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at present, and men had to travel from place to place as best they could, and with that feeling of insecurity which belongs to first settlers in a savage, barbarous country. The contrast in this respect is very great.
One hundred years ago, there was not a post-office in the county, nor was there one in it until about six years after its organization. Letters on business, letters on friendship or love, had to be sent, if sent at all, by some traveller. News from parents at home, or from friends and lovers on the other side of the great waters, or even in this country, could be secured only at long intervals, and in the most unlooked for and unexpected manner. The facilities, therefore, for communication in those early days were very poor and irregular, indeed. When we think of all these things, we cannot help but exclaim, what a deprivation ! what an inconvenience! Why, we feel terribly disappointed and chagrined if our mail does not come twice every day, and even if it is an hour behind time, as it has been so frequently of late, it annoys us not a little. And if it were not to put in an appearance some day at all, we should almost consider it a personal bereavement. In that case we fear the third commandment would be violated by not a few.
There are now within the county about 60 post-offices, and the facilities for communicating with one another are getting better every year.
We get our daily newspapers, weeklies, monthlies, quarterlies, so regularly and promptly, that we are liable to make light of the blessing and advantages which we enjoy over and above those who lived one hundred years ago.
We can receive news from the Old World by telegraph every day, know all that is going on in civilized countries, aye, by putting one ear to the telephone and listening, we can hear the pulsative throbs of the world's great heart. In our complacency and self-satisfaction in thinking over the deprivations of the early settlers, we are apt to make light of them and say, “O they wouldn't have enjoyed these advantages and benefits anyway. They would not have had the time, nor the inclination.” But we should remember that they were men and women, just as we are, with the same feelings, sympathies, infirmities, hopes. They had hearts, too. They loved the Fatherland, the dear ones at home just as tenderly and truly as we love our nearest and best friends. News from them would rejoice and cheer their hearts, and give them as much satisfaction as news from our friends and relatives do us. The tears which they shed over their deprivations in this particular, and the sorrows which they experienced are known only to themselves and to God.
And we do not refer to them to magnify them, but that we may see how much more highly favored we are than they were, and to show what wonderful progress has been made in this one respect, not only in this county, but in this country and throughout the world during the last one hundred years.
The contrast in this particular is as great, if not greater, than any
other. But then think of the schools in those days. They must have been primitive, indeed. The merest elements of an education only could be secured, and many of the children, on account of bad roads, the distance to be travelled, and the dangers incident to a new country, would be deprived almost altogether of the privileges and blessings of the most limited education. The number of schools must have been
The school buildings were anything but inviting or comfortable. But what a change has taken place ! There are to-day about 290 schools in this county, and there is spent annually in the payment of teachers' salaries nearly sixty thousand dollars. The estimated value of school property is nearly three hundred thousand dollars, so that no boy or girl can have any excuse whatever for growing up in ignorance in such a favored county as this one is. Would to God that every parent might appreciate the privileges and benefits of the public school system, and show their appreciation and good sense by sending their children regularly and daily to school during its sessions.
We have yet to speak of the influence of religion in moulding and shaping the history of this county. It has always been, and always will be, the conserving, preserving power among any people. It has been so in this county. The majority of the men who settled in this county belonged to some branch of the Christian church. They sought to practice the principles of God's word in daily life. It is true, their characters are not models of human perfec-. tion. They did many things which would not meet our approval. But we cannot be too thankful for what they did
in advancing the cause of the dear Redeemer. They organized congregations, they built churches, they united their voices and their hearts in the worship of the triune God on the Sabbath Day. Many pure, noble, righteous characters stand out prominent in the history of this county: Hundreds of men and women, noted for their love of righteousness and abhorence of evil, have gone out from this county, and have been a power for good in other communities, who owed all their influence to the splendid moral and religious training which they received under the parental roof. And while we have no statistics to verify the statement, we venture the assertion that the Christian religion has a stronger hold upon the people of this county to-day than it ever had before. There are churches enough to accommodate all its people, and would to God that every soul within its borders would bow at this time in submission to the dear Redeemer, so that the rejoicings on this centen- . nial occasion may cause rejoicings among the the angels in heaven, over the sinners saved in the blood of Jesus.
One hundred years have passed away—one hundred years of mingled joys and sorrows, of labor and blessings.
When we think of the hundreds of families that were organized and then broken up by the hand of death—when we think of the great army of persons who walked over these hills and valleys and mountains during all that time—of the plans which they laid, of the pleasure which they enjoyed, of the trials through which they passed, of the work which they performed, of the emotions which filled their souls, as they looked upon the very scenes which meet us on every side, and then think that their souls have been called back to the spirit world, and their bodies are moulding away in the silent cities of the dead, does not the whole history seem like a tale that has been told? Yet, how real was it all.
One hundred years ago you and I were not. One hundred years hence we shall not be. As God has vouched to us a favored land, with so many privileges, blessings, advantages, let us live to some purpose. Let us live to God's glory, that our lives may reflect His principles, that heaven may be our eternal home. And to God be all the praise. Amen.