What Experience Has Taught Me
THOMAS WILLIAM BURTON
Doctor of Medicine, Springfield, Ohio
PRESS OF JENNINGS AND GRAHAM
To the Memory of My Mother
thirty-eight years have come and gone
I have seen her face,
still that love I have for her,
is none can fill her place.
prayers to God for me she sent
I was but a youth,
I may be a man of worth,
God, and speak the truth.
spirits whispers to me still
that eternal bliss,
right, my boy, while there on earth,
you may come to this.
-Thomas W. Burton, M. D.
COPYRIGHT JUNE 13th 1910
BY THOMAS WILLIAM BURTON M.D.
208 W. Main St., SPRINGFIELD, OHIO
MY knowledge of the literary world being
very limited, and knowing the numberless
valuable productions which have been and are
being sent broadcast throughout the world from
the greatest minds, touching every phase of
human existence, of every clime, and on every
subject imaginable, make me feel abashed to
offer to the public this book,
"WHAT EXPERIENCE HAS TAUGHT ME;"
but as God gave me this inspiration to make an
effort to do something for the purpose of
encouraging those who may be less fortunate
than myself, I shall tell my own story, and in my
own way, as I saw and experienced it. It shall be
the aim and object of this book to point out
things which are beneficial and practicable.
BY way of introduction to the reading public
of Dr. Thomas W. Burton, the author of this
book, I desire to say that the effort that is made a
success, though it may be opposed by
difficulties, encourages many a hitherto
Encouragement is what humanity stands in
need of, and especially those who have not been
in the midst of the most favorable surroundings
for mental and moral development. I am sure that
any one reading this volume will find much to
inspire him to earnest and continued effort.
We have here the history of a man who, like
Frederick Douglass and Booker T. Washington,
has come up from obscurity and by dint of hard
study and honesty, and above all by being a man
of God, has come to honorable distinction.
I cheerfully present Dr. Thomas W. Burton for the
emulation of our young men. Go thou and do likewise.
JOHN WESLEY GAZAWAY.
August 26, 1907,
St. Paul A. M. E. Church,
- I. BIRTH AND PARENTS, . . . .
- II. BOYHOOD AT THE OLD HOMESTEAD, . . . .
- III. MY FIRST EXPERIENCE IN WORKING FOR WAGES, . . . . .
- IV. OFF FOR BEREA COLLEGE, KY., . . . . .
- V. BACK TO REFINEMENT AGAIN, . . . . .
- VI. FIRST NEGRO MEDICAL SOCIETY IN OHIO, . . . . .
- VII. MEMBER OF FACULTY, CURRY INSTITUTE, . . . . .
- VIII. SENT AS A DELEGATE TO NATIONAL NEGRO BUSINESS LEAGUE, . . . . .
- IX. AS A CHRISTIAN WORKER, . . . . . .
- X. PEOPLE SHOULD THINK FOR THEMSELVES, . . . . .
- THOMAS W. BURTON, M. D., . . . . .
- THE OLD LOG CABIN IN WHICH THOMAS WAS BORN, . . . . .
- THE BIG HOUSE WHERE THOMAS'S OWNERS LIVED, . . . . .
- THOMAS HAULING HAY FROM THE MEADOW TO THE BARN, . . . . .
- REV. JOHN G. FEE, FOUNDER OF BEREA COLLEGE, KENTUCKY, 1858, . . . . .
- MRS. MATILDA H. FEE, . . . . . 31
- THOMAS OFF FOR BEREA COLLEGE, KY.,JANUARY 1, 1881, . . . . .
- WACO, KY., SCHOOL, TAUGHT BY THOMAS, 1885-1886, . . . . .
- THOMAS RECEIVING THE DEGREE OF M. D., MARCH 24, 1892, . . . . .
- RANGE OF MOUNDS NEAR NEWARK, OHIO, . . . . .
- PROFESSOR E. W. B. CURRY, THE NEGRO ORATOR AND EDUCATOR, . . . . . .
- THOMAS PRESIDING OVER THE OHIO STATE ASSOCIATION, . . . . .
- DR. HORACE R. HAWKINS, XENIA, O., POST-GRADUATE, . . . . .
- THOMAS REDUCING A DISLOCATED ARM, . . . . .
- THOMAS REMOVING A FIBRO-CYSTIC TUMOR, . . . . .
- THOMAS READING A PAPER AT PUT-IN-BAY, OHIO, . . . . .
- DR. WILLIAM CHAVIS, . . . . .
- DR. THOMAS W. BURTON AND FAMILY, . . . . .
- DR. THOMAS W. BURTON'S RESIDENCE, SPRINGFIELD, O., . . . . .
- DR. THOMAS W. BURTON HAVING THE CONNUBIAL KNOT TIED, . . . . .
- A GROUP OF MEMBERS OF THE OHIO STATE MEDICAL ASSOCIATION, . . . . .
- DR. BURTON PERFORMING AN AUTOPSY ON THE LARGEST WOMAN
IN SPRINGFIELD, . . . . . 124
BIRTH AND PARENTS
I HAVE been often asked
by my friends why I
did not write a book. I felt as though I had not
accomplished anything for which to write a book.
Then I thought perhaps I might drop a word of
inspiration to those who may be less fortunate
than myself, as it is my aim always to help, and
not to hinder.
I was born May 4,1860, in Madison County,
Kentucky, a little way from Richmond (its
county seat) and near the banks of Tates Creek
and Shallow Ford. My father and mother were
slaves at the time of my birth. My father's name
was Edward, and the name of my mother was
Eliza. I do n't remember very much about my
father, because he died when I was only five
years of age. I remember more about my mother,
because I was nine years of age when she died.
My father and mother were blessed
with fifteen children, of which I was the
There were other slaves on the place besides our
family. My mother could weave, and did the
weaving for those who were on the place. I can remember
seeing mother sitting at her loom, day after day,
weaving the blue and brown jeans for the men
folks, and the linsey and tow-linen for the
women and children. In summer time I wore only
one garment, and that was a tow-linen shirt. It was made
something on the order of the Mother Hubbard,
and was very cool and nice, too.
My father and mother were not educated.
They knew nothing about books, only my mother
knew her alphabet; and that she taught me, and is
about all I knew concerning an education until I
became twenty-one years of age. Mother was a
good woman; she was a member of the white
Christian Church, as there was not a colored
Church in that neighborhood. So every Sunday
mother would take us children to
Shallow Ford meeting-house, known as Mt.
Gilead, until I was a big boy. The first two or three
rows of seats from the door, or rear of the
church, were the places where the colored people
had to sit; but they seemed to enjoy the services
equally as well as the whites, and I am sure of
one thing, aside from the line that was already
drawn, I was made to feel more welcome there
than I have been made to feel in some of my own
Churches since I became a freeman. I have gone
into Churches where the people stood so very far
apart spiritually that it would make cold chills
glide stealthily through my whole body.
In those days people were delighted to
welcome strangers as well as those of their
acquaintance in the church. As young as I was, I
realized that I was a slave by often seeing the
older folks sitting with their heads close
together, and could hear them whisper, "Some
day I believe we will be free." We children, of
course, had to go to bed with the chickens. We
were put in a trundle-bed, and then pushed under
the big bed, there to remain until next morning.
Very often after we were put to bed we could
hear the older folks having such a good
feast, and it would smell - O, my! - so
delicious; but we had to stay under there just the
same. There was a counterpane made for the big
bed so as to reach the floor, and when it was
pulled down we little ones could not see out.
The old log-cabin in which I was born
consisted of two rooms; one down, and the other
up. We had to go up in the loft by means of a
wooden ladder. In the lower room was a large
fireplace which would easily heat the two rooms.
One large rock, three by six feet, was placed in
front of the fire for a hearth. On this big rock
mother would do a great deal of the cooking by
pulling the big coals out of the fireplace and
placing them under the skillets, and the embers
on the lids. The boils and stews would be cooked
in pots and kettles, which hung over the fire on
racks and tripods. Two windows were in this
cabin; one in the lower room, and the other
above. There were two doors, both below; one on
each side of the house.
About one hundred feet north of the cabin
stood, and still stands, the big house in which
lived our owners. Around this house was a beautiful
lawn. The building was in a commodious place
and could be seen from afar off. How well I
enjoyed to play about that lawn and premises!
When I became big enough to do chores I was
kept somewhat busy at times.
People took great pride in training children
those days, as they best could and knew how.
They had instilled in them the moral virtues
which Solomon so beautifully pointed out: "Train
up a child in the way he should go, and when he is
old, he will not depart from it" (Prov. 22:6).
Some people of to-day think if they are a little
strict on their children they will either offend the
child or discourage it. And the child, of course,
will soon learn to take advantage of its parents'
leniency and, as it grows older and wiser, it will
and does in reality offend and discourage its
parents. "Chasten thy son while there is hope, and
let not thy soul spare for his crying." (Prov. 19:8.)
God corrects His children because He loves
them, and not because He has the power to treat
them cruelly. There is only one being who really
does meanness for the fun there is in it, and that
is the devil. "Withhold
not correction from the child, for if thou
beatest him with a rod, he shall not die." (Prov.
23:13.) If a child is brought up carelessly,
evidently he will transact business carelessly
through life and become a dwarf in the
commercial world. If a mother is telling her
neighbor something which took place the day
before, perhaps, one of her children is apt to take
the words from her mouth and say, "That is not
the way, mother; it was such and such a way." The
mother, of course, thinking it cute in the child,
will give way and let the child have the floor.
Then the mother begins to tell the cute and great
things the child has done, in the presence of the
child. In my childhood days, when the old folks
had company one would not know that there was a
child on the place unless they saw us. Especially
when they were talking, there was no danger of
the children chipping in. If we were too loud or
boisterous, just a look or pointing of the finger
was enough. A child is often spoiled nowadays by
the parents threatening it so very much, but never
putting those threats into execution. Knowing the
fact that it has been getting out
of mischief so easily, it grows up caring but little
for obligations. "Correct thy son, and he shall
give thee rest; yea, he shall give delight unto thy
soul." (Prov. 29:17.)
Parents, be positive, but not cruel; for these
are God's jewels. They are the future generation,
and are at your mercy to mold or shape in any
fashion you desire.
BOYHOOD AT THE OLD HOMESTEAD
AFTER the death of my mother, in 1869, I
still remained at the old homstead until I was
sixteen years of age, working for what I could eat
and wear. I did not know what it was to work for
wages until I left the place to stay. While on the
place I learned to do all kinds of house and farm
work. I certainly appreciate the fact that I can do
all of these things even to-day. The man who can
do these things is somewhat independent, even
though he may not have a dollar. There were no
schools in that neighborhood for colored
children, and of course I had no chance to get an
education at that time. But there was a college
twenty miles south from where I lived, known as
Berea, organized in 1855 by that fearless and
devout Christian gentleman, Rev. J. G. Fee, for
men, regardless of color or
nationality. Its name is borrowed from that place
mentioned in the New Testament, whose
inhabitants were "more noble than those of
Thessalonica, because they searched the
Scriptures daily." It had the words on the college
seal as a motto: "God hath made of one blood all
nations of men." I could hear the older ones about
the place talking about that school so very much
that it would make the fire of inspiration burn
within me. Then, on the other hand, I would
become discouraged when the sad news came that
the Rev. John G. Fee was being mobbed on all
sides because he took the stand he did, of an
abolitionist, and established a mixed school,
especially in a slave State. Upon one occasion,
when Mr. Fee was preaching in Madison County,
near by, on the subject of "Christian Union," and
was accompanied by Robert Jones, a native of the
county, and Messrs. Field and Marsh, residents in
that vicinity, there was apprehension of danger,
and Mr. Fee had been consulted as to the
propriety of carrying guns. He said, "No; if I am
disturbed I will appeal to the courts." He believed
in the right of self-defense, but was opposed
to the practice of carrying arms, and
believed they were more often a source of
danger than a means of safety.
The sermon had commenced when a mob of
sixty men with pistols and guns surrounded the
house. One came in and said to Mr. Fee, "There
are men here who wish you to stop and come
out." He replied, "I am engaged in the exercise of
a Constitutional right and a religious duty; please
do not interrupt me," and preached on. The man
went out, and soon two others returned and
demanded that he come out. He preached on.
They seized him and dragged him out, no
resistance being made. Men with a rope swore
they would hang him to the first tree unless he
would promise to leave the county and never
return He replied, "I am in your hands; I would not
harm you if you harm me; the responsibility is
with you; I can make no pledge; duty to God and
my country forbid." They swore they would duck
him in the Kentucky River as long as life was in
him unless he would promise to leave the county.
He said: "I am a native of the State. I believe
slavery is wrong. I am
acting for the good of my country and all her
people. You will know my motives at the
judgment." He had proceeded but a few moments
when one exclaimed, "We did n't come here to
hear a sermon; let us do our work." They stripped
Robert Jones naked, bent him down, and gave him
thirty-three lashes with three sycamore rods. He
was so injured that he could not walk the next day;
but he made no pledges and did not leave. They
said to Mr. Fee, "We will give you five hundred
lashes if you do not leave the county and promise
never to return." He knelt down and said, "I will
take my suffering; I can make no pledge." Later
two lawyers were engaged to prosecute in behalf
of him and Jones. The mob met in Richmond and
swore they would give five hundred lashes to any
lawyer who would prosecute the cases. The grand
jury never inquired into it. This is one of many
such mobs through which Rev. John G. Fee went
in those days.
The nearest I got to go to school was when I
would take my young master to his school, a
distance of about two miles, on horseback; so as
to bring the horse back, that he might be used for
other purposes, such as going to the grist mill,
plowing the corn, and going errands. Wherever I
went I had to get back before night came on me
too far, as the Kuklux were quite thick in that
vicinity and did a great deal of harm to the
colored people. Kuklux is the fantastic name of a
secret society which was organized among many
Southern secessionists after the Civil War for the
purpose of overawing Negroes and newcomers
from the North by all manner of violence, and
they did some daring and hideous things to the
colored people. Sometimes I would visit my
cousin to spend the night, who lived not far away
on Shallow Ford; and there being a public road
alongside the creek, about nine or ten o'clock we
would hear the roaring, thundering sounds from
the horses' feet, seemingly about two thousand in
number. When they came near some people's
houses whose lamps and candles were burning,
they would shout, "Lights out!" If the occupants of
the house did not extinguish those lights at the
command immediately, a bullet from without
would. Of course, orders were usually
obeyed. It was the usual custom to go to people's
houses at night, and see them greet one another in
the dark, as there were no lights in the house
except that which came from the fireplace, or
grease lamps which gave a very poor light at the
very best; and by the use of the latter the house
was so impregnated with amorphous carbon that
it would make it a little unpleasant for the people
of this day and date. And yet, by such lights they
would enjoy themselves at dances, parties
quilting and apple-peeling in the fall of the year,
in order that they might have dried apples for the
winter. Later on, after the fear of the Kuklux had
somewhat subsided, there was great enjoyment at
corn-shucking in the fall of the year by the light
of the moon. From twenty-five to thirty
neighbormen would enter a corn field and husk it
out in a single night. After the task was done a big
feast would follow. People took such pride in
those days in helping one another, and in return
their efforts were appreciated.
When I was about the age of sixteen years I
felt as though I ought to be earning some pocket
change, so as to be like some of the rest of the
boys with whom I was associating. And, too, like
most boys at that age who are inexperienced, I
wanted to leave the plantation so as to see more
of the world and its doings, but did n't know
exactly how to go about it to get away. So one
day I made the old boss mad, and instead of him
telling me to leave, he simply gave me a good
thrashing and told me to go to work. Delighted I
was to obey. I shall never forget my early training
on the farm. Farming in those days was somewhat
rude, and seemed to those who took a part that
they were making a great headway.
During the time of hay harvest several men
were put in the field with a scythe each, who
would cut the hay. Another crew of men would
follow these with two-tine wooden pitchforks,
the timber of which was either dogwood, beech,
or black hickory. These pitchforks were prized
very highly and could stand the test of strain
really better than our most modern ones. The
men would take these forks and windrow the hay.
After this was done they would put it into
shocks, and then, by means of an ox-cart, would
haul it near the edge of the meadow, and there put
it into stacks.
When it came to the cutting of wheat, rye,
oats, and barley, it was done by means of cradles.
The man who could carry the cradle day after day,
all through harvest, was serviceable to the
community in which he lived, as also were those
who could handle the scythe skillfully. Few men
can handle a scythe successfully so as to make
each stroke count while cutting hay or grass.
When the rye, oats, barley, and wheat crops were
not so very large, and the men pretty well up with
their work, they would thrash out the grain by
means of hickory sapplings. These sapplings were
cut in lengths from six to eight feet; the small
branches, of course, were trimmed off so as to be
easily manipulated, and about eighteen inches
from the larger end the sapplings were made
flexible by pounding on them with a heavy
hammer or something of the kind. A portion of
the soil was scraped away so as to resemble a
cock-pit. On the floor of this was spread a large
sheet or canvas. The sheaves of
the grain were carefully placed one by the other,
the heads of which were pointing toward the
center of the pit. The men would pound on the
heads of the sheaves with these sapplings until
the grain was thoroughly threshed out. At the
same time the straw was being put into a rick. To
separate the grain from the chaff, the grain was
scooped up and poured into the hopper of a large
instrument known as a fan, with a man at the
crank. Those who had large crops, in order to
thrash the grain, would make a ring resembling a
circus ring; it was prepared just as the above; but
in this ring horses were placed, with boys on their
backs. I had to ride in one of those rings till I was
sick of it. It seemed as though it was such a
pleasure to work on the farm at that time, and
should be so to-day. After the ground was broken
up we only had in way of small plows the shovel,
double-shovel, and bulltongue. Whole fields of
corn had to be hoed in those days. I really believe
that the corn does better, if no more than to keep
it clean of weeds.
MY FIRST EXPERIENCE IN WORKING FOR
AFTER leaving my old homestead I hired to a
man to work on a farm for four dollars per
month. I held that job for twelve months. For a
short time thereafter I fell into the hands of evil
associates, and, of course, inexperienced and
lacking the proper training early in life, I was led
off, as is natural for man to love darkness rather
than light, because of his evil deeds (John 3:19), I
got out of work, and that led to idleness; from
idleness to drunkenness. I used to think that man
should always be able to meet conditions of
environment; but I have learned from experience
that environment has a great deal to do in making
the man, especially so if the man is ignorant and
inexperienced. There are thousands of men and
women to-day in prisons who would not be there
if at certain
times in their lives they could have gotten a few
words of encouragement from those who were
more fortunate than themselves. Not every man
or woman you see in low places or in bad
company has an evil heart in them. Certainly not.
A great many are forced into these places on
account of their environments, and while they
become discouraged and remain there, a good
many other people who are not there with these
unfortunates but who are just as bad point the
finger of scorn at those in the gutter instead of
helping them out. There was that sinner who went
of her own accord to the feast which Simon had
prepared for Jesus Christ, and received a blessing
because she had the right kind of motives and
heart within her. (Luke 7:36-50.) Simon himself
murmured because of the woman's former
character and reputation. Man's mind is never
still; it is always busily engaged. If it is not
engaged in something edifying, it is engaged in
After a man or woman has a certain amount of
experience, he or she can set into operation
vibratory forces which go out and which make
impress felt somewhere, and which, arising into
activity or uniting with other forces, set about to
actualize their desires. Our thoughts make us
what we are here and hereafter. Some people plod
along daily without thought, care, ambition, or
anxiety. Of course, it is a waste of time to try to
reform such people as those. But do not judge all
alike because they are all in the same crowd; but
rather look after the ones who are willing to
listen and follow a good advice when given at the
right time and in the right way. I say at the right
time and in the right way because those people
can not be won at all times. "To every thing there
is a season." (Eccl. 3.) If this class of people is
approached in the right way, then, through the law
that "like builds like," they will be able to come a
little closer to it the next day, and still closer the
next, and the next, until sooner or later comes the
time when it will become natural for them to fall
into the right channel. And once there, they very
often become beacon lights, living only in the
thought of love for all. And while they live in the
thought of love for all, they will draw love to
them in return. But the one who lives in the
thought of malice or hatred, malice and hatred
will come back to them.
In order to be successful in life one should
always look on the bright side of life. If we dwell
upon the negative side it will prove to be
destructive. If you let your daily talk be about
sickness and disease, you will do yourself harm
and those also who listen to you. This has
reference to chronic complainers. But the young
man whose mind is completely unhinged from the
effects of strong drink is to be pitied. "There is a
way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end
thereof are the ways of death." (Prov. 14:12.)
This opinion was one under which I was laboring
when my brain was in a morbid condition, and my
nervous system, owing to the absorption of
alcohol or to sympathy with the stomach, was
stealing my intellectual and moral faculties
because I was straying from that path in which my
mother started me in youth. Strong drink was
eating up my substances; it was devouring my
health; it was gnawing off the fine edges of my
sense of honor; in short, it was
ultimately swallowing me down body and soul.
One need not expect an inebriate to reform by
giving him punches, knocks, and blows, such as I
received when in that predicament; but it requires
time and patience and, above all, self-will. We are
morally bound by our profession as Christians to
throw all of our influence against intemperance
in every form. Evidently we will find our labors
ridiculed and our efforts thwarted by those whom
we intend to benefit, like Isaiah, the prophet of
old; but we should let nothing daunt us for the
good of the cause and for the sake of our Lord
and Savior Jesus Christ.
The world is certainly full of temptations of
the flesh, and we are certainly our brother's
keeper; we must put aside strong drink in every
form: it is an enemy to mankind, dragging down
the weak to eternal ruin. No one can live to
himself alone. Every one should help the other.
This tests one's Christianity, which is not true and
sincere if it does not mean Christian
After being led by those who were equally
unfortunate as myself, for a number of months, I
thought that I would get me another job. So
another man hired me for the sum of eight
dollars per month, and I worked for him for that
price three consecutive years as a farm hand, and
thought at the time that I was getting pretty fair
wages; I am sure that I was doing a man's work,
and felt myself much of a man physically.
At the close of each year I worked for that
man I saved the better part of my earnings, as I
did not need many clothes while I was working on
a farm. My every-day apparel had so many
patches about them that one could not tell the
original pattern, especially in the fall of the year,
during corn-cutting season. Then there seemed to
have come over me another state of mind: to use
up my money as fast as I earned it; it did n't
matter at what I was working, for I would take my
little drink occasionally when I was not on duty,
until I began to move in a better circle of society,
when I became spiritually-minded and recognized
the fact, if I lived in that thought, it was to be in
harmony and peace. I began to realize that God
stood ready always to receive
those who were willing to come to Him and be
accepted as His children. And that man forgets,
but God never does.
So early in the spring of 1880 I was converted
to God, and was baptized in Burnum's Pond,
Richmond, Ky., the third Sunday in June of that
year, by the Rev. Madison Campbell. After that I
started out with a higher realization and to open
myself more fully to the divine inflow, so much
so that I could clearly see my insignificance as a
man. The young lady with whom I was keeping
company was a graduate from the high school,
and I could not read nor write. I began to think
that was an awful thing, and so it was. So I said to
the people with whom I was living that I was
going to quit drinking, and save up my money and
go to school and get an education, so as to be like
other young men with whom I was then
associating. Quite a few of those who were not
educated themselves would say to me, "Tom, I
hear you are going to school!" And when I would
answer in the affirmative they would say: "You
had better go to work and pay your debts, and get
yourself some clothes, because
you are too old a man to be going to
school. You'll never learn nothing." But I had
my mind made up to go to school and let drink
alone, and nothing was going to stop me but
sickness or death. So I started out to fulfill part
of my advice in the way of paying my debts, but
had no time to save money sufficient to buy
clothes before winter term opened at Berea
College, Kentucky, for that was a place I had been
anxious to go to for many years, and now was my
OFF FOR BEREA COLLEGE, KY.
IT was during the month of January, 1881, I
started for Berea, a distance of fifteen miles
from Richmond, Ky., which I was then claiming
as my home. No railroad connected the two
places at that time, nothing but a hack line, which
was run by Mr. Van Winkle, who lived in Berea.
The fare was only seventy-five cents one way, but
I thought I could not afford to pay that; so I
started out the Big Hill Pike, walking, wearing a
blue jeans suit, slouch hat, and stocky boots. The
legs of my pantaloons were so small that I could
not wear them on the outside of my big boots,
therefore I just simply stuffed them within and
went on. A carpet bag on my back, containing a
few articles, and nine dollars and seventy-five
cents in my pocket, I reached Berea College at
nightfall the same day I started. After resting over
night, I went along the next
morning with a lot of other boys to the
treasurer's office to matriculate for the winter
At that time a student could work at the
college, so as to pay a part of his schooling. At
Howard Hall, a dormitory for the boys, was a
mess club run by those who were not able to
board at the Ladies' Hall, the regular boarding
place. There were twenty-five students at this
mess club waiting for a cook. After I matriculated
in part, and returned to the hall, some one asked
me if I could cook. "Why, sure thing," I remarked.
I took the job and cooked for the boys that whole
term, went to school, and did my own laundrying
on Saturdays. I entered the primary department
and learned to write a letter, and received an
answer to it that winter for the first time in my
life. May 4th of that year (1881) I was twenty-
one years of age, and felt myself very important
because I could read and write and was of age.
After Commencement of that year I went into
the harvest field and did anything my hands could
find to do, so when fall term opened I was there
to hear the first stroke of the old college
bell. I then entered the intermediate department
and remained in school the fall and winter terms,
but had to go to work the spring term. I left with
the determination to make money enough so as to
return in the fall and remain in school the whole
nine months. I found my way to Maysville, Ky.,
and there I worked for a contractor by the name
of Mr. Tom Curr. He put me to digging sewers
with a lot of other men, and from that to
shoveling coal from the barges on the Ohio
River. Thinking, perhaps, that I could make more
clear money as a roustabout on the river, I got me
a job as roustabout on the Morning Mail, a boat
then running between Maysville and Cincinnati.
That job reminded me more of slavery than any I
had met since the real days of slavery, but I
thought I could stand anything physically that any
other man could. I worked with a new
determination and returned to Berea that fall and
entered the normal preparatory department, but
had to leave again the following spring term
because my money ran short. I found by this time
that the farther advanced I got the more money it
took to keep me in school.
That year there was a railroad to be built from
Winchester, Ky., down to and across the
Kentucky River; up through Shear's Bottom, past
the Red House to Richmond; then to Berea,
where there never was a railroad before; and from
there to Round Stone, in the mountains. I got me
a job on this road as steel driver and helped put
through three tunnels, including that one in Berea.
I worked at this job six months without stopping
for school this time. And right here, again, is
another proof that environment has a great deal to
do in shaping the man.
While all of our advantages are to be
improved, our opportunities to be enjoyed, and
our responsibilities to be met and
discharged, if we are negligent
of our Christian duty we are sure to become
pessimists, and pessimism leads to weakness. If
we fail in caring for the interest of ourselves, as
well as for the interest of our Maker, we must
receive punishment. It is not the mere possession
of a thing that works for good, but it is the use
to which we put it. Advantages, money, and health
amount to nothing unless rightly managed. So
while on the railroad,
driving steel, associated with rough fellows
from all parts of the country, I became rough too,
to a certain extent, in order to hold my own.
Some may say that you do n't have to be rough
because you are thrown in rough society. I
learned from experience that you do have to
become rough, and very rough, too, sometimes.
Nearly every man, and boy, too, you saw would
either have an ugly-looking knife or a revolver,
and they did not carry them for fun. After working
there a while, and after seeing and experiencing a
few things, I started out with one revolver; but as
time went on and I became a little more
experienced in that business I carried a pistol on
each hip, and a free-for-all fight was no more than
a game of baseball would be to a civilized crowd.
An officer was in very poor business to interfere
with us unless he caught us unawares. So when I
returned to school the following winter I took my
pistols along, of course, with my reputation as a
There was a white man who lived in the
village near the school, and who, too, was a
former classmate of mine. He turned out to be a
and at times he was a terror to the town and
school. His brother and another student had a
misunderstanding one day. The brother of the
desperado told his side of the affair to suit
himself, and without investigating the matter the
desperado said he was going to kill the student at
first sight; and he meant it. The student did not
know the desperado, nor did the desperado know
the student. And, too, the student was studying
for the ministry. There were three white
merchants who heard of the affair and offered the
student revolvers; but he refused them, saying, "I
will trust in the Lord." With an oath they said,
"You had better trust in these pistols, because
that man means to kill when he says he is going
to kill." Some one told the student to ask counsel
of me concerning the matter. By that time the
student was getting somewhat worked up over the
matter. So on Saturday afternoon the student
came to see me. After he had related the affair, I
did not say a word, but, knowing the desperado as
I did, turned to my trunk, took out one of my best
pistols (for I had three), well loaded, handed it to
went on, and would not listen to any argument.
With reluctance he took the pistol home. Just
before Sunday-school time the next morning (for
we all had to go to Sunday-school) the student
said there came a peculiar feeling over him, such
as he had never felt before; and that something
seemed to say to him, "You had better put that
pistol up your coat sleeve when you start for
Sunday-school this morning, because you are
going to meet your antagonist." The college bell
began to peal for Sunday-school; the student
could no longer remain in the house, and without
realizing what he was doing he shoved the handle
of the pistol up his sleeve, manipulating the
muzzle with the fingers, and started off for
Sunday-school. About one hundred yards away
from the house he noticed two persons coming
towards him riding double on horseback, and
when they came near him he recognized the
desperado's brother. As soon as the boy saw him
he shouted, "There he is!" The desperado then,
with an oath, began to make his usual hip
movement; but it was too late, the student was too
quick for him. When the student saw the
of the desperado's pistol he pointed my pistol in
the desperado's face and said: "I dare you to move
a muscle. If you do, I will shoot the top of your
head off." And he meant what he said.
BACK TO REFINEMENT AGAIN
AFTER I had entered the college preparatory
department I began to think seriously as to what
my future mission should be, and in order to be
successful in life I must have God's help. So I
asked God to reveal to me what He would like to
have me do. There was a day set apart by the
county superintendent of schools for all those
who wished to teach school to go to Richmond,
Ky., and take the examination. I availed myself of
the opportunity and took the examination, and
received a certificate. I taught the school at
Waco, Ky., in 1885 and 1886, but powders, pills,
and the sciences of medicine and surgery kept
I went to the city of Indianapolis, Ind., in 1889
and went under the instructions of Dr. William
Chavis, as my preceptor. The winter of 1890-91
was spent in the Medical College of Indiana. The
term of 1892 being spent in the
Eclectic College of Physicians and Surgeons,
from which I graduated on March 24, 1892. I had
to partly work my way through the Indianapolis
schools by waiting table, working in lumber yard
and in private families. Some of these families
certainly made me toe the mark; so much so that
at one place were two girls also working: one did
the cooking and the other was the nurse; and, of
course, I was second help. The landlady's mother
lived with her, and she too kept things moving
along with such rapidity that the following verses
came to me:
am the second help,
While Annie is the cook;
Emma sees after the children,
Then the old woman takes a look.
She looks to keep us busy -
Good deal of that is done -,
Then goes back in a pace
As though she's having fun.
She then reports to the young one,
To see what she will say;
Then it comes for my time
To drive them both away.
Down in town we will go,
To see the styles that come,
Stop an hour a place,
Come out, and yet buy none.
Patience and spunk a man requires
To be in a coachman's place;
But, if liberty he expects,
Must fight to win the race.
Physically, or mentally, if required, -
If there's no other way, -
Let them know that you are a man,
And that you're there to stay.
We get very mad and vexed sometimes,
And declare, by the way, we will go;
But toil on another day,
And not a word of it so.
The work, the work, I have to do,
Both out of doors and in;
Go to the barn, hook up old Kate,
To drive away 'gain.
I feel as though a slave sometimes,
But little joy I see;
Just toil on from sun to sun,
As busy as a bee.
And so it goes every day,
Going on our feet;
But when it comes to the table,
We have but little to eat.
Such as apples, oranges, and bananas,
Those we never see,
Only with her in passing
Behind the lock and key.
It seems as though I am getting fat;
It's not from what I eat, -
I wash a rig once a day,
Maybe from my wet feet.
My rubber soles are full of holes,
He knows about the leaks;
Yet I wash away once a day,
Clear on for several weeks.
The young one is the meaner,
To speak the truth outright,
In stinginess and closeness;
She's seldom out of sight.
I shall go in a little while,
The girls may do as they please;
I am going to study the science,
And then I shall be at ease.
After I became a full-fledged "M. D." I left
Indianapolis for Springfield, Ohio, April 5, 1892,
and started in the practice of medicine and
surgery for the first time on my own
responsibility, full of theory and vigor. On
August 3, 1893, I was married to Miss Hattie B.
Taylor, of Cynthiana, Ky., one of the best women
that ever lived. Nine times out of ten if I follow
her advice I will come out all right; and when I
do n't I always come out all wrong.
The same year of my marriage I was
commissioned by ex-President William
McKinley, Jr., who was then Ohio's honored
Governor, Assistant Surgeon of the Ninth
Battalion Infantry, Ohio National Guard. This
position carried with it the rank of Captain. That
year we camped at Newark, Ohio, and on our
return I made the following report:
SPRINGFIELD, OHIO, Sept. 8, 1893.
Major Scott Martin, Commanding Ninth Battalion Infantry, O. N. G.,
SIR: I have the honor
and pleasure to make
the following report of the sanitary condition and
surroundings of the Ninth Battalion Infantry,
O. N. G., during its encampment at Newark,
the State of Ohio, County of Licking, from
August 24th to 29th, inclusive. The camp was
situated in and behind a beautiful range of
mounds, which were prepared by the Mound
Builders, thus making a substantial fortification.
The health of the Battalion was very good, with
exception of a few cases of cholera morbus. The
provisions made for the medical department were
very good, and special commendation is due to
the Quartermaster for his efficient work. We lack
a hospital corps. Some of the best, purest, and
coolest water in the country is found on these
camp grounds. The camp grounds are somewhat
elevated, thus affording a very good opportunity
for drainage. The camp was illuminated by
electric lights, thus reminding one of being in a
city. In closing, I desire to say that I feel greatly
under obligations to Major Scott Martin,
Commander of the Battalion, for the kindness and
interest shown by him to the Battalion in general.
THOMAS WM. BURTON,
Ninth Battalion Infantry, O. N. G.
Being connected with the soldier boys during
the time Spain governed the Island of Cuba,
the last time with her iron and blood-stained
hand, and after she had declared war with the
United States, filled me greatly with the war
spirit. A little while after the landing of General
Antonio Maceo from Costa Rica, where he was
then living, and against the wishes of the
Spaniards, a fierce fight followed, in which
several Cubans were killed. For some time
afterwards the Cubans could not get any
surgeons, nothing but nurses, especially for
General Antonio Maceo. They advertised for
physicians and surgeons. I fancied that I would
appreciate being General Antonio Maceo's
surgeon, but another was the successful one.
About the middle of June, 1896, when the
Spanish-American War was at its hottest, about
fifty fearless young men came to me to be
examined for the purpose of mustering into a
company which I had already organized in part,
for it was our intention to make up a regiment,
and we succeeded by the last of the month and
sent the following letter to the Adjutant General
SPRINGFIELD, OHIO, July 1, 1896.
Adjutant General of Ohio Axline,
HONORABLE SIR: We the
citizens of Springfield,
County of Clarke, State of Ohio, do respectfully
petition to you, as a body of organized men, full of
enthusiasm and patriotism, that we may be admitted in
the service of the State of Ohio as the State Militia for
the term of five years, unless sooner discharged in
accordance with the Militia laws; that we may defend
her borders and repel or prevent invasion; to prevent
and suppress riots and insurrections; to maintain the
honor and integrity of our State; and that we will
diligently strive to attain the greatest practical
correctness and efficiency in drill and discipline, and that
we will perform our duties faithfully.
Respectfully yours, submitted,
THOMAS W. BURTON, M. D.,
FIRST NEGRO MEDICAL SOCIETY
IN the year 1897, seeing the need of a State
medical society composed of Negro physicians,
my friend and colleague, Dr. H. R. Hawkins, of
Xenia, Ohio, and I discussed the idea of such an
organization and issued a call to all Negro
physicians and surgeons in the State to meet in
Xenia, Ohio, August 27, 1897. After the
organization was perfected we named it the "Ohio
Mutual Medical Association." I was chosen as its
chairman for the ensuing year, and after I had
been fully installed into office I delivered the
following address in response to the address of
"THE LIGHT IS JUST AHEAD OF US."
In behalf of the
medical profession of Ohio
and these gentlemen here assembled on this
unique occasion, I will make an attempt to respond
to the address of welcome. This
assemblage is certainly unique because here are
gentlemen of the medical profession who belong
to the different schools, have left their respective
fields of labor from east, west, north, and south
throughout the State of Ohio, and have come
together in one combined force for the
betterment of their work, morally, socially, and
intellectually. While it is a fact that the
enactment of the State laws and the establishment
of the State Board of Health and the Board of
Medical Registration and Examination tends to
induce higher medical education generally, yet it
is necessary for the Negro doctor to organize,
meet often, and learn to control himself in this
Some may tell you that an organization of
colored men in Ohio is not the proper thing, that
the different medical societies in the counties
and the State Medical Society will admit colored
gentlemen of good standing in medicine, and that
we are drawing the line on ourselves; but I fail to
see it in that light, and will say to you that that is
one of the reasons why the Negro is so far behind
to-day, and because he is too dependent and not
Inasmuch as other medical societies of Ohio
will admit gentlemen of the profession in good
standing among them, so will we; and there will
be no line drawn unless an individual draws it on
himself, and that we can not help.
Negro physicians have organized State
Medical Associations in six States of the South,
as follows: the two Carolinas, Georgia,
Tennessee, Texas, and Florida. What have we
Northern brethren done along this line? It might
have been bigotry and prejudice that kept the
schools apart until now; but I venture to say, in
behalf of the gentlemen present, that there is
neither bigotry nor prejudice among them, and
that they have come together for one common
cause, and that is, to exchange their ideas in the
advancement in science.
The question arises, Will it ever be that
medicine will be one? So long as medicine
exists, physicians will differ; but while that is
true, it is not impossible for medicine to be one.
The more I practice medicine the more I believe
that the day is fast approaching; that is to say, it is
possible for medical men to be united, with the
privilege of according to every one liberty of
As far as science is concerned, there is little
opportunity to differ. The brighter the true
light of science shines, the further will bigotry
and prejudice roll into oblivion. The walls of
paper that stand between parties in medicine are
being perforated and torn to pieces; yea, the
debris will be blown away to the four winds of the
You will not give up your principles; you have
a right to hold fast to them. Some men have
suffered greatly for the faith that was in them.
Rev. John G. Fee has been mobbed and
tortured a score of times for the faith that is in
him, yet he has liberty of conscience. He was
driven from place to place, but there was an
indwelling conviction and a satisfaction of right
that could not be taken from him.
The day is coming when we can join on the
sciences, and when the differences of opinion on
materia medica and therapeutics will be
accounted for only as common differences
amongst men, and when prejudice and intolerance
will melt before the shining rays of science like
snowflakes before the scorching sun.
Our practical progress must hinge upon a
thorough knowledge of drugs, so as to raise the
sinking constitution from the mire of disease, to
give the slowing pendulum of life a little push,
to spur the natural recuperative forces on to
We should not confine ourselves to textbook
indication: we must use our own powers of
reasoning and observation to give us the proper
indications. The successful physician must be a
free thinker and an earnest investigator.
The facts explain the power of habit. The man
who cultivates the best side of his nature finds it
easy to do good, and hard to do evil; while he
who cultivates his worst qualities finds it easy to
do wrong, and hard to do right.
The surgeon of the coming half century will
apply his rays and take a photograph of the bones,
and by the aid of the coming electric apparatus
will examine the condition of the internal organs
and view the condition of the stomach and bowels
as readily as he now views the patient's tongue,
throat, larynx, and the eyes. The deformities,
position of fragments of bone in fractures, and
dislocations, and all foreign bodies will be
brought plainly to view.
Missiles in gunshot wounds will be revealed
to the eye, and the cruel, death-dealing probe will
be relegated to the instrument case, and called
forth only in minor cases or in the absence of the
The physician of to-day is not the physician
of seventy-five years ago; neither is he the
physician of seventy-five years hence. Some of
you, perhaps, call to memory some of the modes
of practice and customs of the first-named
period of seventy-five years ago and have some
knowledge of the previous seventy-five years.
A large per cent of the physicians had
comparatively little more training than could be
gathered from a few medical books written by the
physicians of foreign lands, or perhaps a few
months' reading in the office of some doctor who
had obtained his education in the same way, or
perhaps one term of lectures of sixteen weeks in
a medical school.
The higher medical education now required of
physicians is working wonderful results, and we
welcome any means that will help it along. It is a
felicity we enjoy in common to be citizens of a
country without a peer, under a political order
whose unrivaled excellence excites the
admiration and envy of the world. But no man
should be placed in position to prescribe for the
venerated patient whose education, experience,
and training have not in some degree qualified
him to comprehend the nature of the maladies he
is to treat, to distinguish the chronic
diseases of the body politic from its passing
inflammation, the growing pains of a vigorous
and lusty life from the violent distempers of an
infected and decaying body. He should have that
all-roundness of observation which comes from
a knowledge of affairs and a touch of elbows with
the people. He should not be content with
holding right opinions, but should exert himself
to make them prevalent.
Your success in the practice of medicine
must depend upon practical intellect,
inexhaustible energy, and invincible
determination. Your labor must continue to be
prodigious, your wisdom and tact equal to your
Successful men do not owe their elevation to
accidents or tricks, but rather to their patience
and persistent energy. The field of medicine
grows prodigiously every year, so that to-day the
strongest minds are unable to grasp the
innumerable scientific questions in medicine.
Now, gentlemen, let us do all we can to
promote the method of curing disease and to
instruct those less consistent in practice than
ourselves. We should be thoroughly honest in
our convictions, making no effort to appear what
we are not. Never be influenced by any but the
most upright and conscientious motives.
Let us do the best we can on all occasions,
conscientiously discharge our duties, and be ever
in search of new facts that may benefit our
patients. Much of our success will depend on our
personal qualities; and intelligent brain, kind
nature, sympathetic heart, and skilled hand must
be united. A man who can enter a sickroom and
diffuse about him a sense of repose and
confidence is certain of increasing his practice
After existing about two years the
Association became defunct, for the lack of
interest taken by its members. Negro physicians
and surgeons at that time in the State of Ohio
were scarce, and the most of them belonged to
white associations and thought it useless to
belong to two societies of the same kind; hence
it was hard to get them to see the need of their
In the meantime I connected myself with the
National Medical Association and was made Vice-
President of Ohio from that grand body which
met in Lexington, Ky., in 1904. It was the duty of
the Vice-President from each State to organize
his or her State in which they lived, and center
them into the National.
The National Medical Association is
composed of all physicians, dentists, and
pharmacists who are graduates of reputable
schools, who have met the requirements of their
State Boards, and are in good standing in their
The winter of 1905 I issued another call to all
Negro physicians, dentists, and pharmacists in
Ohio (finding sixty-five) to assemble in Springfield
the second Tuesday in May for the purpose of
organizing a medical society composed of the
above-named branches. Six doctors, together with
one dentist, came. We organized. I was elected
its President, and we held sessions for two days,
which were very interesting, I assure. During our
session I made the following address:
"SCIENCE DIFFERS BUT LITTLE."
DOCTORS, LADIES, AND
congratulate you on coming here. Your leaving
your fields of labor and gathering here upon this
occasion at this hour means a step forward in the
advancement of medical science in this our
If we form only a nucleus in the way of a
State Association, and keep it nurtured for one
year, we shall have a foundation on which to build
one of the best organizations of its kind.
You need not fear nor be dismayed, for you
have among you the material with which to work.
In ability you are second to none. In experience
you have shown yourselves equal to every
emergency, and in integrity you have proved
yourselves a credit to the community in which
To be a successful practitioner one must
attend State and National Associations, as well as
peruse his journals. If any one fails to do this, it
will be but a question of time till he is relegated
to the rear, to a place where he is best fitted.
People of to-day do not dwell upon the
school so much as they do upon the individual. I
do not agree with Dr. Vale Osler, who is a
Canadian by birth and an American only by
adoption, when he says that "nothing in the world
is accomplished by a man more than forty years
old," and that "men of sixty should be retired or
chloroformed," and that "American medical
colleges are teaching hybrid systems of medicine
and producing ignorant practitioners," and that
"Europe is far ahead of the United States in
medical universities." Evidently greater strides in
medicine and surgery have been made in America
in the last forty years than in Europe, and by this
we mean American medicine in general.
In my opinion a man is at his best at forty; but
we, as Negro physicians, dentists, and druggists,
will have to outlive a mountain of obstacles and
impediments. A third of the patients we chance to
get employ us on probation or for convenience,
and we are net kept very long before we are
discharged and one of the opposite race takes our
place and holds the patients, though the time may
be long or short. Therefore he gets both money
and credit. It has been my experience, whenever
these changes take place I am not aware of it until
the thing has been done. How shall our patients
be taught to place confidence in us as
practitioners? How shall they be taught to realize
that you are a master of your situation? I find that
human nature is the same all along the line of
time. As far back as 29 A. D., when Christ was
performing so many miracles before the eyes of
the people, and even while He was passing along
in one of His walks, perhaps on His way to Mount
Olivet, where He frequently went for a time of
He saw a blind man sitting by the roadside and
had compassion on him, touched his eyes, and
thus restored his sight. And yet, on account of
this antipathy they had for Him, they had no
confidence in Christ; but He left this great lesson
for us, "I must work the works of Him that sent
Me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no
man can work." So, whatever may be said and
done about us, we should strive to do our duty
along the line of our profession.
It is not at all times we treat a patient the way
the patient or his friends think we ought to treat
them; but if the doctor knows that he is right in
his diagnosis and treatment, he should stick to his
tactics or quit the case. It will be better to stop in
time than to be sued for malpractice.
There was a time before we could stand
alone, when it was necessary to have some
outsider see to it that we did our work well.
The physician of to-day is not the physician
of forty years ago, neither is he the physician of
forty years hence. As far as science is concerned,
there is little opportunity to differ. The brighter
the true light of science shines, the farther will
bigotry and prejudice roll into oblivion. The walls
of paper that stand between parties
in medicine are being perforated and torn to
pieces; yea, the debris will be blown away to the
four winds of the earth.
The day is coming when we can join on the
sciences, and when the differences of opinion on
materia medica and therapeutics will be
accounted only as common differences amongst
men, and when prejudice and intolerance will
melt before the shining rays of science like
snowflakes before the scorching sun. Our
practical progress must hinge upon a thorough
knowledge of drugs, so as to raise the sinking
constitution from the mire of disease to give the
slowing pendulum of life a little push, to spur the
natural recuperative forces on to victory.
At the second meeting, in May, 1906, which
was held in Columbus, we were very much
encouraged on account of the increased
membership and the interest shown in our
Association. At the close of the second day's
session I was again elected the President for the
May, 1907, we met in Cincinnati. At this
meeting some of the best representatives in the
professions of medicine, dentistry, and pharmacy
were present, became members, and took
active part in discussing the problems of their
peculiar work, which were of great interest to all
present. At the close of the last day's session the
physicians of Cincinnati banqueted us at the
Douglass Hotel. We sat down at the table at ten P.M.,
and got up at three next morning. We had a
delightful time, I assure you. At the session Dr.
Frank W. Johnson, of Cincinnati, was elected
President for the ensuing year.
The fourth session was held in Dayton, Ohio,
May, 1908, which was the best one of them all.
There they elected Dr. William J. Woodlin, of
Columbus, to the chair of President.
The Association will hold its next session in
Xenia and Wilberforce the second week in June,
I am thankful to see that my work has not been
spent in vain along this line, and I feel sure that
the interest and confidence will become more
established at each session.
MEMBER OF FACULTY, CURRY
IT was during the year 1896 that I was elected
as a member of the Faculty of the Curry Institute,
which was then located in Mechanicsburg, Ohio,
but is now in Urbana, Ohio. I have been
connected with the institute in some way ever
Professor E. W. B. Curry, its founder,
deserves great credit for his energetic manner
and courage. I took great delight in helping
Professor Curry because he was a young man and
had the courage to manipulate such an
undertaking, and has fostered his plans to the
credit of himself and all those who have seen fit
to aid him; and to-day he is doing a great work in
Urbana along educational lines.
When I was first connected with that
institution I was elected to the chair of
A great many people, of course, criticised the school
because its President was so young and because there
were so few students, and many other things were said
then that would not be said now. One person criticised
the professor and his school to me to such an extent
that these verses came to me:
not to strive because you are poor,
Cease not to do the right;
Press bravely to the upward mark
With vigor, main, and might.
you will be on every hand
On account of your wit and zeal;
The influence of your mighty power
Forever make them feel.
work, the work, we ought to do
In this our native land,
Where intelligence seems most bright
Of all the place for man.
one of as must play our part,
In spite of what they say;
Play it in the way we think it best,
Play it in our own way.
The young ambitions Negro boy
Is held as though by a rope;
He struggles hard to reach the goal
Built upon nothing but hope.
work you do may seem very small
To those who are not of a part;
But you are molding character,
Considering from whence you start.
Before entering upon
my work there I gave
the students a talk in a general way, of which the
following is a part:
"YOUNG MEN, BE STRONG."
Our life is a warfare; our days are but few; our
pathway is so obstructed by prejudice and
ocstracism that it will take none but the strong to
safely reach the goal. It is true that young men
must have encouragement in order to aid them in
the great life-struggle.
They must be taught by kind influence and
deeds, and not governed so much by the rod of
iron. They must be coaxed, and not driven.
Young men are like children, in that they are
great imitators. If the majority of old men
who are refined and cultured would set better
examples and lead better lives themselves, I am
sure the majority of young men would imitate
them. How encouraging are those words from the
First Epistle of John, "I have written unto you,
young men, because ye are strong!" They were
strong because they had kept the faith and
overcome the wicked ones.
If those who are so wrapped up in faith and
righteousness are to have such encouraging
words, how much more ought those who are so
unfortunate as to be deprived of those golden
Now, young men, be strong! even if the world
hate you, for God is no respecter of persons.
Paul, in his letter to First Timothy, says, "For the
love of money is the root of all evil." That does
not mean because you are young you are to throw
away your money or spend it foolishly, but to be
very greedy in self-gain, that "he troubleth his
own house." Prov. 15:27.
You will find, too, that it takes money to help
make you strong in the great warfare of life as
well as in good behavior and education.
How well one is recognized when he has money!
and how much despised when he has none! "A
good man leaveth an inheritance to his children."
Prov. 13:22. "But he that loveth pleasure shall be
a poor man; he that loveth wine and oil shall not
be rich." Prov. 21:17.
As you grow older and venture into business
for yourselves, you will find to your surprise that
your troubles have just begun. Those whom you
took to be your friends will also treat you coolly
and say discouraging things concerning your
enterprise, and your qualifications and fitness for
running such a business.
As a matter of course they will stand you off
for some of your goods and go elsewhere and pay
cash, at the same time expecting just as much
from you as from the man who received the cash.
I think we ought to study the young men more.
No one can be a successful teacher until he first
learns his pupils, for no two have the same
disposition. After we have learned them as we
should, then put each one upon his merit and
worth, and push him from one good thing to
During the year 1897 I had the pleasure of
writing a few articles for the Eclectic Medical
Journal, printed monthly at Cincinnati, Ohio. I
received a very complimentary letter from the
editor concerning one of them, which was written
about an "Anencephalous Monster," as follows:
CINCINNATI, OHIO, April 26,1897.
T. W. Burton, M. D.
DEAR DOCTOR: The
Academy of Medicine,
Paris, France, has noticed your article in our
Journal, which is a very high honor, indeed, to
you, and also to our Journal. They beg of us that
we send them three photographs of the specimen,
from which they can make suitable cuts or
possibly plaster casts for their museum.
I think it would be greatly to your interest if
you would mail me the three photos which were
especially made for the Helleburgh Company,
who make the cuts for us.
In regard to the third little electro, we were
under the impression that you would have no use
for it, and we kept it, as it would probably do for
publication for some book in the future.
Please let us hear from you.
J. E. SCUDDER, M. D.
Since I have been in the practice of medicine
and surgery I have had the pleasure of performing
both minor and major operations. While I like to
operate, I am not an alarmist. I find it is good
surgery to save all you can. A piece of a finger is
better than an artificial one. The surgeon should
give the fullest amount of encouragement to his
nervous and timid patients. The surgeon must be
master of his situation, not excitable, and go
about his several duties in a quiet and dignified
Sometimes developments of unexpected
complications arise during the time of the
operation. If these occur, the surgeon should not
lose his head.
The practice of medicine is a peculiar thing.
A patient will get well quicker if he has the
physician he desires to treat him. I believe every
one ought to have whom he wants to treat him;
but very often the friends of the patient or an
enemy of the attending physician will, during the
absence of the doctor in charge, call in another
physician, and the change perhaps will do that
patient harm. And the person who will
do that should not be trusted any more than a
thief in the night. Such a change often gives the
attending physician a bad name. The duration of
certain diseases is regulated by fixed laws. They
will not end until after the lapse of a certain
number of days, and hardly ever exceed this
Some people will get well simply by
suggestion; that is, by telling them to do certain
things; and the patient believing what you say is
true, will get well. It seems strange, but it is
nevertheless a fact, the American people like to
If you tell some people the truth, and tell
them for their own good, they will not believe
you, simply because you do n't look to suit their
I have often thought, and think now, that the
devil will get more people on account of
prejudice and ostracism which they carry with
them daily than any or all the sins they commit.
Irreverence can show itself in many ways.
Pride and self-interest must give way to great
principles. Inasmuch as each one has his or her
work in the world, they should be encouraged to
do it. It is not always easy to do right, I admit; but
to whom much is entrusted, from him much is
expected. But man lights up the night, that he may
lengthen day in his effort to secure that which he
does not need, and murders to gain it. He slays
regardless of his demands, and consumes
regardless of his needs. All for money and self.
SENT AS A DELEGATE TO NATIONAL NEGRO BUSINESS LEAGUE
THE local Business League in Springfield felt
it their duty to send a delegate to the National
Negro Business League, which met in the city of
Chicago, Ill., in 1901, and the honor fell upon me
to represent them and to bring back a true report
of the proceedings of that session, which I did as
SECOND ANNUAL REPORT OF THE NATIONAL
BUSINESS LEAGUE IN HANDEL HALL,
46-48 RANDOLPH STREET.
ILL., August 21-23, 1901.
At ten o'clock, A. M.,
August 21st, the
meeting was called to order by A. W. F. Taylor,
President of a local League in Chicago.
Invocation by Rev. Dr. J. W. E. Bowen, of
Alabama. After which an address of welcome on
behalf of the State by a member of the
Governor's staff was delivered; this address was short,
The Governor, Richard Yates, was not in the State.
An address of welcome on behalf of the city
of Chicago was to have been delivered by the
Mayor of this city, Hon. Carter H. Harrison, and
he, too, was out of the city, and a member of his
staff kindly consented to address us. His talk was
interesting in regard to the progress the Negro is
making. He said that it took the Anglo-Saxon race
four hundred years to accomplish what the Negro
has in the short period of time he has been free.
He said that he was a Democrat, but not one of
those Benjamin Tillman kind. He scored Mr.
Tillman for his recent action, and remarks on
Booker T. Washington was next introduced,
but could not be heard for a long time on account
of the prolonged applause. After a time he said:
"Ladies and Gentlemen, - This is not a meeting of
oratory and speech-making, but a meeting of
workers. Our watchword and motto should be,
'Forward, March!'" He pointed to the place of the
first meeting, in Boston, last year, with pride,
because it was the place where the Negro first
shed his blood for freedom. Then he spoke in the
highest terms of Illinois, the place of the second
meeting, the home of the
great emancipator. "Again, all through the last
year's session order was so harmonious that not a
man raised to the point of order. It is what we do
that makes us men and women, and what we do n't
do. There is no place like the South, with all its
ups and downs, which affords the Negro such
excellent opportunities. The Negro should begin
at the bottom and go up."
It was said by one during the session that
Washington had the same control over those men
and women that brain had over matter. He could
handle them so very easily.
Giles B. Jackson, Esq., of Richmond, Va.,
gave an account of the Business League in
Virginia with the remarks, "We may be held back,
but not kept back." He said that the organization
had such an influence in Virginia that it caused
business men to respect them perhaps where they
would not otherwise.
Rev. W. L. Taylor, Richmond, Va., had a very
interesting paper on "Business Features of the
Order of True Reformers," an organization that
takes in children from three to fourteen years
old. This organization was started in 1885 and has
since banked seven million dollars. During
Cleveland's last administration the white banks
failed to cash an order for fifty dollars.
The School Board was in need of seventeen
thousand dollars. They telephoned to the Negro
bank to see if they could get the required amount.
The answer was that "you can get one hundred
thousand dollars." They telephoned again,
thinking that maybe the black boys were
mistaken. They got the same answer, so they
came to the Negro bank and found it so busy that
they had to wait some time before they could
wait on them. The Board presented their check,
and was waited upon so quickly they were so
struck that they could not leave for some time,
watching the black boys do business.
This bank or company has a number of
buildings and newspaper plants, a mercantile
department which brings in nineteen thousand
dollars per year, and an old folks' department
worth fourteen thousand dollars (a farm). In each
department of this bank their books must show
that he or she is all right, and not his or her
appearance. They have a chief over all, and a man
who is called "accountant." These two men must
agree, or else something is wrong. This bank does
nineteen thousand dollars' worth of business per
week. The Board of Directors of the bank is not
satisfied with this; they make the cashier get all
the money to correspond with
all of these books and lay it on the table every
Saturday and show to those present.
Mr. Taylor says that we are too ready to
criticise one another in business. He then called
his private secretary to stand up, who is just a boy
of nineteen years and as black as the derby hat he
wore. Mr. Taylor says, "Do you think that there is
any white blood in that boy?"
Mr. J. A. Wilson, of Kansas City, Mo., spoke
of what the Twin City Business Association is
accomplishing; he spoke of the progress and
various kinds of businesses the Negro is doing in
Theodore W. Jones, of Chicago, Ill., had a
paper entitled "Can the Negro Succeed as a
Business Man?" In every vocation of life the
Negro needs more grit and backbone, although he
has come from the slave cabin to the professor's
chair. The Negro must quit stumbling over
impediments of his own and go forward.
EVENING SESSION, 8 P. M.
The Negro Woman's Business Club of
Chicago, and its achievements, was spoken of by
Mrs. Alberta M. Smith, of Chicago, Ill. The club
was organized in 1892 for social, political, and
industrial purposes. Membership at present
numbering 14,015, worth, $3,000.
They have an Old Folks' Home connected
with it. The typewriting alone cost one hundred
dollars per month. She insisted on us all to be
natural and not put on so as to pretend we are
more than we really are.
Mr. Corbin, of Arkansas, spoke of
wealth of the Negro there and in the South. He
said that one Mr. Wiley Jones was the richest
man there, his wealth being estimated at one
hundred million dollars. About the time Mr.
Corbin finished reading his paper Mr.
Washington received a telegram from President
McKinley, congratulating him and the League. It
was stated by Mr. Washington that those who
wish to become lifelong members of the League
could do so by paying twenty-five dollars. There
were several who did so. Also several of the
white people joined as lifelong members.
Judge Gibbs, of Little Rock, Ark., who is an
ex-judge of Madagascar, spoke of his start in life
and travels, to the present. He spoke of going on
the postmaster's bond in Little Rock, who is a
white man, for forty thousand dollars. He said,
"When you are going into business and fail, again
try; if you fail again, try, try; if you fail again, try,
Mr. Charles Banks, of Clarksdale, Miss.,
gave us a talk on the merchandising. He dwelt to
a great extent as to how goods should be
bought and sold, and our places of business
properly kept. He has increased in wealth enough
from his trade as a merchant for his taxes to
amount to three hundred dollars per year.
William Oscar Murphy, of Atlanta, Ga., had a
paper on "The Grocery Business." He said that he
was born a grocer because his father was keeping
a grocery when he was born, and to-day he has
property worth thirty-five thousand dollars, all
A. N. Johnson, of Mobile, Ala., who is a
druggist, editor of a weekly newspaper, and an
undertaker, gave us an interesting talk on Negro
business enterprises of Mobile. Out of thirty-six
clerks in the postoffice in Mobile, twenty-eight
of them are Negroes. One Negro named Mr.
Peters, by the way, who was present at the
meeting, owns forty-eight houses and lots in
Mobile, Ala. The rating of business done by
Negroes in Mobile in the various businesses
ranges from eight dollars to seventy-five dollars
per day. One Negro in the furniture business has
an income of one hundred dollars per day.
THURSDAY MORNING, 10 O'CLOCK.
Prayer by Rev. Dr. Morse, of Arkansas. The
doctor is also a business man, and has been for
twenty-five years. He is in the drygoods business.
In a town of three thousand inhabitants the
Negroes are in forty-three different kinds of
business, and ask for a reasonable portion of
business, not all. Reverses, he said, come to all
races. So when they fail, they should try again.
Dr. Willis S. Sterris gave us a talk on the drug
business. The doctor is located in Decatur, Ala.
He said that there is in the State of Alabama an
association composed of doctors of medicine,
doctors of dental surgery, and doctors of
pharmacy, of which he is President. The
members of this association all own their homes
Mr. Russell, of St. Louis, Mo., gave us an
interesting talk on the undertaking business. He
started in business in 1894 in the rear of an old
stable, with one horse and a spring wagon. Not
one of the other undertakers nor stables would
hire to him at twenty-five dollars per day, and to-
day his income annually, from funerals alone,
amounts to over twenty-five thousand dollars.
Since he became an undertaker he has educated
two of his sisters; one of them clerks for him in
the undertaking establishment, and the other
clerks in a grocery, also owned by him.
Mr. G. E. Jones, of Little Rock, Ark., who
owns and conducts an undertaking establishment,
a livery stable, tailor shop, and a drugstore, and
also a business block known as the Jones Block,
all of which are paid for, said it really seemed for
a while that no race had any money and carried on
any business but the Negro.
The colored business women of the East were
well represented by Mrs. Dora A. Miller,
Brooklyn, N. Y. Mrs. Miller stated that they have
a club, the membership of which numbers
seventy-five women. Every member of this club
was in business for herself; such as regalia-
making, grocery-keeping, bakeries,
hand-painting, dye houses, ladies' exchange,
chiropodist, and so on. The ladies' exchange, she
said, found many a home for girls who could not
find work themselves.
A Mrs. Lewis, of Springfield, Ill., told of her
start in the hair-dressing business twenty-six
years ago on fifty dollars, and has saved thirty-six
thousand dollars and taught others the trade.
Mr. Gilbert C. Harris, of Boston, Mass., also
a wigmaker and hair-dresser, carried a capital
stock of ten thousand dollars in the hair business,
all of which is his.
Walter P. Hall, of Philadelphia, Pa., had a
paper on the "Game and Poultry Business." This
business brought him a yearly income of fifty to
seventy-five thousand dollars.
Mrs. Emma L. Pitts, of Macon, Ga., told us
the way she started in the millinery and
dressmaking business. She said that her husband
died, leaving her without money, and her health
would not allow her to take in washing; so, in
order to help several girls who were idle, she
started in the business on nothing, and to-day she
employs one hundred girls. She spoke of wanting
to raise money enough to put into her place of
business more machinery. So very excellent was
her paper, as soon as she had taken her seat, one
Mr. Martin Ferguson, of Jacksonville, Fla., arose
with a fiery speech and, holding up a five-dollar
bill, said that there ought to be thirty men in the
house who would give five dollars to a woman
who had the courage to come all the way from
Georgia to tell us what she was doing there. Mr.
Booker T. Washington and two other men gave
five dollars for said purpose.
There was no night session Thursday evening,
but instead there was a banquet tendered the
officers and delegates at First Regiment Armory,
at Sixteenth and Michigan Boulevard. Mr.
Washington was the center of attraction. Twenty-
five thousand people were present. After the
speaking the platform was removed and one
thousand took part in dancing at one time. It was
one of the prettiest sights I witnessed while in
Chicago. It impressed Mr. Washington so much
that he spoke of it at the next day's session.
We were also highly entertained by another
club, known as the Appomattox, at its parlors,
No. 3144 Wabash Avenue.
FRIDAY MORNING, 10 O'CLOCK.
Fred D. Patterson, Greenfield, Ohio, gave an
interesting talk on the carriage manufacturing. He
said that a college education had nothing to do
with making a successful business man. Often he
thought his father was wrong, but every time it
was he who was wrong, and his father was right.
He finds, in carriage making, it takes a man of
common sense, push, and hustle.
Mr. Martin Ferguson, of Jacksonville, Fla.,
told of his experience as an ice dealer and in the
livery stable business. He started on nothing, but
now owns both of these places of business.
A. M. Boyd, of Nashville, Tenn., told how he
started about fifteen years ago with two pencils
and paper, and to-day he has one of the largest
printing establishments in the South. He employs
125 men and women.
The election of officers then followed.
Mr. Fairweather, of Newport, R. I., a
blacksmith; forty years' experience. Out of sixty-
five horses shod by him, about fifteen belong to
Negroes. He said that the Negro North has not
been educated up to patronize one another as yet.
He said that most any blacksmith can put a shoe
on a horse; but when it comes to the scientific
part of shoeing, very few can do that. When it
comes to fast trotting horses, to keep them from
forging and interfering, it is more than a notion to
Mr. J. C. Napier, of Nashville, Tenn., gave an
interesting talk on real estate. He said that
prejudice in the South proved an advantage to the
Negro rather than a hindrance.
C. H. Smiley, of Chicago, Ill., gave us an
interesting talk on catering. He said that he
started waiting table in 1890, with fifty cents.
He waited on a lady who soon took a trip East,
and when she came back she made the assertion
that there was only one man in Chicago who
could serve a party, and that was a black man by
the name of C. H. Smiley. From that his fame
started. He spoke of his linen, among other
things. He has napkins from two dollars per
dozen to fifteen dollars a piece; tablecloths from
five dollars a piece to eight hundred dollars a
piece. His wealth is now estimated at two
hundred thousand dollars. I had the pleasure of
visiting his place of business.
Mr. John S. Tramer, of Philadelphia, Pa., said
that he would rather his son be in business for
himself than to hold a government position.
Friday afternoon Mr. Armour chartered a
train pulling coaches and took all of us delegates,
even women and children, free of charge, to his
slaughterhouses and stockyards. It was the most
interesting sight of anything I saw while in
Chicago. They kill ten thousand hogs a day in that
one plant alone; 2,044 head of cattle a day. The
stockyards of Chicago are as large as Springfield.
At last we came to the evening session.
One Mr. Clifford, of West Virginia, told the
League that where he lived land can be bought
for fifty to seventy-five cents per acre, and that
there is enough timber on top, and coal in the
ground, to last seventy-five years. He urged the
League to buy it.
Mr. T. Thomas Fortune, editor of the New
York Age, of New York, gave us an interesting
talk on "The Logic of Business Development."
Isaiah T. Montgomery, of Mound Bayou,
Miss., gave an account of a Negro city there,
owned and controlled by Negroes.
Rev. S. L. Davis, of Hobson City, Ala., who is
also the Mayor of that city, told us about the
founding of the Negro city.
The Rev. J. W. E. Bowen, of Alabama, closed
with a stirring and forcible address. The session
closed to meet in Richmond, Va., next year.
Yours, respectfully submitted,
THOMAS Sir. BURTON, M. D.
AS A CHRISTIAN WORKER
CERTAINLY we are to profit by reading the
acts of others, whether they are right or wrong,
good or bad. History may be defined as a divine
institution which was intended by our Maker to
assist in the progress of developing man.
Very often by reading the acts of others has
come a warning to me; their footprints seen in
the history which indicate their fate tell me that
a like fate may befall me should the precedents
be disregarded; and as near as I can I try to
follow that infallible rule, that is: Do unto
others as I would have them do unto me.
One of the greatest pleasures of my life is
Sunday-school work. Although a busy medical
practitioner, unless there is something very
urgent, I must spend the Sunday-school hour with
the children and young folks. It is the duty
of every Christian to study the Book of books,
which is the Holy Bible. By familiarizing
ourselves with this book, by studying it daily -
which one will have to do in order to become
familiar with it - then we will depend more upon
God when there comes a succession of falls,
fountain of tears, upward struggles and debased
and bleeding heart, and not tell our troubles to
man. Man may mean all right, but he has another
friend, to whom he will divulge your secrets, and
yet at the same time he is supposed to be in
sympathy with you. When you find yourself
deceived you will think of the words of the
Psalmist David when he complaineth of his
enemies' treachery: "Yea, mine own familiar
friend, in whom I trusted, which did eat of my
bread, hath lifted up his heel against me. But then,
O Lord, be merciful unto me and raise me up, that
I may requite them." (Psalm 41:9, 10.)
I find, if we live as God would like to have us
live, when the storms of vexations,
disappointments, and besetments overtake us, if
we turn to this blessed Book we will find
consolation, as did the children of Israel when
by Moses, while being pursued by the Egyptians,
if they stand still they will see the salvation of
the Lord manifested. (Ex. 14:13.) And while we
thus divest ourselves of all intellectual pride and
enter into the realm of wisdom we can truly say,
with assurance, "Her ways are ways of
pleasantness, and all her paths are peace."
(Prov. 3:17. )
It takes men and women of moral courage to
accomplish these things. All honor to our great
and good women, who are doing so very much for
our young people as well as our older ones. We
have so many good women who are well
informed and could do a great deal for the
uplifting of our young people, but they are too
timid to launch out. We must first have
confidence in ourselves, then by our works and
deeds others will be helped.
I admire a woman who delights in working
with the hand as well as the head; who, when she
works, has something to show for her labor; and
wherever she may chance to be, can adapt herself
to the surroundings, and there remain without
assumption. These qualities we can find in
the person of Mrs. Henry Linden, of Springfield,
Ohio, who is the author of "Scraps of Time, Etc.,"
and who deserves great commendation for what
she has accomplished by her own efforts and
It was during the time I was acting
superintendent of North Street African Methodist
Episcopal Sunday-school, when there was a
Sinking Fund Society organized in the
Sunday-school for the purpose of helping children
who could not come to the Sunday-school for the
lack of proper clothing and encouragement. After
our usual collection for the Sunday-school there
was a basket passed, marked "Sinking Fund," and
in it was placed one cent from each one present
(if they had it), and this money was turned over to
the treasurer of that society, whose officers
consisted of a president, secretary, and treasurer.
There was a standing lookout committee,
whose duty it was to look after those children
who were so unfortunate as not to have suitable
clothes for church and Sunday-school. And to my
surprise we found dozens of children who
did not and do not go to any Sunday-school nor
church. Some of these children live in alleys, and
streets, too, a distance of one square from the
church. I find it so in every city. In the first place,
the parents of these children will have to become
interested in sending the child or children to the
Sunday-school, and have them to understand that,
in case the child or children fail to attend Sunday-
school after they have been clothed by the
Sinking Fund Committee, the said clothes are
We find a great many children, though
comparatively naked, yet they refused to be
clothed by that committee on account of their
peculiar pride or feeling of independence. I have
seen some of those children who came to
Sunday-school by the aid of this committee
contribute one cent to the Sinking Fund within
one month after they were in attendance in the
Sunday-school themselves. These children should
be impressed that they are the future Church and
that all the cares and responsibilities of the
Church will some day fall upon them.
I assure you that this organization was a great
success and is to-day.
I find the reason why so many Sunday-schools
stay on the drag is, because they lack the proper
interest on the part of the superintendents and
teachers in the Sunday-school work. The
superintendent should be one among the first at
Sunday-school, and always on time; and when the
time comes to open he should do so if there are
only three present besides himself or herself, as
the case may be.
There should be a great deal of singing in the
Sunday-school; such songs as children can sing,
and fancy. If you want to suit the child along this
line, sing something quick and lively. Poor
singing in Sunday-school sounds very
discouraging to me. Good singing will keep the
Sunday-school together a great deal better than a
set of poor teachers. I mean by that, teachers who
will not study the Sunday-school lesson, only on
Saturday night or Sunday morning just before
going to Sunday-school.
The teachers who look over their lessons in
that manner can not interest a class an hour
concerning that lesson. But the teacher who reads
the connection between the lessons, and reads
the lessons as well once a day the week through, can
interest any class an hour or two hours; this is
what experience has taught me. Teachers should
attend weekly teachers' meetings and familiarize
themselves with "Moninger," or some training for
service course. Each class should be numbered
and designated by a beautiful card suspended over
each class by a nice and neat little chain, and
these fastened to a rod, movable, so that they can
all be gathered up after Sunday-school.
There should be two banners in the
Sunday-school room: one for the primary and
intermediate classes, and the other for the Bible
or advanced classes.
No one should be elected as superintendent
of a Sunday-school who is not competent to
demonstrate or will not demonstrate the
Sunday-school lesson or lessons.
The superintendent should see to it that
strangers are cared for, make them feel
welcome, and place them in suitable classes.
I find that the Sinking Fund Society connected
with the Sunday-school does a great deal of good
to those schools where there is a general
impression among the children who do not attend
any Sunday-school, and to a great many of
those who do, that if I put on the very best I have
or am able to get and go down to or up to, as the
case may be, to that Sunday-school, they always
make fun of me. I do n't believe that I will go
I have seen some Sunday-schools where the
child really had a right to think so. I have known
parents to fix up their child or children to send
them off to one of the Sunday-schools on time,
and the child or children would only go as far as
the church door, and pass on and play until about
the time Sunday-school is out, then go home and
tell their parents that they had been to Sunday-
Well, they had been to the door.
I find that some Sunday-schools and churches
are like individuals in this, that they reach the
place where they become selfish. We should ever
keep before us the exhortation of the Apostle
Paul to the Ephesians, "Be ye kind one to another,
tender-hearted, forgiving one to another, even as
God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you." (Eph. 4:32.)
PEOPLE SHOULD THINK FOR THEMSELVES
IT really amuses me sometimes to see how
little some people think for themselves,
especially when they have been advised by one
who has always proved to be a friend to them.
Still they put their business in the hands of those
who deprive them of their substance. At the same
time they try to impress one that they are very
wise and honest with it.
The old folks as well as the young ones will
do likewise. While talking with one of these
peculiar people on one occasion, the following
verses came to me:
I AM NOT MAD.
am not mad, but very sad,
To think how they retreat;
The stylish young as well as old
Are always on the beat.
They beat the rich, they beat the poor,
They beat their supposed friend;
They clamor after nonsense things,
And get beat themselves in the end.
debts and deeds they will not pay
Unless by force they're made;
Hard times, they say, and wages low;
Are always asking aid.
not the amount which makes us rich,
But it is what we save, instead;
Economy is a noble thing,
Look not upon it with a dread.
There is another class
of people who are
easily influenced and led by those whose very
intentions are to tear down. Yet, while those who
are being led are innocent in a sense, they forget
to use their own common sense in regard to what
the future may bring to them. For it is certain that
they will be scattered one from the other by their
own doings if let alone.
God deals with individuals just as He deals
with nations, and He deals with nations just as He
deals with individuals.
There was a time, before the flood, when God
saw that the wickedness of man was great in the
earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts
of his heart was only evil; this provoked God's
wrath and caused the flood. (Gen. 6:5.)
After the flood, and that the earth had been
replenished, the people had become prolific as
the sand of the sea, generation after generation
had come upon the scene of action, the whole
earth was of one language and of one speech.
They became so prosperous in the land of Shinar,
luxury and earthly pleasure at their command,
they fancied within themselves that they would go
to heaven in their own way; but God said to the
Trinity, "Go to, let us go down, and there
confound their language, that they may not
understand one another's speech." (Gen. 11:7.)
After this was done the people were scattered
abroad from thence upon the face of all the earth,
speaking different tongues, pursuing different
vocations for a livelihood, and they began to
mold customs peculiar to each language.
Thus God showed them that the building of
Babel must cease.
So many people to-day are clamoring after
new-fangled teachings, running pellmell to Sunday
baseball, Sunday park amusements, Sunday
excursions, and many other unnecessary things,
- all for the love of money.
"For the love of money is the root of all
evil; which, while some coveted after, they have
erred from the faith, and pierced themselves
through with many sorrows." (1 Tim. 6:3-10.)
If individuals cultivate this love for money
to the extent that they forget the Sabbath, and
do not hold it as a day devoted to pious meditation,
a day intended as a principal testimony of
faith in the Creator of the universe, they too
forget the brotherhood of man and the Fatherhood
of God. If they persist in going this way
they shall be punished according to the fruit of
their doings. (Jer. 21:14.)
If one has a great deal of business relations
with different kinds of people, that person is
no longer disappointed in them and can always
read them aright. Of course, we have no power
of penetrating into their very souls and seeing the
underlying motives which are at work there, but
we can see and read enough so as to be warned of
them while dealing with them or while being in
I find it good policy to always speak well of a
person unless you are talking to that person; if
so, then you can tell him or her just what you
please. When Christ was here upon earth in the
form of man, mingling and dealing with men, He
always spoke of the highest, the best, and the
truest in men. We should always hold up and keep
before us the honor of our great men and women;
we must make our own worthy history.
A few months after the death of Paul
Laurence Dunbar there was a day set apart in
Springfield, Ohio, for his memorial, and of
which I wrote the following verses:
ALL HONOR TO THE DAY.
honor to the day we celebrate,
Bedecked as it is in flowers
In memory of him who won his fame
Through sunshine, clouds, and showers.
In a perpetual tone this day should be kept,
Each year as the days go by,
Fresh in the minds of the American youth,
And its purpose should never die.
them it's the day that we have set apart
To show our esteeming love
For the one who shoved his poetic pen
With a gift from Him who is above.
them that a mighty man has fallen,
Though young when he left the stage;
That he was a genius among his fellows,
He was a monument of his age.
was one who stood erect and stalwart,
Who could be seen near and far;
He was master of his situation, -
All honor to Paul Laurence Dunbar!
this memorial be an incentive
For the young and for the old;
May it be kept alive for generations,
And its interest be forever told.
it be told with growing interest,
Each year as we chance to meet,
That a man is measured by his worth and fitness,
In honor of such is a day we keep.