Journal of Charles K. Landis
Founder of Vineland
Feb. 14, 1868:
Weather clear and moderate.
Read considerable of Robert Dale Owen's book, "Fool Folks." Cannot gather from it anything that is new.
Walked out in the afternoon with one of my agents, C. B. Campbell. This gentleman is a man of talent. He has long been the president of the Plum Street Hall Society, composed of spiritualists, atheists and outsiders generally. Campbell is charitable, public spirited, always doing something to advance the interests of the place. He has gone through all the fights, the opposition, the railings and the bitterness. God knows we have seen enough.
We walked up the railroad and back through the park. I hope to make this park a beautiful feature of Vineland.
In the evening attended the Episcopal fair and exhibition of tableaux at Plum St. Hall. Remained until it was half over, and then went with Capt. A. P. Wilson to the social assembly which meets every two weeks at the Avenue House for dancing. Danced with Miss Mears and Miss Wooding. Miss Mears is a pretty and sensible girl. Remained until it broke up at 12 o'clock.
Disturbed during the night by the dogs coming into my room. These dogs rule my house. They do not belong to me, but I appear to belong to them. At least they go on this principle.
Feb. 15, 1868:
Weather clear and moderate.
Did not sleep well. Imagined that the dance was going on all night. This is the way with me when I go to any kind of an evening party. I remain in a half wakeful state and the dream of the party haunts me and disturbs my rest.
Looked at my new house. As with all such things, progress is slow.
Had a long conversation with Mr. Cottrell, of the Township Committee, about Township affairs. In my absence at the White Mountains and Saratoga, in the summer of 1864, and about the time of the drafts, the citizens met together and authorized the Township Committee to raise money for bounties. John Kandle was the active man in the Committee at that time, being a great talker about what he knew and, of course, what others did not know. He ran the machine at a desperate rate. Neither books nor minutes were kept. Township bonds were signed in blank and given to Mr. Kandle and others to fill up as they got the men. W. G. Smith was secretary of the Committee, one of its members. I could never have anticipated such a state of things. When I returned I immediately stopped these proceedings, but not until the Township was some $60,000 in debt. I then had to financier this load and carry it over a number of years in order to make taxation light. I endorsed many Township notes, and obtained money from Millville and Cumberland banks. It was a risk, but the case was desperate. The credit of the Township had to be maintained or Vineland would fail. My enemies have since falsely stated that I myself actually established the debt and expended the money in my own interests. This originated with Cook and Earle, but I thought it was effectually set at rest at the public meeting last spring. Cottrell tells me he was surprised to hear the misrepresentation reiterated only the other day, but being acquainted with all the circumstances he contradicted it.
Drove out in the afternoon and invited old Mr. Crocker to accompany me -only a short drive and soon returned.
Found James H. Nixon waiting for me. He says that my supplement to the charter of the Vineland R. R. will pass the House on Tuesday. He thinks the movement about setting us off to Atlantic County and changing the county buildings, and other things originate with John Kandle and a man by the name of Douglas in Bridgeton, in order to make money out of the county and several townships by getting them to agree to spend money to defeat the bills. In this dodge they will be disappointed.
Sold five acres of wild land.
Got a dispatch from John Burk that he had sold the Shaker hoods in Chicago for cash, and would be back on Monday. Good for Johnny.
Towards evening felt tired and exhausted.
Went to bed at 7 1/2 o'clock and slept till 7 1/2 o'clock the next morning. Sleep is my medicine.
Feb. 16, 1868:
Weather cloudy and moderate. Cleared off during the day.
Went with my sisters to the Methodist Church to hear my friend Andrews. As my luck would have it, Andrews did not preach, but a superannuated old clergyman recently come into the place. His sermon was nothing but written piatitudes and a repetition of platitudes. The effect of a dull sermon upon me is extraordinary. On several occasions it has made me sick for an entire day.
In the afternoon called upon Dr. Lansing and Capt Wilson and accompanied him in a call upon Dr. McClintock. The Doctor was much excited upon the subject of the opposition of some carpenters and others in the place to his American building block. He desires to get a contract to serve the seminary with material, and they stand in the way. I hope he will succeed, as it is important to the interests of Vineland in developing a home industry. In order to encourage him I have given him sand for nothing, but I fear that he lacks means as well as management. If he gets his business fairly under way he can sell out to someone who can carry it along.
In the evening read a portion of Byron's "Childe Harold." When younger, I read Byron a good deal, but for several years back have not looked at his works. "Childe Harold" now reads more beautiful than ever. Feb. 17, 1868:
Weather clear. Became cloudy and dreary. The day turned to rain and snow.
Wrote a letter to Rev. R. J. Andrews asking him to use his influence in favor of Dr. McClintock's bricks. Wrote a new law regulating injunctions in chancery cases. It provides that no injunction shall be granted without notice to respondent, not less than five days, to show cause why it should not be granted, and requiring good and sufficient security to be given, with some other provisions. The granting of injunctions is greatly abused in this State. I think that the Chancellor is an unnecessary incumberance. In the future I may make a move to have the Chancellorship done away with and Chancery powers given to our ordinary courts, the same as in Pennsylvania. The law I prepared is much more elaborate than above set forth, but for the present may suffice. I hope that Nixon will get it through.
Looked at my new house. Talked to several visitors, strangers. A gentleman and his wife who have spent the last two years in Montgomery, Alabama. He has been a quartermaster in the army. He states that it is unsafe for any Northern man to settle in the South at the present time. He anticipates various difficulties.
Dr. McClintock called in the afternoon. Had a long talk about township and county affairs. Also about spiritualism. He is a believer, and stated to me some things truly remarkable.
Mr. Burk returned on the evening train from Chicago. He succeeded in selling the goods after a great deal of trouble. I think he did well considering the character of the goods. He sold for cash, and then had a desperate time to get his money. He says that there are many people in Chicago who do business "sharp." This owing to the number of adventurers at the present time in the place. Time will bring these comparatively to an end.
Retired at 10 o'clock and slept soundly.
Feb. 18. 1868:
Rose at 7 o'clock. Weather clear, cold and windy. Thaws in the sun.
Col. Bostwick called. Rev. R. J. Andrews called. We had a long talk about the projected seminary. He informs me that several mean men in the place are exciting opposition to it, with the view to get rid of the payment of their subscriptions. That some say outright that if the American block is adopted, they will not pay up. Told him to go ahead. That the opposition was only of a few and of the baser sort.
Saw Mr. Browning. He appears to be undecided about buying. He made an offer for one place, but the party backed out.
Looked at new house.
Rode out in the afternoon with Beacham. Roads fearfully muddy. My dog Carlo followed me. He came home, coat covered with mud and dirt. He got into the house, sneaked up stairs, and rolled himself over the beds. He came down with such a sneaking, hangdog look that we suspected something was wrong, and Mother went upstairs to see, when we could see the reason. The rascal then got out of the way and saved himself a thrashing. This dog is full of such tricks.
Read the "Pickwick Papers." Retired at 10 o'clock and slept soundly.
Feb. 19, 1868:
Weather moderate. Cloudy and spitting snow in the morning, but cleared off beautiful and warm.
Mr. Browning bought a very beautiful property at the corner of Oak Road and West Avenue. It is well timbered, which is a great ornament.
"The Independent" this week has a lot of dirty little squibs against myself with a view to excite dissatisfaction among the settlers.
Drove out in the afternoon with J. C. Parsons in company. The roads were fearfully muddy.
Mr. Taylor called upon me from Blue Anchor. Said that he got up the settlement, but that he is now out of the company and that it has mostly gone into the hands of Dr. Haskell. That the installments are not paid upon the property as they come due, and that the Doctor does not know how to advance the interest of the settlers. He desired that I should do something in the matter. Told him that I did nothing out of Vineland, that one colony was quite as much as any one could manage, and that would absorb his entire existence, body and soul. This actually appears to be the case with Vineland. It is with me day and night. It requires the most unremitting attention that suffers no division with anything else. No matter where I may be, at the theatre or anywhere else, I have some Vineland problem that remains to be worked out.
In my drive to-day I noticed many buildings under way.
Received a letter from John T. Nixon telling me that Grigg was going to take more testimony in Camden on Friday morning at 10 o'clock. I do not know what more testimony he can produce, except by perjury.
Walked out in the evening for the sake of a little exercise. Very muddy, nearly lost my rubbers.
Retired at 10 o'clock. Slept well. Dreamed that I embarked for a sail upon the ocean. When I was out, it became stormy. I ordered the vessel turned, and landed in safety. This dream was vivid as life
(TO BE CONTINUED)