The Missourian's Day.
The Old Settlers, on whom age sits with decent grace upon their visage, and worthily
becomes their silver locks, many who wear the marks of years well spent, of virtue, truth
well tried, and wise edxperience, were yesterday recalling the scenes of by-gone years
when they departed from the older States, believing that the blessed beams of the
universal sun was not confined to one land, and that man was not rooted like a tree, whose
seed the wind had cast some uncongenial soil where it would not psosper, and they became
the pioneers, whose footsteps were those of a future nation.
The first low wash of waves where soon would [rol] a [hamah] sea.
The scene on the ground early in the morning, bespoke a goodly number of visitors. At least fifty wagons and numerous camp fires, gave unmistakable evidence of a large list of visitors from a distance. The Lamar Rifles, of Dallas, under the command of Capt. Overand camped on the grounds, and when this reporter arrived, were attempting to prepare the morning meal, and were better prepared in consequence of the effort to appreciate it when ready. They had an experienced cook as part of their accoutrements, and he was ably assisted by the entire corps. At 9 1/2 they fell into line and marched to town to escort the ex-Confederate Missourians to the grounds.
The ground selected for the festivities is at the south edge of the ciry limits, where the Old Settlers have held their picnic twice previously, in August 1880 and 1881, and is east of Travis street, directly opposite Judge Bledsoe's orchard.
At about 11 a.m. the ex-Confederate Missourians escorted by the Lamar Rifles arrived on the ground each wearing a badge with the name
Aug. 10th, 1861.
The battle of Oak Hill was fought with Price commanding the Confederates, about 12,000 in number, and the Federals under the command of Sturgis and Prentice with about 18,000. It resulted in a drawn battle, both armies withdrawing from the field. As the old veterans marched up to the stand they appeared every inch a soldier, although nearly twenty years had elapsed since they formed into a line, their steps bearing and order of line all proclaimes them [vettrans].
That they were impressed with the occasion, and supremely happy none could doubt.
Co. Cockrell's face fairly beamed with joy, and its happy radiance was reflected in the face of one and all as they looked at him.
A recess of ten minutes was proclaimed to allow the weary from the march from the court house to rest and the thirsty to procure drink--either of water which was ad libitum and beer ad infinitum.
After recess the ceremonies were duly opened with prayer by the Rev. Dr. Proctor.
Capt. J. W. Storey was then intoduced by Mr. D. A. Williams and delivered the address of welcome to the Old Settlers and ex-Confederate Missourians. His address was a brief, polished and truly hearty welcome.
The response by Ed Bowers, as his comrades are pleased to term the polished gentleman and erudite lawyer, of Dallas, who shared with them the dangers and glory of Oak Hill and Lone Jack, responded in just the way one would expect a gentleman and a soldier to express his thanks for a hospitable welcome.
Gov. Throckmorton was, although entirely unnecessary, introduced to the audience. Some of his reminisences of early Texas life were heart rendering when describing the atrocities of Indian raids and then again when some of the ludicrous were related they were momentarily forgotten in the laugh the latter brought forth.
The audience alternated from one extreme of feeling to the other as their sensibilites were touched first, with the sad, and then with the laughable.
He cited numerous instances of Indian massacres.
Many of his hearers recalled the instance of the fight of Capt. John Yearly on Sulphur in 1822. Yearly was in the field with a negro man hoeing, when the indians attacked the house.
His wife and daughters managed to close the doors. When he and the negro reach the houst they fought the Indians who were around with their bows and arrows, with their hoes. His wife and daughters did not remain in the houst, but came out and helped in the fight, and they whipped the indians.
The anecdote of the hunter hunted was laughable. It was at the expense of Gus Wright. Wright and a man named Stark followed Indians who had been depredating in Fannin county. When in the cross timbers they concluded to hunt awhile. They came upon a buffalo and wounded it; when they concluded that their presence was required in the limbs of a tree. Unforunately a limb went into bankruptcy and Wright found himself on the ground with a mad buffalo. A mound suggested itself as a secure position. To it he went and as he ran around it, perceived a hole that would be a safe shelter and on the next round, he jumped into it. Starks in the meantime had reloaded and as he was about to fire again at the buffalo, Wright crawled out of the hole and ran as hard as he could pack it. Stark killed the buffalo and then called Wright a fool for vacating the hole. Wright kept on running and telling him to run too, as there was a bear in the hole bigger than the buffalo.
After Gov. Throckmorton's speech an adjournment was had for dinner. And soon the clang of plates, of knife and fork fell to work as merciless as the tomahawk.
Under each spreading tree was a bounteous repast where all were welcomed and feasted, then all wass jollity, feasting and mirth, light wantonness and laughter.
This reporter feasted at the joint establishment of Cal. Williams and Dr. Nesbit.
Some one has quaintly said that a woman who was a good cook was of more benefit to mankind than one who could write a Greek poem.
Be this true or false the one who made the biscuits at that table certainly cooked their wat to fame.
And we feel disposed to, but a want of time prevents our looking through the dictionary, lexicon and encyclopedias for an adjective that will truthfully and accurately describe them, we could not find it, though. We know the guests at other tables certainly enjoyed themselves.
We heard one saying he was actually ashamed--he knew it was rude to so much--but it was all so good--just can't help it, and kept on eating.
The hour and a half given for dinner was lengthened to two, when the multitude again assembled at the platform to hear the Rev. Dr. Ditzler deliver an address. It turned out to be the best sermon of the gentleman's life.
He took as his text why the people of the North should believe the South was honest, and whether their judgement was correct or not, believed they were fighting for a principle.
He said that if they did not acknowledge that, they could not have any faith in the Southern people in the future.
He reviewed the history of the United States from the period that led to the Revolutionary war to the close of the civil war, and the parts that Southern heads and hearts occupied in our history, and that the Southern mind never measured a principle by the amount of the grievance to the South. And he might have added that the power burned at Bunker Hill would have more than paid all the tax the South would be called upon to pay. Then the South was protected and nourished by the mother country, yet there was a principle involved in the right claimed by England for an assembly in which they were not represented to tax them, and this tax was to repay England for fighting them for seven years.
The wisdom and foresight of Southern statesmen were held up in review and all present felt that the lives of Southern statesmen and soldiers was a bright chapter in the history of the United States.
The Rev. gentlemen could talk more than we could but he said just what we thought.
Dr. Ditzler was listened to attentively and warmly complimented at the close of his address, and the unanimous verdict was that this was the best sermon of his life.
Other addresses were delivered by Gen. Cabell, of Dallas, Bill Merritt, of Collin, and the Rev. Burnett, of Corsicana. We regret exceedingly our inability to be there and hear all the good things that each is reported to have said.
The re-union of men who had fought side by side through the war and had been separated ever since, was affecting indeed. A varied host from distant States, brethren in arms, rivals in renown. Often had the enemy beheld their bold port, and noted their martial frown and felt their scorn of death in freedom's cause. To again meet after years of separation, the wonder of some at meeting each other was as great as their content. Such a meeting, however, makes amends for all the long years of separation; to see around the friends and companions in arms of their youth as smiling and kind as in those eventful days. The snow fall of time had been stealing on some of them, yet age set with decent grace upon their visage, and they worthily bore their silver locks.
Old Settlers Association (Grayson County, Tex.). Old Settler's Association of Grayson County, Vol. 1.. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth11279/. Accessed February 1, 2015.