A History of the Burns Family
Home About Contents Biographies Photo Galleries Memoirs

PART ONE: Guy's Path to the Dance

CHAPTER THIRTEEN: On the Cuyahoga River

Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio
1900 [1]

PART ONE Overview
1 - Wildcat Brigade
2 - Battle of Wilderness
3 - Field Hospital
4 - Orphan School
5 - Ladies' Man
6 - Mary Dinger
7 -The Masons
8 - Mary Rebecca
9 - Guy the Wanderer
10 - Farmer Boy
11 - Center of the World
12 - Birthday
13 - Fish Story
14 - Miss Fenn
15 - To the Dance

More Information

River Scene
                                                The Cuyahoga River

It was the year 1900.  September was the month.  A more delightful and better adapted time for camping could not ordinarily be chosen, but this was probably out of the ordinary, for after the first few days on the ground, it began to rain.  Did I say rain?  No, it was not a rain that time, but a deluge.  It surely came down most bountifully, much to our displeasure and disgust.  However, I was soon to discover that was to be a source of considerable fun.

We were camped along the banks of the Cuyahoga near the Silver Lake outlet.  In those days a more entrancing and inviting spot could not be found along the river’s entire length, with its great spreading maples beneath which spread a rich carpet of green where we lingered and were lulled into a dream of contentment by the murmuring song of the river as it lazily rippled over the stones in the ford just below.

It was Friday, and my old chum Brown [2] had become so thoroughly disgusted that he had decided to go hence in the evening. 

Accordingly, that night he started for home; however, before he left, Dad put in his appearance with his fishing tackle, a large bucket of worms, and a generous supply of Weyman’s famous skull and crossbones to spend Saturday and Sunday, and incidentally to do a little fishing, and after bidding Brown goodbye, we both got busy and cooked a bit of lunch, which was not an easy task, with rain steadily coming down.  However, by dint of much cussing and blowing, we managed to start a small blaze, and each soon had a strong cup of java, which with the bacon and eggs I managed to fix ‘mid much popping and sputtering, together with good old home-made bread, made up a supper that we both enjoyed to the utmost, even if we did have to eat under cover.

DAB in Tent  
Guy in the Burns's homemade tent

After the repast was over, dad lit up the old pipe, much to the discomfiture of our old friends the mosquitoes, who had been having an easy time to date, as neither Brown nor I smoked.  They surely set up an awful wail as they hung on for dear life.  One old fellow, evidently the old warrior judging by the many stripes on his back, sailed into the back of dad’s neck, but little did he realize the deadly power of Weyman’s. [3] He soon toppled over, Weymansmade a few convulsive struggles, crossed his legs, and all was over.  The others, after witnessing the tragic death of the old patriarch, seemed not to have the heart to venture inside, and thus one night was worth living. 

As it was still raining, we decided to retire, get a good night’s sleep, and thus be good and fresh for Saturday night, when we were going after the scalp of old Johnny Bullhead.  So accordingly, we turned in about 9 o’clock, and were soon lulled to sleep by the steady patter on the canopy above. 

When we awoke the next morning after a fine night’s sleep, it had cleared up and every sign pointed to a nice fall day.  We were both soon quite busy getting breakfast and in a very short time sat down to bacon and eggs and the ever-welcome cup of coffee.

Breakfast over, we washed dishes and soon had the camp shipshape, after which we tried our luck at rock bass.  We surely were fortunate, for we caught over thirty within a stone’s throw of the camp, which gave considerable promise of a fish dinner for the day.

It was nearly noon, with indications of more rain, a condition which did not appeal to us, considering the fact that we anticipated fishing for bullheads that evening.  However, we got busy, and cleaned a mess of the rock bass, and soon had them over the fire; however, we had scarcely got the last fish out of the pan and into the tent on the table, when the threatened storm broke.  It seemed for a while as though the heavens had sprung an irreparable leak, and just as we were thanking our lucky stars that we had a good canopy over our heads, we heard a shout:Fish“Let me in, for God’s sake.  I am d—n near drowned!”

I pulled back the tent fly as much as I dared without running a risk of drowning, and there stood our old friend Carl Stocker, [4] whom we had been expecting in the morning, but who had not been able to resist the temptation of dropping a line in now and then on his way to camp even though the storm threatened.

He was surely a sight, for his derby was slouched down on top of his ears and they stuck out on either side like the flippers on a seal, without an apparent purpose other than to keep the water-soaked derby from completely engulfing his head.  His clothes were never intended for a bathing suit, nor do I believe that they were bought for waterproofs.  The water ran in many streams from the tail of his coat and bottoms of his trouser legs, and every time he put his foot to the floor, you could hear the water….” 



[1] This unfinished handwritten story from 1900 appears to have been written by Guy in fulfillment of a school assignment.

[2] Leo Brown was a neighbor, friend, and priest.

[3] Weyman’s made chewing tobacco and snuff.

[4] Carl Stocker was a friend and neighbor who later boarded with Guy and Ada on Center Street.