For his support he lectured on science and gave private lessons in mathematics, as- astronomy and the languages. He thus managed to eke out a miserable existence and in an almost abject poverty. He lived in a room, cheap, inaccessible, and cheerless. A chair, and a bedstead with a pile of rags, a worn-out stove, and an old coffee pot, with a few musty shelves of books covered with soot, were all his furniture. An autopsy revealed the wreck of his vital system and proved that the long and dreadful process of freezing and starving the previous winter had dried up the sources of life.
It was his intense absorption in science that had thus made him a
For that he had overlooked the wants of his body, and suffered.
European scientists through his contributions to scientific journals by
cor-respondence with him had learned of his extraordinary attainments
the most pro-found topics of human thought. And, whenever a
from Cincinnati appeared among them, the first question would be in
to Professor VAUGHAN, and to not a few that question was their first
of such an existence. He treated with great originality such
as “The Doctrine of Gravitation,’’ “The Cause and Effects of the
The Light and Heat of the Sun,’’ ‘The Remote Planets,” “The Ge-ography
of Disease,” “Origin of Moun-tains,” “The Theory of Probabilities in
Detection of Crime,’’ etc.
Salmon was a studious lad, so when his uncle, Rev. Philander CHASE, the earliest Episcopal Bishop, came to Ohio, he sent for him to come and live with him, and for a couple of years he studied with his uncle at Worthington, near Columbus, and then one year with him at Cincinnati. Then his uncle went to England on a visit and Salmon entered Dartmouth College, where he graduated in 1826, paying for his college expenses by school-teaching. He then went to Washing-ton, where he taught a classical school and studied law with William Wirt. Having been admitted to the bar in 1830, he settled in Cincinnati to practise his profession, his age 22 years.
Finding but little business he occupied about two years of his leisure in compiling the Statutes of Ohio, preceded by an outline history of the State. The work, known as “CHASE’S Statutes,’’ which proved of great service to the profession, was regarded of extraordinary merit. From his Puritan train-ing he had early learned to view all questions in their moral aspects, and so from the very beginning of his career he was the friend of the slave being when in Washington active in procuring signatures to a petition to Congress for the abolition of slavery in the District of Columbia.
In politics he did not then identify himself with either of the parties. When in 1836 a mob (830) destroyed the Philanthropist, the anti-slavery newspaper, he was engaged by Mr. BIRNEY, the editor, to bring the offenders to justice. About this time miscreants, in and about Cincinnati, not only made it a business to hunt and capture runaway slaves for the sake of reward, but to kidnap free-blacks, carry them across the Ohio and sell them into slavery. In 1837, in what was known as the Matilda case, where a master brought a slave girl to the city and afterwards endeavored to take her back into slavery. Mr. CHASE appeared in her behalf, as he frequently did in similar cases without expectation of pecuniary reward. After the case had been closed a gentleman of note who was present said, “There goes a promising young lawyer who has ruined himself,” he feeling how unpopular in those days was the defence of the enslaved and defenceless. None but a man of the highest moral courage and humanity would have been willing to endure the obloquy. Governor HOADLEY said of him, “What helped him—yes, what made him was this. He walked with God. The pre-dominant element of his life that which gave tone and color to his thoughts and determined the direction and color of all he did, was his striving after righteousness. . . . Behind the dusky face of every black man he saw his Saviour, the divine man also scourged, also in prison, at last crucified. This is what made him what he was. To this habit of referring to divine guidance every act of his life we owe the closing words of the Proclamation of Emancipation, which Mr. Lincoln added from Mr. CHASE’S pen as follows: ‘And upon this act, sincerely believed to be an act of justice, warranted by the Constitution, upon military necessity, I invoke the favorable judgment of all mankind, and the gracious favor of Almighty God.” He had dainty tastes, disliked the unclean in word or person but he put his pleasure under his feet when duty led him to the rescue of the lowly, he had a large frame and mighty passions, but they were under absolute control.’’
When the Liberty party was organized in Ohio, in 1841, Mr. CHASE was foremost and wrote the address which gave the issues which were finally settled only by a bloody war. In this he said the Constitution found slavery and left it a State institution—the creature and dependent of State law—wholly local in its existence and character. It did not make it a national institution. . . . Why then, fellow-citizens, are we now appeal-ing to you? . . . It is because slavery has overleaped its prescribed limits and usurped the control of the national government, and that the honor, the welfare, the safety of our country imperiously require the abso-lute and unqualified divorce of the govern-ment from slavery.
Mr. CHASE defended so many blacks who were claimed as fugitives from slavery that the Kentuckians called him the “attorney-general for negroes,” and the colored people of Cincinnati presented him a silver pitcher “for his various public services in behalf of the oppressed.”
Mr. CHASE brought his great legal learning and a powerful mind to the task of convincing men that the Fugitive Slave law could and should be resisted as unconstitutional, because though the Constitution embraced a provision for the return of fugitives it added no grant of legislative power to Congress over that subject, and, therefore, left to the States alone the power to devise proper legislation.
The original of John Van Trompe, in “Uncle Turn’s Cabin,’’ was John VAN ZANDT, who was prosecuted for harboring fugitive slaves, because overtaking a party of fugitives on the road he gave them a ride in his wagon, and his defence by Mr. CHASE was one of the most noted. In the final bearing in 1846 he was associated with Mr. SEWARD.
Mr. CHASE almost singly wrote the plat-form for the
party, which in 1843 nominated James C. BIRNEY for the
In 1840 this party cast but 1 vote in 360, in 1844 1 vote in 40, which
caused the defeat of Henry CLAY. In l848 Mr. CHASE presided over
the Buffalo Free Soil Conven-tion, and the party cast 1 vote in
In 1849 by a coalition between the Free Soilers and the Democrats in
Ohio Legislature Mr. CHASE was elected to the United States
The Democracy of Ohio had de-clared in convention that slavery was an
but when the party in the Baltimore Conven-tion of 1852 approved of the
compromise acts of 1850, he dissolved his connection with
it. He opposed the repeal the Missouri compromise, and made such strong, persistent attacks upon it as to thoroughly arouse the North and greatly influence the subsequent struggle.
In 1855 Mr. CHASE was elected Governor of Ohio by the newly formed Republican party formed solely to restrict the extension of slavery and the domination of the pro-slavery power, add by a majority of 15,651 over the Democratic candidate, Gov. MEDILL. Ex-Governor TRIMBLE, the candidate of the Know Nothing or Native American party, received 24,276 votes. In 1857 he was re-elected governor by 1503 over Henry B. PAYNE, the Democratic candidate. In the Chicago Republican Convention of 1860, which nominated Mr. LINCOLN, the first ballot stood: SEWARD, 173½; LINCOLN, 102; CAMERON, 50½; and CHASE, 49.
When Mr. LINCOLN was called to the presi-dency, March 4, 1861, he made Mr. CHASE Secretary of the Treasury. His consummate management of the finances of the nation was such that a conspicuous leader of the rebellion said, “They had been conquered by our Treasury Department and not by our generalship.” Whitelaw REID said, “Ohio may be indulged, even here in the pardonable pride of air allusion to the part that in this phase of the war as well as in the others “she led throughout the war.” To take a bankrupt treasury, sustain the credit of the government, feed, equip, arm and pay all (831) the expenses of a war of four years—this was the work accomplished by Salmon P. CHASE.’’
On June 30, 1864, Mr. CHASE resigned his position as Secretary of the Treasury, was succeeded by Wm. P. FESSENDEN of Maine, and on the nomination of Mr. LINCOLN, was confirmed on the 5th of December, 1804, Chief Justice of the United States, an office he filled until his decease. He presided at the impeachment trial of President Johnson in 1868. In his politics he was a Democrat, and his name being frequently mentioned that year as the probable Democratic nominee for the Presidency, he wrote, in answer to a letter from the Chairman of the Democratic National Committee: “For more than a quarter of a century I have been in my political views and senti-ments a Democrat, and still think that upon questions of finance, commerce, and administration generally the old Democratic principles afford the best guidance. What separated me in former times from both parties was the depth and positiveness of my convictions upon the slavery question… In 1849 I was elected to the Senate by the united votes of the old-line Democrats and independent Democrats, and subsequently made earnest efforts to bring about a union of all Democrats on the ground of the limitation of slavery to the States in which it then existed, and non-intervention in those States by act of Congress. Had that union been effected, it is my firm belief that the country would have escaped the late civil war and all its evils.”
As a public speaker Mr. CHASE was not eloquent. His speech was at times labored and hard, but he was impressive from his earnestness and the weight of his thought. The listener felt that he was no common man, and had the highest good of all only in view. In every position he ever held he always dis-played excellent executive capacity. On entering upon the duties of his office of Secretary of the Treasury he had by long and successful professional labors accumulated about $100,000, and when he left it, after controlling for years the vast pecuniary business of the na-tion, he was poorer than when he went in.
In appearance he was the most imposing public man in the country—over six feet high, a blonde, with blue eyes and fresh complexion portly, with handsome features and a massive head. His manners were dignified, but he had but little suavity, had none of the arts of the demagogue, and his great reputation was solely due to his great services and capacity, for he had but little personal popu-larity the multitude never shouted for him. His great ambition arose from the patriotic conviction that he could render great public service. He was married thrice, and died a widower, leaving, of six children, two accom-plished daughters.
Mr. CHASE died in New York, May 7, 1873, of paralysis. He was buried in Washington and on Thursday, October 14, 1886, his remains were removed to Spring Grove, Cincinnati. On this occasion, ex-Gov. HOADLEY, his once partner, gave a masterly oration upon his life and services, in Music Hall, and addresses were made by Congressman BUTTERWORTH, Gov. FORAKER, and Justice MATTHEWS; James E. MURDOCK read a poetical tribute from the pen of W. D. GALLAGHER. Conspic-uous in the crowd who had assembled to pay their last tribute to the distinguished dead were some old colored men who had been slaves, and who felt a debt of gratitude to a man who had done so much for their liberty.
Charles CIST was born in Philadelphia, in 1793; in 1827-28 came to Cin-cinnati, and died there in 1868. He was the author of “Cincinnati in 1841;” ditto in 1851; ditto in 1859; and “The Cincinnati Miscellany,” composed largely of incidents in the early history of the West. He wrote the descriptive article upon Cincinnati in 1847 in the first edition of this work; and here reprinted. He conducted for a term of years Cist’s Weekly Advertiser. His editorial columns were largely personal, well sprinkled with “I’s “—those “I’s” meaning himself—which enhanced their interest. As one read, there appeared to his vision “Father CIST” looking in his eyes, smiling and talking. He was filled with a love of Cincinnati, and ministered to the extraordinary social fraternal feeling that existed among its old people—its pioneers. He would often print some gossipy item like that upon Judge BURNET, who, having used tobacco for a lifetime, had broken off in his old age, and was waxing in flesh under the deprivation. Another week, perhaps, it would be Nicholas LONGWORTH, Judge ESTE, Bellamy STORER, Nathaniel WRIGHT, or possibly that eccentricity, finical, poetical, and artistical Peyton SYMMES, that would come in for an item.
Much he wrote was tinged with humor, and some of his own experiences were comically told. One we remember was about in this wise ‘‘I got,’’ said he, ‘‘into the stage-coach at the Dennison house, one day last week, to go to Oxford, and was the only passenger until we neared Hamilton, which was after night, when half a dozen young college boys came aboard, and, without ask-ing if it was agreeable to me, filled the coach (832) with tobacco-smoke. It made me deadly sick, but I said nothing. While we changed horses at Hamilton I made a little purchase in an apothecary shop. The coach started again; the boys continued smoking. In a few minutes one and then another exclaimed “Whew! what a horrid smell! What is it? Oh! Awful!” I sat for a time in silence, enjoying their expressions of disgust. Then I said ‘Young gentlemen, we have all our especial tastes. You are fond of tobacco-smoking, to me it is excessively disagreeable I have just made a purchase, which I am rubbing in my hands as an antidote to your smoke and I must confess I rather enjoy it. You will say it is a curious idiosyncrasy of mine; it’s a piece of assafœtida.’ For a moment the youths were dumbfounded; next they burst into a roar, and then out of the window went their cigars, and my lump of assafœtida followed after.’’
Lewis J. CIST, his son, who died in 1885, aged sixty-seven, had a local reputation as a poet and writer of music. He published the “Souvenir” the first annual of the West. He was an enthusiastic collector of auto-graphs and old portraits, his collection num-bering 11,000 of the former and one of the largest and most famous in the United States. To him was ascribed the authorship of “The Spotted Frog.’’ a parody on GALLAGHER’S pop-ular ballad, The Spotted Fawn ’’ spoken of elsewhere in this work..
HENRY M. CIST, a younger son, born in 1839, is now a lawyer in Cincinnati. He was a general in the rebellion, and noted for his contributions to war literature, as Cincin-nati with the War Fever,’’ “The Romance of Shiloh,” and “Reports of the Society of the Army of the Cumberland.” Mr. CIST’S father opened and superintended the first Sabbath-school in Cincinnati, and his grand-father, also named Charles CIST, born in St. Petersburg, Russia, and graduated at Halle, was a printer and publisher in Philadelphia, and was the first person to introduce anthra-cite coal into general use in the United States. He was also the original printer of Paine’s “American Crisis.”
Gen. ORMSBY MCKNIGHT MITCHELL was born of Virginia stock, in Union county, Kentucky. When a four-year-old boy he was taken to Lebanon, Warren county, Ohio, by his parents. He was naturally of a studious disposition, and before he was nine years of age he was reading Virgil. At twelve years of age, the family being poor in circumstances, he was placed out to service as a boy in a store, and working morning’s and evenings in the family of his employer. At a little less than fifteen year’s of age he received a cadet-warrant, and, with knap-sack on his back, footed it a large part of the way from Lebanon, Ohio, to West Point, and arrived there in June, 1825, the youngest of his class, and with only twenty-five cents in his pocket.
He resigned from the army after four years of service, and began the practice of the law in Cincinnati, in partnership with E. D. MANSFIELD, who wrote of him in his “Memoirs:” “MITCHEL was noted at West Point for his quickness and ingenuity. My father, who was professor of philosophy there, used to say, “Little MITCHEL is very ingenious.” He was more than that, for he was what you seldom see, a man of real genius. A great many people are spoken of as men of genius, but I never saw more than half a dozen in my life, and Ormsby MITCHEL was one of them. . . . He was my partner in a profession for which I think neither of us was well adapted; we were really literary men. The consequence was, MITCHEL resorted to teaching classes, and I became a public writer.”
Both the young men joined Dr. BEECHER’S church, where MITCHEL became noted for his fervid zeal at prayer meetings. In 1834 MITCHEL was appointed professor of mathematics, natural philosophy, and astronomy in the “College of Cincinnati,” an office he filled admirably.
When the project was entertained for build-ing what is now known as the Little Miami Railroad, he warmly encouraged it, examined the route, and with Mr. Geo. NEFF prevailed upon the city to loan $200,000. Prof. MITCHEL became its engineer. Three or four years of railroad engineering and attention to his college duties kept him busy.
An enthusiast in astronomy he felt the lack of the means for instructive observations for himself and students, and conceived the pro-ject of raising the funds for a complete observatory. Neither Boston nor New York (833) had an observatory. Was it likely that the people of a raw Western town would build one? Yes, for MITCHEL could persuade them to do that great thing. And he saw the way. The only man in the world that could see it.
He began by stirring up an interest in astronomy by delivering a series of popular lectures in the College Hall. The first night he had but sixteen to hear him. The next night they brought more, and so it kept on in-creasing until the whole city had been so aroused by his fervid eloquence that his closing lecture had to be repeated in a city church to an audience of over 2,000. It was a theme in which not one in a hundred had before felt the slightest interest, he spoke without notes. His religious instincts were very strong; he was all alive with feel-ing he possessed great fluency and command of language, and he electrified his audience with the most sublime, elevating topic as probably no man living or dead had ever done before.
At the close he stated his plan for building an observatory. It was by the organization of a joint stock company of 300 shares, the shares to be $25 each, in all amounting to $7,500, the shareholders to have certain privileges of admission to look upon the starry world. A few then subscribed, and he then, called in person and besieged citizen after citizen until the 300 shares were taken.
Then the professor visited Europe, to secure the instruments his ambition; swelling with his successes, he now resolved to make it the best observatory in the country. Two resolutions he formed, he said, contrib-uted to his success. “First, to work faithfully for five years, during all his time from regular duties, and second, never to become angry under any provocation while engaged in this enterprise.” These show the quality of “little MITCHEL,” who in person was only about five and one-half feet in stature, erect, slender, wiry, but symmetrical, of a dark complexion with a keen visage regular features. He looked the embodiment of will power and nervous energy, and ordinarily was silent and thoughtful.
He could find neither in London nor Paris such an object glass as he wanted; but at Munich was one unfinished that would take two years to complete, the price to be $10,000. He had but $7,500 to pay for building an apparatus. The people of Cincinnati must come further to his aid; and after an absence of only 100 days he was among them. The shareholders indorsed his action, he appealing to their local pride by his statement that, if they did so, their telescope would be excelled by only one other in the world. He remitted $3,000 to Munich to secure the contract.
MITCHEL then worked vigorously to secure the money to erect the building to be put on a four-acre lot given by Mr. Nicholas LONGWORTH. Workman were set to work digging for foundations, and preparing the material. One the 9th of November, 1843, occurred the memorable event of laying the corner-stone, by the venerable John Quincy ADAMS, who was the orator of the occasion. But MITCHEL kept up his courage. It is the beginning that costs. Will power, faith moves mountains. He worked with his own hands; induced some of the laborers to take part in shares. By March, 1845, the great telescope was mounted, and a sidereal clock and a transit instrument were given by Prof. BACHE, of the coast survey.
He had promised his services as astronomer for ten years free of charge calculating upon his salary in the college for support. Soon the college was burnt and he was out of business. Nothing daunted, he resolved to give popular lectures as a means of liveli-hood, and continue his labors at the observatory. He began in Boston. The first night the hall was but half full. “Never mind,’’ said he to a friend, “every one that was here to-night will bring a friend the next night.” Great success followed. The problem of subsistence was solved. For years he devoted himself to his astronomical studies, was an admirable observer, and showed remarkable inventive genius. By these inventions he revolutionized the system of cataloguing the stars. During 1854-9 he made nearly 50,000 observations of faint stars. He published the Sidereal Messenger, an astronomical journal. His own books were the ‘‘Planetary amid Stellar Worlds,’’ his lectures the ‘‘Astronomy of the Bible,’’ and in 1860 his last, “Popular Astronomy.” In his “Astronomy of the Bible” be boldly adopted the “Nebular Hypothesis” of La Place; but the theology which he learned from the stars was Calvin-istic. In his final lecture, after showing that the universe was governed by immutable law, he concluded with this eloquent passage:
“No, my friends, the analogies of nature applied to the moral government of God would crush out all hope in the sinful soul. There for millions of ages these stern laws have reigned supreme. There is no devia-tion, no modification, no yielding to the re-fractory or disobedient. All is harmony because all is obedient. Close forever if you will this strange book claiming to be God’s revelation blot out forever if you will its lessons of God’s creative power, God’s super-abounding providence, God’s fatherhood and loving guardianship to man, his erring off-spring, and then unseal the lids of that mighty volume which the finger of God has written in the stars of heaven, and in these flashing letters of living light we read only the dread sentence, ‘The soul that sinneth it shall surely die.’
In another place, in speaking of the power of the astronomer, he said, “By the power of an analysis created by his own mind the astronomer rolls back the tide of time and reveals the secrets hidden by countless years, or, still more wonderful, he predicts with prophetic accuracy the future history of the rolling spheres. Space withers at his touch, Time past, present and future become one mighty NOW.”
Up to the outbreak of the war the ob-servatory remained the best equipped in the United States, and the reputation of MITCHEL as an astronomer was alike high in Europe and America. Then came the rebellion, when he threw himself unreservedly into the conflict. At the fall of Sumter, at the great Union meeting in New York, he was the most effective speaker. When he closed the scene that followed was indescribable. Men and women were moved to tears, voices from all parts of the vast hail re-echoed the sentiments of the speaker.
In August MITCHEL was appointed Brig-adier-General of Volunteers, head-quarters Cincinnati, where he at once plunged into his new work with his old zeal, put the city in a posture of defence, supervised the erection of earthworks and drilled the gathering troops.
MITCHEL was popularly known in the army as “Old Stars.” Whitelaw REID says of him, amid the stumblings of those early years his was a clear and vigorous head. While the struggling nation blindly sought for leaders his was a brilliant promise. But he never fought a battle, never confronted a respectable antagonist and never commanded a considerable army. Yet what he did so won the confidence of the troops and the admiration of the country that his death was deplored as a public calamity and he was mourned as a great general.”
On day, just before the war, standing on our office steps in Cincinnati, there passed by a young man about thirty years of age. He was alone, and as he approached we looked at him with unusual interest. He was rather short in stature, thin in the flanks, but broad, full-chested. His complexion was very fair, and beard long, flowing and silky, and his face frank and genial. He walked erect and, as was his wont, very leisurely, and with a side-to-side swing. As his eye met ours a slight smile flit over his face, not one of recognition for there was no acquaintance. Probably his mind was far away and he did not see us, and it was the memory of a happy incident that had lighted his face with the momentary joy. Possibly it was the earnestness of our gaze, if perchance he noticed it, but that was pardonable. His fellow-citizens were proud of him and liked to gaze upon him, being, as he was, to the manor born and a man of poetic genius, Wm. HAINES LYTLE, the author of “Antony and Cleopatra,” whose name was to go down to posterity as the “Soldier Poet.” His reputation at the time was that of being highly social and possessed of winning politeness, a modest bearing and chivalrous spirit. One by our side, who was under him, as we write, says: “My regiment was marching as aim escort to some baggage wagons when an aid (835) galloped up to me and said, ‘General LYTLE sends his compliments to Col. BEATTY with the request to send a company to the rear to guard against guerillas.’” To be ever courteous seems to have been as a sort of intuition with him, and showed the high refinement of the man. It is said that just before the fatal charge at Chickamauga he drew on the gloves with the remark, “If I must die I will died as a gentleman.” Whether true or a myth it matters not: if a myth is invention shows it was characteristic and, therefore spiritually true.
Wm. Haines LYTLE came from a Scotch-Irish stock, and noted for warlike qualities and experiences. He was born in the old LYTLE mansion on Lawrence street, November 2, 1826, graduated at Cincinnati College at twenty years of age, following his naturally military instincts became a Captain in Second Ohio in the war with Mexico, studied and practised the law, was a member of the Ohio Legislature, in 1857 was Major-General of the State militia. When the rebellion broke out he was commissioned Colonel of the Tenth Ohio, the Cincinnati Irish regiment, which he led into Western Virginia, and fell wounded at Carnifex Ferry while leading a desperate charge was again badly wounded and taken prisoner at Perrysville, where his regiment suffered terrible loss, he was commissioned General and commanded First Brigade of Sheridan’s division on the fatal field of Chickamauga, where he fell at the head of his column while charging pierced by three bullets. “Captain Howard Green, a volunteer aid, sprang from his horse, received the General in his arms, and was rewarded with a smile of grateful recognition. Several officers and orderlies attempted to bear him off the field. The peril of this undertaking may be imagined since two of the orderlies were killed, and Col. Wm. B. MC CREARY wounded and left for dead on the field.
General LYTLE repeatedly opened his eyes and
to his friends to leave him and save themselves. Finally, upon
to a large tree upon a green knoll, they laid him down. He then
his sword to one of the orderlies, and waving his hand toward the rear,
he thus tried to express with his last breath that his well tried blade
should never lull into the hands of the enemy. So closed the life
of the poet-soldier, LYTLE. His death found him, as he
wrote years before:
LYTLE had many friends in the Southern army, and his remains were treated with every mark of respect, his mourners being alike his friends and foes. His body was tempo-rarily buried in a coffin until they could be sent home. Until the outbreak of the war, poetry was to him a frequent occupation and amusement. That on which his fame will permanently rest, “Antony and Cleopatra,” was originally published, in 1857, in the Cincinnati Enquirer.
‘When preparing for our first tour over Ohio we passed a few days in the rooms of Dr. RANDALL, Secretary of the Cincinnati Historical and Philosophical Society. The Doctor then mainly constituted the society. A few years later he was shot while dodging somewhere in California behind a counter to avoid the ire of a (836) pursuing ruffian: but the society still survives. He had as an office mate L. A. HINE, then youthful, large and handsome, Who was trying to reform a deceptive and deceiving world by publishing a magazine called, “The Herald of Truth,” wherein was duly set forth a nice project for “Land for the Landless:” and then later he established his permanent home with his family at a spot properly named for domestic felicity; it being Love Land.
The rooms were on East Fifth street, opposite the old Dennison House, where the well-fed, portly form of Landlord Dennison, father of a then-to-be war Governor, was a daily object for pleasing contemplation. Alongside was the horse market, where for decades were daily sales of horses, sold amid crowds of coarse-grained men, unearthly, confusing yells and poundings of auctioneers, and the scampering to and fro on bareback horses of stable boys through the street to show their points. On looking upon the spot, its vulgarity and coarseness, its yells and shouting, and often oaths, it seemed as though the gates of heaven must be afar at least there appeared no one in search of them in that vicinity. To enhance the attractions it was at a time when the city was termed Porkopolis, its citizens Porkopolitans, for swine had full liberty of the streets, living upon their findings, or going in huge droves stretching from curb to curb to temporary boarding places in the suburbs on Deer creek.
One day, while there in the rooms of the society, in bounced two laughing, merry country girls. Some jokes passed between them and the Doctor and HINE, and then they bounced out. They were from a rural spot eight miles north of the city, and well named Mount Healthy, their names Alice and Phoebe CARY, girls then respectively 26 and 22 years of age, and just rising into fame.
The portraits as published are not at all as they were then. Phoebe had a round, chubby face and seemed especially merry. Alice we again saw and but once years later at a concert by Jenny LIND in the old National Thea-tre on Sycamore, near Third street. She was then small and delicate with an oval face, expression sedate and thoughtful. She was attired in Quaker-like simplicity, her dark hair parted in the middle and combed smooth over the brow. No maiden could look more pure and sweet than she on that evening. Her appearance remains as “a living picture on memory’s wall.” By her sat that most superb-looking, rosy-cheeked old man, Bishop M’ILVAIANE, whose resemblance to Washington was of almost universal remark. Robert CARY, the father of the CARY sisters, came in 1803 to the “Wilderness of Ohio” from New Hampshire, and in 1814 married Eliza-beth JESSUP and made a home upon the farm afterwards known as the “Clovernook” of Alice CARY’S charming stories.
Their mother, a sweet woman of literary tastes, died in 1835, and two years later their father married again. Alice was then 17 and Phoebe 13 years of age. Their stepmother was unsympathetic with their literary aspirations, which at this time were budding. Work with her was the ultimatum of life, and while they were willing and aided to the full extent of their strength in household labor, they persisted in studying and writing when the day’s work was done, while she refusing the use of candles to the extent of their wishes, they had recourse to the device of a saucer of lard with a bit of rag for a wick after the rest of the family had retired. Alice began to write verses at 18, and Phoebe some years after her. For years the Cincin-nati papers formed the principal medium by which they became known, then followed the Ladies’ Repository of Boston, Graham’s Magazine, and the National Era of Wash-ington. Recognition from high authorities at the East then came to their Western home. John G. Whittier and others wrote words of encouragement, and Edgar Allan Poe pronounced Alice’s “Pictures of Memory’’ one of the most musically perfect lyrics in our language, in 1849 a great event occurred to the sisters—a visit to their home from Horace Greeley. The philosopher had come to the city and wanted the pleasure of an acquaintance with these rural maidens whose simple, natural verses of country life had touched a sympathetic chord, and so went out to their home and gladdened their hearts. We presume after that visit the stepmother wished she had been less close with her candles.
We remember that time well; the philosopher was an old acquaintance; the weather had turned intensely cold, and he said to us he was unprovided with a sufficiently warm clothing for a return by stage coach over the mountains.
A winter fashion at that time in the Ohio valley was a huge coarse blue blanket with a black border of about six inches. These shawls were extensively made into overcoats, whereon their black zebra-like stripes had full display. A more uncouth appearing garment could not be well imagined either as a shawl or overcoat. It was warm, but absorbed rain like a sponge. The shawls had struck the philosophic eye, they were so pe-culiarly what was then known as “Western,’’ and to an inquiry we replied we had one not in use to which he was welcome. He gratefully (837) accepted the gift and wore it home as a specimen of Cincinnati fashions, carrying, too, in its meshes a generous quantity of the city’s soot, for which the garment had an especial retaining adaptability. To have thus ministered in that long ago to the comfort, of an old-time philosopher bent on reforming mankind and inviting young men ‘‘to go West” is another pleasuring picture on “Memories walls.” Nearly thirty years elapsed ere we again saw the sage— he was on his Presidential canvass, riding through Fourth Street in an open barouche. His white benevolent face had broadened, and he was bowing and smiling to the people looking “for all the world” like some good old grandmamma when bent on dispensing to the youngsters some good warm gingerbread just out of the oven.
Having obtained recognition from the East literary and some pecuniary success by a volume of their poems, in 1852, the sisters, first Alice and then Phoebe CARY, remove to New York to devote themselves to literature. They established themselves in a modest home, and by their habit of industry and frugality had success from the very start.
Occasionally they visited their old home and resumed the habits of their girlhood days. When they had obtained literary eminence they established on Sunday evenings weekly receptions, when for a term of fifteen years were wont to gather the finest intellects, the most cultured characters of the metropolis and the East. Assemblies so comprehensive in elements, so intellectually varied and harmonious, were never before seen in the metropolis. They were quite informal and not especially gratifying to the mere butterflies of fashion whom curiosity sometimes prompted to attend.
Alice was frail, and in her last sickness, prolonged for years, she was tenderly nursed by her stronger sister, bearing her great sufferings with wonderful patience and resignation. Alice died February 12, 1871, and five months later Phoebe followed her. She was naturally robust in health, but she had been weakened by intense sorrow, and then becoming exposed to malarial influences quickly followed her sister. Both were buried in Greenwood cemetery.
It had been pitiful to see Phoebe’s efforts to bear up under her dreadful loneliness after her sister’s death. She opened the win-dows to admit the sunlight, she filled her room with flowers she refused to put on mourning and tried to interest herself in gen-eral plans, for the advancement of woman. All in vain. Her writings were largely poems, parodies and hymns.”
One of her poems, written when she was only eighteen
of age, has a world-wide reputation. Its title is “Nearer Home,”
and it has filled a page in nearly every book of sacred song since its
composition. Its opening verses are:
The CARY Homestead, “the old gray farm-house,’’ is still standing, in a thick grove about 100 feet back from the road, on the Hamilton pike, just beyond the beautiful suburb of College Hill, eight miles north of Fountain Square. The sisters were born in a humble house of logs and boards on a site about a hundred yards north of it. It is of brick, was built by their father about 1832, when the girls respectively eight and twelve years of age. It is a substantial, roomy old-fashioned mansion, and is just as the sisters left it when they went to New York to seek their fortune. It has many visitors attracted by memories of the famous sisters, a brother of whom, Warren, a farmer, still lives there. After their decease Whittier, in writing of their original visit to him thus alluded to it:
One of the attractions of the region is the old family graveyard.
The most interesting single object in this region is what is known as “the CARY tree,’’ It is the large and beautiful Sycamore tree on the road between College Hill and Mount Pleasant. The history of this tree is very interesting, as given by Dr. John B. PEASLEE, ex-superintendent Cincinnati public schools.
In 1842, when Alice was twelve years old and
only eight, on returning home from school one day they found a small
which a farmer had grubbed up and thrown into the road. One of
picked it up and said to the other: “Let us plant it.” As
said these happy children ran to the opposite side of the road and with
sticks—for they had no other implements—they dug out the earth, and in
the hole thus made (838)
they placed the treelet around it, with their tiny hands, they drew the loosened mold and pressed it down with their little feet. With what interest they hastened to it on their way to and from school to see if it were growing and how they clapped their little hands for joy when they saw the buds start and the leaves begin to form! With what delight did they watch it grow through the sunny days of summer! With what anxiety did they await its fate through the storms of winter, and when at last the long looked-for spring came, with what feelings of mingled hope and fear did they seek again their favorite tree.
When these two sisters had grown to wo-manhood, and removed to New York city, they never returned to their old home with-out paying a visit to the tree that they had planted, and that was scarcely less dear to them than the friends of their childhood days. They planted and cared for it in youth they loved it in age.
Mr. PEASLEE was the first person anywhere to inaugurate the celebration of memorial tree-planting by public schools, which he did in the spring of 1882 having the Cincinnati schools plant arid dedicate with mu-sical, literary and other appropriate exercises groups of trees in honor and memory of eminent American authors. The grove thus planted is in Eden Park and is known as “Authors’ Grove.’’ At that time the above description was used as part of the exercises around the CARY tree, planted by the Twelfth district school of the city.
The school celebration of memorial tree-planting was the outgrowth of the celebration of authors’ birthdays, which had been in-augurated by Mr. PEASLEE in the Cincinnati schools some years previously. He had simply carried the main features of authors’ birthday celebrations into Eden Park and united them with tree-planting.
The planting of trees and dedicating them to
statesmen, scientists and other great men have from this Cincinnati
been adopted by public schools in nineteen States of the Union,
Dominion of Canada, and the beautiful custom has crossed the ocean to
and as a consequence millions of memorial trees have been planted by