Alfred Noon.

Ludlow: a century and a centennial online

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monly happens that would-be imitations in the country of city life,
turn out to be only ajiings, and that, too, not of that which is worth
copying, but of the weaknesses and vices of the city — the shoddy pa-
rade and slavish subserviency to position and power of those who have
not learned to wear the honors of city life with good grace.

But this evil is sure in due time to cure itself. Fifth Avenue st3'le
in a farmer's home never fails to show itself, sooner or later, to be as
absurd as would be the attempt to devote our New England lands to
the raising of tropical fruits. We have all seen enough of this mis-
take to understand its results. It means heav}' and steadily-increas-
ing debts, irredeemable mortgages, bad dreams, haunted rooms, for-
feited credit, seedy garments, an aspect of decay within and without,
a general unhingement of manhood and womanhood, and then bank-


ruptcy, or else that whicli is worse — an old age oppressed with intol-
erable burdens.

The failures of country life are chiefly traceable to causes working
nearer the other extreme of society. Not in the excesses of taste and
style lurks the demon that oftenest plays first tyrant and then de-
stroyer in homes of industry. As the foremost or parent evil among
upright and energetic farmers, I incline to place the tendency' of both
men and women to become working macliines, appendages, the one
sex to the soil and the other to the house. I do not refer now spe-
cially to the overwork so common that breaks down the constitution
and shortens life ; for even in the country dissipation doubtless slays
more than work does, and when overwork brings premature death,
that is not the great evil in the case. But your mere workers may
be philosphers enough to adjust the daily demand on their strength
to the daily supply', and so drag out the full measure of their days,
though whether they do or not is of comparatively small account.
Tlie abominable thing is, that man should be degraded to the rank of
the instruments which he wields. The curse lies in the debasing, not
in the shortening of life.

- The first result of this all work and no play is to make Jack a dull '
boy, and next a dull man, if he lives to be one, who, because he is
more a machine than a man, drops naturally into the old ruts of his
fathers, is incapable of accepting improvements, but plods blindly on,
absurdly seeking to perpetuate ideas and customs which the world has
outgrown, mistakes narrowness for independence, stupidity for con-
stancy, penuriousness for economy, shows but slight appreciation of
the beautiful, pays his church dues as a kind of future life insurance
demand, regards money expended for books and pictures as wasted,
and the education of his children as useless, save only as the outfit of
a drudge like himself. Call this an extreme case, if you please. I
mean it as such. But remember that sins invariably lead to extremes.

Extremes are not always reached in a day. But let a man only con-
sent to be a mere working machine, and to make his wife and cliildren
the same, or no matter if the wife leads in the case, and in due time
tliis very extreme will be gained, if not in his day, then in his chil-
dren's. But let him not flatter himself that he is becoming rich. Such


a man is not a possessor at all. The farm or the shop, from first to
last, owns him, and works him as its slave. If we would escape these
results, then we must shun the sin which leads to them.

Our fathers were hard workers, it is true, and we can not say that
they were always wise; hut it is the evidences wliicli we see to-
day of the subordination in a good degree of work to the higher pur-
poses of life, that inspires for them our respect and gratitude. They
not only made for themselves homes of comfort, and caused their lands
to yield for them the supplies demanded for physical life, hut they
also early founded churches and schools, and cheerfully sustained
them from their scanty and hard-earned means. Not least among the
legacies which they have left to us is their own example of self-sacri-
fice in behalf of their children. They have don.e their part well, and
have thus made it our duty to show that the oft-repeated claim of Xew
England farmers, " we build school-houses and raise men," is no idle

To be true to the fathers, our first duty is to be men. Use, then,
the good things of life, and let them not use yon.

Be a free man, not a slave. Make your homestead not your work-
shop, nor your prison, nor your world, all which terms in this connec-
tion mean about the same thing; but make it what home should be,
as beautiful as your means will permit; at all events, make it within
doors and without so bright and cheerful, and so warm and radiant
with love, as to charm the faculties of your children into joyous and
healthful exercise. And you may be assured the work will not suffer
as the result. Make work a delight, a fine art; infuse into it the
plaj' element; give brain and heart their natural right of dominion
over muscle, and we can do a third more work, and do it better, with
only the weariness that makes rest sweet and dreams pleasant. And
then, too, home, in its industrial character, will become what Heaven
designed it to be, a g3'^ranasium for the free and happy development
and training of mind and body.

There can be no doubt that the right of every man under our free
government to sell his property when he pleases, even though it be
the old homestead of his fathers, is a wise provision. Though the ex-
ercise of this right greatly modifies our local attachments, making


thorn less a clinging to the soil, this is on the whole a great advan-
tage. Fostered by our educational agencies, its tendency is to the cul-
tivation of a nobler style of patriotism, a love that rises above mere
matter and place, and cares rather for institutions and principles and

^y frequent transfers of real estate it has actually come to pass
that comparativeh^ few occupy the houses and lands of their fathers.
But if 3'ou live where the ancestors of your neighbor lived, somebody
else lives on the old homestead of j'our fathers, and plucks the fruit
fi'om orchards which they planted, and mows the green fields which
their skillful hands first brought under culture. These changes, then,
in the ownership of real estate, are but the interchange of trusts com-
mitted to us by our fathers, and it is all the same though the bound-
ary line of towns comes between. Our obligation is none the less to
enter into the labors of those who have lived and wrought before us.

He who has planted a tree, and by careful culture has made it fair
and thrifty and fruitful, has a claim upon those who come after him
that they shall take care of it, and, when it dies, plant another in its
stead ; and so, in general, of whatever improvements he has made dur-
ing his occupancy. With peculiar emphasis is this true of all that con-
tributes to make our homes beautiful. He whose industry and good
taste has made his buildings and grounds a paradise, is a benefactor of
the entire community, and of every pilgrim passer-by ; and no man
can with money purchase the moral right to lay them waste, or neg-
lect them. Money may buy these goodl}"- acres, but the beaut}^ that,
covers them is the common heritage of all who have minds and hearts
to enjoy it. To heathenize grounds that our fathers have Christian-
ized is treason. However, then, the improvements of a centur}', have
come into our hands, whether by direct inheritance or by purchase,
they are a trust to be kept faithfully, and transmitted to those who
may follow us.

The advantages of life in tlie country, just as in the city, are, for
the greater part, what we make thorn. But take our good country
homes as we find them, or as they find us, and they will, I believe, all
things considered, bear comparison with the best which the city af-
fords. But it is what the country affords, more or less, that is ours,


aiul the niiiiri chance with us is the faithful improvement of what we

Success is everywhere achieved by making the most of our own re-
sources. If 3'ou please, it is the one talent of a country town, and not
the five talents of the city upon the improvement of -wlwcli success is
here conditioned. But perhaps our one talent may j^ield us as much
substantial good as five talents in the city. It will, if we make the
better investment, and take better care of the increase.

There are many things in which it were folly for the country to at-
tempt to compete with the city.

The worshipers of mammon, the devotees of fashion, and all the
giddy, fluttering throngs to whom a whirl of excitement is the daily
or nightly necessity' of life, may gain their ends and end their useless
lives more readily in the city. Wealth, fashion, noise, with all their
train of ambitions and vexations, find here in but inferior degree
either their motives or their means. Some of the advantages of cul-
ture, too, it must be admitted, are generally more easily accessible in
the city than in the country. The machinery of the city can turn out
professional characters as well as sharpers of all kinds with much the
greater facility.

But the country can do without many of these. It is not polished
instruments of any kind that is the world's great want. Professional
training is well ; but it is never the great essential. Look out for the
man, and you will risk little to let the professor take care of himself.
The grand aim of life everywhere should be the development and cul-
tivation of manhood.

Now the first requisite to this is home and neighborhood. And in
both these respects the country has the advantage over the city.
One can scarcely know what the word neighborhood means till he has
lived in the country. The word home has generally too in the coun-
try a breadth and depth of meaning which is rarely possible in the
city. In the city, it means additional to the family itself for the greater
part a hired house, or part of a house, a temporary abode, often little
more than a business head-quarters, with but slight local attachments.
But in the country, home generally means possession as well as occu-
pancy. Often it means the old homestead, endeared by a thousand ten-


der associations. And it means not only lionse, but also gardens, lawns,
fields, trees, fruit and flowers, flocks and herds. In its fullest realiza-
tion it is a place where two lives united in one were planted in youth,
from which, fertilized by a pure love, other young lives have in due
time sprung up around them. Be not afraid of this word planted.
Man has not so grown out of relation to other forms of life in the king-
doms of nature, that he can, without a great loss to himself, be tossed
hither and thither, with no local attachments, all places being alike to
him; and he never will at least in the present life. He need not in-
deed be attached to the soil like a tree wdiich cannot be moved without
endangering its life. But as the very means of insuring for him that
vigor and strength of manhood which can Avithstand the trials of any
clime, and make his life everj'where fruitful, his heart must have root-
lets that take a strong and permanent hold upon home associations, and
become intertwined inseparably with the happiness and prosperity of
the people among whom were passed his early days. I do not say that
a country birthplace and early home must always be more to him than
any other place. It niaj^ or may not be the dearest of all places. It
ought not to be in the case of those who afterwards have permanent
homes in other places wlwre families grow up around them. It must
however be to them what no other place ever can be, the lovely dream-
land of infancy, the charming fairy land of childhood, and a little
later, a kind of border-land paradise, in which youth blossoms into
young manhood and womanhood. Far from confining his life within
narrow limits, these life-long attachments to an early home become a
condition upon which his life may ever after more freely and widely
and securely expand itself. He whose infant life is thus planted in
the soil of a good home, and whose life, thrice blessed with the culture
of home, the school, and the church, all working in harmony, and in-
viting his faculties into free and happy exercise, is prepared in due
time, as he could not be otherwise, to reach out his life in vigorous
runners that shall take root, and make his life fruitful in places far

If the raising of men be your chief aim, men whose lives shall be a
blessilig, whether they have their mission in your quiet town, or are
called to other fields of dut}', you have, then, no occasion to envy the


dwellers in cities. And we need not fear to extend this comparison of
advantages with oiir city neighhors. If their larger material wealth
can build more elegant houses and furnish them more sumptuously
than you, you can surround your homes with attractions in the form
of lawns and flowers and trees, which may well excite their envy.
If they can build finer school-houses than you, see that you have as
good teachers, and you can build men as well as they. If they wor-
ship in costlier temples of granite and marble than your means can af-
ford, you may offer as acceptable worship in your modest and not less
tasteful churches. Nor need your prayers and praises be restricted to
these temples made wntli hands. They may go up daily,

"From that catliedral, boundless as our wonder,

Whose quenchless lamps the sun and moon supply,
Whose choir the winds and waves, whose organ thunder,
Whose dome the sky."

If the libraries of the city are not easy of access to you, yours are
the more inspiring volumes of nature, spreading out for you on every
hand their eloquent pages. If you can but rarely visit the galleries
of art found in the city, nature's grand museum, filled with the work
of the Divine artist, is open to you freely at all times, open to all who
Lave eyes to see. If you may not so often in the country hear words
of wisdom from the silver-tongued orator, or music from the great
masters, for those who have ears to hear, your wooded hills and vales
are vocal with richer melodies.

To make the most of our advantages, however, requires us not to be
proud of them and satisfied with them, but steadily to increase them.
To this end your fruitful soil is an unfailing source of supply. You
do not expect to find here buried mines of gold. But even more won-
drous is the wealth that slumbers in these lands. They scarcely need
your bidding to yield with each returning Summer in infinite variety
their boundless profusion of grasses, flowers, foliage and fruits. And
this it is in your power to increase almost without limit. Where now
the earth sends up the thistle, you can cause it to send up the bearded
grain. "Where weeds have full possession of the soil it will presently
re^Yard your care with the luscious strawbeny, or with flowers fragrant
and beautiful. Where the ground is cumbered with tliorns, we find it


ready under the hand of culture to grow the apple, the pear, the peach,
the cherry, the grape and the plum.

But plant not always in hope of speedy returns. Plant for genera-
tions and centuries. By all means plant trees ; multiply 3'our groves,
that shall be more to coming generations than to yourselves. Neg-
lected fields wait only your planting and culture, to produce thrifty and
fruitful orchards for you and the generation after you. The grounds
that front your dwelling are waiting only for you to put in the tiny seed
or tender sapling, to bless the next Centenary with the thrifty maple,
the graceful ash, the evergreen pines, the stately elm, and the giant oak.

Carry the same spirit of improvement with you everywhere. Leave
all good things that come into j^our hands — buildings, grounds, fences,
roads — better than you found them. At the same time clear awa}^
that which is not good. Above all, make your schools and churches
the best and best sustained, the most truly liberal as well as earnest,
and keep them always abreast with the times in every real improve-
ment. When the city gets the start of jon in a good cause learn
from it, and so make it your tributary. From the exhaustless fount-
ains of 3'our highlands you are to supply Springfield with livdng water.
Draw upon her in return from whatever fountains of health she may
have for you. Xo people can afford to live within themselves. A
breeding in-and-in policy is always one of degeneracy. If we draw
only from the fountains of our own life w'e shall presently find that the
currents of life run low and languidly. Therefore constantly seek
fresh currents of life from abroad. Welcome all new ideas and new
things which are good. So ma}^ you steadily add to all your resources
of power, multiply the advantages of life, reflect honor upon your wor-
thy ancestors, and transmit the goodly heritage received from them,
not only unimpaired, but with a generous increase to those who live
after you. Above all, may you hope to raise up for the future a gen-
eration of men worthy of the name. And this can not fail to carry
Avith it prosperity in every thing good. To your lasting honor may
these results appear when a hundred years hence a hapjiy and intelli-
gent people shall gather here to celebrate the second Centennial Jubi-
lee of Ludlow, perhaps under the shadow of the very trees of your


After the choir liad again sung, Eev. J. W. Tuck, of Jewott City,
Conn., gave the Historical Address, in these words:


Though I cannot claim the honor of my nativit}' v/ith 3'ou, citizens
of Ludlow, yet I am not a foreigner or stranger hero. These fields
and forests, so green to-day, are more familiar tlian those on which I
first opened my eyes ; these venerable oaks around, seem as much
like old friends as those others under which I sat in childhood; and
in many of these open countenances I read the checkered history of a
majority of your families, as well as much of m}' own for sixteen of
the best years of my life. A few rods from this place of our gathering,
six of my children were born, and the precious dust of half that same
family now sleeps in yonder cemetery, side by side with dear departed
ones of your own stricken households.

The invitation, therefore, of j^our honorable Committee of Arrange-
ments to address you at this memorable period of your history, I regard
as a call to come home again, to revisit the scenes of former years, to
review the pleasant memories of the past, to shake friendl}- hands,
and gather up inspiration from a new brief communion to go on in
life's journey with Christian courage, that we may finish our course
with joy.

But personal and particular reminiscences belong chiefly to the
speakers that will follow me ; and while I may indulge in some that
have fallen especially under my observation, yet the broader though
less luminous field of your local history has been marked out for my
survey in this Centennial Anniversary of 3'our town. I am aware of
the more than ordinary difficulties of my undertaking, difficulties
growing out of the comparative meagerness of your earl}' district
records, and also because of a lack of startling incident and adventure,
such as may be found in the central, populous places whose history
covers a much longer period, — but which can never obtain with a
younger and scattered population, devoting themselves exclusively to
the quiet pursuits of agriculture. While, therefore, Ludlow can not
boast of many great and astouibhing things, — of bloody battle-liekls,
of Indian burnings and massacres, of giving presidents, senators and


governors to the country, — yet, if it be not assuming too much, in the
words of another, — " She can, so far, claim the merit of never having
done anytliing tliat she or her mother town need he ashamed of."
"We will take this as no faint praise. Though it be true, as pub-
licl_y pre-announced of this celebration, — that this town has not a
great deal of history all to herself, may it not be added, — neither
has she the failing of coveting and contending for that in her chief
places, which is as sounding brass and a tinkling cymbal, and from
which much claiming to be history frequently comes. No, her ambi-
tion is of a higher type ; her preference for the more useful, the prac-
tical, the permanent. Hence of her sons it may be said, they are
industrious, virtuous, sturdy yeomen, and her daughters, — they are fit
to be the wives and mothers of husbands and children, that are
"known in the gates, and who sit among the elders of the land."

With so much that is apologetic, and congratulating you, fellow-
citizens, friends and former townsmen, for the aixspicious circumstan-
ces of this day, and the pleasing unanimity with which you enter on
this Centennial, forgetful of political and denominational preferences,
I now waive for the present all other things, and give precedence to a
brief narrative of the good old dame that has just rounded out her
first hundred years, and yet is none the worse for wear, nay, is more
vigorous and comely, and even Christian than ever. May we not,
then, those of us who are adopted children, as well as you who were
to the manor born, like the loj'al subjects of gracious sovereigns,
say now with united voices. Live, mother ! Live forever ! Live on,
firm in principle, fair in countenance, of a truly healthy growth, and
holding honorable place with a friendly sisterhood of towns around!


•'What's in a name?" is sometimes asked. Enough, perhaps, to
claim a moment's thought as we pass along. The name first on our
lips to-day, and inscribed on the banner floating highest in the breeze
above this assembled multitude, though not euphonious, as some have
said, yet is not unpleasant to the ear, and, we doubt not, is of honor-
able origin. AVhile we have no certain clue to its history, yet it seems
to me the most plausible theory among several is, that its derivation
may be traced to a prominent English republican living previous to


and (liuinu; the protectorate of Oliver Cromwell — Edmund Ludlow, a
member of Parliament and a popular leader of the people in those
stormy times, against the encroachments of the crown. Though he
•was one of the king's judges, yet he was, even then, a thorough, con-
sistent republican, and afterward an earnest supporter of the bill for
the abolition of the House of Peers. It is not unreasonable to sup-
pose that his name, associated as it was with genuine republicanism
like that of John Hampden, his contemporary, — a name afterwards
given to designate your County, — should, for like reasons, have been
previously joined to one of its towns. (I.*)


The first settlement with specific date in this part of Springfield,
called Stony Hill, was made in 1751 by Capt. Joseph Miller, who
came from West Springfield, and pitched his tent on the banks of the
Chicopee river, near where Elihu J. Sikes now lives, whose wife is a
direct descendant of his of the fifth generation. But there were
already several families here, supposed to have been on the ground a
year or two ; those of Aaron Colton, James Sheldon, Shem Chapin and
Benjamin Sikes. Ebenezer Barber came in 1756, locating himself on
the place now owned by David L. Atchinson, and Jonathan Lombard
followed in 1757. Li 1767, Joshua Fuller, whose descendants are
numerous, moved into the place, and settled on what is known as the
Dorman farm, near the Methodist chapel. James Kendall came in
1769, from Ashford. Most of these names, together with those of
Jones and Burr, representing families still living here, are found in the
earliest records of Springfield, (lit) Their present numbers, and the
places of honor and usefulness they have filled through so many gen-
erations, evince the extraordinary vitality and vigor of the stock from
which they sprang.


For more than a score of years after the arrival of the pioneer set-
tlers in the Eastern, or Stony Hill district of Springfield, the increase
of the population, owing to a variety of circumstances, was very grad-
ual. Persons coming from a distance, seeking new homes in this part

*See page 18, also see Appendix, C. tSee pp. 7-9.


of the State, preferred i)lantiiig tliemselves in the villages, and re-

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Online LibraryAlfred NoonLudlow: a century and a centennial → online text (page 11 of 18)