Journal of Charles K. Landis

Founder of Vineland


Feb. 29, 1868-Saturday

Rose in improved health. Slept well. Find myself very weak. Weather clear and cold. Ground covered with snow and ice.

Col. Bostwick called. Informed him that it would be necessary to attend to the business at Bridgeton and Greenwich on Monday. That if I was not well enough, he could attend to it, and take House along with him. He said he did not believe it could be done without me, that it was too important. This is the eternal story of everybody. I believe the Colonel is willing, but really thinks this. It is all imaginary. If I am not well enough, he can go. The Vineland Railway must not stop because I am sick.

Read the Finance Report of Township affairs of the Township Committe for the past year, published in "The Weekly." The condition of affairs could not be better. The cash on hand and the balance on hand on the last year's duplicate will clear off the entire debt.

Some time ago an agricultural lecturer of considerable pretensions lectured in Vineland and propounded the theory that vineyards and orchards should not be cultivated, but that the grass should be allowed to grow. This would do incalculable damage. All the lazy men would be sure to adapt such a theory to their ruin. I at once set about correcting this mistake. I obtained letters from P. T. Quinn and a statement from Mr. Yeomans, eminent fruit growers, against the theory, and the same from Mr. Cummings and Fleming, peach growers of Delaware. This will set the people right. I see that my advice about having a fruit growers' convention, for the purpose of forming a fruit growers' union, has been taken. It has been called for next week.

Heard to-day that Wiswell is going into the shoe business.

He has decided to buy Howe out. This is a good thing for the place and me to get rid of Howe, who has behaved ungratefully to me. The most astonishing part of it is, I hear, that a Boston Company with a capital of a million of dollars have decided to establish saw and planing mills in Florida and have engaged Howe as Superintendent of the whole concern. That is, they engaged a shoemaker for such a business when they might have had experts from Maine. This is the way company affairs are apt to be managed. I have been trying to get Wiswell here for a long time.

I have decided to reduce my business and personal expenses one half. This is necessary.

During the day re-read a portion of the memoirs of the Duchess D'Alvantes of the time of Napoleon I. Also confidential correspondence between Napoleon I. and his brother Joseph. Several years ago, at the commencement of the war, I prepared extracts from the letters of Napoleon, of all in them which related to military strategy, and sent them to several papers to publish. It would have been of great value and interesting, but there was not a paper that would publish them. The hints would have been invaluable to our military men. I now have the document among my papers. Retired at 6 o'clock. March 1, 1868. Sunday.

Weather cloudy and cold.

Read a very elaborate description of the battles Ligney, Quatre Bras and Waterloo by a British officer. Waterloo bears some resemblance to the battle of Gettysburg. The position held by the English was similar to that held by the Federals, and the positions and movements of the Rebels were very similar to those of the French. The difference, upon the whole, was that Napoleon gained great advantage at Ligney and Quatre Bras. It is very much regretted that Napoleon did not lead the last charge instead of Ney. It might have inspired the troops with such ardor as to gain success, or he might have died, which would have been a fitting close to so remarkable a life. His death, itself, would have wiped out all the glory of the victory of the enemy. Also read Scott's description of the battle of Mareugo. This battle presents an instructive lesson in the handling of troops in the midst of great emergencies. The French soldiers must have been in an admirable state of discipline to have enabled them to make an entire change of front in the midst of a battle.

Walked out for exercise, about two miles. Called on O. D. Graves. Had a long talk about Vineland matters. Graves is a veteran Vinelander. He came here in the spring of 1862. A singular circumstance is connected with this purchase. Landis Avenue, at that time, had just been opened and there were no landmarks. He wanted to buy a five acre lot. I knew that at Landis Avenue and West Avenue there was a high and beautiful location, and I walked out with him early in the morning to show it to him. The weather was hazy, and instead of showing him that lot, I made the mistake of stopping on a rise of land between West Avenue and the station, in the midst of the town plot, which looked exactly similar to the former. The distance looked sufficiently great, on account of the hazy weather. He liked the place and decided to buy it. I marked a tree, and he left to bring his wife to see it. The next time that we got there I found the mistake. He insisted that it was a bargain, and considering that the mistake was my own carelessness, I let him have it. That is I sold him five acres of town lots for only thirty dollars per acre. Single town lots in this vicinity have since sold for $300 each. Some might not consider it magnanimous in Mr. Graves to have insisted upon the bargain, but his wife was pleased with the spot, and at that time Vineland was not what it is now. I never regretted the circumstance, myself, because it did him good, and he has always been a true friend to the interests of the place, under all circumstances. Being a Democrat, his patience has often been sorely tried by much personal difficulty with people, but he has always stood by Vineland in sunshine and storm. The same may be said of his little wife, who, though small in person, makes up in intelligence. Spent an hour with Graves in conversation, and returned home.

Felt very unwell after my walk, utterly prostrated, could not keep up, retired to my lounge, and then to bed. Had a good night's rest. Had a bad cough and pain in the chest all day If it were not for the railroad and other things of vital importance to the interests of Vineland, I would take the cars and go to Charleston, where I would remain until the middle of April. March 2, 1868. Monday.

Rose at 7 1/2 o'clock. Weather cloudy and cold.

Col. Bostwick called. Got him to go to Bridge ton and Greenwich. Unable to accompany him from indisposition. Mr. Ellis and Roberts called about Township matters. Had sent for them on Saturday. Arranged for them to see people and induce them to attend the caucus on Wednesday.

Informed by my surveyor Fry that Hartman has been cutting down blazed trees for and marking boundries. Wrote to my counsel at Bridgeton to have him prevented.

Mr. Gwynneth promised to see several men on Saturday. Today he informed me that he did not see them because of a sick cow. He volunteered to see them upon Township matters. John Haswell called in -sent for him. We talked over Township affairs, he took tea with me.

In the evening Parsons called in with a visitor from California. Several other visitors were introduced during the day. I fear that it will not amount to much as the roads are covered with ice.

During the day read "Plutarch's Lives," having read it before, I remembered the most of it. When a boy, I read Plutarch a great deal. It is wonderful how much he makes of biographical material which must have been scanty. He writes biography in the style of successive anecdotes. When a boy I was much more ambitious than I am now, since I have gained some experience of the world and experienced some of the persecution of mankind. March 3, 1868.

Rose at 7 1/2. Weather clear and very cold-coldest of the winter.

Col. Bostwick returned from Bridgeton. Had seen Mr. David P. Elmer to get his consent to act as director of the Vineland R. R. All right. Mr. Elmer is a man of character and influence. Mr. Bejamin F. Maule of Greenwich was recommended, but did not see him. I have ordered a meeting of directors tomorrow morning at 10 o'clock to elect General John S. Irick of Vincentown, Mr. Elmer and Mr. Maule directors in the board. My plan is this; first to elect these gentlemen directors, in order to have the entire line represented, second, to have the board meet in Philadelphia and proceed to Smyrna, in order that they may fully appreciate the importance of the Delaware trade. Third, to return by crossing the river to Stow Creek, overland to Bridgeton, and bring a number of the first business men and peach growers of Delaware along and have a great public meeting in Bridgeton. The people of Bridgeton will then realize the fact that we will have a through business. Then to proceed along the entire line to Pemberton. After that I will start the canvassers along the entire route. After we have raised all the money that can be raised, we will hold a meeting of the board and decide what is to be done about grading the road. I now think that the road once graded, is built.

A little girl, Miss Dyer, called to get subscriptions to the Baptist Sunday School. Subscribed a small sum.

Rev. R. J. Andrews called, wants twenty acres at the corner of West Avenue and Oak Road for a camp meeting. I have sold it. Hope that he may make arrangement. States that the Methodist Seminary Committee think of starting the school at once by renting rooms and buildings. This is a good idea. It will also be a good thing for the place. I encouraged him to do so.

Read Plutarch's Life of Lipander. This is an instructive life. Shows how the most clever man may over reach himself by dishonesty. Read a speech of Henry Clay. He was a genuine statesman. That is a man who understood those principles in industry which would make hi6 country more prosperous. The only understanding, which, in my opinion, really constitutes a statesman. Retired at 10 o'clock and slept well. Could not go out during the day on account of indisposition.