Dinsdale, Matthew / Matthew Dinsdale papers, 1836-1897: Folder 1
[Reverend Matthew Dinsdale - Biographical Sketch], pp. -5 PDF (5.7 MB)
[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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