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Title: Pioneer Life in Illinois
Author: Perryman, F. M.
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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[Illustration: F M Perryman]

Pioneer Life in Illinois




    1907, by
    F. M. Perryman._

   _All rights reserved._


IN presenting this little book to the public, the author would not dare
to claim perfection, for to err is human, but we have sought to give
the conditions as they existed in this country in early days, and we
have not sought to display style or learning, but we have sought to
give the little book the same tone and as near in the same language
that we used in early days as prudence will allow, and we will leave
the reader to judge of the merits of the little book for himself; and
we hope the good people will pardon any errors they may find. We hope
you will be interested in the reading of it, and if some thoughts are
presented which will prepare the readers the better for the battles of
life and for usefulness to others, then we are well repaid for all our

                                                     THE AUTHOR.


WE believe as the Author of this book is so well known through this
part of the country it would hardly be necessary to write much of an
introduction; but by being solicited by friends who had learned that
we were born and raised here in Illinois, we consented to do so; Mr.
Chalfant first spoke of it then many others.

You will find the little book entirely original, nothing borrowed, and
what you find herein that is good or bad, is our own production. The
book does not take sides in party politics or church denominations, but
the Author has given some of his own thoughts on different questions.

Table of Contents

    Transcriber's Note: This table of contents has been created
    by the transcriber to aid the reader.

  Preface                       11
  Introduction                  12
  Cares                         13
  Occupations                   14
  Eighty Years Ago              15
  Sixty Years Ago               17
  Traveling in Illinois         20
  Names of the Early Settlers   21
  Going Back                    22
  The Drill                     24
  No Divorce                    26
  Billy and the Wolves          28
  Disadvantages                 29
  The Bear Chase                31
  The Wolf Chase                33
  The Coon                      36
  The Beauties of Nature        38
  Men’s or Women’s Work         40
  Pioneers Making Lumber        41
  Hunting Day                   42
  Peter Huffman                 44
  Deer Driving                  46
  Pioneer Boy                   47
  The Third Boy                 48
  Where Pana Stands             49
  The Snake                     50
  The Wild Cats                 51
  The Winters                   52
  How the Pioneers Made Meal    53
  Our Native State              54
  Pioneer Work                  55
  Morals                        57
  The Changes                   58
  The School in the Cabin       60
  Shelbyville in Early Days     62
  Wild Animals                  63
  The Muley Steer               64
  Chimney Construction          66
  Where Things Grow             67
  Hospitality                   68
  Religion                      69
  Making Hay                    70
  The Deer on the Ice           71
  Ben Overton                   73
  The Spelling Match            74
  The Prices                    76
  The Eggs                      77
  Good Friends                  78
  Love                          79
  When I and Betsey Married     80
  Discontent                    82
  Three Powers                  84
  The Effect of Influence       86
  Jesus Cares for Me            88
  Greed for Wealth              89
  Christ will Wipe              91
  The Family Altar              93
  Self Sacrifice                94
  Party Prejudice               96
  Intemperance                  98
  A Sad Sight                  101
  The Bright Side              103
  Good-Bye                     104


IN early days we had a great deal of hard work to clear the land and
then to make and keep up the rail fences; and it took four times the
work to raise a corn crop as it does now; and it took four times the
work to cut the firewood as it does now; and it took so much work to
prepare the material and make the clothing. So the pioneers had to keep
pretty busy; and when the corn was in roasting-ear we had to watch it
pretty closely for the squirrels in the day-time, and the coons in the
night would destroy a great deal of it, and later on if it was not
gathered early the deer and the turkeys and prairie-chickens would eat
it up.


IN pioneer days after the corn was laid by, as we called it, then we
had a while that we did not work much. There was not much harvesting to
do, as our hay harvest was in the prairie grass, and that was done late
in August or September, and during this idle spell the men would hunt
and fish, and those that did not have plenty of bees would hunt “bee
trees”, and get honey to do them for the year.

The boys would go into the woods and dig Ginseng; and when we would dry
it we got twenty-five cents per pound, and when we sold it green we got
ten cents per pound, and a boy could make good wages for them times.

Eighty Years Ago.

IT was Eighty Years Ago, in the wild woods, on Mitchell’s Creek, near
a good spring, JACOB PERRYMAN, the father of the author of
this little book, pitched his cabin. He was of Scotch descent, and my
MOTHER was of German descent; they raised a large family, of
which we was the sixth.

The writer was born April 26th, 1836, and raised there when it was
almost impossible for a boy to get an education; but he was supposed to
risk his chances with the wolf and the rattlesnake, and all the dangers
seen and unseen of that early day. So you see the writer has lived in
Illinois more than three score and ten years, and if, in speaking of my
native State, we spread the “paint” on pretty thick, you will pardon
us. Maybe we have enjoyed life more than the most of people have, and
if the reader of this book finds that the tone of it shows too much of
a disposition for mirth, remember it is our nature and we cannot help
it, and we attribute it to our raising. The man who lives in Illinois
and don’t enjoy life is a man who does not know a good thing when he
has it. The man who lives in Illinois and does not see beauties on
every hand to make him glad, is mentally cross-eyed.


Sixty Years Ago.

    I WANT to sing a little song,
        Of the people and their ways;
    And how the people got along
        Away back in early days.
    We rather thought the quickest way
        To let the people know,—
    We would sing to them
        Of how we lived,
    Just Sixty Years Ago.

    When coon-skins was two bits apiece,
      And beeswax was a bit,
    And eggs four cents a dozen—
      That was all that we could get;
    And deer-skins always went at par,
      And feathers was not slow;
    And that’s the money people had
      Just Sixty Years Ago.

    And, Oh! that big old fire-place.—
      It took a sight of wood;
    We would haul it on a “lizzard”—
      And we would pile on all we could;
    We would haul a big long hickory log,
      Especially when there was snow;—
    For we worked two yoke of cattle then;—
      Just Sixty Years Ago.

    The school house was of elm logs—
      The bark was all left on;
    I never saw no other kind
      Till I was nearly grown.
    The children got some learning,
      But, of course, it was rather slow;—
    My! how the teacher “licked” the “kids”
      Just Sixty Years Ago.

    And when it came to raising corn,
      We did not get much rest
    For the want of tools to work with,
      We had to do our best.
    We plowed with wooden mouldboard plow
      And our lines were made of tow;
    And that’s the kind of tools we had
      Just Sixty Years Ago.

    And when the people went to church
      They always wore their best;
    They wore their home-made pantaloons—
      I hate to tell the rest.
    The girls wore striped dresses,
      And the boys wore shirts of tow;—
    And that’s the way the people dressed
      Just Sixty Years Ago.

    We did not care for stocks or bonds,
      They were not in our line;—
    But, if we wanted whiskey,
      We got it every time.
    The boys could bake the “johnnycake”
      And the girls knew how to mow;
    Oh! was not we a “jolly set?”
      Just Sixty Years Ago.


Traveling in Illinois.

IN traveling over the great fertile prairie State of Illinois, and
viewing its many railroads, its many beautiful cities and towns, its
school houses, its churches, its broad fields of waving grain, its
orchards bending under their load of golden fruit, its vast population
of industrious and intelligent citizens, its mills, and its factories,
one can hardly realize that nearly all of this great improvement has
been made in the last sixty years, but such is the case. Sixty years
ago these prairies were an unbroken howling wilderness, where the wolf
and deer roamed at will and raised their young unmolested, and where
the rattlesnake was in his glory. The pioneer had unknowingly blazed
the way for what was to come; he did not seem to know that these wild
prairies was soon to become the garden spot of the world.

Names of the Early Settlers.

NO better class of citizens has ever lived in Shelby county, or ever
will live in Shelby county, than the early settlers; the Rasey’s, the
Hall’s, the Pugh’s, the Corley’s, the Rhoades’, the Wakefield’s, the
Small’s, the Middlesworth’s, the Gollier’s, the Yant’s, the Smith’s,
the Warren’s, the Whitfield’s, the Neal’s, the Killam’s, the Douthit’s,
and many others that we could name, who were just as good. The writer
feels proud of the memory of such people, and while the most of them
have passed away, we thank God that such men and women have lived in
the world to make our pathway brighter, and make the world better. And
where you find one of those early settlers you find a man whose love
for his friends can hardly be severed; a love so true, so deep, so
loyal, so God-like that if they possessed no other good trait that one
trait alone makes them noble.

Going Back.

NOTWITHSTANDING the many disadvantages of the pioneer life, there was
a charm in it which none can describe; and an old man who was here in
early days almost feels like he wants to go back and live his boyhood
days over in the wild new country, where everything was so near like
nature formed it; he wants to see the wild animals gallop over the
hills; he wants to hear the howl of the wolf; he wants to hear the cry
of the hounds when pursuing the deer or the wolf; he wants to hear
the gobble of the wild turkey in the spring-time; he wants to see the
prairies covered with wild flowers of all colors; he wants to hear the
crack of the rifle that brings down the deer or turkey; he wants to
hear the “pop” of the whip as the “big brother” comes up the hill with
his two yoke of faithful cattle and their big load of hickory wood; he
wants to hear the thud of the flax-brake and the hum of the spinning

    Oh! carry us back to the plain simple life
          In the log cabin, let us see
    The roaring log fire in the big fireplace
          Where the dove of peace hovers
    Over the hearthstone and delights
          In the rewards of industry and virtue.


The Drill.

SIXTY years ago there was a law in Illinois that all able-bodied men
from the age of 18 to 45 should meet and drill as soldiers every
alternate Saturday, from the first Saturday in April till the third
Saturday in November. And they mustered at my father’s every time. John
L. Perryman, my cousin, was Captain, a large, tall young man, with a
powerful voice; we could hear him give the commands very plainly for
two hundred yards. He wore a stove-pipe hat, with his long red plume
stuck in his hat, and he looked nice and I think he felt big. Ben.
Tallman was Orderly Sergeant. I think there was about one hundred men
in our precinct; and when Ben. would call the roll, at nine o’clock,
every man would answer to his name. Uncle Philip Perryman was fifer,
and Harvey Cummings was drummer.

In the morning pretty early the men would begin to come in, and a good
many women would come to see the men muster, and some of them would
walk three or four miles.

We would listen for the delegation from the West. The fife and drum
and the Captain was in that delegation; and when we would hear the
music and see that red plume coming around the bend of the road, a boy
would think his height was ubout eight feet in his stockings and his
avoirdupois was about seven hundred pounds.

James Mitchell run a “still-house” near by and when the men would go
into ranks with two or three “snorts” of Mitchell’s “best” they would
seem to forget but what they were in the midst of the Revolutionary
war, and each man had patriotism and whiskey enough in him for a
half-dozen men, but when the whiskey would die in him the patriotism
would die too, but the man would live by a small majority.

No Divorce.

IN the early days, when a field was ready to plant in corn, all the
boys and girls of the neighborhood would gather there and some would
drop the corn and some would cover it with hoes; and sometimes a young
man and young woman would meet in the field and stop and talk and
sometimes make a bargain to get married; and if it was very warm both
would be barefooted; and when they made an engagement, that engagement
was made to stay. The divorce court got no work there; and when they
got married, all the people for miles around would be there, and all
would contribute something to make up a big dinner of the best that
the country afforded. The men would get together and cut logs and
build them a house and most every family for miles around would give
them a quilt or blanket, or pillow, and soon they were pretty well
fixed. Those people raised boys and girls of large, strong brain, and
some of them boys are in Congress, or the Senate, and some are on the
Judges bench, and the girls filling equally as honorable positions. For
remember, that our wisest and best statesmen come from the field. Any
land that will grow corn will grow statesmen, and the statesmen who
grow up between the rows of corn will do to depend upon anywhere.


Billy and the Wolves.

IN early days my Father got Wm. Sullivan to come and help him to
butcher a beef, and it was getting dark when they got done, and Mr.
Sullivan started home with some of the beef, and the wolves gathered
around him so thick that he had to climb a tree to save himself, and
he hollered with all his might, but it was windy and no one heard him
until nearly morning. My Father heard him and started to go to him, but
Billy hollered and told him not to come alone; then he went and got
John Hall to come with all his hounds, and when they shot off their
guns and the hounds made a great noise, the wolves left, and Billy came
down almost chilled; and he said there was between thirty and forty of
the wolves. Such was pioneer life in Illinois.


WE HAD to work under some great disadvantages; two of the greatest was
the want of money to do business with, and the want of tools to work
with. The paper money was so uncertain, sometimes a bill which was
good to-day was worth nothing to-morrow. It was not Government money;
some of it was State money, but sometimes the State could not redeem
its money. If you sold a man a horse you would get from twenty-five to
forty dollars for him, and if you got it in paper you must go to where
they had a “Detector”; a little paper that was issued every two weeks,
showing what the different money was worth at the time the “Detector”
was issued. You would often get bills representing at least one hundred
dollars to get thirty dollars. This bill is worth twenty-five cents to
the dollar, and this bill is on a bank which is a little better, it is
worth forty cents, and so on; and we got very small prices at best.
We had almost no market. Sometimes produce was hauled to St. Louis in
wagons and fat hogs were driven to the same market. And the tools we
had to farm with were mostly home made, and now farmers would not think
of using such tools at all. We had nothing like a harrow or roller,
the clods must be broke up with hoes, and the corn must be hoed two or
three times; and the wheat and oats must be cut with reap hooks, and if
a man would reap one acre per day he was doing well. But the people had
what they was used to, and as they did not expect anything better they
worked on pretty well contented.


The Bear Chase.

IT WAS probably in 1831, there was a little snow, and my Father
was gone from home, and when nearly dark, the two big dogs smelled
something down about the back of the field, and they would bark and
growl and whine, and my Mother tried to get them to go, but they was
afraid to go. When Father came home my Mother told him how the dogs had
acted, and as soon as it was light enough to see, in the morning, my
Father went down there and came back, and said there had been a large
bear went between the fence and the bank of the creek. He got two of
his neighbors to go with him, and they followed his track about a mile
and found where he had went into a patch of thick hazels, and had broke
down a lot of the bushes with his teeth to lay on to keep him out of
the snow; but he ran out before they got up close, and all the dogs
after him, and every little while he would stop to fight the dogs, and
when the men would come up, he would run again, but finally, he was so
large and fat he tired out, and the men got up pretty close, but they
were afraid to shoot for fear they would hit the dogs; but after awhile
one of them got a pretty good chance and shot him through behind the
shoulders, and when the blood began to run and he began to sink, all
the dogs piled on him, and the men ran up and beat them off and cut his
throat. They did not weigh him, but they thought he would weigh near
three hundred pounds.


The Wolf Chase.

WE BELIEVE it was in the year 1841, the wolves were killing my Father’s
pigs more than usual, and he went to the men who kept hounds and got
them to come early in the morning, and they brought about twenty-five
dogs and they soon started a wolf, and it circled a little, then
started north, and about fifteen men and twenty-five dogs after it, and
it went north nearly to the knobs timber, then turned northwest to near
where Assumption now stands, and then turned south to near to where
Rosemond now stands, and they caught it just south of Rosemond, and
about half of the men and all the dogs but eight had dropped out when
they caught it at sun-down; and they said they run it about thirty-five
miles, then they had to go about twenty miles to home, in the night;
but two men went south to hunt up the Sarver’s and Fraley’s to come
with fresh hounds and try for the other one, and they were there at
daylight, and my Mother had got breakfast for them, and I remember
hearing Uncle John Sarver say: “Boys, I can get on old Nance and take
my two oldest dogs “Sam Houston” and “Davy Crockett” and I can catch
any wolf on the earth, but I want from sun-up till sun-down to do it,
for it takes a hard run for thirty or thirty-five miles, but we’ll get
him.” My Father had found where their den was in a mound on the prairie
about a mile east of our house; and they soon jumped the other wolf
and took nearly the same route as the one did the day before, but when
it got around the head of Beck’s creek timber it turned south and they
caught it just at night in a lake just west of where Oconee now stands.
They had tied all the dogs that had run the day before but John Hall’s
“old Rule”, a long-legged spotted dog, that led the chase all day the
day before, broke his rope and went in the lead all that day. Now the
young wolves was a little larger than a rabbit. The next morning all
the men and all the dogs in the settlement, and a number of women was
there, and during the day they caught seven young wolves; they didn’t
run very far; and John Hall and John Sarver said they could take “old
Rule” and “Sam Houston” and they could catch the Devil.


The Coon.

WE sometimes hear men joke about the proverbial “coon skin” of early
days, but it was no joke in our boyhood, we had to have the Raccoon
in our business. If the coon crop had failed we would have had a coon
skin panic, which would have swept all over the country. But the coon
had one bad habit, he liked roasting-ears a little too well; but his
diet in the spring and summer was frogs and crawfish and bugs, and in
the fall and winter it was acorns and hackberries and corn. And if a
dog was not a coon dog he was no dog at all; and an old experienced
coon dog could tell better when it was a good night for coons to travel
than a boy could; he would come to the door and whine and howl, then
the boys would gather their ax and away into the woods, and soon “old
Pomp” was gone, then they would sit down on a log and listen and after
awhile away up the branch “y-o-w”, “y-o-w”; and when the boys would
get there, whether the tree was big or little it had to come down, or
one of the boys would climb up and scare his coonship out. The coon
was a bad fighter, and could whip a dog very quickly, unless the dog
understood how to kill them; but when we saw a dog take a “running
shoot” at a coon and strike it with his breast and knock it down, then
grab it through the ribs, and hold it to the ground very tightly, we
knew that dog was “onto his job”, for he would kill it pretty quickly.


The Beauties of Nature.

THE writer of this little book was born and raised in a log-cabin on
Mitchell’s creek, in Shelby county, Illinois, twelve miles south-west
of Shelbyville, the county-seat. Date of birth, April 26, 1836. At that
time there was a poor chance for a boy to get an education; but we love
to think of those days, because nature in all her beauties was so near
like the hand of God had formed it; the skill of man had changed it so
little, and it was our school and our delight to roam over the wide
unbroken prairies, where the lark was singing in his native home. Where
the wild flowers, of all colors, were more beautiful than Solomon in
all his glory. These scenes inspired a feeling in a boy’s heart of awe
and reverence for the God of nature more deep and sublime and true,
than all the preaching could inspire. When a boy would get on a high
piece of ground and look around he saw a more beautiful sight than he
will ever see again on this earth, and his eyes would fill with tears
and from the depths of his boyish heart he would give glory to God; and
I don’t know but that boy was better there and then than he ever will
be again, until God shall call him home.


Men’s or Women’s Work.

IN early days, in Illinois, there was very little distinction made
between man’s work and woman’s work; for the men could cook and wash
and spin, and could do almost any kind of woman’s work, and the women
could do almost any kind of man’s work. The girls could yoke up the
cattle and go and cut and haul a load of wood, and sometimes when the
girls were not in the field they would go and shoot a mess of squirrels
and make a big pot-pie for their brother’s dinner. Where there were
large families, the parents did but little, the boys and girls done
nearly all; and they looked forward to the time when the corn was to
plant, or the flax to pull with pleasure, for then all the boys and
girls would be together and have a good time; and in pulling flax they
would take a swath four feet wide and see who could pull through first,
and generally the girls would beat the boys, for it was not heavy work,
but all depended on being quick.

Pioneers Making Lumber.

THEY would go to the woods and cut a walnut tree, which would square
about a foot, and cut it off as long as it would make good lumber,
then drag it to a pretty steep hill with the oxen, then score and hew
it square, then line it on both sides; the lines an inch apart; then
cut two long stout poles, and lay one end up the hill and prop the
other end against trees down on the hillside, then run their square
log out on them skids, then dig the dirt down so the under man would
have level ground to walk on; then one man get above and one below with
a whip-saw, which only cut as it went down; and they made real good
lumber; and two good hands was supposed to cut two hundred feet per

Hunting Day.

NOTHING in the memory of the early settler remains more vivid than the
chase. Fresh in our memory is our boyhood days, when “hunting day”
would come, generally on Saturday unless that was “muster day”. You
may think that we hunted most of the time, but that is a mistake. We
could not take the time, but one day in the week was regular “hunting
day”. All was stir and bustle very early in the morning, the Father
and the two big boys would see that their guns were well loaded and
in good fix and bullets in each pouch, and as soon as it was light
enough the long ox-horn was taken down and taken outside the door, and
then the excitement grew more intense, for as soon as the long blast
“t-o-o-o-o-t” was given every hound would stand on his hind feet and
see which could holler the loudest, and big, little, old and young
would come to the door to take part in the jubilee, even the baby
would slap his little hands and holler, for he knew there was something
up. Then away to the woods and little glades they would go. Then we
would stand out and listen with almost breathless silence, but we
didn’t have to listen very long, for directly, hark! the long-drawn-out
“b-o-o” was heard. “Oh, they have struck a cold trail, that is ‘old
Pomp’” “Maybe a coon.” But directly he would begin to warm up on his
subject, and “Muse” and “Joler” would fall in, and directly, all at
once, all would turn loose, pups and all. “Oh! its a deer, they have
jumped it up.” Then they would fairly make the woods ring for awhile;
and when we would hear the crack of the faithful rifle we knew that
meant fresh venison, for we knew that to miss a shot was not their


Peter Huffman.

PETER HUFFMAN was an orphan boy, and he had an odd, careless way that
made people laugh. Almost every day Peter would do something so odd,
and so droll, and so unexpected, that he kept up fun for the whole
neighborhood; and he didn’t seem to know or care what the people said.
But Peter was so honest and so industrious, and so good-hearted, and so
unpretending that they all liked him. When Peter was nearly grown, he
worked for John Crocker all one summer for a nice yoke of work cattle,
and by the time he had the cattle paid for winter was coming on, he
had fallen in love with a real good girl by the name of Mima Brewer;
and her folks were wealthy, but Peter did not know that that made any
difference, and so he went to see Mima and found that he was very
welcome. Now he goes to work to make a sled to take Mima sleigh-riding,
but before he got his sled done Sunday came, and a good snow, and Mima
wanted to go to her Uncle’s, about four miles. Now Peter had no horse
or sleigh; now what was to be done? Mima wanted to go and she must not
be disappointed; and Peter borrowed a one-horse sleigh and went and
yoked up his cattle, and got an old pair of harness and put them on
“Tom” the near ox, and put him in the shafts, and “Jerry” had nothing
to do but walk along at the side, and Peter and Mima got in the sleigh
and they went there and back in good order. Peter soon got his sled
done and he went and got license and he and Mima got in the sled and
went and got married and went to work and soon they were raising more
horses, more cattle, sheep and hogs than anybody around there, and soon
they had a good farm, good house and barn, and next, they was riding
in the finest carriage in that country, and the people that laughed at
them when they took their first sleigh-ride had to walk.

Deer Driving.

WHEN the pioneers would go out deer driving, as we called it, in the
morning and the hounds would start a deer, they had almost certain
routes to run, and we knew pretty nearly where to stand to get a shot,
but if it got through, it was very apt to go several miles and circle
in the woods for several hours, but it would come back after awhile and
cross the road within ten feet of where it crossed before, and now the
thing to do was to all go home and go to work, only, leave the boy that
was the surest shot and had the best gun and the hounds would follow
it, and that boy would have almost a dead sure thing if he would stay
there, when it would get nearly to the road it would stop to see if the
coast was clear, then the boy would shoot it through the heart, then he
would blow the signal for help on the horn, then a boy was sent with a
gentle horse to help him fetch it home.

Pioneer Boy.

IT WOULD seem very strange to the people now to see the “pioneer boy”
going to the “horse mill” long before daylight for fear some one would
get in ahead of him. Then when he gets home he has to go around the
field and scare the squirrels out; then go away down in the valley
and shake down the wild plums for the hogs to eat; then carry water
and put it in the ash-hopper to make the soap; then pick wool while
he rests; then go and see if the deer-skins are ready to be taken out
of the trough and rubbed dry; then help to put the “chain” through
the “harness” to make the cloth; then go and look where is the best
place to cut prairie hay; then carry up some pumpkins to dry. But
the “pioneer boy” was a happy, rollicking lad; he had just what he
expected, and he knew he was a good shot with the rifle, and was handy
with the ox-whip, and had a good “coon dog”, and that was enough for

The Third Boy.

SIXTY-THREE years ago there was a school going on four miles East of
us, and we went all winter. There were five boys of us, and I was the
smallest; the two largest boys would get on one horse and the three
smaller boys on the “other horse”, that placed me “third boy” on the
“other horse” right on his hips; and they would go in a swift gallop
all the way, and when we would get there I was almost done for. And I
only learned one thing that winter. I learned that to be “third boy”
on the “other horse” and on a keen jump for a four-mile dash is a hard
seat for a small boy. I lived over it, but I have not got rested yet.

Where Pana Stands.

WHEN the writer was a boy, where Pana now stands was an unbroken
wilderness, and the land belonged to the government, and was subject
to entry at one dollar and twenty-five cents per acre; but that had to
be paid in gold or silver, as the paper money of the country was so
uncertain. But the people doubted whether the land would ever be worth
the money. Tom. Bell lived at Bell’s Grove, West, and the Abbot’s and
a few others lived on the head of Beck’s Creek, East; but the prairie
where Pana stands there was nothing to show that man had ever been
there, not a tree or shrub was there; but the deer and wolves raised
their young there, and the rattlesnake had his own way; only when the
prairie burned over in warm weather, then thousands of them burned to
death. When the men were first breaking up the prairie sod they would
tell of killing twenty to thirty rattlesnakes in one day.

The Snake.

SIXTY years ago we was plowing with a yoke of steers in a field that
lay idle the year before, and we was barefoot, and there was a great
many dead weeds in the field. We was plowing along, interrupting
nobody, and we felt something tight around the foot, and we thought it
was a forked or crooked weed, and we kicked, and instead of its coming
off it rather seemed to get tighter, and we looked down and saw it
was about a second-sized snake wrapped around our foot; and you ought
to have seen him go, when we kicked the next time. We kicked with the
spirit and with the understanding, when we saw what it was. It was not
doing much harm, but we did not want it there.

The Wild Cats.

IT WAS probably in 1837, my Mother went to see a sick woman, and stayed
there until dark, but the moon rose soon after dark, and she started
home, she had a pretty good road through the thick woods for about a
mile, and when nearly half way home three animals crossed the road just
a little ahead of her, and she thought they were panthers, and when
they got across the road they stopped, and she thought the bravest way
was the safest, and she gathered up a big dead limb and made at them
and hollered; they ran up a big oak tree near the road, and she stood
there and hollered until John Hall heard and answered, and she told him
for him and the boys to fetch their guns and dogs and come quick, she
had three panthers treed, and he told her to stay there and keep up all
the noise she could, and they run and shot them, and they proved to be
wildcats; John said one of them was the largest wildcat he ever saw.
That stick was kept about the house for years and was known as “Mamma’s
Wildcat Club.”

The Winters.

IN OUR boyhood we had cold winters, but they were not quite so long as
now, we had very deep snows and sometimes there would come a sleet on
top of the snow; and then if we could find a deer on the prairie, and
sometimes they would stay in the valleys; and if we would get the dogs
after them when they would break through the ice and the dogs could run
on top, they would soon catch it.

At one time the Baptist people held their association near my Father’s,
and Jack Neal, Cornelius May and Andrew Hanson started on horseback
from their homes North of Tower Hill, and in riding through the prairie
where Tower Hill now stands they scared up a yearling deer, and run it
on their horses and caught it and brought it to my father’s and dressed
it, and it was fat and we had fresh venison through the meeting.

How the Pioneers Made Meal.

THEY would cut down a pretty large oak tree and saw off a block about
three feet long, square at both ends, set it upon end, build a hot
little fire in the middle of the upper end and watch it to keep it from
burning too far out, and by burning two or three days they would get a
hole burned out in the shape of a basin, then hang a heavy maul to a
spring-pole, so that the spring-pole would partly raise the maul; then
shell some corn and put it in, and put in a little water to toughen the
husk; then stand there and jerk the maul down on the corn and beat it
into meal. And it took a good deal of jerking to make a little meal.

Our Native State.

ILLINOIS being our native State; the State of our cradle, and is to
be of our grave. The State where our pathway has been strewn with
beauties; where the God of Nature has been so plainly seen in every
swelling bud and in every snowflake; where the very air has been laden
with mercies. No one can be surprised if our feelings prompt us to
speak pretty highly of our native home, Illinois, the great fertile
prairie valley between the Mississippi and Ohio rivers, like a choice
gem placed between the more hilly states on the East and the West.
Illinois, the second and soon to be the first agricultural state in
the Union; destined by her Creator to do a worthy share in feeding the
world. Her merits and her charms have drawn on the intelligence and
industry of every nation upon the globe.

Pioneer Work.

THE Author would like to picture to the reader the mold-board plow and
the reap-hook, the flint-lock gun and shuck horse collar, the hominy
mortar, the goose-quill pen, the fire-place and skillet, the deer-skin
coat and pants, the whip-saw and the frow, the pot-rack, and the
ox-yoke. We would like to show you the pioneer’s tramping out wheat on
the ground, with their six or eight horses going round and round; then
we would like to show you the four or five big yoke of cattle breaking
prairie, and the plow cutting about two feet and turning over every sod
distinct to itself; then to see the three boys taking every alternate
sod, the foremost boy striking over-handed cutting holes in the sod
with an ax, the second boy dropping the seed corn in that hole, the
third boy striking over-handed and with the back of the ax closing up
that hole, keeping motion the while by the foremost boy repeating the
word “now”, “now”, “now”, and them three boys could plant five acres of
sod corn in a day. Now we go and see the man riveing out clapboards to
cover his cabin; and we would love to show you how the cabin is built
and covered and not a nail used only in the door. Now we go and see
the ten or twelve boys and girls pulling flax, but you must watch for
snakes; see that little spider of a girl, she is ahead, because she is
quick. See that field of corn, the crows and blackbirds have taken it
nearly all. We would like to show you the smoke-rags hanging to the
horses’ harness, to drive away the greenhead flies.



OUR Father and Mother was very careful to try and teach us to reverence
God, and to love our country and our home, and to love our neighbors;
and they tried to teach us that the people are not bad, but good; and
until this day, we do not like to hear men talk that the people are so
bad, for it is not true. The masses of the people aim to do right; they
love righteousness, but they often make mistakes, and at an unguarded
moment do things which they are sorry for; but they aim to be good. And
when we speak of the pioneers being so good we would not dare to say
that they were any better than the people are now, but we do not think
there was quite so much temptation to do bad then as now.

The Changes.

THE writer has lived in Illinois more than three score and ten years,
and in that time we have seen great changes. We have seen the change
from the ox-team to the steam engine; we have seen the change from
the wooden mold-board plow to the steam plow; we have seen the change
from the reap-hook to the self-binder, and from the lizzard to the
automobile; from the bull-tongue corn plow to the two-horse riding
cultivator. We have witnessed the change from the business being
carried on through the medium of trade and traffic to the time when
most men have money in the bank. During the first half of our seventy
years, Illinois was yet in its infancy and grew very slowly, but during
the last half she has developed very rapidly, and has made rapid stride
in the way of improvement, and other great changes are to come yet,
and they will come pretty rapidly. The spirit of enterprise is on the
wing and moving swiftly, and the outlook is flattering. The people are
learning; they are laying down their party prejudice, and looking at
the situation more wisely. We have had an era of extreme corruption,
but that has nearly had its day, for the voters see that their
prejudice is the only thing which made that corruption possible. We
think we can see reasons to believe that the corruption and lawlessness
will have to go; and the drunkenness will have to go. The few party
leaders have kept the voters blinded as long as they can, and when the
people get their eyes wide open they are mighty and the law-breakers
and corruptionists will have to take a back seat.


The School in the Cabin.

IN early days there was an empty cabin in our neighborhood at one
time, and a man came along and wanted to teach school, if he could get
fifteen scholars he would teach three months for one dollar and fifty
cents per scholar, and would take his pay in corn, wheat, pork, beans,
honey, beeswax, or anything, and he boarded around among the families
who sent pupils. All right; and the men went into the woods and cut
some “linn” (linden) trees and split them open and hewed some of the
worst splinters off the flat side and bored holes and put legs in the
round side and made us some good benches; we took the oxen and hauled
up some wood and Mr. Anderson set in to teach. He did not know much
more than a goat, but that made no difference. Brady Phelps’ children
would fetch their little, speckled, bench-legged “fiste”, and he would
stay in the house, under their bench, and when we would stick our feet
back under the bench and touch him he would bite us on the heel. Frank
Perryman was just about my age and just about as mean; at the noon hour
he and I would get a wild grape-vine, and one take hold of either end
and get outside the door, then send a boy in to run him out, and when
he jumped to go over the grape-vine we would fetch a yank and throw
that dog twenty feet high; when we had sent him up a few times he quit
the school of his own free will and accord.


Shelbyville in Early Days.

IN our early boyhood Shelbyville, our county seat, was a small place;
General W. F. Thornton kept store just North of where the court house
now stands; Roundy & Dexter kept store just West of the courthouse;
Dan. Earp kept saloon on the South; Ben. Talman kept tavern on the
East; Rand Higgins run the river mill; Burrel Roberts was county
clerk; Ed. Shallenbarger was surveyor; E. A. Douthit was sheriff and
collector. Joseph Oliver was there, also the Trembles, Tacketts,
Cutler’s, and C. Woodard. John D. Bruster run the tan-yard on the hill.
Anthony Thornton was the leading lawyer; Sam’l W. Moulton came there
when we were a boy. We remember hearing Abraham Lincoln plead a divorce
case in the old court house sixty years ago. At that time the lawyers
traveled from place to place on horseback, and carried their books in
their saddle-bags.

Wild Animals.

IN our boyhood the bears and panthers were mostly killed out, but there
was a great many wolves and wildcats, but we did not fear the wild
animals half so much as we did the rattlesnake and spreading viper,
both of which was very plentiful, especially the rattlesnake; while
the other snakes would run away, they would coil up and make ready
to strike. The timber rattlesnake grew to be very large, I have seen
them at least four feet long and very thick to their length, but the
spots on them were a bright copper color and they were easily seen; the
prairie rattlesnake was much smaller, of a dirt color, and hard to see.

The Muley Steer.

WHEN the writer was a boy, maybe fourteen or fifteen years old, my
Father owned a nice fat little steer that left home and took up at
Enos Jones and my Father wanted him for beef and he told me to go and
put a rope halter on him and fetch him home. I went and got him in the
stable, made a halter and put it on him and when about half-way home
he got unruly, the halter slipped off, and he broke to go back, but I
was a good runner, was barefooted, and I headed him; then he took the
road for William Sullivan’s, and there was a race, he went straight for
the house. Mr. Sullivan had four daughters and I was very bashful, and
he also had two big dogs of whom I was afraid, but I could not afford
to lose my steer; over the fence he went and I at his heels, one big
dog came running around one corner of the house from one way and the
other dog from the other way, and made at the steer, they had him
between them; both doors of the house were open, the women were engaged
in quilting and were not apprised of our arrival, and the first they
knew we went in at the door, turned the table over on the cat, while
as he went in at the door I caught him by the tail and as he went out
at the other door, I fetched a yank to the North, which he was not
expecting, thus throwing him flat against the wall, then he bellowed
as loud as he could; then the women wanted to kill me and the steer
too for scareing them so bad; I was hot and scared too, but I tied my
steer to a tree, took off my hat, backed up in the shade of a tree,
made a long speech upon the short-comings of steers and dogs, and that
boys were no better; they all listened and when they got to laughing,
we grew eloquent and used big words and lots of them, while they got
to clapping their hands and laughing big and loud I left them in fine

Chimney Construction.

MAYBE the reader would like to know how the pioneers made the chimneys
to their cabins. They would build up with split logs to the arch, and
rive out sticks about one and one-half inches thick and two inches
wide; they would make mortar of clay and mix in some grass to hold
it together; they would make a scaffold and throw the mortar on that
scaffold, and one boy or man would stand there and roll that stiff
mud into what was called “cats”; those “cats” were about three inches
thick and eight inches long. The builder stayed up in the inside of the
chimney, they would pitch the “cats” and the sticks up to him, he would
put on a round of the “cats”, then a round of the sticks, then pound
the sticks down with a hand maul so that the mud was about one and
one-half inches thick on both sides of the sticks; and that was a safe
chimney for twenty years.

Where Things Grow.

THE Author of this little book feels proud of being a native-born
citizen of one of the central counties of the best State in the best
Government under the sun. Illinois is where things grow; the corn, the
wheat, the hay, the oats, the fruit, the vegetables, the horses, the
cattle, the hogs; the eggs don’t grow on bushes in Illinois, but they
come as near to it as they do in any other State. And not only these
things, which have been mentioned, grow in Illinois, but brains grow in
Illinois too; and if they are about to be bothered to find a man who is
smart enough for President, tell them not to be uneasy, that Illinois
can furnish five hundred, if that many were needed. Yes, Illinois is
where things grow.


WHEN you would ride up to a pioneer’s cabin the first thing was the
hounds’ “boo,” “boo,” then all would come to the door. “Come in,” “come
in.” You go in, you see from one to three rifle guns in the rack, you
also see deer-skins and turkey-wings all about the house. “Have you
had your dinner?” “No.” “Gals, get him some dinner.” You find plenty
of milk and butter, bread, venison, potatoes, and almost everything
that grows on the farm or in the woods. You speak of going. “Oh, stay
all night.” You conclude to stay; then you must tell your name and
where you live, and how long you have lived there, how many children
you have, who you married, and where you come from, also how many deer
you have killed this winter. You are expected to tell it all, and the
children will size you up very carefully; and then by the time the man
tells you all he knows, and the woman tells you all she knows, and all
that her mother knew, and all that her grandmother knew, and all the
children tell you all they know, you do not get much sleep.


THE writer learned at an early age to have a great respect for the
church, not for any one particular denomination, but for all who
seek to serve their Creator with all their heart, according to their
best understanding of His will. We was raised under the teaching and
influence of the Methodist, Baptist, Presbyterian and the Christian
churches. John Hall and others was preaching the Methodist doctrine,
Willis Whitfield the Baptist doctrine, McCreary Bone the Presbyterian
and Bushrod Henry (the father of our present J. O. Henry) preached the
Christian doctrine—all of them good, zealous Christian men. We loved
them all. At that day a boy would not have been allowed to speak with
disrespect of a preacher at all, it would have been considered almost
like blasphemy to thus speak of a preacher with disrespect.

Making Hay.

IN our boyhood, we had little use for meadows, we could go out in the
prairie and on the low land we could cut from three to four tons of
good hay per acre. A big boy could cut five tons per day, which would
now be worth at least fifty dollars. When we was a boy, we went out
to mow some hay, and we found our good neighbor John Hall out there
mowing, and he showed us where to mow, where the grass was very good,
and he said there was all the grass in that place we would both cut.
When it was near noon and pretty hot, we were wanting water very much
John called us to come to him, we went, and he brought out a very
large, long watermelon from under some green hay beneath his wagon, and
we got in the shade of his wagon. I do not think I have ever enjoyed a
melon with more relish than I did that one.

The Deer on the Ice.

THE Deer is the most beautiful of all animals, very timid and harmless,
has no disposition to fight any thing, unless it is wounded or hemmed
in, it aims to save itself by flight; but hunters say it kills every
snake that it finds, by jumping on the reptile with all its feet placed
close together, thus cutting it to pieces with its sharp hoofs.

It was, maybe, in the winter of 1844, it had been very cold for a long
time, my elder brother would go to the spring for water every evening
near sunset, and there was a large buck drinking in the spring, as the
water was frozen up other places; my Father said “wait and I will see
if I can kill him,” and he loaded up his big rifle and went down to the
big locust tree South of the house, in plain view of the spring, and
we saw him draw up against the tree and take aim, and “bang” went the
rifle, and he ran to the spring, directly we heard him hollering, and
the two big boys ran with all their might; the bullet had struck him
on the horn, just where it joined his head, and stunned him, and he lay
there until my Father caught him by the hind leg, when he sprang to his
feet; there was a solid sheet of smooth ice, about fifteen feet across,
and the deer could not hold very good on the ice; my Father said he had
him down a dozen times, but could not keep him down; he got his front
feet to the dry land once or twice, and my Father would jerk him back,
but when my brothers got there they got hold of his horns and threw
him down and they all piled on him and held him down until they cut
his throat. My Father was a large, stout man, and he said that was the
hardest scuffle he ever had. Such was pioneer life in Illinois.


Ben Overton.

IN early days, Ben Overton kept a little grocery store in the woods,
and when James Mitchell quit making whiskey, Ben went to St. Louis and
bought a barrel of whiskey and put out the word that he would not sell
it in any other way but by the drink, a picayune a drink. The men did
not like him very well, they said he was mean. When Ben got home, on
the Saturday after, the men gathered there from ten miles around, and
now Ben thought he would have a big day. The men had their jugs hid in
the bushes, and soon one of my uncle’s and Bill Doyle got into a fight,
just out under some trees, then while Ben’s attention was diverted, the
men run in at the back door and filled up their jugs, also one for each
of the combatants, and when the last jug was full some one hollered:
“Part ’em.” They did not hardly leave Ben whiskey enough to “drown his

The Spelling Match.

IN our early boyhood we hardly ever saw a buggy and there were not
many farmers who owned a wagon. At one time there was to be a spelling
contest between our school and one five miles East and we was bothered
to decide how to get the girls there; but a day or two before the time
for the spelling, there came a deep snow, and then we knew what to do;
we had a very large yoke of oxen, we would hitch them to the big sled
and we would have room for all, and when the day came, soon afternoon,
we hitched up and started around to gather up our load of boys and
girls, and when we got them crowded closely into the sled, we found we
had room for all only two, but we knew how to manage that, and I got on
the back of old Pete, while cousin Frank got on old Mike and we struck
out; but before we got there we had a long hill to go down, and on one
side there was a pretty deep ditch washed out and when we started
down the hill the steers got to going faster and faster, and when we
saw that we were running into that ditch, we hollered “hoa”, and the
steers stopped very suddenly, while we “scooted” over their heads into
the deep snow; we jumped up as quick as we could, and looked back, the
sled was standing up on one side, while the boys and girls were piled
up in that ditch three feet deep, but there was no one hurt much, and
we brushed the snow off, and got there just at dark. Our boys and girls
kept laughing so, that we found it necessary to ask leave to get up and
explain what they were laughing about. I told it as funny as I could,
and I was in practice then for telling things funny; I also tried to
show how old Pete was standing, when I looked around, but I did not
have legs enough to show it just right; when I got through, it took a
long time to restore order. When we had spelled for a long time and all
were “spelled down” on both sides, except our brother Albert on our
side and Manda Johnson on their side, and when they had spelled for two
hours, and neither one had missed a word, the judges decided to call it
a “draw” and dismissed.

The Prices.

AT one time, in our early recollection, my Father bought a number of
yearlings early one spring, and the highest price he paid was three
dollars a head. He kept them until they were over two years old, and I
think there were sixteen steers among them, and he sold the steers to
Irvin Melton for eight dollars a head. One spring, when I was a small
boy, he sold to Wilson Perryman, his cousin, eight cows and calves
for eight dollars each—sixty-four dollars for all. He got that all in
silver half-dollars, and put it in an old tin bucket and sat it up on
the cupboard, and the same year, about September, he sold to John Selby
one hundred head of hogs for one hundred dollars, all in silver, and
he put it in the same bucket, and when the neighbor’s children would
come over, we would get it down and pour it out on the floor, to show
them how much money we had. Finally John Hodson borrowed it and entered
three forties of land, where New Hope now stands.

The Eggs.

SIXTY Years ago, when we were at work in the field, and would hear the
cranes, out on the prairie, making a great noise, we knew they were
nesting. They would go into the lakes and gather the rushes and pile
them up very much like a large shock of hay, so that it would come
above the water, then they would make a little flat place on top and
deposit two eggs on that flat place; the eggs was a little larger than
a goose egg, while they were shaped just like a quail’s egg, they were
white in color with small brown specks all over them. When we could get
a hat full of prairie hen’s eggs, and we believe no better flavored egg
can be found, when they were boiled, then with a dish of fresh butter,
a boy was surely fixed.

Good Friends.

THE Author feels very proud of having had the good influence of such
good friends as Pascal Hinton, James Rhoads, Berry Turner, Jasper L.
Douthit, Anthony Thornton, Henry Carpenter, John Kitchell, Sylvester
Cosart, and many, very many others. Some of them are gone, but we have
not given them up. The influence and friendship of such men has made
our pathway brighter, and has made life worth living; and all we are we
owe it to the influence of such good friends.


LOVE is the greatest attribute of God and the noblest trait of man.

Love redeemed the world and brings salvation to men.

Love casts out all fear, and purifies the heart.

Love rocks the cradle of virtue, and brings peace to the nations.

Love tunes the song of the lark, and paints the rose.

Love indites the prayer, and speeds the answer.

Love tempers the storm and hallows the calm.

Love smiles in every swelling bud, and whispers in every passing breeze.

Love softens the pillow and sweetens the dream.

        No pen can ever write,
        No mind can ever span
    The length and breadth, the depth and height
        Of the love of God to man.

When I and Betsey Married.

    WHEN I and Betsey married first,
      We both was very poor;
    When work was very scarce, sometimes
      The wolf got near the door.

    And Betsey said: “Let’s buy some hens—
      “The papers say ‘it will pay’;
    “I think you had better look around
      “And buy the kind that lay.”

    I bought a dozen plymouth hens
      And put them in a pen;
    When Betsy went and looked, she found
      An egg for every hen.

    “Whoopee! I know just what to do;
      “I’ll buy a dozen more—
    “And when we get that many eggs,
      “We are not so very poor.”

    We raised a hundred hens that year;
      Next year, three hundred more—
    And Betsy, with a knowing wink,
      Said, “We have struck it, sure.”

    We don’t care much what kind we have—
      There’s not much in a name;
    If people treat their chickens right,
      They “shell out” just the same.

    We have eleven hundred now,
      Blue, yellow, black and white;
    And Betsy says: “Old man, I think
      “They are mixed up now just right.”

    And late, like in the evening
      We get our baskets off their pegs,
    And “hike out” in the chicken yard
      To gather in the eggs.

    We ship two cases every day;
      Oh, my! but aint it funny?
    I sit around and read the news,
      And Betsy counts the money.


THE Human family is restless and discontented; constantly in quest of
something, and know not what that something is. There is an aching void
in the mind, which men are constantly seeking to satisfy, and very many
remedies have been tried and failed. Some have tried great wealth and
it has failed; some have tried great learning, and it has failed; some
have tried fame, and it has failed; some have resorted to strong drink,
and it has failed; also, many other things have been tried to satisfy
that void and failed. Man is out of his element, consequently unhappy.
Take a fish out of the water and it will perish and die, because it
is out of its element. Man was created for peace and harmony with his
God. When he had violated the law and was put out of the Garden, he
lost his element; hence this restless, unhappy condition. Now, he may
be represented as being blind—in utter darkness, in quest of something
and knows not what it is. But God, in His Great Mercy, has put a remedy
within our reach; an efficient antidote is prepared and brought to your
door, and not only so, but It knocks and asks admission; It comes in
the person of a gentle, loving Spirit, whispering in accents of pity:
“Oh! come to me, and find rest”; ever, ever calling, calling: “Believe,
on me, and find peace.” That dear Holy Ghost comes to your pillow at
night. “Oh! trust in Me and I will restore you to your proper element;
believe in Me and I will drive away all this restless discontent”. Our
fathers and mothers, in their day, heard and obeyed this same loving
call, and found peace, by being placed in their native element—peace
with God.

    Out on the mountain, cold and bare,
        With restless feet we roam;
    But now, we come with humble prayer:
        Lord, lead us safely home.

Three Powers.

THE Human family owe allegiance to three great powers—their God, their
Country, and their Home; and the three are so inseparably connected
that a person can hardly be true to one without being true to all;
there is a connecting link that binds them together. We owe our
allegance to God because He is the author of our existence, and gives
us all the untold blessings that we enjoy, and to Him we look for the
hope of a blessed immortality beyond this life, and by Him we enjoy
the blessings of our Country and our Home. We owe allegiance to our
Country because by it we enjoy protection in our life and property; it
guarantees to us the right to worship God according to the dictates of
our own conscience, and be protected in our Home. And to the Home. Oh!
how shall we begin the Home? The most sacred place on earth, around
whose hearthstone the foundation is laid for the weal or woe of the
Nation. Oh! say not the Home is not a power of all earthly powers; the
Home is the nucleus, the Alpha and Omega, the biggest, biggest word
pertaining to earthly things, spelled with four letters, the hand is
too feeble to write, and the tongue is too feeble to tell, and the
brain is too feeble to conceive all the meaning there is in that short
word—Home. With its joys and its sorrows, its toils and repose, its
smiles and its tears, its births and its deaths, its cradle and its
altar, its Bible and its pillow, its bitter and its sweet, its precepts
and its examples. When orators and poets undertake to tell all the
meaning of that short word, let them pause and think, and think, and
think; and when it shall have been declared that Time shall be no more;
and when the last trumpet shall have sounded and when Angels shall have
tuned their harps anew and shall have struck up the ever new glad song
of redemption, through the Blood; and when the pearly gates shall have
been thrown wide open, to welcome the redeemed and blood-washed throng
from earth: Oh! then, Home, Home. Home forever-more.

The Effect of Influence.

DEEP In the heart of every individual is an inclination to be good
and to do good, but sometimes that good desire is so counteracted by
some evil influence, that the poor individual unfortunately drifts
into ruin. The doctrine of total depravity is all a mistake. The poor
criminal often becomes so by the influences which are brought to bear
upon his mind; and the good people are often, more or less, responsible
for his ruin, for their indifference and lack of diligence in trying
to win him back to the path of honesty and justice. The people who are
good need not take the praise to themselves, for they do not know what
they would have done under certain other environments and influences;
and often the poor criminal is more to be pitied than blamed; often in
an unguarded moment he does things which he had no thought of doing,
and he would then give his life to call it back. And when our neighbor
goes to the bad, let us, instead of exulting over his fall, rather shed
a tear for him, and think, maybe, I have not done my duty to save him.
But, fortunately, in our country, the good is so much greater than the
bad, and the good influence so prevails over the bad, that God still
deals with us in mercy, and sends the seedtime and harvest, and our
people are a prosperous and happy people.


Jesus Cares for Me.

    I KNOW that my Redeemer lives,
        I know He cares for me;
    I know He full salvation gives,
        I know He sets me free.

    Why should I murmer or repine,
        While on life’s stormy sea;
    Since God is with me all the time,
        And Jesus cares for me.

    Even in a dark and stormy night
        Though threatening clouds I see;
    This thought brings comfort and delight
        That Jesus cares for me.

    Each day I hear His gentle call:
        Saying, “Believe on me”;
    And since He notes each sparrow’s fall
        I know He cares for me.

Greed for Wealth.

THE Extreme greed for wealth comes nearer threatening the overthrow of
this Government than any one thing. The disregard for law is the result
of greed. The saloon is the child of greed. Money sharks have been
very diligent in agitating all the party prejudice they can, for they
know that if the voters lay down their love for party name, they will
work and vote together intelligently to overthrow the great wrongs,
and there will be a leveling up, and that class legislation will have
to go, and the liquor traffic will have to go, and equal rights will
prevail. The people are intelligent enough to know their wrongs, but
they are so completely bound hand and foot by their party name, that
they cannot help themselves. They know that the issues, which the
leaders of the parties, have kept the voters divided upon for many
years, was only “sham” issues, and not the real issues at all. The
voters of this country are intelligent on every other question, but
almost hopelessly insane on the question of party. There is no question
now for which lecturers are needed so much. If you kill the foolish
blind party prejudice, the same stroke will kill every public wrong
which exists in our land. We think we have some pretty good reasons
to hope that the great wrongs will be righted within a few years; but
there are no good reasons why they should not be righted within a few


Christ will Wipe.

    IF traveling through this vale of tears,
        We saw no better world than this;
    If looking on through endless years
        We caught no ray of Heavenly bliss.

    Where could we go, to comfort find,
        Or what could then our spirits cheer;
    Still groping on in darkness, blind
        With sin and sorrow, everywhere.

    But, oh! our destiny is not sealed
        In bitter anguish, death and gloom;
    For God, has in His word revealed
        A better world, beyond the tomb.

    This thought, will give us joy and peace,
        While plodding on, in toils and cares,
    Knowing well we’ll have a sweet release;
        And Christ will wipe away our tears.

    Then goodbye sorrow, goodbye pain,
        Goodbye to all our doubts and fears,
    For He, who died and rose again
        Will smile and wipe away our tears.

    Let storms arise, and billows roll,
        We’ll battle on, our three-score years—
    This thought’s an anchor to our soul,
        That Christ will wipe away our tears.

    So glad, our destiny is not sealed
        In bitter anguish, death and gloom—
    For God has, in His word revealed
        A better world, beyond the tomb.


The Family Altar.

GOOD Men and Women study and counsel, what is best to do for the good
of our people. And after a good deal of thinking, the writer concludes
that there is nothing more potent for the safety of our Nation, than
the family altar. Wise men have written on every other subject, and
writers have seemed to overlook the family altar. The strength of the
Nation is derived from the homes; and if the homes are good, the Nation
is good. If the homes are bad, the Nation is bad. It is hard for the
homes to be right good without the family altar. So the safety of the
Nation depends greatly upon the family altar. It is a guard against the
temptations which surround us. It prepares the mind for that which is
good, and is an efficient antidote for our sins and our sorrows. The
future life of the child depends very greatly upon the family altar.
God bless the family altar.

Self Sacrifice.

IT WAS one of the characteristics of the early settlers to love one
another, and we love to think of the many noble men and women who
made great sacrifices for, their fellow-man; but none could ever come
up with Jasper L. Douthit. Having been brought to Illinois, by his
parents, when a very small boy, one of the first things he seemed to
learn was self-sacrifice for others. He caught the Spirit of Love
to others, and outstripped any man in Illinois. No man in Illinois
has made such self-sacrifice for others as Jasper L. Douthit. He has
given his whole life for others. He is a Unitarian preacher, and he
is not only Unitarian in name, but if people serve the God whom his
mother taught him to serve, whether Methodist or Baptist, or any other
denomination, he loves them just the same. So he is a real Unitarian.
When he has been persecuted by the people, who did not understand him,
he worked on, and his actions said: “Father forgive them, they know
not what they do”; and his great big heart overflowing with love, he
sought to do them good. Few men have had better opportunities to know
him than we have; and Jasper is as able to cope with the intricate
problems of statesmanship as almost any man in the land, and yet simple
as a child. If he sees you in trouble, his eyes will fill with tears.
Now, in his old age, he is the hardest working man we ever knew. He
is no lover of money, and when he makes money it just goes, with the
overflowing of his heart, for the good of others.


Party Prejudice.

WE BELIEVE there is no wrong in our good country so potent in
perpetuating evil, as the party prejudice of the voters. The prejudice
for political party is what makes possible every great wrong which
exists in our land. The voters would vote together, intelligently, to
correct every wrong were it not for their prejudice for their party.
When one political party takes a stand for a good thing, the other
party makes it their business to oppose them. The corruption which
existed in the state of Missouri, never could have existed only for the
party prejudice. The disregard for law, which has given the President
so much trouble, and cost so much money, would have been nipped in the
bud, only for the party prejudice. The American voter is intelligent
on every other subject, but on the subject of political party, he is
deplorably insane. They do not vote so much for men and principle, but
are blindly governed by party name. You kill the foolish blind party
prejudice and the same stroke kills every great political wrong in our
land. Each party will go down into the dirt to court the friendship of
every low, dirty element who has a vote. Kill the party prejudice and
lawlessness and anarchy will have to hide their deformed faces. When
it is found that a man is not willing to obey the laws of this good
country a committee should wait upon him and tell him that the sooner
he packs his trunks the better. We have a class of rich, aristocratic
anarchists who want to run this Government; then we have a class of
low, ignorant and dirty anarchists at the tail end, and the country
would be better off without either. The American people are a country
loving people, and they want to do right and vote right; but their love
of party has such complete control over them that they cannot always do
right; but they must say and do what their party leaders say for them
to do. The party leaders give us issues to contend over and keep us
divided, which we know are not the issues. So the love for political
party is the mother of every great public wrong which exists, and it is
the only thing which makes possible every public wrong.


WE BELIEVE there is no evil in our land so great as the use of
intoxicating liquors. No evil is causing so much sorrow, so many tears,
blighting so many bright hopes and sunny prospects, breaking up so
many happy homes. We punish the robber by the law, and no robber can
compare with the Robber Intemperance. He robs the home of its sanctity
and its joys; it robs the brain of its power and its intelligence; it
robs the heart of its love and its emotions; it robs the man of his
manliness and reduces him to a level with the brute; it robs youth of
its hopes and its prospects; it robs childhood of everything which
makes for comfort and happiness. We furnish the murder by law. No
murderer is so cold-blooded as is intemperance. It murders one hundred
thousand American citizens annually. If an epidemic were to break
out, like smallpox, cholera, or yellow fever, which was destroying
half as many lives our authorities would quarantine against it very
quickly, and would spend millions of dollars, if need be, to stop the
devastation, while that which intemperance is making no great notice
is taken, for if we do, we will hurt our party, for the whisky element
will vote with the other party. Now, gentle reader, isn’t it better to
stand for the right, for God and the home, and for the country? even
at the risk of being defeated in the election, than to stand for wrong
in order to carry the election. Think of gray heads going to their
graves in sorrow, because intemperance has ruined their children, and
your vote helped to cause that ruin. Think of the men who are now in
the various state prisons, and your vote helped to put them there.
Think of the oceans of tears that wives and mothers have shed, and your
vote helped to cause those tears. Think of the hunger and cold that
little innocent children have suffered, and your vote helped to cause
that suffering. Look at that little innocent boy and think that maybe
that little boy will fill a drunkard’s grave, and my vote will help
to cause it so, because of my love for my beloved party. Look at the
little innocent girl, and think maybe, that little girl is to be the
wife of a drunkard, and that my vote helped to cause it so, for the
sake of my party. Dear reader, let me appeal to you: Why should we rate
political party above every other consideration? Oh! the cruel monster,
intemperance. No pen can ever write the enormity of his crimes. No
orator’s tongue can ever tell the magnitude of his guilt. Like a vile
serpent, he tightens his slimy coils around everything that is noble
and good, of American institutions and American manhood. No place on
earth is too sacred for his poisonous fangs. No hopes or prospects are
too bright for his blighting and withering influence. Oh! let us arise
in our manhood and bury him so deep that there will be no possibility
of his resurrection. How I would like to be one of the pall-bearers and
help to bear him to his last resting place. Then a shout of joy would
go up; a shout such as was never heard on the earth. A shout from the
throats of millions of wronged and oppressed mothers and children. A
shout of “peace on earth, good will to men!”

A Sad Sight.

    DEAR Wife, I’ve seen the saddest sight,
      I ever yet have seen;
    A mother begging at a gate.
      She looked so pale and lean.

    She had three children, by her side,
      Their clothes were old and poor;
    She said her husband came home drunk,
      And turned them from the door.

    The little children had no shoes,
      And they were nearly froze.
    She said: “The trouble I have had
      There is nobody knows.”

    She said: “I work most night and day,”
      And this, too, is what she said:
    “Most all my wages go for drink,
      “And the children cry for bread.”

    She said: “I don’t know what to do,
      “We have no place to go;
    “I know the children can’t live long
      “Out in this sleet and snow.”

    “I know they are very hungry,
      “And, I know they are very cold,”
    She said: “My man drinks all the time,
      “And all our things are sold.”

    “He often cries, and talks to me,
      “And says it is a shame—
    “And he tries so hard to quit it,
      “That I know he is not to blame.”

    “I never say a word to him,
      “It would only make things worse—
    “The men who vote it in his road,
      “Are the men I blame the worst.”


The Bright Side.

THE Author of this little book has had a pretty happy life. We have had
the same difficulties to contend with that other people have had, but
we knew the bright side of things was the best side to look at, and we
believe we have been able to see a brighter side to most things than
most of the people have. Most everything that comes in our road has
a bright side to it, if we are only able to see that bright side. If
we are seeking to do right, that fact, of itself, turns the dark side
of the picture to the wall, and beautiful fields, singing birds, and
blooming flowers are ours. If the readers of our little book would only
cast off their unnecessary gloom and forebodings, the world would be
brighter and happier and the people would be healthier and happier, and
they would live a great deal longer.


NOW, Gentle Reader, we bid you good-bye, wishing you much happiness and
peace, and hoping you have been interested in reading the little book,
and that you have read something in it which will do you good, that
you may be the better prepared for the battles of life and for great
usefulness to others. That you will pardon whatever mistakes you have
found; and that you will retain a kind feeling for the author; that
when we meet, we may have a real, warm hand-shake, and that we may thus
get better acquainted, and love each other more. Good-bye.

                                                      THE AUTHOR.

       *       *       *       *       *

Transcriber’s Note: To keep the original flavor of this book, no
corrections were made to typos or printing errors. All were all
retained as originally printed.

    “allegance” for “allegiance”
    “murmer” for “murmur”
    “scareing” for “scaring”
    “was” for “were”
    “ubout” for “about”

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