Alfred Noon.

Ludlow: a century and a centennial online

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but valuable museum of his own."

Just below the falls at Jenksville, the river in its tortuous course
forms a little peninsula of a few acres of land, formerly densely wooded,
and elevated about eighty feet above the water, the extremity of which


has lonj^ Lcen known by the name of "Indian Leap." The story,*
which perhaps is only legendary, is that a party of Indians, being sur-
prised in this secluded spot, and finding no other way of escaping
tljoir enemies, sprang over the precipice in fearless desperation, and all
of them, save one, perished in tlie seething waters and among the
rocks below. In this place, on the high bank of the river, is supposed
to have been the encampment of 600 of King Philip's warriors, the
night after the}'' had burned Springfield in 1675, since those who went
in pursuit of them the next day, found here 24 camp fires and some of
their plunder left behind. The new railroad bridge now takes a leap
from this celebrated point across the chasm, bearing safely every day
scores of passengers as they go and come on business or pleasure.

No less than five bridges span the Chicopee River, connecting Lud-
low -with the adjoining towns, the oldest of which is at Jenksville,
having been built fifty-four years, and apparently as firm and endur-
ing now as ever. Although this is the shortest of the five, and its
completion now would have but little significance, yet then it was re-
garded as an event of extraordinary public importance ; so much so as
to be celebrated with an eclat not unlike this centennial day.f Ac-
cordingly, on the 1st of Januarj'^, 1823, large numbers assembled to
listen to a statement of what had been done; also to hear a sermon
suited to the occasion, and join in public praise and thanksgiving to
Almighty God for the success of their enterprise. I sujipose there is
scarcely a person here but has crossed over that friendly bridge, time
and again. Please to remember, the next time you enter its dingy
arch, that, fifty-four years ago, it was solemnly dedicated, — I use the
words of the preacher, Mr. McLean, — " dedicated to the protection of
Almight}^ God and the use of men."


The fathers of Kew England were a religious people ; nor were
they often guilty of withholding an acknowledgment of their indebt-
edness to the Father of Mercies for His protecting care. They
believed in a divine providence, and were not ashamed to confess the
same, botli publicly and privately, in things great and small. They

*See page 2. tSue page 63


were also a bravo, hardy, indomitable people, who dared to contend for
their rights ; who knew how to fight the devil, as well as how to fear
God. Poor in this world's goods, yet they were not coraplainers ; for
princely fortunes they knew would be theirs in the world to come.
Godliness was the great gain they coveted most ; and having food and
raiment, they were content therewith. Strong in purpose, uncompro-
mising in principle, and the firm friends of civil and religious freedom,
we love to honor them as such, though we may not always imitate
their noble virtues.

They were but a handful, comparatively — few and feeble and far
separated from one another — yet they could build and endow churches
and colleges, scrupulously maintain religious and charitable institu-
tions, and render a cheerful, stated worship to the God they served.
Many of the present generation complain, if called to hear a brace of
sermons of twentj'' minutes each on the Sabbath. Strong men can
not digest more than one, they say. But the fathers of a century ago
could listen to preaching for two hours, and a prayer of one hour ;
and, after a short intermission, go the same round again without ex-
traordinary fatigue. It is said they had no prayer-meetings then ;
and how could thej'", scattered, as they were, many miles apart, without
roads or bridges, or any of the conveniences of travel now in vogue ?
They had no Sunday-schools, it is said; but they had; and their
schools around the family hearth-stone, with the Bible and catechism
for text-books, and father and mother as teachers, were more efficient
for good than many a modern, flourishing, fancy school. While thus
extolling them — commending their patriotism, their piety, their strong
faith, their usually unselfish acts — I would do no injustice to the
present age. Though the fathers have gone and the heroic age in
which they lived, yet their spirit has not fled. If proof were needed
of our patriotism, I would refer to the recent great uprising in defense
of our liberties, when imperiled by the slavery rebellion. Then it
can be shown also that the hope our pious fathers had of christian-
izing the heathen, has not died out, but has been gathering inspira-
tion to the present time. In the work of missions, our zeal and
success have exceeded theirs. We have mapped out the whole world
as the field to be worked, and sent out men to possess it all for the


Master. Also our religious, our educational and benevolent institu-
tions are in advance of anything in the past.


It is in place here, in my brief narrative of historical events of this
town, that I should refer to some things it did in our national contest,
twelve j'^ears ago. With a population of only twelve hundred souls, it
enlisted one hundred and twenty recruits for the war, or one for every
ten persons. I know of no town that did better ; and yet the proportion
in the Revolutionary conflict was not much greater. (X.*) Fathers and
mothers here gave up their sons, and wives their husbands, feeling in
their bleeding hearts and fearing they might never see them again ;
yet consenting to the painful sacrifice for God and their country's
sake. Those fears and feelings, on the part of many, were the genuine
forebodings of what actually followed. The names of sixteen, who
went out from these pleasant, quiet homes, and never came back
alive, having perished in the terrible strife, are now written on yonder
soldiers' monument, erected to commemorate the bravery of their
deeds and their martyr-like deaths. I knew many of them well, and
from an intimacy with some, esteemed them highly for their moral
worth and manly virtues. May I pronounce their names, though it
bring a pang of grief to the hearts of some present, on whose fond
memories their patient faces are doubtless daguerreotyped forever:
Capt. II. A. Hubbard, D. Pratt,

Kobert Parsons, W. W. Washburne,

riavius J. Putnam, John Coash,

E. F. Brooks, A. 0. Pott,

C. Crowningshield, L. Bennett,

E. Lyon, D. D. Currier,

H. M. Pease, H. W. Aldrich,

A. Chapman, C. McFarland.

Of the first of these, who was the commander of the Ludlow com-
pany, I may be permitted to say, I knew him from his boyliood, —
from his first lessons in the district school, till he entered college, and
thence to the study of the profession of law, and until he left his law

*Sed page 8^.


books to take the sword. The last time I saw him, he stood in a cen-
tral position, with the 27th Regiment drawn up to witness the pre-
sentation of liis sword, by the hands of his pastor. Soon after, he
embarked in the Burnside expedition, and before landing, was taken
sick, and breathed his last on ship-board, in the calm waters of Pam-
lico Sound, just as his men, flushed with victory, were returning to
proclaim the brilliant successes of the battle of Roanoke. He heard
their shouts in his last moments, and in the midst of their triumphs,
his soul went up to his Saviour. How our hearts bled at hearing of
his death, and again, when he was brought home, folded in his coun-
try's flag, and then laid tenderly away in a peaceful grave ! The
assembled crowds here, the martial array, the solemn music, and the
sharp discharges of musketry at his burial, will never be forgotten.

All these men whose names have been called died young, some on
the field of battle, some in hospitals, and more still in the infamous
rebel prison at Andersonville. But they lived not in vain. Tliey ac-
tually achieved for themselves, in their short lives, a reputation to
which but few comparatively attain. Until that granite shaft crum-
bles in dust their memories will survive, and their manly virtues be


" Sleep, sleep, ye brave who sink to rest
With all your country's wishes blest."


Thus far in my address have I confined myself chiefly to the past ;
to so much of the history of the century now ending as relates to this
little rural town, and could be conveniently brought within the nar-
row limits of an hour. Not being a prophet, I will make no attempt
to forecast your future, farther than to say that, judging from the
quiet annals we have reviewed, you may well hope hereafter to make
steady progress — not, perhaps, larger in population nor in the facti-
tious wealth and consequent distinction of cities, but in the increase
of your fields and gardens, — the enriching and beautif3-ing of your
homes, and what is better still, in giving expansion and efficacy to
your religious and educational institutions.

*See Appendix.


Tlie discounting banks from whicli your dividends are mostly to
come, are tliose ■which God and nature have given you, — the gentle
slopes of these hills and the fertile intervals of the living streams that
flow around j-our farms. There you will iind gold purer than in the
mines of the mountains, and silver that is more satisfying. In these
fruitful fields of yours the work of your hands will not fail of a rich
reward. Be sure the time has gone by, or is swiftly passing, when
men of intelligence indulge a prejudice against manual labor as being
degrading. The union of hard work with self-respect and mental cul-
ture may be seen all over our land ; and he that would turn away froni
the plow and drop from his hands the axe and spade, that he may be
a gentleman of leisure, a starched and perfumed creature, should be
"written down a slothful servant and sent to school to the insignificant
ant as a teacher wise enough for him. The measuring off of calico and
crinoline, the weighing of sugar and tea, or speculating on 'change in
State and Wall streets, bring no enlargement of mind or conscious-
ness of power, — do not make a robust body, nor particularly favor a
healthful state of morals. All human growth of highest value, all up-
ward and heavenward progress, come from struggling with difficul-
ties, — come from conflict, come from labor, from hard work. The
kingdom of heaven, both here and hereafter, suffereth violence. Strive
to enter in. No weak and puny effort will lift one to the skies. Toil
is a necessity; earnest, persevering labor is indispensable, both to our
living worthily and usefully here, and happily hereafter. Alas for
the man, — the parasite, — that does nothing to increase the real wealth
of the world, or add to the general sum of happiness. Every righteous
verdict is, " Cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness."

I know that the people of this town indorse these sentiments, both
in their belief and practice ; and I only desire to give emphasis to
them and venture the prediction of thoir ultimate, universal accept-


Looking now over bn^ader fields, — to the hopeful mind there are
bright prospects and encouraging omens of better days, notwithstand-
ing the dark clouds that float at times over the vision, and carry de-
spondency to timid souls. It cannot be that society is only sliding


backward, and hurrying swiftly to the bad. I prefer to think, and
with reason as well as in the light of revelation, that this old world of
ours, ceaselessly swinging in its orbit, is making progress in the right
direction ; and that the present age, especially, into which all the past
is pouring wisdom, maj be justly characterized, for rapid growth, for
large developments, for the diffusion of just sentiments, for the prac-
tice of a broader philanthropj^ and a higher morality. True, the evi-
dence is not in credit mobiliers, in salai-y grabs, in frequent briberies
and embezzlements, and numerous first-class frauds; but it is in the
fact of their ready exposure, and the denunciation of such deeds, com-
ing from all parties, and the solemn protests of every secular as well
as religious journal in the land against them. These frequent crimi-
nal acts which make us blush for human kind, are no more numerous
now than at any preceding period, other things being equal. But
they are in the dajdight now; they can not be covered up as formerl}^;
a thousand voices that used to be silent, cry out against them, and
load down the winds with just complaints of the wrong. Every man,
however obscure, thinks for himself, reads his daily paper, reasons on
politics and religion, sees through the disguises and envelopments of
pretended rank and equipage and renown, and measures others, of
both high and low degree, by some just standard. The men of high
repute never trembled as they do now for their sins done in secret.
■They are seen of men, and held to account, even by those whom they
feign to despise.

Are there back-settings and counter-currents in the onflowing tide
of good ; or, at times, an apparent increase of immorality and evil?
It has always been so. It is God's prerogative to evolve good from
evil. The night precedes the day. The sharp drouths of last sum-
mer with a scanty harvest following, and our cold, backward spring,
were prophetic of this beautiful summer, and an unusually fruitful
autumn to come. The 17th of June on Bunker Hill was seemingly a
disastrous day to the friends of popular institutions ; and so were the
18th and 21st of July of Bull Run memory ; but they hastened on
lirighter daj-s than the sun had ever seen, and loosened chains, soon
to fall off from both minds and bodies of long-suffering races, crushed
to earth.


We are now a free people. Slaves can not breathe here. Every
man, wliitu or Mack, may carve out his own fortune, may acquire
])rnperty, may compete for office ancV honors, yea, even the highest in
the land, irrespective of his birth or blood. Has there not been prog-
ress, then, in our civil polity ? In no other period of our history
could slaver)- be abolished, but the present.

In morals and religion, also, there are the same marked and encour-
aging changes. Never has the religious element in our churches been
so active and aggressive ; never before was it clothed with sufficient
power to carr}' forward the grand temperance reformatipn with such
marvelous success until this year. Almost every State and County
and Town is reached by this reform. God grant it so much success
that soon, like slavery, it may be among the things of the past. I
am glad to learn that even your old mother town is adopting the
wise, safe practice of drinking pure, cold water ; and that she may
never want for it, asks of her fair daughter the privilege of construct-
ing an unfailing reservoir between the rocky ramparts of your Mount
Mineachogue and Facing Hills.

Taking the progress of the past as a measure, with so much already
done, and the prospects ever brightening, w^hat will not another cen-
tury do ? Who says the world does not move ? It does, and the pos-
sibilities of the future, imagination fails to reach. The jieople that
will live in 1974, on these hills and plains, and in these valleys, shall
see the wilderness become as fruitful fields, the fields pleasant gar-
dens, and quietness and assurance be theirs forever. While we do not
expect to be present at the Bi-centennial they will celebrate, we send
them happy greetings across the intervening space of the century to

A bow of promise spans the future. Better days than ever are

dawning u})on our country and the world; when all men's good .shall

be the rule of each, —

" Ami universal peace
Lie like a shaft of light across tiie land,
Anil like a lane of beams atiiwart the sea,
Through all the circle of the golden years."

Following the hour of earnest and appreciative attention, the clos-
ing pra3'cr was made 1»3' Rev. E. N. Pomeroy, pastor of the Upper


Congregational Church in West Springfield, and the benediction was
pronounced by Rev. D. R. Austin.

Scarce!)^ had the exercises closed when a terrific shower, whose
thunderings had for some moments been muttering in the clouds, broke
with torrents upon the assembly. All who could took care of them-
selves inside the tents, while some hundreds hurried into the adjoining
church, kindly opened on the occasion. The town house, horse-sheds,
barns and houses in the vicinity were overrun with refugees for a few
moments, until the fur}' of the storm was expended.

It had been arranged to station the band outside the tent and have
played a few stirring airs, to draw the people out, and then to form a
procession, march to the music of a dirge to the cemetery, visit the
graves of friends and then return to the tent in time to reseat, and re-
ceive what the army of waiters might have to offer. But,

" The best laid schemes o' mice an' men
Gang aft agley."

and so it was j^roven in this case. A dilemma was presented, but
Ludlow wit was not yet exhausted. Happy are they who, when their
own plans fail, can adapt themselves to circumstances. The pleasant
voice of the marshal was soon heard calling for the withdrawal of two
hundred from the rear of the auditorium tent to the galleries of the
town house, with which request the desired number soon complied, and
the work of distribution of food commenced and continued for nearly
an hour, the company meanwhile gathering together in knots and
visiting to their hearts' content. At last the keen appetite of the
crowd was satiated, and they were ready for the after dinner exercises.
The first toast, " The Governor of the Commonwealth," elicited the
following letter :



BosTox, 11th June, 1874.
Dear Sir : — I should be happy to accept your invitation to the
Ludlow Centennial Celebration if I were not already engaged for the
day on which it occurs. Therefore I must ask you to excuse me, and
make my regrets to your committee.

Very truly yours, Thomas Talbot.

B. F. Burr, Esq., Secretary.

The second toast, announced by Major Hubbard, toast master, ** The
land we love," received a response from Rev. D. R. Austin, who gave
the necessary eulogy to the country, and then related personal remi-
niscences of his ministry in the town.


'•'The Historian of the Day," called up Eev. Mr. Tuck, who spoke
very pleasantly, genth^ touching up as he -went along those newspa-
pers which had forestalled him in making public the gist of his ad-

" Home again," drew out Professor White, Avhose remarks we are
happy to give in the speaker's own language :

" Surrounded by those who but a little wliile ago were boys and girls
with me, and are now developed into men and women filling with
honor their places in society, I feel that I should be false to the best
promptings of our hearts, if I should neglect to refer to the faithful
teachers whose careful investments in our young life have been so pro-
ductive of good to us. To mention tlie names of Thedocia Howard,
afterward the mother of one who has been an esteemed pastor in the
town, and of George Booth, so long a pillar in the church and a citizen
whom his tow'nsmen delighted to honor, can not, I am sure, fail to
awaken in many hearts feelings of warm affection and high respect.
Many others, of earlier or later times, equally worth} - , are remembered
doubtless with like affection by those whose lives have been enriched
by their labors.

"But I need make no apology in mentioning as worthy of peculiar
honor the name of one young lady teacher of our time, who served us
for a series of years with singleness of aim, and with remarkable en-
ergy and success. My old school-mates here to-day will anticipate
me in giving the name of Mary B. Newell, now Mrs. E. B. Scott, of
Brant, Calumet County, Wis. In my recollections of our teachers, it
is but justice to say, that Miss Newell has ever occupied the central
place. Nor does she lose this position when I enlarge the group by
adding the honored and titled names of the teachers of my subsequent
years. It must have been as early as 1830, when in tlie vigor and
bloom of her young womanhood she was first introduced to us as our
teacher. In despite of a strictness at which even those days sometimes
demurred, she has always been nearest my ideal of a good teacher.
No escape was there from sharp work in her school. If she could not
instill wisdom into us by gentle means, none better than she knew how
to whip it into her pupils, and there were, I think, few among us who
did not, sooner or later, test the quality of the birch as plied by her
hand, with moderation where that would do, but unsparingly if the
case required it.

"But whipping by no means describes her usual method. With tlie
instinct of a cultivated Christian young lady, and with rare skill, she
found the nobler side of her pupils and awakened in them conscience
and a love for their tasks, and then, by an enthusiasm that made her


the very embodiment of life, she inspired as well as instructed her pu-
pils, and so in a good degree made the daily work of that old scliool-
house a fine art.

" iSTor was this all. The pupils of Mary Newell will never forget with
what persevering endeavor she taught them to think. With a patience
and tact that no dullness on our part could thwart, she made us un-
derstand the distinction between the questions, What? How? and
Wliy? and so led our little minds in the path of a true analysis, and
contributed to our development more than could any amount of mere
learning and saying lessons. Is it a wonder, then, that neither scores
of years, nor the rivers, mountains and plains of a continent that for
most of that time have intervened, have removed her from the place
slie had gained in our hearts. For one I can say that a feeling of
grateful respect for her, and a desire to do her honor, placing her in
this regard next in m}^ heart to a mother, have been among the inspi-
rations of my life.

''Miss Newell, many years ago, removed to the West, where she con-
tinued to lahor as a teacher till at past the age of sixty she was hap-
pily married. At her visit among us a few years since, with her
husband, we, the boys and girls of her early days, were proud to find
that single life had left no blight upon our dear old teacher. Loving
and loved all the way by succeeding generations of young life, neither
time nor occasion had she to try the experience of the "anxious and
aimless." Fresh and fair, and in heart as young as ever, she furnished
a practical refutation of the whim of writers of fiction, that only in
wifehood and motherliood can tlie charms of womanhood be preserved
and find their fairest development."

The next toast was, "A name revered, Ebenezer B. Wright," to
whose memory Rev. Simeon Miller gave a deserved testimonial.

"Our honored relic, the Old Meeting-house," brought to the fronb
Hon. Edwin Booth, of Philadelphia, a native of the town, who had
been desired to preface his remarks by reading a poem luiuded in
anonymously, which was as follows :


In good old times of wliich we read,
Before the thought of gain and greed
Had blunted all our finer feeling,
Had set our better judgment reeling,
There lived a very worthy dame,
And Springfield they had called her name.
In fashion then (now 'twould be rare)
Her frequent ofljpring elainied her care.


When tliey had strength and courage sliown

To manage matters of tlieir own,

Slie gave to each a plot of ground

"With woods enough to fence it round,

And bade tliem wise as serpents be,

For deadly foes tbey soon might see,

Wliose craft and cruelty combined

To make tliem dreaded bymankind.

In those old times of wliicli I write,

Were hearts like oak, and arms of might.

The treacherous foe, subdued at last,

Their watchings and their terror past,

The people quiet tilled tlie ground,

While jjlentcous peace their efforts crowned.

Thus of tlie mother, good and mild ;

My tiieme shall be her youngest child

But one, — Ludlow, (you've heard her name.

With others, told on rolls of fame,)

Who took lier time in seventy-four,

But annals show not at what hour.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 13 15 16 17 18

Online LibraryAlfred NoonLudlow: a century and a centennial → online text (page 13 of 18)