Click here to Download The Story of a Pioneer PDF Book by Anna Howard Shaw Language English having PDF Size 1.9 MB and No of Pages 132.
My father’s ancestors were the Shaws of Rothiemurchus, in Scotland, and the ruins of their castle may still be seen on the island of Loch-an-Eilan, in the northern Highlands. It was never the picturesque castle of song and story, this home of the fighting Shaws, but an austere fortress, probably built in Roman times.
The Story of a Pioneer PDF Book by Anna Howard Shaw
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And even to-day the crumbling walls which alone are left of it show traces of the relentless assaults upon them. Of these the last and the most successful were made in the seventeenth century by the Grants and Rob Roy; and it was into the hands of the Grants that the Shaw fortress finally fell, about 1700, after almost a hundred years of ceaseless warfare.
It gives me no pleasure to read the grisly details of their struggles, but I confess to a certain satisfaction in the knowledge that my ancestors made a good showing in the defense of what was theirs. Beyond doubt they were brave fighters and strong men. There were other sides to their natures, however, which the high lights of history throw up less appealingly.
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As an instance, we have in the family chronicles the blood-stained page of Allen Shaw, the oldest son of the last Lady Shaw who lived in the fortress. It appears that when the father of this young man died, about 1560, his mother married again, to the intense disapproval of her son. For some time after the marriage he made no open revolt against the new-comer in the domestic circle.
But finally, on the pretext that his dog had been attacked by his stepfather, he forced a quarrel with the older man and the two fought a duel with swords, after which the victorious Allen showed a sad lack of chivalry. He not only killed his stepfather, but he cut off that gentleman’s head and bore it to his mother in her bedchamber—an action which was considered.
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Even in that tolerant age, to be carrying filial resentment too far. Probably Allen regretted it. Certainly he paid a high penalty for it, and his clan suffered with him. He was outlawed and fled, only to be hunted down for months, and finally captured and executed by one of the Grants, who, in further virtuous disapproval of Allen’s act, seized and held the Shaw stronghold.
The other Shaws of the clan fought long and ably for its recovery, but though they were helped by their kinsmen, the Mackintoshes, and though good Scotch blood dyed the gray walls of the fortress for many generations, the castle never again came into the hands of the Shaws.
It still entails certain obligations for the Grants, however, and one of these is to give the King of England a snowball whenever he visits Loch-an-Eilan! As the years passed the Shaw clan scattered. Many Shaws are still to be found in the Mackintosh country and throughout southern Scotland. Others went to England, and it was from this latter branch that my father sprang. The Story of a Pioneer PDF Book
His name was Thomas Shaw, and he was the younger son of a gentleman—a word which in those days seemed to define a man who devoted his time largely to gambling and horse-racing. My grandfather, like his father before him, was true to the traditions of his time and class. Quite naturally and simply he squandered all he had, and died abruptly, leaving his wife and two sons penniless.
They were not, however, a helpless band. They, too, had their traditions, handed down by the fighting Shaws. Peter, the older son, became a soldier, and died bravely in the Crimean War. My father, through some outside influence, turned his attention to trade, learning to stain and emboss wallpaper by hand, and developing this work until he became the recognized expert in his field.
Indeed, he progressed until he himself checked his rise by inventing a machine that made his handwork unnecessary. His employer at once claimed and utilized this invention, to which, by the laws of those days, he was entitled, and thus the cornerstone on which my father had expected to build a fortune proved the rock on which his career was wrecked. The Story of a Pioneer PDF Book
But that was years later, in America, and many other things had happened first. When I returned to Albion College in the autumn of 1875 I brought with me a problem which tormented me during my waking hours and chattered on my pillow at night. Should I devote two more years of my vanishing youth to the completion of my college course, or, instead, go at once to Boston University.
Enter upon my theological studies, take my degree, and be about my Father’s business? I was now twenty-seven years old, and I had been a licensed preacher for three years. My reputation in the Northwest was growing, and by sermons and lectures I could certainly earn enough to pay the expenses of the full college course.
On the other hand, Boston was a new world. There I would be alone and practically penniless, and the opportunities for work might be limited. Quite possibly in my final two years at Albion I could even save enough money to make the experience in Boston less difficult, and the clear common sense I had inherited from my mother reminded me that in this course lay wisdom. The Story of a Pioneer PDF Book
Possibly it was some inheritance from my visionary father which made me, at the end of three months, waive these sage reflections, pack my few possessions, and start for Boston, where I entered the theological school of the university in February, 1876. It was an instance of stepping off a solid plank and into space; and though there is exhilaration in the sensation.
As I discovered then and at later crises in life when I did the same thing, there was also an amount of subsequent discomfort for which even my lively imagination had not prepared me. I went through some grim months in Boston—months during which I learned what it was to go to bed cold and hungry, to wake up cold and hungry, and to have no knowledge of how long these conditions might continue.
But not more than once or twice during the struggle there, and then only for an hour or two in the physical and mental depression attending malnutrition, did I regret coming. At that period of my life I believed that the Lord had my small personal affairs very much on His mind. If I starved and froze it was His test of my worthiness for the ministry, and if He had really chosen me for one of His servants. The Story of a Pioneer PDF Book Download
He would see me through. The faith that sustained me then has still a place in my life, and existence without it would be an infinitely more dreary affair than it is. But I admit that I now call upon the Lord less often and less imperatively than I did before the stern years taught me my unimportance in the great scheme of things.
My class at the theological school was composed of forty-two young men and my unworthy self, and before I had been a member of it an hour I realized that women theologians paid heavily for the privilege of being women. The young men of my class who were licensed preachers were given free accommodations in the dormitory, and their board.
At a club formed for their assistance, cost each of them only one dollar and twenty-five cents a week. For me no such kindly provision was made. I was not allowed a place in the dormitory, but instead was given two dollars a week to pay the rent of a room outside. Neither was I admitted to the economical comforts of the club. The Story of a Pioneer PDF Book Download
But fed myself according to my income, a plan which worked admirably when there was an income, but left an obvious void when there was not. With characteristic optimism, however, I hired a little attic room on Tremont Street and established myself therein. In lieu of a window the room offered a pale skylight to the February storms, and there was neither heat in it nor running water.
But its possession gave me a pleasant sense of proprietorship, and the whole experience seemed a high adventure. I at once sought opportunities to preach and lecture, but these were even rarer than firelight and food. In Albion I had been practically the only licensed preacher available for substitute and special work.
In Boston University’s three theological classes there were a hundred men, each snatching eagerly at the slightest possibility of employment; and when, despite this competition, I received and responded to an invitation to preach, I never knew whether I was to be paid for my services in cash or in compliments. The Story of a Pioneer PDF Book Download
If, by a happy chance, the compensation came in cash, the amount was rarely more than five dollars, and never more than ten. There was no help in sight from my family, whose early opposition to my career as a minister had hotly flamed forth again when I started East. I lived, therefore, on milk and crackers, and for weeks at a time my hunger was never wholly satisfied.
In my home in the wilderness I had often heard the wolves prowling around our door at night. Now, in Boston, I heard them even at high noon. There is a theory that every seven years each human being undergoes a complete physical reconstruction, with corresponding changes in his mental and spiritual make-up.
Possibly it was due to this reconstruction that, at the end of seven years on Cape Cod, my soul sent forth a sudden call to arms. I was, it reminded me, taking life too easily; I was in danger of settling into an agreeable routine. The work of my two churches made little drain on my superabundant vitality. The Story of a Pioneer PDF Book Download
And not even the winning of a medical degree and the increasing demands of my activities on the lecture platform wholly eased my conscience. I was happy, for I loved my people and they seemed to love me. It would have been pleasant to go on almost indefinitely, living the life of a country minister and telling myself that what I could give to my flock made such a life worth while.
But all the time, deep in my heart, I realized the needs of the outside world, and heard its prayer for workers. My theological and medical courses in Boston, with the experiences that accompanied them, had greatly widened my horizon. Moreover, at my invitation, many of the noble women of the day were coming to East Dennis to lecture.
Bringing with them the stirring atmosphere of the conflicts they were waging. One of the first of these was my friend Mary A. Livermore; and after her came Julia Ward Howe, Anna Garlin Spencer, Lucy Stone, Mary F. Eastman, and many others, each charged with inspiration for my people and with a special message for me, which she sent forth unknowingly and which I alone heard. The Story of a Pioneer PDF Book Download
They were fighting great battles, these women—for suffrage, for temperance, for social purity—and in every word they uttered I heard a rallying-cry. So it was that, in 1885, I suddenly pulled myself up to a radical decision and sent my resignation to the trustees of the two churches whose pastor I had been since 1878.
The action caused a demonstration of regret which made it hard to keep to my resolution and leave these men and women whose friendship was among the dearest of my possessions. But when we had all talked things over, many of them saw the situation as I did. No doubt there were those, too, who felt that a change of ministry would be good for the churches.
During the weeks that followed my resignation I received many odd tributes, and of these one of the most amusing came from a young girl in the parish, who broke into loud protests when she heard that I was going away. To comfort her I predicted that she would now have a man minister—doubtless a very nice man. But the young person continued to sniffle disconsolately. The Story of a Pioneer PDF Book Download
Another woman doing wonderful work at this time was Mrs. Quincy Shaw, who had recently started her day nurseries for the care of tenement children whose mothers labored by the day. These nurseries were new in Boston, as was the kindergarten system she also established.
I saw the effect of her work in the lives of the people, and it strengthened my growing conviction that little could be done for the poor in a spiritual or educational way until they were given a certain amount of physical comfort, and until more time was devoted to the problem of prevention.
Indeed, the more I studied economic issues, the more strongly I felt that the position of most philanthropists is that of men who stand at the bottom of a precipice gathering up and trying to heal those who fall into it, instead of guarding the top and preventing them from going over. Of course I had to earn my living; but, though I had taken my medical degree only a few months before leaving Cape Cod. The Story of a Pioneer PDF Book Free
I had no intention of practising medicine. I had merely wished to add a certain amount of medical knowledge to my mental equipment. The Massachusetts Woman Suffrage Association, of which Lucy Stone was president, had frequently employed me as a lecturer during the last two years of my pastorate. Now it offered me a salary of one hundred dollars a month as a lecturer and organizer.
Though I may not have seemed so in these reminiscences, in which I have written as freely of my small victories as of my struggles and failures, I was a modest young person. The amount seemed too large, and I told Mrs. Stone as much, after which I humbly fixed my salary at fifty dollars a month.
At the end of a year of work I felt that I had “made good”; then I asked for and received the one hundred dollars a month originally offered me. The Story of a Pioneer PDF Book Free