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Full text of "The heroic women of early Indiana Methodism : an address delivered before the Indiana Methodist Historical Society at De Pauw University, June 16, 1889"

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Indiana Methodist Historical Society 

AT — 


June i6, 1889, 




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be fleroie Women of Gerly Indian^ JVIetbodisro. 

"Arms and the 
I years ago, and all the 


aid the great Virgil, thoi 





lly a Debora o 
; to the front % 

But who ever sings the woman ? Oc( 

Joan of Arc, a kind of a female monstrosity, 

receives recognition, but their conspicoousness is due more to the low 

level of their surroundings, than to their individual pre-eminence. They 

I were out of their spheres in what gave them notoriety, and they have 

I been so voted by universal consent through the ages. It was not 

specially to their credit that they successfully commanded armies, but it 

was to the unutterable shame of the men of their period that they had 

to, or let it go undone. No thanks to Betsey for killing the bear. She 

had to, or the bear would have killed the baby, but everlasting shame 

upon her worthless husband for making it necessary for her to do what 

he ought to have done, Betsey was out of her sphere when killing the 

I bear, and so was the cowardly man when letting her do it. 

fe The great Virgil graciously introduces a Dido into his song, but he 

I does it apologetically, and only because it was necessary in order to make 

' a love story out of it. and all the little Virgils — all the 

etories from that day to this — have treated her ia literature 

indispensable to point a moral or to adorn a tale, and 

else — that it was her misssion to love and he loved, 

easy enough on her part; and that, having filled this misssion, she 

ought to be happy and die contented, and to be held in everlasting 

[ remembrance. This outrage upon woman's rights and woman's worth 

s been carried so far that it has become common to assume that it is 

ter prerogative to monopolize the love of the household — at least to 

{possess and manage the greater part of it; and some women have 

heard this so often that they more than half believe it themselves, so that 

krom away back men, and even some women, talk of a woman's love as 

Rietng a little purer and a great deal stronger than a man's love. There 

I not a word of truth in it. It is one of the unfounded legends which 

feave descended through the ages, transmitted from father to son, while 

writers of love 

; if she were 

lally fit for little 

I of which was 

the mothers and daughters, all unconscious or the great wrong thcyi 
Buffer by ic, have never denied it. It is not only false, but it is absurd. 
How could it be true ? A man is not lovable as a wroman is. How can 
she love him as he loves her, who is the personitication and incarnation 
of beauty and gentleness and sweetness ? That is, some are, for it 
must be conceded that woman is like Jeremiah's figs, the good are very, 
very good, while the bad are very naughty — too bad for any use. 

This wrong against woman has gone even farther than that. In the 
battles of life, however nobly she fights them, she receives no proper 
recognition. The man who fights well is a hero, but the woman who 
fights equally well, or even better, is only a heroine. I despise the word 
because I detest the discrimination it implies. We do not call the devout 
Christian woman a saintess, nor the eloquent woman an oratrix, but the 
woman who excels in endurance and bravery and in the virtues that con- 
s only a heroine, as if heroism was a manly vir- 
may lay no claim. I long ago expunged it from ray 
It is entirely too feminine for me. Out upon such unjust 

stitute a man 

tue, to which 


This long and rather prosy introduction brings me to the theme of the' 
evening — woman the greater hero in early Indiana Methodism. 

You have often heard of the sacrifices and toils of ihe pioneer 
preachers. Those sacrifices and toils were great, yet many of ihem were 
of the character of those made by a young preacher in the Western 
Conference about the beginning of this century. In one of his journeys 
■lone, over the Cumberland Mountains, Bishop Asbury lost his way, and 
night coming on, he was about to dismount and prepare to sleep out, 
when he was met by a young man, a hunter, who took the tired bishopto 
his father's cabin and extended to the stranger the best accommodations 
that home in the wilderness aflbrded. The bishop, true to his calhng. 


preached to the family and left an appeintment for (hi 
circuit, who soon organized a class of moi 
guide as class leader. In a short time he 
soon after, he was admitted into the Westei 

her on that 
sers, with the bishop's 
e a local preacher, and 
iference. A few years 

later at a session of the Conference, he wasguestat the s 
the bishop, and while the bishop was engaged in writ 
gaged in telling the young lady of the house hi 


I, he was en- 
Lny sacriflcet 
int had to make for the church and for Christ, In spite of his 
powers of abstraction, the bishop heard the preacher's story, and turn- 
ing from the table, he said : •' Yes, Benjamin, I can testify to the sacri- 
fices you have made for the church. There never was a more hospitable 
home i" the Cumberland Mountains than that you left to become an 


my life than I slept on that bed of bear 
: was such a contrast with theaccommoda- 
for in the woods alone, that I have never 
id baked in the ashes ! And that venison ! 
ificed all this for the church '. You could 
it was all you had to sacrifice — a home in the 
and a hunter's life— all for the itineracy."' 
sacrifices that many of the heroes made, whose 
to us. They never lived as well before, never 
:d as well, and yet their fare was not always 
irments of purple and fine linen, but both food 

I never slept better 
s in your father's cabin. It 

forgotten it — and that corn br 
And, Benjamin, you have sai 

mountain^', a good gun 

And such were the 

fame has come down 

dressed as well nor I 

sumptuous, nor their f 

and clothing were better than the average of those to whom they 

preached. The story of Allen Wiley is an oft told story. We have 

heard of his large circuits and of his districts, extending from the Ohio 

;, embracing all of the present North Indiana 

;-half of the Southeast, requiring him to be 

lonths at a time; and how he studied Latin 

■n horseback, or by the light of the settler's 

imp made of a saucer or scraped turnip filled 

I rag for a wick. But who was Allen Wiley 

erifices did he make for the opportunity to 

nd Hebrew even under these difficulties? ' He 

a ([iiarter section of only medium land in 

n a cabin two miles from any neighbor. By 

>ping or plowing by day, and burning brushy 

g splint brooms, or pounding hominy, by 

I feeding his wife and five children, and in 

;s to his cleared land every year ; studying 

his book to the field when plowing, or lo the 

i preaching acceptably as a local preacher in 

his own cabin, or in some neighboring cabin, on Sundays. Did it 

require any great heroism to exchange all these for the less laborious 

t more conspicuous calling of a traveling preacher, uninviting as that 

ing was at that period, yet furnishing opportunities for mental im- 

Itrovement such as his soul longed for? Nay, rather, was not he the 

realer hero who remained among the untitled and comparatively «n- 

iinown laymen, and faithfully discharged the ditties of a layman, unsup- 

[ported by the up-bearing pressure which comes of fame ': Allen Wilev 

(tacrificed the hardships of a frontier farmer, with its huskings and 

i-roUings and house-raisings, for the position of a traveling preachei. 

rith ite opportunities to study and with the best entertainment that 

at Madison, 

o Fort Wayn 


and about on 

absent from home three ti 

and Greek a 

nd Hebrew o 

fire, or of an 

improvised 1 

with hog's lard, and with 

to begin with ? What sa 

-study Latin a 

nd Greek an 

was an a^er 

age farmer o 


county, living 

the dinr of h 

ard work, chc 

or husking 

orn, or mak 

night, he wa 


adding a few 

additional ac 

English gran 

mar by takin 

woods when 

chopping; a 

the country afforded, But what of that wife whom he left in that cabin, 
two miles from any neighbor, with five small children, not one of whom 
was old enough to render any aid toward the support of the family ? 
And it was not grudgingly nor of constraint that she gave him up to 
the work of the ministry ; but, on the contrary, knowing the desire of 
his heart to be wholly devoted to the ministry, she long prayed that a 
door might be opened to him, so that when he consented to go into the 
work, if his wife would consent, he was cheered onward from the first 
by her God-speed and prayers. Leaving the heroic husband, ihe grow- 
ing and popular preacher, to travel long journeys, to preach lo large 
congregations and to be carressed everywhere by loving and admiring 
friends, pursuing congenial studies under more favorable surroundings 
than his farm ever could have afforded, let us look in upon that heroic 
wife with her fatnily of five children, increased ultimately to ten, and 
for many years almost whoily unaided by the presence or counsel of the 
husband, or by any considerable material aid from him. It was hers, 
there alone on that farm, not only to spin, and weave, and make, and 
mend, and cook, and wash for those children, but to train them for the 
church and for God. Was not she the greater hero of the two? Did 
not the patient endurance, which for years added new acres to the 
tieldB. as well as new children to the family, call into exercise the Tery 
highest qualities of heroism ? Her door was not only always open to 
the wayfaring preacher, but her cabin, and later her larger frame house, 
was the neighborhood chapel, until, with very little help from her 
neighbors, she built a log chapel on her own farm for [be accommoda- 
tion of the church which was in her own house ; and such was her 
fidelity and her ability as well, that those children all became religious, 
and three of them became able ministers of Ihe gospel, one af them 
serving long and well as a professor in this university. Meanwhile she 
took an active part in every social enterprise of the times in the neigh- 
borhood. She attended quilting bees in the neighborhood and had 
them in her own cabin, and she was a ministering angel at the bedside of 
the sick and the dying ; so taking the lead in the early temperance work, 
that she was the first one who dared to have a company of neighbor 
women without the inevitable punch and toddy. We need not dntract 
one iota from the well-earned laurels of that great and good man, to say 
that the greater hero of the twain was that faithful, uncomplaininK 
wife ; and that, great as were his labors, hers were much greater, and 
all the more heroic because they were unobserved and unapplauded. If 
hereism consists in "the braving of difliculties with a noble devotion to 
some great cause, and a jusl conSdence of being able to meet dangers 


E in the spirit of such a cause," then was Mrs. Allen Wiley a hero second 

* to none. 

George K. Hester is a name much reverenced among early Indiana 
preachers, beginning only a few years later than Wiley, his manner of 
life was substantially the same as Wiley's — large circuits, long rides and 
hard fare. He, too, was a hero. But what of that young wife, about 
to become a mother, who sent him with a wife's blessing to a distant 
circuit, not only large in extent, but embracing the hills of Crawford 
county and a strip along the Ohio river of nearly two hundred miles in 
length, inhabited by the poorest and roughest of the pioneer classes ? 
If he was a hero to undertake such a sacrifice, what shall we call that 
young wife, who gave birth to her first-born during his absence, and 
after a few months of budding promise, during which moth?r-love was 
strongly developed, buried that child, all unsupported by the presence 
and sympathy of her husband ; and yet, near the close of the year, 

ind he thought of cea 
1 would rejoi 
;an not feel cles 

s heart began to fail 

to the fainting hero: "Greatly 

could live a located life, yet, if yc 

and if you believe you would not be as useful a; 

withstanding the gloominess of our situation, I 

know very well there is no earthly enjoyment for 

participate; so, when you are absent, I do not look for a 

ness, whether my situation be comfortabl 
[can not enjoy happiness with yo 
I my dear, consult your situation, ( 
■«ult your God. Let His holy s[ 
tdeavor to submit " Then, alludi 
icuit had given — less than ten dol 
B.^ou should conclude to qi 
■pleased if you 
mfoT those of ou 
uchool teacher 

uld nol 

What did 
support both ht 
did not locale 
uarterage for tl 


ing to travel, wrote 

;e if I thought you 

' in staying at home, 

when traveling, not- 

an not say stay. I 

le where you do not 

1 happi- 

Yet I well know I 

u, except in the way of duty; therefore, 

:onsult your feelings, but above all, con- 

ng to the very meager support the cir- 
liars in all for the year— she adds; '■ If 
connection this year, I should be well 
; anything from the circuit, but let it be 
hall continue to travel." Heroic little 
:are for a ^rifle like quarterage while she 
and her husband ? Of course George 
receiving that letter, and he left the 
Whether they got it or not is not now 

The next year we find her in a cabin in Jennings county, teaching 
ichool for her own support and the support of her heroic husband, and 
r.f^ving birth to her second son, the now venerable and talented Dr. F. 
|. A< Hester, of the Southeast Indiana Conference. 

George K. Hester was a great and heroic man, not only when trav- 

eling large circuits wirh little pay, but during a long life, in which he 
s even more heroic as a faithful local preacher, with no pay at all. 
But, tested by any human standard, that gifted and devoted wife ex- 
hibited more of the stiitF that heroes are made of, than he ever had 
occasion to show. That he did a father's part well, none will deny, but 
it was chiefly the mother's hand that so trained that family of six boys 
that four of them became eminent and useful preachers, while the 
mother of the Bovard family of preachers always owned her as her 
spiritual mother and guide. Ah, Bene Hester was a hero 1 

A little later, but on the Wabash instead of on the Ohio, Daniel 
DeMotte became a hero. He traveled large circuits, preached well, 
prayed weli and worked well. Bur, after all, who was Daniel DeMotte 
to begin with r A fair tailor at the first, then a medium farmer, with all 
that being a farmer meant on the Wabash sixty years ago. But he 
sacrificed all that to become a traveling preacher. As a preacher he 
was faithful and laborious, but he never worked harder or, personally, 
he never fared harder as a preacher than he did as a farmer, while his 
sorest trials as a preacher were always aleviated by attentions that 
amounted in many cases almost to adoration. But what of his heroic 
wife and those eight children, some of them strapping boys, and. Judg- 
ing from the way they turned out, they were not spoiled by a disregard 
of Solomon's directions as to boy culture. Of her descendants there 
are more than sixty grand-children, and more than twenty of these are 
either preachers, teachers or doctors, two being missionaries in China. 
Of only one is there any occasion for the family to blush at the mention 


of his name, 
well in boyhood as 
Congress, and he % 
Let me not be i 
served fame of Da 
years ago. His cit 
that mother, was the chief of hi 
her funeral : " Shi 

the youngest of the eight, and who promised as 

any of them, was in his early manhood sent to <- 

'as a member of that fool Indiana Senate last winter. 

inderstood as detracting one jot from the well de- 

liel DeMotte. He was a hero among heroes fifty 

large and his salaries small, but that wife. 

Bishop Bowman well said of her at 

no ordinary character, full of faith. 

patient, quiet, cheerful, happy." 

Edwin Ray. though he died young, was a great hero. Eloquent, 
energetic and educated, he was second to none in everything which 
constituted a real hero. Gut when Sally Nolan, the belle of young 
Indianapolis, the tavern keeper's daughter, consented, at his request, to 
exchange her leadership of fashionable society in Indianapolis for the 
lot of an itinerant's wife, and to ride with him from Indianapolis to 
Madison on horseback to enter upon her life work, she showed ■ 

■eater heroism than Edwin Ray ever did in his whole life ; and when 
later she became his strengthening angel, when poverty and actual want 
stared them in the face, ministering by her heroic words when his own 
strong heart failed, and with her own hands making calash bonnets for 
her neighbors to prevent actual starvation, she became by far the more 
heroic of the two, displaying a heroism which is not one whit abated as 
she waits for the summons to call her from labor to reward. 

Joseph Tarkington was a hero, but when Maria Slawson, that was, 
mounted her horse with her bridal outtit on her back and in her saddle- 
bags for a bridal tour from Switzerland county to Monroe, through the 
hills of Brown county— when she rode all day in the rain, and sat up all 
night in a salt boiler's shanty with nothing to eat but one biscuit in 
twenty. four hours, she displayed the material that heroes are made of, 
and yet there vfeie many experiences no less trying than this, for that 
heroic woman to pass through in those days — such as her heroic husband 
never had to encounter. 

Henry S, Talbott was one of the best preachers of his period, and 
one of the most heroic. Unlike most of his contemporaries he left a 
lucrative and promising business when he entered the traveling connec- 
tion. He was a physician with a profitable practice and a promising fu- 
ture when he heroically forsook all for the special privations of an itin- 
erant's life as it was sixty years ago, and he heroically discharged the 
duties of the calling for nearly a half century. But what of that wife, 
left almost alone much of her time, with the cares and responsibilities of 
ten children upon her hands ? A section of her experience, and the forti- 
_tude with which she bore it, would read like a fairy tale to this generation, 
id she yet lives to bless her household and the world with the sweet- 
is of sanctified heroism. 

And what is true of these is true of the whole family of preachers' 
wves of that heroic period of Methodism. They were called to endure 
the greater hardships and to bear the greater burdens, and they bore them 
heroically. The husband in his rounds may sometimes have had to share 
^ith his people in their destitution, but, personally they shared also in 
their abundance. The best bed in the best cabin of the settler was at his 
command, and the best food of the fattest larder of the neighborhood 
Mraa set before him, and this was often both abundant and luxurious. 
Besides this, he was the centre of a large social influence, receiving atten- 
HDns and admirations which greatly aleviated every discomfort, while the 
wife was often alone in a remote cabin, or at best in such a house as hap- 
Kened to be unoccupied in some half-deserted village, and could be rented 
H^Sp for a parsonage. There she was surrounded by her family of half- 

■fed and half-clothed children, with none of the aleviations which raxde 
[her husband's life not only bearable but often enjoyable. It is no ex- 
aggeration to say that the wives of our early preachers often suffered for 
want of nourishing food, while, when on his circuit, the husband had 
abundance. Besides this there was the absence of almost every domestic 
and social comfort which the annual and long moves necessarily implied. 
and yet in mentioning the heroes of early Methodism in Indiana these 
are seldom referred to. They were in all cases the greater heroes. 

But these heroic wives and their heroic husbands were not the only 
heroes of that period, nor the greatest. We are so accustomed to sing 
praises to those who are conspicuous because of accidental position, that 
we fail to remember that in the humblest private in the ranks is often to 
be found every element that constitutes the real hero, and who is all the 
more worthy of recognition because never recognized. . Allen Wiley 
was never as great a hero in his after life as he was those years in which 
he added the unrequited labors of a faithful and laborious local preacher 
to the work of a dilligent farmer. He became more conspicuous but 
never greater. 

Among the real heroes of that heroic period were the Culls, the 
Conwells, the Bariwicks, the Swartzes, the Brentons, the Morrows, and 
hundreds like them, who did not merely supplement the labors of the 
[raveling preachers, but who often led the way. Three-fourths of the 
early societies in Indiana were organized by local preachers, a das* of 
heroic men who never figured in Conferences, and whose names are not 
mentioned among the heroes of the period, but who, on the contrary, 
were often held in light esteem by their traveling contemporaries be- 
cause they were not in the regular work, though often in labors quite as 
abundant as the most laborious of these. As she is the greatest of 
heroes as well as the best of wives who faithfully discharges the duties 
of a stepmother, under the burning criticisms of intermeddlers. not to 
mention the too frequent ingratitude of the immediate beneficiaries of 
her care, so the local preacher who is faithful to his calling, notwtth> 
standing unfriendly criticisms and conspicuous ingratitude, ia to be 
ranked as the greatest of heroes. And of such there were many in the 
early years of Indiana Methodism. 

But even these were not the greatest heroes of early Indiana Meth- 
odism. The exigencies of the period developed a class of heroea 
without whose part the labors of the Wileys, the Stranges and the Arm- 
strongs could not have been any more than the achievements of the 
Grants and the Shermans and the Washingtons in the military could 
htv* been without the burden -bearings of the heroic prival^ 


^P Wi 


Was it nothing heroic to open the cabin of the settler for preaching, 
ith after month, for years, and not merely to prepare it for the meet- 
ing, but to put it in living order after the meeting was over, and then to 
feed the preacher, and often a half dozen neighbors who were always 
ready to accept a half invitation to dine with the preacher, without ever 
Buggesling that a good way to enjoy that iuitury would be to invite the 
preacher to eat at their own table ? And yet the men who did this year 
after year are hardly mentioned, even as an appreciable force in the his- 
tory of early Methodism, much less as heroes of no low grade. The 
preacher who preached in that cabin and ate at that table has been duly 
canonized, but the man who made that preaching possible at a sacrifice 
of time and money, and of domestic comfort which money can not 
measure, has generally been regarded as under unspeakable obligations 
to the preacher and to his neighbors for being counted worthy to do and 
to suffer such things for the church. But the demands upon these for 
heroic living did not cease with the removal of the preaching from their 
cabins to the school house, or to the church when built. To the end of 
their lives (heir houses and barns were always open to Methodist preach- 
ers, whether they were their pastors or were strangers. It was sufficient 
that they came in the name of a Methodist preacher. These heroes were 
not always the richest men of their several neighborhoods, nor of the 
church, but, honoring God with their substance they not only prospered 
in worldly goods, but as a rule they gave to the church and to the world 
a race of stalwart Christian men and women, who, following in the foot- 
steps of their fathers, felt it a pleasure to do for the church. Three- 
fourths of the early students of this University came from homes that 
had been open to (he early traveling preachers, and the generation of 
preachers and the preachers' wives just passing away was recruited al- 
most wholly from them, and the later generations of students and preach- 
ers, and preachers' wives, not to mention the men who are foremost 
in all honorable callings, are largely the grand-children and great-grand- 
children of these same devoted heroic men. 

Indelibly engraven upon the tablet of my memory is one such cabin. 
which in many respects represents hundreds. In 1640. among the hills 
of Dearborn county, on my first round on the Rising Sun circuit, ' 
preached at it. The congregation was composed of primitive country 
people, mostly dressed in homespun, I had never seen one of them 
before, but the entire class had turned out to hear the new boy preacher, 
filling every chair, even the one behind which I was to stand, and every 
bench that had been provided was full, and the sides of each of the two 
beds in the room, and some were standing. Among these was a gawky 


youth, about twenty years of age, green — that is, immature — in appear- 
ance, and dressed in store clothes. I noticed that after meeting, with a 
great many others, he stayed to dinner. Later on I learned that he waa 
a son of the heroic man and woman whose house had been open for 
years for preaching and for the entertainment of preachers, and that he 
was at that time studying law in Wilmington, which accounted for his 
wearing store clothes. Years passed, and that green faoy ripened and 
developed, and he went out into the world to become a Circuit Judge, 
a State Senator, a Supreme Judge, and he has been for nine years the 
honored Dean of the School of Law in He Pauw University. 

But the opening of their doors for preaching was not all. Sometimes 
these same heroes would enlertain an entire iiuarterly meeting, and » great 
part of a camp-meeting when it was expected that tent-holders would 
feed all who were not tent-holders. Was not he a hero who would, 
year after year, not merely kill the fatted calf for a quarterly or i 
meeting, but the yearling, and provide as liberally of other thin; 
quired for entertaining the guests and their horses, and yet keep opea 
house, day and night, for the gratuitous entertainment of preachers 
No traveling preacher ever displayed greater heroism than these truly 
great men, and yet they were not the greatest heroes of that heroic age, 
Such sacrifices as they made from year to year are not to be lightly 
esteemed, yet the supplying of the larder and of the crib was the small 
est part of the sacrifice required for such an otTering to the Lord. Waa 
the cooking for twenty to tifty at a quarterly or camp-mi 
care of the guests whom the open house invited, to 
to any work done for the church ? Let it be bori 
demands were made before the introduction of coo 
appliances for making housekeeping easy. The m 
terly meetings were cooked by the open fireplact 
huge log fire, often without the aid even of a crane, 
meeting by the side of a big log need as a kitchi 

)e counted as second 
e in mind that these 
Ling stoves and other 
■als for those qi 
, before and ove 
ind at the c4Rip- 
1. Looking back 
J been in position to observe every type of 
of church workers, from the early bishops 
; and the early presiding elders, going the 
; and the early circuit riders, preaching 
twenty-fiTe to thirty times every four weeks, and traveling hundreds of 
miles on each round; and the early local preachers, with their gratuitoua 
work, often without even thanks, and the large-hearted men who not 
only contributed of their substance toward the payment of salaries and 
such benevolences as were then required, but who provided liberally 
and cheerfully, also, for the entertainment of these bishops, and eldcra. 

through the years, and havin 
church work, and every class 
on their long horseback tour 
rounds of their large district! 

iftad preachers, I am prepared to say that the very highest and purest 
type of heroism ever displayed in early Methodism in Indiana was 

shown by the women who set the tables and cooked the food and pre- 


pared the beds for these wayfaring men. 
Every circuit had one or more, though una 
some one easily ranked all contemporaries 
and some, from position as well as real mei 
reputation, so that a strange preacher or : 
when hundreds of miles distant, lo what 
taverns," by the way. The presiding elder 

And their name was legion. 
^oidably and without rivalry 
of any given neighborhood, 
it. acquired almost a national 

bishop would be directed, 
ivere known as "Methodist 

before leaving home for a 

series of quarterly 
ence to these "taverns," and the rel 
his successor with the plan of his c 
to conference was always arranged 
about noon or night, and as they Wi 
to such emergencies, this very ofter 
per, or an early or late breakfast, u 
extra labor npon the generous houf 
and which tested her hi 
the heroism of the sold 
impossible, yet some s 
Methodism that I can r 
Indianapolis, whose ho; 
preachers of th: 

mapped out his journey with refer- 
iring preacher gave a list of them to 
rciiit, and a long horseback journey 

so as to strike one of these at or 
re not always located with reference 

made an extra dinner or extra sup- 

I necessity, impi 

sewife that few are now aware of, 
face to face encounter in battle tests 
dier. To call the roll of these heroes would be 
so stand out in the unwritten history of Indiana 
not avoid the mention of Mrs. John Wilkins, of 
aspitable door was always open to the Methodist 
ic period, whether they came as bishops, or elders, 

md her central position made her house almost a 

one. Mrs. Isaac Di 
ing Sun; Mrs. Charles Hasnett, at Madisc 
at Roshviile. But I can not name then 
of them. They bore the very heaviest bu 
outside of the little family circle that knev 
toils and sacrifices, no one ever seemed to 
with them. The 
heroes, while whi 


ived these hospitaiit 
or suffered w 

Mrs. Caleb A. Craft, at Ris- 
1. and Mrs. Roland T. Carr, 

all. There were thousands . 
dens of their times; -•'nd yet, 

what was involved in their 
:are for them or sympathize 

heroes by far, if for n 
harder than the labo: 
wholly without con 
comes from 

,nly , 

yet, bet 

e rated as the 
inted of little 
yet they were the greater 
luse their labors were even 
<rs of others, and quite as essential to results, and 
npensation — even the moral compensation which 
J that the eyes of approbation are upon you — the 
only eye that seemed to see them was the eye of the Father in Heaven. 
It took the stuff that heroes are made of to endure all this, yet they en- 
sured it for years and until the necessity for such service had passed. 




Merely as a specimen of this line of service, let me lift the cur- 
tain and introduce you to the inner life of one ot these heroes as I knew 
it for fifty years or more. We are familiar with the deeds of those who 
have been voted the heroes of early Methodism, but no one ba» ever 
told what were the sacrifices and hardships of the heroic women, whose 
time and strength were devoted to the same cause, in a less conspicu- 
ous way. 

While Indiana was yet a Territory, and her one-roomed house, ^ith 
a half-story above, was yet unfinished, and while the Indian reservation, 
yet inhabited by the Delawares, was less than two miles distant, and no I 
Methodist preaching had yet been established in Brookville, my mother 
opened her doors to the transient preacher and for prayer- meetings, then 
for class-meetings and for preaching, and thus she entered upon her life 
work, and for more than fifty years those doors stood open to Methodist 
preachers. Was it any inferior heroism which would prepare that | 
single room, at once parlor and bed-room and kitchen, for prayer-meet- 
ings, and then, after the meeting was over, clean up after the filthy | 
tobacco chewers who not only defiled the floor, but sometimes, from 
sheer devilishness, would besmear the walls ? Later, and when an 
addition was built to the house, the best room was specially fitted up for 
a preacher's room, with its bed, and table, and chair, and fire-place, and 
then another bed was added, because one bed, though carrying double, 
was often insufficient for the demands. That room was never occupied 
for twenty-five years by any member of the family, for it could never 
he certain, even at bed time, that some belated traveler would not call 
for entertainment before morning. 

A panorama of that heroic woman's work for twenty-five years 
would give new ideas to many of this generation of the demands made 
upon the women of that heroic period, and how they were met. For 
many years either Bishop Soule or Bishop Roberts, or both, were fer- 
quent guests, going to or returning from one of their Conferences, and 
Presiding Elders (iriffeth, and Strange, and Wiley, and Havens, for 
twepty years never slopped in Brookville with any other family- 
whether attending our own quarterly meetings or passing through to 
some other ; and for more than twenty years the bi-weekly roundn of 
the circuit preacher never failed to bring a guest, while the junior 
preacher, always an unmarried man, made it his headijunrters, and spent 
his rest weeks in that preachers' room. There John P. Durbin sludivd 
English grammar without a teacher, and Russel Bigelow, and John F. 
Wright, and James B. Finley were frequent guests. The new preacher, 
with his family, always stopped with us until some house somewhere on 

e circuit could be rented, for it was before the days of parsonages, 
and preachers moving through to their circuits stayed over night, and 
often over Sunday, with their hired team and all. This, too, at a period 

1 to the duties of housewifery as no 
,nd knitting, and making, and mi 
. item of domestic affairs, and 
appliance called ■'help." 
ig once a year for a cii 
t Connersviile district, wher 
:nterta;n a single one of tho) 
and a camp-meeting once a year, " 
I burdens that old-fashioned camp-meetings fastened upon tent-holders. 
I But this was not all — it was hardly half. For a decade or more after 
opening ef the "New Purchase," not a week passed that some one, 
purporting to be a Methodist preacher, did not claim the rites of hos- 
pitality as he was going from Ohio or Kentucky to the " New Purchase " 
to enter land or to see the country. These, ' 

w undei 
Iking, and churning 
jsually without the 
To these were to 
'cuit that embraced 
1 for years no other 
who came from all 
year, with all the 

Methodist tavern," ; 
information obtained, 
some. They were nc 
fcthey were traveling on business purely secular, 
Ktrregular and called at unseasonable hours. 
[Toccasion to remember. It was in the summei 
days of lucifer matches. If the fire died oi 
another without getting a live coal from 

nity had occurred at our house, and I wai 
neighbor's for a coal, only to return with thi 

n eye to economy, 

id they never failed 

In many respects 

only strangers, but 

d they were often 

One of these calls I had 

of 18^5, and before the 

:, there vras no starting 

ame neighbor. Such a 

dispatched to the nearest 

intelligence that her lire 

was out, too. " But why did you not go to the next neighbor ? " asked 
my mother. "Go, and keep on going, till you get what you go for," was 
the command, and I went. The next day was wash day, and the family 
dinner had been served, and the dishes put away, and the wash tub 
resumed, when two strange preachers rode up and asked for dinner. 
What was to be done .' In addition to the hindrance in washing, there 
1 crust of bread in the house, and even if the travelers had 

I time to wait, (here was no time to spare from washing to bake bread. 
In the emergency I was dispatched to the nearest neighbor to borrow a 

i loaf, but her cupboard was bare, too. Remembering the instructions, 

I " Keep going until you get what you go for," I started at double quick 
lo the next neighbor, and to the next, and the next, for three-quarters of 
an hour, I must have zig-zagged several miles, only to return with the 

I :«Bd news that there was not a loaf of bread in the town. Meanwhile 

my mother had taken in the situation, and when I got home exhaustet 
and disgusted, the travelers were eating their dinner, a skillet full 01 
biscuits having been baked at short notice. Soon they were on their 
horses, and the work at the wash tub was resumed. Though the occa- 
sion was a trying one, not a word of murmur escaped the lips of that 
heroic woman, for she endured as seeing the Invisible. Was she not » 

During those years of special hardships, my mother had the t 
panionship and aid of a younger sister, a bright, red-headed girl, as fleet 
of foot as the mountain gaKclie, with a voice, at least to me 
sweet as the melody of angels. Through the misty past of more than 
sixty years, there comes the memory of several incidents illustrative of 
both her mora! and physical heroism On one occasion, not unlike 
that just referred to, she was called to set aside her spinning-wheel just 
when the weaver was clamoring for the yarn which was to go into 
beautiful home-made flannel, from which her new Sunday dress wa 
be made, and which she had promised to furnish that day. More than an 
hour of precious time had been consumed when she resumed her spin, 
ning, striking up in her inimitable treble : 

■Andlet thU feeble body fail." 

Young as I was, I had sympathized with her in her loss of time, 
feeling that at least on that occasion it was an imposition that entire 
strangers should call at that unreasonable hour for a dinner, because tbey 
could get it free, but her heart seemed to be in the song, and as she 
whirled the wheel still more vigorously, and stepped m«re rapidly, as 
if to make up lost time, she came to : 

"In fiope of (bat immorlal crown, 

1 no* Ihe Cross siislain : 
And |(ladl> wander up and down, 

It seemed to my childish imagination that she was triumphing over 
her dilticulties and defying toil and pain, with words specially adapted 
to her " up and down," the to and fro movement in spinning. It was 
exhibition of moral heroism, not often surpassed by martyr or confessor. 
But she was a physical hero as well. I saw her tested once at a camp 
meeting, when she was about twenty years of age. My father had iu. 
vited a number of young men, who were standing around, to eat dinner 
at his table on Sunday. Already more than fifty had eaten. When these 
young men were seated her eye caught one, to whom she walked w 
out consulting any person, and laying her handupon his shoulder, she Miid 


in a distinct voice : "Sir, you can not eat dinner at this table. You were 
with that crowd of rowdies last night that held a mock sacrament with 
whisky, and if you do not leave in a second, I'll help you leave." One 
glance at her eye was sufficient, and he left at once. The deed was the 
more heroic because the unfortunate youth belonged to a family that was 
much respected. The great fighting preacher. Havens, never displayed 
more heroism in any of his encounters with the roughs of that period. 
That heroic girl became a mother afterwards, and she communicated to 
her children the same high purpose. of life. She, though a widow, gave 
her eldest son to her country, and his blood was the very first to fatten 
the soil of West Virginia in the late war, and her second son, under 
difi[iculties and discouragements that would have appalled any one but a 
hero, was wisely trained in head and heart, and she gave him to De 
Pauw University in the person of your gifted and honored red-headed 
Vice-President. Others may sing the man, but give me the loftier 
theme, the heroic women of early Indiana Methodism.