SAMUEL N. WATSON
THOSE PARIS YEARS

BOOK I

 

IV

EGLINTON, NEW JERSEY
1859-1874

SUMMERS took us most often to that other home place, Mother's old home in New Jersey, "Eglinton." Robert Burnett's original house must have been built on what is now the Eglinton farm shortly after his removal to America; for among the references to the place in old records there are these:

"Frame work of wood addition hewn from forest in 1690 by order of the proprietor Robert Burnett of Lethintie, Aberdeenshire, Scotland.

"New Brick addition built by Robert Montgomery in 1773.

"Mark of cannon ball shot four days prior to the Battle of Monmouth, by the British, June 24, 1778, then under command of Sir Henry Clinton, who was retreating toward Sandy Hook, General Washington and the Patriots in hot pursuit."

It is evident then that the first house there was built prior to 1690; it was of frame, and was situated on rising ground at the head of a lovely valley of more than seven miles in length; tradition has it that this house was situated in the lower part of the grounds (as we of today remember them) where the red lilies were; and that it was burned. In 1701 William Montgomery and his wife, Isabel Burnett Montgomery, crossed the ocean with their young family and settled on lands deeded to William by his father-in-law; the instrument reading that:

"Robert Burnett of Freehold, in ye County of Monmouth within the Eastern division of Nova Caesarea . . . and William Montgomery, his son-in-law .... one hundred pounds current silver money, . . . part and parcel of a certain tract of land belonging to ye said Robert Burnett, lying on a creek commonly known and called by the name of Doctor's Creek, and is also that plantation and tract of land whereon the said William Montgomery now dwelleth."

I have had in my possession three deeds on parchment, which were transfers of some of the original lands of the old estate: one from Robert Gordon, of Cluny, conveying 1/2 of 1/24th part of the Division of New Jersey, dated 1705; another from Clement Plumstead of London, in the thirty-fourth year of Charles II., conveying to Robert Gordon undivided 1/12th part of New Cæsarea; and a third whereby John Heywood of London conveyed to Robert Burnett of Lethintie, in the thirty-fifth year of Charles II, an undivided 1/24th part of East New Jersey. It was in 1706 that William Montgomery built his house of Eglinton; and it was in 1773 that Robert Montgomery, great-grandson of William built the Eglinton which I remember, the house in which Mother was born. The note which is quoted above, "New brick addition built by Robert Montgomery in 1773," implies that the part of the old house built of local brick and covered with frame is part of the house of 1706; and the tradition of a fire would account for the new addition, which is of old Flemish bond, and one of the finest pieces of brickwork in this country. An old record says that the red bricks (of the original house) were made on the farm; the bricks with the black ends were imported from Scotland. There was a pentroof running around the house just below the second story windows; and it was by one of those windows that my great-grandmother Montgomery was sitting when a cannon ball came through the window, passed over her head, and lodged in the woodwork on the opposite side of the room. Another cannon ball struck the house just to the left of the front door and knocked out the ends of four bricks; that ball, which is now in the Historical Museum at Freehold, used to hang by a chain just above the hole in the brickwall when I was a boy at Eglinton. General Clinton's forces must have been marching in an easterly direction following the old Shrewsbury Road; and the guns must have been fired from the hillside above the meadow. There are two traditions which give colour to the story; one of them is that a boy sitting on the gatepost at the end of the Lane jeered at the British Battery which was in retreat, and that the officer in charge ordered a gun to be wheeled about and fired at the mansion; another is that one of the coloured boys about the place refused to tell whereabouts in the orchard the family silver was buried, and that the British put a rope about his neck and strung him up to a limb of the big walnut tree in front of the house to frighten him, but finally let him down when they found that he would not tell. That walnut tree on which the big bell hung is impressed on my memory by the fact that I was once knocked over by the effects of a bolt of lightning, which struck the tree and felled a limb from it.

In going from Burlington to New Jersey we crossed the river on the ferry, and then took a train, all daycoaches, for Chicago; there were no Pullmans and no diners; so we carried provender for the way in lunch baskets, such as hard boiled eggs, cold fried chicken, and rolls, as I now remember the menu. But what I do remember most clearly is the oil lamp arrangement with a boiler fitted into the top of it which we carried to heat the baby's milk on the train; it was my job to carry the thing, banging my little legs at every step; and I despised it, even the smell of it, when it was back home again in the closet under the stairs. Once when we stopped at a station where there was a lunchcounter, Aunt Mary got off the train to get a cup of tea for herself and to bring one to Mother. The train started to shunt some cars to another track, and I thought that Aunt Mary was left behind; in a moment I ran to the end of the car, jumped off, rolled down the cinder-clad right of way, picked myself up, and ran down the track to the platform, crying, "Aunt Mary! Aunt Mary!" at the top of my voice. Aunt Mary always took the most loving care of me, and was very gentle to an often wayward boy; and I think that if any other member of the family had been left behind, that I would have borne it with becoming equanimity; but when it was Aunt Mary it was a different thing. In Chicago we changed to an eastbound train which took thirty-six hours to make the journey either to New York or to Philadelphia. In Philadelphia we stayed over night at a hotel, and my first recollections of Philadelphia are the ferries crossing the Delaware to Camden, which I saw from the windows of the old Ridgeway House. From Philadelphia we crossed to Camden and took the old Pemberton & Hightstown Railroad to Imlaystown, or to Cat-Tail (which I believe is Sharon now) where the horses from Eglinton met us. I liked it best when we went by way of New York where there was an over night stay, then the next day a trip down the Bay by boat to South Amboy, on which boat was a big fat coloured woman who sold candy and other delectable dainties; then from South Amboy we took the Camden & Amboy Railroad to Newtown and drove four miles to Eglinton. I can see now the "carry-all" with a team of shiny horses all brushed and groomed waiting for us. It was on one of these trips by way of New York that we stayed with Mrs. Stillman, the mother of James Stillman, Senior, the great banker (Mrs. Stillman had been a schoolmate of Mother's), and it was in that house that I saw a real bathtub for the first time. I told Mr. Stillman about it once when he visited me in Paris; and he told me of his memories of Eglinton when he had visited there.

I could write a book on Eglinton alone; but this is to be only a boy's memories of his mother's old home. One of my memories of the house is of a Sunday afternoon; it was hot outside but a breeze was coming through the big hall with its doors both front and back open; there was a green slat door at the south entrance, and Uncle Ben was asleep on the big mahogany sofa with the haircloth upholstery and a newspaper over his face to keep off the flies; I was flat on my "tummy" on the floor in front of the big door, reading the Country Gentleman---I read it yet and I like it better than any other periodical which comes my way.

The Eglinton folk of those days were first Aunt Lucy, Miss Lucy Montgomery; she was Robert Montgomery's daughter and the sister of my grandmother, Esther Montgomery Newell, and it was she who inherited Eglinton. Then there was Cousin Eliza Lawrence; Elisha Lawrence was member of the General Assembly of New Jersey in 1721, his daughter Elizabeth Lawrence married my great-great-grandfather, Dr. James Newell, and Cousin Eliza Lawrence was the daughter of Elizabeth Lawrence's brother.

This Lawrence-Newell connection brings to me a bit of unrecorded history of great interest. In the year 1778 Major André came to Allentown bringing with him letters of introduction to Dr. James Newell from Mrs. John Lawrence of Burlington, and asked Dr. Newell to give medical service to André's brother who was ill. The brothers were hospitably received and cared for at Dr. Newell's house in Allentown, where they stayed for a day and a night; then getting word that the American troops were advancing rapidly in that direction they left very early in the morning in a carriage belonging to an invalid lady, a Mrs. Wykoff of Philadelphia, which Major André borrowed on account of the extreme illness of his brother (whom Mrs. Newell thought too ill to be moved); this carriage Major André caused to be returned to its owner after he had reached South Amboy in safety. In the hurried departure at an hour before daylight, one of the spoons from Major André's campkit, which had been used as a medicine spoon for the invalid, was left on the mantel-shelf of the room which they occupied in my great-great-grandfather's house; this spoon bearing the Crest of the André family is in my possession.

Another of the Eglinton folk who was very dear to me was my great Aunt Susan Newell, my grandfather's sister, and I cannot write of her even after all these years without a feeling of deep emotion; I was her brother's namesake, and I was always her "little Sam"; and she had always a special measure of affection for me. She was Susan Faesch Newell; and the name of Faesch brings in some interesting history. Among Aunt Sue's papers there was one which reads:

"Michael Kearny was married three times; his first wife was Joanna Lenox; his second wife was Elizabeth Britton, by whom he had a son Philip, born at sea just before the arrival of the parents at Philadelphia; his third wife was Sarah Morris, who was the mother of Isabella, Michael, Euphemia, and Graham Kearny. Isabella and Michael both died single at an advanced age, and are interred in a burial place at their farm which was called 'Irish Lot Farm,' and is a few miles from Morristown, New Jersey. Euphemia married a Mr. Leonard, and left one daughter Susan, who married a German gentleman, Mr. Faesch."

So that is where Aunt Sue got her name Susan Faesch. Another paper reads:

"Extracts from a note-book kept by Susan Faesch, who was born Susan Leonard; then follows a long list of dates of birth of the various members of the Kearny family; then,---Married to Mr. Faesch April 23, 1790. Departed this life on the 23rd of May, 1799, my affectionate and dearly beloved husband John Jacob Faesch."

The following is from a newspaper clipping:

"Died at Boonton on Friday evening last, John J. Faesch, Esq., one of the judges of the Inferior Court of Common Pleas of the County of Morris, aged 70 years. His remains were brought to this town on Sunday, and attended to the grave from the house of David Ford by a numerous procession."

Another "Extract" from a book kept by Susan Faesch:

"Mr. Trigant: 1808, March 19., To service of my black woman Peg from 19th Sept. last to this date---

6 months at $5 per month

30.00

By cash paid her

6.25

Balance

23.75

March 30, Received from Mr. Trigant $23., six shillings  
Received from my black woman Peg since her freedom, One hundred and four dollars."  

Aunt Susan Newell always kept up a close connection with our Canadian cousins, of whom was the family of David Ford, just mentioned. Anastasia Cooke married David Ford, and from them comes our connection with the Fords, the Jones', and the Bogerts. Isabella Cooke married Col. Harris W. Hailes, of whose line was Mrs. Stairs; Elizabeth Newell, Aunt Sue's sister, married Hon. Wm. F. Odell, and from them is our connection with the Odells and the Bowmans.

Finding myself in St. John, New Brunswick on a summer vacation in 1906, I made the acquaintance of the then Rector of Trinity Church, St. John, the Rev. Dr. Richardson, now Bishop Richardson, and by his courtesy I was asked to preach at the Annual Church Parade of the Regiment of Royal Fusiliers which was at that time in garrison at the place. At a later date, in 1907, I returned to St. John to speak at the Annual Meeting of the United Empire Loyalists, the descendants of those earliest English settlers, who first established themselves in the Maritime Provinces; and at that time I was the guest of the Rev. Dr. Raymond, who made me a gift of the valuable record of early New Brunswick history called The Winslow Papers. Later when Dr. Richardson had been made Bishop of Fredericton he asked me to officiate for a time in Old Trinity, the church which was established in St. John by the Rev. Samuel Cooke, my great-great-grandfather. I was occupied then with the building of St. Paul's Church, in Akron, Ohio, and I felt that I could not leave that work even for a time; but the invitation appealed to me very strongly, for the atmosphere of that part of Canada, with its old world flavour, was most congenial to my tastes. If I could have accepted it, it would probably have resulted in my making a home for myself ultimately in that part of the world; and then, I would not have gone to France, but that is another story. It is well written:

"laisser errer son imagination est inutile: les hommes sont aveugles d'avance en ce qui concerne l'avenir et sur le bien et sur le mal: les philosophes parlent du libre-arbitre, mais en effet il n'y en a pas: on croit faire ses choix, mais la vérité est que l'on suit aveuglément le chemin de son destin."

It was on that first visit to New Brunswick, and then to Nova Scotia, that I made the personal acquaintance of our Canadian cousins in Lower Canada, Mrs. Stairs, the Odells in Halifax, and the Bowmans in Windsor. Our visit to Fort Massie, as the house of the Odell cousins is called, is a bright spot in memory, and I cherish the recollection of the charming hospitality offered us there by cousins on whom we descended as "a bolt out of the blue." And our visit to the Bowmans at Windsor is another happy memory; cousin Annie Bowman, another second cousin, made us most welcome to their home, Littlecourt. We came to Windsor by train and took an open carriage for the drive to Littlecourt; on the way I asked the driver to stop at a bank as I wished to replenish my petty cash by drawing on my Letter of Credit. While I was in the bank, the old Irishman, who owned the carriage and who was a well known character of the place and acquainted with all the leading families, turned round on the box and said to Jeannette: "Excuse me M'um, but are the gentleman who just went in there any kin to Mr. Charlie Odell?" (Mr. Charlie Odell being a cousin of my mother's) "he certainly looks most like him."

I later made the acquaintance of another Canadian cousin, Beverly Jones of Toronto, when I went there to officiate at a Church Semi-Centenary, at which time I was his guest; and from that time on he remembered me regularly with most interesting letters. He was born in 1839 at Brockville, Ontario, and he was in his 95th year when he passed away. He visited his office almost every day up to four months before his death. He was known in the family as "the grand old Man," so cousin Sidney Jones writes me. Beverly Jones' outstanding achievement was the establishment of the Provincial Industrial Schools for boys and girls; and he gave a part of every week to visits for counsel and encouragement to these young protégés.

This is the place to mention briefly in passing some of the other interesting relations which have come to me through the Morris-Cooke connection. Bishop Clarkson I remember personally; it is a memory which dates back to 1871. We were on our way back to Iowa from our summer visit to Eglinton, and on reaching Chicago we found ourselves in a scene of utter desolation. It was the time of the Great Fire which ravaged Chicago. Dr. Clarkson, afterward Bishop of Nebraska, was then rector of St. James' Church at Cass and Huron Streets, where he had won the devotion of the people of the entire city by his helpfulness to every human need. Not knowing what to do or where to lodge or where to eat, we drove out to see this cousin of Mother's; and we found him. I can well remember the picture; it is so vivid from the appeal it made to my small boy's eyes; Dr. Clarkson was in the street where his church people had set tables, and he and they were serving breakfasts of bread and coffee to all who came; and they came by the hundreds. Our connection with the Clarksons comes in this way: the Rev. Joseph Clarkson married Grace, daughter of the Rev. Samuel Cooke; their daughter Harriet married the Rev. Samuel Bowman, whose daughter married Bishop Vail, Bishop of Kansas. Samuel Bowman was made assistant Bishop of Pennsylvania in 1858. The Rev. Joseph Clarkson's son, Michael Cooke Clarkson married Louisa Harper, and it was their son, Robert Harper Clarkson, who became Bishop of Nebraska, and had for his See City Omaha, where Father had held the first church services when Omaha was but a trading post, and Papillon was the county seat. The Battle of Gettysburg was fought upon the farm where Bishop Clarkson grew up as a boy. Bishop Bowman was Bishop Clarkson's uncle, and he married my grandfather's own cousin; so Bishop Clarkson and my mother were second cousins.

It is in this connection also that I can claim kinship to the family of Mrs. Elwell S. Otis. She was Louise Bowman, a resident of Santa Barbara, when I first went there to live; it was my privilege to say the Church's word of committal when she had passed to rest; and to her and her family, to Mary Isham, Laura Elston, and Louise Wagner I feel a nearness of kinship and a warmth of gratitude which this printed page cannot express. It is interesting also to note that General F. W. Sladen, who was at one time on the Staff of General Otis, married Elizabeth Lefferts, the daughter of Elizabeth Morris Lefferts who did such a superb piece of work in the compiling of the genealogy of Lewis Morris the first, from which many of the data in this book are taken. Mrs. Sladen is seventh in descent, as I am seventh in descent from Governor Lewis Morris. The first funeral service at which I officiated after I took charge of the Church in Paris, France, was that of Anna, Comtesse de Montsaulnin, also a descendant of Lewis Morris; and her children the Comtesse du Luart, and the Comtesse de Gourcuff were among the charming acquaintances of my Paris days.

I cannot put into words my feeling for Eglinton, and my lasting gratitude for the welcome which always awaited me there by all my kinfolk. Once I thought that I would try and buy the old place back and go there to live, so that some one of the family might own it, but that filial hope is now gratified in that two cousins, Robert L. Montgomery and his brother, now own the old homestead. Eglinton means to me Uncle Ben, and Aunt Sarah, and Lucy, and Albert, and Clarence, and Hetty, and Joe. Uncle Ben always kind to me; Aunt Sarah so good, so gay, with her pretty dancing curls; Lucy and Hetty and Albert like big brothers and sisters; and "young Joseph," my chum and playmate. When I think of those days long past, and of the meanings for good which these others put into my life then, I feel sure that they know now how deeply I cherish their memory, and how keen is my sense of gratitude now, which in those days of my immaturity I neither knew how nor thought to express.

We boys slept on the third floor in a big room which was called "the sky parlour"; two big beds were there, four-posters, with sacking-bottoms to hold the mattresses,---(sacking-bottoms, Reader, are sheets of sailcloth with eyelets in the edges, and held in place by ropes laced around wooden pegs in the bed frames). The sky parlour was more than half of the third floor of the great house; the rest of the third floor being what was called "the garret"---and what a garret! It contained the accumulations of a century or more, books old and new, clothes old and new, trunks full of everything and anything; and what a resource was there for a rainy day. I say that we boys slept in the sky parlour; but I remember that once when there was an overflow, Joe and I slept in a trundle bed under Uncle Ben's and Aunt Sarah's bed. The fruit at Eglinton was wonderful; I have never seen its like anywhere-apples, bough-sweetings, molasses apples, sheep-noses; and then pears, harvest pears, lying so thick on the ground under the tree just back of the ice house, and the wasps and the bees sucking the honey from them; and seckel pears, big trees full; and peaches with a mealy cream coloured flesh and a deep brown pit; and cherries, blackhearts best of all, cherry trees as tall as the house and full of black cherries; and then in the lane coming up to the house there were big trees of wild cherries, and these were Aunt Sue's especial predilection. She would bribe Joe and me to pick baskets full of them, and then she would put the cherries in demijohns with some sugar and fill the waste spaces with applejack: and, Oh, the cherry bounce which resulted therefrom! And our reward would be gingerbread, big thick chunks of sticky, luscious stuff which Aunt Sue made herself and which she kept in a cupboard in her own room; I've never seen the like again.

It may interest the reader to know the traditional derivation of the word demijohn, which was originally Dame-Jeanne. The story goes that there was a Normandy hostess whose inn was famed for its good cheer, and her name was Jeanne: she had wicker coats made for her big glass wine bottles in order to protect them from careless handling; and from Normandy Dame Jeanne has come the name of demijohn for wicker-coated bottles. He who may be inclined to cavil at the space allotted in this tale to good things to eat and drink should be reminded that this is a small boy's story of the "good old days," and of the things which appealed to him.

Eglinton was two miles from the posttown which was Allentown, and it was to Allentown that we went to do the errands, Joe and I. It was a quaint old town; it is so still; a backwater off the path of progress because the railroad did not come there. There was one Main Street on which were all the stores; Hankins' where we took butter and eggs to trade; and Neely Vanderbeck's, and Dan Savidge the harness-maker. I owe Dan Savidge a debt of gratitude. I was not allowed a horse to ride; it was too hard on the horse; that old maxim "Up hill, Spare me: Down hill, Spare thee" meant nothing in my young life; so my steed was a little red mule; she could run, that little mule. Down at the end of Main Street in Allentown was a gristmill run by water power; there was a millpond and a race; and just beyond the mill was a hill. One day I was coming down that hill toward the town riding as fast as my little mule would go, when, crack! went the stirrup strap on the left side. I slid off on the back of my neck lighting almost between that little mule's front feet. She stopped in her tracks, and looked down at me as if to say, "It's lucky for you, Boy, that I have more sense than you have." Two of the men from the mill came out and picked me up and dusted me off, and with painful steps and slow I made my way to Dan Savidge's shop. Dan knew me well; he knew what would be coming to me if the folks at home learned what had happened to me and how it happened; so he mended my stirrup strap and rubbed dirt in the stitches so they would not show; then he helped me into the saddle, and by the time those two miles from Allentown to Eglinton had been traversed I was over the shock and feeling better, though I was lame for days; but the family never knew till long afterward how their wisdom in not letting me have a horse to ride had been justified.

Years afterward I had a chance to remember Dan Savidge's friendship and to return it pleasantly. There came to my house in Akron, Ohio, one evening, a boy and a girl---they were scarcely more than that---and asked me to bless their marriage; they were strangers there, they said, and they had no witnesses with them; they had just come from the East; and the boy said that his name was Savidge. An echo of the long ago seemed to sound for me. "Where in the East did you come from," I said. "From Allentown, New Jersey," was his reply. "And who were your relatives there?" I asked. And when he mentioned Dan Savidge's name, it was like a breath from the faraway homeland to me. I made it a general rule not to officiate at the marriage of people whom I did not know unless they brought witnesses whom I knew; but here was once when I cast principles to the winds; and I was glad to be witness and all else necessary, and to ask God's blessing on Dan Savidge's kinsman and the girl who was willing to join her young life to his.

Another figure which stands out most clearly in those memories of other days is Asa Wills, the "village blacksmith"; it was not "under a spreading chestnut tree he stood," I think it was an elm which shadowed his shop; he was large and portly, ruddy and good natured, looking in every line the typical English village squire. A visit to Asa Wills' meant a chance to go to town; true, it involved swishing a brush made of a horse's tail about the legs of the animals being shod, to keep the flies from tormenting and to keep the horse from stamping during the shoeing process; none the less, the work was light, and a visit to town meant a nickel for the candy shop.

Allentown had three houses which are clear in my memory. The Imlay-Fisk house was the grandest; it stood flush with the street; it had fan lights over its hall doors; there was a garden with box hedges at the back; the parlour walls were covered with wallpaper made in France and put on in little squares, and I remember the original bill for the paper, framed and hanging on the wall. There were two pretty nieces, Emma and Julia Gordon, who added to the attraction of the house for me.

Then there was the house where Cousin Susan Debow, and Cousin Margaret Buckley, and Cousin Mary Leavenworth lived; they were sisters; their grandmother was Margaret Leonard and their grandfather was Robert Montgomery of Eglinton, who was my mother's grandfather. Their house was filled with beautiful things inside; it was a house where boys had to "mind their 'P's and Q's' "; but there were always good things to eat coming, so we got by with it; and that house, too, had garden hedges of box; and how fragrant those box hedges were on a warm day!

I think that there is no sense perception which leaves more lasting records than does the sense of smell; it has a power of calling up a consciousness of the past which is wonderful. There are odours which come to me now, that give me a vivid mental picture of places and of happenings which are long years away in time. There is the perfume of a box-hedge, for instance, and I am a small boy back in Allentown; there is the perfume which means Ivory Soap, and I am back at Eglinton on the back porch, where there was a copper wash basin and a roller towel and a cake of soap and a big oak pitcher of cold water (it was a copper bound pitcher in this case) "fresh from the well," and I am cleaning up before going in to dinner; then there is the smell of Arbor Vitæ trees in the warm sun, and I am at Eglinton going down an evergreen bordered walk which led to a little white house well known but not mentioned in polite society in those days; though in these our less fastidious but more clean minded times, Chick Sale has had no qualms in writing a book about it.

During the Great War when Mary Gladwin, of Akron, was in Belgrade as a nurse, we sent her out some cases of supplies, and in one case we put a dozen big bottles of Lavender water; and she told us that sometimes when a badly wounded soldier boy, or one who was terribly ill with fever, was wavering between the Here and the There, a piece of gauze wet with this fragrant Lavender and put to his face would waken old echoes and win him back to life again.

There is another house in Allentown of which I carry a clear picture in my mind. It is the house where Mr. Carroll lived, the parsonage of the Presbyterian Church up on the Hill; it faced the church whose rolling meadows of green lawns stretched down to the millpond; and those lawns were the blessed resting place of the bodies of so many of my forebears. My little brother George's body was laid there too; and the church was the sanctuary of my kinfolk's lives long before there was an Episcopal Church on Church Street. Mr. Carroll was a valued friend of the Eglinton family, and he and his were always welcome guests at the old place; I remember him well. But my liveliest memories of that House on the Hill are attached to Mr. Carroll's nephew, Ed Newton, who was a boyhood companion often in those joy filled summer days when life knew no "depressions," at least none that affected boys; we played together; we did all that boys can do on a farm, Ed, and my cousin Joe, and I. Ed is now a celebrity---A. Edward Newton as he is known to literary circles; his must be "the pen of a ready writer," for there is fascinating spontaneity in all that he writes. It was a great pleasure to me to welcome Ed and Babette to my Oriole House in 1931; nothing in years has given me more of an uplift than their visit; it was not only their personal charm which they both have in large degree, but it was the spiritual impulse which I got from their visit. Ed and I met and talked as if the days between then and boy time meant nothing; we took up living just where we left off so many decades ago. Now I know that space and time have no actuality, no power to divide, and that personality is imperishable in its essence.

 

V

MINNESOTA AND SCHOOL DAYS
1874-1879

IT WAS in 1874 that summers at Eglinton were no more for me, for in that year I left Burlington, Iowa, with deep regret and went with my family to Red Wing, Minnesota, where Father had accepted a call to be Rector of Christ Church, as successor to his oldtime collegemate, Edward Randolph Welles who had been made Bishop of Wisconsin. It was a new kind of work which Father took up there; the population of that part of the West had a large Scandinavian group. Swedes and Norwegians who had their own Lutheran Churches with services in Swedish and Norwegian, and also their devoted pastors conducted schools for the children in which all the instruction was in the languages of the Old World. But in time the children drifted into the public schools and soon forgot their Swedish and Norwegian; so that so far as their homelands and their home tongues were concerned, a generation grew up which "knew not Joseph." The Scandinavian people were all used to a liturgical form of worship in their churches; Confirmation was a dignity added to child life which appealed to them. The Episcopal Church seemed to them much the same as the Church in which they had been brought up; and as a consequence Christ Church, Red Wing, came in time to have the largest Scandinavian congregation in America.

There were also quite a number of Indians in the congregation, Chippewas who lived in tepees in the river bottoms; they made a scant living by fishing and hunting; they used to come into church on a Sunday in single file following their Chief, and on Easter Day the collection plate would be piled with bead-work which was all that they had for offering. One source of gain for these Indians was the abundance of wild pigeons, carrier pigeons, now almost extinct, although flocks of them have been seen here in California in recent years. These pigeons nested in the cottonwoods along the bayous, and when the squabs were developed but not yet ready to fly, the Indians would tip over the nests with long poles and bring the young birds into town to trade. More than once I have seen an Indian kneeling in the stern of a "dugout" (a canoe made of a log hollowed out by chipping and burning) and the whole of the dugout, from bow to stern, would be piled full of wild pigeon squabs. These Indians would come to the rectory, enter without knocking as they would into a tepee, go into Father's study, bow, say, "How! How!" squat on the floor, and take off their wet moccasins, and hang them on the fender in front of the open fireplace to dry; in due course of time they would reverse the process, and go out saying "How! How!" again; and usually taking with them some gifts which the kindly pastor sent to the women and children.

My own stay in Red Wing was brief. We went there in 1874, and in 1875 I was sent to Shattuck School at Faribault, Minnesota, and from that time my wanderings began. I have said that "home" is a place to which you want to go back when you are away from it; and I had left home, for me, when we left Burlington. I wonder if adults ever realise what such changes mean to children. And so going away to school was not a grievance to me, rather it was a relief, for homesickness for the place I loved was still upsetting my equilibrium; to such an extent, in fact, that I think the family welcomed the chance to shift the responsibility of a boy who evidently did not fit where he was, to another authority and training. It was to Shattuck School and to my teachers there that I owe most of what was constructive in my young life. My scholastic education, apart from the Latin and Greek which Father had taught me and the arithmetic which I learned from Mr. Graff, was not only begun but largely finished before I left Shattuck, and all that I have learned since was based on that foundation. I am not really proud of any accomplishment in my whole career; but I had a deep thrill of satisfaction, on going back to Shattuck to make an address at one of the commencements after the War, to see white tablets on either side of a doorway bearing the names of Shattuck boys who had rendered service in the Great War, in the order of their graduation. And while it may not be said that "Abou-Ben Watson's name led all the rest," yet my name was very near the top; I think that I was second in years of the men who rendered service "over seas."

I have known few teachers anywhere of finer calibre than those at Shattuck. First there was Professor Champlin, dear "Old Champ," a man who could teach mathematics to anyone who was half way intelligent; he did not succeed in teaching me algebra to any great extent, but he did not mind that, for I don't think that he really loved algebra himself; geometry was his pet prize, and how he could teach it! He made even me enthuse over geometry, though I don't consider geometry mathematics at all, it is a branch of logic. He had us learn by heart all the theorems in Davies' Legendre, learn them by Book and Number, so that he could say, "Watson, Book III: Theorem 6." And Watson would have to stand and recite it word for word; then "Go to the board and draw the figure and write out the formula"; and if you did not remember the formula just as it was written but could make up a formula which would carry the demonstration, he was all the more pleased.

Then there was Harry Whitney, dear old "Whit"; I think that he did more to make Shattuck great than any other one man in its long story: he was a Shattuck boy himself, and he loved the old School; it was his very life; and what a blessing it was that he could stay by it to his last days! He taught me German and made me love it; I can repeat from memory to-day Goethe and Schiller and Heine and Fichte, that I learned from him. Is there anything in all literature with a more majestic roll than Das Lied von der Glocke?

"Fest gemauert in der Erden
Steht die Form aus Lehm gebrannt";

I have not looked at it for years, and I know it all still. And "Whit" was my Latin professor; note the distinction, please; I said that he taught me German, but it was Father who taught me Latin. When I went to Shattuck at fifteen I had already read Caesar, and Virgil, and Ovid's Metamorphoses. Think of it! They are now banned by the censor in this our hypocritical and supersensitive America; but in my clean day they were select diet for small boys; and I had also read Cicero's Orations, and Sallust, and probably something more; but at any rate "Whit" had an easy time of it with me so far as Latin was concerned.

And then came a new breed of teachers at Shattuck. "Champ" and "Whit" were of the Old Guard; but some of the new ones were fine, especially Camp in Greek, and Pyle (John Gilpin) in English. Greek was an easy proposition for I had had a good start at that; and English was easy too, for Pyle knew how to teach it as well as write it; he quickened my love for etymology which had already had good beginnings in my Latin, "Unde Derivatur?"; and his training in English was so good that when I entered college and would have made a complete flunk in algebra, they let me through on condition that I pass special examinations in English and in German. That college was an educationally living thing and not a mechanized grist mill.

Shattuck is a military school, and we were under West Point men, regular Army Officers, Lancaster and Danes, of the Third Artillery. I have come to have a great regard for the Third Artillery, the Fifth Cavalry, and the Seventh Cavalry, which has come from my association with some of their officers.

There is an active propaganda going on at present against military training for boys. In speaking on this subject, I speak en connaissance de cause, for I know war. I saw four years of it in France at close range and at its worst; I had four years of training in a military school, and for a time I was chaplain of a regiment of the National Guard. The contention that military schools, military training in schools, the R.O.T.C., and student training camps, tend to create war loving instincts in boys and encourage brutality in conduct is in my sober judgment, an opinion which is the product of an exaggerated, unreal, and fictitious pacifism; by that I mean that it calls itself pacifism, and is nothing of the kind. True pacifism---and I claim to be a pacifist in this sense---is a deep and reasoned faith in peace as the very foundation of those values which are the meaning of the life of man or nation. And I know neither man nor nation so earnestly peace loving as those who know war, and know what it is, and know its ways and methods. It was an American General who said that "War is Hell"; and those of us who lived through the four years of the Great War and saw it firsthand know well that he spoke the brutal truth. Such men do not love war; their military experience and their military training have not made them brutal; and the tactical lessons given to boys and young men in military schools and training camps have precisely the opposite effect from what is claimed by their opponents.

Military training inculcates a sense of order, of right, of duty above all else; under its influence a boy comes face to face with a known duty, and that duty is for him, for the moment, the supreme imperative; instantly, without question,

"Their's not to make reply,
Their's not to reason why."

And just as he is trained to protect the weak, to defend the right, by his life if need be, so is he led to realise that that peace by which his country can alone live its fullest life must be his own life's meaning and motive. War is the very destruction of all that a soldier holds dear; of all that he is taught by his training to consider of first importance in life. I look on my own military training as that in my life which gave me self-command, and which prepared me best for facing uncompromisingly every difficult situation in which the exigencies of living ever placed me. And I can say unhesitatingly that whatever I have been able to accomplish in the way of constructive or directing work in my life had its possibility of accomplishment in that habit of instantaneous, unquestioning obedience to the duty which faced me, that Shattuck School was founded to teach.

Do I then maintain that every boy should have military school training? I do not. It all depends on the individual boy; for some boys it is the finest possible kind of education; other boys would profit more by a wholly different type of character building. For a school is primarily a character education rather than a brain education; it is an individual education rather than a mass education. Every school worthy of the name has a character of its own; it is an entity, a personality in the upbuilding life of the nation. For the boy whose need is the acquirement of self-control, whose need is to learn to value duty above impulse, I rank military training very high in its possibility of developing and bringing out the most of a man that is in him. Military training cultivates a spirit of self-reliance in a boy rather than a spirit of subservience and of dependence on others. Sooner or later any boy in the battalion may become an officer if he serves sufficiently long and sufficiently well; and as such he is put in a position where he must exercise responsibility, and make instantaneous decisions affecting others as well as himself; and I consider that sort of training as of inestimable value to our American youth.

It may be that just because this was the sort of training which I most needed myself I contrast college with school in favour of the latter. I got infinitely more out of my school days than I did out of my college days; in fact I am of the opinion that college training, as it exists at present in our American life, is a very questionable experiment for the American boy. This statement is both experience and observation, and it is confirmed by the testimony of many college heads. Life is too strenuous a game to-day to justify putting in four years of it in a boy---training, much of which is non-essential and non-productive. I have talked with numbers of college students in recent years, with the distinct purpose of learning from them just how large a percentage of their college years was given to real scholastic work and what percentage was given to "college activities" and various other kindred side issues. The result is that my conviction has been made all the more sure that if a boy could have two more years than the usual course at a first rank boy's school, graduating in course and remaining for two extra years of an extended course, purposely designed to fit him for his after work, whatever that might be planned to be, and then could go directly to the professional school of his choice to prepare there for his life-work, or else to a real university for postgraduate work, or directly into business, we would have helped our young manhood in an immeasurable degree towards efficient living, as compared with our present methods. This proposed plan would put the boy into business or into a professional school in time to save for him the two years which I think are often wasted.

As it is to-day, the boy graduates from a "prep-school" after four years there; he puts in four more years in college; an additional four years in a professional school, making twelve years in all of scholastic work, and if he enters school at fourteen or fifteen he is twenty-six or twenty-seven years old, still being supported by his parents, before he can get to work at all. And often he must wait another two or three years before his profession will yield him a living for himself, to say nothing of a living for another, so that he will in all likelihood be twenty-nine or thirty years of age before he can marry and take his place in upbuilding that human society which is his vital reason for existence. I hold this method to be a dangerous procedure for the average young human animal, and furthermore it is a waste of what ought to be some of the finest and most joyous moments out of life at a time when that life is capable of its finest idealism, and is most fitted to develop a kindred idealism in human society.

 

VI

COLLEGE AND POSTGRADUATE WORK
1879-1884

MY CLASS at Shattuck was 1879; and from there I went to Trinity College, Hartford, Connecticut, where I entered sophomore. Father picked Trinity' as a college for me because he was an Alpha Delt, and there was a good Chapter of Alpha Delta Phi at Trinity, and at that time the Alpha Delta Chapter at Hobart which was Father's college had given up its Charter. I say that Father picked the college for me; but I am certain that the choice was guided by that same overruling influence which has ever chosen for me hitherto, and always will; for Trinity gave me a kind of training which I might not have had anywhere else that I would have been likely to go.

I have commented on the fact that I got more out of school than I did out of college, and one reason for that was that I went to college too well prepared in every thing except mathematics, and it was a foregone conclusion that that science would ever be "a lost art" for me. In school I had to work; in college it was all too easy: I had read all the Latin and Greek which any average college course prescribed; I knew German so well that I was excused from attending the German classes; I had had fine grounding in English rhetoric and in philology; the result of all this was that I liked what I liked and what I was capable of understanding; and as for the rest of it I gave it up in dumb despair.

My roommate, Clarence Kurtz, to whom my easy things were hard, would win mathematical prizes with solutions of problems which he would write backwards and forwards and sideways; I did not envy him his power and skill for I knew that such things were not for me; and I went to some of my classes with the type of preparation, or lack of it, which I once used to try with Father when he was teaching me Latin or Greek; but with Father my bluff never worked, and he would look at me half sorrowfully and half regretfully and would say, "Well, Son, trusting to your former ignorance again, I see." And that is just the kind of "trusting" that I made use of all too often during those days of half joyous, half dubious progress toward attaining a college education. Those were days when a college course was an affair as invariable as the course of the planets; such things as "optionals" were never heard of. Who would "opt"? not boys certainly, they were not considered capable of it; we were like the historic character of the dim and misty past of whom it is written,---

"Methuselah ate what he found on his plate,
He ate it because it was chow"

We took education as it was provided; and what was not learning could at least be considered discipline. And it is true that Trinity gave me a training which I very much needed, which was in fact essential to my after-work---, and that was training in social savoir-faire; and I got that training chiefly from the "brothers of A.D.Phi." The students at Trinity in my day were an exceptional lot of fellows; they had manners and they had breeding above the average; and one of the things which was early learned on going to Trinity was that there are certain things which "simply are not done." I had never found that attitude among boys before; and because boys are humans they are herd animals and run with the herd. And I learned a lot at Trinity scholastically; all apart from the initiation which I got into social savoir-faire; for there were good men on the faculty then; and some of them I remember most gratefully. My own favourite was "old Brock," Doctor John Brocklesby, who was our Professor of Physics. That was a subject which appealed to me immensely; and Dr. Brocklesby was a past master at teaching physics. The class sat on long benches in his lecture room, half surrounding the tables which bore the instruments for the experiments which were performed in our presence; these benches were stayed by long slats about eighteen inches below the seats and running parallel to them; and by putting one's heels on one of these slats and exerting the lifting force of the leg muscles one could rise in the air a foot or more above the bench. It was on a day when some interesting experiments with Leyden jars had been made, in the course of which an overcharge and consequent discharge of electricity had shattered the jar that some mischievous genius among us gave the familiar signal for a concerted bench raising, and all on the bench rose in the air like a line of automatons, and the ancient bench collapsed. Dr. John looked around, and said, "What was the matter with that bench?" and some wit said, "It must have been overcharged, Professor"; with his quizzical grin Dr. John came back with this, "It'll be charged in the bills." The best of all for me was when Dr. John would ask me to stay after class and help him arrange the instruments for the next day's lecture; that was real college instruction. As one once said of a Williams College President who would take a boy for a walk with him in the woods: "Mark Hopkins on one end of a log and the student on the other end---that's education."

There was much of that personal contact between faculty and student at Trinity. It is a possibility in a small college which cannot be too highly valued, the coming in contact personally with the big man, with the professor himself. The greatest of such contacts that we made was the coming to know on human terms a man whose loving friends called him "John of Connecticut," Bishop John Williams, a prince among men, a really human man; a scholar, a philosopher, and yet a boy at heart; he would come to our rooms and talk and tell stories by the hour. He was our lecturer on the Philosophy of History, and years later when I came to read Allen's Continuity of Christian Thought, I found myself on familiar ground. Bishop Williams was a real Connecticut churchman. He once said when asked if he were going with other bishops to London for a certain Conference: "I am too old, and I have read history too well to begin pilgrimages to Lambeth at my time of life."

My college fraternity meant more to me than all my other college experiences, and its influence on my development was marked. The Alpha Delta Phi tradition has always been maintained on a high level, and the leaders of our Phi Kappa Chapter were exceptionally fine. The seniors of the group used wisely their position and their influence by counselling the younger men with a view to keeping the credit of the Chapter high in matters of scholarship and morale; furthermore they were wise mentors in all that concerned that most attractive and welcoming social life which Hartford offered to the college student Coming as I did to the college, a western plainsman, I learned a lot from my Alpha Delt contacts which 1 could have learned in no other way; and that is college fraternity life at its best. In 1881 in my junior year I made Phi Beta Kappa; and in 1882 I received a parchment wherein the world was advised in most elegant Latin that I was possessed of the degree of Bachelor of Arts and was entitled to all the rights and privileges thereto pertaining.

On graduating from college the teaching profession opened its doors to me. I was offered work at Holderness School at Holderness, New Hampshire; at Harcourt Place Academy at Gambier, Ohio: and also the position of the instructorship in Greek at Seabury Divinity School. As it was by that time determined that I was destined for the ministry of the Episcopal Church, I took the position at Seabury, where in addition to a small stipend I had my living and my theological education.

It was my father and my mother who gave me the only "call" which I had at that time to enter the work of the ministry; and the strongest influence in the "call" was my mother's earnest wish. I believe that she thought her Samuel was destined from his earliest beginnings to follow the prophetic footsteps of his father and his grandfather; and I bless her for her faith in me.

There are two kinds of "calls" to a lifework. Some have had an imperative inner urge to follow a destined course; and others for whom the only "call" has been that the way opened in that direction and there was no other way which opened, so they followed the path of least resistance. The latter was my case. I have grown, hopingly grown to value and to seek for those mystic impulses which are so precious to those who gain sufficient spiritual stature to contact them; but this has been only in the later years of my life; in my earlier years I was both by heredity and by training an intellectual pragmatist.

At Seabury I enjoyed teaching Greek. I was by inheritance a teacher, and I knew Greek so well that I found keen satisfaction in teaching it to others and in making possible for them their further advancement. And at Seabury I had another joy, the thrill which comes from widened horizons, from seeing new meanings. This came to me from the instruction given by Professor James McBride Sterrett; he was an independent, fearless, unshackled thinker, and he helped me greatly toward spiritual freedom.

In my second year at Seabury I found that the severity of the winter weather was telling on my health; so I entered the University of the South at Sewanee, Tennessee, with the beginning of their 1884 term, and remained there until June of that year. At Sewanee the Professor of Ecclesiastical History was Dr. Gailor, now Bishop of Tennessee, and later to become my Diocesan when he was made Presiding Bishop. My association with him at Sewanee began a friendship which was the prelude to a closer intimacy in the Paris of the first days of the War, in 1914. Dr. Gailor was a wonderful interpreter of ecclesiastical history; I count it as the chief blessing of my student days to have been taught to read the story of the past from men like Bishop Williams and Bishop Gailor, both of them scholars who interpreted history in the light of facts, and never considered that ecclesiastical heredity called on them to make facts fit themselves into preconceived theories. Dr. Wilmer and Dr. Du Bose were also among my instructors at Sewanee; both of them men who were essentially lovable personally, and whose guidance was most helpful to a mind just growing its thinking wings. The whole atmosphere of Sewanee was delightful; and I look back upon my stay there with deep appreciation.

 

VII

IN MISSOURI AND IOWA
1884-1897

MEXICO, MISSOURI

WHEN I went to Seabury to study, Bishop Whipple was the head of all the work at Faribault he confirmed me as a boy at Shattuck; and it was only natural that I should have become one of his candidates for Orders. But when I found that Minnesota winters would preclude my working there Bishop Whipple transferred me, at my request, to Bishop Robertson of the Diocese of Missouri. It was in Missouri I received deacon's orders in 1884, and there that I began work as a missionary on a stage route covering two counties, Audrain and Rails. After my canonical examination in June 1884, at which ceremony the officiants were Dr. Runcie of St. Joseph, Dr. Cameron Mann, afterward Bishop of South Florida, and Dr. Ethelbert Talbot, who became Bishop of Bethlehem, and who also became my Diocesan when he was made Presiding Bishop. My deacon's orders were conferred in Grace Church, Kansas City, on Trinity Sunday, 1884, and the next day I betook myself to my new duties as "Vicar in ordinary" of Mexico, Missouri, and parts adjacent. I was ordained priest in the little Church in Mexico, and I remained there until 1886.

While I was on duty in Mexico another part of my life's story began. I was married on January 7, 1885, to Jeannette Grace, daughter of James Nevil Watkins and Ellen Grant Watkins. Mr. Watkins was an Englishman by birth, born at Banwell near Bristol; and Mrs. Watkins was a Canadian from Montreal of Scotch ancestry (Grant-MacLean). Father and Mother came to Kansas City at this time, and Father and Dr. Cameron Mann officiated at the marriage; and the day of the marriage Jeannette and I went to Mexico to begin work and life together.

A missionary post in an interior Missouri county was a good experience for a beginner, and Audrain County was at that time a sort of border region, half Old South and half New West; it was just north of "the Kingdom of Callaway" as Callaway County was called, where precedent took precedence over principle, so far as matters of neighbourhood dealings were concerned, and no better law could be invoked than "We've always done it that way." The church building in Mexico was a new structure of brick, and I was the first to minister in it. It lacked much in the way of adornment, and that fact brought me my first lesson in diplomacy. A devoted lady in the congregation offered to give a brass altar cross; in my innocent ignorance of the fact that an "ornament" of that type might evoke questions of dogmatic theology, and not deeming for a moment that there could possibly be any objections to it being used, I accepted it and gave it a place in the little chancel where it lit up the surroundings with a golden gleam of colour. The Sunday morning which followed brought an issue: the Senior Warden offered emphatic objection as he had full right to do. The two wardens of the church were splendid men, both of them; the Senior Warden was Fred Llewellyn, a Kentuckian with a Southern Episcopalian's feelings on the matter of the appurtenances of ritualism, and with a Welshman's tenacity; and the junior Warden was judge Lackland, also a Southerner but of the suave and easy-going type. I was in a dilemma. I did not want to hurt the sensitive nature of the giver of the gift, and I did not want to give in to what seemed to me only personal prejudice; so after the morning's interview with the Senior Warden, whose Protestant and protesting opposition held firm, I went, in the afternoon to have a conference with the junior Warden. I sputtered and talked about rights, but judge Lackland set me straight by saying: "Now what we want to do is to get this little church going; we want people; we want Fred; and as Fred is the main issue in this question because be means the best interests of our little church, don't you think you'd better let Fred have his way? You can catch a darn sight more flies with molasses than you can with vinegar." The judge won, and I tried the "molasses" way; and Fred Llewellyn was my devoted supporter from that time on.

The Campbellites, as they were called in the Southwest, were the strongest congregation in Mexico. On one occasion they arranged to have a special preacher come for a series of meetings; he was a man of a most combative turn of mind, and he used his most forceful arguments to demonstrate the validity of the claims of his Church; he knew his Bible with his finger tips, and he could flip over the leaves and in an instant light on any text he wanted to find. In the back of the church at one of the evening meetings, there was a Methodist evangelist of the type which was called in those parts a "locust-preacher," meaning thereby a circuit rider. He took notice that all the Campbellite brother's arguments were reinforced by New Testament texts; whereupon, taking advantage of a pause in the flow of pulpit eloquence, he rose in his place and called out: "Brother, if you'll let me up in that pulpit, I'll muss up the front part of that book for you."

In 1885 I was nominated by Bishop Robertson to The Washburn Memorial Fund Trustees to receive a gift of books. The Rev. Dr. Washburn had created an endowment to be known by his name, the income from which was to encourage some of the younger clergy of the Church to read and think; the choice of the men who were to receive the benefit of this gift was left in the hands of some of the bishops. A list was sent me of a large number of titles from which I was free to make my choice of twenty-five volumes; one only restriction being made which was that Robertson's Sermons and Allen's Continuity of Christian Thought must be among the books selected. To this gift from the Washburn Fund, and to the two books here named I owe very much; the reading of these books was for me like the clipping of a bird's wings and leaving him free to fly by himself in a limitless sky. I had grown up in my religious thinking under the tutelage of the vicarious system of theology; no sermon was justified which did not present "the whole plan of salvation"; there were ne plus ultras in doctrine, the questioning or even the reinterpreting of which was banned; thinking was allowable only within set pales; and I felt secretly guilty when my mind ventured beyond the "thus it is written"; and Allen and Robertson set me free. Never since have l known a joy of the spirit greater than that of the spiritual liberty which those two men gave me. To feel guiltless in giving my own interpretations of life free range; to stand on my own intellectual feet and speak the truth as I saw the truth must be for me---that was the opening of a door into new possibilities of power. For years Allen's methods of interpretation guided my thinking, and Robertson's visions moulded my preaching in substance and in method. I wonder of how many thousands the same thing might be said. And this is a tribute chiefly to the man who had the vision to see what a small sum of money wisely guided in its expenditure in stimuli to thinking could do to make it possible for numbers of religious teachers to learn to "speak with authority, and not as the Scribes," men who must win vision for themselves if others are to gain it from them.

My stipend in Mexico was raised to $90 a month at that time; and my last year in Mexico was one of the very few years in my ministry when my stipend paid my living expenses and still left me a little surplus to put by as savings. For when I left Mexico I had a few shares of Stock in a Building & Loan Association which I had bought out of surplus earnings.

 

IOWA CITY, IOWA

In 1886 I was made Rector of Trinity Church, Iowa City, Iowa; and in the summer of that year we began an interesting life there. At first we lived in lodgings; then for a year we lived in a rented house; and the year following we moved into the rectory which was next the church: this rectory had a bathroom upstairs---my first bathroom---and it had a hot air furnace in the cellar. Iowa City was a town of great interest. First of all, it was the seat of the State University, and that meant that it was the home of a group of men of unusual talent and ability; furthermore, my living there gave me the opportunity to keep up scholastic work. Iowa City was distinctly a university town, which means that it was small enough so that the University dominated the town; this was a great advantage both for the town and for the University. The greatest event in University life during my Iowa City days, as also for my life in relation to the University was the coming of Charles A. Schaeffer as President. Dr. Schaeffer had been Professor of Chemistry and Dean of the Collegiate Faculty at Cornell; he was a broad-minded man of wide scholastic vision; he had had an experience which qualified him to cope ably with the difficult problems of administration which a semi-political institution of learning presented; and he had a quality of seeming to bend, yet without yielding, which brought about the results he sought with no sacrifice of fundamentals on his part. The President's house was a centre of social and intellectual life hitherto unknown in Iowa City; and this was made possible by the gifts which the President's wife brought to a task which was as difficult for her as was the President's for him. Mrs. Schaeffer was Evelyn Schuyler, a woman of unusual grace and charm, qualities which were the setting for a brilliant and versatile intellectuality. Official receptions at the President's house were what the term indicates; but the dinners which preceded them were never dull, for Mrs. Schaeffer had the gift of "assorting" her people, as the French put it. I never was a guest at a party of the kind which was mal assorti; I always found myself next to some one who either had something to say, or who, better still perhaps was a good listener. And it should be noted that many a politico-educational impasse was solved at those dinners which had failed utterly of solution by endless argumentations in committee.

There was a family in Iowa City who welcomed me as an old friend, although I had never known them before going there to live. Years and years before, in Owego, N. Y., my grandfather had officiated at a marriage ceremony which united the families of two of the older residents there; and in course of time the young couple, Mr. and Mrs. Charles Ransom, came to Iowa City to make their home. Years later my father christened the daughter of this couple; and when I came to Iowa City to take charge of the church there, the first marriage at which I officiated was the marriage of this daughter, and in time I christened her children. This is an unusual record for America, that three generations of one family should minister to three generations of another family.

Years more passed and one day in Paris, Lovering Hill, one of Charles Ransom's grandsons whom I had christened in Iowa City, came to Paris and was at our house as a guest; he had been serving on the Serbian Front, and Jeannette and I were the first persons whom he had come to know, who could tell him of his old home where he was born and of his people; for he had left there in boyhood and had been educated in Europe as a boy. Charles Ransom was the autocrat of the neighbourhood; he had education, wealth, and character. There was an Englishman who did odd jobs of gardening about the town, and one day a fellow townsman of Mr. Ransom's saw this man occupied in (what was called) skinning the turf from a stretch of green pasture land across the street; it was a beautiful piece of rolling woodland which belonged to Mrs. Ella Lyon. This gentleman, Mr. Rigg, called to the gardener man, and said, "Bob, I don't want that done; it makes the place look ugly." In those days making a lawn was done by laying square blocks of turf on prepared and levelled ground instead of the slower process of seeding; and blue-grass sod was plentiful and easy to be had. "Do you hear me, Bob?" said the gentleman, as there was no interruption in the process of devastation. "Yes, Sir," said Bob, and drove off with his cart. In an hour or so, however, he was back and at the same performance. "Bob, didn't I tell you that I didn't want that done?" "Yes, Sir," said Bob, "but Mr. Ransom told me to come and get this sod for his lawn." "Well," said Mr. Rigg, "who is Mr. Ransom anyhow? he's made of dirt like the rest of us, isn't he?" "Yes, Sir," said Bob, "Yes, Sir, Mr. Rigg, but you know there's odds in dirt, Sir." This same Bob was one of my parochial responsibilities, so on one occasion I ventured to suggest the desirability of Bob's being confirmed. "What's that, Sir," said Bob. I duly explained. "Oh, that's all right, Sir," said Bob, "I don't need it." "Why not," said I. "Why, Sir," said Bob, "it's this way; I was christened when I was a baaby in the Old Country; and I had the other thing done to me afore you come, when Paason Judd was the minister."

The Lyon family meant a great deal to us in our Iowa City life. Mrs. Lyon, Sr., was a woman of strong character, and she was the centre of an interesting family of which she was the matriarch. Her son Lois was the junior Warden of the church; he was a man deeply imbued with a sense of beauty, and he loved to work out his beauty instinct in craftsmanship; he did beautiful things in wood and metal and some of them I have with me to-day. His wife was a little lady of delicate beauty and gentle charm, and her children grew up to call her blessed. One of her sons has inherited his father's strong and sensitive fingers; be is a craftsman of a scientific profession, a dental surgeon who has made a name for himself in Santa Barbara.

It is a great pleasure to me to meet or to know of boys whom I knew years ago and who now as men have arrived at positions of responsibility. Richard Lyon is one of those boys; and there is another of them here in Santa Barbara, Edward Clinton; I knew him well as a young fellow in Iowa City, son of a widowed mother, and a clerk in a clothing store where I used to make my purchases: his unfailing courtesy won him friends there; and to-day he is one of the leaders in the mercantile life of Santa Barbara.

There is another man of note in our national life whom I knew in Iowa City, and thinking of him leads me to speak of the choir in the church in Iowa City. Dr. James Grant Gilchrist was the trainer of the choir and the organist of the church; and one of the boys in the choir was William D. Connor, now Major General Connor of the United States Army, and superintendent of the U. S. Military Academy at West Point. Dr. Gilchrist was one of the most versatile geniuses whom I have ever known. He was a brilliant and cultivated musician, a surgeon of unusual skill; he was a writer on scientific subjects; he was colonel of the Third Regiment Iowa National Guard. I studied surgery with him; I was Chaplain of the regiment of which he was the Colonel; and he was the organist at my church. He was a purist in music; he had absolutely no patience with anything which was commonplace in the rendering of the services; his choir would have done credit to any city. For him the church and the services were simply a background for the musical setting, and the sermon was at all times an interruption, and sometimes an impertinence; and I am not wholly certain but that often he was in the right in that opinion.

The Dey family were very good to us: they took us to their home and hearts when first we went to Iowa City. Peter A. Dey was from the same college as my father; and that was a tie at once. He was the Union Pacific's first chief engineer in the early days, and I have heard him spoken of as "the man who wouldn't steal a railroad"; his unswerving integrity blocked at one time a move for certain unfair proceedings in the development of a Western road; in Iowa be became one of the Railroad Commissioners of the State, a position in which his opinions carried influence and authority.

The Senior Warden of the church was Solomon Coldren, a man of wonderful balance and judgment; he was my next door neighbour, and he and his family were our constant friends. A nephew of his, Clifford Coldren, has now become one of the important men in the management of the Quaker Oats Company in Chicago.

During my Missouri days I gained the friendship of Ethelbert Talbot, Rector of the church at Macon, and the head of a boys school there; he was one of my examining chaplains, and he presented me for priest's orders. It was a treat for me to go over to Macon from Mexico for a Sunday and to officiate there when the rector was away on a missionary errand. He had a coloured factotum, commonly known as Uncle Billy. Uncle Billy would come into your room in the morning before you were up, to light the fire and to et the shoes to clean; if you did not wake up and turn over and speak to him he would rattle the fireirons until you did. He had known a boy who came from an interior Missouri town and who had grown up under Talbot's influence, and who had been ordained; and it was announced that he would officiate in Macon on a given Sunday. On the Sunday previous the occupant of the prophet's chamber said to the dark ministrant at the fireplace, "Uncle Billy, I hear that Mr.------is to preach in the church here on Sunday next: I suppose you are going to hear him." "No, Suh, I ain't," said Uncle Billy. "But, why not," said the occupant of the bed. "You've known him so long. I'd think that you'd like to hear him." "Well, Suh, it's dis way, Suh," said Uncle Billy; "If I goes to de chu'ch and sees dat gemman a standin' up dere in dat pulpit and a expoundin' ob de Scriptures, I couldn't never help fum thinkin' 'bout dat tex' which says, 'Dey ain't no good kin come out o' Lazarene.'"

From that old association of Missouri days with Talbot, it came about that when he was made Bishop of Wyoming he wrote me a letter full of enthusiasm for his "People of the Plains" and telling me of the thrill of life in the Great Out of Doors, and offering me the position of Dean of his Cathedral at Laramie. I had always been keen on out of door living, so I accepted his offer and went out with high visions of new work to do.

It was on Commencement Day of this year at the University of Iowa that I received a signal honour, and my information of it came to me in this way. For some reason I had been prevented that year from following my usual custom of attending the commencement. As I was returning home from the errand which had called me away, I met a friend who greeted me as "Doctor"; and on seeing my astonished look he said, "Why, didn't you know that they gave you a 'D.D.' this morning at commencement?" I am right in calling it a signal honour, for it was one of the very few degrees of "D.D." which had ever been given by the University up to that time, and it was announced at the commencement that the degree had been awarded "on the nomination of the Scientific Faculty." My association with the Scientific Faculty was one of great importance for me; in fact I may well say that that association was a very real part of my education. There were men on that faculty who were scholars, students, original thinkers; men like Andrews, and Calvin, and McBride, and Nutting; and from the medical group men like Boehring, and Gilchrist, and Woods Hutchinson; their study group was called "The Baconian Club"; they made me a member of it, and one of the conditions for membership was that the proponent should be actively engaged in scientific study of some sort.

So at the mature age of twenty-eight I became Doctor of Divinity; and then a cathedral dean and set out for Wyoming.

That was an expedition which ended like many another crusade. A few months of life in Laramie made us realise that we could not stand the altitude, so I resigned to become Rector of St. Paul's, Des Moines, Iowa. Here in Des Moines I found old friends, and made new ones. George F. Henry had been a colleague in many an Iowa Convention; and he made much possible for me in the Des Moines Church. Simon Casady and his wife who was Rose Conarroe (she was one of the loveliest of women) made their home ours. And here must be placed the record of another boy who has made a name and place in the wider world---Tom Casady, now Bishop of Oklahoma, was one of my Des Moines choir boys. Another Des Moines friend who has become a man of note is Marcus Kavanagh, now judge of the Superior Court of Cook County, Illinois; he was Lieutenant Colonel of the Third Iowa when I was the chaplain. Des Moines brings back other happy memories, our friendship with the Hubbell's, and the Hippee's, and with Oliver Perkins. I officiated at the marriage of Mary Windsor and Fred Hubbell; and the Countess Wachtmeister, who was Beulah Hubbell, was one of my parishioners in the Paris Church when I went to France. The people in Des Moines were more than good to us, and I might have stayed there many years longer; but I had not regained my health fully after the Wyoming experience, and I found it necessary to take a complete rest for some months. So feeling that I could not do justice to the growing work in Des Moines I resigned, and spent a whole summer idling in the Wisconsin pine woods; after which I took up work at Iowa City again, and remained there until 1897. Thus it was in 1890 that I took up again my associations with Iowa University life.

It was during this second stay in Iowa City that a suggestion came to me, which had a strong appeal for me at the time. Years before, as a boy, I had gained the friendship of Charles King, Captain King, and later General King; he was a near relative of Madame Waddington and of Miss Henrietta King, who were afterward valued friends of my Paris days. I had a letter from Captain King in which he strongly urged me to make application for an appointment as chaplain in the United States Army. The spirit of adventure came on me again, and I took up the matter seriously. Captain King said that he would see to the necessary endorsements from the Army side; leaving it to me to secure such endorsements as might be needed from bishops, and from men of influence in Washington. The result was that papers were filed on my behalf by General Schofield, Commanding General of the Army; by General Flagler, Chief of Ordnance; by many of the bishops; among politicians by our Iowa senators, Senator Allison and Senator Gear; and by J. J. Richardson, Secretary of the National Democratic Committee; and others. In the summer following the filing of these papers I went East to visit Father and Mother at Swedesboro, and at Mr. Richardson's suggestion I stopped in Washington to see the War Office and to find out by personal interview what the situation was. Every one whom I saw was most cordial. I was asked to luncheon at General Schofield's; and at the War Office I saw General Flagler and the Adjutant General; the latter told me that there ought to be no question at all as to the chaplaincy; that my recommendations outvalued any that had come to the office in years; and he asked me to go with him to see the Secretary of War. The Secretary of War was Mr. Lamont; and his comment was, "If the appointment rested with me I would sign the commission to-day; but the matter is wholly in the hands of the President; so far he has refused you; but I'll see him again to-day and tell him of my personal interview with you, and I'll ask him personally to appoint you. If you will come back and see me again to-morrow I may have favourable news for you." The President was Mr. Cleveland. On the following day I saw the Secretary of War again. He said, "The President refuses the appointment; he says that the Episcopal Church has already more than its share of chaplaincies; that there are good men on the list from among the Presbyterians; and that he proposes to fill all vacancies existing during his remaining short term of office from among them." It was characteristic of Mr. Cleveland; I had always admired him personally; and his consistent refusal diminished in no degree my high regard for the President. The Secretary of War said to me further, "There is a vacancy in the Navy, and if you will take that, I will see that your commission is issued to-day." That would have meant years of absence at Sea; and I did not feel justified in making that decision; so I declined the offer, with deep appreciation of the Secretary's friendship.

On my way from Washington to Philadelphia and Swedesboro, the car in which I had found a seat was invaded by a host of young people, and a young lady stopped by my seat---the only vacant place left---and said, "May I sit here?" She told me en route that she was a member of an Opera Company which had been playing in Washington, and that they were on their way to Atlantic City for a week of opera on the Pier. During that week Father and I went down to Atlantic City for a week of salt air and sea bathing. One night we went to the Pier to see the opera, and saw there the young lady of the train who was a première danseuse; the day following we saw her again trying to induce a diminutive pug dog to take a liking to the surf. A month or so after my return to Iowa City I had a call from a young man who asked me to officiate at his marriage; he said that he was Musical Director of a Company which was playing a week of Light Opera at the Iowa City Opera House; and he asked that the marriage might take place at the rectory. At the appointed hour the young couple arrived, and as soon as the girl came in she said, "Why, I've seen you before"; it was the young lady of the Pier and the surf. Jeannette had the house full of flowers and asked them to stay to luncheon with us. When she took the girl to her room before luncheon was served and to do some pretty things for her, the girl broke down and cried, and said, "Please don't think that I am foolish, but this is the first time that I have ever been a guest in a private house; I was literally born on the stage; my mother was an actress; and stage life and hotel life is all that I have ever known." We heard from her from time to time afterward; and then later had word that she was seriously burned in a fire in a theatre.

 

PRACTICING MEDICINE

The next event of moment in my life was the result of reading a book by Dr. Jacob Gould Schurman called The Ethical Import of Darwinism. This subject had been troubling me for some time, and I was not satisfied with any solution of the question, which had come to my knowledge. As a consequence I decided to do some investigating at first hand and took up the study of biology at the University; and from that went on to histology, pathology, and anatomy; and as these are the foundations of a medical course I found that a hereditary hangover in the way of an inclination to the study of medicine was strong in me. My ancestors, Samuel Cooke, James Newell, and Elisha Newell on my mother's side were all medical men, as were also my great-grandfather and my great-great-grandfather on my father's side. So I followed up my microscopic laboratory work by taking lectures and clinics in the medical departments of the University, and in 1893 I received the degree of Doctor of Medicine from the University; and in due course I went before the State Board of Medical Examiners, passed their examinations, and received a license to practice medicine.

One of my treasured possessions, a book which I often use, is a souvenir of my graduation in medicine---William Cullen Bryant's Library of Poetry and Song; and on the flyleaf there is this inscription:

Dr. Watson, with love and congratulation
from
Ethelind and Margaret Swire.
March 14th, 1893.

Ethelind and Margaret Swire were two of the dearest little playmates one could ever have; their father and mother, Roger and Edith Swire, were our close friends, and we loved the children dearly.

My questions as to the ethical import of Darwinism were a serious issue in my mind. I was in that stage of life when ethical imports were grave concerns on which decisions must be rendered by myself to myself, then and there: I had studied Darwin, and Huxley, Spencer, Tyndall and Wallace, and I felt an inner urge to make up my mind for myself whether a type of materialistic determinism was to sweep away all possibility of confidence in the decisions of an intuitive conscience; what, in the final issue, was to be the basis of morals. The results of my studies I embodied in some papers which I read before the Baconian Club of the University. Years afterward on a day when we were guests at déjeuner at the Château de Pontault-Combault, I was talking to Monsieur Emil Boutroux, the eminent French philosopher, and he asked me what my title of "Doctor" signified. I told him of my studies in biology and morals, and of my conclusions; and Monsieur Boutroux told me that in the same year he was pursuing a similar course of study, to arrive at the same results.

The Château de Pontault-Combault is of especial interest because it once belonged to Madame Sans-Gène, who was in real life Madame la Maréchale Lefebvre. She was at one time a blanchisseuse of Paris. To be near Lefebvre, whose military rank was then Maréchal de Logis, she became a Vivandière in his Regiment. Lefebvre who was a brave man was promoted from one rank to another; distinguished himself at the capture of Dantzig in 1807; was made Maréchal of France and Duc de Dantzig. The former Vivandière, now Madame la Maréchale, offended the grandes dames of Napoleon's Court by her franchise and her utter independence of dress and manners and they combined to bring influence on the Emperor to relieve the Court of her presence: so Napoleon gave her the Château de Pontault-Combault which she much wanted. The play by her name gives an interesting picture of Madame Sans-Gène. There is a fascinating story called Le Fils de Madame Sans-Gène; and in the Château one may still see the closet where the mother kept the uniform of her boy. The Château is now the property of Monsieur Xavier Leon, the Directeur of the Review of Metaphysics and of Morals.

In 1896 I found that doubling in work, and the consequent strain of microscopic study had seriously affected my eyes, and examination showed that in my left eye there was a threatened detachment of the retina; with the result that I was advised by oculists to change my work for a time. To the question what I should do, the advice was to get more out of door life; open an office and practice medicine. This advice came at a time when it seemed almost providential; for Father had resigned his work in New Jersey, and was undetermined as to where he would settle. When he left Red Wing he took the rectorship of Christ Church, Swedesboro, New Jersey, an old Colonial Church in what had been one of the Swedish settlements on the Delaware. The Swedes who were early settlers on both sides of the Delaware River brought with them their ministers and their Church; but as this was British Colonial territory these ministers of the Swedish Lutheran State Church received their stipends from the Church of England Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts. In time as the Swedish language came to be less and less spoken by the people the ministers of the Swedish churches, under the leadership of Nicolas Collin, advised the Swedish authorities that it would be advisable that these churches be turned over to the Church of England, inasmuch as they had long received their support from that Church; all of which was done, and these Swedish Churches became parts of the Church of England in the Colonies. This old Colonial Church in Swedesboro with its dignified architecture and its conservative customs pleased Father much; it was also a relief to get away from the strain of Minnesota winters into a mild climate; and, for Mother, it was a joy to be in Jersey again, even if it was South Jersey. One deprivation which this move entailed on Father was the necessary separation from old friends in Minnesota, chief of whom in his affection and regard was the Rev. Elisha S. Thomas, Rector of St. Paul's Church, St. Paul, and afterward Bishop of Kansas. Dr. Thomas and my father were close akin intellectually, and spent many of their Mondays together, which was a great pleasure to Father, for this was one of the few great intimacies of his later life. Out of this association of Father's came my own friendship as a boy with Nathaniel S. Thomas, now the retired Bishop of Wyoming, who has his home here in Santa Barbara near me. Nat married Edith Prince, a woman of fine presence, keen mind, and great personal charm; and their being here has added much to my life in these later years.

In Swedesboro one of Father's vestrymen was Dr. L. F. Halsey, the typical "good physician" of the countryside; I always think of him when I see that well known engraving which pictures the doctor leaning over the bedside of a child. Dr. Halsey's son, Joseph G. Halsey, a dental surgeon who lived in the old Halsey home in Swedesboro, married my sister Mary; and so an old friendship became a closer tie. Joe Halsey was a gentleman in all that the word implies; I have never known a man more considerate of his womankind, nor could I imagine one more suited to my sister's character; for them both refinement was of the very essence of living.

It was in 1896 that Father resigned the Church in Swedesboro and accepted my invitation to come out to Iowa, and for some months Father and Mother and Sister Mary and my Aunt Mary made their home with us in the Iowa City rectory. Then when I found that I must give up church work for a time, Father was made Rector of the Iowa City Church in my place; and for the second time in the family history father succeeded son; for Father had charge of the Norwalk Church for a time till Grandfather could arrange to come from the East to take it. I then went to Chicago for some postgraduate work at Cook County Hospital; and on returning to Iowa City I bought a house and opened an office for the practice of medicine. Thus my medical studies had opened the way for me to render Father and Mother a very real service when it would be most worthwhile.

In Iowa City Father passed three years of what were among the happiest of his ministry. After three years of work there Father's health began to fail, and he resigned the church and moved into a house which he rented from our good friend, Mr. Lyon. Before moving time came there was a Confirmation in the church at the Easter time; it was the last class which Father presented, and he said of it that it was the one Confirmation class that he was really ever proud of, for they were all volunteers. At that service Father broke; and in a few months more he was gone; no serious ailment, but he simply felt that he was through. Mother survived him some years. Their bodies were laid to rest in the cemetery in Iowa City; I said the committal for them both, as I did also for my Aunt Mary whose going preceded Mother's. In noting my gratitude that I was able to render Father and Mother some measure of a grateful return for all that they had done for me, it is due that I make record of all that Sister Mary meant to our older folk, Father, Mother and Aunt Mary; her loving care of them, her patience and her devotion to them cannot be expressed in words. They were worth all of it, and more, for they were very rare souls. Mary Cooke Newell was an aristocrat in every fibre of her being, brave, fine, and lovely like a bit of old porcelain; and my little mother was a saint. I can see her now with her little black leather book of Devotions (Dr. Hook's) in her lap; and her hour of morning meditation, of real mystic devotion, was the strength of her day. Mother would not have known what the word mystic stood for, but she was one.

What a wonderful blessing is what we call death! What an opener of blind eyes it is! It surely is that for those of us who wait; for as time and distance make materiality to fade, only the spiritual presence remains, and we see them for what they are. Useless for us to say, "If I could have seen! If I could have known!" We simply could not; they had grown to spiritual stature beyond us; and now, by their help, we have grown also. Let us be grateful for the vision and see in it, limited though it be as yet, some pledge and promise of what they shall yet mean to us when a new birth to a new life shall have "knit severed friendships up."

My medical venture was a success, as was also my venture in real estate. My income from my medical practice was more than my income had been from the church; I sold my house for more than I paid for it; and when the oculists told me that the eye danger was averted I accepted the offer of parish work again.


Chapter Eight
Table of Contents