Life & Labors: On the founding of Grinnell College
The Peace of Wild Things

Life & Labors: A Fortuitous Stop

Mary Gaylord writes,

In those early days our nearest route to Muscatine, Davenport and some other points, was by way of Flint Creek and the twenty-mile prairie.  On passing out of the belt of timber on the creek, we entered this prairie, which in 1841 and '42 had not been encroached upon by any human habitation.  It was not level, but gently undulating, with ravines in which were often found living springs.  This prairie, like many others, was clothed with the most luxuriant verdure, but absolutely treeless.  On its northern boundary was a fine natural park of many acres, filled with a beautiful growth of the native trees of Iowa.  This was called "Virginia Grove."  After the long ride of twenty miles it was most refreshing to reach this grove at night-fall, and find a pleasant-looking home nestled among the trees where we could ask for entertainment.  We had been in the house but a short time on our first visit, when Mrs. Brown, the wife and mother, inquired if Mr. Gaylord was a clergyman.  On receiving an affirmative answer her eyes filled with tears and she said, "It is three years since I have seen a minister of the gospel, and my boys are growing up with no church or Sabbath school to help them into the right way."  At night and in the morning the Bible was brought and the family called together for worship.  When money was proferred for the entertainment on leaving, they refused to accept it, saying, "All we ask of you is to come again."  Such experiences as this stimulated and encouraged the workers of those early days.

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