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Lights and Shadows of a Long Episcopate
Being Reminiscences and Recollections
of the Right Reverend
Henry Benjamin Whipple, D.D., LL.D.
Bishop of Minnesota

New York: The Macmillan Company, 1899.

Chapter VI

AT about this time I was called East by the sudden death of my honored father, and after seeing my dear mother comfortably arranged for the winter, I returned to Minnesota where I visited every parish in the diocese, the last one being Faribault.

In 1858, the Rev. E. S. Peake, the Rev. Solon W. Manney, and the Rev. James Lloyd Breck had organized an associate mission. The Rev. Mr. Peake was to take charge of the Indian Mission at Gull Lake, and Dr. Manney and Dr. Breck were to establish a Divinity School at Faribault, which was to be the centre of missionary work for southern Minnesota.

I cannot speak too affectionately of these dear brethren. Dr. Manney had given up a chaplaincy in the army, with a salary of two thousand dollars a year, to become a theological teacher with a salary of five hundred dollars a year. He was a scholar, a devout thinker, and possessed one of the most perfectly balanced minds I have ever known. He was familiar with the history of the Church which he passionately loved. He died after a brief illness, January 19, 1869. The circumstances of his death were remarkable. He had been ill for some time but was not considered dangerously so. I was on a visitation in the valley of the Minnesota River. I had held a service at Belleplaine on Friday evening and had an appointment for Sunday morning at Shakopee. Friday night I awoke with a strange and sudden presentiment that I ought to return to Faribault. Nothing had occurred to give rise to this feeling, but it was so strong that I suspended my visitation and on Saturday morning started for home, a drive of forty-five miles across the country. On my arrival I went directly to Dr. Manney's house and found him very ill. The moment I entered the room I knew that his days were numbered and that he was unconscious of it. I said to him, as gently as possible, "Dear brother, I am afraid you will not remain long with us."

He looked up into my face, and then closing his eyes in prayer for a few moments, answered:--

"If this is true, Bishop, the only thing for me to do is to say, ' Thy will be done.' "

I sent that night for three celebrated physicians from different cities, not being sure which one I should reach, as there was a great storm raging. They all came, and after a long and careful examination two of the physicians said there was a bare possibility that life might be saved by amputating a leg. The third man said it was useless--that death was certain from blood-poison. I told my brother the result of the consultation and asked what he would have done. He replied, "It is a man's duty to take every means to preserve his life for the service of his Master. Let the man who thinks there is a chance perform the operation." I said: "My brother, the doctors are ready now. Will you have the Communion before or after the operation?" "The grace of God is for the time of trouble," he answered, "and my trouble is now." I gave him the Communion, but before receiving it, he asked for pen and paper to make his will, the first words of which told the story of his life.

"Being unexpectedly called to leave this world for another, I declare that I die in the Catholic faith, as set forth by the Nicene Fathers. I commit my soul to the mercy of the Saviour who died for me."

A few days after he entered into rest, and if it were not that he had gone to a higher service, I should count it the greatest loss that had ever come to my diocese.

Dr. Breck was a devoted missionary and Churchman, observing every feast and fast of the Church, and being regular in its daily offices and in celebrating the weekly Communion. He was the instructor in liturgies, and rector of the parish, and had charge of several neighboring missions. He left Minnesota in 1867, and died in California in 1876.

Dr. Manney was the instructor in Church history, Canon law, Exegesis and Divinity. On Sundays he held services at some outlying mission. The students were wont to speak of Drs. Manney and Breck as "Dr. Canon "and "Dr. Rubrics."

The first Associate Mission of Minnesota was founded in 1850 by the Rev. Austin Merrick, Dr. Breck, and the Rev. Timothy Wilcoxson, their first service having been the celebration of the Holy Communion under an oak tree on the bluffs opposite La Crosse. From that day the Sacrament has been celebrated on every Lord's Day, in the diocese.

The Rev. Mr. Peake remained for three years in charge of our missionary Indian work and also held services at several frontier villages. He then accepted a chaplaincy in the army and was an angel of mercy to the sick and wounded soldiers at Little Rock, Arkansas. After the war he became the rector of St. Luke's Parish, San Francisco, which has since become one of the most vigorous parishes on the Pacific coast. He returned to Minnesota to take duty as a missionary on the line of the Northern Pacific Railway, residing at Detroit Lake. Some years ago he was elected Chaplain of St. Mary's Hall, which position he now holds, beloved of all.

The Misses Edwards of New Haven and Mr. J. K. Sass of Charleston, South Carolina, gave the Associate Mission one hundred and fifty dollars with which to buy land in St. Paul. The Rev. E. G. Gear added an acre of land, and the five acres which then cost two hundred and fifty dollars are to-day worth over fifty thousand dollars.

The Rev. E. G. Gear was a pioneer missionary in central New York and afterward at Galena, Illinois. He accepted the office of chaplain in the United States Army in 1838, and was at that time the only clergyman of the Church in the great Northwest. It was his habit to read every morning before breakfast a chapter in the Greek Testament and from some Latin classic.

At the beginning of our Civil War, when our army met many sad reverses, Father Gear was wont to express his opinion by saying, "Caesar would not have made that blunder." He had a deep love for the Church and while stationed at Fort Snelling, he officiated on the Lord's Day for the garrison, taught a school for the officers' children, and held services at St. Paul, Mendota, and St. Anthony's Falls, before Minneapolis existed. He was a warm friend of Bishop Anderson of Rupertsland and rejoiced at his success in gathering the Indians into the fold of Christ. He was often my companion in my early visits to the Indian country, and I recall with pleasure the joy he felt when any of this poor race came to the Saviour.

Father Gear was a man of striking appearance, being over six feet in height, with deep piercing eyes, and possessing a strong personality. He loved Faribault, and before the days of railroads made us many visits.

Before parishes were established in the villages around Faribault, the clergy and students held services throughout that portion of the state. On one occasion Manney and Breck were officiating in an old school-house. It was a hearty service and Manney preached with a fervor that moved the hearts of his frontier congregation. Neither Manney nor Breck had voice or ear for singing, but feeling that the occasion demanded it, they started the Gloria in Excelsis. At the end, an old man who had not heard a Church service for twenty years came forward, and grasping Dr. Manney by the hand, exclaimed: "It was so good! It reminded me of the Cathedral services at 'ome."

One of our students, now the Rev. John Williams of Omaha, held service at a small hamlet every Sunday walking a distance of ten miles. As he was one day passing a farm-house, the owner said to his neighbor, "Who is that man who goes by here every Saturday afternoon and returns Sunday night?" "Oh," was the answer "it is one of those theologues at Faribault." "What do they pay him? "came the query. "Nothing," was the reply. "Do you mean to say that the man walks ten miles, summer and winter, to preach for nothing? If that is true then I'm done lying about Episcopals."

February 19, 1860, I held my first service in the rude little chapel at Faribault. The following week forty gentlemen called at the Mission House and, in the name of the citizens of Faribault, offered me a home. They were men of different communions, and after speaking of the conditions of the country and expressing their confidence in its future, they said that they had raised money which they would give me to provide a home for myself, or they would pay the rent of the bishop's residence for five years. They also promised to aid me according to their ability in founding schools. The warm welcome of these pioneers touched my heart. I believed that God's Providence had pointed out my home.

The Secretary of the Board of Missions, on behalf of the members of the Board, advised me not to make Faribault my residence. My reasons for disregarding the opposition were that it was the only place in the state which had offered me definite pledges for a residence; it gave me the hope of meeting my expenses without debt; it was the centre of a rapidly growing section in Minnesota, and it offered me the prospect for the establishment of Church schools. Nashotah which I loved could not provide clergy needed for the growing West. After eighteen years we had but one Nashotah man among our clergy. Could Nashotah have graduated twenty men each year, they would have been needed in Wisconsin. At St. Paul my salary would compel me to give up the missionary work absolutely needed in a new field. I have never regretted my decision. The citizens of Faribault have always given me their confidence and support.

In selecting a seal for the diocese, remembering that the Indian tribes were at war with one another, and with the longing that our Zion should be at unity with itself and that we might do our part toward healing the divisions which separate Christians, I chose the design of a cross, with a broken tomahawk and a pipe of peace at its foot, and surmounted by a mitre, with the motto, "Pax per sanguinem crucis,"--Peace through the blood of the Cross.

In the spring of 1860 my family came to Faribault, and the next two years were full of work. I drove my horses three thousand miles each year, over the prairies, and held services in school-houses, wayside inns, the forest, in houses of worship loaned us by Christians of other communions, and in our own churches. Everywhere I was warmly welcomed.

I visited in June, 1860, the Lower Agency of the Sioux Indians. The Presbyterians had a mission, under the charge of the Rev. Drs. Williamson and Riggs, at the Upper Agency, Yellow Medicine.

Here I gladly pay a tribute to the lovely character of the Rev. Dr. Williamson whom I knew intimately and loved as a devoted servant of Christ. Dr. Riggs I met only occasionally; when I planted a mission among the lower Sioux where there was no mission of any kind, he seemed to think it an intrusion on territory thirty miles distant. But in later years he paid a just tribute to our work among these Indians.

This visit was at the time of the annual payment and twenty-five hundred Sioux had gathered at the Agency. The head-chief Wabasha, Wa-kin-yan-was'te (Good Thunder), and Taopi came to see me with a sad story of their wrongs.

They had sold the Government eight hundred thousand acres of their reservation--a country thirty miles long and ten miles wide--and had been promised eight thousand dollars a year for schools; but the Government had not paid them for their land nor had they any schools. Wabasha said, with a touch of sarcasm in his sadness, "I know that it is a long way to Washington; the cars go very fast, and perhaps the money has been jostled off and lost."

They asked for a school and a missionary, which I promised if I could find the man and obtain the means. On my return to Faribault, Samuel D. Hinman, one of my divinity students from the diocese of Connecticut, came to me and said: "Bishop, you know I have been holding services for the Sioux near Faribault. I am learning their language, for I want to be a missionary to them." I had found my man, and the means came in unexpected ways. I ordained Mr. Hinman deacon, September 20, 1860, and he began services at the Mission of St. John at the Lower Agency.

Mr. Hinman came to me as an orphan, with a warm letter from Bishop Williams of Connecticut. I saw much of him while in the divinity school and loved him for his heroism in the time of the Sioux outbreak, and for his devotion to the Indian prisoners at Fort Snelling.

The following June I visited this mission. There were fifty children in the school, and I confirmed seven persons, the first-fruits of the Church among the Sioux.

At this visit Wakinyanwas'te brought me his only child, a beautiful girl twelve years of age, and said: "I want my daughter to be like a white woman, not a wild woman. Will you take her to your home? "

We had at that time an Indian boarding-school at Faribault, named after the first missionary to the Mohawks, "Andrews Hall." I placed the child in this school and at her baptism named her Lydia Sigourney, after the gentle poetess who, hearing of Lydia's baptism, sent us a beautiful poem upon the Indians. By a strange Providence this gentle girl became ill, and thinking that she would not live, I wrote to her father. As quickly as he could get to me he came, and with a sad countenance told me that when the wild Indians heard that his child was ill, they jeered at him and called him a fool, saying, "You sent your child to a school of the Ojibways who are our enemies; they have poisoned her and she will die, and we are glad of it."

I said: "Good Thunder, I shall say nothing to you about this foolish lie. You must go to Lydia's room and let her tell you about it."

He repeated the story to his child, who answered: "Father, these Ojibway children are my sisters. There are no enemies among Christ's children. They love me and bring me fresh flowers and berries every day."

This satisfied the father, but he saw that the beautiful flower was fading, and he decided to take her home. Knowing the prejudices of the frontier people against Indians, I wrote the following letter and told Good Thunder to show it wherever he stopped.

"This child of Wakinyanwas'te is a lamb of Jesus. Will you not be kind to her for His sake who said: 'Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these, ... ye have done it unto me'? H. B. Whipple, Bishop of Minnesota."

When I next saw Good Thunder he told me of the kindness that had been everywhere shown to his child, of how a chicken was often killed and prepared for her, and of how she was carried to the best room in the house and tenderly cared for.

I was with the child when she entered into Paradise, and I heard her tell her father of the Saviour's love and of her longing that he should become a Christian. Her last words to the heathen warrior were, "Father, you must follow me to the Great Spirit's Home, for I shall be waiting for you."

The death of Lydia softened the hearts of many of the Indians, who felt a deep sympathy for the bereaved father whom all respected. I shall never forget the scene as we came to the little grave on the broad, green prairie. While the dew was still upon them, the Indian women had gathered hundreds of wild roses, and had lined the grave with the tender color, making a fitting resting-place for the fair flower which God had gathered to Himself. The service was in the Dakota language, and as the Indians sang: Nearer, my God, to Thee,

I-ma-cu-ye; Te-hi a-wa-ki-pa
E-sa, na-kun Ki-ci ci-mi wa-cin,

Paradise never seemed nearer.

Through the death of his child, Good Thunder became a Christian, and he was the first Sioux whom I baptized. I named him Andrew, after the apostle who led his brother to Christ.

As I write, lights and shadows of mission life come before me. Christian women had given to this Indian school Carlo Dolce's "Ecce Homo." There was a noted orator among the Sioux, named Red Owl, who, when he spoke in council, seemed to sway his listeners as leaves are moved by the wind. Afraid of losing his influence with his people, he never attended church; but one day he came to the schoolroom, and seeing the picture of that sweet, sad face of the Saviour he sat down before it and remained for some time silently gazing upon it. He then asked: "Who is that? Why is he bound? Why is there blood on his face? Why are the thorns on his head?" The story was told him and without a word he went away. A few days after he came again and sat down before the picture and went away without speaking. He did this again and again. On my next visit, a few months later, I was on my way to an Indian village when I saw on the prairie a wooden cross over a newly made grave. I asked what it meant and was told it was the grave of Red Owl who, before he died, called his friends around him and said: "That story which the white man brought us is true! When I am dead I want you to put a cross over my grave like the one on the Mission House, so that when the Indians see it, they may know what was in Red Owl's heart."

On one of my visits I found a scalp-dance going on in front of the Mission House. I had just come from the Chippewa country, and had heard that the Sioux had killed one of their people. Indignant at the brutal sight, I took our interpreter, Thomas Robertson, and went to see the chief. I said, "Wabasha, you asked me for a school and a mission. I come to visit you and I see in front of the Mission House a horrible scalp-dance. I know the man who was killed; he had a wife and children; the wife is asking for her husband; the children are asking for their father. Wabasha, the Great Spirit is angry! Some day He will look Wabasha in the face and ask him for his red brother."

The chief was smoking, but when I had finished he took his pipe from his mouth, and slowly blowing a cloud of smoke into the air said: "White man go to war with his own brother; kills more men than Wabasha can count all his life. Great Spirit look down and says, ' Good white man; he has My Book; I have good home for him by and by.' Dakota has no Great Spirit's Book; he goes to war, kills one man, has a foolish scalp-dance; Great Spirit very angry. Wabasha doesn't believe it!"

In the autumn of 1860 I went to Washington to plead for justice to these red men. I had letters from J. K. Sass, President of the Bank of Charleston, to a prominent Southern statesman upon whom I called with the Rev. Dr. Charles H. Hall, rector of the Church of the Epiphany. In response to my pleas this government official said:--

"Bishop, we cannot help you. Mr. Lincoln will be elected President, and the South will go out of the Union. South Carolina will secede first and other states will follow. You will have to seek justice for your Indians from the Northern Government."

"Is it possible," I exclaimed, "that I hear a representative of the Government say that even its trusted servants are plotting for its destruction?"

He smiled and replied, "You know we Southern men believe in the right of secession."

"If you go out of the Union," said Dr. Hall, "it will be because God has permitted you to be stone-blind, and slavery will be doomed. It will be a righteous retribution. We have married men and women at the altar, and have separated them on the auction-block, and Christian men have not dared to call it a sin."

Two years after this, in the middle of the Civil War, I was the guest of my cousin, General Halleck. Mr. Stanton, the Secretary of War, came in one evening, and after speaking with some bitterness of the secessionists in Washington remarked, "I was told to-day that Dr. Hall is a Southern sympathizer." I repeated Dr. Hall's words at the interview in 1860, at which Mr. Stanton expressed much surprise and exclaimed, "Did you hear that yourself, Bishop?"

The next day I called upon Dr. Hall and told him that although I could not give him my reasons for believing it, I was confident that he possessed enemies who had informed the Government that he was a Southern sympathizer. Springing to his feet he exclaimed: "Bishop, excuse me a few minutes. I must go to the War Department immediately." This he did, sending word to Mr. Stanton that he wanted to see him for "exactly two minutes." Upon being admitted he said: "Mr. Stanton, I am a Southern man. I am a Southern sympathizer, and I should be a brute if I were not. My misguided friends are being killed. I am a Christian and loyal to the Government which keeps a roof over my head. When I cannot be loyal I will ask you to put me in Fort Lafayette. Is that satisfactory?"

Mr. Stanton's answer was: "Dr. Hall, have you any pews to rent in your church? If you have, you may count on me as a parishioner as long as I live in Washington." Mr. Stanton was a member of the Parish of the Epiphany until he died.

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