EDITED BY John C. Parish
Associate Editor of the State Historical Society of Iowa
Copyright 1920 by the State Historical Society of Iowa
(Transcribed by Debbie Clough Gerischer)
CROSSING THE MISSISSIPPI
In. the early movement of settlers to Iowa, the Mississippi
River played a double role. To the emigrants from Virginia, Kentucky, and other
States bordering on the Ohio and Mississippi, it served as an invaluable
highway. To those who came overland from Chicago, Milwaukee, or any point in
Illinois, on the other hand, it loomed up as an almost impassable barrier.
Either as an aid or a hindrance to travel, it was a factor all early emigrants
had to reckon with.
The difficulties to be encountered by travel in a white-topped emigrant
wagon in those early days can hardly be over-emphasized. There were few roads
and no bridges. Broken traces and mired wheels were the common happenings of a
day's journey. Rivers proved to be an unfailing source of trouble. The small
streams were crossed by fording the larger ones by swimming the teams, wagons
and all. But when the Father of Waters was reached, these methods were out of
the question: here apparently was an insurmountable obstacle. However, these
eager home seekers were not willing to be deprived of the hard earned fruits of
their trying journey—now lying within sight—by a mere river. And out of this
situation came the ferry. The earliest type of ferry to operate on the
Mississippi River was the canoe. It served the Indians as a means of crossing
long before the whites penetrated as far west as the Mississippi. When the white
explorers finally reached the valley region, they also adopted the customary
mode of crossing long followed by their red predecessors. At a still later
period, the canoe answered the more frequent and pressing demands of the hunters
and trappers on their way to and from the country then regarded as the far west.
It even survived till the day when occasional homeseekers in their emigrant
wagons found their way into that pioneer region.
Only the ordinary difficulties and risks of canoeing attended the crossing
of the river by the Indians, white explorers, and trappers; but with the
emigrants it was different. For as a pioneer account relates, "wagons had to be
unloaded and taken to pieces, and both they and their loads shipped in small
cargoes at a voyage, till all were over; then the teams had to be unharnessed or
unyoked and made to swim, the horses being led by the halter at the side of the
canoe, and the oxen by the horns." A still more hazardous undertaking was the
crossing in winter, and in the springtime when huge cakes of ice raced along on
the swift current, ready to smash into splinters any luckless craft that might
get in the way. But this was not always taken into account by travelers eager to
reach their destination, and sometimes, in the face of imminent peril, they
insisted on being ferried over.
An example of this is afforded by the story of a New Englander—a young
college graduate wholly unfamiliar with the stern conditions of pioneer life. He
arrived at a point on the Illinois shore opposite Burlington, in December, 1840.
Being very anxious to get across the river that evening, he tried to engage the
services of the ferryman, who, however, flatly refused to venture on the river
in the dark, giving as his reason that the floating ice made it far too
perilsome. Nothing daunted by the ferryman's dark and foreboding picture, the
easterner still demanded to be taken over, but it proved futile. So instead of
the hoped for conveniences of a Burlington hotel, he was forced to accept the
more scant offerings of a one-roomed cabin, and submit to the discomfort of
sleeping in the same room with thirty others—men, women, and children. But the
next day when the canoe landed him safely on the Burlington side of the river
after an hour's trying struggle among the floating cakes of ice, he probably
felt less bitter toward the stubborn ferryman.
While the canoe met very satisfactorily the needs of the early explorers,
stray travelers, and occasional homeseekers, it proved wholly inadequate for the
stream of emigrants which followed the opening of the Black Hawk Purchase.
Imagine the situation when a group of twelve or more emigrant wagons lined up on
the Illinois shore to be ferried over— the confusion, the frenzied haste to get
the wagons unloaded and taken to pieces, the long disheartening wait while the
total tonnage of the wagons was being taken over, bit by bit, when the hours
dragged and even the best natured grew surly. Hence, to meet this situation
brought about by the onrush of settlers to the Iowa country, regular public
ferries equipped to carry whole wagonloads at a time came into use.
The regular public ferries passed through several well defined stages of
evolution, easily distinguished by the type of motive power. Flat-boats and
skiffs marked the initial stage. The craft generally spoken of as "flat-boats"
were huge barge-like affairs, so constructed as to hold wagon, team, and other
equipment. They were steered by huge sweeps, often as long as the boats
themselves. By some these boats were designated as "mud scows". The
distinguishing characteristic of this type was that man supplied the motive
power. Propelled in some cases by oars, in others by poles, in still others by
huge sweeps, it was nevertheless human strength that furnished the moving force.
Although a marked improvement over the canoe, the flat-boat did not do
away with the trials of ferrying. A large element of risk still remained: the
craft was always at the mercy of the current and was carried well down stream.
After dark the hazards of crossing multiplied and ferrymen charged accordingly.
And in many cases it still took an hour or more to cross the river. While it is
very likely that the first flat-boat ferry to operate on the Mississippi within
the borders of Iowa was one established at Keokuk to serve the early settlers in
the Half Breed Tract, there appears to be no recorded evidence to show it. So
far as can be gathered from available records, Clark's Ferry at Buffalo marks
the opening of flat-boat ferrying in Iowa. The ferry was established by Captain
Benjamin W. Clark in 1833 while he was still living at Andalusia, Illinois. For
a number of years it held the distinction of being the most noted ferry between
Burlington and Dubuque. Indeed, one writer went so far as to state that it was
"the most convenient place to cross the Mississippi .... anywhere between Balize
and Prairie du Chien." And probably a major portion of the traffic passing from
the direction of the Illinois River to the mining region west of the
Mississippi, or toward the interior, crossed the river at this point. However,
this reputation was short lived, and later developments lead one to believe that
it was based more on the conspicuous absence of other ferries than on any
intrinsic qualities. In 1836, Antoine Le Claire established a ferry at
Davenport—a few miles below Buffalo—and he gradually drew away most of the
travel that had heretofore passed over Clark's Ferry. As the stream of emigrants
heading for the Iowa country increased in volume, the process of carrying it
over the Mississippi in man-propelled craft soon became inadequate. Probably
some ingenious individual saw the absurdity in having humans sweat and toil away
at the poles and oars while veritable reservoirs of power rested on the ferry
boat, and struck upon the happy idea of making the horses furnish the power. At
any rate, a transition did take place wherein the crude flat-boat gave way to
the horse ferry, an affair moved by horse power rather than by man power.
However, the transition was not a complete one; in many cases this stage was not
present, the flat-boat being directly followed by the steam ferry.
In a newspaper published in Bloomington (Muscatine) in 1841 the following
notice appears: "A new boat, propelled by horse power, has lately been placed
upon the river at this place, for the accommodation of the ferry; and, though
hastily made, all of green oak, and clumsy in its exterior, it swims like a swan
and will cross in eight minutes with ease and safety. We may flatter ourselves
that a ferry is now permanently established."
The third, and by far the most vital step, was the introduction of steam as
a motive power. And while very little record is to be had of the actual results
of the change from human to horse strength, evidence as to the effects of the
transition to steam is abundant. Whole streams of immigration were diverted from
their customary avenues of travel to seek the conveniences offered by steam
ferries. Nor is this to be wondered at. Regular trips were now made every hour,
in some cases every fifteen minutes. Moreover, in sharp contrast to the time it
took to cross in a flat-boat—sometimes several hours—the crossing could now be
made in five minutes. This spurt in speed of crossing was closely paralleled by
a tremendous leap in carrying capacity. For as a matter of fact, the crude
flat-boat capable of carrying a single wagon had now grown to a gigantic affair
which could carry eighteen or more teams at once, and even whole trains. As in
other industries, the introduction of steam marked a new era in the ferry
The extent to which steam power revolutionized ferrying is also revealed
in the following comment from a Dubuque newspaper: "Bogy's splendid new steam
ferryboat is doing the most rushing business of the season. She is puffing and
blowing all the time. She is a perfect Godsend to California emigrants. If the
number of wagons that she brings across in a day had to abide the tardiness of
the old-fashioned horse boat, they would not reach this side in a week. "
Probably the first steam ferry to operate on the Mississippi within the borders
of Iowa was established by Captain John Wilson in 1852. It is said that he
launched the steam ferry as early as 1843, but it was found to be too far in
advance of the times and so was taken off the river until 1852. This ferry plied
across the river at Davenport
. John Wilson was unusually energetic, enterprising, and capable, as a
ferryman. In 1837 he purchased Antoine Le Claire's ferry business, and
immediately began building new flat-boats. By 1841 he had a horse ferry boat in
operation and his steam ferry was launched in 1843. Moreover, he made an
arrangement with the Rock River ferry located at the mouth of the Green River,
whereby one fare paid the way over both ferries.
A more novel contribution to ferrying at Davenport accredited to the
enterprising Wilson was the ferry alarm. The conditions leading to the adoption
of the alarm have been ably told by a contemporary writer as follows: "In
primitive times in order to arouse the ferryman on the opposite shore the
Stephensonites (now Rock Islanders) who had been over here in Davenport to
attend evening services and overstayed their time, or zealous Davenporters who
after dark had occasion to visit Stephenson in a missionary cause, had to raise
the 'war-whoop'. In order to discourage relics of barbarism Mr. Wilson
introduced the ferry triangle, an ungainly piece of triangular steel which, when
vigorously pounded with a club, sent forth from its gallows tree a most wretched
clanging noise. But it brought the skiff though it awakened the whole town."
No account of ferries in Iowa would be complete without some mention at
least of tolls, and cost of franchises. As a matter of fact, these are but
special phases of the general subject, and they illuminate it materially. In the
early days when the Mississippi was crossed in ferries, money was not so
plentiful as it is to-day. Hence, ferry fees were often paid with goods. The
circumstances under which Clark collected his first ferriage afford an instance,
and they also show something of the man's temper. A company of French traders on
their way from the Iowa River to the Trading Post on Rock Island encamped one
evening at Buffalo. The information that Clark intended to establish a ferry
across the river at this point, they received as a huge joke, ridiculing the
whole enterprise. Nevertheless, they called loudly for the ferry-boat to carry
their drove of cattle across, little dreaming that it would appear. Nor is it
very likely that they realized the type of man they were dealing with.
Captain Clark, his flat-boat completed and ready for service, gathered enough
men and boys to operate the boat, and in no pleasant frame of mind set out into
the dark to offer his services to the noisy Frenchmen. When the traders noticed
the flat-boat approaching, however, they burst into uproarious laughter, aiming
to turn the whole matter off as a joke; and they told the Captain they had
nothing to ferry and that he might return. But he was not so easily disposed of,
for his temper was now thoroughly aroused. He landed his boat, marched into the
camp of the Frenchmen with his small crew, and angrily demanded ten dollars as
his ferriage fee. The whole affair speedily lost its comical aspects, and the
traders saw that the infuriated Captain would brook no further trifling. But to
their great embarrassment, they had not ten dollars in money among them. So they
offered him two bolts of calico which he accepted.
Another incident arising out of the scarcity of money is related of
Antoine Le Claire who established his ferry at Davenport in 1836. As his fee for
ferrying a number of sheep over the river, he accepted their fleeces, the owner
having had them sheared prior to the crossing. This wool he kept for a while,
but failing to find any particular use for it, he finally burned it to get rid
But it must not be understood that it was the daily occurrence for a party
to pay its way over the river in calico or in raw wool. These were the unusual
and striking incidents. Ordinarily, of course, fares were paid in money. The
County Commissioner's Court at Rockingham in May, 1838, fixed the following
ferriage rates for the Mississippi River:
Footmen $.18 3/4
Man and horse .50
One vehicle and driver .75
Two horses, vehicle and driver 1.00
Each additional horse or mule .18 3/4
Meat cattle, per head .12 1/2
Sheep or hogs .05
Freight per hundred .06 1/4
From sunset to sunrise, double rates were allowed.
The puzzling feature of this table stands out in the apparent difficulty
of making change in 1/2 cents and 1/4 cents. And for both explanation and
solution one must go back to a day when money was nearly non-existent. Says a
writer of that early day, "During all this time there was no money of any
description. Talk about scarcity now a days! Then the only change aside from
barter consisted of bits and picayunes—the former a piece of the eighth part of
a Spanish milled dollar, cut with a chisel into eight equal parts when the
operation was fairly and honestly done, but the skillful and designing often
made nine bits and even ten out of one dollar piece. The picayune in like manner
was a Spanish quarter cut into four equal parts, hence the origin of these two
terms bits and picayunes."
The table then, was based on the actual circulation of the crude bits of
chiseled coin which survived a day when money was very scarce. Not infrequently,
however, one party or the other had to surrender the half or fourth cent in
While the ferries of early days rendered practically the same public
service that the bridges of to-day do, they were, for the most part, established
for private profit. And when one considers the striking similarity between
crossing the Mississippi in a ferry-boat and crossing it over a bridge, it seems
odd that a toll should have to be paid in the one case and not in the other.
Nevertheless, free ferries were as conspicuously absent then as free bridges are
prevalent to-day. On the other hand, the idea of a free public ferry was not
altogether unheard of. By legislative act the commissioners of Louisa County
were authorized to establish and keep a ferry across the Iowa River which was to
render its services free to all the citizens of the county. And at the extra
session of the First General Assembly the Mayor and Aldermen of Ft. Madison were
authorized to provide for "the free carriage across the Mississippi river for
one year, of all persons with their property coming to Ft. Madison for the
purpose of trading with its inhabitants, and bringing marketing and produce to
the place ". Moreover, there was considerable agitation for the free ferry in a
number of the larger towns.
License fees kept pace with the rapid development of the ferries in
general—the increase in carrying capacity, the substitution of steam in the
place of horse or man power, and the increase in volume of business. Beginning
with the humble figure of $2.00 per year or less, the cost of franchises leaped,
in the course of time, to the striking figure of $1000 annually. Before the
formal granting of ferry franchises through legislative action, licenses were
not required. There appears to be no written evidence that either Captain Clark
or Antoine Le Claire or Captain John Wilson paid license fees. But with the
establishing of ferries through legal processes, charges were made for the right
to carry on the business.
The County Commissioner's Court which met at Rockingham in May, 1838,
fixed the following schedules for licenses on the Mississippi: Davenport,
$90.00; Buffalo, $10.00; Rockingham, $8.00; and all others $5.00. How long these
schedules remained in force we are not told; very likely it was not many years.
Gregoire's ferry established at Dubuque was required to pay $100.00 annually.
And the Council Bluffs and Nebraska Ferry Company was charged $1000 annually for
the right to operate on the Missouri at Council Bluffs.
In the course of time the steamboat replaced the steam ferry, and this
marked the last stage of water transportation. Then came the bridges and
wherever they appeared the ferries became an insignificant factor in crossing
the Mississippi. In 1855 the first bridge across the Mississippi at Davenport
was completed; eighteen years later a second bridge followed. The Illinois shore
was linked to the Iowa shore at Clinton in 1864. Four years later work was in
full sway on a bridge at Dubuque. And in 1891 the so called "high bridge" was
opened at Muscatine.
It is needless to further catalogue these Mississippi crossings. Suffice
it to say that since the nineties all the important river towns have built
bridges. And although water crossings still exist and doubtless always will, it
is apparent that the spanning of the Mississippi with mighty bridges sounded the
death knell of the once prosperous trade of ferrying.
Henry Clinton Parkhurst, a man of brilliant mind, a
prolific author of fine prose and poetry productions, has in consequence of a
tangle of circumstances, almost sunk into oblivion, yet the memory of him is
fresh in the minds of a few of his former acquaintances who have made unavailing
efforts to learn his recent whereabouts.Martial Memories,
in which the private of the Sixteenth
Iowa Infantry tells the graphic details— spiced with humor and some
self-mockery—of the terrific Battle of Shiloh where he received his first and
lasting impressions of war, for by that publication the interest in the author
has been revived.
It was a happy incident that THE PALIMPSEST published in a recent number a
few of Parkhurst's
Where Clinton Parkhurst is living—at an age of 76 or 77—the present writer
does not know. Neither has he much knowledge of his doings after he left the
Iowa Soldiers' Home at Marshalltown, of which he is reported to have been an
inmate since 1895. As a matter of fact he probably spent comparatively few years
at the Home for during that period he was for a longer or shorter time in
various parts of the country—East, West, and South. But of the earlier years
much can be told and the following account is an attempt to contribute some of
the missing fragments of the "biographical mosaic".
The village of Parkhurst in Scott County, where Clint was born in 1844,
and the neighboring village of LeClaire, which in 1855 were consolidated under
the name of LeClaire, have been centers of intellectual life from their earliest
days, and Mr. and Mrs. Lemuel Parkhurst, the parents of Clinton, were prominent
in that society. His mother early recognized the bright qualities of her son and
granted him every advantage for their cultivation. In later years he wrote of
Ignore the common goal, she said,
Leave fools to gather rubbish vile;
Lift thou shine eyes to heights overhead,
And seek to bask in Glory's smile.
The sluggard perishes in shame,
The Shylock's pomps with him expire.
The hero leaves a deathless name
For countless ages to admire.
Strong be thy will—as iron strong,
To cleave a path to grand renown,
And, peerless in the fields of song,
To millions shall thy name go down.
Let proud ambition sway thy mind,—
To live, that when thy race is o'er,
Resplendent tracks shall glow behind.
Clint had his early training
in a select school in LeClaire, taught by a Mrs. Mary Marks, a highly educated
English lady, the wife of an Episcopal minister. In Davenport he first attended
the public school, then Iowa College, and after its removal to Grinnell, the
Griswold College. He is said—and probably truthfully—to have been full of
harmless pranks. He had a peculiar way of translating phonetically some silly
Latin sentences: for instance, "Pastor ridebit" he would give in English
"Pastor, ride a bit", and for "Puer juraverat" he would say "The poor jury 've a
rat". This sort of linguistic sport, however, was not always appreciated by the
teacher. From early youth he evinced a remarkable gift for beautiful prose
writing and also for versification which augured a great future.
In February, 1862, at a little over seventeen years of age, he enlisted in
Co. C of the Sixteenth Iowa Infantry and on March 20th was sent with his
regiment to St. Louis. There the raw recruit was equipped with a glittering
rifle and other paraphernalia and was sent a few days later to war, the horrors
of which he immediately experienced in the bloody Battle of Shiloh. Never
shirking from duty, or avoiding the perils of battle, he participated in all the
important events of the various campaigns up to the battles around Atlanta, when
he with the greater portion of the gallant regiment was captured and held a
prisoner by the Confederates.
From the beginning of his military service he kept a daily record of all
he saw and participated in, continuing it till the war ended, not ceasing to
write secretly in the deadly stockades of Andersonville, Millen, and Florence.
Thus he accumulated much highly valuable material which was later elaborated in
a large number of war sketches and also furnished a delicate coloring for his
different epical works.
Parkhurst was mustered out of service in July, 1865, and became a reporter
on the Davenport Democrat,
but soon shifted to a paper in Le Claire, thence to
Rock Island, Moline, Muscatine, Des Moines, and other places. In one or two of
these papers he had even acquired a pecuniary interest. He never stayed long in
one position, nowhere finding an opportunity that would suit his particular
ideals of journalism, and he quit. He turned to writing magazine articles and
other forms of literary work. For, as he says of himself: From his very boyhood
had been his constant dream.
It is difficult, almost to the verge of impossibility, to follow Clint
Parkhurst's much twisted meanderings. One month he might be in Chicago or New
York, and the next in San Francisco, St. Louis, or Tacoma, doing for a short
time some editorial or other literary work, or he would spend weeks and months
in the Sierras to gather new inspirations. In 1874 and 1875 he was in Mexico and
Nicaragua, and the fruit of this jaunt was an extensive epos entitled "Sun
Worship Shores". In 1876 he came from California back to Davenport, where in
December of that year he was admitted to the bar of Scott County.
The subjects of his writings were almost exclusively historical—biblical
or secular. Numerous sketches from the Civil War have been published in the
San Francisco Chronicle,
Davenport Times, the
etc., either over his real name or the nom de plume
" Free Lance ". Several of the above named papers printed also large extracts
from his epics, "Shot and Shell", "Judith", "Voyage of Columbus", "In Custer's
Honor", "Pauline", "Sun Worship Shores", "Death Speech of Robert Emmett", and
others. As a sample of his mode of treatment of biblical themes the following
paraphrase, entitled "Solomon's Lament", may find a place:
O Shulamite return, return—
My heart is lone, no joys can cheer;
The very stars have ceased to burn
With wonted rays, and chill and drear
The breezes come from mountains bare
To moan to me in low despair.
They miss thee as the stars have done,
Thy roses swoon beneath the sun;
All nature sighs, all fair things yearn
For thee—O Shulamite return.
Return, return, O Shulamite—
I cannot stay my grief with wine;
I cannot through the day or night
These wasting thoughts of thee resign;
No more my wonted joys delight,
No more I bow at Pleasure's shrine,
Nor bask in halls of glory bright—
How long, O sweet, must I repine ?
A kindred one I cannot meet
'Mong all Judea's joyous throng;
O whither stray thy joyous feet,
Thou princess of my mournful song'
O peerless idol of my mind,
Thou sweeter than the breath of dawn;
O fairest of all womankind—
Queen of my heart, where hast thou gone
' Hath love yet lore thou hast not taught,
Or lore I have not deigned to learn?
Then be all lore save shine forgot—
O Shulamite return, return.
Several times Parkhurst lost
large parts of his manuscripts, in two instances a whole book. Portions of them
he resurrected from newspaper files, and in filling the gaps he also improved
these works. In the winter of 1904, in his old home city, and with many of his
literary notes and treasures around him he again prepared his writings,
including a new epos of about 1200 lines entitled "Tamerlane Victorious or the
World's Desolation", for a book. When completed, it went up with other matter
in flame and smoke.
Newspapers generally are not inclined to print much rhyme, or long poetry.
They view original verse with disfavor. But they were generous to Clint
Parkhurst, giving much space to extensive extracts from his works, and these, at
least, could be lifted out of their graves. With book publishers he was much
less successful. Byron once gave his publisher a splendidly bound Bible, and the
recipient was proud of it until he happened to discover that his friend donor
had altered the last verse of the 18th chapter of St. John (Now Barrabas was a
robber) so as to read: "Now Barrabas was a
Parkhurst came to the conclusion
that most of the American publishers were Barrabases. He has named many a
publishing house of prominence which has injured him. He has also publicly
pilloried several distinguished authors who have appropriated, literally or with
slight changes, large portions of his manuscripts when temporarily in their
possession. In this respect he fared worse than the poor devils of young
Frenchmen who wrote good stories for the great Dumas, who put his name upon
their front pages. But they were paid, however miserably, for their slave-work.
Clint did not get a cent for the productions stolen from him, but was treated
with abuse when he remonstrated.
In newspapers may often be seen advertisements like this: "Cash paid for
bright ideas." When a writer without a name subjects such ideas to the
advertiser they are kept for awhile and then courteously declined, but after
some little time they appear, somewhat masked, in a book, perhaps, under some
famous person's name. Clint once replied to an advertisement in a New York paper
offering literary employment, and was invited to an interview, in the course of
which a bulky manuscript was produced, which he was only permitted to glance at
for a few minutes. He could only gather that it was a maritime narrative. The
advertiser said: " The material is good, but the book doesn't suit us exactly.
We want it reproduced in a little better style. What can you do the job for ? "
Clint was very poor and needed a little money badly; but he declined to "do the
job"; he did not want to assist a leech to suck another poor fellow's heartblood.
In 1896, in his temporary Tusculum, the Soldiers' Home of Virginia, he wrote an
historical romance concerning the Black Hawk War, entitled "A Military Belle".
It was a book of love and adventure, and inwoven was the story of the proverbial
unlucky man, for whom the author himself was the model. Under disadvantages and
persecuted by the management of the Home, who attributed to him certain
derogatory newspaper letters which he never wrote, the manuscript was finished
after about a year. A publisher was found in New York, and the outlook was fine.
Because of some one's blunders several letters of the publisher did not reach
the author who never saw a proof, and the publication was long delayed.
Parkhurst finally went to New York, where he learned that the book had already
been stereotyped. But it abounded in grievous errors, and numerous plates had to
be cut and cast over. At last, in 1899, the Military Belle made her bow, and an
encouragingly large number of books were sold. But the publisher failed, and
Clint got only about $9 from the debacle.
The last and probably the greatest of his many literary misfortunes was
blended with the one of the city of San Francisco. In Davenport he had gathered
from many newspaper columns a large portion of his poetical writings, which he
re-arranged, carefully improved, and incorporated in a manuscript ready for the
printer. This manuscript he sent in 1905 to his daughter Mabel in San
Francisco—as usual without keeping a duplicate. On the 18th day of April, 1906,
that beautiful city was visited by earthquake and conflagration. His daughter
did well enough to save her life, but all her belongings and the manuscript of
her father were destroyed. Parkhurst outlived this shock as he had many previous
minor ones. In January, 1908, a Davenport friend received from him a hopeful
letter out of the Missouri mountains. He wrote that he had taken up the life of
a literary hermit. "I came to the wilds of the Ozarks last summer," he wrote,
"and the venture has been a success. I own an acre of ground, have a good house
on it, have a library of fifty choice volumes, and several dozen magazines and
daily papers, and have every want supplied. My pension has been increased to $12
per month." He was enthused over the "glorious sceneries" and the "incomparable
climate." His health was good; for "anybody's health is good here." But the
solitude there could not suit him for any great length of time. He returned to
the Iowa Soldiers' Home where he was in company with his old commander Col. Add.
H. Sanders. From that place he disappeared in August, 1913, after having spent
there, off and on, periods of various duration. Nothing has of late been heard
of any more literary work of his.