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of S. L. and R. P. Elmore came to the city and started the coal business, bringing the first cargo of hard coal. R. P. and wife at once came into the church as did also Mrs. S. L. and her daughters.
It was this spring of 1851 that father, having changed his business to dock building on the river banks, sold his land on the Kinnikinnick and moved to town, buying a house on one of E. Eldred's leased lots on Michigan Street on the west corner of the alley in the block on which the post office and custom house government building now stands. Later we learned the serious disadvantage of owning a home on a leased lot; for while time continually decreases the worth of the house, it as constantly increases the rental and taxes, while the owner of the lot gets all the increase in value of land, the growth of trees, or other of the house owner's improvements. R. P. Elmore rented the house on Jefferson Street whose back yard cornered on ours, and so we naturally became intimates. But to the great grief of all, Mrs. Elmore, to whom we had become much attached, died after a brief illness during the year, leaving a stricken husband and two sons and two daughters. All of these with their wives and husbands have been among our most particular friends throughout all the years that have come and gone.
After moving to town mother took in some boarders to help out family finances, and I boarded at home, my salary having reached $100 a month without board. Among these boarders were some who later became prominent men. One was a young lawyer, G. S. Lord Starks, son of a leading Methodist preacher of the Troy Conference, whose brother was also a member of the Conference; young Starks was active in the church and Sundayschool, a very aggressive fellow, and succeeded in his profession until his career ended in an early death. Another boarder was Joseph F. McMullen, also active in the church, at that time a clerk in Rood and Whittemore's book store, later a partner with Whittemore, and then having studied law in Joshua Stark's office he became his partner. Before this he had married Mary Emery, and I remember Matt Finch's remark at the time, "She will hold his nose to the grindstone for certain," and she did with her extravagant love for fine clothes and things for self and
family. Poor McMullen, a splendid fellow with a fine mind, a rich culture and a big heart, but not quite strong enough will, lost the edge of his true religious life, and then got financially embarrassed, left town under a cloud, tried to recover in San Francisco, failed in the law there, came to St. Louis and took a position as a gardener in the noted Shaw gardens, for which he had an adaptation from boyhood work on a farm in Sheboygan County; left there and went to Portland, Oregon, and at last lived with his son, a quartermaster's clerk at the fort in Spokane, Washington, where he has recently passed on, over the "great divide." Matt Finch, another boarder, later became a partner in the great law firm with his uncle Asahel Finch of Finches, Lynde, and Miller, of which William Pitt Lynde, afterward mayor and long a famous Congressman, was one of the founders, and Ben Kurtz Miller, noted as a lawyer and traveler to Japan and elsewhere, son of my schoolfellow and playmate Kurtz Miller, was the efficient filing partner. Matt after achieving truly great success died in early maturity. Still another boarder was E. R. Persons, then a clerk for F. J. Blair, but afterward a partner, the firm being Blair and Persons, long a leading crockery and glassware house. He married Nellie Miller, oldest daughter of Henry Miller, who was one of the prominent pioneer forwarding merchants of Milwaukee, and whose wife was an active member of Spring Street Church and a good friend of ours. Mr. Miller was a general favorite, genial, cordial, kind, good-natured, and a specially good accountant and business man. Largely because he was such a good fellow, he had formed associations and acquired habits that were dragging him down, and recognizing his danger, and his obligations to his wife and two sons and two daughters, he said to his wife one day, "If you will mortgage your home for $500 I will take it and go to California, stop drinking and make a new start"; the home was her own, located on the northeast corner of Wisconsin and Jefferson streets (where the Milwaukee Club building stands). After consultation and prayer with pastor and friends and realizing the difficulty of breaking away from his associates at home, she raised the funds and he started off. Report came back that he straightened up, and arriving at San Francisco at once secured a position in the banking
house of D. O. Mills and Company, with the result that he soon became a partner, and sent for his family, and after some years died leaving a large fortune. Not long after his arrival he met an old Milwaukee friend and said to him, "If I were presented a glass of brandy and a loaded pistol and compelled to take the contents of one or the other I would take my chances on the pistol."
One other boarder was Edward S. Taylor, a young lawyer in the office of Lakin and Steever, who soon married Julia Ruggles of Brooklyn, New York, and moved to Evanston, with an office in Chicago, forming what was sometimes facetiously termed the "Law and Lobby firm of Mack and Taylor." But Taylor after serving for some years as secretary of the board of park commissioners, became so successful a stump speaker that in national campaigns he spoke and ranked with Logan and like Republican orators. When the Board of Trade and other business men wanted some one to go to Washington and secure from Congress the World's Fair for Chicago in competition with New York, Cincinnati, St. Louis, and New Orleans, they pitched upon E. S. Taylor as their man and he went and won out.
Still another boarder was Samuel Dale, at that time a student in the office of Finch and Lynde and afterward in that of Carter and Davis; he too, not long after, went to Chicago and made for himself a fine record as a real estate attorney and lived in pursuit of his profession till 1915.
In the fall of 1851 I gave up my position in the store, and with the thought of further preparation for college I went to Appleton to spend six months at study in Lawrence Institute, rooming with my brother. I went by stage, a mud wagon with cloth curtains, reached Fond du Lac late the first night, and stopped at the tavern. The next day I went on to Appleton. The college building there was a three-story and basement frame with the dining-room in the basement, recitation rooms in the first story, and student bedrooms above. My brother and I occupied a suite on the main floor, two rooms with a hall and closet between; one we used for a bedroom and the other for a reception, often a recitation, room. In the closet my brother had rigged up a homemade shower-bath, in which by pulling a rope a wooden pail
filled with water was turned onto a sheet of punctured tin, with a decidedly chilling effect, as we often had to break the ice in the pail as a preliminary; but the shower took all the drowsiness out and well fitted one for the early prayer service. At that time the Reverend William H. Sampson was the principal, James M. Phinney was professor of mathematics, and Romulus O. Kellogg professor of ancient languages, Amelia B. Dayton of modern languages, and Emilie M. Crocker of belles-lettres and also preceptress, and the Reverend Reeder Smith financial agent. It was a strong faculty, each one competent to take the other's place in an emergency, and all having classes outside of their designated professorships. I think I had classes with them all except Miss Crocker, and enjoyed them all.
When I was at Lawrence, those were the days of primitive comforts; for instance, our lights were tallow candles, and on going to an evening debate each took his candle to help out the light; and our heat was furnished by a sheet-iron stove to be kept alive through the night by big chunks of wood put in at the top by means of a lifted-up cover opening the whole top of the stove, and each student sawed or chopped his own wood (except the co-eds, who hired theirs). Study hours closed at ten o'clock, when lights were to be put out and all were expected to be in bed; prayers in chapel (at which all were to be present or get marks which counted a discredit) came at six o'clock in winter and five in summer, and recitations began at seven and continued till five, with an hour at noon for dinner. Saturdays were given to chapel exercises, comprising declamations, reading compositions, and a weekly paper called "The Miscellany," edited and read by a selected student, who secured articles from other students. One Saturday there appeared some "machine poetry" by "Cousin John," purporting to have been ground out of an old machine found in an attic rubbish heap, which began,
My frame is all covered with dust,
My wheels all corroded with rust,
And if you'd have me rhyme with ease
You must furnish my cogs with a little grease.
The grease having been supplied from old candle butts, the machine ground on with squibs and hits at students and student
life, much to the amusement of the listeners; it was soon discovered that I was "Cousin John," and my old machine was often set to grinding afterward.
Our winter sport was coasting, for which the long hill down. to the river via the cut-out roadway gave a fine chance, and the single sleds with a chosen co-ed and a bob with a load of girls were much in evidence during the jolly coasting season. Fall and spring sports were townball, a modified base-ball, one- or two-old-cat, in which co-eds often took part, and hand-ball against the side of a house, mixed with a pomp-pomp-pull-away or I-spy for boys. My place was usually that of catcher behind the bat. I seem to recall one or more big sleigh-rides, with a four-horse sleighload of girls and boys snugly tucked in and off for a moonlight ride all down the river-road, but without any halt for supper anywhere.
My six months at Lawrence Institute, rooming with and in such intimate relationship with my brother, renewing our old intimacies severed for so long, and with a change from business to study life, and the new friendships, some of which have lasted through the years, were among the happy experiences of life. Among the students were the three Colman brothers, Henry, Spier, and Elihu, each of whom has become eminent in his respective line-Henry as a preacher, Spier as a lumberman at La Crosse, and Elihu as a lawyer and federal attorney; Mollie Phinney, noted as a poet over her wedded name Mrs. Stansbury; Florence Edgarton and brother, the hotel keeper's children; Norman Buck, who married my double cousin Dora, also a student and graduate of the first class of Lawrence University. Buck became prominent as a lawyer and judge at Winona, Minnesota, and later as a federal judge in Idaho, dying in 1910 in Spokane, Washington. Lucinda Darling, also of the first class, has been Henry Colman's wife and one of earth's saints all the years since. Then there were a Mr. Johnson, later a hotel keeper at Appleton and elsewhere, with his wife prominent in Methodist circles; and Henry L. Blood, a part-time steward, who also became a well known hotel keeper; all of whom with several others have helped to add to the pleasant memories of my sojourn at Appleton during the winter and spring of 1851 and 1852.