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Adam Cavers


Posted By: Emmet County IAGenWeb Coordinator (email)
Date: 2/12/2011 at 20:22:45

Hardship Followed by Luxury

Such was the experience in the life of the late Adam Cavers--was a very early arrival here as a penniless boy he works his way to fortune-circles the globe.

Brief mention was made in our last issue of the death in England of Mr. Adam Cavers, a former resident of the Village Creek valley in this county, and a man who had become widely known by reason of his extensive travels.

Mr. Cavers was a native of Scotland, being born at Roxburghshire December 23, 1830, and reached the age of 70 years, four months and nineteen days. Of humble parentage his means for securing an education were limited, but he was of a studious nature and in early youth most of his spare moments were spent in reading. In fact, all through his life he evinced a deep interest in books, current literature and the topics of the day, and the information thus gained, in addition to the broadening influence derived from years of travel and contact with the world in all its phases, gave to Mr. Cavers a resourceful mind and a cultured bearing that made him one of the most companionable of men.

A desire to see the world manifested itself in Mr. Cavers youth and in 1849 when only 18 years of age, he sailed for America, landing in Canada. The following year found him in Iowa, he having walked much of the distance as there were no railroads beyond Chicago. Lansing was his objective point then and when he stepped ashore from a river steamer he found it a settlement of a few log cabins. His first employment was the quarrying of rock for the first cellar in the place. In 1851 he went out to Waukon, and all in sight then of the present city was a lone log house. He found a tract of land in Union Prairie to his liking and made the requisite entry of it with the government. It was in later years what was known as the Patrick Norton farm northwest of Waukon. Mr. Cavers did not possess it long, however, and in recalling the sale of it afterwards, he stated that he disposed of it for $10.

Engaging with a government surveying party he went up into what was then the territory of Minnesota, but the Indians drove them out. A few months later at the age of 21 found him on the Isthmus of Panama, aiding in the construction of a railway. Yellow fever was rampant and laborers were dying by the score. The contractors sought by force to prevent any of their able bodied men from leaving camp, and young Cavers to escape the death hole, struck out boldly and alone through the tropical wilds with only his axe to defend him in case of danger. He reached the western coast in due time and boarded a ship for California. The trip was a frightful one for himself and passengers. The ship was storm tossed and blown far out of its course. For 160 days it drifted about the Pacific subjecting all on board to the horrors of starvation and many succumbed to death in consequence. San Francisco was finally reached and with his last $1.50 Mr. Cavers sought an eating resort and expended it for the first full meal he had had for weeks.

He spent some time in the gold diggings of California, and after a varied experience, he joined the rush in 1853 to the newly discovered gold fields in Australia. After remaining there for a year and a half he set sail for the home of his youth in Scotland where he arrived after a voyage of three months. His parents were greatly rejoiced upon his arrival, as they had long since lost trace of the young traveler and had supposed him dead. Shortly before sailing from Melbourne he picked up a paper and gleaned the particulars of the accidental death from a premature blast of an elder brother who was also in Australia but of whose presence there he had never known. On numerous occasions he had passed by the locality where the brother was employed.

In 1855 Mr. Cavers again returned to the United States and settled on a farm near Village Creek in this county. On May 5, 1857, he was wedded to Miss Caroline Ingmundson of that neighborhood, whose cherished and constant companionship he enjoyed to the day of his death. They remained on the farm until 1873, and then selling the property, the love of travel prompted Mr. Cavers and his wife to visit the Old World on a sight seeing trip. In this pleasant and profitable manner have they spent the years ever since.

They visited all the principal capitals of Europe, passed two winters in Rome, toured the Scandinavian countries, Holland, Belgium, German and France, viewing the sights of the three great Paris Expositions. They made a circuit of the globe by way of the Suez Canal, visiting the scenes of Mr. Cavers early life of the gold diggings of Australia. They also visited New Zealand points and returned by way of California. Their trips were always made without the least hurry and in ease and comfort, which added untold zest and delight to the enjoyment to be derived in tours of such extent and character. Four trips were made to Scotland, the inborn love of native land and the home of his youth always attracting Mr. Cavers to those scenes which of all were most dear to him.

Last winter Mr. and Mrs. Cavers repaired to Bournemouth, Hampshire, England, a city nestling among the pines on the seashore, to remain until the summer months when they planned to return to Washington, D.C., purchase a home and reside there in the future. In their travels they had passed several seasons in the national capital and had a fond liking for the city and its environments. Fate decided otherwise, however, and Mr. Cavers' health which until now had been excellent, began to give way, and as stated above he succumbed to the insatiable inroads of Bright's disease. His brother James of Village Creek, was keep informed almost daily of his condition and from the reports sent by his wife, the brother here soon realized that the end was approaching and that he would not be privileged to see him again.

Mr. Cavers passed peacefully and painlessly away, with his devoted and affectionate wife at his side, who in all their years of travel had been his constant companion. So inseparable has been their union that Mrs. Cavers in the letter to relatives here apprising them of the details of her husband's death, plaintively adds that she likens her condition at present "to a ship without a sail, a reed with a support." At the request of the deceased, his remains were conveyed to London and cremated. He died May 11, 1901.

His bereaved widow expects to embark for this country the latter part of this week. The other immediate relatives who share her sorrows are two sisters, Mrs. Richmond of Armstrong, Iowa and Mrs. Findlator [JMR: Janet Cavers Findlator] of Canada and an only brother Mr. James Cavers of Village Creek.

Away back in the 70's Mr. Cavers was a regular contributor to the columns of this paper, his sketches of travel in foreign lands proving most interesting reading and demonstrating the writer to be gifted with unusual ability in this line.

While absent from friends and kindred here most of the time for thirty years, yet this good and true man will be held in the kindliest remembrance by those honored with his acquaintance.

Contributed by: James Richmond. Source: The Mirror, Lansing, Iowa, September 1901


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