Junius F. Wells.

The Contributor: representing the Young men's and Young ladies ..., Volume 12 online

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in the southern part of the state, and
that she, very judiciously, loaned it at a
heavy rate of interest to the impecunious
farmers. There were many speculations
regarding the little bag, but no one could



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THE TREASURES OF JEREMIAH STOKER,



125



positively say what the contents were.
The fittle peddler was communicative
enough on ever3rthing else, but on that
subject he was silent. Many of the in-
quisitive New England matrons asked
him outright, but he either parried the
question or refused to answer. One,
however, remembered that the mobture
gathered in his merry eyes, and his voice
was a little husky as he said: "Memories
of the past." •

How anxiously the children waited for
the visits of Jerry Stoker! What mar-
velous stories he told them of fairies,
pigmies and giants! What a wealth of
toys and goodies were always to be found
in his capacious pockets! And the older
people too, how they marveled at his
wonderful tales of adventures; his thril-
ling and hair-breadth escapes, and his
humorous anecdotes! Jerry's heart wias
as big as himself. No unfortunate asked
of him in vain. Many times he watched,
night after night, by the bed of the dying,
and smoothed their pathway to the realm
of eternal light. The widow and the
fiitherless blessed him; and one poor
paralytic, crawling between heaven and
earth, waited and watched more eagerly
for his coming than for a summons to a
happier land.

Jerry watched the coming of the night
shadows and accelerated his pace. Not
&r distant he could see the outlines of a
feirm house. He knew the place well.
It was about a mile from Patricktown
and was owned by two brothers — Dick
and Harry Watts. They were unmarried
and employed an old deaf woman to keep
house for them. They entertained
travelers, and it was said, sold illicit
whiskey. The house was a rambling old
frame structure. The back part was used
for a wagon shed. The loft above the
wagon shed communicated with the
house and was empty. Jerry knocked
at the back door and after a summons of
**Come m," from a gruff voice inside,
entered. He found the two brothers
eating supper and the old woman frying
pan cakes on the cook stove. *

"Can I get supper and a night's lodg-
ing?" inquired Jerry.

"I guess so," said Dick, the older ot



the two, whose fece was disfigtired by a
long scar on the side of the face, running
from forehead to jaw. He arose from
the table and led the way into a small
bedroom.

''^Leave your traps here and come out
and eat,"he said and returned to the table.

Jerry carefully deposited his pack near
the bed, washed the dust stains off and
went to supper. The brothers were
more sociable than Jerry thought they
could be. They seemed especially in-
terested in Jerry's business and were
pleased that his trip so far had been suc-
cessful.

About nine o'clock Jerry retired, leav-
ing the brothers sitting by the kitchen
fire. Jerry slept soundly until shortly
after midnight when he awoke with a
feeling akin to terror. Was someone in
the room? He Ibtened with all his
senses keenly alert. The hum of voices
reached his ear. He got out of bed
crept to the door and listened.

"I tell you he has got it with him, and
now is our only chance." It was the
scarred one that spoke.

*'Well, all right I'll help get it, but I
don't want murder on my soul," was the
aaswer.

Jerry waited to hear no more, but
noiselessly got mto his clothes, gathered
his pack, opened the window and crawled
out into the night. He fled from the
place as if a legion of fiends were after
him. Just as he reached the gate he heard
footsteps in pursuit; they gained upon
him. His pack prevented his flight. He
endeavored to slip the strap over his
head, stumbled on the broken ground
and fell. As he arose a crushing blow
on the head felled him again to earth,
and for him all was blank.

"You've killed him."

"Shut up you fool; we will carry him
into the house. If he doesn't come to,
we'll stick hun in the loft. Never mind
his pack, bring the carpet bag."
« « » « «

I approached the house with some mis-
givings. Night was coming on and the
clouds portended a heavy snow. My
horse was tired out, so I had decided to
stop. I dismounted and knocked at the



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126



THE TREASURES OF JEREMIAH STOKER,



door, holding my horee's bridle in my
hand. It was opened cautiously by the
scarred brother.

*'Can I get food and shelter for myself
and horse?'* I asked.

The door was partly dosed, and a
hurried consultation took place inside.
The man with the scar came back to the
door.

"Guess we can accommodate you.
Come in. Harry take his horse. *'

I went inside. An old woman was
preparing supper, muttering and mum-
bling inaudible sentences during the
operation. After a light supper I was
shown into a little bedroom and told
that there was where I would pass the
night. I was not impressed with the sur-
roundings. The bed was a large four-
poster — ^very uninviting; and the appear-
ance of the room unattractive. The
plaster was knocked off in many places,
and the walls were dirty; the floor had
large cracks in it, and air came circling
up from some damp, underground com-
partment There was an unpleasant
odor about the room that made me feel
uncomfortable. A wood fire had been
lit in the old-fashioned chimney place
and imparted some comfort to the room.
I sat down on a rickety chair near the
fire. On the mantel a tallow dip candle
spluttered and blinked threatening to go
out every time the wind whistled through
the cracks in the window. I burned
every stick of wood before venturing to
retire, but at last I crept into the ill-
smelling, uncomfortable bed. Just as I was
getting into bed I noticed a small carpet-
bag partly under the l)ed; and every time
I tried to sleep the carpet-bag would
come before my eyes and prevent it. I
could not forget it. I wondered to
whom it could belong. Perhaps some
traveler had met with foul play here, aye,
even in this very room; perhaps — but I
checked myself and began thinking ot
something more pleasant. Finally, after
watching the flickering, fantastic shadows
on the wall, cast by the dying embers on
t.e hearth, until my eyelids could no
longer wag, I went to sleep. My sleep
was light and fitful. I was awakened
by a stifled groan. I opened my eyes



and stared into the darkness. The fire
was out and all was still. No— drip—
what was that? Drip— could it be raining?
I looked out into the night through the
little murky window; the stars were
shining through a rift in the douds.
Drip. What could that be? A cold
sweat b^;an to break out all over me—
drip. Fear took possession of me! I
shook the feeling ofll I must find out the
meaning of it I goV>ut of bed. I slipped
on my pants, coat and shoes. All the
while the steady drip, drip continued. I hur-
riedly struck a light and looked about
Everything was the same as when I went
to bed— drip, drip— except that dark
stain near the bed. I went up to it and
stooped to examine it O horror, it was
blood ! It must come fi-om the ceiling.
I hdd the candle high above my head
and looked up. Then I almost
shrieked aloud in terror. A feding of
deathly fear came over me. What was
this I gazed at? A tangled mass of hair
with blood dripping from it and running
in little rivulets down the forehead past
the two staring awful eyes, and through
it all the semblance of a ghastly human
face. The eyes never winked as I held
the candle up, but stared fixedly into my
own. The mouth tried to articulate, but
only a broken sound came forth. It took
several minutes for me to force myself to
act Then I got upon a chair, tore off
some of the laths, until there was room
for the passage of a body, and slowly
drew the Jx>dy through the opening. It
was a trying task, but after repeated
efforts I got it upon my shoulders and
stepped down off the chair. I placed
the body on the floor, jerked from the
bed a pillow and a comforter, and put
them under it. Then I took the towd
and washed the blood stains from the
fece and hair. When it was done I recog-
nized Jerry, the peddler. 1 forced some
brandy down him, and worked over him
for some time. When he had revived I
spoke to him:
"Jerry, don't you know me?"
**I renfember, I remember you. Thank
God you have found me. Oh! I have
been cruelly hurt I cannot live.**
"O, yes, you can, <dd fiiend," I said.



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THE TREASURES OF JEREMIAH STOKER.



127



*'No, no« What day is it?" he asked.

•It B nearty Friday morning."

•Two days in that hole—" he faltered.
I gave him some more brandy. Then
weakly and with difficulty he told me
his story ; how he had been thrown
into the loft and had laid in a stupor
until the night before; and that he had
groped around in the darkness until he
was attracted by the firelight flickering
through the broken lath and plaster; how
he had made his way to the hole and
there lay until I found him. When he
got through I felt his pulse. It was very
weak and his wound was bleeding freely.
I offered him some more brandy.

**No— no. ril not take any more— 'tis



'1 must go at once for a doctor, Jerry,"
I hurriedly ssdd.

**No— no — don't leave me," he said,
clinging to my hand, "I can't live. My
car^p^t— b-a-g."

I instantly remembered and brought
the litttle carpet-bag from under the bed.
His fiaice lit up with a smile as I handed
it to him and he clasped it with both hands.

'Thank you, ' ' he said very fiun tly . He
hugged the little bag close to his breast

'*MoUy, M-o-l-l-y."

The death rattle sounded in his throat
He had yielded the ghost.

I was still kneeling by his side, over-
come with feelings of grief, when I felt
both arms gripped and a gruff voice say:

"Not a move or you'll be where the
peddlers' gone."

I felt the cold muzzle of a revolver
against my forehead and did as com-
manded. They went through my pock-
ets and took all my money and my watch.

'This beats the peddler's pile," said
the scarred brother.

They then bound me to the bed post
with strong cord and left the room. Out-
side one of them said, ''What shall we do
with the old woman."

''Nail her in her room; then we get out
for the border." Their footsteps died out
in the distance. Presently I heard a
hammering. After that a clatter of hoo&
past the house and then all was silent
The candle was still burning. After they
went, I looked around the room. Poor



Jerry lay stretched out with staring eyes.
The candle flickered and spluttered, cast-
ing shadows over the barren room. I tried
to look elsewhere, but my gaze always
wandered back to where the dead man
lay.

The candle flickered and went out I
took no notice of it for a while. Sud-
denly I heard strange sounds throughout
the house, creakings and muffled footfalls.
The wind probably whistling through the
crevasses and cracks. It made me feel
very uncomfortable. I looked fascin-
atedly at the dead man. I could see, by
the light from the window, the dim out-
line of his form, and the ghastly face and
the eyes staring— staring. Fear fed on
fear until I almost screamed with horror.
I think if my will had not forced my
thoughts back to reason I should have
gone m&d. I passed the remainder of
the night, alternately praying and talking
to myself. When day broke I felt to
thank God! Sdll, there was no relief.
The cords cut my wrists cruelly. At
intervals I heard a muffled beating, I
divined that the old woman was trying
to get out A rat stole carefully towards
Jerry's body. I cried out and it ran
back into its hole only to reappear at
intervals; but by yells and shrieks I
kept it from his body. About noon it
began to snow. Even if succor came,
there was no chance to catch the mur-
derers. No one dare venture far in such
a storm.

I heard a sound outside. The old
woman must have broken the fastenings.
A moment later the door was pushed
open and she stuck her head in. She
caught a glimpse of Jerry's body and
ran howling from the room. I called to
her in vain. Nearly an hour passed be-
fore I heard voices in the kitchen; men
stamping the snow off their feet. They
soon came into the room, the old woman in
the rear peeping expectantly and curiously
around. They cut the cords that bound
me, which was a pleasant relief. I briefly
told them what had happened. They
left the room to find a stretcher. I stooped
and closed Jerry's eyelids, then picked
up the little carpet bag and opened it.
I was curious to know its contents.



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128



THE CHRISTIAN'S SUPPORT.



They were few. A package of letters
tied with blue ribbon, the daguerreotype
of a pretty girlish face, and a pair of
baby shoes!

Alas! Sad memories of the past!

Poor Jerry! Ken Denys.



Whbrb to put a stamp on a letter.
— It has become a custom which all
thoughtful persons always observe, to
place the stamp on the upper right-hand
comer of the envelope, but few people
have ever stopped to think what was the
reason for this choice of position. The
canceling stamp and the postmarking
stamp are fastened side by side upon the
same handle, and if the stamp is, correct-
ly placed one blow makes both impres-
sions. If, however, the stamp is on the
lower right-hand comer the postmark
falls on the address, and both are illegi*
ble, while if the stamp is on the left-hand
side, the postmark, which is always a| the
left of the canceler, does not strike the
envelope at all, and a second blow is neces-
sary to secure it So, if the stamp is any-
where except in the upper right-hand
comer, in makes just twice as much
work for the clerk, and this, where he is
stamping many thousand pieces every day
is no small matter. There has been in
use for some time, in the post-office in
Boston, a number of canceling machines,
into which the letters, all faced upwards,



are fed. These machines, if the stamps
are correcdy, placed, do the work quite
well, leaving on the envelope the row of
long black lines which we all have no-
ticed on Boston letters.

I am not able to leara, however, that
there is any other office in the country,
as yet, which uses these. The Boston
office has also, quite recently, put in
operation a most ingenious machine for
canceling and postmarking postal cards,
which differs from the other in the greater
rapidity of its work. Two hundred
cards can be placed in it at once, a crank
is turned, and click, click! they fall into
a basket all stamped.— .Sf. Nicholas.



Finland, the north-westem province
of Russia, is a country seven hundred
miles long and on an average two hund-
red miles wide, embracing an area neariy
one and a fourth times that of the British
Isles. It has a commerce of considerable
importance, several interesting towns, a
university enrolling seventeen hundred
students annually, a hardy, thrifty peasant
population, and scenery peculiarly and
characteristically its own. And yet there
is perhaps no civilized country of equal
importance about which Americans know
so little. Two very interesting articles on
Finland appear in the Febmary number
of Harper's Magazine. Both are cop-
iously illustrated.



THE CHRISTIAN'S SUPPORT.



The bow of God's mercy is spanning death's
river,

With a halo luminous, bright I
While enthroned fiar above, in glory forever.

He sits, who commanded the light.

With quiet composure. Faith looks o'er the valley.
His clear shining footsteps have trod;

On His word reposing, disarming its terrors.
Beholds the &ir City of God.

Mighty science, tho' piercing mysterious dark-
ness.
Yet CeuIs to lead on to this goal ;
Reaching backward, or down 'neath ocean's
bed &thoms.
Ne'er answers this question of soul.



Great nature alone fidls to solve this dread
problem,

Tho' its secret chambers we probe;
By its light only, this want is unanswered,

And were but a dark weary load.

Did not this assurance of Truth's revelation.

No sophistry ever can dim,
"That He ever liveth"— our risen Redeemer—

And we shall live also in Him.

Death is the gateway — an entrance to rest.

We but cross its narrow divide;
To awake in His likeness, to reign with the
blest,
Where soul wants are all satisfied.

JL, M, HewHngs.



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LIFE AND LABORS OF ORSON PRATT.



After the Prophet and Patriarch had
been cruelly murdered by a mob at
Carthage Jail, Apostle Pratt remained in
Nauvoo, where he labored with the
Twelve Apostles in the management
of the af&irs of the church, during
the difficulties that succeeded the death
of the Prophet and Patriarch.. In the
latter part of the year 1844, he entered
into celestial marriage, having two wives
sealed to him by President Brigham
Young, who now, with the Twelve
Apostles, held the highest authority in
the Church, holding the right, as did the
Prophet, to administer in all its ordi-
nances^

The following year, in the summer of
1845, he was called to preside over the
branches of the Church in the Eastern
and Middle States. About this time mob
violence again began to assert itself
against the Saints in Illinois, and Elder
Pratt issued two proclamations from New
York to the Saints throughout his mission,
in which he announced the end of Ameri-
can liberty, as indicated in the movement
to expel the Saints from Illinois, enumer-
ated their sufferings and fervently ap-
pealed to all connected with the Church in
those parts, to gather out and assist in
the defense of their brethren and sisters,
and in relieving their sufferings.

In November, 1845, ^^ issued his fare-
well message in those parts, prior to tak-
ing his departure for Nauvoo to join the
Saints in their removal westward. On
his return he received some property
^thad fallen to his wife Sarah, and
with this means he purchased a carriage
and a span of horses, with which he
journeys! to Nauvoo, where he arrived
sometime A December, having been
absent on this mission about six months.

During the latter part of December,
1845, and in January, 1846, the Nauvoo
Temple being sufficiently finished, he
worked with the Twelve and othei
brethren and sisters, giving endowments
and doing work for the dead. The mobs
did not cease thdr violence, nor did they
seem satisfied in wreaking their vengeance
on innocent men whom they had cruelly
butchered, but they were determined on



driving the Saints from their comfortable
homes into a cold bleak wilderness.

The exodus from Nauvoo commenced
in the fore part of February, 1846. Elder
Pratt and family, consisting of four wives
and three small children — the youngest a
babe only three weeks old — bade adieu
to their comfortable home in the dty of
Nauvoo and started for the great west.
This was on February 14th, 1846. They
crossed the Mississippi river and immedi-
ately proceeded to the encampment on
Sugar Creek, where they found the camp
suffering considerably from the storm
and cold. They remained encamped at
this place for a number l,of days. Presi-
dent Young and the most of the Twelve
had arrived with their wagons and the
camp at this time had greatly enlarged.
In the meantime they were visited by
several snow storms and the weather be-
came intensely cold, the thermometer, ac-
cording to Orson Pratt's notes, ranging
as follows:
February, 36th. at 6 p. im

27th, " 6 a. m.

" ** 6 p. m.

flSth



midnight

6 a. m.

noon

6 p. m.



10° above zero.

21°
20°

26°



The Mississippi froze over and^the ice
soon became sufficiently .firm for the
crossuig of teams, which brought over
the rest of the camp.

"During our stay at Sugar Creek, " says
Orson Pratt's notes, "I obtained by
means of a quadrant and an artificial
horizon of quicksilver, a meridian ob-
servation of the sun from which I de-
duced the latitude of the camp and
found the same 40^32^. By a number of
observations with the quadrant, I had
previously ascertained the latitude and
longitude of the Temple at Nauvoo;
the latitude being 40° 35^ 48^^, the longi-
tude 91° 10^ 45^^. A quadrant, however,
is a very imperfect instrument for deter-
mining the longitude, as an error of one
minute (i^) in the mstrument itself, or in
J he observation, would produce in the
lalculated longitude an error of thirty
miles. It is a misfortune that we have



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I30



LIFE AND LABORS OF ORSON PRATT,



no sextant in the camp; neither a tele-
scope of sufficient power to observe the
immersions and emersions of Jupiter's
sateiites."

''March i. This afternoon the general
camp moved about five miles to the
northwest, and after scraping away the
snow we pitched our tents and, building
large fires, soon found ourselves as com-
fortable as circumstances would permit.
This evening, the sky being clear, I ob-
tained the altitude of the North Polar
Star, from which the latitude of the
camp was ascertained to be 40® 34^ 52^^;
the thermometer standing at midnight at

At this place there had been obtained
a job of making rails for com by mem-
bers of the camp who had arrived a few
days before, by which means food was
obtained for their animals. Two gentle-
m'en from the interior of Iowa, who had
been seen a few days before at the last
encampment, visited this place for the
purpose of trying to trade for Elder
Pratt's dwelling louse and the lot on
which it Stood, and a lot adjoining it on
the south. This property being in a
business part of the city, and adjoining
the Temple square on the north, was
considered one of the most beautiful and
pleasant in Nauvoo. Before the decree
of banishment was issued against the
Saints by thdr persecutors, it was con-
sidered to be worth two thousand dol-
lars. But now the owner was compelled
to leave it unsold or take the small sum
of three hundred dollars, and receive
payment therefor, property at a very high
price. These gentlemen offered four
yoke of oxen with yokes and three
chains, one wagon and eight barrels of
flour. The next morning the camp
moved on and Elder Pratt rode ahead on
horseback to Farmington and saw the
stock the gentlemen wished to trade him
for his Nauvoo property, but nothing was
determined 011 conclusively that day.
He overtook the camp on the east bank
of the Des Moines river, four miles below
Farmington. By an observation of the
Pole Star he determined the latitude to be

"March 3. At 7 a. m. the thermometer



stood at 23**. The camp moved for-
ward, following up the general course of
the river, and encamped four miles above
Farmington. A meridian observation of
Sinus determined the latitude to be 40^

42^ ^e^r

"March 4. At 8 a. -m. thermometer
stood at 43^. The roads being muddy
and some wagons and harness being
broken, the camp remained until next
day. Elder Pratt concluded the bargain
for his house and lot and gave deeds for
the same. By the request of the citizens
of Farmington, the band of music from
the camp visited them and gave them a
concert, much to their satisfaction.
Bishop Miller, with a portion of the-camp,
moved onward in a westerly direction."

"March 5. To-day the most of the
camp moved forward, fording the Des
Moines river at Bonaparte Mills. The
roads being very muddy some of the
teams were unable to draw their loads.
The most of the camp proceeded about
twelve miles and encamped on Indian
Creek; the remainder encamped about
seven miles back. By an observation
of the Pole Star the latitude of the en-
campment on Indian Creek showed 40*^

42^ 51'^"

March 6th, at 7 a. m. the thermometer
stood at 35®. The camp here waited
until the wagons, which were obliged to
stop seven miles back, came up. P. P.
Pratt and some others moved on for the
purpose of trying to find some employ-
ment which was supposed, from reports,
could be obtained. The next morning
at seven o'clock — thermometer 32**—
Orson Pratt and wagons started with the
expectation of stopping a few miles
ahead, and working on the job which he
supposed could be secured. •After arriv-
ing in the neighborhood he found it could
not be obtained on sufficiently favorable
terms, and that his brother, P. P. Pratt's
company and other wagons, had gone
on. They drove twelve miles farther
and stopped at Bishop Miller's encamp-
ment at Fox River. In this r^on a
small branch of the Church was located.
Some com was contributed by them for
the benefit of the camp, and Bishop
Miller had exerted himself in gathering



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LIFE AND LABORS OF ORSON PRATT.



131



it together at the camping place. The
main body of the Saints located within



Online LibraryJunius F. WellsThe Contributor: representing the Young men's and Young ladies ..., Volume 12 → online text (page 21 of 76)