Alfred Noon.

Ludlow: a century and a centennial online

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Her dowry gained was rather damp.

Consisting of a cedar swamp;

Such as it was she took with grace.

And went to work to gain a place

For self in records then kept well ;

IJow well she did those rolls must tell.

Though rather green in gentler art,

Yet claimed to have a clever start

In farmer's skill and district schools.

In which well taught are simpler rules;

(But higher rank from out of town.

For some at Westfield seek renown.

And some at Wilbraham gather lore,

To lay, 'chance, at a farmer's door.)

She's managed well from year to year

To fill the larder, held so dear;

Always was bread on pantry shelves.

And needing ones might help themselves.

Mayhap the pork would all give out.

But then she'd catch the speckled trout;

Turkeys and pigeons from the wood.

Served up in sh»pe, were very good ;

Ofttimes a deer in forest found,

Was easy game with gun and hound.

She struggled on bravely, through trial and ill.

And proved the old saw of a way and a will ;

She fixed up her kitchen so tidy and clean.

Nor thought she nor cared she for better, I ween ;

For weightier matters had filled up her head,

And her sons into many a confab were led.


On shearing tlie slicep and carding tlie wool,
On weaving the cloth already to pull ;
" Yonng Zeke must have pants and Dan a new coat,
And father's old waistcoat is nearly worn out.
Poor Jerry must wait yet a year, perhaps two,
Though his best Sunday breeches are just about through ;"
So with making and planning each hour would well fill,
Each helping his brother with hearty good-will.
But the years sped away, and the factories soon
Into garrets consigned wheel and clumsy hand-loom.
Thus relieved, the good housewife could turn her attention
To parlors and carpels of modern invention.
Each article extra she joined to her wares
Increased mucii her labors, her trials, her cares ;
She sought all in vain to deliver her house
From the speck of a fly or the tooth of a mouse ;
Till she sighed to return to those primitive times
When luxurious indulgences counted as crimes.
But changes will come and she must keep pace.
Or own up as beat in fashion's wild chase.
The change most dear to farmer's heart
Is that to chaise from clumsy cart.
He drives to town from his plantation.
And thinks he makes a great sensation.
The horse the same, though seeming faster, —
Do people think he is an Astor ?
His produce waits, but now's no time ;
Is not his turnout quite sublime?
"With nothing gained, and something spent.
His chaise shown off, he rests content.
We have the nicest water, we have the purest air,
Our homes may not be splendid, but they are very fair.
If our water were not wholesome,

Or our springs were less abundant,
Madam S. would not be tempted

To infringe the tenth conmiandmcnt.
But she seems to be forgetful

That her name was once derived
From tlie bounteous springs of water

Found when Pynchon first arrived.
So she comes to Ltidlow, panting.

Seizes now her flowing streams.
While the townsmen stand astounded

Like a man in troubled dreams.
Till the plan is all completed.

And the work is well begun ;
But we now are ever hearing

" What by Ludlow can be done ? "
Shall we tax the thing in toto,

Shall we tax the thing in part ?


There's a way to do it riglitly,

Hut at wliat point sliall we start?
Springfield's citizens are saying

That we find ourselves too late ;
That we should have given our veto

At the very earliest date.
Now the city-full is chuckling

Over fortune's quiet smiles,
Tliinking slie shall soon have water

Brouglit through pipes so many miles.
Seems to me she soon will laugh from

T'other corner of her mouth,
When the streamlets' onward moving

Shall be stopped in time of drougiit ;
For those brooks, so pure and limpid,

Are not always found to flow.
Some completely dry in summer.

Some are often very low ;
So, ye city damsels, hasten,

Washing up your costly laces ;
Whence will come the needed torrents

For tlie cleansing of your faces ?
We may all be croaking plowmen,

Hardly worth a thought or care.
But, denizens of Springfield,

Hear us, when we cry " Beware ! "

Mr. Booth tlien spoke on the tlieme assigned, alluding to the pecu-
liarities of the church service when he was a boy, relating several inci-
dents, much to the delight of the audience, and pleading for the pres-
ervation of the time-honored structure.

"Our Aged Mother, the City of ^Springfield," was answered by
Mayor J. M. Stebbins of that place, who resented the epithet applied,
claiming that the City was never so young or thriving as to-day,
and bearing the best of wishes to the town, complimenting the citi-
zens upon the sturdy worth of the denizens of Ludlow.

A sentiment from a citizen, " Springfield in 1774, Ludlow in 1874 :
'She that vvatereth shall be watered also herself,'" pleasantly intro-
duced the next toast —

"'Our INIother, boasting of riches and independence, must yet ask a
drink of water from her child." This sentiment had been assigned to
Hon. A. D. liriggs, of the Springfield Board of Water Commissioners,
from whom the following letter was now read : —

SriMXdFiELD, June 15, 1874.
J. P. Hubbard, Esq., Chairman: —

^fjl Daw Sir : — Your favor inviting me to respond to a " sentiment "
at your Centennial Celebration on the seventeenth is at hand, for which

MR. c. o. chapin's eesponse. 151

I thank you, and regret that an engagement at Boston on that day
obliges me to decline, but have done a better thing by j'^ou in securing
as my substitute, Charles 0. Chapin, Esq., the Chairman of our Board
of Water Commissioners, who promises to be present and respond to
the sentiment referred to in your letter.

It was said by one of the greatest men who ever lived that " he was
born one hundred years old, and always grew younger and younger,
until after four-score years he died an impetuous boy ! " For this occa-
sion I propose as a sentiment : " Ludlow — May she upon this, the one
hundredth anniversary of her existence as a town, experience a new
birth ; and not only during four-score years but forever, continue to
grow younger and younger, ever recollecting that the true greatness of
a town consists, not in its breadth of territory, or the number or
wealth of its people, but in its successful efforts to elevate and ennoble

Mr. Chapin being introduced, said, very neatly : —

The graceful allusion to the intimate relationship of Springfield and
Ludlow, that of parent and child, the tenderest of all ties, brings to
mind the interesting and touching story of that dutiful and, of course,
beautiful daughter, who, when her venerable father was in danger of
famishing, bared her bosom to his aged lips and proffered him that
sustenance without which he would have perished. There can be but
one fault in this comparison, one variation from this parallelism, and
that would arise from my inability to answer some carping critic or,
possibly, some practical councilman from ray own city, Avho may rise
in his seat and confound me with the question, " How much did the
old gentleman pay for this privilege ? " History gives us no light on
this point. But for the benefit of the alderman and the common
councilman of the future, I would state that every item in the history
of this transaction is recorded, and every dollar of expenditure is
properly vouched for. And here let me say that I fear very many of
the good people of Ludlow regard themselves as sinned against
by the citizens of Springiield in general, by the Water Commission-
ers, all and singular, who are sinners above all their fellows, and
by the chairman of the board, wdio must be the very chief of sin-
ners. What audacity, what temerity mi;st we possess to stand up
before this orthodox community with such a characterization, such
a stigma upon us ! Why, sir, I should expect to see trooping in upon
us from yonder quiet inclosure the outraged spirits of the " forefathers of
the hamlet" to scourge us from this gathering of their children. We
are no such men ; we represent no such people. There is a charitable


old adage which maintains that the devil is not so black as he has
been painted. I trust we shall not prove so bad as you may have
feared. I know there have been some misunderstandings, some differ-
ences of opinion, but time and a better acquaintance will soften all
prejudice, make clear all misunderstandings, and help us to dwell to-
gether in peace and unity, and in the exercises of neighborly offices
and good fellowship. To that end I will give as a sentiment : " Ludlow
and Springfield — Bound and cemented together as tbey soon will be,
may there be no break in tlie bonds, and may the record of all differ-
ences be writ only in water."

The final toast — "The Men who Drugged us" — was answered by
Dr. William B. Miller of Springfield, a native of the town, who spoke
concerning its physicians, and closed with a suggestion that Spring-
field should give Ludlow an invitation to return into the family again,
to which a stentorian voice responded, "Pay your debts first," which
the Doctor acknowledged as apropos.

A number of letters of invitation to the centennial exercises were


I am very much obliged to the Committee of the Town of Ludlow for
the kind invitation to participate in their approaching Centennial Cele-
bration. I regret that official engagements will prevent my taking
part in those interesting exercises. A hundred years in the life of
the town can not but be full of interest and instruction, and I should,
had it been possible, have found great pleasure in not only taking i^art
in your Centennial but visiting your people.



I received your invitation to be present at the interesting celebration
of your Town's Centennial, and should be greatly pleased to participate
with you in the ceremonies of the occasion. But my close attention
is required at the present term of court, and I shall be compelled to
forego the pleasure.


The state of my health will prevent my complying witli your kind
invitation to mingle witli the citizens of your town in their approach-


ing Centennial Celebration. A residence in the county now wanting
but a few da3's of half a century has afforded me opportunities of
making the acquaintance of many of the citizens of Ludlow, and the
recollections connected therewith are mainly pleasant.


I most sincerel}' regret your kind invitation to be present at your
Centennial Celebration did not reach me till the 16th, as I should have
been most luippy to have joined with you and your fellow-townsmen
on the occasion.


Accej^t my thanks for your invitation in behalf of your Town Com-
mittee to be present at your Centennial Celebration on the seventeenth
instant. I regret to say it will be next to impossible for me to attend.
As 3^our representative in Boston, I find that the Legislature will de-
mand my attendance there later than the day named. With best
wishes for a happy and successful union of old friends and renewal of
old associations, I am yours, &c.


Your invitation to be present on the occasion of the Centennial Cel-
ebration, on the 17th, has been duly received. 1 appreciate fully the
cordial and kindly feeling which prompts this token of respect to one
who was on familiar terms with the men of Ludlow, sixty years ago,
many of whom are now dead and gone. I should be pleased to make
one of your number at this coming celebration, but my weight of years
must be my excuse for declining this and similar festivities which
would otherwise be most agreeable.

Letters of regret were also received from Judge Morris, and from W.
M. Pomeroy, of the Springfield Union. Jerry Miller, of Beloit, Wis., a
former citizen, wrote a long letter containing interesting reminiscences
of the town and its people. Letters were also received by the com-
mittee from former ministers in the town. Rev. Isaac Jennison, over
eighty years of age, the first regular pastor of the Methodist Society,
and architect and builder of its original edifice as well, wrote thus: —

I feel disposed to inform the dear friends of Ludlow that I have not
forgotten those pleasant days and years I spent while at Wilbraham


and Ludlow, 1825 and 1826 were employed in superintending the
building of the old Academy at AVilhrahani and the little Church at
Ludlow. "What good times we had in the revival at Ijudlow when the
Fullers, Millers, Aldens and many others were converted. Dr. AVilbur
risk and myself came over to aid in that good work. Most of them
have gone to their reward in heaven. It would afford me much real
enjoyment to meet any and all who remain — to he with you on
Wednesday of next week, and review the past and exhort you all to
cleave to the Lord.

Revs. Philo Hawks, pastor of the IM. E. Church in 1836, J. W.
Dadmun, in 1842, George Prentice, in 1859, and Thomas Marcy, pre-
siding elder, 1854—7, also sent expressions of regret.

The reading of these letters closed the formal exercises of the day,
and the congregation was dismissed. But knots of older and newer
acquaintances were gathered about the premises until nearly or quite
time for the curfew bells.

At an early evening hour the seats of the spacious Congregationalist
Church were all well filled for the concert. A stage had been built
across the west end of the room, on which the singers were seated.
At about the appointed time Wilbur F. Miller, conductor, gave the
signal and the exercises commenced with the anthem. Th-e pro-
gramme was followed throughout the evening, with added pieces.
Everything went off in accord with the spirit of the day and to uni-
versal satisfaction. Many a dollar concert ticket has been sold to
parties who have received for it an entertainment much inferior to
this, the gift of the singers to the people of the town. The thanks of
the people were more than due to all who participated, and not less
to jNIessrs. J. Gilbert Wilson, pianist, and G. H. Southland, cornetist,
of Springfield, and Mrs. Alvin Barton, of Knoxville, Tenn., than to
the earnest and gifted singers of our own town.

A not unpleasant episode enlivened the recess between parts. A
hint had been given Hon. H. L. Dawes, a few days before, that the
standing application for a post-office at Ludlow Center might find au
opportunity for a favorable reply at this time. Mr. Dawes acted at
once, and, having secured from the department the desired favor, for-
warded directly the requisite papers, which reached Ludlow Center on
the afternoon of the Centennial da}'. An announcement of the fact in
the evening was the episode to which reference is made. And every
one wondered why the institution had not before been established.



There were many Ludlow people, who, from their aching limbs
and wearied frames, the nest morning seemed to realize that the town
was upon its second century. Yet bright and early came the helpers
to aid in clearing away the outward vestiges of the unique celebration.
So faithfully did the parties interested labor, that in two days a stran-
ger would have failed to discover signs of the gathering anywhere
about the green. The committee met once or twice to look over ac-
counts and pass resolutions of thanks, and then all was seemingly as

And yet not entirely so. The old town seemed to have dreamed a
dream, and awoke to new life. The testimonials and encomiums
coming from all sources seemed at the same time to encourage and in-
cite the citizens to activity, and awaken the feeling of corporate pride.
The comments of the press, subjoined, awakened much interest in the
town and out of it : —



Ludlow's history is that of a staunch puritanic town, while her tra-
ditions, though they seldom reach out into the great world beyond her
own borders, are yet replete with the deeds of good men and true, and
rich beyond most towns hereabouts in the striking individualities
which they preserve. The sentiment and flavor of the anniversary,
this week, were rich, indeed. Few towns there are in the State
that have kept so purely and quaintly the New England spirit of
twenty-five and even fifty years ago, and none in this immediate region,
certainly, have so completely ignored and kept at bay the restive rail-
road spirit of these latter days.

Alternating sunshine and rain were vouchsafed to Ludlow for her
Centennial day, but she had resolved to celebrate the occasion with


unction, and so she did, in spite of wind and beating rain. Tlie event
a3 it culminated was a notable one in various ways.


In spite of a drizzling rain, tins morning, sufficient to dampen the
enthusia.<-m of any less stnrd5' community, this has been a j>roud day
for old Ludlow. It is quite safe to say that no such ingathering of
her sons and daughters had been seen since the town began its cor-
porate existence, one hundred years ago. Like children assembling
under the old family roof-tree for the annual Thanksgiving festival,
they have assembled to celebrate this Centennial day of thanksgiving
and praise. The figure is not inapt, for in a rural town like this,
everybody knows everybody else, and the community, with few dis-
tractions of any sort, becomes homogeneous to an extent impossible
in a city, or even in a bustling village, until its population are, in a
notable degree, as one family. ,

The dinner was one of many manifestations of the splendid, open-
hearted hospitality which characterized the whole proceedings, and
is indeed characteristic of the people of the whole town. Although
the appetites of the multitude had a very keen edge from long wait-
ing, the supplies were so abundant that if anybody went away hungry
it was his own fault. It was an absolutely democratic gathering.
Every man, woiflan and child in the town was freely invited, and was
for the day a guest equally with those from abroad.

The whole celebration, from beginning to end, was a success. All
who had a share in the large amount of work necessarily involved in
such an undertaking, are entitled to credit and commendation. The
celebration was, as the Declaration of Independence asserted the gov-
ernment ought to be, "hij the people and /or the people."


Next Wednesday the people of Ludlow -will hold their Centennial
Anniversary, and it will be a red-letter day for that town. They will
have no heroic deeds to recount, no remarkable deeds to glorj' over, for
the town was always a quiet, unostentatious little republic, its inhab-
itants rugged as its hills and as firm in integrity and principle as the
foundation upon which they stand. It has never been celebrated for
anything besides the longevity of its citizens, and one or two Indian
legends. If it has not excelled in brilliant geniuses or celebrated per-
sons, it has neither given birth to any great rascals or criminals.
Ludlow is a quiet, cosy, hospitable little town — a good place to com-
mence life in, to emigrate from, and to return to, at least once in a
hundred years. ******


Lowering skies and drenching showers were not in the programme
prepared by the committee of arrangements, but they were provided
for by two large tents, pitched in the grove just across the road from
the Congregational Church, where more than two thousand persons
gathered to join the interesting ceremonies of the occasion, Wednes-
day. There was a general turn-out among the people of the town,
and many came from abroad.


The One Hundredth Anniversar}^ of the settlement of Ludlow wa3
celebrated on Wednesday of this week. The attendance was very
large ; probably not less than two thousand persons were crowded in
and about the mammoth tent which was provided for the meeting.
The 17th of June was not claimed as the exact anniversary day of the
town's settlement, but the month was chosen for a celebration because
it was the most favorable season of the year to call together the sons
and daughters of the town. The arrangements for this celebration
were very complete ; the entire company were sumptuously fed by the
ladies of the town. It is rare to find a more enterprising community
of farmers than those of Ludlow, and thoy have reason to feel proud
of their ancestry, the record of the town, and the manner in which
the Centennial was observed.


(From a letter written by Austin Chapman, of Ellington, Ct.)

On this notable day the old sanctuary w^as loaded down with crock-
ery and eatables of every description, smiling with plenty for the
hungry and thirst}^, as a covert from the storms which caused many to
seek protection under its sheltering roof, through a long and dripping
shower. Tlie tubs and pails were well filled with the pure water from
the !Mineaclioag mountain, with the addition of a little ice. The
whole thing passed off silently and agreeably, with a general satisfac-
tion to all.

The following financial exhibit shows just how much was taken
from the town's treasury to defray Centennial expenses: —


Expenses Committee on Arrangements, ^1G3 52

Expenses Committee on Collation, 141 42

Expenses Committee on Music, ' 97 50

Amount carried forward, $402 44


Amount brought forward, $402 44

Expenses Committee ou Printing, 37 00

Expenses Committee on Programme, 70 00

Total, $509 44

To tlie credit of all concerned be it said, that no individual charged
a cent for services rendered in making all these arrangements.

So universal was the approbation given to the celebration that but
trifling opposition was made in the fall meeting, November 3d, to the
action thus recorded, which action was taken upon a motion made by
C. L. Buell, one of the staunchest friends of the enterprise, one, more-
over, who would gladly have served on the general committee had
health allowed :

"Voted that the town cause to be printed five hundred copies of the
history of its One Hundredth Anniversary and other historical facts,
and that each family living in the town at the time receive a copy

"Voted that the Centennial Committee be the committee to carry
out the doings of this meeting.

"Voted to appropriate three hundred dollars to defray expenses of
the same."


N. B. — So far as practicable, the notes in the Appendix have been
arranged in chronological order.

A. (page 3.)

There have been received two accounts of the Indian Leap affair;
one from Hon. G. M. Fisk of Palmer, the other from Hon. Edwin
Booth of Philadelphia, both connoisseurs in local traditions. We give
the points of divergence from the narration of the text. Mr. Fisk
says: "The story purported to have come from a Spirit. The little
island near the Leap was said to be the place where the Indians sat
around their council fires and judged their captives. There used,
to be a cave in the rocks where, it was said, the chief had his head-
quarters, and I believe to this day there is a sort of hole in the ledge
where the Indians pounded their corn.

" The story was that a partj^ of Indians had assembled on the island
to judge a captive, when they were surprised by the whites, and fled
to the shore, betaking themselves to the little peninsula forming the
Indian Leap. Here they were trapped, as there was no alternative
but surrender or plunge down the precipice. They hesitated a moment,
when the old chief took his little son in his arms, gave the war-whoop
and plunged down the precipice. The rest followed, and all were
killed except a squaw, who caught on an overhanging limb, but a shot
from the pursuing party put an end to her."

The account bj' Mr. Booth will probably be more pleasing to 3'oung
lady readers, from the different stand-point it assumes. We regret
the necessity upon us to cut out any of the interesting narration :

"On this narrow tract of land tradition says there lived in all their
native simplicity a small tribe of the red men. They had for a long
succession of years there erected their rude wigwams, their wives and

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Online LibraryAlfred NoonLudlow: a century and a centennial → online text (page 14 of 18)