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They shared with us the trial of the journey, the weary miles of sunshine, and storm as we journeyed on and onward. They partook with us the coarse fare and rude accommodation of the
wagon and wayside, the canal boat and the steamer, the log tavern and the bivouac under the open heaven, all this they encountered without murmuring, and cheerfully. And when late in autumn, or early in spring it may be in the cold storm or driving mist and chilly winds that cut to the bone, they took their departure from the last outpost of civilization, over lonely prairies, or through the gloomy forest, over the dismal roads, beset with roots or stumps without sign of cultivation, or human habitation, then it was, the hour of bitter trial came to their hearts; then it was that amid their loneliness, and utter heart desolation the dear homes and kindred they had left, rose up before them, and through the tears they look down upon the little ones who cling to them. But not a murmur, not a word of complaint or regret escaped them. The feelings too deep for utterance, which swelled within them, were smothered in their bosoms. When we at last, (some later, some earlier) had found a place where to make a home in these pleasant groves and prairies, pleasant to us men; for here there were herds of bounding deer, and flocks of wild fowl, the wolf and sand-hill crane, and game large and small to give us sport. The lakes and streams abounded in fish, and we could take them at our will. The country was all open and free to roam over, as one great park. There was excitement for us in all this; suited to our rougher natures and coarser tastes. We could roam and fish or hunt, as we pleased, amid the freshness and beauties of nature. But how was it with our wives? From all these they were excluded. They were shut up with their children in log cabins, when they were fortunate enough to get them, rude huts without floors often, and not unfrequently without doors and windows, while the cold fierce winds of dark December whistled through them. Frequently they were covered with sticks fastened with poles, between which the stars of night looked down upon the faithful mother and her sleeping infants, here in one small room, filled perhaps with smoke; without furniture, except a little of the rudest kind; rough slab stools, an equally rough table, and bedstead, if any, made of poles fastened into the house, no kitchen utensils, save perhaps a skillet and a frying pan, destitute of crockery, and with little tinware, they were called upon to do unaided, the duties of a housewife. With these conveniences and these surroundings, they took upon them for weeks and months, and even for years the burdens of their households, in a continued struggle with bindrances and perplexities. These were the heroic women to whom our hearts did homage; and I should fail in my duty, at this time if in the roll call of worthy and honorable names they should not be remembered. And all honor to these pioneer women, say we."
AN INDIAN SCARE. We cannot now realize the anxiety nor even the dangers that beset the settlers from the Indians, particularly at the time of Indian outbreaks, in this and neighboring States.
A contributor to the Decorah Journal the present year, in writing of pioneer life, thus refers to an occurrence well remembered by old settlers:
"As I write the word 'Indians,' memory takes me back to the early days of my childhood in Decorah. Again I see a rider on a foaming steed dash along Broadway, as I did twenty or more years ago, shouting at the top of his voice, "The Indians are coming!' Again I see the street thronged with blanched-faced men and trembling women, running to and fro in wild excitement and gazing with anxious faces off into the west, imagining every tree a red-skin, and the smoke from every distant chimney a sign of their devastation. Again I hear the whispered consultation of the men as to the best means of protecting their loved ones. Again I feel my hand clasped in that of my sainted mother as I toddle along at her side, down Mill street hill, across the old red bridge, and over to West Decorah-a place of imagined safety. It was a false alarm, and probably faded from the memory of many of our readers, and remembered by others only as the dim recollection of a half forgotten dream. But it comes back to my mind to-night as vividly as though it were an occurrence of yesterday. Twenty years! How great the change! Infants then in their mothers' arms are men and women now; the young are middle aged; the middle aged old; while many whom we knew and loved have fallen asleep and are at rest in the silent churchyard.
AMUSING REMINISCENCES. But life here had its bright and hopeful side, and with all the anxieties and trials of the pioneers, they became accustomed to their lot, which was cheered by a realization of what they were accomplishing, and by amusing and sometimes exciting incidents or episodes. We are permitted to glean the following from a lecture by Judge M. V. Burdick, whose residence here, and familiarity with early life, and wide acquaintance with old settlers, has given him a large fund of information, and which his warm and sympathetic heart and command of language has given him a happy way of expressing himself. The first anecdote has for its leading characters the judge himself, and another well known attorney and ex-judge:
"In a country as new as Iowa was in 1850, there is always considerable litigation, and a young lawyer, even though he dons the plain habiliments of a farmer, and swings the axe to cut the logs that build his cabin, need not tarry long without a client.
At least, I found it so on my arrival in Iowa. In a busy little town that gave promise of ere long expanding into a city, the Turkey
river was dammed and a saw-mill erected by its side. The mili and dam together formed a foot-bridge across the stream. Hard by the mill a log cabin had been built, in which a family lived and a store was kept. The merchant and the miller were not on friendly terms, and so the miller forbade the merchant the privilege of passing through the mill or across the dam. The merchant heeded not the notice, but went to cross the river in the accustomed route, The miller kept a rifle by him with which to prevent intrusion. If miller and merchant had their names reversed, the latter might have used the well known couplet of Shakespeare:
"Lay on, McDuff, And damned be he who first cries hold-enough. But as it was, it were better to say, "Layon to McDuff." Welli the miller drew the rifle, aimed at the merchant, and blazed away, the ball burying itself in the post to the saw frame. The merchant applied to the youthful attorney. An information, charging the miller with the crime of assault with intent to commit murder was filed, a warrant was issued, and the defendant was arrested and brought before the magistrate. He asked time to send to a neighboring county for a lawyer, which was granted, the lawyer came. The examination proceeded with the circumstances given in evidence. and the prosecution closed. The attorney for the defence moved to discharge the prisoner because the prosecution had failed to make a prima facie case. He introduced an authority to the effect that in order to convict of the crime, it was necessary to prove that the gun with which the assault was made, was loaded with powder and ball. He admitted the powder part had been proven. but argued that there was no proof whatever that the gun contained a ball. The young attorney protested that the fact that the mill post had been hit and penetrated by some hard substance, was proof positive that the gun was loaded with a deadly missile, and that this was sufficient, but all in vain. The Justice ruled that the law said it must be proven by the prosecution that the gun was loaded with powder and ball, and it might have been a slug that penetrated the post. Would you know where these events occurred? It was not "Sweet Auburn, loveliest village of the plain," of which Goldsmith speaks in his peerless poem, "The Deserted Village." would you know the lawyer who made the successful defense? It was à noble defence of injured innocence. and on my part an ignoble defeat."
"You have heard of the young man who, in writing to his father, told him to come out west-for very mean men get office here." This may be true, for I have held office several times myself. Men are frequently elevated to positions of trust who are illy qualified to perform the duties required of them. An instance in point I will relate though it smacks very strongly of profanity. A man was on trial before a Justice of the Peace, charged with
killing a neighbor's dog. The defendant was called as a witness, and the Justice said, "hold up your right hand." "You do solemnly swear”—he could get no further. He "scratched his pate and felt for brains.” Again lie said, "You do solemnly swear. Again he paused; the oath had escaped his memory. Despair was deficted in every lineament of his countenance. Large drops of perspiration stood upon his brow. At length an idea struck him; his countenance beained with intelligence, and with the gravity becoming the solemnity of an oath, he said, "You do solemnly swear by the upturned hand of Almighty God that you did not kill the dog, and if you did, you hoped to be damned." "The oath excited so much merriment that good feelings was engendered and the case settled, but the dog Killing settler refers to the oath as the only lie he ever swore to."
"In the trial of a case before a justice a motion arose on the admissibility of testimony, and the attorney cited an authority from Greenleaf on Evidence. The Justice assumed a very dignified attitude, looked very wise and said: “Mebby you think I don't know the law, but I guess I do. I know as much as Greenleaf did. The only difference between me and him is that he wrote å book and I didn't.'
"Even in the higher courts, things of amusing interest occur. In a district court a case was on trial on the last day of the term, and there was to be a dancing party in the evening.
The Judge had a decided penchant for tripping the light fantastic toe," and was extremely anxious to conclude the case in time for the dance. The day and part of the evening was occupied in the examination of witnesses. When the testimony was closed the plaintiff's attorney arose and said: "If the Court please—' The Court don't please,' the Judge responded. "Gentlemen of the jury; your verdict will be: We, the jury find for plaintiff dollars; or, we, the jury find for defendant. Mr. Sheriff, adjourn Court and let us join the dance;' and they danced.”
"A case was pending in which the lawyer had several times been demurred out of Court, and the party, in presence of his attorney, appealed to the Judge to tell him what to do to insure a trial of the case on its merits. «Employ a lawyer,' the Judge replied. A short time after, a witness was being examined in the trial of a case, and the Judge, as he occasionally did, left his seat and mingled in the crowd of lookers-on. A large dog seated himself in the judicial chair. One of the attorneys arose and said: "May it please the court, – The crowd roared; the discomfitted attorney said; 'Go on, Mr. Attorney, there is more ability on the bench now than there was a moment ago.' The Judge might have fined him for contempt of court, but he did not. He was willing to cry quits."
Occasionally a marriage ceremony is twice performed. A couple had plighted their vows, and all that was lacking to make
their happiness complete was a marriage license and the ceremony. The would-be-groom procured the license from the Clerk of the County of his residence and took the waiting bride to the residence of a minister in an adjoining county, who glanced at the license, saw that it contained their names, and performed the ceremony. After they had gone, he took the license to make out the certificate, and found that it was issued from his neighboring county. He thought he had exceeded his authority, ordered his horse and followed the couple home. They had retired for the night when he arrived, but he routed them out of bed and performed the ceremony again, this time of course in the county in which the license was issued. He was bound to perform his dutyIt were well if all who perform marriage ceremonies were equally particular. I know a county in the west in which fourteen licenses were issued in 1881; to which no certificates have been returned. Whether it is owing to broken engagements or neglect of duty can not be ascertained from records.
Our gleanings from Judge Burdick's lecture are fittingly closed with the following poem from his pen:
"Sweeter than the poet's singing
Is the anthem of the free,
Than the song of bird or bee.
Of the wheels 'mid factory's gloon,
Are the trophies of the loom.
Gracefully yon towering pile.
Stand the noble sons of toil.
Who the weal of nations raise;
Rear their heads in Laboz's praise." As a companion anecdote to those of Judge Burdick, we add one from Sparks' history:
“At the time that the military company commanded by Captain Parker was stationed at Fort Atkinson, an incident occurred which verifies the old maxim that 'two of a trade can never agree.' The Orderly of the company was a young lawyer hailing from Connecticut, who had been a prominent man in the political arena. The Second Sergeant was also a young lawyer, who hailed from Vermont. On a certain occasion à dispute sprang up between them; words were plenty, as is usual with lawyers, when Vermont says to Connecticut, "If you did not rank me, I would thrash you like h-1.' To which Connecticut replied, 'I waive my rank.' They adjourned from the parade ground and stripped