Journal of Charles K. Landis

Founder of Vineland


May 10, 1868- Sunday

Rose at 6 1/2 o'clock. Beautiful day. Called on Mr. Burk, found him better. Got him to come over and stop at my house.

Went out carriage riding with Capt. Wilson, Dr. Lansing and my farm agent, Beachem. Passed by several of my old farms that I am improving. My experience teaches me that it is better to improve new land than old. It always brings good crops with but little fertilizer.

In the afternoon called on Dr. McClintock with Mr. Burk. Of course, talked about bricks. The Dr. is encouraged. I am glad of it. I hope that he will make a fortune. Took the Doctor and Mrs. McClintock out carriage riding through South Vineland. Had a pleasant ride. In the evening the Doctor called upon me. He read me a letter which he had written to a lady in Philadelphia about taking my boarding-house. Conversed with the Doctor and Mr. Burk until 10 o'clock, when I retired.

The way I am writing this Journal is getting stupid. Events are nothing unless they make an era or start a thought. Ideas are the soul of events. I should not speak of mere visits and conversations unless I can mark them with something apt and instructive in my Journal.

May 11, 1868- Monday

Clear and cool. Rose at 6 1/2 o'block. Started Capt. Farrand at work on my new surveys. Saw William A. House about going over to the Delaware River and Greenwich, and getting the refusal of all the land around Stow Creek, with a view to building a city in the event of my succeeding with the railroad.

Saw different people in my office. Drove out in the afternoon with my sister to visit the place of a poor man who desired to make some arrangements to borrow money, and to give security upon his place. I see that he is making a good and a hard fight, so I consented. Tillie is much pleased with Vineland upon her ride. Have been indisposed all day. Retired at 8 1/2 o'clock after taking a bath.

May 12, 1868.- Tuesday

Clear and cold. Fire last night, but did no injury. Rose at 6 o'clock. At 10 o'clock Mrs. Franklin of Philadelphia came down on the train and called with Dr. McClintock. She came with a view of renting my house in case it suited.

Showed her all the premises and drove her around Vineland in company with Dr. McClintock and Mrs. McClintock. She was much pleased and agreed to rent the house upon the spot. She has been keeping a good house in Philadelphia a number of years, has some means and plenty of furniture, appears to be a lady of energy. I think it a fortunate circumstance that I have got her to rent the house.

I took dinner with Dr. McClintock. He entertained Mrs. Franklin. Rev. R. J. Andrews also took dinner there. The Doctor received a letter by mail that an important negotiation had fallen through, by which he expected to realize $3,000. I regretted this. In the Doctor's position at the present time, it must have been a heavy blow. He bore it like a veteran.

By the same mail I received a letter from the State Department that the documents consisting of the honorable mention from France, which had been accorded to the Vineland Agricultural Society, had been received and awaited my orders, and enclosed a paper to sign. I signed the paper and sent it forward. This whole business is a trifling and ridiculous affair. At the suggestion of a gentlemen I prepared a statement of my enterprise in Vineland, and what I did, and sent it to the Exposition with maps, photographs and other articles. I received word that they had arrived too late, and that the Jury could not entertain my case. I then went to Washington and got Mr. Seward to interfere and it was then admitted. Since then, the history of it has been: 1st, a list of prizes sent to the United States by the ocean telegraph which stated that C. K. Landis had secured an honorable mention. 2nd. An article was published in the Journal of Commerce of New York and the Philadelphia Press that the Vineland Colonization Society had taken one of the grand prizes. 3rd. The last announcement the Vineland Agricultural Society had received honorable mention. I was puzzled because I had never heard of the Vineland Colonization Society, and I had sent my application as a personal one exclusively.

Upon inquiry I found that the announcement had been copied from a Paris paper and was a mistake, no such grand prize having been given. I reflected then that the honorable mention to myself was earned, though I did not think such a small compliment of any consequence, and the amusing part of it is that it comes to the Agricultural Society of Vineland. This is probably a blunder, but I prefer that it should come in that way. I would want nothing less than the grand prize, whilst the honorable mention may be considered a compliment to the Society. The fact is, I did not attend to this business. I merely sent my papers. I trusted to the merits of the case, which I have since been informed, was a great mistake, such matters depending upon merit and great influence united.

Attended to business in the office until 6 1/2 o'clock. Not well enough to go to the office in the evening. Retired at 8 1/2 o'clock.

May 13, 1868- Wednesday

Weather raining hard. Rose at 6 o'clock. Mr. John S. Burk came down and went at his books. I hope to Conscience that he can keep to his work, as my business requires it.

Webb has got back the Avenue house. Mr. Tucker could not keep it on accouut of some disagreement with his family. Webb endeavored to make himself conspicuous by professing enmity to myself. When my house is opened, however, I will be independent of him. I am sanguine to think that this will be an excellent move.

Mr Guion of Staten Island, came down and brought a letter from Dr. Bostwick. I invited him to dinner. He came down, ostensibly about railroad business. In the evening had conversation with a visitor by the name of Upton of Belfast. I think that he may purchase. Retired at 9 1/2 o'clock feeling unwell. Took some medicine. Rained hard all day.

May 14, 1868- Thursday

Weather clear and cool. Rose at 6 1/2 o'clock. My sister again went to town. Went over to the office and closed my table of correspondence, signed a number of deeds.

This morning I had the pleasure of meeting C P. Davis of Beaver Dam, Wis. Mr. Davis kept the first boarding house in Vineland. It is pleasant to look back upon my early experience. He had a beautiful and interesting little daughter about twelve years old who accompanied me upon my rides. She had a good clear voice and used to sing upon the road whilst I thought about my business. At that time I had four gangs of roadmakers, and every day I rode to different localities where they were at work. At Mrs. Davis' house people had very often to sleep three in a bed, and sometimes a dozen upon the floor. They afterwards were offered a large advance for their prosperity, and this gave them the notion of selling out and moving West where they had relations. They were formerly from Woodstock, Vt.

To-day I signed several deeds. In the afternoon I rode out on horseback with Miss Mears. I received a letter from Mrs. Cortus that herself and husband may visit Vineland next week. I hope that they will come.

To-day heard a very singular story about Dr. Bostwick of Staten Island. That his friends for sometime have considered him deranged. He desired to take hold of the railroad, and besides my sister and myself thought of visiting his place at Staten Island. This report came out of a boarding house that he rents to a party in New York. On this account I make for it many grains of allowance. Retired in the evening at 8 1/2 o'clock. Feeling weak and fatigued. Mr. Burk slept in my house.