Joseph Witherspoon Cook.

Diary and letters of the Reverend Joseph W. Cook : missionary to Cheyenne online

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garroting, robbing and shooting.

The school house here has not yet been built, it
being impossible to get the lumber through from
Omaha, nearly all the rolling stock of the railroad
being employed in pushing on construction materials
in order to hurry on the road to Salt Lake. The
school teacher here does not amount to much. He is
a candidate for the Congregationalist ministry. He
was one of the Vigilantes and now spends a great
deal of his time in a billiard hall owned and con-
ducted by the captain of the band.

Mr. Batchelor now has a more favorable situation
in the charge of the water works of the railroad


upon two or three divisions, and promises himself
after he gets things fixed up that he will have con-
siderable time to study. I have been appointed Su-
perintendent of Public Schools and expect to set off
Laramie as a district shortly and the ist of January
open a public school. Now if I can get some good
young churchman out here to take it, it would be of
advantage to our cause.

I have announced a sociable to be organized on
Wednesday evening of this week at Mr. Ivinson's.
I hope it will accomplish something towards forming
society and also towards procuring things necessary
to the Church.

Our congregations in Cheyenne are excellent. We
have put up two large coal stoves instead of digging
the cellar and heating from below, since the gentle
men thought we were not able to accomplish that
this season. It does not disfigure the church a? I
feared. My church furniture progresses slowly.
Your throne is in its place and is a beautiful piece of
work. It is a gift from the man who is making the
rest of the furniture. Mr. Woolley by the aid of
friends in Chicago procured all the lumber, doors,
sash, glass, paint, and all material necessary to build
the Rectory of St. Mark's, and $500 towards build-
ing it, and its transfer over the N. W. R. R. at half
price. We hope to get it free over our railroad. It
is probably detained from the same cause as the ma-
terials for the school house here.

I have been counting very much on a visit from
Bishop Tuttle, and now he writes me he thinks he
must fail me for fear of snow in the mountains. I
am very sorry. So it goes. The clergy pass and
repass me and neither I nor the people get any bene-
fit of their even having been in the country.


I am thankful the convention has been so quiet
and hope it may continue so to the end. I will write
Miss Peters and enclose to you and beg you to do
me the favor to forward as I do not know the ad-
dress of herself or Rector.

May God bless and keep you, my dear Bishop.
Yours in Christ and His Church,


The Methodist preacher has arrived in Cheyenne
and is said to be a very tame affair. J. W. C.


LARAMIE, WYO., Evening, Oct. 26th, 1868.

MY DEAR BISHOP: Can you not get a chance
for Mr. Batchelor at Cheshire Academy or some
such institution where he can make direct prepara-
tion for this S. work? He is of such an age that
he ought, it seems to me, to devote all his time and
attention to it. He will make but slow progress here
at best. He is anxious to give up all for that pur-
pose. He is not prepared now to become distinctly
a candidate for S. Orders unless you are ready to
give him a large dispensation. I should like to see
him have the opportunity of good preparation. We
hope to have a meeting of vestry this evening. They
are so slow. But if I or an associate could stay on
the ground a while I think it would go along faster.

I wish someone would set us up in the matter of a
school house in Cheyenne.

As ever, yours very sincerely.



CHEYENNE, WYO., Nov. 27th, 1868.
MY DEAR BISHOP: Yours of the 2nd and I3th
inst. came duly to hand and their contents were a


source of great pleasure to me. Mr. Cornell did not
arrive until last night. He was so long in coming,
after the time named, that I began to think he had
receded from his determination. I knew Mr. C. in
the General Seminary and so needed no introduction.
I am very glad indeed he has come, and I hope and
pray that his work in this territory may >be blessed.
From your response to my proposition for an asso-
ciate mission, the headquarters to be located here, I
thought all along that you intended to comply and
made my arrangements accordingly. Mr. Cornell
informs me that no such idea was presented to him,
and he has received instructions to establish him-
self in Laramie. I trust that it will turn out all
right, although I am considerably disappointed.
There is a great deal to be done at Laramie if my
plans are carried out and perhaps it can better be
accomplished by a man resident there than other-
wise. In the first place, services and Sunday School
in the town itself must be maintained and active
visiting undertaken, which it seems to me may, with
God's blessing, effectually break up the union there
which was entered upon some time before I began
services. I think with judicious handling the whole
element may be harmonized. Then there ought to
be regular services at the Post (Fort Sanders).
There are more communicants there than at Lar-
amie. Several officers and others have spoken to me
a number of times about the matter, and have said
that if they could have an active young man there
they should be very glad to have him as Chaplain,
but they were fearful of having one appointed at
random lest they should suffer the same infliction
as those at Fort Russell and Fort Steele, and in fact
the majority of instances in the army. Now, if you
will allow the suggestion, since you have secured a


young man whom I think will be acceptable, I have
no doubt you can secure his appointment by the Sec-
retary of War (General Scofield) to the position of
Chaplain at Fort Sanders with the understanding
that he is to be allowed to carry on work at Laramie.
Thus he would be in a position of advantage so far
as work is concerned there, and he would at once be
relieved of the necessity of receiving the Missionary
Stipend, and you would have so much to apply to
the support of another missionary at some other
point. That was Bishop Clarkson's plan with ref-
erence to me, had not Mr. Tuttle interfered. He
would have quarters free, and about $1,800 or
$2,000. I have been invited to begin an enterprise
.at Carbon, about one hundred and thirty miles west
of this. A coal company is operating there, of which
Dr. Durant and W. Snyder, general superintendent
of Pacific railroad, and other railroad men are part-
ners. There are about three hundred men there
now, mostly Protestant, and before a great while
there will be a very large force there. There are
some families there. A church has been spoken of
by the company and I am informed that most of
them are nominally churchmen and would throw their
influence that way. By the establishment of Mr. C. at
Laramie my plans with reference to work "up the
road" are completely broken up. I shall myself go up
to Carbon as soon as I can and look after matters
there. The only thing now which prevents my go-
ing at once is the lack of a pass. Mr. Evans has
gone from Laramie and I cannot now get one. I
have thought that if when you are in New York you
would take the trouble to see Dr. Durant you could
secure a yearly one to be used by Mr. Cornell and
myself, by which we might be allowed to travel on
our duty through the whole length of this territory


and thus take hold of the beginning of things for the
Church. If I mistake not, Mr. Ames, the President
of the Union Pacific railroad, resides in Boston, and
if so you could secure the same thing at once there.
If agreeable, I hope you will act upon it. I think
it will be a good stroke for missions.

Rev. Mr. Foote of Salt Lake, in a recent letter to
me, says : "At Fort Bridger there are several com-
municants and quite an interest in the Church. Mrs.
Colonel Morrow, Mrs. Colonel Mizner and Mrs.
Major Belcher at the Post are all intelligent, well
educated churchwomen. Miss Foote, residing with
Judge Carter, is also a communicant and both of
Judge C.'s daughters (fine yound ladies) were edu-
cated at St. Agnes Hall in Indiana, and wish to be
confirmed. As the Post is now in Wyoming and so
removed from Bishop Tuttle's jurisdiction, I think
Bishop R. ought to know of this and look after it.
Judge Carter will be willing to put up a little chapel
and do well towards the support of a clergyman.
There is a very good man there now as Chaplain,
Mr. Leavit, a Presbyterian minister, who uses the
"Missionary Service" of our Church in all his ser-
vices. He 'is a brother of the editor of our Church

In addition to this, I am told, there is an important
town springing up at the nearest point to Fort
Bridger, on the railroad, which is ten or fifteen miles
off. Had I a pass I would go out and look at it and
secure lots there. I am anxiously waiting Miss
Peters, who writes me she will be here December
ist. Dr. White has ceased to be one of the U. S.
Railroad Commissioners. I think he will still take
an interest in Laramie enough so as to assist you in
doing something for Laramie. He has gone East.
His residence is Fair Haven, near New Haven.


Mrs. White gave me a lot for the church in Lar-
amie. When you see him, would it not be well to
get some instrument of transfer to that effect? I
secured a corner lot, 132x132 feet, in an eligible posi-
tion for church purposes. The gentlemen who have
saw mills in that vicinity have subscribed to the
amount of from 2,000 to 6,000 feet of lumber apiece
and I think it will be sufficient to furnish all the
timbers for rafters, joists, etc. They talk there of
building of stone, of which there is an abundance
of beautiful building stone within a short distance,
easily worked and accessible. It is reddish-gray
sandstone. All the rolling stock of the railroad has
been in use to push on the construction and so our
lumber for rectory has been lying at Omaha for six
weeks or more. I have a letter now from Mr. Sny-
der, who says it will be along in a few days. He
insists upon charging us half tariff rates. This be-
ing the case, I have my doubts about our being able
to get up the building this winter. We have but
five hundred dollars ($500) and that will nearly be
eaten up by the time we get the materials upon
the ground. I am very much obliged to you for
providing for the expenses of the teacher out. If
you are prospered in getting up your training school
perhaps you will be able to provide for Mr. Batch-
elor there. Being superintendent of public schools
in this county, I have organized a district in Lar-
amie, and hope to have the public school start the
first of the year. It may be I can put him in there.
I have just had a letter from Mrs. Fallon, 216 W.
Ritten House Square, Philadelphia, of St. Mark's
Church, telling me that I can look for a bell for
.Cheyenne by Easter as a kind of baptismal present.
I wish, if agreeable, you would call on the Fallons
w r hen you are in Philadelphia. Mr. A. G. Lathrop


has presented us with the designs for the other large
window, and I have devoted a week's hard labor,
day and night, to putting them on. It is very beau-
tiful, cost forty-one dollars. There are many other
little items which I should like to mention, but I
must bring my long, rambling letter to a close.

God bless and prosper you, my dear Bishop. Let
me hear from you soon. As ever, yours in Christ
and His S. Church, JOSEPH W. COOK.


CHEYENNE, WYO V Dec. loth, 1868.

I have not yet received an answer to my last in
fact there has not been more than time by the
promptest response and mail. However, I feel in
the humor and mood of writing you although not in
exuberant spirits. Winter has come on ; hopes in
the reform of erring ones have been sadly dashed;
.plans for work broken up, "Through much tribula-
tion we enter into the kingdom of Heaven/'

Bishop Tu'ttle passed through here according to
appointment on the ist inst., and brought Miss
Peters. I told her I thought her a very brave lit -
tle woman to come so far to go among entire
strangers. Fortunately she is of a very cheerful,
hopeful disposition. I was obliged in great part
to furnish a room for her which I had procured of
the gentleman who teaches the public school. On
the seventh inst. we opened school with nineteen
scholars, and today we had twenty-five. Several
more expect to come after New Year's. I have
been much pleased with the manner in which Miss
Peters has started off. She evidently understands
what she is about, and she seems delighted with her
school. The children seem delighted with her. She


is very decided and firm, but at the same time kind
and affectionate, elements of success in a good
teacher. The school would be self-supporting from
the start were it not for the rent of the building,
$20 per month. As yet I have not asked a person
for a dollar for the school and hope I may not be
under the necessity of doing it. I think, however,
it will pay its way. It may not pay the original ex-
pense of furniture.

St. Mark's, Cheyenne, during the rectorship of the Rev. Francis W.
Milliard (1874-1876).

"The child has come to the birth, but there is not
strength to bring forth." In other words the ma-
terials for our Rectory have reached us safely and
for want of funds we have been obliged to store the
lumber at Col. Carling's depot and wait for future
developments. Botih the N. W. R. R. Co. and the
U. Pacific refused to do more for us than to send
it for less than half tariff rates. This swallowed up
nearly all our ready funds. We have between one
and two hundred Dollars in Bank. How or when


the problem of its erection shall be worked out I do
r ot know. My anticipations with reference to it are
not very encouraging. The vestry have nothing to
do with the matter and Mr. Woolley, who has been
the means of getting the matter thus far thinks
best they should not. He thinks there will be less
trouble about it. Besides he wishes me to build it
to suit myself. In the mean time I am perfectly

-. I have not as yet succeeded in getting

a gasoline stove for my vestry room and I cannot
have an ordinary stove there. I am staying with
Mr. Sherman at the Bank. I am comfortable as to
bed and place to stay, but subject to constant inter-
ruptions and unable to* count upon an hour's quiet.
Of course I can accomplish nothing in way of stud)'
or writing. I can't afford to take a room elsewhere.
It it were not that I have already spent all my ready
money, and more too, in this school, I would take
some of the Rectory lumber and put up a room at
the end of the Church communicating with the
Vestry room. Then I could have a room where I
could have an ordinary fire. Mr. Cornell has been
back from Laramie a couple of days and has just
returned. He read to me his last letter to you be-
fore sending it. I was, I confess to you, very much
annoyed at several expressions in it, and he
scratched out some of them. Still the tenor of his
letter could not be mistaken by you, although he
protested he was writing for information and ad-
vice. I assured him what your answer would be,
for there could be but one to it. It was unmistak-
able that he was only willing to work in an inde-
pendent way, and if so, you were not the one to
reject his services, because he would not come into
other plans for work. I have found him very pig-
headed. Although I assured him that in such an


associate mission as I proposed there was no such
thing as subordination or assistantship, -but a perfect
equality and equitable and mutual arrangement and
agreement upon work, he persisted in speaking to
others of it as if I was to be a little pope, and he
an assistant to be ordered about at my will, etc. I
was obliged to request him at last as a special favor
that he should not so represent it as it was far
from my thoughts and plans. I designed that he
should stay there one week in charge of the church
and school, rest, study, write, while I should spend
Sunday and a couple of days at Laramie and Fort
Sanders, then go up the railroad to other points,
return to Cheyenne on Saturday and then he should
take a week's trip up the railroad and I should take
the work at Cheyenne. My plan may not be the
best or most practicable. I took Mr. C. to Laramie
and Fort Sanders and introduced him and gave
the whole work into his hands. The people very
kindly insisted that I should not give up my con-
nection with the work there. But as Mr. C. was
unwilling to come into my arrangement except as
a kind of trial of it, in which he had no heart or
interest, there was no other course open. It needs
a man <to be thoroughly persuaded of the wisdom of
the course upon which he enters and to work
heartily to work successfully. I did not care to
begin a course in which at any time I might be left
alone, and plans entirely destroyed after entered

I have only space to write myself, my dear

Yours faithfully in Christ and His S. Church,

Joseph W. Cook.

1869, New Year's Day. Have omitted writing
in my journal for a long time, having scarcely a


moment of time to spare for it, and being so tossed
about from one lodging to another that it has been
almost impossible. What has been accomplished
is sketched in my letters to Bishop Randall. At
last I have got a little stove in my Vestry room* and
here I live and am quite comfortable, being able to
command some quiet time now for writing. At
Mr. Sherman's request stayed last night at the
bank, Mr. Sherman being absent at the Post to
a party. Spent this afternoon in writing some
letters, etc. After dinner called upon Miss Peters,
the teacher of the Parish School, which is now in
a flourishing condition with thirty-eight scholars.
Found her quite blue thinking of the pleasant time
they were probably having in New York City, at
home. Called on Mrs. Morrow, Mrs, Irwin and
daughter, Mrs. Street, George Bronson (a sick
man), Mr. Kent (who made me a present of a
Meershaum pipe), and on Mr. and Mrs. Gosline
and Mr. and Mrs. Davis. Took tea with the latter
families and sat awhile with them, Mr. Loman and
Mr. East joining our company. At request of Mr.
Sherman, spent the night at the Bank. Talked
confidentially with me oi many of his private af-
fairs. The day has been fine. * There was a slight
fall of snow last night, just enough to make the
shroud of the old year and the bridal robe of the

January 2d. Beautiful and mild day, but fearful
wind arose and the dust was horrible. Wrote
note to Mrs. Carling thanking her for her labors
in the late choir, (it went to pieces last week and
Miss Peters now leads) and to wish her a happy
New Year. Prepared for Sunday. Expected Mr.
Woolley to send for me to go to the Post, but sup-


posed it was too windy. Spent afternoon and even-
ing here in Vestry room.

January 3d. Second Sunday after Christmas.
Wind and dust more horrible than ever. Miss
Peters came over, and was only lady at service.
Eight or ten people out, I did not expect any.
Church perfectly disgusting with dust. Mr. Lath-
rop was here and stopped after service a few mo-
ments. Took Miss Peters to the Rollins house.
Did not expect children to Sunday School, but
a'bout a dozen got here. In evening started my
proposed conversations on Church history. Nine
persons present. Mr. Webster and Mr. Williams
spent the remainder of the evening with me talk-
ing over plans for the future of the "Star." My
friend Webster becomes, tomorrow, local editor
of the same and I am much rejoiced. Mr. Williams
left me a check for $20.00, a free will offering.
Mr. Webster had handed me a present of $25.00
a few days ago and also a gold pen. Neither of
them has much of this world's goods and I did
not like to receive it, but they insisted and I yielded
May God reward them. We had a very pleasant
evening together. I cut my cake, a present from
[the ladies who held a Fair for the Church, and 1
made some lemonade.

January 4th. Answered some letters from Thos.
Groom, Esq., of Boston, Mass., with reference
to his son John whom I found sick here, and waited
upon until he was able to travel. Got him off for
home on Wednesday last. A brother-in-law of
Rev. C. L. Hutchins of Lowell, Mass., a friend in
General Sem. Wrote note to Rev. John Cornell
of Laramie with reference to an exchange next
Sunday. Spent rest of morning in reading. Suf-
fering from bad headache. Taught in Parish


School in afternoon. Called upon Mrs. Rogers, die!
not find her in. Went to see George Bronson, a
sick man whom I have visited a number of times.
Found him evidently dying. Exhorted him to pre-
pare for 'the worst. Quite flighty, but rational
when spoken to. Doctor came in and intimated
his serious situation and told him if he had any
preparations to make he had best talk with me.
Asked me -to go after tea for -that purpose, which
I did. It was not satisfactory, as it could not be
under the circumstances. Exhorted, read and
prayed with him. "Hoped he would go to Heav-
en." But alas he could not rise to the importance
of preparing for it. Spoke to him of S. Baptism,
but alas his mind was wandering and in a little
while his voice failed him. The doctor came in
and in a few minutes the poor fellow died. Sad!
Sad! and, oh, how many similar cases are con-
stantly occurring of men rushing to the bar of God
without preparation to meet their Judge! Spent
remainder of evening discussing divinity and mor-
als with Doctors Heimberger , Moore and Mr.

April 25th, St. Mark's Day, and fourth Sunday
after Easter. Very pleasant day and large con-
gregation in the morning. Preached sermon on
St. Mark and unity in worshipping God, based
upon fact attributed to St. Mark that he composed
a Liturgy, and that that was intended to unite
all worshippers in their expressions of worship.
Applying it to this congregation and urging unity
both in posture and in joining in the prayers and
praises. Service in evening, talked on tradition
and the Apocryphal gospels as sources of heresy.
Mr. Jeffries walked home with Miss Peters, and
Webster with Julia. I followed in a few minutes.


Last Sunday dear, dear Webster is to spend with
us. About to go to an uncle at Stockton, Califor-
nia. A great grief for us all. We have become
so devotedly attached to each other that it seems as
though we ought not to be separated. Besides we
seem so well adapted to each other. What I should
have done without him in the three dismal months
past, I do not know. Thank God for him ! He has
been sleeping with me at the Vestry for two months
past and I shall miss him sorely. Tonight is our
last. Mr. Williams dined with us today.

April 26th. Wrote three or four business let-
ters. Called at Mrs. Morrow's and got her per-
mission to use some of the Mite Society money to
pay the R. R. charges on our beautiful bell of 600
Ib. from St. Mark's, Philadelphia, which arrived a
couple of weeks ago, and was rung for the first
time last Sunday. Went to R. R. office and paid the
bill. Busied myself with getting up nice luncheon
for Webster. Went with him to the train with Miss
Peters and Julia, and then rushed to the P. O. to
see if a letter was there for him. As I arrived at
the P. O. the train started, and I missed a regular
good-bye but I had shaken his finger and given him
a God-bless-you fearing I might not see him. The
women were in an awful state and when they got
home cried heartily. We shall not soon see his like
again for kindness, love and cheerfulness and sym-
pathy. God bless him ! How lonely my old vestry
seems tonight without him ! Called in and chatted
a little while with Mr. Williams, who is trying hard
to get his paper started again it was suspended by
Webster in absence of Mr. Williams who was in
Washington; stayed six or eight weeks without
giving W. any instructions, in fact, no one here
knew what had become of him, No blame rests


upon Webster as he did the best he could and
worked night and day to the last, and well sustained
the editorial department. It was the best and most
dignified paper we had and it was a great sorrow to
me to have it closed. I hope it will be resuscitated.
George Hunter announced to Miss Peters that he
would not take charge of the school house any more.
We had just expended a great deal of care, labor,
and money on his sick mother, and just clothed him
up nicely and he showed his gratitude, in which he

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Online LibraryJoseph Witherspoon CookDiary and letters of the Reverend Joseph W. Cook : missionary to Cheyenne → online text (page 8 of 10)