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Title: The Adventures of Two Alabama Boys
Author: Crumpton, Washington Bryan, Crumpton, H. J.
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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"The Boys" as they looked then]


In Three Sections


H. J. and W. B. CRUMPTON

Part One

The Adventures of Dr. H. J. Crumpton, of
Piedmont, California, in his efforts to reach
the Gold Fields in 1849

Part Two

The Adventures of Rev. W. B. Crumpton, going
to and returning from California, including his
Lecture, "The Original Tramp, or How a Boy
Got through the Lines to the Confederacy"

Part Three

To California and Back after a Lapse of
Forty Years

Montgomery, Ala.
The Paragon Press

Copyright 1912 by W. B. Crumpton

Printed at the Paragon Press


We dedicate the little booklet to our children. Maybe others will be
interested also. We are certain there are important lessons here for
young people, who are in earnest. For the frivolous and thoughtless
there is nothing.

  "_The Boys._"


THE ADVENTURES OF TWO ALABAMA BOYS was prepared some years ago with
the view of putting it in book form; but "The Boys" have been so
very busy the publication has been delayed.

SECTION ONE contains the adventures of Dr. H. J. Crumpton, a native
of Wilcox county, but since '49 a citizen of California, now
residing on a beautiful spot in Piedmont, a suburb of the city of

These incidents which he relates, his baby brother, the writer
of these lines, heard when he was a scrap of a boy. They made a
profound impression on his youthful mind, and he has ever cherished
the hope that some day he might see them in print. They were
prepared at my earnest solicitation. I feel sure it was no easy
task to dig up from memory almost forgotten incidents and put them
in shape for the reader. At this writing, though he is advanced in
years, past eighty-four, the good wife writes: "He is smart and
active as ever--walks fifteen miles and it doesn't feaze him."

One of the most noted buildings in San Francisco is that of the
Society of California Pioneers, of which Society he is an honored
member and a Vice-President. His opinion of politics one can
discover by a letter to the writer. He says: "I am forced to the
conclusion, after serving in the Legislature of my adopted State
several terms and in a local municipality, that politics is a filthy
pool." An opinion shared by a good many others. Some are said to
be born politicians; but I am sure none were born in the Crumpton
family. Every one of the name I have ever known, felt great interest
in all public questions and had opinions about them, but office
seeking has not been to their liking.

A family trait is, an undying love for the old haunts. This caused
the old Forty Niner, when he possessed the means to do so, to
purchase the old farm of his father, fulfilling in part, no doubt, a
dream of his youthful days.

Though in the land of the enemy he was loyal to the South during
the war between the States, proving his faith by his works when he
invested much of his means in Confederate Bonds. The Confederacy
failing, of course this was a clear loss to him. Just at the
breaking out of the Civil War, he returned to California to look
after his interests there and to see what had become of me. If
the reader will turn to my letters which follow, he will get the

He failed to tell a most interesting event in his history: When a
miner, he often took on his knee a wee-bit of a girl, Mattie by
name, the daughter of William Jack, a sturdy old Scotch-Irishman,
from Beloit, Wis. She called him "sweetheart," and he often took
her pledge to be his wife some day. Sure enough, the old bachelor
waited, and little Mattie has been for many years the mistress of
his home. In one of the most cozy cottages of Sausalito, nestling
against the mountain, with the Bay and the City of San Francisco
at its front, it was my pleasure to visit the little family some
years ago. It had been forty years since I had seen my brother.
In her father's home in 1862, near Beloit, I had spent two months
delightfully, while stealthily preparing to make my way through the
lines to the Confederacy. I know it was in his heart to tell of his
wife and his charming daughter, Clara, the light and joy of the
home; but the burden of writing was too much, and abruptly he gave
up the job.

I am glad indeed the Adventures begin with something of the family
history. He is the only member of the family remaining who knows
anything about it (there are only two of us now). I am mortified
that I failed to find out some of the facts from my father, who was
so long with me in his old age.

My brother, after his adventurous life in the mines, served his
adopted State in the Legislature and later settled down, after
graduation, to the practice of medicine, a profession he seemed to
have a liking for from his boyhood. At this writing he is a citizen
of Piedmont, California. He is hale and hearty and says that in
1915, when the Panama Canal is opened, he is going to visit the
States again and bring his wife. Every foot of the route across the
Isthmus will be familiar, as he crossed it several times, one time
partly on foot, before the railroad was completed.


  Montgomery, Ala.

Part One

By H. J. Crumpton

     The Adventures of Dr. H. J. Crumpton of Piedmont, California,
           in his efforts to reach the Gold Fields in 1849

Recollections of the family life; Arrival in Alabama; Moves to town;
Changes vocation; Becomes a printer; The Mexican War; Starts on
his wanderings; The gold excitement; Starts for the Far West; New
acquaintances; Another start West; Strikes out all alone; A plunge
in the overflow; Falls in with the military; Strikes hands with old
friends; Food scarce; Confronted by Indians; Alone again; Reaches
California; Loses his oxen; In God's country at last; Gets a job;
Takes sail; Hears sad tidings; No pay for services; At Oro City;
In the mines; At rough-and-ready; Starts back home; In a wreck; On
the Panama; In New Orleans; Finds his brother; Detained in Mobile;
Business complications; Back to the mines; Returns to Alabama;
Opinion about slavery.

[Illustration: decoration]

Part One

MY DEAR Brother Wash:

You asked me to prepare some notes on the wanderings of an Alabama
Boy. To do this from memory after such a lapse of time will be
somewhat inaccurate and prosy, I fear.


Our parents were married about 1816. Mother was Miss Matilda Smith
Bryan and father Henry T. Crumpton. Both sprang from honorable,
well-to-do people from revolutionary sires, who were soldiers of
distinction under General Francis Marion. Our maternal grandfather
was Rev. Richard Bryan, a Methodist preacher. Our parents started
married life in Walterboro, Colleton District, S. C., where were
born to them Mary, Richard Alexander, Maranda Ann, Henry Thomas,
Hezekiah John, (myself, born Sept. 18, 1828), and William Zachariah;
the balance of the ten children, afterwards born in Alabama were
James Henderson, Martha Matilda, Jane Eliza, and Washington Bryan,
yourself, the baby. All have now passed into the life beyond except
you and me.

In Walterboro our father developed into something of a plunger in
the financial world; made several successful deals, later formed a
partnership--the other fellow furnishing experience, our progenitor
the "dough." They invested in the purchase and driving of cattle
to supply the Charleston beef market. They succeeded well, always
re-investing original capital and profit in another and bigger
lot, finally meeting a calamity by the drowning of the whole herd
in attempting to cross a swollen stream, Broad River, perhaps at
its mouth and perhaps from not knowing of the ebb and flow of the
tide, though living within forty miles of the coast. With a feeling
of disgust, following this financial collapse, our father sought
new environment, and by the aid of kins folk loaded up family and
household belongings in 1832 and struck out through the wilderness
for Alabama, across Georgia through the Chickasaw and Choctaw
nations, before the removal of those and other friendly tribes was
completed to the territory now forming part of the State of Oklahoma.


After a dreary trip, we safely landed at the delightful home of
grandmother Bryan near "Fort Rascal," now Pleasant Hill, Dallas
Co. We afterwards moved to old Cahaba, where our father succeeded
well in business. The arrival of a steamboat was quite an event,
occurring maybe once a month; everybody turned out. They had a
crude way of loading cotton. A bale was carelessly turned loose and
rolled over our brother Henry, who sustained injuries from which he
died. This was such a shock for poor mother, it was determined best
to have a change of scenes. Our family removed from old Cahaba to
Farmersville, a little hamlet in Lowndes county. One thing about
our stay there is vividly remembered. A dear, good old soul, named
Ingram, was my school teacher in the log-cabin school house. He
didn't know much and didn't try to fool anybody; but he was a great
stickler for what he called "etiket"--was bent on teaching his
children good manners. Just about all of Friday was devoted to this
stunt. It was quite a relief, after we got rid of our bashfulness.
The previous four days, twelve hours each, with our prosy studies,
put us in good shape for a change on Friday. The dear old fellow
managed to work in more or less change of program from time to time;
but one inflexible feature was to send one of the girls out of one
of the side doors, then detail some boy to go out the other, to
escort her back and introduce her to each one of the whole school,
an ordeal to which every boy and girl had to be subjected. Some
regarded this as a hardship, but to this degenerate son of Adam
'twas always a roaring farce and as good as a circus!

Our family about this time came into possession of quite an
inheritance, which was added to the proceeds from sale of the
effects at Cahaba, and invested in a fine body of land, about the
junction of Grindstone and Bear Creeks, in Wilcox county. Our
charming new home was built on high ground on Dogwood Level, a
little way from the farm, where we had a spring of fine water and
plenty of good air. By this time three of us boys were big enough
to work and strong, willing workers we were. With no experience and
not always guided in our farming, we got along better than neighbors
to the manner born, and were learning and doing fairly well. It
was perhaps the mistake of a lifetime to accept an offer to sell
the whole outfit, at figures far in advance of cost or apparent
present value, to people who knew a good thing when they saw it--the
Maxwells--a noble acquisition to that then border settlement.


We moved to the county seat, Barbersville, now Camden, and went
into the hotel business. We furnished a good table, clean house,
clean beds, was popular and crowded from the start--lots of old
family friends from far and near, called for entertaining whom it
would have been an outrage on Southern hospitality to tender, or
accept compensation. In this way all profits were "chawed up"--a
mighty poor way to run a hotel. But we older boys were pretty good
hustlers, earned enough to help along, tiding over and in the
education of the younger children.

_My first stunt_ in that direction was starting an express and
stage line. Carried passengers and freight between our town and
Bridgeport, nearest landing on the Alabama River. My outfit was a
one-horse affair with a highly prized annex--an undersized black
cur, "Beaver,"--worthless in the estimation of everyone, other than
his affectionate owner.

About this time, two enterprising young men from New England started
a general store at the landing. On a return trip from the East
to buy goods, one of them brought with him a large Newfoundland
dog--the first one in those parts, which he "sicked" onto Beaver.
Owing to the difference in size, results were quick and one-sided.
Seeing me crying in affectionate, helpless distress, the fellow had
the heartless bad taste to exultingly ask: "What do you think of
that, young man?" My response between sobs was: "You, a big man,
made a big dog lick a little boy's little dog. By and by, I will be
as big as you and will then do to you what has been done today to my
Beaver." Years afterwards, when, perhaps, as the first successful
Californian to return, the people of dear old Camden tendered me
quite an ovation, he of the dog fight, among them, was loud in
expressing welcome and personal admiration, which made it deucedly
bad taste in me to allude to the old thing, by saying: "If now the
attempt was made to execute the promised retaliation, it would show
a malicious, revengeful spirit, without in any way changing what
occurred in the long ago, so please consider the incident closed,"
and so it was with a snap.


Maybe the dog fight prompted a change of vocation to that of mail
carrier, on horse back or mule back, the route extending from Cahaba
down the river by Cambridge[A] to Prairie Bluff, across the river
and up by old Canton, to Camden, Bells Landing, Claiborne, thence to
Stockton, in Baldwin county, and serving intervening post offices.
It required six days to make a round trip with the seventh day off,
Thursday, either at Stockton or the other end. At Stockton, as a
government attaché one had the privilege to go on the mail boat to
Mobile and return after a stay of five hours--quite a treat for a
country boy. Whereas, a day off at the other end involved an extra
ride of ten miles to Selma and return, because the contractor lived
there, and thus saved the keep of boy and horse in Cahaba.

  [A] The post office at Cambridge was in the home of a planter, C. M.
  Cochran, H. J. C. carried the mail into that home many a time, about
  the time the other Alabama boy was born. Into that home the latter
  entered in 1870 and took the baby daughter of the old post master to
  be his wife. The post office has been long known as Crumptonia.--W.
  B. C.

With an ambition to do faithful and efficient service, reckless
risks were some times taken. I once got into Flat Creek, when the
old worn-out mule was unable to stem the stiff current. We were
carried down stream toward the river not far away. A friendly
overhanging grape-vine gave me a stopping place and not far below
the mule lodged in a submerged tree-top. My lusty yells brought
the good Samaritan. When about to swim out to rescue me, he was
disgusted when told to first save the mule and mail. This he did
in good shape; meantime, I did my own swimming. The water was
emptied out of the mail bag, the bag thrown across the saddle,
the mule mounted, and away we went for a bridge several miles up
the stream. Maybe it was not the same old mule which about a year
afterwards laid down and died suddenly, some eight miles from our
terminal point, Cahaba. Slinging saddle, bridle, and mail bag over
my shoulder, the balance of the trip was made on foot and the
mail delivered on time. When next pay day came around, the old
contractor placed his own value on the mule and took same out of my
wages. My job was thrown up immediately and suit commenced for the
amount due, but tiring of the law's delay, the case was allowed to
lapse, and the wretch allowed the comfort of having beaten a boy
out of hard earned wages. Doubtless he has long since passed to the
beyond. He was outwardly a devout and sanctimonious man; if one were
sure he is now enjoying a state of heavenly bliss, it would more
than justify a belief in universal salvation.


My next work was an apprentice in a printing office--a fine school
for a boy with an ambition to learn. Those capable of judging soon
began to credit me with quick, accurate work. 'Twas a misfortune
perhaps, and entailed following hardships to have an early ambition
for something beyond--commenced "reading medicine"--generally in
hours stolen from sleep or out-door exercise and sunshine.


When the war with Mexico commenced, brothers William and Richard
went as volunteers, the latter on a very short enlistment, and
afterwards wrote he had declined further service in the ranks,
having secured employment more lucrative in the quartermaster's
employment. Although not exactly fair thus to leave the old folks
alone with a number of younger children, I left for Memphis, Tenn.,
soon after the other boys went to Mexico and matriculated as a
student in a medical college.

I paid my way by working between times in a printing office. There
I remained for two years and made fine progress. I was still under
age, and on some account I concluded there would be but little
honor in attaining a degree from that school, so I determined for
a time to suspend further efforts in that direction. I was growing
up thin and cadaverous looking, longing for out-door life, so I
left Memphis with a view of joining brother Richard on the Rio
Grande frontier. Upon my arrival at New Orleans, May 1848, peace was
declared with Mexico. Concluding that our brothers and all other
American troops would come home soon, I returned to our home in
Camden. William came before a great while, but Richard wrote he had
joined a Major Graham's party soon to leave the Rio Grande frontier
to take possession of this recently acquired territory, California,
as a part of the rich spoils of war. Upon learning this, my purpose
was at once declared to join him as soon as possible, though having
next to nothing financially to go on. This was before the finding of
gold there had been announced to us. A man, Kilpatrick by name, from
Clark county, had been quite sick in Camden, under treatment of Dr.
Bryant. More as a nurse than a half-baked doctor, he had been cared
for by me also, for which there was quite a sum due. Announcing to
him my purpose, and asking payment for amount due, he, like others,
was shocked at so desperate an undertaking, but said my claim would
be paid as soon as he could obtain money from home. This emergency
was soon bridged over by his giving me a check on his folks for the


So I packed my belongings into a pair of old saddle-bags, which
was sent down the river to Mobile. I collected every cent due me
in Camden and struck out across country for Kilpatrick's home in
Clark county on foot. In those days it was rare to see a decent
appearing white chap thus traveling. White folks looked askance and
suspicious, and the darkies wondered. It was a comfort to hear a
darky say to her companions: "Yander boy haint no po' white trash."
She didn't know how scantily filled was my purse.

The Kilpatricks treated me like a prince, paid me liberally for
services to afflicted relative, urged me to stay with them longer,
and bade me Godspeed in my desperate undertaking. Resuming my
tramp, it was not far to the Tombigbee, where a steamboat picked
me up and in due time landed me in Mobile, where my first care was
to hunt up my old saddle-bags. I forgot to pay the consignee, who
perhaps thought me a rich planter's son, whose cotton crop he hoped
to handle later on.


By this time the great gold discoveries were known the world over.
At New Orleans I saw a circular sent out from Fort Smith, Ark., "Ho,
for California Gold Mines!" It went on to say that an expedition
was fitting out at that point, soon to start overland. After some
mistakes enroute, I reached Ft. Smith, perhaps in Oct. 1848, to be
informed that the expedition was only in its incipiency, not to
leave there until the following spring, which was just as well for
me, as most of my scanty funds had been used up. I was fortunate
indeed in finding work. I was never idle a day, so that within
six months, I accumulated quite a little sum. I suppose I had
the appearance of being an undersized country boy; but everybody
soon saw a quick willingness to do diligently any task given me.
'Twas soon my good fortune to fall in with John F. Wheeler, an old
Georgian, who had married a Cherokee--an intelligent, educated
woman. They had a number of children, mostly girls, all well
behaved. He owned the Fort Smith Herald, put me to work, took me
into his family, a delightful, cheerful home. When spring opened,
mostly through him, terms were made for my transportation with dear
old Charley Hudspeth, who showed the affection of a father for his


We left Fort Smith April 12th, 1849, traveled westerly up the
Canadian river through the territory of the Choctaws and other of
those friendly tribes, who had been moved from Georgia, Alabama and
other Southern States. Thence our route of travel was westerly up
that river through the present territory of Oklahoma, up onto broad
open plains to Sante Fe, Albuquerque, thence down the Rio Grande to
near El Paso, thence to Tucson, to the Pimo villages, down the Gila
to the Colorado, where Fort Yuma now is, thence across the Great
American Desert, and so through arable California to Los Angeles, to
San Pedro, thence by Barque Hector, by sea, to San Francisco.

Some little distance from Ft. Smith, our route of travel was mostly
through low valley lands with a number of rather large streams,
with considerable rain, hence our progress was rather slow. After
going about 150 miles, my leg became seriously injured from a horse
floundering in the mud. This injury in such surroundings grew
rapidly more serious. Two reputable medical men in the train gave
me kind treatment and rather gloomy prognostications, hinting at
the possibilities of amputation. Though they knew no more than this
half-baked doctor, everything tended to make me despondent.

Just then a young man, whose wealthy father lived in Ft. Smith, and
who knew of the friendship of old John Wheeler and family for me,
said: "Young fellow, you are in a bad fix. You had better return and
let those Wheeler girls and their mother take care of you and you'll
soon be as good as new--don't say you can't stand the trip--you can
ride horse-back. There is one of my best horses, saddle, bridle
and lariat; take them and deliver them to my father at Ft. Smith."
Others thought well of this scheme, which rekindled a tender feeling
for one of the half-breed Cherokee girls and made me feel homesick.
So it did not take much persuasion to start me on the back out trip,
dear old Charlie Hudspeth having refunded all I had paid him.

Soon afterwards I was taken in for the night by a Choctaw family.
Though full blooded Indians, they were intelligent, well-to-do
people, who treated me with royal hospitality. I made myself solid
with them by saying my people knew their's well and were always on
friendly terms with them before removal from Southern States. When
they were told of my having lived with the Wheeler family, though
the latter were Cherokees, they made me feel very much at home.
There was a continuous rain and they prevailed on me to remain
until its subsidence--which was not for several days--and had the
effect to overflow a large stream nearby. Remembering some of my bad
luck in high water when a mail carrier, I determined not to take
any chances now--happy indeed in having so good a stopping place.
Cleanliness and rest worked wonders in my injured leg within the few
days thus waterbound.


There came along a pack train bound for California and camped on
the opposite side of the stream. Tired waiting the subsidence of
the flood they hired the Indians to help them across. The Indians
constructed a rude raft, on which the trappings and cargoes of the
mules and their owners were placed and drawn with ropes across.
The Indians, almost naked, were in the water steering the mules
across--doing the job in splendid way.

This pack train turned out to be a part of a large wagon train,
several days in advance of them, whom, from the description, I knew
were traveling near my old party. When it came to paying the Indians
for their arduous ferry job, the packers did not have ready money
enough and, like so many others when dealing with Indians, did not
know the importance of being civil. The Indians were very indignant
and did not believe that they were short of the ready. Things began
to look serious.


My own physical condition was changing so rapidly for the better,
my old enthusiasm for the westward trip only required a little to
change my course in that direction; so, to relieve these fellows of
their dilemma, I offered to advance the balance due the Indians and
go along with them until we overtook their wagon train, when the
amount due me should be refunded. This was readily agreed to and the
Indians' claim amicably adjusted. The family with whom I had been
stopping would accept no compensation for their kindness to me, so I
bade them an affectionate adieu and departed.

In due time, traveling with the packers, we overtook their wagon
train; the amount due me was promptly repaid. My own old party was
reported several days ahead. We were then beyond low, swampy land,
onto broad, open plains on the border of the Kiowas, Comanches,
and other warlike tribes of Indians. We were at a point where most
of the teams had crossed from the South to the North side of the
Canadian river.


I chose to follow the track of the lesser number, who continued up
on the southerly side of that great stream. I passed a number of
detached small parties, but soon found myself beyond all in sight,
and alone on broad, treeless plains, with now and then a clump of
willows or a lone cotton tree, showing where the river was. Thus
passed two anxious days. During the afternoon of the third day,
several shallow ponds of water were crossed, some a quarter of a
mile in extent, but only a few inches deep.

A little after dark, I found quite a beaten track, showing a large
number of wagons had recently passed; felt somewhat relieved, hoping
soon to fall in with some one.


Perhaps about nine o'clock, I came to a body of water, which I
mistook for another shallow pond, such as had been previously
encountered, but in a little time I was in swimming water, in a
strong, rapid current. The horse, as badly panic stricken as the
rider, could not, or would not swim and was soon rolling down the
current like a barrel. For some time I could not detach my feet from
the little yankee stirrups. When released, I swam until able to
stand a moment with head above water.

The horse was out in the current and neighed pitifully for help.
Swimming out to him and catching the bridle, we successfully landed
on the same side we started in. Although it was a cool evening,
instead of having my only coat on, it hung carelessly on the horn of
the saddle, and my Alabama saddle bags and a pair of blankets were
thrown loosely across the saddle with some provisions. All these
floated down the river. With the lariat, which had fortunately been
saved, the horse was picketed on the leeside of a bunch of willows.
Covered with the wet saddle blanket, he fared fairly well in the
luxuriant grass. To save myself from freezing, I cut with my big
jack-knife a lot of willow twigs, and piled them in a heap. Wiggling
myself into the center of this, I found a perfect shield from the
raw wind and never had a more comfortable, sound sleep all night.

I was disgusted with myself in the morning to discover this was the
crossing place of the Canadian river of the emigrants who had been
traveling up the North side and that when striking their road the
night before, 'twas my fate to take the wrong end and was on the
back track to Fort Smith, when entering the river.


I resumed a westerly course next morning. After traveling all day,
badly scared by plenty of signs of hostile Indians, was overjoyed
to see friendly camp-fires ahead, which proved to be a military
escort which accompanied us to Santa Fe. They treated me hospitably,
after hearing my tale of woe. Up to the time I got into the river,
although I had some provisions, I had no relish for them, owing, I
suppose, to my fear of Indians, and the uncertainty about the route
of travel. I was well prepared now to fill up with the ample lay-out
presented by my military entertainers. The incident was mentioned
in their report to the Government of Captain Mercey's Santa Fe
expedition from Fort Smith Spring of 1849.


I rejoined my old party the next afternoon; was received with
surprise and great enthusiasm. The horse and outfit was returned to
his owner and dear old Charlie Hudspeth treated me as a returned
lost son, sound and well every way, and fully reinstated me as
one of the party. I was a general chore boy, looking up camping
sites, starting fires, procuring wood and water, driving team, or
looking out for stock; most of the time traveled on foot. While a
mail carrier, I had learned to ride and stay on most any kind of a
"critter." So while enroute, I rode everything placed in my charge,
steer, cow, mule or bronco, thus I had many a lift when tired of

We passed through safely the many warlike tribes before reaching
New Mexico. By the time we reached Santa Fe, we realized it would
take a much longer time to make the trip clear across than at first
anticipated and that provisions would be short.


We were disappointed, too, in not being able to replenish by
purchase from the Mexicans--only in stinted quantities. We were
disappointed also in seeing but few buffaloes, from which source
we had expected to get all the additional meat we might require.
At that time there were still millions roaming the plains. Their
habit was to start from Canada at the approach of winter, feeding
Southward, wintering in Northern Texas, Mexico and Indian Territory,
starting Northward, as spring approached, back to their Northern
feeding grounds.

In traveling down the Great Rio Grande Valley, a very rich country
from Albuquerque to near El Paso, we were some times able to buy
beans. Further on we found an abundance of muskeet--a wild locust
which bore a sort of bean, fine food for man or beast. But we had
to live on restricted rations for a long time. _It was an unwritten
law that women and children should eat all they wanted._ Being a
stunted, undersized boy, just taking on new growth, consequently
requiring more than a fully developed man, it was a particular
hardship not to be let in as a juvenile with the women. All of us
soured. We grew crabbed and cross, forgetting what the Good Book
says: "A soft answer turneth away wrath." There were bickerings and
quarrels and bloodshed.

Presuming on our escape from Indian depredations, we began to grow
careless. After leaving the Rio Grande Valley, we camped one night
without water,--disappointed in not reaching the Rio Mimbles. Next
morning we started early without breakfast. Nearly every one on
horse-back shoved out ahead. Soon there was a line of timber in
sight, where we felt sure there was water. Having a small band
of cattle under my charge, one of them was mounted, and the band
crowded ahead. In a little while I was some distance ahead of the
train of wagons when, as if springing out of the ground, three
Apache Indians, splendidly mounted, confronted me.


My feelings might have found utterance as follows: "Well, boy, there
is one chance in a thousand for you to get out of this alive--that
one chance consists in concealing from them that you are scared
nearly to death." Having picked up considerable Spanish during the
short contact with the Mexicans, which the border tribes all speak
fluently, they were invited to go into camp with me, that we had
some nice presents for them, naming such things as were thought
most acceptable to them. In the meantime I had dismounted from
my steed and advanced to the one supposed to be the leader and
offered to shake hands with him. After a little conversation with
his fellows, he seized my hand, not so as to give me pain, but with
a grip it would have been useless to pull away from had he willed
it otherwise. Being right over me on his horse, he looked at me so
piercingly that the effect was transmitted to the region of the
stomach, where there was a death-like chilliness. My weight being
less, perhaps, than 100 pounds, my uppermost thought was, how easy
for him to lift me across his saddle and, with his comrades, fly
away to the mountains and have a war dance while burning me at the
stake. All this while he was telling how good he thought me.

To my surprise the invitation was accepted, and we took up the line
of march for camp, one of the yellow devils in the rear and one on
each side of the little band of cattle and the badly scared boy who
kept jabbering away, afraid to stop lest his knees would give way.
They acted on my suggestion to go out and get some horses and mules
and bring them in, as we wanted some and would give good prices.


Being left alone by them, I was glad to pile down on the side of
the road and wait for the wagon train and go to camp with them. No
matter what their original purpose, these Indians never returned to
our camp. Another and bigger band had just returned into the same
mountain and doubtless were joined by my entertainers with a drove
of stock stolen from the Mexicans; but a band of our troops followed
and recovered the stock after a sharp fight. These border tribes had
for all time gone on such forays according to their own sweet will
and got away with the spoils before the poor Mexicans got ready to
hit back. Through our late acquisition of territory, these Mexicans
received protection from our troops. This the Indians resented,
regarding the border settlements as their special preserves, the
engagement referred to being the commencement of an interminable
war. Our party escaped without trouble, but those behind us and poor
Mexicans by the score were destroyed before the almost annihilation
of all these border tribes.


After considerable privation, we finally reached California by
crossing the Colorado river, where Fort Yuma now is, into the
Great American Desert, where we found things more tolerable than
anticipated. A large area of the so-called desert is far below the
sea-level and there had been a vast inflow of fresh water the past
season from the great Colorado river. A rank growth of green grass
and other vegetation awaited our coming and deep pools furnished an
abundance of pure, cool water. We at last reached settlements where
we could replenish our stores and where there was plenty of game.


Soon after reaching the first settlement, a loose yoke of oxen was
lost through my carelessness and I stopped behind to hunt them. I
found them after looking thirty-six hours, just at dark the second
night, and started with them, on foot, to overtake my party. I had
nothing to eat during the time, traveled all night, and next morning
at eight o'clock met two of my comrades starting back to hunt me.
They had killed a fine, fat deer, and had a four quart bucket full
of stewed venison with dumplings made of unbolted flour, a repast
fit to set before a king. That layout was set before me and the void
from a forty-eight hours' fast was soon filled. The boys stared at
the almost empty pail, being told 'twas the first eaten since we
parted two days before.


One was justified in feeling, under the circumstances, that at last
he had found "God's Country."

We now leisurely moved along and reached Los Angeles in due time,
where our party broke up. Some sold off their stock; others drove
on, or packed through to the southern gold fields; others took
shipping for San Francisco. Having nothing to go farther on, it was
necessary for me to find work. My employer was old Abel Stearnes,
an old settler, a Scotchman, who had married into a noble Castilian
family. He was well-to-do, a merchant. When asked what I could do,
I replied: "O, anything." "Which means you are trained to nothing!"
was his reply. I said: "Not exactly, I am a doctor." With a grunt
he mumbled out "You are a h---- of a looking doctor!"


Agreeing with him on that proposition, I replied: "Well, I don't
expect to doctor you, but surely you can use me some way to your
benefit and to mine." After thus tantalizing me and taking my
measure, he called a peon, whom I found to be an easy boss, and I
was placed beside himself digging and shoveling, took his gait,
which was much more easy than the Southern darkey. Later on the
old man came out and said: "Come in now, we are going to have
dinner." This first invitation for a square meal within six months
was embarrassing. In my thread-bare, unkempt condition, I felt
myself unfit to dine with an elegant family. The old Don took in
the situation and walked away, to reappear after perhaps an hour,
renewing his invitation, as I supposed, to dine with the servants;
but there was a retinue of them to wait on me, no one else at
the table. 'Twas a magnificent spread, fit to set before royalty.
Knowing very little about liquor of any sort, I did not understand
the Don, when he said in setting a well-filled decanter before me:
"Here is some fine old dry Sherry; help yourself, it won't hurt
you." To verify his last assertion, he poured out a goblet full
and tossed it down, smacked his lips, then poured out another for
me, which was disposed of as per his request, to discover that
there was nothing dry about the transaction except the half-starved
immigrant. The servants were amazed, and in a quiet way, had fun
among themselves to see the amount of provender absorbed, washed
down by the _dry_ liquid condiment. The wit of their party, a
bright Indian girl, said in Spanish: "He is little and long with
big room inside." They had their own fun, assuming my ignorance of
the language, as they spoke in Spanish. This was the commencement
of a pleasant stay with the family, as one of them. After a good
clean-up and fresh raiment obtained, I did not shovel and pick
with the peon any more. I was placed apparently on waiting orders
at fair wages while apparently the old Don sized me up. Later on
he was taken aback when he found that my purpose was to reach San
Francisco as soon as possible. I hoped by being there to be sooner
placed in communication with Brother Richard. He then told me he had
purposed placing me in his large mercantile establishment, believing
the young immigrant to be a trustworthy and competent employe, he
wanted me to abandon all thought of San Francisco and the mines,
by remaining with him, as more likely to trace our Brother from
that point. When told that it was too late, that passage for San
Francisco had already been secured on the Barque Hector, then at San
Pedro, some twenty miles from Los Angeles, he paid me liberally for
my services, gave me a fine pair of Mexican blankets and provisions
for the trip.


Before declaring my plans and purposes to Don Abel, I had met in
Los Angeles the owner of the barque, who offered to take me up to
San Francisco on credit for part or all of the passage money. At
the port of San Pedro, there were so many wanting to go that it was
beyond the legal limit. All had to sign papers securing the owner
against prosecution for violating the law. The owner turned out to
be Capt. Alex Bell, brother to Col. Minter's wife, then living on
Mush Creek, near Pleasant Hill, in Alabama.


In signing my name, he asked: "Are you one of the Alabama
Crumptons?" "Yes," was the reply. "Was Dick your brother?" "Yes."
"He's dead, poor fellow; died with cholera at Camargo when about to
start with Major Graham's party for the Coast." Seeing my distress
and shock from such intelligence, he said: "Be of good cheer, my
dear boy; Dick was a noble friend to me, I'll be a brother to you."
Of course this was comforting. Bell, besides cleaning up quite
a lot of money by his passengers, had bought a lot of produce on
speculation, jerked beef, dried grapes and corn in the ear. Upon
arrival in San Francisco and discharging the passengers, he bought
two corn shellers, the only such machines on the coast, and put me
to work with others shelling the corn. We did good work and were fed
well, an important item for us who had been so long on short rations.

The crew of the ship cleared out for the mines. A ship at anchor in
port requires considerable work and attention to keep everything in
shipshape, work landmen knew nothing about, but we consented to do
as best we knew. It wasn't long, however, before the officers of the
ship got overbearing and abusive. "D--n your eyes! Avast there!"
etc. We struck and went ashore.


There was quite a sum due me beyond payment of my passage money.
This Bell refused to pay, except on condition that there was a
return to the ship and the job finished. Refusing to do this, the
balance was lost, although he promised to be a brother by proxy.
Others sued and got their money. Three others and myself found a job
burning charcoal and chopping cord wood from the scrub oaks on the
adjacent hills. I remarked to my comrades that I knew nothing about
such work. They said it was all right and they would give me a full
show and do most of the hard work. It was a standoff, by my cooking
and doing other camp duties and marketing our products. Thus we
earned enough to get an outfit for the mines.


We went on a little sloop to Sacramento and from there up the river
to where a man had laid out what he called Oro City. He hired us
to clear out snags and sawyers, so as to make Bear river navigable
down to its mouth into the Feather river, perhaps two miles below.
He offered us $12.00 a day without keep, or $8.00 a day and keep,
and a place to sleep in our blankets. To make a dead sure thing we
accepted the $8.00 per day and keep. The old man had a nice family,
a good, motherly wife and two grown daughters, who made it pleasant
for us. We got along and gave satisfaction. We noticed, however,
frequent half and sometimes whole days off when we were idle.
Notwithstanding such loss of time, we did not complain at first, but
grew restive and determined to resume our tramp to the mines. When
coming to a settlement we fell far short of getting what we thought
justly due. For Sunday we were charged $4.00 for a day's board and
the same for each day laid off during the week and $2.00 for each
half day that the old fellow failed to furnish work.

After accepting these harsh terms, the wise guy of our party
vouchsafed the following: "Well, old Rooster, although masquerading
as an honest old Missouri farmer, in thus tricking us boys, had we
stayed much longer, we'd have been in your debt. In this transaction
you have out-yanked the shrewdest Yankee we have thus far met."


We struck the mines at the mouth of Deer creek, where it empties in
the Yuba river, and worked along the banks, finally settling in a
comfortable camp where the splendid little mountain city, Nevada,
has since grown up. We were lucky in soon having good returns for
our work, beyond what the Oro City man had promised us, and so
continued until the spring of 1850. Then we secured a promising
layout on the upper South Yuba river, perhaps thirty miles away,
and commenced active operations to turn the river as soon as the
snow water subsided. Results were not satisfactory, blowing into the
Yuba Dam all our previous earnings. I returned to Sacramento, lured
thither by a $200.00 per month job offered me on my way up to the

But the immigration of 1850 was arriving, and Sacramento was full
of idle men, glad to work on any terms offered, so my traps were
shouldered for a start back for the mines, where a new location was


Met with good success during the following winter, in the spring
of 1851 another change was made, to Auburn, then called Woods' Dry
Diggings. Here I staid with good success until the fall of 1853. I
determined to visit the old folks at home and to finish my medical
studies at New Orleans. Accompanying me was my dear old mining
partner, Tom Dixon, of Marengo county.


We started from our California home, Auburn, so as to have several
days in San Francisco before the sailing of the Panama steamer.

He found a Dr. A. S. Wright, who advertised himself as "Banker
and Assayer," who offered Dix a bigger price than anyone else
would give for his gold dust, provided he would take draft on New
Orleans, payable in sixty days after sight. Besides the $3,000.00
thus disposed of, he had quite a little reserve, which he persisted
in "toting" on his person--a source of worry and nervous anxiety,
contributing to the general breakdown that followed.


We left San Francisco in the crack steamship _Winfield Scott_ with
an opposition steamer racing us from the start via Nicaragua. At
midnight, the second day out, our ship struck a rock and sank. There
was a calm sea and plenty of time to save all hands and land them on
an adjacent island, Aracapa, with a limited amount of provisions,
which were doled out stintedly twice a day. There was rarely enough
given out to go around. Out of 500 souls, perhaps as many as
twenty-five would get nothing. Tom was nearly always one of them.
My little allowance was always shared with him. When reproved for
not rushing in with me to secure his share, he replied: "O, Kiah, I
don't like to crowd." When assured he would have to go hungry, as
I wouldn't divide any longer, he got a move on him and got there
with the foremost. There was no water on the island, but the tanks
of fresh water on the steamer remained intact and were brought on
shore in boats. One day, when assisting in this work and undertaking
to help myself to a drink, the cup was knocked from my lips by one
of the crew, who said: "Let that water alone until I tell you to
drink, you ----." After the fellow was pretty badly used up, the cup
was refilled and drank with gusto, with no further molestation. One
usually makes friends when showing pluck to resent such an outrage,
and this fellow slunk like a whipped cur. When the affray was over,
Dick was hard by gritting his teeth, with fists doubled up, just
ready for war.


After a ten days stay, we sailed pleasantly to Panama. We had
hard experiences in crossing the Isthmus. The railroad had been
completed but a few miles at its eastern terminus. As a large
number of our comrades had determined to cross on foot, instead of
paying a fabulous price for mule hire, we determined to be of the
number. Much of my stuff was thrown away to make my pack as light
as possible, but Dick was in love with all he had, which he wanted
to take home as souvenirs, besides the gold dust strapped to his
person. With his heavy load, he soon began to lag; first one article
and then another was transferred from his shoulders to mine. He was
almost heart broken when we were forced to lighten cargo from time
to time, abandoning different things on the march, in order to keep
up with our comrades. Upon my releasing him from his incubus of gold
dust, he stepped rather spryly for a time. I kept him in front and
pushed him along, bullied and scared him by fear of robbers, who
we heard of attacking, robbing and some times killing others. Poor
fellow, he was used up and collapsed upon reaching the steamer. He
was abed most of the time until we reached New Orleans.


Upon presentation of his $3,000.00 check, not on a bank, but on a
respectable mercantile house, we were told that they knew nothing of
the San Francisco Banker and Assayer. As the check was not due for
sixty days, they explained the funds might be received with which to
pay it.

We passed over to Mobile after Dick rested a few days, where,
fortunately, we found an old friend of his. It was a great relief to
me, as poor Dick had been a burden. Besides the terrible ordeal of
other vicissitudes through which we had just passed, was the worry
of the probable loss of his $3,000.00 cheap-john check. He was in
a state of mental as well as physical collapse. As soon as able
to travel, his friends kindly escorted Dixon to his home, up the
Tombigbee to Demopolis.


I found brother William in Mobile, where he had a fine position in
business and stood well socially.

A returned successful Californian was something of a show, a rather
annoying feature of my stay in Mobile, which prompted an early exit
for Camden and out to Pine Apple where our people lived. After a
nice visit, finding the old folks up in pretty good shape, I started
for New Orleans, with a view of resuming my medical studies. Upon my
arrival at Mobile, I found poor brother William down with pneumonia.


Although under the care of two of the most eminent doctors of that
city, my trip to New Orleans was abandoned to remain with him as
nurse. After a long siege they gave him up as beyond recovery.
This being known, brought what was intended as a farewell greeting
from a host of old friends who comforted him on his being resigned
and prepared for the change. Although having little hope myself,
I tried to dispel from his mind the idea that a fatal ending was
inevitable, and partially succeeded. Although they abandoned the
case, the doctors were asked to give him a little champagne. They
flippantly responded: "Give him all he wants." Two quart bottles
were obtained and the poor fellow smacked his lips after having
a small wine glass full. This I kept up every hour. The effect
was marvelous. He was so revived that I felt justified in leaving
him to take a little rest and sleep, after stupidly repeating the
Doctor's words: "give him all he wants," to those left in charge.
They had seen the cautious small doses given and at intervals of
an hour. After more than an hour's refreshing slumber, I found the
poor fellow in great distress, retching and vomiting, hovering near
life's end. After being snatched from the jaws of death by the
judicious use of an agent, he was almost gone by the injudicious
overdosing with the same.

Though no more than an inexperienced, half-baked doctor, no other
was called and no more chances taken of his being killed through
kindness, not to say innate stupidity. After this episode, the
invalid progressed rapidly to full recovery and we went to Camden
within a month; there he was soon fully restored. He abandoned a
fine position and prospects in Mobile and remained in Wilcox and in
the fall was elected to office by the largest majority ever given
in the county. In this position, he was exposed a good deal to
vicissitudes of weather and in time had another attack of pneumonia,
which took him off--a noble, true man.

Business complications of my old friend Dixon demanded


and he prevailed on me to return and act as his agent. The poor
fellow turned the collection of his $3,000.00 protested check over
to me, as business agent, whose knowledge of business was almost as
limited as his own. I was fortunate, however, in seeking assistance
in proper quarters. The check, having been presented when due, but
not paid, went to protest. Upon calling at the New Orleans house on
my way to California they predicted Wright would not be found on my

Added to the wear and tear of nursing brother William and other,
perhaps, unnecessary exposures, after two weeks stay on the Isthmus,
I was attacked with Panama fever before the steamer reached
Acapulco; but in cooler weather, by the time we had reached San
Francisco, I was in fairly good shape. Upon my arrival, I was
fortunate enough to be placed in contact with two of the biggest
banking houses in town, who, after some fun with me, as the victim
of the agent, gave me all the aid possible in recovering the money.
Old Wright was badly scared and humiliated at the exposure, which
came sooner than he anticipated. He fillibustered, quibbled, said
he had forwarded the money and knew it had been paid at the other
end of the line, but he was outgeneraled on every turn and finally
refunded every dollar, which, less a small sum for incidentals, was
sent to Dixon in a check on a Mobile bank. Within a short time,
Wright and the old bankers who helped hold him up, all went to the


After getting the Dixon matter settled, I left San Francisco for my
old haunts in the mines at Auburn. Not a great while afterwards,
heard from a dear old mining partner, who some time previous left
for the north, when I left Rough-and-Ready for Auburn. He wrote me
he had a valuable discovery at what is now Yreka, near the Oregon
line, requesting me to join and share with him all there was in it.
Usually rather reserved about exposing my plans for the future, my
intended prospects to join Tom Ward got to be known among others,
by an enterprising thief, who went through my effects one night
and stole most of my ready means on the eve of my departure.
With plenty of help, he was captured and my money recovered.
The necessary law's delay to appear against him knocked out my
contemplated trip. The fellow was finally tried, convicted, and
served a term in the penitentiary. While waiting for this, I bought
into the old Rough-and-Ready mine at Forest Hill, first one share,
one-eighth interest--had but little to do with it, but, as others
got discouraged, secured additional interests, struggled hard, lived
stintedly, and when at last the mine began to yield fair returns,
owned five-eighths interest. I closed out in five years with more
money than sense, and


purposing to first finish my studies in medicine, then to buy a
plantation and the darkies thereon. My original purpose was to enter
Tulane University, New Orleans, but the Medical Department of the
State University in Mobile was chosen. Scores of people knew me and
I was soon a social lion, a bad predicament for a student anxious
to cram and learn all possible in a given time. At the end of the
term I felt too green to submit to an examination, which made it
necessary to attend another term to secure the degree. This I did at
another Institution, and later an honored professional standing was


Following close on the term in Mobile, the spring and part of the
summer were spent in Wilcox and Dallas, visiting among relatives
and old friends of our family. Perhaps it was to our cousin, Ulma
Crumpton, my views on the negro question were expressed about thus:
"Well, my purpose in leaving California was to finally settle down
on a plantation with the ownership of as many darkies as my means
would buy, but after being away from the institution so long and
seeing the harrassing cares and annoyances connected with managing
and providing for the creatures, my sympathies are with those of
you who are responsible to God and man for their humane treatment.
The darkey has the best of it. I would not swap places with you. I
wouldn't accept as a gift the best plantation and darkies thereon
and be forced to continue as such owner."


Part Two

By W. B. Crumpton

     The Adventures of W. B. Crumpton, going to and returning from
     California, including his Lecture, "The Original Tramp, or How a
     Boy Got through the Lines to the Confederacy"

[Illustration: Decoration]


THE following is about the way I tell it:

The story I am to tell relates my own personal adventures, which I
often told around the fire-side, with no dream of its ever assuming
the shape of a lecture. My old friend, Col. J. T. Murfee, President
of Howard College, insisted that I should turn it into a lecture.
My reply was: "Some day, when I have time, I may sit down and write
it out, dressing it up with beautiful language, weaving in some
poetry, and then branch out as a full fledged lecturer." I suppose
the leisure time never would have come and probably the lecture
never been delivered but for a fool-hardy spell that possessed me on
one occasion when I was in Mt. Sterling, Ky. A brother said: "Our
Baptist young people want you to deliver a lecture. You are going
to be here several days. Could you not do so?" And I promptly said
"Yes." The next question was: "What is the name of the lecture?"
I had never thought of that before, but I blurted out: "How a
boy got through the Lines to the Confederacy." "How much do you
charge?" That was a new question too, but I ventured to say: "About
one-half." So it was arranged and a dodger was gotten out by the
preacher and printer headed: "War, War, War." It was the time of
the Spanish-American war and it ran about this way: "Dr. W. B.
Crumpton, of Georgetown, Ky., being in our city for a few days
has kindly consented to deliver his _famous lecture_ at the Court
House tonight at 7:30 o'clock for the benefit of the Baptist Young
People's Union. It is a rare opportunity our citizens have to hear
this _distinguished_ lecturer. Come one, come all. A treat awaits
you. _Admission Ten Cents_." The old people concluded, as long as
the price was so small, that it was only a funny story I was going
to relate to the young people and they were conspicuous by their

After spending a nervous afternoon, I went out to the Court House
and found about a hundred and fifty young people and children
gathered. I said to myself: "You have made yourself a fool now.
These children will all be asleep in about ten minutes, and you will
be ashamed of yourself the balance of your life for attempting to
lecture." When I was through with the story, only two very small
kids were asleep, so I took it as a good indication that I had
something worth while. I returned to my home, taking with me some
of the fine circulars for the amusement of my family, and concluded
to make a further test by giving a free lecture in the College
Chapel. It was well advertised and probably five hundred people were
present, many old veterans and a large number of students. When
I was through, parties congratulated me, and I concluded that I
could afford to continue spinning the yarn. So I have delivered the
lecture in a great many places, wherever the young people or women
would get up an audience.

The lecture was called the "Original Tramp; or How a boy got through
the lines to the Confederacy." One pious old sister who heard it
suggested that the name be changed to: "How the Lord took care of
a boy while going through the lines," and I cheerfully accept the
amended form.

It is not a religious lecture. The boy I am to tell about was not
working at religion much, though a member of the church. But I hope
there will be discovered the marks of an over-ruling Providence
running like a silver thread through all the story. He has believed,
for many years, the Lord had him in hand, though he knew it not,
preparing him for the task that has been his for many years. If some
reader shall come to believe in the Guiding Hand in his or her own
life, I shall be happy.

The lecture began with my return from California; but I have
concluded to give the whole narrative, beginning with my first
start to California, and let the reader pick out where the "Famous
Lecture" begins.

Chapter I

     A boy's best friend; A boy without ambition; "A sucker ready to
     bite at any bait"; Remembers his brother's counsel; Off to sea;
     Completely transformed.

I once heard a blind man sing--I remember one line of the chorus:


How true is that and the poor boy doesn't realize it until the
mother is taken from him. After she is gone out of the home, the
world is never again what it was to him.

My home was broken up by the death of my mother when I was only
thirteen. I became a wanderer. Sometimes I worked on a farm,
sometimes I went to school, after a fashion. When my brother,
an "old forty-niner," as the first gold-hunters in California
were called, visited relatives at Pleasant Hill in Dallas county,
he found me in school. He thought that travel would be the best
schooling for me. So he asked me one day how I would like to go to
California. My answer in the negative amazed him. I was perfectly
content to remain where I was. I was honest about it. I had been to
Montgomery, Selma, Cahaba and Prattville, and had frequently seen
steam boats on the Alabama--had actually ridden on one--had but one
desire as to travel ungratified. I wanted some day to go to Mobile
and then to East Mississippi to see my kin. I had determined to make
that trip _if I lived to be grown_; beyond that I had no ambition to
see the world.

This satisfied condition indicated to my brother that


This distressed him no little. Through another party he approached
me next time. I was asked if I would be willing to go to California
to look after some business for my brother; then to return if
I desired. To this proposition, I readily consented. It seems
ludicrous, indeed, now to think of sending an ignorant boy on such
a journey, to "look after business;" but I fell into the scheme and
felt my importance as never before.

My brother was wise and knew the ways of the world and was kind
enough to accompany me as far as he could. First he took me down
the Alabama to Mobile, then sent me alone up the M. & O. (the first
railroad I ever saw) to Enterprise, Miss., to visit my relatives
beyond there in Jasper county. I hired a horse and buggy from a Mr.
Edmonson and drove out twenty-four miles to my brother-in-law's
home. Returning, he accompanied me to Montgomery by boat, thence
by rail to Savannah, Charleston, Wilmington, Richmond, Baltimore,
Washington, Philadelphia and finally to New York, two days before
the time for the steamer to sail. We lay over a day at most of the
cities mentioned to give me a chance to learn some of the ways of
the world. I was a


I doubt if ever a boy started on so long a trip as green as I. One
incident will show my ignorance. While in New York, one afternoon, I
saw a great commotion on the streets. Going out I saw my first fire
engine. The engine was of the old kind, with long ropes attached,
pulled by men. There the poor fellows were toiling over the rough
streets, tugging at the ropes and frantically appealing to the
crowds of people who lined the sidewalks to come to their aid. I had
read of great fires destroying large cities and turning multitudes
out as homeless wanderers, and I made sure that just such a thing
was about to happen to New York. I was paralyzed at the utter
indifference of the people who gazed unmoved at the heroic firemen
and turned a deaf ear to their appeals. I could stand it no longer,
so I leaped out into the street and seized the rope. I was a tall,
slim, awkward lad, about eighteen years old, thin as a match, pale
as a ghost and had on a long Jim Swinger. The crowd cheered, but I
didn't know what it was about. The firemen encouraged me, of course.
"Go it, my laddie, brave boy; now we'll save the town," were some
of the cheering remarks the firemen spoke as I tugged away with all
my might on the rope. "Stand up, my son," was another, as I slipped
on the cobble stones. The fire reached, I was put in position with
the others to pump the machine. I knew nothing of what was going on,
for I was intent on trying to save the town. After awhile, by the
awkwardness of some fellow who held the nozzle (of course it was all
accidental) the stream struck me full in the breast and I was nearly
drowned. A great shout went up from the crowd, and I realized that
the eyes of several thousand spectators, who had been drawn to the
fire, were centered on me. I guessed afterward that the fire, which
I never saw, had been subdued, and they were having a little sport
at my expense.

I turned loose the pump as though I had been shot, drew my overcoat
tight about me, for it was very cold, and darted through the crowd,
going I knew not whither. Fortunately


"If you ever get lost in a city, don't try to find your way back,
but hail the first hack you see, and tell the driver to take you
to your hotel." This I did, and as the carriage rumbled over the
streets across several blocks, I was wishing and praying that I
might get to my room without being seen by my brother. He was not
in the lobby of the hotel, and I was congratulating myself, as I
wearily toiled up the stairs, that I had missed him, and he would
never know of my misfortune; but I was doomed to disappointment.
Opening the door, there he was in the room! As I stood before him,
bedraggled with mud and water, his eyes opened wide and he took
me in. "Where have you been?" he exclaimed. I gasped out: "To the
fire!" He was not a prayer-meeting man, and I will not repeat his
language. As he rolled on the bed, yelling like a Comanche Indian,
I was utterly disgusted with him. I saw nothing to laugh about. I
have never helped at a fire since then, and when I hear the fire
alarm and see the engine in its mad rush, I am inclined to want to
go in the other direction.


is a beautiful thing to read about, but it has a serious side. I
didn't mind separating with my brother so much. He had introduced me
to the captain and purser of the steamer, besides these, I knew not
a soul. I was much interested, for the hour or two before nightfall,
watching the shipping. Everything was new to me, but darkness came
down upon us before we were out of the harbor. I shall never forget
the sensation when the vessel struck the first billow of the rolling
ocean. As the old vessel lurched forward, and her timbers began to
creak, some one said: "That's pretty strong for a starter." Another
said: "Shouldn't wonder if we didn't have a rough voyage." And
yet another: "It is always dangerous at sea in March." For the
first time I began to get alarmed. I watched the swinging lamps,
the supper tables that looked as if they were going over and spill
all the dishes; the sick passengers as they flew either to their
staterooms or to the upper deck. Only a little while elapsed before
I was in bed myself, wishing for my brother and abusing myself for
ever undertaking the trip.

Oh! the desolation and loneliness of that horrid night as I rolled
with every motion of the vessel! I never slept a wink. Next morning
I looked out of the port-hole and saw the mad waves of the ocean. To
my surprise the sun was shining; but it looked to me like a storm
was raging. I learned afterwards that the Atlantic is always rough
and that I was the only one on board who was much alarmed. Three
days and nights I kept my bed from sheer fright and home-sickness.
I know it was not sea-sickness, for I tested myself, time and time
again, afterwards and never had the first symptom.

I had about made up my mind that I would never see the home folks
again, but would die in a few days and be buried in the ocean. The
third day the old Captain came in on his rounds of inspection. When
he found that I was not sick, he shouted: "Pshaw, boy, get out of
this and be a man; get on deck and get a sniff of the salt air and
you will be all right in two minutes and as hungry as a wolf. Out,
out with you; be a man." In less time than it takes to write it


All my fears were gone and I found the Captain's words true. As I
looked at the hundreds of people on the open deck, there were eight
hundred passengers, all happy and cheerful, I felt disgraced to have
been such a coward. There was the boundless ocean on every side. No
sign of land anywhere and, strange to say, I was not a bit afraid.
The reassuring words of the Captain had saved me. _Many a poor
fellow has given up and gone down in the battle of life, who might
have been saved if someone had only spoken the cheering words in

Down through the tropical islands to Aspinwall, now called Colon,
across the Isthmus of Darien, where the Panama Canal is now being
constructed, on the railroad to the ancient city of Panama and
up the beautiful Pacific into the lovely harbor of Acapulco,
Mexico, where we stopped a day for coal, and finally through the
Golden Gate; we dropped anchor in the Bay of San Francisco, just
twenty-four days from New York. Not a soul in all the great city did
I know; but I was soon in the hands of the friends of my brother. I
felt like Mrs. Partington when she struck land after being to sea,
she exclaimed: "Thank the Lord for _terra cotta_," and I promised
myself never again to get on an ocean steamer.

Chapter Two

     Looking for a job; A hostler; In San Francisco; Packing gold
     through the streets; Moves to Oakland; Impulse to shout "Hurrah
     for Jeff Davis."

IN THE diggings, among the miners, I spent three months, "keeping
bach," with a genteel old Scotchman, in my brother's cabin on the
mountain side. From the little stoop in front of my cabin, I could
see villages of Digger Indians, Chinese and Greasers, and people
from every nation of the earth.

Later I was introduced to a Bostonian who was sheriff of Placer
county. He had been told I was


He turned his cold, grey eyes on me and said: "I knew old Crump--he
was never afraid of work; but Southern boys generally feel
themselves above it. I wonder if you are that way. I want somebody
to be here about the court house and jail all the time to keep
things cleaned up and to feed and curry my four horses. Can you
curry horses? Are you ashamed of it? Suppose sometime when you were
with your overalls on, currying horses, a pretty girl comes along
the street, guess you'd run up in the loft and hide, eh? Now, for
that sort of work for a boy about your age, I have fifty dollars a
month and grub. What do you say?" My! how he did fire the questions
at me and how his grey eyes did snap and pierce me through! Fifty
dollars a month was a big thing in my eyes. I was a little on my
mettle to show the Boston Yankee what a Southern boy could do if he
tried. So I became


for nine months. I was used to all kinds of work on the farm, but
never had any occasion to become an expert--with the curry comb. I
was privileged to belt a pistol about me and guard a prisoner while
he did the work, if I liked; but generally I preferred doing the
work myself.

For the benefit of my own boys and others who may chance to read
these lines, I want to record it: the three months roughing it in
the miner's cabin, and the nine months currying Sheriff Bullock's
horses, made a year of most valuable training for me. I learned more
that twelve months than in any of my life, except the years later in
the Civil War.

I was always fond of the girls. I was never in any place long before
I was well acquainted with a number of the nicest in the town.
Instead of running up in the loft to hide when they came along, many
a pleasant chat did I have, standing before the stable door with
my overalls on and my sleeves rolled up to my elbows. My brother,
returning from the States, took me


and put me in school. Some of my leisure time he expected me to
look after his business. My ignorance of business methods is well
illustrated by the following incident: He went away, leaving a note
of something over three thousand dollars. It was in the hands of a
lawyer friend and was not due. He told me he would send me a draft
to pay that note.

I didn't know what a draft was; but it finally came in the mail by
the steamer which came once a month.

I could hardly sleep that night for fear somebody would steal it.
I felt sure something was going to happen to me before I got the
note paid. I had read of hold-ups at night, and even in day time
parties had been enticed into dark alleys and robbed. Next morning
it looked as if the bank would never open its doors. I passed and
repassed, afraid to stop and look in, for fear some one would
suspect I had some money and would lay a trap for me. Finally the
door opened and I was the first to enter. I presented the draft.
It was the proudest act of my life. The fellow looked at it, and
then at me, turned it over, looked on a book, cut his eye at me
again, then looked at his watch, asked me some more questions, then
went in a back room and was gone, oh! so long. "Surely," I began to
think, "maybe he will slip out of the back door and I will never
see my draft anymore." But finally he returned with another man. I
can't recall it all now, but after a while it was arranged and the
man asked: "What do you want for this?" "Want gold," was my reply.
I had heard of bank notes that were not good--there were no green
backs then. I was determined to be on the safe side. Nothing but
gold would satisfy me. "Mighty heavy for you to pack," he said, but
I knew of no other way. Two sacks were given me. My! how my eyes
opened as the money was counted into the sacks in $20 gold pieces. I
had never seen so much money before.


Block after block was passed and finally I went up the stairway
and stood almost breathless in the lawyer's office. Depositing my
treasure on a chair, I said: "Mr. Anderson, that note is due today
and I have come to pay it." "All right, my boy, you could have
waited three days longer if you wished," was the lawyer's kind
reply. I had been impressed with the exact date and thought it so
fortunate that the steamer arrived just the day before the note fell
due. I thought something awful would happen if it was not promptly
settled, when due. I knew nothing of days of grace. "But what have
you in those sacks," queried the lawyer in a kindly tone. "That's
the money," I replied. Of course the laugh was on me. There I got my
first lesson in banking. The draft endorsed by me, would have suited
him much better than the two sacks of gold coin. So I was a "gold
bug" when William Jennings Bryan was a kid, and I have never changed
my platform.

I chanced one Saturday to go


quite a nice town then--now a great city. My brother had told me of
an old friend of his over there, Judge McKee, and I called on him.
I found him to be an intense Southerner. His wife was a Miss Davis,
from Mississippi, a kinswoman of Jeff Davis, afterwards President
of the Confederacy. It so happened that there was to be a gathering
of young people at his house that night and they were all Southern
people. Of course I was not slow to accept an invitation to remain
over. Such a company of fire-eating Southerners I had no idea could
be gotten together in California. All the talk was about secession.
All the songs were of the South. I heard Dixie for the first time.
I had been boarding with a New Bedford Yankee--an abolitionist, a
South hater. It required only a hint on the part of my new friends
to make a great change in my living. I went to Oakland College,
selected a room, and two days later I was out of the great city and
over the bay where every week I could visit my Southern friends and
talk "secesh." The more we talked, of course, the madder I got and
when the war broke out a few weeks later, the spirit of rebellion
was hot within me. It was a time of great excitement and great
danger. On a Friday night I went over to the city. The next morning
as I was dressing, I thought I heard an unusual tone in the voices
of the newsboys and I heard excited voices on the street and in the
hotel. When I reached the sidewalk I heard the cry: "Here's the
Morning Call! All about the great battle of Bull Run." "_Federal
troops falling back on Washington, pursued by the Rebel army. Rebel
army marching on the Capital._" My first impulse was to shout:


Had I done so, I would have been torn to pieces by crowds surging
through the streets. All business was suspended, the streets were
jammed. I bought a paper and got out of the crowd as quickly as
possible. I hardly stirred out of the office of my friend all day,
so fearful was he that my mouth would get me into trouble. The next
day I attended Dr. Scott's church (Presbyterian) where I frequently
went because he was from New Orleans. His and the Methodist Church,
South, were the only churches which did not have flag staffs on
them. A mob gathered on Saturday night and burned the old doctor
in effigy and wrapped the lamp posts and the front of the church
in American flags. In the streets Sunday morning was a wild mob of
several thousand. The house was packed with an immense audience
of men--only two ladies present, one the wife of the preacher.
The sermon was a plain gospel sermon, with no reference whatever
to the surroundings. After the service a large company of police
fought their way through the crowd at the head of the carriage which
conveyed the preacher and his family. On the next steamer, the good
man sailed for New York, where I afterwards learned, he was pastor
of a Presbyterian church during the four years of the war. It is
impossible for one who was not there, to conceive of the excitement.
Dr. Scott had said nothing to provoke this outbreak, except at the
meeting of his Presbytery, he protested against the custom then
prevailing of putting flag staffs on the church buildings. Though
I was a Baptist, I did not affiliate much with the people of my
faith because they had gone into politics--the preacher's prayers
and sermons being leveled against the South. O. P. Fitzgerald, now
a Bishop in Nashville, was pastor of the little Methodist Church,
South, in the city. He had regular appointments at Oakland in the
afternoons. I became very fond of him and he knew me right well.
When the Southern Baptist Convention met in Nashville some years
ago, the aged Bishop was introduced to the body. After the close of
the session I approached him with the remarks: "You never saw me
before?" Instantly he replied: "Yes, sir, this is Crumpton. I knew
you by your voice." It had been thirty years since we had met. In
such an atmosphere as we breathed in California in those days, it
is not strange that Southern sympathizers began laying plans and
schemes for getting back South.

Chapter Three

     A firm resolve broken; A layover at Pittsburg; At Beloit, Wis.;
     The fall of Fort Donelson.

COMPANIES were secretly organized and meeting places agreed upon far
out on the eastern border. Some of these companies were butchered by
the Indians; others overtaken and captured by the Federal cavalry.
My brother, suspecting my state of mind, came out and we held a
conference. He had large interests there and some in Alabama. He
proposed to leave me there to look after his affairs while he came
through the lines; but that was not my mind at all. I announced
my purpose to go. He was opposed to my attempting the trip across
the plains no matter how strong the company that accompanied me.
He wanted me to run no risks. He planned the trip--back over the
same route to New York, thence to Wisconsin to the home of an old
friend, to remain until spring--meantime, corresponding with Col. U.
S. Grant, the military commander at Cairo, Ill., to get a pass, if
possible, on some pretext or other, through the lines.


against ever again going on an ocean steamer had to be broken. I was
in a condition of mind which would have made me willing to attempt
the trip in a balloon. On November 30, 1861, I took the steamer.
On January 1st, I reached my destination at Beloit, Wis. The trip
was full of interesting incidents, but I mention only two. I made
the acquaintance on the steamer of a Marylander, who had been
in California for many years. His destination was Baltimore. He
expected to get through the lines and join the Confederate cavalry.
When we reached New York, he gave me a little four barrel Sharp's
pistol with one hundred cartridges. He expected to equip himself
with something more formidable. This, the only pistol I ever owned,
was one of the most harmless weapons I ever saw. I mention it now
only to introduce it later.

Reaching Panama and boarding the Isthmus train, I observed a frail
young fellow in the uniform of a lieutenant of U. S. Navy passing
through the train frequently, viewing with some care the passengers.
He seemed to let his gaze rest upon me each time, in a way to make
me a little uncomfortable. Was it possible, I thought, that somebody
had found out my secret and had sent this chap aboard to look me
out and arrest me when I reached Aspinwall? In the few hours ride
across the Isthmus, I worked myself up to a very unhappy state
of mind. It was after dark when we got aboard the steamer _North
Star_, the same I had gone out in, which the Government afterwards
purchased and turned into a gunboat. While the passengers were all
in line approaching the office to have their rooms assigned, I was
approached by the young officer who asked to see me. My heart flew
up in my throat. All my fears were about to be realized. I felt sure
I'd be on a man-of-war and in irons in a few minutes. I controlled
myself enough to protest that if I should leave the line I would
lose my place and have to drop back to the foot. "I want to see you
about that very thing," he said. "I have a room for you." My eyes, I
know were nearly as big as saucers, and I must have been pale as a
sheet. I made some reply and remained in line. "Come," he said in a
very earnest, tender tone, "I have seen the captain and he has given
me a room and permitted me to choose my own room-mate, and I have
picked you out." I felt reassured, and followed him to the identical
berth I had suffered tortures in nearly two years before.

In a little while he had discovered that I was Southern and he
turned out to be a Virginian, who was playing sick and was off on a
furlough. "There is nothing the matter with me," he said, "I expect
to be in the Confederate Navy in thirty days." But in spite of
this remark, his uniform scared me and I gave him no intimations of
my intentions. My old Maryland friend and I tied on to each other.
Neither of us sought acquaintances with others of the passengers.

On the way from Jersey City to Chicago, I was left while at dinner
at Altoona, Pa. My baggage of course went on.


where my belongings had been stopped. The day happened to be Sunday.
Growing tired of the hotel, I thought to walk about the city some
after dinner. Picking up the city directory I glanced through it
curiously and chanced to see the name "Crumpton." Over the river,
in Alleghaney City, there seemed to be quite a family of them. I
took the number of the street and went in quest of kins folk, not
dreaming of trouble. Finding the place, I rang the bell and found
the family at dinner. I was ushered into the parlor and left alone.

Glancing around the room, I saw American flags everywhere and the
pictures of Lincoln and Hamlin, the President and Vice-President.
"What a fool I am," I thought. My curiosity had gotten me into
trouble; but I must get out somehow. To slip out of the house, while
the family were yet at dinner would never do. I determined to face
the difficulty. I never knew why I was named Washington unless it
was because the father of his country was born on February 22nd and
I on the 24th. However, you must remember there were several years
intervening between the birthdays of these two distinguished men.
I was very unlike my illustrious namesake. He never could tell a
lie, I had been successful in the attempt several times; but I could
not _hide a lie_. If any one looked straight at me I would betray
myself. On this occasion, I stuck as near the truth as I could and I
guess the story was plausible; at least it was not questioned.

I learned from the two young men, who met me in the parlor, that
their father was an Episcopal clergyman, out of the city that day;
that he had several sons in the Union army, and these were getting
ready to go. I was pressed earnestly to remain over night and see
the father, but I was _pressed_ for time and turned a deaf ear to
all their appeals and, as soon as possible, excused myself and
returned to the hotel. I was afraid of my new found kin; but they
were hard to shake off. One of the young men accompanied me to the
hotel and that night returned with an earnest invitation from the
father, who had returned, to visit him before I left the city. A
great weight was lifted when he left me and I boarded the train
for Chicago. At Altoona and Pittsburg, in the hotel lobbies, I was
compelled to hear war talk of the most offensive character by the
crowds of loafers who thronged there to hear the news. It was only
a few miles to the West Virginia line. The war was on everybody's
lips. There I sat in the midst of the talkers, one lone Southerner,
with a secret purpose in my mind which would have brought me into
trouble if it has been suspected. My lips were sealed of course, but
sometimes it was very hard to keep silent.


or rather, four miles in the country, I met a warm welcome from my
brother's old friends. He had met them in California in the early
days. I learned also that there was a match brewing between him and
the oldest daughter, which was afterwards consummated.

How the snow did pile up soon after I reached Wisconsin! I had never
seen the like before. My friends, knowing that I was a Southerner
and unused to such severe weather, were as tender of me as if I had
been a baby; but in a few days I did not at all mind it. Winter time
is the time for visiting in the North, and so I was on the go with
the family much of the time. Another way I spent my time was to go
out in the deep snow in the fields. Sometimes a rabbit, frightened
at my crushing through the crust of the snow, would jump out of his
hole ten feet away and sit for a moment, loath to run away in the
cold. Many a time I emptied my pistol at him and would then throw
the gun at him before he would run away. That gun will be heard
from again. Without any talk about it, I secured a large map of the
"Seat of the war in the West." This I put on the wall in the dining
room. It gave all the public roads. With the study of the map, I
read diligently the _Chicago Daily Times_, which gave the movements
of troops along the route I might choose. I picked out two routes;
one through Southeast Missouri, the other through Kentucky and
Tennessee, both branching out from Southern Illinois. My brother
hoped I would become satisfied to remain in this lovely Northern
home and go to school, but I was bent on going to the war. I did
as he suggested, however; I corresponded with Col. U. S. Grant,
commandant of the post at Cairo, Ill., afterwards the great General
and twice President, asking for a pass-port south, and received a
very kind letter in reply, but denying the request.

I might have remained in Wisconsin until spring, when I could have
had better weather and more money, but for an incident I will
presently relate.


in Tennessee, was a fearful blow to me. Of course there was great
exultation everywhere up North. I saw and heard it all, but could
say nothing. One day while in Beloit, I saw a great crowd on the
sidewalk. Drawing near I discovered the attraction. It was a
butternut jeans jacket, which had been taken off a dead Confederate
at Ft. Donelson. It was shot through and was saturated with blood.
On it was a large placard with these words:

     "_Taken from the dead body of Private Turner of the Mississippi
     Rifles on the battlefield of Fort Donelson._"

I gazed at it for a moment and heard the exultant laugh and jeers
from the toughs who gathered about it. I turned away with clenched
teeth, determined to go South at all hazards and at once I
announced to my friends that evening that I was going to Chicago, a
hundred miles away, next morning to see the Fort Donelson prisoners
who were confined in Camp Douglas.

Chapter Four

     Gets a pass into Camp Douglas; Learns first lesson in
     "Shut-mouth"; Starts afoot out of Chicago; Frogs in the throat;
     Pawns his pistol; Rides with Federal soldiers; Across the

I HAD only a little money. I could have gotten more from my friends
if I had asked for it, but I thought possibly I might be captured
and traced back to their home and get them in trouble. I wanted them
to have the privilege of saying they knew nothing at all about my
plans and for the same reason, I did not care for them to know of my
intentions. Lest I should create some suspicion, I took no satchel
with me. On the 6th of March, 1862, I started. With a shawl securely
strapped, in which I had slipped a shirt, with every scratch of
pen or pencil, by which I might be identified, destroyed, I bade
farewell to my friends, with no expectation of returning again.

I shall say now and then that things "happened," but I do not
believe that things happen. I think they are all a part of the chain
of God's great plan.

It so happened that I put up at the Madison House in passing through
Chicago, and so I naturally went back to the same place in returning
to the city, and this _happened_ to be the headquarters of Col.
Mulligan, the Commandant of Camp Douglas. Arriving there in the
middle of the afternoon, I got aboard a street car and went out to
the Camp. Looking through the open gate, I saw for the first time
Confederate soldiers. They were all dressed in butternut jeans. In
the beginning, the Confederates did not wear the grey, because they
did not have it. The cloth made all over the country by the mothers
and sisters was jeans, the color of butternut.

Returning to the hotel, after supper I wrote the very best note I
could to Col. Mulligan and sent it up to his rooms. Expecting every
moment to be called up into his office, it seemed that minutes
were hours. I am sure, if my fears had been realized, it would
have taken only about two questions to have tangled me. What would
have happened then, I have no idea, but I guess I would have been
arrested and probably thrown into prison as a Southern sympathizer.
But to my great delight, the servant returned with a silver waiter
and on it was a nice little card, saying:


As soon as I could get my breakfast the next morning I was on my way
to the Camp. On entering the open gate, I saw the barracks of an
Alabama regiment. The Barracks, were long, low buildings. The Camp
was laid off like a city, with streets and alleys. I entered the
building at once and in a moment was surrounded by a large number
of men. I said: "You are Alabamians, and so am I. I have been to
California. I am on my way back. I expect to start tomorrow morning
from this City, to go through the lines and join the Confederate
army." I rattled off the words very rapidly, never realizing for
a moment the danger I might be in. When I reached the end of the
sentence, I looked into their faces, and they looked like boards,
not a feature indicated any sympathy for what I said. It was
paralyzing; but fortunately a Mississippian _happened_ to be in the
crowd. Why he was there I never did know, but when I had finished my
speech, he said: "Did you say your name was Crumpton?" I said "yes."
"And do your father and sisters live in Mississippi?" I said "yes."
"And did you visit them before you went to California?" I replied
"yes, two years ago." "Well," he said, "I belong to a Company right
from their neighborhood. I did not see you, but I heard the people
speaking about your visit. Come with me and I will introduce you
to the boys who can tell you about your people." He took me to his
barracks, several hundred yards from where I was, carried me into
a back, dark corner, and said in a low tone: "You are in great
danger. You must keep your mouth shut. I am not surprised at your
being carried away at meeting those Alabamians, but there is a rumor
out among us that they have agreed to go West and fight the Indians
and relieve the Regulars there, who will be sent to the front and we
all believe it." [In all my travels in Alabama, I have never told
the name of that regiment, lest I should find his surmise correct.]
"I know you must have observed the indifference that they manifested
when you were talking. It is more than probable that some of them
will betray you today before you get out. You stay with us and late
this evening, I will see if I can't get you out through another
gate. It is hardly probable that they would know where my quarters
are, as I am a perfect stranger to them. It was only an accident
that I was present when you came in."


and it has served me all my days. You may be sure I did not need a
second invitation to remain with them. Numbers of the boys talked
with me, and we had a pleasant day. Late in the afternoon, my friend
conducted me in sight of another gate. I divided my money with him
and left.

Going back to the hotel, I satisfied myself about the way the
Illinois Central R. R. ran out from the city, because that was the
route I expected to take. It didn't make any difference then with me
about lower or upper berths. The next morning, Sunday, the 9th of
March, with my shawl wrapped up in a hand-strap, and my overcoat and
rubbers on,


Fifteen miles below was the town of Calumet, now a part of the city;
I reached there about the middle of the afternoon, and went into
the eating house by the railroad. There was a large number of men
gathered around the stove, talking about the war. About six o'clock
they broke up and went to their homes for supper, and I was left
alone with the proprietor, who was also the railroad agent.

I had made it up with my friends at Camp Douglass, if I should be
captured I would claim my name was Hardy, one of their comrades,
who had been left somewhere, and they would recognize me as Hardy.
In that way, later on, I would be exchanged and get through. It was
a poor put up story, but that was the understanding, so I did not
expect to be Crumpton any more.

The proprietor said: "You seem to be traveling." I said "yes."
"Afoot?" "Yes." "Where are you from?" "Beloit, Wisconsin." "What
is your name?" I said "Crumpton." Immediately he took my breath by
saying: "You are lately from California, aren't you?"


I choked them down the best I could and finally said: "Yes, sir but
how did you know it?" He said: "Do you know Safford in California?"
I said "yes, one of the best friends I ever had." "Well," he
replied, "Safford and I were reared down in Cairo. It has been years
since I was there, but last Christmas I went to visit the old scenes
and, among others, called on his brother. He showed me a letter from
the California brother, in which he said a young man by the name of
Crumpton had gone to Beloit, Wis., and he had sent some Japanese
and Chinese curiosities by him." I said, "yes, I am the boy. I sent
the curios by express a month ago, and I expect to see the Saffords
on this trip." I did not deserve anything for telling the truth; my
intention was to tell a lie. Suppose I had said my name was Hardy.
The next question would have been: "Do you know a young fellow by
the name of Crumpton, lately from California?" Then I would have
been into it.

Resuming the conversation, he said: "How is it that you are afoot?"
My reply was: "My brother promised to send me money and when he
did not do it, I became impatient and determined to go without it."
"Where are you going?" I said: "To Vienna." It was a place I had
picked out on the map, about twenty miles East of Anna Station. I
guess it was a very insignificant place. Anna Station was the Camp
of Instruction for the Federal Army, about twenty miles North of
Cairo. I had chosen that as my point of destination, as no one would
suspect me if I should be going where the Federal soldiers were.
My friend said: "Young man, you are surely not acquainted with the
prairie and the winter weather. It is pleasant for this time of the
year, but in a few days snow storms and blizzards will be the order
and any man, taking the trip you propose afoot, would freeze to
death. It is out of the question for you to think of such a thing,
it is near three hundred miles." I said: "Well, I will go until the
storm breaks out."

He said, "you remain with me tonight. It shan't cost you anything,
and in the morning I will see if I can't get you a ticket to Anna
Station." I said: "I like to settle things in my mind; think I can
sleep better. I have a little pistol here which was given me by a
friend. It is hardly of any value to anybody except me, but if you
will take it in pawn, for two weeks, for a ticket to Anna Station, I
will take the ticket; otherwise I will pursue my journey afoot." He
finally agreed to do as I proposed and I turned over the pistol to
him. It was the only pistol I ever possessed. Really it was a relief
to get rid of it, for I had been uneasy every minute I had it in my

The next morning I


going to Anna Station. They were nearly all young men, in blue
uniforms and had large, well filled knapsacks. I don't think I
spoke a word to anybody that day. If anybody asked me a question, I
answered only in monosyllables. I saw those boys take new Bibles out
of their knapsacks and begin to read them. Nearly every one of them
had a Bible. I did not understand it until, a few weeks later, when
my own sister presented me with a Bible, as I started to the army,
with the injunction that I should read it.

A little before day I reached Anna Station;


instead of East to Vienna. Taking dinner with a farmer, who was
evidently in sympathy with the Southern people, he said: "How are
you going to get across the river?" I said: "Is there no ferry
there?" "No, there is a place where the ferry was, but all the boats
from St. Louis to Cairo have been destroyed by the Federals, except
one belonging to a fisherman, four miles above the old ferry; but
he is a Union man and would see you dead before he would put you
over." About the middle of the afternoon I reached the abandoned
ferry. I suppose the Mississippi River was lower than it had ever
been at that time of the year, and probably ever has been since.
Large sand bars extended out into the river and the stream was very
narrow where it swept around the bar. I went up to the head of the
sand bar and found driftwood of every imaginable kind. I picked out
some timbers and expected to come back and attempt to make a raft
on which I might pole or paddle myself across, if I should fail in
getting across in the fisherman's boat. As I approached the house of
the fisherman, I saw on the other side of the river, in the village
a very large number of men. Evidently they were having a lot of
sport; I guessed they had much liquor aboard. I got the woman to
call her husband over. I saw him and a companion coming down the
river bank on the other side. I discovered at once that they were
intoxicated. As they came up, the owner of the boat said: "Who are
you?" "I am a young fellow from Beloit, Wis., going to Greenville,
Mo." "Well, how do you know you are going?" I said: "I don't know
it. I suppose it depends on you, but I am very anxious to get
across." He said: "Well, old fellow, are you loyal?" "I am sworn not
to put anybody across here except loyal men, and I would get into a
world of trouble if I should put a rebel across." I said: "How can a
man be otherwise than loyal when he comes from Beloit, Wis.? I was
in Chicago just day before yesterday and I expect, just as soon as
I get back home, to join the army." So after a good deal of parley,
he said: "Well, it will take one dollar in advance," which I readily
paid, that left me one dollar in my pocket. I was anxious to make
a good impression on him as to my loyalty, so I said, as we were
crossing: "Is there any danger of my falling into the hands of the
rebels on the other side of the river?" He said: "I should say, and
if they run up on you they will kill you sure." I said: "That would
be awful. I think maybe I can walk two miles before night; tell me
the name of some loyal man out a little piece, where I could stay
all night and be safe." He said: "All right I'll just take you up to
the man and introduce you, he will take care of you." I saw at once
I had spoken one word too many. I didn't want to be introduced to
anybody by that man, especially not to a loyal man. How was I going
to get out of it was the question.

Just as the boat landed there came a number of men down the bank,
cursing and swearing at these fellows. Evidently they had formed a
conspiracy to whip them when they got back. They commenced fighting
and rolled into the edge of the river before I left. When I got to
the top of the bank, I saw all the people of the town coming my way,
evidently, bent on seeing the fight. I did not care to meet them,
so I took a path running right down by the river bank and walked
off just as if I lived down that way. I have no idea that there was
a man in the crowd that could have remembered seeing me, if he had
been sworn; they were so intent on seeing that fight they had no
eyes for anything else.

Chapter Five

     Gets his pistol back; Road full of Yankees; Goes forty miles one
     day; Such a man as I have never seen; Not a prayer meeting man;
     Reaches old Uncle McCullough's; Like one in a dream; You people
     who don't believe in prayer; Mind made up not to remain.

I STAYED that night with a man who lived on the bank of the river,
and found out that he had been with Jeff Thompson, the Confederate
Cavalry General, but had been caught and made to take the oath
of allegience. Such men, I afterwards discovered, were called
"galvanized" men. Before I left the house next morning I was treated
to the sight of a steamboat, loaded with Federal soldiers, going
down the river. They were cheered lustily by the negroes, but the
white man and I observed them in silence. Of course, I told him
nothing about my intentions, except that I was going to Greenville,
Mo. Thinking it possible that it might be difficult to get a letter
back to my friends later on, I wanted to find a suitable place to
write. This I discovered by questioning an old negro. He said he
belonged to "Marse John Oliver. Young Marse John was with Jeff
Thompson and Miss Mary was at home." I concluded I could confide in
the mother after that information, so I approached the house and
introduced myself to the lady, telling her that I was going South
and wanted to write some letters back to my friends. She kindly
showed me to a back room and gave me stationery. I wrote to my
friends in Wisconsin, begging their pardon for deceiving them, and
asking them to redeem my pistol, so that the man at Calumet might
not lose anything. This they did and


and I have it now as a souvenir of those days.

The lady said: "I would be very glad for you to spend the afternoon
and night with us, so that my husband might see you; but it would be
dangerous for you and for us. The Home Guards are roaming through
the country all the time, and if you should be found here, they
might have my husband arrested and carried off to prison, on the
charge of harboring a rebel, or they might burn our property down.
There is no telling what they would do. I am very uneasy for you,
lest they shall meet you and kill you." These Home Guards, as I
afterwards found out, were irresponsible soldiers, most of them
Germans, who were but little more than marauders, and I afterwards
found that we had some of the same sort among the Confederates. I
had but little apprehension of trouble, as I was to go to places
where there were Federal garrisons. I went through the first town
late in the afternoon with a "galvanized" man whom I happened to
meet just before reaching the village. I saw the soldiers all around
on the streets, drinking and carousing. A little further along,
I spent the night in a home where an old gentleman and his family
were living, taking care of the plantation and slaves belonging
to a young man who was with Jeff Thompson. Of course they told me
very much about the war, but I said nothing to them further than
that I was going to Greenville. The next morning when I came down
stairs, I found the girls on the back veranda. Being of a confiding
disposition, especially with pretty girls, I told them in a few
words that I was going South to the Confederate Army. Just then
breakfast was announced. I sat down to the table with my back
towards the front door, and the girls sat on the opposite side of
the table, in full view of the front door and the public road. As I
was chatting with them, casting sheep's eyes the while, I noticed
one of them suddenly change color, as she gazed intently towards the
front door, and she remarked:


Immediately the frogs leaped into my throat, and I was wondering
what I would say to the fellows when they came in. One girl bounded
towards the door and stood in it. It was the days of the hoop-skirt
and she just about filled the door, so that nobody might see past
her. The other girl begged me to run up stairs and hide, which I was
not at all inclined to do. The old people were paralyzed, because
they did not understand it at all. I hastily informed them of what
I had told the girls. That is one time I didn't know what I ate for
breakfast. It might have been knives and forks and salt-cellars for
all I knew, but I kept eating. The girl in the door turned her head
and said: "They are going into the lot." The old gentleman said: "I
don't reckon they are coming in the house at all; they left some
wounded horses with me several weeks ago and told me yesterday they
were going to send after them." It was a great relief to hear that,
but I could not understand why a whole regiment should have to
come after a few horses. Presently the girl said: "They are going
off," and I felt a pressure removed, equal to five hundred bales
of cotton. I felt as light as a feather and if I had had wings, I
certainly would have used them.

Each of these two nights, I spent twenty-five cents, and that
carried with it a lunch for the next day. As speedily as possible I
got away and


Mind you, I did not say I walked it; when I was dead sure nobody saw
me, I ran. I saw very few people that day. The Home Guards had done
their work well, as the burned houses indicated on every side.

Late that afternoon I was told that I was approaching another
village, but I need not go by the village if I did not wish to; I
could turn to the left and cross the creek lower down, and both
roads led to Greenville. I had no business in the town, so I took
the left hand. Just before night I came to a deep, narrow, ugly
looking little stream that had no bridge across it. Nobody had
been fording it. I looked in vain for a log on which to cross. I
didn't want to go up the stream, for that would carry me up into
the town. I found a pole, that probably nothing but a squirrel had
ever crossed on, but I ventured to straddle it, and then I inched
myself across. A kodak could have gotten a picture worth while then.
Getting on the other side, I went up to the most desolate looking
home I had ever seen. Not a sign of life, except now and then the
cackle of a chicken flying to the roost. I knocked at the front door
but no response coming, like a tramp, I went around to the kitchen.
There was an old lady, standing before a great, old-fashioned fire
place cooking supper. It seemed to me I never smelt the frying of
bacon that was so delicious in my life. I said: "I am traveling and
am very tired; I want to stay all night with you, please ma'am." She
invited me in saying: "Sit down by the fire here; when my son comes,
maybe he will let you stay. I don't know whether he will or not, he
is mighty curios." The kitchen had a dirt floor. She put corn bread
and fried meat on the table and invited me to put my stool up to the
table and eat, which I was not slow to do. Just as I began eating,


I judge he was about twenty-one or twenty-two years old, with
immense jaw bones, high cheek bones, just a little space between
his eyebrows and hair, overhanging eyebrows and way-back little
beady eyes. He scowled at me, then said to the old lady: "Who's
this you've got here?" I looked up and said: "Good evening sir,
your mother was kind enough to invite me in. I want to stay all
night with you and I hope you can accommodate me." He took his old
slouch hat off, threw it on the floor, sat down and went to eating.
Not a word passed. That is another time I don't know what I ate. I
eyed him and he eyed me, but I mostly eyed the grub. He got through
before I did, picked up his hat and shot out the door without a
word. He had been gone not ten minutes when the biggest rain I ever
heard, began to fall and I judge it fell through the whole night.
The old lady showed me to a bed and I retired, wondering whether I
would wake up dead or alive, feeling pretty certain that I would
wake up dead, for I was sure that boy was bent on mischief. Next
morning, I had my breakfast by candle-light, paid the old lady a
quarter, and said to her: "I am completely broken down, my feet are
blistered and swollen, I could hardly get my shoes on this morning,
I have no money. Is there anybody living near here, on whom it would
not be an imposition, who might let me rest until Monday morning?"
The reply was: "I have a son about three miles down the road. He is
plenty able to do it if he would, but he is _curioser_ than that boy
you saw here last night." When I got out the front gate, I looked
down on that insignificant little old creek, and there was a stream
of water big enough to float the navy of the United States. It did
not dawn on me then, but later I felt sure that boy crossed the
creek and went to town to report me to the Yankees and that rain
and overflow prevented his designs from being carried out. Doubtless
the stream remained up the greater part of the day. I trudged along,
dragging my feet as best I could, and after so long a time, reached
the home of this "_curioser_" son. He came out and stood on the
stoop to listen to my yarn about going to Greenville.


I judged from his language. He said: "Do you think I am a fool? You
are nothing but a little old rebel or some little old boy going
to the rebels. I hope to God the Home Guards will find you today
and kill you. If I see any of them I am going to put them on your
track." Of course I had no further argument with that man. I went
off a few hundred yards, felt of my knees to see if there were any
joints there or not, for up to that time I had not discovered them
that day. How mad I did get! I gritted my teeth, shook my fist,
bowed my neck, and shot out, going thirty-five miles. I never saw a
soul all day.

The remains of burned homes I could see; now and then a place was
spared and evidently the people were about, but out of sight. I was
almost in despair of reaching a place to spend the night, when just
before dark, I looked down and saw one of the most beautiful sights
I ever beheld. It was an old country home, the doors wide open, good
fires burning, the negro quarters stretching out and fires burning
brightly in the cabins. I heard the lowing of cattle, the bleating
of sheep, the cackling of poultry, all indicating a place of plenty.
I found it to be an old lady's home, whose son and grand son had
been with Jeff Thompson captured and galvanized. They were so
outspoken, I made bold that night to tell them who I was and where
I was going. They said: "It is impossible for you to go any further
until Caster river goes down. As the road runs, it crosses the river
three times. There is a possibility of your going far up the river
and getting a "galvanized" man to put you across in a boat, and at
another place getting a widow woman to send you across on horseback
and then


but you ought not to undertake it. Stay with us until Monday morning
at least." The old lady did not hear this conversation. The boys
were off early the next morning to their work, confident that I
was going to remain. I concluded the mother ought to be consulted,
and so I ventured to say, as she was washing the dishes: "The boys
said that it would be all right for me to remain and rest here
until Monday morning. I suppose it will be all right with you?" She
said "y-e-s, I reckin so." I saw at once that I was not welcome. I
thought about it a little while and presently returned and said:
"I believe, on reflection, if you will fix me up a lunch, I will
go on." She did so without any protest. "How much do I owe you?" I
asked. "Half a dollar," was the reply. It was the first time anybody
suggested a price like that and I had only a quarter left. I took
out the quarter and said: "This is as near as I can come to paying
it." I fully expected the old soul to say "keep it," but, bless your
life, she took it, saying: "That's lots better than a heap of them
do; they come here and bring their horses and spend a week and don't
say turkey about money."

So I made the trip, after many adventures, falling into the overflow
a time or two, and reached "Uncle McCullough's" just at night fall.
Providence was leading me, I believe. Had I carried out my plans to
remain until Monday morning, that stream at the village would have
gone down and the Yankees doubtless would have found me there, then
I would have been done for.

So much for my antipathy to staying where I am not welcome. It
served me in good turn on that occasion as it has on many another.

"Uncle McCullough" was an uncle of Gen. Ben McCullough, who was
distinguishing himself at this time as a Confederate General. As I
stood in the door and looked at the old patriarch, standing before
a large fire, in an old-fashioned fireplace,


He was the same height and same complexion as my own uncle, Richard
Bryan, with whom I had lived when a boy at Pleasant Hill in Dallas
county. The similarity of the house, the cedar trees in front and
the further coincidence of both being class-leaders in the Methodist
church--I was almost dazed that night as I thought about it. I said
to the old gentleman: "I am traveling, I have no money, and I want
to stay all night, please sir." The response from his old warm heart
came immediately: "Why come in, my son, of course you can stay all
night, money don't make any difference here. You seem to be wet,
you must have some dry clothes," with that he took me into another
room and dressed me up in his best, wrung out my clothes and hung
them before the fire to dry. He took me into a kitchen, with a dirt
floor, identical with "Uncle Dick's" home when I was a boy, and
introduced me to a dear old soul who was the very image of old "Aunt
Nancy." After supper I opened my heart to him: "I have been saying I
was going to Greenville. I don't know anything about Greenville, or
care anything about it; I want to go South and join the Confederate
army." The old man said: "Well, my son, you are dangerously near
Greenville, only twelve miles; the Yankees were out here today and
may be out here tonight. I don't know what I will do with you. It is
too cold for you to go out to the fodder-loft, so I am going to put
you in bed and pray the Lord to protect you."


The boy I am telling you about was not very religious, but when the
old patriarch told him he was going to pray for him, when he lay
down on that bed, he felt as secure as if an army of soldiers had
been around him.

We ate breakfast by candle-light, and just about sun-up we were
climbing the hill back of his garden. When I reached the top, I saw
stretched out for miles Caster river bottom, overflowing everything.
The old man said: "Now, my son, you will see nobody today. You will
find no road, except this path. You follow this trail right down
this ridge and you will come to Ira Abernathy's. There you will have
to stop. It is folly to try to go any further until the overflow
goes down. Nobody will ever find you there. Ira is a good Methodist;
he has been _galvanized_. You tell him that Uncle McCullough sent
you there and said for him to take care of you until the river goes
down, it will be all right." I sauntered along that day, one of
the prettiest Sundays I ever saw. Deer, turkeys and squirrels were
seen on every side. Late in the afternoon, I reached the end of
my journey and delivered "Uncle McCullough's" message. When I was
through, I saw a face that reminded me exactly of the faces of those
Alabamians in Chicago at Camp Douglas. I saw through it instantly.
Ira had conscientious regard for his oath. If he kept me there and
it was found out, it would go hard with him. Before I went to bed,


I found out from him it was fourteen miles to Bloomfield where the
Confederates were, about nine miles was overflowed, that the depth
would not be above my waist, except at the last. Duck Creek was deep
and dangerous, that I would pass only one house and that was just
before I reached Duck creek.

So next morning I started, and in five minutes I was knee deep in
water. I could tell the way the road ran by watching the trees,
so I kept just on the outside of the edge in the woods. Before a
great while I came to a slough which seemed to be dangerous, and
on sounding it I found that here was one place that my friend had
certainly forgotten; it was very much over my head. I turned to
find a log to cross it, which I successfully walked, but on going
out on the other side on a limb, the limb broke and I fell into the
water. Remember this was March, and it was in Missouri, and you
can imagine that I was not very comfortable. You can see something
of the happy-go-lucky boy, when I tell you that out there, half a
mile from the road, wet as a drowned rat and water all around me,
I took out my knife and stood for half an hour by the side of a
smooth beech tree, and carved my name: "W. B. Crumpton, Pleasant
Hill, Ala." It is there to this day, if the forests have not been

I waded along throughout the day and late that afternoon I passed
the house on my right, the only dry land I had seen. Beyond the
house a slough ran up from the overflow into a corn field. The fence
was built up to each end of a log across the slough and rails were
stuck in above the logs as a sort of water fence. Behind these rails
on the log I was making my way across, when I heard a corn stalk
crack over in the field. Looking in that direction I saw a Yankee,
in full uniform, with a gun on his shoulder. How those frogs did
leap into my throat. What was I to do? I did not dare to dodge;
in that case, I could never have explained it if he had seen me.
If I should go on the road, he would probably see me, so I eased
myself off the end of the log and _walked straight away from him
into the overflow_. I had no idea where I was going, only I knew
I was going away from him. I was feeling for bullets in my back
all the time, but I am sure that he did not see me. If he had, he
would have killed me and have thrown my body in the creek. Now see
how Providence leads! If I had followed the road and escaped his
eye, I would have come to the creek, with no possible chance of
crossing. Naturally I would have turned up the creek, never would
have dreamed of going down into the overflow. As it turned out, I
came to a raft just in the creek. It had broken loose, I suppose,
from a mill above and had lodged there. By wading in, waist deep, I
climbed on it, but found I was still some distance from the bank on
the other side. I had not looked around since I left the Yankee, so
standing on the raft I eased myself around and saw no one. When I
measured the water on the other side I found it too deep for me to
wade and I couldn't swim a lick. I reached around in the water, got
hold of a loose sassafras pole, floated it around, stuck it in the
bank on the other side, and undertook to walk it and it partially
under water. Of course it wobbled; I went down head and ears. Coming
up fortunately I grasped my bundle in one hand and my cap in the
other, and found myself chin deep in the water. I waded out on the
other side, which seemed to me "the bank of sweet deliverance." I
had been told that I would be on the side of the Confederates when
I got there. I walked briskly up to the top of the hill and looked
around to see if there were any signs of camp-fires anywhere,
indicating the presence of the Yankee forces. I supposed that the
man I saw in the bottom was on picket. Seeing no signs of camp, I
shot down the hill as fast as I could run. An old man seeing me
shouted: "Hello, there." I replied: "Hello, yourself." He said:
"Stop and give me the news." I said: "I have no news." He yelled
again: "Have you seed any soldiers." I replied: "Yes, I saw one
back there in the river bottom." He said: "Yes, that's Ike Reader,
I heard he was home 'tother day; but stop and give me some news." I
said: "No, I haven't time," and on I rushed. I won't say I went the
remaining five miles in three-quarters of an hour, but I went it in
a very short time. The idea of being caught almost within sight of
the rebel lines possessed me and it put wings on my feet. When I
reached the borders of the village just about night fall, there was
a man standing, as if he were waiting for me, and when I told him my
story, he said: "Come right along up to Capt. Miller's home, and you
will be welcome." I found that the Captain owned a steamboat on the
St. Francis river, and I guess I could have gotten passage if I had
asked for it, but I never thought of it. I was given dry clothes,
treated most tenderly, and the next morning at breakfast was told
that the rebel scouts were in town.

Chapter Six

     Released on parole; On the lookout; Reaches Helena, Ark.; Aboard
     the steamer; Black coffee; Reaches Vicksburg; Finds one man who
     believes him; In ten miles of Newton; On the Mobile and Ohio;
     More trouble; Reaches home.

THAT was the best news I had ever heard. The Captain accompanied me
to the front door and said: "You can go out of the front gate there,
or you can take this path and go through the grove." I looked down
the path and saw the scouts passing the gap, and just as I got to
the gap all of them had passed except one. I said to him: "I saw a
Yankee in the river bottom yesterday." He said: "Do you know who he
was?" I said: "No, but I might know the name, if I heard it." He
said: "Was it Ike Reader?" I said: "Yes, that was the name I heard
a man call." So he put spurs to his horse and went to the head of
the column shouting as he went: "Old Ike Reader is at home." I judge
they had heard that he was home on furlough and were going after him.

Twenty-four miles wasn't much of a walk so I sauntered along
through the day and just at dark came up to the pickets. They were
raw recruits, whom I suppose had never known duty before. They
had stacked their guns and built a fire and were out in the woods
gathering wood to burn through the night. They were frightened
nearly to death. I could have captured them without any difficulty.
I told them they were the fellows I was hunting for and that I
wanted to surrender. Three of them took me back about a mile and let
me go to bed, while they sat up and watched me all night.


Next morning they carried me back several miles to the company
of Capt. Hunter. I found him to be an old veteran of Mexican war.
He had recruited a company and was up there in Stoddard County
drilling them and enlisting other men before going South. When I
told him my story, he said: "I will release you on parole of honor,
that you will not leave the camp. You will be safer with us than
traveling alone. In a little while we will go down the river to
Helena, Ark. That will be right on your road. I will take you in my
mess and you will be treated right." Such kindness on the part of a
perfect stranger, under the circumstances, was unusual and greatly
encouraging to me. The next afternoon the scouts came along with
their man. They had found him at home. He was there on a furlough.
I saw their Captain and ours talking very animatedly for probably
thirty minutes and as he rode off, he said: "He is mine by rights,
and I am going to have him." When he was gone the Captain took me
into his tent and asked me if I had met those scouts. I related to
him the circumstance of my going through the grove at Bloomfield,
rather than through the front gate, which would have caused me to
meet the head of the column. I did it only from convenience, not
from any fears that I had. He replied: "You certainly were fortunate
in going through that grove. The Captain of that Company is nothing
more than a marauder, although he wears the Confederate uniform.
It is his custom, when he meets a civilian anywhere, to kill him,
but he will take a Federal soldier prisoner. I will not ask you to
enlist with us, but you be just as one of our soldiers. Have you a
gun ready at hand with ammunition and whenever you see those scouts,
don't expose yourself. We will pass and repass them on the trip
south, no doubt, and he is mean enough to shoot you down. We are
going to protect you." That the Captain was not mistaken in the man,
I soon discovered. We saw a suttler pass our camp one day, and just
a little later saw this Captain with his scouts going in the same
direction. It was not a great while before we heard pistol shots
and presently they came back and our men learned from them that
the Captain had taken the suttler out into the woods and shot him,
leaving his wagon standing in the road. He was a harmless fellow
who was gathering up chickens and eggs and butter, and selling them
wherever he could, sometime to the Federals and sometimes to the


You may be sure I was on the lookout. The number of Yankees that
they had as prisoners increased to probably twenty-five. When the
companies assembled to start South under General Thompson, sometimes
these scouts were ahead and sometimes in the rear. They passed and
repassed us. Word went down the line whenever they were approaching,
"Crump, look-out" and I was always ready. The old Yankee soon found
out that I was the man who had told on him and learned my name and
he would shout when he came in sight of me, "Hello, Crump," and I
would reply, "Hello, Ike." The first service I did after joining
the Confederate army at Columbus, Miss., was to guard the Federal
prisoners, and who should I find there but old Ike Reader.


It was several weeks before we reached Helena, Ark. There I ate
breakfast with the boys, the morning before they went up the river.
I could have secured rations if I had thought of it. I learned
afterwards a soldier was satisfied so long as his stomach was full.
I went to see Gen. Thompson, however, and got from him a paper,
stating that I had come to them up in Missouri, that I was on my way
to my friends in Mississippi, and commending me to people wherever I
went. I could have gotten transportation from him if I had thought
of it, but never dreamed that I could be hungry again or ever have
need to ride anymore. I remained all that day and night, sleeping
on the wharf boat, and the next day, without anything to eat. I did
not have the courage to beg. That was the only quality of the tramp
that I had not learned.


About 2 o'clock I went to the hotel intending to ask for dinner.
While I was sitting there, trying to work up courage enough to
approach the clerk, I heard a boat coming down and hastened away
and boarded the steamer, H. D. Mears. As she was pulling off, I
approached the Captain and showed him my paper from Gen. Thompson.
He made the atmosphere blue with profanity. He said it was simply
absurd, that I had forged that paper, that Gen. Thompson would not
have given me that paper without giving me transportation too,
he almost made me believe he was right. It did seem absurd. Then
I asked him to credit me with my transportation to Vicksburg, to
give me the address of some one to whom I might send the money. He
replied, "I would not credit my grand-mammy."

The river was high and boats could not approach land. Seeing a
skiff coming over from the Arkansas side, from where a landing
was supposed to be, thinking that he was going to put me off, I
approached him and asked that he put me off on the Mississippi side,
as I was afoot. His reply was, "I am not going to put you off; you
can ride as far as you want to ride, to ---- if you want to." I felt
that he was very much more likely to go there than I. I told him I
had asked for nothing except the privilege to ride.


He replied: "How are you going to get any grub?" I answered that I
did not know. I was too independent to let him know that I needed
some just at that time. Being exposed to the weather and drinking
Mississippi water and doing without food brought on fever, which I
had all the night. The next morning I was in a desperate condition.
The desire for food had given place to a feeling that I'd as soon
die as not. Late in the afternoon, I began to feel a delirium
stealing over me. It seemed all like a dream to me; could not tell
where I was. I knew it was for the want of something to eat. I had
sense enough left to know that the kitchen was the place to find
relief, so I found my way to the door, and stood there looking into
the face of the old negro man, a perfect giant in appearance. I
said: "Uncle, I am on this boat without a cent of money, and haven't
had anything to eat for three days; I am sick and about to die." He
looked me all over from head to foot, then put a stool up to the
table and said in a commanding tone: "Set down there."


I wasn't used to being ordered about by negroes that way, but I
took no offense on that occasion. He filled a quart cup with the
blackest coffee I ever saw, put three tablespoonsful of sugar into
it, stirred it and sat it before me and said: "Drink that." I guess
he must have seen cases like mine before. I commenced to sip the
coffee, for it was too hot to drink. I shall never forget that
cup of coffee while I live. The very first sip seemed to go to the
ends of my fingers and toes; it thrilled me through and through.
As I drank I could not restrain my tears. When I was through, in
about half an hour, I was in a profuse perspiration. I looked at the
three large pieces of steak, as big as my hand and four hot rolls,
and said: "Uncle, if I should eat that meat, I am sure I would die
in half an hour. If you have no objections, I will put it in my
overcoat pocket and eat it at my leisure." He said: "That is just
the thing for you to do." Thanking him, I departed, and commenced
reaching in my pocket, pulling off pieces of steak, chewing it and
swallowing the juice. I "chawed" all night, in my waking moments.
When I went to sleep, I was chewing that meat. At sun rise the next
morning, I found myself at Vicksburg, with no fever and as hungry
as a wolf. I went out like Pat, "in quest of a breakfast, for me
appetite." I was determined never to speak to another man. I was
like that fellow who said, "the more he knew about men, the better
he liked dogs." So many of them did not believe my story and took
it out in cursing that I was thoroughly disgusted with them. Seeing
the sign: "Mrs. Roebecker, Private Boarding," I took a seat in an
old store nearby and watched the door until all the boarders came
out. How like a tramp! I approached the door and was received very
graciously by the kind lady, who gave me a good breakfast. When she
asked me how I was going to get home, I replied, "I am going to
walk." She protested, "No, don't do anything of the kind. Go up and
see Mr. ----, the superintendent of the railroad. He is a kind, nice
gentleman, and I am sure he will help you on your way." I plucked up
courage enough to speak to the Superintendent, and found him just as
the lady said, a perfect gentleman.


He said: "Of course, my son; I will give you a ticket, sign this due
bill, and we will send it over to our agent, Dr. Watts at Newton
Station, and your people can pay it after you get home." I shall
never forget his kindly expression, and the effect it had on me. My
tears are not usually very shallow, but kindness always humbled me
and brought out the tears. I got aboard the train and in a little
while fell asleep. I slept all the afternoon. Don't remember passing
Brandon or Jackson or any place.


About ten o'clock at night some soldiers came on the crowded train.
One took a seat in the aisle on his knap-sack right by me. I said,
"How far is it to Newton?" He said, "Ten miles." After a while I
heard the brakeman call out "Chunky Station." I said: "How far is
it from Newton now?" He said, "Why, fellow, it is twenty miles, you
have passed Newton." By the time I got myself together, the train
was under way again, so I remained seated until I got to Meridian.
I remembered that Meridian was just above Enterprise, and there I
knew one man. Seeing a train on the M. & O. just ready to start for
Mobile, I made a rush and got aboard and took my seat among a lot of
soldiers. Presently the conductor came in with his lantern, calling,
"tickets," and


I showed him my paper from General Thompson, and said to him: "You
know Mr. Edmondson, who keeps the hotel at Enterprise, I hired a
horse and buggy from him two years ago to go out to Garlandsville.
I am sure I can get the money and leave it anywhere you say, if you
will let me pass on." He was another man that did not attend prayer
meeting. He said, "No, sir, Edmondson is dead, you are lying anyhow
and now get off at the wood station." There was a Sergeant on board,
in charge of some soldiers, who took an interest in me. He said:
"Captain, I have more transportation than I have men; let this man
go on my transportation." He said: "No sir, he has got to get off.
He is spinning a yarn. Who ever heard of a man coming back from
California without money." So I got off, and when the train started,
I stepped up on the back-platform. It was only a little while before
we reached Enterprise. I saw the conductor standing on the platform,
with his lantern, and I walked boldly by him. He easily detected me,
as I had on a fur cap, very uncommon in the South, He said: "Are
you ready to pay me, sir?" I replied: "No." He said: "If you are a
gentleman, you will do as you said you would do. Leave that money
here with Mr. Jackson, who keeps the eating house." I said: "I am
not a gentleman now since you made me steal a ride, gentlemen don't
do that way."


I threw myself back with my thumbs under my arms and said: "Now,
blaze away and when you think you have cursed out the value of your
ticket, let me know and I will pass on." That was about one o'clock
in the morning. Presently the engineer rang his bell and the Captain
jumped on, shaking his fist at me as the train pulled out. I
responded by shaking both my fists at him. That is my way of keeping
out of a row with a conductor, wait until he gets off. Of course
I was very mad while he was cursing, but I was in no condition to

       *       *       *       *       *

I went to the hotel and registered my name like a gentleman: "W. B.
Crumpton, San Francisco, Cal." When I awoke the next morning, and
looked into a glass, for the first time in six weeks, I was like
Pat, when he said: "Pat, is this you, or is it somebody else?" I
had been over the camp-fires and my face was smoked and greasy,
and I looked more like a negro than a white man. By diligent use
of soap and water, I got myself clean down to my collar. I had an
old woolen comforter, that I had worn around my neck. I turned it
wrong side out, pinned it close around my throat, spread it over
the front of my dirty shirt, buttoned my coat and, imagine I made
a right decent appearance. I took my seat at the table, crowded
with people. I have no recollection when anybody got up. I came to
myself after a while, when I asked for another biscuit, I looked at
the negroes, whose eyes were almost popping out, and I realized that
I was the only one at the table. I looked at the astonished lady
at the end of the room and stammered out: "Is this Mrs. Edmondson?
Excuse me please, I am nearly starved." She insisted on my eating
more, but I didn't have the face to do it. I said: "Mrs. Edmondson,
do you remember a boy coming here two years ago and hiring a horse
and buggy to go out to Garlandsville?" She said: "Yes, I remember
you well." I told her my story, and asked her to credit me until my
people could send her the money, to which she readily consented.


I journeyed on for twenty-four miles and late that afternoon came
to my brother-in-law's home. They were all looking for me. I had
separated at Panama with a man by the name of Simpson, who had been
a commission merchant in Mobile, and I had given him a letter. He
went across to Aspenwall, thence to Havana, and ran the blockade
into Mobile. I had discussed doing that with my brother before I
left San Francisco, but he advised very much against it.

I started from Beloit the 6th of March and reached home on the
23rd of April, traveling probably a thousand or twelve hundred
miles, much of it on foot. As I spun my yarn that night around
the fire-side, my sister said, "Brother, why didn't you ask Mrs.
Edmondson to send you out in a buggy?" I said, "Bless my life, I
never thought of it until you mentioned it." I had gotten so used to
traveling afoot, it made no difference.

It was not long before I found a recruiting officer, Lieutenant John
McIntosh, and gave him my name. At the appointed time, I took the
train at Newton for Columbus, Miss., where on May 1862, I joined
Company H., of the 37th Mississippi Infantry. I had a mind to join
an Alabama regiment, but my people insisted on my enlisting in
a Mississippi Regiment, so that they might more easily hear from
me. The Lieutenant promised me a thirty days furlough to visit my
Alabama kin as soon as I was enlisted at Columbus. After I had
signed my name, he said, "Wash, do you want your furlough now?"
I said, "No, you might get in a battle while I was gone, or the
war might be over before I returned, so I will not take it." That
furlough never came, except on two or three occasions afterwards,
when I was wounded. Some day I may take the time to write out
another story about, "What the boy saw after he got through the
lines to the Confederacy," you may depend upon it, he saw sights.
I was one of two or three in my regiment who could sing. Many a
night, sitting around the Camp Fires, the weary hours were passed by
singing Camp songs. Only two of these do I remember now.


was one of the most popular. It ran about this way:

                     "GOOBER PEAS."

    Sitting by the roadside on a pleasant day
    Chatting with my mess-mates, whiling time away
    Chatting with my mess-mates wholly at my ease
    Good gracious! how delicious; eating Gooberpeas.

    When a horseman passes, the Soldiers have a rule
    To cry out at their loudest: "Mister, here's your mule,"
    But another pleasure enchantinger than these
    Is wearing out your jaw-teeth eating Gooberpeas.

    Just before a battle the General has a row,
    He says: "The Yanks are coming, I hear their rifles now."
    He looks around in wonder and what do you think he sees?
    The Gorga-i Milish-i eating Gooberpeas.

    Now my story's ended, it's lasted long enough
    The story's interesting, but the rhymes are rather rough.
    When this war is over and we are free from grays and fleas
    We'll kiss our wives and sweethearts and grabble Gooberpeas.

[Illustration: DR. H. J. CRUMPTON REV. W. B. CRUMPTON

"The Boys" after forty years]

Part Three

By W. B. Crumpton

To California and Back after a Lapse of Forty Years


IN HISTORY few things are of greater interest than biography and in
biography few things are of greater interest than travel. A good
strong man who has covered much of the surface of the earth, with
his eyes and ears open, and tells of it intelligently and charmingly
to others is a real benefactor to his friends.

Every acquaintance of the author of this volume will be grateful
for what he has written herein. He needs no introduction and it is
almost wholly formal even to call his name. Who in Alabama does not
know him, and among us all, whose life has not been touched to some
extent by the influence of his? The observant reader will recognize
at once the well known style, the vein of seriousness and the
vein of pleasantry running side by side, and the high, distinctive
purpose. The author has theories, as any one can see, elevated and
generous theories, but here above all else is the practical man, the
man of affairs, taking life as it comes, with its ups and downs,
entering into its very currents, becoming of it a part, laying his
hand upon it and utilizing it for the glory of God and the good of
his fellow-men.

In these letters the youthful reader will find interest and
entertainment as he looks through anticipation at the real problems
of life; the person in middle years will discover confirmation for
his strength and hope as he actually struggles with these problems,
while many sentiments will minister comfort and peace to him who is
in the afternoon of life and ere long expects to look out into the
winter of age.

  Montgomery, Ala.

Preface to Letters of the Second Trip

It has been a number of years since these letters appeared in the
Alabama Baptist. As I have traveled, many have been the kind words
said to me about them. Parents have expressed the wish that I put
them in book form so that their children could read them. Some old
people and the "shut-ins," who by reason of their age or affliction
can never hope to travel, have expressed the same wish. In the hope
that its reading may entertain, instruct and encourage, I send the
little booklet out.--

  W. B. C.

[Illustration: Decoration]

Chapter I

     A second trip to California after forty years; My home in
     Marion; Begins the trip; The dry dock; Not another berth; The
     Sunset Limited; The Great Salt Mine; Beaumont; San Antonio; The
     Alamo; He expects it of me; Out on the boundless prairies; Nears
     the Del Rio; The Seminole Cave Canon; Breakfast at El Paso; The
     Rio Grande; Consumptives' paradise; At Lordsburg; At San Simons;
     Tucson; People go to Europe.


  Dear Bro. Barnett:

WHEN I promised weeks ago to write something of my trip for the
Alabama Baptist, I thought it an easy task but I discover my
mistake. "Trip Notes" in Alabama, which I have been writing for
twenty years, are not hard to prepare. If it is not convenient to
write them on the spot, one can carry in his mind the points worthy
of mention and write them at leisure; but not so with a trip like
this. There is so much to see during the day you do not want to be
writing, lest you miss something of interest; if you put off the
writing, you are sure to leave out much which would interest the
reader. So here I am far out on the sandy plains of New Mexico,
where the scenery seems to be unchanged for many miles. I am trying
to put together the points I have scored down for my friends in
Alabama. We have just passed the 1,200th mile post, just about half
the way from New Orleans to San Francisco.

It was very kind of the brethren of the State Board of Missions to
give me this month off. Probably, ten years ago, I was given my
first vacation of one month. It was a new experience to me. Brethren
who had been used to such things volunteered to advise me where
to spend it. "Go to Monteagle," said one, "Go to the coast," said
another; but I went to


the best spot on earth for me to rest. I thought. Every day my
mail was sent me and after a rest of one day, I went to writing
letters and in a little while, I found myself planning campaigns
and arranging my plans of work for months ahead. The month was soon
gone and I returned to the office but little benefitted. I have
determined that shall not occur again. I hope I will not receive
a business letter for a month. Don't get it into your mind, kind
reader, that I am sick or broken down. I am all right--never felt
better than I do this morning of January 15th; but I am sure I will
be better and stronger after this month's rest.


George Ely, of Montgomery, the Traveling Passenger Agent of the
Southern Pacific, is one of the cleverest railroad men in all the
South. I have been telling him of this trip for years: "All right,
when you get ready, let me know, and I will load you up," said he,
after every talk. Sure enough he did. "Through Story Land to Sunset
Skies," is the striking name of a book he gave me. A couple of old
travelers who are supposed to have passed this way years ago before
there was any thought of a railroad, takes a girl and her papa into
their party and start for San Francisco on the Limited. First one
and then the other talks. In those far-off days, they must have
camped for months at every point, for they know the history of every
section and places of interest.

Their "Limited" seems to have been an unlimited, as to time, for the
narrative takes you leisurely from point to point. It is invaluable
to the party who takes the trip and I am the only one who seems to
possess one in the car.

"Where are we?" "Wonder what there is here?" "I declare it is the
driest dullest trip I ever took." These are some of the expressions
I have heard. I haven't time to tell them about things. I wish I
had, for it is such a pity for people to take the long trip and get
so little out of it. One old sister, I fear, will worry herself

The great


lately built by the government and brought by sea from New York to
New Orleans, was all the talk. "What sort of a looking thing is a
dry dock?" I asked one of my friends. "We'll go out tomorrow and see
it," was the reply. It's wonderful to think of a machine like that
with power to lift the man-of-war, "Illinois," the biggest vessel
in the navy, clear out of the water. "The biggest dry dock in the
world," said my friend. It is wonderful how many "biggest things in
the world" one meets in traveling. I have passed near "the biggest
salt mines," "the biggest hunting and fishing ground," "the biggest
bridge in the world," "the biggest sugar refinery." I don't know how
many "biggest things in the world" there are ahead of me, but that
dry dock and the battleship Illinois, are big things, for sure.


on the Limited Monday," was the unpleasant news I got at the
ticket office two days before I was ready to go. It was a great
disappointment. The Limited is made up entirely of Pullman sleepers
with a dining car attached. "Seventy-three hours from New Orleans to
San Francisco," are the words which I have thought about for three
months. Here is a description which charmed me: "Sunset Limited
traverses the New Coast Line between Los Angeles and San Francisco,
the grandest trip in the United States."


"A place where men smoke, read and rest. The first car of the train:
It contains buffet, baths, barber shop, desk, bookcases, books
and stationery. Here one may view the peculiar scenery through
wide plate-glass windows, tell yarns and enjoy full comfort of an
up-to-date equipment. A conveyance worthy of any man's admiration."

Then it goes on to describe in the same style each car: The ladies'
parlor car, the sleeping car, the dining car. But I missed it by not
engaging a place beforehand. Never mind, next time I'll know better.
I lose a day thereby and pay double for a sleeper. Poor comfort, but
the best at hand, "an upper berth only to Los Angeles on the regular
train is all that is left--nothing to San Francisco," and I jumped
at it.

An hour later and I would have had to go in the day coach and _nod_
it out. It looks like everybody has taken a notion to travel at the
same time; but I learn it is always this way on this road in winter.
Through the low lands and swamps and magnificent sugar plantations,
the train speeds on its western course. The Teche country through
which we go is called the "Sugar Bowl of Louisiana." I wonder that
it wasn't put down as the "biggest thing of its kind in the world."

Before we leave Louisiana, it will be interesting to some I am sure,
to hear something of the


which for several years furnished the most of the salt used in the
Confederacy, in our civil war. The mine is on "Avery's Island," on
the Gulf coast. Many years ago a boy returning from a successful
hunt, threw the deer he had killed into the fork of a tree while he
sought to slake his thirst at a beautiful spring. The water was so
salty he could not drink it. On telling his mother about it, she had
water brought from the spring and boiled and secured a good deposit
of salt. Gradually the spring came to be used. After a while,
farming interests absorbed the attention of the owner of the island,
who by the way was a Yankee from New Jersey, who fled South with
his negro slaves, when it became inevitable that the negroes North
were going to be freed. How the South has been cursed about slavery:
The facts of history show that Northern people are responsible.
Not Southerners, but Northerners, stole the negroes from Africa
and introduced slavery in the United States. When they found the
institution didn't pay, they brought the slaves South and sold them
to our fathers. Later they drenched the nation in blood to free the
slaves their daddies had sold to us. Some few did as Col. Avery did:
moved South with their negro slaves. (But to return to the Salt

Gradually the salt springs were abandoned until our civil war, when
salt began to bring $11.00 a barrel in New Orleans. The son of the
planter asked his father for permission to run a kettle in boiling,
to this was added other kettles, and so the mine developed. When
the springs would not supply the water fast enough, a well was
dug. Sixteen feet from the surface, what seemed to be the stump
of an old tree was struck, covering the bottom of the well. Close
examination proved it to be solid rock salt. The owner, Col. Avery,
leased a part of the mine to the Confederate Government. It is said
at the close of the war, he found himself the fortunate possessor
of $3,000,000 of worthless Confederate money; besides this, he lost
2,000 bales of cotton, which the government had paid him for, worth
in the market after the surrender from twenty-five to fifty cents
per pound. The mines were captured by the Federals in 1863, but work
was resumed after they left.

The mining goes on now on an extensive scale and great tunnels run
through it many feet below the surface. The supply is practically
inexhaustible. It has been explored by boring 1,200 feet down and
the bottom of the salt bed is still below. How is that for a salty
story! We passed


at night, much to my regret, but I learned the oil fields, which I
hoped to catch a sight of, were five miles away. However, I felt the
breeze, as every passenger who got aboard for a hundred miles in
either direction was talking oil. I imagined I could almost smell
and taste kerosene. You may be sure I heard of the "biggest" oil
well. A little later I struck a cow-man. I don't know whether he was
a "Cattle King" or not, but he could talk cows. I was glad to have
him in the same section with me for he knew the country and could
answer all my questions. Houston was passed in the night.

We breakfasted at


and found the town rejoicing over the breaking of a five month's
drought by the rain which was then falling. One of the natives said:
"You can't tell anything about rains here. They may stop in fifteen
minutes or they may pour down for a week." We found it so, for in a
few minutes after leaving San Antonio, the clouds began to break and
soon the bright sun appeared, but the rain had extended far to the
west which was fortunate for the travelers. I was so impressed with
what I read of the battle of the Alamo which took place near San
Antonio. I will quote it. Some have read it before, but the most of
your readers have not:


"If deeds of daring sanctify the soil that witnessed them, that
should be to every American, one of the sacred places of the land.
We soon alighted in front of the old church and entered its broad
portal. A hundred and seventy-five years have elapsed since its
foundations were begun. Its early history would be filled with the
interest of tradition were it not for the fact that one glorious
deed of sacrifice dwarfs all that went before. Here on March 6,
1836, one hundred and eighty-one citizen soldiers, untrained to war,
fought more than twenty times their number and scorning retreat
deliberately chose to die. The fight began February 23rd, when
the Mexican army under Santa Anna began the assault. The attack
was continued day and night, and each time the Mexican column
was hurled back with frightful loss. Each day witnessed supreme
examples of heroism on the part of the beleaguered men. One of the
most inspiring of them was the sacrifice of James Butler Bonham,
a native of South Carolina, and the friend of Col. Travis, who
commanded the Alamo forces. He had been sent to Fannin with appeals
for aid, which were unavailing. On March 2nd, he reached, on his
return, a hill overlooking the scene of the seige, accompanied by
two companions. Realizing the situation, these associates saw no
necessity for further progress and demanded of Bonham that they
retire. The reply of Bonham immortalized him. He said: "I will
report the result of my mission to Colonel Travis.


I have to tell him there is no prospect of reinforcements, that he
has but to die in defending his cause and that I came to die with
him." Then bidding farewell to his companions, mounted on a cream
colored horse, through the lines of the enemy and amid showers of
bullets, this gallant son of South Carolina rode to his death.
The gates of the fortress opened to receive him and he presented
himself to his chief. This is the noblest incident in history of
stern adherence to solemn duty without regard to personal danger.
On the morning of March 6th, a general assault took place. Slowly
the noble Texans were driven back until inside the church they made
their last stand. No quarter was asked, none granted. Each Texan
died desperately in hand-to-hand conflict with overpowering numbers.
Col. Jas. Bowie, sick and unable to rise, was bayoneted in bed.
Col. David Crocket died amid a circle of slaughtered foes. Travis
fell upon the wall when he was giving inspiration to his men. When
the last Texan died, the floor was nearly ankle deep in blood and
ghastly corpses were heaped everywhere. By order of Santa Anna, the
bodies were piled in heaps and burned. On the monument to these
immortal dead, Texas writes an inscription so great it makes the
heart stand still: "_Thermopylae had its messenger of defeat--the
Alamo had none._"

"I am sorry for you for


A lady, with whom I became acquainted said that to me on quitting
the train at San Antonio. Folks are so unlike. What was to her
dull and uninteresting, I found to be of the greatest interest to
me. True there were not many people to be seen, but the boundless
prairies with here and there herds of cattle or horses grazing and
occasionally a Greaser village with mountains now and then appearing
in the distance, had a charm about it for me which I have never
experienced before.


Mesquite bushes cover thinly the land and remind one constantly of
an old neglected orchard where the sprouts have been allowed to grow
up from the roots of the trees. The railroad has a four-wire fence
on each side of the track, which gives the land the appearance of
being fenced and you are all the time on the lookout for the farm
house, just beyond the _orchard_, but it never appears. Occasionally
right in the midst of the Mesquite you see a forty or eighty acre
tract broken in a square, showing the soil as black as one's hat.
Occasionally is seen a cotton field, but the crop failed because of
the drought. All the laborers on the railroad seem to be Mexicans
and I learn they give general satisfaction, but my! what shabby
hovels they live in! Sometimes only straw or brush covered with
straw, but more frequently built of "doby," sun dried brick. As we
near the Texas border, the soil becomes thinner and more rocky. We
pass towns with no sign of gardens or orchards.

We have passed the dry beds of immense streams, some of them called
rivers, I presume.


some running streams are seen and signs of irrigation. Here is the
Rio Grande which for thirteen miles of its length forms the boundary
between the United States and Mexico. The railroad skirts along
the river bank at the base of a great cliff to the right and on the
other side of the river the bare Mexican mountains frown down upon
us. Devil's river is crossed, a beautiful stream which refuses for
miles, to mix its clear waters with the muddy Rio Grande.


pronounced "kanyon," as the gorges between the mountains are called,
is so grand one regrets that the railroad does not go through it.
Only a glimpse is had of its mouth as it opens on Devil's river.
Up, up the rocky steeps we go until the open plains are reached.
The Spanish dagger, some scrubby bushes, and a species of grass,
resembling bear grass is all there is in the way of vegetation.
The Pecos river is crossed by the "highest bridge in the world,"
the boy said who tried to sell the pictures: "No it ain't," said a
gentleman, "the one across Kentucky river near Lexington, is the
highest," and the man by my side said he knew of two that were
higher than either one. Anyway, as I looked down into the river,
320 feet below, I thought it was high enough. They say that the
atmosphere is so clear here that your eyes deceive you. At one
point, the Santa Rosa mountains in Mexico, seventy miles away, can
be clearly seen, but they look to be only five miles off. Much of
the finest scenery we missed at night. Paisaino Pass, summit of the
Sunset Route, we did not see. Its altitude is 5,082 feet.


--two full days from New Orleans. What horrible tales are told of
Mexican and Indian cruelties in the days of long ago, but my Texas
friend tells me that everything like ruffianism in all this section
is passed; that hunters can, with perfect safety, camp miles away
on these plains without fear of molestation. But looking at some of
the specimens of men hereabouts, I'd rather do my hunting further
East, if sport was what I was after. In spite of the dry climate
some people are farming about El Paso. Of course it is done by
irrigation, the Rio Grande furnishing the water. Here is where
we change time. By our watches it was 8:30 only a little after
daylight. They said the only thing perplexing about El Paso is the
time. It has four brands of time and the citizen takes his choice.
"They used to have four or five other varieties, but so many people
became insane in the attempt to keep their watches right and meet
appointments, that now they have only four." Between New Orleans and
El Paso, Central time is adhered to, Pacific time from there West.
The difference is two hours; so if you arrive at El Paso at 11:15
a.m. and wait there an hour and three quarters, you still get away
at 11 a.m., and experience no delay. Then there is local or sun time
and Mexican time besides. "Wonder if all the boys who read these
lines understand about the change from sun time to railroad time?"
The 12 o'clock mark, when I was a boy, was what we blew the dinner
horn by and we got along first-rate; but now the railroads have
taken us in hand and changed all that. Here at El Paso, they seem
to have done their worst on old time--cheating him out of two hours
when going West, or maybe they only borrow the two hours and pay it
back on the trip East.


The water is very low and muddy. We are now in New Mexico running
across its southwestern border for two hundred and fifty miles.
There was a white frost on this morning, a rare thing here. The poor
Mexicans were huddled on the sunny-side of their dugouts and dobys,
wrapped in their blankets. I can't see where they get wood to burn,
the country is so barren. My friend told me yesterday that these are
typical Mexican homes. A poor little pony, a long-nosed pig or two,
a mangy cur, and a few chickens are all they possess in the way of
live stock, with these they seem perfectly contented. Some one said
El Paso was the


but from stories I heard about other places, I am sure it has
rivals. One man asserted that one winter he heard there were 37,000
consumptives in and around San Antonio and El Paso. Of course it was
not so; but that yarn is spun by the great family of "They Say."
On our train there were several poor fellows on their way West for
their health. How they did cough! It was distressing. One said,
"I have bronchitis which bothers me some. My lungs are not at all
affected." How strange the hopeful tone of all consumptives! May be
it is well that they are so. "When you get into Arizona, it will be
so dusty you can hardly see out of the windows," said the porter.
That is the case here in New Mexico and if the wind was blowing it
would be blinding. A vast sandy plain in every direction with bare
mountains, sometimes sand, sometimes rock, in the far distance, is
all we see. As we near Deming, we begin to see wind mills, which
indicates the presence of water at not a great depth. Here is a nice
town, some large stores, a court house and public school building,
all of brick; but what on earth keeps up the town? Possibly there
may be grazing land in the region and maybe some mining; but to a
stranger all is desert.


we pass into Arizona. Drummers are everywhere present. They crowd on
with their grips and sample cases at every station. The saloon is
everywhere present also. At one place, besides the depot building,
I saw no business house except a combined saloon and barber shop.
The "Tennessee Saloon" was in one place; "This here is a saloon,"
was the sign on another. After we left San Antonio, the tramps
disappear. Up to that point, I could see them looking wistfully
at the flying train in day time and at night I could see their
camp fires beside the track; but the stations are too far apart
and the picking too poor beyond San Antonio for these enterprising
travelers. Though the country seems so dry and barren, there are
evidences that sometimes they have fearful rain falls. I noticed at
several points in Arizona vast areas, covering probably thousands
of acres, where at times there are lakes or inland seas. Now the
surface is dry and cracked, with not the least sign of water except
at one spot where the depression is deepest and there is congregated
a great herd of poverty-stricken cattle. The wire fence on either
side of the road keeps me company. It makes one think the land is
fenced to keep the cattle in and you are expecting to see a great
herd every minute; but the fence belongs to the railroad and is
intended to keep cattle off the track. Think of a double line of
wire fence three thousand miles long; yes, longer than that, for the
Southern Pacific goes right on to Portland, Oregon, nearly eight
hundred miles north and to Ogden, nearly a thousand miles east of
San Francisco and the fences go with it.


in Arizona, they say there is fine grazing for cattle, one company
alone owning 75,000 head. I was on the lookout for the face of the
Apache chief, called "Cochise's Head." It is far to the southwest
on the mountain top. I fancied I saw it time and again, but when
it came in sight, there was no mistaking it. The outline of the
face with its great Roman nose looking towards the heavens, is very
distinct; for three hours it was in full view of the train. The
Apache Indians, who once roamed these plains, called that mountain
after the name of their greatest chieftain


pronounced "Tuson," said to be one of the quaintest towns in all the
West and next to the oldest place in the United States, I saw only
by its electric lights. Phoenix, the capital, is thirty-four miles
from our route on a branch road. I was so charmed with descriptions
of the country thereabouts, I copy for your readers some interesting

"All this country was settled by an earlier race than any of the
present Indians. The cliffs all through these Arizona mountains
are covered with hieroglyphics and pictographs. The Salt and Gila
(Hela) river valleys are full of old ruins of early occupancy. There
are artificial mounds, hundreds of feet long, extensive canals for
irrigating purposes, and vast debris--all, a class of work the
present races are unfamiliar with. The most wonderful, or at least
the best known of all these ruins--lies three hours of stage north
of the station of Casa Grande. Father Niza, who, in 1539, visited
the country, heard of these ruins which were then regarded with awe
and veneration by the native tribes. Coronado's people visited them
in 1540, and since then many explorers have come and gone, and left
descriptions to tell us what they were and are. As they exist today,
they still show the towering adobe walls that are believed to have
been seven stories in height.

"Some of the rooms were thirty and forty feet long. Archaeologists
and ethnologists have puzzled over these ruins for ages. Today,
with their remains of great irrigating ditches all about them, they
present a hard nut for scientists to crack. However, we must stand
amazed at the extent of these ruins. One of the great canals tapped
the Salt river on the south side near the mouth of the Verde. For
three and a half miles it passes through an artificial gorge in
the Superstition mountains, cut out of solid rock to a depth of a
hundred feet. After passing the mountains, it divides into four
branches whose aggregate length is 120 miles independent of the
distributing ditches. This system of canals irrigated 1,600 square
miles of country. The engineering is perfect. There is not even a
tradition to be found of these people. We only know that at a period
fixed by scientists as 2,000 years ago, the Bradshaw mountains were
active volcanoes, and the lava, making its way through Black Canon
flowed into these canals. Still later, a great deluge flowed over
McDowell Mountains, segregating their granite sides and depositing
their wash over the upper valley and the canals to a depth of from
three to five feet. This gives us testimony as to the age of these
vast works, and tells us nothing of the millions of people who must
once have lived here in a high state of civilization.


to find ancient civilizations, when they can get them right here
at home. There isn't anything in history more fascinating than the
story of the conquest of this very region we are traveling through.
There is a dramatic recital of Spanish occupancy reaching back 280
years beyond the Guadalupe-Hidalgo treaty of '46. The gold and
silver hungry Madrid government was pretty nearly pushed out by the
Indian outbreak of 1802, the Mexican revolution twenty years later,
and the Apache uprising of 1827. The country became a wilderness
almost until from 1845 to 1860, hardy settlers forced their way
into the rich valleys, established homes and began developing again
the resources of the country. Then our war came on, protection was
withdrawn, the Apaches swooped down, and it took ten years to undo
their work and begin again the building of a commonwealth. Now,
here's an empire as large as the six New England States with New
York thrown in. Its climate and scenery are so varied that they
appeal to every interest. All the semi-tropical plants grow in the
southern valleys, while the peaks of its northern mountains are
clad in perpetual snow. Here is the awe-inspiring canon of the
Colorado, the greatest and most marvelous cleft in the mountains
of the world. You can see a petrified forest here, with the trees
congealed into stone, rearing their rugged trunks fifty and seventy
feet in the air. What else does man want than that which he can find
in Arizona? It is rich in mines, in timber, grazing land, soil for
fruit culture, the best climate to be found anywhere. The wealth of
the territory is worth more than a hundred million dollars, and is
increasing with wonderful rapidity as people are coming to know its
limitless resources.

"It used to be that the consumptive had Phoenix all to himself. He
went there and the climate gave him life and health, but of late
years the agriculturist, the fruit raiser and bee keeper have
crowded him pretty closely, so that now you find the thrifty modern
city set down among groves of oranges, lemon, plum, apricot and
peach trees that make a paradise out of all that beautiful valley,
so that men find there not only health, but wealth. It is the center
of some of the greatest irrigation schemes that have been undertaken
in our age."

Chapter II

     In Southern California; Plowing machine; In the oil country; San
     Francisco; The Union Ferry Depot; Fort Alkatras; Sausalito; Seal
     rocks; The Golden Gate; Sutro baths and museum; China Town; The
     United States Mint; James Lick; The Stanford University; The

AFTER days of travel over the dreary desert waste, it was refreshing
to look out in the early morning on the orchards of oranges, lemons,
limes, and I know not how many other kinds of fruit. We are now


There are yet miles on miles of desert country, but it is frequently
broken by the orchards of tropical fruits. Some one said as we
traversed New Mexico and Arizona deserts: "This country was made
only to tie the lands which are fit for something together."
I fell in with the balance in that opinion; but I am far from
believing that now. Wherever water can be had for irrigation, these
sandy plains and knobs can be made to blossom as the rose. It is
demonstrated beyond all question here and in some of the parks about
San Francisco. We passed in the night old Fort Yuma and the Colorado
river, which separates Arizona from California and empties into the
Gulf of California. From Riverside, Pomona and Los Angeles to San
Francisco, over the Coast Line, the country is as the garden of the
Lord, except when the great cattle ranches and wheat farms occupy
the territory. Farming is made profitable only by irrigation. This
is usually the rainy season when the irrigating ditches are not much
in use, but no rain has fallen and the farmers are busy preparing
the ground and planting wheat. In many places they were flooding the
ground in order to bring up the wheat, already sown. I saw only a
few places where the crop was showing. What would Alabama farmers
think of running a plow with six and eight horses attached? It was
not one plow, but a


having several large breakers. I saw from six to ten horses pulling
harrows. Horse flesh seems to be abundant. In size, the horses are
simply immense. The Eucalyptus tree is a disappointment: where it
stands alone it grows to a great height, having a few scattering
branches; but in groves and clusters along avenues and on the
mountain sides, it is charming. Its growth is rapid, and as an
absorbent of malaria it is noted above all plants. I am surprised
that it is not grown around Mobile and New Orleans. The Coast Line
from Los Angeles has been open only a few weeks, and now trains run
into San Francisco for the first time. Many roads centre here, but
the Southern Pacific is the first to take its train into the city.
All others have their terminals over the Bay at different points,
or trains are brought over by steamers. From San Buena Ventura
for many miles, our train runs by the side of the Ocean. It is a
glorious sight to one unused to the Sea. There are numerous large
towns and the lands in many places seem to be fertile almost to the
beach. California is becoming


At one point on the coast there must have been three hundred
derricks, many of them on wharves extending far out into the ocean,
the wells being only a few feet apart. Back in the mountains and
foot-hills there must be many more, as I can see hundreds of great
tanks along the beach. Owing to the high price for coal, it will not
be a great while before oil will run most of the machinery on the
Pacific Coast. The most of the coal used comes from Australia and is
very high. The wildest, grandest scenery of the whole trip is where
the road pierces the Coast Range at San Louis Obispo. I would not
dare undertake its description. And now I am in


after an absence of forty years. Of course I recognize nothing--all
is changed; hills have been leveled and their sands emptied into the
Bay. Front Street is now separated from the Bay front by blocks of
magnificent buildings. My brother and his wife met me. How they have
changed! I never would have known them. They were impolite enough to
accuse me of growing old, too.


from which our boat started on its six mile trip across the Bay,
is a wonderful structure, and is built on a mud foundation where
the Bay has been filled in. It is 659 feet long with a clock tower
rising 245 feet. The second story contains a hall the whole length
of the building, 48 feet wide and 42 feet high. The building belongs
to the State and is used for waiting rooms for some of the great
railroads and for the many large ferry boats which cross the Bay to
Oakland, Alameda, Berkeley, Sausalito and many other points. The Bay
is filled with shipping of every description and from all parts of
the world.


is on an island. If the prison there could talk, it could tell
many a tale of suffering during the civil war, the only offense
being, the occupant sympathized with the Confederacy. Yonder is
Goat Island, in whose shadow a number of boys and I, years ago, in
our own beautiful sail boat, on a Saturday morning, made a fine
beginning for a day's fishing, but the wretched fellows soon took a
notion to return to Oakland--meantime the wind had sprung up and the
Bay was lashed into great billows. I was hopelessly in the minority,
and reluctantly took my place and steered the little craft over the
mad waves. In a few minutes every fellow except myself was deathly
sick, and I was left to manage sails and helm alone. It was my first
lesson in navigation. Time and again I was sure we were lost, but
the Lord must have interposed, though none of us were much given to
a religious life. When we got safely ashore my interest in the boat
was quickly disposed of to my fool-hardy companions. Through all
these years I have fondly hoped I might some day finish that fish,
so unceremoniously broken into.


is the end of my journey. My brother lives here in a lovely home
built in a niche of the mountain and fronting the Bay, which is
not twenty steps from his gate. San Francisco is plainly in view
directly in front, and Oakland and other cities by the Bay, are to
the left. This is the terminus of a railroad which runs back in
Marin county through a beautiful country. People who live here and
on back for miles to San Rafael, mostly have business in the city.

They are conveyed to and from their homes by cars and boats which
run every half hour. It is said there are two thousand people in
this burg; but I can't see where they are. In nooks and corners
of the mountains they are stuck away so that it looks more like
a thickly settled country community than a town. The streets run
around the mountains on easy grades so that before one is aware of
it he is on a high elevation. Exercise! You can get all you want
here. The back entrance to my brother's home is some four hundred
feet above his house and is reached by a flight of steps almost
as steep as a ladder. I have always counted myself a good walker,
but I am not in it with these Californians. Both men and women are
great walkers. Remarking on the great number of ruddy-faced girls
and women I saw, the quick explanation was: "We have so much open
weather and the air is so bracing, our people are so much out of
doors; hence the ruddy cheeks." I am a


Probably it comes from a sort of tired feeling which I have had
since my birth; anyway, I don't like to start out in the business
of seeing things, but I just had to. These people believe they have
something worth seeing and they leave their affairs behind and
give themselves to showing the tourists the sights. And they are
worth seeing, too. You can write almost anything extravagant about
California and it will not be far from the truth. I was glad I was
not left to myself, but how helpless I am when it comes to writing
about the sights. I can command only a few adjectives and they soon
become commonplace. "Immense" is one of my favorites. "Wonderful" is
another. Then comes "great" and a lot of little ones until I grow
tired and only grunt as my guide raves over what we are looking
at. If I could only rave over things! I will never have a better
opportunity than now, but the thing is impossible for me.

"The City of Atlanta" is the name of the Observation Car which makes
several trips daily to the Cliff House and return. The conductor is
a good talker and knows his business thoroughly. While the car moves
along at a good speed, he announces to the travelers the places of

We pass the great power house where is generated the electricity
which runs the many miles of electric car line; the Mission Dolores,
an old adobe building erected in 1776; Golden Gate Park, covering
more than one thousand acres; the Affiliate Colleges, three great
buildings situated on a mountain side overlooking the city and bay,
and finally the Cliff House on the point on the Pacific. Out there
two hundred yards away are the


A great herd of seals live there, protected by the authorities for
the pleasure of the travelers who flock here by the thousands. In
the afternoon they look like a flock of sheep resting in the shadows
of the rock; but in the morning they are playing in the waters. At
one time they sound like a pack of hounds far in the distance; at
another, like a herd of hungry cattle. This, with the roar of the
ocean against the rocks, makes a sound one never can forget.

It is said that here, on the broad piazzas of the Cliff House, is
the only spot in all the world where such a sight can be enjoyed. I
was told that some years ago after a storm, a large sea-lion, killed
by the storm, was washed ashore, and its weight was twenty-seven
hundred pounds. I do not doubt it, judging by the appearance of one
immense old fellow, which they have named "Ben Butler," after "Beast
Butler," I suppose, of New Orleans fame.

The quickest way out of my troubles at this point is to allow other
writers to tell of the things that I saw there.

"The entrance through


cannot be surpassed. On the right can be seen the Cliff House and
Sutro Heights; on the left, Point Bonita Lighthouse. Passing these,
you enter what might be called the vestibule of the Golden Gate,
which narrows to the distance of one and one-eighth miles between
Fort Point and Lime Point, with a depth of water of three hundred
and ninety feet.

The bay is so land-locked that the early voyagers kept sailing
right by its narrow opening, and it was not until November 7, 1769,
that it was discovered; but it was not entered and made known to
the world until 1775. The Bay covers 450 square miles. It can
accommodate the navies of the entire world without crowding them.


is where an immense rock basin catches the water from the ocean
twice a day at high tide. The baths, with a capacity of nearly two
millions of gallons, can be filled within an hour. The length of the
building is 500 feet. It has seating capacity for 3,700 and swimming
accommodations for 2,000 bathers. Tons of iron and thousands of feet
of glass, 3,000,000 feet of lumber and over 300,000 feet of concrete
were used in its construction. The bathers are here all times of the

I can't tell of Golden Gate Park, with its beautiful drives, its
statuary, museum, its herds of buffaloes and deer; of the Presidio,
the Government reservation of over 1,500 acres, which has been
beautified until it may be included among the parks of San Francisco.


covering twelve squares of the city, where nobody lives but Chinese,
is a place of great interest. Many visitors employ guides and take
in the town at night, which, I am told, is the best time to see it
at its worst. Horrid tales are told of underground opium dens, where
victims of the drug, of all colors, congregate; of the gambling
hells, and the Chinese lotteries. Two Chinese landed in 1848; in
1850 there were 450; in 1852 10,000 landed in one month. They were
welcomed at first. They are the best of laborers, but they soon
began to supplant white labor. It was discovered also that they did
not come with their families, to make this country their home. They
keep what they make and return with it to China--they even send
the bones of their dead back to the Celestial Empire. By law, they
have been prohibited from coming to this country for some years.
The years of the first Exclusion Act are now about out, and one of
the biggest questions, in the minds of Californians is, the new
Exclusion Law. The Labor party is very strong in the State, and the
politicians dare not antagonize it. It is a serious problem. If the
Chinese would come like the people of other nations and bring their
families and settle in the country, their enemies would be robbed of
their strongest argument. No exclusion laws are thought of against
the people of other nations, even though they supplant, in many
lines, the American laboring man.


"The biggest mint in the world," the fellow said, is a place where
one can feel mighty rich for a little while. Visitors are received
at regular hours, bunched and put in charge of a guide who shows
them through. One can see the money in every process of manufacture.
I was impressed with the fact that two dies stamp $40,000 in $20
gold pieces in ten minutes and that the coinage is about $30,000,000
a year. I saw only one greenback and one copper while I was in San
Francisco. Only gold and silver are used.


was an old pioneer--a machinist and a bachelor. He used his immense
wealth in beautifying the city and benefiting his fellow men. The
Pioneers' Building he gave, leaving it richly endowed. Here are
gathered all the curios of the early times and from the fund is
supported old and disabled pioneers. He gave to the city a great
bath house, where any one can bathe without cost; $400,000 of his
money went into the California Academy of Science.

The Lick Observatory, near San Jose, crowning the summit of Mount
Hamilton, 4,250 feet above sea level, his greatest benefaction, I
could only read about. The bequest amounted to $7,000,000, and the
telescope alone cost $55,000. This is indeed the biggest telescope
in the world.


at Palo Alto, only a few miles away from San Francisco on the Coast
Line, I could easily have seen in passing, but it escaped me. It
is named for Leland Stanford, Jr., for whom it will be a perpetual
monument. He was the only child, and the parents devoted the whole
of their princely fortune to the erection and endowment of this
great school. I saw the palatial home of the widow in San Francisco.
This school and the State University at Berkeley, certainly offer
great advantages to the young men and women of California--they are
both co-educational.

The great wealth of this country is simply marvelous. The taxable
property of San Francisco amounts to nearly $400,000,000, with
$120,000,000 hoarded in savings banks, or $343 per capita, but
notwithstanding all this there is a great army of very poor people.


about San Francisco is peculiar. The average maximum temperature for
twenty-two years has been 62 and the minimum 51 degrees, a variation
of only eleven degrees. The January temperature, for those years,
has been 50 and for June 59 degrees. The last and the first three
months of each year are the rainiest--only about 67 rainy days in
the year. The people wear the same outer garments the year round.
Ice and snow are seldom seen. The fogs make it an undesirable place
for people with pulmonary troubles.

I have missed many things of great interest. Back of my brother's
house, upon Mount Tamalpais, is the "crookedest railroad in the
world." It doubles back on itself five times, forming a double bow
knot. But for the fogs, I should have enjoyed the trip where the
finest view in all the country may be had.

Chapter Three

     Los Angeles; "Seeing Los Angeles"; The return; The pit;
     The Mirage; Old Fort Yuma; Religious matters; Baptists; An
     interesting occurrence; The pastors' conference; California
     College; One serious question.

ONE who travels and observes could write letters indefinitely about
what he sees and hears, but the question is: "How long will the
readers stand it?" Just what to write about and when to stop, are
perplexing questions, but I must close with this letter. Besides a
day in Oakland and Berkeley, where the State University is located,
and a short run on a railroad to San Quinten, all my sight-seeing
was done in San Francisco. There are over half a million people
in and around that city. Probably 350,000 in San Francisco;
Oakland Alameda, Berkeley and several other towns across the bay,
practically one city, have over one hundred thousand more. Just two
weeks was the length of my stay thereabouts. Everybody was very kind
to give advice to the traveler, some of which he took--if he had
taken it all, he would have been gone a year or more. Before I left,
on the way, and about San Francisco, I was told I must not return
without seeing


I gave two days returning, one of them Sunday, to this surpassingly
beautiful city. "You must see Pasadena, Long Beach, Riverside and
Mount Lowe," a friend said and another suggested a trip to San Diego
and I know not how many other places, but the line had to be drawn
somewhere and this is the last place for me on this trip. "There is
nothing in a name," but here is one I found, there is something in:
"Pueblo de la Reina de los Angelise." That was the original Spanish
name: the meaning was: "Town of the Queen of the Angels." It must
have been a beautiful place in those far off days, 1781. It was
rather damp, raw weather while I was there and I saw but little.
The display of fruits and farm products and natural resources of
Southern California, at the Chamber of Commerce is simply marvelous.
The immense hotels of the city are full all through the winters.
I was told there were 60,000 tourists in the city the day I was
there. These great hotels are not run for fun either, as I happen to
know from what I paid for one night's lodging. At all the suburban
cities, I learned, the hotels flourish as they do here. In Florida
it is said: "the people live on gophers in the summer and on Yankees
in the winter." These people certainly have a fine chance at the
Yankees in winter. Southern people, too, find their way here and
many have made it their home. Mrs. Scarboro, a Judson girl, into
whose home I was received with an old fashioned southern welcome,
told me there were four Judson girls and several Howard College
boys there. The Daughters of the Confederacy have two chapters, and
I think the old Confederates have an organization, too. Her old
friends in Alabama will be glad to know that Miss Sue Daniel makes
this her home and that she is well and happy. How many people she
knows in Alabama and how they do love her! She loves the Lord and
His work here as she did in Marion.


is the name of the observation car which will give you a two or
three hours ride through the city for a small sum. I can't begin to
tell of all we saw. There are hundreds of palatial homes here in
the midst of grounds surrounded by the rarest of plants. I can't
understand why they do not have the orange as an ornamental tree,
for it grows beautifully all around. It is a lovely tree and when
loaded with fruit, it surpasses anything I have seen. I was never
tired of eating oranges until now. I shall never forget the acres
on acres I saw, covered with trees laden with the luscious fruit.
The growth of the population in this Southern California city is
something marvelous.

In 1860 there were 4,500; in 1870, 11,000; in 1880, 50,000; in
1897, more than 100,000, and at this time, probably 150,000. What
is the attraction? the reader asks. The climate is the first thing,
of course. It is only 293 feet above the level of the sea, the air
is dry and entirely free from malarial influences. There is not
much need of fire in the homes, so spring-like is the weather most
of the time. The ocean is only a short distance away on one side,
and the mountains, on the other side, are only a few minutes ride.
Besides all this, the rich lands abound. Oil wells are abundant in
the southern part of the city. Many persons mortgaged delightful
homes to develop wells in their front and back yards and afterwards
lost all. Some of the wisest feel that the discovery of oil was
a calamity to the city. The conductor on our observation car,
in his excellent description of things, as we went along, would
occasionally venture to perpetrate a piece of wit at which there was
the faintest sort of a smile on the faces of some of his passengers,
on others, it was entirely lost, but he made one happy hit,
which brought down the house. "On the left you see many hundreds
of derricks, showing that Los Angeles has among her many other
resources, oil to burn. You will observe that the oil wells come to
an abrupt termination at the fence of the old cemetery. Many people
insisted that so much valuable territory should not be given up to
the dead since the occupants had either gone to where they did not
need oil, or to where fuel was furnished them free."


Was by the same route I went. If I had to make the trip again, I
should go one way and return another. I am not at all displeased
with the Southern Pacific. It was as good as I wanted and I guess
the equal of any others. I counted myself fortunate to get a place
on the Limited returning! Beyond the saving of a day, I discovered
but little advantage over a place on the sleeper on the regular
train. Everything was nice and convenient of course, and, if I had
plenty of money and loved to smoke and drink, I think I would put
great store on the Limited; but a lower berth on a sleeper on the
regular train, is good enough for me. I saw many points of interest,
returning, which I passed in the night, going.


Is a depression in Southern California through which the road runs
which reaches at Salton, _two hundred and sixty-three feet below the
level of the sea_. Only a few miles away, across the mountain range,
is the Pacific ocean and here at Salton they have great salt works,
where the waters of the Salt Springs, found in the neighborhood, are
evaporated. All this region was once covered by the ocean, no doubt,
and the probabilities are that it will be again some day. Here, they
say, in this atmosphere, is the place for consumptives and there are
very many to be seen. At Indio, twenty feet below sea level, there
is a good hotel and neat little cottages, fitted up especially for
the accommodation of invalids.


I thought I saw it going out, but was mistaken. I am not prepared
yet to say it was not a lake of water or mud, for they say the Salt
Springs and the Volcanic Springs of mud are hereabouts. One dares
not approach too near the latter. It spreads itself out over many
acres and maybe many miles. If it is dangerous to explore, who knows
but the so-called mirage is a real lake of mud and water! But there
it is out a few miles from the railroad, and for miles you can see
it. You see distinctly the shadows from the other bank and little
knolls and islands, all through it, cast their shadows distinctly on
the face of the water. Yet they say it is all a delusion, there is
no water there! Maybe so, but I am a skeptic.

In a former letter I spoke of the four wire fences on either side of
the road and suggested that it was more than 3,000 miles long; but
I discovered in the Colorado desert, which I passed at night while
going, there is no fence for hundreds of miles, nothing but bare
sand, and of course, there are no cattle to get on the track.


Is a historic spot on the Colorado river. This was the crossing
place in the early days of all the thousands of gold hunters from
the East. If its history could be written what stories of adventure
and suffering would it contain! It was here my brother, in 1849,
caught the first glimpse of California after a long and perilous
trip across the plains from Ft. Smith in Arkansas. If he would
write the story of his ups and downs before and after getting to
California it would make mighty interesting reading.

The town of Yuma is not far from the Gulf of California--I saw
two little steamboats tied up there. If anyone has been trying
to do anything in the way of teaching and evangelizing the Yuma
Indians, a company of whom we saw, they certainly have reason to
be discouraged. I have seen nowhere more wretched specimens of
humanity. The government policy of continuing the Indians as "Wards
of the Nation," supplying them with a living without any effort on
their part, and the efforts of the Catholics to Christianize them,
have been, alike failures.

Now my trip is ended. I have traveled 205 miles in Alabama, 63 in
Mississippi, 300 in Louisiana, 947 in Texas, 249 in New Mexico,
414 in Arizona, 728 in California, making in all 2,906 miles. It
has been a great pleasure for me to write these letters. I doubt
not they seemed very commonplace to many who are used to travel. I
haven't had that class in mind at all. I have thought of the many
hundreds who were "Shut-Ins" by reason of circumstances, and will in
all probability never make this trip or anything like it. I will be
glad if the letters have proven helpful to any.

It is proper that these letters of travel should close with
something about


The earliest religion to be planted in all this western country
was Roman Catholic. In Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California,
you will hear of "The Missions," by which they mean some ancient
cathedral or monastery, built more than a century ago, but now
in ruins. The tumble-down walls are of great interest to the
traveler, and are regarded with superstitious reverence by many
persons. Enthusiastic orators and writers often rave over the noble
self-sacrifice of the Spanish priests who founded these Missions.
Doubtless there were some pure, good men among them, inflamed with a
zeal for soul saving. But if we study the history of the Missions,
there is little to admire. There was a deliberate trade between the
Spanish Government and these Spanish Fathers. They received every
encouragement from the government and carried on their building
and trading under government protection. The Indians, whom they
came to Christianize, became practically their slaves. The labor
required to quarry and dress the stones, burn the brick and prepare
and transport the timbers for the buildings, was immense, and it
was all done by the Indians under the direction of the Fathers.
The income from the Missions, established by one of the Societies,
became $2,000,000 annually. They were in possession of their
properties for more than half a century. After the Missions were
secularized by the Mexican government, to replete its exhausted
treasures, the Fathers gave up their places, the Missions crumbled
into ruins and their converts went back into their savage state.

There is now no trace of anything permanent about their work, except
where the Indians intermarried with the Spanish soldiers; their
decendants are still Catholics. But the Catholics are strong on
the Pacific Coast, as they are everywhere in Coast cities. Probably
the Episcopalians come next, though of this I am not certain.
From all that I could see, most of the people are working at most
anything else than religion. I was constantly reminded of the
couplet in the old hymn:

    "Where every prospect pleases
    And only man is vile."

If a lovely country, delightful climate, bountiful harvests and
general prosperity, make people religious, the Californians
certainly ought to be devout; but I fear they take these things as
matters of course, and forget the Giver of all good.

I was told at Sausalito that men did not go to preaching in
California. From what I saw in the Episcopal church in that little
city, at a night service, it looked as if it were true; but I
worshipped with the First Baptist Church in San Francisco on two
Sunday mornings and was much pleased to find fully one-half the
worshippers males.


in San Francisco are few in numbers. I had the privilege of
preaching for the First Church people one morning. Dr. Wood, the
pastor, is a strong preacher, and seems to have an aggressive
church. My membership was here when I was a boy. But I was not a
very loyal member, as the reader later will find how I attended the
services of Dr. Scott on account of my Southern proclivities. A
Southern preacher in California is a rarity, I judge, but he meets
with a hearty welcome. Old Southerners, of course, greet him with a
style he is used to, and the Yankees crowd about him as if he were
a curiosity. "I knew you were from the South," said one: "Why?"
I asked. "Are you a Southern man?" "No, but I was down in that
country on the other side from you in the war." From the handshake
he gave me, one would not have guessed that we had at one time been
enemies. "Reckon" is a good word peculiar to the South and so is
"Tote." These are the two words, the use of which anywhere in the
North, will betray the speaker as a Southern man. The words they
use to express the same ideas are "Guess" and "Pack." I submit
these are no improvement on ours. In my sermon I had occasion to
say, "You reckon"--instantly the face of every Northerner was lit
up with a smile. I was greatly pleased with the heartiness with
which most everyone in the congregation entered into the singing.
An instrument was used, but a leader stood on the platform and led
the congregation. The pastor explained to me, rather apologetically,
that since their building was destroyed a few years ago, with their
fine organ, a choir had not been organized. I thought: "The Lord be
praised for a fire if it gives us such singing as that in place of
the music of the average city choir."


Before the service began, the pastor begged the indulgence of
the congregation while he stated the case of a gentleman who was
present. He came from El Dorado county, where there was no Baptist
church nearer than forty miles of him. He had been converted for
some time, and being in the city on business, he concluded to
remain over Sunday and state his case to the church here and ask
for baptism. It was the custom of the church to hear such cases
on Wednesday night, at the prayer meeting, but the brother was to
return to his home next day, so the matter came up at the morning
service on Sunday. The brother made his statement, some questions
were asked, and he was received for baptism, which was to take
place that night. There was present a gentleman who had been so
circumstanced he had not witnessed, for many years, the reception
of a member in a Baptist church. On leaving the church he said:
"I haven't seen that way of the whole congregation voting on the
reception of a member for a long time. It seems to me that is
the thing to do." As an object lesson it is worth everything to
the Baptists, and ought to be witnessed by as large a number as
possible. But the tendency, in our cities, is to thrust it aside
lest it weary the Sunday congregation.

The congregational form of church government is destined to sweep
America and every democracy-loving people on the globe. Everybody
ought to know we stand for it.

I met with the


composed of all the Baptist preachers in and around the city. It
alternates its meetings between San Francisco and Oakland.

All told, I suppose they have about twenty-five members. One morning
the hour was given me to tell about mission work in the South. They
were especially curious to know something about the negroes. They
fired many questions at me, which I answered satisfactorily, I
suppose, as they gave me a vote of thanks, with a round of applause
and sent greetings to the Baptists of Alabama.

I guess Oakland is the center of Baptist strength for Northern
California, as Los Angeles is for Southern California--there being
four or five churches in the city. It is the seat of


the Baptist college of the State. I did not visit it, but from
the statement I heard before the Conference from its President, I
judge, it is in a precarious condition. It does seem to me, if Mr.
Rockefeller wants to help the Baptists where they are most needy,
he has a great opportunity in California. From all I can learn, the
cause is suffering most, for the want of pastors who will stick to
the State. Those they have are from many different States and from
England. I judge they are good men and true; but unless the minds of
a considerable number of them are made up to remain in the State,
the cause of the Baptist must continue to be a great struggle. A
floating ministry, in any State, cannot give permanency to the work.
Every State needs and must have a good, large element of natives in
the ministry. This, California, is almost wholly deficient in, I

It was my privilege to hear at Los Angeles, Dr. Frost, long a
resident of California, and said to be the strongest man on the
Coast. He is strong and rugged, a King Saul among his brethren in
stature, and his sermon was full of the strong meat of the Gospel.

Rev. Joseph Smale, pastor of the First Church, I heard at night.
It was a plain, gospel sermon, delivered in an earnest, impressive
manner. His church is probably the largest and richest on the
Coast. The pastor and his assistant are both Englishmen. I met with
the Pastors' Conference. The Baptists hereabouts seem to be numerous
and influential. They have a vigorous, aggressive ministry, who
speak hopefully of the prospects. I was assured that the religious
element was quite strong and pronounced in all Southern California.


agitating the brethren on the Pacific Coast I found to be: The
multiplicity of agents to represent the various denominational
interests. This gave especial interest to my talk before the
Pastors' Conference at Oakland. It seemed to be a new thing with
them that one man should represent all the mission interests
in one State, as we do in Alabama. The Missionary Union (their
Foreign Mission Board), the Home Mission Society, The American
Baptist Publication Society, each have a man to represent their
interests, and besides these I think the two Woman's Societies
have special agents also. The Northern Anniversaries, with which
the churches on the Pacific Coast affiliate, have appointed
committees on co-operation, but the jealousies existing between the
societies stand in the way of their accomplishing anything toward
consolidation. There is no question in the minds of any, North or
South, but that our Convention plan is better to bring about concert
of action. I should have been delighted to have studied closer the
Baptist situation and cultivated the brethren in California, but my
time was too short. They are struggling with unsolved problems on
that side as we are on this side.

May Heaven help them and us with that wisdom that comes from above.

       *       *       *       *       *

Transcriber's note:

Minor typographical and punctuation errors have been corrected
without note. Irregularities and inconsistencies in the text have
been retained as printed.

Mismatched quotation marks were not corrected if it was not
sufficiently clear where the missing quotation mark should be

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