Through the assistance of his eldest son, the editor, Mr. Powers was enabled to secure a farm not far from Cincinnati, and removing his family to it, began the task of clearing and cultivating it. Unfortunately for the new-comers, the farm was located on the edge of a pestilential marsh, the poisonous exhalations of which soon brought the whole family down with the ague. Mr. Powers the elder died from this disease, and Hiram was ill and disabled from it for a whole year. The family was broken up and scattered, and our hero, incapable of performing hard work so soon after his sickness, obtained a place in a produce store in Cincinnati, his duty being to watch the principal road by which the farmers’ wagons, laden with grain and corn whisky, came into the city, and to inform the men in charge of them that they could obtain better prices for their produce from his employers than from any other merchants in the city. It was also a part of his duty to help to roll the barrels from the wagons to the store. He made a very good “drummer,” and gave satisfaction to his employers, but as the concern soon broke up, he was again without employment.
His brother, the editor, now came to his assistance, and made a bargain with the landlord of a hotel in the city to establish a reading-room at his hotel. The landlord was to provide the room and obtain a few paying subscribers; the editor was to stock it with his exchange newspapers, and Hiram was to be put in charge of it and receive what could be made by it. The reading-room was established, but as the landlord failed to comply with his agreement, Powers was forced to abandon the undertaking.
[Illustration: POWERS’ DISTRUST OF THE HUNTERS.]
“About that time,” said he, in relating his early life to the Rev. Dr. Bellows, some years ago, “looking around anxiously for the means of living, I fell in with a worthy man, a clock-maker and organ-builder, who was willing to employ me to collect bad debts in the country. He put me on an old horse which had one very bad fault. He was afflicted with what the Western people called the ‘swaleys,’ and could not go downhill. I frequently had to dismount and back him down, as the only way of getting along. The road often lay through forests and clearings, in mire, and among the roots of the beeches, with which my poor beast was constantly struggling. I would sometimes emerge from a dark wood, five miles through, perhaps, and find myself near a clearing where the farmer’s house I was seeking lay, half a mile off the road. Picking up a stout club to defend myself against the inevitable dog, which, in the absence of men-folks, guarded every log-house, I plodded across the plowed field, soon to be met by the ferocious beast, who, not seeing a stranger more than once a month, was always furious and dangerous. Out would come, at length, the poor woman, too curious to see who it was that broke up her monotonous solitude, to call off the dog, who generally grew fiercer as he felt