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Odd Wisconsin Archive

Amusing Grace

When Rev. Alfred Brunson (1793-1882) retired in 1873, his colleagues celebrated his career at their annual conference in Eau Claire.

Brunson was a pioneer missionary who had spent several decades serving his faith. In 1837 he travelled 1,500 miles through the upper Mississippi Valley trying to prevent war between the Ojibwe and the Sioux. His account of the trip, including interviews with Ojibwe chiefs Hole-in-the-Day and Great Buffalo, is here. On the occasion of his retirement, his brethren decided to take up a collection for the 80-year-old pastor since he had always claimed only a meagre salary.

As the collection box passed through the room that day, an impoverished young minister wished that he, too, could contribute to the cause. Unfortunately, he had no money on his person, and perilously little any place else. While he was thinking the matter over and fumbling among his pockets, however, his fingers unexpectedly ran across a rolled up paper.

Much to his astonishment, it was a five dollar bill. Elated at the discovery, he joyfully deposited it among the other offerings.

That night, after ascribing his good fortune to divine intervention in front of sympathetic listeners, he returned to his hotel. There he discovered to his chagrin that when dressing that morning he had mistakenly put on a vest belonging to the friend with whom he shared the room.

[Source: Charles E. Brown, interview with William Bartlett, April 10, 1930: Brown Papers, box 6 folder 1]

:: Posted in Bizarre Events on August 27, 2007

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