John Wallace Hutchinson.

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cheers for General Grant!" These, too, Avere given
Avith a Avill, but from different voices. Then aa'c sang a
mournful good-by and AA'oit on our Avay-

We Avere landed at Savannah. I had sent ahead an
announcement of our intention to give a concert. The
result Avas a ''bloAv" in the S((v<(nn<th Ilepnhlu-dn. We
ahvays loved to have a '*1)1oav" Avhen Ave kncAA^ the
source from Avliich it came, for often our enemies did
us the greatest serA'ice. T\\q Republican s remarks .Avere
as follows :

"'ANuTiAsr oi' Ai.i, Camk,' etc. — Amonir tlie many ])iil)li(' I'xliihi-
tions now travcllinu' tlirdu^li the South to amuse tlie jjcople and jiut
moiU'V in tlieir own imckcts, we notice the Hutchinson Family. They
are, ]H'rlia|)s, tlie only I'ompany of ]>uli]ic ]ierforniers who have heen
thoroughly identified politically witii the .Vholition ultra-Kadical party


of tlie Xortli, and nli;iriiig fully in all its hate ami dfminciation of the
ISoathern 2)e()j)k-. Tln.'y have, loi* years, be-ca inclispensible adjuncts to
radical j^olitical meetings in tlie New England IStatcs, with appropriate
songs catering to the popular prejudice against the South, and doing what
they could to help on the work of our niis-governnient and humiliation.
With the effrontery indigenous to their section, they now come South,
we suppose, to receive their reward out of the hard earnings of our
peojile. Their modesty is ei'rtainly refreshing. In a free country every
man has a riglit to his own ojiinion and to express it freely, and more-
over, to be respected in all his rights as a citizen, while Southern hospi-
tality would frown iipon any breach of decorum toward a stranger, let
him be whom he ma}' ; but, we submit, when the Southern jicople are
called upon to i>ay a premium on hate and persecution, it is a little more
than we would advise them to grant."

When Ave arrived at Savaiinali, my attention was at
once called, at tlie liolel, to this scurrilous article. At
once I went to the offiee of the paper, boldly stepped in
and walked up to the counter, behind M'hichthe "staff"
were busy at work at their desks. I addressed one
of the editors, " Sir, can you tell me who wrote tlie
notice of the Hutchiiisons which appeared in your
paper?" Not a word was spoken, but the man turned
to his assistant and looked at him. I had one hand
behind me, in wliat I suppose might have been termed
in the South at that time, a threatening attitude. He
sprang up, put his hand behind him also, and savagely
said, " 1 wrote it."' "• Well," said T, '" Fm com})limented ;
3'et it may injui'e us here. I came not to bring a sword,
but peace. I brought an olive 1):'anch, hoping to assist
in securinsr a more cordial feeling- between North and
South. I did not desire to })rejudice the people."' Then
he began to talk. "Youliave shipped us," he said.
" but we are not conquered. Nothing will bring good
feeling but fighting a common enemy like England.
Did you ever sing ' John Brown's Bod}-? ' " I admitted
that we sometimes did. ''Did vou sing 'Hang Jeff


Davis to a sour apple tree ? ' '" '• That Avas a vei'se of
the song," I said, '• and I presume we did." " Our
Northern regiments also sang it together," I remarked.

At tlie hour appointed for tlie concert, I took my
meh)de()n and Ment to the opeiu lionse, ghjomy, sad and
uncertain. Both sidewalks, as I walked along, were
packed Avith people, pointing at me. I reached tlie hall
a few minutes befoi'e the concert sliould liave com-
menced. It was dark and closed, not a soul inside and
evidently not a soul coming, but all on the sidewalks,
ready to do me bodily harm, and perhaps kill me. I
returned to my hotel, taking the darkey's advice, to
" keep in de middle ob de road,"' for I preferred death
by shooting to dirking.

The next day the ConstitutionaUst, another paper
said :

" Did >(»r Pi;a\v. — The Hutchinson Family concert advertised for
last night did not seem to draw well, and the perfonuance was severely
let alone by audience and players alike. 'John Brown's soul goes
marcdiing on,' and ' We'll hang Jeff Davis to a sour apple tree,' have
elevated the reputation of this company several degrees beyond the ap-
preciation of the section which they took particular pleasure in singing
into contempt and disregard during the war. Tiie cotton crop of the
past season was infinitely too small to justify the Southern i)eople in
hiring minstrels of that ilk to pipe to them, now that 'grim-visaged war
has smoothed his wrinkled front.' Perhaps when a thorough recon-
i^truction of the tastes, spirit and preferences of our white people has
Ikiii liniught to that perfect 'loilty' contemplated, the Hutehinsons
will l)c wclcdiued. .i\s an exi)eriment, they might try again — in about
tiiirty yt'ars."

The Jicj)i(I>Ii<'((n said:

"Wise. — The agi'ut of the abolition war singers, the Hutchinson
Family, was liere a few days ago, to provide for a performance, but,
after taking the bearings, concluded to try his luck in some other quar-
ter than Savannah. He patronized us to the amount of a few spare
numbers of the Republican, containing a notice of this troupe, wliich he
thought could be used as political capital at the North."


Sister Abby had aecompauieHl us to tins point, l»ut
took the train for home. Our hotel aceonnuodations at
Savannah cost us each hve dolhirs a da}-. Tlie fare
furnished was execral)le. 1 do not wonder people re-
volted \^'lio ate such food. Fioni there wo went to Aiken,
a quiet little village where there were several hun-
dred boarders. We gave a successful concert to them.
.Vt Augusta, Ga., we had an experience similar to that
at Savannah. But few appeared at the h(Hir our con-
cert was advertised, and we were sadly out of pocket.
Years before, we had made the acquaintance of a Yan-
kee, formerly an overseer in the mills at Chicopee,
Mass. He always showed a great friendliness for the
Hutchinsons. Being of a speculative nature, he had
assisted in building a cotton factory in Augusta. We
wrote to him, suo-crestino" concerts. His answer was,
^ If you approve of the present course of Congress and
its attitude toward Georgia, I advise you not to come."
AVhen we arrived, we found him reluctant about assist-
ing us, l)ut he consented to come to the concert. Tavo
ladies and three gentlemen comprised the audience.
We sang a few selections and postponed it indeiinitely.
Evidently the notices in the Savannah papers had
reached Augusta and the peo[)le were indignant. We
were grieved at this show of sectional feeling. We
miijht have sunCT '•'• Hanof Jeff Davis '' in the excitement
of war times, but had no such sentiments in our hearts
at this time. We took the night train for Atlanta and
spent the next day advertising a concert. But slander-
ous stories were again circulated against us, and there
were so few at the hall that we had to give it up. The
disappointment made me sick. All through Georgia
we could see the signs of the ravages of war — and
marks of Sherman's march to the sea were evervwhere.


ijt'aving .Vlla:i;;i, wc visited CliattanooL^a, Ti-iiii., and
Lookout ]\l()uii;aiii. On tlie mountaiu Avas a colle^'e,
the president being- C. F. 1\ Bancroft, formerly princi-
pal of the academy at JMont Vernon, N. 11., Avhere
Henry and A'iola Avere educated. ( )t' late years he has
been at Andover, j\Iass. We walked live miles from
Chattanooga, Henry assisting" my feeble steps up ihc
mountaiu to the institution.

Professor Banci'oft received us very coi'dially, and in-
vited us to stay a week. All his i-etinue of servants
Avere colored people. One by the name of Jackman was
very kind to me. I lo\'ed him for his th(Uightful at-
tentions. One day he said, "• J causing some." "Can
you?" said I. I told him I would be glad to hear him
as soon as I was able to get to the dining-room, for I
Avas still far from well. When I heard him I found lie
had good powers as a singer. I asked him if he would
like to go to the North. He said he would like to go
first rate, and I said I would send for him after my re-
turn. I^ater lie was a chorus sinq-er with the Fisk
Jubilee people. I Avas quite feeble. However, I Avas
thankful I was able to go to the top of the mountain,
Avhere the famous "• Battle of the Clouds " Avas fought.
Henr}'' scmght fame in a curious way. .V photographer
on the sunnnit desired to take our })ictures, and Ave con-
sented. Henry, to have his name associated with the
mountaiu in a special manner, struck an attitude on tlie
edge of the ])rccipice, on his head, Avith his feet in the
air, and the artist took him. I still have the picture.
Finally A\"e bid an affectionate f.irewell to my Yankee
friend and his school. We met my old and chciishcd
friend 'J\ (". Severance in Chattanooga. He then held
a goA^ernmcnt jiosition there. He got us up a concei't.
When Ave reached Xashville, Ave found the Southern


prejudice still .against us. AVe advertised a conceiU l)ut
the audience Avas so meagre that Ave postponed it, an-
nouncing that it would be given the next evening, and
that the proceeds would be devoted to the sui'fcrers
from a great catastrophe that had just occurred in Kicli-
'mond by the falling of the floor of the court house.
The result of the announcement Avas that the best citi-
zens took hold of the ticket selling, and Ave liad an
audience. Professor White, of Fisk University, invited
us to go to the school and sing to his colored pupils. We
gave them some of our Ijcst pieces. At the conclusion
he said, " I Avish 3'ou to hear some of my singers." We
said Ave Avould be most happy, and resigned the platform
t(j them. I Avas delighted Ijy their Avonderful harmony.
The Avhole Avorld has heard it since. I sup-Qfestcd to
the professor that he bring a choir of his freedmen to
the Xorth, for I Avas sure it Avould prove a great tinancial
as Avell as musical success. The result of the suggestion
Avas a tour of the Fisk University Jubilee Singers, Avliich
so soon folloAA^ed.

From Nashville Ave Avent to BoAvling Green, Ka".,
Avhere Ave lost money on our concert, and from there to
Louisville, Avhere the prospects Avere so poor that Ave
gaA^e up, took the boat, and had a Ijcaiitiful sail up the
Ohio River to Cincinnati. Here Ave made anangements
to sing in concerts for the Y. ]\I. C. A., and stayed
several days. While there my Avife and son Judson
came from Toledo. They anived on a Sunda}-, and
that evening Ave sung at a A^esper serA'ice in one of the
churches, Avhere the crush for admittance Avas so great
that at least five hundred Avere unable to get in. After
giving a fcAV concerts in Oliio, Ave spent a few days in
Toledo Avith Viola, AA'hose second son, Harry, I saw for
the first time, and then Aveiit to Buffalo, whence, after



some concerts we kept on iliiough Xew York State
until we reached New Jersey, where we gave several eon-
certs at Newark and other places.

Tlien followed a rest at Lynn. In Jnly I went to
Martha's Vineyard and made arrangements to erect a
tent later. A Providence man, Mr. Clark, gave me the

use of a lot adjoining his own. within a stone's throw
of the preacher's stand. On my return to Lynn we had
a good time making the tent, and in August we went
down and put it up. It was a merry company there that
season. Ahl)y came and also Nellie ]\IacKay Hutchin-
son, who was one of tlie editorial staff of Tlte Revolution.
the suffrage pa]ier in New York, and suhsequently on
the Trihioic. We sang often to the people, and liad a
good time all around.


At the close of the camp-meeting-, we ]iire(l a man to
take lis in a hoat to Fahnoutli. Witli our Ixio-o-ao-e and
the company we made a full Ijoat load. There came up
a squall, with thunder, liyhlning and rain. Even tlie
skipper thought we must surely go down. However,
we passed safely into the haihor of Edgartown, singing
^ Drop the anchor ; we are safe Avithin the veil."' After
that we went to Nantucket in the same sail-hoat. Wlien
we reached there, the })eople said, " Don't do it again."
AVe took their advice, and went home by steamer.

Durinof the autumn of. 1870 we filled eno-ag^ements
made by the American I^iterary Bureau in towns and
cities within a hundred miles of New York, and sung in
many temperance meetings in Rhode Island and Con-
necticut, with no unusual incidents.

We opened 1871 with a Lig Sunday temperance meet-
ing at the Morning Star Sunday-school in New York
City, George W. Bungay being one of the speakers.
On the evening of the 3d of January a happy company
gathered at the home of Mrs. Washburn, on Union
Square — Sister Abby, the Car[)enters, Glovers, Graziella
Ridgway, Henry, Spinning and I. The clock struck
twelve and we Avere still there. I then announced to them
that I had reached my fiftieth birthday since coming in,
and was now a half-century old. On the 12th of Jan-
uary there was a big meeting to favor Italian unity in
the Academy of Music. Beecher made one of the most
powerful addresses I ever heard.

Through January and February most of our time was
spent in temperance work in Connecticut, with Rev. E.
H. Pratt, agent of the State Temperance Society. We
were paid thirty dollars a day. In the afternoon there
would usually be a prayer service, followed l)y a free
temperance meeting for the children, to whicli they


would march with banners, etc., and we Avould sini^ to
tlieui. Ill the evening there woukl be a paid concert,
the receipts going into the treasury of the society. We
also sang under the same arrangement with Rev. IT. W.
Conant, of the Rhode Island society. Of course, our
expenses were paid, and our entertainment was usually
at the house of some sjanpathizer. jNIeanwhile, we had
occasional engagements from the Bureau, and whenever
I ^\'as out of Rhode Island or Connecticut on tlie Sabljath,
I usually managed to get the pastors of the different
churches to advertise and speak at a union temperance
meetinor- at the laroest hall.

On Sunday, the 5th of ]Mareh, we were in Elmira,
N. Y. We had given a concert the night before in the
Opera House, and during that day I had been arrang-
ing a mass temperance meeting in tlie same hall. It
was necessary to have the meeting in the afternoon, I
found, for Rev. Tliomas K. Beecher, the youngest of the
celebrated family, although he preached in his own
church in the morning, preached in the Opera House in
the evening, and usually filled it to re})letion. When I
had secured the sympathy of all the other pastors of the
city, I sought out ]Mr. Beecher. I knew him 3-ears be-
foi-e. He was pastor to a relative, E. P. Hutcjiinson.
He Avas stopping at a water-cure, near the city. I found
him out when I called. On my way back, I saw a man
walking abstractedly in the gutter, whom I recognized as
Beecher. " Mr. Beecher, " said I, " we are to have a big
temperance meeting in the Opera House to-morrow after-
noon ; won't you honor ns by ^'oiir presence ? " He looked
at me mischievously, and answered, " I've got some nice
cider at the house. If you'll come up, I'll give you
some, and talk it over."' I did not go. He was the
only pastor absent from the meeting.


On ]March 19th we were in a temperance meeting in
Washington, N. J., at Avhieh the speakers were Rev. R.
B. Yard, the chaphiin of onr Potomac days, and John
W. Hutchinson.

On the 21st of the same month the funeral of Wm.
H. Burleigh, one of another famous '' band of brothers,"
occurred at Brooklyn. We sang "Beyond the Smiling
and the Weeping." He married Mrs. Burr, formerly
tlie wife of the man I mentioned as figurines in an ante-
helium episode at Concord, N. H. Later I met her in
Brookline, Conn., where she had become a settled
Cnitaiian minister. After that she went into a decline,
and the last time I saw, her she remarked, '' O John, it
doesn't pay ! This is a liard life."

On Sunday, April 2(1, we had another big temperance
meeting in the Opera House at Elmira.

On the 6th we sang in the Brooklyn Tabernacle,
Talmage's church. There were two thousand people at
the concert. The organist, ]Mr. Loretz, played on the
big Boston Peace Jubilee organ, which had become the
property of the church. It was a pleasure to l)e with
Talmage. He is Talmage ; nobody is like him. He
does not strive to be odd. He has a large share of
oddities and peculiarities, but is sincere. He never Avas
either as smart, brilliant or agreeable a speaker as
Beecher, though Beecher himself had peculiarities. I
have sometimes questioned his full belief of the doctrines
he preached. He w\as a man avIio would entertain doubts,
and had periods of scanning the creedcarefully.

Early in May we spent a few days in Lynn, and then
were off again to the vicinity of the Hudson. We
made our headquarters at Chaplain Yard's in Washing-
ton, N. J., during much of June, meanwhile filling en-
gaGrements in that State. There was m-eat interest in


the no-license question, and we had a splendid chance
to do good educational work for temperance.

After a few weeks' rest at High Kock, in August I
went to Martha's Vineyard, put up ni}- tent, and pre-
pared for service. I secured the privilege of using the
grove and grand-stand for some temperance meetings.
One was held on Sunday, August 20. It was the day
before the opening of the camp-meeting proper, and the
meeting and the conditions surrounding it were tlius
described in the Boston Journal correspondence of that
date :

"TIk- rustic cottages and dainty tents, of which some thousands are
now located on tlie camp gromid and Oak Blutfs, are nearly filled with
their summer tenants, and the jjiazzas, shaded walks and promenades as-
sume the loveliest asi)ect. Nearly eight thousand people are already on the
grounds, and the first pjathering of the eight days of religious service,
which takes place to-morrow evening, will call together a large number of
a<lditional visitors. For the last two days, concerts and other entertain-
ments have furnislaed the means for passing the evenings pleasantly.
A large number of distinguished vocalists are upon tlie grounds, includ-
ing the well-known Hutchinson Family, and the choir of the Park
Church of Hartford, Conn. The Foxboro Brass Band is also upon the
grounds, and their music signalizes the arrival and departure of the
steamboats from the Oak Bluffs landing. These steamers appear to be
one of the greatest attractions, for at the hour of their arrival thousands
of people congregate upon tlie wharf, and the seats which line the walks
in either direction are filled with those who expec-t the arrival of friends
or have the cm-iosityto get the first peep of the inflowing tide of visitors.
Saturday evening, being the last opportmiity for gaiety before tiie
people must be toned down to a proper camp-meeting sobriety, was the
occasion for an overflow of jollity whicli resulted in quite a pleasant
celebration. The band discoursed music from the grand-stand in tlie
park, and a large number of the streets and private cottages wciv finely
illmiiinated and decorated witli Chinese lanterns. The sweet voices of
talented musicians added harmonious and familiar melodies to the other
attractions of the evening.

"The temperance meetings have been mainly sustained and carried
forward by the magnetic melody of tlie Hutchinsons. The meeting last
evening opened wi'tli a jirayer by Rev. D. C. Rabcock, of Nashua. \. II.:
after whieli tlie pri'sidciit of the day. Rev. .1. W. Willctt, of l'nivid<.'nce.


made an address upon tlie hopeful progress of tlie cause, and considered
the chief element of the power of the liquor traffic to be the j^rotits which
accrue to the dealer. Rev. O. II. Tiffany, of Newark, N. J., made a very
eloquent and stirring address, in which he contrasted the drinking usages
of society in this country with those in vogue across the water. The
custom of treating was essentially American, and in Germany it would
be considered an insult to otter to jjay for the drinks. Other brief ad-
dresses were made by Hon. Rodney French, and Hon. John W. Berry (jf
Lynn, and at the close of the meeting a Mneyard Temperance Associa-
tion was formed, to meet on the grounds each year. The beautifully
rendered songs of the Ilutchinsons were frequently applauded. This
evening another meeting will be held, addressed by several of the
speakers already mentioned."

I struck a slight snag in carrying on these meetings,
in tlie conviction of many })eo})le that they were of a
political nature. This was not true, and finally this
was seen to be so, and the trustees cordially invited me
to freely use the grounds for similar meetings the fol-
lowing year. Judge Berry was my guest during the

At the last meeting of tlie series, a love-feast, we sang
and at the close I gave away several hundred copies of
my "■ Fatherhood of God " song.

On Monday, tlie 28tli, we gave a farcAvell concert at
the chapel, which netted us one hundred and twenty
dollars, and afterward attended a reception to (lover-
nor Claiiin, of Massacliusetts.

On September 5tli there was a great temperance
meeting at Rocky Point, K. I., with which a clam-hake
was combined. We sang, and Rev. Q. H. Tiffany,
Rev. H. W. Conant. Rev. Edwin Thom})son and -lohii
W. Berry were s})eakers. On the following day, at
Putnam, Comi., we commenced our fall cam})aign with
Rev. E. H. Pratt. In October we went to campaigning
with Rev. Mr. Conant, in Rhode Island. This was
followed by a short series of temperance meetings in


New Jerse}', ami tlien ^V(! Avciit l)ack to Couuecticiit,
where we stayed until the niicklle of Decemher. Then
our fai-es were turned westward, and after sinoiii!^-
through Pennsylvania, where we were given line audi-
enees and most flattering newspaper notices, we reached
Toledo, and s[)ent part of the Christmas holidays with
my daughter N'iola.

The temperance meetings of wliich I have spoken
were satisfactory to us, and remunerative to the associa-
tions for which I sung. During this period 1 liad
rather a trying experience in Worcester. 1 engaged
Mechanics Hall for tem])erance meetings on the plan of
those in Connecticut, with a children's meeting in the
afternoon. The response to our inyitation was appal-
ling. The immense hall was swarming with children.
They came by thousands, and it was two hours before
sufficient quiet was secured to call them to order.
Tlien speaking w-as practically impossil)le, and we
could only sing to them. Stephen S. Foster assisted
me and spoke in the meeting.

In one place, Avhich I will not name, we had anotlier
unusual expei'ience. A pastor of the place who was a
seventh-day Baptist, and so did double work, preaching
for a church of his denomination on Saturday, and l\)r
a regular IJaptist church on the Sabbath, hearing we
were in town, asked us to come to his church and sing
at a funeral. We consented, and he sent a luu-k for us
at the appointed hour. At the door of the church lie
came out, grabbed the melodeon from the carriage, car-
ried it to the choii'-loft himself, and said, '' I will give
you a signal when I desire you to sing." Then he
started in on his sermon in which he im])ressed the
thought that death was the eonunon lot: that it was
nothing strange that people were dying. Then he


made a motion, and I sang "A Brotlier is Dead,"'
'^ Hark, what is the note so mournful and h)\v.*' 'I'licre
^vas the eor})se ; there the mourners. The Imsli tliat
succeeded the song- was foUowed l)y the })rf;iclier :
" The Hutchinson Family will give a concert this even-
ing in the town hall.'' I was astonished. Soon the
sexton mounted the })latform and remarked, '' If there
is anybody that desires to examine the corpse, they can
do so." Later in the day Henry went to tlie hall to
take tickets and the sexton referred to s})ied liim, met
him with enthusiasm and. said, "You're going to have
one of the greatest crowds to-night. Your father
lapped the song on to tliat dead man in such a style,
that everybody is coming.'' I judge he was liglit by
the audience which appeared.

Of course my daughter, with her two l)onncing bal)y
boys, had little time for singing, but I liave before me a
copy of tlie Akron (Oliio) Beacon, printed in 1871, con-
taining an account of the 21st anniversar}" of the Ohio

Online LibraryJohn Wallace HutchinsonStory of the Hutchinsons (tribe of Jesse) (Volume 2) → online text (page 2 of 36)