Peter Hagaman was a large man, fully six feet tall, bony and muscular. He had a rugged face, coarse dark hair and dark eys. He stood erect, had a stalwart appearance, and was very strong…
Notwithstanding his size, he was quick in movement, and deft in every branch of his vocation. His ful eys, set in a ful face, exprest the generous impulses of his nobl character. Benevolence was the leading trait of the moral element of this strong man. To hav plenty, to deal generously with all, to be kind to the poor, to encurage everything that tended to improve the condition of society and make the world better was his aim and effort.
A feature of the man is seen in this litl occurrence: One day Nelson Young Esq., said to him: “Mr. Hagaman! Why do you not sel that piece of timber?—It wil bring you a handsum price; the muney at interest wil be a handsum incum; and you, as long as you may liv, wil never need so much timber!”
Mr. Hagaman replied: “When I came into the world, there was timber here for my use; when I die, I wish to leav what I can for the use of those who liv after me.” Of that element that we call selfish his hart was barren.
Grave and sedate as Peter Hagaman was, in the general way, he was sportiv enuf when it was seasonabl to be so. Many ar the laf-inspiring tales yet afloat respecting him when at movings, and often when at wurk in his shop. Of redy wit, he had a fountain that weld up and overflowed at slight provocation. Nor was he slow at pranks; nor did he flinch when the prank was playd upon him—even if it cost a bit.
His neighbor, J. Hoagland Wilson whose shop, as we hav alredy stated, was near his, was also famous too for wit, humor and tricks. This nearness of position of two noted tricksters gave this corner a lively aspect sumtimes, and made these shops a resort of such as liked fun and coud defend themselves wel.
Occasionally dolts and stupid fellows happend around to see what the more activ fellows coud do; and, often among them appeard a half idiotic—half diabolic fellow they calld Noah Bowne,—a large, muscular chap who had no abiding place, and who went where he coud, and carried with him whatever would stick to his fingers. Hense tools wer often missing; and coats and vests often disappeard from the shops.
To leav Noah loose in either of the shops while the hands went to dinner was likely to be attended with loss. So Peter uzed to sit Noah on the vise, while Hoagland screwd his pants fast in the vise and then removed the vise handl. Thus fastend, Noah coud be left with litl chance to pilfer—and then would follow barrels ful of profanity, and threts without mezure. But Noah was not the only one of the big fellows that they uzed to handl when it suited them to do so.
About these shops often appeard one — — who thought himself capabl of keeping even with these fellows in any line of tricks. One day he sat upon a bench, near the stove, upon which was a glue pot and an old tea-ketl for hot water, always redy to fil up the glue pot and for sundry other purposes about the shop. He talked long; he put forth his best efforts; and as he thought, was making progress. But at length, he got weary, and to reliev himself a litl he leand over to one side to rest upon one elbow.
Just then one of the fellows slyly wiped a glue brush upon that part of the bench that was beneath that part of his fundamental that was up a litl. Of course, things wer so managed that he had to sit up straight before the glue got cold and dry. But, almost as soon as he sat up, he leand over to rest upon the opposit side, whereupon one of the fellows slyly wiped the glue brush pretty thuroly upon that part of the bench that was hardly clear of his trousers.
Talk became lively and he sat a while—long enuf for the glue to set and fasten his new linsey-woolsey pants, as far around as they tucht the board, fast to the bench. Pretty soon he attempted to move—but coud not—he was completely glued fast—all around—to the board that was screwd, fast to two trestls to serv as a bench by the stove.
After several unsuccessful efforts to extricate himself, he saw that there was litl chance for him to get off from that bench without crawling out of his trousers, or else, with his knife, cut all that part of his breaches that was glued to the board loose from the rest of his pants. In this dilemma, he begd for them to unscrew the board—about 4 ft. long and 1 ft. wide—that he might go home, for another pair of pants.
When the board was unscrewd and he was bobbing around in a plight wurse than that of a yoked turkey, one of the older ones said that he coud loosen his pants, without cutting or tearing them; that if he would sit down again he would pour just enuf hot water upon the board to melt the glue again, and his pants would cum loose. As the fellow did not care to walk a mile or more with that board fixt to him in that relation, he approved the plan, sat down, and the steaming tea-ketl was brought.
As one might expect, under such circumstances, the hand of him who pourd would not be very stedy. Accordingly, at first, in jets it came, til, in sum places, there was too much—and it began to soak thru the linsey-woolsey and warm up his hide. And then he growld—and then as the one pouring began to laf, the jets wer bigger; and then he howld; and then there was an overflow of the tea-ketl, and then there followd such a warming of his whereabouts as set him to gyrating most egregiously, and to howling furiously.
There was no time for fighting just then; his undivided attention had to be given, for the time being, to that part of his mortality that was in closest relation to that seat-board, wet with boiling water.
Cornelius Wilson Larison
A Skech of the Fisher family of Old Amwell Township
in Hunterdon County, New Jersey. – 1890