Danvers (Mass.).

Centennial celebration at Danvers, Mass., June 16, 1852 online

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While thus were occupied the men,

The women have a table spread
With cider, cold ham, fish and cheese.

Doughnuts, baked beans, and good brown bread.

All to this table now repair,

And of this cold collation eat ;
And story tellers, too, are there.

To furnish forth a mental treat.

Among them, witty parson Holt,

With old Jo Smith, in stories vies ;
The first de.als in embellished truth,

The latter, in romantic lies.

A ring, a ring, — some wrestl'rs new
Athletic skill, strength, prowess try, —

Some run and jump, some dance and sing,
And close the day right merrily.

XIII.

A husking. Heaps of gathered corn.

Long rows of lads and lasses gay,
Old men, boys, maids, gay or forlorn,

Intent on mingling work and play.

Sweet cider goes around, and flip

Makes bright eyes sparkle brighter still, — -

The joke, loud laughter, and the song
The scene with jocund noises fill.



80

A red ear, got by roguish swain,

Gives him the right to seize and kiss

Each blushing maid, unless repulsed
By smutty ear, or sturdy miss.

The old men, garrulous, relate

To youngsters, of old times a tale ; —

Husks rustle, stalks and corn cobs crack,
Mirth, love, and jollity prevail.

The labor done, the festive board

Is for the hungry buskers spread ;
The supper o'er, the elders all

Their well-know^n pathways homeward tread ;

While the young folks on Pompey call,

And gladly make a longer stay, ,

The supper-room becomes a hall

Well filled with spirits young and gay.

Horsehair to catgut Pomp applies,
And, grinning much, his iv'ry shows,

With foot and body keeping time, —
The dancing stream of pleasure flows.

No grand cotillions brought from France,
No waltz or polka then they knew ;

But good old-fashioned jigs and reels
They lustily could shuffle thro'.

XIV.

The spinning bee together calls

Th' artificers of thread ;
And a right merry time have they

As they the pedals tread.

The humming wheels, the merry chat,

Songs, riddles, and what not ?
Beguile the time, — till, flax all spun,

The supper in is brought.



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Then come the beaux and fiddler too, —

A merry scene ensues,
Which even into icy hearts

Can warmth and love infuse.

Then there is old election day,

To ev'ry child so dear,
Which crowns the charms of flow'ry May,

And gladdens half the year !

And can it be that scenes like these
Will soon no more be known ?

Years, actors, fashions, frolics, all
Gone, gone, forever gone !

Well, other fashions, follies, fun

These pastimes will replace.
And triflers never lack the means

To spend their day of grace.

XV.

On by-gone pastimes no more lines I waste,

But to some biographic sketches haste

Of sons of Danvers, known on hist'ry's page.

Who've left their mark upon the passing age.

Asking indulgence for omissions, while

I in prosaic cataloguing style.

Bring to remembrance a few honor'd names.

Who have on us this day peculiar claims.

John Endicott and his descendants brave.
Some on the land, some on the rolling wave
Of commerce borne, — in ev'ry useful art
Have battled nobly, acted well their part.

John Proctor, he who was for witchcraft hung.
On this occasion miist not go unsung ;
Is it unnatural to suppose that he
Was gifted with the gift of prophecy,
11 k



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As death approached ; and, looking down his line,
Saw his descendants live, and life resign ; —
Saw all that has transpired, or will transpire,
In Salem, Danvers, till consumed by fire ;
Or buried deep, 'neath mountains overthrown,
All that now lives, or is, shall be unknown ?
Condemned in prison, on his pallet lying.

The good man moaned, in agony of prayer,
' Upon the gibbet must I soon be dying,

' The felon's shame without his guilt to share ;
'■ O God, why is it ?' Banishing the gloom
Exceeding glory lighted up the room ;
An angel stood before him, and a voice
Cried, ' Fear not, mourn not, but be glad, rejoice,
' That thou art worthy thus to have been tried, —
' Worthy to die, as thy dear Saviour died,
' In innocence, — rise, come with me,
' Thou shalt God's goodness in the future see ;
' Deluded men thy body kill, — but shame
' Is theirs, not thine. To thee immortal fame
' Shall be accorded. Let thy conduct brave
' Check the delusion, and thy consort save.
' Yes, wife and offspring from the grave redeem,
' God a kind Father is, however stern he seem.'
With these kind words he took me to the hill,
Where soon I must my destiny fulfil ;
And there the future opened to my view,
Proving that all his words were strictly true :
Dark clouds of error slowly rolled away.
And hill and dale in truth's bright sunlight lay.
I saw restored my desolated home.
And to its cradle a new tenant come ;
Who, by his little acts of filial love.
Does from his mother's heart its wo remove.
For, when it rises with o'erwhelming sway,
That little prattler wiles her grief away ; —
And when for me her scalding tears are poured.
That little urchin smiles, and, peace restored,
Is nestl'ing in her bosom ; — ne'er before
Knew I an infant's archangelic power.



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Time flies ; — that wife lies buried by my side,

Each son has to the altar led his bride ;

They too have passed thro' scenes of joy and grief,

And from life's cares have found in death relief.

Their children's children, — a wide-spreading stream

Of human life, have come and gone ; — a gleam

Flitting in vision o'er my dazzled sight.

Now less distinct, now full of life and light.

One of majestic form among them all,*

Of stoutest frame, and stalwart mind withal,

Was formed, 'twould seem, armies to train and lead.

In youth a soldier, — yet thro' life, indeed,

A man of peace, in peaceful scenes employed ;

A farmer's life he honored, and enjoyed

To good old age ; — and when the " drop serene''^

Shut from his ardent gaze each sunlight scene.

Light still was on his mental vision poured.

Thro' other mediums, and much knowledge stored

Up in his mind ; a treasure, which may be

Perhaps his solace through eternity.

But other scenes and things before me pass,

As in what seems a true prophetic glass —

The anti-witchcraft people get the day.

Send parson Parris and his imps away.

I see and wonder, how for principle

The ever-ruling concentrated will

Of a few people, can and will maintain

Their rights assailed, and greater freedom gain,

From every effort made to put them down,

By church or state, by mitre or by crown.

With what great care they guard their precious State

'Gainst French and Indians, — perils small or great ;

'Gainst adverse tenets springing up to bind.

In chains of error, the immortal mind ; —

'Gainst Power-Prelatic, from which they had fled.

And from whose scourge they yet have much to dread ;-

'Gainst Power-Despotic, watching for its prey,

And always ready to snatch rights away ; —

* Johnson Proctor, who died November, 1851, aged 86.



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Against each other's avarice and guile,

Which can a brother cruelly despoil, —

Yet 'mid these toils and pains, condition hard,

'Gainst bear and panther, flocks and children guard ;

Labor for bread, churches and schools to plant,

Provide with foresight wise for every want ;

Yet, 'mid these cares and constant labors, find

Time t' improve the heart, to educate the mind, —

To cherish social virtue, and make home

A lodge, to which the holiest pleasures come ; —

A temple, where their God may worshipped be,

With pure devotion, without pageantry.

The followers of principle, they go

Where'er it leads, be it through joy or woe.

Their friends are its friends, and as enemies

They treat all, who that principle despise ;

Be that despiser parent, wife, or son.

They should be sacrificed, and it is done !

The friend, that yesterday was held most dear,

To-day apostate, banished from their sphere.

The crown of England, next to God adored,

Is trod in dust, dishonored and abhorr'd ;

Because that crown their principles assails.

All its time-honored prestige naught avails.

Without remorse, the glittering bauble spurned,

Their hopes are now to a republic turned.

And that republic, should it not secure

The people's rights, must meet the people's wrath.
Bits, freeborn spirits will not long endure,

Tho' golden bribes strew thick the prescrib'd path ;
Th' elected, who, to principles shall prove
False, will not long retain th' electors' love ;
Unless corrupted all the people be,
Scorn must pursue the guilt of treachery,
Nor cease pursuit, until, beneath a mound
Of infamy, the traitor's corpse be bound ;
The higher his great intellect may soar.
Deeper he sinks, despised and hated more.
So falls New England's once most honored son.
The talented high-tory Hutchinson ;



85



So Arnold falls. Other bright names I see
Paling their glory, — false to Liberty !
Brighter by contrast, Freedom's martyrs rise
And shine as stars forever in the skies.

Inur'd to war, and all its dire alarms.

They worship, work and sleep upon their arms.

Their foes to meet, in parley or in fray,

To treat or fight, at all times ready they ;

Believing God would all their efforts bless,

Their deeds are mighty, and crown'd with success ;

Wide-spreading as prophetic eye can see.

Grows, GROWS the Empire of the Rich and Free.

In all the wondrous movements I have named.

For Danvers' sons an ample share is claimed

First to resist their king in arms ; — lo, they

Frighten his troops from their good town away.

And when a second visit they propose,

In arms, they Leslie at North Bridge oppose, —

Beyond their borders meet the coming foes ;

And when, upon that memorable day,

When blood first flow'd in fratricidal fray

At Lexington, among the first to meet

And harass Britain's troops, on their retreat.

Were Danvers boys ; who sixteen miles had run

To strike for freedom : and 'twas bravely done.

But of their number, seven never more

Will fight their country's battles. In their gore

Their bodies sleep, — their deathless spirits live,

A sterner impulse to the war to give.

In a momentous cause, — first sacrifice, —

Their fame and influence with that cause shall rise

And spread, till tyranny shall die.

And all mankind enjoy true liberty.

On ev'ry field where victory was won,

The sons of Danvers stood by Washington, —

In action and in suffering bravely bore

Their part, until, the bloody struggle o'er,

They home returned, to win, by arts of peace,

Respect and honor, dignity and ease.



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Danvers, perhaps, will long more noted be

For thrift, strong arms, stout hearts, and industry-,

Than for distinguished geniuses, who there

First see the light, — first breathe the vital air ;

Or for distinguished literary men,

Who move the world by power of tongue or pen.

Yet not entirely destitute of these.

For artists, there the eye prophetic sees.

Of whom their native town may proudly boast,

Smith, Nichols, Poole. Of poets too a host,

Whose gems not less effulgent are, I ween.

Because they shine by the great world unseen.

Nor shall the least of these miss his reward

Because Fame's book may not his name record ;

The orgasm and th' afflatus are his own.

Although the pleasure be enjoyed alone !



One hundred sixty years pass quickly by.
And a grand pageant meets the gladdened eye.
Danvers a town a century complete,
Her sons and daughters all have met to greet
Their mother on her birth-day, hear her story.
Count up her jewels and exalt her glory.
Each form of costume of that hundred years
Again upon some living bust appears ;
And living beauties walk the streets arrayed
In bridal robes for great-great-grandmas made.

The ancient and the modern, side by side.
Together walk, or in procession ride.
The Arts and Artizans, in grand array,

A cent'ry's changes and improvements show.
The Fire department makes a great display.

And sixteen Public Schools a grand tableaux.
There fifteen hundred " luds of promise''' greet
Admiring thousands ranged along tbe street.
Five bands of martial music fill the air
With melodies sweet, racy, rich and rare.
Flags, pennons, wreaths of evergreen and flowers,
O'erarch the streets and decorate car-bowers,



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'Neath which some scene of other days is shown, —
Some ancient fete to modern eyes made known ;
Some olden workshop with its chjmsy tools.

Thus in strong contrast placed the old and new, —
Modern and ancient teachers with their schools ;

Ancient and modern Avitchcraft-workers too.

Now to the church the multitude repair,

There listen to oration, hymns and prayer.

Proud may I be, for I distinctly hear

The voice of my descendant, loud and clear,

Defending me, and dealing stunning blows

On Cotton Mather, in heroic prose !

Now to the children's tent, a lovely show.

The gaily-costumed, happy children go ;

There drink iced water, eat fruit, pie or cake,

Listen to cheering homilies, — partake

Of all the joys of this great jubilee.

By them the longest to remembered be.

Next to a mammoth tent, — the festive board,

With an abundance of good dishes stored,

Moves the procession, and, all seated there,

Discuss the viands, and delighted share

The menial treat, which they, by speech and song,

And music, to the sunset-hour prolong.

No wine is used or needed, — water, now,

Is all the wine that best carousals know,

And festive scenes no longer end in rows.

Or friends at parting bid farewell with blows.

And for this great reform much praise is due

To sons of Danvers, who, to duty true,

Have bravely battled in the Temp'rance cause,

By precept and th' enforcement of good laws.



XVI.

John Putnam and his sons before us stand,—
A host to people and defend the land.
Methinks I see the reverend patriarch now,
Prophetic fire is burning on his brow.



88



He sees, as other seers see,

Dimly, his great posterity.

Out from his loins agoing forth

To east, to west, to south, to north.

In strength and beauty lands to till ; —

To exercise mechanic skill ; —

Shine in the senate, — bravely wield

Their weapons on the battle field ; — -

Benches of justice fill with fame,

In pulpits win a rev'rend name ;

In med'cine and its kindred arts

To act right skilfully their parts, —

In commerce, on the mighty deep, —

Ck)mmand her ships, her treasures keep.

In short, wherever enterprise

Seeks wealth or wisdom, Putnams rise ;

Among competitors contend

For honors, wealth, or man's chief end.

Here now flowers, leaves, and fruit we see

Abundant on the Putnam tree ;

And so prehensile are its branches grown,

They make the fruit of other trees their own.

Yes, circulating now through Putnam veins,

Is all the blood of Holten that remains.

And yet my muse would not presume to say.

To other stocks it does no tribute pay.

Indeed, it has been known to soften Flint,

To harden into Stone, and by the dint

Of vital chemistry to give Goodale

A spicy flavor, and on Towns entail

A host to be supported. Turn to Page,

And write its history on the passing age ;

Or change to Cole, to Black, to White,

To Brown, to Green, or glad the house of Knight.

And to it humbler names may doubtless trace

Some great improvement in their lineal race.

Rich Putnam blood is in the market still,

Look round, young friends, and purchase it who will !

Next to the Putnam, lo, the Dsborn tree

Lifts high its branches, spreads its foliage free.



89



Deep-rooted in the soil of Danvers, — long,

Long may it grow, more graceful, branching, strong.

In every public deed, or town affair,

Osborns have figured in for a full share.

To acts of which we now most proudly feel,

They gave their labor, set their hands' seal, —

For the good things around us clustering now.

Much we to them and others like them owe.

But 'tis, perhaps, impossible to say,

Of many Osborns, which one, on this day,

Deserves our highest eulogy ; for none

Is high above his fellows seen alone.

XVII.

Of Danvers-born, no one in lucky hour,
Ere reached so high a pinnacle of power,
As Doctor Holten. None so long and well
His country served. Of none our annals tell
So rich a story ; none has carved his name
So high upon the monument of Fame.
'Twas not so much to a superior mind.
As 'twas to manners affable and kind, —
A heart from which the milk of kindness gushed,
A love, which all the evil passions hushed, —
A reverence for religion, and the laws
Of liberty, fraternity, — because
He made all others in his presence feel
Themselves respected and respectable ; —
Because he seemed to all their frailties blind,
To love and rev'rence all of human kind, —
That we ascribe his honors. Such a life
Of quiet glory in an age of strife, —
The peaceable supporter of a host,
Whose daring battles are our country's boast,
Is worth our study. Eloquence profound,
Persuasive, silent, in which thoughts abound,
Although unspoken, — eloquence of looks
Was his. Of wisdom he lived many books,
But none he wrote ; nor has he left behind
A printed picture of his active mind.
12 /



90



He no descendants left his name to bear.

Where are our Holtens ? Echo answers, where ?

Here let us pause, and one short moment dwell
Upon the honored name of John Kettell ;
A father of the town, — a father too

Of the shoe manufacture, — music's son, —
The village chorister, — to nature true

He touched a chord in others' hearts, that won
Applause and honor. He left sons, but they
Shone bright a little while, then passed away.
And of their children only one remains.
To whom the sire's cognomen still pertains.
Cases like these prove the old saying true,
" Shadows we are and shadows we pursue."
The like of us, perhaps, may soon be said,
All our most cherished hopes and longings dead !

Of Captain Page much might be said in praise.
The patriot-valor of his early days, —
His industry and enterprise, — a life
With all domestic, social virtues rife ;
So full of deeds by every heart approved.
Can be remembered only to be loved.

Of Caleb Oakes, it may be truly said,
No better man lies with our honored dead.
A widow's son, — sole architect was he

Of his own fortune, character and fame.
As the reward of honest industry.

To him, unsought, wealth and its influence came :
And these were valued only for the power

They gave, to aid some useful enterprise, —
To save from want and sin the suff'ring poor.

Or say, to downcast and despairing souls, ' Arise,
'■ Battle again for all the goods of life,
' Up boldly ! be a hero in the strife.'
He of religion no profession made,
But liv'd the thing, and gave material aid
Its ministrations to extend, where'er
They needed were to edify and cheer ;



91

Without regard to Shibboleths of sect,
Treating all modes of faith with due respect.

His Son, a genius rare, eccentric, — blest

Or cursed with nerves, which never let him rest ;

But urged him onward with resistless force,

In a high moral, scientific course.

Lover of Nature, in her every phase,

She veiled no beauties from his searching gaze.

Air, ocean, earth, with teeming wonders fraught,

Rich treasures to his mind unceasing brought.

Alike the winter stern, or blushing spring, —

The summer's heat, or autumn's offering ;

Long as New England's Flora clothes her fields,

Or the White Mountains choicest blossoms yields ;

Or the Idaean vine its berries bear,*

Or robes of gold our hills in July wear ;

Long as, on ocean's strand, the pearly shells

Reveal the depths, where unseen beauty dwells ; —

So long shall William Oakes' remembered name

Honor his birthplace by his world-wide fame.

The Flints, surcharged with manhood's 'lectric fire.
Have done good service to the state and town, —
Struck the hot spark, and bid the flame aspire.

Which burnt the cords, which bound us to the crown
Of England, — gave us courage to be free.
To struggle for and win our Liberty,
For this, a Flint pour'd out his precious blood.
Which went to swell Stillwater's crimson'd flood.
Nor will we fail another Flint to name.
Who, as shipmaster, won both wealth and fame ;

* An allusion to his discovery of the Vaccinium Vitis Idsea in Danvers, a
rare plant in Massachusetts.

A letter from the White Mountains, the present season, notices Wm. Oakee
as follows : — " One of the most sincjular and mysterious spectacles is Grarw^
Gulf, or, as it is now called, Oakes' Gulf. It is named for the late William
Oakes, the Botanist. Wherever a rare flower blossoms in the whole range of
this mountainous country, from Alton Bay to Cherry Pond and Israel's River,
the name of Wm. Oakes is familiarly spoken. His old guide showed xae
where he used to collect his mosses and lichens, and all his Alpine specimens
of plants, in preparing a Flora of Alpine species — specimens so intrinsically
valuable to his own exhaustless thirst for botanical discoveries, which were na
where else to be found in any place nearer tlian Greenland."



92



Who, being captur'd by French picaroon,
Retook his ship, and brought her home alone ; —
In later life bade farewell to the seas,
And spent his days in dignity and ease,
With dearest objects, and affections warm.
Within the bounds of his lov'd, well-till'd farm.
Or as a legislator, neighbor, friend.
His life devoted to life's noblest end, —
An end, which peace and consolation brings

To dying men, and peacefully he died, —
Leaving his blood to run in veins of Kings,

Extinct and lost to every name beside.

Th3 name of Felton, too, by many here,
In reminiscence must be held most dear.
One, our Town Clerk for twenty-eight full years,

A Selectman as long, — and for fifteen,
A Representative, — among compeers

Highly respected, must have been, I ween,
Worthy a place in our centennial song,

Worthy a place in hearts, that well him knew.
For friends ne'er met him but he kept them long.

For his was humor, wit, and wisdom too.
His manners gentle, his affections strong,

In Nature's quiet gifts surpassed by few.

XVIII.

To paint the elder or the younger Shove,

As seen in life among us, is above

My skill artistic ; much, yes, much I fear

My charcoal sketch preposterous appear.

The elder sits, as oft he sat of yore,

Upon the step or threshold of his door,

Watching each stranger passing through the street ;

Whom he with nod or fitting phrase would greet :

" How art thou, friend ? Methinks I've seen thy face

Somewhere before, but can't recall the place —

Where from ?" " From Leicester." " Leicester ? let me see.

I know some people there, — one Magery."



93

" Yes, sir, I know him well." " How does he speed

In business now ?" " I do not know, indeed ; —

Some say he's getting rich, and others say,

They guess he'll fail yet, some unlucky day."

" Well, if he fails, I think my debt secure ;

If not, I know well how to make it sure.

What brings thee hither ? some old friends to see ?

Or other business ? May be, I might be

Of service to thee." " Paper, sir, I sell."

"I'd like to see thy paper, friend, right well."

" Here, look at this, — 'tis twenty cents a quire.

A discount by the ream, — the price was higher ;

'Tis foolscap, the best quality, trimm'd neat."

" Yes, yes — but I prefer a wider sheet,

So Ijiat in one straight line write this I may,

For received value, promise I to pay

Squires Shove — yet, I will try to make it do,

If thee'll take leather for a ream or two."

" I want no leather." " Well, then, thee may go ; —

Thee lives in Leicester — Leicester, let me see,

What party rules there ?" " Pure democracy."

" Calls thee that stinking party, pure ? Farewell —

The next eleation we will whip thee well."

Here comes a man whose note has long been due,

Who gladly would have shunn'd this interview,

But dared not do it. " Well, friend, come to pay

That little note V " I cannot, sir, to-day."

" 7'm sorry for thee. What the plague dost thou

Do with thy money 1 Can thee tell me how

Thee spends it ?" " 'Tis but little money that I get,

I've made some losses, been unfortunate ;

Money comes slow to single-handed labor :

Oh, how I wish ten thousand dollars mine."

" I wish they were, Pd like to he thy neighbor.^'

A great debater he in politics ; —

Could meet and foil an adversary's tricks

By tactics most peculiarly his own.

He couch'd severest satire in a tone

So mild, that words of harshest import were

But the melodious whisperings of air.



94

Once, overmatched by him in argument,

A kid-glove politician, to affront

Him, said, " You are a tanner, I belie.ve," —

" Y-e-s — but can curry, too, as you perceived


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Online LibraryDanvers (Mass.)Centennial celebration at Danvers, Mass., June 16, 1852 → online text (page 7 of 22)