There are none that know from whence he came, or whither he went; but he did go, and all were glad. What manner of man he was it was hard to tell; had not his size precluded the possibility, he might have been taken for a cross between a baboon and a skunk.
He had a cabin in Washington street, in front of Masonic Hall; he was a bricklayer by trade, but for three reasons did not follow the business. The first reason was, there was no brick to lay; second, if there had been he was too lazy to lay them; the third was, no person would employ him. His business was conceded to be foraging upon the neighboring smoke-houses, corn-cribs, and hen-roosts at night, and imposing upon the credulity of those that did not now him, in day time.
In his composition the animal rather predominated, as will be demonstrated by the following incident: Mr. Landis had received a barrel of fresh apple butter; Reynolds wished to make a bargain for what he could eat; Mr. Landis, knoing his customer, had none to sell him in that way; but a person present bet him the price of a gallon that he could not eat it at one sitting. Cale readily accepted the bet, and won it, costing the gentleman about two dollars, and, very nearly, the county the price of a coffin. Suffice it to say, for a while the some-houses could be left unlocked, the orn-cribs were unmolested, and the chickens roosted without interruption.
Cale wore a coat made from a saddle blanket, which he had colored with walnut hulls, giving it the color of a buffalo, this gave him the sobriquet of "Buffalo Cale," as there were two persons by the name of Caleb.
A man called "Big Bije Smith," compelled him to get down on "all fours," he then fastened a bridle to his head, and put a saddle on his back, mounting it as he would a horse, and in this manner forced Reynolds to carry him into the grocery. Smith then addressed Mr. Landis in this style: "Landlord, take this brute animal of mine, put him in some deseparate apartment, give him some junutrals suitable for his frail body, and I will absurd you in the morning." Smith then too Cale by the back of the neck and seat of his pantaloons and threw him out of a window into the back yard. Cale used to say it did not require any of the letters of the alphabet to spell his name; he spelled it in this way:
"A frog ran down the hill with his tail up.
Two whiskey jugs and funnels,
Shortly after this rough treatment of Smith's he was caught in a steel trap that was placed in the inside of a corn-crib, near where he was in the habit of thrusting his hand for the corn. The trap was chained inside to a log, and he was compelled to stand there with his hand in the trap until released by the owner of the corn, who found him about daylight standing by the crib. "Good morning Mr. Reynolds," said he, "wont you walk in?" "My dear friend," said Cale, "do let me go, and for the sake of my family say nothing about it." This led him to believe that the best thing he could do for Indianapolis and himself would be to emigrate, which he did without calling to bid his friends good bye. It is said that history repeats itself; if so, that portion of he history of Indianapolis, in which "Buffalo Cale" figured, I hope will be deferred until after my day.
This Abijah Smith was a very large, fleshy man, and very dissipated; always ready to attend log-rollings and house-raisings for the sake of the whiskey. In the spring of 1829 he was at a log-rolling at old Mr. Kyle's, near Broad Ripple. After the day's work was over, he lay down by one of the burning piles of logs, and was found next morning, completely roasted. He was yet alive though insensible, and suffered a few days, when he died a most horrible death. This was the second man that had been burned to death while in a state of intoxication.
Two boys, sons of Lismund Basey and Samuel S. Rooker, had been burned to death, by their clothes taking fire, while playing around burning log piles.
Nowland, John H. B., “Early Reminiscences of Indianapolis, with Short Biographical Sketches of Its Early Citizens, and of a Few of the Prominent Business Men of the Present Day,” 1870, pp. 68-70