Monday, May 12, 2014

Jacob F. Miller En Route - March 1883

Chattanooga Tenn. Sunday March 4 1883

...Tuesday 27th left home for mission. Bro. F[ranklin] D. Richards was in the train riding to Ogden and gave us some good instruction. A Doctor from Park City a rabid anti Mormon was on the train and was very bitter and noisy in conversation. We had a great number of conversations on the train and distributed quite a number of tracts. I had several interviews Thursday with a Baptist minister, C. T. Chaffee First Baptist Church. He told me that the Baptists were the most numerous sect in America, the Methodists ranking second, that the salary of a minister in Nebraska ranged from $500 to $5,000 and averaged from $1,000 to $1,200 also that he had the largest Church in the state. Nebraska offered nothing for view except corn, cornstalks and hogs. Iowa offers marked contrast by its rolling hills and Indiana, Kentucky and Tennessee add considerable timber to the prospect.

We reached Omaha Thursday evening, crossed the bridge reported to be 2750 ft long to Council Bluffs and took the St. Louis Kansas City and Northern train1 for St. Louis, where we obtained late breakfast Friday Morning. Took a tramp through the town, which seems to be mainly of brick, wrote to my Father and Thalia. Twelve of us including Bro. Morgan went to visit Shaw's Garden. A very large tract of land is here laid out as a place of pleasure resort. A large number of tropical plants are to be found in the green house, one corner is devoted to Scriptural plants. Amongst them my attention was particularly attracted by a tiny Ceder of Lebanon. A large variety of Cactus adorned the green houses, half a dozen Century Plants were in one. A Pomegranate in one as also palmetto, gum elastic and Camphor.

In the evening we embarked
on the Ohio and Mississippi Railway for Cincinnati. I passed the night in conversation with a stranger, W. T. Nelson of Hillsborough Ohio, between five and six hours were spent in rapid religious argument the remainder of the time in general conversation. My companion gave me control of the argument, by objecting to any opinions and appealing to the written word in the Bible as sole criterion. He had previously laid down as an axiom that the majority were always in the wrong and so could make no logical appeal from the wording of the Scripture to the general opinion of mankind regarding its meaning. In general conversation he informed me that the principal native trees of that part of the country were the oak, hickory and beech on the poorer soil; the walnut and sugar maple in the richer; and the sycamore and elm on the riverbanks and lower lands.

We took the Cincinnati and Southern railway for Chattanooga Saturday morning arriving late Saturday evening. Bro. Rigby found that he had been robbed. I think on the O & M Train I saw one steamer crossing the Ohio. We crossed the Mississippi in the dark. A partially disarranged switch nearly through our train off the track yesterday, The Conductor stopped the train to learn the cause but gave us no information on the subject. A young assistant told us the train narrowly missed being thrown into the river. We crossed a bridge yesterday 286 ft high. We stop here [in Chattanooga] at the Florentine Hotel.

Jacob F. Miller's route from SLC to Chattanooga
Bairds Mills Wednesday March 7, 1883

Sunday March 4th. We held a meeting in my room at the hotel. Bros. [John] Morgan and [Alphonzo] Snow gave us much good advice about our conduct in the missionary field. Following this we met on Cameron Hill2 named during the War in honor of Secretary Simon Cameron. Pres. Morgan, then a young man served in the war under General [John T.] Wilder. The General, now a resident of Chattanooga met us on Cameron Hill and jested with Pres. Morgan about the Battalion he was now leading. All the boys received their appointments Sunday evening except myself. I received mine Monday morning. We all left for our fields of labor Monday.

1 Actually purchased in 1879 by Wabash, St. Louis and Pacific Railway so by the time Elder Miller rode it in 1883, the name had already changed.
2 Cameron Hill sits in the center of downtown Chattanooga, providing an excellent view of the city. It would later be developed into a residential district with a rail to the top, with a casino and a Civil War memorial park. Today most of the hill is occupied by an office complex for Blue Cross Blue Shield of Tennessee.


Bessie said...

Thank you for this terrific post Bruce. Elder Miller’s great journal entries and your perfect precise map of the train trip route to Chattanooga cleared up so many things for me. It was his account of General Wilder “jesting with Pres. Morgan about the Battalion he was now leading” that was the highlight of my morning.

Flora Lee said...

Yes, great post. So wonderful that it went right along with Bessie's Ancestrialties post for the day. Thank you

BruceCrow said...

Glad you liked it Bessie. And it was good to see your piece on Morgan and his take on the day.

Thank you, Flora Lee, I just read Bessie's post.