Journal of Charles K. Landis
Founder of Vineland
April 4, 1868-Saturday
Rose at 6 o'clock. Started off with General Irick for Bordentown. Found the grade of the public highway from Vincentown almost suitable for a railroad. Beautiful and populous country. Arrived in Columbus, a small town of one thousand population upon the route. Stopped at the hotel and called upon some of the principal citizens with General Irick. Found they had had an old strap railroad in former times for hauling wood, and which was already graded to the line of the Cam. & Am. R. R. near Bordentown. They had obtained a charter to rebuild this road, but as usual were depending upon the Camden and Amboy for assistance. Being desirous of spending some time talking to the people, I told General Irick that he could return home, and that I would continue the journey alone. The General returned. Had a number of people to call upon me. Noticed the same indecision about doing anything themselves. They expect to have a meeting with a committee of the Camden and Amboy R. R. within a few days to find out what can be done. If they succeed, it will save the building of that much of the road by the Vineland R. R. If they do not succeed we must run to Bordentown.
Took dinner at an old fashioned hotel where they eat in the kitchen. A dinner will eat as well in the kitchen as anywhere else when you are hungry. Had to wander around town hunting up a man to take me to Bordentown. Concluded that they were badly off for the want of a railroad. After some trouble found a man to take me over. Country beautiful upon the way. Decided to go to Trenton.
Arrived in Bordentown an hour before the time of starting for the train. Walked around Bordentown. The place commands some beautiful views of the Delaware River. Took the train and arrived in Trenton a little after four o'clock.
Stopped at the Trenton House and sent a servant around to the residence of Stevens to find whether or not he had got home. Servant returned with information that he was at home. Called around to see him. Found him well and glad to see me about the business upon which I came. Gave him my proposals in writing. Talked to him for a long time about the facilities which Vineland required, and which he seemed to fully appreciate. Took tea with him. He has a very agreeable family, a wife and two very nice looking daughters. An old lady by the name of Miss Stockton was also there. After tea we talked upon general matters until nearly eleven o'clock. I gave him directions about the proportion of marl with guano, and selling it as a prepared fertilizer in connection with his marl business. He intends trying some experiments. Left and returned to my hotel. Retired at 11 o'clock to sound and refreshing sleep.
April 4, 1868-Sunday
Rose at 7 o'clock. Weather clear and somewhat cold. Went to the Episcopal Church. Heard no sermon, they only gave the beautiful and impressive service. Walked around the town after church. Went through a French lesson. Read "David Copperfield." Walked out in the afternoon. In the night took the train for Philadelphia, where I arrived at the Continental Hotel. Retired at 11 o'clock.
April 5, 1868-Monday
Rose at 6 o'clock. Left in the morning train for Vineland. Found that but little moving had been done. Visited my farm at the corner of Malaga and Forest Grove Roads, and on Wheat Road the grain looks very well. Mr. Burk away. Read "David Copperfield." Retired at 9 o'clock.
April 7 -Tuesday
Rose at 6 1-2 o'clock. Weather raining. Studied a French lesson. Heard that Col. Bostwick is not so well. Ellis, the canvasser of the Vineland R. R., called. Told him to push ahead and to push hard. To allow nothing to discourage him or to keep him back. I told him this in consequence of his telling me that enemies of the railroad were circulating bad reports. Loaned him a horse to use in his canvassing. Read "David Copperfield." In the evening Capt. Hall came over to get some wine for the poor Colonel. Hope it may do him good. God bless him, but I fear it never will. Retired at 7 1-2 o'clock.
April 8-Wednesday, 1868
Rose at 7 o'clock. Weather clear and windy. Mr. Roberts, Secretary of Shaker Hood Co., called. Went in his company to see Col. Bostwick. On account of the sad event of the day, this visit was of great moment to me. I found the Colonel sitting in his chair surrounded by his wife, Mrs. Smith, his sister-in-law, Dr. Bidwell, his attending physician, and his man Gustave, of whom he often spoke to me in high and even affectionate terms. Gustave and his wife were applying hot bricks to his side to keep him warm. When I came in he was sitting upright on his chair, his head erect, and greeted me with a sad smile and extended to me his hand. "Mr. Landis, I am glad you have called upon me." When I looked at him I felt instinctively his danger, and could not speak from emotion.
"Mr. Landis," said he, "I feel about the same, but whatever may be the result of this sickness, I am resigned to the will of God. We are all in his hand and his dispensations are always just and for the best. I have always endeavored to do my duty, and do not fear to enter the presence of my maker. I have a full and abiding faith in the goodness of God."
He then commenced to speak upon indifferent subjects. I had always to this time affected a cheerfulness in his presence that I might brighten a few of his moments, but to-day my selfcontrol was not equal to it. He saw I was depressed and affected, and he turned his face around with a faint encouraging smile and said, "Mr. Landis, you nor any of my friends should despond. I have had a hard spell of sickness, but I will yet get over this. I will yet live to pass many, many days with you, but whatever may happen, you must feel that I, at least, am secure."
I could only reply, "Yes, Colonel, you are secure." Feeling that in life or death such a man was certainly beloved of God. I saw that conversation was very difficult to him, that the exertion was exhausting. After spending some time in his room, I squeezed his hand. He returned the pressure and I left. When the door closed on me I was seized with convulsions of grief, which I endeavored to conceal from Roberts by walking rapidly ahead. And yet with all my experience of the hard battle of life, I felt that the Colonel was better off than myself. His fortitude and courage were a sublime sight.
This was about 11 o'clock in the morning that I saw him In the afternoon, about 5 o'clock, word came that the Colonel had breathed his last, stepping I am sure, from an uncertain and wearisome world to a happy and immortal life. He was the example of how a Christian can die that I once heard of, and certainly, that I have now seen.
Col. Hiram W. Bostwick came here a little over a year ago and bought the place of Capt. A. S. Hall on Chestnut Avenue for $11,000 or $12,000. He had been Consul for four years in Leon, Nicaragua, whence he returned and settled in Vineland, owing to the poor health of his wife in Leon. The Colonel was born in Albany, carried on mercantile business in Cooperstown, where he was the Colonel for some years of a crack regiment, and a brave, good Colonel he made, I warrant. He then was induced to go to Corning, a perfect wilderness. He bought one thousand four hundred acres of land in company with several others, founded the city, laid it out, and built it up under his management. It is now a large and thriving place with nine thousand people. Whilst there he was instrumental in building three railroads and a bank. Before the war he endorsed for friends and lost nearly all of a large fortune, and in the midst of business was struck with paralysis. On account of this paralysis he sought the South for his health. He accomplished an immense deal in developing that section of New York. He was highly thought of by those who knew him. He told me, however, that when he lost his money, the world greatly changed towards him, so much so that he was glad to leave his old associations. I did not see much of the Colonel until he came into the Vineland Railway last summer. Since then I have seen him almost daily whilst in Vineland. He was a sort of companion forme. We traveled together for hundreds of miles. Through good weather and bad he was always ready. He was a cheerful and delightful companion. He appeared to have a great liking for me. Mr. Cummings, who sat up with him a number of nights, said that his conversation was most always about Vineland, myself, or the Vineland Railway. The last excursion we had together was to Smyrna, Del. overland and crossing the river in a boat. We had a delightful time. The Colonel could always drive my melancholy away. On the last excursion he took to Greenwich, he caught a cold which was the immediate cause of his death. How I regret that I sent him! Yet it was a beautiful day and he was glad to go. He cannot be replaced. I have lately lost two valuable friends, Providence Ludlam and Col. Bostwick. It appears startling that their deaths should come so near together.
Attended meeting of Shaker Hood Co. at 2 o'clock and made report. Could not read during the day, felt too much disturbed. Retired at 9 oclock.
Thursday-April 9, 1868
Weather clear and cold. Ice. Called at the house of my poor friend, the Colonel, to tender my services and anything I had. Saw his sister-in-law, Mrs. Smith. I did not wish to see the body as I preferred that the last impression when I saw him should be the last. Dr. Smith, his brother-in-law, will attend to the funeral arrangements. I am going to send my family carriage to the funeral.
A young man by the name of Hawkins, engaged in the manufacturing of saw handles, called upon me about more room in my factory. Walked down to the factory with him and engaged him more room.
In the afternoon walked out with Parsons. Called at the factory of gift crates. They have a good many orders. Walked to my homestead lot. Have felt badly all day in consequence of the Colonel's death. In the afternoon Marcius Willson called upon me. My house has been in great disorder all day with moving. Retired at 9 o'clock.