A Home for My Mother
The following interesting narrative of one of those real struggles of the young to assist their parents, which sparkle like diamonds along the pathway of life, is taken from a paper published in Wisconsin.
Being called, says the narrator, on business to the United States "Land Office," and, while there, awaiting the completion of my business, a lad, apparently about sixteen or seventeen years old, came in, and presented to the receiver a certificate of purchase for forty acres of land. I was struck with the countenance and general appearance of the lad, and inquired of him for whom he was purchasing the land.
"For myself, sir," the reply was.
I then inquired where he got the money.
"I earned it by my labor," he answered.
"Then," said I, "you richly deserve the land."
I then inquired, "Where did you come from?"
"New York," said he.
Feeling an increased desire to know something more of this lad, I asked him whether he had parents, and where they lived; on this question he took a seat and gave me the following narrative:
"I am from New York State — have there living a father, mother, and five brothers and sisters. I am the oldest child. Father is a drinking man, and often would return home from his day's work drunk, and not a cent in his pocket to buy food for the family, having spent all his day's earnings in liquor with his drinking companions; the family had to depend chiefly on mother and myself for bread; this distressed mother much, and had a powerful effect on my feelings.
"Finding that father would not abstain from liquor, I resolved to make an effort in some way to relieve mother, sisters, and brothers from poverty. After revolving things over in my mind, and consulting with mother, I got all the information I could about the Far West, and started for Wisconsin with three dollars in my pocket. I left home on foot. After spending my three dollars, I worked occasionally a day, and renewed my travel so long as money lasted. By labor occasionally, and the charitable treatment I got on the road, I landed in Wisconsin. Here I got an axe, set to work, and cleared land by the job — earned money, saved it, until I gathered $50, which money I now pay for the forty acres of land."
"Well, my good lad (for by this time I became much interested in his story), what are you going to do with this land?"
"Why, sir, I will continue to work and earn money, and, when I have spare time, prepare some of my land for culture, build myself a log house, and, when prepared, will write father and mother, brothers and sisters, to come to Wisconsin and enjoy this home. This land, now bought by me, I design for my mother, which will secure her from poverty in her declining years."
"What," said I, "will you do with your father, if he continues to drink liquor to excess?"
"Oh, sir, when we get him on the farm he will feel at home, will work at home, will keep no liquor in the house, and in a short time he will be a sober man."
By this time the receiver handed him his receipt for his forty acres of land. Rising from his seat on leaving the office, he said, "At last I have a home for my mother!"