Sunday, July 31, 2011

Freedom depends on the recognition of an authority devoted to the defense of Freedom

Freedom is not the result of anarchy and chaos. Freedom requires commitment, investment and order.  History has proven that the unity and very survival of our Nation depend on a strong central government.  Freeing the United States of America from the scrutiny, authority, and assistance of our federal government would be analogous to removing the school teacher from a classroom full of kindergartners; only, unlike some politically active groups in our Country today, kindergartners recognize truth and respond to reason.  STC

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Boomin or Bustin!

Hangtown, aka Placerville
The early 1850s found ol’ Hangtown up one minute and down the next, but always hanging tough!  The irrepressible ravine city was forever boomin’ or bustin’!  In 1852 the little metropolis was thriving, and rapidly gaining renown as the bustling hub of activity in the heart of the mother lode.  The picturesque structures along Main Street were in a constant state of metamorphosis.  The tinder dry buildings were forever burning down, abandoned, or completely renovated. Main Street itself, for whatever reason, never seemed to change.  The real estate changed hands, and the ramshackle, rough-sawn facades were gradually replaced by brick and iron, but the dusty, rut-riddled boulevard held tenaciously to its steady, time-honored course; passed the courthouse, down the grade, and widening for its familiar promenade at the bellower, before narrowing at the Round Tent and making a beeline passed the cozy inns and dimly lit saloons.
   The already infamous settlement gradually spread northward into Bedford’s tent city and eastward up Hangtown Creek. Eventually referred to as upper and lower town, the long narrow settlement was bisected by a crossing near Blair’s Lumber Yard where upper town proceeded eastward along the creek until gradually petering out just short of Smith Flat, home of Three Mile House and the Blue Lead Mine. 
   By June of 1852 Hangtown was bone-dry and cactus thirsty!  The higher elevations held a deep luxurious snow pack and the creeks were running high, but below three thousand feet, the purple vetch was drying up, the roads were dusty, and the creeks were choked with mud. “Obie’s Quest”

Monday, July 25, 2011

A mighty Leisurely Pace!

Seasons are a wondrous thing!  As I grew older, time seemed to speed up, and I gradually became more observant.  As time sailed by, life’s cycles became more apparent.  As a young man I tended to envision time as a vast, unlimited resource; time it seemed was an inexhaustible sea.  Now in the autumn of my life, each hour is increasingly precious, and I thirst for each minute as it drips away from an alarmingly finite pool. 
   The 1870s found ol’ Hangtown completing another cycle of its own.  Following completion of the Transcontinental Railroad, much of the freight that had previously gone through Placerville by wagon, now circumvented the ravine city by rail.  Hangtown’s traffic took another nosedive, and our freight service took on a mighty leisurely pace!  Simultaneously, our fortuitous investment in railroad stock began paying some pretty good dividends!  Lidge and I were able to cut back to eight-hour days, with weekends off.  With most of our route now consisting of local trips, we were home most evenings and beginning to live the good life.  With dividends coming in regularly, our finances perked up considerably, and we began indulging in a few luxuries.  One weekend I found a good buy at auction, and surprised Mariah with a piano.  We put the oak veneered upright against the east wall of the parlor, and following some practice, Mariah and Eliza both got pretty good!  Quite often on Fridays, the Kinneys would come for dinner and spend the evening.  The girls would play the piano, Lidge would accompany on his concertina, all of us would sing, and the entire house would ring with music and laughter.
   We made a number of home improvements during these years, and achieved an unprecedented level of sophistication by closing in a portion of the back porch for use as a water closet.  These state of the art facilities boasted shiny, new porcelain fixtures, complete with a claw foot bathtub, pedestal sink, and a remarkable flush toilet.  These advancements, besides being lavishly convenient, proved to be quite a novelty here on Reservoir Hill, and drew fascinated children from all over the community, requiring the procurement of extravagant amounts of derriere-grooming supplies, and necessitating copious quantities of time, spent in the grooming of the facilities themselves, as our aim was to keep the facilities immaculate, but the children’s’ aim was atrocious! “Obie’s Quest” 

The Storied Metropolis of Hangtown

Hangtown, California, aka, ol' Dry Diggins
The long hard day had assured a good night sleep, and when finally I came to and looked around the following morning, Lidge and Unk were still sound asleep, dead to the world, and snoring to beat the band!  It was almost noon by the time we got under way.  The sun was high, the humidity low, and the air hung heavy with the scent of Manzanita, the drone of insects, and the obnoxious screech of valley jays. We trudged on with determination all day long and right at dusk we reached the crest of a pine-covered ridge. “Over the mountains of the moon, down the valley of the shadow, ride, boldly ride, the shade replied, if you seek for El Dorado.”  So says ol’ Edgar Allan, and Lord knows Poe is well acquainted with shadows. There below, basking in the last red rays of the rapidly setting sun lay the storied metropolis of Hangtown. A small tormented creek meandered through a series of deep, pine-lined ravines, and clinging tenaciously to each bank, at close intervals and in no apparent order, squatted several dozen shake roofed structures reminiscent of the clapboard shanties that graced the Irish community back home. In addition to the rustic, wooden framed structures were numerous log cabins, and on the periphery of the settlement and lining Main Street on either side, an endless sea of tents glowed hospitably from the lamplight within.  The oak scented smoke of countless campfires hung thick in the motionless evening air, and the entire hollow twinkled in the light of countless lamps and flickering candles.  Laughter and jocularity rose spasmodically from a number of well lit gatherings down below, and a melancholy rendition of “Little Annie Laurie” scratched out hesitantly on a pair of slightly flat fiddles, rose plaintively from a massive canvas covered structure in the center of the scene. We eventually found access to the main street and proceeded slowly and deliberately in the waning light, until we reached a large open area in front of the crowded tent.  This was evidently the heart of downtown. Main Street, lined on each side with false storefronts, dropped in a gentle grade from the east; widening and splitting as it approached a long row of canvas covered shops.  At the east end of this row of shops stood a bell tower as high as any building in town.  Main Street proceeded west, past a number of dimly lit, but well patronized saloons and Center Street lead quickly toward a row of barns and stables, which faced the rear of the shops to their south and hung precariously over the banks of scenic Hangtown Creek to the north. Among the storefronts facing the bell tower from the north, was a well lit eating establishment, and observing our approach from this vantage point stood an elderly man and the very first woman that we’d laid eyes on since leaving San Francisco. "Obie's Quest"

Ageless Rendezvous

Photo by S. T. Casebeer
Oh how sweet that summer rain,
That stays but brief, then fades away in mist.
Oh how refreshed those graying fields,
That for a time forgot their grief as Heaven kissed them.
Oh how deeply must that interlude be felt,
When from the barren vastness where they knelt,
The grasses and the woodlands may renew,
However brief that ageless rendezvous,
To bathe our very souls in summer rain,
To be alive, and feel life’s worth again.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

The blizzard of '49

Old Hangtown, Long Ago
Not long after, I was badly startled by a holler and a frantic banging at the door.  I removed the bolt; the door flew open, and there, white with snow, stood Lidge.  “Have you ever seen anything like this?” He inquired excitedly.  “I bet not even Jim Bridger hisself would venture out in a hellacious blizzard like this!”  Lidge slapped his pants to remove the snow as he entered our humble refuge, “Why ain’t ya lit the lamp by now?  It’s dark as it can be!” I lit the lamp and Lidge inspected the stove.  The old Ben Franklin fireplace was loaded with ashes and darn near choked with soot.  Lidge banged on the pipes and cleaned ‘er up best he could.  I busted up some kindling while Lidge searched for coal oil, then we opened the dampers and fired the ol’ gal up.  That heater sucked wind till she chattered and rattled her doors!  It wasn’t long till we had a roarin’ fire.  As darkness fell, we were inundated with snow; drifted, blowing, and falling like powder from the ample cracks of our drafty shelter’s roof.  We hunkered by the Franklin warming our hands and listening to the howling wind, and we prayed that Griz was safe in town cause there ain’t no way that ol’ mule will come home in this!  Twilight arrived early that evening.  The storm abated, and despite occasional flurries, the moon shone down at intervals through a partly cloudy sky, lending an eerie translucence to the scene, and casting curious shadows on the glimmering snow.  I stood in the shelter of the woodshed for a long time that evening, shivering and staring awestruck across the snow-covered Sierras.  I’ve never experienced air fresher, shadows deeper, or a scene so extraordinarily quiet and pristine!  You’ll laugh and think I’m crazy, but it seemed as though I could almost hear the stars.  “Obie’s Quest” 

Friday, July 22, 2011

Crossroads Crap!

Enjoying their roles as puppet masters.
Undoubtedly having a laugh at our expense.
Probably discussing their Halliburton stocks.
According to my reading of the Bible, 
The prospects for these two extremely well fed gentleman 
Arriving eventually in Heaven, 
Are highly dubious!
  Pray for them.
If we could find a photo of these two jokers with Bernie Madoff,
We'd have three of a kind: All Aces!
Any one of them is undoubtedly holding five!
Did you vote for this man?
Are you any wiser now than then?
Who do you suppose they will support in the next election?
Will you help them again?

Karl Rove and Crossroads

Please excuse my disgust!
Over the last decade or so, a group has risen to considerable power and prominence in our Country.  They’ve made grotesque amounts of money in the process.  In my opinion, they are ambitious, unscrupulous people.  The architects of this very successful campaign have taken two hot button issues, issues involving people who already have difficult lives, people whose hardships should evoke our compassion, our empathy, and our prayers, not our hatred, and they’ve twisted and manipulated these issues so that they evoke contempt and repulsion on an unimaginable scale. They have not done this in service to high ideals or some higher good, but for their own selfish gain.  They have deliberately created division in our country for the exclusive purpose of making themselves more powerful and more wealthy.  These people should hang their heads in shame. Abraham Lincoln said a house divided will not stand.  People who deliberately cause hatred and division in our nation are a threat to the wellbeing and survival of our nation. There was a time in this country when such men were considered traitors, and they were dealt with accordingly.  Today they’re called millionaires and given tax breaks. My bible says a man cannot serve both God and money.  My bible says it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of Heaven. Great wealth is not in itself a sin, but power corrupts and corruption thrives on arrogance and greed.  People who thumb their noses now, will one day face a judgment.  My heart is saddened by the gaping wound that has been deliberately created in our country today. And I am furious that the hateful, unscrupulous, self-serving, arrogant people, who’ve deliberately created this division, have grown fat and complacent by lapping up the hemorrhage they’ve created. Dear God, deliver justice, and God Bless the United States of America.  STC

A youthful Infusion of Joy

Thirty minutes later we pulled up at Camp House.  Approaching the yard, the absence of any change was remarkable!  It was just as though I’d turned back the pages of time.  The ol’ home seemed entirely unchanged.  The Azaleas were blooming, the yard was green and manicured, and wisps of smoke rose cordially from the chimney.  It was as though the merciless onslaught of time had somehow spared the ol’ home place, and left it suspended and unscathed by the passage of years, but it was only an illusion. Despite all appearances, six decades have sped ruthlessly away since Lidge and I said our goodbyes and sailed for California.  Uncle Gus is gone, along with my mom and dad and an entire generation of precious loved ones.  During the sixty-plus years that have elapsed since I last tread these stairs, even Cousins Klouse and Irving have succumb to mortality and the inexorable passage of time.  We wish the days and the weeks away and then wonder where the decades went.
   Lidge and I parked the Fords and ascended the steps.  Despite the tenacious grip of reality, I fixated on the doorway, watching for Mom and Dad.  My head new better but my heart still hoped.  Both my folks had been gone for some years now, but the flood of familiar scenes here at the old home place had imprinted their likenesses freshly on my mind.  My consciousness was suddenly awash with visions of mother sewing contentedly in the comfort of her rocker, and Dad and I proudly displaying a stringer of fish.  I swallowed hard and clung tightly to a Christian’s treasured hope of a glad reunion. Suddenly my mind focused and my heart raced as someone stepped to the door.  Lidge’s solemn countenance brightened instantly, as the door flew open and his sister Laura offered her embrace.  Despite his years, Lidge swept the old woman off her feet and they frolicked like a couple of kids, suddenly brimming with a youthful infusion of joy.   After a moment of bliss, Lidge allowed Laura to find her feet and she offered her hand affectionately to me. 
   “This is an unexpected blessing beyond an ol’ woman’s fondest dreams.”  She said tenderly, peering into my glistening eyes.  “Would you like to see your brother?”  I nodded in compliance and my sister-in-law turned and led us into the house.  With the exception of the rearrangement of several pieces of furniture, the old home had changed very little.  Uncle Gus’s collections still graced many of the nooks and crannies, and the faded drawings of children long grown, retained their places of honor on the walls.  Laura led us down the hall and into the study. 
   At age eighty-three, Christoph was hard of hearing and a little nearsighted, but his mind was sharp and his memory remarkably keen.  He was sitting at his roll top desk perusing his Bible.  Becoming aware of our approach, he turned slowly, and his crevassed old countenance brightened with recognition.  His pale eyes twinkled and he caught his breath, covering his mouth with a frail, purple-veined hand.  “How are you doing you ol’ curmudgeon?” I interjected smiling, as I affectionately grasped his withered hands in mine.  “Can ya take time out from your studies to visit your brother?”  Christoph leaned into his walking stick and struggled to his feet.  Wrapping his bony arms around my time ravaged frame, he hugged my neck and pressed his whiskered cheek against my face.  We joined in embrace and despite my best efforts; I added my stifled sobs to those of my brother.  Eventually regaining composure, Lidge and I related the circumstances of our unannounced visit, and then the four of us enjoyed tea, scotch shortbread, and a long overdue visit.  Following a delicious super of clam chowder and fritters, and a priceless evening of fellowship, Christoph eventually nodded off in his rocker, and Laura showed Lidge and me to our rooms.  I’d never slept inside Camp House before.  The renovated carriage house had met my needs nicely during the golden years of my youth, and never once had I slept inside this house.  Laura escorted me upstairs, and then down the hall to Mom and Dad’s old room, wished me a good night, and left me to settle in.  Mothers’ hand mirror and brushes still adorned the dresser, and on the wall opposite the window hung a portrait of my parents on their fiftieth wedding anniversary.
   I’d love to relate to you the emotion that this occasion holds for me; I’d dearly love to express it, but I haven’t got the words.  To say that this was a bittersweet occasion is an understatement of biblical proportions.  The visit with Christoph and Laura was in itself a priceless blessing, but I’d have gladly given several years of my life to go back and do it while my folks were still alive.  It’s too late for me now, but maybe you can benefit by my misfortune.  If you’re blessed with family, visit them often, tell them you love them, and cherish every moment that you share.  Expressing love now can dispel a life of regrets.  I’ll spare ya the details of the following morning’s farewells.  Suffice it to say they were passionate, sincere, and thoroughly expressed!  Following a traumatic parting, Lidge and I cranked up the Lizzies and pulled reluctantly from the yard.  I watched wistfully as what would prove to be my last vision of Camp House shrank slowly and vanished into my rearview mirror, and then returning Christoph and Laura’s lingering waves, I reconciled myself to the close of yet another of life’s irrepressible cycles, and steered my jitney for Gettysburg. “Obie’s Quest”

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Sorrows Slip Away
Soft through the pines,
The summer breeze is blowing,
Sweet, solemn music to me.
Lightly through my mind,
Old memories are flowing,
Tender thoughts of what life used to be.

Souls called away,
Golden days amid the tall grass;
Laughter lingers deep in my heart.
Pleasant moments shared,
Vibrant dreams of youth are ageless.
Hope unites though time may bid us part.

Shadows of time,
When the hours passed in moments,
Tender moments priceless to recall;
Futures to share,
Happy destinies awaiting,
Summer slipping gently into fall.

Seasons quickly pass,
Our memories turn to treasure,
God’s gift to those who remain.
Sorrows slip away,
While our hearts preserve life’s pleasure;
Grief soon fades, while life’s joy we retain.
July 21, 2011
S. T. Case3beer

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

The Tea Party And The Pending Coronation

I rarely hear a quote from “The Tea Party” that the sentiment doesn’t bring to mind the beloved tea party in Lewis Carroll’s “Alice in Wonderland”.  The logic is most always on a par with that displayed by the Mad Hatter during his animated and outrageous tirades behind the looking glass, and the compassion of those intent on doing away with anything remotely resembling a social program, a functioning Federal Government, compassion for the poor and elderly, concern for the environment, or sound principles of any kind, generally resembles the sentiment one might encounter from the Queen of Hearts, as she runs amuck while excitedly demanding “Off with their heads!  Off with their heads!” In fact, in both appearance and attitude, at least two Tea Party favorites, currently seeking office or Coronation, bear an uncanny resemblance to the dread queen herself! Both Tea Parties generally base the premise for their discontent on insanity and misinformation of biblical proportion.  Both offer a unique, unreasonable, little held, grossly inaccurate, and generally outlandish view of the world.  And both are best observed, tongue in cheek, while peering down a deep, dark rabbit hole, from the relative sanity of the real world to which they so feverishly object. STC 

Post Script:  It just occurred to me that, if either Queen candidate is successful, Mr. Romny might be an invaluable addition to the ticket.  For such a droll, tedious, puffed up little man, Mr. Romny is remarkably amusing!  Following the Coronation, Mr. Romny would be a natural as the Court Jester. 

A Personal Testimony

Back in the mid fifties, my previously idyllic childhood was changed forever, by a stubborn fever and a stiff, aching neck. Following a spinal tap and a diagnosis of Poliomyelitis, I spent several weeks convalescing at Kaiser Hospital in Vallejo California. During a two week confinement in a crowded hospital, with countless other crippled children, a five year old has worlds of time to pray. One night, all alone in my room, scared half to death and miles and miles from home, I called out to Jesus from the very depths of my soul. Days later the hospital ran some tests and told my folks to collect me and take me home. Infantile paralysis had run its course; my symptoms were gone, and my folks free to take me home. When I tugged my cowboy boots back on, and Dad and Mom headed out with me in tow, I began a walk with Jesus that has lasted to this day. When my family and I arrived in Missouri in 1978, I became a member of Dry Creek General Baptist Church, where I was baptized under the bridge at Indian Creek in 1979.  Twenty years later, in 1998, I became a member of Pomona Christian Church, where I maintain my membership today. I live in the Ozarks now. Suffice it to say, the majority of my church family are lifelong, staunch conservatives. I love those folks dearly, and so far they tolerate me.  As someone who has considered Jesus Christ my personal Savior for over fifty years, I follow The Golden Rule.  I respond to others as I’d have them respond to me.  I believe in doing justly, loving mercy, walking humbly with my God, and enthusiastically supporting the rights of others to walk with theirs. I believe freedom is all about personal choices. I cherish my own freedom; I make my own choices, and I passionately support the freedom and choices of others.  If that makes me a liberal, so be it.  I prefer to consider myself an American.  

Thursday, July 14, 2011

The Ivy House, Old Hangtown, California

At the intersection of Main Street and Cedar Ravine, long, long ago.
I remember sitting by a crackling fire, high in the Sierra Nevada’s, and listening to the ill-tempered Jerseys filing past, with their cowbells clanking and their babies bawling, and the old bull curling his lip and looking for work. I remember standing on the rough plank sidewalk, outside the Ivy House, inhaling the aroma of grilled ribs sizzling, over Manzanita coals, and watching the massive freight wagons lumber by, with their oxen lowing, their hames bells jingling, and the iron-clad rims of hickory spoked wheels smashing the gravel to dust, beneath their cumbersome tonnage of crocks of butter and barrels of fragrant cheese. I remember believing that my whole life would be a long, wondrous adventure.  And it was.  “Obie’s Quest”

Blood and Thunder

Placerville, California aka Old Hangtown
Outside of blood & thunder novels and periodicals, the Wild West is about put out to pasture.  Long Horn cattle are a vanishing breed and more and more the Angus and Herefords cross the country by rail; Annie Oakley’s fixin’ to retire, ol’ Bill Cody’s lookin’ mighty hoary, and even the Earp’s have cashed in their chips! You’d barely recognize ol’ Hangtown. One by one the old hitching posts are vanishing along Main Street, and just the other day I drove from upper town through lower town and never once saw hide nor hair of a horse! Placerville’s old landmarks are fast disappearing, and palatial cinderblock atrocities rise up like the phoenix from their ash.  Progress beckons like a siren in the night, and ol’ Hangtown answers spellbound to the call.  The boon of electricity has illuminated our little metropolis, and steeds & buggies are fast replaced by Fords.
   Despite the growth and conveniences, I prefer to recall her as she appeared in the undignified days of her misspent youth, back in ’49.  In my mind’s eye, she still exudes the uncivil scent of sawdust floors and canvas; the rustic, rough sawn facades glow hospitably in the crimson shades of long spent sunsets, and rows of tents glow pleasantly, flickering with myriad lamps. “Obie’s Quest”

Be Just, Humble, Merciful, & be Happy.

S. T. Casebeer

Assuming just for a moment, that I’ve gleaned some bit of wisdom from my long, illustrious career, I’ll share a few thoughts on living a satisfying life. First of all, set aside a bright, roomy section of your mind and fill it with all your best memories.  Visit it often and never enter without first removing your shoes.  Keep it immaculate and it will serve you well. Share it with your Deity, whatever you perceive him to be.
   Sharpen your awareness of the natural wonders that surround us, and encourage it’s appreciation in others. Be cognizant of life’s cycles, appreciating each new season in turn, while realizing fully that despite our best efforts, time is resolute, and with time, each season will pass. Embrace each new season with hope and optimism, while retaining all that’s best of seasons past.
   Do not be drawn into meaningless, futile, debilitating debates with loud, obnoxious people. Just consider the source and when possible avoid their venting. Their noise is a noxious vapor, and repulsed silence is often the appropriate response. I have good news.  Your loudmouth neighbor, your loudmouth in-law, and the loudmouth in your Sunday school class, all have one thing in common; they don’t know squat!  They’re just noisy!  Relax and ignore them, and don’t encourage their clamor.  Be mindful of your example to others; it’s your most effective testimony.  Value truth and consider the cost of deceit. 
   Cherish and reverently exercise your right to vote and keep this country free!  Many people have given their lives in order to secure the freedoms you enjoy today.  Honor their sacrifice.  Honor our veterans and all those who choose a life of service. Honor individuality, revere tolerance and exhort all those who lift up the cause of freedom. Confront ignorance, and be diligent in the advancement of knowledge.  Ignorance and intolerance are almost inseparable, and despite what some will tell you, neither one is a virtue. Positive outcomes are never achieved through negative actions. Respond to others, as you’d have them respond to you. 
   Be open to affection but wary of unwholesome pleasures. And do not be deceived. Deceit is ephemeral; lies and indiscretions will eventually come to light. Every action has a consequence.  When considering any action, before proceeding, think the scenario through to its logical conclusion.  You can never undo a thoughtless deed, and carelessly sewn seeds produce a ponderous harvest!
   Anything that you are unable to do in good conscience and moderation, do not do!  Eat nutritiously and judiciously, consistently burning more calories than you consume, until you’ve achieved your ideal weight, and you will be healthier, more industrious, more prosperous, more popular, profoundly gratified, and gut wrenchingly contented.  It’s what all the ages have striven for.
   In all things, promote liberty for all, and justice tempered with mercy.  In this country, everyone has the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Celebrate ethnicity; take pride in your heritage, but value the traditions of others.  Our country’s greatest strength is diversity; honor diversity and keep America strong. While I am generally conservative in my own actions, I am passionately liberal in defense of the choices of others. Personal choices, that’s what freedom is. Remember always that you are as good as any and better than none. Be just, humble, merciful, and be happy.  “Obie’s Quest”

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Asa Steven Camp

My great great grandpa, Asa Steven Camp (1829 to 1902) 
Asa was born on April 5th, 1829 in Herrick Township, Bradford County, Pennsylvania.  Named Asa Steven after his mother’s family (Stevens), Asa was the second oldest of nine children.  Asa was only fourteen when his mother passed away in 1842 at the age of 36. In the summer of 1850, at the age of 22, Asa accompanied his Father Clark Camp, across the plains to the gold camps of northern California’s Sierra Nevada foothills.  There, along the banks of the south fork of the American River and its tributaries, in the company of one hundred thousand other crazed miners; Asa and his father Clark pursued their dreams of the storied El Dorado and its gold. We know for a fact that Asa returned east for a time prior to a second trek to California in 1854, and it’s possible that Asa lived for a time with his father in Bradford, Illinois, before returning to Hangtown.
   The trip across the Great Plains by wagon would have required several months of hard travel, and necessitated negotiating the Sierra Nevada Mountains of northern California, during the few months of the year during which the mountain passes are not made impassable by mountains of drifting snow. During this second pilgrimage, Asa became acquainted with the Oldfield family.  John and Mary Eliza Oldfield and their children hailed from Wisconsin, and they too were bound for the Sierra Nevada foothills where John intended to try his hand at mining. Among the Oldfield family was 7-year-old Laura Ellen.  We can only guess at the details of Asa and Laura Ellen’s first meeting.  With an age difference of 18 years, while it’s possible that Asa and Laura bonded during their long, tedious trip west, it seems unlikely that any thoughts of a relationship flourished until many years later. At some point in time Asa and Laura Ellen’s well rooted relationship set buds and bloomed, and on November 5th, of 1867, the Reverend D. Sutterland joined Kelsey resident Asa S. Camp, age 37 years, and Laura Ellen Oldfield, age 19, in holy wedlock.  This union would produce 5 children, and endure until the time of Asa’s death. The Camps lived for a time just off Mosquito Road, on the west bank of the south fork of the American River, east of the rural settlement of Mosquito.  There Asa and Laura Ellen raised their family, and Asa pursued the vocations of miner and freight hauler.  In 1872 the family moved closer to Hangtown, alias Placerville, taking up residence on Reservoir Hill, where Asa passed away in December of 1902, followed by wife Laura Ellen, twenty-six years later, in 1928. 

Friday, July 8, 2011

Just Rememberin'

I remember the smell of that ornery colt,
The thrill of a sunset race,
The feel of his mane as I held on tight,
With the wind upon my face.
I remember how he’d nicker,
When I came into view.
I remember how we loved to ride,
And how I loved him too.
That was back in ’83;
Ol’ Smokey’s race is run,
But I often think of TG Smoke,
By the evening’s crimson sun,
When I feel the wind upon my face,
And another day is done.


Thursday, July 7, 2011

Jared Waldo Daniels

Another of my great great grandpas, 
Jared Waldo Daniels, circa 1855
The following is an excerpt from
Biography Of Minnesota
History of Minnesota
By Judge Charles E. Flandrau
The Century Publishing and Engraving Company
Jared Waldo Daniels

Jared Waldo Daniels, M. D., was born at Stratford, Coos County, New Hampshire, June 15, 1827, the son of Joseph and Roxana (Hatch) Daniels. His paternal grandfather came from Mendon, Massachusetts, and settled in Stratford, New Hampshire, where he followed farming.  He also owned and operated lumber and flour mills.  He was a man of prominence in local affairs and served as a private soldier in the war for American Independence.  Joseph Daniels, the father of our subject, was also a farmer.  He had two sons and one daughter.  One of the sons, Dr. A. W. Daniels, has been for many years a prominent physician in St. Peter, Minnesota; the other son is the subject of this sketch.  Jared W. Daniels was “bound out” to a farmer when he was four years old. His mother lived to the good old age of eighty-four years, and died at St. Peter, Minnesota.  When Jared was eleven years of age he left the farm and learned the trade of cabinet making.  He attended the common school and spent six years in an academy, working his trade to pay his way.  After leaving the academy, he went to Boston and studied medicine with his uncle, Dr. B. F. Hatch.  He then attended medical lectures and afterwards graduated at the Bellevue Medical College, in New York City.  In March 1855, he came to Minnesota, and while visiting his brother, who was a physician at the lower Sioux agency, was appointed to the upper Sioux agency at Yellow Medicine Minnesota.  He was the first physician to the Sioux Indians at that agency, and to the United States troops who were afterwards stationed there, and he remained at this agency about seven years.  In 1862 he was appointed assistant surgeon in the sixth Minnesota Infantry, and was with that regiment under General Sibley in the campaign of that year.  He was the only physician in the command of Col. Joseph R. Brown at the battle of Birch Coulie, where over one-third of the command was killed or wounded before reinforcements came to their relief.  He was also in the battle of Woods Lake. Hon. Charles W. Johnson, who was present at the battle of Birch Coulie, made the following statement, which appears in the official record of that engagement:
   “Assistant Surgeon, Jared W. Daniels, had accompanied Company A to Birch Coulie, and no man on any battle-field displayed more heroism.  On the morning of that fatal 2nd of September he is remembered as going about bareheaded, examining and binding up the wounds of the men.  He was in great personal danger, but seemingly unheedful of it all, he never flinched for a moment, and for thirty-six hours he never ate a morsel of food nor closed his eyes for sleep, so great was the demand upon him.”  
   In 1863 Dr. Daniels crossed the plains with General Sibley to the Missouri, and participated in the battles of Big Mounds, Buffalo Lake and Stony Lake.  On his return he was promoted to surgeon in the Second Minnesota Cavalry, and again crossed the plains in 1864, joining General Sully on the Missouri River, and was with him on the march to the Yellowstone.  He was present at the battles of Kill Deer Mountain and Bad Lands.  On his return he was stationed at Fort Snelling until he was mustered out in the fall of 1865.  Soon after, he located at Fairbault for the practice of his profession.  In 1868 Bishop Whipple had money placed in his hands by an act of Congress for the benefit of the Indians at Fort Wadsworth.  Doctor Daniels being well acquainted with these Indians was selected by Bishop Whipple to go to Fort Wadsworth and take charge of the distribution, and to look after the relief of the Indians.  At that time the Indians were scattered and very poor- having very little clothing except breechclouts and leggings- and they had to be gathered together at the agency and cared for. 
   In 1869, Doctor Daniels was appointed by the President as Indian agent at Sisseton.  Under his charge they were required to work for themselves, or at the agency, for everything they received from the government, so that when he left them, in 1871, they all had land under cultivation, were dressed like white people, and many of them living in houses of their own building; schools were established and they were in the way of becoming self-supporting. Doctor Daniels provided a code of laws, and established the first police force composed of Indians, in the history of the government, to patrol the reservation and the frontier, and to suppress the importation and the sale of whiskey.  He remained in charge of the Sisseton agency until December 1871.  He was then transferred by General Grant to the Red Cloud agency, in Wyoming, to pacify the Sioux and other hostile tribes.  Here he found about 5,000 Indians, consisting of Sioux, Cheyenne and Arapahoe, the greater portion of them being in a turbulent state and hostile to the government.  Under the influence of the Doctor’s generous treatment, the number increased, by others coming in from the north and south, until there was something over 8,000 Indians at the agency.  There were no white people at the agency except those in Dr. Daniel’s employ.  He remained at the Red Cloud agency until the fall of 1873, when he was appointed inspector of agencies, in which capacity he traveled all over the western country, visiting the different Indian agencies in Montana, Idaho, Washington, New Mexico and Arizona.  In July 1875, he was sent alone to make a treaty with the Sioux, after the Indian Department with a delegation of Indians in Washington had failed, by which they were to give up their hunting rights south of the Platte River, when it was the only place where the buffalo could be found.  He not only made the treaty but dictated to the Indians what they should receive, giving them wagons, harnesses, and cattle instead of the guns and ammunition, which they most urgently demanded.  In September of the same year, he was appointed as a commissioner to treat with the Indians for the cession of the Black Hills.  In 1876 he was appointed on another commission to treat with the same Indians, and effected the treaty by which the Black Hills was ceded to the United States. In 1886 he was again appointed on a commission to make a treaty with the Indians in North Dakota, and with all the tribes in Montana, northern Idaho and eastern Washington, and they effected treaties with all these tribes. In 1887 he left the government service and returned to Fairbault, where he has since resided, having retired from the active practice of his profession. Doctor Daniels had formed an acquaintance with nearly all the Indian tribes in the Northwest, and could speak the Sioux language. He had known them intimately in peace and in war, in plenty and in poverty, in time of sorrow and in time of joy.  He had sympathized with their troubles, healed their sick and taken part in their festivities, until he was loved as one of their own people, owing to his just treatment of them under all circumstances.  This was the secret of his success with them.  He could go in safety where no other white man dared, and though he had many narrow escapes, he received no injury, and he never carried arms to protect himself.  His influence was greater among the Indians than that of any other white man, and his life was safe when that of another would be in jeopardy. 
   Within a few months after taking charge of the Red Cloud agency, Dr, Daniels was ordered by the Indian Department to take a delegation of Indians to Washington.  In complying he selected Red Cloud- the great war chief who had fought the United States troops for three years without being conquered- and twenty-eight of his leading braves.  He took them to the Capitol, New York and Philadelphia, that they might more fully appreciate the power of the government.  When the Milwaukee railroad desired to extend its line through South Dakota the Indians would not permit the surveyors to cross their reservation. Dr. Daniels was employed to get their consent, which they readily granted when he explained to them the benefits to be derived from it. 

From the “PIONEER PRESS” we quote the following:
“Dr. J. W. Daniels, recently in charge of the Indian agency at Lake Traverse, paid a visit to his wards in that region prior to his departure for the Fort Laramie agency, to which he had been appointed.  The second night after his departure for St. Paul, he was overtaken by one of the scouts or messengers, who handed him the following curious certificate of good character, which is an exact copy of the original drawn up in the handwriting of Gabrel Renville: “Dr. J. W. Daniels has been our agent for three winters, and in all his business with us he has always been honest and upright.  We are very much attached to him, and regret very much that he is going to leave us.  We seldom praise a white man; we always have some fault to find with him; but we know that this man is an honest and very good man, and we want the wise men at Washington to know this, and that when we say this, we speak nothing but the truth.  We, the chiefs and head men of the Sisseton and Wahpeton bands of Sioux Indians write this.” 

Gabrel Renville                                Wieaurpinoufra
Yaeaudupatotanka                            Hokxedanwaxte
Ecauapieka                                       Cantelyapa
Wakanto                                           Akicitanapie

In politics Dr. Daniels has always been a Republican.  He belongs to the G. A. R. and the Loyal Legion, and is a member of the Episcopal Church.  He was married June 23, 1856, to Miss Hortense Eugenie Beardsley, of Oconomowoe, Wisconsin.  They had four children, of whom two are living: Hortense Virginie (Mrs. H. B. Hill, of Fairbault) and Asa Wilder Daniels, living at Placerville, California.  Mrs. Daniels died in 1869, in St Peter.  Dr. Daniels was again married, October 11, 1882, to Mrs. Ella Winslow, of Fairbault.

REMINISCENCES of Jared Waldo Daniels

Excerpt, chapter 3, from:
Jared Waldo Daniels
Transcribed from the families copy of the original document
& Edited by Dr. Daniels’ great, great grandson,
S. T. Casebeer

In 1858 this place was an Indian Agency where the Sisseton and Wahpeton received their annuities at such times in the year as the government saw fit to send them to the Agent, regardless of the time specified in the treaty.  It consisted of three log buildings, one for the farmer and a boarding house, one for the blacksmith, and one for the blacksmith shop.  Three buildings were located on the banks of the Yellow Medicine River, about two miles from its junction with the Minnesota.  A horseshoe shaped piece of bottomland surrounded by high bluffs formed the background for this picturesque place.  Ten acres was the extent of the enclosure, which was not quite large enough for the camping ground of Northern Indians.  On the opposite side of the river was located the trading posts which consisted of three log buildings on a plot of land backed by high bluffs covered with timber.

To this beautiful valley I was introduced by farmer Robertson, on the first day of May, 1855.  It was a beautiful sight at the time as the groves of plumb trees that skirted the timber on either side of the road passing down the bluff, were in full blossom, and the trees just putting on their Spring attire. I was taken to the blacksmiths’ house and told that this was to be my quarters.  The house was 12 by 18 feet, log, and as neat and tidy on the inside as woman’s hands could make it. I was to board with the family, which consisted of man and wife with a child about three years of age, and sleep in the attic.  Here I spent most of my time for a year, and I cannot say that any part of the time passed unpleasantly, for Mr. Ford and his good wife were well informed, and had had much experience with the Indians.  Mrs. Ford could speak the Dakota language as well as a native.  This was the only white family at the Agency.  The farmer had a mixed blood for a wife who was educated in Canada.  She was a pleasant woman, and very interesting in giving her reminiscences of life among the Dakotas.  The farmer boarded the men employed, twelve at this time, and his wife, assisted by an Indian woman, did the cooking. 

A mile and a half from the Agency was a mission of the Presbyterian Church, presided over by Rev. Dr. Williamson, and a mile beyond, another in the charge of Rev. S. R. Riggs.  At one of these places all the employees, except for a couple of French Canadians, would attend church every Sunday that the weather would permit.

Mr. Robertson, the farmer, was a Scotchman educated at Oxford, and had traveled in many countries.  He spoke French and Spanish fluently.  He was a large, broad shouldered man, six feet two inches in height, and a weight of two hundred and thirty-five pounds. He was kind and generous with the urbanity of deportment, and conversation that fitted him for the most polished society. His life closed at the Lower Agency in the Spring of 1858, with the mystery that always seemed to surround him.

August and part of September I spent among the Indians at Big Stone Lake and Lac Travers, looking after those people professionally, the plowing being done by the government, as the Agent did not think it quite safe for him to perform that duty. The fact was, the Agent was an honest, upright man, not amenable to the machinations of Indian traders, and the influences were against him with all who could not use him.

The last of September, all the Indians from the North came to the Agency to receive their annuities, but they did not get them until the last of October, owing to the money not being sent to the Agent.  If it had been sent from Washington, he had not been informed.  It was paid the Indians as soon as he received it.  Had it not been for the large quantity of dried buffalo meat that the Indians brought with them they would have had to return without their annuities or starve.  During their stay at the Agency they were being trusted by the traders to the extent of the amount of money they were to receive, so that when they were paid they had very little, if any, to take home. When the number of Indians was taken, they were all seated in a circle on the prairie and four men counted them three times.  Men, women and children, the youngest to the oldest, sick and bedridden, all were there. A few less than five thousand, about 4700 Indians were present. The Cut-Head band were not all there.

The Agent made an application for troops to be present at the pay table to keep the traders a proper distance away and to protect the Indians. Thirty soldiers were sent him, under the command of Lt. Ruggles, a young officer just from West Point, and this was his first detached duty, which seemed somewhat severe, as he was not mounted and with his men had made a march of fifty miles over a burnt prairie during a bad windstorm.

Everything passed off pleasantly at the payment; the Indians paid their debts, and went home pleased with their Agent.  Though according to the treaty of 1851, they should have had their annuities in July, they forgave the wrong.

One evening in July, a crazy man made his appearance at the Agency, and disappeared as quietly as he came. The reason that we had to consider him of unsound mind was, that he would answer no questions, and was repeatedly making this remark, “Sixty-nine will surely come when no man can hold his own.” About ten days after this, two Indians came to the Agency with this man, having found him on the prairie, fifty miles west of this place.  They were on their way home from an Indian camp on Jim River. When they found him he had nothing on but a shirt, he was foot sore, and unable to travel.  They put on him leggings, moccasins, and a piece of cloth on his head, then they lifted him onto one of the horses they had been riding and one of them walked by his side and held him on.  The first water they came to he was provided with something to eat, as they had plenty of dried buffalo meat.  The following day he was much refreshed, but they had to support him all the way here, which took the greater part of three days.  The farmer sent him below where he could be taken care of. 

There are people, for I have met them, who are so prejudiced against the Indians, that they will say it was a mercenary motive that prompted these Indians to perform the part of the “Good Samaritan.” Such persons have very little, if any knowledge of Indian character, or are incapable of appreciating the motive because of the evil within themselves.  There was no other motive but that which civilization teaches us is the foundation of all goodness, “Do unto others as you would like others to do unto you.”

Friday, July 1, 2011

July 4th, 2011: The Task Before Us

July 4th, 2011:  On November 19th, 1863, President Abraham Lincoln attended the dedication of the Gettysburg National Cemetery.  As usual, the President economized his words, and the brevity of his address was only surpassed by his eloquence. According to our president, those whose souls had hallowed this ground had given their lives that the nation itself might live.  And he entreated the people to dedicate themselves to the great task before them, “that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom-and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.” A government of, by, and for the people, united “under God”, that’s a compelling idea, a people unified by their faith, and their mutual pursuit of liberty and justice for all. That’s a proposition that a man could proudly die for. In March of 1865, following his re-election, a haggard and humble President Lincoln addressed a traumatized nation, staggering through the final stages of a horrific conflict. Visibly moved by the occasion, our war-weary President closed his Second Inaugural Address with the following sentiment: “With malice toward none; with charity for all; with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in; to bind up the nation’s wounds; to care for him who shall have born the battle, and for his widow, and his orphan- to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves, and with all nations.” On this Independence Day, may we rededicate ourselves to this great task; may God assist us in our efforts, and may God Bless the United States of America.  STC