Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 8

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Ms 37, 1893

Diary/At Father Hare’s

Kaeo, New Zealand

March 1, 1893

This manuscript is published in entirety in 8MR 81-84.

This is a very beautiful place. Mountains rise above mountains, not sere and brown, but clothed with verdure and trees of every description. We are making our home with Father Hare’s family, three miles from Kaeo, from the meetinghouse, and from the Hare brother’s store, which is close by the meetinghouse. 8LtMs, Ms 37, 1893, par. 1

We left Joseph Hare’s home Wednesday morning. Thursday morning it began to rain, and the windows of heaven seemed to be opened. Sheets of water came down steadily all day and all night. The ravine filled with water coming from the hills, until it roared like a cataract. They say that the water has sometimes risen very high, but there has been nothing like this for twenty-eight years. It carried away bridges and floated off considerable wood. From the orchards on the borders of the creek, apples and other fruit went on a long visit from the owners. Father Hare’s house stands on a high rise of ground, so they had no fears that the water would reach them there. 8LtMs, Ms 37, 1893, par. 2

Our foreign mail was prepared Thursday morning, and Brother Metcalf Hare came for it in the pouring rain. He carried it three miles to Kaeo, then Joseph Hare took it by boat three miles to the harbor, to the mail boat. But the boat would not venture out in such a storm; it waited till the next morning. 8LtMs, Ms 37, 1893, par. 3

When we rode to Kaeo after the storm, we found the nice road greatly changed. The gravel had been washed off. There had been land-slips [landslides] from the mountains. During the storm the water had covered the road, and great logs, six feet through, had come tearing down the ravine. These logs were driven up on the road, some lying close beside the carriage way, others halfway across it, but leaving room for teams to pass. Poles and debris from the flood were lodged in high trees, corn fields were beaten down, and immense logs piled on fields; the crop was utterly ruined. 8LtMs, Ms 37, 1893, par. 4

In Kaeo, the water swept into the houses, and some dwellings were washed away. The house of the Wesleyan minister was on a high hill. About thirty persons found refuge with him during the flood. Some of the immense logs swept down by the flood had been lying for years some miles back in the mountains; there was not sufficient water to float them down. 8LtMs, Ms 37, 1893, par. 5

We intended to go about a mile beyond the store, to Joseph Hare’s, but found that the bridge was gone. Brother Starr crossed over the ruins on foot and went to the house, and Sister Hare and her children came down to see me. She said their nice garden I had admired so much was ruined, and logs were piled on it. Fruit trees were broken down. The barn was flooded; the horses and cow swam out and made for the mountains. Their choice poultry were all swept away, with fifty hives of bees. 8LtMs, Ms 37, 1893, par. 6

The store was on a high rise, but the water came into it about three or four feet deep. Two sisters who slept in the store put up the goods out of reach of the water, so that little harm was done. Great damage has been done on many farms, but no lives are reported to have been lost. The houses on the lowland have the appearance of the [Johnstown] Pennsylvania flood. Everything was soaked, and out on the fences drying. I tried to get some salt, but not a store in the place had any. All had been soaked with dirty water. Flour and many other things had been ruined in the water. But enough of this picture. 8LtMs, Ms 37, 1893, par. 7

Here we have all the privileges of Fern Tree Gully. The best fern trees grow on the uplands and by the ravine, and you find them all up the mountainsides. Every conceivable variety of ferns is close by. They make the scenery very attractive. Everything ... [rest of sentence illegible.] The mountains are on every side, before, behind, on the right hand, and on the left, towering hundreds of feet toward the heavens. 8LtMs, Ms 37, 1893, par. 8

We were treated very kindly here; all seem to feel it a great privilege to do all in their power for our comfort and happiness. 8LtMs, Ms 37, 1893, par. 9

I spoke eight times in Auckland, and have already spoken three times in Kaeo. Sunday afternoon we had the privilege of speaking in the Wesleyan Methodist church. The building is set up on a high hill, and considerable climbing was required in order to get to it. The house was filled to overflowing. Extra seats were required, and then some had to stand. I spoke very plainly from the first part of the seventeenth of John, and the people listened as if spellbound. We were requested to hold meetings on Sabbath in the church. We gave an appointment for Sunday evening. The house was full to hear Elder Starr, and appointments were made for Sabbath and Sunday afternoons in the same place. 8LtMs, Ms 37, 1893, par. 10

Father Hare has a very pretty place, close by a clear-running brook from the mountains. The scenery on the way to Kaeo makes one think of the road from Healdsburg to Crystal Springs, though the road here is not so dangerous. 8LtMs, Ms 37, 1893, par. 11