In all these seven years there was no indication of the wife's physical condition or possible recovery and that situation with years of his work and heavy responsibility prompted the doctor to say to the Pilgrim, - "You must get to a higher altitude and a dryer climate or else your life's work will terminate."
With a distant sense that at least his own family might need him awhile longer and that a change of atmosphere might be good for all, such readjustments were looked forward to. Many important things were involved. The positive resignation from College duties was simple. Times were not prosperous and money not plentiful. A most satisfactory home must be sold and realtors calmly said "real estate is not changing hands at the present time." Ill and inexperienced in some matters the old unfailing medium of prayer was available - just simple as a child's request for needed help. That was on Sunday evening. On Monday morning while the family was at breakfast the doorbell rang. At the door was a perfect stranger who after words of greeting announced that he had seen the notice in the Friday evening's weekly "Graphic" that the home was for sale with piano and some other furniture and he supposed the price mentioned was about right and if he took it the deal would be a cash deal, but he could not be too positive until his wife could come to see it and that would be on the coming Saturday morning, since they lived some miles away. "Could the property be held until that time?" - "Well, yes, it could be held."
The closing of the deal was just as simple. The wife liked it. They wanted the piano, the furniture, the garden tools and the prices were satisfactory and the money was paid when the deed was made and signed.
One other very personal difficulty presented itself. The charms of Oregon with beauty everywhere had always called and always will, for desirable means of transportation. His love for horses stirred within the Quaker Pilgrim and seemed to compel some action. A better horse than he could afford was for sale at a downtown stable. He was a bay horse, two white stockinged back feet and a large white spot on his forehead, he was young, perfectly sound, high spirited large and strong but well trained, he was very active, a showy creature and a remarkable traveller for an animal of his weight and power. On the street he was extremely alert and beautiful in action and most people believed him dangerous. His beautiful head and kindly eye told only of sense and gentleness and unqualified kindness - of good, wholesome affection.
A price of $250 seemed high for a horse - but not for one like "Gainer" - and he was purchased. Then there must be harness and conveyance. A type of buggy found quite satisfactory was one with two seats the rear of which could easily be removed. Thus friends might be asked for an evening drive or to go to meeting or other occasions, while with the rear seat detached there was a small space for camping equipment for trips to the beach or to the mountains.
With such an outfit there was little or no hesitation for Gainer or Prince as he was sometimes called could go wherever there was a highway - and sometimes where there was none. One trip was up the little Santiam river over the Cascade mountains a long hard steep climb - but what satisfaction with a horse like that. Then on eastward up the Deschutes river to where the trout fishing is just right and where camping is a pleasure, beside the swift cold water flowing from the melting snows below the white mountain tops, with camp on the banks of the stream, where grass is green and soft and under the shadows of age old stately forests, where deer and bear may roam, where the air is high and pure and crisp and cold in August. No wonder one might love a horse who could take his master and family to such a royal spot for rest, or could do anything else which could be expected of a horse in city or in country with grace and dignity.
And now he must be sold. Not quite that. When his manger was packed with sweet smelling hay and there was oats in the feed trough and bedding on his floor and he was royally content - the affectionate good by was said - which he did not understand, how could he. A beloved neighbor pledged to care for him and sell him for exactly the price he had cost - and this he did.
The little girl was not compelled to say good by to the bright, intelligent and companionable Cocker Spaniel Dog, for they could take him along.
To say good bye to loyal, earnest, striving, compassionate, understanding human friends is much harder than to say it to a beautiful horse. This enforced move from Oregon was not easy to take and it was toward a land and a manner of life they knew not.
The first stop was at Boise, Idaho.
At that time some interest was being shown in a "sage brush" area of the Boise valley and near the Snake River near the "out west" town of Caldwell and near the border line of eastern Oregon. A new irrigation project was already in the course of development with the construction of a dam and great reservoir at "deer flat." Already enough Friends families had settled on claims to give the settlement a distinctly Quaker appearance. An invitation to visit the meeting on First day was accepted. Two days before the Sabbath the Pilgrim and family were guests in the neighborhood and were shown about by the settlers who seemed to have more time and sagebrush than anything else. The great landscape of immense sage was after all a good sign. Only the best of soil, what they call volcanic ash, could produce such veritable forests while as to time it did seem good to feel a sense of freedom in that soft desert atmosphere.
Opportunities were there, provided the irrigation water could be brought and engineers assured the possibility. Some faith was necessary as is true in every venture. Homestead rights might be obtained if one had a little ready money to pay for limited improvements - thus there were some speculative material opportunities in this pioneer enterprise. The people were good people and believed in their enterprise. Some had homes there; very plain ones but they seemed good to the "owners" - and they gave forth the spirit of cheer and of hospitality. That these visiting Friends would be welcome there could be no doubt. The meeting, at that time held in a private home, was a good meeting with every evidence that the Friends were worshiping "in Spirit and in Truth."
During a pleasant social afternoon, report was brought that a very desirable tract of land might very soon change hands and that two men were about ready to secure it and divide it between them but that both desired the same half and they were in a squabble about it. A prominent Friend much interested in the enterprise came to the Pilgrim of the Quaker Highway with the question "Would thee not like to go into Caldwell this afternoon and see what we can do about getting that claim of land?" The answer was "It does not seem consistent that a Minister of the Gospel in the Society of Friends should become so anxious about worldly affairs as to disregard the sacredness of the Sabbath day in an endeavor to gain a tract of land. It is my judgment if the Lord wants me to have that claim I will get it anyway and if it is not His will I am better off without it."
The next day some circumstances seemed to prevent these quibbling men to settle the matter and at about ten o'clock in the morning those in charge of the transfer learned that the Quaker was in the office and inquired if he might be interested in the entire tract. Receiving such assurance and that the payment might be immediate and in cash, the controversy was at once ended and a new pioneer held certain rights to a claim of 160 acres of sagebrush desert land.
There were few improvements there and they were poor ones, yet camp life was possible. The pioneer could do little real labor and heavy work was impossible yet gradually - very gradually a little clearing was made and the sage bushes made excellent firewood. Soon a sort of concrete foundation formed the outline of a dwelling which presently came into being - two rooms, tight and cozy and sleeping rooms above, second hand furniture carefully selected answered all purposes. Presently a team of coarse horses, a wagon and a buggy and a few chickens were obtained. Water for drinking and domestic purposes was obtained from wells from one to three miles away and conveyed in five or ten gallon milk cans, while water for stock was hauled either from "old pipeline gulch" where there was a stream and pool of water coming from irrigated sections or dipped from the Boise River some two miles away.
Everybody seemed poor and everyone was hopeful and cheerful.
All took great satisfaction in the forward look. Things near about were somewhat dull and gray except for a profusion of wildflowers in the early springtime - or perhaps fresh fallen snow in winter but the distant view in any direction was most charming with matchless mountain ranges with every morning a superb sunrise and every evening a newly painted sunset. Real pioneer life is always joyful in the forward and sometimes distant view.
Sunday was Meeting Day - always that with every household; with the afternoon spent at some neighbors home or a drive to some other locality.
A prayer meeting in some home would bring many together each Wednesday evening and these were frequently followed by home made ice cream and cake - then each family would stroll along dusty roads or paths a mile or two back home. One rather strange custom might have seemed borrowed from Puritan times, for the head of each household usually carried a gun, which in this case was a small rifle, but not to shoot Indians. This sagebrush country had from times far remote been the undisputed domain of coyotes and jackrabbits. There were perhaps times when the right to live there might have been under discussion between these two types of inhabitants and those discussions seemed to have developed some speed on the part of both. Whatever the past - at this time a small rifle seemed a justifiable instrument to carry to prayer meeting - and let it be stated not without results. At home each cabin might well have had a score board at every door and every window as a matter of convenience. A rifle had a place in many conveyances and this friend had a good horse named Thomas with white face and white feet, and said horse would allow his master to sit quietly on the back of his charger to shoot a jack rabbit along the way. As to shooting coyotes - well sometimes they got one - and sometimes they did not for the coyote was extremely clever and seemed to know when a gun was near and when his enemy was unarmed and made his appearance or his absence accordingly.
This sort of pioneer life did much to restore health and strength to the Quaker, but it required a period of time. There were some features of discouragement, chiefly that he could do so little. Not much preaching - not much work - just living along. He believed in the enterprise and was solicited to be one of a small company of promoters whereby he might receive commissions on sales and help locate settlers who might be induced to come, but he refused to allow his name to be used in that connection. He did write the first advertising leaflet for the Greenleaf project but would not sign his name least someone might be unduly influenced. Time has proven the soundness of the enterprise but no minister of the Gospel is wise who uses his influence as a promoter in the realm of material affairs.
When a good Friend begged him to let this Friend and his son take over the homestead he did sell at a reasonably good figure though to have retained and developed the land would have been far better.
When the transfer was made it was evident he had sold his home and was not yet physically fit to undertake his life work again. Accordingly he accepted the opportunity of purchasing an 80 acre tract, well improved and on a lower and well irrigated level, only two miles from the sagebrush claim and that much nearer town.
It is quite impossible to enter into detail here, but let it be said the change was a real change as from desert to oasis. A good and well constructed home, with barn and sheds and all necessary outbuildings and fences, with shade trees and orchard of six acres, of farm grass and alfalfa fields, of gardens and growing crops. It had been well cared for and continued to be. It was stocked with excellent stock and there seemed to be abundance of everything. To have been content there would have meant a carefree future - or it would have meant something else.
At times he preached in the Caldwell Methodist Church and his last service there was to hold at the request of the church a two weeks series of meetings just before Christmas time. A year and a half in Idaho, ten months of it on the sagebrush claim and eight months a real farmer making some money above expenses. Friends multiplied - new settlers came frequently. He and his family had done a small part in making the neighborhood. He had helped in the meeting, had hauled the first lumber to construct the church building, had helped in carpenter work, and in the first load of coal to keep the building comfortable, he had helped organize Greenleaf Academy and was President of the first Board of Trustees and employed the first teacher. He was throughout his sojourn there teacher of the young people's class in Bible School and on picnic occasions demonstrated his abilities in the sport of Base Ball. He was one of the three men to drive to the Snake River one evening to bring back the "big fish story", - Three men, four lines, all night sleeping in the open , starting home at seven in the morning with only four fish - not such a big story - well the four weighed 190 pounds - the largest one weighing 111 3/4 pounds - and the entire catch was freely divided to the entire neighborhood. The fish were of the Sturgeon family and good.
During this year and a half in Idaho this Quaker pioneer had continued as clerk of Oregon Yearly Meeting for the meetings in Idaho are a part of that Yearly Meeting. Two trips were made to Newberg during their absence. A call to Wichita, Kansas to serve as pastor of that meeting was answered by telegram when the Physician calmly but resolutely said, "It will be a disappointment to you and to them for you are not fit to undertake work of that sort."
One other eastern trip is quite worthy of mention. There had been carried on what had been called Friends Quinquenial Conference, the first held in Richmond Indiana and five years later another which was held in Indianapolis, Indiana which was understood to have the power and the authority to merge itself into a Five Years Meeting of the Society of Friends in America. To this second conference the Clerk of Oregon Yearly Meeting had been appointed as one of Oregon's Delegates and he was a member of the committee to have power of transfer of authority from the Quinquenial Conference to the Five Years Meeting. Now five years more had passed and he was again appointed Delegate from Oregon Yearly Meeting to the Five Years Meeting to be held in Richmond, Indiana. In these months in Idaho with the modest service he was able to give, he had given much thought to the Missionary Activities of the various Yearly Meetings and had conceived a plan of coordinating all the Missionary Activities of the Friends of the Five Years Meeting under one Board of Missions and one General Superintendent. This idea had apparently come to the minds of others and began to take form in the Missionary Committee of the Five Years Meeting and members of the committee came to the Pilgrim one afternoon to say that the Committee had unanimously decided to call him to the position of General Secretary of the Five Years Meetings Missionary Board.
For many years his goal for missionary work had increased and the opportunities in this proposed service seemed wonderful. The questions of family responsibility and of his own physical fitness were to be considered. An appeal to President Rosenberger, for direction to one of Richmond's best physicians helped him to an evening session with a fine doctor. The examination and check up were complete and very few questions were asked. When thorough examination was completed the good doctor said very calmly -"You are not going to die any time soon I think, but I shall be obliged to tell you, you must for some time to come live free from responsibility, - not take on any new work, be absolutely regular in your habits - especially of eating and sleeping. Yours is a nervous condition which results from responsibility, anxiety, tense nerves and muscles - a condition which is frequent with many college men. Do not assume any difficult problems and be regular in your habits of life."
Any dreams of helping in some great new problems calling for conferences, for much travel and interrupted habits of eating and sleeping seemed to fade out into the dark. Next morning he went before the Missionary Board to thank those good people for the expression of their confidence and to assure them that with deepest personal disappointment and sincere regret he must not accept their call. On his way down the stairs from that Committee Meeting he met Charles Tebbetts and reviewed briefly to him what had occurred with the statement, "I think thee will be made Secretary of the Five Years Meeting Missionary enterprise." - and that is just what came to pass.
For the Pilgrim it was back to the Idaho life for a little longer.
But life must be considered seriously and the Friends Church in Los Angeles, California was insistent. For a little time it was a question between Toronto, Canada, the Island of Jamaica or the City of Los Angeles. Now it was decided. A short visit in Boise, a brief stop in Oregon and a delightful trip over the scenic portions of Oregon and California and all arrived safely in Los Angeles for New Year in the Church and during the week a New Year's Picnic in the Park.