The Poets and Poetry of Cecil County, Maryland online

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A verse may finde him whom a sermon flies,
And turn delight into a sacrifice.

- Herbert.



Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1887, by


In the Office of the Librarian of Congress, at Washington, D.C.


This volume owes its existence to the desire of some of the teachers and
pupils of the public schools in the northeastern part of Cecil county,
to do honor to the memory of the late School Commissioner David Scott.
Shortly after Mr. Scott's death, some of the parties referred to,
proposed to collect enough money by voluntary contributions to erect a
monument over his grave, in order to perpetuate his memory, and also to
show the high regard in which he was held by them. This project being
brought to the knowledge of the editor, he ventured to express the
opinion that the best monument Mr. Scott could have, would be the
collection and publication of his poems in book form. This suggestion
met the approbation of the originators of the project, who asked the
writer to undertake the work of collecting the poems and editing the
book. Subsequent investigation showed that Mr. Scott had not left enough
poems to justify their publication in a volume by themselves; and the
original plan of the work was changed, so as to include, so far as it
has been practicable to do so, the writings of all the native poets of
the county, and those who though not natives, have resided and written
in it.

Owing to causes not necessary to state it was impracticable, in some
cases, to make as creditable a selection as could have been made had it
been possible to have had access to all the poetry of the different
writers. In a few instances the book contains all the poetry of the
different writers that it has been practicable to obtain. Herein, it is
hoped, will be found sufficient apology, if any apology is needed, for
the character of some of the matter in the book.

If any apology is needed for the prominence given to the poems of David
Scott (of John.) it may be found in the foregoing statement concerning
the origin of the book; and in the fact, that, for more than a quarter
of a century, the editor was probably his most intimate friend. So
intimate indeed were the relations between Mr. Scott and the writer,
that the latter had the pleasure of reading many of his friend's poems
before they were published. The same may be said in a more extended
sense, of the poems of David Scott (of James) to whose example and
teaching, as well as to that of the other Mr. Scott - for he was a pupil
of each of them - the writer owes much of whatever literary ability he
may possess.

The editor is also on terms of intimacy with many of the other
contemporary writers whose poetry appears in the book, and has striven
to do justice to their literary ability, by the selection of such of
their poems as are best calculated, in his opinion, to do credit to
them, without offending the taste of the most fastidious readers of the

From the foregoing statement it will be apparent that the object of the
editor was not to produce a book of poetical jems, but only to select
the poems best adapted to the exemplification of the diversified talents
of their authors. The work has been a labor of love; and though
conscious that it has been imperfectly performed, the compiler ventures
to express the hope that it will be received by a generous and
discriminating public, in the same spirit in which it was done.


It is a remarkable fact that all the native poets of Cecil county except
one or two were born in the northern part of it, and within about eight
miles of the boundary line between Maryland and Pennsylvania. What
effect, if any, the pure atmosphere and picturesque scenery of the
country along the banks and romantic hills of the Susquehanna and
Octoraro may have had to do with producing or developing poetical
genius, cannot be told; but nevertheless it is a fact, that William P.,
and Edwin E. Ewing, Emma Alice Browne, Alice Coale Simpers, John M.
Cooley and Rachel E. Patterson were born and wrote much of their poetry,
as did also Mrs. Caroline Hall, in that beautifully diversified and
lovely section of the county.

It is also worthy of note that Tobias and Zebulon Rudulph were brothers,
as are also William P. and Edwin E. Ewing; and that Mrs. Caroline Hall
was of the same family; and that Folger McKinsey and William J. Jones
are cousins, as are also Mrs. James McCormick and Mrs. Frank J.
Darlington, and Emma Alice Browne and George Johnston.

Owing to the fact that the size of the book was necessarily limited by
the price of it; and to the fact that the poems of three of the writers
were not obtained until after a large part of the book had been printed,
it was impossible to give some of the writers, whose proper places were
in the latter part of the book, as much space as was desirable. For the
reason just stated, the editor was compelled to omit a large number of
excellent poems, written by David Scott (of James,) and others.


DAVID SCOTT (of John.)

Lines Suggested by the Singing of a Bird
An Eastern Tale
The Market-Man's License
Lines on the death of Mrs. Elizabeth Scott
My Schoolboy Days
The Donation Visit
Lines on the death of Miss Mary Hayes
Lines on the death of Miss Eleanora Henderson
Lines on the death of Mrs. Burnite
Stanzas read at the Seventy-second Anniversary of the birthday of Joseph
To Mary
Impromptu to Mrs. Anna C. Baker
Lament for the year 1877
Verses presented to my Daughter
Lines on the death of a young lady of Wilmington
Youthful Reminiscences
Stanzas to a little girl on her birthday
To Miss Mary Bain
Stanzas addressed to Mr. and Mrs. T. Jefferson Scott
Birthday Verses written for a little girl on her ninth birthday
Roll Call
In Memoriam Rensellaer Biddle
Stanzas written on the fly leaf of a child's Bible
Christmas Greeting, 1877
Anniversary Poem read at the anniversary of the Seventieth birthday of
Mrs. Ann Peterson
Lines on the death of Jane Flounders
What is Matter?
Anniversary Hymn
The Intellectual Telegraph
Lines on an Indian Arrow-Head
Acrostic to Miss Annie Eliza McNamee
Minutes of the Jackson Hall Debating Society, Dec. 5, 1877
Acrostic to Miss Florence Wilson McNamee
The Book of Books
The Lesson of the Seasons
John A. Calhoun, My Joe John


My Brother
My Father. In Memoriam, 1857
At the Nightfall
The Midnight Chime
The Old Homestead
In Memoriam. John B. Abrahams
Missive to - -
Chick-A-Dee's Song
To My Sister
Measuring the Baby
The Light of Dreams
Ben Hafed's Meed
Winter Bound
At Milking time
The Singer's Song
Aunt Betty's Thanksgiving
In Hoc Signo Vinces
How Katie Saved the Train
Off the Skidloe
Life's Crosses


The Mother to her dead boy
To a Dove
Fall of Superstition
The Infant St. John the Baptist
Shelley's Obsequies
The Fountain Revisited
Death of Samson
An Infant's prayer


A Story with a Moral
Forty Years After
The Past
Loved and Lost
Death of Henry Clay, Jr.
A Valentine
Lines suggested on visiting the grave of a dear Friend


Stonewall Jackson
In Memoriam
New Year Ode
My Birthday


A Birthday Greeting
The Old Oak Tree
Sweet Florida


Rejoicing in Hope


The Cherubim
Death and Beauty
Take the Harp
Death of the Beautiful


The Angel Voice
Then and Now
The Neglected Harp
Gone Astray
Lay of the Last Indian




Sketch of a Landscape
With a Rose in January


On Receipt of a Bouquet
Old Letters
June Roses
Lines on the death of a Friend


At the Party
Mother and Son
The Missionary's Story
Dorothy Moore
Homeward Bound


Here and Hereafter
The Turtle's Sermon
If You don't believe it, try it
Bye and Bye


Mary's Grave
To Anselmo


His Last Tune
Advice to an Ambitious Youth
Too Late
After the Shower
Tribute to the Memory of David Scott (of John)


Henry Clay
Virtuous Age
Work To-day
On the death of a Child


My Fancy Land
With the Tide
The Old Fashion
My Baby and the Rose


Waiting their Crowns
Sea Echoes
Where Fancy Dwells
At Key's Grave
The Eternal Life


Woman's Rights
Only A Baby
To Helen


Judge Not
The Wish
The Christian's Anchor


God Is Great


Selection from Tancred


The Surprise
Thoughts on the death of my grandchild Fanny
The Decree
A view from Mount Carmel


The Miller's Romance
The Last Time
Only a Simple Maid
The Mystic Clock
Rube and Will
The Legend of St. Bavon

DAVID SCOTT (of James.)

The Forced Alliance
My Cottage Home
The Mighty One
The Surviving Thought
The Working-Man's Song
Ode to Death


On the Mountains
Lines Written in St. Ann's Cemetery
Merry May

DAVID SCOTT (of John.)

David Scott (of John,) so-called to distinguish him from his first
cousin David Scott (of James,) was the grandson of David Scott, who
emigrated from Ireland in the latter part of the eighteenth century and
settled not far from Cowantown in the Fourth district. His son John, the
father of the subject of this sketch, was born in Ireland, but was quite
young when his father came to this country.

David, the subject of this sketch, was born quite near to what was
formerly known as Dysart's Tavern, now Appleton, on the 2nd of
September, 1817, and died near Cowantown, on the 14th of November, 1885.

All his life was spent within about two miles of the place of his birth,
and most of it on the Big Elk creek at what was known while he owned
them, as "Scott's Mills." His early life was devoted to farming, but
upon reaching the proper age he learned the trade of augermaking, which
at that time was one of the leading industries of this county, and at
which he soon became an expert workman, as well as a skilful worker in
iron and steel. The editor of this book has heard him remark that when
he could find no one else capable of making odd pieces of ironwork for
the machinery in his mills he would take the hammer and make them
himself, and has also seen him make and temper the knives for a spoke
machine which he used for a time in his bending mill.

He and the late Palmer C. Ricketts were intimate friends in boyhood and
remained such during the lifetime of Mr. Ricketts. Mr. Ricketts being of
a literary turn of mind, their friendship probably had much to do with
forming the literary tastes and shaping the political opinions of Mr.

Mr. Scott was originally a Democrat, and when only about 23 years of age
is said to have aspired to a seat in the General Assembly of his native
State. But the leaders of the party failed to recognize his claims, and
he shortly afterwards was instrumental in the formation of the first
politico temperance organization in this county, and ran for the House
of Delegates on the first temperance ticket placed before the people in
1845. For a few years afterwards he took no part in politics, his whole
time and talents being engrossed in business, but in 1853 at the
solicitation of his friend Ricketts, he consented to be a candidate for
County Commissioner, and succeeded in carrying the Fourth district in
which he lived, which was then known as the Gibraltar of Democracy, by a
small majority, and securing his election by a majority of one vote over
Griffith M. Eldredge, his highest competitor on the Democratic ticket.

In 1855 he ran on the American ticket, with the late Samuel Miller and
Dr. Slater B. Stubbs, for the House of Delegates, and was elected by a
handsome majority.

In 1859 Mr. Scott consented to run on the American ticket for the State
Senate. His competitor was the late Joseph J. Heckart, who was elected.
This was a memorable campaign on account of the effect produced by the
John Brown raid upon the State of Virginia and the capture of Harper's
Ferry, which had a disastrous effect upon Mr. Scott's prospects, owing
probably to which he was defeated.

At the outbreaking of the war of the rebellion he espoused the Union
cause and gave it his hearty support during the continuance of the
struggle, and remained a consistent Republican until his death.

In 1864 he was a delegate to represent Cecil county in the
Constitutional Convention, his colleagues being Thomas P. Jones, George
Earle and the late Joseph B. Pugh. He was assigned to a place upon the
Committee on the Elective Franchise and had more to do with originating
that section of the Constitution which provided for the passage of a
registration law than any other person on the committee - probably more
than any other member of the Convention. He was an intimate friend of
Henry H. Goldsborough, whom he had previously nominated in the
Republican State Convention for the office of Comptroller of the State
Treasury, which office he still held, and whom Mr. Scott also nominated
for President of the Constitutional Convention in the Republican caucus,
and, as was very natural, was often called upon by Mr. Goldsborough to
preside over the Convention in his absence, which he did with that
_suaviter in modo_ and _fortiter in re_ for which he was remarkable and
with great acceptability to the members of both political parties.

During the invasion of the State in July, 1864, he was one of the most
active members in urging upon the loyalists of Annapolis and the
military authorities in that city and at Camp Parole the necessity of
defending the Capital of the State. He held the handles of the plow with
which the first furrow that marked the line of the fortifications around
the city was made. It may not be out of place to say that the editor of
this book, in company with Mr. Scott, walked along the line of the ditch
the morning before, and that the former walked ahead of the team
attached to the plow so that the person who led the team might know
where to go.

Mr. Scott was also one of about a dozen members who remained in
Annapolis for about two weeks, during much of which time the arrival of
the rebel raiders was hourly expected, and kept the Convention alive by
adjourning from day to day, without which, by the rules adopted for the
government of the Convention, it could not have maintained a legal

He was appointed School Commissioner in 1882, which office he filled
with great acceptability to the public until incapacitated by the
disease which terminated his life.

Mr. Scott, though one of the most amiable of men, was fond of argument
when properly conducted, and from the time he was twenty years of age
until nearly the close of his life was always ready to participate in a
debate if he could find any person to oppose him; and thought it no
hardship to walk any where within a radius of four or five miles, in the
coldest weather, in order to attend a debating society. He was possessed
of a large and varied stock of information and a very retentive memory,
which enabled him to quote correctly nearly everything of importance
with which he had ever been familiar. His ability in this direction,
coupled with a keen sense of the ridiculous and satirical, rendered him
an opponent with whom few debaters were able to successfully contend.
But it was as a companion, a friend and a poet that he was best known
among the people of his neighborhood, to which his genial character and
kind and amiable disposition greatly endeared him.

Mr. Scott began to write poetry when about twenty-one years of age, and
continued to do so, though sometimes at long intervals, until a short
time before his death. His early poems were printed in "The Cecil Whig,"
but being published anonymously cannot be identified. Like many others,
he did not preserve his writings, and a few of his best poems have been
lost. Of his poetic ability and religious belief, we do not care to
speak, but prefer that the reader should form his own judgment of them
from the data derived from a perusal of his poems.

In 1844, Mr. Scott married Miss Agatha R. Fulton, a most estimable lady,
who, with their son Howard Scott and daughter Miss Annie Mary Scott,
survive him.

In conclusion, the editor thinks it not improper to say that he enjoyed
the pleasure of Mr. Scott's intimate friendship for nearly thirty years,
and esteemed him as his best and most intimate friend. And that while
his friend was only mortal, and subject to mortal frailities, he had a
kind and generous heart; a soul which shrank from even the semblance of
meanness, and was the embodiment of every trait which ennobles and
elevates humanity.



Sing on, sweet feathered warbler, sing!
Mount higher on thy joyous wing,
And let thy morning anthem ring
Full on my ear;
Thou art the only sign of spring
I see or hear.

The earth is buried deep in snow;
The muffled streams refuse to flow,
The rattling mill can scarcely go,
For ice and frost:
The beauty of the vale below
In death is lost.

Save thine, no note of joy is heard -
Thy kindred songsters of the wood
Have long since gone, and thou, sweet bird,
Art left behind -
A faithful friend, whose every word
Is sweet and kind.

But Spring will come, as thou wilt see,
With blooming flower and budding tree,
And song of bird and hum of bee
Their charms to lend;
But I will cherish none like thee,
My constant friend.

Like the dear friends who ne'er forsake me -
Whatever sorrows overtake me -
In spite of all my faults which make me
Myself detest,
They still cling to and kindly take me
Unto their breast.



A Persian lady we're informed -
This happened long, long years before
The Christian era ever dawned,
A thousand years, it may be more,
The date and narrative are so obscure,
I have to guess some things that should be sure.

I'm puzzled with this history,
And rue that I began the tale;
It seems a kind of mystery -
I'm very much afraid I'll fail,
For want of facts of the sensation kind:
I therefore dwell upon the few I find.

I like voluminous writing best,
That gives the facts dress'd up in style.
A handsome woman when she's dressed
Looks better than (repress that smile)
When she in plainer costume does appear;
The more it costs we know she is more _dear_.

The story is a Grecian one,
The author's name I cannot tell;
Perhaps it was old Xenophon
Or Aristotle, I can't dwell
On trifles; perhaps Plutarch wrote the story:
At any rate its years have made it hoary.

The Greeks were famous in those days
In arts, in letters and in arms;
Quite plain and simple in their ways;
With their own hands they tilled their farms;
Some dressed the vine, some plow'd the ocean's wave;
Some wrote, were orators, or teachers grave.

They were Republicans, in fact;
The Persians might have called them "black
Republicans;" they never lacked
The power to beat a foeman back.
Thermopylæ, so famed in Grecian story
Is but another name for martial glory.

A busy hive to work or fight,
Like our New England bold and strong;
A little frantic for the right,
As sternly set against the wrong;
And when for right they drew the sword, we know,
Stopped not to count the number of the foe.

To me it is a painful sight
To see a nation great and good
Reduced to such a sorry plight,
And courtiers crawl where freemen stood,
And king and priests combine to seize the spoil,
While widows weep and beggar'd yeomen toil.

The philosophic mind might dwell
Upon this subject for an age:
The philanthropic heart might swell
Till tears as ink would wet the page;
The mystery, a myst'ry will remain -
The learning of the learned cannot explain.

The Persians were a gaudy race,
Much giv'n to dress and grand display;
I'm grieved to note this is the case
With other people at this day;
And folks are judged of from outside attractions,
Instead of from good sense and genteel actions.

The dame in question was a type
Of all her class; handsome and rich
And proud, of course, and flashing like
A starry constellation, which
She was, in fact a moving mass of light
From jewels which outshone the stars at night.

The tale is somewhat out of joint -
I'm not much given to complain;
'Tis in a most essential point
A blank; I've read it oft in vain
To find one syllable about her size,
The color of her hair, or of her eyes.

Or whether she was short or tall,
Or if she sung or play'd with grace,
If she wore hoops or waterfall
I cannot find a single trace
Of proof; and as I like to be precise,
My disappointment equals my surprise.

This Persian belle; (confound the belle)
Excuse me, please; I won't be rude;
She's in my way, so I can't tell
My tale, so much does she intrude;
I wish I knew her age, and whether she
Was single, married, or engaged to be.

These are important facts to know,
I wonder how they slipped the pen
Of him who wrote the story, so
I wonder at the taste of men
Who wrote for future ages thus to spoil
A tale to save time, paper, ink or oil.

Our Persian lady, as I said,
Decked out in costly jewels rare,
A visit to a Grecian made -
A lady of great worth, and fair
To look upon, of great domestic merit
Which from a noble race she did inherit.

Puffed up with vanity and pride,
The Persian flashing like a gem,
Displayed her brilliants, glittering wide;
The Grecian coldly looked at them:
"Have you no jewelry at all, to wear?
Your dress and person look so poor and bare."

She called her children to her side,
Seven stalwart sons of martial mien;
"These are my jewels," she replied,
"I'm richer far than you, I ween:
These are the glory and the strength of Greece,
Which all the gems on earth would not increase,"

Let others shine in diamonds bright,
Or hoard their greenbacks, bonds or gold,
You have your jewels in your sight,
And hearing, like the matron old;
And should they still continue to increase,
You'll beat the model mother of old Greece.

Then hail Columbia, happy land!
While California yields her ore,
May you increase your jewel band,
By adding every year one more;
And when you're asked your jewels to display.
Point to your score of sons saying "these are they."



The following poem grew out of a misunderstanding between Mr. Scott
and the clerk of the Wilmington market. In the winter of 1868, Mr.
Scott was in the habit of selling hominy in the market, and the
clerk treated him rudely and caused him to leave his usual stand and
remove to another one. From this arbitrary exercise of power Mr.
Scott appealed to the Mayor, who reinstated him in his old place.
Mr. Scott soon afterwards had several hundred of the poems printed
and scattered them throughout the market. In an introductory note he
says, "the lines referring to Mayor Valentine are intended as a
compliment to that officer, as well as a play on his official title
of Mayor."

I've horses seen of noble blood,
And stopped to gaze and stare:
But ne'er before to-day I stood
In presence of a Mayor.

I've talked with rulers, in and ex,
With working man and boss;
Mayor Valentine! they you unsex -

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