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Profile of Mac Waller
Beginning of the story
REMINISCENCES OF H.M. WALLER . . . Continued
During the Waitsburg meeting an amusing incident occurred: A committee had met to prepare a report of the meeting for our paper. A resolution was presented that seemed to have a tendency to revive the old quarrel - the Boli-Elledge difficulty.
Bro. Waller "scents this from afar," and says:
"Brethren, I think I see that old spotted cayuse coming into camp. I think I hear the tingle, tingle, of her little bell as she comes along with the whole drove of mules following her."
Now those brethren "caught on" without much hesitation, for they had often seen the freight agent coming into camp with the old cayuse bell animal in the lead and the whole drove, or band, of mules following at her heels. One of these bands of mules will follow the cayuse bell animal anywhere over hills or mountains or rivers. The convention takes the hint, and the resolution is smothered by the merriment and laughter of the brethren.
He arrives home in due season, but after mature consideration, he thinks he can not make the sacrifice of breaking up and moving. He then tells them he can not accept the call to Walla Walla.
He soon holds a meeting of three days at Salt Creek, in Yamhill county. He makes his home with good Bro. Flannery. Six or eight are baptized.
Bro. Waller had baptized thousands, many of them in Illinois when the ice was cut, but now for the first time in his life he complains of being chilled. After changing clothes, he starts home. When about half way home a very severe pain strikes him in his left eye. Next morning he is worse and the doctor is called.
In a week the right eye is stricken with the same malady. Soon he is totally blind, and remains so for four months. His wife and mother are soon down with the same contagion. He hears of Dr. Alexander, near Albany, and his wife and mother are soon being treated by Alexander, he himself refusing to be treated. Here near Albany they live for months with Dr. Crawford, and treating with Dr. Alexander. This whole expense amounts to $33.75 every week. His horses, cattle and sheep are doing well on the farm, so he meets all expenses as he goes along.
They then return to Salem, and are all treated by Dr. Marcum, who, after some months, greatly benefits them all. From the time he is stricken with this dreadful contagion, he is not able to read a word for four years. Some time after commencing to treat with Dr. Marcum, he begins to see a little, and goes out preaching again, though he can not read a single word. Preaching entirely from memory, he goes on in the good work.
Soon after his recovery he is called to Clark county, Washington, to a place called Brush Prairie, to conduct a meeting. Through Bro. T.F. Campbell, they call Bro. Waller. He is soon on the ground, and the meeting is begun. The Brethren - thirteen in all - are organized into a Church of Christ, with two elders and two deacons, who are to take charge of matters. He preaches three of four days, and baptized twenty-four. He then left, never expecting to see Brush Prairie again.
In three months they wrote that they were about run down, and must have him round them up again. These periodical visits where made for about three years. Each time there were several additions. In the meantime, the people began to say that "the Oregon Campbellite preacher and the dog fennel were going to take Clark county."
On one of these trips to Brush Prairie, he is stopped by a wealthy and leading citizen of Vancouver, Washington, whose name was S.W. Brown. He asked him to stop and preach in his town, Vancouver. He had heard Bro. Waller on Brush Prairie, and was anxious to hear him again. When he asks Bro. Waller to preach, he says: "Now I know you people have no church building, but I will get the Methodist church for you to preach in."
"Well, Mr. Brown, they will not let you have it."
"Of course they will, Mr. Waller, for though I am a Universalist, they are almost entirely dependent on me to support their preacher. They will let me have it, I know."
No appointment was made until he had secured the place. Mr. Brown asked for the Methodist church-house, but was informed that he couldn't have it to preach in.
Then Mr. Brown wrote that he had secured the town hall, and would expect him at a certain time. Bro. Waller stops with Mr. Brown, who is not only the provider of the hall, but sweeps, lights, and arranges it; and when Bro. Waller comes to the hall door, Mr. Brown is there as escort. He takes Bro. Waller up on the platform, and stays right by him through the whole service. That was his church and his preacher, and he struts around as satisfied as a boy with his first pair of red-top boots.
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