THE TRIP TO TEXAS, 1848-1849
NOVEMBER 21, 1848.--Having made all needful prepara-
tions for a winter's tour in Texas and a visit to my old col-
lege classmate, Guy M. Bryan, I started for Bellevue this cold raw
morning with bag and baggage, taking with me Cyrus Thompson
to return the horses and buggy. At 4 P. M. took the cars for
Sandusky City, arriving there at supper. In the evening with
Joseph Williams to hear the Hutchinson Family sing their
Wednesday, 22.--Spent with Dr. L-- and friend Lane and
doing chores. Evening at a division of "the Sons [of Tem-
Thursday, 23.--Railroad to Mansfield. Thence by stage to
Mount Vernon. Saw Miller Moody (an old classmate) at a small
village nine miles from Mount Vernon, keeping a dirty tavern and
looking "hard"; a fit sequel to his college life.
Friday, 24.--Stage to Columbus; a cold, rainy day; roads
"mud and slush." Farnham and a queer girl (a silversmith's
daughter in Columbus) for company.
[The rest of November and the first week of December were
spent at Columbus, visiting his mother and sister, paying calls,
and reading new books. His uncle, Sardis Birchard, arrived
December 3, and a row in the Legislature held their attention.
Both sides were stubborn and "possibly no organization this
Thursday, [December] 7.--Making final preparations for our
departure; bidding good-bye to friends, "posting up" in legis-
lative views, etc., etc. [At] 7 P. M. Uncle Birchard, Rev. Henry
Richards, an Episcopal clergyman, gifted with a liberal share
of the free and easy qualities, and a crowd of us take the stage
for Springfield. A pleasant moonlight evening, but showery after
236 RUTHERFORD BIRCHARD HAYES
midnight. From Springfield railroad to Cincinnati, reaching there
at 10:30 A. M.
Friday, 8.--Tumbled into quarters at the Pearl Street House;
outside coating of dirt scrubbed off. Find friend Jones as warm-
hearted and joyful as ever. Evening with Jones at the theatre;
stupid, except old Logan. A goodish, or ratherish, or rather-
some goodsome panorama of the sea views about Newport.
Saturday, December 9.--Raining "multitudinously." Slip out
between showers and buy an umbrella; run over the "yaller-
kivered" literature at a "literary depot," falsely so called, but
finding nothing "taking" am not taken in. Pore listlessly over
the "Sketch Book" until "dine." Evening spent with Stem and
lady at Mr. Erner's.
Sunday, 10.--Cold and cloudy but no rain. Heard Mr. Blake
at Christ Church. Same old voice, gestures, and expression of
phiz as when I last heard him at Gambier. Our travelling com-
panion, Mr. Richards, read service. Dine with Geo. W. [Jones]
at Miss M. Johnson's. A delightful little family gathering.
How exquisitely she looked! Evening at Mr. Erner's.
Monday, 11.--Cold, but bright and pleasant winter weather.
Visit the slaughter pens where "blood flows like water," only
more so. Visit Covington with Jones. See McNickle. [Observe]
the funeral of an Odd [Fellow], a Son [of Temperance], and a
Mason, attended by all those orders. Call at Governor More-
head's to see Miss E. "Love's labor lost" (no love either).
Ditto, P. M., up street in the city. Tea and evening with uncle
of Miss-. All night with George W [Jones]. Ring lost and
Tuesday, 12.--Engage passage to New Orleans on the steamer
Moro Castle. Call on Miss Johnson. Buy "Now and Then,"
Dickens' "Christmas Tales" and "Italy," Bulwer's "Last of the
Barons," etc. A lovely day. All Fourth Street swarming with
the fashion. Sup [and] sleep on board.--Mem: Never pay
your fare until your boat is off. Steamboats never start on the
river until forty-eight hours after time.
Wednesday, 13.--As bright a day as ever opened. Up at
the old court-house heard Storer arguing the Hathaway lunacy
THE TRIP TO TEXAS, 1848-1849 237
case. Saw French, Hoadly, and Collins. Ten minutes before
4 P. M. leave Cincinnati. A clear cold evening; scenery "of the
kind we read of." The hills on both banks fold gracefully to
the river. Play chess with a stranger, Mississippian; quits, or
"game and." Make the acquaintance of Isaac Larmon, a rough,
shrewd Kentuckian, now living at Madrid Bend in Tennessee;
also an old Connecticut Yankee who boasts his temperate habits
and sound health,--evidently a libertine in his day, now an
exceedingly polite, knowing old gent.
Thursday, December 14.--Clear, pleasant weather. Reach
Louisville at 9 A. M. Wander over the city; not half so thriving
in appearance as Cincinnati. The old court-house half finished.
Pass over the rapids about noon. "Some pumpkins," but not to
compare with Lachine in [the] St. Lawrence. Toll through
the canal for our boat would be one hundred and seventy-five
dollars. Thumped once or twice on boulders but no injury done.
During the afternoon sail pleasantly along through a fine rolling
country. The weather mild and soft. Play chess until tea with
my Natchez acquaintance. After tea walk the deck with friend
Richards until dark. Evening, rainy.
Friday, 15.--Cold and cloudy; wants to snow but can't. At
daylight opposite Owensboro; at 10:30 A. M. at the mouth of
Green River. Green River very high. The Ohio much higher
than above. Banks low, only a little above the water. General
Lane's residence, a plain two-story white frame house, on the
Indiana side a few rods from the bank. Evansville at II A. M.
Pass a beautiful island just below the mouth of Green River.
[At] 2 P. M., still cloudy but much milder, at Henderson, Ken-
I like this sort of life. Table equal to our best hotels. Captain
Scott more resembles a landlord with his smiles and jokes than
[the] haughty autocrat of a Western steamer. In the after
part of the cabin are four or five ladies with their children, one
apparently an unmarried lady, and the other a widow. The latter
is the object of the particular attentions of a fat, self-sufficient
old nabob whom Uncle styles "Old Soap-grease" (Van Vorhees
a stage owner of Ohio). Two ladies and two gentlemen generally
238 RUTHERFORD BIRCHARD HAYES
play cards in the after cabin (ladies'). Next, towards the bow
[is] another table of social card-players, consisting of a loud-
talking, boastful youngster (a Jew, Moses, of Cincinnati), whose
garb and gab alike proclaim a volunteer officer; a good-natured,
laughing Hoosier; a third only remarkable for his height and the
prodigious length of his arms. I noticed him today at dinner;
he reaches like a well-sweep to all parts of the table, gathering and
storing away an unheard of quantity of provisions. Next for-
ward, a table of chess or chequer players, with a few gaping look-
ers-on. Next is a group of nondescripts, quite at a loss how to
bestow themselves; some dozing listlessly in their armchairs,
waiting patiently for the next meal, others reading cheap tales of
pirates, "love and murder," etc., etc. Last group forward, four
professional gentlemen busy at poker for money.
I have read Warren's "Now and Then," Dickens' "Battle of
Life," and am now doing Cooper's "Bee Hunter." I read, play
chess, walk the deck, [and] study the map and chart occasionally.
Mem: This is not a talking boat. Altogether pleasant--very.
Saturday 16.--Below the mouth of the Tennessee; cold and
cloudy. River almost a mile in width. Pass Cairo at 12, noon;
then into the "father of waters." The color of the water of a
deeper dark than the Ohio, which is now a bright yellow like the
gutters after a recent rain in a clay soil. The weather clears up
warm and pleasant in the afternoon, and I spend all the time on
deck, getting acquainted with the Mississippi.
Sunday, 17.--Finds us, with the weather of a lovely spring
morning, forty miles above Memphis. The river full to its banks.
Islands, bayous, chutes, etc., give the river the appearance of a
lake filled with islands. Often difficult for a stranger to tell where
the true channel of the river is. No gaming allowed on board
today; all as quiet as a New England Sabbath. [At] 11:30 A. M.
stop fifteen minutes at Memphis; part here with our fellow
traveller, Mr. Richards. The city presents a fine appearance from
the river. Naval establishment here.
Monday, December 18.--Morning warm, cloudy, and foggy;
clears up at about 10 A. M. Saw the finest plantation with its
little village of white cabins in two rows; also first live-oak.
THE TRIP TO TEXAS, 1848-1849 239
Today saw the first cotton standing, and cut the first cane one
hundred and fifty miles below Memphis. River and its banks,
same as yesterday, except more frequent settlements. Had a
mock trial of a young Jew for smoking in the cabin; our sport
marred by the Jew's anxiety to escape the penalty.
Tuesday, December 19.--Below Vicksburg. Morning warm
and foggy; clears off about 10 A. M. Woods on the shore look
like ours after the first frost; leaves dropping but not dead, and
large patches of green foliage. Grand Gulf. Here are the
highest (indeed almost the only) hills yet seen on the Mississippi.
The town a rotten borough. So called [Grand Gulf] from the
singular bend in the river.
Mem.:--Last night a bit of a row at one of the gaming
tables. A small, villainous-looking professional gent accused by
Lieutenant Moses of cheating; the lie given; pistols cocked. No
blood shed but gambling probably done for.
Mem. 2:--Our tall Hoosier dreamed of being in a free fight
(excited by the events of the evening), plunged at his visionary
antagonist from the upper berth, badly bruising cheek and eye.
Wednesday 20.--Thirty miles above Baton Rouge. Morning
foggy; clears off [by] 9 A. M. Went ashore at Judge Chaney's
sugar plantation. Yesterday heard frightful stories of cholera in
New Orleans. Reports dwindling away with every boat we meet.
Saw General Taylor's residence, a neat, one-story, long cottage--
porch all round--on a pleasant hill. Saw an old white horse
quietly feeding near the house, supposed to be "Old Whitey"
[the general's famous war-horse]. Baton Rouge is a fine town;
beautiful State-House building. At a sugar plantation land two
hundred and fifty barrels. The overseer on reading in the letter,
enclosing bill of lading the words "Dear Sir," broke out with
great warmth: "'Dear Sir' as if he knew me!" After this exhi-
bition of himself, I was not surprised to find that he couldn't
count the barrels!
Thursday 21.--Arrive at New Orleans, a city of ships,
steamers, flatboats, rafts, mud, fog, filth, stench, and a mixture
of races and tongues. Cholera, "some." [At] Planters' Hotel.
Mem:--Never get caught in a cheap tavern in a strange city.
240 RUTHERFORD BIRCHARD HAYES
At evening taken desperately sick of an acclimating fever; toss
and roll all night. Dr. Hunter administered quinine [with]
good effect. Rev. Mr. Blynn calls on me.
Firday 22.--Fever gone. Abed all day. More quinine. Well
Saturday, December 23.--Dine with Rev. Mr. Blynn. The
cholera on the increase. The alarm and excitement too great
for enjoyment. Planters' Hotel a miserable place.
STEAMER MORO CASTLE,
MISSISSIPPI RIVER--NEAR CAIRO,
December 16, P. M., .
DEAR FANNY:--As I am writing for the family I will give
you a sketch of our movements, diary fashion. Friday, 8th, ar-
rived at Cincinnati, 10 A. M., after a comfortable ride.
Weather cold and clear. I hunted up Jones, and Uncle fell into
the hands of Stem. Spent the evening at the theatre (mem.:--
small potatoes). Saturday, 9th, cold rainstorm; housed up read-
ing newspapers all day. In the evening called with Uncle on
Mrs. Stem (I mention her, she being the principal). Sunday,
10th, cold and cloudy. Went to church with Jones, dined with
Miss Maggie (what a nickname) Johnson, who is keeping house
for her father in C. Sunday is a hard day at the best but most
of all away from home, but we survived it. Monday, cold and
cloudy. Visited the slaughter-houses and witnessed the whole
business of converting a drove of hogs into mess pork, keg-lard,
stearine candles, glue, and bristles. I'll not describe it. It's
a bloody, brutish business and is all done in less time than it
would require to tell it.
After having thus prepared my mind to do the agreeable, Jones
and myself went over into Covington and called at Governor
Morehead's on Miss Bell E. "Not at home." Gossip: I re-
marked that if I were a Governor I would have a better house to
receive the beaux of my pretty sisters-in-law. Jones replied that
if I drank as much and was as fond of cards as Governor More-
head, I probably couldn't afford a better house. P. M. called at
THE TRIP TO TEXAS, 1848-1849 241
Mr. Graham's in Cincinnati, where Miss Bell should have been,
but again, "not at home"; so didn't see her. Slept with Jones.
[He] told me how he courted Miss Tibbots, granddaughter of
the General Taylor whose death you have noticed and grand-
niece to Old Zack; how he fetched her and how he was to be
married about New Year's--going to Havana as a wedding tour
and how he wanted me to wait and go along, etc., etc.
Tuesday, 12th, cold and clear. Called on Miss Johnson; bid
good-bye all around. Bought Warren's new tale, "Now and
Then," Cooper's "Bee Hunter," Dickens' "Italy," Bulwer's "Last
of the Barons," besides some chicken-feed pamphlets, to read on
our way down. [At] 4 P. M. went on board our steamer which
was to have started Monday evening without fail but didn't start
until Wednesday, 4 P. M. Mem.:--Never believe a Mississippi
steamboat's notices, judged by the symptoms, as to starting time.
Wednesday evening was as pleasant as a cold evening could
be, and the fine scenery below Cincinnati did its best to look
charming, but I couldn't feel very sad at the prospect of finding
a warmer sun. Thursday morning, 14th, found ourselves at
Louisville. Cargo tumbled into a lighter to let us over the
rapids. Meantime, rambled over the town. Many fine residences
but, all in all, not near equal to Cincinnati. It has the air of a
fading beauty. At noon went over the falls--the weather warm
and pleasant, the river roaring full. Many flatboats, loaded with
coal, hay, flour, whisky, etc., of all shapes and dimensions pass-
ing down every few moments. Passage not at all frightful but
highly exhilarating. Friday morning, 15th, at Owensboro, a
short distance above the mouth of Green River. Weather, cold
and cloudy; wanted to snow but couldn't. River growing
rapidly. Banks, low and wooded with an occassional farmhouse
and clearing. Saturday, 16th, below the mouth of Tennessee
River; cold and cloudy; river much grown since yesterday. At
12 M. passed Cairo, Dickens' Eden--"when found make note
of." As we passed out into the Mississippi, the sun drove the
clouds away and it is now warm, pleasant spring weather. This
river, the junction, etc., etc., are just as I supposed in appearance,
scenery, and size.
Reading the above items would leave the impression that this
242 RUTHERFORD BIRCHARD HAYES
is dull travelling. No such thing. It exceeds anything in my
experience for solid comfort and enjoyment. Our boat is about
an average one in all boating qualities, such as speed, neatness,
size, etc., etc. The captain is one of the most social, companion-
able men alive. He looks and acts much like John Miller the
auctioneer of the roses at your fair. Any passenger can get
from him all he knows on any subject, not to speak of his good-
natured smiles, which are sprinkled about on everybody and
everything. So much for Captain Scott.
The passengers are of all sorts, but decidedly agreeable as a
whole, five ladies with husbands; a lot of children about the size
of Willie and Lollie; a widow, bright and pretty and wanting
a husband; a young lady, nothing in particular about her; two
old gentlemen, widowers--one tall, garrulous, excessively polite
to everybody, distressingly so to the ladies in general, and awfully
smitten with our widow; the other fat, autocratic, nothing to say
to nobody on no account, but nevertheless determined to get the
widow in spite of our polite friend, No. 1; (Uncle has dubbed
the latter "Old Soap-grease") ; a gentleman who plays chess
just well enough to make it hard work for me to beat him, which
I do twice out of three times; some interesting river men, owners
of hay-boats, flour-boats, etc., etc.; some merchants; some gam-
blers; some invalids; and the rest may be styled "chinking and
The sleeping is like all steam-sleeping--abounding in cataracts,
precipices, snakes, and other dreamy figments of the brain. Eat-
ing, unparalleled; the best cooks, the best waiters, and the best
eatables I've ever seen anywhere. As soon as the tables are
cleared, the passengers, if the weather is disagreeable, as it has
been much of the time, group themselves as follows:--One long
cabin extends from stem to stern. At 9 o'clock P. M., the ladies
are cut off by folding doors. At the stem a few ladies and
gentlemen are reading or lounging in a lazy way on the sofas;
next two ladies and two gentlemen playing whist; then a bevy
of gents talking politics around the stove; then a table at which
chess and chequers are going off, with some lookers-on; then
settees with gentlemen reading and others writing at tables; then
the loafers' stove, where those who are too bashful to go near
THE TRIP TO TEXAS, 1848-1849 243
the ladies toast their feet and read stories of robbery, murder,
etc., with horrid pictures; then a table where four or
five are gambling at all hours, with ten or a dozen lookers-on;
and last the barber's shop. All this is in one room, and nothing
is pleasanter than to promenade from one end of it to the other.
There is nothing but civility and good feeling ever exhibited, so
far as I have observed. I really think I could live this way a
month without growing sick of it. When it is pleasant, as it is
now, it is delightful to walk the deck and wonder where all this
water comes from. The water, the river, is the only thing which
can be called scenery in this flat, wooded country, but that is
enough. We are now hitched up to the Tennessee bank getting
wood. I will mail this at Memphis, where Mr. Richards leaves
us. You may look for another letter from New Orleans.
Sunday, 17th. Below Memphis.--Didn't mail my letter as
I intended. Parted with Mr. Richards at 11:30 A. M. Stopped
only fifteen minutes. Lovely spring weather as ever the sun
saw. No gaming of any kind today; all as quiet as a New Eng-
land Sabbath. The river here is over its banks; a stranger cannot
tell where the main stream is; full of islands, bayous, chutes,
and bends, so as to resemble a great lake full of islands. I spent
the day viewing the waters and reading "The Last of the
Tuesday, 19th 2 P. M.--A few miles above Natchez. The
weather is as warm and bright as June. I have been sitting out
on [the] boat's balcony in an armchair, the twin of yours, read-
ing in the same way I would on your porch in the summer.
Many of our passengers have left us and we enjoy the lazy
weather in the laziest and most luxurious way. The rapid change
from the cold to warm weather is most grateful. I am too lazy
to write more till some rainy day.
Thursday, 20 .--Foggy morning but pretty day. Arrived
at New Orleans, a town full of ships, steam and flat-boats, mud,
fog, filth, and stench, and just now a sprinkling of cholera. To
avoid which we shall leave the first opportunity. This will not be
mailed until we are off so you may feel sure that we are safe out
of harm's way if this reaches you. A boat leaves in two or
three days. The sickness will spoil our visit here. Aside from
244 RUTHERFORD BIRCHARD HAYES
that and the causes of it, this is a princely city. The weather is
quite warm; winter clothing is not uncomfortable, but I am sitting
at an open window, and one sees no fires.
We became acqainted on the boat with a very intelligent Pres-
byterian clergyman, resident here, who is acquainted with Blynn's
brother by whose aid we shall certainly see 'em. The clergyman
mentioned preaches today (Thanksgiving) in Mr. Blynn's pulpit.
The last three or four hundred miles of the Mississippi banks
is a lovely country to view from the water. Pretty little white
cottages and an occasional grand edifice for the planters, and
rows of neat, whitwashed cabins for the negroes are always in
sight. Didn't see old Zack but saw his neat little white cottage
with its portico all round and surrounded by evergreens, and
also "Old Whitey."
Saturday evening, 23.--We sail in the Galveston for Texas
in the morning. It is perfectly healthy there which is quite an
advantage over New Orleans. We dined with Mr. Blynn today
--a fine man, fine wife, and pretty little ones. The little girl,
about three years old, inquired at once about Uncle William and
her little cousins at Columbus. Thank Mr. Blynn for me for
that acquaintance.--Good-bye all.
R. B. HAYES.
P. S.--Packing up, we just had a laugh over one of Pease's
shirts! How these stolen shirts rise up in judgment!
MRS. W. A. PLATT.
Sunday, 24.--[At] 9 A. M. go on board the fine ocean steamer
Galveston, bound for the port of the same name. Weather,
warm and foggy, clears off bright and pleasant. A delightful
and rapid sail down the river, passing the palaces and gardens
which line the banks. General Worth and staff on board; an
exceedingly agreeable, fine-looking man, medium size, of a plump,
upright person, with good features, a bright piercing black eye
(Bishop McIlvaine's), a bushy head of gray hair, affable and
easy in his manners. "No other marks or brands perceivable."
Monday, 25.--Christmas passed on the Gulf, having left the
mouth of the river early in the morning. Weather cold and
THE TRIP TO TEXAS, 1848-1849 245
pleasant. A fine body of passengers. Some pro- and some
anti-slavery out of which [fact] arose, naturally enough, discus-
sions by the quantity. Among others Atcheson, formerly of the
Law School. Seasick a trifle.
Tuesday, 26.--Reached Galveston in the afternoon, a neat,
fine town on a sand beach and apparently healthy. What a
glorious contrast to the disease and filth of New Orleans! A
most noble hotel, the Tremont House.
GALVESTON, TEXAS, December 26, 1848.
DEAR BROTHER:--Thinking you might feel anxious about us
after what I wrote from New Orleans about the cholera, etc., I
will send you a few lines before we leave here.
We had an exceedingly pleasant passage on a fine steamship
loaded with passengers running away from the cholera. General
Worth and staff were on board and brought a physician with
them to be ready for the worst; but there was no sickness. Here
it is fine weather; a dry, healthy, pleasant town and one of the
best hotels I am acquainted with. It is sixty miles to Bryan's
and we leave in the morning. We anticipate returning here to
spend some time. We hardly expect to find another place so
much to our liking as this in Texas. It is built on an island, is
high and sandy, resembling Cleveland, only not near so large
or rich, and is every way a good pleasuring winter retreat.
No time to write more. Will write again from Bryan's. Love
to all. Your affectionate brother,
R. B. HAYES.
WILLIAM A. PLATT,
Wednesday, 27.--Leave Galveston for the Brazos on steamer
S. M. Williams. Pass around Galveston Island by San Luis
over a shallow bar into the Brazos about 5 P. M., at Velasco, a
faded town; dilapidation and ruin. Manhattan or Maumee
River like [the Brazos]. About sundown pass Mrs. Jack's
plantation, the only one yet seen. Wild prairie, low grassy
246 RUTHERFORD BIRCHARD HAYES
banks, chocolate-colored water, cattle, and buzzards, the striking
features of the scenery of this part of the river. Mrs. Jack's,
a pretty place; saw "the belle of the Brazos" on the porch; as-
sociation and first sight of this place I've so often heard Guy
speak of, very pleasant.
About dark landed at Aycock's. Found Mr. Perry's "Sam";
took his mule myself and Uncle borrowed a horse of Aycock.
Through a level, muddy country, mostly wooded, trees weeping
from all their abundant foliage and gray hanging mosses, two and
one-half miles to Mr. Perry's. Hitch our horses and are met
by a bushy-headed, fine-looking boy who resembled Stephen so
much that I shook him heartily by the hand, supposing him to be
my old friend Stephen, [but] a connection. A cordial welcome
by Mr. Perry [Guy Bryan's stepfather] to his most hospitable
home. Stephen and Guy gone to a horserace. Return early
in the evening. Make the acquaintance of Mrs. Perry, Eliza (an
agreeable girl of twenty-one or thereabouts), and spend the eve-
ning till midnight talking over old times. Been a wet, gloomy
month; country shows to the worst advantage, we are told.
Thursday, December 28, 1848.--Day wet. Housed up. [Dis-
cuss] politics, old friends, sweethearts, etc., etc., with Guy, mak-
ing the day seem short. The home is delightfully situated in
the edge of the timber, looking out upon a plain on the south
extending five or eight miles to the Gulf. A large and beautiful
flower-garden in front, trimmed and cultivated under the guard-
ian eye of Mrs. Perry.
Friday, 29.--Day spent in talking about and primping up for
the party in the evening. [At] 2 P. M. gentlemen and ladies
begin to arrive.--Thos. Harrison, of Houston, Dr. Arthur, etc.,
etc. Gentlemen and ladies on horseback, through mud and rain,
ten, fifteen, or twenty miles. An exceedingly agreeable, gay, and
polished company. The ladies particularly noticeable for the
possession of the winning qualities. Merriment and dancing un-
til 4:30 A. M. Like similar scenes elsewhere. Sleeping arrange-
ments for all got up in all manner of ways, but comfortable.
Told that when a gentleman and lady "tete-a-tete," bite gloves
or handkerchiefs or the like, [it is a] sure sign of somewhat.
THE TRIP TO TEXAS, 1848-1849 247
Saturday, 30.--Guests breakfast from 10 till 11:30. All off
by 12 M. Weather bright, warm, and spring-like. Look for-
ward to a delightful visit, judging by what I see. Frightful
stories of the cholera in several Texas towns.
Mem.--Introduced to Mr. and Mrs. Austin Bryan, Joel Bryan
and lady, Miss Harriet P. Jack, [Miss] Harriet Gothern, [the]
Misses Lewis (three), Miss Emily Jones, Miss Ella Eggleston.
Sunday, 31.--Fine weather. Spent at home talking, reading,
Monday, January 1, 1849.--Ride with Eliza and Guy over
to Mr. Westall's to visit Miss Emily Jones, a modest, pretty
Buckeye lassie of seventeen. A grand day for a gallop over the
prairies. A good visit. A long queer yarn from a Philadelphian
(Mr. Davis) about a flirtation he had in St. Augustine with
Maggie Worth. Return home after dark.
Tuesday, January 2, 1849.--Start on a visit to the Misses
Lewis, but learn that they are absent from home. Weather fine.
Return and afternoon take a ramble with Henry after deer. Saw
seven, also a wild hog. Had two shots at too great a distance
to do hurt. Saw "Gus" "rope" (lasso) a wild cow. Exciting
and somewhat perilous, in the eyes of the uninitiated. Home at
dark and had chess with Henry until a late hour.
Wednesday, January 3.--Fine weather. Spent at home, writ-
ing letters, pistol firing, and playing chess.
PEACH POINT, TEXAS, January 1, 1849.
DEAR FANNY:--A happy New Year to you and all your
We arrived here, at Bryan's last Wednesday evening and
have enjoyed life to our hearts' content ever since. The country
here is quite new and thinly settled, much more so than I had
supposed. The morning after our arrival, one of the negro men,
who was sent out for the purpose, killed two deer before break-
fast. One of Mr. Bryan's brothers killed a panther only a fort-
night ago. I mention these sporting items as showing the wild-
ness of the country. This plantation is a very pleasant one in
248 RUTHERFORD BIRCHARD HAYES
all respects. Looking out of the window before me I see a
garden filled with the richest shrubbery, roses blooming and
birds singing as if it were the first of June instead of January.
The family consists of Mr. Perry, a sensible matter-of-fact sort
of man, full of jokes and laughter, and of course a great friend
to Uncle; Mrs. Perry, an excellent motherly sort of woman,
whose happiness consists in making others happy; Eliza Perry, a
young lady of twenty, a fine girl, free from silly notions, and
agreeable company as all such girls are; Stephen, the business
man of the establishment, you remember him; Henry, a fine
romantic boy of seventeen who it at home from school to spend
the holidays with one of his chums of fewer years,--both spend
their time visiting the girls and hunting. Guy, Uncle, and myself
complete the white portion of the family. Within two miles there
are perhaps four families, the nearest a mile off.
Friday evening we had a great soiree and dancing party here.
The ladies were like ladies anywhere else; fewer wall-flowers
and more life than is usually found in our gatherings, owing
doubtless to the greater frequency of such things here.
Wednesday, January 3.--Immediately after writing the above,
I commenced with Miss Eliza and some one of her brothers
calling on the various new acquaintances made at the soiree.
This is a very different thing from calling in Ohio. It is a fine gal-
lop over the prairie, with an occassional adventure, crossing a
swale or great mud-hole, a dinner, a supper, and a moonlight ride
home. A dinner here is "some." Seven or eight kinds of meat,
sweet potatoes in two or three shapes, half a dozen kinds of pre-
serves, and pastry in any quantity. It is quite surprising to find
the refinement one meets everywhere in a country newer in ap-
pearance than any part of Ohio you ever visited. Every place
you find the planters ready for company and "seemingly" ex-
pecting you. Mem.:--Henry killed two deer yesterday.
I saw a wild cow lassoed. It was quite an exciting scene. The
pictures of the same thing in La Plate which you find in the
geography are graphic and true.
It has just been decided in family council that Henry is not
to return to school on account of cholera in the villages. This is
good news for us. He is a fine sportsman, a capital chess player,
THE TRIP TO TEXAS, 1848-1849 249
has never been out of Texas, and I am quite in love with him.
He and Uncle are now out hunting. We already have invita-
tions to make ourselves at home at enough places to spend a
twelvemonth in Texas. No doubt they would all be pleasant
homes, but we are too well pleased with present quarters to be in a
hurry to change.
The brothers all have sweethearts, even to Henry. The manner
of courting here is "some" also. For instance, Stephen will start
in the morning for the county town on some real or fancied busi-
ness; goes six or eight miles out of his way to visit his lady-love,
dines, sups, and stays all night; goes on in the morning to town,
returns in time for tea, remains all night and till after dinner
of the third day, and home to tea. This appears to be the every-
day quick trip of a youngster in love. In the meantime, the
errand, if of importance, has been attended to by a negro sent
for the purpose by some of the family who are in the secret.
Bryan sends good wishes; says, "Tell ye Mother that if the
cholera gets you, you'll be taken just as good care of as if you
were at home in Ohio." We have but little fears of the cholera
spreading into the country. In '32 it came in the hot weather and
yet did not find its way to but a single plantation in this county
although it was in all the towns. It has not yet touched this
county but is spreading rapidly over the State, so that it is
"town talk" everywhere.
"Gulf Prairie Post Office, Brazoria Co." is our address and
the only one we shall have in Texas. Mails never go or come
here. So you need not expect to hear from us unless there is
something urgent, with any regularity. We can dispatch a
negro to Galveston whenever we are anxious to communicate
rapidly. A letter reaches Columbus in ten or twelve days from
Both of us are in the best of health. Good-bye. Love to all.
R. B. HAYES.
Guy says lots of love to the two Hatties.
MRS. W. A. PLATT.
Thursday, January 4.--Ride with Eliza and Guy eight miles
over to Mrs. Jack's beautiful home on the east bank of the
250 RUTHERFORD BIRCHARD HAYES
Brazos. Found there Miss B. L. Hardiman ("Teenie"), Miss
"Hally," Mrs. Jack, Mrs. McKinney, and Thomas Harrison.
During the ride talk over with Guy all college jokes, Society
contests, etc., etc. Mrs. Jack is a large, noble-looking woman,
benevolence, kindness, and humor beaming from every feature,
shedding sweet influences on all around her. Miss Teenie, an
agreeable girl of twenty from Tennessee; Miss "Hally," a blonde
of singularly pleasing manners, graceful and handsome; Harri-
son a witty, sensible, educated, and moral young lawyer of Hous-
Friday, January 5.--Housed up at Mrs. Jack's. Chatty and
pleasant; sleeping late and eating much.
Saturday, 6.--Ditto, only better acquainted and more familiar.
A lovelorn swain riding with his sweetheart over one of these bald
prairies, at a loss for anything else, says, "A fine hill for turkeys
just here." "The Bible is a good book."--Guy. Mem.:--Re-
member to send engravings to Miss Hally and Eliza.
Many delightful hours spent in that old office on the Brazos.
"No poultry but a smart chance of chickens."
Sunday, January 7.--Ride home. Wet by a warm spring
Monday, January 8.--Cold and cloudy. Hunt without much
success, A. M.; P. M., afoot with Guy down to Joel's. Get lost
on Guy's home farm. Guy "bored," of course. Little Perry, a
lad of eight years old, "ropes" hogs, chickens, etc., and rides like
a Pawnee. To keep his brothers still, [he] ties them. They
struggle stoutly but when roped bear it without whining. Uncle
hunts wild hogs with a heavy rifle unloaded (which Guy retorts
on him for the last joke) and rides a runaway chase after wild
cattle. Evening at Joel's. A fine, lovely moonlight, reminding
me of the night I left Columbus.
Tuesday, January 9.--Clear and bright, but the coldest day
of the winter in this part of Texas. Bishop Freeman with three
attendant clergymen [here] making his visitation. Preaches in
the schoolhouse church to a congregation of thirteen gentlemen,
six ladies, and five children. [The] bishop travels his somewhat
extensive diocese, to-wit, Arkansas, Texas, and the Indian Terri-
THE TRIP TO TEXAS, 1848-1849 251
tory, in a stout cart, covered with canvas, drawn by a pair of
large mules, driven by a stout negro, who cooks, etc., etc. At
dinner much joking on the wandering turkey and its motto, "a fine
hill for turkeys."
Wednesday, 10.--At home and hunting. Stephen and Uncle
start for Chocolate (Liverpool) where Stephen seeks his fortune.
Weather of the best.
Friday, January 12.--A high wind with rain during the night;
clears off bright in the morning. Spent at home as usual.
Saturday, 13.--Spent in assisting Guy to make out lists of
lands belonging to the family in other counties, [amounting to]
a [square] league [and] forty-four hundred and fifty acres.
Labor [slaves(?)] one hundred and eighty. Weather pleasant.
Eliza sings her sweet "Good-bye," of which I have become very
Sunday, 14.--Rainy and unpleasant. [Uncle] Birchard still
absent at Chocolate.
Monday 15.--Start for Austin Bryan's, on Oyster Creek.
Spend afternoon and night with Mrs. Jack. Story of their run-
away negro; his honor in showing himself next morning accord-
ing to promise and then running away. Swift chocolate-colored
current in the Brazos.
Tuesday, 16.--One of the new steamboats passes down with
its load of four hundred bales of cotton, pecan nuts, etc. In
the rain with Mr. Harrison over to Mr. Bryan's. Ride over to
a point of timber; see an abundance of deer but get no shots. A
large blue crane killed flying, Guy and Harrison both shooting at
once. On cutting it in pieces found by the size of the shot who
(Harrison) killed it.
Wednesday, January 17.--Glorious weather. Hunt all day
without success. Row the skiff three or four miles to find a
canoe, but somehow miss it. Find a lot of fishing tackle and
steal the net. Prairie all covered with sea-shells. Bottom of
the Brazos filled with fossil remains. Petrified trees in Burleson
County. Harrison, crossing on a raft, left for home.
Thursday, 18.--Guy and self swim our horses over the bayou
and home. Find Uncle home from Chocolate in great spirits
252 RUTHERFORD BIRCHARD HAYES
and full of jokes. Colonel Hansboro told Stephen: "You are
not an educated man, sir. You have neither travelled nor read,
sir. But Guy Bryan is the best educated man in Texas."
Colonel Kinney was vain of his horsemanship, and being
Senator from San Patricio and a candidate for United States
Senator, took pains to exhibit his horsemanship by riding through
the streets of Austin in every variety of posture; and [he] was
also voted a bore for making harangues intended to be impres-
sive and eloquent. To cut his comb, Williamson, of Washington
County, nicked "Three-legged Willie," after one of Colonel
Kinney's efforts, rose and replied: "The gentleman from San
Patricio is a great man, the gentleman from San Patricio is a
very great man. He rides at a swift gallop through the streets
of Austin, standing upright upon his horse--he is a great man;
the gentleman from San Patricio is a very great man. He can
swing himself from side to side of his horse when galloping at
full speed--he [is] a great man. Mr. Speaker, the Senator from
San Patricio is a very great man. I have seen him while riding
swiftly stoop from his saddle and pick up a dollar on the ground
and safely regain his seat. Oh, Mr. Speaker, the gentleman
from San Patricio is a great man!--he is a very great man."
Replying to a member from Galveston, "Galveston," said he
["Willie"], "what is Galveston? An isolated portion of the
North American continent! Formerly it was the haunt of the
slave stealer and the pirate, and now it is the abode of the most
graceless set of vagabonds that these two blue eyes ever looked
Canvassing for the Legislature, his competitor, a military hero,
boasted of the exploits he had performed in wars with the
Comanches and Mexicans. Willie asked him how many he had
killed. "Oh," said he, "that I cannot tell--it was in battle and
I took good aim; but come, Willie, how many men did you ever
kill?" "I don't know," said Willie, "how many I've killed, but
I've killed two that I got!"--He had shot two men in duels.
So far [I] have seen few villages, no mechanics, no public
improvements. Country appears very new. Many finely im-
proved sugar plantations in this part of Texas.
THE TRIP TO TEXAS, 1848-1849 253
January 19-23.--Laid up with a sore foot from sprain and
coarse wet boot. Uncle kills a young leopard. Perry gets lost.
I read "Pilgrim's Progress," "Don Quixote," Lieber's "Ethics,"
"Two Years in Mexico," etc., etc.
Wednesday, 24.--Ride with Uncle and Guy over Gulf Prairie
to the mouth of the Bernard, to fish and eat oysters. A glorious
day. Deer, cattle, cranes, wild geese, brant, ducks, plover,
prairie hens, and the Lord knows what else, often in sight at the
same time. The roar of the Gulf is heard for miles like the
noise of Niagara. Staked out our horses with "lariats," eat old
Sailor Tom's oysters, picked up shells, fished and shot snipe until
5 P. M., then rode home through clouds of mosquitoes thicker
than the lice or locusts of Egypt--like the hair on a dog's back.
Notice the eagle's nest on the lone tree in the prairie, and reach
home glad to get away from the mosquitoes.
Thursday, January 25.--Still at home waiting for Uncle to
improve before starting on our tour. These Texans are essen-
tially carnivorous. Pork ribs, pigs' feet, veal, beef (grand),
chickens, venison, and dried meat frequently seen on the table
at once. Two little black girls for waiters pass everything pos-
sible around, and take the plates of the guests to the carvers,
never failing to get the right name. Mem.:--All Texans famous
for name memories.
Friday, 26--Spent limping around after buzzards. Speaking
of buzzards: Mr. Perry, who has a world of good jokes and
anecdotes, told of a Frenchman. "Some people, be gar, say rat
pies are not good, but it is all prejudice. Rat pies are good,
and frog soup is good, and some snakes, be gar, are very good.
But buzzard soup is not good and it is no prejudice."
Saturday, January 27, 1849, and Sunday, 28.--Still lame.
Housed up. Read "Patent Report" on sugar, etc., etc. Received
letter from Fanny full of alarm about cholera. Uncle goes to
Monday, 29.--Ella Eggleston goes over to Matagorda. I ride
a few miles with Guy towards Brazoria. Return and read Wal-
pole's "Letters to Horace Mann." Still limping.
254 RUTHERFORD BIRCHARD HAYES
Tuesday, 30.--Ride with Mr. Perry over to Sterling McNeal's
plantation. A shrewd, intelligent, cynical old bachelor "full of
wise saws and modern incidents [instances]"; very fond of telling
his own experience and talking of his own affairs. Living alone,
he has come to think that he is "the be-all and end-all here." The
haughty and imperious part of a man develops rapidly on one
of these lonely sugar plantations, where the owner rarely meets
with any except his slaves and minions. Sugar hogsheads vary
from eleven hundred to eighteen hundred pounds. White and
black mechanics all work together. White men generally dis-
solute and intemperate. Returned, found Uncle Birchard re-
turned from Oyster Creek with the trophy of a successful on-
slaught upon a tiger-cat. Glorious weather. One little shower.
Wednesday, 31.--Weather fine; warm and windy. Read
Bulwer's "Rienzi." Good. Scott's "Black Dwarf"; so-so only
for Scott. Lieber's "Ethics," again. Uncle and Eliza ride
down to Joel's after brandy peaches and return joking each other
about their intemperance. Mem.:--Uncle not quite well yet. A
fortnight since I had my boots on.
Thursday, February 1, 1849.--Despatch a letter to mother
by my old classmate, Ed. Austin. Uncle and Guy busy getting
ready for our trip to the upper country.
GULF PRAIRIE, TEXAS, January 27, 1849.
DEAR MOTHER:--We are about starting on a tour through
northern and western Texas, and as we shall be constantly on
the go, and as there are no mail facilities worth naming in the
interior, you will not hear from us again until after our return
to the coast, a month or six weeks hence. After the receipt of
this, let your letters be directed to Galveston. We shall get them
there sooner than here.
Since I wrote last we have been riding about this neighborhood
visiting, hunting, fishing, etc. The weather has been warm with
frequent rains, which have kept us under roof a large part of the
time. Mr. Perry and Uncle are constantly together telling
anecdotes, talking politics, playing backgammon, and attending to
the business of the plantation. They are as well suited to each
THE TRIP TO TEXAS, 1848-1849 255
other as John Anderson and his wife in the song. Guy, Eliza,
and myself visit the young ladies when it is pleasant weather,
and read, play chess and games when it rains. It has now
cleared up for good, so they tell us, and is beautiful May weather.
We were down to the Gulf fishing, shooting, eating oysters, and
fighting mosquitoes. You have no idea of the effect of this fine
weather on one's health and feelings. It is really intoxicating.
Uncle is getting [as] fat as a seal. It has but little influence
on me in that way, although I have the health of a mountaineer.
We anticipate a good deal of pleasure in our trip up the
country. We have now become pretty well acquainted with the
sugar-growing part of Texas. The life of a planter who has a
fair start in the world is one of the most independent imaginable.
We here find the pleasures of fashionable life without its tyranny.
I doubt, however, whether a person of Northern education could
so far forget his home-bred notions and feelings as ever to be
thoroughly Southern on the subject of slavery. We have seen
none of "the horrors" so often described, but on the other hand
I have seen nothing to change my Northern opinions. It is often
thought with us that Southern ladies have an easy time of it
with their "help," but it is not so. A good "manager" here has
quite as much "vexation of spirit" as ever you have who are
changing "girls" once a fortnight. Mrs. Perry, for example,
instead of having the care of one family, is the nurse, physician,
and spiritual adviser of a whole settlement of careless slaves.
She feels it her duty to see to their comfort when sick or hurt,
and among so many there is always some little brat with a
scalded foot or a hand cut half off, and "Missus" must always see
to it or there is sure to be a whining time of it in the whole
camp. Besides, to have anything done requires all time. It may
be I am mistaken, but I don't think Job was ever "tried" by a
gang of genuine "Sambos"!
January 28--I have just received Fanny's letter of the 3rd
inst. Of course, we cannot but regret that you should have been
forced to feel so anxious on our account, but we could not help
it. I wrote to relieve your anxiety as soon as possible after we
reached the danger and again from Galveston, when we were out
of it. The ravages of the cholera, both in New Orleans and
256 RUTHERFORD BIRCHARD HAYES
Texas, were so much confined to people of exposed or intemper-
ate life, that I have never felt a particle of apprehension from it.
It has now entirely disappeared in Texas and nearly so in New
Orleans. You need not fear for us on that score. We shall
not go where it is again, even if we take the overland route to
St. Louis or the sea voyage to New York when we return. Feel
no more trouble if you do not hear from us. We are going west
and you will not hear from us for six weeks--perhaps more.
Bryan goes with us. Our trip is through the healthiest part of
Texas and, indeed, of the world. I do not believe there is a
healthier place than this, summer or winter, on the continent.
My little fever at New Orleans was an acclimating fever
brought on by change of water and air. It lasted but a few
hours and would not have caused much trouble to any one but
for the sickly place and time at which I happened to have it.
We are both free from colds and all manner of disease. Uncle
just started off on a bear hunt. We shall wait a few days for
Guy to get ready. When I began this letter we did not expect
I was very glad to get your letter. I had not expected one
before, and when "the boy" (all men slaves are "boys") went
down to the landing this morning, I told them all that I would
certainly get a letter and offered "to gamble" on it. (N. B.--
All betting is here called "gambling"). I hope the little folks
will get safely through with their whooping. One of the worst
barriers between childhood and "grown folks" will then be
I was a little amused at Fanny's account of the way she kept
my horrible little note from you for fear it would injure you. I
really think you bear such things the best, and in future if I
have any choice item of awful import, I shall try to convey it to
you first and let you break it to Fanny as fast as she can bear it.
29th.--A pretty May morning. I have an opportunity of giv-
ing my letter a fair start for Ohio. Even that is not an every-
day occurrence.--Love to all. Good-bye.
Your affectionate son,
R. B. HAYES.
THE TRIP TO TEXAS, 1848-1849 257
February I.--Just fixed for "a go." Glorious spring weather.
Be sure to write us so that we shall find two or three letters from
you on our return to Galveston. We will send you papers from
the western country, but it is not likely you will get them before
a month or two after they are mailed.--H.
MRS. SOPHIA HAYES.
Friday, February 2.--A pleasant ride with Miss Eliza over to
Mrs. Jack's. A lively evening. The best thing got off was a
description of Miss Proserpine Random's manner of preserving
her presents--gifts, annuals, and elegantly bound volumes of the
poets--by carefully stowing them away in their wrappers in one
of her mother's cast-off candle boxes; also a description of the
"toplofty air" of one of Miss Random's beaux.
Saturday, February 3, 1849.--Too wet for Eliza and self to
return home. Chat and chit and read in the office in the 18th
Niles' Register the account of the Missouri Compromise, also
"Life of Rienzi." Tease Eliza about her beau (really Miss
Hally's), Mr. William Pitt Ballinger.
Sunday, February 4.--Very wet cold "norther." Mr. Harris
calls. At noon, with Miss Hally and Eliza, start for home against
a fierce norther. Reach home safely; find Joel and all the others
gathered around a fire.
Monday, February 5.--Cold and clear. Forenoon spent with
Stephen and the ladies; music and flirting. Afternoon rode up
to Major Lewis'. Three agreeable young ladies, Louisa, Cora,
and Stella; music, singing, and dancing,--city refinement and
amusements in a log cabin on the banks of the Brazos, where
only yesterday the steam whistle of the steamboat was mistaken
for a panther! Slept with Stephen. Stephen's town called
Tuesday, February 6.--Rode back to Mr. Perry's, all except
Stephen and his Mexican who went on to Chocolate (Liverpool,
Wednesday, February 7.--Uncle, Guy, and self left Mr.
Perry's for a trip through northern and western Texas. Guy
258 RUTHERFORD BIRCHARD HAYES
mounted on a high Mexican saddle covered with a red sheep-
skin on Joel's mule, a grand beast; Uncle on a stout bright bay
-"Hotspur" (Guy's favorite horse), a fine animal; and I on a
tall, gaunt, black, awkward, frisky piece of horseflesh bought out
of one of the Kentucky regiments, sent to Mexico;--all with
saddle-bags, overcoats, and ropes for lariats. Mem.:--My big
"Rosinante" "nicked" "Nimrod." Road, or route rather, watery,
muddy, and blind ten miles to Brazoria, a small village of two
hundred people on the west bank of the Brazos. At the hotel
introduced to E. M. Pease; said he was of the old Salem stock
of Peases with whom the first-born son was always called John.
Also an intellectual and most interesting man from Paris, Ky.,
who was insane, W. B. Victor. Queer how he was frightened by
Uncle enacting the ghost, "Cold Huckleberry Pudding."
Thursday, February 8.--Cloudy and warm. Ride fourteen
miles on a good dry road on the banks of the Brazos. Dine at
Mr. Adrance's in Columbia, a pleasant village of one hundred
and fifty people. Horses shod; chat with the postmaster, Mr.
Duncan, who was in the battle of Ballville [near Fremont, in the
War of 1812]. Evening at Colonel Morgan L. Smith's plan-
Friday and Saturday, [February] 9 and 10.--Housed by a
wet norther: delightfully spent with Colonel Smith who talked
incessantly, telling of his improvements, sugar refinery, "vacuum
pans," etc., his travels in Europe, political affairs in New York,
mercantile operations in Texas, etc.
Sunday, [February] 11.--Started out in the norther, muddy
and wet. "Like travelling in Ottawa County," until we reached
a prairie in which there was a mound about fifty feet high, oval
and swelling from a base of one hundred acres. It has stone in
it, although no other stone is to be found in many miles. It is
at Damon's, on the line of Fort Bend and Brazoria Counties.
Counted one hundred and eighty-five deer on the now rolling
prairies. Reached Colonel David Random's just at night, forty
miles from Colonel Smith's. A lovely place on the high, rolling
banks of the Brazos. A laughing joker of Indian blood; keeps
fine horses for racing and always wins.
THE TRIP TO TEXAS, 1848-1849 259
Monday, February 12.--Cold and clear. Today ride over a
high, rolling prairie, "most glorious to behold." Mem.:--Last
night saw the prairie on fire.--Grand. In the course of the
day passed the house of the identical man whose chickens come
up in the spring and cross their legs to be tied, so strong is the
force of habit--their owner having moved once a year a day's
journey (or week's) until he reached Texas, all the way from
Tuesday, 13.--Over a charming New-England-looking coun-
try to Mr. Brown's in Austin County, on Mill Creek.
Wednesday, 14.--Ride to Colonel Gillespie's in Washington
County to dinner. Thence to Captain Fuller's on the stage route
from Houston to Austin. Weather lovely until 11 A. M. when
on a sudden our lovely June breezes were changed to a norther,
colder than December, accompanied by sleet and snow.
Thursday, February 15, 1849.--Weather-bound at this fine
inn with a crowd of queer people from all parts of the United
States. Good eating, good sleeping, and fun a plenty. Snow
three inches and ice and frozen ground.
Friday, 16.--A bitter cold ride of thirty miles to Cunning-
ham's, an "old settler," originally from Massachusetts. Bastrop
Saturday 17.--Clear and cold but bearable. Twenty-six miles
to Colonel Chambers'. Through the village of Bastrop. First
sight today of the green Colorado, with its picturesque hills and
beautiful, wide-spread meadows. Ascend Guy's future home, one
mile south of the village of Bastrop. He calls the hill on which
he wishes to put his mansion "Bald Knob." It overlooks a lovely
bottom, in horseshoe shape, of one thousand acres.
Sunday, February 18.--Clear and bright, but still cool weather.
Thirty-three miles to Austin over a fine rolling country. The last
two days, pine and cedar in abundance--the country looking like
one which suffers from the drouth; hills covered with small round
pebbles, some places to the depth of four or five inches; under
this layer, a rich black soil. Austin is an inconsiderable village
among the [trees(?)] on the Colorado, with "large expectations."
Governor's office, judges' rooms, etc., are little log cabins sixteen
260 RUTHERFORD BIRCHARD HAYES
feet square; not more than one or two passable buildings in the
city (?). Town full of discharged "Rangers," officers and sol-
diers of the United States army, gamblers, and others. Costumes
of every variety--Indian, Mexican, Christian, civil, military, and
mixed. All armed to the teeth. Fierce whiskers, gaming, and
drinking very abounding in all quarters.
Monday, 19.--Cloudy, but pleasant. "Surround" the city with
Uncle afoot. Cross the lovely blue Colorado. The capitol is a
low frame building on the top of a gravelly hill overlooking the
village. The hotel consists of a number of log cabins, and is
very comfortable, all things considered. The landlord is one
of the famous and dreaded "Rangers," Captain McCulloch. Gen-
eral Harney is in town. In the evening, peeped in upon a Cali-
fornia meeting, held in the hall of the House of Representatives
--a room with two ornaments, a map of the Holy Land, and
another of the wanderings of the Jews. Called at the room of an
old law student of Delaware, Royal T. Wheeler, now a judge
of the Supreme Court. His office as judge, "den," as he called it,
being a log cabin about fourteen feet square, with a bed, table,
five chairs, a washstand, and a "whole raft" of books and papers.
Visit the Supreme Court; consists of three judges, Hemphill,
---, and Wheeler. Hearing land cases under their shingling
system of entries.
Tuesday, February 20.--Weather warm and balmy, but cloudy.
Walk with Uncle over the Colorado to Barton Spring, named
after the Barton who sent word to the commanding officer of a
company of Regulars, sent out to guard the frontier, that if he
didn't withdraw, "he would let the Indians kill them." [The]
spring is large but not unusually so. P. M., ride to the top of
Mount Bonvel, north of Austin--a steep, high hill overlooking
the valley and affording a fine view of mountain scenery, stretch-
ing off towards the northwest. Evening spent with Judge
Wheeler, talking over old times.
Wednesday, February 21.--Misty and threatening but no
rain. Set out for San Antonio. Cross the Colorado and ride over
a high dry prairie without much timber to San Marcos, on the
beautiful stream of the same name; and the county-seat of Hays
THE TRIP TO TEXAS, 1848-1849 261
County. Visit the spring. The water spouts out of the foot of the
mountain in streams of a foot in diameter.
Thursday, 22. -- Weather A. M. as yesterday, clearing off in
the afternoon. Ride twenty miles over a fine rolling country,
looking old and cultivated with its orchards (mezquite trees),
meadows, flocks and herds, but no houses, to New Braunfels.
Stop at Millet's a "ho bone" place. This is a German village of
two or three thousand people at the junction of two of the most
beautiful streams I ever saw, the Guadaloupe (pronounced Wah-
loop) and the Comal. The Comal flows from springs in the same
manner as the Comal [San Marcos?]. The water is so transparent
the fish seem hanging in the air.
Friday, February 23. --All day spent in viewing the lions with
Judge Dooley-- the pleasure ground on the hill, the deep hole,
the spring, and mountain, where I gathered mountain laurel and
Saturday, 24. -- Off over high, dry, rolling prairie thirty-five
miles to San Antonio. Stop at Mrs. Shelton's. Visit the Alamo
with Mr. Bean; visit the grave of Walker and Gillespie, [and]
the Alamo and find a party of California emigrants cooking in the
room where Crockett fell.
Sunday, 25. -- Early in the morning go to mass at the Church
of the Cracked Chimes. Mexican girls of all colors, with no
bonnets, but shawls gracefully thrown over their shoulders, kneel-
ing reverently on the ground floor. Attend Mr. McCulloch's
church A. M. Sacrament administered and a description of
Christ's crucifixion by a ghostlike, consumptive gentleman from
the North, with one foot in the grave, in the most eloquent and
impressive style imaginable. Singing by officers of the army.
P. M., walk about over this old ruined Spanish town--one or
two American houses only. In front of one see General Worth
walking about. Evening, entertained by Mrs. Shelton with her
piano, which had "the heaves," and her asthmatic voice; gives us
her pedigree and biography. Wandered from New Haven
through all the Southern cities, first teaching school and after-
wards keeping boarding-house, until now on this frontier she con-
templates going on to El Paso!
262 RUTHERFORD BIRCHARD HAYES
Monday, February 26.--Visit the Mission houses, San Jose,
Concepcion, etc.,-- ruined castles with statuary, carved work, and
painting, built for worship and defence in the most magnificent
style; now in heaps of ruins affording shelter to bats, Mexicans,
and venomous and filthy reptiles. Evening attend two "fan-
dangos." Girls not very pretty but exceedingly graceful. [You]
pay a dime for a figure and refreshments for your doxy, who
instead of eating prudently stores her cakes, etc., in a basket to be
taken home for the family. This town [is] the scene of more
bloody fights than any other on the continent.
Tuesday, 27.--Warm and pleasant. [At] 2 P. M. leave San
Antonio and. ride twenty miles over a rolling prairie (not a
house or farm seen) to McLelland's. Met Peacock of the
Mississippi Expedition and a good-natured Missouri Son of
Temperance with whom we spent the evening pleasantly enough.
In the morning find a lot of horses stolen-- fortunately not ours
among the number. Peacock and the Puke off after them.
Wednesday, 28. -- Threatens rain, but set out through Seguin
where the smallpox rages dreadfully. Stop in the prairie at 12
M. and take a dinner with John Pollen, a waggoner of Victoria,
--the fiercest temperance man I know of. Stop at night at old
man West's, thirty-five miles from McLelland's. Listen to
divers yarns and go to bed in the worst quarters I've seen in
Texas. Uncle said he would have been obliged to the old gent
if he had put him in the corn-house.
Thursday, March 1, 1849. -- Rain threatened, but start on
over a lovely country of hill and valley, "mottes" of timber and
prairie, to Gonzales to dinner. Met James Rose's twin brother
who forgot to pay his bill and went back to do it. That night
at widow Burkett's on [the] Gaudaloupe--thirty-five miles.
Friday, 2.-- Threatens rain. Down the Gaudaloupe through
a country of increasing beauty to Mr. Burns'-- a fine old
gentleman pioneer. A lot of daguerreotypes of the whole tribe
the chief topic of conversation until we turned it into the trail of
Indian warfare.-- Thirty-three miles.
Saturday, 3. --Same as yesterday as to weather. Now on the
THE TRIP TO TEXAS, 1848-1849 263
flat prairies again. Stop at Ingraham's in Victoria. Saw Delano,
Judge Allen, Mr. Bikel.
Sunday, March 4. --With Delano to the ferry. P. M. Spent
in Delano & Allen's office, talking politics, hearing yarns, etc.,
etc. Evening again at Delano's office; hear L. Jones talk of
everything most entertainingly. Read of Richter.
Monday, March 5. -- Ride over a level, boundless prairie, out
of sight of land. Think of the Inauguration and talk of it as
Uncle and I eat our dinner under the old live-oak. Stay all
night on [the] Navidad at a large old gentleman's, (Mr. Suther-
land) --thirty-five miles; two hundred and ninety deer.
March 6.--Thirty-five miles over level boundless prairie to
Elliot's Ferry on [the] Colorado.--Two hundred and seventy-
Wednesday, March 7. -- Hunting, etc. Jolly Englishmen with
guns a plenty.
Thursday, March 8. -- Thirty-five miles. Now in the lower
country. Lost in a canebrake. Thirty-five miles to Mim's Ferry
over the Bernard. Saw a deer at thirty steps-- not frightened.
Friday, March 9, 1849. -- Reach home at Mr. Perry's, ten
miles. Find letters from home, etc.
Saturday, 10. -- Spent at home with Mr. Dupuy, of Kentucky.
GULF PRAIRIE, March 10, 1849.
DEAR FANNY: --Just back again. Find here your letters of
January 13 and February 3 and several newspapers, for all which
many thanks. You can't think how amused and pleased I was
with Lolly's letter. "Willie had the hooping-cough and Fanny
had a Christmas present," etc. How natural Be sure to im-
press her with proper notions of my gratification at being num-
bered among her correspondents.
We have had a most delightful trip riding over the prairie
hills of upper Texas. It is no part of my intention to trouble
you with a descriptive letter, for I should be driven to extremities
in attempting to spread before you the singularly picturesque
264 RUTHERFORD BIRCHARD HAYES
appearance of most of the upper country. It has the clear run-
ning streams of New England, skirted with heavy timber, high
hills of smooth greensward, soil, rich and deep to the very top,
here called rolling prairie, occasionally dotted with "mottes" of
timber, resembling old orchards in an old cultivated country--
except in the absence of buildings, fences, and improvements.
We often rode thirty miles without a house. The Colorado,
Guadaloupe, and San Antonio are the prettiest rivers I ever saw.
The towns are without interest except two or three. Austin,
the capital, is not near equal to Sunbury. I there saw Royal T.
Wheeler, formerly a law student in Delaware and now [a] judge
of the Supreme Court of this State. I spent three or four hours
with him most pleasantly.
New Braunfels is settled wholly by Germans. It is settled
by peoples of every grade,-- noble and plebeian, nabobs and
paupers. I never was in Germany on the Rhine before; but
there at the junction of the beautiful Comal and still more
lovely Guadaloupe, in the most delicious climate I've ever imag-
ined, these fair-haired Teutons have built in a short three years
the most prosperous, singular, and interesting town in Texas.
I'll describe it when I see you.
San Antonio is an old Spanish town built in Spanish style,
peopled by Spanish Mexicans with all their vices, amusements,
and worship. Curious and strange enough, the whole of it.
I'll tell you about that town, too, if you should desire it.
10 P. M., Saturday evening. --Uncle is in bed and all the
household, including visitors, dogs, and guinea hens, are "as quiet
as a nest-egg." The only good time to write letters! I could
write a love letter this fine moonlight night; don't know how I
shall succeed with an ordinary family affair.
Speaking of Mother's advice as to carrying phials of cholera
medicine always in our pockets, Uncle wishes me to tell her that
on our late trip he did so and found it a great preventive. He
had frequent recourse to his bottle stowed away in his saddle-
bags where he could get it without dismounting from his horse.
It was, however, neither peppermint nor laudanum but excellent
Mrs. Joel Bryan and Miss Eliza Perry are probably going
THE TRIP TO TEXAS, 1848-1849 265
North with us. If they do we shall not leave here until the first
of April and not reach home until some three weeks after start-
ing. We shall know tomorrow or day after their determina-
tion. Should they not go with us, we shall be with you fast
on the heels of this letter. There is little doubt of their going.
Mrs. Bryan is a lively, agreeable woman and will be excellent
travelling company. Eliza is a matter-of-fact girl who is fond
of seeing, laughing, and talking in the Leonora style. They will
stop with friends in Kentucky. Uncle will not call at Columbus
but push on home.
We saw at Victoria a gentleman from Toledo who was in
Lower Sandusky the middle of February. [He] reported no
deaths but much sickness from the influenza.
My respects to John Little. Don't let him "go off," till I'm
there to see.
The California fever is not likely to take us off. I think the
Mexican War in every view was a better way of scattering one's
wild oats. There is neither romance nor glory in digging for
gold after the manner of the pictures in the geography of dia-
mond washing in Brazil.
I've seen and enjoyed more, ten times over, since I wrote you
last, than during my previous visit in Texas, but I can't select
the choice morceaux from such abundance and variety without
more time and leisure than I can now command. The only plan
of sending it [to] you would have been to write twice a week,
as you say H -- does, and that was utterly unpossible, travelling
as we did and in such a country.
We had an adventure with a crazy man the first night out,
[and] a chat with one of the soldiers, who fought the battle
which makes Mr. Valette's farm in Ballville classic ground, the
next day at noon. The next two days we had a "norther" which
weather-bound us at the house of a gentleman, former Mayor
of New York City, who had made the tour of Europe, had the
conversational powers of Franklin, and talked the greater part of
the forty-eight hours, stopping only to sleep a little, eat a good
deal, and to ask us if we were not tired of listening.
We next rode to a celebrated horse-racer's, who told us all he
knew in the happiest style. Thence forty miles farther to a pious
266 RUTHERFORD BIRCHARD HAYES
old Baptist gentleman's plantation, who thought Providence had
specially interfered to promote his earthly happiness and furnish
him with all the necessaries and most of the luxuries of life. I'm
glad he thought so. But for that pleasant delusion, I should
have thought him an object of sympathy. He had nothing to
eat but burned hoe-cake and "a fry" (slices of crisp pork float-
ing or submerged in a sea of gravy), washed down with thick,
strong, black coffee without milk or sugar; a house that you
could throw a cat through at random, on a bleak hill where the
"northers" blow four months in the year; thirteen dirty, cross
young ones (of whom, to prove how he had been blessed with
health, none had been sick), and a wife, dirtier and more cross
than her whole thirteen colonies.
From there sixty miles to Captain Fuller's, who had great
Yankee fires (by this time another "norther"), a pleasant wife,
a pretty daughter, two clever boys, and a lot of guests who
could tell frontier stories of hunting and fighting and make time
pass rapidly and pleasantly. "And so on" to the end of the
I've not yet carried you half-way on our seven-hundred-mile
ride; have only named the items, and am at the end of the sheet.
-- Good-bye. Love to all.
R. B. HAYES.
MRS. W. A. PLATT.
Sunday, 11.--Evening, Joel, Guy and Austin, all talking of
Monday, 12. --Uncle and Guy over to Mrs. Jack's. Dupuy
and self shot at alligators in Jones Creek. Dine with Mrs. Joel
Tuesday and Wednesday, 13 and 14. -- At home, reading "Life
in Mexico" and writing land contracts for Mr. Perry.
Thursday, March 15, 1849. -- With Guy and Bostwick through
the wet prairies and boggy bottoms of the Brazos and Oyster
Creek to Chocolate (Liverpool) on Pleasant Bayou, as Stephen's
home is called.
THE TRIP TO TEXAS, 1848-1849 267
Friday, 16.--With Guy for Houston. Get lost and finally
bring to at C. L. Dell's stock farm. Mr. Dell said he could not
accommodate us; beds all packed up for a move to Houston next
day. Asked him as to the road to Houston. Said it was the
worst road in Texas. "You can't go on. Come in, gents, you
must be accommodated." And [he] treated us like a prince.
Saturday, March 17. --Ride into Houston; fine town on a
muddy flat at junction of two bayous forming Buffalo Bayou.
Academical style of architecture prevailing. Dine with Baker
and his pleasant family. Visit Tom Harrison. Capitol House
is a capital house. Play chess with Mr. Blunt.
Sunday, 18. -- Hottest ride yet, thirty miles over to Dr. Mil-
ler's near Richmond on [the] Brazos in Fort Bend County. Dr.
Miller keen and eccentric; a great "Son."
Monday, 19. -- Fine weather. Through Richmond to Mrs.
Bell's, a fine, pious old lady. "Old settler."
Tuesday, 20. -- To Shelby McNeil's and home to Mr. Perry's.
Find Miss Hally. Mrs. Anderson and half of widow's prairie
Wednesday, 21. --A long good-bye to this pleasant home.
God's choicest blessings on all beneath the hospitable roof!
Eliza, Guy, Uncle, Mr. and Mrs. Perry to Velasco by way of
Joel Bryan's. Self and Stephen dine with Mrs. Jack and so
down to Velasco. Evening at De Gauthiere's. Laura, Roana,
and Harriet --and the songs [to be] remembered long.
Thursday, 22.--By stage with Eliza through San Luis to
Galveston Island. Ride on the beach. Do not reach Galveston
till midnight; trunks slip off and divers calamities.
[Two days were spent at Galveston "at that grand hotel, the
Tremont House." March 25, good-byes were said to Mr. Perry
and Eliza and the steamer Palmetto was taken. New Orleans was
reached two days later and, the cholera still prevailing, Hayes and
his uncle started immediately on their uneventful journey up the
Mississippi, pursued by cholera alarm until they had passed Mem-
phis. They arrived at Cincinnati April 6. After three days there
268 RUTHERFORD BIRCHARD HAYES
Hayes went on to Columbus, where he lingered for several days.
It was not till the very last of April that he finally reached home,
where the next few months were spent in preparations to remove
to Cincinnati. The Diary has the following undated summary of
the summer's activities.]
Last of April, 1849, return from Texas home to Lower San-
dusky. Settle up and finally dissolve with Buckland preparatory
to bidding adieu to Lower Sandusky. Prevented by cholera in
Cincinnati from going there. Fourth of July, picnic and ride.
First Monday in August, 1849, cholera panic; general
stampede; a week spent in flitting about the country; then off to
Delaware. At Gambier, commencement day, August 8. Met
with the old Phi Zetas that evening. Find myself a college boy
again. [Then] back to Berkshire. [At] Mr. Gregory's with
Uncle, Mother, Fanny, William, and the chicks.
August 23, [go] with George Wood Little from Harts Spring
down to Columbus. Saw Doctors Case and Little and also
Till [the] 29th playing chess, in Delaware; then back to Harts,
with brother and sister a day and a half. Return to Mrs. Was-
son's, [Delaware], and Friday [the] 31st, home to Lower San-
September and October spent at home boarding at the Fre-
mont House and winding up affairs preparatory to leaving for
Cincinnati. November  (the day Pierpont Marsh was
buried), left Fremont [to which the name of the town had recently
been changed largely through the interest and activity of Hayes in
the matter] for Columbus with Uncle Birchard. Remained all
night with Jesse Stem in Tiffin. Monday, railroad with W. G.
Lane [ ?] to Springfield; same evening to Columbus. Laid up with
quinsy. Tuesday evening Ella Espy married but could not attend
on account of said quinsy. Waited on A. B. Buttles with Miss
Mary Sisson the evening of his marriage to Miss Lizzy Ridgway.
Next morning, Wednesday, November 29, went to Circleville, day
after to Lancaster, day after to Chillicothe, and Sunday, Decem-
ber 2, home.
[The letters of this period that remain are not numerous nor of
PREPARING TO LEAVE FREMONT, 1849 269
LOWER SANDUSKY, May 4, 1849.
DEAR FANNY: -- At home again and enjoying myself. Was at
a very lively wedding party last evening. The happy pair were
two of our best young folks . . .
Pease and his wife are living just as you would suppose two
such people would live. . . . Pease is mad with the plank
road fever. They have commenced the plank roads south and
west and will finish enough to test their value this season. If
anything can save the place from utter worthlessness and desola-
tion, this is the work that will do it.
Mrs. Valette and family are well. She is just the wittiest,
thriftiest and (to use one of Lollie's superlatives) smilingest
woman in this country. She sheds happiness around her as the
Arrowsmiths did chilliness.
I am boarding at one of the hotels. It is a very decently kept
house. Uncle bore up against the bad weather as well as could
be expected. It confined him to the house a few days, and he
no doubt felt its ill effect, but he is now well and very happy in
the prospect of having something more to add prosperity to the
apple of his eye --this village.
Our good people are busily engaged cleaning up for a proper
reception of the cholera. Every one expects it to visit us. . .
R. B. HAYES.
MRS. W. A. PLATT.
LOWER SANDUSKY, June 27, 1849.
DEAR MOTHER: -- I received your letter and brother William's
last evening. We are all quite well. No cholera has yet made
its appearance in this neighborhood. When it does so, we shall go
into the country. I am sorry you have not all done the same. It
may be as well, but really it seems to me a needless exposure.
Nothing about the cholera is more certain than that it does not
visit the farmhouses. If there is anything in the new theory-
ozone--the sulphur springs will protect Delaware from the dis-
ease. With your constitutional tendency to cholera morbus and
diarrhoea, it will require particular care on your part to avoid the
disease. . . .
270 RUTHERFORD BIRCHARD HAYES
We shall expect to hear something from you often. I am not
myself so apprehensive of cholera as many people. Cheerfulness
and regular habits are, I think, pretty good preventives. But do
R. B. HAYES.
MRS. SOPHIA HAYES.
FREMONT, August 27, .
DEAR MOTHER:-- You must put up with another short letter.
You know that all is well when I say nothing or but little. Uncle
is quite well again and all other friends. I have been busy, and I
You have met some great losses in Columbus which are every-
where spoken of with the same feelings which I suppose prevail
with you. I hope you will not do so much with the sick as to
make yourself an invalid. . . . How strangely the cholera
goes. Delaware and Mount Vernon, cities of refuge heretofore,
are no longer places of safety. No sickness here, none antici-
pated. . . .Don't be nervous at my silence. It is either the
mails that are to blame or I am well.
R. B. HAYES.
MRS. SOPHIA HAYES.
FREMONT, September 9, 1849.
DEAR FANNY:--I suppose the fine cold weather we have had
during the last few days has frozen out the cholera and sent you
I found Uncle and our other friends well. The only change
was the addition of a son to Pease's family. . . This is not
the only piece of good luck among our kith and kin. Austin
Taylor's wife has presented him with a pair of 'em! Whew!
Isn't it horrid to reflect upon?
No other news of any sort. Will Lane, who worked like a
Turk in the cholera hospital at Sandusky, is said to have fallen
in love "at sight" with a pretty "ministering angel" he happened
to meet there. Not stopping at that, it is further said that they
are engaged, etc. A very pretty bit of romance, but as I chanced
PREPARING TO LEAVE FREMONT, 1849 271
to know more than a year ago that he had a "sneaking notion"
after this same damsel, his looking sweet towards her when he
met her in the hospital didn't strike me as remarkable.
Uncle has been busying himself dividing lands with Dickinson's
estate. I help some at this, practice law a little, and read a good
deal by way of preparing myself for "coming events."
Love to all. Write soon all the news.
Your affectionate brother,
MRS. W. A. PLATT.
FREMONT, September 23, 1849.
DEAR FANNY: -- Notwithstanding your good-natured humor
on the subject of my former letter, I fear I shall not be able to
get off one today which will be an improvement upon it either in
quantity or quality. Women can write clear around most men,
supposing the raw material of equal abundance and interest to be
within their reach. In the case of you and I, you have, not only
the advantage of a woman's readier skill in epistolizing, but also
an infinitely greater amount of good subjects to work upon. You
have a houseful of changing, improving little folks in whom we
feel an interest, as many grown-up people as there are of the kin
here, and a whole cityful, big and little, in whose gossip we claim
a right to be instructed. Now, only think how scantily I am sup-
plied with topics. Uncle and his affairs, -- one little description
of them will do them for a whole year. Pease and his little wife
and heir require if possible less watching; the only event hap-
pening in his household since the advent of the baby is the arrival
of a rocking-chair like the one in your parlor. And Austin Tay-
lor and his tribe suggest no very pleasant trains of recollection or
thought, though his wife does look young and pretty, remark-
able as it may seem. Then, there are Valette, Buckland, and their
families to be spoken of once in a while, and I am at the end
of my roll.
We have a new landlord, and I think an improvement. The
old one was good enough but for a deficiency in his kitchen cab-
inet or "diet." Under his administration our biscuits were never
warmed clear through, and cold dough doesn't seem to agree
272 RUTHERFORD BIRCHARD HAYES
with me. On the contrary, those we had last night were just
about heated through, an important gain seeing that cold weather
is coming on apace.
Besides doing what business I have in hand, being about half
enough to occupy my time, I am brushing up my law reading
and mustering as strong a force of inducements and provocatives
to ambition as possible, so as to be able to survive the two or
three briefless years which probably await me at Cincinnati.
Though the prospect is by no means a glowing one, gilded as it is
by the dreams of my hopeful imagination, divers are the plans,
which are chasing each other through my brain, of spending that
period pleasantly and improvingly. When thinking of the great
change which must come over my habits of life upon mingling in
the throng of a great town, some fancies, or rather half-formed
convictions of duty, force themselves upon me which have been
absent from my thoughts since long, long ago. Believing in the
essential verities of religion even with my weak, half-skeptical
faith, there seems something inexcusable in neglecting this subject
when seriously thought of. But I suppose that, instead of em-
bracing the opportunity given me by a change of life and friends
to attend to suggestions like these, they will as hitherto be post-
poned to a more convenient season.
Church bell rings and I am a-going. A short sermon must
do you this time. I was some amused with your account of
certain matters.--Love to all.
MRS. W. A. PLATT.
COLUMBUS, November 25, 1849.
DEAR UNCLE: -- I merely write to relieve you from any anxiety
you might have on account of the bad cold I had when you left.
It continued bad in spite of Mother's and Mr. Platt's remedies
until finding it was making my throat quite sore, I commenced
using my old remedy, cod-liver oil; since then it has steadily
improved and I think I shall soon be clear of it altogether.
I found some three or four cases in the clerk's office of this
county showing the old practice to be as we claim. I shall go to
Lancaster and other places this week. Mr. Tilden says Mr.
PREPARING TO LEAVE FREMONT, 1849 273
Meline is to be up here from Cincinnati in a short time, when
our matters can be talked over.
. . I will write you again as to my success at Lancaster, etc.
R. B. HAYES.
COLUMBUS, December 4, 1849.
DEAR UNCLE:--I returned from my trip to the southern
counties Sunday evening. I made more of a trip than I at first
intended to, in consequence of finding that in Fairfield County
Mr. Ewing's notices were all correct and regular. But in the
other counties, all the notices were similar to ours. Our list of
cases now numbers about thirty which is quite enough to settle
the practice. Judge Lane is here and we are engaged on the
argument. There can't be any doubt about the case.
In the Legislature the Whigs of the House came down as
sensibly and with as little fuss as possible. In the Senate the
struggle is going on without much violence. I do not see how
the Whigs can fail to get a majority eventually in that body if
all the Senators remain true. No one here seems to feel sus-
picious of Randall. It is for his interest this winter to be with us.
My cold has quite left me. Judge Tilden's letter tells me that
Mr. Meline is to be up here in a week or two. I shall, of course,
wait here until I see him if he should come within a reasonable
time. All well. Regards to Mr. and Mrs. Valette.
R. B. HAYES.
COLUMBUS, December 6, 1849.
DEAR UNCLE: -- Your last two letters have been duly received;
also the eighty dollars due from Patterson. . . . .
We are still at work on the argument; it will be ready for
printing tomorrow; it is short but good.
So far, things have gone all right, or as near right as was
possible, in both houses of our Legislature. There is a rumor
that Randall is bought by a promise of Galloway's office if he will
cave in. It is hoped that there is nothing of it.
274 RUTHERFORD BIRCHARD HAYES
Court in banc have made no decisions. They are tied on
questions in which banks are concerned. This seems to be a
great year for ties in public bodies.
Whitney lectured on his railroad scheme last night. I am
satisfied that his scheme and his route are the best, and perhaps
the only ones, to accomplish the work. He looks more like
Napoleon than any other man who ever lived; not even excepting
Judge Lane thinks I had better remain here until Mr. Meline
comes up. I shall want no money until I go down. All well
except Lollie, who has had a little turn of fever but is getting
well. I did write to your Wisconsin lawyer. Love to friends.
Sincerely, R. B. HAYES.
COLUMBUS, December 16, 1849.
DEAR UNCLE:--Our argument was printed and sent off to
Washington day before yesterday. I have now nothing to keep
me here longer and am anxious to start for Cincinnati as soon as
possible. Judge Tilden has not made his appearance here, and
as Judge Lane is to be in Cincinnati within a week or ten days,
I have agreed to meet him there at that time. . . .
In the Senate there are as yet no signs of "caving in," settle-
ment, or compromise on either side. I rather guess that, event-
ually, Randall will give in, but he has not shown the white
feather as yet.
Court in banc is fairly at work at last. Judge Spalding is
certainly a very able judge. I think there would not be the least
danger of your case before the present court. An opinion was
delivered day before yesterday as to the validity of a defective
entry in the Virginia military lands, in which the court went out
of its way to state pretty strongly the necessity of upholding
ancient proceedings although erroneous. . . . .
My health was never better than now. I have no fear on that
score. If I can only get into business within a reasonable time,
I shall not be much troubled about colds or sore throat. . . . .
Sincerely, R. B. HAYES.
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