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Full text of "Autobiography of Samuel Sterling Sherman, 1815-1910"

W. L. 

929.2 

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2035845 

REYNOLDS HrSTORlCAL 
GSNEALOGY COLLECTION 



ALLEN COUNTY PUBLIC LIBRARY 



3 1833 01329 3649 



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Au,tobiogra|thy 



OF 



Samuel Sterling Sherman 



181^~1[91Q 




CHICAGO: 

M. A. DONOHUE & CO. 

1910 



065 



7S 8 60? 11 



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DEDICATED TO 
MY FAMILY AND RELATIVES 



The Sherman family is of German extraction. 
In the fatherland, the name, Sherman, Shearman, 
Schnrman, Schurmann, often occurs and was 
doubtless transferred many centuries ago to the 
vicinity of London, by Saxon emigration,* where 
itr still remains. From this metropolitan stock a 
scion was transplanted to Dedham. County Essex, 
England, which long flourished and sent forth 
other shoots. ♦ 

The name is derived from the original occupa- 
tion of the family, for they were cloth dressers or 
shearers of cloth. The family at Dedham retained 
the same occupation, also the same coat of arms, 
as those in and about London. — History of Strat- 
ford and Bridgeport, Conn. 



Autobiography 
I 

FAMILY LINEAGE 

It appears that two or more distinct families 
by the name of Sherman settled in the neighbor- 
hood of Boston, at an early day. The genealogy 
of that from which my own family is derived is 
given, in the valuable book quoted on the preced- 
ing page, as follows: 

I. Sherman, Henry, the first of whom any 
record is obtainable, was born in Ded- 
ham. County Essex, England, and died 
in 1589; married Agnes Butler, who 
died in Dedham, 1580. 

II. Henry 2d, son of the preceding, born in 
Dedham; married Susan Hills; died 
in 1610. 

III. Edmund, son of Henry 2d and Susan 

(Hills) ; born in 1611 ; married Judith 
Angier; settled in Watertown, Mass., 
in 1632. He removed to Wethersfield, 
Conn., about 1636, and thence to New 
Haven, where he died. 

IV. Samuel, son of Edmund and Judith (An- 

gler) ; born in England ; came to 



Autobiography- 
America with his parents when he was 
fourteen years old. He probably re- 
moved with them to Wethersfield, 
Conn., where he married Sarah ]\Iitch- 
ell. He removed to Stratford in 1650 
and became a prominent and substan- 
tial citizen. He was a member of the 
Committee, or Court, that declared 
war against the Pequots. He served 
the public so well, in numerous other 
offices, that the General Court granted 
him two hundred and fifty acres of 
land, upon the New Haven River, 
"whereof fifty acres may be meadow, 
so it is out of the town." From this 
Samuel Sherman are descended Sena- 
tor John Sherman and Gen. W. T. 
Sherman and my own family. Roger 
Sherman, signer of the Declaration of 
Independence and Senator from Con- 
necticut, was descended from John, 
another son of Edmund. 

V. SiiERM.vN, Benjamin, son of Samuel 
and Sarah (Mitchell) ; married Re- 
bekah Phippany; died in 1741, aged 
eighty years. 

10 



Autobiography 

A^I. Enos, sou of Benjamin and Rel^ekah 
Phii)i)any; horn in 1699; married Abi- 
L;ail Walker. 

VII. J(j.siAii, son of Enos and Abigail 
(Walker); born in 1729; married 
■ Miriam Gregory; died in 1815; aged 
eiglity-six. 

\'11I. ]\X(jcii, sun (jf Josiah and ]\Iiriam Greg- 
ory; burn October 3, 1762; married 
Catherine Seeley ; died in West Rupert, 
Vt., ]\Iarch 30, 1849. 

Children of Encjch and Catherine (Seeley) 
Sherman : 

Seeley, married Betsey Phillips. 
Levi, married Jerusha Bennett. 
Catherine, married Jacob K. Drew. 
.Sterling, married Jane Noble. 
Jemima, married Xathan W. Wilson, 
IsPiac, married Louisa Uising. 

]\ly father was the third son of Enoch and 
Catherine (Seeley) Sherman, lie was born in 
Sandgate, Benningtrm County, \'t., August 17, 
1794; married Jane Xoble; died in West Rupert, 
\'t., Seiilember 2~ . i8<\S. 

11 



Autobiography 

GENEALOGY OF THE NOBLE FAMILY 

I. Noble, Thomas, born in England in 
1632; died in Westfield, Mass., Janu- 
ary 20, 1704; married Hannah Warri- 
ner, of Westfield, Mass. 

II. Noble, Luke, son of Thomas and Han- 

nah (Warriner) ; born July 15, 1675; 
was called "Sergeant Luke" ; married 
Hannah Stebbins; was a farmer in 
Westfield, Mass. 

III. Moses, son of "Sergeant Luke," and Han- 

nah (Stebbins) Noble; born in West- 
field, ]\Iass., April, 1710; died in 
Southwick, Mass., June 13, 1771 ; mar- 
ried Mary Grant, February 2, 1731. 

IV. Reuben, son of Moses and Mary (Grant) 

Noble; born in Westfield, Mass., June 
9, 1732; married Ann Ferguson, as 
first wife, and Mrs. Scott, as second 
wife. 
V. Luke, son of Reuben and Ann (Fergu- 
son) Noble; born in Southwick, Mass., 
February 24, 1761; married Mary 
McCleary, of Mithuen, Mass.; died in 
West Rupert, Vt., August 9, 1848. 

12 



Autobiography 

Children of Luke and Mary (McCleary) 
Noble : 

Luke, married IMartha Sargent. 
Polly, never married. 
Jane, married Sterling Sherman. 
Martha, married David Colton. 
The following are the children of Sterling and 
Jane (Noble) Sherman: 

I. Samuel Sterling, born November 24, 
1815; married Eliza Dewey; is now 
living in Chicago, 111. 

IL Charles Austex, born August 28, 1818; 
married Laura Graves Burton; died in 
West Rupert, Vt., May 4, 1889. 

in. Henry Osman, born March 23, 1820; 
married Huldah Ingersoll ; died May 
24, 1907, at Elkhart, Ind. ; buried at 
Rosehill Cemetery, near Chicago, 111. 

IV. Catherine Jane, born June 6, 1821; 
married Stephen ]\I. Murdock ; died in 
Detroit. ]\Iich., July 2, 1876; buried in 
Milwaukee, Wis. 

V. Willl\m AIcCleary, born October i, 
1822; married Hannah Lewis; died in 
Thomasville, Ga., January 26, 1891 ; 
buried in Milwaukee, Wis. 

13 



Autobiography 

VI. Omer Byron, born April i8, 1824; mar- 

ried Caroline Porter; died June 15, 
1890; buried in New Hampton, Iowa, 
where his family still resides. 

VII. Enoch, born February 24, 1826; married 

Lauretta Walton; died in Eagle, Wis., 
March 24, 1900, 
VIII. Jesse Seeley, born February 7, 1828; 
married Lucinda Woodard ; is now liv- 
ing in Salem, N. Y. 
IX. Mary Eliza, born October 7, 1829; is 
unmarried and lives in Milwaukee, 
Wis., 1910. 
X. Martha Maria, born October 30, 183 1 ; 
married Asa McNitt, who died Sep- 
tember 20, 1864; died in Pasadena, 
Cal., July 12, 1910. 
Both of my grandfathers served in the War 
of Independence, and during the latter part of 
their lives received small pensions, which they 
valued chiefly as a recognition of patriotic serv- 
ices, for they were farmers in comfortable cir- 
cumstances and near neighbors, in West Rupert, 
Vt. My father's father served in the ranks, under 
Lafayette. He also witnessed the execution of 
Major Andre. My father's mother, Catherine 
Seeley, who was born in Weston, Conn., Septem- 

14 



Autobiography 

ber 1 6, 1765, was the daughter of Samuel Seeley, 
who was killed in battle at Bridgeport, Conn., 
April 27, 1777. She died in 1859, at the age of 
ninety-four, her mind bright and memory good 
to the end of life. She gave me the following 
account of her father's death, only a few days 
before her own death: 

He was a captain of minute men at the time 
the British invaded Connecticut. The messenger 
who brought him the news that the British had 
landed found him in the field plowing. She, her- 
self, then some ten or twelve years old, and de- 
votedly attached to her father, was with him, fol- 
lowing in the furrow behind the plow. Without 
waiting to unloose the oxen, he ran to the house; 
she followed as fast as she could and met him at 
the door equipped with uniform and sword. He 
gave her a parting kiss and was gone. The next 
day he was brought home a corpse, a literal illus- 
tration of ]\Irs. Sigourney's patriotic lines: 

They left the ploughshare in the mold, 
Their flocks and herds without a fold, 
And mustered in their simple dress, 
For wrong to seek a stern redress, etc. 

I 
Soon after the war (in 1784) my grandfather 

took his young wife upon the pillion of his saddle 
15 



Autobiography 

•and started west, "to grow up with the country." 
He located a claim in Bennington County, west 
of the Green Mountains, in the disputed territory 
then known as the "New Hampshire Grants," but 
was uncertain to what state he owed allegiance 
until Vermont was admitted to the Union in 1791'. 
He lived in the rugged town of Sandgate until 
1807, when, falling in love with the charming 
valley, then called White Creek Meadows in the 
adjoining town of Rupert, bordering on the State 
of New York, he purchased a considerable tract 
of land, built himself a comfortable home and be- 
came a large and prosperous farmer. To him 
were born four sons and three daughters, all of 
whom he was able to settle on good farms in that 
beautiful valley, and not far from the old home- 
stead, which still remains in possession of one of 
his descendants. His youngest son, Isaac, was 
. liberally educated. After graduating frOm Union 
College he studied law, but the profession' proved 
uncongenial and he devoted most of his life to 
farminir. 



16 



Autobiography 
II 

YOUTH AND EDUCATION 

My father, Sterling Sherman, was the third 
son. My mother was the danghter of a neighbor- 
ing farmer, Luke Noble. To them were born seven 
sons and three daughters.. My father was an en- 
terprising and successful farmer, but took enough 
interest in public affairs to represent his fellow- 
citizens in the State Legislature occasionally. 

]jut the lovely valley at length became too 
strait for the rapidly increasing Sherman fami- 
lies; there was no longer room for the ambitious 
fledglings to spread their wings. Some sought 
homes across the line in "York State" ; the fresher 
lands of the far West attracted others, and some 
embarked in other pursuits. Now only two or 
three of the name are found in all that beautiful 
valley. Strangers sit by the old familiar hearth- 
stones and bask in the shade of the sugar maples 
which our fathers planted to adorn the roadside; 
but. we all hold in loving remembrance this home 
of our childhood and feel in our hearts, 

There is in the wide world no valley so sweet, 
As that in whose bosom the brieht waters meet. 



17 



Autobiography 

My early years were passed on my father's 
farm, with such educational advantages as the 
district school afforded. When old enough to 
perform light farm work I went to school only 
in the winter; and such winters! They seemed 
colder and crisper and the snows deeper than now ; 
and the moons larger and brighter; the evenings 
longer and more favorable to social gatherings 
and apple-bees, to sleigh-rides, spelling matches 
and singing schools ! And how I regretted having 
no ear for music, a grievous defect in my mental 
organization; one that has caused many regrets 
and the loss of much of life's pleasures. And 
now in my ninety-fifth year how strange it seems, 
with so much gone of life and love, to still live 
on! 

My father owned a mountain farm called the 
Reed Lot, where sheep were kept in large num- 
bers from early spring until late in the fall, when 
they were transferred to a meadow farm that he 
owned near Salem, where hay was stored in large 
quantities during the summer. 

The winter after I was fifteen, it was my lot 
to board with the farm tenant and look after and 
feed the sheep. I also attended the district school. 
The following spring I attended the academy in 
Salem one term. In the fall of this year mycousin, 

18 



Autobiography- 
Enoch S. Sherman, was going to New Hampton, 
N. H., to school and urged me to accompany him. 
My health was never robust, and my father, fear- 
ing that I would not make a good "farm hand," 
gave me the choice of remaining on the farm or 
going to college. I chose the latter alternative, 
and accompanied my cousin to New Hampton, to 
begin studies preparatory to college. 

The school at New Hampton had considerable 
reputation in those days, but I hear nothing of it 
now. After some months, feeling aggrieved be- 
cause I had to suffer for the misdeeds of other 
students, I withdrew and continued my prepara- 
tory studies at an excellent academy in East Ben- 
nington, Vt. 



19 



Autobiography' 

in 

COLLEGE STUDENT AND DISTRICT SCHOOL TEACHER 

In Septemljer, 1834, at the age of nineteen, I 
entered Middlebnry College. This college was 
chartered in 1800. There was no State Univer- 
sity to antagonize its aspirations, for the Univer- 
sity of Vermont, the college at Burlington, was 
chartered the same year. Harvard, Yale and 
other older and richer colleges did not cast a 
blighting shadow on younger and less prosperous 
ones. In fact, Dr. Timothy Dwight, the famous 
President of Yale, was its sponsor, having discov- 
ered that "the sober and religious character of 
the inhabitants rendered Middlebury a very desir- 
able centre for such an institute." He also dele- 
gated a member of his own Faculty to serve as 
its first President, and otherwise aided in its or- 
ganization. But the community, though "sober 
and religious," was not wealthy, and the college 
began and continued for some years in a small 
frame buifding and without endowment. When 
I entered, the accommodations were still meager, 
but there was a competent Faculty and good 
undergraduate work was done; that is, good work 
for the times. As in other colleges of the period, 

20 



Autobiography 

Latin and Greek and Mathematics were the prin- 
cipal studies of the Freshman and Sophomore 
years, and most of the instruction was given by 
"tutors." In the Junior and Senior years we 
came mostly under the professors, while the ven- 
erable President had charge of the class in Mental 
and Moral Philosophy, All subjects were taught 
from textbooks, the contents of which we were 
expected to master and then give the substance 
orally. In Natural Philosophy, which included 
many subjects now classed as distinct sciences, 
there were a few illustrations, accompanied by 
oral explanations, called "lectures." There was 
a chemical laboratory and lecture room adjoining; 
but lectures were few and no student ever saw 
the inside of the laboratory, except the one who 
sometimes assisted the professor in preparing his 
experiments. In Astronomy the only piece of ap- 
paratus I ever heard of was a small telescope, 
which no one ever looked through, and if he did 
he coulS not see anything. 

My class entered sixty-five strong and re- 
ceived many accessions during the first two years, 
but only forty received diplomas. I believe this 
was the largest class that had graduated from 
Middlebury at that time. Since then the col- 
lege has had a varied experience. Better en- 

21 



Autobiography 

dowed colleges and universities have multiplied, 
and the best equipped have naturally secured the 
largest patronage. At the semi-centennial of 
my class, in 1888, the outgoing class numbered 
only six, while thirteen of the class that gradu- 
ated fifty years before were seated on the plat- 
form, and six others were known to be living. 
Since then, however, the college has acquired 
new life. At the centennial celebration in 1900 
it was announced that a liberal course of elec- 
tive studies had been provided, the standard of 
scholarship raised, and a more auspicious era 
had dawned. Gifts, including the Starr Library 
and Warner Science Hall, of more than four 
hundred and fifty thousand dollars had recently 
been received. 

During my Freshman year I won the Par- 
kerian prize for declamation, but the professor 
having charge of that fund offered me a well- 
worn copy of the "Spectator," instead of the 
money, which he retained. I declined to receive 
the book, and have no tangible evidence of the 
honor. 

Like many other students, I reduced expenses 
and earned a little money by teaching a district 
school in winter during my Freshman and Sopho- 
more years. I still have pleasant recollections 

22 



Autobiography 

of a snug little schoolhouse that nestled beside 
a small lake among the hills of Sudbury, some 
eighteen miles from Middlebury, where I taught, 
as I then thought, a model school, at the munifi- 
cent salary of twelve dollars a month the first 
winter and fifteen dollars a month the second 
winter. 

A simple incident of this, my first school, 
made a lasting impression on my mind. A bright 
miss of some fourteen or fifteen years had not 
studies enough to occupy her time and I sug- 
gested that she might take up English grammar 
to advantage. She replied, very properly, that 
she would consult her mother. The next morn- 
ing she brought in this reply : "Mother says I 
must not touch a grammar, for she herself 
studied one three weeks once and was never able 
to learn anything afterward." Now I could 
sympathize with that mother, for I verily believe 
that if I had abandoned grammar after laboring 
three months on Murray and Kftrkham I should 
have had very little courage to attempt the mas- 
tery of 2fny other subject. How great the im- 
provement in elementary school books in the past 
fifty years! 

The following is also a pleasant reminder of 
this same school: Mrs. C, an elderly lady and 

23 



Autobiography 

wife of a professor in a well-known western col- 
lege, called on me in Chicago a few years ago 
and told me that she had been a pupil of mine 
in that school in Sudbury; that her father^s 
family were so much attached to me that they 
all went to Middlebury to see me graduate and 
had kept track of me as long as they lived; but 
now her father and mother and brother and sister 
had all passed away, and she thought it would 
relieve the loneliness of life to see and renew 
the acquaintance and friendship of her earliest 
teacher. This attachment of pupils to teachers, 
of which I have enjoyed many examples, is one 
of the grateful compensations of a very laborious 
life. 

In the fall of my Junior year I obtained leave 
of absence for some months that I might serve as 
assistant principal of the Academy in Hancock, 
N. H. ; but I was soon taken very sick with 
typhoid fever. X My recovery being considered 
doubtful my parents \vere sent for, but skillful 
physicians, with one of whom I boarded, and 
the careful nursing of my mother and others, 
preserved my life. When able to travel I was 
carried to my Vermont home to remain and re- 
cuperate until the spring term of college, when 
I resumed my studies. 

24 



Autobiography 

I also taught a private school during the 
winter of my Senior year in my native town. 

I do not remember that my college years were 
marked by anything unusual in student life; al- 
ways industrious and a fair scholar, I passed the 
four years without friction and cherish only the 
pleasantest recollections of both Faculty and 
students. 

Early in my Sophomore year I made a pro- 
fession of religion. This occurred during a pro- 
tracted meeting held at the Congregational 
Church and conducted by Mr. Burchard, a noted 
evangelist of that period. I united with the 
Baptist Church in Rupert during the following 
summer. 

A college education was easily obtained in 
those days. Everything was cheap, tuition, 
board, clothing, etc. The most I ever paid for 
boardj including room, fuel and lights, was $2.50 
a week, in the best private families; and the 
studies for the winter teem were such and so 
arranged that an industrious student could teach 
a <listrict school three months, the usual length 
of the winter school, and not fall behind his class. 
My father was not penurious ; he never failed to 
supply all the money I asked for and I was not 
more economical than the majority of my class- 

25 



Autobiography ^ 

I- 

mates; yet the whole six years of my preparatory 
and college course did not cost him one thousand 
dollars in cash. Alost of my clothing was sup- 
plied from home and he usually carried me back 
and forth, so that traveling expenses were light. 

My class contained several men of good abili- 
ties, Sift none of them has made a jDrilliant record. 
i\Iany became preachers, some lawyers, others 
doctors and teachers; a few engaged at once in 
business pursuits. In those days a college grad- 
uate was expected to aim higher than the farm 
from W'hich he usually sprang, except in the 
South, where a planter's life was the ne plus ultra 
of a gentleman's aspirations. So far as I know, 
only one of those who entered the 'ministry (the 
Rev, Byron Sunderland) has been honored with 
the degree of D. D., while none but myself has 
received the degree of LL. D., conferred by the 
William Jewell College in 1876, and by my alma 
mater in 1888. 

I reached the Conclusion of my college course 
without looking far beyond. I had no object in 
view when I entered, and the course of studies in 
the colleges of that day did not tend to discover 
or develop special talents. It was a sort of bed 
of Procrustes, adapted to the capacity of the 
average student, and all others must be adapted 

2G 



Autobiography 

to it. It was constructed on the abstract prin- 
ciple of developing and strengthening the mind, 
and \va*s, perhaps, a good preparation for the 
study of the so-called learned professions, and 
served as a vestibule to their temple. It was also 
in the direct line of the teacher's vocation, n As 
the latter was the only pursuit for which I felt 
in any degree qualified, I determined to teach for 
a few years, at least. 



27 



Autobiography 
IV 

SEEKING A WARMER CLIMATE 

Health prompted me to seek a warm climate. 
On mentioning my wishes to Professor Fowler, 
whai^iad recently spent a winter, in South Caro- 
lina, he said that he had some acquaintance with 
the Rev. Dr. Manly, an eminent Baptist minister 
of Charleston, and kindly volunteered to inquire 
of him if there was some opening for me in that 
city. Meantime, Dr. Manly had been elected 
President of the University of Alabama and had 
removed to Tuscaloosa, but the letter was for- 
warded and the Doctor replied promptly, assur- 
ing him that a competent teacher would do well 
in Tuscaloosa and inviting me to come there at 
once. This I decided to do. 

The journey was long and tedious at best, but 
was made longer by unexpected delays. There 
were few railroads in those days and only one 
of considerable length lay in my direction. That 
was the road from Charleston, S. C, to Augusta, 
Ga. On reaching New York I learned that yel- 
low fever was prevailing in Charleston. This 
made it necessary for me to go by way of Savan- 
nah. There had been two steamers plying be- 

28 



Autobiography 

tween New York and Savannah, but one of them, 
The Home, had recently been bunied, and the 
other 'was disabled, so I had to \vaij|^ New York 
more than a week for a sailing vessel. 

On reaching Savannah, after a week on the 
water, I found the only means of leaving the 
city was by a tri-weekly stage to Macon. An- 
other vessel arrived the day before ours and its 
passengers had secured all the seats for three 
weeks in ^vance. Our people tried to hire an 
extra, but none could be had for so long a jour- 
ney. Of course I regretted this delay, but there 
were two classmates and other good company 
with me and we resolved to make the best of 
our necessity by familiarizing ourselves with one 
of the oldest and largest cities in the "South. I 
was especially interested in the broad streets, 
with their quadruple rows of venerable "Pride-, 
of China" trees, in the profusion of flowering 
plants, most of which were quite new to me, and 
in the wonderful luxuriance of the semi-tropical 
vegetation. The cofton plantations and the 
golden rice fields were also new to me; and the 
slaves, apparently more numerous than the whites, 
were especial objects of interest; so respectful, so 
merry and light of heart, that one might think 
they never had a care or serious thought. 

29 



Autobiography 

One thing -did not impress me so favorably, 
and that was the cemetery. Nature and art had 
done much to beautify this home of the dead, 
but I noticed that nearly all of the tenants who 
had passed life's middle age were sojourners, 
born in one of the Northern states or in some 
foreign- country. It was recorded of very few 
that they were natives of Georgia or of any 
other Southern state. I was also impressed by 
the large proportion of church-goers who wore 
habiliments of mourning. Hence I inferred that 
the climate of Savannah was not favorable to 
longevity. Another incident increased my desire 
to leave the city : Inquiries were made at our 
hotel, the Pulaski House, for the names of all 
lodgers of military age, as the authorities were 
about making a draft of volunteers, to send 
against the Seminole Indians, who were giving 
much trouble on the southern border of the 
state and in Florida. Though in no danger of 
being impressed into this service, I was quite 
willing to resume my journey. 

At this time, about forty miles of railroad 
had been constructed from Savannah toward 
Macon, but work had been suspended on ac- 
count of financial troubles. The road terminated 
in a low, sandy pine forest, where stages took 

30 



Autobiography 

up the passengers and carried them to Macon. 
This was my first railroad travel. I soon had 
another short railroad journey of about thirty 
miles, just before reaching Montgomery, Ala., 
but this road was in such wretched condition that 
the passengers sometimes ran ahead of the loco- 
motive to see that the rails were in place. With 
these two exceptions, about seventy miles, the 
journey from Savannah to Tuscaloosa, via Ma- 
con and Columbus, Ga., Montgomery and Selma, 
Ala., was made by stage. But stage travel in 
those days and in that country had its pleasures — 
when one got used to it. The coaches were 
strong and roomy, the horses were good, and 
when the weather was good and the roads passa- 
ble the speed was quite equal to that of some of 
the early railroads. ' I often enjoyed riding on 
the box with the good-natured, loquacious Jehu, 
and picking up from him information of the 
country and the people. I remember on this 
journey, when sitting beside the driver one night, 
in the primitive forest of eastern Alabama, that 
he called my attention to a pile of bones and 
other rubbish beside the road, and gravely in- 
formed me that that was all there was left of a 
coach, horses and passengers, captured by the 
Muscogee Indians a year or two before. 

31 



Autobiography 
V 

SOUTHERN CAMP MEETING 

On reaching Montgomery I resolved to inter- 
rupt my journey by visiting a couple of class- 
mates. They had spent a vacation with me at 
ray home in Vermont, and I imagined they would 
be glad to reciprocate the favor, so I took a stage 
to Wetumpka and went thence on horseback to 
Talladega county, following a blind trail of 
blazed trees most of the way, for most of the 
country was newly settled. I found my friends 
at a Presbyterian camp-meeting and remained 
wnth them two days. 

This camp-meeting was a well-known institu- 
tion. A grove of several acres had been enclosed 
and comfortable log cabins built around the bor- 
der; in the center ample space was roofed over 
and provided with benches; near tlie center was 
a large platform with desk and chairs for the 
preachers. Patrons living nearest had removed 
thither, for the occasion, an abundance of bed- 
ding, all their best tableware, their kitchen uten- 
sils, etc. ; their house servants and an ample sup- 
ply of food. In fact, everything necessary to 
live comfortably and entertain hospitably was pro- 

32 



Autobiography 

vided in abundance. The occasion was for both 
social and religious enjoyment. Most of the peo- 
ple who had settled in this and the adjoining 
regions came from the same parts of North and 
South Carolina; many of them had been friends 
and neighbors in the older states and were quite 
willing to go long distances to see and visit each 
other once a year. The mornings and evenings 
were set apart for religious services; the after- 
noons were devoted as sacredly to social enjoy- 
ment on this occasion. I was told some of the 
visitors had come from fifty to one hundred 
miles. In another part of the same county the 
Baptists had a similar camping ground devoted 
to the same purposes and quite as well known. I 
found that my classmates were sons of people in 
very moderate circumstances; that they went to 
Middlebury College because their teacher was a 
graduate of Middlebury and had recommended 
the College for its excellence and its cheapness. 
One of these subsequently visited me at the Uni- 
versity of Alabama, and when I resigned my tu- 
torship I had the satisfaction of securing his elec- 
tion in my place. He subsequently studied law 
and became a useful, but not conspicuous citizen; 
the other one taught a small school for a while 
and I heard no more of him. 

33 



Autobiography 
VI 

DR. MANLY AND UNIVERSITY OF ALABAMA 

I finally reached Tuscaloosa about six weeks 
after leaving my home in Vermont. Through 
the kindness of Professor Fowler, who had rec- 
ommended me to Dr. Manly more highly, per- 
haps, than I deserved, I was received with much 
kindness. The Doctor introduced me to Gov- 
ernor Bagby and to Chief Justice Collier. All three 
assured me that a good school preparatory to the 
University was much needed and offered me their 
names as reference. I acted on their suggestion 
and issued a notice that I would open a private 
school on the first of January ensuing, limiting 
the number of pupils to twenty, and charging one 
hundred dollars per session of ten months. The 
proposed number of pupils soon applied, but in 
the meantime the trustees of the University held 
their annual meeting and I was surprised to find 
myself elected tutor in Latin and Greek. Of 
course, my excellent friend. Dr. Manly, was re- 
sponsible for this unexpected honor, but the sal- 
ary was only one thousand dollars a year, half as 
much as I expected to make by my private school, 
and I declined the appointment. A couple of days 

34 



Autobiography 

later the Doctor called and advised me to accept 
the tutorship, giving as reasons that the duties' 
would be light, never more than two recitations 
a day, and giving me all the rest of my time for 
self-improvement. By discharging the duties of 
librarian, which were only nominal, I could add 
another one hundred dollars to my salary. Be- 
sides, my personal expenses would be much less, 
so I changed my mind, was reelected tutor and 
accepted; a decision that I never had occasion to 

regret. 203SfcJ45 

Dr. Manly and his excellent wife snowea me 
much kindness. I also enjoyed the friendship of 
Professor Stafford and his accomplished wife, 
whom he married soon after I became a member 
of the Faculty, and of Prof. F. A. P. Barnard, 
subsequently President of the University of Mis- 
sissippi, and more recently President of Columbia 
University, New York City. Through these and 
my semi-official position in the University, I had 
access to the best society of the city, then the 
capital of the state and its principal seat of learn- 
ing. Among others whom I have occasion to re- 
member with respect and affection were Dr. John 
L. Dagg, then Principal of the Atheneum, the 
largest female seminary in the state, and subse- 
quently President of Mercer University, a man 

35 



Autobiography 

of much learning and practical wisdom, whose 
name is still greatly respected by the Baptists of 
the South. During this period I also made other 
acquaintances and friends who proved valuable to 
me in after years. My duties in the University 
were light and I had much time for study and 
general reading, which I improved diligently if 
not wisely. 



36 



Autobiography 
VII 

SOCIAL CONDITIONS 

At this time Alabama was comparatively a 
new state. The Indians (the Creeks, Choctaws 
and Cherokees) had recently been removed to 
their present homes west of the Mississippi River. 
The white population numbered little more than 
three hundred thousand, but it consisted largely 
of intelligent, well-to-do, law-abiding citizens, 
emigrants from Virginia, the Carolinas and 
Georgia, who had left their wornout estates for 
the fresh and fertile prairies, cane-brakes and 
river bottoms of Alabama and Mississippi, and 
which they were rapidly bringing into subjection. 
But there were also many restless, roving and 
lawless characters, such as constitute a disturbing 
element in most new countries. Gamblers and 
others who lived by their wits infested most cities 
of the Southwest and swarmed on the rivers, the 
great channels of traffic and travel. Vicksburg 
had recently rid itself of them in a summary way. 
During the sessions of the Legislature they con- 
gregated in Tuscaloosa in large numbers, and per- 
sonal encounters and homicides were of frequent 
occurrence. Nine such encounters, with fatal re- 
sults, occurred during the winter of 1838-9. 

37 



Autobiography 

Not long after my arrival I had an unpleasant 
experience with one of these gentry. My room, 
on the second floor of the hotel, opened upon a 
long, outside piazza, which was reached by out- 
side stairs. One day, in December, I was startled 
by a man bursting into my room with a bowie 
knife and pistol in hand calling loudly for help. 
I quickly hustled him through the inside door into 
the hall, and called the landlord. By this time his 
pursuers had arrived, but the landlord, a sturdy 
Kentuckian, thrust the fugitive into a vacant room 
and seizing the poor fellow's bowie knife, planted 
himself in the doorway and by his courage and 
threats kept the assailants at bay until the police 
arrived and relieved him of his unwelcome guests. 
Many years after I was passing through the rich 
prairie country south of Columbus, Miss., and 
stopped to water my horse at an artesian well by 
the roadside, near a large and well-kept residence, 
and asked an old darky lounging near to whom 
the property belonged. To my surprise I found 
that it was owned by the widow of that same 
fugitive gambler. 

As a consequence of this unsettled state of 
society, good citizens often thought it necessary 
to burden themselves with weapons, which they 
sometimes used rashly to settle differences among 

38 



Autobiography 

themselves. But this transition state of society 
was even then passing away, and a few years 
later the pistol and bowie knife became badges 
of the blackleg and desperado. 

In some parts of the South the blacks greatly 
outnumbered the whites. This was notably the 
case in the rich cotton belt of Alabama and Missis- 
sippi. Plantations were large and the slaves 
numerous. Some belonged to non-residents and 
were managed by agents and overseers; but most 
planters lived on their estates; consequently the 
whites were few and widely separated; yet there 
was never, in those regions, any trouble with this 
enforced labor. Occasionally a slave who had 
been punished for idleness or wrongdoing would 
run away and lie out in the woods until caught, or 
starved into subjection; but organized opposition 
and labor strikes were unknown. Conspiracies 
and insurrections were matters of tradition, and 
thiC utter helplessness of the whites on the larger 
estates led to some precautions. Negroes were not 
allowed to leave the plantations on which they be- 
longed, or to be absent from their quarters at 
night, without a pass or permit from the master, 
or overseer; they were not allowed to possess 
weapons of any kind, and there were stringent 
law^s against teaching them to read. Yet owners 

39 



Autobiography 

were often surprised at the rapidity with which 
information that interested them would travel 
from plantation to plantation. No matter how 
dull and stupid a negro might be during the day, 
he was usually wide awake at night and often 
found means to elude the vigilance of his master 
when so disposed. An illustration of this and of 
the apprehension which the whites sometimes suf- 
fered, occurred during the presidential election of 
1840. In the warm political debates that preceded 
the election, the opponents of the hero of Tippe- 
canoe often asserted that the northern Whigs 
were abolitionists, and declared that if Harrison 
was elected measures hostile to slavery would be 
inaugurated. 

Negroes frequently listened to these discus- 
sions, and talked the matter over among them- 
selves and drew their own conclusions. In their 
ignorance of the ways of politicians and of the 
value of election declamation and partisan asser- 
tions they imagined that the coming election con- 
cerned them, in some way, and the rumor was 
widely spread, gaining in extravagance as it went, 
that all slaves would be freed if Harrison was 
elected President. The whites, in turn, overheard 
suspicious whisperings among the blacks and lis- 
tening eagerly, they caught enough to excite their 

40 



Autobiography 

sensitive imaginations. Soon they made them- 
selves believe that the slaves in all Central Ala- 
bama were planning a murderous insurrection, 
and going to strike for their liberty about Christ- 
mas or early in January, The alarm was sounded, 
a rigorous espionage was established, volunteer 
companies were raised, state arms were distrib- 
uted, and several muskets were sent to the Uni- 
versity during the Christmas recess. For some 
weeks I, as well as other members of the Faculty, 
slept with a loaded musket by my bed. When the 
excitement had subsided it was found that the 
poor negroes had been frightened much worse 
than the whites ; that they had no thoughts of an 
insurrection, or of lifting a hand to free them- 
selves. They only knew that Harrison had been 
elected President and dimly hoped that what white 
folks so earnestly affirmed might be true. 

It is not reasonable to suppose that the slaves 
were contented with their lot; they simply ac- 
quiesced and made the best of their hopeless con- 
dition. If capable of forming concerted plans to 
free themselves they were powerless to execute 
them. Even during the late war, when left un- 
guarded, and Union armies were overrunning the 
country, they remained passive or sneaked into 
Union camps as opportunity afforded. 

41 



Autobiography 

The University of Alabama was organized in 
1 83 1. After a troubled existence of five or six 
years the students became very unruly, got the 
upper hand of the Faculty so completely that the 
trustees suspended operations and dismissed both 
Faculty and students. A reorganization fol- 
lowed; only one of the old Faculty was reap- 
pointed; Dr. Basil Manly of Charleston, S. C, 
was elected President, and enough of the former 
students were readmitted, on examination, to form 
the skeleton of four classes, about thirty in all. 

During the first and second years, under the 
reorganization, no trouble occurred. Early in 
my second year, which was the third under the 
reorganization, disorders began and all efforts of 
the Faculty to detect the wrongdoers were fruit- 
less. At length, the two tutors became the espe- 
cial objects of attention. We roomed in sepa- 
rate dormitories, on the second floor and near 
the stairs. It was our duty to call the roll in 
chapel at morning prayers. We did this alter- 
nately a month at a time. The students often 
annoyed my co-tutor by tying the knob of his 
door to the stair rail, on mornings when it was 
his turn to call the roll. But I always had the 
names in my pocket and when he failed to appear, 
called them as usual. 

42 



Autobiography 

Finally one morning, when it was my turn to 
call the roll, I found my door tied, but I man- 
aged to wrench it open and was in chapel on 
time. The next night, instead of going to bed, 
I extinguished my light at the usual hour and 
took my seat in a chair so near the door that I 
could easily put my hand on the knob. I sat 
there until morning, but nothing happened. I 
did the same thing the next night; about twelve 
o'clock I heard light footsteps in the hall, and 
rising placed my hand upon the door knob ; soon 
I felt it move and knew what was going on; 
jerking the door open suddenly I came upon two 
boys who did not stand upon the order of their 
going, but leaped down stairs and I after them. 
Out of doors they separated ; I followed one 
into another dormitory, where he took refuge 
under the bed, but came out promptly at my com- 
mand. Of course, I reported the affair to the 
Faculty, who were greatly pleased with the cap- 
ture and promptly suspended the culprit, who was 
the son of a prominent citizen. 

The affair excited much interest. The Gov- 
ernor of the state and others interceded for him, 
but the Faculty was inexorable and the young 
man had to return to his home in North Alabama. 
This raised a terrific storm, of which I was the 

43 



Autobiography 

centre. One evening a student, about my size, 
and wearing a cloak similar to mine, was shot 
at, and the Faculty advised me to be on my 
guard; in fact, one of them loaned me a pistol 
which I carried a day or two and, feeling 
ashamed of myself, I then returned it to the 
owner. There was little study and much dis- 
order, especially at night, until the pranks of the 
students became intolerable and the Faculty re- 
solved to send them all home. A recess of three 
weeks was declared ; during the interval the chief 
mischief-makers were discovered and forbidden 
to return. One student, who had broken into 
my co-tutor's room and stolen his pistol, was ex- 
pelled. No further disorders occurred during 
my connection with the University, and no stu- 
dent failed to treat me with all due consideration 
and respect. But, subsequently, when there were 
more students and a larger Faculty, even more 
serious troubles sometimes occurred. And now, 
after all these years and experience with stu- 
dents, I cannot understand why the students of 
the University of Alabama should have been so 
ungovernable during the early years of its ex- 
istence. 



44 



Autobiography 
VIII 

VACATION EXPERIENCES 

During my first summer vacation (1839) I 
suffered from the usual acclimating fever and 
my physician sent me to Blount Springs in North 
Alabama to recuperate. I remember passing 
through the little town of Elyton, which then 
consisted of a postoffice, a blacksmith shop and a 
few scattered dwellings, but is now the seat of 
the large and prosperous city of Birmingham, so 
well known for its iron industries. 

The second summer Professor Stafford, de- 
siring to visit some lands he had purchased in 
Central Mississippi, invited me to accompany 
him. As an inducement, he had borrowed Pro- 
fessor Barnard's riding horse. The novelty of 
the trip and my desire to see the country prompted 
me to accept the invitation. In those days, and 
in the newer parts of the South, small light 
vcliiclcs, as buggies, were quite unknown. Every 
family that could afford the luxury had a large 
and roomy carriage, but, like the piano, it was 
u3td by the ladies only; if gentlemen accompanied 
them it was, usually, on horseback. Hence every 
man owned or desired to own a good horse, well 

45 



Autobiography 

trained to rapid saddle gait. The women were 
also expert equestrians and quite as fond of horse- 
back riding as the men. At country gatherings, 
especially at church, on the Sabbath, most of the 
people often came on horseback or muleback, 
sometimes two or more on the same back, a curi- 
ous spectacle to one not "to the manner born." 
On this trip, which occupied a couple of weeks 
or more, I became quite an expert horseman and 
could make thirty or forty miles a day without 
much fatigue. 

The following Christmas, tutor Foster invited 
me to spend a few days with him on his father's 
plantation, a few miles from Tuscaloosa, on the 
Warrior River, promising me some lessons in 
hunting. A morning or two after my arrival he 
proposed an early duck hunt. My friend knew 
where to find the game birds; going a short dis- 
tance to a small lake, or pond, that he knew of, 
he directed me to approach cautiously a certain 
spot with my gun in position for instanbaim, but 
the birds having keener eyes than mine, saw me 
first and up flew the whole flock, but I was watch- 
ing, and unconscious of taking any aim discharged 
both barrels. Good luck favored me and I 
brought down a fine pair of birds, and acquired 
the reputation of being a good sportsman. 

4G 



Autobiography 

Next day came a deer hunt, and I was placed 
at a stand where it was thought a deer might pass, 
while the men and dogs went to stir up the game. 
After long waiting I heard the hounds at a dis- 
tance, but the longer I waited, the farther they 
seemed to get from me until it was quite evident 
they had gone in another direction. After a time 
horns were blown for the party to assemble, but, 
for my life, I could not tell in what direction to 
go. I galloped my horse first one way, then an- 
other, until I became quite bewildered. Conclud- 
ing that we should be a long time getting out of 
the woods unless the horse had more sense than 
I seemed to have, we stopped and rested until I 
heard the horns again ; then I gave him loose 
reins and an encouraging word and he soon car- 
ried me to my friends. These were my first and 
last — my only experiences in hunting. 

During the summer vacation of 1841, Prof. 
F. A. P. Barnard, who occupied the chair of 
IMathematics and Astronomy, devoted much time 
to photography, then in its infancy. In repeat- 
ing the experiments of Niepce, Daguerre and 
others, I was his most available subject and had 
frequent and long sittings in the blazing sun. 
In this way it happened that my photo, imperfect 
and ficcling as all sun pictures were at the time, 

47 



Autobiography 

was among the first taken in this country. Pro- 
fessor Draper, of New York, is credited with 
having made the first photos. But Professor 
Barnard, who was a genius in his way, having 
satisfied his curiosity, did not prosecute his re- 
searches any further. He was subsequently 
elected President of the University of Missis- 
sippi and, soon after the war, became the popular 
President of Columbia University. 



48 



Autobiography 
IX 

HOWARD COLLEGE 

I had been in the University nearly three 
years when the Baptists of Alabama, in conven- 
tion assembled, resolved to establish and endow 
a college or university of their own ; Marion was 
selected as the location and I was invited to take 
charge of the preparatory school that should 
serve as the nucleus of the proposed university. 
(See, also, Riley's History of the Baptists of 
Alabama, pp. 132-136.) 

By this time I had determined to make teach- 
ing my lifework; but there seemed no prospect 
of promotion in the University and I was get- 
ting tired of serving as a non-cc^missioned 
officer. Besides, I had become so familiar with 
the few textbooks I was required to use that my 
time was not profitably occupied. I felt that I 
was capable of more and better work. There- 
fore, I felt inclined to listen to the overtures. 
On consulting with Dr. Manly, he advised 
strongly against the proposed change; said that 
he knew the Baptists of Alabama better than 
I did and they would not, in my day, give money 
enough to endow a college or university. But 

49 



Autobiography 

those interested in the project were sanguine; 
things looked hopeful to my inexperienced vision 
and I resigned my tutorship at the end of three 
years and committed myself to the new enterprise. 

I found Marion a pleasant village of some 
twelve hundred inhabitants, with a prosperous 
female seminary. The Baptists, who were most 
numerous and had contributed most in money 
and pupils, felt that they were not allowed due 
representation on the boards of administration 
and instruction. Remonstrance proving useless, 
they determined to have a school of their own. 
Just at this time Prof. M. P. Jewett appeared on 
the scene. He had recently resigned a professor- 
ship in the college at Marietta, Ohio, on account 
of having adopted Baptist views and usages and 
was prepared to enter heartily into the new en- 
terprise. Professor Jewett was then in the prime 
of life, full of physical and mental vigor; capa- 
ble, clear-headed and scholarly — just the man for 
the occasion. 

A private residence was soon fitted up for 
temporary use and a school opened. Through 
the personal efforts of Professor Jewett, Baptists 
in other parts of the state became interested and, 
in after years, the Judson Institute became the 
best known and most liberally patronized female 

50 



Autobiography 

seminary in the Southwest. A large and com- 
modious brick edifice was soon erected and the 
old building was swept and garnished for the 
proposed Howard University. 

On reaching Marion and studying the situ- 
ation more carefully, I soon became satisfied that 
efforts to establish a college or even the nucleus 
of one were premature. Not one dollar had been 
contributed or even promised for the purpose; 
there was provided the modest frame building 
recently vacated by the Judson. There was also, 
in type, at the office of the local paper, a flaming 
advertisement, announcing that "Howard Uni- 
versity" would open for the reception of pupils, 
in the spacious building lately occupied, etc. I 
did not like the outlook, felt discouraged, and 
feared that I had made a serious mistake, but 
the resident trustees and friends ^f the enterprise 
assured me that the denomination was ripe for 
the harvest; that agents would soon be put into 
the field to collect funds for the endowment and 
buildings; that many young men were waiting 
to enter upon the preparatory studies, and that I 
woukl certainly have a large and highly remuner- 
ative school until funds were collected and affairs 
put into shape for organizing the University. 

I did not attach much importance to all this, 

51 



Autobiography 

but I had put my hand to the plow and resolved 
not to look back, so I went to the printing office 
and substituted, for the flaming advertisement I 
found in type, a modest notice of the Howard 
English and Classical School, which I began with 
nine small boys. The tuition of the first term 
did not pay my board bill, but the second term 
opened more favorably. Another school for 
boys was discontinued ; a Manual Labor Institute, 
a couple of miles from town, under the auspices 
of the Presbyterians failed, and I was able not 
only to secure some of the pupils, but I purchased 
the apparatus which cost in London five thou- 
sand dollars for one thousand, five hundred dol- 
lars. I took courage, and, at my suggestion, the 
citizens contributed about one thousand volumes 
as the beginning of a library. 



52 



Autobiography 



X 



CHAIR OF THEOLOGY ENDOWED 

Meantime I was becoming better acquainted 
with the situation and gaining courage. I found , 
that the denomination was really large and 
wealthy ; that there had long been a feeling among 
the more intelligent, that a better educated min- 
istry was much needed. Many of the preachers 
were illiterate, while the ablest and best educated 
often depended for support on other pursuits. 
Some were planters, some lawyers, others doc- 
tors, etc. In fact, it was quite common to unite 
some productive avocation with preaching. I 
once asked one of these secular preachers, a regu- 
lar M, D., how he managed to study theology 
amid the active duties of a laborious profession. 
He replied, "By preaching it," and he explained 
his answer by saying for the first year or two he 
preached "Dwight's Sermons." Observing a sur- 
prised look he said, "Why not? They are better 
sermons than I could write." 

It is not strange that Anti-mission, often 
called "Hard Shell" Baptist Churches flourished 
in those days, nor were they quite extinct at a 

53 



Autobiography 

recent date, as the following from the Alabama 
Baptist, of March 19, 1896, will show: 

"A pastor in Alabama a few Sundays ago, who 
claims to be a Missionary Baptist, while preach- 
ing from the text, 'Many are called, but few are 
chosen,' made use of language about as follows: 
'The reason I quit going to associations is that 
there is always a big pile of money asked for. 
The Lord has no use for money in heaven; he 
only wants poor lost souls. My Bible teaches 
me that the love of money is the root of all evil, 
and all the money I want is enough to feed me 
and clothe me. The long coat-tailed preachers 
swallow a few dictionaries and chew up some 
almanacs and then have to get a big pile of 
money for it. If all the churches in Alabama 
broke up because they could not pay these preach- 
ers, I will quit my farm and preach to them all. 
We are going to wash feet in April and, brethren, 
I want you all to come, and them big preachers 
with their gold rings, who think it too low down 
to wash feet. When the churches quit washing 
feet, I will wash my wife's and children's feet 
and they will wash mine.' " 

Thoughtful men were asking, how shall these 
things be remedied? Believing that something 
might be done in this direction, I proposed to the 

54 



Autobiography 

board of trustees that an effort be made to endow 
a chair of Theology, suggesting that some years 
must elapse before there could be much use for a 
Professor of Theology. That students desirous 
of preparing for the ministry could obtain their 
literary culture in the school and that the pro- 
fessor could, in the meantime, render valuable 
service in the literary departments; that churches 
which should send and support students, having 
the ministry in view, would thus become inter- 
ested in the school and, in this way, a better 
foundation would be laid on which to build in 
future. The board promptly adopted these sug- 
gestions and reported to the convention a plan 
for endowing a chair of Theology. The plan 
was approved by the convention; the Rev. J. H. 
De Votie was appointed financial agent, and in^ 
less than a year the proposed endowment was 
secured; the Rev. Jesse Hartwell was installed 
Professor of Theology, and the name of the 
school was changed to Howard Literary and 
Theological Institute. 



55 



Autobiography 
XI 

VISIT MY NATIVE STATE 

During the summer of 1843 ^ visited my 
native state, Vermont, from which I had been 
absent nearly five years. Professor Jewett and 
wife, a Judson teacher and myself left Marion 
the latter part of July, went down the Alabama 
River to Mobile, thence by the inland passage to 
New Orleans, where we remained a couple of 
days, visited the famous cemetery and the more 
famous French Market and other objects of in- 
terest. We took a steamer for St. Louis. As 
there was no railroad competition at that time, 
all important travel and traffic were by steam- 
boat. Many of these boats were floating palaces 
with every appliance for comfort and even lux- 
ury. We had a delightful trip; remained one 
day, then took a smaller boat up the Illinois to 
the head of navigation, where excellent coaches 
took us up and, in due time, delivered us safely 
in Chicago. This now great and famous city had 
then so few attractions that we remained over 
one night only. 

The next morning Professor and Mrs. Jewett 
took a lake steamer for Duluth, Miss R. and 

56 



Autobiography 

myself took another for Milwaukee. I remem- 
ber this trip to Milwaukee very well, because of 
the extreme cold, for the season. It was the 
eleventh day of August and I had to remain near 
the smokestack in order to keep warm, for I had 
brought no overcoat with me. My traveling 
companion visited brothers in Milwaukee, while 
I went by stage to Waukesha, then called Prairie- 
ville, near where I found my brother, H. O. 
Sherman. He had recently opened a new farm 
on which he was making a home for himself and 
family. In a few days I returned to Milwaukee, 
was joined by my fair companion and resumed 
my journey, by lake, to Buffalo. After visiting 
Niagara Falls, we continued our journey east- 
ward by railroad. 

My relatives and friends were taken entirely 
by surprise, for I had given them no intimation 
of my coming. Among the changes in my father's 
family, I found my oldest sister married and my 
next sister, Mary, an attractive miss of fourteen 
years. I soon felt that she ought to have a better 
education than the district schools afforded and, 
with my parents' permission, I placed her in an 
academy of reputation, until I had a home of my 
own, when I took her to Alabama and placed her 
in the Judson Institute, of which my friend, Pro- 

57 



Autobiography 

m 

fessor Jewett, was principal. After graduating- 
she taught in the female seminaries of Tuskegee,. 
Ala., and La Grange, Ga., until I took charge of 
the Judson Institute in 1855, when she became my 
head teacher and soon repaid, in faithful service, 
all the care I had bestowed on her. 



58 



Autobiography 
XII 

FIRST CLASS GRADUATES 

The ease with which the Professorship of 
Theology in the Howard had been endowed en- 
couraged the trustees to attempt greater things, 
and it was resolved to begin the endowment of 
the college proper. But only a few subscriptions 
had been obtained, when the large frame building 
which had sheltered the Institution hitherto was 
burned and all efforts to raise the endowment 
were immediately suspended. Fortunately the 
fire occurred at midday, and the citizens promptly 
joined the students in saving nearly all the more 
valuable contents. The library and most of the 
apparatus were removed to places of safety; the 
frailer part of the chemical department only was 
destroyed. 

The exercises of the Institution were contin- 
ued in the Baptist Church and in other rooms, 
more or less adapted to the purpose, while the 
trustees and citizens were preparing to erect a 
larger and better building, but the denomination 
did not respond to the ardor of the citizens of 
IMarion and vicinity and appeals for help were 
unheeded. In this respect we were much disap- 

59 



Autobiography 

pointed, for we had prepared the foundations of 
a large building. Then I had a careful reestimate 
made of the building according to the plans 
drawn, and found that they could not be carried 
out without incurring considerable debt, to which 
I was inflexibly opposed. I therefore reduced the 
size of the structure by reducing the size of the 
chapel, lecture and recitation rooms and the num- 
ber of bedrooms. 

The ladies of Marion undertook to repair the 
loss of the chemical apparatus by the work of 
their own hands, and a successful fair realized 
enough for his purpose. 

In September, 1846, the building was ready 
for occupancy, but the formal dedication was 
postponed until the meeting of the Baptist State 
Convention in November, when the dedicatory 
address was delivered by the venerable Dr. Ed- 
ward Baptist, the convention adjourning one day 
for the purpose. 

By this time the number of students in the 
higher classes had largely increased; the course 
of studies had been extended until it included all 
the usual college curriculum, and it seemed un- 
necessary to send our students to the State Uni- 
versity or elsewhere to graduate. Regular college 
classes, therefore, were organized in 1847, ^^^ ^^ 

60 



Autobiography- 
July, 1848, a class of seven young men, all of 
good abilities and at least of average attainments, 
were graduated. Thenceforth the Institution as- 
sumed the name and privileges conferred by its 
charter, Howard College. 

To build up and endow a denominational col- 
lege, without large financial support in the early 
stage, is always an onerous task. The history of 
such institutions, of which there are too many 
in this country, is always a record of long years 
of patient, earnest, self-denying labor, and that of 
Howard College is no exception. 



61 



Autobiography 
XIII 

J,rARRIAGE 

August 19, 1S45, I married Eliza Dewey, of 
Philadelphia, Pa. A nohle, Christian woman, of 
a bright and cultivated mind, amiable and affec- 
tionate beyond most of her sex. Her mother's 
ancestry contains men conspicuous for courage 
and patriotism. It is given as follows in the 
"Genealogies and History of Watertown," a 
work of her uncle, Henry Bond, M. D. 

I. Isaac Stearns came to America in 1630 
in the same ship with Governor Win- 
throp and Sir Richard Saltonstall. 
II. John Stearns, son of Isaac, settled in 
Billerica; died March, 1668-9. 

III. John Stearns, son of preceding; born 

in 1650; died October 26, 1728. 

IV. JosiAii Stearns, son of John; born Oc- 

tober 24, 1707; died April 11, 1750. 
V. Capt. Phineas Stearns, son of Josiah; 
born February 5, 1735; died March 2, 
1798; was a soldier at Lake George 
in 1756, and was a member of the 
famous Boston Tea Party. 

G2 



Autobiography 



VI. Hannah Stearns, daughter of Captain 
Phineas; born April 28, 1768; married 
Henry Bond, May 27, 1796. 
Vn. Hannah Bond, daughter of Hannah 
Stearns and Henry Bond, born April 
15, 1794; died November 24, 1827; 
married William Dewey, September 
25, 1816. 
Vni. Eliza Dewey, daughter of William 
Dewey and Hannah Bond, born Au- 
gust 16, 1 81 7; married Samuel Ster- 
ling Sherman, August 19, 1845. 
William Bond, the father of Henry Bond, 
who married Hannah Stearns (6), was a lieu- 
tenant-colonel at the battle of Bunker Hill; the 
colonel being killed he succeeded to the command 
of the regiment, was sent on that unfortunate 
invasion of Canada by way of the lakes; return- 
ing, his regiment was stationed at Mount Inde- 
pendence, where he died August 3, 1776. 

Children of Samuel Sterling and Eliza Dewey 
Sherman : 

Louisa Dewey, 
Henry Bond, 
W'illiam Dewey, 
Elizabeth Jane, 
Frederick Sterling, 

63 



Autobiography 



Charles Austen, 
Clara. 

Of these Louisa Dewey, William Dewey, 
Charles Austen and Clara died in early child- 
hood and are buried in Marion, Ala. 

Friends who had recently visited the ceme- 
tery in Marion reported to me that the graves of 
our little ones were in a sad and neglected condi- 
tion. This v/as inevitable. They were marked 
by frail marbles in the usual way and tenderly 
cared for so long as we remained near, but in 
the long interval of forty-five years they were 
well-nigh obliterated. I therefore resolved to 
mark them with more enduring monuments and, 
if possible, to have them put in a condition re- 
quiring less care in the future. Accordingly I 
had made in Chicago a small and simple monu- 
ment of Vermont granite, consisting of a heavy 
base and upright shaft, or die, of sufficient height 
to receive the necessary inscription, and a heavy 
marker or headstone for each, but whom could 
I get to superintend their erection? No one of 
my ante bellum friends was left in Marion, to 
whom I could appeal for such a favor. All had 
gone, and most of these had crossed the dark 
river. I appealed to Col. J. T. Murfee, whom I 
had casually met and with whom I had exchanged 

64 



Autobiography 

a letter or two. He was President of Howard 
College when it was unfortunately removed from 
Marion, but he declined to be removed and re- 
mained to open a private school in the vacated 
buildings. That school has become, under his 
skillful management, the well-known Marion 
]\lilitary Institute. Colonel Murfee promptly 
and most cheerfully took charge of the work. 
]\Irs. Murfee also showed a kindly sympathy and 
a mother's interest in the work; she decorated 
the graves and superintended the taking of an 
admirable photo. 

Words fail to express my gratitude to Colonel 
and Mrs. Murfee for these services. 

During all my connection with Howard, both 
as a preparatory school and college, I never had 
any fixed salary, but I employed all teachers and 
professors, except the Professor of Theology, 
and paid them from the proceeds of the tuition, 
appropriating to my own use what might be left. 
In financial matters one principle always gov- 
erned me; that was to keep the Institution (and 
myself as far as possible) out of debt. 



65 



Autobiography 
XIV 

RESIGN THE PRESIDENCY 

At length, feeling that I had discharged my 
duty to the Howard and that an increasing family 
had higher claims upon me, I quietly purchased 
a school property known as "Brownwood," near 
La Grange, Ga., and much to the surprise of all 
interested, in June, 1851, resigned the presidency 
of the College. 

Besides the consciousness of duty performed 
to the best of my ability, I enjoyed, as the chief 
reward of ten years of earnest labor, the confi- 
dence and esteem of the public, especially of the 
citizens of Alarion who gave me, as a substantial 
assurance of this, a tea service of solid silver 
accompanied by the following expressions of 
esteem and friendship: 

PUBLIC MEETING 
President S. S. Sherman 

Pursuant to notice, a meeting of citizens and members 
of the Board of Trustees was held in the Town Hall. 
Marion, on Thursday afternoon, July 22. 

Hon. J. P. Graham was called to the chair. John 
Moore, Esq., and John G. Markham, were appointed 
Secretaries. 

66 



Autobiography 

Judgo Graham aniiounccd t!ic object of the meeting to 
be, lo take such action as ihe resignation and contemplated 
removal from our midst uf one of the most highly re- 
spected and esteemed of our fellow-citizens, President S. 
S. Sherman, rendered suitable. 

A committee was then nominated, consisting of N. 
Lockett, K. Parker, L. A. W'eisseinger, R. Goree and J. 
Howze, Es(|rs., who reported the following resolutions: 

Ri'si>!:\\l, 'ihat we ha\e learned with regret that 
PresideiU S. S. Sherman, who has for the last ten years 
presided with tlistingmshed ability over Howard College, 
and ti; who-e taleiit>, energy ami perse\eranee we are 
mainly indebted fur the existence and success of the In- 
stitmii)!', is about \n lea\e it. 

Ri.Siil'i'cd, That President Sherman has, by his unwaver- 
ing iidelily and active self-sacrificing devotion to the best 
iutcrots, both literary and moral, of his pupils, won for 
Imn-elf the respect and admiration and endeared himself 
to the hearts of the friends and patrons of the college, and 
whilst we lament his loss to ourselves and to our commu- 
nity, as one scarcely to l)e repaired, yet we take pleasure 
in commending him to the world as a man of great private 
worth and high literary and scientific attainments, as a 
gentleman in every way worthy of confidence, and emi- 
nently fittetl as :m instructor of youth. 

Rcsoli'cd, That the citizens of Marion and the Trus- 
tees and students of Howard College tender to President 
Sherman, as a testimonial of their high appreciation of 
him personally, a service of plate, together with their 
best wishes for his prosperity and happiness wherever his 
future lot in life may be cast. 

Resolved, That a copy of these proceedings be signed 
by the chairman and secretaries, and forwarded to Presi- 
dent Sherman, and that a copy of theni be also furnished 

67 



Autobiography 



to the newspapers in Marion and La Grange, Ga., with a 
request that they pubhsh them in their respective papers. 
John P. Graham, Chairman. 
John Moore, 
John G. AIarkham, 

Secretaries. 



The College continued to prosper under my 
successor, but in 1S54 the recently erected build- 
ing was burned. Before, the fire occurred at 
midday and most of the contents were saved; 
this time, the disaster happened after midnight 
and nothing was saved. Originating under the 
stairs, in the basement, the fire had gained much 
headway when discovered. Among the first to 
awaken was the college janitor, a slave belong- 
ing to President Talbird. When told to escape 
while he could, he replied, "Not till I wake up 
the boys," and he immediately started on his 
errand of mercy, rapping and calhng loudly at 
every door. When the last room on the upper 
floor was reached, the flames were upon him; he 
could not return by the stairs, but jumped from 
the hall window and was fatally injured. Two 
professors who lodged in the building, and all 
the students but one, escaped by jumping from 
their windows. Ten or twelve were more or less 
injured. One student, overcome by smoke and 

C8 



Autobiography 

heat, was rescued by aid of ladders, but died a 
few days later. 

The hero of the fire was the faithful slave, 
Henry. In the cemetery at Marion is a hand- 
some marble shaft erected by the joint contribu- 
tions of the officers and students of the College 
and members of the Baptist State Convention, all 
of whom joined in the public dedication of this 
monument to the fidelity and heroism of Henry. 

This appalling disaster aroused the sympa- 
thies and loosened the pursestrings of the denomi- 
nation. Instead of one, three commodious brick 
buildings were soon erected, on more spacious 
grounds, donated by a member of the first class 
that graduated from the College — Dr. J. T. 
Barron. 

The endowment now went forward rapidly. 
When hostilities began, it is claimed that fully 
two hundred and fifty 'thousand dollars had been 
pledged. But in the whirlwind of excitement 
that followed the secession of the state, President 
Talbird, two of the professors and many of the 
students volunteered ; the President was chosen 
captain of the company, and soon after was made 
colonel of the regiment, the Forty-first Alabama. 
The cherished endowment soon vanished ; a part 
of the pledges were redeemed in Confederate cur- 

69 



Autobiography 

rency and the balance was never paid. For a 
time Federal troops occupied Marion and the 
College buildings were used as a hospital. 

After the war, the trustees, faithful to their 
charge, made vigorous efforts to place the College 
on its feet again, but debts began to accumulate 
.and the ghost of the defunct scholarship system 
rose to increase the embarrassment and would not 
down until it had caused the sale of the College 
buildings for debts. But two public-spirited citi- 
zens purchased the property and deeded it to the 
Convention on terms that will prevent another 
occurrence of the kind. 

At length the Convention, wearied with inces- 
sant appeals for help, listened to proposals for 
the removal of the College from Marion to the 
young and enterprising city of Birmingham. In 
1887, the East Lake Land Company offered to 
donate one hundred and seventy thousand dollars 
of land and money to secure the removal. It was 
also understood that the citizens of the Magic 
City were ready and anxious to give all the 
money necessary to erect suitable buildings. 
These propositions were finally accepted. Two 
cheap frame structures were hastily built for the 
temporary use of the College; the apparatus and 
library were transferred from Marion to these 

70 



Autobiography 

insufficient and temporary quarters; but Presi- 
dent Murfee decided to remain behind and open 
a private school in the vacated buildings. This 
wise decision has resulted in the Marion Military- 
Institute, no inconsiderable substitute for the lost 
College. 

But scarcely had tlie removal been effected 
when the gorgeous bubble, that had lured the con- 
vention, suddenly burst; inflated land values van- 
ished and the transferred College found itself 
penniless, poorly sheltered and in sore distress. 
Some were anxious to return to Marion, but the 
majority deemed it best to accept the changed 
conditions, so they struggled on, sadder but wiser 
men. Recently (in 1904) a much-needed dormi- 
tory has been erected and the convention has 
again resolved to attempt an endowment. 

The following sketch of the early educational 
efforts of the Baptists of Alabama is from 
"Riley's History of the Baptists of the Southern 
States East of the Mississippi:" 

"Early in the '30s the Baptists of Alabama 
began the agitation of the question of establish- 
ing a denominational school suggested as in other 
states, by the growth of the Baptists and the in- 
efficiency of their ministry. In resolving to es- 
tablish such a school the Baptists of Alabama 

71 



Autobiography . 

adopted the manual labor plan, in spite of its fail- 
ures in other states. At this time the leaders of 
the denomination were D. P. Bestor, Hosea Hol- 
combe, Alex Travis, J. H. De Votie and A. G. 
IMcGraw. In 1834 provision was made for the 
contemplated school to go into operation as soon 
as practicable with two departments, literar}^ and 
theological. W. L. Williford became the first 
principal and D. P. Bestor Avas elected to deliver 
lectures upon Theology. 

"After a brief career the enterprise failed, and 
in consequence the Baptists of Alabama found 
themselves loaded with debt, after wrestling with 
which for a period, the denomination sold the 
property and for a number of years abandoned 
the matter of education altogether. Meanwhile the 
deficiency was met as far as was practicable by 
supplying young ministers with theological works. 
Driven by sheer necessity to establish a school to 
meet the urgent demands of the denomination, 
Howard College was organized in 1842. Under 
the able management of S. S. Sherman it was 
gradually developed into a respectable collegiate 
institution. From the period of its establishment 
to the outbreak of the Civil War it was ardently 
fostered by the Baptists of Alabama. After an 
eventful history of almost fifty years the College 

72 



Autobiography 

was removed from IMarion, its original location, 
to East Lake, near Birmingham, where it now is. 
At the outbreak of hostilities in 1861, the Col- 
lege was in the enjoyment of a handsome endow- 
ment, which was entirely wrecked by the war. 
Efforts to endow the institution within the last 
twenty-five years have been unavailing. In spite 
of its vicissitudes the College has continued to 
do excellent work. Its Presidents have been S. 
S. Sherman, H. Talbird, S. R. Ereeman, J. L. 
M. Curry, J. T. IMurfee, B. E. Riley and A. W. 
McGaha." 

Having a couple of months of leisure before 
going to La Grange, I determined to spend the 
time in the chemical laboratory of Harvard Uni- 
versity. Though familiar with the elements of 
chemistry and such laboratory work as was nec- 
essary for class and lecture room illustration, I 
had never given attention to the analytical chem- 
istry and was extremely anxious to acquire some 
practical knowledge of this important branch of 
the science. In fact, all my knowledge of this and 
other branches of natural science had been ac- 
quired while teaching them. Having some taste 
in this direction I had followed with interest and 
pleasure all recent discoveries of importance. I, 
first in our part of the state, made and experi- 

73 



Autobiography 

merited with gun-cotton, administered ether for 
dental and surgical purposes, and made the first 
chloroform that I ever saw. 

At Cambridge I was kindly received by Pro- 
fessor Horsford, who invited me to his home, 
also to witness some experiments which he and 
Professors Agassiz and Wyman were making on 
chloroform and its impurities, but I was soon re- 
called to Alabama by sickness in my family. 



74 



Autobiography 

XV 

BROWNWOOD AND JUDSON INSTITUTE 

On the first of January, 1852, I commenced 
my private school at Brownwood. This seemed 
to me much hke beginning life anew, for I was 
little known in Georgia and had to depend largely 
on Alabama for pupils. The first year did not 
meet my expectations financially. The second 
year was more encouraging; day scholars, as well 
as boarders, were increasing in numaber. The third 
year was progressing satisfactorily when Profes- 
sor Jewett announced his intention to retire from 
the Judson and the trustees and the citizens urged 
me to return to Marion. As the position offered 
large pecuniary inducements, and was in other 
respects attractive, I sold Brownwood and re- 
turned to Marion in July, 1855. 

There are few pleasant memories connected 
with my short residence in Georgia. Brownwood 
is nearly two miles from town, and I mingled 
with the citizens so little that I made few friends. 
At first my pupils were mostly boarders. There 
were two large female seminaries in town and 
my relations with the principals were always cor- 
dial, but I saw little of the people not immediately 

75 



Autobiography 

connected with my school. Among my teachers 
were D. G. Hooker and S. I. C. Sweezey. The 
former returned North, studied law and settled 
in ^Milwaukee, Wis., where he became a promi- 
nent citizen, holding the offices of city attorney 
and mayor as long as he chose. When I after- 
ward settled in Milwaukee he became my attor- 
ney and often served me as counselor and friend. 
He died in 1888. Mr. Sweezey accompanied me 
to Marion and was my most valuable assistant, 
so long as I remained in the Judson. After study- 
ing law in New York City, he married my wife's 
sister, I»*Iiss Louisa Dewey, and settled in San 
Francisco, where both are now buried. 

A distinguished legal friend expressed sur- 
prise that I should accept the charge of a "female 
school." While I had some doubts of my adapta- 
tion to the peculiar requirements of a large female 
seminary, I did hot feel that I was descending to 
a lower educational plane. True, the course of 
mental discipline, in those days, was not usually 
so exacting, and the survey of the numerous de- 
partments of human knowledge was less exhaust- 
ive than in colleges and universities for young 
men, but this was believed to be in accordance 
with the organization and mission of the sexes. 
Girls mature earlier, both physically and mentally, 

76 



Autobiography 

than boys, and it is believed that they should be 
educated and prepared to assume life's duties at 
an earlier age, and, therefore, that they should 
not be required to devote so many years to pre- 
paratory studies. Besides, "Woman is not un- 
developed man, but diverse." 

Both nature and civilized society impose on 
her "diverse" responsibilities, for the adequate 
discharge of which specific preparation is neces- 
sary. Such was my opinion then, and neither 
time nor modern progress has changed it, though 
Yale and Harvard and many other colleges and 
universities now admit young women to their reg- 
ular courses of study. 

The Judson had already acquired much repu- 
tation for music, art and other studies that shed a 
genial radiance around "Life's more cultured 
walks and charm the way." Its reputation for 
thoroughness in all the so-called "ornamental 
branches" had attracted a large patronage; it had 
become a sort of finishing school, whose diploma 
was highly esteemed, because it was not easily 
obtained. 

llic' Institute prospered greatly under my ad- 
ministration ; the number of pupils was largely 
increased ; during the second year an addition 
more than doubling the capacity of the boardittg 

77 



Autobiography 

department was made to the building, and there 
were corresponding improvements in all depart- 
ments of instruction. 

During the latter part of my first year in the 
Judson I suffered from an acute attack of in- 
flammatory rheumatism, that confined me to the 
house for some weeks and permanently weakened 
my hip joints. During my illness a protracted 
meeting was held in the Baptist church and many 
of the pupils made a profession of religion. 

In all its long history the Judson has never 
suffered a setback. In war time and during the 
trouliles of reconstruction, its patronage was 
somewhat diminished but its doors have never 
been closed. It has sometimes felt the pinch of 
financial stringency, but it has never lost any pe- 
cuniary endowment, for the very good reason that 
it never had any to lose. Its tuition fees have 
always been adequate to the support of its large 
Faculty and all facilities of instruction. In 1888 
its home was reduced to ashes, but a large, more 
modern and much nobler structure soon rose in 
its place. In 1894 grateful alumnje erected a spa- 
cious and beautiful structure, as a home for music 
and fine arts. 



78 



Autobiography 
XVI 

LEAVE THE SOUTH 

I resigned the Presidency of the Judson Insti- 
tute in July, 1859, and retired from a profession 
to which I had devoted twenty-one years of as- 
siduous labor. 

Among the causes that contributed to my de- 
sire to leave the South, at this time, were the 
following : 

1. My health was bad. The last year had 
been unusually trying; I felt discouraged and 
needed rest. 

2. We had buried four children in Marion 
and in our anxiety for the others had often looked 
forward to a change of climate. One year before 
I had placed our oldest son, Henry, a lad of eleven 
years, in a private school in the family of a brother 
in Vermont, and my wife was then spending the 
summer in the North with the other children. 

3. Just then I found an opportunity to trans- 
fer my interest in the Institute to parties accept- 
able to the trustees. 

I never had much tact at saving money and 
consequently never had much success in accumii- 

79 



Autobiography 

lating it, but as the result of twenty-one years 
of arduous labor, besides many unsecured notes 
and open accounts, I owned a house with a few 
acres of land in jMarion and several servants. I 
also owned the furniture of the large boarding 
department of the Judson and the books, sta- 
tionery, music and art, materials, etc., of the 
literary department. For these, my steward and 
my successor, as president, gave me their notes. 
All these I regarded as valuable assets but not 
then convertible into cash. Soon secession 
claimed about one- fourth of these, but I never 
regretted leaving the South when I did. 

I\Iy loss would have been less if collections 
had been pressed a little. My last considerable 
receipt before the commencement of hostilities 
was five thousand dollars for the sale of a family 
of negroes. The proceeds of all debts that were 
voluntarily paid were promptly remitted to me; 
so far as I know no legal process was used to 
hasten the collections or secure the payment of 
any debt. But in one instance where I had com- 
mitted to an attorney authority to settle my in- 
terest in some coal lands; after the war he 
reported he had sold the property according to 
my instructions, but had paid the proceeds into 
the Confederate treasury; he promptly admitted 

80 



Autobiography 

his liability for the same, but declared his in- 
ability to meet it, and the matter was dropped. 

Without recalling my wife and children, and 
with the aid of my sister and other friends, I 
packed up such articles as I desired to bring 
North and left Alabama in August, 1859. 

Believing war inevitable, I determined to seek 
a home as far from the seat of trouble as pos- 
sible, where I could settle down ciuietly and edu- 
cate my children. The following incident shows 
the strength of this conviction. Among the 
places visited before deciding where to settle was 
Madison, Wis. While there I went, one day, 
upon the cupola of the State University to get a 
good view of the city, the lakes and the surround- 
ing country. Presently three gentlemen joined 
me, one of whom, by pointing out objects of 
interest to his friends, showed that he was a 
resident of the city. I asked him some question 
which indicated that I was a stranger, and he 
inquired where I was from. This led to further 
conversation and I soon found that he knew some 
of my relations, in Vermont, and that we had 
other associations in common. He then told me 
that his name was Hastings, and he introduced 
me to the gentlemen with him, one of whom was 
T. O. Howe and the other Alex. Randall, the 

81 



Autobiography 

former United States Senator from Wisconsin 
and the latter, subsequently, Postmaster General. 
This led to several other acquaintances, at 
the hotel in the evening, for there happened to 
be a large political convention in session at that 
time and place. This incident had quite passed 
from my mind until, one cold winter day during 
the second year of the war, Mr. Hastings called 
at my house in Milwaukee. His first greeting 
was, "Do you remember our meeting in Madi- 
son?" I replied, "Yes, on the cupola of the 
University." "Do you remember my asking why 
you were leaving the South?" I said the ques- 
tion had been asked often and probably the same 
or a similar answer had always been given. 
"Why, you told me that black Republicans were 
going to carry the next presidential election, and 
if they did, the South would certainly secede and 
you believed that a long and bloody war was 
surely coming. Now," said he, "I thought 
you daft, quite beside yourself, but everything 
you told me then has actually come to pass. I 
think you must be a prophet, and I want to know 
what is to be the result of this awful war." 



82 



Autobiography 
XVII 

SETTLE IN MILWAUKEE: MILWAUKEE FEMALE 
COLLEGE 

After visiting other western cities and eastern 
friends, we returned to Milwaukee in October, 
1859, where we found a pleasant home for many- 
years. The selection of this location was doubt- 
less influenced greatly by finding there some ex- 
cellent people from my native state and some 
whom I had known in the South. Among the 
former were the banker, C. D. Nash, and an 
attorney, A. C. May ; among the latter were D. G. 
Hooker, Esq., who had taught for me in Georgia, 
and Alessrs. Strickland and Upson, booksellers. 
Upson I had known well in Alabama, and Strick- 
land was an Englishman. For many years they 
had the largest book store in Mobile and were 
doing a good business when, one day, a rival 
bookseller came in and was casually looking over 
their stock, when he came upon a copy of "Uncle 
Tom's Cabin." On looking farther he found 
another volume of anti-slavery tendencies. This 
find was reported to the city authorities and 
Strickland and Upson were chnrgod witli soiling 
abolition books. A committee appointed to in- 

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Autobiography 

vestigatc conliniied the evil report, and a public 
meeting of the citizens was called. The firm was 
denounced as abolitionists and public enemies, and 
they were ordered to leave the city immediately. 
Public excitement became so great that Messrs. 
Strickland and Upson, taking counsel of their 
fears, did not stand on the order of their going, 
but left a faithful employe in charge, who closed 
their store and, when the excitement had sub- 
sided and his principals had decided where to 
locate, shipped their stock to Milwaukee. The 
harsh treatment received in i\Iobile excited the 
sympathies of publishers and enabled them to ob- 
tain liberal credits, while extensive advertising 
of the same, as one of the firm said to me, served 
instead of capital and secured a large trade. 
This firm was in full tide of prosperity when I 
came to ]\Iihvaukee. 

I soon became interested in educational mat- 
ters; served many years on the City Board of 
Education, on the State Board of Normal 
Schools, and on the Board of Trustees of the 
Milwaukee Female College. In the latter insti- 
tution I eventually became more deeply inter- 
ested. Miss Catherine Beecher, sister of Henry 
Ward Beecher, had been largely influential in 
founding the college, in order, as she stated, to 

84 



Autobiography 

give Alilwaukee and the West a practical illus- 
tration of her ideas of an institution for the 
"symmetrical education of woman." To give 
dignity to her enterprise, and to supply the nec- 
essary funds, Miss Beecher had induced a number 
of prominent eastern women, among whom were 
Airs. L. H. Sigourney and Mrs. Harriet Beecher 
Stowe, to form with herself an organization called 
the Woman's Educational Association. In 1852 
the cornerstone of the college was laid with im- 
posing ceremonies, and in due time the building 
was completed at a cost of five thousand and 
eighty-seven dollars. 

In 1853 Miss Mary IMortimer and four other 
ladies were appointed heads of departments "with 
equal and coordinate jurisdiction." The imme- 
diate financial problem was solved by the liberal 
sale of scholarships and bonds. 

In 1881 five thousand dollars, part of a prom- .'■,.• .'^ •-•w.,-/, 
ised endowment, was received from the Woman's 
Educational Association; but this afforded small 
relief, as the interest only could be used. At the 
close of this year Miss Mortimer, Miss Beecher's 
special representative, "wearied with labors and 
responsibilities," resigned and the Misses Chapin 
were placed in charge of the institution. 



85 



Autobiography 

In i860 the trustees concluded that the fund 
of five thousand dollars would be more productive 
if invested in a home for the teachers and pupils 
and, with the consent and cooperation of Miss 
Beecher, such a structure was erected on the 
grounds of the College; still, the expenses ex- 
ceeded the income. 

In 1863, being a member of the board, I sug- 
gested that the premises be leased to some com- 
petent gentleman, with liberal authority for the 
employment of teachers and the charges of tui- 
tion; that he be charged a moderate rental for 
the premises and required to keep them in repair. 
The board seemed pleased with the suggestion 
and soon asked me if I would take charge of the 
College on these terms. After further discussion 
and consideration, I consented to do so, and, on 
September i, 1863, a lease of the premises for 
five years was executed. I loaned the board the 
money necessary to pay arrears to teachers, put 
the buildings in repair, etc. 

A protest was promptly received from Miss 
Beecher, who objected especially to a 7iian being 
placed at the head of her College. So many of 
the ladies of the city sympathized with her, that 
private schools nourished for a year or two, to 
the material disadvantage of the College. During 

86 



Autobiography 

the second year the receipts about equaled the ex- 
penses. At the end of the third year there was 
sufficient surplus to make good the deficit of the 
first year and fully justify the belief that the 
College could easily be made self-sustaining. 

But Miss Beecher had already appeared on 
the scene. Sending for me, she said in substance, 
that she understood that I was a fair-minded 
Christian gentleman, and that she appealed to me 
as such, to be no longer a party to the great wrong 
that was being done to her and her association; 
that the trustees did not comprehend her views 
and plans in regard to the College; that she hoped 
I would appreciate them and retire in her favor. 
I simply replied that my dealings were entirely 
with the trustees; that I held a lease of the prem- 
ises, which had some time longer to run, but I 
would cheerfully cancel it at any time the board 
of trustees might desire, and I referred her to 
that body for any further communication on that 
subject. 

When she failed to arrive at any satisfactory 
understanding with the trustees she published an 
impassioned appeal to the public. This failing to 
elicit any reply, she placed her claims in the hands 
of attorneys with instructions to collect, at least, 
the five thousand dollars which her association 

87 



Autobiography 

had advanced tlie College. Unwilling to become 
a party to any legal complication, and wishing to 
leave the trustees full liberty to make the best 
settlement they could with Miss Beecher, I took 
advantage of a clause in the lease permitting it, 
and cancelled the offensive document. At the 
same time I suggested to the board, as the easiest 
way out of the trouble, that the premises be re- 
stored to ]\Iiss Beecher on condition that she 
would sign an agreement to waive all claims upon 
the College in case she failed to provide the long- 
promised endowment, within a reasonable time. 
This was done and Miss Mortimer was again 
placed at the head of the College. She remained 
there three years, then retired and heartily united 
with the trustees in securing Professor Farrar for 
President, under whose efficient management the 
college enjoyed many years of prosperity. 

The only advantage I derived from my three 
years' connection with the College was the per- 
sonal acquaintance and friendship of many of 
Milwaukee's most intelligent and interesting 
young women. 

About the time I closed my connection with 
the ^Milwaukee Female College several of the 
Regents of the State University came to Mil- 
waukee to confer with me in regard to taking the 



Autobiography 

Presidency of that institution. The position was 
an honorable one and congenial to my tastes, but 
I did not feel like assuming responsibilities so nu- 
merous and so weighty. Besides, I had become 
interested in some business enterprises that re- 
quired my personal attention and I declined to 
consider the matter. 



89 



Autobiography 

XVIII 

VISIT SOUTH AFTER THE WAR 

Some months after the close of the war I re- 
visited the South, especially my long-time and 
much-cherished home, Marion. I did not feel 
quite sure how I would be received, but all doubt 
was soon removed. My efforts to relieve southern 
prisoners at Camp Douglas, near Chicago, and at 
Johnson's Island were generally known and thor- 
oughly appreciated. I was received with great 
kindness and hospitality at Columbus, Miss., 
where some of the boys in gray, whom I had 
helped, lived. Others welcomed me at Meridian, 
but at Marion, Ala., the citizens could not do 
enough to show their esteem. They would not 
permit me to go to a hotel, but some of them 
almost quarreled for the privilege of entertaining 
me. One declared that they would now have a 
real old-fashioned Fourth of July celebration and 
nothing would satisfy them but a public reception 
and dinner, for which the following invitation 
was received, and at which the ensuing bill of 
fare was served : 



90 



Autobiography 



Mr. S. S. Sherman. Marion, Jan. 22, 1866. 

Dear, Sir: — The citizens of IMarion, mindful of 
your faithful and efficient services in years past in the 
cause of education in their midst and of your many deeds 
of beneficence and Christian charity towards our suffering 
sons and brothers languishing in northern prisons during 
the war that has just terminated, beg leave to testify their 
respect and admiration for your character and their grati- 
tude to you personally by tendering you the hospitalities 
of our town and request the pleasure of your company 
at a public dinner to be given at the Burton House at 
such time as may suit your convenience. 

Most respectfully, 

N. LOCKETT, 

A. B. MooRE, 
Wm. N. Wyatt, 
John Henze, 
F. A. Bates, 
S. H. Fowlkes. 
Committee of Invitation. 



91 



Autobiography 





Dinner 
S. S. 


Complimentary 

to 
SHERMAN, 








Burton Plouse 






Friday, 


January 


26, 4 o'clock p. 
FARE. 


M. 


1866. 


Oyster Soup. 


SOUPS : 

Beef 


Soup. 



Mutton, Barbecued. 
Mutton, Roast. 
Pig, Barbecued. 



Beef, Stuffed and Baked. 

Beef, Roast. 
Pig, Roast and Stuffed. 



FOWLS : 
Turkey, Roast. Chickens, Baked. Duck, Roast. 

VEGETABLES : 

Potatoes, Irish. Potatoes, Sweet. 

Beans and Peas. Onions and Rice. 

FRUIT : 

Apples, Stewed. Peaches, Stewed. 

Pickles and Piccalilli. 



SAUCES : 




DESSERT: 


Cranberry. 




Pound Cake. 


Tomato. 




Sponge Cake. 


Cumberland 




Cranberry Tarts. 


Black Walnut. 




Grape Tarts. 


Pepper 




Apple Tarts, 




NUTS : 


with sauces. 




WINES : 




Claret. 


Sherry. 


Champagne. 



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Autobiography 

As yet there had been no opportunity to re- 
plenisli exhausted suppHes, and I wondered where 
the various wines and other delicacies came from, 
until I was reminded of the generous supplies 
of the sutler to a Federal regiment stationed in 
the town. The ladies also entered heartily into 
the affair, sending to the hotel their choice china 
and silverware. Some of them even superin- 
tended the preparations, so that the table was 
both sumptuously and elegantly furnished. The 
historian of the Baptists of Alabama, already 
quoted, speaking of the occasion, says : 'The 
banquet given to Dr. Sherman was a notable 
event in the annals of Marion. Every effort was 
made by a people most generous in spirit, but 
now greatly reduced in purse, to signalize the 
occasion in the handsomest manner possible. 
The town was decked out in gala garb; flowers 
and evergreens, paint, bunting, artistic designs 
and inscriptions which would give expression to 
the wealth of affection — all were under tribute to 
do honor to the man who had been the most dis- 
tinguished citizen of IMarion, but whose fame 
had been greatly enhanced by reason of his timely 
goodness to men suft'ering in distant prisons.'* 
(Pp. 318-319-) 

Judge Brooks, President of the Convention 

93 



Autobiography 

that voted Alabama out of the Union, presided 
at the dinner; the Hon. A. B. Moore, Governor 
of the State during the entire secession period, 
sat at my right hand; the Hon. J. L. M. Curry, 
who had represented Alabama in both the United 
States and the Confederate States Congresses, 
who was then President of Howard College and 
subsequently represented the United States at 
the Court of Madrid, and who, at the time of 
his death was agent of the Peabody and Slater 
funds, with many other prominent gentlemen, 
were present at this dinner. 

Many pleasant speeches were made, but no 
bitter or vindictive feehng cropped out. There 
were occasional allusions to the late unpleasant- 
ness, and to the noble heroism of the "boys in 
gray," but all accepted the issue of the war in 
good faith and expressed their purpose to make 
the best of it, and to apply all their energies to 
reconstructing their ruined fortunes. At that 
time this sentiment seemed universal, for the car- 
pet-bag era had not dawned, and the disastrous 
efforts at reconstruction had only begun. 

The following incident interested me : When 
Governor Moore was called on for a speech, he 
said, "Gentlemen, you must excuse me, for you 
know that my neck is not out of the halter." 

94 



Autobiography 

Afterward I asked him the meaning of this re- 
mark, and he gave me the following explanation : 
Soon after the surrender General Rierson passed 
through Marion with a part of his command and 
he (the Governor) took to the woods — kept out 
of the way, until the General sent him word that 
he had better come in and deliver himself up. 
This advice he followed, and was sent to one of 
the forts near Savannah, Ga. ; there he found 
Toombs and several other prominent civilians, 
most of whom were not only unrepentant but 
defiant, and not very respectful to the officers in 
charge. He saw, at once, the folly of such con- 
duct and was, perhaps, on that account, more 
courteous to them when opportunity offered. 
Soon the commandant called on him and after a 
pleasant chat remarked that he feared the climate 
of the locality wa-; not tavoraMe to the licalth ot 
his guest (^the Governor was sutYering from 
chronic rheumatism) ; but he replied that he was 
then quite as well as usual; "I don't think you 
are, sir," replied the commandant; 'T will send 
my surgeon to examine you." The next day 
the surgeon called and, soon after, he received 
permission to return home on parole. 

At this time, most of the people of the South 
were hopeful. There was, of course, much 

95 



Autobiography 

anxiety in regard to their future political rela- 
tions, for they had not been irritated by the 
bungling efforts at reconstruction. Young men, 
especially those inured to the hardships of the 
field and camp, faced the industrial problem with 
courage. One came in from his plantation to 
see me, wearing a suit of clothes which I had 
sent him when a prisoner on Johnson's Island, 
and said they were the best he had. He informed 
me that he had hired a few negroes but was do- 
ing as much work in the field as any of them; 
he believed he could make money by free labor 
and he intended to do so. 

But there were old men who could not ac- 
commodate themselves to the changed conditions. 
General W. was one of these. I knew him be- 
fore the war. He lived in Demopolis, Ala., but 
I now met him at Artemesia, Miss., near where 
he owned a large plantation. He informed me 
that he was there for the purpose of selling, at 
public auction, all the personal property on the 
place. I inquired why he did not continue to 
cultivate the land, remarking that negroes must 
work cheap and cotton was bringing a high price. 
He replied, "Free negroes won't work, sir." But 
he admitted that if they would work, he could 
make more money by hiring than by owning them. 

96 



Autobiography 

I suggested that they must work or starve. 
"They'll starve first/' he replied. "I tell you free 
niggers won't work. I have, in Alabama, three 
of the best plantations the sun shines on and there 
is not a nigger on one of them." I mentioned 
this conversation to Major B. of Columbus, Miss., 
a man of even greater wealth and of a noble 
Christian spirit. He said, "General W. is all 
wrong," and then he told me his experience. As 
soon as he was sure General Lee had surrendered, 
he went to the home plantation, called the negroes 
together and told them the results of the war; 
that they were all free; that he had no longer 
any control over them and no further claim on 
their labor; that all might go where and when 
they pleased. Then he proceeded to give them a 
kind and fatherly talk. He told them that white 
men could not live without work, unless they had 
plenty of money; that black men must also work 
or they would have nothing to eat or to wear. 

"You have," he said, "already put in a large 
crop of cotton and of corn, and both are doing 
well ; there is also enough corn and bacon on the 
place to last until the next crop is gathered. Now, 
my men, I will make you this offer: as many of 
you as choose may stay on the place and work 
just as you have always worked; you shall have 

97 



Autobiography 

the same allowance of food and other suppUes; 
in short, everything shall go on just the same as 
heretofore, until the crops are secured, in the 
fall; then you shall have one-third of all the 
money they bring for your labor. I can pay you 
nothing now, for Confederate money is good for 
nothing and I have no other. Now, men, think 
and talk this matter over among yourselves ; then 
corne and tell me what you will do." 

They were not long in deciding. Soon some 
of the best men came to thank him for his kind- 
ness and assured him that all wished to remain 
and would do the best they could to make a big 
crop. He then went to his plantations on the 
Sunflower and pursued the same course with the 
same results. 

I asked him if he had any difficulty in settling 
with his negroes (this conversation occurred in 
December, 1865) and he .said none whatever. 
When the cotton was ready for market, he pro- 
posed that he and they should agree on some 
man or men to sell the cotton and divide the 
proceeds according to their agreement. In all 
cases, they replied that they had more confidence 
in him than in any other man, so he had the cot- 
ton sold and paid the negroes their share. 

I asked how he managed to distribute the 

98 



Autobiography- 
money among the negroes so that each should 
receive his proper share. He said a committee 
of the more intelhgent men was appointed by 
their fellows to aid him in assigning to every 
man, woman or child a proportion according to 
the value of the labor of each. He also informed 
me that he had made a similar contract for the 
next year. A few negroes had been discharged 
at the request of their fellows, because they had 
been idle or thieving, or had caused trouble. I 
asked if the Federal officers had approved of 
these contracts, according to a law of Congress 
then recently passed. He replied somewhat 
proudly, that neither he nor his negroes had any- 
thing to do with Federal officers ! 

Unfortunately he could not say as much in 
favor of his domestic servants, every one of 
whom had taken refuge with a negro regiment 
stationed in the city, immediately after the war. 
At the time of my visit an awkward negro woman 
from the plantation was serving as cook and 
maid of all work. What seemed to hurt the old 
gentleman most was that his trusted body-servant, 
a man in whom he had the utmost confidence and 
in whose hands he had often trusted large sums 
of money, and to whose fidelity he would have 
willingly trusted his life, was the first to leave. 

99 



Autobiography 

I believe it was usually the case that house serv- 
ants, the best treated and the most intelligent, 
were the most intoxicated with their freedom 
and often made the poorest use of it. 

In subsequent conversation with this noble 
Christian gentleman on the causes and conse- 
quences of the war, he said that he always looked 
upon slavery as a great wrong, an inherited evil, 
which the people of the South were powerless to 
dispose of; that it was increasing rapidly to the 
great injury of both races; therefore God him- 
self had taken the matter in hand and had 
brought this war upon them, as a chastisement 
for their sins. "The Yankees think they have 
whipped us; they have not; they have been used 
as a scourge in the hands of Almighty God." 

When j\Irs. Sherman and myself were return- 
ing from Florida, in the spring of 1886, we made 
it convenient to reach jMontgomery, Ala., during 
the session of the Southern Baptist Convdition. 
This organization was probably the first consider- 
able body of people to begin the great secession 
movement. 

Southern Baptists had always contributed lib- 
erally to the treasuries of the American Bible 
Society; the Home and Foreign Missionary 
societies, national organizations of the Baptists, 

100 



Autobiography 

whose headquarters were in New York, Boston 
and Providence, respectively. But for some 
years there had been a growing feeUng that the 
South was not receiving due consideration in the 
appointment of missionaries and the distribution 
of funds. Therefore in May, 1845, ^ consider- 
able number of the leading men of the denomina- 
tion South met in. Augusta, Ga., and resolved to 
sever all connection with the Northern Societies. 
Then and there was organized the Southern Bap- 
tist Convention. 

The second session of the Convention was 
held in Charleston, S. C, and Alabama friends, 
fearing that the state might not be adequately 
represented, urged me to attend as a delegate to 
the State Convention, and I have good reason to 
remember this session of the Convention, for I 
was taken very sick with dysentery early in the 
session and was confined to my bed many weeks. 
During this protracted illness I jvas tenderly 
nursed by gentle hands. My friends, De Votie 
and Holman, associate delegates, also attended 
me faithfully and the former remained until! 
was able to travel and then accompanied me 
home. I have always regretted that I have had 
no opportunity properly to show my appreciation 
of the great kindness and hospitality of Dr. Men- 

lor 



Autobiography 

denhall and family, whose guest I was, though 
not lodged in their house. Two of the most emi- 
nent physicians in the city attended me all the 
time without charge. I thoroughly appreciated 
their kindness, for I could then have ill afforded 
to pay the usual doctor's fees, to say nothing of 
nurses and board for so many weeks of suffer- 
ing. 

At this session of the Convention in Mont- 
gomery I had the pleasure of meeting many 
friends of former days; also Col. J. T. Murfee, 
LL.D., then President of Howard College. The 
latter urgently renewed a request that had been 
made on two occasions before by the students 
of the College, that I would have my portrait 
painted for the institution of which I was re- 
garded as the founder and had been for many 
years the President. I gave the desired promise. 
In due time the request was complied with and 
the following acknowledgments received. * They 
are much too flattering, but I preserve them as 
tokens of esteem and friendship, even of affec- 
tion, that do not often last so long. That of Dr. 
Murfee was the more esteemed, because my per- 
sonal acquaintance with him was slight; that of 
the committee of the trustees is valued the more 

• 102 



Autobiography 

because it comes thirty-five years after my con- 
nection with the College had ceased. 

President's Office, Howard College, 

Marion, Ala., Nov. 8, 1886. 

My Dear Doctor : — A thousand thanks, my dear friend, 
from myself, from the trustees, from the students, from 
the citizens of Marion, from the Baptist denomination, and 
from the citizens of our state for the pleasure and profit 
you have given us by the donation of your portrait. 

It is one of the finest works of art I ever saw, and 
the likeness could not be better. Placed on the front pier 
and in the most prominent place in our chapel, the richness 
of its setting, coloring and style give a wealth of tone to 
all the surroundings. The picture has been unboxed since 
chapel exercises this morning. At the assembly this after- 
noon it will look upon the students for the first time. 
They have heard of its arrival, and have asked a great 
deal about it and about you. ♦ * * 

Your friend, 

J. T. MURFEE. 

To Pres. S. S. Sherman, LL.D., Chicago, 111. 

Marion, Ala., June 14, 1887. 
President S. S. Sherman, LL.D., < 

Dear Friend and Brother : — It is made our duty by 
the trustees of Howard College in session this day, as it 
is also with us a great pleasure, to acknowledge the grateful 
favor which we have had the honor to receive from your 
generous attentions in the form of a very fine picture of 
yourself and it most elegantly framed. This rich and mag- 
nificent portrait now hanging on the wall of the chapel of 
our College has looked down upon the Commencement 
exercises of the session nov/ closing, to inspire the young 

103 



Autobiography 



man and to call up delightful remembrances in the minds 
of those of riper years, and it and the distinguished person 
whom it represents have received on this important occa- 
sion very many pleasing references. As representing the 
first President of Howard College and one of the Presi- 
dents of Judson Female Institute, for you Avere both, 
reminding us of one who did much for these schools and 
for this community and state, and as calling up sensations 
of sincere gratitude to a noble patriot whose broad man- 
hood, while faithful lo his own section during the late 
war, was capable of still loving those of the South among 
whom he had lived and labored, and had both the heart 
and the moral courage to minister so generously to their 
men in reach who were prisoners of war, this "shadow 
on the wall" will ever serve to remind and encourage com- 
ing generations of students who will gather here for higher 
education. 

We assure you. Dr. Sherman, that we love and honor 
you, and that we do thankfully accept and esteem this 
present. 

This is said and done by order of the board of trustees 
of Howard College, with many wishes for your long life 
and great happiness. 

J. J. Renfroe. 
M. W. Hand. 

J. B. LoraLACE. 

In 1878 a change in business made a change 
in residence desirable and 1 moved my family 
from Milwaukee to Chicago, where I built a con- 
venient and pleasant home in which I am still 
living, well advanced in the ninety-fifth year of 
my age. 

104 



Autobiography 
XIX 

MEMORY OF MY WIFE 

My beloved wife died on November 14, 1900. 
She is buried in Rosehill Cemetery, near Chicago. 
She was a noble Christian woman. In all the 
vicissitudes of our married hfe no harsh or un- 
kind word ever .escaped her lips. She was the 
light of our household, the fountain of all its 
joys, and she never failed to bear her full share 
of all its burdens and sorrows. The following 
brief In Memoriam was published at her death: 

MRS. S. S. SHERli^AN 

Mrs. Sherman, whose maiden name was Eliza 
Dewey, died at her home in Chicago on the 14th 
day of November, 1900. She was the dai5ghter 
of William Dewey, a merchant of Augusta, Me., 
and was born August 16, 181 7. She was edu- 
cated in the Seminary at Ipswich, Mass., an in- 
stitution of much celebrity before the founding 
of Mount Holyoke, Vassar, Wellesley, Smith 
and other modem colleges for women. In 1835 
her father removed to Philadelphia, where she 
united with the Spruce Street Baptist Church, of 

105 



Autobiography 

which Dr. Rufus Babcock was then pastor. In 
1843 she became a teacher in the Judson Female 
Institute in Marion, Ala., and in 1845 was mar- 
ried to Prof. S. S. Sherman, LL.D., then and for 
many years President of Howard College and 
subsequently of the Judson Institute. 

Her bright and cultured mind, her gentle and 
sympathetic nature endeared her to the pupils, 
and she is still kindly remembered by those resi- 
dents of Marion who were identified with the 
early history of those institutions. 

In the summer of 1859 the family came Noiih 
and settled in Milwaukee, Wis., where she be- 
came a member of the First Baptist Church and 
was active in all church and charitable work un- 
til 1878, when the family removed to Chicago. 
She was, for a few years, a member of the Im- 
manuel Baptist Church, of which Dr. Lorimer 
was pastor. Subsequently her church relations 
were transferred to the La Salle Avenue Baptist 
Church, of which she continued a member until 
death. 

In consequence of ill health she was denied 
active participation in church and social activities 
for several years, but she never lost interest in 
either. With mind as bright and affections as 
sympathetic as ever, patient and cheerful in suf- 

106 



Autobiography 

fering, forgetful of self and thoughtful of others, 
her family and friends did not realize that the 
shadows were lengthening until a painful acci- 
dent confined her to a surgeon's couch and 
hastened the end of a beautiful life. 

The good die not! 
God calls our loved ones, but we lose not wholly 

What He hath given ; 
They live on earth, in thought and deed, as truly 

As in His heaven. 



107 



Autobiography 
XX 

MY NINETIETH BIRTHDAY 

On the 24th of November, 1905, I passed the 
ninetieth milestone of Hfe's journey. Henry had 
spent a part of the summer with Lizzie and Fred 
at Green Lake, Wis., and the balance of the sea- 
son with me. Before leaving for his home in 
California he intimated to me that the occasion 
was to be celebrated with some ado. To this I 
objected so vigorously that I supposed the affair 
had blown over. Not so, however. Friends and 
neighbors were admitted to the secret, but prep- 
arations went on so quietly that I had no knowl- 
edge of them until the morning of the eventful 
day. During breakfast, which was served in my 
bedroom, the postman delivered several congratu- 
latory letters; soon after came telegrams;' two 
from California, and one from Boston, of hke 
import. I had hardly digested these, when a 
large basket made for the occasion and decorated 
with ferns, filled with ninety magnificent Amer- 
ican Beauty roses, was brought in — the joint gift 
of my sons and daughter. Next came several 
pots and vases of Japan's imperial Aower and a 
vase of ninety large and fragrant carnations. 

108 



Autobiography 

Fred's three children followed each with a pot of 
flowers. All the morning, in fact all day, at in- 
tervals, roses in great variety and beauty, chrys- 
anthemums, carnations and other choice flowers 
continued to come, until I began to imagine that 
the Annual Flower Show, which had been on 
exhibition for several days, and which I was un- 
able to visit, had resolved to pay me a visit. My 
room looked like a genuine conservatory. 

During the afternoon my pastor and his ex- 
cellent wife looked in upon us. Several neigh-"* 
bors called, and not the least welcome came a com- 
mittee from my church with a letter of congratu- 
lations and fraternal good wishes, and a fragrant 
floral tribute. 

Shortly after my ninetieth birthday I received 
an obituary notice of the last of my college 
friends and correspondents, Prof. J. D. Butler, 
LL.D., of Madison, Wis. I was just going to 
write him an account of the celebration of my 
anniversary as he had written me an account of 
his a few months before, when notice of his 
death came. We were born in the same state in 
the same year, and educated in the same college 
at the same time, but not in the same class. After 
graduating, our paths in life diverged widely for 
many years. When I returned from the South, 

109 



Autobiography 

in 1S59, I found him pleasantly settled in a pro- 
fessorship in tlie University of Wisconsin. Sub- 
sequently he was often a guest at my home in 
Milwaukee. After I moved to Chicago in 1878, 
I did not see him so often, but our correspondence 
was more frequent. His last letter was the one 
giving me an account of the celebration of his 
ninetieth birthday. It occurred on the Ides (15th) 
of March, as he was accustomed to designate the 
day. At the time he was serving as chaplain of 
the State Senate, then in session, and the members 
overwhelmed him with flowers and congratula- 
tory speeches and recorded his reply on the min- 
utes of the Senate for that day. He also kept 
open house and more than two hundred of the 
citizens of Madison registered their names on 
the occasion. From that time life faded and he 
passed away gently without disease and without 
pain. • 



110 



Autobiography 

XXI 

DR. gilbert's article.: dr. murfee 

I wish to express my grateful appreciation of 
an article by Dr. Simeon Gilbert, published in the 
Chicago Standard of March 27, 1909. Its theme 
was "A Northern-Southern Educator." It was 
much appreciated at the time and furnished the 
basis of short biographical notices in the Bosto»> 
Globe and many other papers, some of which 
contained good photographs of the subject. To 
prevent repetition I quote only the first and the 
last paragraphs: 

"The story of the development of the colleges, 
seminaries and other agencies of the higher edu- 
cation in the South, under the inspiration and 
leadership of both men and women from the 
North, is a shining part of our common 'national 
history; a signal part of our history which has 
never as yet been adequately set forth. Willing 
as the country, and the world, may now be to 
forget the fast vanishing years of the deadly 
struggle, there was throughout the first half of 
the last century a certain educational fellowship 
that was altogether admit-able, and of the utmost 
consequence. Without that peculiar southern, as 

111 



Autobiography 

well as western, educational migration, so credit- 
able to all concerned, our country would have pre- 
sented to the world a totally different story. 



"Verily, the work of the broad-minded and 
devoted educator is not a thankless service. The 
North and the South in the vast and varied edu- 
cational reciprocities which, both before and since 
the war, have been going on — have they not all 
these years been weaving those mystic chords, 
innumerable, which tend so mightily to bind the 
hearts of all, and more and more, into the ma- 
jestic and inclusive oneness of our common na- 
tional life? And what sweeter memories could 
a man in his ninety-fourth year have to look 
back upon, or to be more devoutly grateful for, 
than that of having had given him of God to 
have a life consecrated to such beneficent serv- 
ices ; a kind of public service which touches vitally 
and so graciously all the better life of our coun- 
try?" 

Dr. J. T. Murfee was President of Howard 
College when removed from Marion to Birming- 
ham. He is now living in the enjoyment of a 
well-earned pension of two thousand dollars a 
year from the Carnegie fund. In a recent pub- 

112 



Autobiography 

lie address he said: "A volume would be inade- 
quate to set forth the executive genius, the 
scholarly zeal, and the noble Christian character 
of Dr. S. S. Sherman, His sainted children are 
buried under beautiful monuments in our Marion 
cemetery; and I ask the good ladies of this gen- 
eration, and those who follow us, never to fail 
to strew flowers on their graves. I am sure that 
you, and your children's children, will never let 
fade the memory of Dr. and Mrs. Sherman." 



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XXII 

GREETING OF THE ALABAMA BAPTIST CONVENTION 

In February, 1909, I received the following 
communication from the Alabama Baptist State 
Convention that gave me much pleasure : 

Howard College, East Lake Station, 
Birmingham, Ala., Feb. 12, 1909. 
Dr. S. S. Sherman, 545 N. State St., Chicago, IlL 

Respected Sir and Brother :— During the meeting of 
the Alabama Baptist State Convention, held in Montgom- 
ery, November 27-29, 1908, on motion of Dr. John R. 
Sampey, of Louisville, it was unanimously resolved that 
Robert G. Patrick, President of Judson College, and A. P. 
Montague, President of Howard College, be a committee 
to convey by letter to you the greeting of the Baptists 
of Alabama, in convention assembled, and to assure you 
of the high appreciation in Avhich your eminent services 
for education are held by the Baptists of this state. 

This pleasant function we now perform, and in obeying 
the direction of the Convention we desire to assure you of 
our best wishes for your health and happiness. 
With the highest respect, we are, 

Yours fraternally, 

Robert G. Patrick, 
A. P. Montague, 

Committee. 

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Autobiography 

In a personal letter subsequently Dr. Sampey 
says : "If you could have seen the hearty enthusi- 
asm with which the Alabama Baptist State Con- 
vention voted for the resolution which I pro- 
posed, it would have been exceedingly gratifying 
to you. The work which you did as a young man 
in Marion, Ala., will abide to the end of time." 



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XXIII 

FINAL WORD AT NINETY-FIVE 

In the fall of 1896 I suffered from a severe 
attack of muscular rheumatism which has dis- 
abled me from visiting again in person the home 
of my youth. 

In fancy I often review the scenes of my 
childhood, in my dear old New England home in 
one of the most beautiful sections of the Green 
Mountain State, and in the same county where 
General Stark, with a few hundred Green Moun- 
4 tain boys, defeated a division of Burgoyne's army 
and thus hastened the surrender of that General. 

So also does my memory keep going back, 
burdened with deep interest and a great hope, to 
the people of Alabama, where so large a part of 
my educational work was done. 

EJicH fugaces laj^iintiir anni! Ah, the fleeting 
years, how fast they come and go ! 

Long since has "my way of life fallen into 
the sere, the yellow leaf." Now I am deeply im- 
pressed with Shakespeare's more earnest words: 

Oh, sir, you are old. 
Nature in you stands on the very verge of her 
confine. 

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Autobiography 

It is hard to realize that Hfe's work is done. 
But the friends of my youth and busy manhood 
are all gone, and I feel quite alone, or, as Frank- 
lin used to say in his old age, "I feel as if living 
in the next generation." Nevertheless, I want 
to say, not altogether alone ; to the Unseen Pres- 
ence, infinitely "gentle, patient and gracious, I 
wish to bear grateful testimony, and to commend 
most earnestly to Him all my kindred who may 
chance to read this brief story of my life. 
With Tennyson I can say : 

Sunset and evening star 

And one clear call for me ; 
And may there be no moaning of the Bar, 

When I put out to sea. 

* * * ♦ 
For though from out our bourne of Time and Place 

The flood may bear me far, 
I hope to meet my Pilot face to face 

When I have crossed tbe Bar. 



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