Personal responsibility is not always easily analyzed.
Doctors at home - and they were good ones, - doctors in Chicago - some of the greatest in America and doctors in Des Moines, who were far sighted and sincere gave little assurance of any permanent help for the affliction which gradually brought on increasing anxiety. A prominent Des Moines physician advised change of climate and environment. That all seemed improbable if not impossible but the suggestion could not be thrown aside nor could it be forgotten - even if impossible.
Three weeks passed by - weeks in which there was much prayer for wisdom and guidance as the third year of service there neared its close. There had been no effort either in conversation or correspondence to get valuable suggestions from other people, when one day there came a letter from Newberg, Oregon saying the Board of Trustees of Pacific College had endeavored to fill a place made vacant by the resignation of the President Thomas Newlin - and had voted unanimously to elect the Pilgrim to that position and would he accept said call at once. After some consideration and prayer, after came interviews and long distance telephoning a letter of acceptance was mailed to Pacific College and the new President busied himself with preparation for departure to this new climate and new environment, and in addition a new line of service.
In way of preparation for such a long move the young President desired to see at first hand some other Quaker Colleges. Going to the Pacific Coast was a far venture and he never would get to the east coast if he did not do it now. He had received his bachelors degree and his Masters degree from Penn but had not been on any other Quaker campus. Earlham College Commencement was just at hand and a great Quaker Summer Conference was about to convene at Haverford. There was likewise the opportunity to see the cities of Washington and Philadelphia. It was all new and most enlightening to him on that trip - his first long trip though in the course of his after life all these places became most familiar to him because of frequent visits to them on various missions.
At home there were other preparations to be made.
A public sale was arranged and satisfactorily carried out. Household goods, Rockford and the buggy - the cow and the chicken and garden implements. It was a limited sum of money resulting from the Sale but enough to pay for traveling expenses and a sense of independence on the journey.
The customary receptions and good byes were exchanged with loving and tender people who never failed in their appreciation and devotion.
A long, long journey over plains and mountains. O, what a country and what a history of pioneer fortune and misfortune, what marvelous beauty and grandeur and what barrenness and sterility. One stop over for a few days with the brother and his wife in the most beautiful and intriguing mountain city in America, Boise, the capitol of Idaho.
From there on most of the way down the valley of the Columbia to Portland. What contrasts - sand and rock and limited vegetation, then increasing beauty of the great river leaping and dodging over the dalles, and now and then great fishing wheels and canneries, ever more imposing fir trees with the earth carpeted with graceful ferns, gorgeous wildflowers and soft grasses - then high ascending cliffs from which drop the most graceful and beautiful waterfalls in all the world while far away on either side the majestic river rises against the sky; near the horizon America's most beautiful snow cap mountains. Ah, yes, this is Oregon - approaching that charming and productive garden spot known as the Willamette Valley with its deep and placid river its mountain slopes of fir forests and its broad acres of pasture and farm land - of orchards of luscious fruits and gardens of surpassing beauty, yes, this is Oregon - and it is on - through the great city of Portland up the Willamette River to the "scrubby end' of Yamhill County to the beautiful and beautifully situated Quaker Center of Newberg. While it cannot be reviewed here one would advise every lover of Quaker history to study the records and read the books of the settlements in Oregon in early days and especially that Divinely ordered history of the Chehalem mountain vision and Jesse Hobson's prophecies concerning Newberg. Here was to be the home for seven good years of our pilgrims' life and service.
No report can be made of what he found here nor what he did here nor what he left here. For seven years it was the home of himself and his household. In his heart is inexpressible affection for the place - and adjacent places in this most charming of nature's wonderlands. Loves lie deep where great experiences have occurred and heavy burdens have been born and where some of the finest and rarest souls have ever been known. O, what people those Oregon Pioneers have been - those positive Quakers with unyielding faith and unfaulting convictions, those men and women who builded better than they knew tho' they did it by sacrifice, - those sincere and heroic people who blessed and promoted all holy enterprises and made sacred the very earth in which they sleep and rest.
Seven years it was our Pilgrim's home save one year for graduate study and a masters degree from Haverford, a year of unmeasured value to him in later years - seven years for dear Pacific College and for the precious lives of lovely students, seven years of service with profoundly honest and honorable men and women on the Board of Trustees, seven years with capable, sincere and sacrificing men and women of the Faculty, seven years of helpful contacts throughout all of Oregon Yearly Meeting and seven years serving as clerk of the Yearly Meeting.
The problems faced there were difficult ones and the loads to be carried were heavy ones indeed - far beyond the limited strength and inadequate preparation of the one called to the great field. This is often true in the great conflicts of life and in the field of Christian service. Fortunate indeed is he who early in any service recognizes the human insufficiency and comes to know the sufficiency of God. Only then is possible victory. To be at the head of a College with so limited preparation and experience and at the early age of 32 years was a stretch of faith; to become clerk of the Yearly Meeting and have a leading part in spiritual enterprise within the Friends Church and among other denominations was a responsibility of large proportions; to measure up to obligations in the councils of the mature and experienced men and women composing the Board of Trustees of the institution and to stand up and be counted with the educational leaders of the great state of Oregon - all of this was quite overwhelming.
There were good helpers among the little Faculty group and the College work moved on perfectly. The Yearly Meeting had not always seemed united but now there was a spirit to emphasize their common interests and beliefs rather than to stress their differences. Outside meetings and other denominations were blessed with new sweet charity so that contacts made with them were mutually helpful. The Board of Trustees were forced perhaps to put up with what they had and smilingly accepted some enthusiastic suggestions from the tenderfoot president. True they were hopelessly in debt and going forward was as a drag up a steep unending hill. Home, farm and orchards carried mortgages that the College might get along atall - and it apparently was a proposition from a mentality of low I.Q. when the new president stated that he would raise the amount of half the indebtedness abroad if the Board would raise the remaining half at home. In response to it however they smiled and accepted the proposition. Immediately following Holidays this first school year this young man - who had never solicited a dollar in his life was off by train with but with enough resources to get him to the Atlantic Coast to a new endeavor in a strangely new field. He had sensed the possibilities and the needs of his new home in Oregon and there was an Unseen Presence with him all the way. At Philadelphia, Baltimore, New York, and in New England were sympathetic Friends - at least many if not all. Little by little there was an accumulation in the credit account at the Provident, until the required amount was there in black and white and by Commencement time the President was home again wearied but wiser and thankful beyond words. At home the Board had made initial effort and looked forward to Yearly Meeting time to complete their efforts - and this they did and the College debt was wiped out. Not only so, some eastern Friends became helpers in the work until some improvements in the use of paint and building repairs were possible and some of the burden of maintenance was eased.
With this difficult initial year accomplished, the future was bright and more alluring.
There were some opportunities for relaxation and many charming places for brief retirements. While in those days the Oregon "Highways" were not commendable, yet the beach was not so far away and lovely mountain and riverside camping resorts were nearer. By the kindness of friends and neighbors who might have an extra spring seat on this wagon drawn by sturdy farm horses, the college president and his family did have some rare opportunities to see nature as nature is.
Fishing with real results and gathering agates on the beaches did much to restore and stimulate the physical the mental and the spiritual. Any such trips would be worthy of record but two rather brief ones can be noted.
The brother from Boise, Idaho had come over, afflicted by a slowly developing but fatal malady, hoping a trip to the coast might give some encouragement and that new contacts might be a helpful diversion. He wished to see Pacific College to attend Commencement and also to sit in the sessions of Yearly Meeting. These events over, some other possible activities in these historic spots and places of impressive and intriguing beauty.
First about the Willamette River - the woods, the logs, the saw mill and down the river but a short distance, old Champong - the site of the Old Indian Mission, also the site of the formation of the first "provisional government" in Oregon, said government organized to care for the settlement of the estate of Ewing Young who had died suddenly on his great estate of the Chehalem Valley.
There were visits to the great and beautiful and wealthy city of Portland, and one to the beach near Newport when salmon were being caught and where crabs were plentiful.
Perhaps more thrilling than any others was a trip to the "green timber", high in the Cascade range.
The two brothers arranged for the use of a fairly strong as well as venerable horse and a buckboard light wagon with similar characteristics of strength and maturity, and were off with suitable garments, bedding and food for men and beast. It was still springtime by the calendar and distinctly so by the Oregon weather - always approaching the drouth of summer with tearful reluctance.
The nighttime overtook these travellers some distance above the Quaker town of Scotts Mills and well up a mountain grade where a sawmill had been located. Since it was apparently deserted there seemed no reason why a nice and comfortable cottage might not be appreciated and a satisfactory shed for the horse and buckboard, so the morning found them dry and rested and well fed and on their way again. No brothers ever spent together a more delightful and happy day. The "green timber' was beyond them and they had some distance in their approach to it. This "green timber" was so termed in much earlier days. A distinctive fire had sometime, resulting from a strike of lightening, raged through the lower levels destroying the luxuriant growth there and leaving tall blackened trunks of trees some of which still stood like charred masts from which the sails had burned. Long winter rains in western Oregon together with deep soil, forbid any desert wastes for so long that the term "green timber" might be misleading for all its green and beautiful and thickly set in a lovely forest of "new growth" - fir trees and other varieties of thrifty shrubbery.
It was Rhododendron time now and O, what expressions of wild, indescribable, colorful beauty, but it was time too for the dogwood trees to blossom and great trees and groves of them stand out in blooms of white like heavenly purity, and the syringa in gigantic clumps add their beauty to the floral array and sweeten the mountain atmosphere over ten thousand acres while to the scene is added the grace and loveliness of the drapery of trees while everywhere is the rich soft green of the new growth of the fir trees of every size, the darker deeper green of green fronds of ferns of unbelievable size; while the moist canyons were fairly carpeted with more modest varieties of the fern family like the maiden hair fern and apparently shielding from the eye of the beholder multiplied myriads of choice, fragrant, delicate wild flowers of every hue and every color. The road was little more than an unused old trail just widened enough for a wagon trail and all straight lines had been disregarded, so with constant turning the view was ever changing. This gave rise perhaps to the suggestion from the elder brother that "when a turn is made revealing a scene more beautiful than any we have yet seen, let us shout as loud as we can", - and thus the ages of quiet on that lonely mountain road was ruthlessly disrupted. All however was wholesome medicine to the man who sought diversion from the thoughts of declining health, - and such diversion is always good for everyone. This wonderful approach however could in no way disappoint these travelers in the objective - the "green timber" - the great untouched forest of Oregon.
The Irishman who undertook to explain the meaning of the term "virgin forest" - said "It is where the hand of man has never set foot." This seemed to be just that. If an axe or a saw or any essential to the lumberman's business had ever been there it had left no mark as evidence - this was a virgin forest. One has seen woodlands of Stately trees and clumps of huge individual trees, but here, high in these great mountains stood at that time thousands of acres of virgin forest so far from market and so inaccessible for practical purposes is to remain a "virgin forest."
Every tree seemed just like every other tree and one hesitated to stroll far into the forest least he might become confused and not find his way out again. These individual trees were of moderate size, possibly 5 or 6 feet in diameter and the trunk free from limbs to the height of perhaps 60 to 75 feet. There was practically no underbrush and the distance one could see gave the impression of a rather well kept park. Centuries of pine or fir needles carpeted the earth and the impulse was to drop down on this inviting couch under the shadows of those unwearied sentinels, mid the murmurings of their subdued chorus and neath the perfume of their boughs - there to rest and meditate and worship. Thus did these weary, happy men.
The return trip was along the same primitive thoroughfare but reversed - down the mountain and easier and that night was spent in a comfortable bed at Scotts Mills and the next night home again telling of the delightful experience. That, never to be forgotten, experience was the last these men had together. Two years later the older brother completed his beautiful upward journey on March 8, 1907. He had beheld the land of far distances, held firmly his holy passport, entered through the welcome gateway until he stood by the banks of "the river of water of life clear as crystal" - "on either side of which river he beheld the trees of life bearing twelve manner of fruits and yielding the fruit every month", and "the leaves of the trees were for the healing of the nations."
One other venture of the College President might be noted.
Some neighbors had learned of his desire to see at close range the beautiful snow capped Mount Hood, so invited him to ride along with an aged father and his son, then in the prime of life. The approximate distance was some seventy miles which with a strong team and wagon was covered in two days without special incident of importance. In a company large or small, on a journey of that sort, each has his own tasks to perform and many hands make light work.
At sunset on the second day the three were comfortably lodged in a cottage a little below snow line at the foot of the mountain. Gushing streams of pure, clear, ice cold water were in evidence in the evening time but in the morning there was no flowing stream and pools here and there were solidly congealed.
At an early hour, July 23, the three men and the aged and experienced guide were off for the climb. By the dawn of day they were beyond the scrubby timber and at the snow line, with seven miles to go to reach the goal. The going was surprisingly good and all felt prepared for it with good shoes and overalls and jackets and with faces well protected with vascaline and flour though lampblack would have better prevented sunburn. The snow was crisp and ground beneath their steps like sleet or hail or fine gravel. The air was crisp and the glorious sun shone out without a cloud in the sky.
Far distances revealed great mountain ranges and companion snow caps. On, on, the course lead upward on the south side of the mountain with the sun shining on their backs and reflecting from the snow into their faces - and that spells sunburn or perhaps more correctly snowburn. Running water appeared again in tiny brooklets, in swelling streams, in dashing, splashing, thundering torrents which seemed to unite far below in placid rivers into those lonely valleys where good people have made their homes and where each year they harvest their rich returns from field and garden and orchard.
Almost sacred seemed the old, old mountain - once a volcano that through the ages giving of annually refreshed snow covering to refresh the valleys and of its disintegrating ledges to build and every year renew the deep rich soil far below. There seemed an almost audible voice saying in the language of men and in the language of wild beasts and wild herds and domestic well groomed beasts, "eat ye and drink to your satisfaction for year after year for unknown centuries I have given and for unseen centuries and unseen dependent friends I shall minister and for this cause have I been created." Then there seemed other words strong words to some but spoken only to men who think in terms of power and the voice seemed to say - "My dashing streams, and my deep walled reservoirs have unmeasured power which thoughtful men might utilize - for in this power is light and service which no man knows and which all men need and for this purpose I am here. Let man's pathway be brightened in the nighttime and let his arm be empowered each day and let all homes be richer because of my help. I would spend myself for you."
An now the crater has been reached - not a place of apparent danger - rather a hiding place of beauty hemmed in by drifts of snow and ice all tinted in mild yellow the result of the continual spouting of sulphur vapor. Some people visiting this spot have been seriously nauseated by the smell of this gas, but fortunately none of this little party seemed to mind it.
The old "crater rock" was near by. Miles away it is plainly visible - a spot of brown or black surrounded by the glistening white snow. There is never snow on the rock for it is continually heated by the subdued inner fires, smoldering there long before man ever beheld the mighty mountain. The rock is now not so hot as to forbid the approach of the visitor - but on the contrary offers roughly but freely what it can offer - a dry surface on which one may stretch his weary body and in a brief time dry his soaked shoes and wet garments. What blissful rest at Mother Nature's generous footstone.
In anticipation of the noon hour very simple but substantial preparation had been made. Limited in bulk to make carrying easy were generously large and thick slices of "home made bread" and "home cured country ham" - so large and appealing and each man carried on a string about his neck a good "tin cup" and what is a rather good idea - a packet full of raisins.
After a few moments of rest the food made its appeal.
The college man wondered - why not have a warm lunch - and a hot drink in the snow bound dining room. A flat stone for skillet was placed over a warm generous crack, this great slice of juicy meat was soon simmering and yielding an aroma far more homelike than that of the sulphur fumes - and as to warm drink -the cup packed full of ice from a neighboring ledge soon was a cupful of wholesome and steaming fluid.
The aged member of the group - a Quaker indeed in whom there was no guile and no deceit, announced he would wait and rest at the rock while the younger men pressed onward and upward. This was undoubtedly the part of wisdom. From here on was dangerous and steep climbing.
The winter and springtime snowfall on those giant slopes is tremendous and beyond imagination. Great gorges and deep canyons are filled with snow and ice ages old and on the very steep slopes the heavy weight of snow presses ever downward. In some places there is melting underneath the snow on the rocky surface of the mountain and an underneath waterway courses somewhere down to the lower altitudes. All of this suggests many things that might occur. One of these is that the lower snow breaks or separates from the upper and more firmly grounded upper slopes of the snow and a huge crack called a crevasse is formed with sometimes a narrow unbroken strip forming what is called a snowbridge over this yawning abyss. To fall into one of these crevasses as some have done means never to return for the ill fated one falls between the mountain itself and the deep ice and snow covering melted from underneath - falls - no one could guess where nor how fast but certainly beyond all help.
Soon our small party of three came to a great new crevasse - and there a snowbridge. No one could quite estimate the long distance to be tramped in going around one end or the other of this great opening. The guide was a man of caution and experience and was somewhat prepared for emergencies. He had carried with him a long, small but strong rope. He looked very thoughtfully at the snow bridge then gave as his judgment we could cross on the bridge. With one end of the rope about him and the other wrapped about an "alpan stalk" and held by the other two men, the guide ventured safely to the other side, planted his "alpen stalk" so the rope was stretched tightly across the bridge - the second member crossed - then these two gathered the slackened rope as the third member came with the end fastened securely around him. Thus that danger point was passed and on the return the group followed another course and crossed on the snow above the end of the crevasse. No one climbed the mountain next day but two days later a party of climbers said the snow bridge had fallen in.
One might surmise the crevasse is merely something awful but rather it is a thing of rarest beauty, of richest splendor. The afternoon sun in the cloudless heavens can this very afternoon cast the full measure of his radiant splendor into this rare treasure chest of perfect jewels and lo - a million rainbows have been ground to dust and sprinkled here to sparkle in its drapery - a million million starfires have been borrowed from the light years distances to add their luster and their glory, and all the rare jewels of the planet - and all the planets in the universe have been brought for one brief hour - all pearls, and rubies, all agates and jaspers and sapphires and emeralds and amethysts and diamonds and whatever jewels are perfect and that men love - all thrown in reckless profusion but where each could gather for itself the golden rays of the afternoon sun and re-interpret them and thrust them forth again to delight the wondering beholding eyes of three men, for the same great miracle had occurred through the countless millenniums when none but God and the angels could behold.
Some years later this Quaker looked upon the royal jewels of historic interest in Britain - and he has learned perhaps something of rare gems but not until he views the city of jeweled foundation stones, of gates of pearl, and streets of gold - all lighted by what is far beyond the glory of a midsummer sun, for "the Glory of God lightens it and the Lamb is the light there of" - not until that scene, can he expect a more glorious one than that revealed on one of God's earthly mountains.
The mountain top is yet to be gained - so onward, steep now, difficult, dangerous, - hard steep ice requiring use of hatchet to cut steps and requiring great care and limited conversation, - but it is done and the three are at the summit - Mount Hood is beneath their feet. For a brief half hour this Friend held the highest position of any Friends Minister in America - in all the world. Even so it was a little under 12,000 feet and for such a limited time, yet in holy associations - for all about were companion snow caps. Just across the Columbia River in Washington rose Mount Adams and Mount Saint Helens and farther north Mt. Rainier - while a little to the South in Oregon stands Jefferson and the Three Sisters - and to make the story seem larger - away to the Southward - all day long in the clear atmosphere the white figure of beautiful Mt. Shasta in California was visible. Such were the rare privileges of the difficult day of upward striving - and such were the friendly associates at the end of the journey.
The aeroplane had not then been perfected so it was quite appropriate to repeat,
We have not wings, we cannot soar,
But we have feet to scale and climb
By slow degrees, and more and more,
The mighty summits of our time.
This was a day's achievement never to be forgotten. Names were written and placed there in the iron box - then with greater care than ever for a short distance the descent must be made and then with a little instruction one learns the use of the alpen stalk for guiding and makes a toboggan of himself and approaches the timber line at record speed - weary, wet and happy. A substantial, rich tasting meal was ready in the early evening and while the water still murmured in the small streamlets, weary men were asleep with burning upturned faces, but gaining the rest for the return trip to their homes during the two remaining days of an eventful week.