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The National tribune. (Washington, D.C.) 1877-1917, June 25, 1896, Image 1

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ESTABLISHED 1S77-KEW SERIES.
f
si r .-y ii m, Jkin
3 Rt& l!
I'r ' JpW' VStteh.by Himself "
SHIPWRECKED TWICE IN ONE MX
jtfH'E GREAT BOOM IN BUSINESS IN CALIFORNIA-
BEGINS BUSINESS
THE FAILURE OE THE PRINCELY HENRY MEIGGS.
(corvmonT.)
HE CAPTAIN
had sent asliore the
Purser in the first
boat, with orders to
work his way to the
city as soon as pos
sible, to report the
loss of his vessel,
and to bring back
help. I remained
on the wreck till
Ch. Uli ,
among the last of I
the passengers, man
aging to get a can
of crackers and some sardines out of
the submerged pantry, a thing the rest
of the passengers did not have, and
then I went quietly ashore in one of
the boats. The passengers were all on
the beach, under a steep bluff; had
built fires to dry their clothes, but had
seen no human being, and had no idea
where they were. Taking along with me
a fellow-passenger, a young chap about
18 years old, I scrambled up the bluff,
and walked back toward the hills, in
hopes to get a good view of some known
object It was then the month of April,
and the hills were covered with the
beautiful grasses and flowers of that
season of the year. We soon found
horse-paths and tracks, and, following
them, we came upon a drove of horses
grazing at large, some of which had
saddle-marks. At about two miles from
the beach we found a corral ; and thence,
following one of the strongest-marked
paths, in about a mile more we descend
ed into a valley, and, on turning a sharp
point, reached a board shanty, with a j
horse picketed near by. l'ourmcn were
inside, eating a meal. I inquired if any
of the Lewis's people had been there;
they did not seem to understand what
I meant, when I explained to them that
about three miles from them, and beyond
the old corral, the steamer Lewis was
wrecked, and her passengers were on the
"beach. I inquired where we were, and
they answered, "At Bolinas Creek";
that they were employed at a sawmill
just above, and were engaged in shipping
lumber to San Francisco ; that a schooner
(oaded with lumber -was then about two
miles down the creek, waiting for the
tide to get out, and doubtless if we
-would walk down they would take us
on board.
i wrote a few words back to the Cap
tain, telling him where he was, and that
I would hurry to the city to send him j
help. My companion and I then went
on down the creek, and soon descried
the schooner anchored out in the stream.
On being hailed, a small boat came in
91
a
Colored Population Greaser, Chinaman, and Negro.
and took us on board. The " Captain "
willingly agreed for a small sum to
.carry us down to San Francisco; and,
us liis whole crew consisted of a small
iboy about 12 years old, we helped him to
fgot up his anchor aud pole the schooner
down the creek and out over the bar on
a high tide. This must have been about
2p.m., Once. over the bar. the sails
wore hoisted, and we glided along rapid-
4y with a strong, fair, northwest wind.
The fog had lifted, so we could see the
shores plainly, and the entrance to the
bay. In a couple of hours we were
entering the bay, and running " wing-
. and-wing." Outside the wind was sim-
i l'uoiialied by pcrmisbion of V. Applclon & Co.,
!)ubtlf licra of ihc Pcrnonstl SleuioLre of Gcu. W. T.
pilicrumu.
MEMOIRS
AS A BANKER
ply the usual strong breeze ; but, as it
passes through the head of the Golden
Gate, it increases, and there, too, we met
a strong ebb-tide.
The schooner was loaded with lumber,
much of which was on deck, lashed down
to ring-bolts with raw-hide thongs. The
Captain was steering, and I was reclining
on the lumber, looking at the familiar
shore, as we approached Fort Point,
when I heard a sort of cry, and felt the
enlinmir'r rrmnrr error Ac wn rrnt in tr
tbe tbroat of A Heads" the force of
the wind, meeting a strong ebb-tide,
drove the nose of the schooner under
water; she dove like a duck, went over
j.
on her side, and began to drift out with
the tide. I found myself in the water,
mixed up with pieces of plank and ropes ;
struck out, swam round to the stern, got
on the keel, and clambered up on the side.
Satisfied that she could not sink, by rea
son of her cargo, I was not in the least
alarmed, but thought two shipwrecks
in one day not a good beginning for
a new, peaceful career. Nobody was
drowned, however; the Captain and
crew were busy in securing such arti-
"Weeck: of the
cles as were liable to float off, and I
looked out for some passing boat or
vessel to pick us up. We were drifting
steadily out to sea, while I was signaling
to a boat about three miles off, toward
Saucelito, and saw her tack and stand
toward us. I was busy watching this
sailboat, when I heard a Yankee's voice,
clo3 behind, saying, "This is a nice
mess you've got yourselves into," and
looking about I saw a man in a small
boat, who had seen us upset, and had
rowed out to us from a schooner an-
chored close under the fort. Some ex
planations were made, aud when the
sailboat coming from Saucelito was near
enough to be spoken to, and the Captain
had engaged her to help his schooner,
we bade him good-by, and got the man
in the small boat to carry us ashore and
land us at the foot of the bluff, just be
low the fort. Once there, I was at
home, and we footed it up to the Pre
sidio. Of the sentinel I inquired who
was in command of the post, and was
answered, "Maj. Merchant." He was
not then in, but his Adjutant, Lieut.
Gardner, was. I sent my card to him ;
he came out, and was much surprised to
find me covered with sand and dripping
with water, a good specimen of a ship
wrecked mariner. A few words of ex
planation sufficed ; horses were provided,
and we rode hastily into the city, reach
ing the office of the Nicaragua Steam-
"cr rare for Mm
ship Co. (CL K. Garrison, agent,) about
dark, just as the Purser had arrived, by
a totally different route. It was too late
to send relief that night, but by daylight
next morning two steamers were en route
for and reached the place of wreck in
time to relieve the passengers aud bring
them and most of the baggage. I lost
my carpetbag, but saved my trunk.
The Lewis went to pieces the night after
we got off, and, had there been an average
sea during the night of our shipwreck,
none of us probably would have escaped.
That evening in San Francisco I hunted
upMaj. Turner, whom I found boarding,
in company with Gen. E. A. Ililchcock, at
a Mrs. Koss's, on Clay street near Powell.
I took quarters with them, and began to
make my studies, with a view to a de
cision whether it was best to undertake
this new and untried scheme of banking,
or to return to New Orleans and hold on
to what I then had, a good Army com
mission. At the time of my arrival San Fran
cisco was on the
TOP WAVE OF SPECULATION AND PROS
PEK1TY. Maj. Turner had rented at $600 a month
the office formerly used and then owned
by Adams & Co., on the east side of
Montgomery street, between Sacramento
and California streets. B. H. Nisbet
was the active partner, and James Keilly
the Teller. Already the bank of Lucas,
Turner & Co. was established, and was
engaged in selling bills' of exchange, re
ceiving deposits and loaning money at 3
per cent a month.
Page, Bacon & Co. and Adams & Co.
were in full blast across the street, in
Parrott's new granite building, and other
bankers were doing seemingly a prosper
ous business, among them Wells, Fargo
& Co.; Drexel, Sather & Church ; Bur
goyne & Co.; James King of William ;
Sanders & Brenljam ; Davidson & Co.;
Palmer, Cook & Co., and others.
Turner and I . had rooms at Mrs.
Hoss's, and took our meals at restau
rants down town, mostly at; a -Frenchman's
named Martin, on the south
west corner of Montgomery and
California streets. Gen. Hitchcock, of
the Army, commanding the Depart
ment of California, usually messed with
us: also, a Capt. Mason, and Lieut.
Whiting, of the ISngineer Corps. We
soon secured a small share of business,
and became satisfied there was room for
Steamee "Lewis."
profit Everybody seemed to be making
money fast; the city was being rapidly ex
tended and improved; people paid their
3 per cent, a month interest without fail,
and withoutdcemingitcxcessivc. Turner,
Nisbet and I daily discussed the pros
pects, and irraduallv settled down to the
conviction "that with 8200,000 capital,
aud a credit of $50,000 in New York,
we could build up a business that would
help the St. Louis house, and at the same
time pay expenses in California, with a
reasonable profit. Of course, Turner
never designed to remain long in Cali
fornia, and I consented to go back to
St. Louis, confer with' Mr. Lucas and
Capt. Simonds, agree upon further de
tails, and then return permanently.
1 have no memoranda by me now by
which to determine the fact, but think I
returned to New York in July, 1853, by
the Nicaragua route, and thence to St.
Louis by way of Lancaster, O., where my
family still was. Mr. Lucas promptly
agreed to the terms proposed, and fur
ther consented, on the expiration of the
lease of the Adams & Cp. office, to erect
a new banking house in San Francisco,
to cost $50,000. I then returned to
Lancaster, explained to Mr. Ewing and
Mrs. Sherman all the details of our
agreement, and, meeting their approval,
I sent to the Adjutant-General of the
Army my letter of resignation, to lake
effect at the end of the six months'
leave, and
the resignation was accepted,
to take effect Sept. G, 1853. Being then
a citizen, I engaged a passage out to Cal
ifornia by the Nicaragua route, in the
steamer leaving New York Sept. 20, for
myself and family, and accordingly pro
ceeded to New York, where I had a con
ference with Mr. Meigs, Cashier of the
American Exchange Bank, and with
Messrs. Wadsworth & Sheldon, bankers,
who were our New York correspond
ents; and on the 20th embarked for
San Juan del Norte, with the family,
composed of Mrs. Sherman, Lizzie,
then less thau a year old, and . her
nurse, Mary Lynch. Our passage down
was uneventful, and on the boats up
the Nicaragua River pretty much the
same as before. On reaching "Virgin
Bay, I engaged a native with three mules
to carry us across to the Pacific ; and,
as usual, the trip partook of the ludic
tvntr to fccmtc the-tortile, and for lite wtflow nnfl otplmng."
WASHINGTON, D. 0., THURSDAY, JUNE 25, 1896.
- ' If '' "m
MAJ. WILLIAM McKINLEY
the Republican nominee for President of the United States, was born of Scotch
Irish parentage, at Niles, 0., Jan. 29, 1843. His ancestors on both sides came
to this country in the last century, and the males were soldiers in all the wars in
which this country engaged. Win. McKinley was educated at Poland, 0., and
in June, 18G1, enlisted in Co. E, 23d Ohio. He served 15 months as a private
soldier, was promoted to Second Lieutenant for courage and good soldiership, and
came out of the army at the close of the war a Captain.and brevet Major.
He-studied law, was admitted to the bar, transferred his residence to Canton,
O., and was elected" Prosecuting Attorney of Stark County. In 1876 he was
elected to Congress, and was re-elected-five times. He was twice elected Governor
of Ohio.
rous Mrs. Sherman m6unted on a don
key about as large as a Newfoundland
dog; Mary Lynch on another, trying
to carry Lizzie on a pillow before her,
but her mule had a fashion of lying
down, which scared her, till I exchanged
mules, and my California spurs kept
that mule on his legs. I carried Lizzie
sometime till she wijfast asleep, when I
got our native man" to carry her awhile.
The child woke up, and finding herself
in the hands of a dark-visaged man, she
yelled most lustily till I got.her away.
At the summit of the pass there was a
clear-running brook, where we rested an
hour, and bathed Lizzie in its sweet
waters. We then continued to the end
of our journey, and, without going to the
tavern at San Juan del Sur, we passed
directly to the vessel, then at anchor
about two miles 01 To reach her wc
engaged a native boat, which had to be
kept outside the surf. Mrs. Sherman
was first taken in flic arms of two stout
natives; Mary Lynch, carrying Lizzie,
was carried by two others; and I fol
lowed, mounted on the back of a strap
ping fellow, while fifty or a hundred
others were running to and fro, cackling
like geese.
Mary Lynch got scared at the surf,
and began screaming like a fool, when
Lizzie became convulsed with fear, aud
one of the natives rushed to her, caught
her out of Mary's arms, and carried her
swiftly to Mrs. Sherman, who, by that
time, was in the boat, but Lizzie had
fainted with fear, and for a long time
sobbed as though permanently injured.
For years she showed symptoms that
made us believe she had never entirely
recovered from tlie effects of the scare.
In due time we reached the steamer
San Francisco Beauties The Cel
Sierra Nevada, and got a good state
room. Our passage up the coast was
pleasant enough ; we readied San Fran
cisco on the 15th of October, and took
quarters at a hotel on Stockton street
near Broadway. !
Ma, Turner remained till some time
in November, when he also departed for
the East, leaving me and Nisbet
- TO II AN AGE THE- BANK.
I endeavored to jtf'ake myself fainiliar
with the business, but of coarse Nisbet
kept the bo.oks, and gave his personal
attention to the ' loans, discounts, and
drafts, which yielded the profits. I soon
saw, however, that tbq three per cent,
charged as premium on bills c-f exchange
m WffrKm I
was not all profit, but out "of this had to
come one and a fourth to one and a
half for freight, one and a third for in
surance, with some indefinite promise of
a return premium ; then, the cost of
blanks, boxing of the bullion, etc. In
deed, I saw no margin for profit at all.
Nisbet, however, who had long been
familiar with the business, insisted there
was a profit, in the fact that the gold
dust or bullion shipped was more valu
able than its cost to us. Wc, of course,
had to remit bullion to meet our bills on
New York, and bought crude gold-dust,
or bars refined by Kellogg & Humbert
or E. Juslh & Co., for at that time the
United States Mint was not in operation.
But, as the reports of our shipments
came back fiom New York, Idiscovered
that I was right, and Nisbet was wrong ;
and, although we could not help'selling
our checks on New York and St Louis
at the same price as other bankers, Idis
covered that, at all events, the exchange
business in San Francisco was rather a
losing business than profitable. The
same as to loans. We could loan at
three per cent, a month, all our own
money say $250,000, and a part of our
deposit account. This latter account in
California was decidedly uncertain.
The balance due depositors would run
down to a mere nominal sum on steamer
days, which were the 1st and loth of
each month, and then would increase
till the next steamer day, so that we
could not make use of any reasonable
part of this balance for loans beyond the
next steamer day ; or, in other words, we
had an expensive bank, with expensive
clerks, and all the machinery for taking
care of other people's money for their
benefit, without corresponding piofit. I
ESTIAL, THE SENORA, AND MADAME.
also saw that loans were attended with
risk commensurate with the rate; never
theless, I could not attempt to reform
the rules and customs established by
others before me, and had to drift along
with the rest toward that Niagara that
none foresaw at the time.
Shortly after arriving out in 1S53,
we looked around for a site for a new
bank, and the only place then available
on Montgomery street, the Wall street
of San Francisco, was a lot at the cor
ner of Jackson street, facing Montgom
ery, with an alley on the north, belong
ing to James Lick. The ground was 60
by 62 feet, and I had to pay for it $32,-
IContinucU ou tfvcuud lngo.)
VOL. XY
.APPOMATTOX
The " Reception of the Flag of
Truce
BY OUSTER'S OAYALEY.
Stirring Events on the Morning
of April 9, 1S66.
WHITAKER'S ACCOUNT.
He Went Eack -with the Flag
into the Rebel Lines.
T THE CELE
bration of the an
niversary of Lee's
surrender by the
Department of the
Potomac, G.A.E.
at Washington, D.
C, April 9, 1896,
which was at
tended by many
Members of Con
gress, high officers of the Army, and
other distinguished men, the gallant
Gen. E. W. Whitaker, who was Gen.
Custer's Chief of Staff, read a very im
portant paper on the reception of the
fiaf of truce, which was listened to with
the deepest interest, and highly com
mended by everyone as an exceed
ingly valuable contribution to history.
It was:
On the 8th of April our command,
Gen. Custer's Third Cavalry Division,
had captured the railway supply-trains,
and in a night battle captured 25 pieces
of artillery, and planted a line-of-battle
facing east toward the rebel line, cutting
off its retreat toward Lynchburg.
On the morning of the 9th of April
our division was the first in saddle, hav
ing been relieved by cavalry and in
fantry brought up during the night. I
was directed to find the right flank of
our infantry, and the best route to take
with the column, to engage in the bat
tle which had commenced. I succeeded
in finding a crossing of a ravine east of
the station, and gained the crest of the
hill on the extreme right of our infantry
line a brigade of colored troop3 then
under fire of the rebel infantry on the
Gen. Sheridan.
plain toward the Courthouse. As fa3t
as our command could be got across the
ravine it was formed on this crest, a
large open field, in column by squad
rons, with colors Hying and sabers
drawn, ready for the command to
charge.
Our division was composed of three
brigades of cavalry and a battery of
light artillery to each brigade. Under
standing that we were to be supported
by the entire cavalry, under Gen. Mer
ritt, we pressed down upon the enemy
and received the fire from battery after
battery of artillery without stopping to
return it. Gen. Custer, riding at the
head of his column, was looking for a
favorable opening for a charge. Our
movement along the flank of the rebel
army was slow at first, but the fire of
the rebel batteries had nettled our
horses into a half trot, when suddenly
an officer came out of the rebel line
waving a large towel in hi3 hand. He
said he was Capt. Sims, of Longstreet's
staff) and came by' direction of Gen.
Lee, who asked a suspension of hos
tilities. In an instant Gen. Custer said to me :
" Whitaker, take this truce, go with this
officer to Gen. Lee, with my compli
ments, say I cannot stop this charge, as
I am not sole in command on this field,
unless he announces an 'unconditional
surrender." I took the towel and asked
Sini3 to show me the shortest cut to
where he had left Lee. He had reached
our head of column on the left flank,
but in returning we went straight ahead
in the direction our column was moving.
I remember vigorously swinging the old
towel, and the great relief I felt on en
tering the rebel line without being fired
at.
within the eebeIj lixes.
At the point we entered, only a short
distance from where we had left Gen.
Custer, a battery of rebel artillery was
posted, and as we passed the guns I saw
the pyramids of shells piled on the
ground in the rear of each gun, and
every gunner in position to give us a
warm reception at the command " fire,"
H
mr$
- NO. 37-WHOLE NO. 776.
On reaching the road columns of rebel
infantry were moving in perfect order,
and I recall hearing a soldier shout,
" What is that Yankee doing hero with
his arms on ? " I had folded the towel
out of sight as soon as I reached tho
rebel line. When wc reached the placo
where Sim3 had left Gen. Lee, wc found
only Gens. Gordon and Longatreet, who
explained that Lee had galloped off to
the rear to find Gen. Grant immediately
after Sims had started out with the truco
to get a suspension of hostilities, and had
left them in command. I stated to them
the message from Custer to Lee, and that
I must have immediate reply. They
said there wa3 no doubt of surrender, a3
wc had cut off their line of retreat the
night before, and that they were person
ally satisfied of the hopelessness of fur
ther resistance. I expressed regret that
so many good men had been killed tho
night before and that morning, when
Gen. Custeb.
they saicl that Gen. Lee would not be
lieve that the infantry were across the
Lynchburg pike, nntil the repulse of
Gordon's charge, which had been made
that morning by his order.
While we were talking firing waa
heard to the east of where I had left
Gen. Custer, and at my suggestion an
officer wa3 sent to the South Carolina
Colonel with orders to stop firing. I.
noticed that the guns that were moving
past us as we talked had smoke coming
from their mouths, indicating that they
were the same that had been used so
vigorously on our column a short time
before. I protested against the moving
of these guns, and was assured'that tho
object was to water the horses, which
was being done in a small creek near
by. I saw this with my own eyes but
noticing that the guns were gaining an
elevated position on the opposite side, I
wanted more evidenceof good faith be
fore I took an announcement of surren-
der back to Gen. Custer.
oed's appearance the signal
At this moment Gen. Ord's infantry
line-of-battle was seen closing in on ua
from the west, and I was begged to an
nounce a surrender of the army to that
line. I hesitated for a moment, and
then said : " I will make the announce
ment if the rebel officer will go with
me." Until a few years ago I had sup
posed it "was Sims who went with me,
but he wrote me from his home in South
Carolina that Capt. Brown, of Gordon's
staff, went with me. There was no timo
to lose. I pulled out the old white
towel and rode out to the Union in
fantry line, and said to Gen. Chamber:
lin, of Maine, that Lee's army had sure
rendered unconditionally. The lin(
halted at once, and a shout went up
along the line from right to left that
words fail to describe. I left the rebel
Capt Brown with Chamberlin, and then
galloped back across the field to Gen.
Custer to make the same announcement
of Lee's surrender. It was in this "way
that the infantry historians claimed that
surrender was first made to them.
Some of the writers have stated that
a single rebel officer took the announce
ment, a natural error when it is remem
bered that I instantly galloped back
across the field to report what I had
done to Gen. Custer. He had become
very impatient over my delay in return
ing, and took a pocket handkerchief as
a truce and tried to find me. All this
occurred before 9 o'clock in the morn-
mg.
Gen. Lee, some time later, reached
Gen. Loxgstreet.
the Union infantry, under Meade, sev
eral miles in his rear, and asked there
(I suppose, or am informed) a suspen
sion of hostilities to enable him to finH
Gen. Gran't, and get terms the best he
could. He did not find Grant in four
hours ; he (Grant) had followed-in Gen
Sheridan's circuitous route to the south
of the Courthouse, which he did not
reach until about 1 p. m.
sheeidan's teibute to ccstee.
It was about this time that the two
Generals met at McLean's house, ancl
the generous terms proposed by Gen.
Grant were signed on a table which;
Gen. Sheridan bought and presented t
4 llte4
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