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Dinsdale, Matthew / Matthew Dinsdale papers, 1836-1897: Folder 1

[Reverend Matthew Dinsdale - Biographical Sketch],   pp. [1]-5 PDF (5.7 MB)

Page 4

[Rev. Dinsdale]
- 4 -
amounted to $4094.13.
The third journal was written when in service as agent of the Christian Commission
in the spring of 1865 in the vicinity of Nashville.  The writer visited the
camps and hospitals, distributed papers and Bibles, read and prayed with
the soldiers, and in some cases took their dying messages.
In addition to the diaries, the papers include many letters of historical
interest.  All those written home to England from the time the young emigrant
arrived at New York until he left there five years later for California,
have fortunately been preserved.  The writer had a good command of language
and a gift for clear and lucid expression, and he portrays his first experiences
in the New World with delightful vigor and freshness.  He relates his first
days in America, the prices of commodities and the modes and discomforts
of traveling.  He had an especial fondness for natural scenery, and his descriptions
even of so hackneyed a subject as Niagara Falls, do not fall upon the reader.
 Most important are the accounts he gives of conditions in our Territory
during its formative years - at first in the southeast, then in the more
settled portion he pictures the life of the frontier with truth and vigor.
 Most valuable of all, perhaps, is the description he gives of the Lake Winnebago
region when the rapid ingress of new settlers was at its height, and the
Indians were retreating before the American advance.  Among the experiences
he details were those of a visit to a Menominee Indian Payment on the shores
of Lake Poygan, where his clear observation of conditions among the retiring
race are of peculiar value to the historian of the tribesmen.

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