Category: The Vineland Historical Magazine Volume 2 Number 3
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The Kellogg Family

By Rev. Day Otis Kellogg


These women were the daughters of Elisha Hinman of New London, a Captain in such navy as the Continental Congress created. He married a Miss Dalbear, the only daughter, as the tradition comes to me, of a descendant of a rich Welch family, and on occasion her father had armed his negro slaves with muskets and put them to patrol his place and drive away obnoxious suitors from his captivating daughter. Benedict Arnold used to visit her father's house and she knew him well. When Sir Henry Clinton sent Arnold to ravage the Connecticut coasts the second time, Captain Hinman's ship chased him down the Sound and was only two or three hours sail behind. It was necessary that Arnold's myrmidous should do what they came to do quickly. He landed his troops in detachments, one in New London on the west side of the river, and another on the Groton side to take the fort on the hill where Colonel Ledyard's monument now stands. Arnold rode into New London and recognized Mrs. Hinman as he passed her house. He stopped and offered to spare any property of hers if she would point it out. I fear that pious woman thereupon told several lies, but like Captain Shandy's oath, there must be a tear on them in the Recording Angel's book, for she claimed the title to a number of houses which were not hers at all but belonged to sundry widows and other deserving people. She then went to the roof of her house to see what was going on at the Groton Fort, and she beheld the white flag of surrender, the massacre of escaping captives, the flames burning the quarters, and the wagon-load of wounded soldiers turned down the hill to rush unguided with them to distinction. Below in the street sat Arnold on his horse, and the incensed woman descended to her chamber, took from a closet a loaded musket, primed it, ran the barrel over the window sill, and taking good aim at the traitor, pulled the trigger. Alas for the cause of retributive justice, the gun flashed in the pan, and only made a noise without doing execution. Instantly the woman drew the gun out of sight, and as Arnold turned toward the window to demand what the noise meant, she replied with quick self possession, but with a less justifiable departure from truth than previous, that she had just broken a chair. The incident has been made the subject of an oil painting by the artist Daniel Huntington of New York, who had married one of Mrs. Hinman's descendants, and it is in possession of another descendant, Mrs. Thomas Day of Bergen Point, N. J.

Apropos of this Ledyard monument, I was sent to New London to see a sick Uncle, one of Mrs. Hinman's grandsons, who was dying from disease contracted in arduous missionary work in Iowa, a man for whom my little son Oliver Dimon is named. It was thirty years ago and the State Commissioners were there for the sake of starting the foundations of the monument. They permitted me to accompany them to Groton on the day when the graves which were on the site of the proposed structure were to be opened and the remains decently resepultured. One of the commissioners with phrenological fancies had provided himself with calipers to guage the dimensions of Col. Ledyard's head. I remember well as the stained sculls came from their long resting places, how this gentleman turned them over, selacted the noblest and measured it in various directions, but while it indelibly impressed upon me the fact that Ledyard was outrageously assassinated at Groton, it gave no life or reality to that personage.

For myself, I was Benoni to my mother, the child of her sorrows, for her wasted lips must have kissed me for the last time when I was three years old. I suppose she must have kissed me, and it has been a life-long grief that I cannot remember it. I went to sleep at her funeral and the minister wrote some verses about it. It was on a Friday, unlucky day, the last day of March in 1837, that I began to take my place in human society. I got through long frocks, gingham aprons, several schools and into Round Abouts in Troy when my father (I ought rather to say the mother I then had) went off to Glasgow and sent me to a Baptist minister's house in North Bennington, Vermont, to stay, and he placed me in school to another Baptist minister at the village academy. Both of these men were eventually run out of town; the preacher to save what was left of the reputation in the Dorcas Society of four elderly milliners, and the teacher because he was detected in washing and re-using cancelled postage stamps. I escaped from their Tartarus by taking French leave. The circumstances seemed rather tragic to me at the time, pathetic to those who cared for me, and highly humorous to us all in retrospect, but they are too trivial to narrate for preservation. Dr. Charles Anthon's school in New York, notable for the severe administration of an old bachelor who was at bottom really kindhearted, prepared me for college. It was an excellent school and was located on the south side of Murray Street a few doors from Broadway in 1854, but it will always seem to me characteristic of its rector, who was in truth a monk of the intellect, bound to celibacy, indefatigable industry and renunciation of everything but study. I graduated A. B. at Hob art College, Geneva, N. Y. in 1857. It was the year Dr. Benjamin Hale, so rubicund, rotund and polished, retired from the College. Morning prayer was daily read in the chapel, and the president always appeared in the desk to read the service on the day of the month when it fell to the minister in the psalter to recite the verse "There is little Benjamin, their ruler" as persistently as for years the indecorous students broke into plaudits on hearing the words. Of my preceptors there, I recall with admiration for their manliness and good scholarship, Dr. William Dexter Wilson, subsequently of Cornell University and Albert Sprouls Wheeler, now of Yale College.

A year in my brother's store in Boston carried me through the curious religious revival and the severe financial crises of 18578. It is my opinion that the trade disturbances inflicted by the Peirce tariff and the enormous amount of accomodation notes then congesting every bank and merchant's bill book, for which no value had ever been created, are adequate explanations of that crisis, and that a sense of some impending calamity prepared the public mind for religious influences, just as the apprehension of Christ's coming turned Europe wild with ghostly excitement at the close of the tenth Century. Rev. Dr. Alexander Vinton was the determining cause of my repairing to the theological school of Alexandria, a very serious blunder in my career, because I mistook a facility in evangelical repentances for character. On any theory of Christianity it is a blunder to look for evidences of grace in sensations and cardiac flutterings rather than in equipoise of faculties, discipline and capacity to be good. A misplaced man can only solve his problem of life by getting where he rightly belongs, and the sooner the better. As my aptitudes for the ministry were chiefly those of tongue, emotionalism and studiousness, it was inevitable that I should eventually exchange a surplice for a seersucker coat or blouse. And after twenty blundering years, my alienation from the ministry in feeling, habits and opinions was complete and manifest, and I resigned the office with great subsequent peace of mind. That ministry includes a year's service as assistant in Christ's Church, Bridgeport, Connecticut; a winter at Houghton, Keweenaw Point, Michigan, frozen in; three years rectorship of St. Mathew's and one and a half of the Church of the Savior, Philadelphia; nearly four years in charge of Grace Church, Providence, R. L; four years as Professor of English Literature and of History in the Kansas State University at Lawrence; when I left, receiving with clever Richard Cordley, a congregationalist pioneer missionary in that state, the first honorary degrees as Doctors of Divinity, granted by that institution. It was my second collegiate course ending in a degree. Cordley had but one available eye for the world of sense, but his cerebrum was like a fly's eye and set with a thousand intellectual and spiritual facets. Six years more of work at my old St. Mathew's Church in Philadelphia and a year of begging in the role of its president for Grisnald College at Davenport, Iowa, brought me to the end of my ministry and to Vineland. To beg money of evangelical men to be spent by sacramentarians, to be president of an institution when such an officer can only be the puppet of a Machiavellian bishop behind, to interpose one's own doctrinal reputation between the roasted chestnut and the monkey who holds your paw, is fraudulent. I was such a fraud for a year and to the extent of $5,000 to $6,000 when I became an honest Vineland farmer, capable of getting out of the soil in fruit from one fourth to one half of the value of the fertilizer put at my cost into it. Four years ago, I began to work on the American Reprint of the Encyclopeadia Britannica, which had then reached its fifteenth volume and had just fallen into the proprietorship of Roger Sherman, printer, of Philadelphia. He resolved to greatly improve his edition by indexing every volume with unexampled minuteness, by subjecting each one of them to constant examination for the detection of errors, and by extending in notes, supplements and textual changes the American information. That work he gave into my hands with a generosity seldom shown, I fear, by publishers to their employees, never disputing my bargains, nor with-holding any help I asked. That work is still in progress under the authority of his executors. The literary products of my pen which have turned from script to type, outside of the Britannica Reprint, are widely scattered. I began writing a history of the foreign missions of the Protestant Episcopal Church for the Episcopal Recorder of Philadelphia and kept it up for months. When young Stephen Tyng was misguiding the poor Protestant Churchman in New York, I helped him as his Philadelphia correspondent. I hope the weight of punishment with which I must expiate the unhappiness inflicted upon the Episcopal public by those early articles may prove to be much alleviated by their intolerable dullness which kept people from reading them.