Thomas A. (Thomas Asbury) Morris.

Miscellany: consisting of essays, biographical sketches and notes of travel online

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the organization of the Indian Mission conference, which
will certainly afford those having the management of the
missions more time and better means of information, in
arranging and carrying out their plans of usefulness.
Another thing greatly to the advantage of the work was
ordered by the late General conference; namely, the
appointment of a superintendent to reside in the Indian
country, overlook all the missionary interests, and act as
an agent for the Church to negotiate with Indian councils
and the Government of the United States, in regard to
Indian education funds, etc., as occasion requires. As the
bishops were charged with the responsibility of making
such appointments, both for the slave missions in the
south and Indian missions in the south-west, they met
in New York the day after General conference adjourned,
and appointed Rev. William Capers to the former, and
Rev. Jerome C. Berryman to the latter. (This is my
answer to a communication, signed by some twenty-five
or thirty worthy ministers of the Ohio conference, on the
subject, received last September.) Brother Berryman had
long been identified with the Indian missions, and was
already a citizen of the Missouri territory, within the
bounds of the Mission conference, which gave him some
advantage in his new office. He entered upon his work
immediately, and before the conference met had been to
nearly every mission in its bounds. Those who know
him best, think he is the right sort of a man for the


work; and I trust he will make full and satisfactory proof
of his ministry.

Upon the whole, dear brother, I am much pleased with
my visit to the Indian Mission conference ; and it would be
ungrateful in me not to acknowledge the kindness which
I have constantly received. I was not only conveyed by
the brethren to conference, as I have elsewhere explained,
gratuitously, but was subsequently sent by the hospitable
family, who had the trouble of entertaining me, in a fine,
close carriage, with handsome match horses, driver and
escort, nearly forty miles, to this neighborhood, where I
can obtain a stao-e to Van Buren, and thence to Little
Rock. Such kindness I shall never forget nor cease to
acknowledge with gratitude.

Yours, respectfully, T. A. Morris.

Cummingsvtixe, Abkansas, Nov. 1, 1844.


In this article no report of official duties will be inflicted
upon the reader, nor any thing but a few notes of travel,
with such observations and reflections as may be deemed

Our last day of sojourn in the Queen City, June 27,
1848, was memorable on account of heat. While the
mercury rose to ninety-five in the shade, and the south-
west wind drove clouds of dust, not only through the
streets, but into our sitting-room and bed-chamber, we
longed to be off, that we might gain a more elevated posi-
tion, and inhale a purer air. How opportune were the
gentle showers of rain that night, which brought relief at
once from heat and dust, and were succeeded by a calm,
refreshing morning! At eight o'clock, A. M., our train
cleared the narrows of Fulton with its world of lumber


and clattering machinery. Even there the eye found
relief by resting upon the placid Ohio on the right, and
the hights beyond it, dotted with objects of rural beauty.
A few minutes more and we were gliding amidst the
shadows of lofty forest trees, along the fertile vale of the
Little Miami, enlivened by birds of various notes and
flowers of every hue. How delightful the change ! The
stillness of the country contrasts pleasantly with the bustle
of a crowded city. Riding in an elegant car, even at the
moderate speed of fifteen miles an hour, is quite as agree-
able as spinning street yarn on foot over burning hot brick
and stone, employing one hand in supporting a silken
shade overhead, and the other in relieving the eyes from
dust and perspiration.

We could not have selected a more pleasant time for
our flight across the state of Ohio : the growing fields of
Indian corn were spread out before us in richest verdure ;
the fields of golden wheat, some waving in the gentle
breeze, some falling before the sweeping cradle, and others
arranged in clustering shocks, all indicating the greatest
abundance, presented a cheerful appearance to the passing
traveler. Farm-houses, factories, and fresh-looking vil-
lages, were passed in quick succession, till we halted for
dinner at Springfield, eighty-five miles from the city.
From this to Urbana, fourteen miles, the railroad was not
quite completed, but in rapid progress. Stages were
ready to convey the passengers and their baggage. The
usual practice appeared to prevail, of filling the coaches
outside and in with large passengers, and then putting in
the children and sachels for chinking, to keep all steady.
To avoid this inconvenience, we chartered a hack, which
afforded ample room. As stage after stage came up, and
received its well -packed load, our trunks still remaining
on the side-walk, some guessed that we were at our jour-
ney's end. Last of all came our hack, nimble ponies and

NOTES U V T E A V E L . 6bd

jolly driver, and moved us off nicely. As we passed the
rear Btage, reeling and screaking- under its ponderous load,
our fellow-passengers seemed, by their looks and manner,
to say, ''What lucky favorites to secure all that comforta-
ble room to themselves, and move on with so much ease,
leaving us to inhale the dust !" The real cause, however,
was neither good luck nor favoritism, but the extra shil-
lings. They put us through to Urbana in an hour and
three-quarters, where we slept comfortably in the house
of our much-respected friend, Judge Reynolds, while the
crowd passed on in the night train.

Next day we took the morning line, affording us, among
other pleasures, a full view of the wild meadows, or savan-
nas, of Champaign county, interspersed with lucid streams
and fragrant flowers, and swarming with horned cattle,
colts, and lambs, contentedly cropping the luxuriant herb-
age. Another object of interest that day was the Wyan-
dott Reservation. The dust of their fathers and noble
chiefs slept there, but the remnants of their broken tribe
were beyond the Kansas. What was recently their hunt-
ing-ground, and more recently a mission station, is now
visibly changing into cultivated fields and flourishing vil-
lages. How rapidly the aboriginals of America are
wasting before the march of civilization ! Already scat-
tered and peeled, in a few centuries more they will be
numbered among the nations that have been and are
not. Surely, as Christians and patriots, we owe them a
debt of kindness.

As we neared Lake Erie the face of the country assumed
more beauty, both of nature and culture. On reaching
the depot at Sandusky City, in the afternoon, we witnessed
the usual amount of noise, confusion, and clamor, of port-
ers and agents for baggage and passengers, swearing at
and pushing each other with violence, and each affirming,
with a zeal worthy of a better cause, that he represented


the best hotel in the city. As usual, we favored those
who clamored least, went to the Sandusky Exchange, and
found it an excellent house. After taking a room, it
afforded us some entertainment to sit at our front window,
which overlooks the bay and outlet to the main lake, and
view the sail vessels with white canvas spread to the
breeze, and the steam packets arriving and departing,
laden with surplus produce, and crowded with passengers.
These Americans, what an enterprising and migratory
people ! If true to their civil institutions, they must
become the greatest nation, and if faithful to their relig-
ious privileges, the happiest people on earth.

The line from Cincinnati to Sandusky has been unfa-
vorably represented, probably under the influence of canal
and stage-line interests ; but it is unjust. There are faster
lines than it is, but I have found none more pleasant in
the United States; nor is the speed even now to be com-
plained of, as they who wish to do so, dine in Cincinnati,
breakfast next morning in Sandusky, and proceed on
immediately to Buffalo or Detroit, as the case may be.
After the whole line shall have been completed and put
in good order, the passenger cars may run through in
eleven hours, distance two hundred and eighteen miles.

On Friday a small steamboat brought us to Detroit in
seven hours. The scenery on the Lake, among the islands,
and along the Detroit river, was imposing. At Maiden,
on the Canada shore, we landed to put some Indians out.
They were from Missouri, and brought with them two
young prairie wolves,- coupled together in leading-strings,
which attracted as much attention as their owners. On
reaching Detroit we stopped at the National Hotel, but
the Hon. Ross Wilkins soon called for us with a carriage,
and removed us, bag and baggage, to his own quiet home.
He is the Associate Judge of the United States Court for
the state of Michigan, and a local minister of the Methodist


Episcopal Church, and no drone in either office ; for, after
sitting all the week constantly on the bench with Judge
M'Lean, he preached twice in the country on Sabbath, and
met class, felt refreshed in spirit, and was ready to resume
court business on Monday morning. The Christian sim-
plicity and hospitality of himself and lady caused us to
feel perfectly at home, and as happy as visiting relatives.
Their home is one of those delightful green spots where
weary pilgrims love to linger and rest. The Sabbath
brought us abundant privileges, and passed off pleasantly.
Detroit is a growing and business-like city, of some twenty
thousand inhabitants, situated on the American side of
Detroit river, but in full view of the Queen's dominion in
Upper Canada. The city is supplied with pure lake water
from the river, and is considered quite a healthy place.
From this point travelers west can choose between rail-
road and stage across the peninsula of Michigan, and a
voyage round the lakes, as business or fancy may suggest.

The Fourth of July was celebrated in Detroit with the
usual amount of hilarity and folly. Large boys fired can-
non, and small boys fired squibs ; both took aim at noth-
ing and missed the world. The cold east rain-storm that
day spoiled much of the sport in the city, and the blow
upon the lake defeated the parties on excursions of pleas-
ure, not in paying for their costly dinner, but in eating it,
the seasickness having allayed the gnawing pains of hun-
ger before it was ready. As for ourselves, we remained
in doors by a comfortable fire, reading and preparing for
our voyage on the lakes.

After waiting the arrival of our boat all night, in a
state of preparation to move on the shortest notice, our
coachman called for us about four o'clock in the morning,
and hurried us on board of the Niagara, just in from
Buffalo, and bound for Chicago ; but they soon got over
their hurry, and did not slip cable till half-past six. That

36G M I SC E L L A x r .

day we Look il leisurely through Detroit river, the Flats,
Lake St. Clair, and St. Clair river, stopping two hours at
one place for wood, and as long at another for coal, pre-
paratory to the long runs ahead. Late in the afternoon,
however, we cleared Gratiot, and bore northward on the
broad bosom of Lake Huron. We had hoped to see the
sun as he hid himself amid the waters, but a heavy
bank of clouds, nearly stationary in the western horkon,
obscured him, and changed the appearance of the lake
from a bright sky blue to that of a somber purple. As
night fell upon us, grave thoughts intruded themselves —
three hundred souls aboard, with only a few inches of
timber between them and a sheet of water two hundred
and twenty miles long and one hundred and seventy-five
broad, with the ordinary risk of collision, explosion, and
fire. The visions of other years came up, and among
them the Euroclydon, with which Paul and his fellow-
voyagers had to contend on his way to Rome, as a pris-
oner in chains for the faith of Christ. In that storm no
sun, moon, or stars appeared for fourteen days, during
which time they labored, prayed, and fasted, till Paul
assured them there should be no loss of life, but only of
the vessel and cargo, for which he gave a satisfactory
reason: "For there stood by me this night the angel of
God, whose I am, and whom I serve, saying, Fear not,
Paul ; thou must be brought before Caesar : and lo, God
hath given thee all them that sail with thee." What a
relief in their extremity ! And how comfortable our con-
dition in comparison of their perilous one, all at liberty,
all well, on board of a noble steamer, well manned and
provisioned, walking like a thing of life on the smooth
surface, and affording all the luxuries of life ! Of course
we had much to comfort and but little to render us dis-

The voyage of the lakes, from Buffalo to Chicago, is


OB6 thousand and seventy-five miles. Niagara was a new
boat of the line, on her sixth trip, and perhaps nearly
equal in strength and speed to any other, and free from
any unpleasant noise or motion, so that, while running
from twelve to fifteen miles an hour, we scarcely heard
her engines, or felt her move. Her forward keel was
ornamented with a full-length figure of an Indian chief,
with his flowing robe, raven locks, jewelry, and cap of
feathers. He stood erect, with lofty bearing, his right
foot in advance, a bow in his left hand, and a quiver pro-
jecting behind the left shoulder, his right hand firmly
grasping the handle of a scalping-knife, with the point
downward; and with his piercing eye fixed on some dis-
tant point, he seemed, by a most determined air, to say,
" Follow me." The man at the wheel wielded a strong
and steady arm. There was no indication of storm, and
all promised well. But we looked beyond all these visible
means of safety, and committed ourselves for safe-keeping
to Him who said to the sea, "Thus far shalt thou come,
and here shalt thy proud waves be staid."

Our boat was a little world of itself. On the lower
deck were crowds of foreigners, with their piles of chests
and movables, figuring in quaint costume, and making
their first observations upon America, to whom every thing
appeared to be novel, but not unpleasant. Their children
acted like young birds just venturing out of their nest, and
gave their mothers ample employment to keep them out
of danger. In the cabin were men of leisure and pleas-
ure, with their families, seeking new sources of enjoy-
ment — men of business, intent on its accomplishment — in-
valids traveling for health — peddlers of books and maps —
tourists exploring new states — ministers and agents on
ecclesiastical business, and smoking, loquacious politi-
cians — some promenading the deck in solitude, some
clustered together in social chitchat, others attracted by


the sound of music and song. Some were in their state-
rooms, praying and reading their Bibles, while such as
wished to relieve each other of their cash by games of
hazard, went aloft to the hurricane deck, and took with
them the " History of the Four Kings." But after the
tea-table was removed, the headquarters of amusement
appeared to be in the ladies' cabin, where many assembled
for the purpose of killing time, which hung heavily upon
them. The moving agent of the whole operation was a
son of Ham, patting his foot, and drawing a horse-hair
across a piece of cat-gut, which made a kind of screaking
noise. He must have been a captain ; for so soon as he
commenced tossing his head about and moving his right
arm to and fro, though he gave no other signal or word
of command, a number of individuals rose to their feet,
commenced running past each other, and facing about,
with a regular step to the sound of cuffy's violin. The
characters under the influence of his enchantment were
diversified — boys and misses, dandies and flirts, men and
women; but one who witnessed the affair, declared that
the commander of our boat beat them all ; that he was the
best dancer among them ; and no one seemed disposed to
dispute the fact. There was one thing, however, which
appeared mysterious to us, who were unacquainted with
such matters; namely, how the captain of the Niagara
could spend his time in the silly dance, consistently with
his responsible duties. Suppose, while he was capering
about and measuring his steps by the motion of cuffy's
elbow, surrounded with the stamping noise of a crazy
multitude, the boat had suddenly taken fire, ten miles
from land, who, amidst the darkness and peril of that
hour, would have been responsible for the souls aboard,
and prepared to meet the emergency with discretion ? It
is needless to say any thing respecting the rudeness of such
conduct toward the civil part of the passengers, who had


gone aboard reasonable expectation of safe convey-
ance and excellent accommodation. The act defines itself.
On the morning of Thursday, Gth, near Thunder Bay,
was witnessed one of nature's most beautiful exhibitions.
It was a thin cloud forming a regular arch, which spanned
one-fourth of the visible heavens, the ends resting upon the
north and south, and the greatest elevation over the east.
The face of it presented every possible hue, scarlet, deep
purple, golden yellow, silver white, pea green, and all inter-
mediate shades. It was apparently stationary, and for
one hour increasing in beauty and splendor, till the lumin-
ary of day slowly emerged from the "vasty deep," im-
mediately under the center of this triumphal arch, and
threw his beams of light over the sparkling waves toward
the lofty peaks of the Rocky Mountains. One such mani-
festation of infinite Wisdom affords more real pleasure
than all the galleries of paintings this world contains.

About noon we rode into Mackinaw on a moderate
swell, and went ashore, anxious to see what we could
during the half hour allowed us. The island is small,
and on the north side forms a bold bluff, shaded with
deep-green foliage. On the east side, where the village
is, the ascent is easy. The great object of attraction to
strangers is the military fort, the appearance of which, at
a distance, is quite handsome, and, from its elevated posi-
tion, rather imposing. Afraid to encounter the hill in
such haste, we contented ourselves with examining the
stores of Indian curiosities, but found the variety so ex-
hausted, that but little of interest remained. The number
of Indians about the village appeared to have been greatly
reduced since 1844; but few tents were standing in sight
of the wharf; their birch -bark canoes were mostly hauled
up on the beach above the swells, and very few of the
Indians made their appearance. Some of the passengers
ventured up to the fort to obtain a hasty view of it, but


the tolling of our bell soon brought them back faster than
they went, and we were off again.

Leaving Mackinaw, we headed south, up Lake Michigan.
The breeze which had sprung up in the forenoon steadily
increased till evening, when it became a gale, and finally
a regular eastern storm of wind and rain. About eioht
o'clock we attempted to land at Manitou, one hundred
miles from Mackinaw; but the storm drove us off without
effecting it. We had just time to crawfish out into deep
water, and get the proper course, before it fully broke
upon us. For the next twelve hours the boat was rolling
and pitching, till many of the passengers got "half seas
over," and the lake appeared in general commotion, which
corresponded exactly with our internal feelings. When
the breakfast bell rang, most of us had no occasion to
appear at table, till we landed at Sheboygan, about nine
o'clock, and the motion which had destroyed our appetites
ceased, then we revived in feeling, and the second table
was well filled, and all lost time made up. Soon after
this the wind shifted its course, met the rolling billows,
and in a few minutes laid the entire surface as smooth as
a level prairie.

At Sheboygan we saw the scanty remains of the steam-
boat Phoenix, which was destroyed by fire last fall. The
calamity occurred eight miles out, when the boat was
crowded with passengers, as we were told, some of whom
reached the land on planks, ladders, and floating frag-
ments; some were picked up by another steamboat, but
many of them were lost. The burning keel was towed to
the beach, where it is nearly buried in sand, and presents
an appalling spectacle. The wreck of the Boston, which
was driven ashore by a terrible storm at night near the
same time, lies partly on her side near Milwaukie. The
passengers on her, after much suffering in the cold water,
reached land with their lives. These manifest tokens of


destruction strongly admonish the passer-by of the perils
of the lake.

We reached Milwaukie on Friday afternoon, where more
than two hundred deck and cabin passengers were landed,
to disperse through that new country. We stopped at the
National Hotel, but were subsequently removed to the
house of a kind friend, where we remained till Monday
evening. Milwaukie is about twelve years old, and con-
tains about fifteen thousand inhabitants. It is situated
at the mouth of the small river of the same name, which
affords a safe harbor. The improvements are very
respectable for so new a place, and rapidly advancing.
Its chief peculiarity is the color of the houses. The
bricks are all of a light cream color, owing, probably, to
some unusual substance in the natural formation of which
they are made, and when in the building, look as hand-
some as ordinary bricks painted white, and are said to
be very hard and durable. The wooden houses are
nearly all white, which imparts to this young city a
general air of cheerfulness. Many citizens and visitors
suppose that Milwaukie will soon become a large com-
mercial city.

At Southport we were put ashore at two o'clock in the
morning amidst darkness that could be felt, because of a
dense fog, and were conveyed to the Temperance House ;
but when daylight came to our relief, we found ourselves
in a beautiful village of some two thousand five hundred
inhabitants. The more it rains there the better the walk-
ing becomes ; for, when dry, the sand is deep, and makes
the travel heavy, but when closely packed, by beating
showers, the walking is pleasant. This village is fifty-five
miles below Chicago, and is a very inviting place at which
to reside.



Rev. Dr. Simpson — Dear Brother, — When leaving
Cincinnati, several friends requested us to inform them
by letter when we should have safely reached this place ;
and, to save time and labor of writing, I have concluded,
with your consent, to report to all of them at once,
through your paper.

"We took passage for Pittsburg on the 14th instant, on
board of the Telegraph No. 1, and got under way at
three o'clock, P. M. Our accommodations were excellent
throughout, and we made good headway till next morn-
ing, when we met small flakes of floating ice, which were
soon followed by larger and heavier pieces, as the cold
increased, till roods became acres, and acres became
fields, covering the entire width of the river. As the
solid ice formed along the shores, and the channel for the
drifting masses contracted, the friction was terrible, and
the prospect of ascending constantly diminishing. At
some of the short bends we found the channel gorged,
and the ice nearly stationary for miles; but our noble
steamer still plowed her way onward and upward, against
the strong current and all the massive obstruction which
it bore. After the iron sheeting was worn off from the
bow, the captain substituted planks, and when they were
cut to pieces their places were supplied by others; and
when the paddles were broken, new ones were put in.
Beside this difficulty we had too much freight, or too little
depth of water on the bars, and were several times badly
grounded. The hope of reaching Pittsburg was soon cut
off"; but, after a determined and persevering effort of
nearly four days, we got to Wheeling without injury.


where I had the pleasure of preaching, on Sabbath
evening, to a large and attentive congregation.

At this season of the year, or when navigation is
obstructed, there is but one way to reach Baltimore ; that
is, by stage to Cumberland, thence by railroad. The only
point for us to settle was the time of leaving. After a

Online LibraryThomas A. (Thomas Asbury) MorrisMiscellany: consisting of essays, biographical sketches and notes of travel → online text (page 28 of 30)