Henry Secrist Letters
These letters were written
to the great grandfather of James
Hartline, Frederick Hartline (xx May 1828 - 11 Mar 1901) and generously
Letter, Henry Secrist, age unknown, Ontario Collegiate Institute, LaGrange, Indiana to his friend, Frederick Hartline, age 25, Franklin Twp, Tuscarawas, Ohio.
"The Ushering in of Another year brings to mind the question of how many of us will see the last sunset of 1854. It is something to think on. It may be possible that you and I may be cut off from existence before the year is half out. It always makes a kind of good feeling to everyone when Christmas or New Years comes. There is one thing certain that we are nearer the grave, yet people amidst all of this will carouse about between these holidays.
But that is a subject that could be written on by everyone. It appears human nature in all its wisdom wishes the time to speed on with rapidity to drown their solemn thoughts to hurry them through the world without even reflecting for a minute that every year that rolls around brings their time still nearer to the grave. These lines have been penned by me while in solemn thought.
I am now going to school in Ontario.
Elias is going to school with me now. I went 1 month before he came
back home. I do not know how long I will go here. It costs
$25 per quarter
There is also some fine young ladies going here now; about 1/2 the students is female. I am studying Arithmetic, Grammar, Algebra and Philosophy and find plenty to do. Elias is Studying Arithmetic and Grammar.
I hardly know what I shall do the coming summer. I do think of going to Indianapolis the 1st of March, but I wrote to the principal of the Commercial College there and I find that the expenses are about $65 per quarter. I also wanted to know about a situation and he informed me that depended altogether on the Character and qualifications of the person. If I could get employment as soon as I graduated I would go and think the expenses moderate but I hardly think that I shall. I won't have enough money to go a full course after going here these months. Therefore I must content myself with taking chances as they come.
Abraham Gnagy was at our home on the 28th and 29th of December. He has taken some jobs on the Railroad such as building bridges. Tell everybody I am well."
27 Mar 1854
Letter, Henry Secrist, Ontario Collegiate Institute, LaGrange County, Indiana, age unknown, to his friend, Frederick Hartline, age 26, Franklin Twp, Tuscarawas, Ohio.
I am studying Astronomy. It is a great study. It raises the mind to a higher sphere than a man can imagine. It elevates man to think of those Innumerable Worlds that twinkle through the Celestial Heavens. Those worlds revolving around their common center of gravity. Think for one moment that if man was to start for one of those brilliant planets, say Levenier, it would take him 2,800 years going at the rate of 100 miles an hour and he might start at the sun and at that age he might reach that world that is 1,000 times larger than ours.
I am now busy engaged in preparing
for an Exhibition that is to come March 29th. We have to get up our
own pieces. My subject is the Growth of the United States.
I have written it and have it all committed ready to offer forth.
It is going to be a trial to get up before 500 people and speak but I am
and I am determined to stand my post. When you receive this I will
be at home. There is a vacation of 2 weeks. I am going all
summer and if no preventing Providence I will try to obtain a good Education.
My mind is agitated from the hard study that I went into this winter. I would study at nights from ten minutes to 11 and then be up at 5 in the morning. I put myself through but I can't stand it all the time and I will not study as hard this summer." Henry Secrist.
Letter, Henry Secrist, age unknown, Ontario Collegiate Institute, LaGrange County, Indiana to his friend, Frederick Hartline, Franklin Twp, Tuscarawas County, Ohio.
Allow me to give you an imaging idea of my situation: in the first place, imagine you are standing with your back to the North, facing the South, behind you is the beautiful little village of Ontario, still a little further North is the Little Pigeon River which moves so nicely to meet the Father of Waters.
Then return your position and imagine you
see a building as the Strasburg Meeting House with a cupola rising in the
center and suspended to it a bell which your humble servant has the privilege
of ringing about a dozen times a day.
Then return out from the place in
which you entered and on the outside of that door you will see a pair of
stairs. If you go up them you will reach the hall above where you
will be welcomed by the Principal, Mr. Patch. Here is where he is
hearing classes recite in Latin and Greek and Geometry.
Then imagine that you see him seated at meal time before a temporary table partaking of the repast which he has prepared with his own hands. If you can see such a picture before your mind you have a correct view of my present situation; yet I feel better and happier here in such a place than to be seated around the most Luscuriant and spread table or live with the gay and charming youths in some beautiful house.
But still I have to sacrifice a great deal
of earthly pleasure for the sake of obtaining what I am seeking after;
still if I am aided by the care of Providence I expect someday to receive
a reward for my persevering efforts of trying to obtain an Education; that
thing which raises man from the low degrading path of ignorance which prepares
him for future usefulness and then he is prepared to meet the incessant
difficulties which awaits him on his entrance into the busy scenes of life.
I have been studying nearly 3 months and now I am reading. Elias is in Pennsylvania this summer; he went with Solomon. I would like to hear from you and how things are in the Plains. Give me some of the incidents that happen occasionally there. I would like you to answer this as soon as you receive it because I will not be here more than a month no more." Henry Secrist.
Letter, Henry Secrist, age unknown,
Ontario Collegiate Institute, LaGrange County, Indiana to his friend, Frederick
Hartline, Franklin Twp, Tuscarawas, Ohio.
"I am permitted by the Act of Providence
to address a few lines to you and let you know that I am well at present
and hope that these few lines will find you all enjoying the Same Blessing.
18 Jun 1855
Letter, Henry Secrist, age unknown,
Ontario Collegiate Institute, LaGrange County, Indiana, to his friend,
Frederick Hartline, age 26, Franklin Twp, Tuscarawas, Ohio.
Copyright © 2006 Patti Norton and JamesHartline.