John Leverett Merrill.

History of Acworth, with the proceedings of the centennial anniversary, genealogical records, and register of farms online

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Not once, in my day, capsizing her crew,

And, thou, fair child, to thy joy and desire

Bright laurels shalt wear, in spite of 'thy Sire."



'This nation,' I said, first day of my reign,
' Outgrowth shall be, of all races of men,
All tribes and all classes that e'er were known.
The red-faced native, and the foreign boru,



52 , THE CENTENNIAL.

English so pvoud, and the witty Irisb,
French so polite, and the crafty Spanish,
Norwegians tough, and the honest Scotch,
And the lucre-loving, beer-drinking Dutch,
Italians refined, and hardy Eussians,
The Turks, the Swedes, and spirited Prussians,
Good Belgians, too, and the pious Swiss,
Those in Austria born, and those in Greece,
Wandering Arabs, and the queud Chinese,
Siberians, and the low Siamese,
And Africans, ah ! a singular race,
With pearly-white teeth and coal black face.
And tribes and races many more,
Shall, sure, send out from native shore, ,
Across the rough and billowy sea,
To this fair land so good and free.
Brave men and women, children, too,
With just this purpose, just this view,
That there in peace and harmony,
They may enjoy dear liberty,
And for the toils, they may endure,
E'er reap rewards both large and sure."

'^Progress,'" ^' Enterprise,''^ ^' Free Competition,^^
The boast shall be, of the Western nation ;
The Yankees, men of mighty intentions.
Inventing e'er the newest inventions.
Loving their god, the almighty dollar,
Shall ne'er consent to willingly follow
In the beaten track of their buried sires,
Filled with the hopes their god inspires.

Where, noio, the farmer with blistering hand.
Swings, slowly, his scythe o'er the mowing land,
The7i, ere cometh the end of my kingly power,
With a happier song than e'er before,
With horses fine and a patent mower,
His waving fields, he shall hasten over.
His timothy fields, and fields of clover.

Where, noio, with sickle dull curved and small.
He bends to the grain, be it short or tall,



1



POEM: ONE HUNDRED YEARS.

TJien, with spirited steeds both large and strono-,
And noisy reaper, shall he haste alono-,
Both reaping and threshing the ripened grain,
Luxuriant growth on the harvest plain.

Where, noio, with slow needle and knotting thread,

With finger so weary, and aching head,

The sad, care-worn, seamstress, from day to day.

Gets scantiest food from scantiest pay,

Then^ with cheerfullest look that e'er was seen,

She'll sit at some clatt'ring sewing machine,

Turning oiF the stitches, from hour to hour,

In each brief minute, a thousand or more.

Now, 'neath many a roof in this fair land,

The ruddy maiden, at the wheel doth stand,

From earliest dawn till the settins: sun.

But as falleth the day, and night comes on,

Few, ah ! few are the knots which she hath spun,

O'er and o'er she counteth them one by one ;

At the loom, oft sitteth the whole day lono-,

Humming her happiest merriest song,

Throwing her shuttle with swiftest motion.

Wed to her toils with purest devotion,

But as sinks the sun in the distant West,

With a few scant yards she goes to her rest,

Ere a centum of years shall roll around,

In busy city, shall be heard the sound.

Of thousands of looms and of spinning-jacks.

With their buzz and their hum and clicks and clacks.

Fed by the wonderful power of steam,

Or by power of water from falling stream,

And running and working at swiftest speed,

First drawing the yarn and twisting the thread.

Turning fast to cloth, some strong, some rotten,

Large sacks of wool and large bales of cotton ;

Then, forewcU wheel in the kitchen corner !

And, farewell loom in garret or chamber !

Noxo, the nice young man and his laughing bride.

To church, on Sundays, in company ride,

On some dull nag, and one ever finds them,

He foremost riding, and she behind him ;

But cometh a change at a future day.

For the wedded pair, be they young and gay,



54 THE CENTENNIAL.

Or in the prime of life, or old and gray,
Sitting side by side in a coach or shay,
Drawn by mettlesome steeds — sorrel or bay —
As proud as nabobs shall hasten away,
To hear the pious parson preach and pray.

Who hath it in mind, a journey to go,

In the present age, so sluggish and slow,

Of no way knoweth, but to mount his horse,

Or be his own nag, which is yet much worse,

And a hundred miles to the west or east,

Is a long — long way for himself or beast.

Then, the steam-horse whose food shall be fire,

Whose bones, whose sinews, shall fail not nor tire,

Puffing and blowing and belching out smoke.

Most easily curbed though ne'er once broke —

Shall, on track well laid for his rolling feet.

Run long swift races, with none to compete.

Dashing on and yet on with lightning speed.

E'en ten times fleeter than the fleetest steed,

Rushing through forests, over high bridges,

Past mountain tops and stupendous ridges.

Halting, now here, now there, in many a town,

In many a city of high renown.

Thus halting and going both night and day.

Never in want of spur, barley, or hay,

He shall dart through valley, over the plain,

To all parts of the land, thence, back again,

Followed behind by a numerous train,

Of four-wheeled houses, for the comfort made.

Of travelers of aught calling or trade,

Merchant or priest, farmer or attorney

Aye, for all who feel that as they journey,

As they, rich and poor do ride together.

They would sheltered be from doubtful weather ;

Or, would sit on seat, soft, cushioned, easy,

As in a parlor fine, cheerful, cosy.

Each to muse with self or read the paper,

Talk politics with his nearest neighbor.

Or discourse freely on the latest news,

Or all care dispelling, enjoy a snooze —

The old iron-horse yet onward going.

Rushing and rumbling, puffing and blowing.



POEM: ONE HUNDRED YEARS. 55

A Philosopher, learned, wise and witty,

A dweller in Philadelphia city,

Shall awake, by novel experiment,

E'en in the learned world, astonishment.

Franklin, this sage so wise of wide renown

Shall call the ethereal lightning down,

By the means of kite, and a length of twine,

Supposing the fluid will take the line,

And in form of spark, a theory prove,

Prove, by its descent, from the clouds above.

Tis the nature of sparks, to upward go,

(This, ladies deny, professing to know,)

But, of the Franklinic spark, not so,

For as thinketh he, shall the spark be drawn,

But to send him stagg'ring suddenly down.

From this simple event, I now divine.

Shall come many a telegraphic line.

And, a cable, too, all under the sea,

(The wonder of wonders it well shall be)

Shall from the Eastern stretch to Western shore,

Uniting distant lands forevermore.

Now, no mortal could possibly mention
How invention shall follow invention,
And how follow improvements, score on score,
Hundreds and thousands on thousands, before
I cease to be ; and ere endeth my power.

Industrious, now, must the damsel be,

Earnino- her flannel, bread, butter, and tea,

To escape the jaws of dread poverty ;

Nay, more, indeed, is expected to know,

By the happy young man whom she calls beau.

How to act the part of genuine cook,

Without e'en the aid of a printed book,

Make excellent bread, and excellent cheese,

Pies, and the dainties nice, that him would please ;

How to darn his stockings, handle the broom,

And the treadles work of the squeaking loom ;

How to knit, to spin, with needle to sew,

Ere he, in bashful whisper, soft and low.

Will pop the question and ask her to go

From the roof paternal and come 'neath his,

To try the sweets of matrimonial bliss ;



56 THE CENTENNIAL..

Then, wants grim visage so fear inspiring,
•Shall not drive her, oft, to toil so tiring,
For ttie ample purse of a doting sire,
Shall freely ope to her every desire ;
Then, too, he who with the nuptial halter,
Would bind her to self at Hymen's altar,
Shall seem to think it a non-essential,
That she present a single credential.
That she hath the knowledge, the tact, the skill,
The duties in kitchen, to well fulfill.

Note, those able to write, cipher, and spell,

And read their Biljles tolerably well,

Think they're prepared for the battles of life,

Fully fitted all for each toil and strife ;

The school-house, too, where the children gather,

Whether in fair or in stormy weather,

Sent thither, each, by mother or father.

The wits of teacher to tease and to bother,

Ought rather be called an apology

For a school-house, wherein, '^logoJogy''^

Might well be taught, for many a day.

In view of the clumsy ludicrous way,

The logs of the house are joined together,

That teacher and pupils all may ever.

As they, for their toils, do daily gather.

Be screened from the snow, and the pelting rain,

And from the searching blasts that sweep the plain.

Now, ere endeth my reign this day begun.

And ere all my appointed work be done.

This Power in the West, new-born nation,

Shall, best champion, be, of Education ;

Fine temples of learning, on every hand.

Shall quickly appear, thick studding the land.

Where blessed Freedom's sons and Freedom's daughters,

Shall at Learning's fount, drink purest waters ;

Then, the boy from learning his A, B, C,

May a higher take, then, higher degree ;

Who would highest climb the tree of knowledge.

May his last degree receive at college.

It needs be not, as in the present age.

That all in the vigor of youth engage,

In manual pursuits, to leave the mind,

Forever and ever undisciplined,



POEM: ONE HUNDRED YEARS. 57

No need, that all young men at earliest dawn,
Go forth to swing the axe, or hoe the corn ;
No. For inventive skill shall lessen toil,
Kun many a mill and help till the soil.
And, thus, many a lad who hath the will,
May leave the work of form or noisy mill,
And revel as he likes then evermore
In philosophic or in classic lore.

Tlien, 'proud Fashion's behests shall not permit,
Ladies refined, to card, spin and knit.
So in lieu of loom, in lieu of the wheel,
In lieu of the hatchel, and snapping reel.
In lieu of combs for the flax and the wool —
But the list — I'll pass — so long and so full;
In the place, in short, of such implements
Shall come the aids for the accomplishments,
Such as beautiful sounding instruments,
The piano forte, and melodeon.
The stringed guitar, and aceordeon,
And very like it, the consultina,
• The harmonicum, and seraphina.
The deep-toned organ on Sundays played,
The organ by Mason and Hamlin made ;
Lessons in painting in colors charming,
Lessons in drawing for parlors adorning,
And lessons in French, most musical tongue,
Dancing lessons for the gay and the young ;
Long lessons in the rules of etiquette,
For those who would properly stand or sit,
Or genteelly bow ; with fluency talk ;
Or by rule shake hands ; most gracefully walk.

Now there shall be a mighty change,

In an important matter,
And some shall think it for the worse,

Yet, others for the better ;
This mighty change, so important,

To the female sex pertains.
To the just and true relation,

Which she to the male sustains;
To her appropriate duties,

On this terrestrial ball,



58 THE CENTENNIAL.

To the sphere, she's called to fill,

By her Maker, Lord of all.
She doth not, now, in least, lament —

Lament her sad condition.
And to change her lowly lot.

Shows not the disposition ;
Doth not, methinks, for once suppose,

That she is a slave to man.
And that, to break her heavy chains,

She must e'er do all she can.
Ah ! no. She's perfectly content.

Oft to be in the kitchen,
Tend crying babies, bake, and sew,

Do every kind of "stitehin;"
But, bye and bye, the scene shall change,

And her work become a task,
Her conversation take a turn.

And how ? how turn ? some might ask.
Oft Politics shall be her theme,

And with a manly spirit.
Her rights ; she'll say, she does not have,

No more, will she endure it.
She's smart, she'll think, and ought to vote,

And in fact, to legislate,
Hold oflQce, too, like other men,

Aye, sit in the Chair of State.
" Woman'' s Rights ;'''' she'll stoutly urge, for

"No man is her superior^''
Indeed, if any difference is,

He's " rather her inferior ;"
Some noted men shall plead her cause,

A Tilton or a Beecher,
The one a racy editor,

Th' other a famous preacher.
Now should it come to pass, that.

With man she wears the breeches,
She will, methinks, till half the farms,

And dig one half the ditches ;
One half the forests, she'll cut down,

Hew half the solid timber,
Lay half the pavements in the streets —

All this — for what's to hinder ?
And half the dirt, will throw with spade,

In cutting new railways through,



POEM: ONE HUNDRED YEARS. 59

Lay half the ties, and half the rails,

E,uu half of the engines, too,
Drive half the hacks and city cars,

Carry half the country's mails,
Man half the ships that cross the seas,

Make half of the spars and sails,
Indeed, fight half the wars, for, though,

She's now the weaker vessel.
She'll, sure, gain strength, her half to do,

In storming fort or castle ;
And, too, if she would married be,

Must do one-half the wooing,
While man must change his part, somewhat,

And do one-half the cooino;.
The sexes, sure, will be agreed,

To do half and half the work,
Whate'er the half which falls to each.

That, neither may think to shirk.



And yet another change.
One singular and strange.

Shall be in a comino- ao;e.
Ere passeth century.
Proud Young America,

Shall be actor on the sta^e.
One would think it, never.
How this lad shall differ,

From those of the present day,
" His like hath ne'er been seen.
In gesture, walk, or mien.

In behavior," all shall say.
Now, every little lad.
Is by his parents made,

Most courteous and polite,
He's taught, as all agree,
Obedient to be,

Whether in or out of si^ht.

o

And doth he ever meet,
A person on the street.

His head, he must uncover.
And make as low a bow,
As ever knoweth how.

To maiden fondest lover.



60 THE CENTENNIAL.

Not oft dotli make complaint,
Though under such restraint,

And, thus, so cruelly used —
'Tis very, very sad,
The dull unthinking lad,

Knoweth not that he's abused.
But Young America,
Shall not so stupid be,

In all of these little things,
He '* never will be tied,"
For, thus shall speak his pride,
"To his mother's apron-strings;"
Shall know a thing or two,
And be, in parents' view,

Smarter than all creation,
Who'll fondly hope that he
Will one day, surely, be

President of the nation.
An infant as to age.
He, yet, shall seem a sage,

Aye, the oldest man in town ;
In pounds, of meagre weight.
Yet shall he bring his feet.

With power most wonderous down ;
Though dwarfish as to size,
Shall yet roll out his eyes,

And swell to a man full grown ;
Shall be very wise, and
Think to understand

All questions hard to answer,
Knowing more than either,
Father or his mother.

Grandmother or his grandsire.
Singular progeny !
This Young America,

Surprising to the nations !
Other shall not arise,
So wonderful and wise.

So worshiped by relations.

A vast, a wondrous, change shall be,

In everything and matter.
What I foretell, I'll surely see,

Fulfilled to the letter ;



POEM: ONE HUNDRED YEARS. 61

But no, I mean not all I say,

I'll make just one exception,
One thing there is, that shall not change,

In this, there's no deception ;
In Politics, then, same as now,

Men shall hold to " Principle,"
Will show it by their arguments,

Arguments invincible.
If wheels a party square about,

And takes its followers with it,
They of party so tenacious,

That scarcely one shall leave it ;
And, if it strongly advocates,

A measure it did oppose,
Of those who turn as party turns,

Not one shall change his views,
For "Principle " shall be the cry,

The motto of all who vote,
So, in belief, no one can change,

Though he oft may change his coat,
" Principle " shall be the watchword,

Of Party, Clique, or Faction,
Aye, " Principle, dear Principle,"

Their only rule of action.
Now some shall be — how passing strange —

Who shall fail to understand
How Party and how Principle

Can, so well, go hand in hand.
But this shall be no paradox.

For, in proof, 'twill be of this.
How truly accommodating,

Unwav'ring Principle is.



As I view this fair — ^fair lovely land o'er.

From shore on the East, to far Western shore,

I see, as I gaze, on right and left hand,

That forests, tall and wide-spreading, now stand.

Some settlements are, but these are mere dots.

There are millions yet of unfelled lots ;

A few cities, true, are here and there seen,

With, surely, a long, long distance between.

Ere years, a centum, shall have made their round,

Shall villages rise on new chosen ground,



62 THE CENTENNIAL.

Thousands on thousands, in all the wide land,

Where these waving, tow'ring forests, now stand ;

Many great cities shall spring into view,

With mills, work-shops, and edifices, too,

And dwellings fine, that no one shall number,

Built of hard stone, brick, mortar, and lumber.

Of townships good, in the newborn nation,

One shall appear in rugged location,

Which, though naught to be but a humble town.

Shall come to some fame, no little renown —

Acworth, aij&, Acworth, shall be her right name,

(Scarce other township, e'er known by the same.)

And, Acworth, sure, to good Ac^vortK's delight,

Shall builded be on the happiest site,

Best loveliest spot that could e'er be found,

Should traveler travel this big world round,

Place choicest by far in all the fair land.

For, when the observer shall take his stand

At the center of town, then cast his eye

Upwards direct to the beautiful sky.

The middle of the heavens wide-arching will be,

Straight over his head, ah ! well, he will see,

O'er his upturned face, and clearly in view.

Point central of sky, so broad and so blue ;

And, if looketh he from Principal Street,

He shall see where five or six highways meet,

Which highways shall, to parts different lead,

To all the known parts of the world, indeed.

So if from this town would a townsman go,

To aught wished for land, be it old or new,

Or if foreigner would travel to it.

There'll be ways enough for him to do it.

So fair and far-spread shall be her renown,

So known the good name of good Acworth town,

That when rolls round her centennial year,

Friends, relations, from far and from near,

Responding, all, to free invitation,

Shall unite in one grand celebration.

As if to a great, to a splendid fair,

A concourse vast shall then thither repair.

Of husbands, dear wives, fathers, fond mothers,

Sons, fair daughters, loved sisters, and brothers,

Neighbors, strangers, mere acquaintances, too,

A numerous wonderful throno; to viiiw.



POEM: ONE HTOfDEED YEARS. 63

Oh ! that shall be a joyful occasion,
When words of greeting — glad salutation,
When a well-writ historic oration,
A poem, music, and conversation,
Ballads, a banquet, toasts, and speeches fine,
Shall fill happier hours than mirth and wine.

These joys shall be. and no error in date,
Sixteenth September, eighteen sixty-eight,
In the self-same year, I fix not the day —
Shall my labors end, and I pass away. .

" Such, such are things, said I, I would do,

Said I, I would do, years centum ago.

And many more like, — Oh ! well, many more —

Of millions and billions, score upon score.

Men ne'er have thought, and so much the better.

That I've e'er had a hand in the matter ;

They've thought they acted, as e'er it pleased them,

Not dreaming for once that I deceived them.

Oft, I have done good deeds, oft deeds done bad,

Oft sorry hearts made, and oft made hearts glad ;

Why thus I have done, not now will I show,

'Tis enough to say, thou never canst know,

So fare thee well, and a happy good-night,"

I turned me round, he was full out of sight.

With these brief words, having said his adieu,

Old One Hundred years had fled from my view.

I thought to ponder on the words he spake.
And, then, from my dream did sudden awake.



64 THE CENTENNIAL.



EXERCISES AT THE TEXT.



At the close of the exercises at the church, the concourse of
people marched in procession, under the conduct of the Chief
Marshal and his assistants, to the mammoth tent, which was pitch-
ed on a lot belonging to Mr. C. M. Woodbury, a little south-east
of the parsonage, on the lower side of the road leading to South
Acworth. This tent was two hundred and five feet by eighty-five.
In it the procession found tables bountifully loaded with good
things of every kind, and plates laid thereon for nineteen hundred
guests. The taste and order with which these tables were arranged
were very creditable to the chairman of the Table Committee, Mr.
John Blanchard. His skillful management was also evinced by
the fact that the provisions had been collected from the voluntary
contributions of nearly every family in town, and yet there was a
due proportion of every kind. The diligence of the rest of the
committee, especially of the district chairmen, and the co-operation
of the citizens generally greatly aided him in his arduous under-
taking. How many partook of these provisions it is impossible
to tell. Many more than nineteen hundred sat down at the tables,
and provisions were carried to the multitude outside. It is proba-
ble that three thousand persons partook of Acworth's bountiful
dinner that day, and yet much was left.

The guests being seated at the table, and a photograph being
taken by an artist present, the blessing of God was invoked by
Kev. J. L. Whittemore, and the provisions began rapidly to dis-
appear. When these bounties had been thoroughly discussed, the
following song, written by Zenas Slader, 2d, was sung by the choir
and audience :

A HUNDRED YEAES AGO.
Tune : — Auld Lang Syne.

Again with heartfelt joy we greet,

Our native hills once more ;
Again, remembrance turns afresh,

To the good old days of yore.



i'lfS?









C<yr^-^-^c^7^(2/o ^^Z^.



EXERCISES AT THE TENT. 65

We mark the mighty, restless tide,

Of Time's resistless flow
We view the hills our fathers trod,

A hundred years ago.

Old Acworth's myriad sons come home.

Her children scattered wide ;
O'er West, and South, we've wandered far.

More genial climes have tried.
We come to laud that valiant band.

Their deeds of glory sfiow.
Who nobly lived to bless mankind,

A hundred years ago.

Though few indeed, their numbers were.

With courage undismayed,
They onward pressed in Duty's path,

And looked to heaven for aid.
All honor to those ancient sires.

Who laid the forests low.
And tamed the silent wilderness,

A hundred years ago.

Stern want, and hardship, doomed to meet, "

Hard -and severe their toil.
Their steadfast aim, and dauntless will,

Subdued a rugged soil ;
Then honor to those gallant men,

Whose sterling worth we know,
The fathers of our goodly town

A hundred years ago.

But where are now, those men of old ?

O ! where are they to-day ?
The cares of earth disturb them not.

For they have passed away.
Though dead, their numerous virtues live.

And untold blessings flow,
From those, who broke this native soil,

A hundred years ago.

The following sentiment was then responded to by the Rev.
Daniel Lancaster of New York City :

" The Early Settlers of the Town — Firm in their resolves, courageous in their ac-
tions, and persevering in their efforts; at then- hands the forests disappear, the
dwelling, school and meetmg-houses arise, and a whole townsliip teems with the fruits
of civilization."

Mr. President, and Fellow- Citizens of Acivorth: — Permit me to con-
gratulate you on your success in this gathering, and myself on being per-
mitted to attend it. My older brother, John Lancaster, who intended to
9



66 THE CENTENNIAL.

have been here with me, has just been taken suddenly from my side, as I
trust, to a higher assembly. And another cotemporary, Ithiel Silsby, whom I
expected to meet here, an early friend who first introduced me to my' academi-
cal tutor, has also just been called to his reward, before participating, as he
had ardently wished, in these festivities. In their absence, I feel like one
deserted and alone ; coming to meet not familiar faces, but strangers at this
centennial. In rising to address you, also, I feel no little embarrassment,
because I have so much given me to do and so little time to do it in, as the
five minutes allotted to each speaker.

In the resolution proposed by your Committee, and just read by the Presi-
dent, to which I am called upon to respond, you will perceive I have not a
problem to solve but a theorem to be proved, and why I should be requested



Online LibraryJohn Leverett MerrillHistory of Acworth, with the proceedings of the centennial anniversary, genealogical records, and register of farms → online text (page 5 of 33)