Oregon spectator. (Oregon City, O.T. [i.e. Or.]) 1846-1855, December 10, 1846, Image 4

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    The i"rn.
Laac rinrntrtrH tna wH la the darkneai of error,
S h-W"'" a U :
To tha nMeraad crawa aaea afeaera them in term.
TWhto tfaa boadaf and bitter tho thrall ;
Whana J & aarthqnake'a revealed the d.
A ia like the Ufhtnin ' nnaeal'd oyerjr eye,
And aW WU-tep and glen Boated l.barty'a banner,
While round it men gather'd to conquer or die !
TVu the voice of the prwa on the atartled ear break
In pant-00 P""""- PAixaof old:
Twaa the flaeh of intelligence glorioudy waking
A glow on the cheek of tbeW nd bold ;
And tyranny! minions, o'erawed Jhd affiighted,
Sought a luting retreat in the cloVter and cowl,
AndlSe chaina which bound natioiwki agta benighted
Were cart to the haunU of the bat and the owL
Then hail to the Preae ! choaen guardian of freedom j
The strength of oar manhood, the fire of our youth :
Should deepota e'er dare to impede her free oaring.
Or bigot lo fetter her flight with his chain,
We awear that the earth ahall close o'er our deploring
Or view her gladneai and freedom again.
But no ! to the day-dawn of knowledge and glory,
A far brighter noontide-refulgence eucceeda ;
And oar art ahall embalm, through all agea, in atory.
Her champion who triumph her martyr who bleedi,
And proudlv her aont ahall recall their devotion,
While millions ahall liitrn to honor and Meat,
Till there burata respouae from the heart's strong
And,the earth echoea deep with " Long life to the
rVr- Thn followine intcrestina sketches
and reminiscences of the old sugar house in
Liberty street, New York city, used by the
British in the Revolution as a prison for con
fining American prisoners, ana in which the
most painful and appalling sufferings were
endured, have seen published in a communi
cation in the New World, from Grant Thor
burn, otherwise known as Laurie Todd :
The 1 SHgar Heaic Prison.
When ages shall have mingled with those
who have gone before the flood, tkspot on
which stood this prison will be sougtitHbr
with more than antiquarian interest. It was
founded in 1769, and occupied as a sugar
refining manufactory till 1776, when Lord
Howe converted it into a place of confine
ment for the American prisoners. At the
conclusion of the war for Independence, the
business of sugar refining was resumed and
continued until 1839 or '40, whan it was
leveled to the ground to make way for a
block of buildings wherein to stow Yankee
rum end Now Orleans melasses. Pity it was
ever demolished. With reasonable care it
might have stood a thousaniiye&rs, a mohu
. ment to all gcneratons of the pains, penal
ties, sufferings and deatln their fathers met
in procuring tho blessings they now inherit.
T atiwl nn tho South.East and ailioinint? the
grave-yard around the Middle Dutch Church,
and said church being now bounded by Lib.
erty, Nassau and Cedar streets. But, as it
is said, this church is soon to become a post
offici. The leveling spirit of the day is
rooting up and destroying every landmark
and vestige of antiquity aoout the city, and
it is probable that in the year 2021 there will
not bo a man in New York who can point
out the spot whereon stood a prison whoso
history is so feelingly connected with our
revolutionary traditions.
On the 13th of June, 1794, I came to re.
side in Liberty street, between Nassau street
and Broadway, where I dwelt forty years.
As :ho events recorded in tho history had
but recently transpired, I had frequent oppor
tunities of seeing and conversing with the
men who had been actors in tho scenes.
Some of the anecdotes I heard from the lips
of Gen. Alexander Hamilton, Gen. Morgan
Lewis, Col. Richard Varick, tho venerable
John Pintard, and other revolutionary wor
thies, then in the prido of life, but now all
numbered with tho dead. &a
Till within a few years past there stood,
in Liberty street, a daric stone Dunaing,
grown gray and rusty with age, with small,
deep windows, exhibiting a dujgeon-like as
pect, and transporting dho memory to scenes
of former days, when the revolution poured
iU desolating waves over the fairest portion'
of our- country. It was fwo stories bb;
and each story wan divided into two dreary
' apartments, with ceiling so low and thtjrlight
from die windows so dim, tint a stranger
would readily take tho place for n jail. On
the alone in the walls, and on many of the
bricks under the office windows, are still jtb
be seen Initials' and ancient dasv as If done
with a penknife or nail ; this was the work
of many of the American prisoners, who
adopted this among other means, to while
away their weeks and years of long monot
onous confinement. ( Thore is a strong jail
like door opening on Liborty street, and an
othor on the South Bast, descending into a
dismal cellar, scarco allowing tho midday
sun to peep through its window-gratings.
When 1 first saw this building some
fifty years ago thoro was a walk nearly
broad enough for a cart to travel round it ;
but, of late years, a wing has been added to
the northeast end, which shuts up this walk
where, for many long days and nights, two
British or Hessian soldiers walked their
weary rounds, guarding the American pris
oners. For thirty years after I settled in
Liberty street, this houso was often visited
by one and auothcr of thoso war-worn vete
rans men of whom the present political
worldlings are not worthy. I often heard
them repeat the story of their sufferings and
sorrows, but always with grateful acknowl
edgments to Him, who guides tho destinies
of men as well as of nations.
One morning, when returning from the
old Fly market at the foot of Maiden Lane,
1 noticed two of those old soldiers in tho su
gar houso yard ; they had only three legs
between them one having a wooden leg.
I stopped a moment to listen to their conver
sation, and and as they were slowly moving
from tho yard, said I to them :
" Gentlemen, do either of you remember
this old building ?"
Aye, indeed; I shall never forget it,' re
plied he of one leg. For twelve months,
that dark hole,' pointing to the cellar, ' was
my only home. And at that door I saw the
corpse of iry brother thrown into the dead
cart, among a heap of others, who died in
night previous of jail fever. While the fe
ver was raging we were let out, in companies
of' twenty, for half an hour at a time, to
breathe the fresh air ; and inside wo were
so crowded that we divided our number into
squads of six each. No. 1 stood ten min
utes as close to the window as they could
crowd, to catch the cool air, and then step
ped back, when No. 2 took their places ;
and so on. Seats we -had none ; and our
beds were but straw on the floor, with vcr
min intermixed. And there' continued he,
pointing with his cane to a brick in the wall,
'is my kill time work A.V. S. 1777,'
viz: Abraham Van Sickler which I scratch
ed with an old nail. When peace camo
some learned the fato of their fathers and
mothers from such initials.'
My house being near by, I asked them to
step in and take a bite. In answer to my
inquiry as to how ho lost his leg, he related
the following circumstances :
' In 1777,' said he, ' I was quartered at
Belleville, N. J., with a part of the army,
under Col. Cortland t. Gen. Howe had pos.
session of New York, at the same time, and
we every moment expected an attack from
Henry Clinton. Delay made us less vigi
lant, and we were surprised, defeated, and
many slain and made prisoners. We march
ed from Newark, crossing the Passaic and
Hackensao rivers in boats. The road
through tho swamp was a 'corduroy,' that is,
pine trees Jaid side by side.'
In September, 1795, I traveled this road
and found it in the same condition.
' Wo were confined,' he continued, ' in this
sugar house, with hundreds who had entered
before us. At that time, the brick mcoting
house, the North Dutch Church, the Protest
ant Church in Pine, street, were used as jails
for the prisoners ; while the Scotch Presby
terian Church in Cedar street, (now a house
of merchandise,) was occupied as a hospital
for the Hessian soldiers, and the Middlo
Dutch Church for a riding school for their
cavalry. I well remember it was on a Sab.
bath morning as "fj-in contempt of Him
whose house they )(rero desecrating that
they first commenced their riding operations
in said Church. Qn that same day a vos
sel from England arrived, laden with pow.
der, ball and other munitions of war. She
dropped anchor in the East River, opposite
the foot of Maiden Lane. The weather was
jwarrn, and a thunder storm camo on in tho
iienavun. a no snip was wiuua vy uiuu.
derbcatfrom Heaven. Not a vestige of the
crew, stores or equipment was over seen af.
ter that. '- The good Whigs and Americans,
all;bveithe country, saty that the God of
Battles bad pointed that thunderbolt.
'We were crowded to excess continued
the old veteran; 'etfwIaJMbdj scanty
and unwholesome, and the fever raged like a
pestilence. For many weeks the dead cart
visited tia every morning, into which from
eight to twelve corpses woro thrown, piled
upliko sticks of wood, with the same dollies
tlioy had worn for months, and in which tlwv
had died, and often before tho body was cold.
Thus, every day expecting dcathil made up
my mind to escape, or die in the attempt.
Tho yard was surrounded by n close Imurd
fence, nine feet high. I informed my friend
lioro of my intention, and ho readily agreed
to follow my plan. The lav previous we
placed an old barrel, which stood in the!
yard, against tho fence, as if by accident.
Seeing the burrcl was not removed the next '
iltiv wt hariliftfl tn t.iftl'fi llin nllmiilit llitil I
V I " unuiim IK v. .iii. .......(. ......
afternoon. The fence wo intended to scnle
was on tho side of tho yard nearest to the
East Itivor ; and our intentions were, if wo
stiecccdcd in getting over, to make for the
river, seize tho first boat wc could, and push
for Long Island.
1 Two sentries walked around the build
ing day and night, always meeting and pass,
ing ouch other at tho. ends of the prison.
They were only about one minute out of
sight, and during this minute wc mounted
the barrel and cleared the fence. 1 dropped
uKn a stone and broke my leg, so that I lay
still nt tho bottom of the fence outside. Wo
were missed immediately and pursued. They
stopped a moment to examine my leg, and
this saved my friend ; for by the time they
reached the water edge, at the foot of Muiden
Lane, he was stepping on shoro at Brooklyn,
and thus 'got clear. I was carried to my old
quarters, and rather thrown than laid on the
floor, under a shower of curses.
' Twenty-four hours elapsed cro I saw the
Doctor. My log, by this time, had become
so much swollen that it could not be set.
Mortification immediately commenced, and
amputation soon followed. Thus, being dis
abled from cither serving friend or foe, I was
lilierated, through the influence of a distant
relative, royalist. And now I live as I can,
on my pension, and with the help of my
In 1812, Judge Schuyler, qC Belleville,
showed me a musket ball which then lay im
bedded in ono of his window shutters, which
was lodged there on that night thirty-five
years previous.
Among tho many who visited this prison
forty years ago, I one day observed a tall,
thin, but respectable looking gentleman, on
whoso head was a cocked hut an article
not entirely discarded in those days and a
few dozen snow.whivJ hairs gathered behind
and tied with a black ribbon. On his arm
hung not a badge, or a cane, nor a dogger;
but a handsome young lady, who I learned
from him was his daughter, whom ho had
brought two hundred miles to view tho place
of her father's sufferings. He walked erect,
and had about him something of a military
air. Being strangers, I asked them in ; and
before we parted I heard
(To be continued.)
Our story will carry tho reader bock a
little more than fifty years; when all North
of tho Ohio river was an almost unbroken
wilderness the mysterious red man's home.
On the other side a bold and hardy band
from beyond the mountains had built their
log cabins, and were trying to subduo the
To them every hour was full of peril. Tho
Indians would often cross tho river, strut
their children and horses, and kill and scalp
any victim who camo in their wuy. They
worked in the field with weapons at their
side, and on the Sabbath met in tho grove
in the rudo log church, to hear thn word of
God with their rifles in their hands.
To preach to thcoo settlors, Mr. Joseph
Smith, a Presbyterian minister, had left his
parental homo cast of tho mountains, do,
it was said, was tho second minister who had
crossed tho Monongahela river. Ho settled
in Washington county, Penn., and became
tho pastor of the Cross Crock and Upper Buf
falo congregations, dividing his timo between
them. He found them a willing and united
pcoplo, but still unablo to pay him a salary
which would support his family. He irr com
mon with all the early ministers, must oulti
vate a farm. He purchased one on credit,
proposing to pay for it with the salary pledg
ed to him by his people.
Years passed away. The pastor was un
paid. Littlo or no money was in circulation.
Wheat was abundant, but there was no
market. It could not bo sold for more than
twolvo and a half cents in cash. Even their
salt had to bo brought across tho mountains
on pock horses was worth eight dollars per
bushel, and twenty one bushels of wheat
were often given for one of suit.
The time came when the lust payment
uiiiHt be made, and Mr. Smith was told ho
must pay or leave his (unit. Three years'
salary was now due from his ieopi.
For the want of this his land, his improve,
moots upon it, ami his hopes of remaining n
Hiring a beloved M-oplo, must be iihuiidoued.
The people were culled together .and the
ease laid Itefore them. They were greatly
moved. Counsel from on high wns sought.
Plan after pluu was proNed and abandoned.
T1e congregations were unable to pay the
tithe of their debts, and no money could Im
Iii despuir they adjourned to meet ngain
the following week. In the mean time it was
ascertained that a Mr. Moore who owjied the
only mill in the eountry, would grind for
them wheat on moderate terms. At the next
meeting it was resolved to carry their wheat
to Mr. Moore's mill. Some gave Till bushels,
some moro. This was carried from fifteen
to twenty-six miles 'n horses to the mill.
In a month, word came that the flour was
ready to go to market. Again the people
were! called together. After an earnest
prayer, tho question was asked, who will run
the flour to New OrleniiH 7 This was a start
ling question. The work wus perilous in tho
extreme. Months must pass lielore the ad
venturer could hope to return, even though
his journey should lie fortuirtite. Nearly all
the way wos a wilderness ; and gloomy tales
had been told of the treacherous Indian.
More than one Itont's crew had gone on that
journey and came back no more.
Who then would endure the toil and bravo
the lunger ? None volunteered. Tho young
shrunk back, and the middle aged had their
excuse. Their last suhcine seemed likely
to fail. At length u houry headed man, an
elder in the church, sixty-four years of age,
arose, and to the ustonishmeiit of the. assem
bly said, " Mere am I, send me." The deep
est feeling ut once perviujed the whole as
sembly. To see their venerated elder thus
devote himself for their good, melted thein to
tears. They gather around old father Smi
ley to learn thut his resolution was indeed
token ; that rather than lose their pastor, ho
would brave danger, toil, and even death.
After MJiue delay and trouble two young
men wercinduced by hope of a large reward
to go us his assistants.
A day wus appointed for starting. Tho
young u'nd old from fur und near, from lovo
io father Smiley, and their deep interest in
the object of his mission, gathered together,
und with their pastor at their head, camo
down from the church, fifteen miles away to
the bank of the river, to bid the old man
furcwcll. Then a prayer was offered by
their pastor. A parting hymn was sung.
"There," said the old Scotchman, "untie tho
cable, and let us seo what tho Lord will do
for us." This was dono and tho bout float
ed slowly awuy.
Moro than nino months passed, and no
word camo back from father Smiley. Muny
n pruyer hud been breathed for him, but what
had been his fate was unknown.. Another
Sabbath came. The people enmn together
for worship, and there on his rudo bench be
fore the preacher, composed and devout, siU
father Smiley. After the services, tho pco
plo worn requested to meet early in the week
to hear tho report. All came again.
After thanks had boon rendered to God
for his safe return, father Smiloy uroso end
told his story ; thut tho Lord hud prospered
his mission ; that ho hud sold his flour for
twenty-seven dollars per barrel, and then got
safely back. He then draw n large purso,
and poured upon thn table n larger pile of
gold than most of thn spectators hud ever
seen before. Tho young men were paid each
a hundred dollars. Father Smiley was ask
ed his charges,.
He meekly replied, thoMio thought ho
ought to havu tho same as one of tho young
men, though he had not done Atiito iih much
work. It was immediately proposed to pay
him threo hundred dollars. This ho refused
to rcceivo till tho pastor was pWd. Upon
counting thn money, thoro was found enough
to pajrjwhat was duo Mr. S. to advunoo his
salary for tho year to come to reward fathor
Smilev with three hundred dollars, and then
toleavo a large dividend for each contribution.
Their debts wero paid and pastor relieved, 'r