Who is Dick? Only a faithful old Texas pony. In 1871 he helped to drive some cattle from Texas to Solomon City, Kan., and was sold to Rev. W. Cary, Presbyterian missionary at Solomon. In 1872 Brother Cary sold Dick on time to me. I had just come from New York, and had all the Solomon and Saline Valley as my missionary field. Dick enjoyed the long trips of those early days. He made a good saddle pony. Hardly anybody owned a buggy in those days. When his master had to sleep out sometimes on the prairie he felt more at home by having Dick alongside of him.
After awhile his master was rich enough to buy a buckboard buggy and could take on board a big crowd of children and others. Dick helped his master get a good wife, by taking his master’s best girl to see her relatives at Minneapolis, in Ottawa county, and over those beautiful prairies.
One night the boys played a joke on Dick. They were stealing watermelons at John Boblet’s where Dick’s master was a-courting, and they loaded the buckboard full of watermelons and unharnessed Dick and hitched him up near the church where his master found him. Dick had few faults. He would not bite or kick except for the best of reasons, and was good for all day – always playful. Everybody liked him and no one was afraid to borrow and drive him. He was a happy horse when at last his master could afford him the shelter of a barn. His regular rounds were Minneapolis and Bennington on Sabbath, and at Delphos and around through the week and the next week to Lincoln, Vesper, etc.
Everybody knew Dick; he had such a peculiar gait, such a full mane and was so fat. When the grasshoppers came poor Dick nearly shook his head off in trying to keep them out of his ears. One grasshopper season in going from Minneapolis to Beloit with his master and Dr. Timothy Hill (the one who organized over 300 Presbyterian churches in Kansas) Dick played out at Glasco and could go no farther. The grasshoppers got into his nose and ears and made the poor horse wild, but when the darkness came on the hoppers went to sleep Dick finished the journey in such good speed that Dr. Hill said, “Dick is a good orthodox horse, and if horses to go heaven Dick is sure to get there.”
Dick would not take his master into danger. One dark night I was in a hurry to get to Minneapolis, and came to Coal Creek which was quite up and angry after rains. Dick positively refused to go in it. Whipping was no use. So his master camped all night near the stream. In the morning, waking early, he found a great blacksnake whip, left there by some camper, and, armed with this, he mounted Dick who crossed cheerfully. Again, Father Bradbury was driving Dick and came to a deserted crossing on Beaver Creek. Dick refused to cross, so Father tried to lead him, but the horse turning suddenly knocked him down by striking him with his head in the pit of the stomach, and there his master lay senseless. In the middle of the night he woke up and found faithful Dick watching over him, so he arose and tied him to a tree, and took the cushion and robe out of the buggy and made a bed and slept until morning. Thank God our country has good bridges now but the day is not far distant when one’s heart often fluttered as horse and driver went into a swollen or thin ice-covered stream.
Like all other horses Dick went fast going home. He even made believe to very lame sometimes on starting from home, but would be over it in a second when turned toward home and strike a keen run. Once his master concluded it was wicked to use a whip on so good a horse but Dick soon found it out and one day when his master was in a great hurry to reach an appointment on time Dick deliberated turned around and ran home because there was no whip in the buggy. Finally the poor animal learned to know when his master was late in getting to an appointment and tried to get him there on time. But after every appointment had been filled Dick moped slowly along like a fire engine horse after the fire has been put out.
Dick came to know all the circuit --- which school house to go to next, and where his best friends lived. He sometimes embarrassed those who borrowed him by stopping on the road when he met one of his master’s best friends. Once he pulled loose at Sylvan Grove and when his master awoke, “Oh where is Dick?” he thought. Dick would not be found, so he tied his buckboard to a passing wagon and went [can’t read one word] home, and found that Dick had run off to an appointment – Vesper school house – where [can’t read one word] Lewis found him as proud as can be.
Father Bradbury one dark night was lost [can’t read several words] at the mouth of Wolf Creek near [can’t read several words] he had to sleep in his buggy [can’t read several words] but the pony pulled the pin [can’t read several words] and in the morning somehow he let them know the trouble and the boys went off in the hills and found Father Bradbury, who was very glad to see them.
When others forgot to water or feed Dick, he would break out and help himself. He was left one night in front of Coolbaugh’s, while his master taked Christmas tree to Mr. and Mrs. Coolbaugh. Dick being hungry and cold broke loose and went to the south side of Captain Wait’s hay stack. In the morning by the tracks in the snow his master found him looking as comfortable and innocent as you please.
Finally his great trips told on the pony; he was badly knee-sprung, for which there is no cure. He had served three preachers – Cary, father and myself, beside Brother McMillan a short time. After father died every one said Dick owed no man anything and he needed rest, being over 22 years old. Many sent in invitations to pasture Dick free, but as Lon Buzick’s pasture was so large and good, and his offer so hearty the pony was sent there. The children who could safely drive him hated to let him go. And so did Lon Buzick when it came fall. He said, “I have plenty of fodder and feed, I’ll keep Dick. He is as happy as a colt.” So he has been left there year after year (three and a half years). Lon would take nothing for keeping him, but finally said to me that if I wanted to I could put $2 for Dick’s account into the new Presyberian church building at Sylvan, which sum has been more than paid to oil the inside woodwork of the church.
I received the following letter last week:
Sylvan Grove, Kan., Dec. 6, 1893.
Rev. H.C. Bradbury, Lincoln, Kan.
My Dear Sir – You card received. Your horse had been running in the cornfield. I had him turned into the pasture with the other horses a few days ago, and when we gathered up the horses to put them with the cattle on feed we missed old Dick, but thought nothing of it at the time for he generally went where he pleased. He would crawl through a barbed wire fence like a steer. I sent Irvin to look for him and he found him dead in the second bottom, where you used to hold Sunday school picnics. He did not do well on grass this summer. I think his teeth were all gone. I will have him buried where he died. With respect to yourself and family, I am, as ever, A.R. Buzick
May we all be as faithful to our Master as Dick was to his earthly master.