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Memoirs of Joseph W. Pickett, missionary superintendent in southern Iowa and in the Rocky mountains for the American home missionary society online

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Dr. Sailer's Long Career.

The career of Dri Salter of Burlington has
followed somewhat similar lines, although
in a different field and a different denom-
ination. He was born In Brooklyn, N. Y.,
Nov. I, 1821, and at the age of 19 was grad-
uated from the University of New York.
In 1841-42 he attended Union Theological
Seininary and was graduated from Andover
Seminary in 1843. He was then appointed
missionary to the Iowa territory under the
Home Missionary Society, and that year
cawie to Iowa, settling in Maquoketa, where
be preached two years as a traveling mis-
sionary. In 1846, at the age of 25, he was
called to the ministry of the First Congre-

is now president of the board in control of
the magnificent public free library.

Dr. Salter, when human slavery was an
issue, always was a strong abolitionist, and
in times and places when it was a reproach
to be known as an abolitionist he bore the
title courageously and proudly. In the
troublous ante-bellum days his voice was
raised vigorously against the holding of
human beings in bondage. To-day he is
loved and honored by a wide circle of
friends and acquaintances, who join in the
[wish that he may be granted many more
[years of usefulness.



The following piece is taken from th
Burlington Journal, which will be inter
esting to a |great many people of thi
city. The piece is about the 60th anni
versary of Rev. Wm. Sailer, D. D.,
was ordained a minister in the congre
gational church in Burlington 60 yean
ago and who took such a prominent par
in the Congregational state convention
which wab held here last spring:

Sixty years ago last Thursday Rev
William Salter, D. D., was ordained min
ister in the Congregational church and
tomorrow the event will be celebrated a
the church with commemorative services
Rev. Marsh will deliver the sermon in
the morning and Rev. Salter in the ev-
ening, taking as his subject, "Sixty Years
in the Ministry of Jesus."

Dr. Salter was ordained a minister in
Denmark on Nov. 1843, together with
eleven young men all from Andover
Seminary. Understanding that minister^
were needed in this part of the country
they all came here, only to learn that
they bad been misinformed and that
ministers were here in plenty.
"They faced the situation bravely, how-
ever, and Rev. Salter did his first
preaching as a missionary around the
neighborhood of Andrew, Beiievue
Cottonwood and Maquoketa. For two
years he was in the saddle as a pioneer
preacher. Services in those days were
held at private houses and in school
houses. There was not a church in
Jackson county at the time. One of the
inter* stii-g places at which he preached
was Tete des Moils, a place named after
an Indian massacre, Dr. Salter was
called to Burlington in Feburary of 1846,
and came here the following mouth.
During that same year the old brick
church was constructed on the same site
. f the present church, and was dedicat-
ed this fall. The home he occupied was
c:ii the present site of the county jail, he
living there until fifty-one years ago,
when he moved to his present home at

11 ( .) ^onth F.iahth Qtrpet "




Missionary Superintendent in Southern Iowa and in the Rocky
Mountains for the American Home Missionary Society.


So close is glory to our dust,

So near is God to man,
When Duty whispers low, Thou must,

The youth replies, I can.




For sale by the Congregational Publishing Society, Boston, Mass.


Printed by Geo. H. Ellis, 101 Milk Street, Boston,






Birth Parents New England Ancestry Andover, Ohio, . . 9
Childhood Love of Nature At Kingsville Academy and Alle-

ghany College, 13

Farm-work Religious Experience, 14

Teacher in Tennessee Tour in East Tennessee and No. Carolina, 15
Ascent of Mount Mitchell At Yale College and Andover

J Seminary, 16



Ordination Marriage Happy Ministry Other Fields calling, . 20

Q-J Visit West Ministry at Mount Pleasant, 22

Among Sick and Wounded Soldiers In Tennessee, 24

At Stevenson, Alabama At Chattanooga, 26

<C Before Atlanta At Marietta, Georgia Ascent of Kenesaw, . . 32

Death of Wife Call to Missionary Superintendence, 34



Work of the Home Missionary Society in Iowa, 35

South-western Iowa Work in New Towns, 36

Character and Success of his Labors, 37

His Paper, Church Work, 42

6 Contents.

Five Letters to the Children of Iowa :

I. Have a Plan in Life, 42

II. Habits, 44

III. Every Child to do his Duty Mind, Morals, and

Religion to be Cultivated, 46

IV. Prayer-Triangles Life a Copy-book, 49

V. Goodness, 51

The Past, Present, and Future of Iowa, 52

Weakness in Churches, 54

Provide Things Honest, 55

Denominational Comity, 56

Congregational Order adapted to unite New Communities, ... 57

Congregational Order and Sectarianism, 59

To his Mother, on his Forty-fourth Birthday, 60

A Church Enlarged, 61

The Importance of Systematic Giving :

Demands for Increasing Liberality, 63

Limits of Ability to Give, 64

The only Adequate Motive, 65

A Law Older than Moses, 66

A Definite Portion Objections Advantages, 67

Importance of a High Ideal to Churches and Ministers, .... 69

A Night Ride, 70

Temperance Revival, 71

Importance of the Thorough Christianization of the United States, 72
Missionary Exploration of Colorado in 1874:

History and Resources of Colorado, 74

Religious Condition of Colorado, 76

His Love for Iowa, 80

Appointment to Colorado in 1878, 'Si

Marriage Farewell to Iowa Brethren, 82

His Life at Des Moines, by Rev. A. L. Frisbie, 83



A Sabbath in South Pueblo, 87

San Luis Park, 89

Contents. 7

In the Snow in June, 90

Pagosa Springs, 92

Among the Mountaineers, 93

Silverton A Gambler's Funeral, . *. 96

Anvil and Hazelton Mountains, 97

Gamblers' Contribution to a Sunday-school Library, 98

Importance of Christian Union, 99

The Black Hills, 100

Among Robbers, 101

Sixty-six Hours of Staging Lead City, 103

Deadwood Spearfish Plan of an Academy, 106

A Gold Brick Galena Crook City, 108

Rapid City Rockerville, 109

Mid-winter Labors, 112

The Week of Prayer at Lead City 113

A Winter Walk, 114

Permanent Pastors Needed, 115

Beauty of the Black Hills, 115

To his Mother, on his Forty-seventh Birthday, 116^

Over Hills and Ravines, 117

An Eshcol Bunch of Churches, 118

Emigration to Western Colorado, 119

Barbarism the First Danger, 120

Southern Colorado Coal Creek Rosita Silver Cliff, ... 121

Denver The Plains in Spring The Midnight Heavens, . . . 122

From Denver to Leadville, 124

Carbonate ville Kokomo, 126

A Journey to Hartford, Conn., 127

Building a Church at Leadville, 128

The Gunnison River Country, 129

Crested Butte Hillerton, 129

Lumber and Shingles for the Leadville Church, 131

Last Visit to the Black Hills, 131

Rockerville Deadwood Custer, 132

Another Week of Labor at Leadville, 133

Rest at Home The Colorado Association, 133

"Off for Leadville" In Denver, 135

A Mountain Storm, 136

Overturning of Stage Death, 138

8 Contents.

Funeral Services at Leadville and Colorado Springs :

Address of Rev. R. T. Cross, 139

Tributes to his Memory :

J. Teesdale E. Van Cise, -143

C. C. Salter J. Adams, 144

C.M.Sanders The " Home Missionary," 145

Lines suggested by his Death, by J. W. Phillips, 145

His Character and Life-work, 147






JOSEPH WORTHY PICKETT was born at Andover,
Ashtabula County, Ohio, January 28, 1832. His
ancestors were among the early settlers of New
England, who left the mother country in the Puritan
emigration of the reign of Charles I. He was of the
sixth generation from John Pickett, who came from
the County of Kent, England ; settled in Salem, Conn.,
1648; moved to Stratford, 1660, and died April n,
1684. The following is the line of descent :

1. Daniel, 1652-1688.

2. Samuel, 1682-1761.

3. John, 1716 February, 1807; married Elizabeth
Meeker ; moved to Sandisfield, Berkshire County,

4. John, June, 1753 October, 1840; married Ruth
Boardman, 1759 March 25, 1806, of Middletown,
Conn. He was a soldier of the Revolution ; repre-
sentative from Sandisfield in the Massachusetts Con-

io Memoirs of Joseph IV. Pickett.

vention of 1788, which ratified the Constitution of the
United States ; and in the House of Representatives of
Massachusetts from 1789 to 1796, and from 1804 to
.1813; also a justice of peace for many years in the
same town ; and moved to the unbroken forest of
North-eastern Ohio in 1819, with his three sons, John,
Joseph, and

5. Benjamin, July 22, 1795 April 26, 1873 ; married
Lydia Ophelia Birchard, of Crawford County, Penn.,
January 8, 1822.

6. Joseph W.

His mother is a native of Becket, Berkshire County,
Mass., and of the sixth generation from Thomas Bir-
chard, who was born at Roxbury, England, in 1595 ;
came from England in the ship "True Love/' 1635;
was made a freeman of Boston, 1637 ; settled at Say-
brook, Conn., and died 1684. This is her line of
descent :

1. John, one of the original proprietors of Norwich,

2. James, 1665-1745.

3. James, 1699-1786; moved, 1755, to Becket.

4. James, 1731-1820; one of the first selectmen, and
the first treasurer of Becket. His only son was

5. James.

In the autumn of 1812, he started with his family, the
oldest child eighteen, the youngest two years of age,
for the " Far West." They carried their household
goods, provisions, and bedding in one heavy wagon,
drawn by two yoke of oxen and a horse. Another

His Parents. 1 1

wagon, drawn by three horses, took lighter articles and
the family. Many were the mishaps and hardships of
the wilderness. Now and then the wagons were upset
or stuck in the mud. Several nights were spent with
no shelter but the woods. For one hundred and fifty
miles, they passed down the Alleghany River in flat-
boats. After six weeks' weary travel, they reached the
tract that had been selected for their home, seven miles
north of Meadville, Penn. Here, coming some years
afterward as a teacher into an adjoining school district,
Benjamin Pickett found his wife.

6. Lydia, born November 29, 1802.

Andover was then a township in the woods, five
miles square. No roads had been made on its eastern
side, where Benjamin Pickett had located. The only
guides in going from place to place were blazed trees.
The new home was a log structure, without window or
chimney, the apertures between the unchinked logs
furnishing light, and an opening in the roof carrying
off the smoke. Thus they lived for the first year.
Most of the neighbors were newly married people, and
similarly situated. As busy years rolled on, the land
was cleared for pasture and tillage, additions and
improvements were made to the cabin, and support
and comfort secured for the growing* family. Here
the subject of this memoir was born, the fifth of eight

He early showed conscientiousness, truthfulness, and
a love of knowledge. Before he was three years old,
.he would place two chairs facing each other, and coax

12 Memoirs of Joseph W. Pickett.

his elder brother to read to him. At five, he was a
good reader. Warm in filial feeling, he loved to help
his mother on washing days, gathering wood for her
fire by the brook, and sharing her simple lunch in the
shade. As he grew in strength, he assisted his father
in the heavy labors of the farm. These were the happy
memories of his childhood.

When seven years old, his father gave him a pocket-
knife, greatly to his delight. The need of a new house
was at that time the household talk. The children's
hearts were set upon it. But the careful father, scan-
ning the cost and his resources in the presence of the
family, decided that he could not afford to build. This
filled Joseph with sorrow. With tears in his eyes, he
went into the forest to weep and think by himself. As
he reflected that bis father could not build for want of
means, he remembered that his new knife had cost
something, and he at once resolved what to do. He
returned to the cabin, handed the treasure to his father,
and said : " Here is my knife, father. Take it back to
the store, and get the money. I can do without it."
The father's heart was touched to tears, and he said,
"Joseph, keep your knife, and we will build the new
house." The willing self-sacrifice of the boy had
kindled new energy in the man. There was no more
faltering until the family moved into a new house, one
of the best appointed dwellings in the township. It
stands upon a 'hill, close to a charming piece of woods
of fifty acres. Hon. Ben. Wade, visiting here when
the orchard was in full bloom, called it one of the
pleasantest places he ever saw.

At School and College. 13

The charm and beauty of nature won the boy's heart.
He remembered through life the impressions which
flowers and woods and the south wind made upon him
when five years of age. In after years, Ruskin was one
of his favorite authors.

He attended school a portion of each year in a log
school-house three-quarters of a mile distant, until he
was sixteen, when he entered the academy in Kings-
ville, on the shore of Lake Erie, for the fall term. At
nineteen, he entered Alleghany College, at Meadville,
Penn. Obliged to practise close economy, he rented
a room, obtained provisions from home, did his own
cooking, and frequently managed to live upon fifty
cents a week. In the Junior year, he took the Hasel-
tine Prize Medal for the best English composition. He
graduated in 1855. His theme at Commencement was
" Plato and his Philosophy." While in the academy
and at college, he taught school during the winter
months. Showing a superior faculty for instruction,
he won the hearts of scholars, and gained honor and
esteem in every community where he was employed.
He thus obtained means to defray the expenses of his
own education.

From early youth, he took part in literary and debat-
ing societies, and won repute as a ready speaker and
an ingenious and able disputant. In the political can-
vass of 1848; he listened to the humor and eloquence
of Thomas Corwin and to the strong and persuasive
arguments of Joshua R. Giddings.

The heavy work upon the farm was haying. At that

14 Memoirs of Joseph W. Picket 7.

season, Joseph always arranged to be at home, and, with
his scythe and rake and pitchfork, and cheering laugh
and persistent pluck, made "the best of hands," as his
father called him.

He cherished through life the memory of an interest
in religion when eight years of age. His father gath-
ered the children around the family altar. His mother's
devotional nature gave him a constant nurture of grace
and goodness. At eighteen, when a student at Kings-
ville Academy, a brother's sudden death deepened his
serious convictions. During his first year in college,
in a time of awakening, he sought the Lord through
weeks of fasting and prayer, with strong crying and
tears. The hills of Meadville were witness to his spir-
itual struggles. When it pleased God to reveal his Son
in him, and he saw the divine love in Jesus Christ, he
acted with prompt decision, and on the following Sat-
urday walked home, twenty four miles, to unite with the
church of his fathers at the communion on the next
day. An extract from his diary of this period shows
his fervor and devotion :

After the five o'clock pray eivmee ting this morning, Merrill and
I proceeded to the forests, where for two hours we supplicated at
the throne of grace, and received largely of the Holy Spirit. I
was enabled through faith to behold Christ's kingdom, and saw
the ancient prophets worshipping around the throne. Oh, the
holy joy of believing ! I desire to give up my body as the temple
of the Holy Spirit. May God ever guide me in the strait and
narrow path ! '

Many years later, he said of his habits of retirement
for meditation and prayer :

I used to walk miles every day, going to some quiet retreat,

Teaches in Academy. 15

where I walked backward and forward, talking aloud to God,
sometimes repeating portions of Scripture. I have, worn paths
in the deep woods so hard that the grass would not grow for
months. Then I would kneel in prayer. I shall never forget
those seasons. They sweetened my life, took out selfishness and
passion, and put in sweetness and love, and a longing desire to do
others good.

Before leaving college, he had made an engagement
to take charge of an academy at Taylorsville, Wilson
County, Tenn., but after reaching home was prostrated
with typhoid fever, and brought very low. Upon
convalescence, he was urged to delay. But, feeling
that strength would come as he went on his way, he
left home the last of August. It was his first long
journey, and his first travel by railroad. His health
improved every day. From Louisville, he went by
stage to his destination, thirty-seven miles east of Nash-
ville. Here was his work for two years. The academy
flourished in his hands. He aroused a generous ambi-
tion among the students, and imparted to them his
moral vigor and spiritual force. A neighboring hill
of shady oaks and moss-covered rocks was his chosen
resort for exercise and for meditation and prayer.

In the summer vacation of 1856, he travelled into
East Tennessee and North Carolina, alone, on horse-
back ; making observations of the geology of those
regions, and enjoying the wildness and grandeur of the
scenery. He visited Bon Air Springs, Roane County,
and passed up Clinch River to Knoxville. From the
Cumberland Mountains, he wrote, August 2d :

I stayed Wednesday night at a tavern kept by an Ohio man. I
told him it was the last thing I expected, to see a man leaving

1 6 Memoirs of Joseph W. Pickett.

Ohio for these barren mountains. He came for his health, he
said. There are good reasons for its being healthy upon the
mountains : a person can seldom get enough to eat to make him
sick. I felt sorry for the landlady. She could get along, she said,
if they had any privileges ; that there was no school, and only now
and then preaching, Baptist and Methodist, but neither of the
preachers could read. Of course, there are exceptions to this
gloomy aspect of the region. Now and then I call upon a wealthy,
intelligent farmer who is a perfect gentleman. The political fever
runs high. It will be a tight match between Fillmore and Bu-
chanan. I know little of Northern politics.

From Knoxville, he went to Dandridge, and up
French Broad River to the Warm Springs, N.C., six
miles from the State line, a fashionable resort for the
sons and daughters of fortune from the South. Riding
on through Buncombe County, he ascended Mount
Mitchell August I4th, and from its top wrote:

My highest desire is realized and my loftitst aspiration grati-
fied, for I stand upon the far-famed mount, the loftiest summit of
the Blue Ridge and highest point east of the Rocky Mountains.
Having put on a thick overcoat which belongs to one of the men
who are clearing the top of the mountain, I have ascended the
rude observatory made of balsam-trees, and am gazing upon the
scene. Nothing I have before witnessed will bear comparison
with it. But it is cold. I must go to a fire the workmen have
built under a ledge of rock. . . . This is comfortable ; and I must
tell you of my adventures. Yesterday, it rained most of the fore-
noon ; dark clouds hung around the mountains. At dinner, I saw
some speckled trout the boys had caught. I remembered the
stories father had told me, and determined to go fishing. The
boys got bait. We w r ent up the mountain about two miles by the
side of a dashing, foaming stream, passing high laurel and ivy
bushes that were growing in luxuriance, and threw in our hooks.
I watched the boy's motion until I saw the plan, and then com-

Mountain Experiences. 17

menced. I let my hook float along the stream, when up came a
trout and snapped it. I drew him out. Leaping along the rocks,
I let my hook dance into the deep holes, when up came another
fellow, which I ousted. It was the greatest sport at fishing I ever
had. I caught five, the boy three. He said it was the first time
he was ever beaten.

This morning, about seven, with a son of my host, I started up
the mountain on foot. We travelled on and on. I made him puff
and blow. We reached here between one and two o'clock this
afternoon, after ten miles of "up-hill business." My host and
several hands are at work here, building a sleeping-room. I am
going to see the sun and moon rise and set. I can stand it to
stay under the rocks without cover, if these mountaineers can. So

Morning, August 15. I slept most of the night finely. We
had a large fire built, which we were obliged to replenish often, as
the fir-wood is poor to keep fire. My thermometer stood at 45
this morning. The sun set behind a cloud last night, but its
rising this morning was glorious. The fog resembles vast lakes,
above which the mountain summits rear their heads like islands.

His return to Middle Tennessee was by another
route, through Jackson, Macon, and Cherokee Coun-
ties, N.C., and Monroe County, Tenn. Passing over the
ancient domain of the Cherokee Indians, he entered a
lonely valley, some thirty miles wide, with the ragged
and rocky crags of the Blue Ridge on one side and
the Smoky Mountains on the other. Overwhelmed at
times by the towering, precipitous grandeur of the
former, he found a fascination and charm in the soft
and restful splendor of the latter. It was long an
image in his mind of "the valley of blessing." On one
side towered the holy law; on the other, the divine love
seemed diffused abroad.

1 8 Memoirs of Joseph W. Pickett.

On the fifteenth of September, he resumed his work
at the academy, with an increased number of pupils and
his brother Cyrus as assistant. He closed his labors
there July 10, 1857, with grateful assurances of esteem
from his pupils, and with promises of a prayerful re-
membrance of them on his part. Five of his pupils
accompanied him home, to be educated at Alleghany
College. Three remained North, and a few years later
joined the army of the Union. One was first lieuten-
ant of a college company raised at Meadville ; assistant
adjutant-general at the battle of Dranesville, December
20, 1 86 1 ; fought bravely on the Peninsula and before
Richmond, and died from exhaustion. The others
raised a company of cavalry, of which one was captain
and the other first lieutenant.

Having saved twelve hundred and fifty dollars from
his earnings in teaching, Mr. Pickett was enabled to
pursue a cherished plan of study at Yale College, where
he joined the Senior class, and graduated in 1858. He
greatly prized the opportunities for culture afforded
him at New Haven. Though not in firm health, he
pursued his studies vigorously, and made more broad
and solid his foundations for usefulness. His heart
was deeply enlisted in the revival of religion which that
year blessed the college. In Professor Goodrich, he
recognized a model man.

In the fall of 1858, he entered the Theological Semi-
nary at Andover, Mass., and pursued the full course of
study for three years with industry and zeal. Not neg-
lecting opportunities of usefulness or the culture of the

At Andovcr. 19

heart, he labored frequently in religious meetings and
Bible classes, and, amid the walks and woods of Ando-
ver, kept up his habits of communion with nature and
of devout meditation. During his first winter there,
he wrote :

Our oceanic winds and rain-storms are a conglomeration of hail,
sleet, and snow, which loads the trees ; but, let it come pleasant
when they are thus adorned, and it is difficult to conceive of any-
thing more beautiful. A week since, a damp, frosty snow fell
upon the trees during the night and arranged itself in crystals, so
that the morning revealed as glorious a spectacle as one could
imagine. As we passed between the elms that interleave their
branches above our walks, covered with millions of crystals, I
remarked to my classmate that never did royal monarch walk

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Online LibraryWilliam SalterMemoirs of Joseph W. Pickett, missionary superintendent in southern Iowa and in the Rocky mountains for the American home missionary society → online text (page 1 of 12)