the sea-breeze, my health steadily
improved, which was some consolation for the long and tedious
separation from my beloved husband.  In the meanwhile our daughter was
pursuing her studies at Madame De Fellon’s.  I often visited her at the
Academy, and she always came out to the Doctor’s on Friday afternoon,
and remained until Monday morning, when she would make an early start
for school.  We had many pleasures and recreations in the city and
neighborhood of Mobile, the country especially presenting a very
beautiful appearance from the highly cultivated gardens, picturesque
and tasteful cottages, and elegant mansions, contrasted, as they were,
with the magnificent groves of pine and magnolia, with their rich and
fragrant undergrowth of yellow jessamine, and other sweet flowers,
which were indigenous to the soil of this lovely country.  In these
pleasant groves were many springs of soft, clear water, which, flowing
together, formed little creeks, whose gentle meanderings added
freshness and increasing loveliness to the already charming scene.
Some of these creeks flowed over their shining beds of sand, and some
over the waving grass and lily.  It tranquillizes me, even now, to
recall the rustic bridge, where I have often stood (it seems to me for
hours) and gazed at the gentle stream, as it murmured over the log that
lay half-imbedded in the sand, and watched the never-ceasing motion of
the graceful “water lilies” which arched the stream below.

But our highest enjoyment, with the exception of the visits, were
the letters of our beloved husband and father, who necessarily had to
remain, a greater part of the time, in St. Louis.  I find, in looking
over your mother’s package of letters from him, one dated “October 15th,
1842,” at which time she was not quite ten years of age.  After writing
the particulars of his journey, and expressing a desire that she and
her mother were with him “to enjoy the beautiful scenery of the
Mississippi,” etc., he says: “I hope you have been a good girl, and
that ‘mother’ will be able to tell me how well you have behaved during
my absence, and what a comfort it is to have so dutiful a daughter, who
never has to be told a second time to go to her piano, or to learn her
Sabbath school lesson.  I am satisfied if children knew how it gladdens
the hearts of parents, and how cheerfully they labor to educate good
children, that my little girl would give her whole energy to acquire
such a habit of obedience, and attention to her parents, as would make
her beloved by all who know her; and, more than all, would meet the
approbation of Him who has said, ‘Suffer little children to come unto
me, and forbid them not, for of such is the Kingdom of Heaven.’  But I
feel assured that the unwearied attentions of the best of mothers will
not be in vain; but that the blessed God will make them serve his own
wise purpose, and, ‘father’ prays, will eventually make her a bright
and shining light in this world, and place her in the world to come
among the redeemed of our Lord and Saviour JESUS CHRIST.  I have been
reading to-day the Life of the Rev. Mr. Newton, who was a very wicked
man,” etc., etc.  “Mr. Newton was, like little Samuel, devoted to the
Lord, when a child, by his mother, who died, leaving him an orphan, at
three years of age.  Yet, after many trials, He saves him from his sins
–-and, might we not almost say, for his mother’s sake?  Surely for the
Saviour’s sake.

“I have heard nothing from home since I left, and am extremely
anxious to hear from you all.  Has dear ‘mother’s’ health improved?
How is ‘grandma,’ and ‘Cousin Eliza,’ and little Joe and Ella, and
‘aunt Loo,’ and all our dear friends?" etc.

“Your affectionate father, JOS. CHARLESS.”

Here is the first page of another letter, dated “New York, December 22,
1843."

“My Dear Daughter:  Having finished my business arrangements for
the day, and having a spare moment, I thought I would occupy it by
writing to my dear child.  Since I left home, I have been hurried
along, from place to place, and from scene to scene, so that I have
nothing very pleasing to detail to you of my journey.  Since I have
been in this great city I have also been very closely engaged with my
business, and have visited, as yet, none of its wonders.  We have tonight,
at the house where I am staying, a very large company, assembled
to celebrate the landing of the Puritans in New England.  They had a
most splendid table, filled with every luxury; and they have Mr.
Webster, who is to make a speech to them.  Mr. Choate delivered an
address to-day, in the Tabernacle.  So, you see, we have grand doings.

“Well, I feel more happy up in my little room, away from the
noise and bustle, writing to my daughter, and thinking of her dear
mother and grandma, and cousin Eliza, and all that are so dear to us.
My dear, when I think how God has blessed you, and all of us, and when
I think how wicked we have been, what stubborn and disobedient children
we have all been, and how little we love that Saviour who has done so
much for us, I feel very much condemned.  God would be just, if he
should at once punish us.  We should be very prayerful, and pray
earnestly and continually, for a new heart and a right spirit, and that
we may all be truly converted, and fitted to serve Him with our whole
hearts.”

His humility is plainly seen in this quotation, as it often was
in his prayers, when he seemed more like a little child, seeking his
Father’s face, than an elder in the Church, conscious of setting an
example to the flock.

In the first letter your mother received from her father, in the
winter of 1846-7, after we were settled in Mobile, he says: “My dear
child, I hope, needs no hint to urge her in attention and kindness to a
mother whose happiness is so dependent upon her child.  Your father,
immersed in the business of the world, and his feelings hardened by the
adverse and trying scenes which he is constantly called to breast, is
not so alive to, and dependent for happiness, as the mother is upon her
husband and child; and, in the absence of the former, the weightier
duties devolve on you, and I confidently feel that you will fulfil them
all cheerfully, and partake of the happiness their performance affords.
I pray that the Spirit of all Grace may impart to you all the strength
and grace you need, and that you may be guided to the Saviour, in whom
you will find fullness of joy, and a peace which passeth all
knowledge.”

After writing another page, in which he gives all “the news,” he
says: “’Grandma’ says, ‘tell Lizzie I do miss her so much!’  She says
the birds are fine and healthy, and are well taken care of.  So are the
pigeons, for several of the neighboring boys have erected more
comfortable winter quarters for them, than they had in your boxes, and
they have nearly all left us and gone to the neighbors, much to the
distress of John, who cannot be reconciled to such ingratitude, not
even in pigeons.  For he says, ‘I feeds them every morning, and as soon
as they get the corn they fly away.’ So you will find the world, my
dear girl; when they get nothing more from us either in a pecuniary or
other point of view, they cease to care for, or to be interested in us.
We are therefore warned to seek happiness at home.  And the well
cultivated, and well balanced mind will always find it there, where no
one can deprive us of it.  Will you not seek that happiness?  It is to
be found with the blessed Saviour.  He alone can impart it; but He
promises that all who seek shall find, and that none shall be turned
away without it, if they will seek Him in the appointed way.”  This
letter was written on thanksgiving day.  Further on, he continues: “And
have we not great reason to render thanks to our heavenly Father, when
we see how great are his mercies to us, that we have such an abundant
harvest while nearly all Europe is in a starving condition?  I really
think that we have, for these mercies are most undeserved and
unmerited; for we have not sought the Lord as we should have done, but
have widely departed from him, as a people, and followed the guidance
of our own wicked hearts.  But let us fear and humble ourselves and
repent; and seek the pardon of our sins, and determine that let others
do as they will, as for us we will seek and serve the Lord our God!
Oh, I pray that the Blessed Spirit may incline the heart of my dear
child to consecrate her heart and soul to the service of her Saviour,
and her Redeemer.”

His concern for the conversion of his child was not always seen
in his letters to her.  I have just read one embracing seven pages of
large letter paper, in which he tells much of interest about every
thing and every body, in a lively jocose strain, but says not a word on
the subject of religion.  Among other things he says, “But I have never
told you about our dog, Nimrod.  Why, he has improved wonderfully in
size, beauty, manners, &c.  You will be perfectly delighted with him.
He is no longer a country dog, but is becoming a real city bred
gentlemanly dog.  The fond companion of Miss Annie Blow in her rambles
around the well, cistern, and even out into the alley.  And never comes
into the dining room, kitchen, or your grandma’s room, without being
pressingly invited.  Having upon his first arrival received divers
striking hints, his intellect has become very sharp, and his sense of
propriety very much quickened in regard to all these matters.”  Towards
the close of January instead of the usual reception of letters every
few days, we experienced the far greater happiness of seeing him, which
was only marred by the stern necessity of his having to leave us again.
In May he returned, bringing my sister with him, to remain until after
“the examination” of Madame De Fellon’s school.  In the meanwhile we
made up our mind to pay another visit to Pascagoula, from whence I see
he wrote to our daughter as follows:

Pascagoula, May 18, 1847.

“Dear Daughter:  We avail ourselves of the return of Dr. F. to
send you a few lines to let you know how we are getting on in these
diggings.  We arrived safely last Friday evening, and found Mrs. F. and
O. pleased to see us.  The General is over on “Round Island,” whither
we attempted, this morning, to go, but were driven back by the head
winds.  Your mother and aunt were wet by the spray but have experienced
no inconvenience from it.  They are both well.  We missed you very much
this morning when the fish were biting almost as fast as we could bate
our lines and throw them into the water.  Your mother caught nearly two
dozen cats before breakfast.  But you need not come as there are no
redfish or sheepshead, or trout, nothing to be caught but cats and
croakers, and I know you are too fastidious in your piscal taste to
delight in such sport.  We would have been much pleased to have had
dear daughter with us.  But hope that you have improved the time, so
that when the examination comes off we shall be delighted with the
proficiency you have made in your studies.  ‘Mother’ and ‘aunt’ send
their love to you. Ever your devoted, FATHER.”

After the examination, in June, we returned to St. Louis.  The
encouragement we felt from the effect of the last winter upon my
health, induced us to try another winter’s sojourn in the South, with
the hope that a permanent restoration would be the result. Consequently
in December following, your grandfather took us to Mobile and settled
us for the winter.  Soon after which we returned home, by way of the
eastern cities, for the purpose of purchasing his stock of goods for
the next spring.

After again taking leave of the dearest objects of his earthly
affection, he pursues his solitary way.  From “Charleston, Dec. 22nd,
1847,” he writes:

“My Dear Daughter:  To redeem my promise to write alternately to
you and dear mother, I date my first to you from this City of Palms.  I
wrote from Montgomery, the capital of Alabama, last, sitting in the
Senate chamber, which was beautifully adorned with curtains, and
furnished with rosewood desks and rosewood and damask velvet cushioned
chairs; everything having the air of majesty-–the majesty of the
sovereign people.  Since which time, I have been compelled to descend
from my lofty flights to the real democracy, as I have had rough
traveling, and the roughest kind of fare.  After two and one-half days’
hard traveling (night and day), I arrived her yesterday afternoon,
completely worn out, and determined to lay over one day at this place.
Having slept soundly, and removed the lamp-black and dust, I feel this
morning quite well again, and shall leave to-day for Wilmington, North
Carolina, by sea, in a fine steamer.  The weather is very fine, and I
think I shall have a quick and pleasant journey."

“I had the honor of traveling with Maj. Gen. Quitman and family
from Montgomery to Augusta, George, where he was invited to remain and
receive the congratulations of the citizens.  The General, accustomed
to command, could not well put up with the little deference paid him by
his fellow-travelers, and was much annoyed that they were not
restrained until he and his family were provided for.  He is expected
here to-day, and all the military are ordered out to receive him.
General Shields has been here for several days, feasted and honored by
this city, and the capital, Columbia, where the Legislature have voted
him a splendid sword, the use of which he has so well practiced in
Mexico."

“This is really a very beautiful and pleasant city, and has much
of a business appearance.  The streets are wide.  It has a fine
market-house.  The Citadel is an old-fashioned fort, now used as a
military school; for you must know that South Carolina is, or claims to
be, the most chivalrous State in the Union; and her great men–-Mr.
Calhoun, Preston, McDuffy, and a host of others–-stand high among the
great men of the nation."

“I suppose you are, long before this, comfortably fixed at
school, and mother has”-–etc., etc.

You see, my children, from these several specimen letters, that
your grandfather allowed no opportunity to pass unimproved.  That,
however, limited his time, he always found time to observe and to
write.  Neglect of duty had no place in his head or heart.  It
gratified him to serve his friends in any and in every way; but his
devotion to his immediate family, in every respect, was remarkable.  No
display, no effort marked his intercourse with them, which made it only
the more precious, for they well knew that love and kindness prompted
his every act.

He wrote from New York–-after having written from every
stopping-place on his way thither-–giving a more detailed account of
his duties and pleasures which occupied every moment of his time there.
In one of these letters he says: “I have been this evening to see
Powers’ Greek Slave, and think it the most beautiful thing I ever saw.
It is a perfect model of the human form, and as you gaze at it you
perceive new beauties every moment.  The face, the neck, the arms, and
hands, in fact every limb, and every muscle, are perfect; and the
marble seems to have that softness and delicacy which we see in a young
and beautiful girl.  But you must see it to realize all its beauties,
which I hope you will have an opportunity of doing next spring."

“I am very well, and have nothing to trouble me but our
separation, and the thoughts of the long and wearisome months that must
elapse before I can again clasp my dear wife and child to my arms.  But
I trust that it will be best for us both, and that it will be the last
time on this earth.”

In another letter from New York, dated January 4th, 1848, after a
good deal of good advice to his child, and a faithful dealing with her
peculiar faults, he writes: “With all the other matters, do not, my
dear daughter, forget to learn the most important of all lessons-–the
end for which you were placed on this earth; for which mind and body
were given you: “that you glorify God here, and enjoy Him forever’ in
the world to come.  That you know, experimentally, Jesus Christ, now in
the morning of life, whom to know aright is eternal life; who is love,
and who has promised to love all who come unto Him by faith.  I am sure
that there is nothing that would gratify your parents so much as to see
you, with all the fervor and ardor of youth, seeking and serving this,
the best of masters; devoting your best affections to Him who sticketh
closer, under every trial, than parent or friend.”

I will quote another short extract from a letter dated “St.
Louis, March 3d, 1848.”  In giving an account of a revival of religion,
naming the number of persons who were about to unite with the Second
Presbyterian church, he says: “How delighted would I be, could I see
dear daughter a bright Christian, devoting all her powers and energies
to the service of the blessed Saviour!  How much more important is it
to be educated to shine in Heaven than to be a star in this world of
sorrow and affliction, where there is no solid enjoyment, and where all
is transitory and evanescent.  I pray that you may be led to a wise
choice in these things.”

As soon as the winter months were over-–becoming impatient under
such a long separation-–we determined to cut short our stay in the
“Sunny South.”  The greatly improved health of her for whose sake the
sacrifice had been made, was ever afterwards a cause of gratulation.

In April we returned to St. Louis, with joyous anticipations of
the future.  The darling of our hearts was fast blooming into
womanhood.  Her father had purchased the residence which my brother had
built for his own use, and which, above all others, we preferred,
(especially as it was near to that of his aged mother), and we hoped
before long to be permanently settled.

But as this letter has reached its full length, I will close it,
with the best love poor grandma has to offer from her desolate and
stricken heart.



Letter Thirteen



My Dear Grandchildren:

In the summer of 1848 your beloved grandfather, to whom no
discharge of duty in the Church of God was felt to be a sacrifice,
again determined to change his church connection.  A feeble little
church, painting for existence, without a pastor or house to worship
in, solicited help from the mother church.  Every Christian felt that
the increasing wants of our growing city demanded more churches, but
how many in the Second Presbyterian could obtain their own consent to
exchange the comfort and ease of this elegant temple, which at length,
after much self-denial of its members, was almost free from debt, and
whose pulpit was adorned with the gifted and talented Dr. Potts! who
could give up their cushioned and carpeted pews, the choice choir, the
grand organ, and the many sweet Christian associations of past years,
and throw in their lot with a little handfull of Jesus’ praying
disciples, who had few possessions, save that faith which made them
lovingly cling to their Master’s cause?  My husband had been one of the
first to assist in building up the Second Presbyterian church.  He was
an Elder, and a Trustee, and, after much anxiety, and the utmost
straining of his ability to raise and to contribute funds towards the
completion of their house of worship, he was just beginning to enjoy
the comfort of seeing the debt, which had hung as an incubus over it
for years, wiped out, when this new call was made upon him.  A few
young people proposed to go out to the assistance of the feeble church,
upon the condition that Mr. Charless and Mr. Keith would go with them
-–wisely concluding that the attempt to sustain it without some such
efficient aid, would be utterly in vain.  It was thought, however, by
the members generally, that it was a useless undertaking to keep the
little church, as such, alive; and that it would be better for its few
advocates to be merged into the different churches already established.
Yet all seemed to think that St. Louis, growing as it was so rapidly in
population and in wickedness, needed more houses of public worship; but
most of the members of this church evidently shrank from the self-denial
necessary thereto.

Your grandfather did not at once accede to this proposal, without
first consulting his wife, as to her views, and especially her
feelings, and she could not have it in her heart to consider her own
comfort and pleasure, or that of their daughter, when he so evidently
felt that, for him, this was the path of duty.  I cheerfully consented;
but, looking back at the “flesh-pots of Egypt” (and there is no doubt a
great deal of this kind of worldliness carried even into the Holy
place), I requested that we should retain our pew, calculating, as soon
as the young church was fairly established, again to occupy it.  We
both loved and admired, and, like everybody else, felt proud of our
minister–-for, without doubt, he stood among the first, if not at the
head of the Presbyterian church in the West-–and we knew that no Dr.
Potts could be obtained for this poor little church, which seemed to be
tossed upon the breakers, and ready to sink.  But my husband, like the
early disciples, would have been pleased to toil all night upon the sea
of Galilee, and at early dawn would have been seen mending the meshes
of the broken net, making ready for another day or night of toil, while
I would have preferred to sit with the five thousand upon the green
grass, to be fed.  But I never could gainsay or resist the few, simply
spoken words, that revealed the cherished purpose of his soul, adorned,
as they were, with eloquence of his unobtrusive and devoted piety.  Of
the difficulties and hardships endured by that faithful little band
before a flourishing church was really established, and what part the
subject of this brief history took in it, I must refer you to others,
who know the particulars better than I do, and will proceed to other
matters.

Early in the fall of 1848 we placed our dear Lizzie at school in
Philadelphia, under the care of Mrs. Gardell, who deservedly enjoyed
the highest reputation as an instructress of young ladies, being
untiring in her efforts to cultivate their hearts, no less than their
minds and manners.  From the letters of her father, written during that
time, I will make but one quotation, merely to show how earnestly he
ever longed for the spiritual good of his beloved daughter: “Do you
ever think on the subject of your soul’s salvation?-–of its value-–of
the importance of giving the subject that attention its magnitude
demands, in the morning of life, when the feelings and emotions of the
heart are warm and generous-–before the temper and disposition are
soured by disappointment?  It was for this reason our blessed Saviour
desired the young to come unto Him.  My dear daughter, you cannot tell
how happy your mother and I would be to know that you had consecrated
yourself, heart, soul, and body, to the Lord, to serve Him faithfully
in this world, that you might be permitted to enjoy Him in mansions of
peace in that which is to come.  This is the tenor of our morning and
evening prayers, and, we trust, of yours also.”

It was our intention to keep our Lizzie at this school for two
years, but, the cholera making its appearance in the United States-–a
more terrible epidemic than ever before, in the spring of
1849-–determined us to bring her home at the expiration of the first
year.  Especially as this fearful disease had exhausted itself in St.
Louis during that summer, while we were with her at Newport and Nahant,
out of its reach, and as it had not yet swept through Philadelphia, we
deemed it safest to bring her home, where she might still pursue her
studies under the instruction of private teachers.

From the time we had solemnly vowed at the baptismal font to
train our child, not for this perishing world, but for Heaven, and
thereby could claim the rich promise of a covenant-keeping God-–“I
will be a God to you, and to your seed”–-nothing had caused us more
anxiety than to know how wisely and faithfully to discharge our duties
towards her.  Whether strictly to force her into measures, or, by a
mild and firm treatment, to win her to love the religion of her
parents, was often discussed by us when alone in our chamber.  We
observed, with pain, that many of the children of our beloved church,
whose parents believed that they could do no better part by them than
strictly to carry out the rules of the church concerning worldliness,
and would not, for any consideration, allow them to learn how to dance,
or to attend a dancing party, were by far the giddiest and most
reckless of young people.  Some, first uniting with the Church, and
afterwards disgracing their profession, while still under parental
guidance; others, waiting until they were married, and were
countenanced by a worldly husband, before throwing off all restraint,
and showing these “long-faced Presbyterians” how amazingly dashy and
gay they could be.  With what natural grace and ease they can now
discuss the merits or demerits of the last play!  What a keen relish
they have for balls!  How charming the masquerade was!  What delightful
sport, in masque, to tell disagreeable and sarcastic truths (or
falsities, perhaps), to some luckless ones who very innocently, but
ignorantly, preferred to look on at the droll sight with their faces
uncovered!  Oh, what a disgrace to the child, who, for the sake of a
few years (perhaps days) of false and empty pleasure, can do such
violence to the feelings of parents, who, whatever their errors, truly
love, and would sacrifice everything, except their hope of Heaven, to
bless their children and do them good.

Your grandfather, my dear children, who was no extremist, but was
“moderate in all things,” thought it best to let his child enjoy
everything that was innocent; that, while an act of disobedience-–an
untruth, or any direct breach of “The Commandments”-–would cause his
displeasure, and was followed by a look that penetrated your mother’s
soul, and was a far greater punishment than the rod of her mother, yet
she might dance as much as she pleased, for “dancing was children’s
sport.”  But when she would gravely ask, if, like her school-mates, she
might not go to a dancing school, she would be told that her papa and
mamma had promised God to bring her up for Heaven, and that they would
not be doing that if they fitted her for the gay world: that she must
not forget that she was a baptized child of the Church.  If she looked
doubtful, or was inclined to urge the matter, we would ask her if she
wanted us to break our word to God-–which, like any other
conscientious child, she would recoil from.  When in her sixteenth
year, however, while at boarding-school in Mobile, she expressed a
greater desire than ever before to take lessons in dancing.  They were
given in the school, and confined to the pupils; not at night, but in
the afternoon, when she required exercise instead of sleep; and we
determined, after serious and prayerful reflection, to indulge her in
this very natural wish, believing that longer opposition might be
attended with a still stronger desire for the forbidden thing, which
she could see no harm in, nor we, if confined to the social circle.  We
knew that God alone could make her a Christian–-could turn her heart
from the love of the world to that of holiness-–and we did not believe
that He would be less willing to do so because of our yielding to her
wishes in this respect, which, our child clearly understood, was done,
not from inconsistency on our part, or a vain desire to see her admired
in the world; but from a conviction that, at her age, some
consideration should be shown to her reasonable desires; especially as
she was far from esteeming this indulgence as a license to unbounded
worldliness; that the theater and the ball-room were to be
conscientiously avoided, as the road that led directly away from all
that was pure, holy and happy.  And I am now gratified in saying that
we have never had cause to regret the course we pursued in this matter
-–which ceased to be overrated as soon as its depths were sounded-–our
daughter finding, by experience, how empty and shallow this greatly
overrated enjoyment is, compared to others, even of a worldly and
social nature; how far it falls below the more refined joys of a less
conspicuous but more reasonable and choice character, which the
cultivated alone can appreciate.

The young lady days, no less than those of her childhood, your
mother will tell you, were happy days.  Restrained in that only which
her parents, and her own conscience, deemed wrong, she was as free and
joyous as the birds that carol in their native air.  When her sprightly
and impulsive nature inclined her to go beyond the bounds of propriety,
she was checked.  Readily indulged in every reasonable desire, and
knowing that nothing worldly afforded her parents so much happiness as
that of her own, she did not long mourn over occasional disappointments
in personal gratification, which, if indulged in, might have reasonably
reflected discredit, if not on her, at least on the religious position
of her parents.  She had to be reminded, now and then, that she was the
child of an Elder of the Church; but never did she intentionally do
violence to the feelings or views of him she so much reverenced and
loved.

This reminds me of a circumstance, that I will relate:  One
evening, when your mother was dressing for a party, which was to be
given at the house of a friend, a very serious accident occurred a few
squares from us.  A May-day celebration of school-girls, with their
teachers, parents and friends, were suddenly startled with the sound
and movement of a falling house, and, in a moment, from the giving way
of the floor, they were precipitated from the second story of the house
down to the first, and, after a moment’s pause, into the cellar.  The
alarm was soon noised abroad, and, in a very short time, the building
was surrounded by persons-–some, who had relatives there, in agony to
know the worst concerning them, some from curiosity, and others to
render assistance to the sufferers.  Your grandfather rushed to the
spot, and remained there as long as there was anything for him to do,
in encouraging the sufferers, and in assisting them to their homes.

No one was killed–-though I think one person died from the
injuries received there, a few days after the event; but many were
dreadfully bruised, and some had limbs broken.  After learning who
constituted the assembly, who was hurt, and how much, and finding that,
although we knew two or three of the injured persons, and entertained a
high respect for them, they were not among our particular friends, nor
even in our visiting circle--daughter and I concluded that there could
be no impropriety in her attending the party: the time of starting
having been delayed for awhile, until we were fully assured of all the
facts, and had recovered from the shock felt upon the first alarm.

In less than half an hour after she had gone, her father returned
from the scene of the disaster, and, learning that Lizzie had gone to
the party, was amazed and greatly excited, that, “when our neighbors
were dying around us,” our child, knowing the fact, should be permitted
to make one of a gay and thoughtless crowd!  I was taken aback, for I
had not realized the distressing condition of the wounded, and
undertook to explain; but feeling condemned, mortified, and chagrined,
I immediately proposed to send for her, which he promptly approved of,
and, in a few moments, the carriage (which had just returned) was sent
back, with an explanatory note from me.  Lizzie had that moment taken
her place in a cotillion, when the note was handed her.  She read it,
made an apology to her partner, an explanation to her hostess, bidding
her “good evening,” and, in a few minutes more, she was handed into the
parlor at home by her friend and escort, regretting, most of all, that
she had wounded that kind and tender father, who so deeply sympathized
in the sorrows and sufferings of others.

Our house was a gay one.  It was thought too much so by some, and
perhaps gave umbrage to the feelings of a few of them, who, judging
from without, as they passed to and fro, and heard music, and could
discern from the street the moving of the heads in the brilliantly
lighted parlors, thought, and said, too, “what a shame to reflect
discredit upon the cause of Christ by revelry and dancing.”  “How much
better it would be to appropriate the expenditure of money in these
costly preparations to the poor,” etc., etc.  But, could they have seen
and felt the influence of a Christian light, of which he alone who
reflected it was unconscious, as he moved about in congenial mood with
the young and gay, or, quietly conversed with the grave, perhaps his
own dear pastor; had they but known that the calls upon the benevolence
of the Christian man were as sacred, and as cheerfully granted, as
those of the indulgent father, perhaps more so, they would not, I am
sure, have been so censorious.  And then, had they known the facts in
the case, that no instrument of music, excepting the piano and guitar,
and occasionally a flute, and no professor to play on them, for the
purpose of keeping up a dance, had ever been in our house, these worthy
people, fastidious Christians as they may have been, could not have
felt so grieved.

We used wine too, but only at dinner and at suppers, with the
ladies.  No side-board drinking was ever done in our house.  In our
early married life even this was not our custom, for several reasons,
two of which I will name: We were members of the old temperance
society, which, however, did not forbid the moderate use of wine; but
to be consistent with the spirit of our pledge, we used it only when
some friend dined with us, whom we supposed was so accustomed to it,
that he could not dine with comfort or pleasure without it.  We did at
one time introduce claret, as an every-day drink at dinner.  We had
been South for the first time, where the use of this mild wine is a
universal practice, especially in New Orleans and Mobile.  My husband
and sister became quite fond of it, and so did our little Lizzie, who
was then only five years old.  Her father, consequently, purchased a
cask for home use, had it bottled and sent to the house.  But we found
that our “cold water” brothers became quite excited after drinking it,
one saying-–“Sister, I felt like walking over the tops of houses,
yesterday, after dinner.”  Another complained of the wine flying up
into his face, making it so red, and all three appearing a little more
merry than usual.  Their good brother-in-law, never having known what a
selfish feeling was, thought this may be the first step towards giving
these boys a taste for drink, and determined at once to forego personal
gratification in the use of a beverage which he really enjoyed, and
felt all the better for.  Next day, by order, the wine was not brought,
as usual, to the table.  No remark was made about it, until one of “the
boys” asked the servant to hand it.  My husband then in his ordinary
modest cheerful way, explained the reason why the wine was not there.
From which time we relapsed into our previous habit of offering a glass
of sherry or madeira, only when politeness suggested it.  But by the
time our daughter was grown up, these brother-sons of his were men,
with their habits formed, and capable of judging for themselves, and he
no longer felt it incumbent upon him to be over strict.

“Let every one be fully persuaded in his own mind.”  “To his own
Master he standeth or falleth.”  The religion of Jesus Christ is
designed for all nations and people, whatever may be their peculiar
views, tastes, or vices, and while it cannot exist in a corrupt heart
--and when that has been changed, savingly touched by the Holy Spirit,
the true light will shine out of it-–yet we should all be careful not
to measure other Christians in our measure, which, while it may be the
best one for us, may not be exactly adapted to them.  “By their fruits
you shall know them,” which the Apostle defines thus: “The fruit of the
Spirit is love, joy, peace, long suffering, gentleness, goodness,
faith, meekness, temperance.  Against such there is no law.”

Pleasant and merry times your dear mother had at home, with her
young friends, and long to be remembered.  But more cherished still to
her are the recollections of our religious hours.  The same sweet hymns
of praise that she loved to sing, while away at school, that would
bring tears trickling down her sunny face, and with them that relief
which her home-sick heart required, ascended in former times at our
morning and evening orison.  A few friends dropping in to tea were no
excuse to evade the worship of our God.  Regularly the Bible and hymn
books were placed, before retiring from table, in front of your
grandfather, and without an apology, excepting occasionally he might
say, “it is our habit,” as he turned the leaves of the Blessed Book.

There were a few restrictions with regard to how often your
mother, when a young lady, should accept invitations to spend the
evening out, or have invited company at home, but none was so strictly
regarded as the one concerning Saturday night: for, as in early
childhood she had been taught to put away her toys and irreligious
books before the dawn of the Sabbath, she now found it easy and
natural, if not to prepare her mind for the sacred day, at least to
engage in nothing which might physically unfit her for its enjoyments.
And the Sabbath was esteemed “the day of all the week the best.”  Often
felt so by her, who, in the midst of this fascinating and beautiful
world, never forgot that it was the burden of her father’s prayers that
like “Mary of old, she might choose that good part which should never
be taken from her, and learn like her, to sit humbly at the feet of
Jesus.”  And this quiet day of rest, so still, so sweet, so unlike the
bustle of the world without, is well calculated to arrest the current
of worldly thought, and cause the mind to revert to the impressions of
happy childhood, and often to incite a desire for joys more pure and
stable than Earth can afford.

Christians of an ardent temperament, who have come out from the
world without having had previous religious training, are apt to go to
extremes, and in trying to keep the Sabbath holy sometimes become
slaves to the day, and only breathe freely when Monday comes. This was
not the case with your grandfather.  The Sabbath seemed to be made for
him, not he for the Sabbath.  It was his day of sacred rest, in which,
however, he was not afraid to laugh as heartily as on other days; nor
was he so absorbed in religious duties as to make him less thoughtful
of the ordinary claims of life.  I have often seen him on the afternoon
of that day, when the servants were all out, lay down his religious
book or newspaper, and go out to the stable, lead the horses into the
yard, water them at the hydrant, and then turn them loose on the grass
plot; and, seemingly with the greatest delight, he would watch them as
they alternately nipped the green grass, or engaged in those
extraordinary fantastic exercises which horses that have been pent up
in the stable, or in harness all the week, know so well how to perform.
Our back yard was separated from the front by a grape arbor, which
extended entirely across, and beyond which boundary the horses were not
allowed to pass.  In this yard they had carte blanche in their Sabbath
day recreation, with one exception; they were not to touch the grape
vines.  And they well understood from the wave of the book or
handkerchief in the hand of their master (who generally, on these
occasions, sat in one of the arches of the arbor) that they were to
approach no nearer the forbidden thing.  Even horses know what kindness
is; and I have often been amused in looking at them, from the gallery,
as they would follow “grandpa” about the yard evincing evident
satisfaction in the many caresses he bestowed upon them.  And had he
lived, my precious little children, you would soon have learned, in
your happy experience of his playfulness, and sympathy with you, on the
holy day, that he was far from being a Puritan in his views and
feelings.

In the fall of 1852, again in search of health, which of all
things belonging to this life (save an unblemished character) was ever
the most prized by your dear grandfather, we determined to pass the
whole of the approaching winter in the South.  We started early in
November, went to “Bailey’s Springs,” in North Alabama, intending to
proceed from thence to Charleston, then to Mobile, and take New Orleans
in our way home in the spring.  But after reaching “the Springs” we
concluded to give them a fair trial before proceeding further, as we
understood from friends, who had tested these waters, that they often
proved as beneficial in winter as in summer.  Accordingly as we had
learned that the accommodations were very indifferent, we made
arrangements with the proprietor to rent us three nice, new log cabins,
telegraphed to St. Louis for our servants, carriage and horses, and
were speedily set up for ourselves.  With our own kitchen and cook we
needed nothing, for Bailey Springs were situated only nine miles from
Florence, where my parents had lived seven years, more than twenty
years previous, and our experience did not prove the old adage, “out of
sight out of mind,” or the truth of the poetical effusion, “what is
friendship but a name.”  For our old friends were friends indeed,
evincing the most delicate attentions, and making up to us the
deficiency in our supplies, from a carpet, to keep the wind from
penetrating our open cabin floors, to dog-irons, or a dutch oven, and
the like useful articles, besides many rare sweetmeats from their own
choice kitchens.  Our main supply of provisions, however,--for these
Baileys could not understand that mortal man needed more than “hog and
hominy”-–came every week from my nephew’s, who is a cotton planter,
residing eighteen miles from the Springs.  As sure as Friday or
Saturday came, so sure came the pack horse, laden with fresh butter,
mutton, &c.  The presiding genius of these luxuries, who safely guided
the richly laden vessel into port, was a grinning, half grown cuffy,
whom they called “Bowlegs.” But my only object in telling you of this
delightful, but very novel winter sojourn, made so pleasant because of
the unwearied attentions, and choice society of a small circle of
friends, is to give you a peep at your beloved grandfather in these new
circumstances.  Cut off, necessarily, a greater part of the time from
society, in a wild country, without occupation or recreation, excepting
such as we could originate, with many it would have been esteemed
unendurable.  Especially to men possessing the active and stirring
habits of a city life, and to young ladies accustomed to a large circle
of congenial friends.  But we did not find it unendurable by any means.
Your mother often said to me while there, “Mother, I did not know
before that my father was such a delightful man, we really need no
other society.”

In his gunning excursions, which, in pleasant weather, were
frequent, she often accompanied her father, and, from her account of
them, upon their return, you would imagine that nothing could have been
more charming; but, from the appearance of both father and daughter,
you would think they had been rambling over hill and dale, scrambling
through briars and wading creeks, without design, for the game that
they sought was rarely found, or if found, lost again, before the
inexperienced huntsman could level his gun.  But who cared for that
when they had so much pleasure and sport notwithstanding, and always
such glorious anticipations for the morrow.  Sometimes, in their eager
pursuit after game, they would paddle up and down the creek, watching
out on either side for ducks.  On these occasions, Lizzie would hold
the steering oar, while her father made vigorous use of the propelling
ones; but one day his “Lady of the Lake,” (as he called her), in her
excitement, at the prospect over the bluffs, of flying ducks, rose to
her feet; and, reeling, tipping, over she went, which was the finale of
the ducking for that day.  From the beneficial effect of the exercise
in walking back to “the cabins” no ill result ensued, and next day they
were eager to resume their search.

In rainy weather and of evenings your grandfather would often
read aloud, while your mother and I were engaged in kitting or sewing;
or, she would take up her guitar and sing some of those pretty Scotch
airs, of which he was so fond; or, the more deep-toned German songs,
which were favorites of mine.  And thus we passed nearly thee months,
happy months, never to be forgotten; and bidding adieu to these wilds,
with improved health, and taking an affectionate leave of the kindest
friends, we pursued our way farther south.

The only time that your dear mother and I were separated from her
father, after her return from school until her marriage, was in the
summer of 1853.  In a letter received from him at that time he says, “I
hope and pray that daughter will seriously bring her mind to the
consideration of this most momentous subject.  Oh, that she would
remember how good and kind and merciful God has always been to her, and
how strong is the obligation she is under to consecrate herself, with
all her energies, to God’s service.  How happy would we be, could we be
permitted to meet her at the table of our Lord, as an humble follower
of the blessed Saviour, to feel that her peace is made with God, and
that her calling and her election is sure.  Nothing which this earth
offers could confer so great happiness upon her parents.  And will she
not now try to find the Saviour, who is always found of them that seek
Him earnestly and faithfully?  Let us, dear wife, pray more earnestly,
that our kind heavenly Father would add this, our greatest mercy and
blessing, to the innumerable ones that have followed us all the days of
our lives.”

Our kind heavenly Father did “add this, our greatest mercy and
blessing, to the innumerable ones that had followed us all the days of
our lives,” for not long after this we were permitted to sit together,
father, mother, and child, at the table of our Lord.  Your beloved
mother having consecrated her heart to the blessed Saviour, determined
to make a public profession of her faith on the Sabbath morning of
February 5th, 1854, when, in the presence of the congregation of “Pine
Street Presbyterian Church,” she went forward to the pulpit
(accompanied by her precious father), and there, under the ministration
of Rev. S. B. McPheeters, dedicated herself, soul and body, to the
service of “the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, the only living
and true God.”

As soon as this solemn ceremony was concluded, the sweet tones of
the organ, accompanied by the choir, came floating over our heads, and
seemed like the music of heaven to our souls.  They sang:

1. “People of the living God,
I have sought the world around,
Paths of sin and sorrow trod,
Peace and comfort no where found:
Now to you my spirit turns,
Turns a fugitive unblest;
Brethren, where your altar burns,
O! receive me into rest.

2. “Lonely I no longer roam,
Like the cloud, the wind, the wave;
Where you dwell shall be my home,
Where you die shall be my grave;
Mine the God whom you adore,
Your Redeemer shall be mine;
Earth can fill my soul no more,
Every idol I resign.

3. “Tell me not of gain or loss,
Ease, enjoyment, pomp and power;
Welcome poverty and cross
Shame, reproach, affliction’s hour:
‘Follow me!’  I know thy voice;
Jesus, Lord, thy steps I see;
Now I take thy yoke by choice;
Light thy burden now to me.”

On the 23rd of February, 1854, we gave our dearly beloved child
away, to your own dear father.  And the light and joy of our house and
hearts, the free and joyous hearted girl, became a wife.

Affectionately yours, GRANDMA.



Letter Fourteen



My Dear Grandchildren:

Before speaking of the changes, the marriage of your mother brought,
and the life of self-denial led by her father, in consequence of it, I
will relate a few incidents of his every day life.  I have already said
he was kind to the poor.  He was systematic in his contribution for the
benefit of this large class in every city; but that did not deprive him
of the pleasure of throwing a few dimes into the hands of every
applicant, although he often felt that they might be used for a bad
purpose and do more harm than good to the recipient.  On one occasion
as I entered the dining room, just before breakfast, he was having a
kind and merry chat at the window, with a shabby looking son of Erin,
in the yard below, who declared to his “honor” that he “hadn’t tasted
a drop!” (upon which fact the matter of giving, or not giving, seemed
to turn).  He threw him a piece of money, saying, as he did so, “look
out, my friend, or that quarter will get you into the calaboose.”  Next
morning it so happened that your grandfather was called to that useful,
but uninteresting place, to bail out a colored servant, who was prone,
occasionally, to get into scrapes, which subjected him to temporary
imprisonment, when, whom should he find there, safely ensconced in one
of the cells, but the Irishman, his “old customer,” as he called him,
in relating the anecdote, which he did with considerable point and
humor, making all around the breakfast table laugh heartily.  At
another time, when we were spending the summer at our country place,
near the city, another citizen of the “auld country” presented himself
and asked for work.  “What kind of work can you do?” inquired your
grandfather.  “Work, sir! I am not over particular at all, at all.”
“Can you dig potatoes?”  “Praities! Your honor, jist thry me.”  “Well,
I will hire you by the day.”  “By the day, and sure I’ve no place to
put my head at night.”  “Well then, my man, I can’t hire you, for I
have no place for you to sleep.”  “Sleep, is it?  I’d never want a
better place than with the horses-–the stable, to be sure, on a bit of
straw-–there’s no better place to my mind, sir.”  The poor fellow’s
destitution, his worn and tattered clothes, his tangled hair, with a
face young and simple, but not vicious looking, touched my husband’s
heart.  Poor Tommy did know how to dig potatoes, if he knew nothing
else, and his new master set him to work at his small patch, with the
understanding that when he got through with that, he had nothing more
for him to do.  But Tommy took good care not to get through with that
potatoe patch, yet he was always as busy as a bee when he saw “the
master” coming that way, who would praise him for his industry and wink
at his tricks.  Tommy was quite a Merry Andrew, and more knave than
fool, after all; and when he became a decent looking man, from the
present of a bran new suit–-cap-a-pie–-and a comb into the bargain,
which his thoughtful benefactor procured for him, he was decidedly the
lion of the kitchen cabinet.  But how to get rid of Tommy became at
length a serious question.  Just before returning to the city in the
fall, he was sent with a note, from “the master,” to a farmer, hard by,
who gave him a trial, but finding that he was not capable of earning a
living, or from some other cause, he soon dismissed him; and, Tommy,
much to my dismay, found his way to our city residence.  But as the
developments of his character in civilized life, were not of the most
encouraging nature, it was not a difficult matter for your grandfather
to drive him from the premises.

But there was another poor man, of whom I never speak or think,
but with feelings of kindness and respect.  His remains lie in
Bellefontaine, and I have no doubt but that his spirit is happy in the
presence of his God.  He had lived a poor, but honest life in the west
of Ireland, with his wife and children, until, like thousands of his
countrymen, he was driven, by hardship and poverty, to seek a better
future in this “land of the free and the home of the brave.”  In
extreme poverty they arrived in St. Louis.  Not so many in family as
when they bade adieu to their native land, having buried one or two
children on the banks of the Mississippi.  They had all had “ship
fever,” and a more wretched looking family I had never seen.  But
notwithstanding their squalid poverty and wretchedness we found them
industrious, good people, and Protestants, which was an unusual
circumstance among this class of Irish.  Your grandfather, who, in his
charities, never seemed to forget that God caused his sun to shine upon
the evil as well as the good, and who could not allow even a beast to
suffer from want, took peculiar pleasure in ministering to the
necessities of this virtuous family, and reaped the rare reward of a
rich return in gratitude and love.  Poor David appeared to look up to
him as to a superior being, always addressing him as “Your honor,” in
the most respectful manner.  One day as I was coming out of church I
was attracted by the subdued look of this good man, whose tearful eyes
were fixed on Rev. Mr. McPheeters and your grandfather, as they walked
together down the aisle.  I had a good excuse to stop as I was in the
advance of my husband, and off to one side I saw him bow most
reverently, as he said, “Your riverence”-–“Your honor,” and out of the
abundance of his heart, while tears streamed down his honest face, he
gave utterance to his feelings of gratitude to God, and to them, for
the blessedness of this holy day.  The pathos and eloquence of the
sermon had completely overcome him.  David was a farmer, and after
having been in your grandfather’s employ, at first one thing and then
another, for a year or two, he finally accepted an advantageous offer,
to take charge of a gentleman’s farm, some eight or ten miles from the
city; and we had heard nothing from the family for several months,
when, one cold rainy day in autumn, a wagon was driven up to our front
door, containing his remains.  His poor afflicted wife came with them,
and told, that David had said, “Take me to Mr. Charless to bury me.”
He had died of congestive fever.  No doubt but that it was a comfort to
the poor fellow in his dying hour to feel that in this distant land of
strangers, he had found a friend who would not neglect “the widow and
the fatherless in their affliction,” and his confidence was not
misplaced, for, from the time of his death, his family lived near us,
and never knew, as long as David’s good friend lived, what it was to
want a friend indeed.

Another anecdote of the poor just occurs to my mind, and as it
exhibits your grandfather in another light, I will relate it.
Immediately after dinner, on a pleasant day, my two sisters-in-law, who
resided together, less than a square from us, came over to our house,
with a man, who had just applied to them for assistance.  They were
deeply interested in behalf of this poor fellow, who was a Frenchman,
and “Frenchmen,” they said, “were not apt to beg unless in real want.”
They were sure he was an honest man.  One of my sisters was a French
Creole, and both were new beginners in active effort for the benefit of
the indigent, and did not know exactly the best method of relieving the
unfortunate man, “who had just arrived and had a poor sick wife and six
little children on the boat at the wharf.  A kind-hearted gentleman had
offered them a home at his farm in Illinois, a few miles from the
river, and all he wished was money sufficient to hire a horse and wagon
in which to move his helpless family.”  While the ladies were
presenting his case to me, the Frenchman manifested great anxiety, and
made the most touching appeals in the piteous expression of his face
and manner. Presently, my husband, who had been indulging in his usual
siesta, awoke and came down stairs.  “Now, the poor fellow can tell his
own story,” and “Mr. Charless” was pathetically appealed to, to listen
to his tale of woe.  Unfortunately for the man he was immediately
recognized by your grandfather, who had but a short time before given
him a cup of coffee, etc., from the kitchen, and had also procured work
for him as a day laborer in a factory, which mode of subsistence not
suiting the Frenchman’s taste, he had slipped out of, and ran off,
before commencing work.  It was soon evident, from the juxtaposition of
the two, one as accusant, the other defendant, which was not to be
mistaken, even by a person ignorant of the language in which they
spoke, that all was not right.  His friends, the ladies, stared, when,
upon each renewed attempt to convict him, he would assure, in the most
self-possessed and polite manner, “Your are mistaken, Monsieur, I have
no doubt but that the man to whom you refer, was very like me, but not
myself, I assure you, sir.”  Whereupon your grandfather proposed to
accompany him to the boat for the purpose of seeing his family,
promising to procure him a wagon and every thing necessary for their
comfort and removal.  But they had not gone far before the Frenchman
began to sidle off, as it to turn a corner, but finding that it was no
easy matter to get away from the persevering gentleman, who insisted
upon being “introduced to the Madame,” he made a clean breast of the
whole thing, “Monsieur, I have no wife and little children, but you
know when a poor man want he get nothing from the ladies unless he have
one sick wife, and some poor little children.  Excuse me, Monsieur, I
mean no disrespect to you.”  No one liked a joke better than your
grandfather, and being something of a tease too, he more than once
slily referred to the pitiable condition of the poor Frenchman, which,
although enjoyed by others, was not quite so keenly relished by the
ladies, who had manifested so much interest in the welfare of the
honest man, and his distressed family.

You are not old enough, my dear little children, to remember how
devotedly fond “Grandpa” was of children, and how they all loved him,
notwithstanding he was always playing some trick upon them.  Sometimes
at dinner when any of your little cousins were with us and would show
by the interest expressed in their faces, when the dessert was being
brought in, how eager they were to be “helped,” “Grandpa” would quietly
and gravely say, “’Aunty,’ you needn’t give Peter (or perhaps it might
be Charless) any of that, he is not fond of ‘Charlotte Russe,’” (or
whatever the nice thing might happen to be), when Peter, taken aback,
half believing, half doubting, would present such a ludicrous picture,
by the mingled expression of his countenance that no one present, not
even little Peter himself, (when he found out it was all a joke), could
avoid a hearty laugh.  And thus with a thousand little ways which
fascinated the children he was decidedly a favorite among them.  He
never forgot what he liked, and how he felt, when a boy, and could
easily enter into the feelings of a boy and be a sympathizing friend
and companion.

I know some little boys whose parents lived on Pine Street, and
although this was by no means the direct road from “the garden,” they
used to watch for “dear Mr. Charless’” return from that oft-frequented
place in the cool of the evening, for he would be sure to come that way
and stop a minute to fill their hats with peaches or apples, etc.  One
of these little boys, attracted one evening by a glorious sunset, which
stretched its golden streaks and varied hues far and wide, lighting up
the azure blue with unusual brilliancy and beauty, asked, “Mamma, is n’t
that like heaven?”  “Something like it, I expect, my son.”
“There’s where good Mr. Charless will go, when he dies!” said the
little boy.  And thus it was, even children felt the influence of such
a godly life, as that of your beloved grandfather.

The marriage of your dear mother, and the necessity of her being
so far separated from the home of her parents, away here in Louisiana,
where there is no Protestant Church, and among strangers, whose
isolated lives throw an almost impassable barrier in the way of social
intercourse, made it incumbent on me to remain with her a greater part
of the time.  Your father gave your mother’s parents a very cordial and
pressing invitation to spend their winters with them, promising that
they would always pass the summer with us, and that we should never be
separated from our precious only child.  But the business relations of
your grandfather made it impossible for him to do more than to pay a
visit of five or six weeks during the winter; but with the tender
feeling of the father he was willing to submit to the self-denial of
separation from his wife, that she might be with the darling of their
united hearts.  In one of his letters he says, “You ask me, in your
last, how I am getting on, I must be honest and say, bad enough.  If I
were not tied hand and foot I would cut loose from these cold regions
and lonely habitations, and fly away to my ‘ain wifey, and my ain
bairns’ in the sunny south.”  Again he says, when longing to see me,
“But I would not have you come too soon, as I know how changeable March
and April are here, and how delightful they must be in Louisiana.”  At
another time he says, “Kiss Louis, Lizzie and the babies for me, and
believe me that whatever claims business or other ties, may have one
me, my heart is ever with my dear ones.”

In the winter of 1855 he was elected “President of the Bank of
Missouri.”  I find among my newspaper slips, an article relative to
that fact which I will copy:  “We announced in our article of Friday
last that the name of Joseph Charless, Esq., would probably pass
through the Legislature, as the new President of the 'Bank of the State
of Missouri.’  The Telegraph of this morning announces his election to
that important post.

“It is proper for us to say to our distant readers, who Mr.
Charless is, and we shall assume to speak of his capacity for the
important post confided to him, by the Legislative wisdom of the State.

“The Bank of Missouri is a State institution; were it otherwise
we question whether we would refer to the matter at all.  It is also by
the wisdom of our fathers constituted (vide the Constitution) a
monopoly, a moneyed monopoly too, and therefore, wields great power,
and it is important to the people of this State to know in whose hands
this great moneyed power is to be vested for the next two years, by the
act of Legislature, if (perchance) the Bank is not turned into a
private corporation, by act of Assembly, with the concurrence of
private stockholders.  We do not intend to tire our readers with a
‘long yarn,’ and therefore proceed to say, that, Mr. Charless has
lived, man and boy, in this State and in this city 45 years, being the
worthy son of a most respected sire, and is now about 50 years of age.
Mr. Charless is a gentleman of fair financial ability, and has managed
his own private affairs in the prosecution of a large business, with
prudence, skill and judgment, and the firm, of which he is head, enjoys
a high credit, both at home and abroad.

“He is a gentleman, too, of great suavity of manner, and exhibits
a kind spirit in all his intercourse with men (a good quality for the
post he is called to) and withal is a man of great firmness of purpose,
not stubborn, of indomitable industry, perseverance and energy, and
even in moneyed panics (the worst of all panics) would probably be as
calm as a summer morning, while at the same time he would act, and act,
too, efficiently, looking to the interest and safety of the corporation
of which he is the head, and to the interests of the mercantile and
trading community, at the same time.

“The private character of the new President is beyond reproach,
he is a gentleman of unwavering integrity, and possesses the confidence
of his fellow-citizens in an eminent degree.  To use the western
phrase, he is ‘very popular,’ but we don’t esteem this of much account.
It is an idle wind, and may blow south or north to-morrow and proves
nothing.

“The new President, however, has not only a good character but a
good reputation, and whether he will mar or advance the latter during
his presidency, time only can determine.”

“Reputation” based upon such a characters as his, could not be
marred.  But, ah! it was as President of this Bank, he was brought into
contact with the wretched being who has robbed the world of a
benefactor, and where can I find a word in which to embody an idea of
the loss of those he so dearly loved.

He served two years in the State Bank, at which time the term
expired, and he determined to be no longer tied down to St. Louis, more
than was necessary to attend to his own business.  But in the formation
of the “Mechanics’ Bank” the Board of Directors insisted upon have Mr.
Charless for their President.  He refused positively, but they still
insisted; and, at length, urgently requested that he would accept the
presidency of this new institution until fairly established, if for no
longer time.  He finally acceded to the latter proposition.  But after
once getting in, there was no getting out of it; for he found the
gentlemen with whom he was there associated so very congenial, and his
duties not onerous but pleasant, so that he continued to serve them
until the day of his death, having signed the last notes on the 1st of
June.

It only remains for me to say, my dear children, that after the
marriage of your mother, the summers were our gala time, for Lizzie and
the boys and grandma were all at home, and happy Grandpa would in his
excess of joy forget the lonely winters, which he had endeavored by
constant occupation at the store, the bank, and in the Church, to make
the best of.  His evenings were spent in reading, and in holding
communion, by letter writing, with his loved ones far away: which,
excepting on Church evenings, he would occasionally vary by a visit to
some friend, of whom, I need not say, he had many, who would have
esteemed it a privilege, during my absence, to have admitted him into
their family circle as a member, but, as he often said, in his letters,
he preferred to visit friends, and make his home in the old familiar
spot, where he could so readily call up to his mind the earthly idols
of his heart.

I shall ever be thankful, to the Ruler of all events, that I was
with him during the whole winter immediately preceding his death.  We
accompanied our daughter and her three little boys to their home in
Louisiana in December; staid two weeks with them, and returned
together, fully determined to be no more separated; that, in future,
together we would visit our children, and together return to our lonely
home.  For the light that had gone out when our daughter married, was
no more kindled in our aching hearts, notwithstanding the joy we felt
in the possession of our precious little grandchildren.  In earlier
life when we pictured to ourselves a green old age, with our “bairn and
bairn’s bairns” about us, it was a different scene from the reality
when it came with its long separations and anxieties.

Our greatest solace during this last winter of our pilgrimage
together, was the service of our God.  And oh, with what gratitude I
shall ever remember His loving kindness and tender mercies towards us.
“He leadeth us in ways we know not of.”  He can comfort in the darkest
hour.

The spring came, and with it, a month or two earlier than usual,
our beloved ones returned to the longed for homestead, around which
were so many tender recollections of a happy, very happy life.  How
your dear mother clung to that precious father!  How she feasted upon
his every look.  She followed him every where; in his rides, in his
strolls through the garden.  She accompanied him at night, and at all
times to Church, preferring (when we did not ride) to take the long
walk with “father” to going with “mother” across the street to “the
Second Church.”  When business called him away from his much prized
domestic circle, she would walk, with her arm wrapped around him, to
the door, and follow him with her eyes down the street until out of
sight.  After her return home that spring, when she first saw his
portrait, that he had had taken for her, she wept, and could not tell
why, except that it was “faultless.”

And now, my dear children, I am treading so closely upon that
last morning, that I begin to tremble.

On Friday, June 3, 1859, your dear grandfather arose early, and
drove, as he was wont to do, to the garden.  While there he gathered
and tied together a bunch of flowers for his daughter, and when I came
down stairs to breakfast he was sitting at the window, where he had
evidently read the morning paper and laid it aside, and was enjoying
the sports of his little “sonny boys” who were at play on the grass
plot.  I gave him my last “good morning” kiss, little thinking that in
joy our lips would no more be pressed, and turning to the beautiful
bouquet, which was placed in a glass of water at our daughter’s plate,
I took it up and admired it.  He had gathered his first fuchsia to put
in her bouquet.

Our last breakfast is over.  At worship little Charless seated
himself opposite his grandpa, and observed him attentively as he read
the Bible and one of the metre Psalms.  We knelt in prayer, the only
words of which, that I remember, are, “We thank thee, O God, that thy
mercies are new to us every morning, and fresh every evening.”  After
worship he stood erect before us, his countenance full of his usual
look of benevolence and love, as he asked, “What’s the order of the
day?  I will go around to the Planters’ House, and see if Dr. and Mrs.
Palmer have arrived, and will be back in ten minutes to let you know.”
(Dr. and Mrs. Palmer of New Orleans were on their return from the
“General Assembly” of the Presbyterian Church, and had been invited to
stay with us, while they remained in St. Louis).  In ten or fifteen
minutes the door bell rang violently.  A young man entered and
tremblingly said, “Mr. Charless is badly hurt on Market Street.”  I
heard nothing more, but running, and hoping that he was not hurt so
seriously, I found myself among a crowd of people, and then beside my
dying husband!  He lay on the floor in the back part of a small store,
pale and sweet.  Like an angel he looked to me.  I did not lose my
senses, and I was so impressed with the sanctity of the spot that it
seems to me I dropped, but dropped very softly beside him.  “Be still
and know that I am God,” seemed to be spoken by the Holy One, into my
ear and heart.  And I was still.  I thought, of course, this was an
accident, but when I heard from his own pale, slightly parted lips, as
he answered some one who asked, “Who did this, Mr. Charless,” that he
was murdered!

Where!  Who!  I exclaimed, could do this deed!  But instantly
turning to my husband, I said, “He is more to be pitied than your are,
my dear, for he is a fiend! not a man.”

Oh, Oh, Oh!  If my Father, God, had then lifted up the veil and
showed me all I have passed through since, I must have died.  But he
does not try us more than we are able to bear.  Indeed he bestowed such
rich spiritual blessings upon us (your dear mother and myself) in that
dark hour, that we were astonishingly sustained.  We were filled with
gratitude because “dear father” was ready.  We knew that he had nothing
to do, but to die.  Like Stephen, he “fell asleep.”

My beloved children, I have his dying words written down, and
after I show you “what the newspapers say,” and you have read his
funeral sermon, perhaps I will tell you more about the last moments of
your honored, it must be forever honored, grandfather.

Yours, affectionately, GRANDMA.

Belmont, March, 1861.



Letter Fifteen



My Dear Grandchildren:

It has been nearly two years since I last wrote to you, since
which time, war has desolated our once prosperous and happy country,
and drenched its soil with the blood of her sons.  All has been
excitement and turmoil.  Many widows and orphans have been made-–and
the wail of anguish has been poured into the ear of the God of Sabbath.
But I turn from the revolting facts which belong to the history of the
nation–-to consider the last sad hours of your revered grandfather,
and to copy for your instruction and admonition his dying words.

After having seen something of his daily walk through life, thought upon
his sad and unexpected death, and in imagination mingled
with the throng that followed him to his last resting place-–your mind
will naturally revert to the lonely homestead and its desolate inmates.
But words cannot picture the anguished of our hearts, the gloom and
loneliness of our home--after the last relic of its light and glory
had passed away from our view.  So you will follow me, my dear
children, to that little store on Market Street; look upon the bare
floor, and behold your grandfather-–the gentle and loving man, in his
dying agony!  Listen to his words.

He knew he was dying, for he said, in answer to a hope expressed,
that he might live–-“No, no, no!  I am a dead man.”  After a pause he
uttered, fervently, “Lord Jesus, come quickly.”

Again, said he, “I am a great sinner.”  Some one directed him to
look to Jesus.  “I do look to him.  He is my all.  He is very precious
to my soul.”

Again, he said, “I deserve all I suffer, for I am a great
sinner.”

I heard all this, but do not know how long I had been by him,
when he said to me, “Charlotte, I have loved you always-–dearly loved
you–-and I love you to the end.”  Then turning his eye towards your
father, who was on the opposite side of him, said he, “Louis, I leave
my family to you–-my wife I leave to you.”

Some gentleman came up and asked, “Mr. Charless, who shot you?”
He replied, “A man by the name of Thornton.  I was called upon to
testify against him in court last fall.  While President of the Bank of
Missouri, he brought me some bank notes to redeem.  They were stained
and had the appearance of having been buried.  I asked him where he got
those notes.  He replied, he had bought them from some boatmen, who
said they had found them under a stump, which had been pulled up from a
boat having been tied to it.  I told him that was a very unlikely
story.  When called upon to testify, I told, upon oath, what I knew
about the matter, but I had no unkind feeling towards the poor fellow.
I would have done him a kindness if it had been in my power.  I have
always tried to be a good neighbor-–to do justly-–and to love mercy.
But I honor my country, and the majesty of her laws, and I have never
shrunk from discharging my duty as a man, and as a Christian.”

Sometime afterwards he said, “How little we know what is before
us.”

I remember, my children, in that dark hour, to have seen your
dear mother, kneeling at the head of her precious father, in the
deepest woe, alternating between glimmerings of hope, and agonizing
fear.

To some remark of Col Grimsley, he said, “No, Colonel, no!  I
forgive my murderer; from the bottom of my heart, I forgive him.”

Some one asked him if he would not like to see a minister.  He
answered, “Send for Mr. McPheeters.  You will find him at the Second
Presbyterian Church, at the meeting of the Church Extension Committee.”

“My dear Pastor, I am glad to see you, I have always loved you.
You have tried to instruct men, and I thank you for it.”

My beloved sister, for whom my heart is now bleeding–-for she
too has left us and gone away, to return no more to cheer, to
sympathize with, and to comfort us in our sorrows-–was at my
brother’s, six miles from the city, and was late in meeting with us at
this mournful scene.  When she arrived, in broken accents she asked,
“Is there no hope?  Is there no hope?”  “No hope here,” replied my
husband, “but a bright hope beyond!”

Thank God! for the bright hope which I have that they met again,
not, as then, in sorrow, but in the full enjoyment of the blissful
presence of the adorable Jesus!  But, come back my thoughts from that
joyous abode, to the once happy little earthly home, I used to have,
and go with me, dear children, to the same parlors, where your dear
mother has had so much pleasure in the days of her youth, and behold,
laid on a narrow couch, in agony and blood, that noble form.  The
beloved and admired of all who knew him.  The rooms, the halls, are
filled with anxious friends, but stillness reigns.  Not a sound is
heard save the involuntary groans of the dying Christian.  In the midst
of them he would sometimes exclaim, “God have mercy upon me a sinner!”

Through that long dark day, little was said.  After many
paroxysms of intense pain, Mr. McPheeters said, “Mr. Charless, you know
something now about the sufferings of Jesus.”  “Yes,” he faintly
replied, “I have been thinking about that, while lying here.”

Again, Mr. McPheeters repeated, “Father, if it be possible, let
this cup pass from me.”  In broken accents he replied, “Nevertheless
not my will, but Thine be done.”

Several times, looking full in my face, said he, “I love you.”

Once, with some difficulty, as if to leave his blessing, he
placed his hand upon the head of your poor mother, and said, “My
precious daughter.”

Again and again he uttered, “My poor wife.” He well knew how
desolate his poor wife would be in this bleak world without him.

Towards the close of his sufferings, said he, “Will my heart
strings never break?  ‘Not my will but thine be done.’”

When he was almost gone, he whispered to me, “I–-love--you.”

His last words were, “I am satisfied.”

PEACEFULLY HE LIVED-–PEACEFULLY HE DIED!

And now, my dear children, I have but little more to say.  It has
been a hard struggle for me to write much that I have written; for it
seemed like tearing open my heart.  But the ardent desire that the
virtues of my husband should not die out as his name has done, and the
fear that, as one by one of those who knew and loved him, should be
laid in the grave, and the bare fact that he was murdered only remain,
a blush might tinge your cheeks, at the mention of his name, lest the
ancestor, who thus fell, might by his evil deeds have provoked his
untimely end.  I have often felt, too, while penning these letters, it
is useless; my grandchildren will perhaps never even take the pains to
read them, and if read they may not be impressed by them or stimulated
to a single effort, to imitate the being I so much love and admire, and
whose blood still flows in their own veins.

One of the few friends to whom I communicated my intention to
write this sketch, and for whose opinion I have a high regard, wrote me
as follows:

“Do not suffer yourself to forget that when your grandchildren
shall have become old enough to understand what you write, the present
and the future will be the object of their interest, not the past and
the dead.  They will be unlike humanity, if they take any interest, in
what so much interests you.  I very much fear that your labors will
wholly fail of accomplishing the good your earnest and loving heart
intends.”

In the same letter he also expresses a fear that it will be
impossible for me to make any attempt of the kind which will not be a
very partial one.  In reference to this, he says:

“The memory comes insensibly to dwell on all that was agreeable,
and to intensify it; impartiality ceases; and the almost certain result
is, a picture which all who read it, having known the object, see to be
colored by the hand of love.”

If I had not already written twelve or thirteen letters before
this damper to my efforts came to hand; I do not know that I would have
had the courage to proceed, and I am now gratified to see, in
reperusing the letters of condolence which we received after the death
of your grandfather, that they, no less than the public manifestations
of the community where he lived and died, corroborate what I have said
in relation to him.  Of the forty-seven letters received from friends,
from every part of the country, there is but one opinion.  All speak of
him as an uncommon man, whose loss is irreparable.  I will copy a few
extracts from these letters, scarcely knowing, however, which to
select, so full they all are of praises of him, whose memory, I humbly
pray, his children may ever cherish as their richest earthly
inheritance.

A gentleman of Cincinnati writes: “After the first stunning
realization of the horrible crime of which your dear and universally
beloved husband has been the victim, we continue to ask ourselves, if
such a man is murdered, who can be safe?  A man so kind, so just, so
gentle, so good.  I never knew a man whose whole life and character
would have seemed a better guarantee against all violence, even of
feeling.”

A lady, who had passed the greater part of her life in St. Louis,
writes to my brother Henry, from “East Rockport.”  She says, (after an
expression of her heart-felt sympathy for him, and for the bereaved
wife and child): “St. Louis has not been alone in her just indignation
and horror at the cruel and ruthless deed committed on one of her
principal streets; the bitter lament she so recently sent forth to all
parts of the country has been re-echoed back again by many hearts and
voices, that never knew our poor friend.  May I not then, who have
known him from his early youth, be permitted to bear my testimony to
his many excellencies of character, so justly portrayed by his own
Pastor, and others, with whom he was associated?  Yes! there is but one
voice on that subject, as there should be but one earnest wish, by all
who mourn this sad event, ‘May I die the death of the righteous, and
may my last end be like his.’  I know that on the face of the widowed
wife and her only child, there rests the expression of unutterable
sorrow, but her Maker is her husband, and her fatherless one, His
peculiar care.  The cold grave does not contain the immortal spirit
that she saw contending in its agony for freedom from its clay casket,
but it has soared away forever to the fields of light and immortality.
May all with whom he has been associated, and all who shall hereafter
learn the history of his amiable character, of his serene, and exalted
piety, his peaceful conscience, and his martyr death, be so impressed
as to join themselves to the ‘followers of the Cross,’ and bear the
same noble testimony to the excellence of our holy religion that our
friend, Mr. Charless, has done.”

Another lady writes, from Cumberland, Penn., thus: “My heart
bleeds for you all, for well I know what a treasure you have lost.  Few
persons beyond your family circle had a better opportunity of knowing
your beloved husband, and none, I venture to say, loved and admired him
more.  The world at large knew and valued him as a noble Christian
gentleman, as a man of sterling integrity, and enlarged benevolence,
but who could understand all his excellence and all his loveliness, but
those who have been privileged, as I have so often been, to see him in
the sweet relations of husband and father, to bow with him at his
family altar, and to hear the fervent, yet humble, outpourings of the
Christian heart before the mercy seat?  Ah! well do I remember how
tenderly, how sweetly, his petitions were wont to ascend for me, at the
time of my deep and overwhelming sorrow; and when about to leave his
hospitable roof, how affectionately he would commend the stricken one
to our heavenly Father’s gracious care.  These remembrances will linger
about the heart as long as it throbs with life.  Oh! sad, sad is the
thought that I shall no more hear that sweet voice pleading with our
Father God in behalf of the sorrowing ones, or for the Church of God,
so dear to his heart, or committing his loved ones into his gracious
care; while, with lowly meekness, he confessed and bewailed his sins,
and plead for pardon with a childlike love and trust in our blessed
Saviour.  But oh! delightful thought, his prayers are now turned to
praise.”

I will copy a part of a letter, from a gentleman in the city of
New York, to show what kind of an impression your dear grandfather made
upon strangers.

“June 4, 1859."

“Very dear Madam: Although a stranger to you, I cannot repress
the expression of the heart-felt sympathy of myself and my whole family
for you in your late terrible bereavement.  Language is totally at
fault in its poverty to convey what we feel, or give words that shall
comfort you in your heavy affliction.  Our acquaintance with your dear
husband was recent and short, but it was long enough to endear him to
our hearts in no ordinary way.  We had gone to the house of God in
company, and taken sweet counsel together.  We had mingled our songs of
praise around the domestic altar, and at the same holy place had poured
out our united petitions to God for his blessing on our dear families,
as well as on the cause of our divine Master.  Indeed, I can truly say
that our intercourse with your dear husband was all that was sweet and
refreshing to the Christian’s heart, and time can never efface the
delightful impression he left in our family when he took an
affectionate leave of us all in order to join you and his dear
daughter, and grandchildren.  Every look and every word as is fresh as
yesterday, and his sweet memory will be cherished by Mrs. S. and
myself, and all our children, every one of whom became warmly attached
to him.

“I feel that I am doing that which will re-open the bleeding
wound, but I cannot help it, as my own emotions must have the relief
which this note of sympathy only partially affords.  O, how unspeakably
dear to us is the thought of his readiness for the great change, and
that he is now walking those golden streets, and basking in the smiles
of his Saviour.  And how consoling the many sweet assurances of our
heavenly Father that he doth not willingly afflict, that all things
work together for good to them that love God, and that as our day is,
so shall our strength be.”

In explanation of your grandfather having been a guest of the
gentleman who wrote this letter, and yet a stranger to him, it may be
of interest to you to know, that in the spring of 1859, just before the
return of your dear mother and yourselves to St. Louis, from your
Southern home, he paid a short visit to the city of New York, to attend
to some business for the Mechanics’ Bank, which brought him in contact
with Mr. S., “President of the Bank of the Republic,” who gave him a
pressing invitation to pass the Sabbath day with him, at his country
seat, on the Hudson river.  He accepted the invitation, accompanied his
new made friend on Saturday afternoon, and returned Monday morning; and
was thus made acquainted with a charming family, of whom he several
times spoke in terms of admiration and affection.

A gentleman, residing in the interior of the State of Missouri,
says, in a letter to my brother Taylor: “I cannot in justice to my own
feelings refrain from expressing to you the deep, deep grief I felt at
the loss of our dear friend, Mr. Charless.  In all my intercourse with
the world I can safely say that he was the purest and best man I have
ever known.  Thousands have lost their best friend, society one of its
brightest ornaments, and his family-–Great God, how can their loss be
described.  I have been proud for twenty years to claim him as my
friend, and if I had no other reason for thinking well of human nature,
a knowledge of his character would be sufficient.  He was a credit to
human nature, and I never, sir, expect to meet his equal again in all
that is essential to make a good and true man.”

Another gentleman, who dates his letter, Sarcoxie, June 10, in
addressing the same brother, after offering his sincere condolence to
him, and through him to the immediate family of the deceased, says: “My
relations with Mr. Charless it is true were mostly of a business
character, yet a relation of this kind of twenty years standing, could
not exist with such a man without producing feelings of a kindly
character.  Such I entertain for him, though I never saw his face; and
I am persuaded that he entertained similar feelings toward me.  I shall
ever cherish his memory as one of the best friends I ever had in my
life.”  Before closing his letter he requests a “lithograph likeness”
of your grandfather, which was sent him.

What a rare testimonial is this!  Known only as a business man,
without ever having seen his face.

Your mother, in reading “Macaulay’s Essays,” a few days since,
was struck with his description of the late Lord Holland, as being so
much like her father.  She pointed it out to me, and it so exactly
accords with my views of him, also, that I think I may be excused by
transferring it to this letter, for your perusal.  He says of the
expression of Lord Holland’s face, that it was “singularly compounded
of sense, humor, courage, openness, a strong will and a sweet temper,”
and that he had the “most gracious and interesting countenance that was
ever lighted up by the mingled luster of intelligence and benevolence.
As it was with the faces of the men of this noble family (referring to
Lord Holland and his ancestors) so was it with their minds.  Nature had
done much for them all.  She had moulded them all of that clay, of
which she is most sparing. To all she had given strong reason and a
sharp wit; a quick relish for every physical and intellectual
enjoyment; constitutional intrepidity, and that frankness by which
constitutional intrepidity is generally accompanied; spirits which
nothing could depress; tempers easy, generous and placable; and that
genial courtesy which has its seat in the heart, and of which
artificial politeness is only a faint and cold imitation.  Such a
disposition is the richest inheritance that ever was entailed on any
family.”

Rev. Mr. Cowen, of Carondelet, on the Sabbath of June 12, 1859,
preached to his congregation from the text, “He being dead yet
speaketh.”  After giving an exposition of the text, he calls the
attention of his congregation to the lessons of instruction “which this
solemn providence” (alluding to the sad death of your grandfather)
teaches:

1st. “The death of Mr. Charless teaches us the mysteriousness of
God’s providence.”  “In the calamity, dear hearers, which has removed
from our midst one of the best men of this, or any previous age of the
world, and overwhelmed so many in deep sorrow, we are pointed to the
cruel and murderous hand of the assassin, but this was only the
proximate cause of his sudden and violent death.  There is a high and
remote cause to which we must look, if we would find the true source of
this event, which has thrilled the heart of this whole community.  That
cause, dear hearers, is the providence of God.”

Rev. Dr. Palmer of New Orleans, whom you recollect was to be our
guest when in St. Louis, in June, 1859, told me that on that Sabbath
day, when so many tearful eyes were looking for the last time upon the
placid countenance of the beloved, who lay so still and cold in his
coffin, he saw at the hotel where he was staying, among others who were
lamenting the untimely end of Mr. Charless, men of rough appearance,
who would one moment use the most horrible oaths of vengeance against
the perpetrator of the bloody dead, and the next, their voices
softening with expressions of tender regret, big tears were seen
streaming down their cheeks, showing, as Dr. Palmer said, “how they
loved the man from whom, in a moral point of view, they were so far
separated, and the extraordinary influence of his life and character.”

Among the many copies that were sent to us of “the Resolutions,”
which were passed by the various associations of St. Louis, in honor of
this dear friend, I will extract but a portion of one:

“Resolved, That in the death of JOSEPH CHARLESS, Esq., we, as
representatives of “The Home of the Friendless,” are called to grieve
for the loss of our First Patron.  He whose benefactions, stimulated
into action the earliest impulses that led to the establishing of this
institution, and whose sympathizing heart and ready hand followed us to
the end of his life.  Truly of him it may be said, ‘The blessing of him
that was ready to perish came upon him, and he caused the widow’s heart
to sing for joy.’”

In conclusion, my dear children, I am reminded as I often have
been while writing these letters, that my husband was not fond of
praise, and that he particularly disliked any approach to it from his
wife, for he thought it almost as unbecoming in her to extol his
virtues as it would have been to speak in praise of her own.  He was,
as I have said, an humble man, for he seemed never to forget that he
had been redeemed from the curse of a broken law and was indebted to
God, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, for all that he had or was.  And
to God truly does the glory belong!  Nature had done much for him, but
Grace far more.  And while, my dear children, I would again and again
point you to your noble grandfather as an example worthy of your
imitation, I would more earnestly direct your attention higher still,
even to the Great Exemplar whom he followed at so great a distance.
Attempt to compare any human standard, however exalted to this, and it
wanes until it ceases to be seen before the dazzling purity of the Sun
of Righteousness!  Man, although he was originally made pure, has
fallen very low in the scale of moral being, on account of sin.  And
notwithstanding he may by nature be endowed with many amiable qualities
and many excellencies of character, the atmosphere of this sinful world
is not favorable to their proper development, so that the virtuous and
happy youth, gifted as he may be with intellectual capacity, and having
ever so large a share of moral courage, may yet not be able to resist
evil; and at last may become a bad, and, consequently, a discontented
man.  And it is certain, that, although he may live above reproach
before his fellows, and achieve wonders in his career through life, he
can never be noted for true moral excellence without Christianity.

And now, my dear, very dear children, I am done.  But I linger in
saying, farewell!  Oh, that you all, “children, and children’s
children, even to the third and fourth generation,” may be enabled to
give your hearts away, in early life, to that blessed Saviour, who
alone is able to fit you for living and for dying, who alone can
effectually soothe your sorrows, sweeten every earthly enjoyment, and
impart to you, in the midst of the cares, trials, and dangers of life,
that calm confidence so beautifully expressed by David, “The Lord is my
Shepherd, I shall not want.”

That you may be guided by the precepts of God’s Holy Word, which
is so faithfully taught you from week to week by your own sweet mother,
my precious grandchildren, and that the dews of Divine Grace may distil
from heaven upon you, making you true men and women, that you may live
the life of the righteous, and at last be found among those who have
washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb, is,
and ever will be, the sincere and earnest prayer of,

YOUR LOVING GRANDMA,

C. T. CHARLESS.

Belmont, December 24, 1862.



Letter from Rev. S. B. McPheeters, D.D.


Shelby Co., Kentucky, Sept. 5, 1865.

TO THE GRANDCHILDREN OF MR. JOSEPH CHARLESS.

My Dear Young Friends:

Your Grandmother has told me of the letters she has addressed to
you, concerning the life of your Grandfather Charless, giving many
incidents and recollections of him, which I doubt not will be of the
greatest interest to you, and to those who will come after you; at her
request, I will also add a letter on the same subject.

Before doing so, however, I wish to say, that as you are all, at
the time I am writing, quite young, and as you will not probably read
this until some years are passed, I shall not address you as small
children, but anticipating a little, I will have you in my mind, and
address you, as you will be a few years hence.

I wish very much that I could give you the picture of your
Grandfather, as he was, and as he lives in my memory.  And when I first
undertook the pleasant task, so distinct was his whole character upon
my memory, and so dear was the recollection of Mr. Charless to my
heart, that I thought it would be easy to transfer to paper the image
that was in my mind.  But I have not found it so.  I have once and
again failed to satisfy myself in efforts I made to draw his moral and
social portrait, nor do I know that I will succeed better now.  But you
may ask what is the difficulty?  I will reply by an illustration from
nature.  When one is familiar with a landscape that is marked by bold
mountains, prominent headlands, or rushing torrents, it is not
difficult to describe such scenery so that it is at once recognized.
Very different, however, it is when one attempts to tell in detail,
what it is that makes a rich valley, in a bright spring morning, such
an object of beauty and delight to the soul.  There are a thousand
objects too minute for detailed description, which, blended, charm the
eye and please the fancy, and make us exclaim, How beautiful!  The
verdant grass, and modest flower, and budding tree, and singing bird,
and genial sun, and balmy air, and light, and shade, all combine to
make a scene, which he who sees it feels, but cannot easily reproduce
in the mind of another.  So it is with Mr. Charless.  That which gave
him his peculiar charm was not one or two striking characteristics
which distinguished him from other men, but it was a beautiful
combination of many noble and lovely traits, in proportions so just,
and in harmony so pleasing, that when I have attempted to select this
and that characteristic for description, I feel that I have succeeded
about as well, as if I had collected a bouquet from the valley of which
I just spoke, and should give it to a friend as a picture of the
landscape itself.  The truth is, my young friends, you will never truly
know your Grandfather unless you are so happy as to meet him in heaven.
And yet this is no reason that you should not desire to know something
of him, and form some true idea of his character.  And it is with the
hope that I may add to your pleasure that I shall try and give you some
account of him from my own personal knowledge and intercourse with him.

My relations to Mr. Charless were intimate for about eight years,
I being, during that time, the Pastor of the Church in which he was a
Ruling Elder.  This official connection necessarily brought me in
frequent intercourse with him, and as it was hardly possible to know
such a man at all, without wishing to know him better, our intercourse
soon ripened into friendship, which continued while he lived.

How well do I remember the first time I saw Mr. Charless, and the
impression he made upon me.  I had just come to St. Louis, from
Virginia, to visit Westminster Church, with a view of settlement as its
Pastor, if we should be mutually pleased.  Being comparatively young
and inexperienced, I felt much diffidence in undertaking the charge of
a Church in a large city.  It would have taken little to have
discouraged me and made me abandon the thought; when I saw St. Louis, I
felt so unfit to labor in such a place, that I was more than half
regretting that I had listened to the invitation.  As soon as he
learned that I had arrived he called to see me.  And there was
something so cordial and winning in his manner, he was so frank and
kind, that I at once felt that I could give him my confidence, and that
with such men I would love to live and labor.  It was Mr. Charless,
more than all others in St. Louis, that induced me to make it my home.
It would be easy for me to fill sheets with my recollections of
personal kindnesses shown me.  I never went to him discouraged or
dispirited that he did not impart some of the cheerful hope, which was
so characteristic of his own mind.  I never sought his advice when
perplexed, or in doubt, that he did not, by his wise counsel, throw
light on the matters presented.  But I will not dwell on these things,
yet I can never forget them.  I have had other friends who were very
dear to me, but never such a friend as Mr. Charless; and what he was to
me in our peculiar relations, such he was also to many, many others, in
the various relations of life.  But while so true and valuable a
friend, I do not think I ever knew a man who made fewer declarations or
professions of friendship.

You will get a very good idea of your grandfather’s personal
appearance from the excellent portraits of him in the family.  He was
slightly above the average height, well developed, without being
corpulent, had a firm elastic step, and motions indicating vigor and
health.  His eye was bright, but mild, his features regular and
unusually handsome, and his countenance was habitually lighted up by an
intelligence and benignity which gave it a peculiar charm, and inspired
even strangers with a confidence that such a face could not belong to
any but a good and upright man.  Mr. Charless was an exceedingly
pleasant companion, and, without being either brilliant or witty in
conversation, his society was courted and his arrival was always hailed
with pleasure by the company in which he mingled, for he brought with
him a bright face, a cheerful heart, a genial humor and hearty
cordiality that seemed to diffuse itself through all around-–children,
young people and old people seemed alike to enjoy his society–-yet he
never seemed to me to make an effort to “be agreeable,” he only acted
out his natural feelings and disposition, and this was agreeable.

I hesitate some in describing your grandfather as a very polished
and polite man.  I fear you might put a meaning to those words which
would lead you into a wrong view of his character: there is a polish
and politeness that is the result of art and painstaking-–a thing on
the surface-–often a disguise, having its root in expediency, always
self-conscious and often selfish-–something that may please us because
it flatters us, but does not win us because we cannot trust it.
Nothing could be more unlike Mr. Charless than this.  Yet there is a
polish which flows from a nice sense of what is fitting and proper to
be done in social intercourse, from ease and self-possession, from a
kind heart and desire to make others happy; a politeness that is made
up of a thousand little acts of self-denial for the comfort of others;
that does not obtrude itself upon your notice, but is felt in making
you easy; that flows, not from rules, but from good principles and a
generous nature, in this sense Mr. Charless was eminently a polished
and polite man.  I have seen him with persons in humble life, he made
them easy and treated them with kindness.  I have seen him with men of
eminent positions and great reputation, he was at perfect ease himself
and commanded their marked respect.

Mr. Charless was not a learned man, and made no pretensions to
learning, yet he was remarkably well informed; kept himself acquainted
with the current literature of the day, and conversed with intelligence
and good sense on all matters that came up in general society.  On more
than one occasion he surprised me, by showing an amount and accuracy of
acquaintance with subjects which I had supposed lay out of the range of
his investigation, and of which I should never have known that he had a
knowledge had they not casually come up in conversation.  I met him one
day, and after some general conversation he gave me a book, remarking,
“Here is a work to which a friend called my attention.  I have read it
with so much pleasure that I sent for a copy for you.”  When I got home
I was surprised to find it an elaborate and scientific treatise on the
nature of the Church, a work which, I venture the assertion, not one
layman in five hundred would have thought of reading, or would have
finished if he had begun it.

You will never hear any one who knew your grandfather speak of
him without mentioning his great generosity, liberality and kindness to
the poor, but no one will ever be able to tell you how much he did to
alleviate the sorrows of the distressed, or to help the needy, for he
did these things so quietly that none knew it but those received, and
Him who sees our secret things; but in my visits to the poor I have
seen the tears start in the eyes of widows and orphans at the mention
of his name, which told better than words who was their friend and
benefactor.  Mr. Charless was one of the few men I have ever known who
seemed to think, as much as they should, that the manner of bestowing a
benefaction, while it adds nothing to the cost of what is given, adds
immensely to the value of the thing given, in the estimation of those
who receive it.  A friend of mind, who was soliciting funds for a
charitable purpose, said to me, as he returned from an interview with
your grandfather, “It is a pleasure to ask a subscription from Mr.
Charless.  He gives as though you conferred a favor on him in affording
him the opportunity of ‘giving.’”  This was very characteristic.

Mr. Charless was a modest and very unassuming man, and never
pushed himself forward, yet he had a just estimate of his abilities,
knew what he could do, and when called upon by circumstances, or by
those with whom he acted, to take the lead, if the thing commended
itself to his judgment, without ado or apology, he went forward and did
it; and I have often been surprised to see how much he could accomplish
and how well he did what he undertook.  Besides his private business
which was large, and complicated, one would think, enough for any man,
he took a most active part in all the operations of the Church, in the
various benevolent and educational schemes, in commercial and municipal
enterprises, and still found time to attend to a multitude of little
business matters for friends, who would avail themselves of his
experience, and, I will add, (being one of the number myself), impose
upon his kindness.  But while always busy he never seemed in a hurry.
The fact is, he had, in addition to great energy, a most uncommon
amount of business talent.  He was a thorough business man, and
conducted all his affairs on strict business principles; a little
circumstance will illustrate this: I was settling with him an account
of a few dollars, in some matter which he had attended to for me.  I
handed him the money and there was a few cents in change, which neither
he nor I could make.  It was so insignificant that I said, “Never mind,
Mr. Charless, that makes no difference.”  He replied, promptly, “But it
does make a difference; the account is not settled until that is paid,”
and away he went to the other end of the store, stepped to his cashier,
got the exact change, and handing it to me, said, with a smile, “You
preachers are too often poor business men, and I want my Pastor to be
not only a good preacher, but a good business man.  The rule is, meet
your engagements to the minute and pay your debts to the cent.”  The
whole thing made, as he designed it should, an impression on my mind,
and has been of great advantage to me.  I have often repeated the
anecdote to other clergymen, and hope it has been an advantage to them.

You will often hear from those who knew your grandfather speak of
his great kindness, his habitual placidity of temper, and uncommon
sweetness of disposition, and all this was eminently true of him; but
if you are led by such accounts to think of him as in any degree what
is called a yea-nay sort of character, or as destitute of spirit, or
even incapable of passion, you will make a great mistake.  He was not
at all deficient in firmness, and had not only moral but physical
courage in an eminent degree.  As he never wantonly gave so he never
tamely brooked an indignity.  His eye could flash as well as laugh.  I
was one day conversing pleasantly with him in his private office in the
Bank, of which he was President.  A gentleman came in, evidently in a
pet, and addressing Mr. Charless, spoke in a very harsh way, and with
broad insinuations against one of the Bank Directors, in relation to
some transaction.  Before he had well finished his invective Mr.
Charless rose to his feet, his eye kindling, every feature of his faced
marked by sternness, and replied, “Sir, the gentleman of whom you speak
is my personal friend.  The charge you bring against him is not true;
the facts were these (mentioning them concisely but clearly), and now,
sir, you must retract what you have said.”  The gentleman evidently
taken aback, both Mr. Charless’ statement of the case, and manner,
immediately calmed down, made an explanation and withdrew.  I could not
resist a hearty laugh at the storm which had so suddenly burst upon us
and had been as suddenly quelled, and turning to him said, “Mr.
Charless, I had no idea you had so much pluck.”  He joined the laugh
and said, “My Irish will sometimes come up.  Besides,” he added, more
gravely, “that man took no pains to learn the facts of the case, and
has a way of bullying that I wanted to put a stop to.”

Few men had a keener relish for what was humorous or enjoyed a
laugh better than Mr. Charless, and with little children he was playful
and would sometimes even join in their sports, and if he did not join
them he would look on and seemed to relish with great zest their pranks
and joyous shouts and gambols.  Perhaps some persons would not have
mentioned such a trait of character, as it might seem to imply a want
of dignity.  I beg leave to differ from such.  There is a dignity of
manner and a dignity of character, not only quite separable, but often
separated.  I have known men who had great dignity of manner and very
little dignity of character, and they are to me among the most irksome
of mortals.  Mr. Charless, while not deficient in dignity of manner,
when occasion called for it, was truly dignified in character.  The one
he might drop for a little while, the other he never dropped.  The
children, with whom he might sport or familiarly talk, respected him
just as much as if he had the manner of a Judge on the bench, and then
they loved him far better; and there was to me in these occasional
overflowings of a genial nature, this return of youthful feeling in
mature manhood, this sympathy with children, something very beautiful.
It showed how large his heart was, how little he been soured or soiled
by contact with the world, how broad, and healthy and true a nature God
had endowed him with.  The very same large humanity that disposed him
to enter into the sports of children led him also to help the widow, to
befriend the friendless and soothe the sorrowing.

I have said nothing yet about your grandfather’s religious
character, and yet this was by far his greatest excellence.  He was
truly and sincerely pious.  By which I mean he truly loved, trusted in,
and obeyed Christ.  But, although I am a preacher, I do not intend to
write you a sermon, and I hope you will not take it as so intended, in
what I am about to say to you of the religious character of Mr.
Charless.  I esteem it by far your greatest loss, in his death before
you were old enough to understand him, that you are deprived of the
means of learning something about true religion as it was exemplified
in him.

Most young people, if not pious themselves, have an idea that
religion is in its nature gloomy, or at least that it would interfere
with the happiness and vivacity of youth.  I know this, for I once
thought and felt so myself.  And it is just to correct this that I so
much regret that you did not know your grandfather Charless; you could
not have known him without knowing that he was truly pious, nor could
you have helped seeing that he was a happy man, and that his religion,
yes, his religion, so far from interfering with, promoted his happiness.
You may meet with other examples, but you will rarely find one so
striking as his.  And I hold, as a matter of fairness, that religion
should be judged by just such examples.  I know that there are truly
pious persons who are not attractive, who are melancholy, or who are
sometimes even repulsive in their characters.  Do you ask, Why not
judge the effect of religion from these as well as from better and more
pleasing cases?  My reply is: What you see and judge may not be
religion at all.  In the repulsive it may be only the coarse, rough
natural character; with the melancholy it may be dyspepsia.  You do not
form your estimate of what the glorious light of the sun does in
gladdening and beautifying the earth, by its vain struggles with mists
and fogs; it may fail to make a potato patch sublime or grand, and yet
be in itself both sublime and grand.  No, you judge of it by objects in
themselves calculated to reflect its excellence, by the life and joy it
diffuses on all animated nature, and especially by the exquisite beauty
it imparts to some lovely valley, or to grand old mountains whose snow
summits it drenches in light until they glitter and radiate like the
gates of heaven.  So, precisely, in fairness, you should judge
religion.  Hence I insist that men like Mr. Charless are examples by
which religion should be judged.  Nature did much for him, made him
generous and kind, gave him a large heart and noble impulses.  Grace
elevated, strengthened, purified all these natural qualities, and
brought him in harmony and fellowship with God; set before him, as an
object of love, confidence, and imitation, the blessed Saviour; gave
him a hope which earthly losses could not dim, and a peace which they
only know who have felt it.  Why should it not have added to his
happiness?  Had he lived he would have told you himself that what real
happiness he had in this life came more from his religion than all
other sources.  My young friends if you still stand in doubt on this
point I can only say make the experiment yourselves, and if you find
what I have said not true, judge me a false witness.

There is a special promise made by Christ, to those who enter
their closet and shut the door and pray to their Father which is in
secret.  How often Mr. Charless brought those words to my mind; and as
I used to see him coming from home, with such a cheerful, happy face,
as I saw how good men and wicked men respected and honored him, I have
said to myself over and often:  His Father who seeth in secret is
rewarding him openly.  In truth this passage was so associated with Mr.
Charless in my mind, that I do not know that I have read these words
for a number of years before his death and since without thinking of
him as a striking illustration of its truth and beauty.

I need not, in concluding, say much to you of the circumstances
that snatched from his family, from you, from the Church and the
community, such a man.  The record of the whole event you will see in
the journals, secular and religious, which your Grandmother has so
thoughtfully preserved for you.  I remember nothing that occurred in
St. Louis, during the fourteen years that I resided there, which
produced a more profound impression on the public mind, or so stirred
its hot indignation, as the death of Mr. Charless by the hand of the
assassin who slew him.  Nothing, I believe, but the urgent request of
Mr. Charless, from his bed of death, prevented the community from
avenging themselves without the forms of law for the dark crime
committed.  And when, at the request of Mr. Charless, the community
spared the life of the felon, there was all the sterner purpose that
Justice should be meted out to his crime by the hand of law.  And no
jury could have been found in the city, who, if they had been so
disposed, would have ventured to acquit him on false or frivolous
pretexts, such as secured the acquittal of many a culprit.

No one felt that the death of the poor wretch who did the deed
was any atonement for what he had done, any more than a household can
feel that the death of the viper is any atonement for the life of a
favorite son it has slain.  The viper is crushed and forgotten, the
child is remembered, honored and cherished-–so it was in this case.
The execution of the murderer created no excitement; all that men
appeared to desire with regard to him was to know that he was executed,
and he was dismissed with loathing and detestation from all minds.  I
think it exceedingly probably that there are multitudes in St. Louis
who could not, without an effort recall the name of Thornton-–I do not
now myself remember his given name,--but there is not a little boy or
girl, there is not a citizen, living there at that time, who does not
remember JOSEPH CHARLESS.  And I have been struck with the fact that a
number of persons who have been at my house in this State, and have
asked me, as they looked at your Grandfather’s miniature that hangs on
my walls-–Who is this?  When I have told them, all remembered what
they had heard, or seen in the papers, of his virtuous life and tragic
death; but not one ever asked me the name of his assassin.  So true to
nature and the orderings of Providence is the proverb of Solomon: “The
memory of the just is blessed: but the name of the wicked shall rot.”

And now, my dear young friends, let me say to each of you, if you
would be virtuous, or happy, or useful, if you would be loved and
deserve to be loved, honored and deserve honor, be like JOSEPH CHARLESS.
And to this end may the rich blessing of God rest on each of you.

Your Friend

SAM’L B. McPHEETERS.





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