With the first party over the Applegate Trail Oregon in 1846, on the Siskiyou Trail to the gold fields in 1848, and across the Isthmus in 1850. Transcribed by Rene Forncrook.
Reminiscences.Macon Democrat, Macon, Missouri, August 10, 1900, page 2
In the year 1843 Andrew, Nodaway and Holt counties were organized. Early in that year I left what is now known as Andrew County and settled in Holt, at the rapids on the Nodaway River. The preacher in charge of Holt County, Missouri at that time was was named Brown. He licensed me to exhort in the fall of 1843. The Presiding Elders who served the district from 1839 to 1846 were Dr. Still, Wm. Redman, Mr. Chandler and Mr. Ketron. In those early days of Methodism in the northwestern part of the state the services of local preachers were in demand. Sometimes they would join with exhorters and hold meetings in little log cabins in winter, and in summer would meet in groves in the open air, people coming from many miles to attend. The interest in those meetings was so great that the local brethren found it necessary to call in the help of the traveling brethren. Some of those meetings resulted in great good to the church and community.
I sometimes think (though perhaps it is a suggestion of the devil) that the period has come in the history of Methodism that the services of local preachers are no longer needed. As a class they are uneducated and do not desire to come to the front in important places. But there are many localities in the county where their labors might be utilized to good advantage. We know several brethren of the local rank at no great distance from this place whose licenses have been renewed from year to year and if they have been employed in the Master's work, we have not been informed of it. Perhaps a word of counsel, advice and encouragement from the proper source might stimulate them to action. I received a letter a short time ago from our district conference held in Macon last April, the first of the kind since our district conferences have been in vogue. I wish to tender my sincere thanks to the brethren whose names were signed thereto. That letter greatly enthused me, and though far advanced in life, I feel like doubling my diligence.
The preacher who succeeded Bro. Brown, if we are not mistaken, was E. M. Marvin. Bro. Marvin took charge of the Holt County circuit when he was 19 years old. He was an extraordinary youth, but he needs no eulogy from me. He has reared his own monument, which will stand as long as time shall endure. Let me say a few words to his credit. Bro. Marvin boarded at Jesse Carroll's about 2 miles from my house. He kept his library there and put in all of the time he could spare with his books. Jesse belonged to the Methodist Church, but he was a bad man. He was never less than half drunk, would lie, violate the Sabbath, and have parties at his house--all of these things were carried on and kept secret from Bro. Enoch. Jesse was a good singer and often enchanted Enoch with a song. If there was any weak point in Enoch it was that he looked upon all professers of religion as being good like himself. Of Dr. Still, who presided over the district in 1839, I knew but little. He was succeeded by Wm. Redman in 1840. Redman was a sound theologian, profound reasoner and eloquent speaker. The results of his labors will be seen many generations to come. Redman served the district four years, was a delegate to the general conference when the church divided. At a call conference in 1846 held in Louisville, Ky., the division was ratified, each wing of the church to operate to a certain line. At this time Bro. Chandler, who had charge of the district, abandoned it and moved to Illinois.
The data of the foregoing in some instances may be incorrect, as we speak solely from memory.
Reminiscences.In the spring of 1845 B. H. Spencer succeeded E. M. Marvin on the Holt County work. The circuit was large and hard to serve. It extended from the Nodaway River on the east to the Nishnabotna on the northwest. In those days there were but few school houses and no church houses at all in the country. Regular preaching services were usually held in private dwellings. There was a marked difference in the preaching of Enoch Marvin and B. H. Spencer. Bro. Marvin, for one of his age, was quite eloquent and flowery. Bro. Spencer was truly a disciplinarian and doctrinal preacher. In our opinion Redman, Marvin and Spencer did more in the way of disseminating the doctrines, duties and privileges of Methodism in the northwest part of Missouri than any of their predecessors. B. H. Spencer was considered by some to be very rigid in the enforcement of discipline. It was not uncommon for him to have church members arraigned, tried and expelled for immoral conduct. Such a thing seldom occurs in these days. Berry was one of the best friends of my youth. We were often together in the saddle, on the highway and in the great congregation. If the writer has any stability in Christian faith and doctrine he owes much of it to the advice and counsel of Berry. We don't remember who followed Bro. Spencer on the Holt County circuit.
Early in the spring of 1846 I left my father's house on the west bank of the Nodaway River en route for Oregon Territory. We were joined by several emigrant wagons at the town of Oregon, the capital of Holt County. After crossing the Missouri River at Iowa Point, we fell in with a large emigrant train from the southeast, most of whom were traveling to Oregon. To give a detailed account of that long and tedious journey would not be interesting to you nor profitable to myself. We shall therefore note a few Indians [sic] which were the more impressive. The first thing which presents itself to the eye of the traveler on entering the great valley of the great Platte River is Chimney Rock, which at that time rose to the height of 150 feet, so said Mr. Vanderpool, our engineer. Chimney Rock, when first seen by the unassisted eye of the traveler, appeared to be about the size and height of an ordinary fence rail standing out in an open plain two miles from foothills, or undulating lands. Chimney Rock, when first seen from the point where we entered the valley, appeared to be but a little way off; it however required an ox team three days journey to reach its base. The nearer we approached it the larger and taller it appeared to be; coming to it late on Saturday evening we encamped for the night. The next morning being the Sabbath we concluded to rest and hold religious worship. While there we were forcibly reminded of the words of the Jewish prophet, speaking of the blessings of the Messiah's Kingdom, represented under the figure of the man Christ, who shall be as a hiding place from the wind and a covert from the tempest, as rivers of water in a dry place, as the shadow of a great rock in a weary land.--Isaiah 32:2. Early on Monday morning we resumed our journey up the valley of the Platte River. The next thing worthy of notice was a large herd of buffalo, perhaps thirty or forty thousand, feeding on the Platte Valley. Before we came in gunshot of them they stampeded; ran furiously in a southerly direction. The ground over which they passed roared like distant thunder on a twenty-mile prairie. A few scattering buffalo were left behind, which supplied our camp with an abundance of delicious meat. We crossed the Platte River below the junction of the South Fork. It must have been three quarters of a mile wide, and very difficult crossing, owing to quicksands, which were constantly rolling from under the animals' feet. Passing up the right bank of Platte River for some distance we entered the high sandy ridges separating North Platte from the main stream.
D. TOOLEMacon Democrat, Macon, Missouri, August 17, 1900, page 2
Reminiscences.Leaving the main Platte River we passed over high rolling sand ridges and camped at Ash Hollow, thence up North Platte for many miles[, then] we came to Fort Laramie. Here we met a party of Sioux Indians, 100, who came down from the fort. There were 1,500 encamped there. They were on the war path, going to meet the Blackfeet in battle. The warriors were all shaved and painted red. The party who met us begged for a supper and promised a war dance at night; not being overfond of their company, we complied with their request, and sent them some distance where they danced and sang war songs nearly all night. We crossed North Platte, passed the fort and entered the Laramie plains; leaving the plains and Black Hills we passed over high sand and sage ridges into the valley of Bear River. Traveling up the river for a great distance we came to Soda Springs. Here we encamped for a day and held religious services. At this place we found a wonderful display of natural scenery. The Soda Springs excite wonder and admiration in all who see them--a crystalline volume of soda water boiling from the earth as delicious as ever mortal man tasted. Nearby was Siphon Springs. A rumbling noise could be heard underground, suddenly the water would rise in a large volume through a hole in a solid rock mounting eight or ten feet in the air. These agitations or concussions were constantly going on; some of the company reported a gas jet proceeding from a crevice in a rock which produced a hissing noise. Leaving Soda Springs we soon entered upon a trackless desert of sand and sage. No living creature could be seen but the sage- or jackrabbit. After these long journeys and laborious exercises we entered Sweetwater Valley. Traveling up the stream for many miles we came to Independence Rock and Devil's Gate. Here we halted for a day, rested our animals and held religious worship. I hardly know how to describe Independence Rock. Some said it covered ten acres of ground, but that is an error. I ascended it at a place where it was about twelve feet high; the top of it presented the same appearance as its sides, some places smooth and even, others rough and craggy. Some of the company said there was a spring of pure water upon the top of it, but I did not see it; but think of a great stone standing out in an open plain. Tell me who placed it there. One-half a mile or more from Independence Rock stands the Devil's Gate. A natural bridge of large, massive stones spanning a stream of considerable width, the water rushing through the gateway of large columns of stone. Leaving Independence Rock and Devil's Gate we entered the Rockies, passing through deep canyons with high and perpendicular stone walls on either hand; we traversed rocky ridges, high and sandy mountains, where perhaps no human foot had ever trod. On this rocky range, deep canyons and mountain gorges were found the ibex, or mountain goat, grizzly bear, elk and antelope. Having passed these rugged mountain slopes, sage and sandy hillocks we came to Coyote camp. Here we halted for two days, I think in order to recuperate our animals, having plenty of grass and water. Before leaving that memorable spot we thanked God and took courage. Our next objective point was South Pass, which was nigh at hand. South Pass is a high and rocky range, coming from the south and extending far to the north; where we crossed it rose with a gradual slope to a considerable altitude and descended in like manner. This wonderful structure of nature separates the waters of the Atlantic from the Pacific Ocean. From the time we left home till we reached South Pass we were traveling upstream, but after crossing the Pass we traveled downstream to the Pacific Ocean. Like the roof a great building which turns all the water falling on one side in a certain direction and that on the other in an opposite direction. Who is it that cannot see design in this astonishing work of nature. "The works of the Lord are great, sought out of all them that have pleasure therein. He hath made his wonderful works to be remembered."--Psalms 111 2-4.
Leaving South Pass we came to Ft. Hall. There we were met by a party of men, Applegate & Co., who turned us off on what they called the Southern Route, representing the old track down Snake and Columbia Rivers as being hazardous in the extreme. We followed them, turning south down the Humboldt. Soon we were met by another party from California. They turned away half of our company, but their pilots left them and many of them perished in the mountains. Our company, being reduced to half its former size, traveled down the Humboldt for many miles. We turned due west for Oregon. We entered upon a wide sandy desert; had to break our way through sand and sage for many miles. Sometimes we traveled all day and all night without a drop of water or spear of grass. We could always tell when we were approaching water and grass. The poor, hungry and thirsty animals could scent it for several miles. They would take on new life and pull with all their might; often I shed tears for the poor animals. Allow me to give their names; Buck and Bawly, Duke and Darby, Jack and Jolly. Poor animals! If there is an ox heaven, they are there.
D. TOOLEMacon Democrat, Macon, Missouri, August 24, 1900, page 7
[Fort HallDear Brother:--I am happy of the opportunity of sending to you some further information with regard to our tedious trip to Oregon.
August 2, 1846]
We arrived at this place (Fort Hall) on yesterday, which is situated in a beautiful plain on Snake River, and is certainly a healthy place if there is one in the world.
The curiosities that are to be seen upon the plains are enough to compensate me for all my trouble. The sods springs are a curiosity indeed; the water of these springs tastes a good deal like soda, and boils up like soda when the acid is mixed; just below these soda springs is a boiling spring, which comes up through a hole in a rock; it makes a noise like it was boiling and can be heard a quarter of a mile off. The water foams like suds, and is a little above milk warm.
The Independence Rock is also an interesting sight; it is about 150 feet high, and covers something near six acres of ground. There are engraved upon this rock between two and three thousand names; I left my name on it, July 2nd, 1846. If I were to tell you that we crossed lakes of saleratus, you would scarcely believe me, but it is true; we traveled over them with our teams, and used it in our bread, and it is as good, if not better, than any you buy in the States. From Fort Laramie to this place the road is quite rocky, mountainous, and sandy; our teams, however, seem to stand it tolerably well--we have to rest them a good deal in consequence of the scarcity of grass near the mountains. The worst thing we have to encounter is the dust, which is very disagreeable indeed. This is a long and tedious trip, and requires great patience, but I have not for a moment regretted the undertaking, for it has been a great benefit to my health, and I find health better than friends. The old men who undertook this trip for their health are getting along finely; old Mr. Linville looks well. Those who undertake this trip should select well-made cattle, as they stand it much the best, and don't be alarmed if you have to burn buffalo chips to cook by, for it makes a good fire.
DANIEL TOOLE.Dale Morgan, Overland in 1846: Diaries and Letters of the California-Oregon Trail, Volume II, University of Nebraska Press 1963, pages 631-632. Mr. Morgan's footnote for the above letter: "Daily Union, St. Louis, December 22, 1846, reprinted from the Weston Democrat: 'The following is an extract of a letter just received from Fort Hall, from a gentleman who left last spring with a company of many others for the Oregon Territory. It is worthy the attention of persons intending to emigrate thither.' As the letter intimates, Daniel Toole was a member of the Harrison Linville company, which David Goff's letter of April 8, 1847 terms the first to have turned into the Applegate Road at Raft River, apparently on August 8, 1846. Tolbert Carter, in his recollections of the Applegate Cutoff in 1846, recalls 'a man by the name of [Dan] Tool, of Missouri, a large, portly young man, and a very agreeable gentleman, and, by the way, a Methodist,' who ate something like a quarter of an acre of salal berries, vines included, when told they were edible--this in the Calapooia Mountains. The Crowley family which gave name to Grave Creek is mentioned to have had 'the aged Linville' as an in-law."
Reminiscences.From the time we left the Humboldt River until we reached the headwaters of Rogue River we must have traveled five or six hundred miles through wide sandy plains, interspersed with heavy sage. Sometimes we passed by broad lakes of alkaline water which could not be used until taken up in vessels and allowed to stand overnight; it then had a brackish taste. It was with great difficulty that we could keep our thirsty animals from rushing into the hot water and thus injuring themselves. Along those meandering sandy ways was buried several of our traveling companies, who died of partial hunger and severe labor together with mountain fever. For some of these we prepared rude coffins from goods boxes and planks that could be spared from our wagons. Others we wrapped in blankets and quilts and laid them in their sandy graves. There the wicked cease from troubling and the weary be at rest.
Along these sandy ways, especially at the watering places, we were met by Indians of various tribes, all of whom went by the name of Root Diggers. They presented a scene of poverty and disease and [were] almost entirely naked; no tents, no food, filthy, dirty, lazy, stupid and inactive. Coming to the headwaters of Rogue River, we had a good road, plenty of grass and water, but our animals were so poor they could scarcely travel at all. Several families in the company, myself included, had consumed all our food; when I first began to starve it produced intense pain. A Baptist minister encamped close by me after supper had several biscuits left. We offered him a dollar for a biscuit but could not get it. A friend in the company gave me a small piece of bacon, which gave me instant relief. We were now in a country where there was plenty of game, so we got enough venison to keep soul and body together. Now and then an animal would fall by the wayside, and when the team was reduced so low it could take the wagon no further it was abandoned and the remaining animals were packed with a few essentials and the balance were thrown away. The rainy season was right at hand and as there was no time to tarry by the way; we crossed the Rogue River and advanced to the base of Umpqua Mountain. Here we were compelled to rest for a day or two; [we] would have been glad to have held religious worship, but it seemed utterly impossible; the whole camp was murmuring and complaining, saying that they had been deceived [and] led astray by Applegate & Co. They swore vengeance against them. No doubt they would have killed them if they had been in the company. Major Scott, who was left with us by Applegate & Co. as our guide, was often in danger. Had they killed him we would all have perished in the mountains. A more patient persevering man in trouble I never knew. After two days rest, with plenty of grass and water, the animals were refreshed. Early in the morning [of] October 1st all the young men that could be spared joined Scott and passed over the mountain with loose stock, taking axes and hatchets to trim out and blaze the way. The next morning the company sent me forward, as I was supposed to have the strongest team. With two yoke of oxen, the running gear of a wagon, my trunk strapped on behind (my partner had left me), we began the ascent of Mount Umpqua. At high noon we gained its summit, rested without water or grass, between noon and 2 o'clock and descended the western slope of the mount. We shall not attempt a minute description of that mountain; never saw anything like it again. Coming to the head of Umpqua Canyon my oxen halted suddenly; they seemed to survey the situation; had they never passed rough ways before they could have never been induced to enter that canyon. Here were stones presenting every shape and face, triangular, rectangular, spiral and octagonal. I told my animals to move on slowly and watch where they placed their feet. Passing down the canyon a distance we came to a large pine tree blown up by the roots and lying directly across the canyon. It was at least fifteen feet in diameter and 300 or 400 feet long; being no way of passing around it Scott & Co. had erected a temporary bridge across it. Here was great danger. We gave orders to go slow and pick the way. We did so and passed over with great difficulty. Moving down the canyon two miles or more we came to a dead cow lying directly in the way. My oxen stopped suddenly, nor could they be persuaded to move a single step forward. We counseled a few minutes, took my clothes from the trunk, tied them up in a bandanna, fashioned them to my shoulders, loosed the oxen from the wagon, put the lash to them and told them they must go; they made a sudden dive to the right, ascended a tremendous steep hillside where no wagon could possibly be drawn. They went forward a few rods, but were stopped by the thick forest of timber and underbrush.
D. TOOLEMacon Democrat, Macon, Missouri, August 31, 1900, page 7
Reminiscences.Being unable to force our way down Umpqua Mountain we were compelled to abandon a wagon and trunk that cost more than one hundred dollars. Having gained the southwestern slope our oxen could not travel with their yokes on. These were taken off and cast upon the ground. We moved along the declivity of the mountain till we came to a tremendous precipice, almost perpendicular, over which nothing could pass. Here we were at our wits end; there was no time to be lost. The sun had already passed behind the mountain. We determined to give up our oxen and retrace our steps. Coming to a little tree, blown up by the roots, we knelt down and sought wisdom and direction from on high; told the Lord that if he would lead us where we could get a little water and food and keep us in all the way we went and bring us to our native home in peace we would serve him all the days of our life. Standing erect we looked up and saw the tall pine fir trees clapping their hands and praising the Lord. Passing to the right upon a downward slope we entered the deep mountain gorge. Here we fell upon the tracks of the loose animals that had gone before. Following them and an occasional blaze upon the trees we came into camp just about dark. Here at the western base of Umpqua Mountain we found a beautiful stream of clear water running westward into the Umpqua River. On either side of this little stream were open glades of beautiful grass. Near the headwaters of this stream I found my traveling companions cached away for several days, on their arrival at that place they sent out a hunting party who had been successful. When we came to camp, they were roasting and eating venison, and having a jolly time. I joined them, cooking the meat about half done and eating it without either bread or salt. Next morning, we borrowed a gun and went in pursuit of game. Passing the little stream and a prairie bottom we came to a thick bushy way. With difficulty we got through, sat down to rest in the edge of the open. In a few moments there came out of the brush a fine fat deer, which stood broadside, not more than fifty yards away. We had killed many deer, but never had such a fair chance before. I fired at his left shoulder and he sank in his tracks and died without a struggle. We took off his hide till above his loins and carried his hams into camp. Having plenty of meat we cooked and ate all day long. In the meantime the company left on the eastern side of the mountain were coming into camp, some with their wagons, some on foot, some with their feather beds and quilts packed on their oxen, others with their little children lashed on their poor animals were driving them forward. Having rested we returned in search of our oxen; they had worked their way down into the valley and were on good grass; whether they got water or not cannot say. I took them into camp and loaned them to a friend. He went back and got the yokes and coupling chain, promising to deliver them to me in the settlements. The rainy season had now set in and the men of the company were so completely worn out that they could not rely on hunting to get their meat. Two others with myself resolved to go into the settlements and seek relief. While we were planning for the trip, two men came into camp from the settlements driving two fat beeves; these were butchered and sold at a very high price. With much difficulty we secured three pounds of tallow and with this we entered upon our journey of one hundred and twenty-five miles. After three days travel through rain and much water we came to an Indian camp at the southeastern base of Calapooia Mountain. In this Indian abode we found a large supply of venison, hanging over their campfires. They seeing we were wet and hungry gave us signs to help ourselves. We ate heartily of half-dried venison; gave them powder, bullets and lead; they in turn gave us meat to last us into the settlements. We passed on over Calapooia, a high mountain range, densely covered with tall pine, fir, hemlock and cedar timber. This mountain separates the Umpqua Valley [from the Willamette]. But before proceeding further please allow me to say a word of commendation of those Flat Head Indians; they were not hostile nor were they civilized, yet all of them, men, women and children, seemed to be happy that they were able to supply our pressing demands of hunger. Their conduct led me to serious sober thought. I supposed they had been in like circumstances themselves, and we resolved to never turn a hungry man from our door as long as we had a crust of bread. We passed down the southern side of Willamette River, traveled over beautiful tableland covered with the finest grass and decorated with handsome flowers. We passed several streams of clear water which had their rise in the Coast Range and, running directly north, emptied into the Willamette River. Along these streams were tall fir and cedar timber in great abundance on the coast [sic] were oak trees covered with green moss reaching to the ground.
D. TOOLEMacon Democrat, Macon, Missouri, September 7, 1900, page 3
Reminiscences.These rich and fertile valleys so conveniently and abundantly supplied by Providence with timber, water and grass were certainly designed for the habitation of civilized man. We traveled down the Willamette River till we came to a stream called Rickreall. This stream had its rise in the Coast Range; its general course was northwest, emptying into the Willamette River. On this stream we found the first settlement, and here my traveling companions left me. I went directly to Mr. Applegate's house, which was well up to the Coast Range. I laid before him the helpless and destitute condition of the emigrants and solicited his aid. In one day he collected together 17 head of beef cattle and 13 yoke of oxen. He also furnished me with two donkeys; one I rode, the other was packed with flour, half-dried beet and English peas. The cattle were placed in care of a young man by the name of [Benjamin F.] Burch. We drove them many miles up the valley and, coming near the Calapooia Mountain, we found the Baptist preacher who refused me a biscuit. How he came there I cannot tell. He, his wife and three or four children were cached up near the Coast Range. They had no wagon, no team, no food. They begged me for something to eat. I gave them a portion of my flour, beef and peas and so passed on. When we came to the foot of the Calapooia Mountain we saw men, women and children who had abandoned everything and came over on foot through mud and water; others, with poor oxen packed with such things as they were compelled to have; but very few wagons had made their way over. The whole outfit presented a scene of poverty, destitution and suffering at this place. Mr. Burch, with the help of others, began butchering his beeves and sold the meat at a very high price to those who were able to pay, those [who] were not, got it free. I left my provisions in care of T. Stewart, who had been my partner in travel. Several men, myself included, took charge of the oxen; drove them over the mountain and assisted the emigrants over. In my absence, T. Stewart departed for the settlements, took all of my provisions and left word for me to come on and get out of that wretched place; but I could not get my consent to leave the company until they were in better condition. We crossed the Calapooia Mountain several times, assisting emigrants over; often we suffered with hunger, labor and toil.
Allow me here to relate a painful circumstance that came under my observation. A poor widow woman, whose husband had died by the way; she, her children and dog were gathered around the body of a poor, worn-out ox; the mother and children whipping him, the dog barking and biting him caused him to make several efforts to rise, but he could not; whatever became of that poor woman and children we cannot say; think, however, she was taken to the settlements by some humane friend, for many of the settlers were coming in with wheat, peas and beef; but for this many would have died with hunger.
Having crossed the mountain for the last time we fortunately fell in company with a good old man whose team was in fair condition and his load very light. The good man was very sick with mountain fever. He insisted that I should stay with him, see him buried and help his family into the settlements. We complied with his request; tried to encourage him with the hope that he would soon be well, but he lived a very short time. I buried him on the slope of the Coast Range. We dug a hole in the ground the length of the corpse, wrapped a buffalo robe around him, laid some brush over him and filled up the grave. We then resumed our journey down the valley, being met by a large company of French and Creoles driving donkeys packed with provisions. Had it not been for these kindhearted French and half-breeds, who fed the starving multitude and, on their return, took the woman and children into the settlements, many of them would have perished. I never knew what became of my donkeys, though I think Mr. Burch returned them with the oxen to Mr. Applegate. We traveled for many miles through rain and water, coming eventually to the settlements near the mouth of Rickreall River. Here the widow found many of her old friends and acquaintances, so we left her and family comfortably situated. We had now completed a journey of more than three thousand miles, many casualties occurring on the way. Not more than twenty-five wagons out of sixty-five ever got to the Willamette Valley, and as to the number, male and female, that lost their lives by the way we cannot say. The man with whom I left my oxen turned up all right. He delivered them to me in much worse condition than he received them of me. This was no doubt unavoidable. Mr. Stewart, who took away my provisions, apologized and asked to be excused.
D. TOOLEMacon Democrat, Macon, Missouri, September 14, 1900, page 3
Reminiscences.The Willamette Valley, I think, is about one hundred and forty miles long and will not average more than thirty miles wide. There are about eight snow peaks that can be seen from any part of the valley. Mt. Hood is 14 or 15 thousand feet above the sea level. Mt. Helen is very high and is a burning mountain. The Twin Sisters have a great depth of snow the whole year round. There is a chain of mountains separating the Willamette Valley from the Pacific Ocean. These are called the Coast Range; not so very high, but of sufficient elevation to keep old ocean in her proper bounds. This Coast Range is about sixty miles wide--no valleys of sufficient size to admit of settlements. There were but three towns in Willamette when I was there; Salem, located five miles below the mouth of Rickreall River on the right bank of Willamette River. Salem was known as the Methodist missionary town, the finest location for a city I ever saw. The town rises with a gradual slope from the river to the hills, a large plat of ground covered with pebble stones eighteen inches deep. Salem had about fifty inhabitants; several of the families were Missourians, most of them from New York. I made my home with these good people for most of the time I remained in the valley. Here they had a fine school called Salem Institute. We attended this school for nine months. Twenty-five miles below Salem is Oregon City, located at the falls of the Willamette, one-fourth of a mile wide; falls perpendicular over a solid rock bottom for twenty-five feet. One half a mile above the river spreads out in small channels six or eight feet wide running through solid rock. Here the Hudson Bay Co. have one of the finest overshot mills on earth. At the falls of the river is a fine salmon fishery. The spring run is the best; the Indians are employed to spear them, as the fish are constantly jumping up trying to get over the falls. Oregon City has large fish factories where fish are salted, barreled and canned. The city itself is a poor location, strung along the river under a high rocky bluff. Fourteen miles below is Portland, which is the head of ship navigation. Portland is located on the left bank of the Willamette, twelve miles from where it empties into the Columbia River. I was there fifty-three years ago. It then had a fine site for a large city. It had about three hundred inhabitants, mostly French and Creoles. I saw on its wharves between three and five hundred barrels of wine, rum, gin, brandy, alcohol and any stuff to make a man drunk. Why such a cargo of ardent spirits should be shipped into a new country like that I never could tell. Oregon was then a fine country for milk and butter--water was never seen. But such is man; he will kill a dozen of his fellows a day if he can see money in it. I was born and raised in old Kentucky, never saw a mountain till we traveled west, so my affinity for Oregon was never very great. The mountains are so high you must look up twice to see the top of them. Mount Hood in many places of the valley appears to be about a mile away, when it will take two or three days journey on horseback to reach its base under the shadow of the lofty mountains; the valleys appear very small, no way of seeing out, and unless you were used to a mountainous country you would never feel at home.
When I arrived in the settlements, I was reduced very low physically and financially and was compelled to work to get something to eat and wear. The only circulating medium of the country was wheat and peas. If you wanted to cross the river you must take a peck of wheat, and so of anything the country had to sell, wheat and peas would buy it. A bushel of wheat or peas was fifty cents.
I must have remained in the country about two years. During that time, we kept up regular appointments of religious worship on the Sabbath day. The remembrance of standing on the banks of the Willamette River, Rickreall, Chehalem and Molalla, proclaiming Jesus Christ as the only Savior of sinners is of great comfort even now. Oregon was a great country for outdoor worship in the summer and fall seasons, no rain from May till October. We thought it no hardship to travel from forty to sixty miles on foot to be at a camp meeting. We formed many acquaintances and was religiously associated with many kind friends, and when we separated it was with the understanding that we meet in a better world.
In July 1848, gold was discovered in California and in September of the same year we went in company with 80 persons, mostly French and Creoles, in search of the precious metal. We traveled on the old Indian trail from Oregon to California, riding on horseback and driving pack mules.
D. TOOLEMacon Democrat, Macon, Missouri, September 21, 1900, page 3
Reminiscences.We shall not attempt to describe the country lying between Oregon and California. Just think of high mountain after mountain and no valleys between and then you have a faint conception of it. The first valley we came into after leaving Rogue River was near the head of Sacramento River. On that stream we passed through large valleys of oats ready for harvest. In other places the valleys were covered with wild clover and fine grass; away off to the northwest Shasta Butte lifted its towering head above everything else. Along the edge of Sacramento Valley and on the foothills were large massive oak trees, not very tall, but large limbs extending a great way from the body; under many of these trees the acorns covered the ground three inches deep. The Indians crib them, dry them, pound them in stone mortars and make bread of them. Their houses are round holes in the ground covered with dirt; a hole in the center which serves as a chimney and a door. To get into the house you must go down the chimney by means of a ladder, and if you are not very careful you will get into the fire; coming to the lower round of the ladder you will be compelled to wipe the smoke and tears from your eyes, then looking around you find yourself in a great hole in the ground, a fire in the center, Indians seated all around on a dirt floor, the women are hulling and pounding dried acorns, making them into bread, the men and children eating and having a good time. The Indians are nearly all naked, except the women; they are only partly clad. We trailed on down the Sacramento River till we came to Feather River. Here we did our first mining for gold, but it did not pan out very well, so we passed on to Sutter's old fort, known as Sacramento City. The town is located at the mouth of the American River. We traveled thirty miles up the American River. At the mouth of the North Fork we bought a gold lead and worked it four months. Heavy rains and snow melting in the mountains caused the stream to rise so high we were compelled to quit work. The company were all from Oregon so we concluded to return home. We took shipping at Sacramento City, traveled down the river one hundred and thirty miles to San Francisco, there we took a ship for Columbia River. About the last week in February 1849, we passed out at the Golden Gate. After two days at sea the ship sprang a leak, and all male passengers had to take their turn at the pumps to keep the ship afloat. The wind set fair for the Sandwich Islands, and the captain decided to run down to the islands and repair his ship. After sailing finely for many days, we got into a calm; the high swells of the sea in a calm causes the ship to reel and roll worse than in a storm. The passengers were all seasick and complained that they were fifteen hundred miles further from home than when they first started. We had run down to latitude twenty-two within one day's sail of the islands; the captain became angry and declared he would run the ship to Astoria or to the bottom of the sea. So, when the wind sprang up, he headed for Columbia. After three days we struck a terrible storm which must have continued for twenty-four hours; just as dark at midday as at midnight. The ship ran under what they called close double reef topsail. There was a good Providence over us. The leak was well forward and while she was battling with the waves her prow rose high above the water. During the storm temporary repairs were made upon the leak. When the storm was over, we had fine sailing for several days. Finally, by the aid of spyglasses the high mountains on the Columbia River were discovered. This gave joy to all, many of whom had almost despaired of ever seeing land. Coming nearer to the mouth of the river we were met by a pilot boat which conducted us over the Columbia River bar. The river at its mouth is said to be fifty miles wide, interspersed with massive black rocks. At ebb tide the water runs rapidly among the rocks. The channel over the bar I think is not over one half a mile wide; the wind, even at a moderate gauge carries the ship on the swells high up in the air, coming down, if not in the channel, would dash her to atoms. Looking to my left we counted five ships that had been wrecked on the bar. The masts of some stood above the water, the hulls of others were roiled up against the rocks. To my right was Clatsop Plains, a small valley on the coast and the only one in Oregon on the Pacific Coast that was large enough for settlement at the head of Clatsop. The town of Astoria is located under a high rugged bluff--no place for a town, but here we got on terra firma. Now, thanks to the pilot boat, to Voladora, the leaky ship, and Captain Crosby for bringing us safely to the desired haven.
D. TOOLEMacon Democrat, Macon, Missouri, September 28, 1900, page 2
Reminiscences.All of us who were bound for Willamette Valley engaged an open boat at Astoria manned by Kanakas, propelled by oar sails. Traveling up from Astoria some distance the river becomes more contracted; perhaps not more than a mile wide, shut in by high rocky cliffs, some places rising 100 feet from the water's edge; other places small streams of water came rushing over perpendicular cliffs fifty or sixty feet high. Columbia River in many respects is a very remarkable stream. Its tributaries take their rise in the N.E. and N.W. and run for hundreds of miles over solid rocks which makes the water as clear as a crystal. Salmon fish can be seen playing in its waters thirty or forty feet deep, and large round stones and pebbles can be seen lying at the bottom at the same depth. We traveled on that river near one hundred miles, and it was seldom we could find ground enough on its shores to camp on at night; nor did we see a single human habitation, or hear a single human voice outside of our own company excepting those on board of ships and open boats. Passing down the stream when we came to the mouth of Willamette River we passed on and up twelve miles to Portland; here the boatmen, all being Kanakas, or Sandwich Islanders, would stop and take on a head of steam. Here also, many of our company spread out to their homes. Our boatmen, having well fired up, came on board singing Kanaka songs, the words of which fell strangely upon our ears. While they kept the fire burning and a high gauge of steam we moved up the stream gaily; about eight miles above Portland we came to a strong current in the river; the boatmen seemed to have been well prepared for that emergency, four men leaped suddenly into the water, which was from waist to armpit deep and running like a mill tail. Each of these men had lines attached to the boat and pulling like horses moving a heavy load uphill; others at the oars rowed with all their might, others with poles put on all their strength, and with great labor and toil we got over the rapids. These Kanakas are a strange sort of people. I think they must be about half aquatic; they can out-dive a duck or out-swim a goose, and if they have plenty of whiskey in them they can live as long under water as a jack fish. Finally, we reached Oregon City. Bidding our boat farewell, we were met by several of our friends and former acquaintances. With these we tarried several days, luxuriating on fresh salmon fish. Leaving Oregon City, we traveled to Salem, our former home. We were rejoined with former religious friends and with whom we had cooperated in church relationship in former days. I spent most of my time traveling with the missionaries and meeting my own appointments for near ten months. Finally, we decided to leave the country, and bidding my friends farewell I went and stood awhile at the grave of Rev. Jason Lee, the first missionary to the Willamette Indians. He died as a brave soldier at his post. His body was buried on the right bank of the Willamette River under a large spreading oak, one half a mile below Salem. Peace be to his ashes. We traveled on down to Portland. There we engaged to work for ten dollars per day, paying three dollars per day board. On the first week in April, 1850, myself and several others took passage on a sail ship for San Francisco. We passed down the Columbia to Astoria, the little pilot boat was signaled; she passed out in our front under a light breeze, our ship following in her wake. When the pilot boat got out to sea our ship had not passed more than half way over the bar when suddenly a calm set in, so we were compelled to cast anchor; the calm lasted for two days; when the breeze sprang up the pilot boat appeared and signaled us to move forward. So we weighed anchor and put out to sea; running directly south; the eyes of the whole ship's crew were directed to the land, when that faded on their sight they struck up a song and sang as merrily as old Kentucky negroes at a corn shucking. Having gone far out at sea the pilot headed for San Francisco. One whole day and night we had a fine breeze and fair sail; in the morning the sun arose apparently out of the sea, shining upon a cloudy sky--the day was fine until the afternoon; at two o'clock a storm was seen gathering in the northwest; a part of the ship's crew gathered at the mainmast and sang a sea storm song; as the storm drew near the captain appeared at his post on the hurricane deck, and the order was given to ascend the mast; this was done with apparent ease and dispatch; one man stopping on the main sail yard, another on topsail yard, a third on gallant sail yard, a fourth on topgallant sail yard, a fifth at the halyards. It is truly amusing as well as instructive to pay attention to the orders given by the captain and to see them speedily executed by the sailors; every rope and pulley, indeed every part of the ship's tackle, has a name, and when it is called the hand of the sailor is instantly upon it. The gale passed away and we had fine sail. We passed into the bay through Golden Gate and dropped anchor away from the shore.
D. TOOLEMacon Democrat, Macon, Missouri, October 5, 1900, page 2
Reminiscences.Having dropped anchor in the bay the lifeboats were lowered, and we were quickly transported to the city. We were seven days coming from Astoria to San Francisco. In 12 months time the city had more than doubled in population and improvements. After a day's respite, we took passage on a small sail ship for Sacramento City. As we passed up the river we saw large swarms of wild geese, as white as snow. The banks on either side of the river were high, but no rocks were to be seen. The land I think is mostly prairie; the soil rich and fertile, though but few farms were to be seen at that early day. After two days' sail on a beautiful, broad stream of deep clear water, we landed at Sacramento City, which in twelve months' time had more than tripled itself. On our first night in the city one of our company was robbed of $1,400. A negro by the name of Smith cut his satchel open and took it out while he was asleep. The negro was taken by a vigilance committee one half a mile from the city, hung upon a tree and whipped unmercifully. He told where they might find $800 of the money, and that was all they secured. The committee who had him in charge would have killed him but the city guard came and took him away. We were detained two days in the city, and after depositing our money in the bank we left for Mormon Island, thirty miles from Sacramento City on the American River. Here we found the mining region so torn up that we passed over south to Hangtown, a little village in a deep gulch which took its name from the circumstance of two men being hung to death on its site. Here I met my brother from Platte County, Mo. We mined only a few days at Hangtown then passed over to Granite Run, one mile south of Coloma. It was at Coloma that gold was first discovered. A man by the name of ------ was digging a mill race on the South Fork of the American River. Of course, he got all the gold he wanted, but like many others in California and elsewhere he tarried at the wine cup and it not only produced redness of eyes but robbed him of all his gold and covered him with poverty and rags. At this place we found many acquaintances and met with the worst men and women we ever saw on earth, and whiskey seemed to be at the bottom of most all the vice carried on in the country. Women drunk, cursing and swearing and guilty of the vilest conduct. My friend, do you it? Quit, O quit. At Coloma we met with Bro. Pollock, the first Southern Methodist preacher ever sent to California. He preached to a small assembly under an arbor, but the fleas were so thick that no one could rest. My brother and I opened a gold lead on Granite Run, but we could only make $16 a day; that was small pay compared with what we had formerly made, yet we continued operations at that place for four months or more. We worked six days in a week and went to church on Sunday. Provisions of all kinds were very high, ranging from one dollar to fifty dollars a pound; eggs fifty cents a piece, and often half of them were rotten. Our nearest neighbor was forty feet away. He was a one-eyed man and had been unsuccessful in all his operations, so he resolved on committing suicide. He secured half a pint of laudanum and drank nearly all of it. We tried hard to save his life but failed. A letter addressed to his family was found in his satchel informing them of his failure in mining operations; that he was tired of life and so on. I wish to say a word about those towns I have already mentioned. They are well up in the mountains, no farming lands are near them; they were entirely dependent on mining operations for their existence. The houses were mostly temporary; all kinds of miners, supplies were kept and sold at a very high price. The goods were all packed on mules and horses from Sacramento City. Georgetown, located on the middle fork of the American River, is high up in the mountains. Gold in great abundance was taken out at that place. Georgetown was noted for wickedness; every restaurant was a gambling house. I have seen more than one bushel of gold lying on a table one hundred feet long. Nuggets ranging in value from ten to one thousand dollars each on either side of the table. Men were sitting, and some standing, engaged in all sorts of games; the walls of the buildings were hung with obscene pictures, some of the most disgusting that human eyes ever beheld. Fine bands of music were started up two hours before sundown; young men, middle-aged and old men would come trailing in by scores, and by the rising of the next day's sun most of them had squandered their day's labor in gambling, drinking and carousing. A worse place than Georgetown, Cal., considering its size, at that time, could not be found on this side of perdition. We don't give Georgetown as a specimen of all the mining towns we visited in California. Hangtown and Mormon town were not half so bad. I will say for the information of those who have never seen gold mines that all of the fine gold is taken from the bed and banks of the mountain streams. The dirt is thrown from the banks to the depth of five feet and a strata which lies next to the primitive rock contains the gold; the granite rock is very uneven, some places high and others low; the low places are called pockets and usually contain more or less gold. I have seen as much as $1,500 worth of gold taken from one pocket. In many places the streams are turned by means of a dam and raise; the whole bed of the river is then worked out. The gold that is found in these mountain streams appears to have been thrown up by volcanic action; that it has once been in a state of fusion is beyond question. It is often found combined with other metals; a flake of gold and platinum united together is nothing uncommon. The coarse, or nugget gold, is found in deep gulches, called dry diggings. It is picked out of the slate or bedrock in nuggets of from one to two thousand dollars in weight in many places; where the quartz rock is found abundant shafts are sunk to the depth of thirty or forty feet, and much gold has been taken out in that way. The mines are now operated by quartz mills crushing the quartz rock and separating the gold.
D. TOOLEMacon Democrat, Macon, Missouri, October 12, 1900, page 2
Reminiscences.My brother and I, after working four months and a half at Granite Run, found that the yield of gold became very small, and he, having a family in Missouri, became very anxious to return home, so early in the first week in September, 1850, we started for our home in Missouri. Two days' travel brought us to Sacramento City. There we took a ship for San Francisco. We remained a day or so in the city; then we engaged passage to Panama on board a sternwheel steamer named Columbia. Early in September one calm and beautiful morning we left the city and passed out into the broad deep sea. Steaming down the coast for many miles we came into the latitude where the jack fish live. I have been told that they cannot live long under water; that they are compelled to rise to the surface to get air. About fifty in double file followed us for several miles. They seem to have the motion of the sea. They rise with the swells and go down with them. Their heads appear to be about the size of an ordinary meat house--a fine on their back resembling a fence rail. These fish followed us for many miles, sometimes within thirty feet of the hinder part of the ship. The passengers were constantly shooting at them and kept the water constantly bloody but could not check their headway. Looking away to the northern coast at times we could see waterspouts rising from the sea in a spiral column passing the clouds. Leaving the jack fish latitude, we came into the flying fish region, a small fish five inches long having wings resembling those of the bat. These little fish rise from the water in great swarms seven feet in air, fly one hundred feet and drop down into the sea; sometimes they fall on the ship's deck and are fine fish to eat. Getting out of the flying fish waters we came into that part of the sea where large whales and sharks are found. You might look in any direction and see whale spouts rising from their heads to a great height in the air. I wish to speak of one more fish and then quit the fish tale. I don't remember its name, but it is two feet long, with a round hole in the top of its head. It frequently rises to the top of the water, spurting a stream through its head two feet high. They dart through the water almost as quick as lightning. They are sometimes caught with a hook and make a fine dish for dinner. You may think I exaggerate the fish story, but if you ever travel that way you will say what the queen said to Solomon, that "half had never been told." Old ocean, like the dry land, is teeming with inhabitants, especially the Pacific. We were often in sight of land traveling down the California and Mexican coast. The first harbor we entered was Acapulco Bay, a beautiful small harbor in shape of a horseshoe. We remained one day and night at Acapulco taking on coal and attending to other business. The town is located under a high bluff, perhaps half a mile in length but not more than three hundred yards wide. It looked as if it was one thousand years old. Many of the buildings were of stone and 'dobies, and in a very dilapidated state. The Roman cathedral presents great promise in all those half-heathen towns. If they were as careful to train the youth in the doctrines and duties of the Christian religion as they are to make Roman Catholics of them they would certainly be a great blessing to the world. But may we not hope for better things of them by and by. The natives of Acapulco are somewhat under the size of the North American citizen. They are of a tawny color, very depraved and uncouth in their manner. A few Americans are resident among them and seem to better masters in everything. Poor Acapulco. I don't know what it is now, but fifty years ago it was in great need of Protestant religion. Bidding adieu to the old dilapidated town we steamed down the coast to Panama, entered the bay and cast anchor a long way from the land. The natives in little boats came swarming around our ship and we were glad to take passage and set our feet once more upon the land. Panama was a very ancient-looking place. In former years it was a walled city, but the walls were all broken down and lying in massive heaps; next to the bay they were mossed over and looked as if they had lain upon the ground for centuries. We saw in this city large, and what had been magnificent, cathedrals, homes of bishops, priests and Romish teachers. The grandeur of those buildings is a thing of the past. They are built of large massive stones, covered with tiling, a yellow-looking moss has been accumulating upon them for ages; trees thirty feet high and twelve or fourteen inches in diameter were growing in the moss; the domes were covered with moss; the bells were broken and moss-covered. We remained two days in the city. At sunrise the old bell would begin chiming or rattling for low mass and the natives would come pouring in from every direction. When the church was full they would kneel in double file, beginning at the door and extending back for fifty yards. What I saw of the performance indoors very much resembled a monkey show. We waited to see what disposition would be made with those filed so far away from the door. We supposed they had knelt for communion, but not so; two women on each side with little blue caps in their hands pushed them up against their noses and in went a penny from every one of them. This done, they arose without dismissal, and went to their homes.
D. TOOLEMacon Democrat, Macon, Missouri, October 19,1900, page 2
Reminiscences.That Panama has been a city of beauty and grandeur no one viewing its present condition will dare deny. As to the forces which were brought to bear in its upbuilding we leave for others to say. But its present ruined or dilapidated condition is certainly the result of idleness and sin. From all appearances there had been no improvement for a thousand or fifteen hundred years. We found more beggars in that city than any place we ever visited. No thrift, no enterprise, no industry. The inhabitants are of a mongrel breed; the copper or yellow colored are the more numerous. They resemble our western Indians, though they are more compact and muscular; they perform all the servile labor and go at the bidding of their superiors. The black, thick-lipped African is there, the white man is there and seems to be boss of all the rest. We went into the office of a white man to engage conveyance across the Isthmus. He called up his servants and said to us in the English language; there is a man that can carry two hundred or more pounds with more security and speed than any horse or donkey. We told him we had two packages we wished conveyed--there were seven of us. We delivered to one servant our blankets, bedding and part of our clothing. He quickly bound them up with leather bands fastened round his shoulders and passing round his forehead; having received is load he passed quickly away. The master told us to have no uneasiness, that he had given him special directions to deliver the goods at Cruces on the Chagres River; that it was thirty miles to that place and that we would arrive there late in the evening, and have our bedding to sleep on at night. True, it was thirty miles from Cruces but it took us two days hard travel to make the trip. The man that took our bedding ran away with it and we heard no more of him. We had a trunk containing forty or fifty thousand dollars in gold and other valuables. The man who had charge of it tried to dodge us, but we had six rifles and as many pistols in our company and we showed him by signs that he must go slow and obey us. I will not attempt to describe the narrow trail over which we passed. It was just as rough and bad as you could conceive of. There were about 800 persons passing over the Isthmus that day; some on foot, some on donkeys, others being carried by natives in chairs fastened to their head and shoulders. Every three miles there was a waiting place, or dram shop, a little shanty covered with boards, having an open front, a broad board about the height of an ordinary counter and extending quite through the open front. On this board were bottles of whiskey, brandy, rum, gin, and wine; glass tumblers were also sitting on this board, into which the ardent spirits was poured and from them the awful stuff went down into the stomachs of men; as to what followed you may guess. Just in the rear of the dram board were barrels of water with men standing ready to wait on you; if you wanted a drink of water it would cost you five cents, if you wanted a drink of what is called the devil's broth, that would cost you ten cents. Just in front of the dram board, and not more than ten or twelve feet away, is a platform erected for men and beasts of burden to dislodge their loads. Still further in the rear seats are provided for weary pilgrims to take their rest. Our trunk bearer coming to this platform freed himself from it quicker than he had taken it on. He passed over to the dram board, nor would he leave it until we had given him money to buy whiskey and water. We seated ourselves as near the trunk as possible and kept our eyes upon it. After a short respite we resumed our journey, passing over high rocky ranges and narrow defiles; about high noon we came to the second dram board; here we had to treat our servant again and after securing water we took a lunch, rested awhile and passed on. We came to the third dram board about the middle of the afternoon; again, we had to pay the liquor bill of our trunk man; we took a little rest and passed on. About dark we came to the fourth dram board. We had now gained the summit of the Isthmus, fifteen miles from Cruces and our trunk man beastly drunk. He seemed resolved on taking our trunk from us. He wanted to take it into a company of his own countrymen camped nearby. We kept a strong guard over the trunk the whole night. There were about thirty Mexicans armed with long swords fastened round their waists. They were reconnoitering our camp the whole night. No doubt they had planned an assault but were afraid to attempt it as there were many emigrants camped all along the road. This rugged way had been infested with bandits for a long time and robbery was quite common. Early next morning our trunk man came promptly forward. He had sobered off during the night, but was resolved on having more whiskey, which, however, he did not get. We began the downward slope of the Isthmus early in the morning, passing large companies of emigrants, some on foot, some carried in chairs, others driving donkeys packed to their utmost capacity. Some of the natives were carrying machinery of all sorts for mills and steamships. Early in the forenoon of the day we came to the first dram board on our downward way. Here we had to treat our trunk man again, but we did not have to buy water. We seemed to be altogether in a different latitude, clouds obscured the sky vivid of [omission]; lightning cut the clouds and played upon the ground, peals of thunder seemed to rend the rocks and caused the earth to tremble beneath our feet. Such torrents of rain I had never seen before. The sun with burning heat quite overcame many of our large company. The Asiatic cholera was in our midst and several of our company were buried before we reached the Gulf of Mexico. Soon after leaving the first dram board on our downward march we crossed deep gulches and ravines, wading in water from ankle to crotch deep. We passed through several narrow ways said to have been cut through those high ridges by a man named Bolivar who invaded that country with a large army many years ago. Those narrow ways were cut and paved with large flat stone for the conveyance of war material. By the action of water, in many places, those stones have been undermined and removed. The water rushing down these narrow ways at a depth of three feet make them very dangerous to pass through. Our trunk man carried a staff. He would feel his way so that he would never set his foot down till he knew that he had a solid base, but he muttered and groaned like a dying animal, which was enough to elicit the pity of any feeling heart. Near midday we approached the second dram board on the northern slope of the Isthmus. Our trunk man quickened his pace and soon we were at the spot where we must treat him again. Passing on from thence over a rough and rugged way we came to the third dram board. It now became my turn to settle the whiskey bill of our trunk man. We tried hard to get out of it but couldn't escape. We had now passed the last dram shop and were five miles away from our objective point. We had a better road and arrived in Cruces a little before sunset, on Saturday evening September 18th, 1850. We were now 60 miles from the mouth of Chagres River where it empties into the Gulf of Mexico, but a much better way. I had read in the scriptures of a high way and a map of a straight gate and narrow way, of a wide gate and broad way. I had heard of the rough and dangerous way leading from the Dalles on the Columbia River to the Willamette Falls at Oregon City. I had heard of the Alpine way and many others, but that leading from Panama to Cruces was the worst I had ever traveled.
D. TOOLEMacon Democrat, Macon, Missouri, October 26, 1900, page 2
Reminiscences.As stated before, we arrived at Cruces on Saturday evening. The following day being Sunday we concluded to rest. We were much disappointed in the appearance of Cruces. We had expected to see a large, magnificent old town, but not so; situate on the left bank of Chagres a little dirty, filthy, heathen village; about one third of the old shanties appeared to be dram shops. The citizens were of a copper color, resembling our western Indians, though not so sprightly. How they make a living I cannot say. We found them in idleness and drunkenness and left them in the same condition. About 9 o'clock Sunday morning there came down from a hilltop not far away a large procession of men, women and children, marching in double file on foot. In front was borne by two men a large image or figure of a man astraddle of a pole, the children, marching in front, were constantly casting firecrackers under the image; the women, I think, were singing, the men yelling and whooping like savages going to war. There were two or three priests in the company clothed in long black gowns. They halted in the village for an hour or more. The Americans armed the priests around, took them to the dram shops, treated them until they had them almost beastly drunk. In this condition the priests rejoined the procession, and it was with great difficulty that they ascended the hill whence they came. On that hill stood a large cathedral and Roman church, and after the performance of what they called religious service they went out and had chicken fighting, and the drunken priests fought and scratched one another like dogs and cats. Men professing to be called of the Lord to minister in his temple and to serve at his altar to be guilty of such conduct is too bad to relate. On Monday morning we engaged an open boat to take us to Chagres, 60 miles down the river on the Gulf of Mexico. The Chagres River at Cruces was not more than one-fourth of a mile wide, and like all other mountain streams the water was clear and the current rapid. As we passed down the stream, we saw monkeys, parrots, parakeets and birds of all colors and plumage. The timber along the banks of the river seemed to be alive with animals and feathered fowls. In many places we saw large fields of rice, orange and lemon orchards, bananas and all kinds of tropical fruits. Outside of our boats crew we saw not a single mortal at work. Men and women swinging in hammocks seemed to be wasting their precious time. After two days sail on the bold and majestic river of Chagres we landed at a little old dirty village bearing the same name. Here the mouth of the river spreads out to a great width, forming an inland bay for the harbor of ships. Here we thought was a fine site and ample room for a large and prosperous city. The natives, like those of the village we had left behind, were of a tawny color, lazy and inactive. Even the dogs which had no hair on them at all were too lazy to get out of the way. The village could supply the traveler with nothing but whiskey, tobacco and gingerbread. The American people came pouring in from every quarter, and no doubt they got many dollars from them. We remained but a few days in the village. The old dirty sidewheel steamship, Falcon, was lying in the harbor waiting for us. Soon the people, men, women and children, began to enter the ship by scores and hundreds. It was said that more than 700 persons were on board besides the ship's crew. My brother and I paid $500 apiece for passage to New Orleans. But we barely got a peep into the cabin. Scores and hundreds were crowded on the open deck, and we had to take such fare as we could get; hardtack and salt beef. At night hard plank and no cover. We had been at sea but a short time when the Asiatic cholera broke out among us. We buried in the deep sea twenty-two men before we reached Havana. We were so thick on the deck that we could scarcely find a place to lie down. Suddenly some would cry out that they had the cholera. The surgeon was immediately called, and he would work with them for an hour [or] two then they were dead. There seemed to be a contortion of the whole nervous system, intense pain accompanying the paroxysms. When one was dead the captain came forward, rifled his pockets and took his trunk or satchel into his possession, then the sailors were ordered to sew him up in a hammock or old sail cloth. This done, a piece of old iron grate was bound to his feet, he was then laid on a slide board and carried to the hinder part of the ship; the captain then comes to the place of burial with a book in his hand, calling on all who can to draw near while the funeral service is being read. The last thing read was a short prayer; when the amen was pronounced the pallbearers raised [the] end of the slide board and the corpse gently dropped into the deep sea. After the funeral services were over the captain and sailors proceeded to other duties, cursing and swearing as if nothing serious had happened. After a few hours the same services were gone through with again in a cold, unfeeling way. Sometimes two corpses were dumped into the sea, side by side, and this sad work was kept up until we entered Havana Bay. My recollection is that there was a large fort at the entrance of the bay; a tower several hundred feet high. A man in the top with a speaking trumpet hailed us and asked if we had cholera on board. We answered yes and quickly there came a boat and took us in charge and put us in quarantine. After twenty-four hours they let us ashore, and we remained two days in the city. The master of the ship washed her up and cleaned up generally so that we had no more cholera. Havana fifty years ago was a large town under Spanish rule. The inhabitants were of a mixed class--black Africans, mulattoes, Spaniards and Americans. As far as my observation extended, I took them to be quite ignorant, wicked and depraved. What I saw of their conduct, even of the females, is too bad to relate. The streets of the city I think were quite narrow, the buildings were of moderate height and dimensions, though built on the old antiquated style. Dram shops and cigar factories were found on all the streets. Houses of ill fame were as common as restaurants in our home cities. Roman cathedrals were the best-looking buildings in the place. The whole town, with its inhabitants, presented a rather dirty and unhealthy appearance. Along the sidewalks were exhibited all manner of tropical fruits. Men, women, girls and boys were tramping the sidewalks with many little trinkets to sell. After a survey of the city we went a little way into the country. As far as we could see everything presented a charming appearance, ornamental trees extending as far as the eye could scan. The site on which Havana is located is certainly not surpassed by any. Fifty years ago, the fort as the mouth of the bay presented a bold, strong warlike front. We had only a bird's eye view of the harbor. It was one of the finest we had ever seen. Many ships were anchored there. We took the length of one, Georgia by name; it was only a little short of Noah's Ark.
D. TOOLEMacon Democrat, Macon, Missouri, November 2, 1900, page 3
Reminiscences.After a brief survey of the city of Havana, the surrounding country and harbor, we went on board the old ship, Falcon, which had been washed and cleaned up in elegant style. Many of her passengers had gone on board a large, fine steamer, bound for New York City. We would have gladly gone with them, but we had paid our passage to New Orleans, and to that place we must go, and take such fare as we could get. Our old ship having been cleaned parted with many of her passengers, the cholera left us and all on board seemed merry and cheerful. The old Falcon seemed to have taken on new life. She steamed out into the broad blue sea as bold as a man of war, heading for New Orleans. The land soon faded from our sight; the tall and magnificent tower on the fort was the last object to be seen. We could but observe the difference in the scenery of the Pacific, Atlantic or Gulf. We saw no fish, no whales, no waterspouts, nothing to break the long monotony of sea travel but the high rolling swells of the ocean. An occasional ship mast could be seen, but soon it disappeared. We were fortunate to have no storm or calm from Havana to New Orleans. The first sight of land thrilled every heart with joy. The old ship steamed up to the mouth of the Mississippi River and soon landed us in the city. Myself, with several others, went to the broker's office and exchanged our gold dust for coin. On my return we were met by three finely dressed gentlemen who insisted we should turn aside only a few steps to their clothing store. I believe I was the only one of the company that followed them. We soon entered their clothing store, and they seated us upon a fine upholstered rocking chair and began immediately to work upon my nasal faculties. One of the clerks presented to my nose an open bottle of the sweetest-smelling stuff I had ever inhaled on this earth; another clerk came with a large armful of clothing and laid them on the counter nearby; a third insisted I should try on a suit of the clothing; the numbers he had selected "just fit." So, I consented to try them on, and they assisted me in making the exchange; so, I soon found myself standing upright clothed from head to toe in a fine suit which glittered like a bubble in a sunbeam. Having dressed me up in the height of style they seated me upon the cushioned chair and began mopping my face with a highly perfumed mop; the whole room was filled with the finest odor that had ever tickled my nose. You may imagine how easy and comfortable we felt--could not have felt better had we been reveling in a king's palace. The clerks insisted that as I was traveling north, and winter was nigh at hand that I had better take a second suit of their clothing with a few extra pants and vests. They treated me so kindly and praised me so highly as being good looking and so on, I concluded they were almost superhuman. So, I told them to bind up quickly whatever they thought I needed and let me go, that my brother was waiting for me on the river shore; so they rolled up quite a lot of clothing, pitching in many little trinkets that glittered like a pewter dollar in a mud hole. I then called for the bill; they said it all itemized and footed up "just a little less than $150." This came near throwing me into a spasm, but we thought as they had shown such great kindness, we would not utter a word of complaint. We took the bundle of clothing, after settling the bill, and passed on to the river. My brother had engaged our passage to St. Louis on a river steamer and was waiting my return. It was he or some other friend who inquired, "what have you got upon your back." I told them I had met with kind friends over in the city and that they had loaded me down with merchandise. "Ah." Said one, "the Jews have been handling you." "Jews indeed," said I. "We have read of them in the Bible; they belong to Palestine and Jerusalem." "Yes," said he, "and there are plenty of them in New Orleans." In a few hours our boat uncabled and pushed out, booming up the stream at a moderate gait. I remember passing several towns, or boat landings, such as Baton Rouge, Natchez under the hill, Vicksburg and Memphis. We saw many negroes at work along the banks, whether on the levees or on farms we cannot say. We were not in a condition to make an intelligible note of anything we saw on either side of the stream. Our mind was so engaged with our business transactions in the city we could think of nothing else. Looking at the suit of clothes we had on the slick and shine had fallen off and nothing was left but old threadbare garments. I examined carefully the goods I had bought and found myself wonderfully cheated. The sight of mine eyes affected mine heart, and giving way to angry passions, they rose above fever heat. We had no rest night or day, feeling all the while as if we could whip our weight in wildcats; but if there had been only one to fight no doubt that would have cooled our ardor. Our boat made good time to St. Louis. Going ashore we were met by the same kind of gentry as those who had bulldozed us in New Orleans. We gave them to understand that they must stand back, so they didn't crowd us. We engaged passage up the Missouri River to St. Joseph. We saw nothing worth relating. The most important towns along the river between St. Louis and St. Joe were St. Charles, Atchison and Kansas City. Coming to Weston in Platte County my brother went ashore--his home being not more than twelve miles from that place. I think our boat landed at St. Joseph on Saturday evening. We were met by several friends and acquaintances, among them was Bro. Holmes, who had charge of the Methodist Church in that place. He invited me to occupy his pulpit on Sunday night, as he would of necessity be absent. I told him I had license only to exhort and felt wholly disqualified to conduct religious services of any kind, but he insisted that as we were fresh from Oregon and California his people would be glad to hear me talk; so, we consented. I remember reading the 32nd chapter of Isaiah, confining my talk mainly to the second verse. When we closed, we were pleased to know that the preacher was not present, who no doubt would have criticized us sharply. From St. Joseph we went to our former home in Andrew County, near Savannah. Here we spent the winter of 1850 and '51. In May of the same year my brother Walter and his wife came to visit us. He at that time had charge of the Hydesburg circuit in Ralls County, Mo. On his return we accompanied him to his home, and we formed many acquaintances in Ralls, Marion and Shelby counties. In June I started home; came to Salt River in Shelby County, but could not cross. The stream had overflowed and was impassable; returning to Shelbyville I made that my headquarters for six months. In the meantime, I became acquainted with my wife and married October 2nd, 1851. In December of the same year we removed to Savanna, Andrew County, Mo. The following spring, we moved to a farm twelve miles northwest of Savannah; raised one crop, sold out and bought two miles west of Savannah.
D. TOOLEMacon Democrat, Macon, Missouri, November 9, 1900, page 2
Reminiscences.In the spring of the year 1853 we purchased a farm two miles east of Savannah, in Andrew County, Mo., and moved upon it. That same year J. B. Calloway had charge of Savannah circuit and R. R. Baxter was presiding elder of Savannah district. Bro. Calloway was said to be a man of fair education, a great historian, and made an extensive use of history and chronology in his preaching, [which] though stale was very instructive, and I think he gave general satisfaction. Bro. Baxter was a man extensively known all over the Platte country. He stood high as a theologian and was well posted in Methodist doctrines and usages. He was also a Freemason of high order and received much aid from Savannah lodge. In September, 1853, Bro. Baxter licensed me to preach. We were often associated together, and I regarded him as one of my best friends. His counsel, advice and example exerted a good influence upon me. Bro. Baxter often lectured on temperance and Freemasonry and always attracted a large and attentive audience. As I had been licensed a local preacher, we felt it a duty as well as a privilege to support and maintain the best interests of the church which had conferred such honor upon us. Not that we desired to support the interests of the churches as a party, but as the interests of religion. The church of Christ is composed of true believers in Him of every name and order; through them He is pleased to work in the conversion of the world to Himself. We tried to keep up two regular appointments, one at Hackberry Ridge school house, four miles west of Savannah, the other at Cumberland camp ground school house, three miles due south of Savannah. We also had an occasional appointment in Savannah and elsewhere. In those days there were but few church houses in the country; private dwellings and school houses were used for public worship, and often the house would not hold more than half the assembly, hence the necessity of outdoor preaching, which was quite common in the spring and summer season. Camp meetings were held in the fall of the year, which resulted in great good to all who attended with a pure purpose. Some of our most talented preachers would come from a great distance to be at our camp meetings, and usually there were great revivals among the membership and many conversions and additions to the church. In those days union protracted meetings were common; Methodist, Baptist and Presbyterians joined together would make a steady pull, and often the result was glorious. Surely union of effort on the part of all good people in a good cause is very desirable. It is the policy of the enemy first to divide and scatter, then he will slay. The breach separating the various Christian denominations in some localities appears to be widening rather than diminishing. In the great outlines and essential doctrines of the Christian religion there is but little difference of opinion among real Christians; in matters of minor importance we may differ widely in our opinions without disturbing the peace and harmony of our Father's great family. I have no statistics and do not pretend to give dates correctly, though I think it was in the fall of 1854 that Jesse Bird was appointed to Savannah circuit. He was an old-time Kentucky Methodist preacher, full of fire and religious zeal. He was an educated man and no mean debater. The Campbellites selected a man to debate with him in Fillmore, Mo.; his name I don't remember. He came into the church with a large armload of books; Bro. Bird came in behind him with a little Bible in his hand. The stranger opened the debate with a long tirade against his opponent. Brother Bird in reply stated the points at issue, took up the first and debated it with such vehemence that his antagonist fled and came no more into that community. Bro. Bird's exegesis of scripture was of the highest order. Old Bro. Ben Ashby was presiding elder at that time and was a faithful, earnest, devoted Christian man and minister. We lived in the midst of a Baptist community--two church houses of the Old Regular Hard Shells. They were somewhat peculiar in their manner; they held monthly meetings; on Sunday they would have three sermons without any recess; some would be eating, others smoking, talking and jesting. In 1856 Wesley G. Miller and Robert Baldwin had charge of Savannah circuit. They were both good men and faithful, earnest workers. Bro. Miller was said to be highly educated, and his preaching was of too high a type for the early settlers of the Northwest. Bro. Baldwin boarded with me. I considered him equal if not above the ordinary class of young preachers. He was a patient, persevering student, possessing an investigating mind, and was a fair preacher for one of his age. Poor Robert; I was informed he left Savannah circuit on foot. He had subscribed $100 to aid in liquidating a large debt against the Savannah church. He gave up his horse and saddle, which at that time was well worth the money; all honor to Bro. Baldwin. I think, though am not sure, that E. K. Miller was presiding elder of Savannah district. Bro. Miller, like myself, is far advanced in life, and his work will soon be done. Perhaps no one in the Missouri conference is better known than he. He has built for himself a monument both in California and Missouri which will speak well for him as long as time shall last and will be reiterated in eternity.
D. TOOLEMacon Democrat, Macon, Missouri, November 16, 1900, page 2
Reminiscences.I think it was Joseph Devlin and Henry Craig that succeeded Miller and Baldwin on the Savannah circuit. Bro. Devlin was well advanced in life and had a large family. He was a very modest Christian man and minister. Savannah in those days paid preachers but very little. Bro. Devlin was a poor manager--had as little to do with secular affairs as any man I ever knew. His family was often in want, and he [was] too modest to make his wants known. He came to my house one day and said, "Bro. Toole, what shall I do? I am almost persuaded to give up the ministry and go to my trade." Said, "Sir, what is your trade?" "Spinning." "Spinning, indeed; the women do that work in this country. You hold on to the work given you by the conference. What do you want?" "I am out of wood." "I will cut and haul you wood this day, and anything else that I can do to relieve your wants shall be cheerfully done." H. H. Craig was a graduate of Fayette High School, a Christian gentleman, scholar and minister. He was a colleague of Bro. Devlin--his first year in the ministry. As far as I know he did his work well. He was a single man, a fair student. I think Samuel Cope succeeded Devlin and Craig. Bro. Cope was a fine preacher, a good pastor and served the interests of the church very well. He was a Union man and did all he could to quiet the strife and contention which preceded our Civil War. I think it was he that appointed a special meeting to pray for the Union. The meeting was largely attended and earnestly participated in, but many who attended that meeting afterward went into the Southern army. Bro. Cope was a great writer; many articles were found in the St. Louis Advocate from his pen in support of the financial interests of the church in general and of her ministers in particular. He wrote several small books, one or two of which I now have in my library. He was an earnest, faithful servant of the church. A man by the name of Berryman was presiding elder. He baptized three of my children; he remained but a short time with us and then went south. Bro. Cope was followed by D. R. Shackleford and Berryman by Horace Brown. Bro. Shackleford came to Savannah just on the outbreak of the war. The Southern Methodist Church was in great peril, and his opportunity for church work was small. i think he left the circuit before the conference year closed. Bro. Brown was small in person but had a large and well-cultivated mind; few men of his day could beat him preaching. He was the strongest Southern fire-eater I ever knew. He preached some of the greatest war sermons ever delivered in that country--but when the tug of war came he was the first that fled. Physically he was too small to fight, but mentally he was a host. Soon after Shackleford and Brown left, Southern Methodism was hushed into silence for four years. We worshiped with the Presbyterians. At the close of the war a man by the name of Hurst was sent to Savannah circuit. He was a very industrious, persevering man, for one of his age. He reorganized churches and Sunday schools at the different preaching places on the circuit. A more rapid increase in church membership and Sunday school scholars I had never seen before. In one year and a half Southern Methodism had almost doubled itself. Bro. Hurst left Savannah circuit in a prosperous condition, and his claims were fully met. Bro. Bird, of whom we have already spoken, succeeded him. The following year, in the spring of 1867, we sold out and came to Macon County. It was on the 29th day of February in the year mentioned above that we landed in Bloomington, the former capital of Macon County. On our arrival we were told that the county seat, with all the archives of the county, had been moved in time of war by military force to Macon City. The whole thing, as I understand it, was concocted and executed by the caption or dictation of one man. Many then thought and some still think that it will be returned to its former and rightful home. Come, friends, allow the county to vote on that question, and if you get it you will have it by the right of suffrage. We have a fine location and just in the center of the county. When we came to Bloomington 34 years ago there were 400 inhabitants, but the town was on the down grade. Many of the old citizens followed the county seat to Macon, or Hudson Junction, as it was then called. Some of their descendants will, ere long, find it in their interest to return to the old home of their fathers. Recently Bloomington seems to have waked up from her long slumber and is now shaking off the rubbish of former years. Nearly all the buildings have been taken down and new ones erected on their sites. We have two stores, one blacksmith shop and two churches, and if the court house and jail should be returned that will be two more public buildings. Don't you see? To all those who may wish to purchase town property please allow me to refer you to Amos Lewis, our old townsman, who owns four acres of fine land right in the center of the town, and he is selling lots very cheap, and any information you may wish in regard to this town or surrounding country he will cheerfully furnish. A. Landree has refitted his old store house and brought on a new stock of goods. He also built a neat and comfortable residence on his plat of ground. J. J. McDaniel, a money loaner, stock dealer and farmer, has been building somewhat extensively. Either of the above gentlemen may afford valuable information to homeseekers. George Loumaster, whose house burned up not long since, has put [up] a commodious and spacious dwelling. The widow Loumaster has remodeled and refitted her dwelling. Betty Fox, widow Owen, and J. C. Walker are the owners of some of the important building sites in the town. You will please call on the above-named persons before purchasing elsewhere. The old store house formerly occupied by D. Toole & Son is now vacant and is being fitted up for a town hall. Any gentleman wishing to lecture on temperance, politics or religion can have free access. John Toole has bought out F. T. Skinner on the corner of Main and Locust streets. All persons wishing to buy goods would do well to call and get his prices before purchasing elsewhere. He seems resolved on underselling Macon, Bevier or Callao. The stock now in store is more than double its former size. Eggs, butter and other produce taken in exchange for goods. The farmers, many of them, are beginning to learn that they get more for their eggs and butter in Bloomington than in Bevier. The old man Toole is now in his dotage and has retired from all public business. He herein tenders his hearty thanks to all his former customers, and all the same time would commend to your consideration John Toole, who will certainly treat you right. We have in this town a doctor. He comes highly recommended, bearing a large and fine diploma from one of the leading medical colleges of St. Louis. He has had several calls and gives good satisfaction. When you get sick, don't send to Macon or Bevier, patronize Bloomington.
D. TOOLEMacon Democrat, Macon, Missouri, November 23, 1900, page 2