46 Pages

'Three Score Years and Ten' - Life-Long Memories of Fort Snelling, Minnesota, and Other - Parts of the West


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Published 08 December 2010
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The Project Gutenberg EBook of 'Three Score Years and Ten', by Charlotte Ouisconsin Van Cleve This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with almost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away or re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included with this eBook or online at www.gutenberg.org Title: 'Three Score Years and Ten' Life-Long Memories of Fort Snelling, Minnesota, and Other Parts of the West Author: Charlotte Ouisconsin Van Cleve Release Date: December 30, 2006 [EBook #20232] Language: English Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1 *** START OF THIS PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK 'THREE SCORE YEARS AND TEN' *** Produced by K. Nordquist, Bruce Albrecht, Diane Monico, and The Online Distributed Proofreading Team at http://www.pgdp.net. "THREE SCORE YEARS AND TEN," LIFE-LONG MEMORIES OF FORT SNELLING, MINNESOTA, AND OTHER PARTS OF THE WEST, BY CHARLOTTE OUISCONSIN VAN CLEVE. 1888. COPYRIGHTED 1888. PRINTING HOUSE HARRISON & SMITH, 257 AND 259 FIRST AVENUE SOUTH, MINNEAPOLIS, MINN. DEDICATION. "To the husband of my youth, by whose side I have journeyed more than half a century, and whose tender love has brightened my whole life, this book is dedicated." ST. PAUL, MINNESOTA, 515 Portland Avenue . March 14, 1888. MY DEAR MRS. VAN CLEVE: Whenever there is growth in any community the desire arises to know something of what was in the beginning. It was with no weariness I read in manuscript the "Reminiscences" from your pen. Each chapter contains something in connection with the dawn of civilization in the west, which is worthy of being preserved. The incidents related are stirring, and the style is graphic. When I finished the perusal I felt the force of the adage, that "Truth is Stranger than Fiction." As the diary of John Evelyn, throwing light upon the days of Charles the Second, is still read, so I think, if printed, your unaffected narrative will always find a place in the private and public libraries of Minnesota and the Western States. Believe me, Sincerely, EDWARD D. NEILL. TABLE OF CONTENTS CHAPTER I. II. III. IV. V. VI. A COINCIDENCE. VII. ANDREW TULLY . VIII. A WOLF STORY . IX. RED RIVER OR SELKIRK SETTLEMENT. X. RUNNING THE GAUNTLET. XI. XII. CINCINNATI. XIII. NEW HOME—SCHOOL DAYS. XIV. FATHER'S DEATH, ETC. XV. XVI. XVII. XVIII. MALCOLM CLARK. XIX. XX. XXI. XXII. THE GOLDEN WEDDING. PAGE 7 16 24 32 38 45 49 62 68 74 80 91 99 105 110 125 131 148 157 161 167 173 [Pg 7] "Three Score Years and Ten." CHAPTER I. One evening long ago, when this wonderful century, now in a vigorous old age, had just passed its nineteenth birthday, in a bright, cheerful sitting-room in the good old city of Hartford, Conn., sat a fair young matron beside a cradle in which lay sleeping a beautiful boy a year and a half old. The gentle motion of her little slippered foot on the rocker, keeping time with the soft humming of a cradle hymn; the work-basket near by; and the dainty needle work in her hand; the table tastefully spread for two, and the clear wood fire in the oldfashioned fireplace, formed as restful a picture of domestic peace and content as one could wish to see. But the expectant look in the bright blue eyes, uplifted at each sound, clearly indicated that some one was coming who should round out this little circle and make it complete. And now the familiar footstep draws near and the husband and father enters; she rises joyfully to meet him, but seeing in his face a look of grief or pain, exclaims, "What is it, dear husband?" He holds her very close, [Pg 8] but cannot find words to tell her that which will cross all their cherished plans of a year's quiet resting in her native city; and handing her an official document, with its ominous red seal newly broken, he watches her anxiously as she reads: Lieutenant Nathan Clark, U. S. Fifth Infantry: You are hereby appointed Assistant Commissary of Subsistence, and will forthwith join your regiment at Detroit, which is under orders to move to the Mississippi river and establish a military post at the mouth of the St. Peters river. With respect and esteem, GEORGE GIBSON, Com. Gen. of Subsistence. Twice she reads this order, and then, looking up with a smile, says, with a slight tremor in her voice: "Is this all, beloved? Why should it so distress you? You surely do not flinch from duty?" With a perceptible start at such a suggestion, the gallant young soldier replies: "No, no, my precious wife; but this means separation from you and our boy, for you cannot venture on so long and perilous a journey as that, and our separation is not for days and months, it may be for years; how can I endure it? And we were so happy here in our snug little cottage—you in the midst of early friends and beloved relatives, your childhood companions and associations all about you; and I with my duties as recruiting officer. We had reason to hope and expect at least a year longer of this life, and this sudden blasting of our hopes seems cruel. Oh, Charlotte! how can you [Pg 9] bear the thought?" As he thus poured out his heart, her eyes regarded him with wonder, and when he ceased she drew him to his favorite chair, and, seating herself on a low stool beside him, took his hand in hers, and, looking up at him through her tears, said with ineffable tenderness: "My own dear husband; how could you for a moment imagine that this order means separation? Could you believe that I would remain here in comfort, and suffer you to go alone to that far-off region where, if ever, you will need me to cheer and aid you? If my marriage vows mean anything, they mean that I am not to forsake you at such a time as this. What would the comforts of this dear home, what the society of relatives and friends be to me, with you in a wild country, in the midst of a savage people, deprived of almost everything that makes life dear? No, no, my beloved; where thou goest I will go; thy people shall be my people; entreat me not to leave thee, or to refrain from following after thee, for naught but death shall part thee and me." The young soldier took his true, brave wife to his heart, and, holding her close, exclaimed: "How deep and sacred is the love of woman! who can comprehend its entire unselfishness?" and both found relief in blessed tears of love and thankfulness which cleared away all doubts and