« PreviousContinue »
lank yellow animal. It was growing dusk, and Hyke not feeling safe in the prison at that hour, hurried out, forgetting the dog. In the morning Hyke demanded the dog, or the man who had killed him. The rebels could not obtain any information as to who had killed the dog. Finally the men who had killed the dog voluntarily gave themselves up, and were punished by being placed upon the wooden horse.
Four months in this prison had now passed. It was mid-winter, cold and stormy. I had divided and used all my money in extra rations in the first two weeks. Since then I had lived upon the halt-pound of cornbread and two one-half pints of pea soup a day. In the morning, when I crawled out of my tent and attempted to walk, I would frequently fall to the ground. I was in good health, but my legs did not have the strength to carry my body. The angels of mercy generally hover over the needy, oppressed and unfortunate. They came to us through the Soldier's Ladies Aid Society of Wauseon, who had made up a small box of underclothing, and sent it, to the prisoners from Wauseon through Maj. Hayes at Libby prison. It was the only parcel sent to Union prisoners that ever reached its destination.
woman designed. I had worn my only shirt without washing over four months. It was ragged and torn. I could put it to better use. Taking the shirt to Bonny Poier, a shoemaker now keeping a little shop on the street near Summit below Cherry, I sold it to him for $10 in Confederate money. Bonny was making money by running chuck-luck," a game of throwing dice. I had now been in prison long enough to get out of the "fresh fish class, and as a prisoner, had become a veteran. I had given up all hopes of exchange and looked our fate squarely in the face-it was a race for life.
Maj. Hayes was permitted, under a guard, to deliver it to us. Among the articles in the box was a flannel shirt, with the name of Mrs. Isaac Springer attached, and my name only. That shirt, without doubt, saved my life. It was not put to the use this Christian
Taking the money I hurried to my tent, got my partner, Alvery Mallory, and went out to buy a ration. We looked over the market and concluded a quarter of a Washington pie had the most substance for the money. This pie was purely a Southern invention-a conglomeration of sweet potato and crackers. It was the worst pie I ever saw, but I liked it. The price was "10 cents in money or a dollar in Confed" for a quarter of a pie. Cutting our piece of pie in two, we ate it. We concluded that we would go in the trade, and endeavor to make an extra ration off the well fed and new prisoners who were arriving every day.
It was agreed between Mallory and. myself that if I could buy the stuff he would peddle it. The guards had strict orders not to allow a prisoner near the bank or talk with them, and to shoot any prisoner who violated
this order. The guards would bring over bread, pies, salt and sugar wrapped up in their blankets and at night time sell to the prisoners.
You had to work your acquaintance with a guard before he would talk with you, and you run a risk of having your head blown off in approaching them. That afternoon I took a stroll along the northern end of the pen, looking the guards over carefully. I'finally came to a gentlemanly-looking guard, and keeping the proper distance from the bank, I walked up and down. He finally designed my purpose and spoke. I asked if he would have anything to sell that night. He said he had two pounds of sugar. The price was $5 per pound. I agreed to take the two pounds at $9, all the money I had. At twelve at night he came on guard. I was waiting for his relief. When the guard had been posted I inquired of him if he had the sugar; he replied that he had. I crawled up the bank and with one hand received the sugar, with the other handed him the money. The next morning Mallory bought a tin plate and a tablespoon and taking onehalf of the sugar posted himself on Broadway and Fifth avenue and was ready for business, crying out: "Here's your nice sugar, 10 cents in money or a dollar in Confed." That meant per
spoonful. One dollar United States currency was worth $10 in Confederate money. The banks at Richmond paid $15 in Confederate for $1 United States currency. The Confederate currency was not looked upon as money, hence the term as above. Mallory had sold two spoonfuls of the sugar receiving two Confederate dollars. Our prospects for an extra ration looked bright from the sale of the sugar, and the getting of our money besides. Suddenly a raider came along, and Mallory, not being on the look-out, the fellow having his hat in one hand, with the other, in an instant, brushed the sugar off the plate into his hat, and leaped out of sight. We were now $2.50 out and one-half of the sugar. Coming back to the tent he felt discouraged. We took the balance of the sugar and both went on the market. A friend showed us how to handle it. By stirring, it livened it up and made a larger number of spoonfuls to the pound. By night we had sold out and were two dollars in "Confed" ahead. We kept up our trade occasionally, which kept us from starving and helping some of our sick tentmates.
The concluding portions of my story will appear at a later date.
GEORGE W. VROOMAN,
CHICAGO PRIOR TO 1840.
The early settlers of Chicago, the founders of the city as they will always be regarded, were largely Americans, who came from the Eastern States, but along with these came a sprinkling of other nationalities, and the most prominent representatives of foreign countries were Englishmen. Keenly alive to the advantages of a country which has just begun the process of development, and fitted by nature and education to take an important part in building up the commerce and advancing the civilization of new communities, Englishmen have been pioneers in all parts of the world, and in the United States they have been especially conspicious among those who have laid the foundations of prosperous commonwealths. As the representatives of a great commercial nation, they have given attention, as a rule, to matters of trade and commerce, rather than to affairs of State or the shaping of political institutions, and hence they have been more prominent in the business than in the political world. Everywhere, however, they have been recognized as among the most valuable citizens of the Republic, and those who were among the first
settlers of Chicago were no exception to the rule.
Joseph Peacock was one of the men who established themselves in business in Chicago, while it was still a village, became identified with one of its leading industries in later years, and ended a busy and useful life in a great city which had grown up under his observation. The family to which he belonged was a well known English family. His grandfather, Elijah Peacock, at one time a farmer of Bedfordshire, England, was noted for his piety and philanthropy. His father, William Peacock, was educated at a boarding school located in Huntingdonshire, near Kimbolton Castle, and after he had completed his education learned the jeweler's trade. He married Susannah Caldecot, sister of the somewhat noted Dr. Caldecot who accompanied an expedition to Africa and died there about the beginning of the present century.
William Peacock was an accomplished watchmaker, and followed that business as long as he engaged actively in trade. Joseph Peacock, his son, was one of a family of six children, four boys and two girls, all of whom