John Wallace Hutchinson.

Story of the Hutchinsons (tribe of Jesse) (Volume 2) online

. (page 3 of 36)
Online LibraryJohn Wallace HutchinsonStory of the Hutchinsons (tribe of Jesse) (Volume 2) → online text (page 3 of 36)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


Christian Missionary Society, at which General Garfield,
a member of the denomination, was present, in which
her part in the exercises — singing " Your Mission " —
is referred to as follows :

"The president [Rev. Isaac Errett, editor of tlie Christian Standard],
after making a few preparatory remarks, in wliicli lie said that in tlie
decade preceding the late war great moral ideas had been sung into
tlie hearts of the people by a noted family of singers, said that one of
the young nightingales from that nest of singers was present as dele-
gate from the church at Toledo, and at his earnest solicitation hail
consented to sing a piece which herself and other members of the
Hutchinson Family often sung at the request of the great Lincoln, and
which was sung at the Capitol on the occasion of the ' mustering out '
of the Christian Commission at the close of the war. 'J'lie audience
was enchanted with the sweetness of the singing, and the sentiment
and burden of the song, which was ' Work, work, work, work.' Rev.
William Baxter of New Lisbon, a poet-author, alluded to Mr. Errett's
promise of a song from a nightingale, but behold the fair lady had



22 THE HUTCIIINSOX fa:m[lv.

proved nitliir to Iw a mo<kh}<j bird, for she liaci cau^lit iij) ilic refrain
of all the great tliscourses of iht- convention, ami .^ang in sweet notes
' VVork ! work ! work ! '"

After several days in Toledo, Ave couiineneed our
work for 1871 l)y concerts in WcUsville, Hornellsville,
and Norwich, N. Y. On Sunday, .lanuarv Ttli, we were
in Ehnira, and had anotlier I)ig temperance meeting' in
the Opera House. Two nights later we sang in Rhine-
beck, drawing out this newspaper tribute, from the pen
of Prof. James M. Degarmon of the Classical Institute
in that place :

" The Iliitcliinsons liave been here. These sweetest singers of the
land have become endeared to the people, just as the bards and skalds
and troubadours of old were dear to those tliey loved and sang for.
They sing because they loved to sing, because music and melody is
their natural atmosphere ; and the people will crowd to hear them be-
cause their music meets a want that the ])ublic feels. To jjraise them
would be superfluous. We rememlier that troupe quite well when
they came to the front in the anti-slavery movement, and sang their
songs of emancipation. With alwa^'s a sad undertone, they still sang
hopefully and full of faith. How completely has that faith been justi-
fied ! How triumphantly can they sing of the fruition of liberty now!
W^e always go to hear them sing, for it is good for us. Even their
saddest songs seem ever the sweetest. Why is it that the music of
sadness is always the best ] Their rollicking fun makes us laugh, but
these sweet, sad songs, for which they seem to be peculiarlj' adajited,
move us as no others can. 'The New Year comes to-night, Mamma,'
fading away into the death song of the boy. ' Those good old days
of yore,' reminding us of the pleasant countenance of Asa, and clos-
ing with the grand song of hope and heaven and immortality, ' at our
Heavenly Father's door,' these with the thrilling song of the ' Nine-
teenth Illinois' are of tiiemselves a complete concert. ' I work and
sing,' said John Hutchinson after the concert in Khinebeck, ' for the
good of the world, and I would draw that human world, " Nearer my
God to Thee, nearer to Thee." ' One thing more. The Ilutcliinsons
are peculiarly American — they belong to tiieir country, for whose
liberty they wooed the bride of song, and niatle her their own. At
their feet the people cast their garlands of praise, and wreathe their
brows with the garlands of song worn only by 'The sweetest singera
of the Fatherland.'



CRUSADING FOR TEMPERANCE. i!3

At about this time we became quite interested in the
idea of going to England again. Miss Antoinette Ster-
ling was then and had for a long time been the leading
singer in the choir of Pl^'mouth Church, Brooklyn.
Beecher and all his church thought a great deal of her.
She had a separate canopied chair built for her in the
choir, and in various ways the interest in her and her
singing was shown. We became quite w^ell acquainted
with her, and we had many discussions of a plan to go
to Europe together. Finally she went wdthout us.
Had we gone we should Ijave had great success. She
has been there over twenty years, singing before the
queen and being a great favorite. She married, and
has a family of cliildren, l)ut is now a widow. At tlie
Unitarian Assembly in this year, 1872, she sang the
'' Star-Spangled Banner " wdth us.

We spent some time aljout Xew York in January.
On the 19th of that month, the Fisk University Jubilee
singers appeared in concert. I went to the door of
their ante-room before the hour of connnencing. Tl^ey
remembered me, and greeted me with the greatest de-
light, insisting that I should go upon the stage and sing.
I told them I would go on and sing " John Brown" if
they would join in the chorus. They had never heard
it. They gathered around nie and in a few minutes I
liad taught them the sim[)le melody, and we went on tlie
stage together and sang it.

For a while we boarded with our friend Roberts, in
Brooklyn, next door to Beeeher's church. I remember
one evening we went into the church, to attend a lecture
by Thomas Kast, the great caricaturist. ToA\-ards the
close, he said he Avould draw a portrait of a man they
all knew. He commenced at the feet, then drew the
body. At last came the head, all blind until one tinish-



24 THE in'TcHixsriN family.

ing stroke and llu'ic \\a- l>i'i'eliei'. The perfect likeness
struck everybody, "'it doiTi look a bit like me," said
Beecher, from his })lace in tlie middle of the house, ris-
ing- and stepping- into the aisle. This caused a laugh,
as no one had said who it was, though tlie likeness Avas
clearly obvious to the original, and everybody else.

Our temperance meetings continued, varied bv an
occasional miscellaneous concert engagement. Marcli
l.jth, we were to sing at a peace convention at Pough-
keepsie, N. Y.

There were three sessions, all slimly attended. The
papers next day expressed regret that there was no
larger attendance to hear the Hutchinsons. A laughaljle
incident occurred in the evening. A shabbily dressed
individual with his pants tucked into his boots, ap-
parently a little intoxicated, arose from his seat and ad-
vancing to the footlights beckoned to one of the Hutch-
insons, who came forward to meet him, when lie said in
a low tone : " Say (hie), I got (hie) five dollars. Give
us (hie) sutliin' lively, you (hie), you know." The
movement ])rouglit down the house.

We continued our Avork well into the summer. Fi-
nally S})inning left me, to continue Avork ^^•ith the
Ivliode Island society. Then I settled down at High
Kock. On May 29 w^e, Henry and I, sang in the Labor
Reform Convention in Boston. While the meeting was
in progress, I wiote out new verses to "(iet Off tlie
Track." Henrj*, being accustome(l to my writing, read
them off easily and sung them \v\{]\ me.

I had resolved to i-aise Daisv Cottage, and ])Ut a 1)ase-
ment under it. I came home from ^New York and saw
]\Ir. Lowe, the building mover. He offeri'd to do tlie
job for two ]iundi-(Ml dollars. 'J'hen T slrucdc a bargain.
He aii-reed to ANoik b\' the dnv for tliirt \-ti\(' dollarSo




THK HUT<;HINS<tX,S IX 187'.! - (p. 25)



CEUSADING FOR TEIVIPERANCE. 26

Tlieii I went off again. When I came back, I notilied
Mr. Lowe one morning at seven o'clock that I was
ready to begin, and wouhl let him work by the day.
He went at work to pnt the timbers under. I told
Idm I wanted to work with the rest. As soon as tlie
jack-screws were under I took my station at the middle
one. The house began to go up. I put in as though I
was singing. Soon Mr. Lowe saw it was going up at
too fast a rate to bring in the two hundred dollars he had
counted upon, and began to palaver. " Up she goes ! "
I shouted. At the end of the first day the cottage was
more than half up. I })itched in the next day the same
way. The sequel was that tlie foreman l^ecame frantic,
because the work was being done so quickly, and when
he got it where it was to go, it tipped to the east. I
called his attention to it, and he put some screws under.
The result was that he l)roke the ell apart, cracking the
ceiling. When he left the job, the house pitched to the
northeast. ]\Iy only recourse was to make calculation
so that when it was let down on the permanent founda-
tion it would be level, Imt that was not quite successful.

The second, or '' World's " peace jubilee, occurred at
Boston in June. We enioyed it with the i^st of hu-
manity.

On July 23d there Avas a Presbyterian Temperance
Convention at Saratoga, at which Henry and I sung. On
the way Ijack we met General liurnside at North Adams.
He made a speech, Init it was not very successful.

At some previous time during the year, we had snug
with Dr. Van Meter, a clerical acquaintance of the
Baptist persuasion, at a meeting in New York City in
which he spoke. He charged us, if he came to Boston
to speak, to be sure and come up from Lynn and sing
with him. Hearing he was to be at a Baptist conven-



26 THE HUTCHINSON' FAMH.Y.

tion ill TreiiKHit Temple, we went. lu'V. J. Hyatt
Smith saw lis, and at once asked us to llie collation iu
the vestry, and also to sing when the convention re-
assembled, before Mr. \^in dieter spoke. Henry, there-
fore, took our melodeon to the platform, and at the
proper time we were conducted thither by ]Mr. Smitli.

As we took our places the audience stared at us in
apparent sur-prise at our appearance in such a gathering.
Mr. Smith seated himself b}' a "hard-shell" brother,
who remarked, " What'd you bring them here for?"
" Because I had a mind to," Mr. Smith replied.
" They're not Baptists," returned the good brother.
''Neither is a robin," said Smith, "but he can sing."'
On this the objector subsided.

That summer Henry left me, and went into business
at Toledo with my son-in-law, Lewis A. Campbell.
After a pleasant season at Lynn and ]\Lirtha*s Vineyard,
I spent part of the autumn making arrangements for a
company for the winter. I was anxious for a quartet,
and at last secured it by getting Brother J(\shna and
Kate, my Brother Judson's only daughter, with Henrj-.
Kate had a good alto voice, and the result of the com-
bination cff voices was an effect very inuch like that of
the old original quartet. We sang for nearly two
months under engagement A\itli the New York State
Temperance Society, all over that Commonwealth, and
then went into Ohio and Illinois.

The year 1873 was not as eventful as some others.
The quartet gave concerts through Lidiana and Ohio
until Febi'uary 7th, when Joshua left us, at Greenfield,
Iiid. He liad the heart disease, and was much fright-
ened. It Iiappened that some days before, Henry and
he were skylarking in the caboose of a freight train,
when Henry gave him a boost in the aii', and he hit his



CRUSADING FOR TEMPERANCE. 27

head against a bolt. lie was not only hurt, but fright-
ened, and though his injury was entirely accidental, he
was as sober as death about it, began to think of home,
and finally could stand it no longer. So we were com-
pelled to go on without him.

Before Joshua left us, we had given tAvo concerts be-
fore the Legislatures of Indiana and Ohio. Of the lat-
ter event we retained an interestino' souvenir in the
form of a "• blow " by some would-be funny man of
Columbus. It was printed in the Columbus Dlapatch,
and read as folloAVS :

"To THE Editors of the Dispatch: Last night I dropped into the
State House, and hearing music gushing from tlie hall of the House of
Representatives, repaired to tliat locality instanter, tliinking that, per-
haps, Charley Babcock was tuning up on his favorite song, entitled
'Move your family West'; but, lo and behold, instead I found a free
concert in full blast. Being somewhat acquainted with such shows in
Gotluim, curiosity prompted me to remain and see the thing out.
Upon inquiry I learned that tlie singists were the ' Hutchinson Family '
from the far-off State of New Hampshire, and the home of C're'dit Mo-
bilier Patterson, President of the Ohio Agricultural College. This
fact, I presume, gave the entertainment character and zest, hence the
throwing wide open of the doors to the halls of legislation.

"The show went on, and as the ' official reporter ' of the House may
not furnish you with 'copy' I will rusli to tlie rescue, and give you the
benefit of my observation. A few temperance songs were trotted out,
and 'spheeled' to good effect, wliicli brought down hearty cheers
from tlie friends of the Adair liquor law. Some sacrilegious cuss
went so far as to declare it was the sole object of the 'reform' free
concert troupe to forcibly remind the members of the General Assem-
bly that it was their duty to be ' a little more abstemious, my boy.'
Well, after singing some, talking more, and making a general spread,
tlie whole concern wound up by a return of thanks to the members of
the House for the use of the hall.

" At this critical stage of the game, up popped the cliaplain of the
Ohio Penitentiary, and moved that a collection be taken for the bene-
tit of the temperate Hutchinson Family. And right here I rise to ex-
plain that as the reverend gentleman is prohibited from passing the
"sasser' around among his convict congregation, and the propensity
for that amusement being large, he is excusable for his sudden and



28 THE HUTCH INSOX FAMILY.

very unoxpcoted outburst of lit)er;ility. I am credihly infurnu'il tliat
nearly one liundrcd dollars was scooped into the Ihiteliiusou colters,
and not one d — mented cent for expenses.

"After this Dr. Curtiss, of Cuyahofjfa, he of the flowing mane and
much hair, rose in his dignity, and folding his official robes around his
manly form, proceeded to read a few well-penned ' whereases,' toi)ped
off with a resolution of thanks to the temi)erate Hutchinson Family —
in the name of the General Assembly — for having deigned to dr(ip
upnn them like a meteor strayed from its course, and edifying the be-
nightiMl and wicked members. Speaker Van Vorhes, like the good
little boy he is, mounted the platform at one graceful jump, put the
motion, and it went through quicker than you could say ' scat.' This
wound up the programme, all the actors i)laying their several parts
witli remarkable precision.

"Now, I\Ir. Editor, as we have had a free concert, can't the House of
Representatives next be let for the noble purpose of negro minstrelsy ;
then let the concern be run as a variety theatre, and wind up by con-
verting the whole thing into a lager beer shop."

My niece, Kate Hutchinson, who sang Avitli us at this
concert, was formerly a teacher in the schools of Coluni-
hiis. Judge Hutchinson, of Chicago, her uncle, was a
principal of the school in which she taught.

Perhaps the reader will be interested also in a notice
of Jolni, Joshua, Henry and Kate and their singing
which appeared in the Fort Wayne, Ind., G-azette :

" We believe in the Ilutchinsons. It is good for both liody and
soul to hear them, for they are not only full of thrilling music but of
patriotism, temperance and hearty good humor. To attempt to de-
scribe their singing is useless. As well attempt to describe the elo-
quence of a great orator. But if one word will describe it, it is elo-
quent. It sends an electric thrill through the heart to hear them.
They are singing reformers on the side of temperance, liberty,
Christianity and every good cause, with a heartiness and joycnis good
sense worthy of the Old Granite State, whence they canu'. Mr. John
Hutchinson is a natural actor as well as singer, and his manner is full
of eloquence. In short, we would go farther to hear a duet from Mr.
John Hutchinson and his son than to hear forty Kubinsteins. We hope
they will give Fort Wayne another call ere long, when they may ex-
pect a crowded house."



CRUSADING FOR TEMPERANCE. 29

On Saturday, March 1, we sang at a great temper-
ance meeting in Pittsljurgli, Penn. The result of the
appearance was an engagement to return and sing for
thirty-tive days in the h)cal option campaign in tlie city
and its environs. On Sunday, ]\Iarch 2d, we sang* at a
Lxrge temperance meeting in the Y. M. C. A. rooms in
Washington. It was under the auspices of the Con-
gressional Temperance Society, and Vice-President
Wilson presided. Dnring the week that followed Ave
attended many receptions and generally enjoyed our-
selves.

On Sunday, ^Nlarch Otli, the great English preacher,
Rev. William Morley Punshon, occupied Dr. Tiffany's
pulpit at the Metropolitan jMethodist-Episcopal church,
in Washington. His subject was " Let your light
shine." The audience overflowed the vast edifice, and
listened with hushed attention to the thrilling periods
of '"The English Beecher." President Grant sat in
his pew, evidently as interested as any auditor. At
the close of the sermon, Henry and I, at Dr. Tiffany's
request, sang the chant all religious gatherings hn'ed
to hear, " Mary at the Cross."

As we came out of the meeting, I had a few words
with President Grant on the su])ject of finance. He
said he wanted to have our Ijills represent a clean,
whole dollar.

On the following evening we gave a concert in tlie
same church. Of it one of the Washington pa[)ers
said :

" Tliose old favorites, the Iluteliinsons, gave one of their character-
istic concerts to a brilliant audience, which nearly filled the Metro-
politan church, last evening. We say old favorites, but this is to be
taken with a reservation, for, tliough not quite like the boy's new jack-
knife, wliich first received a new blade, and then a new handle, the
only member of the present tr(nipe who preserves his identity with the



30 THE HUTCHINSOX FAMILY.

'band of brothers ' which tk-lighted and edified us in our youthful days
with their reform melodies is Mr. John Hutchinson, the father. But
the character of tiie music, some of the songs, and peculiar style of
execution which gave the troupe prestige, are the same ; even the
quality of the voices has been in a measure transmitted, and hence,
the difference is not so great, after all. We are truly glad to see that
the children seem, both by their voices and their skill in using them,
so well able to perpetuate and enhance the fame of the family who
have come to be an American institution. Mr. Henry J. Hutchinson
has a baritone of wonderful power and sweetness, while Miss Katie,
daughter of Jiulson, the brother who died, has a rich contralto of good
compass, though she evidently labored under a slight hoarseness last
evening. John, paterfamilias, with the broad Byron collar, long hair
and beard, as of old, both now sprinkled with gray, seems to have pre-
served his ringing and melodious tenor, as well as his youthful vivacity
and esprit unimpaired."

After this we returned to Pitt^;btirgli, and for over a
month snng for local option. A\"e did our best, but it
wa.s of no use. The friends of tuiliniited license ^xo\\
in the election, and to add to our disajipointnient the
tempeiance people ]'efused to pay us for our five weeks'
work. Ole Bull crave some concerts in Pittsburgh at
the time. lie had Graziella Ridgway with him.

After a few weeks of concerting in New York State,
we returned to Lynn. On May 30th, during the anni-
versaries we sung at the meetings of the Free Religi-
ous Association at Tremont Temple, Boston. Rev.
O. B. Frothingham presided. Among the speakers
w'ere Rev. Samuel John.son, Rev. Samuel Longfellow,
Rev. John Weiss, Francis Ellingwood Abbott, Lucretia
]Mott, and others. There was a donation festival in the
evening, at which Col. Thomas Wentworth Higginson
presided. Li introducing us to sing he slyly insiini-
ated tliat we really had no place in the gathering, as we
had latterly affiliated with the ^Methodists, at ISLartha's
Vineyard and elsewhere. Tie was equally happy in liis
introduction of ^Nliss Sterlino- and others. I am com-



CRUSADING FOR TEMPERANCE. 31

pelled to acknowledge that tlirougliout the long experi-
ence of the llntchin.sons they never were able to draw
theological lines in their singing. The fact that a re-
ligious gathering desired our presence, whatever its
creed, always fully satisfied us, and we sung songs that
awakened Christian sympathy, regardless of denomina-
tional leanings.

On July 4th there was a mass temperance meeting at
Lake view, Framingham. By some accident both Henry
and Kate M-ere late. I was embarrassed and troubled.
Henry Avas coming from New York, Kate from ]\filf'"jrd.
Colonel Little, a singer and a cripple, assisted me until
the rest of my company came. General Butler, strange
though it may seem, Avas the principal speaker. Li the
afternoon we went to the State lleform School at West-
boro. It was at this time under the superintendenc}' of
Colonel A. G. Sheplierd, so "long a tenant of Bird's
Nest Cottage on High Rock.

On the 21st of August we were at the ^Mystic Peace
Convention, in Connecticut. We went by the invita-
tion of Zerah C. Whipple. This was in the early days
of the conventions at iMystic, which continue to be of
great annual interest, drawing large numbers to the
grounds. We sung '" O J.,isten to the Spirit's Call,"' an
original song. Wliip[)le I recall as one of the nol:)le,
natural sons of progress and peace. For conscience
sake he refused to pay his tax at one time, and was im-
prisoned for a long period. My son Judson was with
me on this trip, singing and speaking pieces.

This was the year of the great panic, " Black Friday,"
in New York. Henry Avas in Wall Street at the time,
representing his Toledo lirm. The date was September
19th. He telegraphed me for help, and I at once tele-
graphed him the sum he desired to meet his obligations.



32 THE HUTCHINSON FAMILY.

Soon after this there was an exhibition of tableaux in
the First Methodist-Episcopal church in Lynn. They
were projected by John Q. Maynard, formerly of Brook-
lyn, but at tliis time superintendent of the Sunday-
scliool of the church mentioned, and residing in the
Stone Cottage on Higli liock. Maynard was for years
with I'hilip Phillips, the singing evangelist, in his pano-
ramic exhibitions of the " Pilgrim's Progress,"' and had
quite an idea of hoAV tableaux should be conducted.
Many of the staid memljcrs of the church, the first of
the denomination in Massachusetts, were shocked at
such an exhibition in its sacred precincts, but it was an
artistic success. The affair was in the immediate
charge of " Charles Sullivan " as he was professionall}'
known. His real name Avas Charles W. Sohier, and
after the show was over he came to High Rock for the
nio-ht. I found him an ao-reeable, talented man, with
t.n endless store of fun, and the result of our acquaint-
ance Avas an engagement, and he travelled with us all
the Avinter and the following spring.

On October 3d, Frederick C. Hutchinson, Asa's old-
est son, died. From the time of the " swarming '' he
travelled a good deal in his father's company, and his
demise was a deep sorrow to us all.

In November we took a short trip into the Essex
County towns and villages, especially about Cape- Ann.
In December Ave Avent to. New York, and Avith Sohier
commenced a series of engagements in and about the
city. January 1, 18*74, found us still there.

On New Year's Day, 1874, I had the pleasure of
making many calls Avith Frank B. Carpenter. A few
days later found us all in Wasliington, and Ave stayed
there Avith tlie exception of occasional short tri})s awa}',
for three montlis. Our first experience of inq)ortance



CRUSADING Fun TEMPEUANCE. 66

was at the Xatioiial Convention of the AVoman Suffrage
Association, which histed two days. Susan B. Anthony
presided and there was speaking by many prominent de-
fenders of the reform. One of the subjects discussed
was the petition of "Susan" to be relieved from the
sentence of the court for voting for Grant and Wilson.
Wilson was in the convention, and Susan took occasion
to say that no act of lier life gave her more pleasure
than votinof for him. She called on Wilson for re-
marks, and he, while refusing to speak at length by his
^physician's orders, remarked that twenty years before
he came to the conclusion that his wife, mother and
sisters were as much entitled to the right of suffrage as
himself, and that he had never changed his mind since.
Susan predicted that the next president woidd be in
favor of woman suffrage. Time showed she was riglit.
Hayes was the next president. Among the speakers of



Online LibraryJohn Wallace HutchinsonStory of the Hutchinsons (tribe of Jesse) (Volume 2) → online text (page 3 of 36)