O.P. Fitzgerald.

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Was this the charm that drew him forth so early? It not seldom chanced
that we walked downtown together. At times he was quite communicative,
speaking of himself in a way that was peculiar. It seems he had thoughts
of marrying before his episode with the widow.

"Do you think a young girl of twenty could love an old man like me?" he
asked me one day, as we were walking along the street.

I looked at his huge and ungainly bulk, and into his animal face, and
made no direct answer. Love! Six millions of dollars is a great sum.
Money may buy youth and beauty, but love does not come at its call.
God's highest gifts are free; only the second-rate things can be bought
with money. Did this sordid old man yearn for pure human love amid his
millions? Did such a dream cast a momentary glamour over a life spent in
raking among the muck-heaps? If so, it passed away, for he never

He understood his own case. He knew in what estimation he was held by
the public, and did not conceal his scorn for its opinion.

"My love of money is a disease. My saving and hoarding as I do is
irrational, and I know it. It pains me to pay five cents for a streetcar
ride, or a quarter of a dollar for a dinner. My pleasure in accumulating
property is morbid, but I have felt it from the time I was a foot
peddler in Charlotte, Campbell, and Pittsylvania counties, in Virginia,
until now. It is a sort of insanity, and it is incurable; but it is
about as good a form of madness as any, and all the world is mad in
some, fashion."

This was the substance of what he said of himself when in one of his
moods of free speech, and it gave me a new idea of human nature - a man
whose keen and penetrating brain could subject his own consciousness to
a cool and correct analysis, seeing clearly the folly which he could not
resist. The autobiography of such a man might furnish a curious
psychological study, and explain the formation and development in
society of those moral monsters called misers. Nowhere in literature has
such a character been fully portrayed, though Shakespeare and George
Eliot have given vivid touches of some of its features.

He always retained a kind feeling for the South, over whose hills he had
borne his peddler's pack when a youth. After the war, two young
ex-Confederate soldiers came to San Francisco to seek their fortunes. A
small room adjoining my office was vacant, and the brothers requested me
to secure it for them as cheap as possible. I applied to Reese, telling
him who the young men were, and describing their broken and impecunious

"Tell them to take the room free of rent - but it ought to bring five
dollars a month."

It took a mighty effort, and he sighed as he spoke the words. I never
heard of his acting similarly in any other case, and I put this down to
his credit, glad to know that there was a warm spot in that mountain of
mud and ice. A report of this generous act got afloat in the city, and
many were the inquiries I received as to its truth. There was general

His health failed, and he crossed the seas. Perhaps he wished to visit
his native hills in Germany, which he had last seen when a child. There
he died, leaving all his millions to his kindred, save a bequest of one
hundred and fifty thousand dollars to the University of California. What
were his last thoughts, what was his final verdict concerning human
life, I know not. Empty-handed he entered the world of spirits, where,
the film fallen from his vision, he saw the Eternal Realities. What
amazement must have followed his awakening!

Uncle Nolan.

He was black and ugly; but it was an ugliness that did not disgust or
repel you. His face had a touch both of the comic and the pathetic. His
mouth was very wide, his lips very thick and the color of a ripe damson,
blue-black; his nose made up in width what it lacked in elevation; his
ears were big, and bent forward; his eyes were a dull white, on a very
dark ground; his wool was white and thick. His age might be anywhere
along from seventy onward. A black man's age, like that of a horse,
becomes dubious after reaching a certain stage.

He came to the class-meeting in the Pine-street Church, in San
Francisco, one Sabbath morning. He asked leave to speak, which was

"Bredren, I come here sometime ago, from Vicksburg, Mississippi, where I
has lived forty year, or more. I heered dar was a culud church up on de
hill, an' I thought I'd go an' washup wid'em. I went dar three or fo'
Sundays, but I foun' deir ways didn't suit me, an' my ways didn't suit
dem. Dey was Yankees' niggers, an' [proudly] I's a Southern man myself.
Sumbody tole me dar was a Southern Church down here on Pine street, an'
I thought I'd cum an' look in. Soon 's I got inside de church, an' look
roun' a minit, I feels at home. Dey look like home-folks; de preacher
preach like home-folks; de people sing like home-folks. Yer see,
chillan, I'se a Southern man myself [emphatically], and I'se a Southern
Methodis'. Dis is de Church I was borned in, an' dis is de Church I was
rarred in, an' [with great energy] dis is de Church which de Scripter
says de gates ob hell shall not prevail ag'in it! ["Amen!" from Father
Newman and others.] When dey heerd I was comin' to dis Church, some ob
'em got arter me 'bout it. Dey say dis Church was a enemy to de black
people, and dat dey was in favor ob slavery. I tole 'em de Scripter
said, 'Love your enemies,' an' den I took de Bible an' read what it says
about slavery - I can read some, chillun Servants, obey yer masters in
all things, not wid eye-service, as men-pleasers, but as unto de Lord;'
and so on. But, bless yer souls, chillun, dey wouldn't lis'en to dat
- so I foun' out dey was abberlishem niggers, an' I lef' 'em.!"

Yes, he left them, and came to us. I received him into the Church in due
form, and with no little eclat, he being the only son of Ham on our roll
of members in San Francisco. He stood firm to his Southern Methodist
colors under a great pressure.

"Yer ought ter be killed fer goin' ter dat Southern Church," said one of
his colored acquaintances one day, as they met in the street.

"Kill me, den," said Uncle Nolan, with proud humility; "kill me, den;
yer can't cheat me out ob many days, nohow."

He made a living, and something over, by rag-picking at North Beach and
elsewhere, until the Chinese entered into competition with him, and then
it was hard times for Uncle Nolan. His eyesight partially failed him,
and it was pitiful to see him on the beach, his threadbare garments
fluttering in the wind, groping amid the rubbish for rags, or shuffling
along the streets with a huge sack on his back, and his old felt hat
tied under his nose with a string, picking his way carefully to spare
his swollen feet, which were tied up with bagging and woolens. His
religious fervor never cooled; I never heard him complain. He never
ceased to be joyously thankful for two things - his freedom and his
religion. But, strange as it may seem, he was a pro-slavery man to the
last. Even after the war, he stood to his opinion.

"Dem niggers in de South thinks dey is free, but dey ain't. 'Fore it's
all ober, all dat ain't dead will be glad to git back to deir masters,"
he would say.

Yet he was very proud of his own freedom, and took the utmost care of
his free-papers. He had no desire to resume his former relation to the
peculiar and patriarchal institution. He was not the first philosopher
who has had one theory for his fellows, and another for himself.

Uncle Nolan would talk of religion by the hour. He never tired of that
theme. His faith was simple and strong, but, like most of his race, he
had a tinge of superstition. He was a dreamer of dreams, and he believed
in them. Here is one which he recited to me. His weird manner, and low,
chanting tone, I must leave to the imagination of the reader:

Uncle Nolan's Dream.

A tall black man came along, an' took me by de arm, an' tole me he had
come for me. I said:

"What yer want wid me?"

"I come to carry yer down into de darkness."

"What for?"

"Cause you didn't follow de Lord."

Wid dat, he pulled me 'long de street till he come to a big black house,
de biggest house an' de thickest walls I eber seed. We went in a little
do', an' den he took me down a long sta'rs in de dark, till we come to a
big do'; we went inside, an' den de big black man locked de do' behin'
us. An' so we kep' on, goin' down, an' goin' down, an' goin' down, an'
he kep' lockin' dem big iron do's behin' us, an' all de time it was
pitch dark, so I couldn't see him, but he still hel' on ter me. At las'
we stopped, an' den he started to go 'way. He locked de do' behin' him,
an' I heerd him goin' up de steps de way we come, lockin' all de do's
behin' him as he went. I tell you, dat was dreafful when I heerd dat big
key turn on de outside, an' me 'way down, down, down dar in de dark all
alone, an' no chance eber to git out! An' I knowed it was 'cause I
didn't foller de Lord. I felt roun' de place, an' dar was nothin' but de
thick walls an' de great iron do'. Den I sot down an' cried, 'cause I
knowed I was a los' man. Dat was de same as hell [his voice sinking into
a whisper], an' all de time I knowed I was dar, 'cause I hadn't follered
de Lord. Bymeby somethin' say, "Pray." Somethin' keep sayin', "Pray."
Den I drap on my knees an' prayed. I tell you, no man eber prayed harder
'n I did! I prayed, an' prayed, an' prayed! What's dat? Dar's somebody
a-comin' down dem steps; dey 's unlockin' de do'; an' de fus' thing I
knowed, de place was all lighted up bright as day, an' a white-faced man
stood by me, wid a crown on his head, an' a golden key in his han'.
Somehow, I knowed it was Jesus, an' right den I waked up all of a
tremble, an' knowed it was a warnin' dat I mus' foller de Lord. An',
bless Jesus, I has been follerin' him fifty year since I had dat dream.

In his prayers, and class-meeting and love-feast talks, Uncle Nolan
showed a depth of spiritual insight truly wonderful, and the effects of
these talks were frequently electrical. Many a time have I seen the
Pine-street brethren and sisters rise from their knees, at the close of
one of his prayers, melted into tears, or thrilled to religious rapture,
by the power of his simple faith, and the vividness of his sanctified

He held to his pro-slavery views and guarded his own freedom-papers to
the last; and when he died, in 1875, the last colored Southern Methodist
in California was transferred from the Church militant to the great
company that no man can number, gathered out of every nation, and tribe,
and kindred, on the earth.

Buffalo Jones.

That is what the boys called him. His real Christian name was Zachariah.
The way he got the name he went by was this: He was a Methodist, and
prayed in public. He was excitable, and his lungs were of extraordinary
power. When fully aroused, his voice sounded, it was said, like the
bellowing of a whole herd of buffaloes. It had peculiar reverberations
- rumbling, roaring, shaking the very roof of the sanctuary, or echoing
among the hills when let out at its utmost strength at a camp-meeting.
This is why they called him Buffalo Jones. It was his voice. There never
was such another. In Ohio he was a blacksmith and a fighting man. He had
whipped every man who would fight him, in a whole tier of counties. He
was converted after the old way; that is to say, he was "powerfully"
converted. A circuit-rider preached the sermon that converted him. His
anguish was awful. The midnight hour found him in tears. The Ohio forest
resounded with his cries for mercy. When he found peace, it swelled into
rapture. He joined the Church militant among the Methodists, and he
stuck to them, quarreled with them, and loved them, all his life. He had
many troubles, and gave much trouble to many people. The old Adam died
hard in the fighting blacksmith. His pastor, his family, his friends,
his fellow-members in the Church, all got a portion of his wrath in due
season, if they swerved a hair-breadth from the straight-line of duty as
he saw it. I was his pastor, and I never had a truer friend, or a
severer censor. One Sunday morning he electrified my congregation, at
the close of the sermon, by rising in his place and making a personal
application of a portion of it to individuals present, and insisting on
their immediate expulsion from the Church. He had another side to his
character, and at times was as tender as a woman. He acted as
class-leader. In his melting moods he moved every eye to tears, as he
passed round among the brethren and sisters, weeping, exhorting, and
rejoicing. At such times, his great voice softened into a pathos that
none could resist, and swept the chords of sympathy with resistless
power. But when his other mood was upon him, he was fearful. He scourged
the unfaithful with a whip of fire. He would quote with a singular
fluency and aptness every passage of Scripture that blasted hypocrites,
reproved the lukewarm, or threatened damnation to the sinner. At such
times his voice sounded like the shout of a warrior in battle, and the
timid and wondering hearers looked as if they were in the midst of the
thunder and lightning of a tropical storm. I remember the shock he gave
a quiet and timid lady whom I had persuaded to remain for the
class-meeting after service. Fixing his stern and fiery gaze upon her,
and knitting his great bushy eyebrows, he thundered the question:

"Sister, do you ever pray?"

The startled woman nearly sprang from her seat in a panic as she
stammered hurriedly,

"Yes, sir; yes, sir."

She did not attend his class-meeting again.

At a camp-meeting he was present, and in one of his bitterest moods. The
meeting was not conducted in a way to suit him. He was grim, critical,
and contemptuous, making no concealment of his dissatisfaction. The
preaching displeased him particularly. He groaned, frowned, and in other
ways showed his feelings. At length he could stand it no longer. A young
brother had just closed a sermon of a mild and persuasive kind, and no
sooner had he taken his seat than the old man arose. Looking forth upon
the vast audience, and then casting a sharp and scornful glance at the
preachers in and around "the stand," he said:

"You preachers of these days have no gospel in you. You remind me of a
man going into his barnyard early in the morning to feed his stock. He
has a basket on his arm, and here come the horses nickering, the cows
lowing, the calves and sheep bleating, the hogs squealing, the turkeys
gobbling, the hens clucking, and the roosters crowing. They all gather
round him, expecting to be fed, and lo, his basket is empty! You take
texts, and you preach, but you have no gospel. Your baskets are empty."

Here he darted a defiant glance at the astonished preachers, and then,
turning to one, he added in a milder and patronizing tone:

"You, Brother Sim, do preach a little gospel in your basket there is one
little nubbin!"

Down he sat, leaving the brethren to meditate on what he had said. The
silence that followed was deep.

At one time his conscience became troubled about the use of tobacco, and
he determined to quit. This was the second great struggle of his life.
He was running a sawmill in the foothills at the time, and lodged in a
little cabin near by.

Suddenly deprived of the stimulant to which it had so long been
accustomed, his nervous system was wrought up to a pitch of frenzy. He
would rush from the cabin, climb along the hill-side, run leaping from
rock to rock, now and then screaming like a maniac. Then he would rush
back to the cabin, seize a plug of tobacco, smell it, rub it against his
lips, and away he would go again. He smelt, but never tasted it again.

"I was resolved to conquer, and by the grace of God I did," he said.

That was a great victory for the fighting blacksmith.

When a melodeon was introduced into the church, he was sorely grieved
and furiously angry. He argued against it, he expostulated, he
protested, he threatened, he staid away from church. He wrote me a
letter, in which he expressed his feelings thus:

San Jose, 1860.

Dear Brother: - They have got the devil into the church now! Put your
foot on its tail and it squeals.

Z. Jones.

This was his figurative way of putting it. I was told that he had, on a
former occasion, dealt with the question in a more summary way, by
taking his ax and splitting a melodeon to pieces.

Neutrality in politics was, of course, impossible to such a man. In the
civil war his heart was with the South. He gave up when Stonewall
Jackson was killed.

"It is all over - the praying man is gone," he said; and he sobbed like
a child. From that day he had no hope for the Confederacy, though once
or twice, when feeling ran high, he expressed a readiness to use carnal
weapons in defense of his political principles. For all his opinions on
the subject he found support from the Bible, which he read and studied
with unwearying diligence. He took its words literally on all occasions,
and the Old Testament history had a wonderful charm for him. He would
have been ready to hew any modern Agag in pieces before the Lord.

He finally found his way to the Insane Asylum. The reader has already
seen how abnormal was his mind, and will not be surprised that his
storm-tossed soul lost its rudder at last. But mid all its veerings he
never lost sight of the Star that had shed its light upon his checkered
path of life. He raved, and prayed, and wept, by turns. The horrors of
mental despair would be followed by gleams of seraphic joy. When one of
his stormy moods was upon him, his mighty voice could be heard above all
the sounds of that sad and pitiful company of broken and wrecked souls.
The old class-meeting instinct and habit showed itself in his semi-lucid
intervals. He would go round among the patients questioning them as to
their religious feeling and behavior in true class-meeting style. Dr.
Shurtleff one day overheard a colloquy between him and Dr. Rogers, a
freethinker and reformer, whose vagaries had culminated in his shaving
close one side of his immense whiskers, leaving the other side in all
its flowing amplitude. Poor fellow! Pitiable as was his case, he made a
ludicrous figure walking the streets of San Francisco half shaved, and
defiant of the wonder and ridicule he excited. The ex-class-leader's
voice was earnest and loud, as he said:

"Now, Rogers, you must pray. If you will get down at the feet of Jesus,
and confess your sins, and ask him to bless you, he will hear you, and
give you peace. But if you won't do it," he continued, with growing
excitement and kindling anger at the thought, "you are the most infernal
rascal that ever lived, and I'll beat you into a jelly!"

The good Doctor had to interfere at this point, for the old man was in
the very act of carrying out his threat to punish Rogers bodily, on the
bare possibility that he would not pray as he was told to do. And so
that extemporized class-meeting came to an abrupt end.

"Pray with me," he said to me the last time I saw him at the Asylum.
Closing the door of the little private office, we knelt side by side,
and the poor old sufferer, bathed in tears, and docile as a little
child, prayed to the once suffering, once crucified, but risen and
interceding Jesus. When he arose from his knees his eyes were wet, and
his face showed that there was a great calm within. We never met again.
He went home to die. The storms that had swept his soul subsided, the
light of reason was rekindled, and the light of faith burned brightly;
and in a few weeks he died in great peace, and another glad voice joined
in the anthems of the blood-washed millions in the city of God.

Tod Robinson.

The image of this man of many moods and brilliant genius that rises most
distinctly to my mind is that connected with a little prayer-meeting in
the Minna-street Church, San Francisco, one Thursday night. His thin
silver locks, his dark flashing eye, his graceful pose, and his musical
voice, are before me. His words I have not forgotten, but their electric
effect must forever be lost to all except the few who heard them.

"I have been taunted with the reproach that it was only after I was a
broken and disappointed man in my worldly hopes and aspirations that I
turned to religion. The taunt is just" - here he bowed his head, and
paused with deep emotion "the taunt is just. I bow my head in shame, and
take the blow. My earthly hopes have faded and fallen one after another.
The prizes that dazzled my imagination have eluded my grasp. I am a
broken, gray-haired man, and I bring to my God only the remnant of a
life. But, brethren, it is this very thought that fills me with joy and
gratitude at this moment - the thought that when all else fails God
takes us up. Just when we need him most, and most feel our need of him,
he lifts us up out of the depths where we had groveled, and presses us
to his Fatherly heart. This is the glory of Christianity. The world
turns from us when we fail and fall; then it is that the Lord draws
higher. Such a religion must be from God, for its principles are
God-like. It does not require much skill or power to steer a ship into
port when her timbers are sound, her masts all rigged, and her crew at
their posts; but the pilot that can take an old hulk, rocking on the
stormy waves, with its masts torn away, its rigging gone, its planks
loose and leaking, and bring it safe to harbor, that is the pilot for
me. Brethren, I am that hulk; and Jesus is that Pilot!"

"Glory be to Jesus!" exclaimed Father Newman; as the speaker, with
swimming eyes, radiant face, and heaving chest, sunk into his seat. I
never heard any thing finer from mortal lips, but it seems cold to me as
I read it here. Oratory cannot be put on paper.

He was present once at a camp-meeting, at the famous Toll-gate
Camp-ground, in Santa Clara Valley, near the city of San Jose. It was
Sabbath morning, just such a one as seldom dawns on this earth. The
brethren and sisters were gathered around "the stand" under the
live-oaks for a speaking-meeting. The morning glory was on the summits
of the Santa Cruz Mountains that sloped down to the sacred spot, the
lovely valley smiled under a sapphire sky, the birds hopped from twig to
twig of the overhanging branches that scarcely quivered in the still
air, and seemed to peer inquiringly into the faces of the assembled
worshipers. The bugle-voice of Bailey led in a holy song, and Simmons
led in prayer that touched the eternal throne. One after another,
gray-haired men and saintly women told when and how they began the new
life far away on the old hills they would never see again, and how they
had been led and comforted in their pilgrimage. Young disciples, in the
flush of their first love, and the rapture of newborn hope, were borne
out on a tide of resistless feeling into that ocean whose waters
encircle the universe. The radiance from the heavenly hills was
reflected from the consecrated encampment, and the angels of God hovered
over the spot. Judge Robinson rose to his feet, and stepped into the
altar, the sunlight at that moment falling upon his face. Every voice
was hushed, as, with the orator's indefinable magnetism, he drew every
eye upon him. The pause was thrilling. At length he spoke:

"This is a mount of transfiguration. The transfiguration is on hill and
valley, on tree and shrub, on grass and flower, on earth and sky. It is
on your faces that shine like the face of Moses when he came down from
the awful mount where be met Jehovah face to face. The same light is on
your faces, for here is God's shekinah. This is the gate of heaven. I
see its shining hosts, I hear the melody of its songs. The angels of God
encamped with us last night, and they linger with us this morning. Tarry
with us, ye sinless ones, for this is heaven on earth!"

He paused, with extended arm, gazing upward entranced. The scene that,
followed beggars description. By a simultaneous impulse all rose to
their feet and pressed toward the speaker with awestruck faces, and when
Grandmother Bucker, the matriarch of the valley, with luminous face and
uplifted eyes, broke into a shout, it swelled into a melodious hurricane
that shook the very hills. He ought to have been a preacher. So he said
to me once:

"I felt the impulse and heard the call in my early manhood. I conferred
with flesh and blood, and was disobedient to the heavenly vision. I have
had some little success at the bar, on the hustings, and in legislative
halls, but how paltry has it been in comparison with the true life and

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