Uncollected Pieces for Young Readers
Julia Keen Bloomfield, Ellen Saxton Goodnough
New York: Alden Brothers, 1907.
The complete text is available from Google Books: http://books.google.com/books?id=vHSQdHudGXUC.
Original from the New York Public Library Digitized Jan 18, 2006.
CHAPTER XIX. The Rev. Edward A. Goodnough.
On the second Sunday in October, 1853, the REV. Edward A. Goodnough, recently ordained by Bishop Kemper, having resigned the parish at Portage for the purpose, entered on his arduous duties at Oneida. The Mission had been vacant more than a year. The people had lost ground sadly. Says Miss Cooper: "A half-wild tribe are in the mental condition of children; they may have made promising beginning, even decided progress in the right direction, but if abandoned by their guides they must inevitably fall back."
"When the brave young Minister came among the Oneidas everything was looking very dreary. He was a stranger among a wild race whose language he could neither speak nor understand. The majority of the people were very shy and suspicious. A few of the better men and women, however, received him kindly. He was living alone in the Mission House; they brought him bread, game, and fish; washed his clothes and provided him with firewood. But there were others who hoped to drive him away, as they had already driven two Missionaries off the field. At night they would come about the house, making hideous cries and savage yells. The Saturday nights were fearfully disorderly. They would go to Green Bay to trade, and come back dreadfully intoxicated, shouting, fighting, and yelling like so many fiends.
There were at that time white men at Green Bay whose object it was to debase the Indians by all the means in their power, in order to render them odious to the whites, and thus bring about their expulsion from the Reservation. They coveted the fertile lands and fine timber of the Oneidas, and to obtain possession of these were eager to drive the red man farther into the wilderness.
It was surprising how little English was spoken by the people after two centuries or more of intercourse with an English-speaking race. There were few men who spoke the language with any ease, and among the women, with one or two exceptions, there were none who could say more than a word or two. It was at first difficult to find an interpreter, but at last Mr. Goodnough secured an earnest, good young man to fill the part of interpreter at the Church services.
The Church building was in a very bad condition, needing many repairs, while the white paint had worn off or been almost entirely washed off by the rain. The congregation was at first very small. At the first celebration of Holy Communion there were only 30 present. A few years earlier there had been 150 communicants. At the first confirmation there were only 5 to receive the rite. The school-house was an old tumbled-down building with a door at each end, and for chimney an old stove-pipe running up through the roof. There were often heavy drifts of snow on the floor during the winter months. The average attendance was found to be only 15 or 20. The Mission House about 300 yards from the Church was small, a story and a half high. There were out-houses about it, and a glebe of 80 acres. Everything was out of order.
To this desolate Mission House, in April 1854, came a brave young girl not yet 17 years old, the newly married wife of the Missionary, to whom she had been betrothed for some time previous." Blessed was the day," says one, "when Ellen Saxton Goodnough came among the Oneidas with her brave spirit, her warm, generous heart, her cheerful, vigorous, healthy nature, and her good judgment." From the day she first crossed the threshold of the Mission House it is said she scarcely left the Reservation, even for a few hours during her busy Christian life of more than 16 years. A true helpmeet to her husband she gave heart and strength to the work among the red men.
The cheerful, untiring zeal, the affectionate sympathy, the wise, untiring guidance with which Ellen Goodnough moved about, day by day, during all those years among the Oneidas, could scarcely be surpassed. "She gave her life," said one who knew her intimately, "through self-denial, and many hardships, and some reproach, to the task of elevating the Oneidas, and they loved her warmly in return. Her influence became almost unbounded, and her words were law to a great many of the women and girls."
When the young missionaries entered hand in hand upon their duties in 1853-4 the aspect of things was somewhat wild, and not a little discouraging. But at the end of a few months, matters improved very perceptibly, and many people learned once more to look upon their Minister as their best friend. They resumed former habits. Large numbers came to church and gathered at the Mission House. The parsonage was made more comfortable. The Church was improved by repainting and the repairs most needed were attended to. But there was neither chancel nor vestry-room; the roof was leaky, and the floor was paved.
There was a good bell, the gift of a chief, and the people at a distance attended to the call and came more regularly. The sun poured upon the dusky flock through unshaded and unstained windows, the men sitting together on one side, the women on the other side. The men were roughly clothed, generally in coarse blue cloth very carelessly put together. The women came in with their invariably noiseless, gliding step, in very peculiar garb; they were shrouded in blankets, their heads closely covered with various wrappings. Occasionally handsome bead-work, or porcupine-work appeared as trimming on their cloth leggings and moccasins. Mothers brought their babies in bark cradles hanging at their backs, suspended by the regular burden strap passing around the forehead.
The congregation was attentive and some of the older members were very devout, making all the responses with much feeling and reverence. There was an organ of good tone well played by the regular organist, one of the chiefs. The singing was always very sweet. Never indeed were the services carried on without the sweet plaintive voices of the women being heard in the chants and hymns in their own language. Not a few men also had good voices. The people seem to have a natural taste for music. The sermon, though, was translated by the regular interpreter.
The library of Oneida books at that time, if not large, was of very great value to them. There was a translation of the New Testament, complete with the exception of the Second Corinthians; there were also portions of the Old Testament in Oneida; a Hymn Book, compiled chiefly from our own; and 3 editions of the Prayer Book, one by Eleazer Williams. The Rev. John Henry Hobart, son of the revered Bishop Hobart, who had been ordained in the little church at Oneida, and who inherited his father's interest in the people, gave them an improved translation of the Prayer Book, published at his own expense. The translation was prepared for him by the skilful interpreter. The people valued this translation greatly, and often read it in their homes with much pleasure.
The school was taught by the Missionary, who considered this task one of his most important duties. After his marriage his young wife assisted with much zeal in the good work, and during those first months laid the foundation of her deep affectionate interest in the children. Says Miss Cooper: "The little dark-eyed, red-skinned creatures were wild and shy as the chipmunks and fawns of the forests. The girls were gentle, low-voiced and timid. They generally came with their heads closely covered with a wrap of some kind. Boys and girls kept carefully apart, it was impossible to coax them to recite in the same classes. But they soon became attached to the bright-faced, kindly, pleasant-mannered teacher, and ere long she acquired a very great influence over them, and over their mothers also." Later we hear of the shabby old school-house being replaced by a good building, one that also served the Indians as Council Hall for their especial pow-wows.
Mrs. Goodnough, though so young, not yet 17 when she married, so completely identified herself with her young husband in the work going on for the Mission, that it seems natural to write of them as colaborers. And surely there was never a more brave, sweet, winning assistant in any parish. The first year of the Rev. Mr. Goodnough's services brought with them an event to which the people attached no little importance. It was giving their friend the Minister an Indian name. And it is by no means considered an empty compliment. Every Oneida has a name in his own language. Some of them are beautiful, others most peculiar. They never fail to give Indian names to their white friends, names chosen from some personal trait, or some quality characteristic of the individual. They are very close, shrewd observers. Says one:
"When the time came for giving the name to the Missionary, a feast was first prepared. This is a compliment conferred only on an individual whom they wish especially to honor. A regular feast having been duly prepared, and the people assembled, the Chief, Sa-no-sio, arose and made a speech. In the course of the speech the Oneida name of the Missionary, which had already been settled upon among the men, was publicly announced. It was "Ka-yen-retta," "Bright blue sky."
This was received with applause followed by a very warm handshaking. Speech-making, feasting, and hand-shaking never fail to give satisfaction to the Oneidas.
The Minister having been named, the same compliment was paid later to his wife. At the Fourth of July feast her Oneida name was announced as "Ky-yon-to-sa," "She is planting." The Missionary, however, was generally spoken of as "my father," "our father." Their own word for Minister is "Ka-tsi-hen-sta-lis."
Years passed on bringing with them steady growth among the Oneidas. "There is nothing brilliant, nothing startling to record," says the writer of the "Missions to the Oneidas," "but quiet, healthful progress is shown as the blessed result of loving charity and patient perseverance in sound Christian training. There was often hardness to be endured in that field and peculiar trials to be met. But every effort was made with a cheerful, Christian spirit. The hearts of both husband and wife were deeply interested in their duties among the tribe to whose service they had given themselves. 'I love the people,' exclaimed the Rev. Mr. Goodnough with great earnestness, at a time of peculiar trial and great danger to the Oneidas. 'I dearly love to teach these children,' said Ellen Goodnough within a few hours of her death." And the affection so generously given was warmly returned by the Oneidas.
"Among other of the Missionary's trials was the coming from Canada to the Reservation of some Methodist exhorters. They were ignorant, scarce able to read or write, and it was doubtful if they belonged to any Methodist organization. They came as intruders, stirring up strife among the flock, and were much given to abuse of the Church and to praise of their own superior piety. The course of one individual of this class was long unpleasantly remembered. He called himself the Rev. Mr. Sundown, and came especially to convert the people of Hobart Church. He stirred up no little trouble; had a small fanatic following; proposed building a meeting-house for his adherents, and actually began the work; but ere long was compelled to leave the Reservation in disgrace from his own misconduct. He could neither read nor write, but was very abusive of the Church. He probably was not a regular Methodist Minister." The present Methodist settlement owes its origin to what is called the Orchard party. It occupies the western end of the Reservation. In 1846 their regular Mission built a place of worship and had a small portion of the Indian population in attendance. There is now, it is said, a kindly feeling existing between the two Missions, each doing its own work quietly, without interfering with the other. They have used the Oneida Hymn Book and other translations of the Church services.
Very decided changes and improvements were to be seen at the end of 10 years of faithful labor at Oneida. The school, which had almost dwindled away after Mr. Williams left, was once more prosperous, many of the children coming from a distance. The church was filled to its utmost capacity; baptisms were of frequent occurrence. The Bishop confirmed large classes; the communicants increased to 146. During Lent the little church would be well filled for prayers, the men leaving their work for the services, and returning again to their labor afterwards.
The general appearance of the country is said to have borne witness to the improvement. The people became more industrious and orderly. Heathen practices and superstitions were dying out. The general aspect of the Lord's Day was very striking. The farms increased in size and in the manner of cultivation. Sawmills, a gristmill, and blacksmith's shop were all worked by the Indians. They also did a good share of carpenter's work. The women helped now only in the lighter outdoor work. There was one task, however, that wives and mothers would not give up: they always worked in the corn-fields with the men, planting, hoeing, and harvesting the maize. This they considered their privilege of birthright, a holiday task bequeathed to them by their Konoshioni mothers of bygone days. The maize, that beautiful plant and sweet grain, had always held a very important place with the red man, and the Iroquois are said to have 12 different ways of preparing it for food.
The first invitation to Ellen Goodnough as bride, was often recalled by her in later years. And what an effort it must have cost her not to give offense we can readily imagine. A worthy old woman of the congregation invited her to supper, and with true hospitality gave the Minister's wife the best she had to offer -- a kindly greeting, and succotash made of fresh young corn and beans. It was eaten out of an iron kettle placed on the earthen floor, with a wooden spoon. No bread was served.
The untidy way of living in the Oneida cabins greatly distressed Mrs. Goodnough. They had no regular hours for meals. Their bedsteads were rude bunks; the beds in many houses were left unmade all day. The washing was irregularly done; the ironing often entirely neglected. Tins and woodenware -- scant in number -- were never properly scoured. Their bread was cakes of maize, usually baked in the ashes.
Ere long, almost unconsciously, instinctively, as it were, Ellen Goodnough took the first steps in a course she afterwards pursued steadily until the last day of her life. Naturally bright and cheerful, she attracted the Oneida women as visitors to the Mission House, giving them kindly welcome and often entertaining them with a practical lesson in housekeeping, the making of bread, the scouring of a tin, the ironing of a garment -- so many object-lessons to the shy, but closely observant visitors. Kindly example and friendly teaching in these first steps of civilization gradually produced good results. There was no lack of intelligence in her observers; the women were generally quick-witted and their slender fingers became skilled in any task that interested them. They could speak little English, but kindly feeling has a language of its own; a pleasant smile, a friendly gesture, a bit of fun helped on the instructions. The Oneidas enjoy little jokes very decidedly, in spite of their quiet, shy ways.
After these first practical lessons in useful work, gentle guidance and teaching in more important matters followed. To raise the moral and religious tone of the women and girls became the great object of Mrs. Goodnough. And her loving efforts on their behalf were greatly blessed for good. She neglected no opportunity of instructing them by precept and example, and her influence became almost unbounded. She impressed upon them her own strong, noble principles, which influenced the character of many for life.
Mr. Goodnough was in the meantime using his utmost endeavor to instruct the men and boys in the right way of living. Says one who visited the Reservation about that time:
"The farms seem to be well cultivated. The houses, though small, are well built. I was pleased to see so many little gardens and flower-borders, too. We went into some of the houses, where they received us very kindly, with smiling faces and pleasant ways. At one house a young woman was ironing. The clothes were beautifully washed and starched, and the sewing seemed very good. I never saw a neater house than that I was in; you might have eaten your dinner from the floor. There were books lying about. They offered me cake here. I liked the way the women were dressed, with a short calico gown over a long skirt. It is peculiar and pleasing, and what nice shoes and stockings they wore, fitting so neatly on their small feet! But we met several old women with shawls over their heads this warm day.["] We saw many men at work in the barnyards and fields in their white shirt-sleeves. Several times the farmers we passed invited us to take seats in their wagon, while all whom we passed greeted us kindly. We saw several sowing and reaping-machines in the fields, with tall, dark-haired farmers working them. The people seem generally more slow in their movements than the Yankees. We walked behind two young men who had rakes on their shoulders. They walked along at a slow pace, talking in Oneida. It seems strange that the people should be so very slow to learn English and cling so to their own language.["]
"The Indians are very hospitable, and as a rule, not mercenary. Since the people have lived in houses away from the smoke of the wigwams and have learned to use soap, they have become much lighter in complexion, not darker than the Mexicans. They are very kind in sickness, very gentle in all their relations of life. The men are tall, plain farmers, simple in their ways. The women are smaller than the men. Nothing but the rather coarse, straight hair and strange speech recalls the Indian."
Dark and threatening clouds were now gathering about the Oneidas, and deeply felt by the young missionaries. Instead of rejoicing over their prosperity, their well cultivated farms, rich valley, and well-to-do homes scattered about the Reservation, there were those who coveted their possessions and determined, if possible, to wrest them away, and have the inoffensive people all driven off further to some unknown western wilderness. False representations were sent on to Washington, making it appear that the Oneidas were a scourge to the white people, and a nuisance to their neighbors at Green Bay, and that they must be removed. As troubles were increasing, the chiefs and prominent men of the tribe are said to have met almost daily in Council. The Agent of the Government came to them full of threats to intimidate them; occasionally he resorted to bribery.
The Missionary, though much distressed for them, kept aloof from their councils, but his opinions were well known, and his advice always faithfully given to the people when asked. The great majority of them were strongly opposed to removal. A direct appeal to the Government at Washington was resolved upon. The Green Bay and Chicago newspapers, active in the conflict, roused great indignation among the Oneidas.
Finally, Onangwatgo -- Cornelius Hill -- who had been educated at Nashotah, and it is said, "would do credit to any community," wrote an answer to the fulminations of the Agent. It was eloquent, at times quietly sarcastic, as he defended his race and compared them with the whites and some of their riotous ways of living at the Bay. He clearly proved that the Agent was acting on purely selfish motives to gain their lands for speculation; that his people were doing their best to cultivate them and improve themselves in every way possible, and that every right-thinking person felt they had been ill-used. The Government assured them that they were not to be removed; so the Agent was silenced for a time.
There had been at one time a Pagan chief with a small fanatical following, whose one idea was for them to remain Indians, as he expressed it, for all time, and who, to keep up his influence, had encouraged his followers in their various lawless deeds, among others to drive away all missionaries from among them. But even he had come under the Rev. Mr. Goodnough's influence, and hadceased to annoy. Says Miss Cooper, in writing of those times: "When the Agent again decided to drive the people into selling their lands, he turned to the Chief referred to and made an ally of him. This Chief was finally induced to approve of the sale and to persuade some others to adopt his views."
The following summer the crops failed, especially the Indian corn on which the Oneidas depended in a great measure for food. The people, therefore, had no other means of subsistence than cutting wood from the forest for sale. They made shingles, cut firewood, square timber, and railroad ties. The women made baskets and brooms. By these means they lived comfortably, although the crops had failed. Suddenly the Agent called a general Council. Here he read what he declared to be an order from the Government forbidding the people to cut a single stick of timber, except for their own firewood, or building-purposes, and threatening them with prison if they disobeyed. In dismay the Indians again applied to their Missionary, telling him that they must starve or beg if they could not cut their timber and sell it. The forest at that time was very dense. He advised prudence in cutting the wood, and told them he thought the order was written by the Agent himself to frighten them into selling their lands.
Says one describing this sad and anxious time: "Again the Agent called a general Council, reading the same order and threatening to march soldiers on the Reservation if the people disobeyed. He also forbade their consulting the Missionary, or asking him to write letters for them. 'The Agent,' he said, 'must alone write all their letters to the Government.' He warned them that if the Missionary gave them advice, or wrote letters for them, he would drive him from the Reservation. Here the young Chief, Cornelius Hill, said: 'We have always consulted our Minister about our affairs, why not continue to do so now?'
"If he writes a word for you or gives advice about temporal business I will drive him off the Reservation at once,' was the answer. Here the old heathen ally of the Agent exclaimed; 'We must cut the Minister's head off,' meaning the threat in a figurative sense. Onangwatgo then exclaimed with great indignation: 'I put my arms around the Minister. You must cut my head off first, before you can cut the Minister's head off.' Loud applause followed this speech, the building resounded with 'Toh! Toh! Toh!' 'hear! hear!' and 'Yoh! Yoh! Yoh!' 'right! right!'"
Some days passed, when with a singular perseverance the Agent wrote to the Missionary himself, saying he had received an order from the Department forbidding the Indians to cut their timber, and if the Missionary advised the people to disregard this order he would be removed from the Reservation. The Rev. Mr. Goodnough wrote in reply, asking for a copy of the order. The Agent answered he was not bound to show the orders of the Department. The Missionary then wrote to the Indian Commissioner at Washington, enclosing copies of the Agent's threatening letters and his own replies and asked for a copy of the one forbidding the cutting of timber. The Commissioner immediately forwarded copies of the whole correspondence with the Agent relating to the subject, showing clearly that the Agent had urged the Department to forbid the Indians to cut their timber, but the Department had refused to do so.
The plot was discovered, yet it seemed only to increase the Agent's hatred against the faithful Missionary. Suddenly he left for Washington. His object at first was a secret, but soon it was learned that he had gone to make arrangements for selling the Reservation. Without delay their young Chief Onongwatgo [spelling varies] called a Council at the Mission school house. The Chief then dictated a letter to the Rev. Mr. Goodnough for the authorities at Washington, protesting in the strongest manner against the sale of their lands. Seven chiefs and all the men present signed the letter.
The Agent reached Washington, and while telling the Commissioner that "A large majority of the Indians desired to sell" was met by this letter containing their strong protest. The Agent again returned a defeated man, and was more abusive and violent in his threats than ever. But the joy of the Indians was unbounded.
Various and new devices were formed to get possession of the rich and well cultivated lands. Among others, false reports, all easily disproved, were made against the Missionary, to get him removed. The Agent's schemes were too numerous for us to describe. But he did not succeed in any of them, and to the great joy of the Indians, was himself removed from the Agency. These trials, now happily over, had caused constant and deep anxiety to the Indians and their faithful Missionary.
Others in charge of the Oneidas have doubtless withstood similar efforts to dislodge them, though not so persistently or treacherously kept up. Government, too, has since been roused to a more just policy towards the Indians, and unworthy agents are no longer allowed to scheme and use threats to obtain their Reservation. Still these trials have never wholly ceased, for there are always some white men near to covet the Indians' lands.
Not only these public disturbances, but all private troubles, were brought with confidence to the Mission House, for either Mr. or Mrs. Goodnough to settle. And their influence could be seen through the good work steadily going on among them. Frequently there were as many as 200 communicants in good standing in attendance at church.
The church was becoming much too small for them. Mr. Goodnough wrote that "frequently it was so overcrowded many had to stand outside. And this, too, on cold days and after coming from a great distance, and yet with the reverence and deep attention they would have shown if inside the church." There was talk now going on among them of building a larger and more suitable stone church. They were very poor, however, and knew it would be a work of time to accomplish, but they could at least begin by drawing stones for it at spare times. Frequent repairs were also needed to their wooden church, built, not very substantially, in 1839. There had never been a proper Altar at Hobart Church. What they used as such until 1868 was a common wooden table covered at ordinary times with a square cloth, once red but long since faded to a dingy gray. We are told:
"The Indians decided it was a duty to provide a much better Altar for the Holy Communion, and with earnest zeal both men and women entered upon the task of providing means for it. The women picked and sold berries, made baskets and mats, and through much self denial gave all their earnings for the Altar, while the men gave freely and cheerfully from their small earnings. They all felt anxious that the Altar should be in place for the next visitation, now near at hand, of their venerable and beloved Bishop. And they were not disappointed. The $80 required was raised in time, with but little outside help. Mr. Goodnough had prepared a design, and the Altar was made at Green Bay and placed in Hobart Church a day or two before Bishop Kemper came to them. He was now aged, nearly fourscore years, and becoming feeble, but he still filled his appointments with regularity. Our Bishop never disappoints us, was a common saying among the people."
As years passed on, steady progress in civilization continued to be made among the Oneidas, and it was remarked upon by all who visited the Mission. The moral and religious tone was also very encouraging. The Rev. Mr. Goodnough wrote me in 1869, "The people are doing well. When we look back 15 years to our first coming here and compare the condition of things then with the present we can hardly restrain our expression of wonder and deep thankfulness. God has wrought wonders. We have enemies now, as we have always had and must expect to have, but they have not seriously injured us."
The venerable Bishop Kemper has always been received by the Oneidas with the utmost respect and affection. They thronged as usual out on the road to meet him, men, women and children, in every way striving to manifest their pleasure at seeing him; for he was indeed to them as a beloved and venerated father. He was also very kind to the Mission family, and, in connection with the Rev. Dr. Adams, was then assisting to educate their eldest son at Nashotah.
A few years earlier, when he had made an appointment to visit the Mission in the autumn, a worthy old woman, on hearing of it, gathered a very large basket of blackberries in August. This she slung to her back by the burden strap passing around her forehead, and walked 20 miles to Appleton, where she sold the berries for 8 cents a quart. With this money she bought a very handsome cup and saucer that cost $1.75. This she brought to Mrs. Goodnough, and said: "These are for our father, the Bishop, to drink tea out of." They were set before the Bishop when he came, and he was greatly pleased. After that, whenever he came they were placed on the table for his use.
In 1869 they were not on the supper-table. "Where is my cup? Is it broken?" asked the good Bishop. It had only been forgotten and was soon placed before him.
"Now I can drink my tea in comfort," he said with a pleased look at the cup and saucer given him by a poor Indian woman, whose gift and self-denial he so well appreciated.
This was the last visitation of the dear old Bishop to the Oneidas, towards whom he had ever shown love and interest in their temporal and spiritual welfare. His diocesan work was drawing to a close. The following spring, May 24, 1870, aged 81 years, he fell asleep, beloved and deeply mourned by all who had come under the influence of his sweet, amiable disposition and rare self-denial in giving up all the comforts of home to become a pioneer Missionary Bishop, literally "enduring hardships as a brave soldier and servant of Christ."
A few months later, or in the autumn of 1871, occurred the terrible forest fires which destroyed many small hamlets in Wisconsin and in which not a few lives were lost. These fires were raging with great fury at no great distance from the Oneida Reservation. Small settlements and farms were destroyed, and broad reaches of forests entirely burned. The air was thick and oppressive with smoke. A constant watch was kept up on the Reservation night and day. Finally the flames reached the Oneida forests and destroyed much of their valuable timber, but no buildings of importance were injured. The fences of the Mission House were burned. The fire came so close to them that the building as well as the school-house was for a time in much danger; but they were saved through vigilant watchfulness, day and night.
In some parts of Wisconsin the waters were so greatly impregnated with lye from the burnt district, that for several months they could not be used. In the timber country streams 100 feet in width became useless. And during some months of the following winter, the men at work in the forests were compelled to use snow for cooking and drinking.
Hobart Church c. 1871
CHAPTER XX. Records of a Busy Life.
During these latter busy years of the colaborers Mrs. Goodnough began a diary to record some of the events in the mission life among the Oneidas. It was written for the information and pleasure of two friends living at a distance, who were much interested in the Indian Mission. It proved very interesting, from its truthful records giving an accurate idea of the missionary work among a peculiar people, as seen from within. The diary, as it came to us shortly after the death of Ellen Goodnough, appeared of such general interest that our friend, Miss Susan Fenimore Cooper, daughter of the distinguished author and niece of Bishop DeLancy, a writer of some note herself, was induced to prepare a portion of it for the press with gleanings from letters previously received from the Missionary and placed at her disposal. They, with other valuable information connected with the Oneidas' earlier history, appeared several years ago in continued chapters in the "Living Church" of Chicago. We are now prevailed upon to reproduce some extracts from this interesting diary, as originally written for us by one who literally laid down her life in serving the dusky Indian. One of the first entries, simply given, shows the courage, Christian faith, and trust that supported Ellen Goodnough under many a trying difficulty.
"June 2nd, 1866 -- We closed the school to-day on account of the small-pox which has raged fearfully about us through the winter and spring. Our nearest neighbor has it now and we are quite surrounded by it. When it first broke out the people were very careless indeed, many thinking it was the measles. Nearly 20 families had it before it was known what it really was. My husband sent to Green Bay for a physician and had all the school children vaccinated before he dismissed them. People say that the Indians always have this disease worse than the whites. Among the Prairie tribes in 1837, 10,000 are known to have died in one year. The families of one thousand lodges among the Blackfeet, Chikarees, and Mandans were swept away. It broke out among the Mandans, July 15th, and in a few weeks it is said out of 1,600 people only 30 were left."
"June 5th -- Prepared a basket of food this morning for a large family who are all ill. Arthur, my oldest boy, carried the basket near the house, shouted, and the man taking care of the family came out. Arthur set the basket down and ran home. This is the way we have adopted to help the sufferers. Provisions and medicines are furnished by the chiefs and friends and carried near the houses, when the nurses come out and take what is left for them, but they do not leave the sick ones until all danger of spreading the disease is over. A woman and her babe died last night and were buried in the woods. Thirteen near us have died lately. I look around upon my own five children with dread, yet trust they may be spared."
"June 22nd -- To day has been set apart by the Missionary as a day of prayer and fasting on account of the small-pox, which has not yet left the Reservation, though it is hoped the worst is over. Vaccination, and the care now taken to prevent the disease from spreading, is having a very good effect.
"June 23d -- The interpreter was here to-day. He lives on his farm about five miles away. He is a most excellent man, a truly devout Christian. He had just come from Green Bay, where a white man, a lawyer, tried hard to make him swear a false oath as witness. At last the lawyer offered him a bribe of $3 to induce him to take the oath. He little knew the true uprightness of our Christian brother, who was quite amazed at this conduct of a man he had looked up to as learned in the law and a gentleman. 'He ought to know what is right a great deal better than an Indian' was the comment of the Indian.
Although the Missionary understands Oneida, can speak it, and reads it well, and conducts the Services with ease, he never preaches in it, fearing to make some mistake. The interpreter always translates the sermon. The language, though soft and musical in many of its sounds, is harsh in others and is very hard to learn to speak perfectly. Children acquire it easily. Our little ones speak it better than English, but the Oneidas say no grown person, scarcely speaks it without mistakes.
"June 24th. Sunday -- The Church was full to-day. Three children were baptized. Indian babies seem to take pleasure in being christened. They really behave remarkably well, often looking up intently in the Minister's face and smiling sweetly. They seldom cry. After the Baptism a hymn was sung. Then a young couple came forward to be married. The bride is about 14. Probably these young people have spoken but little to one another previous to the ceremony which united them for life. The relatives generally settle the marriages in their families, but the consent of both parties is of course always obtained before the ceremony. The young bride was very pleasing and modest in appearance. The Oneida girls are generally very pleasing and modest in look and manner.
"Monday -- When we rose this morning we found a number of our people outside the house waiting to see their "father" in order to get some money. They often bring him their money for safe keeping and draw it out as they need it. Sometimes they lend little sums to each other, Mr. Goodnough keeping the account and casting up the interest, which is never usurious."
'"There is a death feast to-day. This is one of the old heathen customs they will keep up and cling to. They believe when a person dies the spirit stays in the house 10 days. On the tenth the relatives of the deceased make a feast in the house of mourning, and all partake of it in profound silence. Not a word is spoken excepting by the one appointed to speak of the departed and call to remembrance any little incident of the individual's life, dwelling on the good qualities. They say if this ceremony is omitted the departed one is sad and hungry.
"Tuesday -- Six women came to spend the afternoon with me, bringing their sewing. We had a very pleasant visit indeed. They were nicely dressed, and very neat. My visitors could not speak much English, and I cannot converse freely in Oneida, though I understand it pretty well. We talked about a new Altar for our Church. It is greatly needed. I am very hopeful this improvement may be brought about.
"Saturday -- This morning I called some of the girls into my kitchen to teach them the art of making yeast and bread. Many of the Indian families now use wheat flour. Ten years ago they only used it on great occasions and at their feasts. Their own common bread is very hard to make and indigestible for those who are not accustomed to it. It is made of white maize. The corn is shelled, boiled for a few moments in strong lye, then washed thoroughly in cold water until the hulls all come off. They have a wooden mortar in each house made by burning a hollow in a hardwood log, which is about 3 feet long and stands on the floor. The maize, freed from its hulls, is then pounded into flour by a wooden or stone pestle. It is afterwards sifted through a sieve made of very fine strands of bark. It is then mixed with boiling water and kneaded into round flat cakes, which are baked in the ashes of the fireplace, or boiled like dumplings for an hour or more. Whole beans, or dried berries, in it are considered an improvement. The Indians declare this bread of theirs will sustain life longer than any other article of food.
"Saturday evening -- This is mail day. Mr. Goodnough being Postmaster and postman, too, brings the mail himself from Green Bay. Twelve years ago the Saturday evenings and nights were times of terror to me, owing to the riotous conduct of the people returning from trading at the Bay. But the people are now quiet and orderly, they make their little purchases and come home sober. There is only an occasional case of drunkenness and no general sprees.
"September 1st -- Old Mother Margaret Skenandoah came to spend the afternoon with me. She told me that a few days since a wild Indian had died at the Chippawa camp and some of our Oneidas went to see the burial, then added: 'We could hardly help crying when we saw how foolish and ignorant those Chippawas are. It don't seem as if our people were ever so ignorant but I suppose they must have been so, for I remember when I was a little girl they used to do a great many things that would seem awful foolish and wicked now.'
"These Chippawas are indeed a very wild, destitute and miserable appearing set of Indians who came here and asked permission to camp in the woods of the Reservation for the summer. The Oneidas, always generous, readily granted their request. The Missionary has been to see them and tried to persuade them to come to Church, but they are violently opposed to Christianity. One or two who can speak a little English, exclaimed with excitement, 'We no want white man's God. We no want to be Christian. We stay Indians and keep Indian ways.' Poor creatures! Some of the Chippawas, however, are partly civilized, and good Christians, but this band is very wild.
"September 13th -- At an early hour this morning the Indians began to gather at the Mission. They came to clear some new land for a mission pasture. The first to appear was Johnny Wys-to-te, 'Snowbird.' The children are all glad to see him. He is a good fellow, has been baptized, but not confirmed, because occasionally he will go on a spree. He is over 40, but has neither wife nor child. Johnny is very lazy or slow; it even seems an effort to him to speak. Strange to say he is one of the swiftest runners of the tribe. There are three runners, public officials. They are employed by the Chiefs in case of a council or for accidents, or any matter requiring immediate public attention. If a person is killed, drowned, or frozen to death, these runners go through the settlement shouting the 'Death Whoop,' a peculiar, unearthly sound familiar to every Indian, and once heard by a white person, never forgotten. These runners start from one end of the settlement in a line, one behind another, about 6 or 8 paces apart. The first gives the 'Death Whoop,' then after a moment the next one, then the third. Thus they run at the swiftest pace through the whole settlement. It is a sound that makes one shudder. However distant, this fearful cry is immediately recognized by the people. They run to the roadside with anxious hearts fearing that the dead one may be a relative or friend. I have heard this 'Death Whoop' a few times, but hope never to hear it again.
"September 14th -- There were 80 Indians here at dinner yesterday after their work on the pasture land. Several of the women came to assist me in preparing their late dinner. Many of the women are fine cooks, but not very economical; they like to use all they have at once, invite their friends to a feast, and then live on as little as possible for a long time. It is the delight of the Oneida heart to make a feast, big or little, as the case may be. They are very hospitable. They will often work hard, pinch and scrimp in every way in order to treat their friends to a good dinner. The Indians cleared about seven acres of heavily timbered land.
"After dinner they sat under the trees in the yard, to smoke their pipes and make speeches in Oneida. Jacob Hill, a leading warrior, and a Church officer spoke first. He said, 'It must be pleasant to our father and mother to see so many of us here to-day. We have surprised them. They did not expect us to do this work for them.' The people answered, 'Yo! Yo! Yo!' which means approbation. Several other speeches were also made. Cornelius Hill, the young chief, is a fine speaker. He thanked all his brothers then present in the name of their father and mother, the Missionaries for what they had done. He also spoke of the repairs and improvements needed for the Church. He urged every one old and young to do all they could for their Church. ' Yo! Yo! Yo!' 'Well, well, well!' was the answer from the men. "There were several strangers at dinner, 2 or 3 Oneidas and 2 Onondagas from the Castle in New York. Paul Powles, a chief, brought them in and seated them at the first table. They sat with their hats on, spitting right and left. Our people were evidently mortified at their want of manners. Old Margaret said to me, 'they don't know any better. All our folks that come from down below are a great deal more Ingeny than we are. It is strange too, for here we are away off alone, and they are mixed with white people and have white folks all around them.'
"'Yes,' replied Hannah Powless [spelling varies], 'but it is the low kind of white folks, Irish and Dutch, and such like. They don't know any more than Indians do.' The Oneidas have a great contempt for the degraded class of foreigners. They do not consider them white folks at all.'
"We would here state that the surroundings of the Indians at Oneida Castle and Onondaga have greatly changed since that remark of Old Margaret. The Oneidas at the Castle have become a more civilized, industrious, and agricultural people. And the Onondagas, on their Reservation, are well looked after and prosperous under charge for some time of the Rev. Mr. Hayward, one of the Church's missionaries.
"I was amused this evening by one of the chiefs' saying to me, 'What kind of a woman is Mrs. Smith?' (a visitor at the Reservation). I replied: 'I should think she is a very nice lady.' 'We did not think so,' replied the chief, 'cause she laughs and talks so loud. I guess she did not have good bringing up.' The Indians consider it a decided mark of ill breeding for women to talk or laugh in a loud tone. All the Oneida women seem to have sweet low voices.
"Sunday, Sept. 16th -- There was Baptism to-day; two babies and a little boy of 8. He came from Canada lately, behaved very nicely and seemed to understand the solemn Service. The babies smiled up at the Minister as usual. One baby about three months old wore a long white dress and a red flannel skirt two inches longer; the other wore a pink calico with a long white underskirt trimmed with broad lace edging around the bottom. When we first came here all the babies were christened on the cradle-board, which was ornamented with feathers and beads and other gewgaws. These babies, no doubt, have Indian names besides the American or Christian names given in Baptism.
"Our own children all received Indian names from their Oneida friends soon after they were born. Arthur was named 'Ta-ko-wa-gon,' 'holds the people.' One of the young men not liking this gave him another name, 'Ga-ron-sa' 'bright morning.' Willie was 'Ra-na-ta-non,' 'watchman.' After we lost him the Oneidas wished this name put upon his tombstone, which was done. Edwy's name is 'Ah-re-we-ost-oni,' 'a good word.' When about 6 years old, from his active movements it was changed into 'This-ta-rak,' 'grasshopper.' Lilly's name is 'Ka-sin-na-wan,' 'our lady.' Johnny's name is 'To-ta-wa-sah,' 'all glass.' Alice is 'Ogu-gu-ha,' 'flower,' while her godmother, was called 'Gu-gu-ha,' 'full flower,' or 'open flower.'
"Wednesday, Oct. 7th -- I saw a 'witch-light' last night. I have not seen one before in some years. In old times, the Oneidas say witchcraft held a great place among their people, but since they have become Christians the superstition has almost died out. Not entirely, however. There are some people here who believe they are witches, and must practice witchcraft. I do not know as they do much harm, but they annoy the people. The 'witch-light' rises high up in the air, then suddenly goes out. In a few minutes it rises again, perhaps at some distance from the first light. At times it rises like a ball of fire, and when high in the air explodes.
"A few years ago Adam Peters had a sick child; every night the watchers were frightened by the 'witch-light.' It appeared regularly every night at certain hours. The child died, and the 'witch-light' still appeared, a sign, it was thought, that another one of the family was to be taken away. Adam became very brave and made a silver bullet. It must be made of silver coin to have any effect on a real witch. He loaded his gun and lay in wait for the light. It appeared as usual at some distance from the house; he bravely fired towards where the light arose, and then rushed for safety into the house. He said he heard a scream. The next morning a harmless old woman was said to be sick. Her disease proved to be a silver bullet. It was taken from her side. She had a long illness, but recovered, and has been a devoted Christian since then.
"An intelligent Oneida once made the remark: "Why do the papers always tell the bad things the Indians do, but never the good?" Recalling this, we would here say that the Indian was not alone in his superstitious belief in the efficacy of a silver bullet, for very recently we find this item in print:
"In witchcraft-lore silver seems to have been credited with great power to disperse evil spirits." In an old book upon the subject one reads of a "valiant soldier who has skill in Necromancy and who always used silver bullets to shoot away the witches."
A gentleman interested in curios recently purchased an old musket of a Pennsylvania farmer. From its appearance the weapon antedates the Revolution. It was in a deplorable state of rust and in cleaning it the new owner discovered that it was loaded. He carefully withdrew the charge, and to his surprise found, instead of bullets, two bent silver shillings dated 1781, tightly wadded with leaves of a Bible of ancient print. Beneath the coins were a small lock of hair and a piece of paper containing an illegible quotation. The gunpowder was coarse, and undoubtedly of colonial manufacture. The whole is said to look very much like a charmed charge calculated to demolish some weird lady of the broomstick.
To return to Mrs. Goodnough's diary:
"Before the Oneidas moved to Wisconsin, some 45 years ago, 4 women were tried at Oneida Castle, N. Y., by the Chiefs for being witches. They were declared guilty and condemned to death unless they should solemnly promise they would give up witchcraft. But the wretched creatures said they were witches and could not help it. They were killed in the Council House with tomahawks. Old Henry, one of the executioners, was a singular man, and never after spoke of these women if he could help it. His neighbors said he was haunted by the dead witches. No doubt the memory of the dead troubled him at times.
"Thursday -- Mary Ann Bread, Mary and Rachel Hill were here to drink tea with me. They asked for some sewing. I grave them a calico dress to make for Lilly. 'I will tell you something,' said Mary Ann, 'but you must not tell the Minister.' 'If it is anything he ought to know I must tell him.' 'Oh! it isn't much. But you know how he scolded us the other Sunday about tattling. I thought he meant me all the time; Rachel says for sure he meant her, and my Kate says he meant her. I guess he meant us all,' she added with a laugh.
"Monday -- I have quite a large knitting-class now; three married women among them. Lilly went to school this morning with a pair of red mittens I had just finished for her; so they all wanted to knit mittens. I told them to finish their stockings first. Some of them wanted to knit gloves, too, as gloves they said, were more fashionable. They love finery, yet many of them still come to me with their heads so wrapped up I have to ask them to take off their wraps. They often wear 3 or 4 handkerchiefs, or small shawls or green veils one over another, on their heads. It seems to be a sort of modesty or shyness which leads them to do this. You seldom see an Oneida woman out of her own house bareheaded. Some of them have good shawls but they wear them wrapped around them blanket fashion.
"'Garrentha,' 'falling bark,' happened in while we were knitting. She is an excellent girl and a great favorite with me. She sings in the choir, and very nicely too. She is a good sewer, and dresses neatly, wearing the usual long skirt and over this the shorter gown, generally bordered with ribbon or velvet and sometimes embroidered. Her dress is always pleasing. She wears her shawl 'white folks' way, instead of blanket fashion. You seldom see a real blanket now; they were very common when we first came here. She also wears a gipsy hat instead of three wraps. People say: 'Oh! Garrentha will never marry now, she is too old!' She is in fact 19. But the Oneida girls are married so early -- at 14 or 15 -- that 19 is considered an advanced age.
"Oct. 10th -- Several women called on us to-day to talk about the much needed repairs of our Church. First we must have a new Altar. We have never had a Communion Table worthy of the Holy Service. A miserable old table covered with a crimson cloth now faded to gray, is the present Altar. Then we must have a new pulpit-cover. The roof leaks badly, and we must have a new one. The women are much interested in the repairs, as they always are. Last fall the women alone raised $92 to buy lamps and shades for the windows, but that was a good year for berries. They gathered the berries, carried them on their backs to the nearest town, sold them, and brought the money to me for the lamps and shades. Quite a number of women called to-day bringing their money offerings for the Altar; $18 was the amount. One little boy brought 3 cents, another 2 cents. My friends asked what would be the cost of an Altar. I told them we might have a respectable one for $25. A handsome one would cost from $50 to $100. 'You must decide yourselves whether it shall be cheap or expensive.' They talked together awhile in Oneida, and then said, 'We must have the best we can get. We cannot get anything too good for the Church, which is the Lord's House.'
"'I never cared much about making this Church nice' said Rachel Hill, 'for I've always thought we should have to leave it some day. In our old home in York State we had a nice Church and nice homes, too, orchards and all we wanted. But we had to leave all and come off here in the thick woods and suffer everything. Now we are beginning to be comfortable, but see how our Great Father wants to get our lands, see how the white folks want to get our homes.' 'We were rich once,' said Mary Ann Bread,' 'we had large annuities, and ever so much land, and now this little piece is all we have left. I should think white folks would be ashamed to take this little land away too.' 'Why are there so many bad white folks when they have Bibles and Ministers and Prayer Books and Churches and schools? Yet they are so wicked!' exclaimed Margaret Skenandoah. 'It is because the wicked ones do not take to heart what the Bible and Prayer Book teaches them,' was my answer.
"October 15th -- John Baird came this morning bringing me $5 for the Altar. This is very generous. It is as much from John as $300 would be from many white men. John is a fine specimen of an Indian, manly, honest, straightforward, and upright in all his dealings. He is proud of his good name, and of his many friends. He is really a good farmer, mechanic, and blacksmith. His farm is small, but well worked, and stocked with cows, horses, and sheep. He works in his blacksmith-shop in winter. Though a young man of only 28, he has quite a family to support. A wife, three children of his own, an orphan niece and two poor orphan boys. John has done well by those poor children, providing them with a comfortable home, plenty of food and clothing, and sending them regularly to school. His orphan niece, Rachel, is one of our most advanced scholars.
"John Baird is one of the temporal officers of the Mission. There are three of these officers. It is their duty to look after the poor and sick, and attend to all the temporal matters of the Church. John often comes to the Missionary for medicines for the sick. My husband studied medicine in his early youth with his own father, who was a physician, and he had a good deal of practice among our Oneidas in all ordinary cases. He keeps a supply of medicines for them, giving it to whoever needs it.
"Saturday, 18th -- Freddie Cornelius, a little 9 year old boy, brought a quarter of a dollar for the new Altar, all in pennies; he must have been saving them a long time. Five women came a little later, each with her dollar. Two old women brought 50 cents each. Rachel Hill brought $1.25 by the sale of her beautiful butter. She is a fine housekeeper, very neat and industrious. She has many cows and often sends us a nice roll of butter. She is a good mother, and sends her children to the mission school very regularly through all weathers. Her daughter Margaret is called the best singer in the choir.
"In keeping the account of the money received for the Altar, I write the names of the contributors with the amount given by each. The women are much interested in this account. 'Will our father, the Bishop see this book when he comes?' they ask eagerly. They are very fond of their aged Bishop, and well they may be; he has been indeed a father to the Oneidas. Their name for him is 'Ha-re-ro-wah-gon,' 'He has power over all words.'
"It is a busy time with the women now; they gather and husk the corn, having planted and hoed it in the spring and summer. They also dig the potatoes. They do not, however, work in the fields nearly so much as a few years ago. Many of them are depending on the corn-husks for their contribution towards the new Altar. They are carefully stored away in the house, and winter evenings are braided into mats which sell for 8 or 10 cents apiece. Some of the husks are very nicely prepared for mattresses. They are carefully dried and split in fine strands with a wire, then carried in bundles on the backs of the women to the Bay, a distance of 10 miles, where they sell from 4 to 6 cents a pound, according to their quality.
"Some of the merchants have tried to beat them down to a smaller sum. Old Margaret came in to-day with a piteous story, wishing her 'father' to help her. She had hired a horse and wagon and gone to the Bay with 70 pounds of well prepared husks to sell. The merchant, a rich man, took them, and she was hoping for a buyer. He offered her $2 in store pay. He had not the articles she needed in his store and wanted some money for the Church and Altar. She told him she wanted money or her husks back. She had to come home leaving her husks, and without a mouthful to eat all day. Some traders seem to have no conscience where the Indian is concerned."
Diary of Ellen Goodnough, Continued.
In the midst of her many duties and pressing cares Ellen Goodnough continued, at intervals, the diary that gives us some interesting facts concerning early events and customs among the Oneidas, which otherwise might have been lost to us. She writes:
"November 1st -- Ball playing is the delight of the Oneidas. On the 4th of July and other great occasions they make up grand games. Each player has a bat made by bending one end of a hickory stick in the form of an ox-bow and weaving across the bow strings of deerskin. The ball must not be touched once by hand or foot, but only with the bat while trying to get it within the wicket. There are two sides to the game, one composed of all the married men disposed to enter into the sport, the other of an equal number of young men. The game is very exciting even to the lookers on, for it calls out all the strength, skill, activity, and endurance of the players.
"The Indians have a mystery or medicine for many things, among others for ball playing. Old Peter used to make this particular mess, and it was said that the party who bought and used the medicine could not be beaten. One summer when the excitement among the ball players ran very high, the young men hired old Peter to make the medicine for them, paying him a very high price for it. But when the game was played they were defeated, and that evening they caught Peter, he was on the playground, and poured all the medicine that was left down his throat. He lived only a short time after the dose, an hour or so, dying by the roadside. It is said this horrible mess must be mixed in a human skull. Such was their superstition, but happily it is dying out.
"One old woman makes medicine to guard against witches. Old John House was famous for this. One summer about ten years ago, a witch appeared in the form of a large black hog. It appeared only at night, running after people and making awful noises. One night it chased a party of young men, who turned upon it with stones and clubs, pounding it soundly, when to their great astonishment old John House cried for mercy. He was ill for some time after this pounding, and had hardly recovered when a new witch appeared in the form of a wildcat. It was always in some tree and made the most hideous noises imaginable.
"The same party of more civilized young men were walking along the road one evening and heard the wildcat. Instead of running away with superstitious fear, they again armed themselves with clubs and stones, and looked about for the creature, which they soon found perched on the limb of a tree. They stoned it furiously until it tumbled down, and again old John House cried out for mercy. Their stoning, this time had been too severe, for the foolish old man died after a few days' illness.
"Sunday, 22nd -- There was a very large congregation at church to-day. During the service two little red babies were baptized. They both looked as sweet and clean as any white babies. We do not often nowadays see babies on their Indian cradle-board. When we first came here we never saw them on anything else. They were then baptized so. We used to see them hanging up in the log houses, or perhaps suspended from the branch of a tree, while the mother would be hoeing corn or digging potatoes near by.
"This cradle is a thin board about two feet long, split from a maple log, and made smooth and gaily painted with various colors and all sorts of designs. A wooden bow is bent over the place where the child's head lies, the ends being firmly fastened to the sides of the board. On this wooden arch, or bow, little bells and trinkets are fastened to amuse the child; it also serves as a handle to the cradle. Down each side of the board are fastened strong straps of deerskin or bark, between which and the cradle is passed a broad bandage which binds the child closely to the frame so that it cannot move hand or foot. It can only move its eyes and mouth, otherwise it is bound as close as a mummy. Yet the little creature makes no complaint, and thus learns one virtue, patience common to all Indians.
"The little ones baptized to-day smiled as usual as they were held in the Missionary's arms and looked up into his face. I cannot at this moment remember seeing any Oneida baby baptized who did not smile as the Clergyman baptized it, as if it would thank him for admitting it into Christ's Church." (And too, perhaps, we may be allowed to add, Mr. Goodnough had a very gentle, winning way with children.)
"After the Baptism this morning there was a marriage. The bride [was] but 15 and looked modest and childlike. As a rule the young people have not had a word to say in regard to their own marriages. The mother of the young man picks out a wife for him and makes a bargain with the girl's mother. Then the young man sends the girl a present of cloth, etc., through his mother, in value according to his circumstances. In case the girl breaks off the match she must send back the presents, but if the young man breaks off the match the presents are kept by the girl. When we first came here the young people were sometimes forced by their parents to marry. As soon as my husband understood the matter he refused to perform the service unless the parties gave their full consent.
"Sunday evening -- The Church was full this morning, as it generally is. The congregation looks very different from what it did when we first came here. Then, in the warmest weather, the women were wrapped in white blankets, or else squares of black or blue broadcloth, some of the latter richly embroidered. Now we never see a blanket in Church. They wear shawls of the brightest and gayest colors pinned at the throat. A veil or handkerchief, or occasionally now a hat, is worn on the head. The young people sometimes wear gorgeously trimmed hats. A lady visiting me, told me that walking behind a young girl she counted seven different kinds of ribbons on her hat!
"Monday -- A great many people have been to the study to-day. Mr. Goodnough has hardly had time to eat his meals. He keeps their accounts, writes their letters, is their Doctor, and general adviser, besides his duties as School-Master, Justice of the Peace, and Minister. Sometimes in winter when they have little to do they really crowd the room and take up much of our time. But as they grow more industrious they find work in their own houses. We always make them welcome, and are really pleased to see them when we can be helpful to them. They are very kind and friendly with us, and the Missionary puts in a good word here and there about work, or about Christian duties.
"Friday -- I went out to call this afternoon at the Widow Nimhams, but the door was closed and the mortar pestle turned up against it. A sign that no one is at home. I found Elizabeth Doxtater and her daughter Belinda in. They were busy sewing. Elizabeth is a remarkably young looking woman for a great-grandmother. Her hair is as black as jet. The hair of the full-blooded Indians seldom turns gray. Old Mary Cooper, who is very old, near a hundred she thinks herself, has hair as black as jet. Indian women, at least among the Oneidas, do not show their age as white women do, but keep their youthful looks remarkably well to an advanced age.
"Saturday -- The Chiefs of the First Christian Party are in the study counselling with the Missionary. The agent has been making trouble. He is a very harsh arbitrary man, and determined to get these lands from the Indians and drive them further West. There has indeed been much trouble during the past five years caused by this agent. At first he seemed to be a nice plausible man. He came among the people and made friends with them. But he now proves anything but a friend. These agents have it in their power to do much evil or much good to a tribe. But few of them seem to take a right view of their duties. They oftener aim at making money out of the timber and lands of the Indians.
"Sunday, Nov. 11th -- After service Mr. Goodnough went to see a sick woman and baptize her child. The family live about four miles away in the woods. It is dark now, and he has not come home. At 4 o'clock a large wedding-party came and are here waiting for him. I entertained them as well as I could with books of pictures. At last Cornelius Hill grew uneasy; he was afraid the minister would lose his way among the crossroads in those woods. I said, 'He is on horseback and the pony will know his way if my husband does not.'
"The instinct of these Indian ponies is really remarkable. I gave my friends some supper. Still the minister came not. At 10 o'clock the bride and her friends prepared to go home, and the men said they would go and look after 'their father.' But just then the pony's hoofs were heard close at hand. My husband came in safe, but cold and tired, having wandered about in the woods for five hours. He met no one, but trusted to the pony to find his way, as they so often do. After wandering about for three hours under a dark, cloudy sky, suddenly pony stopped and would not move. They were on the bank of a stream. He had completely lost his way, and evidently made up his mind to pass the night in the woods.
"Mr. Goodnough, however, moved on and at length saw a faint light far away. After some difficulty he reached a shanty where he found a family of kind Indians, only too glad to show their Minister the way home. He said to the people waiting for him: 'I did not know that an Indian could lose his way.' At this they all laughed heartily. As soon as he was warmed, the company sobered down and prepared for the marriage service. The bride wore a crimson cloth petticoat, long and very full, trimmed around the bottom with black velvet. She wore above this two short gowns -- one bright yellow, scalloped around the bottom and bound with green braid; over this she wore one of white muslin. Her shawl was a bright plaid wrapped about her blanket fashion. On her head she wore a very pretty white cloud, and over it a green veil.
"Monday, 27th -- Our dear Bishop came to us last Saturday. On Sunday he confirmed 26. He is now very feeble, and has grown old very fast during the past year. The Altar was finished just before the Bishop came. The Indians almost idolize him, they are so much attached to him. Whenever he comes they do everything they can to show their love and respect for him. They all go to meet him, men, women, and children, some on foot, some in wagons, or on horseback. Meeting him, they all gather about him with affectionate greetings, and then follow him to the Mission House.
"Thursday -- I have just been out to drink tea with a kind neighbor. About twelve years ago my young sister and myself were invited to the same house. We went and had corn soup without salt for supper, that was all; it was the best they had. Each one ate alone with a plate and a wooden ladle or spoon. To-night the table at the same house was in every way as nice as our own. I could not have set it more neatly myself, and it was loaded with good things all nicely cooked. When we first came here I do not think there was one family who sat down at table to eat as a regular habit. Now they all eat like white people, and very many families ask a blessing too.
"Not long ago, after my last baby was born, a party of women came to take tea. Mr. Goodnough was away, so at the first table a young lady staying with me presided, at the next an Oneida woman. My young friend told me afterwards she was much mortified when the Indian woman asked a blessing very reverently and she had neglected to do so.
"Saturday -- Many of the Indians are at work now in the pine woods earning good wages. They held a council two weeks ago, and determined to make another effort towards repairing the Church, and last Tuesday they went to the woods, cut logs, drew them to mill, sold them, and last evening brought the money to the Missionary. It was $75 to be spent in shingles for the new roof, which is greatly needed. The Church sadly needs repair. The new Altar is all we could wish, but the Church itself needs many repairs. The people are talking and hoping for a new stone church, but that seems very far off. A few days ago the men sent out into the woods and got $50 worth of lumber to fence the cemetery. Another day they are going for posts for the fence.
"Next Monday they are to work for us to provide our firewood. This they do every year. They go into the woods early in the morning, cut the firewood, draw it to the house, and eat dinner here, which they seem to enjoy very much. There will be from 50 to 150 here to-morrow. Some of the women will be here to help me cook and serve the dinner. It takes a great deal of work, and I do not enjoy it very much. But then our people enjoy these gatherings so much. Last fall they made a 'bee' to build a barn of hewn logs for us. Eighty men came to dinner and supper, and stayed at work two days. When the barn was done I was almost used up. As I have not table or dishes to set for more than 12, or 14 at one time, it takes a long while for all to eat. But they are very kind to us, and we love the people dearly.
"Wednesday -- I hope to have more time now for my correspondence. During the past year I have had to leave many things undone. Now I am teaching only the Indian boys, six hours a day. After school I sweep the school-room, then come home and get dinner and supper together, wash the dishes and attend to various other household duties. Then there is always the mending or something to be done to the children's clothes, often something to be washed for the next day. Saturday I iron, clean up generally, bake, and so on. But as long as I am blessed with good health I am thankful to be able to do the work. Last fall when I had to teach boys and girls together, and all the evenings were spent in writing copies and arranging knitting work, I was sometimes afraid my own children would be neglected.
"Friday -- It will be as much as the Indians can do to take care of themselves this spring. Their crops failed last summer and the food supply is giving out. Many are now calling on us for assistance, from real necessity or in cases of sickness. A poor woman has just been in to ask for a coffin, as her husband died last night. I took the skirt, you, Miss B____ sent, to a poor woman who is a cripple, perfectly helpless, with three little ones to care for. I am footing some stockings for her now. She is a very grateful creature.
"Saturday -- Lilly has met with a misfortune. She was very proud of a pretty shawl, a present from the Bishop, but she left it carelessly by the roadside and when I sent Arthur out for it the old cow was munching it up as some new kind of food and trying to make a meal of it.
"February, 1868 -- I must tell you of some improvements. Last year the kind Indians made new fences about the Mission House, the Church and the Cemetery. Now a new addition has been built to our house; it is a wing but larger than the main building. It contains four rooms, a porch, and hall, all on the ground floor. The ceilings are of a good height; the parlor is 20 feet square, and there is a nice bedroom off the parlor, which we call the Bishop's room. The whole building has been painted white, with nice green blinds, the latter an almost unheard of extravagance in this region. We feel almost too grand. A woodshed has been built adjoining my kitchen. The old dining-room has been repaired, the ceiling and woodwork painted white, the floor a dark brown. The funds for all these improvements were mostly furnished by the Board of Missions.
"We have the old parlor for a bedroom. It is just large enough for that. You cannot imagine how nice it is to have a comfortable place to sleep in." (What an insight this gives us into what their exceedingly small, poor, and overcrowded quarters must have been before these improvements were made. And yet never a murmur, but constant entertaining of the poor, inconsiderate Indians and doing for them as royally as though living in some old feudal castle.)
"Bishop Kemper came Saturday, and dedicated, as it were, the new part by occupying the Bishop's room for the first time. We only moved in last week. The Bishop was detained here two days by a fearful storm, and we all enjoyed it very much.
"March -- Once more the season of especial prayer and self-examination has arrived, and our little Indian parish appreciate it as well as others. In a few moments the bell will ring to call together those who desire to pray for pardon, peace, and grace. Surely these especial times for prayer free from preaching -- prayer in common with all the children of our Mother the Church -- are most precious and sacred. These services have been well attended through Lent. From 40 to 80 have taken part in them. Lent, Holy Week, and Easter are with us all a blessed season. Last Easter a larger number of devout believers knelt around the Lord's Table than ever before in the Mission Church. It was a bright and glorious day.
"March 13th -- I attended service this afternoon, though the walking is very bad. It would do your heart good to see such a congregation on a week day even in a city church. The school-house is crowded. One side of the house was full of men who had left their work to come to prayers. The service was conducted this afternoon by the interpreter, Mr. Goodnough having been called to visit a sick woman just as the last bell was tolling.
"Thursday -- The agent has been on the Reservation, forbidding the cutting or selling of any sort of timber. This will cause terrible suffering among our people. They depend upon the sale of the timber just now to clothe themselves, and in a great measure for food, as the corn and potato crops failed entirely last season. The potatoes were destroyed by the bugs, and the corn by the rain. For 40 years the Indians have carefully cut all the timber they wanted, and now they are forbidden to cut their own timber, on their own land, and paid for by money of their own. For they sold their land in New York and with the money bought this tract of land.
"It is evidently intended to force the Indians to sell their land and to drive them by force farther into the wilderness. They have actually been told that if they cut their timber and refuse to sell this tract of land, Government will send soldiers to drive them away. I feel so indignant I can hardly quiet myself. It is intolerable. I should like to know if this tyranny is legal. We think not, and Mr. Goodnough has written to the Secretary of State at Washington.
"The land is valuable, and if it could be brought into the market it would bring much to selfish speculators. The injustice to the Oneidas nobody seems to think of. They are just as much attached to the home they have made for themselves on this ground as white people would be -- more attached than many whites are. We must pray earnestly that our Heavenly Father would be pleased to protect these poor helpless, harmless, Christian Oneidas against the covetousness of the whites. How few white men seem to think that 'covetousness is idolatry, and that 'God hateth the covetous man.' Oh! what a sermon might be preached on that text.
"Tuesday -- Your friend the Missionary is a busy man. [,] He locked himself in the study this morning to prepare his sermon, but was soon called out to see some of our people. The Post Office takes up a great deal of time. The duties of the office here are certainly peculiar, for we are asked to write at the dictation of some of our people, and to read their answers also. To-day several ailing ones came for advice and medicine. As Justice of the Peace there was a case to settle in the school-room. Mr. Goodnough had hoped to get his sermon well underway before 10 o'clock, but only got as far as his text. He scarcely had time to eat, for when all the business matters were settled he was sent for to visit a sick person and did not get home 'till 10 o'clock at night. We have seldom been in bed lately before midnight, and your friend, the Missionary, is sometimes up until one or two, and at other times rises at four. He would not like me to speak of his work, but I may surely write to a friend like you. This is one of our busiest times.
"Dec. 22nd, 1869 -- Monday Mr. Goodnough went to the Bay and found the Oswego box. I cannot tell you how glad we all were when we opened it. Wednesday we divided the clothing and tied it up in packages. Thursday he again went to the Bay and bought 40 loaves of bread, 400 buns, 20 pounds of candy, a barrel of apples, and several boxes of nuts. We also received from the Green Bay parish 95 cornucopias well filled with candy, raisins and popcorn. There were many nice toys, too, dolls and other things.
"I boiled four large hams. The girls scrubbed the school-room. That night we made sandwiches until 12 o'clock. Early Friday morning I made the boiler full of coffee. Then everything -- provisions, clothing, and toys -- was carried to the school-house. There were 96 children present, with many of their parents and friends. Mr. Goodnough opened with morning prayer, the children then read and recited some suitable things, after which was passed around the sandwiches, buns, and coffee. The latter was in pails, with two or three cups to each. Then came apples, candy, and nuts. There were about two hundred present. The Missionary also made an address, and Miss ____ and myself distributed the cornucopias. Great was the happiness of the school children and their friends, some of them coming from quite a distance.
"In the evening -- Christmas Eve -- I too had a present. A handsome writing desk filled with paper and envelopes of all sorts and sizes, with a gold pen and silver holder. I could not imagine where it came from. I was greatly astonished. But when the Missionary said it was a present from an old lover of mine, I knew it came from himself.
"December 30th, 1869 -- We have had a glorious Christmas. The Church is beautifully dressed with evergreens; cedar, pine, and ground-pine are used for the wreaths. Flowers were made of fancy papers and fastened among the wreaths very tastefully. The chancel is simply decorated with ground-pine. Christmas Eve the Church was brilliantly illuminated for the S. S. children's festival. There were more than one hundred candles, besides our large chandeliers and four side lamps. A day or two before Christmas a gentleman at the Bay gave us two small chandeliers. The Church seemed one blaze of light. The wreaths are so arranged that as you enter the building it seemed greatly enlarged.
"The music was perfectly grand. In the Christmas hymns all joined, old and young in the Oneida tongue. It was so affecting I had to wipe my eyes several times during the singing. The building was far too small. It was packed for both services. The little boys looked so funny sitting on the chancel steps. Their eyes were most as bright as the lights, and danced with pleasure and enjoyment. When it came to the children's part of the festival, their delight and excitement was more than words can tell. They had never before known anything so grand as this Christmas Eve.
"After the prayers and singing were over, Cornelius Hill, the young Chief, made a speech in Oneida; then we gave out the toys sent by Miss B____ from Oswego. The dolls we gave the little girls, pictures and other toys to the older ones. I went among the boys with a little box of toy watches, holding one up for them to see. Instantly all order was overthrown. Such a scrambling I never saw, the excitement was tremendous. John Baird, the head warrior, called to them angrily to be quiet, but there was little order until the last watch was gone. The clothes were next shown, and the drawing began. The girls who had been to school most steadily had the first choice, then the next, and so on.
"It was quite dark when all was over. But it was a happy day, one never to be forgotten by the Oneidas. I only wish you, Miss B____, and other kind friends who added so much to the pleasure of the day, could have been with us and seen the perfect delight of the Indian children. We were all dreadfully tired and hungry; we had not sat down scarcely a moment all day or eaten a mouthful. I had another surprise that Christmas Eve. The women of the parish gave me a fruit-dish, silver-plated. It is very pretty indeed. Was it not kind of them?
"Christmas Day itself, was a blessed, holy, and joyous Festival, as it must always be. The church was crowded to its utmost capacity. And the Holy Communion service was very solemn with a very large number of our Oneidas kneeling at the chancel. Oh, it has indeed been a glorious Christmas!"
CHAPTER II. Deep Sorrow at the Mission.
With all the improvements and work going on at the Mission, entertaining and feasting so many men as well as teaching and attending to numerous other pressing duties, Mrs. Goodnough was, no doubt, overtasking her strength. But in her gentle, uncomplaining way, ever anxious to do all that was in her power for the good, best interest, and pleasure of the Oneidas, she never spared herself. And no one about her seemed to have realized that her many arduous duties were undermining her health and strength.
The Rev. Mr. Goodnough and his sweet, brave young wife gave indeed freely of their time and means, and often through much self-denial, since there were but few outsiders, in those days, interested enough in the Indians to help them in their good work. But the "glorious Christmas" of which Ellen Goodnough speaks in her diary was the last she spent among them. She continued busy, happy, and apparently well and strong through the winter, though she found she tired more easily. But the one care that weighed most heavily upon her was intense anxiety as to the fate of her Indian friends.
The speculators at Green Bay, with one or two chiefs of the minority party, were making great efforts to pass a bill through Congress which would compel the President to act in opposition to his own views of the welfare of the Indians. "If this bill passes," wrote the Missionary, "the Oneidas will soon be destroyed." In the spring this movement seems to have gained strength, and cast a gloom over the Mission House.
But a deeper shadow than any that had been looked for was about to darken that happy Christian home. One afternoon in the pleasant days of May, Ellen Goodnough remarked to her husband that she had never felt in better health, or happier than at that moment. She was cheerful, contented, and happy in her missionary life. But the close of that simple, loving, devoted life was at hand. A severe cold taken a few days later, and from which she does not seem to have had strength to rally, assumed an alarming character, and she became dangerously ill. Still she had loving words for those about her, and with the beloved husband, children, and friends at her bedside, her dearly loved Oneidas shared her last thoughts. In the midst of severe suffering she was very anxious to finish a letter to a friend in New York urging an appeal to some gentleman of influence in behalf of the Oneidas.
Must her dear people be driven into the wilderness by their enemies, the speculators? She spoke also with especial affection of the children whom she had been teaching only a few days earlier. She said with much feeling: "I dearly love to teach those children." A few more anxious hours and her eyes closed on this world. On the 30th of May, 1870, she breathed her last. For her all care and toil and anxiety were over forever. "Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord. They rest from their labors, and their works do follow them."
After her death an envelope was found addressed to a friend at a distance, prepared for the letter she had finished writing while suffering. It was in defense of the Oneidas, who at that date were included with other tribes in the threat of extermination. "This threat," she wrote, "was in consequence of the terrible Indian massacres perpetrated in revenge, for many abuses, by the heathen tribes farther westward. Had there been no abuses on the part of our Government and people, there would have been no massacre by the Indians. The threat of extermination was raised in passion by a portion of our people." Those whose memories carry them back to that period can recall with shame the cry of extermination of a whole race, repeated by many newspapers, and heard, alas, in some instances under philanthropic roofs.
The bloody revenge of the barbarous Indians was horrible. But still more horrible would have been the revenge on all Indians by a portion of our vindictive people. Of course, the Government never contemplated any measure so disgraceful to Christian civilization. But the Oneidas, quiet, peaceable, industrious, and in a great measure civilized, were included in the outcry against the race. To defend them against accusations, in their case utterly false and unjust, Ellen Goodnough, with warm-hearted, generous indignation, wrote her last letter.
There was a wail of the deepest grief throughout the Reservation when one who had been as a mother to the people breathed her last. The Oneidas were heart-broken. Many gathered about the Mission House during her last hours, praying and weeping day and night. From the moment of her death they kept vigil about the house, singing mournful chants and hymns from the Church service, until the hour of the funeral. When the simple and most touching procession moved from the house, husband, children and weeping people, the Oneidas began a beautiful but most mournful chant, singing in their own rich, melodious, and effective voices, such as unheard cannot be imagined, until they reached the church door. "And truly," says one, "in their deep sorrow they sang most touchingly from the heart." The service was performed by the Rev. Mr. Steele of Green Bay. His sermon was translated for the Oneidas, and is said to have given them much comfort. Ellen Goodnough was then laid to rest in the quiet Mission cemetery beside their little Willie, whose stone bore the Indian name, Ka-na-ta-non, his Oneida friends had given him, and surrounded by many Christian graves of the people she had so faithfully served.
Strangers who had come from a distance to offer their sympathy and respect to the bereaved Missionary, were much impressed with the respectable appearance, the depth of feeling, the devotional manner, and the very touching singing of the Oneidas. Their own loss and their sympathy for their beloved "father" was indeed great and manifested in many ways.
Poor Mr. Goodnough for a time was completely crushed by this blow, this deep affliction that had come so suddenly and unexpectedly upon him. He felt as if a right arm had been lopped off, when he lost the sharer of all his joys and sorrows, his cares and anxieties for the Indians. Hand in hand from the very first they had together entered into the Mission work at Oneida. And, as we have seen, no small share was assumed by the brave, cheerful, and ever willing colaborer.
At the celebration of the Holy Communion, on the first Sunday after this bereavement, the service was deeply impressive. The Missionary could scarcely command himself to perform the sacred service. He found it impossible to repeat the sentence of administration. "A silence," writes one who was present, "more awful than any I have ever known, fell upon the great congregation,, and continued for many minutes, while the Holy Bread and Wine was given into the hands of the devout Indians. The silence was dreadful, yet blessed; we all seemed to feel the Lord was present with us. A deep sigh from the men, or a heart-broken sob from the women were the only sounds we heard. Oh, it was a tearful but a blessed hour! The sympathy, love, and reverence for their Minister and his grief, as well as the most devout adoration to God were expressed in the faces of the mourning people."
News had come to the Reservation, and only a week earlier, May 24th, that their aged and beloved "father in God," Bishop Kemper, had passed away. Many hearts felt deep sorrow over this double affliction. Shortly afterwards Bishop Armitage, a graduate of Nashotah, succeeded the venerable Bishop in the Diocese of Wisconsin, and acquired a share in the confidence and affection of the Oneidas.
On one of his visitations to them, feeling deep sympathy for the desolate heart and home of their missionary and his young children, who needed better care than he could give them, as well as an assistant for the school. Bishop Armitage strongly recommended a friend, Mrs. Frances Perry, formerly of Utica, New York, then of Madison, Wisconsin. Educated, capable, and from a refined old Utica family, she was induced to take charge of the Mission Home and School at Oneida.
In time, or about two years later, the acquaintance with Mr. Goodnough and family resulted, as thought best, in marriage, which took place in Madison, Wisconsin, in 1872. She is still living in California, and keeps up a correspondence with the scattered children of Mr. Goodnough, one of whom has recently told us that their father always showed her great courtesy. In referring to that time she has said those eighteen or nineteen years spent at the Mission were the happiest years of her life because they seemed the most useful, and adds: "Not that I did any great work, but I could help some, besides my household duties and teaching in school, in little things for the Indians. They seemed to appreciate all I tried to do for them, and were so kind to me." But we have reason to know that no one could quite fill the same place in the hearts of them all, as Ellen Saxton Goodnough had done. For years they could not speak of her without tears. She was so deeply enshrined in their hearts, that to this day some of the old people recall with grateful love her many deeds of kindness when they were a rough and less civilized people.
Once more people of the diocese, the Oneidas among them, were called to mourn their Bishop. Bishop Armitage did not live long; only indeed until 1873, when he was called up higher. In 1875, the State having increased greatly in size, a new diocese was formed, that of Fond du Lac, from a portion of Wisconsin, including Brown County and the Oneida Reservation. In December of the same year the Rev. John Henry Hobart Brown was consecrated Bishop of Fond du Lac. In him the Oneidas happily found another wise counselor and kind friend.
While spared to them, Bishop Armitage, and afterwards Bishop Brown, encouraged the Oneidas to go on with their work of drawing stone for the proposed new church. And they soon became again very much interested in, and occupied with the work planned some years earlier. Their serious troubles with agents and would-be traders had not led them wholly to abandon it. As a people they had always been much interested in the building, which was for them the House of God. They had repeatedly given freely of their labors and money, as we have seen, for repairs on the wooden church built in 1839. And now they were very anxious to build a substantial stone church of good architectural design, and large enough to accommodate 800 people.
For years the men had given one day in every week to the labor of quarrying and drawing the stone needed for the new building, while the women, and even the children, brought their small earnings to the Missionary to be added to the church fund. The men also raised about $200 in money every year to be given to the fund. This money was invested at interest in the Savings Bank at Green Bay. The church was to be in the early English style, with low massive walls, heavy buttresses, and a steep roof. It was to be 48x68 feet, exclusive of deep chancel and tower entrance. The Rev. Charles Babcock had prepared the plan as a gift to the Mission.
Bishop Brown felt a deep interest in the plan for the new church. Sympathy, too, for the brave, self-denying Oneidas increased throughout the diocese. In June, 1883, the Bishop made an appeal to his people. After some allusions to the faithful Missionary to the Oneidas and his devotion to their welfare for thirty years, the Bishop adds:
"The Oneidas have slowly increased in number. There are now about 1,400 in all, of whom about 900 are baptizcd children of the Church. These steadily improve in Christian character and in the arts of civilization, forming a community much respected for honesty, industry, and general morality.
"They are lovers of divine worship, and are reverent, patient, and docile. Old and young, men and women, throng the church in such a number they require a building both commodious and strong. A suitable plan has been made for the Church by the Rev. Charles Babcock, Professor of Architecture, Cornell University. The case of these Oneidas appeals strongly to the hearts of Churchmen. I do not doubt their simple faith in their Heavenly Father's power and their confidence in the love and liberality of their white brethren will be vindicated and rewarded.
"J. H. HOBART BROWN,
"Bishop of Fond du Lac."
In 1884 the Indians had quarried 300 cords of stone and drawn it to the site for the church and also, with some labor, hewn out and prepared much of the heavy foundation and other needed timber. At this date their building fund had from one source or another increased to $6,000. A contract was then drawn up with a responsible firm, who engaged to complete the church for $7,878, providing all for it but the stone and sand.
The contract was signed by Bishop Brown, and Rev. Edward Goodnough, their missionary. But alas! only one short week later, when all hearts had been rejoicing, the savings bank in which the earnings of the Oneidas had been deposited failed! Their money had vanished! This was indeed a severe blow. But the people are said to have borne it with true Christian courage. They never faltered, but encouraged each other to continue their efforts to build the new church for the Lord's service and the good of the tribe. The Bishop was greatly grieved at this failure after near twelve years of patient, self-denying toil. He told the Oneidas that "their faith was now being tried, their patience must be perfected, their zeal must be proved, their courage tested. And that they must continue their good work undertaken in the fear and love of their Heavenly Father."
In this dark hour the Bishop issued another earnest appeal to the diocese. Much sympathy was shown to the Oneidas in this sore trial. Though the outlook was indeed discouraging, Mr. Goodnough succeeded, with the Bishop's help, in interesting many in his cherished plan. Assistance came in from various sources until the sum of $5,000 was raised, and so the work went on, and ere long the foundation was laid.
"On July 13th, 1886," says Rev. Mr. Merrill, "the corner-stone was laid by the Right Rev. John Henry Hobart Brown, first Bishop of the Diocese of Fond du Lac. So many and bitter had been the disappointments of the Indians that it was hard to realize that the long-looked-for event was actually to take place, until it was known that the Bishop had arrived at Oneida. At half-past ten the people assembled at the Mission House, and were marshalled by their chief, Cornelius Hill, in four divisions, under beautiful banners which had been sent for the occasion from the Cathedral. An immense congregation was present, and a large number received the Holy Communion. Immediately after the service in the Church the people and clergy walked around the foundation, singing appropriate psalms. The Bishop having laid the corner-stone, made a brief address, commending the tribe for the faith and patience with which they had labored and waited for this day. He dwelt on the goodness of God in condescending to have an abode on earth, and pointed out the gracious uses of his holy places. Chiefly he enjoined the people to remember that their sacred temple was a monument of the incarnation of their Saviour.
"All through the summer and autumn the work on the Church was pushed on rapidly, the Indians giving their labor day after day. As Christmas drew near, their desire to use the Church for which they had toiled and waited for the last sixteen years, became so intense that Mr. Goodnough begged Bishop Brown to come and dedicate the part finished. At six o'clock on Christmas eve the Church was filled. The Benediction service was said partly at the door and partly at the chancel. The Bishop preached the sermon, congratulating the people on the success of their sacrifices and toils. On Christmas morning a large congregation thronged the new Church. The Holy Communion was celebrated, nearly 200 persons receiving. Taken all in all, it was a wonderful service and scene. The offertory amounted to nearly $50. A simple but beautiful token of their love for their spiritual father was given by the tribe. One of the Missionary's daughters was lately stricken with paralysis and brought back to her father's home. After the Christmas Eve service a little basket was placed in the Missionary's hand. The Bishop opened it and found that it contained two bags of money and the inscription, 'Merry Christmas for Miss Alice.' It moved the heart of the Missionary most deeply and added much to the great joy which the blessed feast had brought to him and his beloved people.
"So long as Hobart Church stands it will be the monument of the prayers, labors, and self-sacrifice of this devoted man. Mr. Goodnough was not without the severe trials which God allows to perfect the character of his servants. There was for a time a strong party under the domination of those who sought to remove the Oneidas from their reservation. This faction was determined that the Church should not be built. The first step was to get the Missionary out of the way. For as they said, 'We can do nothing with the Indians as long as Goodnough is here.' And so they resorted to all kinds of petty annoyances, and so far succeeded in making a party against him, that the little he received from the Church and Government was withdrawn. His sole support for a number of years came from the faithful Indians alone. When as a final calamity the Mission House was burned. 'Now,' they said, 'they were sure the Missionary would have to go!' No, the poor old school-house was left, and became a shelter for the Missionary and his family from March to August. Crowded indeed were the quarters, and scanty and poor the fare. Money in those days was not plentiful in the Missionary's home, yet by rigid economy he was enabled to add 'his mite' that he had long hoarded and laid by for the dear Church. The carpet, credence, two chancel windows, and four in the nave were his own personal gifts.
"The sweetness of his Christian character is shown in the report made to his Bishop when the new Church was built. 'The stone Church has been completed. This work has occupied our thoughts and our energies, for the half of a generation. \Ye feel deeply thankful to God for His gracious goodness to us in permitting us to behold this solid structure standing here, a witness of His loving kindness towards us, His unworthy servants. We are truly thankful to our Father in God, who has gently led us on, step by step, and has so faithfully taught us to work on in patience and peace, leaving results to Him who knows how and when to reward His poorest and most obscure servants. We heartily thank all those beloved children of our Heavenly Father who have aided us with their money and their prayers, without whose aid it would likely have been impossible for us to have built this house. We have it in our hearts also to thank those who have felt it to be their duty to oppose and hinder our work of building this Church, because the harder labor their hindrances imposed upon us, has made it all the more dear to us, has awakened a zeal and a trust in and for God in our hearts which can never be quenched by any services of the evil one.'
"A little anecdote shows also his wonderful patience with those who do not readily change old ideas and customs. During the early part of Mr. Goodnough's ministry the services of the Church were read from the Mohawk Prayer Book. Several years before his death Mr. Goodnough suggested to the chiefs and head men in the Church that the service be read in English, saying, when they were ready, the change would be made. Eighteen years after, they came to him to say that 'after careful consideration they had decided to make this change.'
"In the meantime he was steadily leading and encouraging them, though so tenacious of their own language, to learn the English, or allow the services to be read in it. These services were so faithfully held by him, that in all the 36 years of his ministry among the Oneidas he was absent from his place only three Sundays, and then on account of sickness, a rare and most remarkable record. He was naturally of a retiring disposition, and was content to sequester himself from the world in the pursuit of his holy calling.
One who knew him well says: "In the exercise of his duties the Rev. Mr. Goodnough quietly but laboriously spent his life. He was a well read man of broad education, cultured and fond of study. After having graduated at Nashotah, he filled the chair of Hebrew instructor at the College. But not for long, for he was tendered and accepted a call to Portage, Wisconsin. His stay there was but brief, for on Oct. 16, 1863, at the Bishop's instigation, he entered upon his duties as Missionary to the Oneida Indians, for which he seems to have been well fitted. His sterling worth, integrity, and sympathetic nature greatly endeared him to the people for whose spiritual and temporal welfare he so earnestly and unceasingly labored."
But once more a dark cloud was hovering over the Mission House. The beloved pastor was suffering. For a year or more he had been far from well, and now for five weeks he had been confined to his bed. Says one: "After many years of faithful, devoted service for the welfare of his fellow-men, feeling that his life-work was done, and that his days were numbered, he bravely, yea, gladly, through the closing weeks of his life, waited patiently, yet with a longing for Death's release. He had fought the good fight, and welcomed the sweet rest prepared for those who love God. 'The peace of God which passeth understanding' was imparted to the ministering loved ones about the bedside of the stalwart Christian, his faith becoming their priceless legacy."
At sunset on Saturday evening of St. Paul's day, January 25, 1890, the Rev. Edward Augustus Goodnough entered into rest. Years of toil and varied joys and sorrows had been spent by him among the Oneidas, and now once more they were completely overwhelmed with grief. As they hovered about the Mission House hope for his recovery lessened day by day. The beloved Missionary, who like a father had gone in and out among them for 36 years, leading a life of humble self-denial, yet earnest faith and truth in the Master whom he served, was to lay down his armor.
Like a brave but weary Christian soldier he might have said in the words of St. Paul, but with the humility that characterized all connected with himself: "The time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course. I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge shall give at that day. And not to me only, but unto all them also that love His appearing." And from among the many of all nations he doubtless will watch to give a welcome to those who will prove as "jewels in his crown of rejoicing."
The funeral took place from Hobart Church on Tuesday, January 28, 1890. The church was crowded with the Indians, many of whom came from a great distance, and all bore signs of deep grief difficult to suppress, as they were about to part with all that remained of their true friend and beloved pastor. The Rev. Mr. Haff, who had formerly been with them, and who was still a warm friend of the Oneidas, assisted them amid their tears and sorrowful chants, to lay him beside the loved ones "gone before."
And here a little later, out of their own slender means, the Indians, as a tribute of love, erected a monument to his memory. It is of Rutland marble, stands 10 or nearly 11feet high, inclusive of the 3-foot-square granite base, and is capped by a cross upon which are the letters "I. H. S." Upon one side of the monument are the following words:
"Beneath the stone awaiting
Lies the body of Edward Augustus Goodnough,
For thirty-six years
Pastor and friend of the Oneidas."
On the opposite side of the monument are the words:
Stone of Remembrance
is erected by
His grateful children in the Lord
The Indians of
Hobart Church, Oneida."
The dates of birth and death are also given, and at the base of the monument, on one side, the words: "I have fought the good fight," and on the other side: "I thank my God for every remembrance of thee." And here we must leave the brave soldier and servant of God. Requiescat in pace.
Edited by Terry Heller, Coe College
Uncollected Pieces for Young Readers