February 1, 2014

  • Bernard's Book Chapter 8


    This chapter will be about my research into the spiritual side of life. It was my mother who piqued my interest in spiritual things, as I have already told you. I had been to Lakewood with her a couple of times. After my 15th birthday, when I had my driver’s license, Mother said, “Let’s you and I go to Etna.” That day at Etna, Mother was given a picture of a woman, drawn by a medium. It was colored with crayons on wax paper. She thought it was the likeness of her mother.

    In January 1943, I was drafted into the Army and ended up in the 90th Division 357 Battalion I Company. I had a feeling, maybe it was from Spirit, that I should try to get into the Air Force. I took a test at least twice and finally passed. I believed my prayers were answered. Nine-thousand Air Force men and I were soon on our way to the South Pacific. We sailed on the Monticello, an Italian luxury liner, that was caught in an American port when war was declared. They closed in the deck, put two rows of bunks six high all around the deck. They even had bunks in the swimming pool twelve high. After 22 days at sea, we ended up in New Guinea. Two years later, when I returned home I met a fellow from F Company. He told me that I was extremely lucky that I transferred out, because all the soldiers in I Company were killed. I believe it was Spirit’s help that saved me.

    In March of 1950, Professor Maurice Jones, who I had been working for part time while a student and full time in the summer, called me into his office and told me about this man in Gardiner, Maine who was looking for a Farm Manager to run his dairy farm. I called Mr. Gardiner set up an interview and met with this wonderful man. Mr. Gardiner hired me and gave me the farm checkbook. I moved my family into the farmhouse and Olive kept the checkbook. I slept on the couch at the fraternity and finished school. I went to my new home on weekends and signed the checks.

    It was August of 1956 when my friend Parker Samborn, who was the manager of the Augusta State Hospital Farm, at the time, said to me, “Let’s go down to the Spiritualist Church tonight. My father says it's true about Spiritualism.” So, we went with our wives and sat in the back row of the church. I never let on that I had been to a Spiritualism service before. The medium that night was Madelyn Wing, from South Gardiner. When it came time for the messages, the medium came to me and said she saw the American flag flying over my head (meaning I’d been in the service) and that I was going down the turnpike. I was going to tell people what to do and how to do it. Also I was going to keep records on everything. We laughed all the way home.

    In about two weeks, I received a letter from the University of Massachusetts with an application form, asking me if I was interested in applying for the Farm Superintendent position. Later I had an interview with a committee of three. Olive came with me. They asked me if I minded if she attended the meeting too. At the end of the interview they asked me when I could start working. I told them not for a couple of months as I had several things to do for Mr. Gardiner. I was told that Mr. Gardner sent them a letter giving them the devil for stealing his man. I think that letter helped me get the job. It was early December 1956 that I started working at UMass.

    That message from Madelyn Wing got me to thinking about spiritualism and prayer. I thought I would try something, I don’t remember who, but someone told me if you say your prayers out loud you would get better results. I hadn’t been on the new job long when I decided to try out my idea. I went to check on things at the barns at 9 o’clock one night. Out behind the barns I said my prayer, “If there is a circle with a trance medium in this vicinity I want to join.” In about 10 days I got a letter from a lady in Springfield named Ruth Agerup. She gave me her address and telephone number and said, “Spirit says that you want to join our group.”

    At that first meeting there were nine of us sitting around the kitchen table. Ruth was telling us where to sit. Alyce Andrews, the trance medium, was seated at the end of the table. I wanted to sit next to her so bad, and what do you know, Ruth seated me there. I wanted to watch every move Alyce made. It took about 10 minutes for her to go in trance. The experience was amazing. Soon I became friends with Alyce and she was considered part of my family. I drove her to nearly all the Spiritual Churches in Massachusetts and Connecticut, where she shared her spiritual gift for many years.

    I had the privilege of attending numerous trance sessions with Alyce. Sometimes we were given past life readings. Spirit told us that Alyce and I had many past lives together. One life we were on Bali Island. Alyce was a man and I was a woman. We had a 10 year old son. One day we were out on the water in our boat, when a typhoon came and tipped the boat over. The 10 year old boy was washed ashore and clung to a tree. Alyce and I both drowned. Our son was raised up by someone else. We also had a life together in Colonial Virginia. Alyce said she saw us in a big house with a large stairway. Another time I was a woman and we were seen on the street at the time of Jesus.

    Some of the spiritual messages received through Alyce Andrews’ trance work have been included in previous postings on this blog.

    I want to say a few words about a member of my farm crew, Ed Tobacco. Ed was Polish. His father changed the family name to Tobacco, because although it started with a T, his Polish surname was very difficult to say. Ed smoked and died from lung cancer. I happened to have a meeting with Alyce right after he died. Ed came through Alyce. He asked me if I would tell his wife that he wasn’t dead. I told him that I would. The next day I went to his home in Hatfield. Mrs. Tobacco was just finishing her breakfast. I told her that Ed asked me to tell her that he wasn’t dead. She said “Oh, I know he isn’t dead. He materialized this morning right in front of that bathroom door.”

    I have to tell about the time that my Grandmother Kate came through Alyce. It was the younger Kate, the one I knew, that I lived with, and whose classroom I went to in the 7th and 8th grades. I spoke to the spirit of my grandmother reminding her of the time I went to see her in the nursing home. I spoke about how I held up that old reel-to-reel tape recorder for her to hear the message that I had received from the wonderful medium named Mrs. Gladys Custance. The message was from several old time neighbors that Kate knew better than I. That day in the nursing home she listened and said, “Isn’t that wonderful, but I still don’t believe. This time, however, my grandmother's spirit said to me, “I know Bernard, but now I know it’s true.”

    Another medium, one of the greatest, was Mr. Theodore C-Russell from Buffalo, New York. There he lived with his friend, Henry Mullens, who at one time was a heat expert in a steel plant. I never knew the details, but Mr. Russell saved Henry’s life. Mr. Russell was in vaudeville when he was 5 years old and was still acting on stage in Toronto, Canada at an elderly age. I met Mr. Russell in the late 50’s and we became real friends. He would either write me and tell me when he was coming or call me when he got here. I sat with him in his kitchen many nights.

    After my father died, Mr. Russell gave me a message with 22 family names. The name “Ralph” came through. “Not your father," Mr. Russell told me, “He hasn’t been there long enough.” (Of course it was Uncle Ralph Yeaton.) One night we were talking about things at work and my department head came up. Mr. Russell said, “Don’t be concerned about him. He’s leaving for another job.” Mr. Russell turned out to be right, as I learned a short time later. I received many messages from Mr. Russell, but one that I always remembered was one at a public meeting. He came to me and said, “Why do I feel so old? Does the name, Melvina, mean anything to you?” Melvina was my great-grandmother who died when she was nearly 101.

    Another wonderful medium I knew was Miss Alice Hughes from Albany, New York. In her younger years she was a teacher at Morris Pratt Institute; a school for mediums, healers, and teachers. Miss Hughes told us a family story when she was a young girl. She was the oldest of several children and her mother had passed into spirit. One day her father was taking the family to church. They were going down the road in a wagon and when she looked behind, she saw an apparition of her mother running, trying to catch up. The apparition was disappearing as the horse trotted along. She told us that from that experience, no one could ever tell her that she would never see her mother again.

    Miss Hughes lived to be 103. On her 100th birthday, I gave her a set of paints and brushes. Sometime later she presented me with a large beautiful painting of a white stallion coming out of a dark background, something she had painted. A car load of us Spiritualists went to Albany to see her just before she passed. She was in the Sisters Hospital lying in a child-like crib, in the fetal position. Just before leaving, I leaned over and thanked her for all she had taught us. She whispered to me that she hoped she would soon go somewhere soon, so she could help people again.

    Here are a few other messages I have received from Spirit...

    The spirit of Uncle George Gray came to me in a message and asked me to organize the family get-together at the Wood Place in 1977.

    My father, Ralph, came to me five years after his passing. It happened at a service at Onset at the Wigwam. The medium said, “There is a man standing beside you. He says he dug up a dead horse. He also says, “You and your mother were right, but I couldn’t believe it.”

    My wife, Olive, came to me in a message saying that she was helping the souls of stillborn births and miscarriages. She also said that my mother, Lora, was very busy helping souls who passed from abortions.

    About five months after Olive went to spirit I began having a tickling sensation on the back of my neck, behind my left ear. I thought it was the tab on my shirts and was about to cut them off. Olive had been gone about six months when I received a message from another great medium, Joyce Orcutt from Willimantic, Connecticut. At the end of the message the medium said to me, “Do you have a question?” I said, “Yes, my wife has been gone six months and I would like to hear from her.” Mrs. Orcutt said, “She is standing right behind you. Can’t you feel her on your neck?” I replied, ”I thought that was the tab on my shirt.” I later discovered in a book by Dr. Michael Newton, “Destiny of Souls” (page 15) where a man from the spirit world describes how he communicates with his earth bound wife, “I can feel the point where there is the least amount of blockage. I find it on the left side of her head behind her left ear.”

    Spirit told us that they were not doing table tipping anymore, because they now have enough believers and don’t want their mediums to waste their energy on such things. In the past, they thought they had to do it to convince people, but now there are many here who believe.

January 21, 2014

  • Bernard's Book Chapter 7


    The following letters were sent to me from my parents (Ralph and Lora Hilton) when I was in the service. The first letter is from my mother. At the time, I had been in the service just a year. I had been recently transferred from Camp Barkley, Abilene Texas at the home of the 90th Infantry Division, to Amarillo Army Air Field in Amarillo Texas. My hopes were to do something in the air. I should explain, that I received $50 a month, but $6.50 was taken out for a $10,000 insurance policy and another $6 to purchase war bonds. I was left with $37.50. With this $37.50, plus the money I had saved; I purchased Christmas presents for everyone in the family. As I remember, I got them all at one small store in Amarillo. These were the first and only presents that my brother and sisters ever got from me, that I can remember.


    Norridgewock, Maine
    December, 31, 1943

    Dear Son,

    A line to let you know your box arrived yesterday Carol and Louise walked up to the mailbox. Well everything is lovely. Frank is displaying his nice belt today. Dad bought him a nice pair of pants yesterday, but they're too small. Rena had the bucking bronco pin. Dad is worried for fear she won't get home with it tonight. She had it pined on her coat, big sisters eyed it. Louise and Jennie are delighted with the belts. Carol thinks she is going to make all the girls envious of her compact. Polly wore the pink head scarf to school this morning. She needed one, so did I. We have both promised to loan them. Jen and Louise each got one, only they’re different from Ellen’s.

    Dad and all of us think his tie is nice and will go nice with his new suit. Of course, Mary has the soldier doll. She and Rena had it in the bed between them last night. I gave Mary a doll for Christmas, as well as Rena. Mary says her little girl has a brother now. She is quite a kid. Here are a few of her expressions when she wants us to pay attention to her. "I'll kick you in the teeth", "I’ll holler in your ear" and others I can't recall. She knows they are naughty.

    Well, Dad had four double teeth out yesterday and rode home in the truck with no glass in the doors. He was pretty sick last night. He had a man hold his head down in the dentist chair. They came pretty hard. He had a terrible headache. His jaw is quite badly swollen, but he feels pretty good this morning. He has eight more upper ones to come out. He will have to have an upper plate in from three to six months. He is taking Carol to Waterville to see Dr. Quite today for a check up. Louise is to have a permanent in Skowhegan. Grandmother is going along to see Eva Corson. Guess I forgot to tell you Eva has had a leg taken off up to her knee. She is home now. I hope there is a letter in the mail from you today. We are glad you liked the picture. Mary and I have to hold the fort this afternoon. Wish you were here.
    Lots of love


    Norridgewock, Maine
    January 9, 1944

    Dear Son,

    Here it is Sunday night again. I heard on the radio that you had a big blizzard in Amarillo and Fortworth, causing a great deal of damage to farmers, etc. The worst since 1898. How did it seem? We had another big snowstorm. Dad says about 15 inches. They had 26 in Jackman on top of 42 or so. They must have some snow. The temperature was down to 26 below this morning it's some cold tonight, but I guess it won't be quite so bad. We got our road plowed out this time before the storm was hardly over. We heard they were having trouble with the tractor before they got back to town.

    Dad had quite a time with his teeth pulling. Several days he took on here with pain in his jaw and face and headache. Finally he and Louise went back Tuesday. The dentist removed some process or casing that is around the teeth and it relieved him right away. Louise had some work done and they brought home to me a birthday present of a nice little rocking chair, to sit on when I peel potatoes.

    Today Dad went up to Annie's he wanted to see George about road plowing It seems no one with a rig will take on extra because of labor. George Walker's new ice house went down in the Thanksgiving snowstorm. He don't plan to put it up again this winter. His health is poor and so is Annie's. Agnes Hilton is in the Osteopathic Hospital in Waterville. She hasn't been well lately. Marian was up with her sister a few days.
    We had no school Friday because of the storm. I wonder if they will get there tomorrow. We expect Ellen home Monday or Tuesday for a few days. She says they don't want her gone more than a couple of days because they have a lot of patients. I guess she has been having a pretty good time up there, going to Saturday night dances and parties. Margaret Gray has been home two weeks or so. She and Edwina were down last Thursday. Caught Louise and I helping Dad saw wood. We seldom have more than a week's supply ahead.

    Dad has to go to court one day this week on jury same as September. Franklin exercises the horses a little, breaking roads to henhouses. Went up to Bennie's yesterday found Dean had got home he was hauling up stove wood. Carol is back to Farmington. Has her work pretty well caught up. She wanted yours and Earle Gray's addresses as she forgot to take them with her. I have mailed them to her in the letter that I wrote to her today. I'll be looking for your picture by the last of this week. I think it is nice you are sending it.

     Of course, you know Jen is playing basketball this winter. They played Madison and the Norridgewock girls won. Boys lost. Louise went over with Margaret and they walked out to the game. Louise walked home the next morning. She used skis as far as Helens. Edwina and Margaret used snowshoes. Dad went on skis today. The car is laid up for repairs. Sheaf didn't know if he could weld it or if he could get a new piece. Dad and Louise got almost to Gillins and found that about all the oil had gone out of it. Sheaf seemed to think he knew what ailed it. They towed it down, Dad and Louise, with the truck.

    Mayland Hilton has a girl. She is a Billings from Madison. Steve Ladd of Mercer is her grandfather. He has had her out home for several days. Maybe Etta will get him married. She told him to bring her home. I guess he was out there most of the time until he did. Oh, the neighbors are talking, Edwina gave us the low downs, and Dad got an ear full out to Annie’s. I reminded him of Earland. Guess it's no worse than that. I don't think I will ever want to live in that neighborhood.

    Don't lose your patience with the way things are going there. From what we hear on the radio tonight they are having upheavals in some other camps. We don't see any justice in a lot of things, quite often there isn't; but someone else will speak up, someone with influence. They will be moving a lot of men out of camps across to different places, before the winter is over. I think Reginald Pooler has been gone since before Christmas. So the Corsons say. His personal things were sent to them. He is in the parachute troops. Oh well, seems as though the war will never be over.

    Here we have lots of potatoes, too many eggs, and too much pork. I wonder if we'll ever move these potatoes. Too cold now anyway, but we wonder. I was wondering, if you could afford it, you might find something in leather good to save for yourself. You might wish you had some day, though I expect they are pretty expensive. They look it anyway. Dad can’t even buy a strap of harness. They need repairing bad. He told Carol to inquire for the harness man in Kingfield, when she gets there. She plans to go the last of this month. Guess I have scribbled enough this time. Will be looking for a letter.
    Love Mother


    Norridgewock, Maine
    January 16, 1944

    Dear Bernard,

    It is Sunday and we are not very ambitious so I will answer your letter. Your mother has told me to write you about Amos. She said, “Tell him about Amos just as you told us, and that will entertain him for awhile. To begin with, we haven't been through to the village for four days with a car. The road is full in some places. The sides of the road are as high as a man's head in some places. Yesterday we had three days milk on hand. We are getting about three cans a day. We can put only seven cans in the tank. So, I took a pair of horses and dumpcart body on a front sled and took the milk and started to meet the milkman at Albee's.

    I got over to Amos' and before I got there I saw him coming out to the road and start to shovel out his mailbox. He took only one shovelful and lugged it across the road and went back and stood and waited for me. Then he said he guessed he would go down with me. We got over to Clair's and Alice hollered out for me to get her a half pound of tea. She said she forgot to send by Harold Buzzell, who had just started for town on foot. I got over to Watson's and we loaded in their milk and Clinton went down with us. We overtook Harold by the Paquette Place.

    Clinton lifted the milk out of their tank and I said to Amos, "load it on", and he put in one can or two and then he stopped. I said, “Put the other one in that goes too.” He said to Clinton, “Does this one go?“ Clinton said, “Yes it all goes." So, Amos had to lift another one in. We met the milkman, whose name is Tukey from Belgrade, at monument square. I made Amos slide the cans from the front end of the cart body to the back end where Clinton loaded them into the milk truck. We got him to roaring a few times en route. He had to go to Gilman's to get feed and groceries. He got three bags of grain. He was in the store fifteen or twenty minutes. After awhile, Robert Gilman wheeled out his grain and we loaded it, and then Amos came out into the grain room a picking his nose, and standing around and Robert told him it was all loaded. He said, “Is it?

    I drove over to Piper's to get a couple bags of feed. I left Amos to hold the horses. I went into the store and Piper and I got to talking about fifteen minutes. In the meantime there was a lot of traffic going by and a couple of trucks stopped there and the horses were uneasy, that made Amos very nervous. When we came back he said to Piper, "Where in hell have you been? Don't you see all this traffic here and these trucks, these dam horses won't stand.". Piper said, “What’s the matter Amos?" I said, "Amos is in a hurry today. Didn't you ever see him in a hurry before?" They all laughed.

    We stopped at Albee's to get our milk cans where the milkman had left them in the morning when he got Albee's milk. We were loading in the cans, Amos was taking them from Clinton and placing them in the body. I said, “You can't throw them in that way you will have to pack them in or we won't get them all in." He moved his feet out of the place where we were packing the cans. Clinton had the mail all done up in a bundle laying on the bags of grain and Amos had his groceries laying on the grain. He got his feet on the mail and punched a big hole in Henry Gillin's daily paper. Among his groceries were two loves of bread. He trod on them and broke the paper on both and got dung on it. It was sliced bread and it fell apart some. He noticed it after awhile. He gathered it up some and said, "The god dam stuff. Anybody that will buy the dam stuff ought to have it trod on.” Coming home I commenced to pick on him some more. I started in about the white-collared bastards and he said the people ought to have a war and kill off about half of the dam bastards. They ought to take a gun. I asked him where he would get his bullets? He said, "Take an ax".The rest of the trip was uneventful. I dumped his grain at his driveway. He didn't have it shoveled out yet.

    Harold Buzzell has got to go to the Army. He has taken his physical at Bangor. He has been working up to the Forks with Bennie loading pulpwood on a truck. Bennie is raising hell hauling pulpwood 18 miles above the Forks to the Forks with three trucks. Harold Buzzell said they are overloading their trucks and breaking them down. Some days making only one trip sometimes four trips. He said that Roland lost off both hind wheels the other day and dragged his brake drum and split the brake drum. It is for the Hollingworth and Whitney Company. I think Albert Foster is doing the logging. They go up above Cold Stream and go into the woods about 8 miles on the left hand side.

    Clifford Fields has gone into the Navy, was drafted. He has 7 children. Ray Burrill has to go and be examined. Robert Hilton has had to be deferred for 6 months. Dean Yeaton is home he has been working at Bangor for a contractor. The contractor had go to the Army.

    I was on the Grand Jury two days last week. I have to go again the second Tuesday in May. I saw by the paper, Orion Luce was transferred to New Jersey. It seems to me the war is going awful slow. I am afraid the Russians will get to England before the Allies start a second front. I guess the politicians want to wait until after election before they finish the war.

    Hib Dow died about a week ago with pneumonia. There is no one living at the Frank Estey Place this winter. I have had to cut wood to burn since Thanksgiving. It takes a cord a week of gray birch. I tried Amos cutting. He cut two days and we saved it up and measured it to be one and a quarter cords, for two days work. I paid him six dollars in money and two dinners, which made the cutting of wood cost very near six dollars a cord. I cut 8 hours (one day) and I had 1 cord, besides I picked up wood he left. The snow is about 3 feet deep. I haven't cut any ice yet. I suppose I will have to have him help do that. I have got the car fixed and new chains for it. Jennie and Louise are to take their degrees at the Grange next Thursday.

    I heard on the radio that they are closing up the Bangor Airport and also the one at Houlton. I expect to help George Walker get ice this next week or soon anyway. I am having my upper teeth all out, that is some job. They are so solid the doctor can hardly pull them. Then they are sore for two weeks afterwards. He takes about 4 at a time.

    Charles is taking it easy this winter, he has about 16 head of young cattle for chores. He isn't cutting any wood or anything. I tried cutting some logs with Amos, but he was so dead I had to give it up. We couldn't saw the tree down, it went so hard. The stump would be concaved where I pushed the saw and bent it, trying to saw. Amos worked 4 days in December. He came over last Monday and stood around picking his nose. After an hour and a half he said, he had ought to have done it before but he hadn't. He said he wouldn't bother with the dam stuff now if he didn't need it to burn, which was probably so. I helped him fix up some wagon sleds. The next morning at 11 o'clock he came after the horses and made two trips to the woods that day, and hasn't been after them since. The snow is so deep the horses can hardly go through it. He has shoveled out a turn next to his field two times already and it has blown full now.

    People don't seem to think there is a war on. All they seem to think of is big pay. George Harlow offered $1 an hour for a truck driver, they say. Eggs have gone down to 30½ to 35½ a dozen, and there is a glutted market. Hogs are too plentiful and potatoes are not moving very well. About all there is that is moving is pulpwood and milk. We get about $200 out of our cows a month(9 in all).

    Clair and Steve are cutting pine and hauling it up the road with Clair's oxen they make a picture of the 49er's. They including the oxen act if each was trying to move slower than the other so the whole outfit is almost at a standstill. They hauled up 2 or 3 logs that 2 men could easily carry. Both have to ride. I don't know whether this interests you or not, but it is very exasperating to see the Buzzells do as they do, when they might be earning good wages if they wanted to brace up. The old woman, Mrs. Amos gets $45- a month out of Wayman's death. Both girls are home helping eat it up also.

    Your father
    R.B. Hilton


    Norridgewock, Maine
    March 6,1945

    Dear Bernard,

    I thought I would write you a line to let you know I am alive yet. I am very busy so I put off writing letters. By the way it don't take much to keep me busy. The snow has settled quite a lot in the last week. We have had real spring weather for a week or ten days. We have had quite a severe winter here with lots of wind and snow. There are several snow banks along the roads that you can't begin to look over them in a truck. There was over 3 feet of snow in the woods a week ago. I haven't done any work in the woods this winter.

    It is impossible to hire anyone at any price. What help anyone can hire is from 75½ to $1.00 per hour; and the quality is very poor. Amos, Steve, and Clair don't work hardly any. They don't have to. Amos and Clair are behind on there taxes this year. They were printed in the town report. Amos was at the head of the list this year. Your Ma and I went to town meeting yesterday. It being the only one I ever attended where Ames(D) and Folsom(R) (lawyers) were both absent. It went off pretty good. Frank Estey tried to take Ames' place; but made a poor showing. Frank did more than his share of talking. Frank Estey got $1500 to be spent on Winding Hill. Henry Gillen and I tried to get them to open the cross road from Crowes to Mrs. Spencers on the other road; but Frank and Bittle who lives on the Cheveoit Place, won the day.

    Old Jim Gillen tore all the town officials apart and also committee of ten. They had quite an argument about buying land for a cemetery. Fred Jewett was bound they would buy his piece out on the Mercer Road, between Mercer Road and Wilder Hill Road, and call it the Jewett Memorial Cemetery for $1500. Everyone but the committee of ten were mad. They voted on it 11 for and 31 against it. But, Dan Jones 1st selectman got up and argued and Charles made a motion that they raise $1500 for a cemetery not necessarily Jewetts. I expect they will but it is being left with the selectmen. Jewett was Moderator and was he tore up about it. He asks about three times what the land is worth.

    Frank Estey got in an argument with Mr. Wing who is town manager. Frank got real personal. Wallace Sheaff told me he was walking down the street with Frank and Frank was spouting about Mr. Wing and Mrs. Wing came along and heard Frank and did she peel him down. Sheaff said he walked off and left them. They had a chew about the big 10 in town meeting, they wanted to put on two new members and the old ones have to stay off for 5 years, which was carried. It it going to be tough on Mr. Jewett and Walter Tailor and Frank Estey who have been on ever since it started.

    Our cows are caving now 4 have come in this winter and we have 18 more before June 1. Their bags swell quite bad. It takes me about all my time to tend them. We are milking our 1st heifer raised from artificial breeding. She gives better than 35 lbs a day about 2 yrs.9 mo. She is the best 2 yr. old I think we ever raised. We have 10 head of artificial calves and heifers now. We have 16 head of registered cattle now. We have 41 head now in all.

    The girls said they told you that I bought a new cooler ten can size $535, a bath tub, and flush and a new set of harnesses for Frank's horses. I paid the mortgage off in full this last fall, and all other bills. I have been putting your money you send home or most of it into bonds. I have bought $150 worth for you. That is three $50 ones, for $37.50 each. I used some you sent home to buy cows last spring. Will give cattle or cash for it sometime. We have sold most of the potatoes, have about 250 bushel left. They are quite scarce now. I have ordered a new grain drill from Frank Estey. I am trying to save all the money I can so I will be able to furnish jobs for some of the returning soldiers when they get home. I want to build a barn and do lots of other things then.

     Crib Whiting died about 2 weeks ago; age 84yrs. I think Milford Tibbets is quite bad off hasn't been out all winter. Bennie has sold all his cows; he has only about a dozen head of calves and yearlings. He had mastitis so bad most of them went for beef. Charles has only 5 or 6 head of calves and yearlings. He is going into the hay business. Hay is awful scarce and high around $30 to $40 or $50 a ton. We have enough. Louise just blowed in an announced that Frank's heifer is caving so I will have to run. The calf is born and it is a heifer. Regular artificial calf out of an artificial heifer. Our cows attract quite a of attention when anyone comes around. We sold $3300 milk last year from an average of 12 half of them were first calf heifers.

    I have just taken out a $5000 life insurance it will come due when I am 65 so I would be independent then. It cost $282 per year. I get $5000 at death or at age 65. I think I will sell the sheep this spring unless I can hire a place to pasture them. I may sell 4 heifers, Nightingale heifers I got down there when they were small calves. I am enclosing a couple of pictures cut out of the Holstein World. They charge $500 for service (artificial) of this bull. I guess this is all I can think of.

    Your father
    R.B. Hilton

    Next Posting: Chapter 8 Spirit Messages

January 18, 2014

  • Bernard's Book Chapter 6


    In the early ‘30s Father started to add to his flock of sheep. The fall of 1935, a flock of very poor sheep were purchased from Lee Foss of Athens. This put the number of sheep over 100. Father learned from the County Agent how to castrate lambs. First he cut off the tip of the scrotum, push down and pinch next to the body. When the testicle popped out, he would grasp them one at a time with his teeth and pull them out. (Father's upper two front teeth were peg teeth. This happened when he was a young man. As he was pulling the rein over the back of a horse, the snap struck him in the mouth and broke off his front teeth.) When castrating the lamb, Father had to do the grasping on the side of his mouth because one of his peg teeth was missing. The reason for doing it this way was to avoid infection. Nothing touched the wound. What he grasped with his teeth, he spit out.

    At the same time as the castration, the lamb’s tails were also cut off. The shearing of sheep, which was done in April and May, was something I dreaded. Usually Mother or I had to turn the crank for the old clippers. Not being a professional, it was a good day’s work for Father to do from 25 to 30 sheep a day. It was my job to wade over the river at the Tailor interval and go to Dan Waugh's to get the sheering blades sharpened. Dan was a distant relative and would question me for all the news.

    We started binding some of the field corn at this time and shocking it in the field to dry. This was Indian corn, flint corn eight rows of corn on a cob. Late in the fall, we would take these bundles of corn and pitch them on top of the hay in the barns. We built a long feeder for the sheep in the barnyard and fed this to the sheep. They really liked it and got fat on it, but in the spring before the sheep went to pasture a lot of the best lambs couldn't walk. We would carry some of them to pasture. Many never recovered. At the time no one knew what caused this problem. The same problem can happen to cattle that have a complete diet of corn. It is the lack of selenium in the diet. Our soils in the east lack selenium, so we must give vitamin E, or feed a small amount of soy bean meal to the sheep, which comes from the west where the soils are high in selenium.

    We were gradually getting a little bigger in the dairy business. We always had cows to milk it seems. Mother made butter and it was peddled for 17 cents to 27 cents a pound. Mother also made cheese, not to sell but for our own use. She told me that she learned to make cheese from Gram Butler who was known as the best cheese maker around. Father put shelves in a closet by the old fireplace to store the cheese.

    We sold cream and when we didn't have ice, Father build a box at the spring, down over the riverbank, to set the cream in to keep it cool. This water was so cold you couldn't drink a full glass straight down without stopping. The water came right out of the blue clay in the bank. It was quite a job for us kids to get the can of cream up the steep bank until Jim Fentiman swamped out a new path down over the bank. Old Jim was a great woodsman he certainly knew how to lay out woods roads. We had to take the cream to the spring night and morning after separating. Two or three times a week we had to go down to the spring and get the can of cream, take it with the old Franklin car or a horse and wagon down to the old ferry road opposite the Pease Place. Then we put it in the boat, paddle across the river, and lugged it up the other side, where it sat in the sun until it was picked up by the cream truck.

    I think it was late in the summer of 1935 that we moved the camp that stood on the south side of the Butler House. This camp was used for summer sleeping when Father and his brothers were young. It may also have been used as sleeping quarters when Leander built the house. Jim Fentiman helped Father jack-up the building and put it on two beech skids. The butts behind and the front end was chained to a sled rocker and pinned to a set of forward wheels. The horses were put on the pole and the oxen were put on lead. I drove the oxen, Father drove the horses, and Jim walked behind to watch the rear. Of course, the road was a dirt road, but there was concern whether the skids would wear out before we got home. Everything went fine and this building became our new milk room. We soon got inspected to sell whole milk.

    That fall the icehouse was built, just east of the milk room. The icehouse never had a roof. We would fill it a couple of layers of ice above the walls. Sometimes the top layer would melt before we could get sawdust to cover it. Getting the ice was sometimes a problem with Father away in the woods. One year Uncle Maurice sawed the ice and Ellery Tuttle had to haul it from the river with his team. Ellery hauled ice the first day. On the second day he sent Emmons Young with the team. There was slush from a snowstorm that covered the hole. Emmons drove the team on the road right up beside the ice hole. He looked over and could see Maurice sawing on the other side and decided to go over to meet him. Emmons jumped off the sled right into the water. He said he never got his pipe or his hat wet. It was a very cold day, so he jumped on the sled and ran the horses to the house. Us older children were in school, but when we got home Mother told us how Emmons stood on the register, while she tried to find something for him to put on. Father had taken most all of his clothes with him to the woods. She finally found some old rags for him to wear while his clothes dried. Emmons told mother that if there were any fish there they would be all dead for he hadn’t had a bath for a good while. This was the story that mother relayed to us when we got home on the bus.

    Probably the last time ice was put up was 1944. I was home on furlough and Father put me to work driving the team hauling ice from the river. Father had George Walker with his machine to saw the ice. This machine was and old Hudson car engine mounted on steel runners with a big circular saw mounted on the engine. It would saw just about as fast as a man could walk and push it along. The cakes of ice were 2 feet by 2 feet by 3 feet and weighed over 300 pounds. Ten or twelve cakes to a load was a good load for the horses going up the riverbank by the Kennebec. In order to load the ice we used a wooden chute placed in the water. The team was stopped at end of the chute in the middle of the sled. Then we took one of the horses off and with a rope and a special made hook, the horse would pull the cakes of ice on to the sled.

    At this time, I was sweet on Olive, you might say, and she was riding with me. We put a blanket on the ice to sit on. When we were on the river, I noticed George was real sweet with Olive and it reminded me of a story that I heard in one of the lumber camps. When I heard a man in camp mention the name George Walker I kept quiet never saying that he was married to a relative of mine. The fellow said, “Do you know George Walker the iceman in Madison? George is quite a man with the women. His wife, Annie, got word of something. She told George if he didn't cut it out that she would start doing what he was doing and catch up with him. George told Annie, “You might keep up, but you’ll never catch up.”

    In the spring of 1934, Father took a job to cut pine on Willie Hilton’s land. He landed it on Hilton Brook. He also cut pine on land owned by the Clark and Bunker heirs and put that in the river at Norton and Greenier. All the logs were for the Augusta Lumber Company. Father told me that he could buy a pair of oxen for the price of a horse and that was all he could afford. We had a pair of steers that made a four-ox team and Amos Buzzell drove them. Father would get upset with Amos because he tended to slow them down and maybe didn't put on a very big load. Father insisted that they could haul as much or more than a pair of horses.

    A truck and trailer owned by Uncle Benny Yeaton and driven by Uncle Maurice hauled some of the logs from the Clark and Bunker land. These logs were put in the river by the spring, at the farm where my brother Franklin lives. I drove the oxen to load the logs on the truck. We used a rope and the oxen to roll the logs up skids onto the truck. This nigh ox was a really nice ox. I used to hitch him up in the driving wagon and give the children rides. He was so strong that he broke two ox yokes. Father finally traded oxen for a horse. He told me that he saw one of oxen pull at Topsham Fair with another ox. They won first money in the sweepstakes class. A few years later Father saw the old ox again and said it was sad to see him. He was old and thin and didn’t do well at the pull.

    We had a pasture in Starks on a road out to the right of the corn shop. It was about seven miles to the pasture from the Butler Place. In the spring when the water was high we would put the cattle over on the ferryboat and drive them to the pasture. One of the last times that we put cattle there Franklin, about 7 years old, had a pair of steers that were about a year old. The steers were used, thinking that the cattle might see them and follow along with them. It was a hot day and when we got out to Jonas Greenleaf's place, the cattle were hot and left the road and went into the swamp. While we were trying to get the cattle back on the road, Franklin was talking with Jonas, who was an old man. After we got the cattle back on the road and were proceeding down the road, I said to Franklin, "What did the old man have to say?" Franklin said, "He said if I had been home, I would have had a picture of those steers." I said to Franklin, "But he is home." Pretty soon Father came along and I asked him what did Jonas mean. Father thought for a moment and said, "He meant that if his wife Fide had been home, he would have had her take a picture of the steers."

    Each summer we would try to go see the cattle at Starks pasture at least a couple of times, usually on a Sunday. We would go in the horse and wagon and take a lunch for us and some salt for the cattle. One time Caroline, Louise, and I went with Father. We left the horse in the pasture tied to a tree and went looking for the cattle, usually about twenty five to thirty head. The pasture had a large acreage so we went quite a ways from the horse before they would respond to Father's calling them. Finally they came a running.

    We were in a small opening that was once a field. In this field was a huge rock as big as a small house. Caroline, Louise and I were up on this rock when the cattle came and with the cattle was a Jersey bull about two years old that didn’t belong to us. Father didn't want the young heifers breed by him, if he could help it. So, as they were eating the salt, Father sneaks up on the bull grabs him by horns and threw him. I was sent, as fast as I could go, back to the horse, to tie the horse with a rein and bring his halter to put on the bull. And to bring a bag which we had seen hanging on a tree to make a blindfold to put on the bull. I now I had to part with my shoe strings and at least one of the girls did also. The shoe strings were used to tie the blind fold on the bull. We took the bull got him through the fence and Father deposited him in someone's barn.

    I think it was in August in 1936, I was cultivating corn with a pair of horses and everyone else was picking string beans. A truck came and Father went with the man named Dana Robbins, who was after bob calves. We had just had two Holstein heifers, out of several that were bred to a Hereford bull that had red and white bull calves. We all told Franklin that if he would hurry to the barn and show an interest then maybe Father wouldn't sell them. Well those turned out to be a great pair of steers. Franklin trained them well.

    One of the first jobs Franklin did with his steers was when he and his cousin Ray hauled Gram Kate's wood from a pile around the turn, and put it down cellar. I guess there were 5 or 6 cords of wood and it was quite a sight to see these 2 boys in operation. In the winter of 1939, when Father was in New Hampshire logging in blow down of 1938 hurricane, these steers were our transportation. I fixed the old pung up with a pole. This pung had two seats and a little room for a couple of children to stand on back. One day that winter, after a big snowstorm, that blocked the road so the school bus couldn't get through, we decided to go to school with the steers. Franklin was nine. I was sixteen and a half and could run faster than Franklin, so I drove. There were high snow banks on the sides of the road. All we had to do was hang on. I would stand. If the steers happened to take a wrong turn, all I had to do was jump off, run a few steps, and I would have them under control. We put the steers in a lady’s stable, across the street from the school.

    Next Posting: Chapter 7 Letters From Home

January 16, 2014

  • Bernard's Book Chapter 5


    Father bought his first pair of horses, Harry and Queen, a white horse and a dapple-gray mare from Wesley Watson in 1923, the year that I was born. In the spring of 1925, he bought the black horses Nig and Lion. Father described the pair, “They were what you would call green broke, they wouldn’t turn good at first." When I was five, I would ride Harry and sometimes Nig to unload hay with the horse fork. They knew pretty much what to do, all I had to do was hang on to the hames. When they had gone as far as they could, I would turn the horse and they’d go back to the barn. Before I was elevated to this job, Mother or Molly had to do it. They would walk and drive the horse with long reins.

    In addition to his black horses, Father also bought a bay team called, Dan and Maud. There were like a pair of cats. They were the only team that could go up a pinnacle on the mountain to get the wood. This was rough pulp; some that was cut late in the summer, too late to peel. Father was using a drag dray, probable fourteen to sixteen feet long. He put on about a cord and a half on the dray and dragged two bundles, a quarter of a cord each, one behind the other with a bridle chain on each runner. Down the mountain he went, quite fast at first, I watched and caught up after, when he undid the bundles. He placed them beside the road to be picked up later, when the road got better from further use.

    The bay mare, Maud, stepped on a piece of wood. It left a splinter in her foot and caused an infection. She got lame. Father treated her for months. Her foot grew out like a stump and made that leg longer than the other three. She wasn't used for regular work, so I used her as my driving horse. Maud could go very fast and in the wagon it didn't matter that she went up and down. One day I went up to call on the Bishops, which was located across the road from Amos. Old Maud was going at a good clip. I was standing up for some reason and when I turned in I pitched out, landed on my belly, and got dragged a ways. Joe was in the yard and grabbed old Maud’s head, while I got to my feet. I never let go of the reins, so there wasn't any damage to anything except my pride.

    One day Father decided to get rid of Maud. He took her up in the woods with a pole ax in his hand. We didn’t know what had happened. We kind of laughed to ourselves as Maud appeared dragging the halter rope. Father never took her back to the woods. In addition to her bad foot, Father said Maud’s wind was bad. He talked with Wesley Watson about him selling her for him. Father asked me to ride her down to Watson's Pasture on the Skowhegan Road. I had never ridden in a saddle, but I heard that Helen Pease had one. I told Father if he would borrow Helen's saddle, I would do it. Mother called Helen and made arrangements for Richard, Helen's son, to bring it over in their boat. It turned out to be a ladies side saddle with an up and down ride, but I made it to the pasture and let her loose.

    Father said, “Every time I went by the pasture, I looked to see if she (Maude) was still there. One day he went by and she was gone. Father went over to the stable and said to Wesley, “It looks like you sold the mare.” He said, “I did, but all he could get was $75. Father said to him, “Did anyone around here get her.” Wesley said, “No, she has gone a good long ways and I don’t even know the man’s name.”

    My father told me that his grandfather, Benjamin F. Hilton, called BF, bought our pony, Don, as a foal. When they first got him, Don was kept for a short while behind the kitchen stove, to keep him warm. He was a pretty dapple-gray when young. He came from a farm in Emden, I think where the Piper farm is today. Father said B F. Hilton had his own blacksmith shop where he made the pony cart. It had springs under the seat. Father said that one of the springs broke, but soon his Grandfather Hilton drove in with a new spring he had made. Father wondered how he knew, for he didn’t think anyone had told him that it was broken. Eben Miller’s children Robert and Elizabeth had Don for a time, until I was old enough to ride him.

    Ellen and I drove Don up to the Butler Place to catch the school bus for a time. It was difficult for me to get on his back. He wouldn’t stand near anything that I could get on. I discovered that if there was grass to eat I could straddle his neck and he would throw up his head and I would be on his back, then I would turn around. One time us kids decided to visit Uncle Benny’s family. There were four of us: Caroline, Louise, Jennie, and myself. It was a good load, but no problem for Don. It was Sunday and the Yeatons were not home, so we decided to go to visit Uncle Harry instead, just about a mile further up the road. Uncle Harry was really surprised to see us and very happy about our visit. He insisted that we unhitch, Don put him in the barn, and feed him. Aunt Gussie and son, Donald, were there and had us playing games. We were having a great time, but we stayed too long. When we got home, Father was fit to be tied and I had to be punished. When we rode or drove old Don a lot, he would leave home and go up to the neighbors. He would be gone for several weeks, but as the kids there began to ride him, he would soon come home.

    Father told me he had a great feeling of love and respect for his Grandfather Hilton. He spoke about the day his grandfather made a visit on his way to Mercer to see Uncle Allie. It was shortly after the death of his son, Charles, Father’s father. Grandfather Hilton stopped by to cheer up Kate, but Father said he couldn’t help thinking that his grandfather needed cheering up as much or more than his mother did.

    One Sunday, Father and I went up to the Yeaton Place to see Uncle Benny’s new pair of horses. When we got there it seemed that the whole neighborhood had turned out to see them. They were a real nice pair of black mares. They were backed out of their stalls one at a time and everybody admired them. When they were turned out, each horse rolled over 5 or 6 times. Some old fellow hollered out, “They’re worth 100 dollars each time they roll over!” Later in the barn, a new Farm Mall tractor was demonstrated. It could turn in a fifteen and a half foot radius. I went back into the horse stable and Uncle Ralph Yeaton said to me, “Those tractors will never replace horses will they?”

    I made two trips out West to buy Belgium horses with Father in the late 50’s. The first time we got Lula Bell a big mare and a two year old stud at an auction in Indiana. The last time we bought horses, we went to Toronto to the Winter Royal Fair for a couple days. We slept in the back of the truck and enjoyed the fair very much. Father bought two horses from somebody he had corresponded with, one was a nice two year old mare. He raised quite a number of good horses. Father gave me a dark sorrel mare he didn’t like, called Lady and sold me a blonde mare, named Bonnie.

    I am going to close this chapter with a couple of stories that shows Fathers love of horses. Lion, the off horse of the black team and the oldest, died at the farm. Nig, the nigh horse, lived on and one day Father traded him. On a trip to the Starks pasture, after removing a young jersey bull, we were walking along the line fence and we spotted a man cultivating corn with a pair of horses. One of the horses was black. Father said, “Wait here I want to speak to that man.” When Father came back he was nearly in tears and said “Poor Nig has to work for somebody else. I never should have sold him.”

    I haven’t written anything about Tom and Prince. Father used this team for everything, before the war, during the war, and after the war. He planted the corn, he sprayed the corn for weeds, and he mowed the hay with Tom and prince. One day Father went to the Wood Farm to get out some cedar he had cut for fence stakes. The horses were getting old and when they turned, Prince got his feet caught in the brush and broke his leg. Father got Erland Peterson, a neighbor, to shoot Prince to put him out of his misery. Erland offered to get his tractor and haul Prince down to the interval to bury him, where it would be easy digging. Father said, “No, he would get another horse to hitch with Tom, and haul Prince down. He wanted Prince to be hauled with horses, not a tractor. The family told me that Father dug a hole with the help of his tractor loader. He built a box for Prince and buried him. A few years later Tom died and he was buried at home behind the barn. Father didn’t like the idea of one horse buried at home and the other horse three miles down the road. He wanted the horses buried together. So, Father dug up Prince at the Wood Place and trucked the horse up the hill and buried him at home beside Tom.

    Next Posting: Chapter 6 Farm Life

January 12, 2014

  • Bernard's Book Chapter 4


    From 1924 to 1942, Father went to work in the woods every year, except in 1932. The pay was so low that year, as my father told me, “It wouldn't pay for the wear and tear of my clothing and equipment.”

    I remember in 1933, when Father had a job to haul 600 cords of peeled spruce and fir at Sandy Stream, which was located seven miles above Highland Lodge. Father called Mother to meet him in New Portland. I remember hitching up a little bay driving horse in a sleigh for Mother. The horses name was Tony. All this horse wanted to do was to go as fast as he could. We used the harshest bit on him, a J.I.C. bit, even then he would nearly pull your arms off. Mother started off with Tony for New Portland to pick up Father for a visit. She used a winter road down the field, across the river, at the Pease Place.

    When Father arrived at New Portland, he thought he had plenty of time to get a shave and a hair cut, before Mother arrived. He must have been in the barbershop when Mother and the little horse whizzed by. I don't know how far she went before she turned around, but Mother said her arms got tired holding the horse back so, she let him go. She told me, "I was going right along with the cars.” When they got back to our interval, Father had to hold the horse's head up to keep him from falling down. The little horse that didn't weigh but 800 pounds was exhausted. The next morning Father told me, “Go out and see if your little horse is still alive.” Tony was standing, but his hair was all matted down.

    In 1934 Father was working for Walter Robinson on Spencer Stream. He had three camps two were about 13 miles north of Flagstaff Village; the other one was eleven miles back. There was a C.C.C. road into Shaw pond about 8 miles from Flagstaff. C.C.C. stood for the Civilian Conservation Corps. A government organization that took young men 18 to 21 put them in camps and built roads and trimmed up the National Forests. His brother Charlie worked as a foreman in one of these camps over in New Hampshire. The roads they built were gravel roads not hardly wide enough for two cars to pass. To get into this country we had to cross Flagstaff Lake, which was a mile across. They had a scow on the lake big enough to take a car or a pair of horses. They had to ferry all their provisions, which was quite a job, for they had 65 horses and 135 men to feed.

    They started toting with a pick-up-truck from the further side of Flagstaff Lake to Shaw pond a distance of 7 miles. They traveled on the C.C.C. road on bare ground; but snow came early and fast by the first of January there was over 2 feet of snow. They had no snowplow so they had to abandon the pick-up–truck they just pushed it out of the road and left it there. They had to tote all the way from Flagstaff to Spencer Stream with horses. That tote road had a lot of snow in it and it was trod down and froze. Robinson brought in a big snowplow made out of hardwood plank. The runners were 18 feet long; it had 3 sections one in the center and one on each side of the center. The outside sections had grousers, which could be hoisted or lowered by long levers using manpower. It also had big wings on the side made out of hardwood plank, which could be raised or lowered by hand of course. Robinson wanted to plow this road right down to the gravel so he could go back to toting with the pick-up truck between Flagstaff Lake and Shaw Pond.

    One morning Robinson asked for 20 horses to be at the lower camp at 6:00. These horses were all hand picked. Father said he was lucky he was called on to go, for there were some pretty good horses picking 20 out of 65. They hitched the horses in 4-horse teams a total of five 4-horse teams. Each 4-horse team was hitched to a forward sled. The first 4 were hitched directly to the snowplow. Then the next 4-horse team was put on ahead with a chain running back to the plow and so on until we were all hitched on. They had some difficulty getting things moving because it was somewhat difficult to get them all going at once. They broke some chains at first, but after a few minutes everything was running smooth. The horses seemed to get used to things soon and they could stop and start anytime they wanted. Father told me, “When they put them grousers down and those wings down, we didn’t have any horsepower to spare.”

    In the winter of 1934-35, I had my first experience in the woods with Father. I was 11 years old. It was during a two week Christmas vacation. Father took a job of 2800 cords, mostly peeled spruce pulpwood from the Viles Timberland or the Augusta Lumber at Michael Stream five miles from Highland Lodge. I went in with some of the crew who had come out for Sunday. There were a number of the crew that I knew: Amos Buzzell, George Dickerson, and Norman Keene, to name just a few.

    This was an old camp with bunks for about thirty men. The bunks were about five feet wide, one row over the other along one side and one end of the camp. Next to the bunks in front was a bench to set on or to stand on when getting into the upper bunk. Some men would get small fir branches four to six inches long and stand them up in the bunk for a mattress. Two men slept together with one spread under and one over them. The spreads were gray stuffed quilts that couldn't be washed easily and were outlawed in the middle forties. When I came home after my two weeks, mother thought I had the hives, but we soon learned that they found bed bugs in an old mattress under the bunk that Father and I slept in. The mattress was taken out and burned. They used some Flit insecticide and a spray pump to get rid of them.

    I went back during spring vacation that year. There was over seven feet of snow with several layers of crust. The snow was so deep that when you looked around you wouldn't see any pulpwood, just a little snowcap. After shoveling off this snowcap you would find the woodpile. When you got to the bottom of the wood pile you had to throw the wood out of a six-foot hole. They had to do a lot of shoveling that year. They had a crew just to shovel. The men also challenged each other to see who could slide the farthest down the mountain on their shovel, on their way back to camp. The story was that Ray Raymond was the best at sliding in his shovel. There were at least 3 layers of snow crust in the roads not yet broken. The crust was harmful to the horse’s legs so, a small Caterpillar tractor was used to drive through the unbroken roads to break down the crust, so the horses could go safely.

    I came home with Father, Erving Morrill, Norman Keene, and the horses. The day we left for home, we were up long before daylight. When we arrived at the Highland Lodge it was raining so hard, we had to wait several days before leaving for home. I ate my first Needham candy bar there. It was a chocolate bar with coconut inside. On the way home we passed a farm with a sign, “Honey For Sale”. Someone bought some and I had my first taste of honey.

    In 1936, Father took a small job three miles above Carratunk Village for Frank Nadeau. After finishing early in February, he worked for the Augusta Lumber Company at Deadwater Station seven miles above Bingham. This is when Father was taken sick with meningitis. The Fall of 1936, Father built a set of camps at Pleasant Ridge. He bought cull boards from the Augusta Lumber Company. They delivered them to Bingham for $10 a thousand all spruce. The next fall they delivered some matched boards planed on both sides to cover the ceiling of the tie-up for $35 a thousand at the farm. Father took a job to cut and haul 500,000 feet of hardwood to a mill at Pleasant Ridge for the Augusta Lumber Company in 1937. This was the last time he ever worked for them. In 1938 Father worked about 3 weeks for the Great Northern at Mt. Abraham seven or eight miles from Kingfield. In 1939 Father went to New Hampshire and logged in the blow down from the Hurricane of ‘38.

    In the winter of 1940-41, when I was seventeen, I went in the woods at Ten Thousand Acres, a township on the right just this side of Jackman. Father had gone in with the horses a week or two before I went in. He had come home on the weekend and I went back with him. It was late at night, with no moon. We had to walk in. It was a long way, probably 15 miles to the first camp. The woods were all large hardwood trees. At one point, Father didn’t know which road to take, so he lit some matches to see which road had the fresh horse manure. When we got within a mile of the first camps, we could smell the biscuits along with the other camp odors. I was so tired from walking, but the camp smells gave me courage to go on. Once at the lumber camp, the first stop we made was with the cook to have some tea and donuts, and maybe pie. They seemed to have everything you could want to eat.

    I worked with Father some, because we had three horses and I drove a single horse rig for awhile. This was a large camp. There were about 40 company horses. One thing that I noticed in the morning were the huge hogs, about eight of them on a very large horse manure pile. The manure was steaming and the hogs made themselves nests to lie in. Most of these hogs were red and weighed five to eight hundred pounds each. They had been well fed with the garbage of a large crew for probably a couple of years.

    The main camp was large. It slept probably 40 men. It was connected on one end to the cook’s shack. There was a space between the two that was covered over by a roof connecting the two buildings. The cook kept some of his supplies in this area, things that could be frozen like meat and flour. This area with its roof, helped protect the men in this camp when going to meals in foul weather. There was also the teamster’s shack. There was about twenty of us. Our camp was just a log frame with some old thick canvas nailed to the frame that must have been discarded by the pulp mill. All the other camps around the campsite were of log construction. Beside the main camp and the teamsters shack; there was the hovel that housed the horses, the blacksmith shop, and the bosses camp which was a real nice looking little log cabin.

    The body lice were awful in the teamster’s shack, where Father and I slept. We boiled our clothes every Sunday. That was the only time we had time to do it. This worked for a day or so and then the lice was back again. Father said he had heard that if we put our long underwear under the horse’s blanket at night, this would keep the lice away. We each had two suits of long underwear. We needed one suit to sleep in, so we put the other one on the sweaty horse under his blanket. This idea didn’t work. I think I only did it for one day. After a few weeks of this, Father said to me one Sunday, “You stay away from the camp for awhile, for us old fellows have a job to do.”

    There was a young Canadian that slept in and upper bunk next to Father and me. He was in his early twenties and drove a small white company team. This fellow never boiled his clothes and didn’t seem bothered by the lice. Father asked two men if they would confront this fellow with him and they agreed. While this was going on, I went down to the blacksmith shop where a couple of young men were trying to makeover their pulp hooks. They thought they could improve them by changing the angle and point out the hook. After awhile I noticed that the meeting was over and my father was heading for the hovel to tend the horses, so I joined him. Father told me they asked the guy to strip and when he took off his long underwear, it looked as if you’d thrown two handfuls of grass seed on it. The men asked him to throw the underwear in the woodstove. He did and said, “I never felt lousy.”

    Our camp, as I mentioned, was made of thick canvas. There were two bulldog stoves back to back, that took four foot wood. Of course heat rises, so the men in the bottom bunks were always cold, while we in the top bunks were roasting. I remember one night the old fellow who slept in the bed under Father and I, had just loaded up the stove, when this other fellow gets down from his bunk, grabs a pail of water, and throws it in the stove.

    One day it was 40 degrees below zero, so they said. Most didn’t go out but, that didn’t stop us. We had roads to break and records to set. I didn’t know it at the time but, Father told me years later that he was often hired to “bull the crew”, to shame them into doing more work. Well, that day was very cold and when we got up the mountain where the wood was, my hands were nearly frozen. The steam was rising over the horses and Father said, “Take off your mittens and put your hands up between the horse’s hind legs.” The horse didn’t seem to mind and that warmed me up in good shape. Soon we were putting on a load of pulpwood.

    The landing was the place on the stream where a large area of about ten acres, maybe more, was clean cut and a wooden dam was constructed with a sluice. Early in the fall, they flooded this area and when it froze over, they started to haul on the pulpwood. I heard them telling how they went on it too soon, and put a team of horses through the ice. They didn’t lose the team, but I guess it was quite a sight. This happened sometime before we arrived. We piled the wood on the ice. The weight of many loads caused it to sink into the water. At times water would surround the woodpile. Now, with this wood sinking and freezing, it became a solid block, especially that which was in the water.

    The main road was as good as any highway made out of skids, ice, and snow. At night they hauled water with a pair of horses with a wooden box the width of the road. This box had two holes in the bottom, one in each end right where the sled runners went. When they got to where they wanted water on the road, they just pulled the plugs and drove along. They loaded the water wagon on the lake. They cut a hole in the ice and loaded with a wooden barrel and a horse. It was a two man operation, one to lead the horse the other to handle the barrel. There was a pole attached with a strap to the bottom of the barrel. With this, the barrel could be maneuvered to fill it with water. The top of the barrel had a rope attached for the horse to pull it up a chute. When it got pulled up. it would tip and dump the water in the box.

    In the spring of that year, I went back on the drive, after having a fight at home with my father. I worked as a "cookee" (the cook's assistant) washing dishes and doing what the cook asked me to do. One day he said, "I am going to make tomato soup. Go open those four gallons of tomatoes and dump them into the copper boiler." After opening the cans, I noticed that one of the opened cans was ketchup. The cook seemed to have a hard time getting the flavor just right, but as the men left the table they were telling him it was the best tomato soup they ever had. The cook had two cook stoves with oven doors on front and back. One night he fried steak right on top of the stove, no frying pan. I noticed that he kept a box of baking soda handy. Soon it started to rain and the lake was over flowing. We had water. Time to move pulp. They woke us up at three in the morning. Now we had to light lanterns, get our pick poles, and go to the dam.

    In 1942, Father went to Moose River hurt his leg and spent the rest of the winter in the hospital. Father says that this was the end of his up river jobs. When I got out of the Army in January 1946, Father handed me the reins of a pair of horses and we were yarding hemlock at Willie Hilton’s.

    Next Posting: Chapter 5 Horses

January 10, 2014

  • Bernard's Book Chapter 3


    One of my earliest childhood memories is being left alone with my great-grandmother, Melvina Butler. It was in the winter or early spring. My mother had gone with my Grandmother Kate in a horse and sleigh, across the river to Annie Hilton Walker’s house in Anson. My mother was getting a fitting. This meant she was getting measured for a new corset. My father's cousin, Annie, was in the business of measuring women and fitting them for corsets.

    I had been left with my great-grandmother, who was obsessed with the idea that I would get something in my mouth and choke, so she kept me in an old antique walker with the casters were missing. The walker was a wooden box about eighteen inches square with four legs at the corners that held the box up about ten inches off the floor. Inside at the bottom of the box were two slits for my legs. I couldn’t move the thing. I felt trapped. Finally, sometime after dark about seven or eight o'clock we heard the sleigh bells and mother came and rescued me. I think I cried most of the day.

    Gram Butler, her maiden name was Holt, had her bedroom upstairs on the east side over the kitchen. Also in the kitchen on the east side between the two windows, Gram had her small bureau where she did her work, which was mending clothes, making of patch work quilts, and knitting. The Portland Press Herald came daily and in it were patchwork quilt designs she would cut them out and save them. Now, her bureau was off limits to us children, but I got to know the rest of the house quite well. The parlor, which was in the southeast corner of the house, was somewhat off limits, but I remember two weeks before Christmas when Ellen and I found our presents behind the old couch that was arranged across a corner of the room. We were small and could crawl under the couch. After we got in the corner we had plenty of room to play. I can't remember what my present was, but Ellen had a doll with a china head and all kinds of doll clothes.

    If I ever lost anything small, like marbles, that Gram thought that any of us children would put in our mouths and she happened to find them, they would go into one of the drawers in her bureau. Once taken they were gone forever. Melvina was a hard worker and made many patchwork quilts and knitted lots of mittens and stockings. She knitted new feet on the bottom of many old worn out stocking legs.

    We all sat at the big table in the kitchen for meals. The men were seated on the back next to the wall and the women and children on the ends and front. As soon as the meal was over, sometimes there was conversation, but during these times Gram Butler would leave the table and start the dishes. First, she would wash the milk pails making quite a noise in that slate sink. This upset Mother, Kate, and Ruby for they wanted to rest a minute and carry on a little conversation, before going back to work. I would hear one of them say, "Look at that old woman," then the women would get up and get to work and order Gram out of the sink.

    When Ruby and Uncle Maurice first married, they lived upstairs in the north end of the Butler House. Ruby was like another mother to us children. Maurice and Ruby could get their own meals up there, but usually they ate at least one meal a day with us. One Christmas, I got a pair of small stuffed horses and for several nights Uncle Maurice had me up to the apartment. He made a cart and harnesses for these horses. They were really neat. I enjoyed playing with them.

    I remember Ruby had a waffle iron and occasionally she had us kids up for waffles. She also had a curling iron and would give herself a marcel. Of course Ellen and Caroline didn’t need a marcel for they had natural curly hair. I remember when Ellen had her curls cut off. She wanted it done and was happy, but it was a sad day for everyone else.

    When Maurice and Ruby’s little girl, Janice died from diphtheria, they didn’t tell Gram Butler for about a year. She kept asking where Janice was, so Kate felt that she had to tell her. I happened to be there right after she had been told and saw Gram Butler in tears.

    When I was about four years old, I was gathering the eggs when a big Plymouth Rock roaster attacked me. He pecked me on my eyebrow and the blood was coming down. When he jumped at me again I caught him in mid air by the neck. I proceeded to take him, by the neck, to the back porch, which was sort of a deck, hollering, “Kill him, Gram. Kill him, Gram!" The hen house was about 150 feet from the house down a sleight grade. I carried the old rooster by the neck back to the hen house. He soon came to life and never bothered me again. After that episode I could go into the hen house any time I wanted and pick up eggs.

    My great-grandmother Melvina told me a story once that I always remembered. It was about a mother who went out to milk the cow and got lost. She walked all day before she found her way home. When she got home the milk had soured in the pail. At home she had two small children, a baby and another young child. When the mother was gone the baby got hungry and cried. To satisfy the baby, the child dipped a cloth in a pan of milk she got from the cellar and put it to the baby’s mouth. In the early days they set milk in pans in the cool cellar to keep it and to let the cream rise, so they could skim it. Gram also told me that she was once in a railroad station in Grafton, Massachusetts when a train went through with Abraham Lincoln on board.

    Melvina lived to be nearly 101. The last three years she couldn't walk. She had what we would call the flu and never walked again. Uncle Maurice put casters on a straight back chair so Kate could push her around. She spent most of her time in bed. The day Gram died, Grandmother Kate told me that she had an awful feeling, while trying to get Gram to eat her breakfast, then she realized she was dead. I was seventeen when my great-grandmother died.

    I spent a lot of my early years exploring the old hen house, milk room, and ice house building. There were some interesting things stored upstairs over the milk room such as crock-pots, clay jugs and the like. The ice house was a nice place to play in the sawdust, in hot weather. We lost Caroline and Louise once and after a frantic search for what seemed like an hour, they finally responded to our hollering and appeared at the ice house door. After questioning, it was learned that they had fallen asleep while playing in the cool sawdust.

    I can remember that I was playing in the hen house, one day, when someone hollered from the house, “Ellen is here!” My sister Ellen, a year and a half older than I was going to school in Norridgewock, staying with Grandmother Kate (we called her Molly), who was the teacher of English in the high school. When Grandmother and Ellen stopped to get groceries, on the way home from school, the grocer named Chester Jones, would give Ellen a chocolate and she would save them up and bring them home to the girls and I. This was quite a treat for us and something we looked forward to when Ellen came home.

    Ellen started school when she was four years old, but she was soon five, her birthday being in November. I started when I was five, having my birthday in May. We both stayed with Molly, as we called Grandmother Kate. One of the first rents we had with our grandmother was a house on a street behind where Cumberland Farms now is in Norridgewock. Every time it rained we had to get out pans and kettles to catch the rainwater. We didn’t stay there long. Musa Hale, a cousin of Molly's, had apartments and we stayed in one of hers. In 1928, we stayed in an apartment in a big house that was taken down to build the present schoolhouse. Uncle Maurice and Aunt Ruby had and apartment in the same house when we were there. Uncle Maurice helped build the cement bridge over the Kennebec River. It was built just below the old covered bridge. It was at this apartment that I lost my little dog, Wow, down the backhouse. He jumped up in my lap and slipped down the adjacent hole. Molly told me to stay put, but I looked out the window and saw what she had to do. This was an upstairs apartment the dog had quite a drop and Grandmother had quite a job by the time she finished washing up the poor pup.

    I want to say a word about taking baths when I was young. When we were children we were given baths in a big old brass kettle. I can remember being given a bath in that kettle, in the slate sink, when I could barely fit in. The girls took their baths first, because they thought I would pee in the bathwater. (But of course they wouldn’t.) When we were older it was a washtub every Sunday night in the kitchen by the wood stove. Even at the apartment with Molly we took baths in a washtub. Of course, in the summer we took a cake of soap and went swimming in the river.

    The last apartment that we stayed in and where we stayed the longest was an apartment upstairs in the house owned by Allie Longley. He was the rural mail carrier out to Sandy River for years. This house is up the hill towards Smithfield across the street from the Miller Place. I can remember looking out the window and seeing Robert and Elizabeth Miller getting into their car on their way to Colby College. Eben Miller always had a beautiful garden. One time, in the ‘30s, my father in order to get a little money went out to town to plow gardens. I saw him plow the Miller’s garden and haul a dumpcart load of manure for them.

    In those days the grocery store had salesmen that came to the house, before we left for school, and took Grandmother Kate's grocery order for the week. We would stop in at the store on the way home to get bread. Bread was six cents a loaf, then it went to seven. Molly gave me seven cents to get a loaf of bread. On the way home one of my school mates grabbed me and wrestled me to the dirt sidewalk. When it was over, I only had six cents in my pocket. I never said anything to anybody about what happened. When I got to the store to buy the bread, Chester Jones said to me, "Bread is seven cents". I gave him the six cents saying "That's all I got.” He gave me the loaf of bread.

    It seemed a long walk home from school. We would take a short cut, usually across the railroad track. There is a trestle across Millstream that was a little scary at first, but it didn't seem to bother Molly.

    Ellen had her own bed; but I shared a bed with my grandmother. I had the bed most of the night, as Molly stayed up late correcting papers most nights. Sometimes she would fall asleep in her chair. She would say, “All I need is ten minutes,” and then she would go back to work. We ate a lot of welsh rabbit, she called it, and she could make this quickly. (It’s melted cheese poured over crackers.) We also had tomato soup. We never took a lunch that I can remember. We always went up the hill to eat lunch at the apartment.

    Some may wonder why Grandmother Kate was called Molly? She was only married ten years when her husband, Grandfather Charles died. She had four boys; so with the help of her parents to care for the boys; she went to Farmington State Teachers College got a degree and became a teacher. She taught first at the Sandy River Country School, where her four sons as well as my mother went to school to her. She told me that her boys didn't like the idea of referring to her in school as mother. Uncle Harold saw the name “Molly” on a calendar and started calling her, Molly. We all called her Molly until she retired from teaching, then we called her, Gram.

    The last years of her teaching, they gave her a room down in the basement where it was dirty and cold. The walls were cut granite with little cellar windows. It was the worst room in the school. On top of that she had the worst class in the school for homeroom. That was my class, the seventh grade. They were the worst ever. Two of the students were Nate and Earl Tracy. Rodney Gillian was in this class. Rodney and Nate were put in reform school for burning down Billy Gray's house. Nate was killed while trying to run away from the police and didn't make a turn in the road.

    Molly taught English and Math to this seventh grade, as well as English to the four high school classes. All the good students liked her and always said how good a teacher she was. One day she called on Robert Gilman and he didn't respond. She announced, “It’s time all dead people were buried!”

    There were years during the ‘30s that Molly’s salary was fifteen dollars a week. The town paid in town orders, which meant when and if the town got money the town would redeem the order. God bless Chester Jones, for he took the town orders and held them until the town got money.

    Years ago my father answered a list of questions that I wrote and asked him about, so I am quite certain that I have my facts right about these things I'm about to say. I remember the herd of Guernsey cows at the Butler Place. At this time they were using a milking machine. I was watching them milk and fell asleep squat down behind the cows with my back against the wall. They finished milking turned out the lights and left me. Well, when I came to, I was a bit scared to say the least. The cow stalls were connected to the stable. The worst thing for me was to have to walk behind the horses to get out of the barn.

    In the stable there were five horse stalls one for a driving horse and four for the draft horses. The stable was very efficiently laid out. You could drive in with a horse and wagon and unhitch the horse and turn the wagon. There was a long bench along the south side. There was a door, so you didn’t have to go out side to put the horse away. On the right as you went in there were stairs up to the hayloft. Each horse had his individual chute where the hay was pushed down. The manure was put down a scuttle to the stable cellar.

    The stable cellar was where the pigs were kept. If you put a little corn on the horse manure pile, the pigs would root it over and keep the pile level. When Caroline and I were three and four years old we were in this stable cellar with two little pigs and our small dog. We were chasing the pigs around and around the pile of horse manure. I was sicking the dog on the pigs. Ever so often we would fall face first and Caroline would holler, “Sick them some more Barnard.” The next thing I noticed, my father was there to get us.

    Father says the Guernsey herd was sold in the winter of 1925-1926, because they reacted positive to the Federal Government TB test. I must have been two and a half years old.

    In the fall of 1927, Father told me he bought the Haynes Place. We moved down for good in 1929. When Franklin was about to be born and we were living at the so called Haynes Place (where Franklin lives now), Mother went up to the Butler Place to have him. I remember us kids going up, standing on the porch, and looking in the window to see our new brother soon after he was born.

    In the fall of 1929, Ellen and I were coming home with Father in the old Model T Ford Truck. It was a rainy day. We were going up the Oxbow Hill. It was higher then. Years later they took off about 12 feet off the top of the hill. As we were going up the hill, a paper bag of red kidney beans sitting on the transmission, got wet and burst. The beans ran down by the transmission into the road. I remember helping to pick up those beans in the rain. None of us were very happy, especially Ellen. I believe we were coming home, probably Thanksgiving. Ellen was not interested at all in going to the Haynes Place. The Butler Place had a flush toilet. It had running hot water, a bathtub, and electric lights.

    At the Haynes Place we had running water most of the time. It ran in a barrel in the kitchen. This barrel had an over flow pipe and the barrel leaked or slopped over because the kitchen floor rotted where the barrel sat. The water pipe to the spring was always filling with sand and we had to rent the force pump from Miller and Jones hardware to clean out the pipe. One year the pipe froze even though the pipe was in the ground three to four feet. When the pipes froze we would have to get the welding company with their D.C. welder to thaw out the pipes, and of course the old force pump was used to get the water to flow again.

    The mailman and the school bus wouldn't come to the Haynes Place for a time in the early 1930s. At one time, those of us who went to school would hitch up old Don. We’d drive up to the Butler Place, put the pony in the stable, and catch the bus there. There was a time when we would meet the bus at the mailbox. The mailbox was up the road about a mile through the woods where the road forked off to go down to the Oxbow Farm.

    I believe that Ralph Tuttle was the first bus driver. He had an old Star car that he used to haul us when he could get over the road. The road from the mailbox down to the farm was just two deep ruts full of water most of the time. The running boards of the old car would drag in places. In the winter, when Tuttle couldn't go with the old Star, he mounted the body of an old car with its doors, windows, and windshield on a long sled. Us boys would stand and hang on the back. There was room for only three to stand and the one in the middle didn't have much to hang on to. Ralph rode up front. There was room for a boy with him. I remember coming home in a blizzard and Ralph was so cold that he opened the windshield a crack and put the reins through it and rode inside. At that time we would get a couple weeks off from school for mud season. Tuttle had a nice four-seated horse wagon with a roof that he used at times. Ralph Tuttle was quite a teamster. His horses were nearly always in a trot or a dead run.

    Grandmother Kate was a good friend of Ralph Tuttle’s wife and had great respect for her. I always liked their son, Ellery. He was the same age as Uncle Maurice. They drove to California when they were young men. Part of my education was the day I jumped on the milk wagon with Ellery and delivered milk with him. This milk wagon was on rubber tires. The old black mare knew just where to go and where to stop. Ellery took me to his home for dinner. His wife, Shirley, put on an extra plate, and asked no questions. There were two little girls, one in the high chair.

    After the Tuttles drove the school bus, Ansel Clark had the job. He was a very quiet, accommodating, nice person and drove the bus the rest of my school days. In 1936, Ansel bought a new half-ton V8 Ford Truck chassis and built a wooden body to make a small bus. This bus was very adequate for the number of students on the Winding Hill Road, which was the route at the time. Ansel would occasionally bring things home for us, such as cottonseed meal and grist that was ground at Emmons Gristmill And Feed Store.

    Next Posting Chapter 4 In The Woods

January 8, 2014

  • Bernard's Book Chapter 2


    I have been asked if I might include something on the psychic aspects pertaining to the Yeaton Family, particularly those stories about the mediumship of my grandfather, Benjamin Franklin Yeaton (Frank). I have been told that his mother, Sabrina, is recorded in Augusta as a “Witch”. This term was often used to label those who prescribed herbs for the sick.

    Now, this may come as a shock to some that read this, but we have Native American blood in our veins and I believe it is Penobscot. My Mother once told this story that back in the early 1700's or late 1600's there was this family and the father had gone hunting and he never returned. This left the mother with a family of five very young children. There was an Indian who lived nearby and came to help this mother by cutting wood and hunting game for food. Well, evidently this Indian man soon came to live with this family and there were four or five more children born.

    A number of years ago, I was visiting with Aunt Edwina and I asked her if she could add to this story. Edwina being older than mother I thought she might be able to add something. Aunt Edwina said she had heard the story and said that when she ever asked about it someone would snap back and say, “Yes, you had a grandmother who slept with an Indian". That is all we really know. However, psychically, through the mediumship of my good friend, Alyce Andrews, there was a Penobscot Indian spirit-lady who came to me saying that she was a grandmother of mine. If you look at the few pictures that we have of Sabrina, I believe you can discern some of the Indian features. I want to point out that if this is true, and I believe it to be, then the children of Ralph and Lora Hilton have a double dose, because they have Betsy, Sabrina's sister, as a grandmother also.

    I wish that I had been able to talk more with some of my older aunts and uncles, because Mother said that when her older brothers and sisters were in their teens and early twenties they would go to the schoolhouse, probably with other young folks in the neighborhood, and for entertainment Grandfather would demonstrate his mediumship. One of the things that he did was to let the boys tie him up with rope in such a way that he couldn't possibly get himself undone.

    She told me that they literally wound the rope around him from head to foot Grandfather said that he had an Indian guide named, Adavada, who helped him. After being tied up he was put into the closet and in a short time the ropes would come off. I know from Mother that these things took place between 1886 and 1895, because they moved to the Yeaton Place in 1886 and Sabrina died in 1895. Sabina had said that when she got to Spirit she would put a stop to such things. The reason why she wanted to stop it was because the boys wanting to see what was taking place would open the door a crack to peek in. Sabrina knew that under certain conditions it can be harmful to allow light to shine on the medium when some of these things take place. (Spirit told me that I am mispronouncing Adavada’s name.)

    Mother said she heard it said that her father had difficulty going into trance after his mother Sabrina died. Another time, probably before his mother died, they were shingling the barn when all of a sudden Adavada took control of Grandfather and he went to the ridgepole with a hatchet in his hand and did an Indian war dance.

    Down river from the Yeaton Place, about a mile, was the home of Joe Crips. He lived there with his sister Tilly Simpson. Mother told me that, one evening when she was a young girl they were having dinner; her father got up all of a sudden from the table and left the house. Her mother, evidently realizing that Grandfather was in trance, went with him. They walked to the Crips Place, about a mile, and found that Tilly had fallen down at the barn. It seems that Joe was away and that Tilly's hip was broken. The two of them found an old door and were able to get Tilly on it and carry her into the house, When they came home Grandfather sat at the table and coming to his senses, looked at the mud on his shoes and asked Grandmother where he had been, and she proceeded to tell him.

    My mother also told me about a time when she was young and sick with a fever. On this occasion her father seemed to have difficulty going into trance, but he eventually did and then proceeded to go out to the barn where he pawed around and found a stick of green wood. While still in trance he told Grandmother Ellen to heat the piece of wood in the oven and then to place it under the blankets at the foot of the child’s bed. My Mother told me it was like in a steam bath and that it put her into a sweat, which broke the fever.

    My sister Mary reminded me of the story told by Mother about her father going swimming in the river. Grandfather couldn’t swim and he got in over his head. His Indian guide took over, swam out into the river up stream, and returned to shore.

    My mother, Lora, was also psychic, but at times her gift made her nervous and somewhat afraid. When Father was sick with meningitis in the spring of 1936, Mother had an osteopathy doctor named Dr. Whitney, from Madison, come several times to see Father. There was a lot of snow in the field 5, 6, 7 ft. in places that spring and the doctor came on snowshoes across the river by the Pease Place. The last day that the Doctor came he brought a medical doctor with him and after the examination of Father, Dr. Whitney told Mother that there was so much force around Father's head that he was afraid that he might be doing more damage than good and that she better get another doctor. The next day the new doctor in town, Dr. Laney, came and right away knew that Father had Meningitis. If Dr. Whitney hadn’t been stopped by the force about Father’s head he would have killed Father.

    When I had been investigating into spiritual phenomenon for 15 to 20 years, I was visiting with Mother and said to her, “I have been looking into the spiritual things that you tell about and find them to be true. Now I would like to observe some of the phenomena.” It was a quiet sunny day and Mother started talking, she asked me if I remembered what happened at cousin Donald Yeaton's funeral. I told her that I wasn't there, so she proceeded to tell me how the lid on the coffin came shut three times. The funeral director Henry Hilton had to put a book against the lid to keep it open. Just as she spoke, a loud rap came on the door leading to the hallway that goes upstairs. Then there was another rap on the door to the outside, and then a third rap on the hallway door.

    It was in the spring, when my brother, Franklin, was sick and lost part of his eye sight. Mother, Father, and I were helping out the best we could, when Franklin's wife, Shirley, came home from the hospital with the news that Franklin might not make it through the night. Mother and I went to Anson for the night and as we sat wondering what was in the future I asked Mother to lay back, relax and see what she might get. First, Mother said she saw Franklin's farm and there was a black cloud over the buildings. I told her I could understand that. What else did she see? "I see the Pease Place”, she said. I asked if she could tell what time of the year it was. She said, “It is the fall of the year because there are no leaves on the trees". I told her that means when the fall comes Franklin would be able to see the Pease Place. When fall came Franklin was heard to say, "I can see the Pease Place".

    Another time when I was up for a visit I asked Mother if she had experienced anything psychic, she then told me about being out in the woodshed bent over feeding the cats, when she saw a spirit building up on the floor this startled her, so she looked up to see who it was and saw nothing, looked back at the floor and the apparition was no longer there.

    There are a number of family members who have psychic abilities. Uncle Harry had this ability, as did Aunt Etta, and her daughter Alice was a good medium. Aunt Etta told me that when she knew spirit forces were about, she would speak out loud saying that she wasn't afraid of anything that they might do. Nothing was going to frighten her. Pretty soon the dish cupboards began to shake, all the dishes were rattling, and then the wind blew all the doors open. She finally begged them to stop, admitting she was scared. Cousin Roland Yeaton's oldest son, Roland Jr. (Skip Yeaton) is a very strong medium. And Cousin Dean Yeaton has psychic ability. There is no doubt others in the family have this gift, especially among our grandchildren.

    I will close this chapter with a little story about my grandmother, Kate Hilton. I had been investigating into psychic phenomena for awhile, when I went to visit my grandmother in a nursing home in Madison. I went alone and brought my tape recorder (one of those old reel to reel tape recorders). What I had on the tape was a message that I had received from a wonderfully gifted medium, Gladys Custance, who lived in Onset, Mass. This message contained a lot of family names whom my grandmother new better than I did. I held the tape recorder up close to her ear. She looked at me and smiled saying, "Isn't that amazing, isn't that amazing. Then she paused and said, “But, I still don't believe".

    Sometime later, several years after Grandmother had gone to spirit, we were having a spirit meeting with my friend, Alyce Andrews. While Alyce was in trance Grandmother Kate started talking to me. During the conversation I reminded her that I had tried to convince her about the truth of spirit communication when she was here. She said, “I know Bernard, but at that time I just couldn’t believe. Now I know it’s true.”

    Some will say, “Are you sure it was your grandmother?” I say, if there was a hole in the wall and you couldn’t see who it was, but you could put your ear close and could hear their voice and their inflections, I guess you would know who it was. I lived with her a number of school years as a child and as a teenager I had her as a teacher for two years. I knew who was speaking right away. It was my grandmother.

    Next Posting Chapter 3: Early Years

January 7, 2014

  • Bernard's Book Chapter 1


    Several years ago a psychic medium friend gave me the message that I should write a compendium. When I asked her, "What's that?" she replied, “I don’t know, you’ll have to look it up in the dictionary.” For those, like me, who don’t know what a compendium is, this is what the dictionary says: “A compendium is a short summary of the main points or ideas of a larger work: abridgment: condensation.” My first thought was to put together what I had and knew about my grandfather, Benjamin Franklin Yeaton. I had some facts about him and recollections from conversations with my mother, Lora.

    In order to more fully understand what life was like during my grandfather's childhood, we must first paint the best mental picture that we can of that period before his birth. To begin, Benjamin Franklin Yeaton's grandfather, Paul Yeaton, came to Belgrade in 1793. He was a veteran of the Revolutionary War, a Private 2nd class in Bartlett's Company, New Hampshire Militia in 1780 and 1781. Paul’s father, Richard Yeaton, was also a Revolutionary War soldier having died in late 1776 from exposure. Paul Yeaton came to Belgrade in 1793 with brothers Philip and Joshua and sister Mary Jane.

    On January 4, 1795 Paul Yeaton and Mary Hussey were married in Lebanon, Maine. There is a reference to Paul Yeaton in the History of Kennebec County, Maine by Henry D. Kingsbury and Simeon L. Deto, published in 1892. It states in the chapter on Belgrade the following: “The year 1816, which is remembered throughout New England as the cold season, brought special hardships to the people of Belgrade. Not even in the days of the first settlers, twenty-five years before, when hunting and fishing, as well as tilling the soil, were depended upon to furnish food, and when what few store supplies had were brought upon their backs many miles through the woods from Hallowell and Gardiner, was there more suffering or privation among the inhabitants.”

    The crops were all failures, and less than 25 bushel of corn was raised in town. Paul Yeaton, who raised twelve bushels from several acres of land, was regarded as a wonderfully fortunate man. The snowstorm of June 12th drove the men from the fields, and snow began to fall again in October. The next spring the price of hay was 20 dollars a ton and higher; wheat 15 shillings a bushel; potatoes, 4 shillings; and corn 2 dollars.

    These were exceedingly high prices for the times, and no less than a score of families in town, becoming discouraged fearing the cold season would be followed by another like it, moved away. Most of them moved to Ohio then regarded as the land of promise. There were 28 births in town during the cold season. Paul and Mary's first two children were born in a log cabin in Belgrade. The third child, my great grandfather, Richard, was born September 22, 1799.

    Great-Grandfather Richard Yeaton married Sabina Corson and raised fourteen children. The following item from an 1876 newspaper found in the wall of the old Winslow home in Manchester now Jacques' Turkey Ranch, by John Wadleigh in 1957 and given to Bertha Bartlett: “The family of Capt. Richard Yeaton met at the homestead in Belgrade on Saturday July 29th. The family consisted of the father age 77 years, and the mother age 70 years and fourteen children and their wives and husbands, and thirty-four grandchildren, and two great grandchildren, comprising a family of sixty-four members present. Capt. Yeaton and his wife have been married and lived on the same farm fifty-one years; and raised up a family of fourteen children."

    We know that my grandfather, Benjamin Franklin Yeaton, was born in Belgrade on August 13,1846 and was the twelfth child of Richard and Sabrina. Grandfather Yeaton (known as Frank) was nineteen at the close of the Civil War and twenty-seven when he and my grandmother, Ellen Mari Caswell were married. She was born in Belgrade on October 6, 1855 and was nine years younger than Grandfather.

    At this gathering in 1876, just related to, were Grandfather, Grandmother, and there first two children Uncle Harry who was two years old having been born June 13, 1874 and Uncle Ralph 45 days old having been born June 4, 1876. The record shows that Harry and Ralph were born in Auburn; Clara and Edith were born in Belgrade; Richard and Albert in Augusta; and Earl in Windsor August 20, 1885.

    We know from Grandfather's own words that the family moved to what is now known as the Yeaton Place in Norridgewock on June 22, 1886. It was also documented that he moved from Augusta.
    From the court document: "How long had you lived in Augusta?"
    Mr. Yeaton: "I had lived in Augusta on and off most of the time or part of the time for 20 years."
    Question: "What do you mean by off and on?"
    Mr. Yeaton: "Part of the time I worked in Augusta. I was married in Augusta. I went from there to Auburn, lived in Auburn 3 years, and I came back to Belgrade and bought a farm. I lived there some four years, was burned out of the Darley block in Augusta, in the fire in the winter of 1885 in January."

    The above mentioned words of Grandfather Yeaton were taken from a court document found in the Yeaton House under the eaves by my sister, Louise, while she was living in this house. These papers were in a very tight roll and after reading them she gave them to me. These particular papers are most interesting for they are of the March term of the 1889 Somerset County Probate Court. These proceedings took place in Skowhegan for Skowhegan stole the County seat from Norridgewock in 1872, Norridgewock having been the County seat since 1809 when Somerset County was set off from Kennebec. The Yeaton Place on the Sandy River was at one time in the Town of Starks but during Grandfather's time became a part of Norridgewock.

    My father, Ralph Hilton, told me that towns were originally laid out six miles square, in answer to my question about the location of a particular stone marker. It seems that the farmers on the East Side of the Sandy River got upset when they couldn't get across the river for town meetings in the spring. This strip of farms along the East Side of the river about one half mile wide from the Kennebec River to the Mercer line, partitioned to be set over to the town of Norridgewock.

    Grandfather was in court, on complaint of Owen G. Corson, administrator of the Estate of Benjamin F. Corson of Starks, for embezzlement. Minta S. Powers was appointed stenographer to take testimony. S. S. Brown appears for complainant, J.J.Parlin for respondent. It is shown by the court testimony that Grandfather and B.F. Corson had a verbal agreement, that Grandfather would come and make a home for B.F. Corson, called Uncle Franklin, as well as for himself and family. Although Grandfather tried to get a written agreement, he hadn't succeeded. Uncle Franklin died in December of 1887 after Grandfather had been living there only a year and a half. This caused ill feelings on the part of the heirs; they thought Grandfather hadn't earned what he was getting.

    The daughters and sons of Ralph and Lora Hilton have the Corson Family on both sides of their Family Tree. Sabrina is our great-grandmother on our mother's side and Betsy Corson, Sabrina's youngest sister, is our great-great grandmother, on our father's side. Betsy Corson and Theodore Holt were the parents of our great-grandmother, Melvina Holt Butler, the mother of H. Kate Butler Hilton.

    Although this court case took place two years before our mother was born, I believe, from conversations with Mother, that some objected to Father's courting Mother, but it wasn't Melvina, for on one occasion she held a window open for Ralph, so he could be on his way and not have to confront others in the house. All Mother ever told me was that there was this lawsuit and that the court found in her father's favor.

    According to the court record Grandfather was living in Augusta in June 1886. His family included Ellen, his wife, and seven children. Harry was 12 years old that very June 13th; it is mentioned in the court proceedings that Grandfather had the help of a boy. The rest of the children were Ralph age 10, Clara ages 8, Edith age 6, Richard age 4, Earl Age 10 months. Grandfather says he was out in Mercer for a marble firm in Augusta, (probably as a traveling salesman). While in Mercer he made inquiries and found he was about three miles from his Uncles, Isaac Lyman (called Lyman) and Benjamin Franklin (called Franklin) brothers of his mother Sabrina.

    Their place at that time was what was called an undivided farm. They each had their own house; they each occupied a part of the large barn. The intervals were divided by what Grandfather called a picked fence, mostly stumps. That night Grandfather stayed at his Uncle Lyman's House and it seems that Franklin was also living at Lyman's house. Lyman's house was just south of the large barn and Franklin’s house was what is known as the Yeaton House. I remember the cellar hole for the Lyman house. I believe that house burned about the time I was born in 1923. I remember when Uncle Ben Yeaton bulldozed in the cellar hole.
    Grandfather says, "I stayed over night and talked with Uncle Franklin", that "Uncle Franklin wanted me to come and take his property, and make a home for him, myself and family, while he lived, after he got though I should have his property." Also stated in the document was that Grandfather left the next forenoon, with the request from Uncle Franklin that he go home and talk it over with his wife and see if she would consent to his proposal. He was asked by the court if he talked to his Uncle Lyman about Franklin's offer and this was his answer.

    "After Uncle Franklin retired, Lyman says to me, “What has Brother Franklin on his mind tonight?” I said to him, that Uncle Franklin wants me to come here and take his property and take care of him; Lyman says to me, there have been two parties tried that before, he has had two men here before, and they didn't stay. I said to him, is Uncle Franklin getting fussy? He says to me to ask the neighbors. We dropped the subject, I didn't ask any neighbors." Grandfather says in the testimony that he thought the two neighbors were Frederick Clark and Williamson.

    According to my father, Ralph, Grandfather Yeaton always had very good driving horses. During this time, he had a seven-year-old colt. In court testimony he stated, "I left the next forenoon, stopped in Belgrade in the afternoon (probably to talk things over with his mother, Sabrina. Nothing like your mother who was, a good medium, at a time like this) then he headed home to Augusta, reaching home that night.” (No record, but a good distance for a horse.)

    We don't know just where in Augusta he lived. We know Earl was born in Windsor on August 20, 1885. Maybe they lived out of Augusta towards Windsor. (Phil Andrews says that his father and another fellow named Hill put their driving horses together on a sleigh took two girls to a dance in North Fryeburg returned the ladies home after the dance and then drove home. Phil and I measured the distance. We figured the mileage to be very close to 50 miles.)

    Grandfather talked it over with Grandmother Ellen and they decided to accept the offer. They notified Uncle Franklin of their acceptance by mail. It was June 22, 1886 when the family moved into Uncle Franklin's house. At this time, there had been 4 acres of corn planted.Uncle Franklin had let the corn planting to Oliver Otis and his brother. When asked by the court, "What personal property did he find there?”Grandfather said, "A two year old heifer, a horse, somewhere from 125 to 140 sheep and lambs, and 6 or 7 hens.
    There was some old farming tools, a horse rake, an old mowing machine, a horse cart, a light buggy wagon, and two old harnesses of not much account either of them. The Court questioned him about the sheep a good deal. He said he had killed and eaten perhaps a dozen and some had died. He said he wintered 123. He said there was a pasture in Smithfield and he believed that parties who like sheep took some of them.

    At that time he was told the farm was about two hundred acres, an undivided farm, and no legal division. When he cut wood Hartley, Lyman's son, told him where to cut. There was a picked fence when he went there that divided the intervals, part of it being a stump fence and part a rail and stake fence. The first farming he did was to plant some potatoes in the cornfield, where the corn didn't come.

    That year he said they had cut about 20 tons of hay. Grandfather brought with him the seven-year-old colt mentioned, a cow, and his team of horses. Uncle Franklin sold his horse on May 4, 1887 to A. O. Frederick for $103.25. Grandfather said he went to Starks with $600, which he had withdrawn from the bank, plus about another $100 in cash.

    Uncle Franklin died in December 1887. He was only sick about a week; undressed himself and went to bed; dying just after dusk. A great deal of questioning is given by the Court about all of Franklin's papers and money, even a ten and a fifty cent piece that he had in his pants pocket. There was $120 for wool, which Franklin sold in Sept. or Oct. of 1887. It was money for the 84, 85, and the 86 clips. Grandfather sold and received the money for the clip of' 87.

    Grandfather tells the Court about spending his own money the first year on things to fix the house; a lot of glass needed replacing, especially in the house and stable. He had to buy hay and in Jan.1887 he bought a cow. He laid out $65 for materials to fix up the house and stable. There was an old barn on land in Smithfield; he took it down and moved it up in the spring of' 87 for a sheep barn. He made repairs to the house such as plastering, papering, whitewashing, and carpeting. He bought window screening and made doorframes.

    This barn that he moved was 30ft.by 44 ft. He had to put in 2 or 3 new sills and a couple of new beams; most of the roofing was all-new. He spliced all the posts and made the barn three feet higher than it was originally. Franklin furnished 6,000 of the shingles; Grandfather bought 8,000 from Samuel Harding of Norridgewock.

    When asked if there was anything else that Franklin sold Grandfather tells about some hay that Franklin sold that was on the land at Smithfield to a John Smith for $10. This money was not collected. They agreed that they didn't want to bring this hay onto the farm because it had whiteweed in it. (Whiteweed is a term used for white daisies) There were two notes, one for $100 to be paid with interest when called for by Hartley Corson and the other showing where Franklin had paid $69.14 a judgement rendered in the Supreme Judicial Court in Sept.1887 to Henry K. Sawyer as Administrator of the Estate of John H. Sawyer, Norridgewock October 3, 1887.

    The Court Record ends with several pages of questions and answers about words that were exchanged between Grandfather and his Uncle Franklin, which took place in the summer of' 87, when Franklin wanted to take the lambs off the sheep and Grandfather wanted to get his second cutting in. These papers tell nothing about the disposition of the case. As far as is known Grandfather won. How he got the other half of the farm, I do not know. Perhaps he purchased it from Hartley Corson.

    Next Posting Chapter 2 Family Psychics

November 18, 2013

  • The Sacred Symbols Of Mu

    Excerpts from "The Sacred Symbols Of Mu" by Colonel James Churchward

    Jesus was a Master, he did not teach a new religion; he simply taught the First Original Religion as it is written in the Sacred and Inspired Writings of Mu.

    The Lord’s Prayer

    My old friend, the Rishi, never tired of talking of the Great Master, Jesus. One day he said to me: "The- Lord's Prayer, as the Christians call it, is the greatest masterpiece of phraseology and condensation ever written, for it embodies the whole of the ancient religion in a few short paragraphs.

    Take, for instance, the beginning,” Our.Father which art in Heaven.” In these six words many points in the ancient religion are covered. It first tells us that we are His children; therefore all mankind are brothers and sisters.

    "Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive others that trespass against us." These simple words tell us our duty one to the other, and that we should love one another like brothers and sisters. Again 'Our Father' tells us that we should approach Him as we would our earthly father, with love and confidence.

    "Give us this day our daily bread" is another wonderful sentence and far-reaching. It tells us that we should avoid greed and the craving to amass wealth and depend on Him for our daily needs. He will care for us, thus leaving us free to amass spiritual wealth without anxiety about the material.”

    "You will notice, my son, our temple has no wealth nor have those connected with it any wealth. We depend entirely on what the Heavenly Father sends us day by day through the people. Our faith in Him is implicit, so he never allows us to want."

    And so the Rishi could go on through every sentence of the Lord's Prayer.

    Another favorite sentence in the Lord's Prayer to comment on was: "Lead us not into temptation." This, he said, "was unquestionably a mistranslation of the Master's words and, no doubt, was unintentional, arising from careless reading,"

    "I think the words of the Master, correctly translated, would be: (Let us not be led into temptation'; for in the Sacred Writings we find: '0 Heavenly Father, let not temptation overtake or surround us. If it does, deliver us from it.'


    The Rishi told me that one of the cardinal themes of the Great Master, Jesus, was re-incarnation, something almost entirely omitted in our Biblical account of Him, also in our religious services.
    He told me many legends about Jesus that permeated Oriental lore, one of which he said was universal and told everywhere. The scene is laid in Lahore where Jesus was staying with one, Ajainin, who was one of Jesus' pupils.

    One day Jesus and Ajainin were sitting in the porch of the temple and while sitting there a band of wandering minstrels entered the court and began to play. Their music was very rich and delicate, and Jesus remarked: "Among the highest of the land we have no sweeter music than that which these young people bring to us." ,

    Ajainin asked: "Whence do they get this talent? In one short life they surely could not acquire such perfection of voice and such knowledge of harmony and time."

    Jesus answered: "Men call them prodigies. They are no prodigies; all things result from natural laws. These people are not young; a thousand years would not suffice to give them such divine expressions and such purity of voice. Ten thousand years ago these people had mastered harmony. In days of old they trod the busy thoroughfares of life and caught the melody of the voices of nature. They have come again to learn still other lessons from the varied notes of nature."

    Jesus Studied Mu Writings in Himalayan Monastery

    On one occasion the old Rishi informed me that temple legends stated: "Jesus, during his sojourn in the Himalayan monastery, studied the contents of the Sacred Inspired Writings, the language, the writing and the Cosmic Forces of the Motherland."

    That Jesus was a Master of the Cosmic Forces, with a perfect knowledge of the Original Religion, is manifest in the Books of the New Testament; but it is not there shown that he understood the language of Mu.

    His acquaintance with it is proved by his last words when nailed to the Cross:
    "Eli, Eli, lama sabac tha ni."

    This is not Hebrew nor any tongue that was spoken in Asia Minor during the life of Jesus. It is the pure tongue of the Motherland, badly pronounced and misspelled
    in the New Testament. It should have been spelled, read and pronounced:
    “Hele, hele, lamat zabac ta ni."

    English Translation:
    Hele (I faint) Hele (I faint); lamat zabac ta ni (darkness is coming over my face. )

    I do not stand alone on this translation. The late Don Antonio Batres Jaurequi, a prominent Maya scholar of Guatemala, in his book, "History of Central America," says: "The last words of Jesus on the Cross were in Maya, the oldest known language." Jaurequi says they should read, "Hele, Hele, lamah sabac ta ni."
    English translation: "Now I am fainting; the darkness covers my face."

    Thus we virtually agree on all material points. The slight differences are easily explained. Jaurequi spells the word "lamah." I spell it "lamar." He spells the word "sabac." I spell it "zabac."

    This difference is brought about by the translations coming from two different lines of colonization. Mine comes from the Naga-Maya of Eastern Asia; Jaurequi's comes from the modern Maya of Central America. The two, taken from vastly distant parts of the earth, agree in all material points.

September 24, 2008

  • Bud Mitchell

    Father tells about Bud Mitchell

    I must tell you about Bud Mitchell.  His real name was Lewis Mitchell.  Bud was, in his younger days, one of these people who would steal just for the sake of stealing.  I guess today you would call him a kleptomaniac.  Bud used to collect old iron and take it to the foundry in Skowhegan.  Bud has worked for me two times in the woods and was a pretty good man if I could keep him.  Bud had collected a load of old iron; he had hired a team (one horse) and was loaded to take off for Skowhegan, when Charlie Crowe met up with Bud.  Charlie was some younger than Bud, probably fifteen or sixteen.  They made a deal; Charlie was to cover himself up with a horse blanket, which was with the team and hide himself in the load of old iron.  Bud was to pay him one half of what Charlie would come to  after the load of iron was weighed Charlie took off out of sight.

    That was not the end of the story.  Bud refused to give Charlie what was coming to him.  Charlie got nothing, the story got all over town, and Bud's rating went down a few points.  One time about two years after this I asked Charlie which one of the Crowe boys was it that Bud Mitchell sold in the load of old iron.  He said that was Charlie.  Charlie said I should have blowed on the S.O.B. Both men are dead now, Bud was in State Prison once.

    Bud was working for me once up at Michael Stream in the woods after he had been in State Prison.  One Sunday night someone woke me up and said there are two men here sent up from Highland Lodge who want jobs.  It was late at night and everyone had gone to bed.  I said, to whoever woke me up, "Tell them to get into that empty bunk".  The next morning I was washing my face and hands at the sink; when Bud stepped along beside me and said, "Are you going to hire them fellows. "I said, I guess so."  Bud whispered to me, "You don't want ‘um I knew one of them down at the big house". So after breakfast I told them I had no jobs for them.  I thought if Bud didn't recommend them there must be some reason for his not doing so.

    Once Bud went into Dan Jones hardware store and put some stuff into his pockets.  He went out on the street and stood around for awhile then walked back in and took the stuff out of his pockets, laid it on the counter and said to Dan I don't want this dam stuff anyway.
    Bud was in Mont Stanley's garage once.  I never heard what the particulars were, but Roy Macklin knocked him through the plate glass window.

    They said when Bud was young he used to steal hens and chickens and someone made up a song about him.  He had a nick name Crazy Mitchell.  This song carried the tune of Red Wing, which was quite popular around 1916.

     The Song;
    And the moon shines tonight on Crazy Mitchell
                 His hens are cackling, His rosters crowing
                 And all around the town it is snowing
        The wind is blowing his feathers all away.

    One time Lindley Lambert and I went into the restaurant in Norridgewock, in the evening.  Bozo Blaisdell (Wallace Blaisdell) and Bucky Johnson were in there and so was Bud Mitchell.  After awhile, Bud started for the door, but didn't quite get out of the door when Bozo said, "Now boys you want to look out for your chicken coops”. Bud turned around quick and said, ”you want to lookout for about a yard of your dam yap.

    He came up to work for me once in the woods when he had a full beard of thick dark  whiskers.  A French man said to me, “who is dat" I said, "That is Bud Mitchell from Norridgewock".  The French man said, "Jeme, first I think it was Abraham Lincoln".  I told the boys what the French man said and after that they called Bud, honest Abe.

            “Bud used to build himself a camp like house, one room big enough for himself to live in.  He would go down to Harry Falls, of Skowhegan, who was a lumber and building supply dealer, and get the materials with which to build his camp; but he never had the money to pay for them.  Harry Falls would let him have the stuff and take a mortgage of Bud's camp for security.  It would end up by Harry foreclosing on the house and Bud would be out in the cold. 

    After a spell he would go back to Harry Falls and get some more materials and build another camp.  Bud repeated this procedure probable four or five times.  The time that Bud was working for me at Michael Stream, the mail came and went out from Highland Lodge, which was also a general store.  Our camp was five miles up in the hills from Highland Lodge.  We traveled by horses or on foot to and from the camp to Highland Lodge.  Many of the boys would walk out to the store at the Lodge on Sunday to buy things. 

    One Sunday Bud walked out with some of the boys and mailed a letter.  That afternoon some boys came up from Norridgewock thinking they might get a job with me.  I probable hired them.  Monday morning Bud said to me, "I have got to go out to the Lodge this morning, I have got to get a letter out of the mail". I didn't ask him anything about his business. The thought came to me knowing Bud, that this was probable the end of his working for me.  I didn't think I would see him again that winter.  But, he was back before noon ready to go to work in the afternoon. 

    In a day or two it leaked out, that the letter that he mailed Sunday contained money to pay the town taxes on his camp of which the town would be putting a lien on in a few days.  These boys that came up from Norridgewock informed Bud that he had lost his house. That Harry Falls had foreclosed the mortgage and had a family living in it.  So Bud decided it would be a waste of money to pay taxes on a house he didn't own.  He went after the letter with the money in it and he was successful in getting it back before the mail went out.  Bud used to get awful drunk especially in his old age; he died two or three years ago at the age of eighty.

September 22, 2008

  • Farming When I Was Boy

    By Ralph Hilton (1899-1983)

    The Butler Place was of course where I have my first memories. I remember hearing my Grandfather Butler say that his father Josiah Butler moving to the place in 1850 when my grandfather Leander was 13 years old. Josiah Butler used to drive a stagecoach prior to his coming to Sandy River. He drove different routes at different times from Augusta to North Anson from North Anson to The Forks, and from The Forks to the Canadian border. I once had and occasion to look up some old deeds. And what we call the winding hill road, in 1833, was called the Main road to Anson there being a ferry across the Sandy river where Franklin lives and the Main Canada road was all on the west side of the Kennebec.

    The Butler place interval has about 25 acres and there was about 50 acres of upland. Farmers didn’t get much off their upland. It was hard to get much manure up there in fact most of the manure went under the sweet corn. There was a 15-acre field over the first row of hills; we called it the backfield. We mostly cut hay on the backfield. Sometimes we would plant and acre of potatoes and a half an acre of dry beans and sometimes some oats would be sown. Occasionally we would plow up 5 or 6 acres of that old pasture and reseed it. Grandfather Butler was one of the first to use fertilizer. At that time it was used mostly as a starter fertilizer when planting corn. For 17 winters he was a salesman for the Bowker Fertilizer Company.

    In 1913 we bought the Farrand Place, where Maurice and Ray lived. This gave us 15 more acres of fields. There was a side hill of 20 acres covered with bushes. Between 1913 and 1924 we cut all the bushes and as the stumps rotted we plowed it with horses. We cut hay on it one year then we turned it out to pasture and them hills have never been plowed since.

    We used to plant 5 to 7 acres of sweet corn sometimes 2 or 3 acres of corn for silage. Sometimes an acre or 2 of yellow corn to pick, 5 to 7 acres of oats, and never more than 2 acres of potatoes. Around 1910 there were kept about 20 head of cattle. Milking 10 to 12 cows. I can remember when the cream check was $100 a month this was really something.

    One of the first things that my Grandfather had me do was to drive the horse when going to town. Grandfather was quite a teamster and very good with a driving horse. We had a roan mare that weighted about 1100. She was kind of dungy on the road. It was necessary to carry a whip. Although, it was not necessary to more than touch her with it. She was very sensitive to the whip. I would be driving her along the road and she would be going from one side of the road to the other. I would be doing my best to keep her in the road. Grandfather would say keep her head straight. Which meant pulling her into the ditch. After a while he would pull out the whip and that usually straightened her out for a little ways. One time there was a wooden culvert which had washed out and was down lower than the road. I thought I would let the old mare slow down for crossing the culvert when Grandfather struck the old mare a good one. She jumped across the culvert giving us quite a jolt. This hurt grandfather’s back for he didn’t see the culvert or he wouldn’t have struck her. He groaned saying that hurt me awful.

    Grandfather Butler liked a little booze. In prohibition days the only legal way anyone could get booze was to send to Boston and buy 3 gallons 12 quart bottles packed in a wooden box. These boxes were real nice with dadoed corners and covers nailed on. It cost $9 per case, 75 cents a bottle, plus express. The R.F.D. man John Chandler used to pick it up at the express office. Of course, he would get treated for his kind service. John Chandler would drive his team down by the stable door. Grandfather would be expecting him. After they got the booze under cover, which was a closet in the stable under lock and key, the mailman would proceed along his route. It seemed that Joe Cripp hardly had time to get to our place after John Chandler had told him that Grandfather’s box had arrived. Joe used to borrow some so did Jim Hilton. The next time around it was one of them to receive the shipment and Grandfather would borrow.

    I never saw Grandfather tight but once or twice. Once he fell down on the ice and I had to help him up. Once he got in behind the clothesline and couldn’t get out that time. I backed him out, opened the door and pushed him into the house. I then beat it to the barn. I don’t know how he made out in the house. A few times I would find the horse and wagon in the stable with grandfather just setting there. I would unhitch and put the horse away. After awhile grandfather would get himself in the house. Joe Cripps used to get awful drunk sometimes. A few times I have had to go over and do his chores. I remember Joe bringing a cow over once, it was all bare ground. The road was all clay, the mud wasn’t deep but it was awful slippery. Joe had his horses and hayrack on his wagon sleds. He had the cow hitched behind the hayrack. I don’t know what happened; but when we saw him coming around the corner he was dragging the cow along in the mud. She must have been nice to milk that night. Joe was sitting on the front crosspiece with one arm around the rein pole drunker than a lord. We tended to his cow, brought her out and hitched her on behind and started them off. We followed her for a while and I guess she didn’t lie down again.
    Grandfather Butler was a very good carpenter. When he built anything it was good and solid. The Butler buildings burnt the first time May 8, 1882 both house and barn. Leander built both house and barn the first year after the fire.

    There was and old man named Dan Bigelow who used to tend the ferry. He lived in a one-room shack on the riverbank. My Mother had gone up to Uncle Bert’s and they brought her back that night to the river. Dan Bigelow thought he would go get her with the rowboat instead of the ferryboat. Bigelow didn’t know the first thing about handling a rowboat. When he got about half way across he started to drift down stream. Harold and I knew Mother was on the other side and when she didn’t come we went down to the river and waded across and found out why she didn’t come across. Bigelow drifted almost to the Peterson place and hitched up the boat. Bigelow joined Mother, Harold and I walking up river in the field on the Wood side. We met Grandfather, coming down to meet us, with a pick pole. He asked us where the boat was. We told him and he proceeded down to the boat. Pretty soon we heard the chain, which the boat was hitched with, drop into the boat. Then we heard the pick pole grating on the river bottom. It was pitch dark by this time. Grandfather poled that boat back up through that quick water almost as fast as we could walk just as straight as if it were led.. I think he did that to show up old Bigelow. One time Grandfather was gone and old Bigelow was helping with the chores. Walter Hilton Ira’s boy, who was Harold’s age, was up with us and we were having fun. I think there was a pile of sugar beets dumped in the barn floor. We used to cut them up and feed them to the cows. Bigelow said that we were making so much noise that he couldn’t hear the ferry horn. Harold had slid off this pile of beets and was sitting on the floor. Old Bigelow started kicking Harold; he really wasn’t hurting him, telling him to shut up. I came up behind old Bigelow; he was all humped over and there seemed to be a big hump on his back. At this time I was about 12 and I started pounding on this hump. Bigelow turned around to me and said he was going to tell my mother. Sam Brackett, who worked a shift at the powerhouse, was there that night, just visiting. Sam told Charles Cross, whom liked to make trouble for me, he told my mother. Charles Cross lived up stairs in the north end of the Butler house. My Mother scolded me and told how bad it was to strike and old man. Someone told my Grandfather. He asked me about it one day. I said yes I pounded old Bigelow. Grandfather said, “That old S.O.B. had ought to be pounded and that was all he said about it. Grandfather didn’t like Bigelow because he always had his nose in every bodies business.

    Grandfather Butler was very instrumental in getting the strip of land on the eastside of Sandy River that was formally Starks set over to Norridgewock. This strip of land took in all the homes along the river and went back from the river about a half-mile.

    It was very difficult to get much service out of the town of Starks for the people on the eastside. The Starks Townhouse was about half way out to Starks Village, it being on Hiram Waugh’s land. Hiram used to store farm machinery in the Town House. Uncle Ernest told me that sometimes at town meeting they would have to crowd Hiram’s carts and harrows back into the corners to have space for the people so as to have town meeting.
    In 1907 when the State Legislature convened a movement was on foot to get a bridge at Butler’s Ferry.

    One Martin Frederic of Starks was in the State Legislature. This bill appeared on the docket to get assistance for the town of Starks for a bridge. Of course, Martin Frederic was asked what he though about the proposal. Frederic was against the bridge. He thought it would be too expensive for the town and besides he said no one in Starks ever traveled much to Norridgewock anyway. Most people he said went to Madison. So if the legislator from Starks was opposed to the bridge what use was it for the State to give Starks money that they didn’t want.

     The bridge was going to cost $15,000. The town of Starks was to pay $5,000 of the $15,000. So you see this not to forward looking legislator was willing to put at risk the future revenue for all time from the greater part of the most productive land in Starks for what seems today the paltry sum of $5000 dollars. When the bridge was lost it made Grandfather Butler so mad he went to work. He got a partition signed by most of the people on the East Side. The two exceptions were Frank Padham and Melvin Gray. Padham had been road commissioner of Starks. Padham thought he would like to be commissioner again. He thought his chances of being road commissioner in Starks would be much better in Starks than in Norridgewock. Melvin Gray didn’t sign the partition because Padham told him not to sign.

    Some of the people on the West Side got up another partition to stop the East Side from succeeding. Ben Moore signed my grandfather’s partition and also signed the West Side partition. Some of his in-laws on the other side got after him.

    After the Bridge Bill was defeated, no time was wasted in getting another Bill in the legislature to allow the East Side to be set off from Starks and become a part of Norridgewock. This Bill passed with no delay. In fact it was in the town meeting warrant of Norridgewock, to see if Norridgewock would accept the East Side. Norridgewock voted in the affirmative without any opposition. I went to school that spring term in Norridgewock. The Norridgewock schools were quite a bit better than the Starks schools. For one thing they had three more weeks of school than Starks. The first year that I went to the legislature I felt out the bridge proposition at that time it was said to cost $180,000.

    Grandfather Butler and I went one Saturday to see a farmer in Cornville by the name of George Foster about the purchase of a Guernsey one-year-old bull. I think it was around the 10th of December. We went to Skowhegan that was 11 miles and Fosters was about 9 or 10 miles beyond Skowhegan. There was no snow and the road was very rough. They had been hauling sawed lumber down through Cornville from West Athens when the road was soft and this morning it was froze solid. I remember we were unable to trot the horse much if we did we would be thrown out of the wagon.

    We got up to Fosters just before dinner. We started for home somewhere around 3 P.M. It was way after dark when we got home. A while after that we went to Skowhegan with a pair of horses and sled and put up at the Skowhegan House. Foster met us there with the bull, we loaded him and came home.
    In 1911 Grandfather bought an Adriance corn binder. It came all knocked down by freight to Norridgewock. This Adriance, Platt & Company made farm machinery such as corn binders, reapers, and I don’t know what else. By 1925 I think they were out of business.
    A man came to put this corn binder together. Grandfather knew this man from his travels as a fertilizer salesman. We met this man at the Rail Road Station. He stayed I think two nights

     This man had business in Skowhegan and Grandfather offered to take him to Skowhegan. Grandfather took me along. When we arrived in Skowhegan this man took us to the Coburn Hotel. It being at the time the best hotel in Skowhegan. It was the first time that I had ever eaten in a hotel. It was a very nice place and I remember what a good dinner they served for 50 cents. In those days one or two trips a year to Skowhegan was about average.

    Another venture was to go to Waterville Fair. We had to leave the house at 6:30 in the morning put the horse up for all day at the livery stable and get aboard the 8:00 o’clock train for Oakland. Then take the electric cars out to the Fair Grounds, which was between Oakland and Waterville.

    There used to be a regular night train that arrived in Norridgewock at 4:30 or during the Fair they put on a special train that got up to Norridgewock at 9:00. Sometimes we took the late train but most always we came home early. Which meant leaving the Fair grounds before 3:30. In the afternoon at that time Waterville Fair was the best in the State. They had livestock from all over New England.

    I think what used to be Fair grounds is now all covered over with houses. The Fair grounds were not far from the Mercy Convent. I went to Waterville Fair the last time in 1924. I think it was on its last legs then for about all they had was midway. There was a half-mile track, lots of horse sheds and buildings to house lots of cattle, sheep and hogs.

    My Father, who died March 9, 1908, when I was nine, used to show Oxford Down sheep at Waterville, Bangor, and Lewiston Fairs, that ran a week each. Bangor was the first in August, Waterville was the first week in September, and Lewiston was the second week in September.

     I went with my father to Waterville Fair and stayed a whole week and slept in a sheep tent when I was 7 years old. Uncle Bert bought most of my father’s sheep, after he died, but didn’t keep them only a few years. He wasn’t a sheep man like my father.

    In the early 1940’s I was in Waterville and I thought I would see if I could find the old Fair grounds. After driving around in the general direction that I thought it might be I came across the Mercy Convent then I knew the fair grounds could not be far away. Finally I came upon the remains of the old horse sheds and the old racetrack. My father shipped his sheep by railroad. Unload at the freight yard, then drove them out to the Fair Grounds through the streets of Waterville.

    The last 2 or 3 years Grandfather Butler lived he didn’t take any part in the farm work such as haying. Harold and I did the haying, Maurice was big enough to rake and Charlie probable could drive the horse to pitch off. When Harold and I were after a load of hay down back of the house Grandfather used to go out beside the road where he could see us and watch. When he saw the team start towards the barn he would pick himself up and go to the house. When we went back in the field he would go back to his post beside the road.

    The water for the Butler Place came from a spring back over two hills. The best way to get to the spring and the pump was to go down the road toward the ox bow at the edge of the field on the right just before you get to the gully go up the hill. The water was pumped almost a quarter of a mile to a reservoir on the hill in front of the stable. This pump had its own transformer and electric meter. We would have to go up and start the pump and after 8 or 10 hours go up and stop it. Before we had electricity the water was pumped by windmill.

    I want to tell about something that happened in 1927. I thought that probably the water in the reservoir must have been getting low so, in the morning I went up to start the pump. The pump would start but it wouldn’t pump water. I couldn’t make it pump, sand had got into the pump it was full of sand. There was no way I could get it to pump water, so I took out the pump got the horse and wagon and took it to Skowhegan.

    It was in the mist of mud season. Travel to the Mercer road had to be made by horse. We had a little horse that weighed about 1,000 lbs. Maurice got this horse from Ellery Tuttle and he could road right along where the mud wasn’t too deep.

    I started for Bill Sargents plumbing Shop on Madison Ave. in Skowhegan. He took the pump apart and said it needed a lot of parts as the sand had ruined the leathers etc. He suggested he call Boston for the parts. When he completed his call he said those parts will be here tomorrow morning in the mail and we will have the pump ready by noontime. I went down, got the pump, got home and had it pumping water before chore time. We didn’t get out of water.I doubt if anyone could get any better service than that today.

    Another thing that bothered us in the Model T Ford days was having the gas tank under the front seat. The gas ran from the tank to the carburetor by gravity. Going up a steep hill the car would stop because the gas couldn’t run up hill to the carburetor. You had to have 6 gallons of gas in your tank to get up Nichols hill. (Now Peterson’s hill). If we couldn’t make the hill we would go to the bottom turn around and back up.

    Up to the Yeaton Place where the road turned off to go to Norridgewock there was a sharp corner. When the road machine worked the road they would cut a little off that corner each year.

    That annoyed your Grandfather Yeaton beyond his endurance. He decided to put up a fence so people would have to keep away from the sharp corner. Florian and Bennie refused to help Mr. Yeaton. Ralph and Bion Piper were living there they were young boys 12 to 14 years old. They helped their Grandfather put up his fence. He put the fence right fair between the two wheel tracks about 25 feet of fence.

     That made it so anyone traveling by had to drive out of the road to get around the corner. Anyone with a long load would have difficulty getting around the corner. Mr. Yeatons fence was 4 foot woven wire with plenty of stakes drove into the ground. Of course it was difficult to drive them into the ground very far in the middle of the hard road.
    Grandfather Butler went to town, saw the fence and told Joe Cripps. Joe said leave it to me I will take care of that. Joe had some colts that he raised and most always he had one in the team with old Jack. Joe went to town and when he came back by the fence he accidentally on purpose hooked onto it with some part of his rigging. When the team felt the collision they jumped and ran taking fence, stakes the whole works down the road past the house until it let go.

    Joe Cripps had kind of a crazy spell one fall. It was in the middle of October one cold night he didn’t show up to do his chores. I went to Madison a few days later and run into Ernest Emery, who worked at the Power House sometimes as a spare man. Ernest was very loud and talked a good deal which was quite offensive to some people.

    Ernest says, “what has happened to your neighbor down there.” I said, “Who you talking about.”  Ernest says, “ why Joe Cripps.” Ernest said, “he took the train upriver the other day. I saw him and the old horse is over to Isaac Jeffer’s feed stable.” “I don’t believe it,” I said. “Well you come right over to the stable and I will show you.” It was old Jack all right and there was the wagon.

    When I got home I went over and told Tilly, Joe’s sister, who was in her seventies, where the horse was and that it was costing a dollar a day for board. Tilly says, “I want you to ride up to Madison tonight with the mail man and get the horse. Isaac would not let me have the horse at first as he was making good money boarding him. The horse had been there about 10 days then. Isaac said that Joe told him to keep the horse until he came after him. I insisted that he let me have the horse, as the bill would be more than the horse was worth in a little while. Isaac called up Judge Small and told him the case and who I was. I could hear Judge Small say, “that boy is a good reliable boy let him have the horse.” So I hooked up old Jack and came home.

    Tilly got a letter from Joe in a few days saying that he was in California and would be home in the spring. I think he came home very shortly after she got the letter. When Joe took off he went up to Somerset Junction where the Canadian Pacific tracks cross the Somerset Line and headed across Canada and found his way to California.

    His mental condition was much improved when he got home and he never had any more spells. He lived to between 75 to 80. He had his fur coat with him. I would have thought he would have been warm sometimes. He told me how he enjoyed his trip and that there were a lot of people going to California. And he said that he had a great time with the people. “Why,” He said, “I was the life of the party.” No doubt he probable was.  

  • Lombard Log Hauler

    By Ralph B. Hilton

    I will start this chapter by telling about Log Haulers. I never saw but one in my life and that was at a camp up at Deadwater Station on Austin Stream, seven miles above Bingham. Will Robinson of Bingham was the man that owned  the Lombard Log Hauler. He was a brother to Olon, Robie, Walter and there were others that I didn’t know. There were fourteen children in the Robinson family. I think Will was third or fourth, Olon told he was the thirteenth. He said, whenever he got hurt he laid his misfortune to being the thirteenth member of the family.

    The first time I ever heard of, Will Robinson was about 1920 he was driving a new Nash automobile; it was smeared with all over with mud. It was covered with signs that read this is one of those Nash lemons built for style instead of service. He drove it all over Somerset County. I saw him with it in Skowhegan. It appeared that he didn’t get very good service on his new Nash and was dissatisfied.The Nash Company got wind of what he was doing and tried to get him to take it off the road, which he refused to do. I don’t know whether he got anything or not. Some say he got a new car.

    The next I heard of Will Robinson was in 1926. He had a Lombard Log Hauler for three or four years. Then when his son Rodney became of age he got one for him to drive. Will was hauling hardwood logs at Carrabasset for the Atlas Plywood Company. They had a plywood mill at Carrabasset. Carrabasset was on the narrow gage railroad. Which went from Biglow Station, known now as Sugarloaf Ski Resort, to Farmington, though Kingfield.

    In the early thirties not much was heard of Will Robinson. The plywood mill was gone. In 1936 he appeared on the scene at Deadwater with one Lombard. He hauled probable two million feet of full-length spruce logs. He landed them to Deadwater Station at a sawmill owned by the Augusta Lumber Company. It would have been impossible to haul those logs over that road with horses. In the first place it was too long a road, at least five miles, and there was a gulch to cross that horses couldn’t have hauled much of a load up out of this gulch. Will hauled a train of 4 or 5 sleds. When he was going up hill his train was so long that his hind sleds were going down hill and they would push the front sleds up the rise. His sleds had 7-foot rockers and they were loaded to a peak probably 4 thousand to a sled, and he made four trips a day.

    There was a lot more to the operation. It took a crew of 35 men to keep the sleds loaded. They pulled the loaded sleds out onto the main road, with some small tractors, where they were coupled together. Sometimes it took two small tractors to bring out a single sled. All Will had to do was to back up and hook on to the front sled and away he would go. When he got to the mill all he and his crew had to do was pull a pin. They had a pair of horses at the mill to turn the sleds one at a time and couple them so all Will had to do was back up and one of his helpers would put in the clevis pin and off again he was to the woods. He had two helpers one rode in the cab next to Will so as to warn him if anything was going wrong. The other man rode the middle sled so he could watch the hind end of the train. It took three trains of sleds one in the woods being loaded, one at the landing being unloaded and one on the road.

    I would hear the log hauler going through the camp yard while we were eating supper and it seemed as though it would rattle the dishes right off the table. We were hauling with horses at the lower end of the road. There were turnouts we could get out into if we could hear or see the log hauler coming in time. A Frenchman and I were coming back from the landing with our teams. The log hauler was due any minute. We were waiting at a turn out; the Frenchman was telling me about the narrow escape that he had one day. It appeared that he didn’t hear or see the log hauler until it was pretty close and he couldn’t get out of the road. Will put on his brakes; but the lags would not hold. They slid on the ice. I guess the log hauler was pretty close to the horses when it came to a stop. The Frenchman told me, “Robinson stick his head out and laughed and said ‘I think I have meat horse for dinner time’” The Frenchman said, “By Chris I was mad.”

    One time I met Will coming back empty, I was going down with a load. Will put the machine out as far as he could and I tried to go by but his hind sled was still in the road. Will asked if I could go by and I said no not yet. He backed up a few feet and swung the front end out and started ahead again taking down a fir tree at least 3 inches in diameter.
    Instead of guy chains, these sleds were hocked together with yellow birch reach poles, about 3 inches in diameter with irons on both ends. However, they crossed between the sleds like guy chains. They would wagon around the road corners the same as wagon sleds.

    Will had a team of his own at the landing to turn the sleds, a gray horse and a black one. I had a strawberry roan and a gray horse. Will stopped one day and asked if I would swap my roan for his gray. Then he says you would have a matched pair. Both gray horses were inferior to the roan of mine and the black one of his. I said, “I don’t think so” he laughed and started off.

    When the Augusta Lumber Company tried to hire Will in the fall with his loghauler he didn’t want to go. He said his machine was old and he was afraid he might have some expensive repair bills. They told him that they would pay for all his repairs, all his gasoline oil and grease, and pay him $20 a day. When he finished the job he drove the old Lombard loghauler out behind his house and never ran it afterwards. A few years later he sold it for junk.

    In Belle Spaulding Nye’s book she writes about Will Robinson. Will was Belle’s brother-in-law. Belle says a driving crew up around Moosehead got short on flour. They found some over at another driving camp. They went over to get it in a bateaux. The river was full of logs so they couldn’t get very near the camp. When they got the flour down to the floating logs they didn’t know what to do with it. Will Robinson was in the crew and he said, "by cracky let me have it." He put the barrel of flour on his shoulder and started across the floating logs towards the bateaux. It’s a good story anyway.

    Will’s wife was a Spaulding; she had three brothers all tough men. Men that drank and when drinking could be quite belligerent. Clint Watson knew them all and he told me that Will Robinson was one man that the Spauldings always steered away from. Right after Will left the Lombard behind his house he went to work for the Central Maine Power Company on a dam they were rebuilding in Solon. About this time Will built a row of one-room cabins behind his house there might have been a dozen of them. He rented them for $1.25 a week. It was said that he went around every Sunday morning and collected.

March 7, 2008

  • Atlantis And Its Destruction

    At Atlantis, before the destruction, man faced a choice between following “The Sons of the Law of One” (meaning his realization of his relationship to God) and The Sons of Belial (meaning the use of mans creative power for self-aggrandizement). Edgar Evans Cayce explains all this in the book Edgar Cayce on Atlantis.

    It is evident that the Sons of the Law of One were in communication with guides and teachers from the Spirit side of life and were told of the destruction about to come. With the realization of The Children of the Law of One that there was to be the final breaking up of the Atlantean lands, there were the emigrations with many of the leaders to the various lands. By being forewarned this enabled them to construct the Pyramids around the world to be use as shelters from the destruction that was soon to come. Author Charles Berlitz in 1977 using sonar tracing says he believes they have found a pyramid in Devil’s Triangle 50 miles off the coast of South Florida.

    Pyramids created with laser and levitation

    The Sons of the Law of One built the Pyramids so Spirit Teachers told us by using what they called the lasser (we call it laser) and levitation or in other words they turned gravity off. By cutting the stones with the laser they were cut precise so no mortar was needed. An Engineer Professor told me that we don’t have the knowledge or equipment to build them today. We were told this week that Physicists just now have produced levitation in the lab. We hope to hear more about this soon.

    Pyramids built for survival not tombs.

    When the time came they moved into the pyramids where they had a supply of food and water to last ten years. If you notice the entrance to the pyramids is up and then down. A protection from the flood that was expected? Spirit teachers said it would have been safe for them to come out after seven years if they had known but after ten years they ran out of food and came out. It was Oct. 1991 when Boston University geologist Robert M. Schoch estimated the Great Sphinx of Egypt to be 2,500 to 4,000years older than previously believed. It is pretty hard to find much the smart scientists have right about any of this subject. Some scientists have theorized that the hidden side of the moon bore many more craters and pockmarks than the visible side. Lunar Orbiter 5 knocked that notion into a cocked hat.

    According to James Churchward who published in 1931, and was maligned for his views at the time, the earth makes natural gas and being under great pressure it eats its way through granite forming what he called gas belts around the world. It was believed by Churchward and verified by Spirit teachers that Atlantis was sitting on a large lake of gas.Niven the archaeologist discoverer of 2600 stone tablets in Mexico he sent tracings to Churchward the only person able to read them. He learned how from a Hindu Priest when serving in India during a famine. Niven also sent this Aztec legend as told by an Aztec Priest “Long, long ago a great flood of water covered the Valley of Mexico and drowned all humanity. So great was the flood that it drowned out the Sun and left the world in darkness. By and by the gods created a new Sun, and this new Sun ruled a new age in the history of the world.”

    Edgar Cayce, James Churchward, and Spirit Teachers all say that the destruction of Atlantis took place approximately 11,500 years ago. What was the climate like in Atlantis before the destruction? It was perpetual spring with a 288 or 298 day year. There were no mountain ranges. The Spirit Teachers told us that at this time the Alantians and the Athenians had been at war. The Athenians had won the war and were occupying Atlantis with 9,000 troops. According to the Spirit Teachers they were storing the atomic weapons and through a miscalculation and a chain reaction they set off the lake of gas beneath Atlantis.

    A British researcher, David Davenport spent 12 years studying evidence at the sight of the great city Mohenjo- Daro in Pakistan 44 human skeletons were found there in 1927. All the skeletons were found flattened to the ground. A father, mother, and child were found flattened in the street face down still holding hands. There is no doubt that at least 2,000 years before Christ an atomic explosion took place there. There was an epicenter about 50 yards wide where everything was crystallized, fused or melted. 60 yards from the center the bricks were melted.

    The Spirit Teachers said in the twinkle of an eye Atlantis blew up as well as the gas belts blew and raised the mountains. According to Hopi legend the earth did not continue to rotate properly but teetered off balance and spun crazily around and rolled over twice Mountains plunged into the sea and the sea sloshed over the land. The world spun though cold lifeless space and froze into solid ice. This brings to mind Edgar Cayce’s statement of a shift of polar axis, and of course there is historical evidence of an ice age. Many frozen woolly mammoths have been found in North Siberia and the following are points of interest in regard to these frozen mammoths.

    1. Studies have indicated that these animals did not originate as Arctic animals, and they would not survive under Arctic conditions.
    2. They had parts of their last meal between their teeth and on their tongues, which apparently they did not seem to have time to swallow.
    3. The cells of his body are preserved for thousands of years due to his being frozen.
    4. He died without any sign of violence.
    5. No one seems to know how these mammoths were quick-frozen.
    6. To preserve him properly, he has to be quick-frozen.
    7. It had to be a very tremendous cold in a very short period of time, or otherwise the center of the mammoth could have remained warm enough to allow decomposition to start.
    8. Mammoth steaks were taken to London and eaten by the Royal Society.
    9. These frozen mammoths have always been found on plains a little above sea level but never in mountains.
    10. They found buttercups in their mouths and buttercups will not grow even at 40 degrees Fahrenheit and they will not bloom without long daily periods of sunlight.
    11. They were found to have been frozen 10,000 years ago by the radio carbon dating method.
    12. Scientists believe that at sometime in the past, either the poles were not where they are located today, or this area of the earth's surface that lie about the poles now were someplace else at one time.

    Here is the answer to the frozen mammoth riddle, "He was eating buttercups in the warm tropics and then all of a sudden the earth flipped." Off the coast of Spitzbergen they have found frozen coral reefs and palm trees which points to the fact that Spitzbergen was once in the tropics.Antarctica has coal, which means trees once grew there, so Antarctica used to be in a much warmer climate. The Salton Sea, The Great Salt Lake, many small lakes in the U.S., and Lake Omo in Ethiopia shows signs of drying up 10,000 years ago.

    In New South Wales, Australia, they have found an old magnetic north pole, which is 120 degrees, from where it should be. 120 degrees of shift 3 times completes a circle about a triangle. The earth's grid about the estimated shift point is in the shape of a triangle. Therefore they who dwell on earth turn pale, and few men are left. Isaiah goes on to describe violent movement on earth as well as unusual behavior of our sun and moon. The foundations of the earth will shake, the earth will burst asunder, the earth will be shaken apart, and the earth will be convulsed. Then the moon will blush and the sun go pale. Isaiah abruptly begins to describe a very different time in his future vision, a time affirming joy, peace, and life. In the next portion of his insight, still considered by scholars to be apocalyptic in nature, he describes a time when "a new earth' is created, along with "new heavens” It is during this time that “the things of the past shall not be remembered or come to mind. Instead there shall always be rejoicing and happiness… no longer shall the sound of weeping be heard or the sound of crying. I believe Isaiah was looking backwards everything fits looking backwards even the new heavens.

    Now lets look what happened at the moon during and after this explosion. Spirit Teachers say the rocks, sand and glass on the moon came from Atlantis. John Young and Charles Duke, looking out side their landing craft, could see piles of glistening white and pink boulders, some as large as automobiles. Young to Duke “don’t step right here, Charlie, there’s a splatter of glass. A whole big bubble of it”. It was blown there by the atomic and gas explosion along with the sand and rocks. Rocks were brought back by Armstrong and Aldrin the rocks that originally came from earth and were estimated by Dr.Oliver Schaefer, a geochemist, to be 3.1 billion years old. Some say the moon is less than 13,000 years old.

    The lights that have been seen on the moon, at least 800 times over the years, I believe are from the rubies that will be found in the craters where the convexed center of each holds a ruby. This is how those who lived inside got their energy. The estimated 20,000,000 tons of sand on the moon that came from the explosion at Atlantis, is thought to move around, no one knows exactly how, and may cover the ruby’s at times.

    The Spirit Teachers say the moon has a thirty-mile in diameter hole in side. Two Soviet Scientists Mikhail Vasin and Alexander Shcherbakov say the same thing. Dr.H.S. Bellamy and English scholar saw at the great Gate of the Sun an earthly calendar. According to his findings, “the solar year must have been only 298 days when the frieze was carved. There were such years, contends Bellamy, about 11,500 to 13,000 years ago, at a time when our moon was not yet the companion of our earth.

    After the blow up of Atlantis and the gas belts now made huge because of the raising of the mountains, the water drained off extending the shoreline. The Amazonian Sea was eliminated, the Mississippi Valley and the St. Lawrence Valley were dried out and Florida emerged. Where did the water go it drained with the mud from Atlantis into the hole beneath and the large cavity in the earth where the gas belts and the mountains came from. Very, very, few people survived no one to write history. Some of those who survived built Stonehenge using their knowledge of how to turn gravity off for the stones were floated in the air from the quarry and pulled along with ropes. Stonehenge was built so they could make an accurate determination of the number of days in length of the new year.

    On Nov. 28. 1989 the Weekly World News published a picture of a skeleton and a fabric belt such as a soldier would ware and a story telling how the picture was obtained from a Chinese astrophysicist Dr. Kang Mao-pang. The picture was said to have come from Apollo 11 lunar lander snapped when it landed there in 1969. I asked one of the Spirit Teachers if the picture was authentic they said it was. That it was human much larger than us, that it had been there a very long time because it was in a vacuum only the bones remain and if we went inside the moon we would find many more skeletons.

    In summary, it all happened in a twinkle of the eye these huge junks of granite that we see, some we find on top of mountains, were not deposited where they rest by a glassier but by the explosion that blew up Atlantis. When the earth tipped a great wall of water rolled across our country grinding everything in its path and gouging out the great crevice known as Yellow Stone. The great man James Churchward says, in one of his books published in 1931, "For over 50 years I have been hunting these scraps and putting them together so as to form the beginning of an intelligent tale. It rests with those who come after me to complete the tail." This I believe has been accomplished.

November 3, 2007

  • Freedom, Democracy, And Americanism

    The country has not been without its warnings of the trouble ahead. Here are three prophecies that have been printed many times, but are well worth your attention. The following story of Washington's vision rests upon the veracity of two men, Anthony Sherman and Wesley Bradshaw. Anthony Sherman, to whom was told the vision by Washington, was a soldier in the Revolutionary Army, and his name is to be found on army records. Sherman was about eighteen years old at the time he was told of the vision, and he lived to be ninety-nine years old. The story was recorded by Wesley Bradshaw, to whom Anthony Sherman recounted it shortly before his death.

    By Wesley Bradshaw (Originally Published in The National Tribune,Vol. 4, No. 12. Dec. 1880.)

    The last time I ever saw Anthony Sherman was on the Fourth of July, 1859, in Independence  Square. He was then ninety-nine years old, and becoming feeble. But though so old, his dimming eyes rekindled as he gazed upon Independence Hall, which he came to visit once more.

       "Let us go into the hall," he said. "I want to tell you an incident of Washington's life-one which no one alive knows of except myself; and, if you live, you will, before long, see it verified. 
      "From the opening of the Revolution we experienced all phases of fortune, now good and now ill, one time victorious and another conquered. The darkest period we had, I think, was when Washington, after several reverses, retreated to Valley Forge, where he resolved to pass the winter of 1777.  Ah. I have often seen the tears coursing down our dear commander's careworn cheeks, as he would be conversing with confidential officers about the condition of his poor soldiers.  You have doubtless heard the story of Washington's going to the thicket to pray.  Well, it was not only true, but he used often to pray in secret for aid and comfort from God, the interposition of whose Divine Providence brought us safely through the darkest days of tribulation.
          One day I remember it well, the chilly wind whistling through the leafless trees, though the sky was cloudless and the sun shone brightly-he remained in his quarters nearly all afternoon alone.

             "When he came out I noticed that his face was a shade paler than usual, and there seemed to be something on his mind of more than ordinary importance.  Returning just after dusk, he dispatched an orderly to the quarters of an officer, who was presently in attendance. After a preliminary conversation of about half an hour Washington, gazing upon his companion with that strange look of dignity which in Anthony Sherman recounted ii he alone could command, said:

         "I do not know whether it is owing to the anxiety of my mind or what, but this, afternoon, as I was sitting at this table engaged in preparing a dispatch, something seemed to disturb me.  Looking up, I beheld standing opposite a singularly beautiful female.  So astonished was I, for I had given strict orders not to be disturbed, that it was some moments before I found language to inquire the purpose of her presence. A second, a third, and even a fourth time did I repeat

    my question, but received no answer from my mysterious visitor, except a slight raising of her eyes. By this time I felt strange sensations spreading through me.  I would have risen, but the riveted gaze of the being before me rendered volition impossible. I assayed once more to address her, but my tongue had become useless. Even thought itself had become paralyzed. A new influence, mysterious,

    potent, irresistible, took possession of me.  All I could do was to gaze steadily, vacantly at my unknown visitant. Gradually the surrounding atmosphere seemed filled with sensations, and grew luminous. Everything about me seemed to rarefy; the mysterious visitor herself becoming more airy and yet more distinct to my sight than before. I now began to feel as one dying, or rather to experience the sensation which I have sometimes imagined accompanies dissolution. I did not think, I did not reason, I did not move.  All, alike, were impossible.  I was conscious only of gazing fixedly, vacantly, at my companion.

    "Presently I heard a voice saying, 'Son of the Republic, look and learn'; while at the same time my visitor extended her arm eastwardly. I now beheld a heavy white vapor at some distance rising fold upon fold. This gradually dissipated, and I looked upon a strange scene.  Before me lay spread out in one vast plain all the countries of the world-Europe, Asia, Africa, and America.  I saw rolling and tossing between Europe and America, the billows of the Atlantic; and between Asia and America lay the Pacific.  'Son of the Republic,' said the mysterious voice as before, 'look and learn.

     "At that moment I beheld a dark, shadowy being, like an angel, standing, or rather floating, in mid-air between Europe and America.  Dipping water out of the ocean in the hollow of each hand, he sprinkled some upon America with his right hand, while with his left hand he cast some on Europe.  Immediately a cloud arose from these countries, and joined in mid-ocean.
     For a while it remained stationary, and then it moved slowly westward, until it enveloped America in its murky folds.  Sharp flashes of lightning gleamed through it at intervals; and I heard the smothered groans and cries of the American people. A second time the angel dipped water from the ocean and sprinkled it out as before. The dark cloud was then drawn back to the ocean, in whose heaving billows it sank from view.
     A third time I heard the mysterious voice saying, 'Son of the Republic, look and learn.' I cast my eyes upon America and beheld villages and towns and cities springing up one after another until the whole land, from the Atlantic to the Pacific, was dotted with them. Again I heard the mysterious voice say, 'Son of the Republic, the end of the century cometh.  Look and learn.'

    "And with this, the dark, shadowy figure turned its face southward, and from Africa I saw an ill-omened specter approach our land.  It flitted slowly over every town and city of the latter.  The inhabitants presently set themselves in battle array against each other.  As I continued looking I saw a bright angel on whose brow rested a crown of light on which was traced the word 'Union,' place an American flag between the divided nation, and say, 'Remember, ye are brethren.' Instantly, the inhabitants, casting from them their weapons, became friends once more, and united around the National Standard.

      "And again I heard the mysterious voice saying, 'Son of the Republic, public, look and learn.' At this, the dark, shadowy angel placed a trumpet to his mouth and blew three distinct blasts; and taking water from the ocean, he sprinkled it upon Europe, Asia, and Africa.  Then my eyes beheld a fearful scene: from each of these countries arose thick, black clouds that were soon joined into one.  And throughout this mass there gleamed a dark-red light, by which I saw hordes of armed men, who, moving with the cloud, marched by land and sailed by sea to America; which country was enveloped in the volume of cloud.  And I dimly saw these vast armies devastate the whole country and burn the villages, towns, and cities that I beheld springing up.

    "As my ears listened to the thundering of the cannon, the clashing of swords, and the shouts and cries of millions in mortal combat, I again heard the mysterious voice saying, 'Son of the Republic look and learn.' As the voice ceased, the shadowy angel, for the last time, dipped water from the ocean and sprinkled it upon America.  Instantly the dark cloud rolled back, together with the armies it had brought, leaving the inhabitants of the land victorious.

    "Then once more I beheld the villages, towns, and cities springing up where I had seen them before; while the bright angel, planting the azure standard he had brought in the midst of them, cried in a loud voice: 'While the stars remain and the heavens send down dew upon the earth, so long shall the Union last.' And taking from his brow the crown on which was blazoned the word 'Union,' he placed it upon the Standard, while people, kneeling down, said, 'Amen!'

    "The scene instantly began to fade and dissolve, and I at last saw nothing but the rising, curling vapor I at first beheld.  This also disappearing, I found myself once more gazing upon the mysterious visitor who, in the same voice I had heard before, said, 'Son of the Republic, what you have seen is thus interpreted.  Three great perils will come upon the Republic.  The most fearful for her is the third: but the whole world united shall not prevail against her.  Let every child of the Republic learn to live for his God, his land, and his Union.' With those words the vision vanished, and I started from my seat and felt that I had seen a vision; wherein had been shown me the birth, progress, and destiny of the United States."

    "Such, my friend," concluded the venerable narrator, "were the words I heard from Washington's own lips; and America will do well to profit by them."

August 31, 2007

  •                                           The Mary Goffe Case

    Mary, the wife of John Goffe, of Rochester, being flicked with a long illness, removed to her father's house at West Mulling, which is about nine miles distance from her own.  There she died June the 4th, this year, 1691.

    The day before her departure she grew very impatiently desirous to see her children, whom she had left at home to the care of a nurse. She prayed her husband to hire a horse, for she must go home and die with the children. When they persuaded her to the contrary, telling her she was not fit to be taken out of her bed, nor able to sit on horseback, she entreated them, however, to try. "If I cannot sit," said she, "I will lie all along upon the horse; for I must go to see my poor babes."

    A minister who lives in town was with her at ten o'clock that night, to whom she expressed good hopes in the mercies of God, and a willingness to die: "But,” said she, "it is my misery that I cannot see my children." Between one and two o'clock in the morning she fell into a trance.  One widow Turner, who watched with her  that night, says that her eyes were open and fixed and jaw fallen. She put her hand upon her mouth and nostrils, but could perceive no breath.  She thought her to be in a fit; and doubted whether she was dead or alive.

    The next morning this dying woman told her mother she had been at home with her children.  "That is impossible," said the mother, "for you have been in bed all the while," "Yes," Replied the other, "but I was with them last night when I was asleep."

    The nurse at Rochester, widow Alexander by name, affirms, and says she will take her oath on it before a magistrate, and receive the sacrament upon it. That a little before two o’clock that morning she saw the likeness of the said Mary Goffe came out of the next chamber.  (where the elder child lay in a bed by itself,) the door being left open, and stood by her bedside for about a quarter of an hour; the younger child was there lying by her. Her eyes moved and her mouth went but she said nothing. The nurse moreover, says that she was perfectly awake; it was then daylight, being the longest day of the year. She sat up in her bed and looked steadfastly upon the apparition.  In that time she heard the bridge-clock strike two, and in a while after said, "In the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, what art thou?"

    Thereupon the appearance removed, and went away; she slipped on her clothes and followed, but what became of it she cannot tell. Then, and not before, she began to be grievously affrighted, and went out of doors and walked upon the wharf (the house is just on the river-side) for some hours, only going in now and then to look at the children. At five-a-clock she went to a neighbor's house, and knocked at the door; but they would not rise.  At six she went again; then they rose, and let her in.  She related to them all that had passed: They would persuade her she was mistaken or dreamt. But she confidently affirmed, "If ever I saw her in all my life, I saw her this night.

    One of those to whom she made the relation (Mary the wife of John Sweet) had a messenger come from Mulling that forenoon, to let her know her neighbor Goffe was dying, and desired to speak with her.  She went over the same day, and found her just departing.  The mother, among other discourse, related to her how much her daughter had longed to see the children, and said that she had seen them.  This brought to Mrs. Sweet's mind what the nurse had told her that morning; for till then she had not thought to mention it, but disguised it, rather, as the woman's disturbed imagination.
    The substance of this I had related to me by John Carpenter, the father of the deceased, the next day after her burial.  July the second, I fully discoursed the matter with the nurse and two neighbors to whose house she went that morning.  Two days after, I had it from the mother, the minister that was with her in the evening, and the woman who sat up with her that last night.  They all agree in the same story and every one helps to strengthen the other's testimony. They appear to be sober, intelligent persons, far enough off from designing to impose a cheat upon the world, or to manage a lie; and what temptation they could lie under for so doing, I cannot conceive.

  •                                       The mother and son

    "One night, soon after I was in bed, I fell asleep, and dreamed I was going to London.  I thought it would not be much out of the way to go through Glouchester and call on my friends there.  Accordingly, I set out, but remembered nothing that happened by the way till I came to my father's house; when I went to the front door and tried to open it, but found it fast.  Then I went to the back door, which I opened, and went in; but, finding all the family were in bed, I crossed the rooms only, went up-stairs, and entered the chamber where my father and mother were in bed. 

    As I went by the side of the bed on which my father lay, I found him asleep, or thought he was so; then I went to the other side, and, having just turned the foot of the bed, I found my mother awake, to whom I (said these words:-'Mother, I am going on a long journey, and am come to bid you good-bye.' Upon which she answered, in a fright, 'Oh, dear son, thou art dead!' With this I awoke, and took no notice of it more than a common dream, except that it appeared to me very perfect. In a few days after, as soon as a letter could reach me, I received one by post from my father. Upon the receipt of which I was a little surprised, and concluded something extraordinary must have happened, as it was but a short time before I had a letter from my friends and all were well.

    Upon opening it I was more surprised still; for my father addressed me as though I was dead. Desiring me, if alive, or who ever's hands the letter might fall into, to write immediately; but if the letter should find me living they concluded I should not live long, and gave this as the reason of their fears. That on a certain night, naming it, after they were in bed, my father asleep and my mother awake, she heard somebody try to open the front door. Finding it fast, he went to the back door, which he opened, came in, and came directly though the rooms up-stairs, and she perfectly knew it to be my step.

    I came to her bedside, and spoke to her these words' Mother, I am going on a long journey, and have come to bid you good-bye.' Upon which she answered me, in a fright, 'Oh, dear son, thou art dead!' which were the circumstances and words of my dream.  But she heard nothing more, and saw nothing more; neither did I in my dream. Upon this she awoke, and told my father what had passed; but he endeavored to appease her, persuading her it was only a dream. She insisted it was no dream, for that she was as perfectly awake as ever she was, and had not the least inclination to sleep since she was in bed.

    From these circumstances I am apt to think it was at the very same instant when my dream happened, though the distance between us was about one hundred miles; but of this I cannot speak positively. This occurred while I was at the academy at Ottery, Devon, in the year 1754; and at this moment every circumstance is fresh upon my mind. I have, since, had frequent opportunities of talking over the affair with my mother, and the whole was as fresh upon her mind as it was upon mine. I have often thought that her sensations, as to this matter, were stronger than mine. What may appear strange is, that I cannot remember anything remarkable happening hereupon. This is only a plain, simple narrative of a matter of fact."

August 29, 2007

  •                    Teachings of Silver Birch
                                         DEBATE WITH A MINISTER

    "I am certain I was not talking to any of the sitters. There was beyond doubt some other entity present and he knew his Bible, too." These remarks were made by a Methodist minister who, while attending a conference in London, was invited to meet Silver Birch and to submit to him any questions he desired. After the first sitting, the minister was so intrigued that he wanted another talk and the next time he prepared his questions beforehand.  This chapter presents a new facet of the Silver Birch personality, for the guide is disclosed as a debater of no mean order.

    HUNDREDS of Methodist ministers, old and young, were gathered at their annual conference at the Central Hall, Westminster.  They had been discussing every aspect of their teaching, and work, for nearly two weeks.
    Now and then, though only in conversation, "Spiritualism had cropped up.  One Methodist minister,, who called on Hamen Swaffer, asked how he could go to a seance.  He had read Doyle's book, The New Revelation, but, otherwise, he knew little.

    "You can come to my home circle tomorrow night," said Swaffer. "During the sitting, Silver Birch,, one of the guides, will control a trance medium. You can ask him any question you like, argue, contradict, and differ, say anything you please. But do not go away afterwards and complain that something was not explained to you. You can ask anything.  We will print the story, but omit your name. Then you will not get into a row, unless you want to.

    The parson, charming, most intelligent young man obviously imbued with the love of service went to the seance.  In due course, Silver Birch came through.
    "May the inspiration of the Great White Spirit dwell among you all," he began, "and may you all respond to all that He would have you do, so that each one of you may feel you are a part of the Great White Spirit. Take that part with you wherever you go, and show it to all the children of the Great White Spirit".

    Then, addressing the parson, he explained: "My medium is filled with the power of what you call 'the Holy Spirit.' That makes him 'speak in tongues'. I am one of those who have already been resurrected."
    "What do you think of the other world?" asked the clergyman, beginning his search for knowledge of spirit teaching.

    "It is very much like your world," was the reply, "except that our world is a world of effects, and yours is a world of causes.
    "Did you have any fear when you left this world?"
    "No.  All we Red Indians were psychic, and we understood it was nothing to be afraid of. We were psychic like the man who founded your religion Wesley.  He was moved by the power of the spirit.  You know that?"
    "Yes," said the minister.

    "But they do not move by the 'power of the spirit' now," went on the guide.  "There are many links in the chain which leads to the Great White Spirit, and the lowest ones in your world are linked to the highest angels, as you call them, in the world of spirit.  No one in  your world is so bad that he is not in touch with the Great White Spirit,

     Whom you call God.  "
    "Do you know one another on the Other Side?" asked the Methodist.
    "How do you know them in your world?" was the reply.
    "With my eyes," said the parson; "I see with them."
    "But you do not see with your physical eyes," persisted the guide.  "You see with the spirit."

    "Yes," admitted the minister.  "I see with my mentality, which, I suppose, is part of the spirit."
    "I see with my spirit, too," explained the guide.  "I see your spirit, and I also see your physical body.  But that is only a shadow.  The light is the spirit."
    "What is the greatest sin people commit on earth?" asked the Methodist.
    "There are many, many sins," was the answer; "but the greatest sin of all is the sin against the Great Spirit."
    "Tell him what that means," interposed a sitter.

    "It is those who know, and deny the Great Spirit," explained the spirit.  "That is the biggest sin of all."
    "That is what they call 'the sin against the Holy Ghost,' said one of the circle.
    "They call it 'the sin against the Holy Ghost' in the big book," replied the guide; "but it is really the sin against the spirit."

    "What do you think of the Revised Version?" asked the parson "Which is better, the Revised or the Authorized?"
    "The words do not matter, said the guide.  "It is what you do, MY son, that counts.  The truth of the Great White Spirit is found in many books and also in the hearts of those who try to serve Him, wherever they are, and whoever they might be.  That is the greatest Bible of all."

    "Suppose they do not get converted before they die?" asked the clergyman.  "What happens then"
    "I do not understand what you mean by converted, said Silver Birch.  "Put it more plainly.  "
    "Suppose a man lives a wicked life, and passes on," said the minister.  "Another man makes a mental resolve to do right.  What will the difference between the two men be in the other realm?"

    I will tell you from your own book," said the spirit. "That which a man sows, that shall he reap!  You cannot change that. You bring into our world what you are not what you think you are, and not what you try to show other people you are.  It is what you are inside. You will be able to see it for yourself when you come here."
    "He dreams dreams," said the guide, meaning the parson, to Swaffer.

    "Do you mean he is psychic?" asked Swaffer.
    "Yes,” was the answer.  "Why did you bring him here?"
    "Oh! He called on me,, " said Swaffer.
    "He is being led step by step," said the guide, "and the light must be shown gradually."

    When, in the pages which follow, you read Silver Birch’s teaching, you must understand that it is all written down in the dark by a reporter who uses braille notepaper, and who, expert stenographer though he is, is often tested severely to. keep pace with the rapidity of Silver Birch's speech. On no occasion has a single word to be altered. Silver Birch's words flow in perfect English. Only the punctuation marks have to be put in, and even for these there is always a natural place, which could not be mistaken
    Silver Birch's philosophy, as you will easily understands is that of a Pantheist, a man who realizes that God is found in Nature itself, that there is an unalterable Law which governs everything, and that God is the Law.
    "You are within the Great Spirit," says Silver Birch, and the Great Spirit is within you." So we learn we are all potential gods, part of the great creative principle which is everything.

    Yet Silver Birch does not stop at unapplied philosophy.  He forces home, always, the lesson that we are here to do a job. He sums up religion in the one word "Service," and strives to teach us, clumsy instruments though we may be, that we are in this world so that we may make an end of war, abolish poverty and hasten the time when God's bounty will be spread in all its lavishness among all the peoples of the world.

    "Our allegiance," says Silver Birth, "is not to a Creed, not to a Book, not to a Church, but to the Great Spirit of Life and to his eternal natural laws."
    So it is that the members of his circle, six in number, include three Jews and three Gentiles, who find in Spiritualism no racial or creedal difference.  Three were Agnostics and a fourth was a Wesleyan minister who, just before he joined our circle, had left Methodism because no longer could he accept its teachings.

    Sometimes, to vary the sittings, Silver Birch allows some other spirit to control his medium.  So Northcliffe, Galsworthy, Hall Caine, Gilbert Parker, Horace Greeley, Dick Sheppard, Abraham Lincoln and personal friends of the sitters have visited us.  Still, all that is for another book
    During my years of sitting with Silver Birch, I have never known him to forget anything, although we may do so.
    And never, by any syllable does he depart from his self-chosen mission to instruct the children of men in a simpler and more beneficent way of life.

    Maurice Barbanell passed to spirit July 1981.  He was the medium for Silver Birch, which started in 1920 at the age of 18.


     This is the second meeting of Silver Birch and the Minister

    "Is it possible for people' on earth to live perfect lives, to be sanctified and made holy?" was the minister's first question at the second seance.  "Is it possible for us to love everybody?"

    "No, it is not possible, but you can try," said Silver Birch. "All the efforts you make are very important in the building of your character. If you never were angry, never bitter, and never lost your temper, you would cease to be human. The Law is that you are put here to develop your spirit, so that it can grow and grow. It never stops growing in your world or in mine.

    "What did Jesus mean when he said: 'Be ye perfect even as your Father, which is in Heaven, is perfect'?"
    "He meant you must try to be perfect," replied the guide.  "That is the ideal you should try to express in your life to express the Great White Spirit that is in you."

    "The passage I quoted occurs in the last verse of the 5th chapter of St. Matthew," explained the visitor.  "It comes after Christ was speaking about universal love, and he said that 'certain people love their neighbors and some people love their friends, but be ye therefore perfect, ye are the children of God.' The idea is that God loves everybody, and we should love everybody. Do you think that Christ would have given us a command which we could not carry out?"
    "You want to make all the world like the Nazarene!" exclaimed Silver Birch.  "Do you think that he lived a perfect life in your world?"

    Yes, I think he lived a perfect life."
    "Do you think he was never angry,"
    "I think he was disgusted. with certain things that went on." "Do you think he was never angry?  Persisted the guide.  "I think he was never angry in the sense that it is wrong to be angry."
    "That is not the question I asked you.  I asked you whether he was ever angry; not could you justify it, because you can always justify anything."

    One of the sitters recalled the incident when Jesus turned the moneychangers out of the temple.
    "That is what I meant," said the spirit.  "You must not try to read into the life of the Nazarene something that did not happen.  He was very angry when he saw people in your world desecrate the temple of the Great White Spirit, and he took whips to whip them out.  That was anger.  I do not say it was not justified, but it was anger, and anger is a human passion.
    "I only tell you that to show you that he had some human qualities.  When you try to follow the example of the Nazarene, you must understand that he was a human being in whom there was a great manifestation of the Great White Spirit a greater manifestation in his case than there has been in other cases.  Is that clear?" "Yes."

    "I am only trying to help you. You must not think that the way to please the Nazarene is to put him on a very high pedestal where nobody else can reach him.  You please him only when you make him like you and like every other man in the physical world. He does not want to be above. He wants to be with them. He wants to be an example, so that everyone else can do the things he did.  If you put him so high that no one in your world can follow him then all his life is in vain."

    "Do you think we have free will?" asked the minister, changing the subject.
    "Yes.  Free will is the law."
    "Don't you think that sometimes a man is made to do things under impulses over which he has no control?  Is he impelled to do things, or has he free will?"
    "What do you think?" queried the guide.
    "I think we are free agents," said the minister.
    "You are all given free will," Silver Birch explained, "except that you must live all your lives within the Law of the Great White Spirit.  The laws, which are laid down by His love, for the use of all His children, are there, and you cannot change them.  Within all these limits you are free."

    "If we are free, then sin is a terrible thing," declared the visitor.  "If a man sins willfully, it seems more terrible than if he were impelled to do it."
    "I can only tell you this: Whatever wrong is done in your world, the one who does that wrong must put it right.  If he does not put it right in your world, then he must put it right from our world."
    "Do you think that some people have very strong hereditary tendencies in things that are not ideal?" asked the Methodist.  "It is easier for some people to be good than others."

    "That is a very hard question," confessed the spirit, " because each one of you has free will.  When you do that which is not right, inside your heart you know it is not right.
    Whether you resist it or not depends on the character which you have grown for yourself.  The sin is bad or worse only according to the harm that it does."

    This immediately brought the question: "Doesn't that cut across the idea that sin is, an intellectual thing?  If sin is only bad in relation to its consequences, then sins of thought do not count at all."

    "All sin is sin," was the reply.  "Whether you sin with the body or the mind or the spirit, it is all sin.  You asked just now whether man acts on impulse.  Where does the impulse come from?" "From thought." "Where do the thoughts come from," asked Silver Birch. The minister hesitated and said: "The good thoughts come from God." "Where do the bad ones come from" persisted the spirit. "I don't know."

    "The Great White Spirit is in everything," declared Silver Birch, "in that which is wrong and in that which is right.  He is in the sun and in the storm; in everything that is beautiful and everything that is ugly.  He is in the sky and the ocean, the thunder and the lightning not only in beauty and goodness, but in sin and ugliness.  Do not you understand; you cannot limit the Great White Spirit?  The whole world is His creation, and His spirit is everywhere.

    "You cannot cut off anything and say that does not belong to the Great White Spirit.  You must not say that the sunshine comes from the Great White Spirit and the rain, which destroys the crops, comes from the devil.  The Great White Spirit is in everything.  You are like an instrument, which can receive thoughts and send out thoughts, but the thoughts that you receive depend upon your character and your spirit.  If you live what you call a perfect life, then you can only receive the perfect thoughts. 

    But because you are human, you receive all kinds of thoughts--just those thoughts, which your soul and your mind are capable of receiving.  Is that clear to you?"
    "Yes, I think so," was the minister's comment.  "Suppose anyone gets on in life and finds that he has received and followed the bad and neglected the good.  He is about to pass over and his life is worrying him.  What is your opinion of the peace which people profess to experience when they accept the words, 'By faith are ye saved'? What do you think about the doctrine of conversion?"

    Without hesitation the spirit replied: "I quote words from your book, 'What shall it profit a man if be shall gain the whole world and lose his own soul?' Then there are some more words, which say: 'Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and all these things shall be added unto you.' You know those words Well, but do you understand them?  Do you realize that they are real, they happen, they are the Law?  You know those words which say: 'Whatsoever a man soweth, he shall reap.'

    "How can you cheat the Law of the Great White Spirit?  Do you think a man who all his physical life has neglected his opportunities to help his fellow beings, can, on his deathbed, be converted and his spirit alter in one second?  Do you think he can blot out all the things, which he should have done, which register themselves on his spirit body?

    "Do you think that in the sight of the Great White Spirit a man who has neglected his own spirit is on an equal basis with the man who strives all his physical life to work for the Great White Spirit and for His children?  Do you think the Law of the Great White Spirit can be just if, because a man says he is sorry, be could wipe out all his sins?  Do you think so,"
    To this the minister said: "I think that God, in Christ, has provided an escape.  Jesus said--
    "But Silver Birch interrupted: "My son, I asked you a very straight question. 
    I want a very straight answer.

    I do not want you to tell me what it says in a book, because I know what it says there.  What do you think?" "It does not seem fair, but it is just there that the greatness of God's love comes in," said the cleric. "If you walk down this road, you come to a big building where they administer the laws of man," declared the guide.  "If the law were administered as I have just explained it, that a man who sins all his life and the man who tries to do good all his life are equal in the eyes of the law of Man, would you say that the laws of man were just?"

    I do not say that the man who has walked in the straight road all his life," the minister replied, "and has loved everybody, and has acted in an upright way, and trusted in Christ all his life, I do not say--"
    Again the spirit interrupted: "He sows, and what he sows, he reaps.  You cannot escape the Law.  You cannot cheat the Law."

    "But what message have I got for a dying man if I have to tell him be has made a mess of things and must make up for it?" the parson asked.
    "Tell him this from me," Silver Birch answered.  "If he is a real man, in whom there is something of the Great White Spirit, then he, as a man, will want to put right all the things which he put wrong.  If he wants to escape from the consequences of all his own actions, then I say he is not a man; he is only a coward."
    "When a man confesses his sins, don't you think he is doing a thing that not everyone has the courage to do?" was the next question.

    "It is only a step in the right direction, said Silver Birch.  "But the confession does not wipe out the sin.  He had free will, and he chose to do wrong instead of doing right.  He cannot escape the consequences.  He must put it right.  He only cheats himself by thinking he can say a magic formula to gain escape.  He must reap what he has sown; that is the Law."

    The    minister persisted: "But Jesus said: 'Come unto me and I will give you rest'." The    spirit asked the minister if he knew these words: 'The letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life.' " Then he added: "You cannot take all the words and say that you must accept their literal meaning, because if you do, there are many things in that book which you do not do today. You knew that."

    Once again the parson quoted: "Jesus said: 'The good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.' I always preach the doctrine of forgiveness, implying that if a person accepts the forgiveness that Christ offers, and at the same time he tacitly admits that the whole law of Christ governs his life, his life is then one great offering of love."
    Then Silver Birch forced home this lesson: "The Great Spirit has implanted in you some of His own reason.  I plead with you to use that reason. 

    If you do anyone a big wrong and you confess it, that confession helps your spirit, but it does not alter the fact that you have done some wrong, Until you have put it right in the eyes of the Great White Spirit, the sin will remain.  That is the Law, my son.  You cannot alter laws, not even by quoting words from books, which you say the Nazarene said.

    "I tried to explain to you before.  Not all those words were said by him, but many of them were added afterwards. When you say ’The Nazarene said', you mean you think the Nazarene said those things. What I want you to try and understand is that the same spirit, the same inspiration, the same force of the Great White Spirit which made the Nazarene the great master that he is, is waiting for you, if you open your heart to receive it from the Great White Spirit.
    "You are apart of the Great White Spirit.  All His love, all His power, all His wisdom, knowledge and truth are there waiting for you.  You must not go back into the past for the Great White Spirit.  He is here now; just as much the Great White Spirit today as He was in the time of the Nazarene, and the same powers He had then, He has now.

    "There are very few instruments through whom He can give His teaching and His power.  Why should your Christianity be dependent upon one human being of two thousand years ago?  Why cannot all you men of God receive the same inspiration that he did?  Why must you go back to what he said?"

    "I talk of the work of Christ in me," was the parson's reply.  "I believe it is possible to have inspiration."
    "Why do you limit the Great White Spirit to the Nazarene and to one book?" inquired the spirit.  "Do you think that the whole of the Great White Spirit was expressed in one person or one book?  I am not a Christian.  I lived many years before the Nazarene came into your world. Did not the Great White Spirit make any allowance for my spirit to enter into His peace?

    "Do you think all the Great White Spirit can be put into a few pages in one book?  Do you think that when that book was finished, He had no more inspiration for His children?  Do you think you have come to the end of His power when you have turned the last page of your Bible?"

    "I hope not," said the minister.  "I sometimes feel that I am inspired."
    "One day you shall go unto the Father also," declared the spirit, "into one of those many, many mansions that you are preparing for yourself in your world today.  I want you, who are a man of God, to understand that you cannot limit God, He is everywhere.  The lowest criminal in the lowest haunt of vice is linked with the Great White Spirit as much as the highest saint who ever lived in your world. 

    The Great White Spirit is in each one of you.  If you try to express that spirit, and if you will make your heart open, the Great White spirit will pour through you the power and the revelation that will bring light and comfort to all those who are in your corner of the vineyard."

    "How do you explain the fact that the only calendar that has survived to any extent is the Christian calendars was the next question.
    Silver Birch replied: "Who told you that?  Have you not heard of the calendar of the Jewish peoples in many other places there are still calendars in existence that date back from the beginning of their own religion.  I do not try to belittle the work of the Nazarene. I know the work he dose, and I know the Nazarene dose not want to be worshipped as the Great White Spirit. The whole value of his life is as an example to be followed. Until the worshipping of the Nazarene stops there will be little inspiration in your Christianity.”

    The minister then said: "We cannot find out when it was decided to make the date of Jesus' birth the beginning of the calendar.  Can you tell me?"
    "I must answer in my own way," said the spirit. "A few days ago, a member of this circle went to the North. There he stayed with many of the children of the Great White Spirit. They are not people in high places. They are men who, if they have physical work, work very, very hard.  When they have finished, often after digging deep into the bowels of the earth, they receive as recompense a few physical pennies.  They live in what you call houses, which are a disgrace to your Christian civilization.

    "In the same town there is what you call a house of God. This house of God is so tall that the houses near by, when God's sun shines are in the shadow. They have more darkness in their lives than if the cathedral was not there. Do you think that is right?"
    "I used to live in Durham," said the parson.

    "I know," was the answer. "That is why I told you."
    "I am very sorry that they have to live in those houses," the cleric declared.
    "Do you think the Nazarene would be pleased that they should?" said Silver Birch.  "Do you think he would ask questions about the calendar as long as there were houses like that, and men who have to work like that, men who only have a few physical pennies, while all the time there are others to whom thousands of physical pennies do not matter?

    "Do you think that he would ask for money for cathedrals and ask about calendars and talk about good books when people lived like that? What do you think of a Christianity that goes on using his name and still allows these things to operate in this country that is called Christian?

    "You ask questions about texts.  Religion has much more important and greater work to do.  Do you not see that the Great White Spirit wants all His children to receive His bounty?  In some parts of your world they are throwing away the necessities that other people starve for.  Can you talk of Christianity while Christians do these things?
    "I have a much closer touch with the Nazarene than you imagine. 

    I have seen his tears as he watches, because so many of his people and his ministers close their eyes to all the disgrace which goes on in the shadow of their own churches.  How can you be content to build churches which are supposed to be the houses of God, fill them with jewels and stained-glass windows, and boast of the building when all the time, in their shadows, there dwell children of the Great White Spirit who have not even necessities of life?

    "Many of them have not even a proper place on which to put their poor tired bodies when they have worked all day and sometimes into the night for a few physical pennies that are not enough for their bread.  I do not speak with any bitterness to you.  I am only filled with a big love for you, and would do anything to serve you.  But I am in the spirit world and have few opportunities of talking to men like you, who can go out into your world and stir up things so that you can put right so much that is wrong.

    "I want you to understand there are more important things than texts in the Bible.  Not every one that saith, 'Lord, Lord but he that doeth the will of my father.' He taught you that many years ago.  Why cannot you make all people see that is the only thing that matters?  It is what you do that counts
    "As long as you countenance all the wars, the iniquity, the starvation, poverty, and unemployment, you are all failing in your Christianity, and you are not following the example of the Nazarene.  You have come away from a big conference, where you have joined, in the last twelve months, three sections of your church.  Unless when they are united they strive in unity to alter those blots on the Law of the Great White Spirit, your unity is nothing.  I speak very frankly to you.  I do not want any misunderstanding.

    "Some years ago, we threw open our schools and collected money in the churches to provide things for the unemployed," said the minister.  "We cannot do everything, but, according to the number of people who go to church, don't you think we try very bard?"

    "I know your heart is good," the spirit commented, "otherwise I would not come back to talk to you again.  I see in you an instrument, which can be of service.  The people who go to your churches are very few, but did not the Nazarene teach you to go out into the highways and byways?  You must not wait for people to come to you.  You must go to them."

August 27, 2007

  •                                                       The Rescue
                              This story was taken from Robert Dale Owens Book
                                   “Footfalls on the Boundary of Another World”
                                                        Published in 1860

    Mr. Robert Bruce, originally descended from some branch of the Scottish family of that name, was born, in humble circumstances, in the late 1700's, at Torbay, in the south of England, and there bred up to a seafaring life.
    When about thirty years of age, to wit, in the year 1828, he was first mate on a bark trading between Liverpool and St. John's, New Brunswick.

    On one of her voyages bound westward, being then some five or six weeks out and having neared the eastern portion of the Banks of Newfoundland. The captain and mate had been on deck at noon, taking an observation of the sun; after which they both descended to calculate their day's work.

    The cabin, a small one, was immediately at the stern of the vessel, and the short stairway descending to it ran athwart-ships. Immediately opposite to this stairway, just beyond a small square landing, was the mate's state-room; and from that landing there were two doors, close to each other, the one opening aft into the cabin, the other, fronting the stairway, into the state-room. The desk in the stateroom was in the forward part of it, close to the door; so that anyone sitting at it and looking over his shoulder could see into the cabin.

    The mate, absorbed in his calculation, which did not result as he expected, varying considerable from the dead reckoning, had not noticed the captain's motions. When he had completed his calculations, he called out, without looking around, "I make our latitude and longitude so and so. Can that be right?  How is yours?"
    Receiving no reply, he repeated his question, glancing over his shoulder and perceiving, as he thought, the captain busy writing at his slate.  Still no answer. There upon he rose; and, as he fronted the cabin door the figure he had mistaken for the captain raised his head and disclosed to the astonished mate the features of an entire stranger.

    Bruce was no coward, but,as he met that fixed gaze looking directly at him in grave silence, and became assured that it was no one whom he had ever seen before, it was too much for him; and, instead of stopping to question the seeming intruder, he rushed upon deck in such evident alarm that it instantly attracted the captain's attention.  "Why, Mr. Bruce," said the later, "What in the world is the matter with you?" "The matter, sir?  Who is that at your desk?" "No one that I know of." "But there is, sir: there's a stranger there." "A stranger!  Why, man, you must be dreaming. You must have seen the steward there, or the second mate.  Who else would venture down without orders?" "But sir, he was sitting in your arm-chair, fronting the door, writing on your slate. 

    Then he looked up full in my face; and, if ever I saw a man plainly and distinctly in this world, I saw him" "Him!  Whom?" "God knows, sir: I don't.  I saw a man, and a man I had never seen in my life before." "You must be going crazy, Mr. Bruce. A stranger, and we nearly six weeks out!" "I know, sir; but then I saw him." "Go down and see who it is." Bruce hesitated.  "I never was a believer in ghosts," he said; "but, if the truth must be told, sir, I'd rather not face it alone-" "Come, come, man. Go down at once and don't make a fool of yourself before the crew." "I hope you've always found me willing to do what's reasonable," Bruce replied, changing color; "but if it's all the same to you, sir, I'd rather we should both go together-"

    The captain descended the stairs, and the mate followed him.  Nobody in the cabin! They examined the staterooms.  Not a soul to be found! "Well, Mr. Bruce," said the captain, "did I not tell you you had been dreaming?"

    "It's all very well to say so, sir; but if I didn’t see that man writing on your slate, may I never see my home and family again!" "Ah! Writing on the slate!  Then it should be there still. And the captain took it up.  "By God," he exclaimed, "here's something, sure enough!  Is that your writing, Mr. Bruce?" The mate took the slate; and there, in plain, legible characters, stood the words, "STEER TO THE NOR'WEST."

    "Have you been trifling with me, sir?" added the captain, in a stern manner. "On my word as a man and a sailor, sir," replied Bruce, "I know no more of this matter than you do.  I have told you the exact truth.
    The captain sat down at his desk, the slate before him, in deep thought. At last, turning the.slate over and pushing it towards Bruce, he said, "Write down, Steer to the nor’west.”

    The mate complied; and the captain, after narrowly comparing the two handwriting, said, "Mr. Bruce, go and tell the second mate to come down here." He came; and, at the captain's request, he also wrote the same words. So did the steward.  So, in succession, did every man of the crew who could write at all.  But not one of the various hands resembled in any degree the mysterious writing.

    When the crew retired, the captain sat deep in thought. "Could anyone have been stowed away?" at last he said.  "The ship must be searched; and if I don't find the fellow he must be a good hand at hide-and-seek. Order up all hands." Every nook and corner of the vessel, from stern to stern, was thoroughly searched, and with all the eagerness of excited curiosity, for the report had gone out that a stranger had shown himself on board; but not a living soul beyond the crew and the officers was found.

    Returning to the cabin after their fruitless search, "Mr.Bruce," said the captain, "what the devil do you make of all this?" "Can't tell, sir.  I saw the man write; you see the writing.  There must be something in it."
    "Well, it would seem so.  We have the wind free, and I have a good mind to keep her away and see what will come of it. I surely would, sir, if I were in your place.  It's only a few hours lost, at the worst." "Well, we'll see.  Go on and give the course nor’west. And, Mr. Bruce," he added, as the mate rose to go, "have a lookout aloft, and let it be a hand you can depend on."

    His orders were obeyed.  About three o'clock the lookout reported an iceberg nearly ahead, and, shortly after, what he thought was a vessel of some kind close to it. As they approached, the captain's glass disclosed the fact that it was a dismantled ship, apparently frozen to the ice, and with a good many human beings on it.  Shortly after, they hove to, and sent out the boats to the relief of the sufferers.

    It proved to be a vessel from Quebec, bound to Liverpool, with passengers on board.  She had got entangled in the ice, and finally frozen fast, and had passed several weeks in a most critical situation.  She was stove, her decks swept,-in fact, a mere wreck; all her provisions and almost all her water gone.  Her crew and passengers had lost all hopes of being saved, and their gratitude for the unexpected rescue was proportionately great.

    As one of the men who had been brought away in the third boat that had reached the wreck was ascending the ship's side, the mate, catching a glimpse of his face, started back in consternation.  It was the very face he had seen, three or four hours before, looking up at him from the captain's desk. At first he tried to persuade him self it might be fancy; but the more he examined the man the more sure he became that he was right.  Not only the face, but the person and clothes and dress, exactly corresponded.

    As soon as the exhausted crew and famished passengers were cared for, and the bark on her course again, the mate called the captain aside. "It seems that was not a ghost I saw today, sir: the man is alive." "What do you mean? Who’s alive?"

    "Why, sir, one of the passengers we have just saved is the same man I saw writing on your slate at noon. I would swear to it in a court of justice." "Upon my word, Mr. Bruce” replied the captain, "this gets more and more singular. Let us go and see this man." They found him in conversation with the captain of the rescued ship. They both came forward, and expressed, in the warmest terms, their gratitude for deliverance from a horrible fate, -slow-coming death by exposure and starvation.

    The captain replied that he had but done what he was certain they would have done for him under the same circumstances, and asked them both to step down into the cabin. Then turning to the passenger, he said, "I hope, sir, you will not think I am trifling with you ; but I would be much obliged to you if you would write a few words on this slate." And he handed him the slate with the side up on which the mysterious writing was not.  "I will do anything you ask," replied the passenger; "but what shall I write?"

    "A few words are all I want.  Suppose you write, “Steer to the nor’west.” The passenger, evidently puzzled to make out the motive for such a request, complied, however, with a smile. The captain took up the slate and examined it closely; then, stepping aside so as to conceal the slate from the passenger, he turned it over, and gave it to him again with the other side up.

    "You say that is your handwriting?" said he. "I need not say so," rejoined
    the other, looking at it, "for you saw me write it." "And this?" said the captain, turning the slate over. The man looked first at one writing, then the other, quite confounded.  At last, "What is the meaning of this?" he said.  "I only wrote one of these.  Who wrote the other?"

    "That's more than I can tell you, sir.  My mate here says you wrote it, sitting at this desk, at noon today."
    The captain of the wreck and the passenger looked at each other, exchanging glances of intelligence and surprise; and the former asked the latter," Did you dream that you wrote on this slate?” "No, sir, not that I remember." "You speak of dreaming," said the captain of the bark." What was this gentleman about at noon today?"
    "Captain," rejoined the other, "the whole thing is most mysterious and extraordinary; and I had intended to speak to you about it as soon as we got a little quiet. 

    This gentleman," (pointing to the passenger,) "being much exhausted, fell into a heavy sleep, or what seemed such, some time before noon.  After an hour or more, he awoke, and said to me, 'Captain, we shall be relieved this very day., When I asked him what reason he had for saying so, he replied that he had dreamed that he was on a bark, and that she was coming to our rescue. He described her appearance and rig; and to our utter astonishment, when your vessel hove in sight she corresponded exactly to his description of her.

    We had not put much faith in what he said; yet still we hoped there might be something in it, for drowning men, you know, will ketch at straws. As it has turned out, I cannot doubt that it was all arranged, in some incomprehensible way, by an overruling Providence, so that we might be saved. To Him be all thanks for his goodness to us.

    There is not a doubt," rejoined the other captain, "that the writing on the slate, let it have come there as it may, saved all your lives. I was steering at the time considerable south of west, and I altered my course to nor’west, and had a lookout aloft, to see what would come of it. But you say," he added, turning to the passenger, "that you did not dream of writing on the slate?" "No, sir. I have no recollection whatever of doing so. I got the impression that the bark I saw in my dream was coming to rescue us; but how that impression came I can not tell.

    There is another very strange thing about it," he added.  "Everything here on board seems to me quite familiar; yet I am very sure I never was in your vessel before. It is all a puzzle to me.  What did your mate see?"Thereupon MR. Bruce related to them all the circumstances above detailed.  The conclusion they finally arrived at was that it was a special interposition of Providence to save them from what seemed a hopeless fate. The above narrative was communicated to me by Capt.  J.S.Clarke, of the schooner Julia Hallock,(In July, 1859. The Julia Hallock was then at the foot of Rutgers Slip, New York. 

    She trades between New York and St.Jago in the island of Cuba.) Who had it directly from Mr. Bruce himself.  They sailed together for seventeen months, in the years 1836 and 1837 so that Captain Clarke had the story from the mate about eight years after the occurrence.  He has since lost sight of him, and does not know whether he is yet alive.  All that he has heard of him since they were shipmates is, that he continued to trade to New Brunswick, that he became the master of the brig Comet, and that she was lost at sea.

    I asked Captain Clarke if he knew Bruce well, and what sort of a man he was. "As truthful and straightforward a man," he replied, "as ever I met in all my life.  We were as intimate as brothers; and two men can't be together, shut up for seventeen months in the same ship, without getting to know whether they can trust one another's word or not.  He always spoke of the circumstances in terms of reverence, as of an incident that seemed to bring him nearer to God and to another world.  I'd stake my life upon it that he told me no lie."

  • Edward William Bok (1863–1930). The Americanization of Edward Bok. 1921.

    The First Job: Fifty Cents a Week

       THE ELDER Bok did not find his “lines cast in pleasant places” in the United States. He found himself, professionally, unable to adjust the methods of his own land and of a lifetime to those of a new country. As a result the fortunes of the transplanted family did not flourish, and Edward soon saw his mother physically failing under burdens to which her nature was not accustomed nor her hands trained.
       He and his brother decided to relieve their mother in the housework by rising early in the morning, building the fire, preparing breakfast, and washing the dishes before they went to school. After school they gave up their play hours, and swept and scrubbed, and helped their mother to prepare the evening meal and wash the dishes afterward. It was a curious coincidence that it should fall upon Edward thus to get a first-hand knowledge of woman’s housework which was to stand him in such practical stead in later years.
       It was not easy for the parents to see their boys thus forced to do work which only a short while before had been done by a retinue of servants. And the capstone of humiliation seemed to be when Edward and his brother, after having for several mornings found no kindling wood or coal to build the fire, decided to go out of evenings with a basket and pick up what wood they could find in neighboring lots, and the bits of coal spilled from the coal-bin of the grocery-store, or left on the curbs before houses where coal had been delivered. The mother remonstrated with the boys, although in her heart she knew that the necessity was upon them. But Edward had been started upon his Americanization career, and answered: “This is America, where one can do anything if it is honest. So long as we don’t steal the wood or coal, why shouldn’t we get it?” And, turning away, the saddened mother said nothing.      
       But while the doing of these homely chores was very effective in relieving the untrained and tired mother, it added little to the family income. Edward looked about and decided that the time had come for him, young as he was, to begin some sort of wage-earning. But how and where? The answer he found one afternoon when standing before the shop-window of a baker in the neighborhood. The owner of the bakery, who had just placed in the window a series of trays filled with buns, tarts, and pies, came outside to look at the display. He found the hungry boy wistfully regarding the tempting-looking wares.      
       “Look pretty good, don’t they?” asked the baker.   
       “They would,” answered the Dutch boy with his national passion for cleanliness, “if your window were clean.”      
       “That’s so, too,“ mused the baker. “Perhaps you’ll clean it.”         “I will,” was the laconic reply. And Edward Bok, there and then, got his first job. He went in, found a step-ladder, and put so much Dutch energy into the cleaning of the large show-window that the baker immediately arranged with him to clean it every Tuesday and Friday afternoon after school. The salary was to be fifty cents per week!      
       But one day, after he had finished cleaning the window, and the baker was busy in the rear of the store, a customer came in, and Edward ventured to wait on her. Dexterously he wrapped up for another the fragrant currant-buns for which his young soul—and stomach—so hungered! The baker watched him, saw how quickly and smilingly he served the customer, and offered Edward an extra dollar per week if he would come in afternoons and sell behind the counter.

       He immediately entered into the bargain with the understanding that, in addition to his salary of a dollar and a half per week, he should each afternoon carry home from the good things unsold a moderate something as a present to his mother. The baker agreed, and Edward promised to come each afternoon except Saturday.          “Want to play ball, hey?” said the baker.      
       “Yes, I want to play ball,” replied the boy, but he was not reserving his Saturday afternoons for games, although, boy-like, that might be his preference. 
       Edward now took on for each Saturday morning—when, of course, there was no school—the delivery route of a weekly paper called the South Brooklyn Advocate. He had offered to deliver the entire neighborhood edition of the paper for one dollar, thus increasing his earning capacity to two dollars and a half per week.
       Transportation, in those days in Brooklyn, was by horse-cars, and the car-line on Smith Street nearest Edward’s home ran to Coney Island. Just around the corner where Edward lived the cars stopped to water the horses on their long haul. The boy noticed that the men jumped from the open cars in summer, ran into the cigar-store before which the watering-trough was placed, and got a drink of water from the ice-cooler placed near the door. But that was not so easily possible for the women, and they, especially the children, were forced to take the long ride without a drink. It was this that he had in mind when he reserved his Saturday afternoon to “play ball.”        

    Here was an opening, and Edward decided to fill it. He bought a shining new pail screwed three hooks on the edge from which he hung three clean shimmering glasses. One Saturday afternoon when a car stopped the boy leaped on, tactfully asked the conductor if he did not want a drink, and then proceeded to sell his water, cooled with ice, at a cent a glass to the passengers. A little experience showed that he exhausted a pail with every two cars, and each pail netted him thirty cents. Of course Sunday was a most profitable day; and after going to Sunday-school in the morning, he did a further Sabbath service for the rest of the day by refreshing tired mothers and thirsty children on the Coney Island cars—at a penny a glass!         

    But the profit of six dollars which Edward was now reaping in his newly found “bonanza” on Saturday and Sunday afternoons became apparent to other boys, and one Saturday the young ice-water boy found that he had a competitor; then two and soon three. Edward immediately met the challenge; he squeezed half a dozen lemons into each pail of water, added some sugar, tripled his charge, and continued his monopoly by selling “Lemonade, three cents a glass.” Soon more passengers were asking for lemonade than for plain drinking water! 
       One evening Edward went to a party of young people, and his latent journalistic sense whispered to him that his young hostess might like to see her social affair in print. He went home, wrote up the party, being careful to include the name of every boy and girl present, and next morning took the account to the city editor of the Brooklyn Eagle, with the sage observation that every name mentioned in that paragraph represented a buyer of the paper, who would like to see his or her name in print, and that if the editor had enough of these reports he might very advantageously strengthen the circulation of The Eagle.

       The editor was not slow to see the point, and offered Edward three dollars a column for such reports. On his way home, Edward calculated how many parties he would have to attend a week to furnish a column, and decided that he would organize a corps of private reporters himself. Forthwith, he saw every girl and boy he knew, got each to promise to write for him an account of each party he or she attended or gave, and laid great stress on a full recital of names. Within a few weeks, Edward was turning in to The Eagle from two to three columns a week; his pay was raised to four dollars a column; the editor was pleased in having started a department that no other paper carried, and the “among those present” at the parties all bought the paper and were immensely gratified to see their names.
       So everybody was happy, and Edward Bok, as a full-fledged reporter, had begun his journalistic career. It is curious how deeply embedded in his nature, even in his earliest years, was the inclination toward the publishing business. The word “curious” is used here because Edward is the first journalist in the Bok family in all the centuries through which it extends in Dutch history. On his father’s side, there was a succession of jurists. On the mother’s side, not a journalist is visible.
       Edward attended the Sunday school of the Carroll Park Methodist Episcopal Church, in Brooklyn, of which a Mr. Elkins was superintendent. One day he learned that Mr. Elkins was associated with the publishing house of Harper and Brothers. Edward had heard his father speak of Harper’s Weekly and of the great part it had played in the Civil War; his father also brought home an occasional copy of Harper’s Weekly and of Harper’s Magazine.
       He had seen Harper’s Young People; the name of Harper and Brothers was on some of his school-books; and he pictured in his mind how wonderful it must be for a man to be associated with publishers of periodicals that other people read, and books that other folks studied. The Sunday school superintendent henceforth became a figure of importance in Edward’s eyes. Many a morning the boy hastened from home long before the hour for school, and seated himself on the steps of the Elkins house under the pretext of waiting for Mr. Elkins’s son to go to school. But really for the secret purpose of seeing Mr. Elkins set forth to engage in the momentous business of making books and periodicals. Edward would look after the superintendent’s form until it was lost to view; then, with a sigh, he would go to school, forgetting all about the Elkins boy whom he had told the father he had come to call for.         
       One day Edward was introduced to a girl whose father, he learned, was editor of the New York Weekly. Edward could not quite place this periodical; he had never seen it, he had never heard of it. So he bought a copy, and while its contents seemed strange, and its air unfamiliar in comparison with the magazines he found in his home, still an editor was an editor. He was certainly well worth knowing. So he sought his newly made young lady friend, asked permission to call upon her, and to Edward’s joy was introduced to her father.
       It was enough for Edward to look furtively at the editor upon his first call, and being encouraged to come again, he promptly did so the next evening. The daughter has long since passed away, and so it cannot hurt her feelings now to acknowledge that for years Edward paid court to her only that he might know her father. and have those talks with him about editorial methods that filled him with ever-increasing ambition to tread the path that leads to editorial tribulations. With school days ended, the question of self-education became an absorbing thought with Edward Bok. He had mastered a schoolboy’s English, but seven years of public-school education was hardly a basis on which to build the work of a lifetime. He saw each day in his duties as office boy some of the foremost men of the time. It was the period of William H. Vanderbilt’s ascendancy in Western Union control; and the railroad millionaire and his companions, Hamilton McK. Twombly, James H. Banker, Samuel F. Barger, Alonzo B. Cornell, Augustus Schell, William Orton. They were objects of great interest to the young office boy.

     Alexander Graham Bell and Thomas A. Edison were also constant visitors to the department. He knew that some of these men, too, had been deprived of the advantage of collegiate training, and yet they had risen to the top. But how? The boy decided to read about these men and others, and find out. He could not, however, afford the separate biographies, so he went to the libraries to find a compendium that would authoritatively tell him of all successful men. He found it in Appleton’s Encyclopedia, and, determining to have only the best, he saved his luncheon money, walked instead of riding the five miles to his Brooklyn home.

    After a period of saving, he had his reward in the first purchase from his own earnings: a set of the Encyclopedia. He now read about all the successful men, and was encouraged to find that in many cases their beginnings had been as modest as his own, and their opportunities of education as limited.
       One day it occurred to him to test the accuracy of the biographies he was reading. James A. Garfield was then spoken of for the presidency. Edward wondered whether it was true that the man who was likely to be President of the United States had once been a boy on the towpath. So with a simple directness characteristic of his Dutch training, wrote to General Garfield, asking whether the boyhood episode was true, and explaining why he asked. Of course any public man, no matter how large his correspondence, is pleased to receive an earnest letter from an information-seeking boy. General Garfield answered warmly and fully. Edward showed the letter to his father, who told the boy that it was valuable and he should keep it. This was a new idea. He followed it further: if one such letter were valuable, how much more valuable would be a hundred! If General Garfield answered him, would not other famous men? Why not begin a collection of autograph letters? Everybody collected something.
       Edward had collected postage stamps, and the hobby had, incidentally, helped him wonderfully in his study of geography. Why should not autograph letters from famous persons be of equal service in his struggle for self-education? Not simple autographs—they were meaningless; but actual letters which might tell him something useful. It never occurred to the boy that these men might not answer him.      
       So he took his Encyclopedia—its trustworthiness now established in his mind by General Garfield’s letter—and began to study the lives of successful men and women. Then, with boyish frankness, he wrote on some mooted question in one famous person’s life; he asked about the date of some important event in another’s, not given in the Encyclopedia; or he asked one man why he did this or why some other man did that.
       Most interesting were, of course, the replies. Thus General Grant sketched on an improvised map the exact spot where General Lee surrendered to him. Longfellow told him how he came to write “Excelsior”; Whittier told the story of “The Barefoot Boy”. Tennyson wrote out a stanza or two of “The Brook,” upon condition that Edward would not again use the word “awful,” which the poet said “is slang for ‘very,’” and “I hate slang.” 
       One day the boy received a letter from the Confederate general Jubal A. Early, giving the real reason why he burned Chambersburg. A friend visiting Edward’s father, happening to see the letter, recognized in it a hitherto-missing bit of history, and suggested that it be published in the New York Tribune. The letter attracted wide attention and provoked national discussion.
       This suggested to the editor of The Tribune that Edward might have other equally interesting letters; so he dispatched a reporter to the boy’s home. This reporter was Ripley Hitchcock, who afterward became literary adviser for the Appletons and Harpers. Of course Hitchcock at once saw a “story” in the boy’s letters, and within a few days The Tribune appeared with a long article on its principal news page giving an account of the Brooklyn boy’s remarkable letters and how he had secured them. The Brooklyn Eagle quickly followed with a request for an interview; the Boston Globe followed suit; the Philadelphia Public Ledger sent its New York correspondent; and before Edward was aware of it, newspapers in different parts of the country were writing about “the well-known Brooklyn autograph collector.” 
       Edward Bok was quick to see the value of the publicity, which had so suddenly, come to him. He received letters from other autograph collectors all over the country who sought to “exchange” with him. References began to creep into letters from famous persons to whom he had written, saying they had read about his wonderful collection and were proud to be included in it. George W. Childs, of Philadelphia, himself the possessor of probably one of the finest collections of autograph letters in the country, asked Edward to come to Philadelphia and bring his collection with him—which he did, on the following Sunday, and brought it back greatly enriched.      
       Several of the writers felt an interest in a boy who frankly told them that he wanted to educate himself, and asked Edward to come and see them. Accordingly, when they lived in New York or Brooklyn, or came to these cities on a visit, he was quick to avail himself of their invitations. He began to note each day in the newspapers the “distinguished arrivals” at the New York hotels; and when any one with whom he had corresponded arrived, Edward would, after business hours, go up-town, pay his respects, and thank him in person for his letters.

     No person was too high for Edward’s boyish approach; President Garfield, General Grant, General Sherman, President Hayes—all were called upon, and all received the boy graciously and were interested in the problem of his self-education. It was a veritable case of making friends on every hand; friends who were to be of the greatest help and value to the boy in his after-years, although he had no conception of it at the time.
       The Fifth Avenue Hotel, in those days the stopping-place of the majority of the famous men and women visiting New York, represented to the young boy who came to see these celebrities the very pinnacle of opulence. Often while waiting to be received by some dignitary, he wondered how one could acquire enough means to live at a place of such luxury. The main dining room, to the boy’s mind, was an object of special interest. He would purposely sneak up-stairs and sit on one of the soft sofas in the foyer simply to see the well-dressed diners go in and come out. Edward would speculate on whether the time would ever come when he could dine in that wonderful room just once!
       One evening he called, after the close of business, upon General and Mrs. Grant, whom he had met before, and who had expressed a desire to see his collection. It can readily be imagined what a red-letter day it made in the boy’s life to have General Grant say: “It might be better for us all to go down to dinner first and see the collection afterward.” Edward had purposely killed time between five and seven o’clock, thinking that the general’s dinner-hour, like his own, was at six. He had allowed an hour for the general to eat his dinner, only to find that he was still to begin it. The boy could hardly believe his ears, and unable to find his voice, he failed to apologize for his modest suit or his general after-business appearance.
       As in a dream he went down in the elevator with his host and hostess, and when the party of three faced toward the dining-room entrance, so familiar to the boy, he felt as if his legs must give way under him. There have since been other red-letter days in Edward Bok’s life, but the moment that still stands out preeminent is that when two colored head waiters at the dining-room entrance, whom he had so often watched, bowed low and escorted the party to their table. At last, he was in that sumptuous dining-hall. The entire room took on the picture of one great eye, and that eye centered on the party of three—as, in fact, it naturally would. But Edward felt that the eye was on him, wondering why he should be there.      
       What he ate and what he said he does not recall. General Grant, not a voluble talker himself, gently drew the boy out, and Mrs. Grant seconded him, until toward the close of the dinner he heard himself talking. He remembers that he heard his voice, but what that voice said is all-dim to him. One act stamped itself on his mind. The dinner ended with a wonderful dish of nuts and raisins, and just before the party rose from the table Mrs. Grant asked the waiter to bring her a paper bag. Into this she emptied the entire dish, and at the close of the evening she gave it to Edward “to eat on the way home.”

    It was a wonderful evening, afterward up-stairs, General Grant smoking the inevitable cigar, and telling stories as he read the letters of different celebrities. Over those of Confederate generals he grew reminiscent; and when he came to a letter from General Sherman, Edward remembers that he chuckled audibly, reread it, and then turning to Mrs. Grant, said: “Julia, listen to this from Sherman. Not bad.” The letter he read was this:
      Now, this world does not often present the condition of facts herein described. Men entirely great are very rare indeed, and even Washington, who approached greatness as near as any mortal, found good use for the sword and the pen, each in its proper sphere.

      You and I have seen the day when a great and good man ruled this country (Lincoln) who wielded a powerful and prolific pen, and yet had to call to his assistance a million of flaming swords.
     No, I cannot subscribe to your sentiment, “The pen is mightier than the sword,” which you ask me to write, because it is not true.

      Rather, in the providence of God, there is a time for all things; a time when the sword may cut the Gordian knot, and set free the principles of right and justice, bound up in the meshes of hatred, revenge, and tyranny, that the pens of mighty men like Clay, Webster, Crittenden, and Lincoln were unable to disentangle. Wishing you all success, I am, with respect, your friend,

    W. T. SHERMAN.
    DEAR MR. BOK:—
      I prefer not to make scraps of sentimental writing. When I write anything I want it to be real and connected in form, as, for instance, in your quotation from Lord Lytton’s play of “Richelieu,” “The pen is mightier than the sword.” Lord Lytton would never have put his signature to so naked a sentiment. Surely I will not.
      In the text there was a prefix or qualification:
    Beneath the rule of men entirely great
    The pen is mightier than the sword.
       Mrs. Grant had asked Edward to send her a photograph of himself, and after one had been taken, the boy took it to the Fifth Avenue Hotel, intending to ask the clerk to send it to her room. Instead, he met General and Mrs. Grant just coming from the elevator, going out to dinner. The boy told them his errand, and said he would have the photograph sent up-stairs.
       “I am so sorry we are just going out to dinner,” said Mrs. Grant, “for the general had some excellent photographs just taken of himself, and he signed one for you, and put it aside, intending to send it to you when yours came.” Then, turning to the general, she said: “Ulysses, send up for it. We have a few moments.”      
       “I’ll go and get it. I know just where it is,” returned the general. “Let me have yours,” he said, turning to Edward. “I am glad to exchange photographs with you, boy.”
       To Edward’s surprise, when the general returned he brought with him, not a duplicate of the small carte-de-visite size which he had given the general all that he could afford—but a large, full cabinet size.      
    “They make ’em too big,” said the general, as he handed it to Edward. But the boy didn’t think so!
       That evening was one that the boy was long to remember. It suddenly came to him that he had read a few days before of Mrs. Abraham Lincoln’s arrival in New York at Doctor Holbrook’s sanitarium. Thither Edward went; and within half an hour from the time he had been talking with General Grant he was sitting at the bedside of Mrs. Lincoln, showing her the wonderful photograph just presented to him. Edward saw that the widow of the great Lincoln did not mentally respond to his pleasure in his possession. It was apparent even to the boy that mental and physical illness had done their work with the frail frame. But he had the memory, at least, of having got that close to the great President.

       The eventful evening, however, was not yet over. Edward had boarded a Broadway stage to take him to his Brooklyn home when, glancing at the newspaper of a man sitting next to him, he saw the headline: “Jefferson Davis arrives in New York.” He read enough to see that the Confederate President was stopping at the Metropolitan Hotel, in lower Broadway, and as he looked out of the stage-window the sign “Metropolitan Hotel” stared him in the face. In a moment he was out of the stage; he wrote a little note, asked the clerk to send it to Mr. Davis, and within five minutes was talking to the Confederate President and telling of his remarkable evening. Mr. Davis was keenly interested in the coincidence and in the boy before him.

    He asked about the famous collection, and promised to secure for Edward a letter written by each member of the Confederate Cabinet. This he subsequently did. Edward remained with Mr. Davis until ten o’clock, and that evening brought about an interchange of letters between the Brooklyn boy and Mr. Davis at Beauvoir, Mississippi that lasted until the latter passed away.
         Edward was fast absorbing a tremendous quantity of biographical information about the most famous men and women of his time, and he was compiling a collection of autograph letters that the newspapers had made famous throughout the country. He was ruminating over his possessions one day, and wondering to what practical use he could put his collection; for while it was proving educative to a wonderful degree, it was, after all, a hobby, and a hobby means expense. His autograph quest cost him stationary, postage, carfare all outgo. But it had brought him no income, save rich mental revenue. And the boy and his family needed money. He did not know, then, the value of a background.
          He was thinking along this line in a restaurant when a man sitting next to him opened a box of cigarettes, and taking a picture out of it threw it on the floor. Edward picked it up, thinking it might be a “prospect” for his collection of autograph letters. It was the picture of a well known actress. He then recalled an advertisement announcing that this particular brand of cigarettes contained, in each package, a lithographed portrait of some famous actor or actress. If the purchaser would collect these he would, in the end, have a valuable album of the greatest actors and actresses of the day.

    Edward turned the picture over, only to find a blank reverse side. “All very well,” he thought, “but what does a purchaser have, after all, in the end, but a lot of pictures? Why don’t they use the back of each picture, and tell what each did a little biography? Then it would be worth keeping.” With his passion for self-education, the idea appealed very strongly to him; and believing firmly that there were others possessed of the same thirst, he set out the next day, in his luncheon hour, to find out who made the picture.
       At the office of the Cigarette Company he learned that the making of the pictures was in the hands of the Knapp Lithographic Company. The following luncheon hour, Edward sought the offices of the company, and explained his idea to Mr. Joseph P. Knapp, now the president of the American Lithograph Company. I’ll give you ten dollars apiece if you will write me a one-hundred-word biography of one hundred famous Americans,” was Mr. Knapp’s instant reply. “Send me a list, and group them, as, for instance: presidents and vice-presidents, famous soldiers, actors, authors, etc.”  “And thus,” says Mr. Knapp, as he tells the tale today, “I gave Edward Bok his first literary commission, and started him off on his literary career.” And it is true. But Edward soon found the Lithograph Company calling for “copy,” and, write as he might, he could not supply the biographies fast enough.

     He, at last, completed the first hundred, and so instantaneous was their success that Mr. Knapp called for a second hundred, and then for a third. Finding that one hand was not equal to the task, Edward offered his brother five dollars for each biography. He made the same offer to one or two journalists whom he knew and whose accuracy he could trust; and he was speedily convinced that merely to edit biographies written by others, at one-half the price paid to him, was more profitable than to write himself. So with five journalists working at top speed to supply the hungry lithograph presses, Mr. Knapp was likewise responsible for Edward Bok’s first adventure as an editor. It was commercial, if you will, but it was a commercial editing that had a distinct educational value to a large public.  The important point is that Edward Bok was being led more and more to writing and to editorship.
       But what with helping his mother, tending the baker’s shop in after-school hours, serving his paper route, plying his street-car trade, and acting as social reporter, it soon became evident to Edward that he had not much time to prepare his school lessons. By a supreme effort, he managed to hold his own in his class, but no more. Instinctively, he felt that he was not getting all that he might from his educational opportunities, yet the need for him to add to the family income was, if anything, becoming greater. The idea of leaving school was broached to his mother, but she rebelled. She told the boy that he was earning something now and helping much.

       Perhaps the tide with the father would turn and he would find the place to which his unquestioned talents entitled him. Finally the father did. He associated himself with the Western Union Telegraph Company as translator, a position for which his easy command of languages admirably fitted him. Thus, for a time, the strain upon the family exchequer was lessened.         
       But the American spirit of initiative had entered deep into the soul of Edward Bok. The brother had left school a year before, and found a place as messenger in a lawyer’s office; and when one evening Edward heard his father say that the office boy in his department had left, he asked that he be allowed to leave school, apply for the open position, and get the rest of his education in the great world itself. It was not easy for the parents to see the younger son leave school at so early an age, but the earnestness of the boy prevailed.
       And so, at the age of thirteen, Edward Bok left school, and on Monday, August 7, 1876, he became office boy in the electricians’ department of the Western Union Telegraph Company at six dollars and twenty-five cents per week. And, as such things will fall out in this curiously strange world, it happened that as Edward drew up his chair for the first time to his desk to begin his work on that Monday morning, there had been born in Boston, exactly twelve hours before, a girl-baby who was destined to become his wife. Thus at the earliest possible moment after her birth, Edward Bok started to work for her!