M. Dunton (Maria Dunton) Sparrow.

Hereford; a story online

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Author of "Eugene," and the songs "By Quiet

Waters," "On Wings of Faith," "Where

Blooms the Jasmine Flower" etc.




Copyright 1910 by Richard G. Badger

All Rights Reserved


Lovingly dedicated to

The Dear Ones

who journeyed with me

to the Southern Mountains



Introduction 7

Boyhood Days 9

In the Heart of the Blue Ridge 25

Sally Burns 49

Meeting of Hereford and Sam 55

Closing of the Cabin School 67

Retrospection 85

Mrs. Houtman and the Thieving Dog. . 93

Hereford's Mother in Richmond in

Judy and Tessina Clash 117

Meeting of the Adventists 135

Judy Gives "Sage" Advice 153

Judy's Presentiment, Was it a Ghost?. . 159

Sam's Transgression 165

Sad Tidings 179

Tessina Goes to School . 1 8 1


The Peaceful Southern Scene. . .Frontispiece


Nearby Mammy was Washing 26

He Had Now Passed Fineland 30

In the Mountain Wagon 60

"But Yo' Mussn't Call Me Niggah" . . 116


COME ye, who love the murmuring
forests, to the land of the Galax 1
To the land of whispering pines
and of mountain streams whose
sources are among the innumer-
able majestic peaks which seem to vie with
one another in glory, and in grandeur. To
the land where the soft winds blow and the
sunbeams dance in glee.

Then listen, while I tell you: not of the
Red man, nor the Black, but of men of our
own blood, the Anglo-Saxon race, who dwell
in an undeveloped and untutored state amidst
nature's primeval beauties.

When you have heard my story, perchance
you may wish for these neglected ones, the
dawn of a brighter morrow.



Boyhood Days

IT was April, and brightly fell the sun-
shine over the little village of Sun-
ledge, a small town not many miles
from the busy city of Scranton, Penn-

The hush of the Sabbath morning was
broken only by the sound of the church bells,
which floated in mellow sweetness on the
balmy air.

The farmer folk were already driving in
from their quiet country homes. They were
early, as people generally are who have the
longest distance to go, but the fact that they
were early gave them a little more time for
gossip, and news was an important part of
the day's enjoyment. I say this not in a spirit
of sarcasm, for who with meagre means of
procuring entertainment, would not do the

The congregation which gathered at the
little Presbyterian church on that particular
day was larger than usual, for there was to
be a christening.



Among numerous other infants to be chris-
tened was the son of Peter Houtman, the vil-
lage grocer. He had settled upon Hereford
for his child's name, so the name of Hereford
Houtman was duly enrolled among the rest,
who helped on that day to swell the numbers
of that little church. He was a lusty infant
and as years went by he developed into a rug-
ged boy in spite of measles, mumps, and all
the many ills to which little folks are heirs.

Peter Houtman's home was an unpreten-
tious story-and-a-half dwelling, with plenty
of garden land at the rear. He owned besides
a thrifty flock of hens, a cow, and a horse.

At an early age Hereford, who gradually
took upon himself various boyish tasks, might
often have been seen riding the horse to
brook, not gaily caparisoned, but without sad-
dle, and often without shoes.

This brook or clear spring of water was a
half-mile distant, and as the horse was very
fond of that water, and Hereford was very
fond of the ride, it came to pass that the trips
were frequent.

When he was sixteen years of age Hereford
had the misfortune to be separated from his
particular boyhood friend and chum, James


Gray, the son of the village physician. These
boys had been in the same class at school and
had played together whenever they could find
time. Later, however, the doctor had a bet-
ter field for practice offered him in New York
and so changed his place of residence. Here-
ford sadly missed his former companion. He
did not associate very much with the other
boys. They all seemed to be either too young,
or too old, so he found himself depending
more and more upon the society of his sister,
who was nine years older than himself, but al-
ways most thoroughly companionable. She
was fond of music and owned an organ, on
which she had taken lessons and had become
quite proficient as a performer. She also gave
her brother some musical instruction, which
helped to fill his spare time, although he show-
ed no special talent in that direction.

Peter Houtman kept a country store, in
which could be found groceries and a large
variety of useful articles. No order-wagon
was maintained, for Sunledge was a small
place and most of the people preferred to in-
spect their purchases at the store and carry
them home with them. Goods were deliver-
ed, however, upon request. Farmers drove in


from outlying districts, and other customers
came from the mining-camps ; these also took
home their purchases. On account of this,
Peter was able to conduct his store with the
help of one man and such assistance as his
son could give. So the youthful Hereford
was kept busy, for in addition to the store
tasks there was work about the place, for the
garden, his "little Dutch garden," forever
needed attention, as the weeds were incessant-
ly growing.

Thus the days and months passed and their
simple round of life was filled with daily du-
ties. So it might have continued in unbroken
monotony had it not been for a singular coin-
cidence. A missionary traveling on horseback
through Sunledge was overtaken by a severe
storm and he asked for shelter at the home of
Peter Houtman.

He introduced himself as the Rev. Mr.
Griswold. He was invited in, and after the
head of the household had counselled with
his wife and daughter Agnes, the stranger's
sleeping-room was made ready by them. The
unannounced guest arrived as the family was
about to sit down to tea, so he was invited to
join them at the table. Mr. Griswold was



tall and spare. He stood erect, with his head
slightly thrown back, which gave him some-
what of a haughty air, but his genial tones
were reassuring and made them feel quite at
their ease. He had a fair complexion and large
blue eyes, which could express either mirth or
pathos. He possessed a fund of amusing
stories, which kept them well entertained.
After tea was over the men folks drew around
the open grate, which was all aglow with a
blazing fire of large coals. Mr. Houtman
and his guest prepared for a quiet smoke.
Meanwhile the mother and Agnes cleared
away the supper dishes. After the work was
all finished they, too, joined the circle by the
fireside. Mrs. Houtman was slight in build,
but she possessed great powers of endurance,
being a type that is generally called wiry.
Her bright and amusing manner made her a
general favorite among her friends and neigh-
bors. She was somewhat awed, however, by
the presence of this stranger and had thus far
left his entertainment chiefly to her husband.
After a little commonplace conversation the
minister drifted into reminiscences of his own

"I was born and reared," he said, "in a




small town in Leslie County, Kentucky, in the
southeastern part of the state, near the Cum-
berland mountains, which separate Kentucky
from Virginia."

"I've heard that's a great mountain re-
gion," said Mr. Houtman, absently.

"Yes," continued the other, "this section
covers about one-tenth part of the state;
stretching westward, however, the country
is rolling and the soil fertile. On reaching
central Kentucky we find a broad plateau cov-
ered with grass; blue grass, it is called."

"Oh, I've read about that," interrupted
Hereford. "What is it really like?"

"Well, it is not blue, as the name sug-
gests," replied the narrator. "But there is an
underlying strata of blue limestone in the
soil which gives it its luxuriant growth. This
section is one of the finest agricultural regions
in America. Herds of fine cattle feed upon
this grass and herds of swine roam through
the woodlands."

"I've heard of Kentucky butter," chimed
in Mrs. Houtman, who had been trying to
think of some remark to offer, and at this
point she doubtless thought that that was her
chance, and she'd let this man know that she


had a few ideas at least.

"Yes," said Agnes, supplementing her
mother's remark, "I've been told that hotels
and boarding-houses in the South depend
largely upon Kentucky dairies for their sup-


"That's right," responded the minister, as
he proceeded with his narrative. "The people
of this section, before the Civil War, ap-
proached the ideal life more fully, perhaps,
than did those in almost any other part of
our country. Being blessed with a most fav-
orable climate and a rich and productive soil,
peace and plenty reigned. The spirit of con-
tentment was in the air, as the people dwelt
with nature throughout the balmy days,
whose eventides were made merry by the
Negroes as they gathered to sing and dance
to the rhythmical clapping of their hands, or
the spirited music of the banjo. Thus passed
those sweet anti-bellum days so dear to the
hearts of old Kentuckians."

"I have rea'd of Daniel Boone and his es-
cape from the Indians," said Hereford.

"Ah, yes!" observed Mr. Griswold, "he
went to Kentucky, I think, in 1769, when the
country was inhabited by tribes of warlike In-


dians and very little indeed was known about
it until that time. My grandfather emigrated
from Virginia and many were the blood-curd-
ling tales he related of his first years on the
frontier. I was born a year after the close
of the Civil War. My earliest recollections
are full of memories of the political conten-
tions which divided into bitter factions so
many of the people of Kentucky and which
hung like a pall upon all social life. Friends
and relatives became estranged from one an-
other and met without speaking; one having
fought, perhaps, for the Union, and the other
for the Confederate side. The Church, too,
suffered from the general condition of so-

''We never knew," said Mrs. Houtman,
"that you had such a time among yourselves
as that. I guess we ain't always been as char-
itable as we ought to have been, law sakes !"

"That is because you did not hear both
sides of the story," rejoined the minister, smil-
ing, "for I am sure it was not from any lack
of kindness of heart. Well," he continued,
"my father was a clergyman. He has told
us that he often expostulated with his people,
and tried to bring them together in concord.


But his attempts were fruitless, for they
would not be reconciled. Many were the be-
reaved ones who sat alone in their sorrow.
Many were the ones once rich, who were
made poor and desolate by the war. Many
cabins stood in loneliness, for the negroes had
fled to the towns, hardly knowing which way
to turn. Confusion was everywhere, and no
tongue can tell of the suffering that ensued;
yet the majority of the people in Kentucky
wished to remain neutral, and finally did
maintain loyalty to the Union, although many
fought on the Confederate side."

"It was a sorry day for us, also," added
Mr. Houtman, reflectively, as he laid his pipe
aside and vigorously poked the fire.

"True," rejoined the minister, "your sor-
row occasioned by the loss of kindred equal-
led ours, but, in addition to this grief, we lost
our property by the emancipation of the
slaves, which you must remember was the bulk
of the Southerner's fortune."

"It was hard, indeed," answered Mr.
Houtman, "but the awakened public had
come to feel that slavery must go by one way
or another."

"Yes," said the other, "a climax would


have been reached sooner or later, for the
very reason that this is a world of progress.
When I grew older," continued Mr. Gris-
wold, "I became interested in the mountain-
eers. These men had been non-slaveholders,
so they had no vital interest in the Southern
cause, consequently the subject was not up-
permost in their minds, as it was in the minds
of society in general. After being so long
amidst great dissension it rested me to look
upon their peaceful faces as they came into
town in their mountain wagons or on horse or
mule back with their saddle bags laden with
produce, which they had brought to barter.
I often found myself watching for these men
with their yellow leggins the color of the mud
which had bespattered them during their long
ride. At the time when I decided to follow
my father's calling, I also decided to work
for these neglected people, at least for awhile.
This I did for about three years. Then I
came North as far as Pennsylvania. At the
present time I have charge of a Presbyterian
mission about thirty miles from here."

Every interval of silence which occurred
during the conversation was punctuated with
the "tick-tock" of the old clock which stood


in the corner of the room and ticked away the
fleeting hours. The rain beat upon the win-
dows, while the wind whistled a mournful
monotone, which proved soothing in its effect
upon Mr. Houtman's nerves, for he began to
doze. The minister observing this, soon
pleaded fatigue and was shown to his room.

The storm lasted three days, developing
into one of those cold, raw, drizzling rains,
which we sometimes experience in November.

The Houtmans did their best to entertain
their guest, and insisted that he should remain
with them until the weather cleared. He
seemed very willing to accept their hospitality
and they found him very congenial.

Peter Houtman felt that he was entertain-
ing a distinguished visitor. This was made
obvious by the air of importance which he at
times assumed. He thought, too, that it
would be something new to talk over at the
store, and it would make him quite a lion
among his townsmen.

Perhaps this was a touch of vanity in Peter,
but in spite of such a conclusion he was in fact
a man of strong character. It manifested it-
self in his firm and energetic step; it could also
be traced in his face. In short, Peter was a


solid man, standing for all that was good, and
he was much respected by the people.

Mr. Griswold also deeply interested Here-
ford. His magnetism seemed to attract him.
His great soulful eyes reached his spirit and
inspired new thoughts, and life appeared all
at once to broaden to his view. He question-
ed Hereford later with regard to his plans in
life; was he settled in mind and contented
with his work?

To which the other replied:

"I have had dreams of a life in a larger
place, where I could advance. I am not quite
satisfied with what I am doing here, but there
seems to be no way for me to make a change."

Mr. Griswold was very much pleased with
his new friend's personality, and felt that it
was a pity that he could not have a chance to
try the world for which he longed. After due
consideration the minister tried to persuade
Hereford's parents to arrange to send their
son away to a boys' school, where he could im-
prove his education.

The father at first demurred, but the
mother and sister seemed inclined to favor the
plan. Finally it was settled that he should go

to school in Scranton.



In less than two weeks Hereford was
ready. He was twenty years old at this time,
tall and strongly built. His dark eyes and
brown hair blended well with his clear olive
complexion, which was heightened by a deep,
rich color. He resembled, perhaps, some old
Dutch ancestor on his father's side more than
his own parents. He had never been away
from home, and scarcely realized what the
great world was beyond his horizon line.

As before stated, he had often felt restless,
and, as he grew older, became even dissatis-
fied with his work. He loved his home, still
he longed for change.

Much of the world's sorrow comes from
the spirit of discontent. For instance, the
beautiful and accomplished Mary Stuart,
Queen of Scots, was happily situated while
in France, being beloved and caressed by the
people, but she needs must go to Scotland,
and, in consequence, she forfeited her life.
Many a man has become discontented with his
humble home and built him a mansion at an
outlay beyond what his income would allow.
Then after a few reverses in business, came
ruin, and the regret of a lifetime.

Then again, there is much to be said on the



other side. Disaster does not always follow
change. Sometimes it is well to migrate;
health may demand it, often business, social
and educational advantages require it. So
Hereford's motive was perfectly justifiable,
as he dreamed of preparing for work more
congenial to his taste. He had read good,
strong books with Agnes, and she had always
encouraged high aspirations. Not only was
the change enjoyable, but also the new
thoughts which attended it by his coming in
contact with greater minds than his.

Later it was also through the influence of
Mr. Griswold that Hereford had the advan-
tage of a two years course at a university in
the same city.

During the minister's visit at the Hout-
man's he had told them so much about the
mountaineers and his mission work, that
Hereford became deeply interested in the sub-
ject and resolved to begin his career by open-
ing a school in their isolated section of the
country, when he had finished his studies.

After a year of close application at the pre-
paratory school he entered the university on
special lines. When he had at last completed
the course he returned to Sunledge and re-


sumed for a while his former work.

The memory of that hour when he reached
home will ever remain with him like a sweet
dream. He accomplished the work which he
had undertaken and now felt that he was en-
titled to a long home vacation.

It was a beautiful June day when he ar-
rived and about six o'clock in the afternoon.
The sun struck aslant across the hills, the air
was filled with the fragrance of the fields.
The canary was singing in the porch, the hens
must have been disturbed by something, for
they were cackling, while from the flaming
rose bushes two kittens emerged in play.

It was home, and it seemed the dearest spot
on earth to Hereford as he was greeted by his
father, mother and sister Agnes.

This sister's face resembled his somewhat
in general contour, but her hair was black and
her eyes deep blue. Proudly she stood there,
strong, healthy and happy. Hereford was
always proud of Agnes, but more so now than
ever before did she appear to him a type of
true and beautiful womanhood, and she gave
him fresh inspiration to find his life's work.


In the Heart of the Blue Ridge

IN October, eighteen hundred and nine-
ty-one, Hereford prepared to make a
journey to the Blue Ridge. He had
interested a few wealthy and benevo-
lent persons in his plans, and in due
time a sum of four hundred dollars was
pledged by them for his support for a year.

These men wished him to live among the
mountain people, learn their real needs, and
endeavor to gain their cooperation in estab-
lishing a little school in their midst.

The plan was wholly independent of church
work, so he was not bound to any line of
thought or action. Good judgment alone
should be his guide.

He took the afternoon train for Spartan-
burg, S. C., a point where a change of cars
was to be made for the mountain region. On
arriving the following morning he found that
he would be obliged to wait for train connec-
tions, so he decided to purchase his horse, sad-
dle and saddle bags at that place, all of which



he very soon obtained. He procured fodder
for the horse, and some lunch for himself,
and packed it with his luggage in the saddle
bags; then started on his way, striking out in
a northwesterly direction. The air was cool
and invigorating, but the day grew warm as
the sun mounted higher. It was one of those
delightful October days when nature is so al-

He was soon out upon the lonely highway,
passing only an occasional cabin, where on the
stoop played little woolly-headed colored
children. Near by "Mammy" was washing
in the open air. Her kettles were suspended
over a smoky wood fire. Some of the clothes
were already spread over the bushes to dry.
At noon he fed his horse; then making him-
self comfortable he lunched from his little
store of food. He was not quite alone, for
now and then a squirrel darted from behind a
tree and seemed to cast reproachful glances at
him for his intrusion upon his domains. The
birds, too, sang cheery songs, while the scream
of the jay could be heard in the distance.

The traveler felt much refreshed after his
lunch, and threw himself upon the ground
under a great pine tree. He slept a little, but


was aroused by the scream of the jays as they
approached nearer and seemed to be at war
with some other bird. He arose at once and
consulting his watch he found that it was
time to resume his journey.

The old horse stood half dozing in the
shade and seemed to show no signs of anxiety
as to the welfare of either for the night. Once
under way again he soon bore his rider into a
region of delightful interest.

The air was fragrant with the breath of
the pines and hemlocks. The rhododendrons
reared their proud heads ; mountain laurel and
azaleas abounded, although not in blossom.
Ferns fringed the banks of streams and the
galax, with its shining leaves, covered the
earth on every side. Waterfalls and cas-
cades often greeted the eye. The view grew
wilder and more rugged as he climbed, and
there appeared a landscape of valleys and
hills of varying heights. In some of the open
spaces range after range of far distant moun-
tains could be seen, which resembled the
waves of the sea as they rolled against the
amber sky.

He had now passed Vineland, a pretty little
hamlet snugly nestled in the Blue Ridge. He


had traveled over twenty-five miles, and was
going on to the next settlement, where he
learned that he could find less expensive ac-
commodations for the night than at Vineland.
After traveling some distance and seeing no
signs of a village, he feared that he had mis-
understood his directions and taken the wrong
road. He was evidently on the way to the
mountains, for the grade was rising and the
road grew rough. It was getting late in the
afternoon and would soon be twilight.

His horse showed signs of great fatigue, so
he could not retrace his steps. He knew,
however, that he was in the mountaineer's
region and he would doubtless soon find a
cabin ; then he would ask for lodgings. Pres-
ently he saw one a little distance from the
road and turned at this point. On reaching
the house he dismounted and rapped on the
door. It was only partly opened by its occu-
pant. Hereford made known his wishes, but
he was at once repulsed and told to move on.
It occurred to him that this man was prob-
ably a "moonshiner," and having heard so
much about the desperate nature of some of
them, he did not press his request, but quietly
withdrew and continued his journey.


He soon overtook a boy and inquired
how far it was to the next house. The boy
replied, "It's about a mile beyond the bend
that's jes ahead o' yo'; it sets back from the
road, but yo' can't miss it. It's my home and
I reckon I'll get there 'bout as soon as yo' by
the looks of yo' horse!"

"My horse is very tired and so am I, and
hungry, too," replied the traveler. "Do you
think I can get food and shelter at your

"I don't know. Pa won't put up some
folks, but he may yo'. Where yo' from?"

"I've ridden from Spartanburg to-day, but
am from the North."

"Well, yo' can ask 'Dad,' " said the boy.
Hereford thanked him and pursued his way.
"A mile farther," he soliloquized, "to travel
alone in this unknown land. But I'm glad I
met the boy; he may help me."

Finally he saw a flickering light. As he
drew near he behel'd a neat little house and
there stopped and asked for a night's lodging.
He was answered by a few questions from
the man who opened the door. "Yo' are a
stranger 'round these parts, I reckon. What's
yo' business here; huntin' for anyone in per-



"No," answered Hereford. "I'm from

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