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A SOUTHERN SULKY RIDE IN 1837.
JOURNAL OF WM. H. Wills.
(Continued.) In travelling through S. C. I have been struck with the scarcity of birds, if I may except the mocking bird. These indeed remind me of the humorous remark that I have heard in reference to the Commission Merchants of Mobile, viz, "that there was one for every bale of Cotton in the place"and really it appears that I have seen more mocking birds in S. C. than birds to be mocked.—Of Augusta I can say nothing because I know nothing from observation. Getting in after night and leaving early next morning of course I saw nothing by which to judge of the place. I have generally understood that it is a place of much business and I learn there are now a great many bales of Cotton there. The price of this article at this time being low.
Saturday morning 15th at 6 o'clock I left Augusta and started for Lewisville, a little village 45 miles from the former place. The morning was dark and warm, threatening rain which however did not come much until the evening-a few miles from Augusta I met a boy carrying a load of wood to Town. I asked him what he got for such a load? he replied, “1.50, Sir”—there was not more than any one good horse could draw.-for about 25 miles there are several tolerably decent houses, after that but very few. The roads too for the same distance and 15 miles beyond Augusta are worse if possible than those over which I have previously travelled. Not only sandy and hilly, but the recent heavy rains have baked the earth and they are so cut up that it is difficult to get along. After this however they materially improve and further South they are pretty good. After riding 18 miles I stopt at the house of a Mr. Palmer. Everything here was neat and showed an industrious housewife. If not wealthy, I presume their circumstances are good. In the drawing room I saw a handsome pianoe, pier Tables, &c. I should have been glad to have seen the daughters but they were from home. I got a good dinner, and was much refreshed. Thus through life we find some pleasant places in the weary land through which we go.—After dinner I rode 16 miles to and put up for the night at a Mr. Jordans, making 35 miles to-day. Here I found poor fare, but the best I suppose they could give me and with this we should be satisfied. The rain what had fallen in small quantities at intervals all day, commenced falling about 6 o'clock in good earnest and rained nearly all night and part of the time very hard. This is the second rain we have had since I left Tarboro, and have thus far been very fortunate for which I desire to be very thankful to my Heavenly Father. O my God! make me thankful, make me faithful, to Thy service and may I so live that I may ever feel the influence of Thy Spirit! From present appearances the next day will be very unfavorable.—After an humble supper, I retired to rest and slept tolerably well.-Sunday morning 16th was cloudy and
(one word in MS. undecipherable) of rain. The night before there had fallen much water upon the ground. -I left very early, rain falling and promising more. Three miles from Jordans I stopt at a Mr. McQuattys where I had my horse fed and got a decent breakfast. I soon ascertained that he was a reformer in principle, and without disclosing my own pretty soon ascertained his sentiments in relation to the Merits of the M. P. Church. He reminded me of old Brother Bradford, a man that would speak his sentiments tho a cannons mouth was before him.-Unfortunately however M. Protestants have no minister to visit this section of Country and consequently those friendly to her principles have to remain confined by the shackles of Itinerating domination. Alas! and is this not the case in many other parts of the U. S. There are hundreds who would fly to the standards of religious liberty, but none to unfurl the banner and invite them to come. Why do we talk of sending Missionaries to Burmah, Africa and other places and why so envious of the distinction when there are such vast fields for labour in our own beloved land ?
Contrary to my expectations, the weather soon changed in its aspect. The clouds what had hung low and cast forth occasional gusts of rain, were soon swept away by a freshened breeze, and the day became cloudless and serene. After breakfast I left Mr. McQuattys, and twelve miles ride brought me to the River Ogeechee. It is called "great Ogeechee" on the map, but I certainly saw nothing to entitle it to this distinction. I crossed the River at Farms Bridge and five miles further brought me to the house of Mr. Hardwick, when I stopt to catch repose for me and my wearied horse. The gentleman of the house was not at home, but I presently found out that he was the "principal man of that County." It was sometime that I was left alone, then Mrs. Hardwick made her appearance and apologized for her absense, most of her family being sick with the measles. She disappeared and was soon succeeded by a young lady, her daughter I suppose, who was very gaudily attired and with the step of a Philadelphia Coquette and her hands crossed on her bosom like a devout Roman Catholic who made her courtesy and retired. After waiting for
After waiting for more than two hours, I was summoned to dinner, where I sat down with several gentlemen, and three or four ladies one or two of them rather handsome than otherwise.—We had a good dinner, but I hope to be excused from having to dine at a fashionable house again when I am anxious to be on the road.
Late in the afternoon I resumed my journey and after riding 10 miles I stopt after dark at Mr. Fish's having accomplished 38 miles to-day._"Fish's X Road" or "Postoffice” is quite a noted place in this Country. It is where the Southern Stage Road crosses the Road from Sandersville to Savannah. I found comfortable quarters here, a clean house and good bed which I have not always seen.-Monday morning 17th after a good, and early breakfast, I took my departure, 18 miles found me at the Oconee River, which I crossed at Trammels ferry. This is not a large but I understand quite a deep river, and Steam Boats ply on it as high as Milledgeville, situated upon it and the capital of Georgia. Riding 4 miles farther, I got my horse fed and a sorry dinner at Mrs. Adams, but as good as I probably could have obtained in the neighborhood-2 o'clock I once more renewed my journey and at night rested at a Mr. Howards riding to-day 35 miles. I met with tolerable fare only had to drink Coffee without Sugar, and slept on a pretty good bed. If I can get my horse taken care of and a clean bed to sleep on I can put up with almost anything else which I meet with. And well it is so. Were it not deeply indeed would be the lamentations I might put up. But blessed be God, I have learned to submit with some degree of patience to the vicissitudes and sometimes painful incidents in the life of a traveller. But I must confess that I cannot see the pleasures of travelling which so many persons appear to enjoy. I have travelled North and South; I have travelled alone and in Company; I have travelled on horseback, in sulky, stage, by Steamboat and Rail Road; I have seen Cities and Towns and Villages and the County and I would gladly relinquish the pleasures they all convey, for the more pure and delightful emotions produced by the occupancy of an humble home and the company of my beloved family. Oh home! thou art sweeter to me than any place I have yet seen. My wife, the dearest object, my family, my friends, the best companions.
- Tuesday 18th at 54 o'clock, I put off intending to go 4 miles and get my breakfast. When I arrived at the house however I found the family sick and could meet with no accommodations. I was directed by them to the next house, but the next house and the next, were so far apart and when I got to them looked so poor and cheerless that I determined on continuing on to Hawkinsville, 25 miles from whence I started in the morning.–At a little after 12 o'clock I arrived in this place, hungry and very tired.
On the River Ocmulgee stands Hartford, a small, dirty village and on the opposite side is Hawkinsville. The Ocmulgee is not wide, but deep, and joining the Oconee some 60 miles below, form the Altamaha, the largest and most important River of Georgia, whose waters are entirely confined to that State. In regard to Hawkinsville I am much disappointed. I have heard much of this place and tho not expecting to find an elegant place of residence yet I did anticipate something different. It is represented as being one of the sickliest Towns of the whole Southern Country, and I presume it is so. There are from 18 to 20 Stores here, and but two families residing in the place, all the others have dwellings in the pine woods of the surrounding Country. They have a Bank and such a looking Bank! The honor and profit of being President, or Cashier, could not induce me to have charge of an institution in Hawkinsville.—They have also one Tavern, or public house. This is dirty, filthy, and accommodations poor. But the Town has one redeeming quality, at least in the eyes of those who reside here, viz: that there is much business transacted here in the Fall and Winter. This is the spring to the actions of men at last, and for the sake of the profit arising therefrom they will leave their native homes, relinquish the comforts and deny themselves the pleasure of society. They will risk the lives of their wives, their children, their own, yea for this they will barter their eternal interests away. I too am seeking a future home, I too am influenced by this, but O my God! prevent me by thy grace from Sacrificing every other consideration at the shrine of Mammon and let me not loose