Things went differently now; I could not run the church very well alone, so after a few months I handed in my resignation. The trustees wanted me to stay, but I couldn’t; sad memories would come up, and I simply had to go. I left the old church where I had spent so many happy days with a record of ten years that money could not buy. I go there once in a while even now.
[Illustration: The church of Sea and Land.]
[Illustration: Midnight mission, Chinatown.]
THE MISSION IN CHINATOWN
About two years previous to my wife’s death a man, Mr. H. Gould, called on me and asked me if I was the Ranney that was converted on the Bowery. I said, “Yes, I was saved about ten years ago.” He said, “I’ve a proposal to make. I hear you are a natural-born leader of men, and I think you look it. I’m one of the trustees of the Midnight Mission in Chinatown. It’s a hard place, but will you come and take charge of it? I can’t keep any one there longer than a few weeks; they get drunk or are licked or done up some way. I want some one with backbone; will you take it?” I thanked him. He had said enough to make any one refuse a job like that, but I knew all the ins and outs of that quarter, and I thought I’d like the work. I asked God’s guidance, and I spoke with Mr. Dennison, the pastor of the Church of Sea and Land, and he said it was wonderful the way God was leading me. “Go and see what it’s like,” he said. “Try it. You can run the church also, but if you see you can’t get along, give it up.”
My wife and boy were planning to go on a visit to Ireland to see if it would improve her health, and when I told her of Mr. Gould’s proposal she did not want me to go: she was afraid I’d get killed. But I said it would help to pass the time away until she came back. So in 1900 I took charge of the Chinatown Midnight Mission, remained there six years, and left to be a lodging-house missionary.
I well remember the first night. There sat some of the old gang. They gave me the glad hand, and asked me if I was going to be the bouncer; if so, I could count on them. I said. “Yes, I’m to be the ‘main guy,’ bouncer, etc.” They were pleased, and gave me credit of always being on the level. I made lots of friends while there.
I never had to use force to keep order but once while in that Mission. I had been in charge two months or so when I got notice that the leader would not be there that night, so it was up to me to lead the meeting. I’ll never forget that night. There are some things a person can’t forget, and that was one of them.