Saturday, March 06, 2010

This Week in Texas Methodist History March 7

Bishop Paine Has a “One Dog Night” March 10, 1847

Readers knowledgeable about popular music will know the derivation of the name Three Dog Night used by an American rock band. The name is derived from the indigenous Australian practice of using dogs to stay warm on cold nights. A three-dog night is a a really cold night.

Bishop Robert Paine also had the benefits of canine body heat as he travelled to preside at the Texas Annual Conference. He was on his way to Chappell Hill when a norther blew in. When night came, the bishop’s travelling party was far from any settlement, but they did find a lone cabin in a grove of trees. Here is how Bishop Paine recorded the incident.

Well, we rode on getting colder and colder. It was near mid-night when we reached the settlement we were making for. It was was just a one room log hut in a clump of timber. The frontiersman was very kind. He invited us into his house, where there was a good fire in an old fashioned fire place. We had to hitch our horses to the trees without food of any kind.

In the one room there were two beds one occupied by our host and his wife, and the other by his mother-in-law. There was nothing for the rest of us but the dirt floor. We soon had made a pallet and stretched out side by side, covering with our shawls, overcoats,etc.

It was warm in the house out of the wind, and when we lay down I asked for the outside place, which was readily granted. I fell promptly to sleep, but woke up after a while exceedingly cold. The fire had died down, and the wind was coming in through a huge crack under the door. Covering up the best I could,and getting as much warmth from the next brother as possible I again fell into a troubled sleep. After a while I again woke warm and comfortable For a moment I cculd not understand it, but turning over I found that a large dog had crept during the night through the crack under the door, and had curled up just at my back. I patted him on the head and said,

"Good doggie you stay here." And he did, and I got a good sleep until things were stirring next morning."