James Richmond's
California Story

Sunday Swimming Lesson

April 1, 1860 No church within miles of us. Some go right on with their work as on weekdays. We have sat idly around reading a little in our Bibles. Sunday reading is a scarce as the churches here. Then fell to thinking of home. March 5th I left New York now it is April first. So far from home. If I would think of it I might get homesick. But that must not be.

So we, George, Abe and I started off on a tramp, to view the country and pass the time. We came to the banks of Tall Lake. There lay a boat idly tossing to and fro in the water. We thought it no more a sin to use our arms for a row than to use our legs to walk.

We were out for perhaps an hour, the lake was as peaceful and beautiful as a dream. we were making our way to land slowly and lazily plying our oars when suddenly a wind struck us and we were capsized. It seemed to have come for our special benefit. Before we could realize what it was we were all three wriggling in the water. Not a one of us could swim. We could not all cling to the boat so I let go as I knew I could float on my back and the others couldn’t even do that.

The wind was blowing hard and the waves carried us in. In about an hour we struck land none of us sorry. The water was warm and we were none the worse for our bath. The same wind that had caused our disaster had carried us safe to land.