Workmen went home sober with their week’s earnings in their pockets, as there were no saloons in the town, a bright book to read, and a home of their own for shelter and rest. Thus also an improved citizenship was obtained and the nation was made stronger.
George Ingram thought that all our cities should have large, cheerful halls, people’s forums, where clear and simple truths on important questions should be taught. He believed that it would prove an antidote to various forms of anarchy and communism, which under the aegis of liberty are being advocated in our cities.
The trustees of the Harris estate set aside $250,000, to be known as “The Reuben Harris Fund,” to assist in providing regular courses of free public lectures upon the most important branches of natural and moral science, also free instruction to mechanics and artisans in drawing, and in practical designing, in patterns for prints, silks, paper hangings, carpets, furniture, etc. Free courses of lectures were given to advanced students in art, also lectures in physics, geology, botany, physiology, and the like for teachers, and the public.
Gertrude felt that the perpetuity and usefulness of such a fund or monument dedicated to her father would outrival the pyramids. She greatly encouraged among the wives of the workmen the growth of kindergartens for children, and the cultivation of flowers, in and out of their homes, offering valuable prizes at annual flower shows. Harrisville voted to annex the village of Harris-Ingram, hoping that the gospel of helpfulness that had worked such wonders might leaven their whole city.
George Ingram was now forty years of age. His great ability and practical good sense had arrested the attention and admiration of not only his own employees, but of the citizens of Harrisville, who demanded that he should be chosen mayor of the city.
Christine De Ruyter had long contemplated a visit to the new world. She was familiar with the history of the Dutch West India Company, a political movement organized under cover of finding a passage to Cathay, to destroy the results of Spanish conquest in America.