Histories: Trempealeau Co. Historical Accounts:
"Trempealeau County" by Clarence J. Gamroth:
Volume 1B Supplement:
Excerpts from the book "The Life of Sir Albert Hastings Markham":
The following is an excerpt of a book on the life of Admiral Albert Hastings Markham, British Navy. The biography was written by his nieces, M. E. and F. A. Markham in England. The book was published in 1927.
Admiral Markham died in England in 1918.
His parents, Captain John and Marianne Markham were the first settlers in the Town of Burnside, Trempealeau County, Wisconsin, near what is now Independence. They came in 1856-57. They broght with them their sons, George H. and Arthur A.
The title of the biographical book is, "The Life of Sir Albert Hastings Markham."
ON THE PRAIRIES
The following has been excerpted from Chapter X "On the Prairies" from the book "The Life of Albert Hastings Markham" by M. E. and F. A. Markham, published in England in 1927. Sir Albert became an admiral in the British Navy. He died in 1918. He was the son of Captain John Markham, who in 1856 settled near what is now Independence, Wisconsin.
Markham's home had been for some years past with his cousin, Clements Markham, who had married and was living in Eccleston Square.
In May 1877, he spent a few weeks in Guernsey in company with Mr. and Mrs. Clements Markham, when he revisited his old home.
He obtained eight months leave from his naval duties to travel to America, part of which he proposed to spend in shooting in the prairies. For this purpose he made arrangements to join the U. S. Calvary Regiment at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, in Indian territory, with nominal objective of scouting after a hostile band of Apache Indians.
He left England for new York by Cunard Steamer Algeria on September 22, 1877, arriving on the evening of October 3.
The first item in Markham's programme was a visit to his home people and after two days spent in New York, where he had business to transact, he started on his western journey, with a short break in Chicago, where he made the acquaintance of General Sheridan, who was kindly arranging details of his projected trip in Indian Territory.
On October 10th, he reached his mother's hom near Independence, Wisconsin, a town that had sprung up since his last visit in 1867, a product of the railway, now about three-quarters of a mile from Ronceval (Markham's Castle). Nearly a fort night was spent with his family, then the time having come to him to start on his trip to the Indian territory, he once again set out on his travels, promising to return for a longer visit at Christmas.
Leaving Independence at 7:15 p.m. on October 22, he arrived at La Crosse at 11 o'clock and drove at once to a hotel to which he had been recommended. Here he was informed that not a single room was vacant, and that it was extremely unlikely he would be able to engage one anywhere else. But the clerk added that if he could wait until 2:00 a.m., he could have a room with a man who was leaving by train at that hour. With this he had to be satisfied and sitting in the hall, wrote up his journal whilst half a dozen men sat smoking round a fire with their feet either on the stove or resting on the back of chairs. Hotel accomodations in the States fifty years ago were very different to what it is today. At 2:30, he was conducted to his room feeling decidedly drowsy, but its aspect effectually banished any idea of sleep. Two enormous beds, two broken chairs, a basin, and looking glass with a fracture completed its furnishings. The ceiling was in such dilapidated state that the laths were clearly visible through the grimy plaster, whilst the paper, a decorative of bygone days, was hanging in strips from the walls. The bed he was to occupy was still warm from its late occupant who had risen hurriedly to catch his train, and it seemed by no means unlikely that another unfortunate passenger might presently appear to take possession of the other bed.
Early afternoon, next day, Markham was again on his way. The journey was tedious, and there was no sleeping car. Drunken roughs boarded the train at night, and at one station where there was a long wait, Markham preferred to sleep on a small mattress in a small hotel.
Next day's journey was more comfortable, and Markham's fame having preceded him, he received much civility from officials. At 8:00 p.m., St. Louis was reached, and after being "interviewed" at his hotel by an enterprising newspaper reporter, Markham was able to rest in comfort.
The next morning he was off again at 9:00 a.m. As evening drew on, one gentleman beguiled the way by relating exciting stories of railway robberies by bands of armed men. The next day they were in Indian territory, but think fog prevented their obtaining any extended view of the country. At intervals, they got glimpses of the vast rolling prairie intersected by muddy rivers and small creeks. Sometimes there may lay through lightly wooded country where the only buildings to be seen were of log houses. As they proceeded and the fog cleared, caravans of immigrants could be seen making their way towards their new homes, the road being nearly parallel with the railway. The sumac growing in profusion, it's leaves almost vermillion in hue, resembled fields of bright red poppy in England.
Markham reached Caddo, the end of the rail line at 3:30 p.m.and found that the stage for Fort Sill had left the previous day. He had to wait 2 days as the stage only ran every 3 days.
Caddo consisted of about 18 or 20 little houses and owed its existence to the railroad. Its trade was entirely with the Indians. Shortly after reaching Caddo, Markham received a message from General MacKenzie, at Fort Sill inviting him to go straight to his residence upon arrival and be his guest. Markham received warm hospitality at Caddo, a bed in the house of Mr. Marshall, who kept a dry goods store, being placed at his disposal.
At 4:30 p.m. of the 28th, Markham took his seat in the stage for Fort Sill. The vehicle was a rickety tumble down military ambulance with duck covering, but open in front and at the two sides and drawn by two horses. It could seat four persons but when three heavy leather mail bags, a few packages, and Markham's own luggage were thrown on, he found his position as sole occupant a very cramped and uncomfortable one. Markham had taken the precaution of distributing his dollar notes about is person, and with his rifle at his side and revolver handy, felt tolerably secure, though robbery generally accompanied by murders were by no means uncommon in the locality.
At midnight they stopped at a log house where coffee and tough beef were supplied by a repulsive looking Negress smoking a black pipe. Horses were changed but although the team was double, two were lame and all in poor condition. The night was oppressively hot, the moon rose bright, though surrounded by wild looking clouds. Markham remarked to the driver that a storm was brewing, but he got a surly answer. By 4:00 a.m., a heavy thunderstorm broke upon them in all its fury. The most severe Markham had ever witnessed even in the tropics. Then the rain came which seemed like an unbroken sheet of water. The four horses, half starved, half drowned and wholly paralyzed with fear, refused to go on, and the travelers were compelled to stay in the open plains. The entire prairie now resembled a sheet of water. With the storm, a cold northerly breeze sprang up causing a sharp drop in temperature.
The driver lashed and swore at his exhausted team and at length the jaded horses started again. At 7:30 a.m., they reached Mill Creek and pulled up at the house of Governor Harris, a full blooded Indian and ex-governor under U. S. of the Chickasaw Nation. The prospect of warmth and food was very alluring for Markham who was wet through and shivering with cold. But alas! No fire had been lighted and was served a meager breakfast. Here the driver changed and four mules were substituted for the horses. Further on antoher change in drivers and team was made. Th road improved but not the weather, still cold and wet. Markham arrived at General MacKenzie's house at Fort Sill at 4:30 the next afternoon.
General MacKenzie threw himself most warmly into arrangements for the Indian trip, and showed the greatest kindness and attention to his visitor during his three day stay.
In the morning of Saturday, November 3, a start was made. The "detail" as a small force attached a special is called, consisting of two large wagons drawn respectively by 8 and 6 mules and guarded by a sargent, two corporals and twelve troopers, three calvary officers, Lieutenants Thomason, Roger and Parker, 15 soldiers and two teamsters while a citizen going to Fort Elliot, Lieutenant Parker's Negro servant, two Indians and a squaw made up the party. They took with them 5 greyhounds. Now followed 4 weeks of keen enjoyment of camping and sport along the Red River. The game was varied and plentiful including buffalo, elk, deer, antelope, wild turkeys, ducks, teal and quail. Wolves howled around their encampment at night. Large herds of buffalo were often seen.
The narrative in the chapter tells of various experiences on the Markham hunting trip mentioned above. It was a great success [missing text] hunting party returned to Fort Sill by December 1. After three days, Markham set out for Fort Reno. he was driven by Lieutenant Miller who proved to be entertaining companion with his Indian stories and of hunting expeditions. On the way they stoppedat the hut of chief of Coddoe tribe who received them hospitably. Afterreachign Fort Reno, Markham stayed two days and then on December 7th he departed for Camp Supply which he reached after 4 days of travel. An ambulance with four mules was placed at his disposal, conducted by a civilian teamster and a private attended as cook and general f[more missing text]. All along he was well received and his hunting expedition was successful.
After a stay of two days, Markham took a stage for Dodge City. He traveled north in the face of a bitterly cold wind. The conveyance was an open wagon. On the journey he encountered outlaws and rough characters of every description. Some were murderers by their own admission and were eluding the law.
Markham finally reached Dodge City after crossing the Arkansas River. Dodge City had the reputation of being the rowdiest of all rowdy western towns. Markham found it more than rowdy.
Life was held so cheaply in Dodge City that a gentleman from the east actually met death through wearing a high hat. A loafer at the railway station telling a friend he would put a bullet through it, but the aim being rather too low, the unfortunate man received it through the head. It was merely regarded as a misfortune and no steps were taken to arrest the murderer. Shooting in saloons was a frequent occurance.
From Dodge City, Markham traveled by train through St. Loius and La Crosse. He reached home (Independence, Wisconsin) on December 20th, where he stayed 6 weeks with his family. During this time he received many requests from different towns to lecture on his arctic experiences, to three of which he as able to acede. He also took his mother to St. Paul for a few days. They visited the beautiful Falls of Minnehaha.
Markham left Wisconsin at the beginning of February, 1878, and went to stay with an old Australian friend at Shelbyville, Illinois, with whom he took a trip to Mammoth Cave, Kentucky. They then went to Cincinnati for a day where they parted, Markham journeying to Washington D. C. where he found his old comrade of the whalers, Dr. Bissels, and in his company and that of other friends, saw the sights of the political center of the United States. After a week in Washington, he and Dr. Bissels went to Baltimore for a day and here they parted, the doctor returning home and Markham proceeding to New York where after antoher week he bade farewell to the States and embarked for England, arriving off qu[missing text] on March 8, 1878. He then resumed his duties in the British Navy.
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