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Henry Beston
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  3. The Sawdust Trail: Billy Sunday in His Own Words (Bur Oak Book)
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Believe me, the boys were usually there with the feed bag on. The superintendent would tell the children what was going to be served — you as hungry as a wolf, and knowing you could only stand and watch the others. It was agonizing. He would read the names of those who were blacklisted for that meal, and they must stand during the meal. At both homes religion had an important place in our training. Of those of whom I have kept track, some became lawyers, merchants, farmers, railroad men, educators.

I was the only one who ever became a big-league baseball player. We had prayers in each home once a day. On Sunday evenings, before we went to bed, each boy was required to recite a verse of Scripture. Thirty demerit marks in a month would change your grade. You got three demerits 3. Those who were detailed to make the beds received eight demerits if they failed to make them according to standard rules. I was never in the bad grade, but I was often near the deadline. I had two strikes on me many times. As I look back, I wonder how I got by. Those in good grades were allowed to go to Davenport on Saturdays and also to the city churches on Sundays.

All the merchants knew by our uniforms who we were, and they would give us apples, candy, pop corn and ice cream. That was an incentive to go straight. Only a certain number could go each week. He always trusted us. I never knew a boy to lie about his grade. I never knew of a boy trained in that home that ever failed to shine the heels of his shoes.

We all dressed alike. They were made of wool — a mixture of gray and brown, with four 3. The clothes for all the children were made by the older girls who were detailed to the sewing room. Our summer suits were made of denim, and the girls wore calico. On Sundays we all wore white collars with a little tie. There were about thirty cottages. The dining room was about half a mile from the cottages. The children marched in especially assigned divisions to their meals. No haphazard mob rush. There was a covered walk to protect us from the cold and storms. Every Decoration Day all who were in good grades were taken for a ride on the Mississippi River, as guests of the Diamond Joe Steamboat Company, and then we were taken to the government island to decorate the graves of the Union and Confederate dead.

They were sent there as prisoners of war, and the cold, damp air of the North mowed them down faster than Yankee bullets. The Government cares for the graves, and of all the government cemeteries that I have seen, none surpasses the neatness and care bestowed upon the graves of the Confederate dead buried at Rock Island, Illinois. I never heard anyone say harsh, vindictive words about General Grant.

In a city in Georgia stands 3. I have never heard anyone in the North hurl epithets against Robert E. As the son of a Union soldier, I uncover my head to General Lee. Sunday, our fathers were all in the Confederate Army in the Civil War. Your father was a soldier in the Northern Army, and you never saw him; he died in the service. At the home we never went to the dining room for Sunday-evening supper.

Attendants always brought our supper to our cottages. The supper for each child always consisted of a big piece of gingerbread, a piece of apple, peach, pumpkin or mince pie — in season — and an apple. The boys used to trade their pie or gingerbread or apple for some trinket, and some shrewd traders would have three or four pieces of pie or gingerbread coming to them each week. If the kid who owed him ate his portion without paying his debt, he would beat him up. The age limit that boys could remain at the home was sixteen, girls 3.

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My brother had to leave because of that limit and I would not stay. Shortly after our return, Ed went to live with a neighbor who had no boys, a noble Christian man, named Cyrus Simmons. After staying there for years, he returned to the home as one of the carpenters and watchmen. Every child had some special work to do. I was assigned to the laundry. I became so expert that the lady manager had my length of time extended. We were detailed to one job for a short period, and then changed to another job. What I learned there opened the door in after years that has brought me where I am — I was taught to do my best.

No one does his or her duty unless he does his best. More people fail from lack of purpose than from lack of opportunity. Little did I dream when I made me a yarn ball, and threw it in the air to see how far I could run and catch it, that I was training myself to become a member of the famous Chicago Cubs, and the Pittsburgh and Philadelphia baseball clubs of the National League. One day on the farm, grandfather was in a hurry to go to town. We were helping him hitch up the horses. My half-brother, Roy, and I got hold of the neck yoke and were trying to pull it away from each other, and we pulled the rings out of the end.

Grandfather was furious at our foolishness, as it delayed him. He swore at us and it cut me to the heart. We could husk and crib one 3. We received three cents a bushel — Ed took two dollars and I one dollar. I borrowed a horse from Parley and rode to Nevada, the county seat, eight miles away to look for a job. I found a position working in a hotel. I was bellhop too. The proprietor of this little hotel in Nevada had a trotting horse of which he was very proud. She was a beautiful animal, sorrel, with white face and four white feet, and her tail dragged on the ground.

I would put the halter on her and trot her down the road a hundred yards or so, putting one hand on her shoulder and taking hold of the halter with the other. That training gave me my speed and breath for one hundred yards. I could go that distance and never breathe. I was not what you call a long-distance runner, like Nurmi, the great Finn, although I could run three hundred yards in thirty-four seconds!

I was given permission to go home 3. The next day I learned that Col. John Scott, then lieutenant governor of Iowa, wanted a boy. I was soon through with the steps and she was amazed that I did it so quickly. You are hired. Here is your room. Go get your clothes. He bought land from my grandfather. He had come West for his health. It was not long before the school board recognized his superior learning and employed him as a teacher for our district country school.

Boys and girls graduating from that school under his instruction were so far advanced that they could enter the junior class of the colleges. So when Colonel and Mrs. Speaking, geography, history and civil government were my long suits. At the end of two years I applied to the school board for the position of janitor, and to my surprise and delight they gave me the job. In addition, I had to study and keep my lessons up to standard. Many times I would fall asleep over my books. I had to sweep the building every day 3. There was one teacher that used to get on my nerves, and I presume I got on her nerves too.


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You are doing your work splendidly. All some people care for is appearances. They are all front door — open the door and you are in the back yard. If all the tombstones told the truth, the devil would be wearing mourning. Where gold has value, brass does its best to shine up and imitate it. Like an old lady who went into a jewelry store to purchase a piece of jewelry.

She would lick every piece that was shown her, with her tongue. When you are doing the little things, you are qualifying to do the big things later on. The mockingbird will never learn to sing if he takes music lessons from a hoot owl. The spider is sure the bee is a fool. The hen thinks the duck has deformed feet. As the twig is bent the tree grows. The man does thus and so today because he did thus and so yesterday.

It is because the young man goes in bad company that he dies an old man in the penitentiary. I am asked about the young people in my youth as compared with today. They have more ways of making fools of themselves. There is no question that conditions have changed. No wonder we have a low standard of morals when men will write such sewage as appeared in a magazine recently. Then we have this companionate marriage bunk spread broadcast, which is further encouraging the young people to trample all moral standards in the mire. Companionate marriage is the marriage of the zoo and barnyard.

All the monkeys, baboons and gorillas, hogs, cattle and cats 3. If we have the sins of Babylon, we will have her judgments. The strife of materialism has brought upon us the curse of present-day conditions. Modesty, loyalty and faith in God seem lost in the craving of the senses which appeal to the baser desires of men.

Girls permit liberties today which ten years ago would have been considered akin to immoral. Now they pass as clever. There seems to be an increasing intimacy between the sexes. Each sex tries to blame the other; each is equally at fault. By far too many girls are looking for easy spots; they are not willing to begin where their mother did — by the side of some good, honest poor boy.

To marry some is like a turtledove marrying a turkey buzzard. Keep up the standards of your life. A good woman is the best being this side of heaven; a bad woman is the worst being this side of hell. Love is something you cannot quarantine, vaccinate or reason with any more than you can reason with a bulldog with a bone. In our garden on the farm we grew every vegetable that was native to 3. Granddad would give me half the proceeds of the sales. Then on my way home, and when going for the cows, I would practice throwing the ball in the air great distances from me, then run and catch the ball.

All through my career as a baseball player that was one of my assets. Several professors from the college played on the town nine. Professor MacCumber played second base. I pulled and washed them this morning; they are fresh. I hurried home, one mile in the country. The river was out of its banks and the road in places was two feet under the water. I knocked on the same kitchen door. I never liked the man after that.

He was a great church man, too, and after I became an evangelist, he used to drop into some of my meetings. He was a traveling man. Soon the refreshment stands would open for business and the barkers would begin announcing their wares to the crowd. One Fourth of July they had a free-for-all foot race, distance one hundred yards; prize, three dollars. Fourteen men entered. I was the only boy. I was keyed up for one hundred yards. Everybody was as excited over that as they are over football and world-series games. There was a professor from Iowa State College entered.

He had on running shoes and a silk suit, rose-colored. Oh, boy, but he looked great to our calico-overall country eyes! We lined up at the starting line. There was a log lying directly on the line. The distance was packed on both sides with spectators. I took my place on the outside with my right foot against the log as a booster. I ran bare-footed. We can beat the bunch. A gang of kids followed me. Soper, I want the three dollars for winning the foot race.

Give him the money. I was a millionaire for a few hours. He won the race and collected one dollar. The next attraction was to catch and hold a greased pig. Then they turned him loose. I took after him with the others and away we went. I got close to the hog and threw my arms under his neck and hung on for dear life.

I brought the pig to a standstill and was declared the winner. I got the dollar prize, so we country jakes, as the town boys called us, cleaned up on the prizes that famous Fourth. All were volunteer and composed of picked men, mostly young men. Each year there was held a state tournament.

They searched for them like the big leagues do for ball players today. They sent out scouts to look over the athletes at high schools and colleges. A scout came to Nevada and, after watching us play baseball and noting how fast I could run, came to me and asked if I would go to Marshalltown and join the Woodbury hose team. You were required to live in the city thirty days before you were eligible to run in the championship race.

The state tournament was held the last of May, so I decided to go. I was in the senior class of the high school, but I left one month before the graduation exercises were held. The principal event was the hose-cart race. It had a tongue about six feet long with a crossbar at the end. Each company was allowed twelve men to pull the cart. We had to run three hundred yards from a standing start. At the end of the three- 3. We were required to couple one end to the hydrant and put the nozzle on the other end of the hose.

The company that did all this in the quickest time won the championship. An inch rope was fastened to the axle of the hose cart and ran through rings under the tongue, then long enough for ten men to be hitched to the rope. We had a crosspiece of hickory several feet long for a singletree. This was fastened to the inch rope. A man was snapped to each end of the singletree. We had a broad surcingle strap two inches wide back of our necks and under each arm and across our breasts for our harness. The tournament that year was held in Muscatine.

Those men were to the cinder path what Babe Ruth is to baseball and Earle Sande is on the back of a Derby horse. The crack Muscatine team had never done better than thirty-six seconds in training. We were all sick.

I went back to Marshalltown and got a job working in a furniture store. I was always assigned to drive the horses. We cleaned up on all clubs against whom we played. Among them was Mr. McFarland, editor and publisher of the Times-Republican, who afterward became director of all the United States consuls in Europe.

His father, Henry Anson, gave an entire block in the heart of the city to the county commissioners 3. I believe Cap Anson was beyond doubt the best batter, take him year in and year out, that ever walked up to the plate. He used a heavy bat — the limit in both length and weight. He was the hardest man for a pitcher to fool, as we say. He faced men who were the equal of any of the great pitchers today in speed, cunning and curves.


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  5. I remember one season when Cap struck out only four times. Cap had an aunt. We called her Aunt Em. She always attended ball games and had gone to Des Moines with the hundreds who went along to root for us in that championship game, and she had watched that game and knew the part I had in helping to win the championship.

    She was enthusiastic and kept urging Cap to take me to Chicago for a trial. He did not promise that he would, but after he had returned to Chicago in the spring, he telegraphed for me to come on for a tryout. I bought 3. I borrowed money for the trip. I went to A. I told the clerks who I was, where I was from, and showed them my telegram from Cap Anson. That was my passport. Soon others came. I was introduced to them. My hair was long, and I sure looked like the hayseed that I was, compared to those well-groomed men, members of that famous old team.

    Finally, Cap Anson came in and spoke to me. How about putting on a little race this morning? Larry Cochrane, one of our pitchers, loaned me his uniform. You can imagine how the boys razzed Fred for letting a raw country boy beat him.

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    That act would have endeared him to me for life had he done nothing else to help me, but he was always kind and good to me. Therefore the weakness of nine players out of ten is batting. It takes years to make a real slugger out of most men. My weakness was batting.

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    I had never faced a trained, experienced pitcher. I would work all week, and when we played it would be a Saturday afternoon. He pitched and won twenty games in succession. The ball would pass me and be on its way back to the pitcher before I swung at it. I corrected this defect by using a lighter bat and not gripping it clear to the end.

    Being 3. Then, I used to pull away from the ball; instead of stepping straight ahead with my right foot, I stepped away from the plate. Mike Kelly showed me how to do it, and I soon caught on. One season I batted. Cap Anson led the league that year with a batting average of. I bat left-handed and throw right-handed. I do not see how human legs can work any faster. I am not tooting my horn to sell you 3. There is nothing which gets the nerve of an opposing team, especially the pitcher and catcher, as to see a fellow running wild on the bases; and it thrills the crowds, too, and brings the grand stand and bleachers to their feet.

    One season when I played with the Chicago National League team we were leading the league, but we struck a losing streak because some of the boys were breaking the rules. Spalding and Cap Anson hired Billy Pinkerton to check up on the bunch. We received notice one day after the game that he wanted to see all the members of the team in the clubhouse after practice the next morning. The gang were all on edge and speculated on what was in the air. They went through their practice with as much vim and ginger as though they were in a real game.

    We all lined up. Spalding began by complimenting us as a team, saying no club in the league had anything on us, and that we could play rings around any of them, but that we were surely on the toboggan slide and unless we braced up we would lose the championship. We were neck and neck with the Giants. On the last day we were one game ahead of New York; we had one game to play and New York had one double-header; if we lost our game and the Giants won both their games, we were sunk.

    On Wednesday nights I used to go to prayer meetings. Do you believe God will help us win that game tomorrow, and help New York to lose one? I would know what to do in a poker game. He had beaten the tar out of us the opening game. We went after Rad hammer and tongs. Spalding had a banquet for us at the Palmer House. In those days the ball players had free access to all the theaters, and the actors and actresses also had the same privileges to the grand stand.

    I was the last one to throw. I had never thrown dice before and never have since. I walked down State Street in Chicago one Sunday afternoon about forty years ago with some baseball players whose names were worldrenowned. I stepped to the edge of the sidewalk, removed my hat and bowed my head. I saw you step to the edge of the sidewalk and remove your hat. I was converted on this lot nearly forty years ago and I never pass here that I do not stop and pray and thank God for saving me. We sat on the curbstone and listened. A man arose. His name was Harry 3.

    The world was excited. Thousands of parents in Chicago had boys overseas for whom they were praying. Our son George was a lieutenant in the Signal Service and was ordered overseas. We had bidden him good-by, perhaps forever. Hearts were heavy, and all Chicago turned their feet toward the tabernacle to hear something in sermon or song that would lift the burden and bring surcease from sorrow. The tabernacle was built on the north side of the city where the Drake Hotel and those great apartment houses now stand.

    Well, we sat on the curb listening to men and women playing on cornets and trombones and singing Gospel hymns that many of the churches have blue-penciled as being too crude for these so-called enlightened 3. Come down to the mission and hear stories of redeemed lives that will stir you, no matter whether you have ever been inside of a church or have wandered away from God and decency.

    I went back again and again, and one night I went forward and publicly accepted Christ as my Saviour. I have followed Jesus from that day to this every second, like the hound on the trail of the fox, and will continue until he leads me through the pearly gate into the presence of God and it closes on its jeweled hinges. I afterward became an elder and superintendent of the Sunday school of that church of which Dr. Frank DeWitt Tal- 3. DeWitt Talmage.

    The day I was ordained I lost twenty pounds. McClure, president of Lake Forest, was the moderator.

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    The Sawdust Trail: Billy Sunday in His Own Words (Bur Oak Book)

    He appointed Professor Enos, of McCormick Theological Seminary, to examine me on church history, and when the professor asked me about St. I tried to steal second, but they caught me between bases. The umpire, Dr. Moderator, I move you this needless examination stop. God has used him to win more souls to Christ than all of us combined, and must have ordained him long before we even thought of it.

    I move you that he be admitted to the Presbytery and we give him the right hand of fellowship and the authority of the Presbyterian Church. Thompson, and her name has been Helen A. For three nights after my acceptance of Christ as Saviour I never slept a wink. I was afraid of the horse laugh the boys would give me when we showed up for practice on Wednesday morning and for the game Wednesday afternoon.

    In those days we did not play ball every day and never on Sunday. Why should I worry? He could play any position, was a great batter and a peach of a base runner. Then the entire team — Clarkson, Flint, Williamson, Gore, Burns, Dalrymple and the rest of the boys — all glad-handed me and patted me on the back.

    I felt as if a millstone had been dropped from my shoulders. Oh, boy, how that crowd could hit! They had two men out and then started to hit. They had two out, a man on second and a man on third. Charlie Bennett, their old catcher, was at bat and had two strikes and three balls on him. He could not hit a high ball close to his body, but he could kill a low ball. John Clarkson was pitching for us. I believe John was the king of all pitchers of all time. He was about six feet tall, weighed one hundred and 3. Charlie hit it square on the nose. The instant the bat cracked against the ball I glanced up and saw it coming out to me and I could tell it was going over my head.

    I turned and ran with the oncoming ball. I do not know that it has ever been beaten. I glanced up and saw the ball coming. I lost my balance and fell but jumped up with the ball in my hand. I have never seen such tremendous excitement in my life. They threw cushions, pop bottles and hats into the air.

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    The crowd was waiting and they rushed up and took me on their shoulders. There was a dark brown — eyed, black-haired girl named Helen Thompson, now Mrs. Sunday, waiting for me at the gate and she threw her arms around me and kissed me. That was okay — we were engaged. You may laugh at my prayer and attempt to analyze it by all the rules of logic and theology, but I believe God helped me get that ball that famous day and I shall keep on believing it until I get to heaven and God tells me otherwise, which I know He will not.

    Sullivan was then on the pinnacle of fame. Hope Cemetery. Mike had sat with me on the corner of State and Van Buren 3. I was the second man he asked to sign a contract to be a member of his team and would have gone on the trip but for an accident in Philadelphia. I went to Washington and called in Dr. Among those who took the trip was Ed Williamson, our shortstop. He was forty-eight inches around the chest and could throw a ball farther than any man, and I have never heard of anyone beating his record. The boys said that Ed drank too much wine on the trip and weighed about two hundred and forty pounds when he reached home.

    The boat was rolling in the sea, her decks were awash, and she would 3. The wind screamed and howled. Bur oak provides forage for cattle and mule deer though effects of grazing on the the Montana population are not known. Fire may have played a role in maintaining Q. Abrams, M. Fire and the development of oak forests. BioScience 42 5 Goetz, and A. Native woodland habitat types of southwestern North Dakota. Research Paper RM Fort Collins, CO.

    Heidel, B. Lesica, P. Lavin, and P. Sieg, C. Ecology of bur oak woodlands in the foothills of the Black Hills, South Dakota. The role of prescribed burning in regenerating Quercus macrocarpa and associated woody plants in stringer woodlands in the Black Hills, South Dakota. International Journal of Wildlands Fire 6: Vanderhorst, J. Cooper, and B. Botanical and vegetation survey of Carter County, Montana. Unpublished report prepared for the Bureau of Land Management. Montana Natural Heritage Program, Helena.

    Stay Connected with FWP. Take us with you! Citation for data on this website: Bur Oak — Quercus macrocarpa. Montana Field Guide. Montana Natural Heritage Program. Ferns and allies. Flowering Plants Dicots. My favorite paragraph is his perspective about animals:. Remote from universal nature, and living by complicated artifice, man in civilization surveys the creature through the glass of his knowledge and sees thereby a feather magnified and the whole image in distortion.

    We patronize them for their incompleteness, for their tragic fate of having taken form so far below ourselves. And therein we err, and greatly err. For the animal shall not be measured by man. In a world older and more complete than ours, they move finished and complete, gifted with extensions of the senses we have lost or never attained, living by voices we shall never hear. They are not brethren, they are not underlings; they are other nations, caught with ourselves in the net of life and time, fellow prisoners of the splendor and travail of the earth.

    This blog series at Bur Oak Land Trust is a fine opportunity for us to share our favorite conservation and nature writers with like-minded people. How about sharing yours with us? Are they different books, or is the 2nd I mention a compilation of his original two tree books? Your email address will not be published.