The New Bloomfield, Pa. times. (New Bloomfield, Pa.) 1877-188?, June 15, 1880, Image 1

Below is the OCR text representation for this newspapers page. It is also available as plain text as well as XML.

    ivi iff ' m-j y
in Independent Family Newspaper,
One year (Post age Free) l TO
Six Months " " 80
To Subscribers In this County
Who pay In Adtawcr. a Discount or 2-1 Cents will
Demade from the alxire terms, making
subsarlptlon within the County,
When Paid in Advance, f 1.25 Ter Year.
W Advertising rates furnished uponappll
catlon. MIKE FINK.
HPHE Last of the Boatman" baa not
i. become altogether a mythic per
aonage. There are around us those who
still remember him as one of flesh and
blood, as well as proportions simply
human, albeit be lacked somewhat of
the herolo in stature, as well as being a
" perfect terror," to people !
As regards has not yet become
that favorite question of doubt" Did
such ft thing really live?" For have we
heard the skeptic inquiry" Did such a
thing really dteV" But his death in
half a dozen different ways and places
has been asserted, and this, we take it,
is the first gathering of the mythic have
that shadowy and indistinct enlarge
ment of outline, which, deepening
through long ages, invests distinguished
mortality with the gubllmer attributes
of the hero and demi-god. Had Mike
lived in "early Greece," his flat boat
feats would, doubtless, in poetry, have
rivalled those of Jason, in his ship;
while in Scandinavian legtnds.he would
have been a river god, to a certainty 1
The Sea Kings would have sacrificed to
him every time they " crossed the bar,"
or advised, as far as any interference
went, to " lay low and keep dark, or,
pre-haps," &c.
The story of Mike Fink, including a
death, has been beautifully told by the
late Morgan Neville, of Cincinnati, a
gentleman of the highest literary taste,
as well as of the most amiable and ' pol
ished manners. . ".The Last of the Boat
men," as his sketch is entitled, is unex
ceptionable in Btyle, and, we believe, in
fact, with one exception, and that is,
the statement as to the manner and
place of Fink's death. Hedid not die in
Arkansas, but at Fort Henry,' near the
mouth of the Yellow Stone.
In the year 1822, steamboats having
left the "keels" and "broad-horns"
"entirely out of sight," and Mike hav
ing, in consequence, fallen from high
estate that of being "a little bit the
almlghtiest man on the river, any how"
after a term of idleness, frolic and
desperate rowdyism, along the different
towns, he, at St. Louis, entered the ser
vice of the Mountain Fur Company, as
a trapper and hunter: and In that
capacity was employed by Major Henry,
in command of the Fort at the mouth of
the Yellow Stone river, when the occur
rence took place of which we write.
Mike, with many generous qualities,
was alway a reckless vre devil ; but, at
this time, advancing (i years and de
cayed in influence, above all become a
victim of whisky, he was morose and
desperate in the extreme. There was a
government regulation which forbade
the free use of alcofiol at the trading
posts on the Missouri river, and this
was a continual source of quarrel be
tween the men and the commandant.
Major Henry on the part of Fink par
ticularly. One of bis treaks was to
march with his rifle into the fort, and
demand & supply of spirits. Argument
was fruitless, foroe not to be thought of,
and when, on being positively denied,
draw up bis rifle and seut a ball through
the cask, deliberately walked up and
filled his can, while his particular
"boys" followed his example, all that
could be done was to look upon the
matter as one of his "queer ways," and
that was the end of it. ; f
The state of things continued for some
time; Mike's temper and exactions
growing more unbearable every day,
until, finally, a " spilt" took place, not
only between himself and the command
ant, but many others in the fort, and
the unruly boatman swore he would not
, live among them. Followed only by a
youth named Carpenter, whom he had
brought up, and for whom he felt a rude
but strong attachment, he prepared a
sort of cave In the river's bank, furnish
ed it with a supply of whiskey, and,
with his companion, turned in to pass
the winter, which was then closing
upon them. In this place he burled
himself, sometimes unseen for weeks,
his protege providing what else was
necessary beyond the whisky. At
length attempts were used, on the part
of those in the fort, to withdraw Car
penter from Fink; foul insinuations
were made as to the nature of their con
nection ; the youth was twitted with
being a mere slave, &o., all which (Fink
heard of it in spite of his retirement)
Berved to breed a distrust between the
two, and though they did not separate,
much of their cordiality ceased.
The winter wore away in this sullen
state of torpor; spring came with its
reviving Influences, and to celebrate the
season, a supply of alcohol was procured
and a number of his acquaintances from
the fort coming to "rouse out" Mike, a
desperate "frolic" of course, ensued.
There were river yarns, and boatmen
Bongs, and "nigger break-downs," in
terspersed with wrestling matches,
jumping, laugh, and yell, the cau circu
lating freely, until Mike became some
what mollified.
"I tell you what it is, boys," he cried,
" the fort's a Bkunk hole, and I'd rather
live with the bars than stay in it. Some
on ye's been trying to part me and my
boy, that I love like my own cub but
no matter. Maybe he's poisoned against
me; but, Carpenter, (striking the youth
heavily on the shoulder,) I took you by
the hand when it had forgotten the
touch of a father's or a mother's you
know me to be a man, and you ain't
going to turn out a dog I"
Whether it was that the youth fancied
something insulting in the manner of
the appeal, or not, we can't Bay ; but it
was not responded to very warmly, and
a reproach followed from Mike. How
ever, they drank together, and the frolic
went on, until Mike, filling his can,
walked of r some forty yards, placed it
upon his head, and called to Carpenter
to take his rifle.
The wild feat oi shooting cans off each
other's head was a favorite one with
Mike himBelf and "boy" generally
winding up a hard frolio with this sav
age, but deeply-meaning proof of con
tinued confidence; as for risk, their
eagle eyes and iron nerves defied the
might of whisky. After their recent
alienation, a doubly generous Impulse,
without a doubt, had Induced Fink to
propose and subject himself to the test.
Carpenter had been drinking wildly,
and with a boisterous laugh snatched up
his rifle. All present had seen the par
ties "shoot," and this desperate aim,
instead of alarming, was merely made a
" Your grog is spilt, forever, Mike 1"
"Kill the old varmint, young 'un I"
" What'll his skin bring in St. Lou
Is V'&c. ,
Amid a loud laugh, Carpenter raised
his piece even the Jester remarked that
he was unsteady crack I the can fell
a loud shout but, instead of a smile of
pleasure, a dark frown fell upon the face
of Fink. He made no motion except to
clutch his rifle as though he would have
crushed it, and there he stood, gazing at
the youth strangely. Various shades of
passion crossed his features surprise,
rage, suspicion but at length they com
posed themselves into a sad expression
the ball had grazed the top of his head,
cutting the scalp, and the thought of
treachery had set his heart on fire. '
There was a loud call upon Mike to
know what he was waiting for,iu which
Carpenter joined, pointing to the can
upon his head and bidding him fire, if
he knew how. '
" Carpenter, my son," said the boat
man, " I taught you to shoot differently
from that last shot I You've missed
once, but you won't again 1"
He fired, and hlsball.croshlng through
the forehead of the youth, laid him a
corpse amid his, as suddenly hushed
companions! ' ;
Time wore on many at the fort spoke
darkly of the deed. Mike Fink had
never been known to miss his aim he
had grown afraid of Carpenter he had
murdered him ! While this feeling was
rising against him, the unhappy boat
man lay in his cave, shunning both
sympathy and sustenance. He spoke to
none when e did come forth, 'twas as
a spectre, and only to haunt the grave
of his "boy," or, if he did break silence,
'twas to burst into a paroxysm of rage
against the enemies who "turned Ills
boy's heart from him !"
At the fort was a man by the man of
Talbott, the gunsmith of the station ; he
was very loud and bitter in his denunci
ations of the "murderer," as he called
Fink, which, finally, reaching the ears
of the latter, filled him with the most
violent passion, and he swore that he
would take the life of his defamer. This
threat was almost forgotten, when one
day, Talbot, who was at work in his
shop, saw Fink enter the fort, his first
visit since the death of Carpenter. Fink
approached ; he was careworn, sick, and
wasted, there was no auger In his bear
ing, but he carried his rifle, (had he ever
gone without it?) and the gunsmith was
not a coolly brave man ; moreover, bis
life had been threatened.
" Fink," cried he, snatching up a pair
of pistols from his bench, "-don't ap
proach me if you do, you're a dead
man 1"
" Talbott," said the boatman, in a
sad voice, " you need'nt be afraid ; you
have done mo wrong I'm come to talk
to you about Carpenter my boy I"
He continned to advance, and the
gunsmith again called to him
" Fink, I know you ; If you come
three steps nearer, I'll fire, by ?"
Mike carried his rifle across his arm,
and made no hostile demonstration,
except in gradually getting nearer if
hostile his aim was.
" Talbott, you've accused me of mur
dering my boy Carpenter that I
raised from a Child that I loved like a
son that I can't live without I I'm not
mad with you now, but you must let
me show you that I couldn't do it that
I'd rather die than done it that you've
wronged me ." , ,
By this time he was within a few steps
of the door, and Talbott's agitation be
came extreme. Both pistols were point
ed at Fink's breast, in expectation of a
spring from the latter.
" By the Almighty above us, Fink,
I'll fire I don't want to speak to you
now don't put your foot on that step -don't."
Fink did put his foot on the step, and
the same moment fell heavily within It,
receiving the contents of both barrels in
his breast 1 His last and only words
" I didn't mean to kill my boy 1'.'
Poor Mike I we are satisfied with our
senior's conviction that you did not
mean to kill him. Suspicion of treach
ery, doubtless, entered his mind, but
cowardice and murder never dwelt
there. '
A few weeks after this eveut, Talbott
himself perished in an attempt to cross
the Missouri In a skiff.
AMONG the Greeks the suooessful
athlete was crowned with laurels
and loaded down with wealth and hon
ors. When Egenetus, In the ninety
second Olympiad, triumphant In games,
entered Agrlgentum, his native home,
he was attended by an escort of 300
chariots, each drawn by two white hors
es, and followed by the populace, cheer
ing and waving banners. Mllo six times
won the palm at both the Olympic and
Pythian games. He Is said to have run
a mile with a four-year old ox upon his
shoulders, and afterward killed the ani
mal with a blow from his fist, and ate
the entire carcass in one day 1 So great
was his muscular power that be would
sometimes bind a cord round his head
and break it by the swelling and pres
sure of the . veins. , An ordinary meal
for Mllo was twenty pounds of meat, as
much bread, and fifteen pints of wine.
, Thessalla was of prodigious strength
and colossal height, aud, it is said, alone
and without weapons, killed an enor
mous and enraged lion. One day (it is
so recorded) he seized a bull by one of
Its bind feet, and the animal escaped
only by leaving the hoof in the grasp
of the athlete. ,
The Eoruau Emperor Maxlmnus was
upward of eight feet in height, and like
Mllo, of Crotone, could squeeze to pow
der the hardest stone with his fingers
and break the jaw of a horse by a kick.
His wife's bracelet served him as a ring,
and his every day meal was CO pounds
of meat and an amphora of wine.
While a prisoner in Germany, Rich
ard I. accepted an Invitation to a boxing
match with the son of his jailor. He
received the first blow, which made him
stagger; but, recovering, with a blow of
the fist killed his antagonist on tbe spot.
Tophani, who was born In London in
1710, was . possessed of astonishing
strength. His armpits, hollow in the
case of ordinary men, were with him
full of muscles and tendons. He would
take a bar of iron, with its two ends
held in his hands, place the middle of
tbe bar behind his neck, and then bend
the extremeties by main force, until
they met together, and bend back the
lroti straight again. One night, per
oeivlng a watchman asleep in his box,
he carried both the man and his shell to
a great distance, and deposited them on
the wall of a church-yard. Owing to
domestic troubles he committed suicide
in the prime of life.
The famous Scanderberg, King of Al
bania, who was born in 1418, was a man
of great stature, and his feats of sword
exercise have never been equaled. On
one occasion, with a sclmetar, he struck
his antagonist such a terrible blow that
its tremendous force cleaved him to the
waist. He is said to have often cloven
in two, men who were clad in armor
from head to foot. On one occasion the
brother and nephew of a certain Balls
ban, who had been convicted of cruelties
toward the Albanians, were brought to
him, bound together. Transported with
rage, he cut them in two with one stroke
of his weapon.
Maurice, Count of Saxony, tbe hero
of Fontenoy, inherited the physical vig
or of his father, and was especially no
ted for the surprising muscular power
or " grip," of his hands. On one oc
casion, needing a corkscrew, he twisted
a long iron nail round into the requited
shape with his fingers, and with this ex
temporized Implement opened half a
dozen bottles of wine. Another time,
when stopping at a village blacksmith
shop to have bis horse shod, he picked
up a number of new horse-shoeB, and
with his bands snapped them in two as
readily as if made of glass, much to the
surprise and disgust of the smith.
If history is to be believed, Pbyallus
of Crotona, could, jump a distance of
fifty-six feet. The exercise was practic
ed at the Olympic games and formed
part of the course of the Pentatholon.
Strutt, an English authority on games
and amusements, speaks of a Yorklsh
jumper named Ireland, whose powers
were something marvelous. He was
six feet high, and at tbe age of eighteen
leaped, without tbe aid of a springboard,
over nine horses ranged side by side.
He cleared a cord extended fourteen feet
from the ground with a bound, crushed
with bis foot a bladder suspended at a
height of sixteen feet, and on another
occasion lightly cleared a large wagon
covered with an awning. Col. Ironside,
who lived In India early in this century,
relates that he met in his travels an old
white-haired man who with one leap
sprang over the back of an enormous
elephant flanked by six camels of the
largest breed.
A curious French work published in
Paris in 1745, entitled "Tbe Tracts To
ward the History of Wonders Perform
ed at Fairs," mentions an Englishman,
who at the fair of St. Germain in 1723,
leaped over forty people without touch
ing them. In our own day we are fa
miliar with many remarkable exposi
tions of strength aud endurance. Dr.
Wlndsip, with the aid of straps, lifted a
weight of 3,600 pounds, and with the
little finger of his right hand could raise
his body a considerable distance from
the ground. ' ' ' 1 "
An Excited Darkey. .
A POLICEMAN who was beating
through "Kaintuck" yesterday
afternoon was halted by a little old
negro man who bad business in his eye
and both bands, tightly clenched, aa he
said : ' 1 '
. " Say.boss, am you gwlne to be 'round
yere to-morrer forenoon V" .
.. Yes, I suppose so." , .
, " Waal, dar's gwlne to be de power
fullest fuBs up yere dat ole Kaintuck
ebersaw, an' you'd better have about
six pa'r o' handcuff u' shackles wld
" Why, what's the trouble now V"
" Truble 'nuff, Bah. You see, de old
man Jinklns, 'round on Illinoy Btreet,
NO. 25 .
am gwlne to die afore night. Dot's set
tied for shuah."
" Yes."
" Waal, de old man baa axed me to
sort o' boss de fun'ral 'rangements, kase
he knows I'm solid on stch dings. Ize
'tended fun'rals bo long dot Ize got de
bang of 'em, you see."
" YeB."
"Waal, dar's Deknn Allen, llbln'
ober'on Calhoun street, one of de most
pompous Africans In Detroit. Just aa
suah as a black man shuffles off de coll
anywhar' 'round heah de Dekun he al
ius wants to boss de fun'ral blzness."
" Does, eh ?"
" He does, sab, an' he's de poorest
han' you eber saw. He can't start a
by mn, nor make any sort o' speech on
de shlnln' qualities of delate deceased.
Why, what d'ye 'spose de Dekun got off
ober heah on Clay street at a fuu'ral in
Jlnuary ?"
" I can't say."
" Why, be said dat man cometh up
like a flower an' am cut down. De de
ceased wasn't a man at all, but a girl,
an' de ideah of flowers comin' up In
Jinuaryl Slch ignorance, sab, needs
" Well, what about this fuss to-mor.
row V"
"Wall, sab, Ize been requested to
boss dat fun'ral. Ize been requested by
de werry man who am gwlne to form
de subjeck of de sad occasion. De De
kun will be ober dar as usual, puttln'
on scollops an' tellln' folks to stand
back an' soon. He'll swell up an' walk -'round
wld his hands behln' his back,
same as if he owned de hull Btreet, an'
same as if I wasn't knee-high to a
"Well." '
" Well, sah, dar will be a rekonter be
tween the Dekun an' myself. De wery
minit dat he begins to swell up I shell
shed off my Sunday coat an' purceed to
mangle him widln two inches of his
life I I'll do it I'll do it, sab, if I hev
to go to the State Prison for a fousan'
y'ars I"
"I wouldn't."
" But I will, sah. Ize giben you far
warnln', sah, an' if you am not on ban'
wld aone-hoss wagin, to convey de body
of de Dekun to his late home, it won't
be my fault. Dat's all, sah all exoept
dat 1 strike wid boaf fists to once, 'an
dat de pusson struck at soon pines away
an' dies. Good day, sah 1"
Had Read the Bible.
BIBLICAL scholars are sometimes
entrapped. In a little town of Ba
varia, the other day, sat an aged frau-
lien and her minister, who was at least,
supposed to know the bible by . heart.
Tbe frauleln eDjoyed a joke in spite of .
her age ; and the reverend father, al
though a thoroughly nloua man. waa
not a whit behind her. Indeed there Is
nothing in the sacred profession which
interdicts a good wholesome laugh, and
nothing which makes a man so sad that
he can see only the gloomy and cloudy
side of life. Our fraulein said :
" Father, you may have heard that
some of the persistent explorers in the
Holy Land, have just discovered a hugh
heap of bones which are supposed, on
pretty good autbortty, to be those of the
the children Herod killed."
"Ah, indeed!" aald the minister
thoroughly interested, " I had not heard
ot it."
" Yes,," continued the frauleln, " and
strange to say, nearly half of tbe bones
were as white as the snows of the Alps,
while the others were as black as eb
ony." " Well, well !" exclaimed the pastor,
" that is certainly very remarkable."
" Aud the problem to be solved Is,"
continued the fraulein, " whether the
white bones ' belonged to the girls
and the black ones to the boys, or vice
versa. The explorers were greatly vex
ed by tbe matter and could arrive at no
satisfactory conclusion. Now, what do
you think, father V"
"Oh," wittily rejoined the pastor,
" of course the black bones belonged to
the girl babies and the white ones to
the boy baWes." '
We ask tbe same question of our read
ers, and they bad better guess several
times before they read the rest of the
paragraph. When they have settled the
matter, they can refer to the answer of
the frauleln, who, with a merry twinkle
iu her eye, said: "Father you must
have read your bible to very little pur
pose, for tho account tells that only boy
babies were killed by Herod."