31. Seattle to Tacoma

“Settled” for Hayes always has a non-standard interpretation.  In the current chapter, settled means attending school in Seattle at a Free Methodist Seminary , from which he is eventually expelled – for laughing at their enthusiasms.  Followed by a summer breaking rocks at the quarry in Tacoma where he hears the hair-raising tale of the Edmund Creffield, Esther Mitchell and the Holy Rollers.

The map below won’t appear in an email.  The current chapter appears as the very short pink path with stops at only Seattle and Tacoma.  Though the distance is short, the time is long by Hayes’ standards – 9 months – with infrequent diary entries  as is customary when he is “settled.”  The previous green path shows him coming down from Alaska.  Only the start of the next chapter is shown in blue; it stretches to London.

Click here to download chapters 1-31 on Google Earth.  

Here and There Synopsis:
31.1 High School at the Free Methodist Seminary

November 10, 1905

From Seattle Hayes popped down to the twin towns of Aberdeen and Hoquiam at Grey’s Harbor looking for work in the mills. All he found were, “Vast mud flats piled with drifting logs and stumps from on up the Chehalis River flowing into the bay, more logs in heaps about the shores, sawmills dolefully humming day after day and the bleak streets … full of water from the incessant rain.” A quick look in at Tacoma before a new idea assaults him: “I propose to enter the seminary of the Free Methodist Church at Fremont for a couple of years, then try to get into the University of Washington. It is rather late in life to seek such learning, but I can try.”

Seattle Seminary; now Seattle Pacific University

While admiring Hayes’ pursuit of knowledge, one also notes that this looks like a warm dry place to spend the winter.

November 23,1905

Hayes paid two years tuition and board joining with four other young men and eight girls under the tutelage of the school’s first headmaster Alexander Beers. All the students like Beers but Hayes identifies his wife as “a nagger who has favorites and sees that they get the plums.” Though very tame, the place compares favorably with unpaid sailor’s work, hiking across the Arizona desert, and starving around Los Angeles. “I can get the winter in here and see what turns up elsewhere later.”

December 4,1905

At 27 years old, Hayes entered the Seminary as a freshman in High School. Either he or the place is out of step – “Anyway, I’ve never seen a place like it.” Gentle girls dressed in “plain garments that are not intended to attract men,” and soft boys, “who could not take it if thrown on a square rigger rounding Cape Stiff.”

The strict Free Methodists wear no ties, play no instrumental music in church, but are given to “a deal of shouting and fervent prayer, and when the spiritual unction and ecstasy falls on the assembled throng they lose self control and run about the house, screaming at the top of their lungs.” While averring no criticism, Hayes remarks, “To be good and kind, to help one’s fellows who are unfortunate, to play the game as square as one wants it played toward himself would seem to be of more practical value than all this undue excitement and enthusiasm.”

Hayes appreciates Beers as a good man, “sincere and truthfully trying to live right before his charges.” His charges? They are young people just like all young people: following their biological urges, pilfering unlocked rooms, and generally succumbing to temptation as easily as do others. With the “constant revival meeting … in force,” these young Free Methodists “repent of their sins, then do it all over again.”

Deccember 21, 1905

Less than a month at school and Hayes has passed two years work now. “The only fly in the ointment serious to me is the sedentary life forced upon me in this place. It is a hot house, and I am a flower that has bloomed on the mountain tops, or at sea, as the case may be.”

Hayes believes the heads of school intend to marry the boys to the girls in this institution. “Seated at the table with me thrice daily are several girls in the full bloom of young womanhood. They are as full of appeal as any one could meet elsewhere, and I know I have been placed with them for the possibilities of the contact.” While not immune to these allures, Africa still holds the stronger appeal. The school has a missionary society, to which Hayes belongs, but he believes only members of the Free Methodist church have any real hope of placement as “ambassadors to the heathen.”

Hayes writes with pride of his academic accomplishments achieved by constant study night and day. “None in the school has passed as many grades as I have, and even the faculty have not gone as far in geography, in geology and in general knowledge of the world as I have.” All this excellence avails him little without membership in the church. “I must accept these super tame people and like it or else––.”

February 9, 1906

The school held a little 28th birthday celebration for Hayes and several others born on the same day. The party gives a pleasant interlude, but Hayes tires of this place and these people who are not his kind. “My life has been lived among rough and uncouth men. But their sins, glaring as they were, were on the surface.“ Compelled to follow the rules set for “all these children” at the school, Hayes longs for exercise, fresh air, and self-determination.

In contrast, the masters of the school long for conversion for every student in residence. “There is a deal of excitement shown by parents when their offspring forsake the world and turn to things spiritual, but it is a question whether they can hold fast when it comes to the long, hard dray down life’s pathway to the grave.“ Hayes invokes the Spanish inquisition to describe the pressure exerted on students to come to the True Faith. “I think every student but me has been to the mourners bench several times, and it might be well if I did. Instead it excites my perverted sense of humor.” The chapel where services are held slopes down toward the pulpit, so that when those seized by the spirit begin running around the house, “they run down this incline and soon their heads are moving faster than their feet.” All very funny – except that Hayes has paid two years tuition and board here: “I’ll never last it.”

March 16, 1906

Some of the students in their late teens slipped into town for “shows and stolen kisses.” Now everyone at the school suffers reinforced disciplines, even those like Hayes with no girl friend. And the heating system doesn’t work. “The steam heat comes up through the shafts as cold heat, and might easily be used for refrigeration purposes.” Through all the conditions Hayes reports keeping up on his studies.

April 10, 1906

“San Francisco has been destroyed by a great earthquake.”

San Francisco Earthquake April 1906

Hayes’ dates his entry incorrectly; the earthquake hit San Francisco on April 18th. Nevertheless, the reports filtering north to Seattle are correct: “Fire is wiping out the wrecked houses left standing as well as burning the wreckage of the quake.” Rumors put the death toll between one thousand and fifty thousand. (Wikipedia records it as about 3,000, the highest death toll from any natural disaster in California history.)

All his diligent school work at the Free Methodist school over the past five months has advanced Hayes to a junior in High School, but “My shortcuts to the problems given us do not agree with all the professors.” Worse yet: he refuses conversion to Free Methodism; has not fallen for any of the girls seated beside him at table; and is guilty of sacrilege. “Not willingly, but being naturally wicked and unregenerate, I laughed at some of the more enthusiastic zealots as they leaped about the room during worship. I hid my head, but it availed me nothing. I would have laughed regardless of penalties, it was funny.”

So, that’s the end of school at the Free Methodist Seminary. A shame to lose the two years tuition and board, but at least a spring rain now falls in Seattle. “Where, oh where? There seems no stable place in this world for me. I am doomed to wander.”

31.2 Tacoma Breaking Rocks Again

April 24, 1906

Passing an entire winter sitting reading with the “super tame” people, Hayes has gone soft. So he decides to return to hammering rocks at the quarry in Tacoma. “As I needed exercise, I chose this place above all others.” His boss, Buck Stanley, put him on a fourteen pound hammer, “and am I sore?” A few of the old crew are still here, Andy the Boob, and Old Jack, but the cook married the Mississippi kid and the couple moved on with their newly born child. The new cook is better, “but the fleas are here, and if anything the moral standard of the crew is somewhat lower than when I was here two years ago.”

A powerful hunch seizes Hayes that his road will soon lead to Africa. “There is no especial encouragement for this belief, but I have a most particular hunch. And at times during my life these hunches have come true.” Scotty, a “powder man” at the quarry, who fought in the Boer War, encourages Hayes but wonders why anyone would hope to reach the hot Sudan.

May 30, 1906

Now that the Japanese have won their war with Russia, the men have little to discuss at the quarry. According to Hayes’ race based ideology, the wrong side won, which will mean a step back for the world.

The rocks Hayes and the crew crush go to line a nearby roadbed for the rubber-wheeled cars that are beginning to appear requiring better roads.

Blomstrom Queen Automobile 1906

Unlike the other men at the quarry, Hayes saves his money toward his Africa stake. “For the other men it means booze and an occasional woman’s society in the purlieus of Seattle.”

June 12, 1906

Though of wiry build, “not a bullock in stature as most quarrymen are,” Hayes has the knack of breaking rocks by knowing where to strike, so can manage the punishing physical labor. Old Pete returned to a touching reception from the rest of the crew, which includes Long Andy, Short Andy, and Andy the Boob. Long Andy is a gentle giant when sober, a mad bull when drunk. Short Andy is a genial Scandinavian when sober, a tiger who will fight any man when drunk. Andy the Boob is a half-wit with regard to everything but working steel at which he is “a genius.” “Then we have a few socialists, red ones who wish to turn the world upside down. They reject everything but their own philosophy.”

Hayes observes among the workingmen of the United States, “a certain movement toward a change of government.” Just now, these men praise the assassin who killed the governor of Finland. Hayes fears this kind of unrest will grow toward bigger things that will not be for the better. “To me it seems if there is to be any change that will benefit mankind it must be by raising the standard of the individual, and that can only be done by the man himself.” According to Hayes, only the precepts laid down by Christ so long ago hold any promise of breaking the cycle of domination by whatever group rises to the top – for once on top, the revolutionaries become “cruel, domineering, [and] lustful for power,” until the next group topples them, “and it goes on endlessly.”

July 6, 1906

Then July Fourth comes and Hayes gets to see what men actually do with their hard won liberty. “Andy the Boob takes his booze in the seclusion of his hut by the blacksmith shop, so does not offend his fellows.” But the two other Andy’s went into town “bosom companions, and for some strange reason did not spend all their money there.” They came back to the bunkhouse at midnight on the Third arguing who was the better man. Hayes quotes them. First Short Andy: “You knows I vas a tam better mans dan you vas!” Then Long Andy: “Th’ hell you are! Come outside hyar, I’ll show yuh who’s th’ better man!”

Their argument did not come to blow on the night of the Third, and, since Short Andy had some money left, he stopped by “The Meadows” to play the ponies on the Fourth and “With a drunk man’s luck he picked winners constantly, [and] won several hundred dollars….” With his winnings he bought fireworks, carrying them back to set off inside the bunkhouse –where Long Andy had continued his drinking – nearly burning it to the ground. After sharing his fireworks with Hayes and Long Andy at the bunkhouse, Short Andy returned to the racetrack where some newly acquired “friends” tried to rob him. “His great strength surprised them, and they beat him frightfully before he was subdued.” When the police arrived, Short Andy, despite the beating, had one of the robbers in a clutch he would not release. “Andy is in the can at Seattle now, held as a material witness against this man, who is a notorious criminal.” At least Short Andy isn’t “groaning in his bunk” like Long Andy, or “paralyzed” like Andy the Boob. Hayes summarizes the whole debauched celebration:

“So much for one’s glorious personal liberty we hear so much about.”

July 19,1906

Quarry work returns to the normal grind without Short Andy. The police caught all three robbers and want to make sure to convict them on Short Andy’s testimony. All the other quarrymen but Hayes are saving for another binge. “When winter comes, all will be broke, working for their board at some Salvation Army woodpile or starving about the streets, begging from any man who has a dime to spare. Such is the American workingman.”

Hayes picked five gallons of blackberries for pies. “There are few more desirable berries than these western blackberries. No other variety has the tang they have, especially in a pie.”

August 12, 1906

Though the rest of the quarry men think he’s “bughouse,” (Hayes’ quote) Hayes will try for the Niger River in West Africa, but not quite yet, maybe in October. Scotty, the powderman, tells any who will listen, “He’ll die if he tries it” (Hayes’ quote.)

Paid $2.75 for nine hours breaking rocks (minus a dollar a day for the bunkhouse), and by avoiding the frightful binges of the three Andys, Hayes has gathered a small stake. This together with some savings from Alaska and a refund from the Free Methodist school will bankroll his adventure to the Niger.

September 5, 1906

Short Andy got back from Seattle pale, subdued, and bringing the tale of Ester Mitchell, “a pretty little thing” – who shot her own brother.

Esther Mitchell

George Mitchell

Edmund Creffield

Hayes recalls that he also has a slight connection to Esther Mitchell’s case, “I was in Seattle last spring, walking down First St., and a man shot another a couple of blocks distant.” The man shooting was Esther Mitchell’s brother, George. The man shot was Edmund Creffield, founder of the Bride of Christ Church – better known by the derogatory name Holy Rollers. (The reader can find extensive accounts of the Holy Rollers on line.) Hayes summarizes his understanding of the church as follows: “These people were given to stripping themselves of all their clothing, rolling about the floor in their ecstacies (sic) and at last devoting themselves to sexual orgies, in which Creffield led.”

In May of 1906, Hayes heard George Mitchell shoot Edmund Creffield in Seattle. Mitchell claimed Creffield had defiled his seventeen-year-old sister, Esther, a member of the Bride of Christ Church. The Seattle jury acquitted George Mitchell who was free only a few days before Esther(!) shot him. Short Andy brings with him all the lurid gossip about Esther Mitchell straight from the prison in Seattle where, “She is waiting for trial now.”

Scandalous gossip to pass a man’s September swinging a 14-pound hammer, but: “At the end of this month I intend to leave. Despite the unusually hard work I have spent a pleasant summer. Time slips by easily and pleasantly, and these men are as good companions as any other. Misfortune has placed most of them where they are, and the others are not fitted for any other sort of work. The hard work has been good discipline for me.”

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: