Frank W. (Frank West) Rollins.

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Katharine F. Richmond

Henry C. Fall


















Old Home Week in New Hampshire will be cele-
brated August nth to August i8th, 1900, and it gives
me unqualified pleasure to invite all absent sons and
daughters of the State and all who have some time
lived within its borders, to return during that week
and assist us in kindling the fires of State patriotism.
The busy cities, the thriving villages, the little towns
and hamlets among our smiling hills, will receive our
visitors with genuine New Hampshire hospitality.
The custom of observing Old Home Week was inau-
gurated last year with complete success. Many thou-
sand of New Hampshire's absent children returned,
and it is expected that the number will be greatly
increased this year.

That Old Home Week appealed to the highest senti-
ments and aroused feelings long dormant was shown
by hundreds of poems, sonnets, songs, and marches
dedicated to our State, by historical addresses and
articles of interest and value, and by orations of great
ability. The endowment of libraries, the erection of
public buildings, the awakened interest in village
improvement and better highways, the repurchasing of
the old homesteads and farms, afford proof that the
festival also appealed to the practical side of men's

Absent sons and daughters of the Granite State, no


matter what success has crowned your efforts in your
adopted home, remember that the " precious dust of
your kindred is here." No matter how dark the
clouds about you, remember that " the staid Doric
meeting-house prays for you yet."

" Which one of her own can a mother forget ?
My heart is not granite : I long for you yet.
From my watch-towers of hills I have viewed you afar,
Wherever the toils of humanity are ;
My heart is not granite : I long you to see ;
O children, my children, come home once to me ! "

Given at the Council Chamber in Concord, this fifteenth
day of June, in the year of our Lord one thousand
nine hundred, and of the Independence of the
United States of America the one hundred and




AUGUST ll, 1900.



To come here on your Old Home Day
is to me almost like coming home, for
the Rollins family played a prominent
part in settling and building up this sec-
tion. The name is well known all through
southeastern New Hampshire and up
around Lake Winnipesaukee. The ances-
tral home of the Rollins family still stands
at Newirigton on the banks of the pictur-
esque Piscataqua, its goodly acres running
down to the sedgy shore. James Rollins
was a good man, a good farmer, a good
citizen, and his descendants have most of
them done him honor. From Newington,
from this parent stem, the family spread
out over southeastern New Hampshire, and
many came to this vicinity, my own imme-
diate ancestors among the number. I


will not say to you, their neighbors and
friends, that they were good citizens. It
is unnecessary.

For the first one hundred years of New
Hampshire's history, her settled borders
did not extend much beyond Exeter and
Dover. All the life and business of the
state was down here in this little snug cor-
ner by the sea, cut up by quick-flowing
tidal rivers, and near the Massachusetts
line. People did not care to venture far
into the troubled wilderness in those days,
and even in Dover, Exeter, and Ports-
mouth rifle shots and scalpings were com-
mon. The history of those times is the
record of continual warfare, of midnight
attack, of brave defense, of heroic sacri-
fice, and in all this your ancestors and mine
played their part valiantly. Here was the
home of the brave Waldron, of the VVent-
worths, the Roberts, the Yeatons, the Pikes,
the Rickers, the Rollins, the Stackpoles,
the Clements, the Guppys, and many


I love to picture in my mind's eye the
country about here as it was in those days.
Often, when I was a boy, I used to float
down the Cocheco or Piscataqua and dream
of the old Indian days. I used to imagine
myself one of the early settlers. I saw
around me, as my boat quietly swung
along on the tide, the great, dark forest trees
bending to the water's edge. I peered
keenly to right and left, trying to pierce
the depths for my lurking enemy. I
glanced hurriedly up each little creek and
bay for the redskin's canoe. I listened for
the breaking of a twig, the rasp of a pad-
dle, the warning cry of a bird. I watched
the tree-tops for a signal-smoke. When,
the forests safely passed, my boat came
out into the clear, open reaches of the
stream, I imagined myself pursued by hos-
tile war canoes, and heard the blood-curd-
ling yells of my pursuers, who were, of
course, always left far behind by my tre-
mendous strength and wonderful skill with
the paddle. Generally, I found time


to drop my paddle for a moment while my
trusty rifle laid low an Indian here and
there. Sometimes a party of settlers,
alarmed by the shots, would come speed-
ing out of one of the numerous rivers
which pour into the Piscataqua (and which
make it so fascinating to a boy) , and, with
my valiant and very necessary assistance,
turn the tables on the blood-thirsty sav-
ages, and we would return to the log-
cabined settlement with canoe loads of
tightly-bound warriors, grinning diaboli-
cally through their war-paint. But these
were the dreams of long ago the dreams
of boyhood the fairy land of youth. I
possessed Aladdin's lamp in those days,
and it always answered my rubbing. What
a beautiful world it is to the imaginative
boy ! What visions he can summon at
command ! What deeds he can perform !
What ideals he can raise ! Take from us
everything but leave us the happy memo-
ries of our youth, the day-dreams of boy-
hood, the castles in Spain.


The bright summer days of my boy-
hood, those halcyon days so soon passed,
so dearly cherished, the like of which you
are gathered here to celebrate, were spent
over on yonder farm, which I can almost
see. There I learned to weed and hoe and
mow and rake and there I learned (which
was of vastly more importance to me) to
row and swim and shoot and fight. The
brook which ran through our farm ran into
a creek which in turn ran into the Cocheco,
which ran into the Piscataqua, which ran
into the sea, so that I felt that I was at the
head of navigation, and all I had to do was
to wade down the brook to the creek to
begin a voyage around the world.

It is a very pleasant thing to see that so
many farms in this vicinity are still in the
hands of the descendants of the original
settlers, good old New Hampshire stock.
Some have passed into the care of others,
who, let us hope, will cultivate them none
the less worthily. Those men, those early
settlers, were a strong, vigorous, God-serv-


ing class of men, and they have left their
mark upon the community. It is a fine
thing to see men remaining on the soil,
sticking by the sacred hearthstone genera-
tion after generation, watching the saplings
which their fathers planted grow to giant
trees, pruning and grafting the old orchards
which their grandfathers set out, draining
the waste lands, preserving the forests,
making two blades of grass to grow where
one grew before. This, I say, is a pleasant
thing to see. Would it were more com-
mon. New Hampshire has suffered greatly
from the drifting away of its best-bred
stock to build up and open up the more
arable lands of the West. She has been
a prolific mother and now we call upon
her sons and daughters to return some of
the gifts of their birthright.

These old fields hereabouts have wit-
nessed strange scenes during the procession
of the ages. Savage Indians have crept
stealthily among the thick forests which
covered the hillsides. Keen-eyed settlers


have watched the marauders from behind
log fortifications. The husbandman has
wearily, steadily toiled to bring these broad
acres into subjection. Lighter-hearted
scenes, too, have had their place the
apple-paring, the corn-husking, the barn-
raising, the dance and the marriage. The
daily round of work, pain, joy, sorrow, has
here had its place. Here generation after
generation has been born, lived its allotted
span of days, done its task faithfully and
well, and passed on to its reward in the
great hereafter, and now for a brief day
the task is yours. The sun shines for you
as it did for them ; the rivers run gaily to
the sea bearing their burdens of merchan-
dise, doing their part in the work of
mankind by turning the swift-revolving
wheels of industry; the fields bring forth
their increase to be husbanded and gath-
ered by your hands ; the rains of heaven
fall gently upon the thirsty grain ; the
dews of night fill the chalices of the flow-
ers. All is sweet and lovely nature at its


best. What account will you give of your
stewardship? What will you hand on to
the next generation? Will you leave to it
an honored name, the untarnished one
given you at your birth? Will you leave
to it well-tilled fields, thrifty shops, at-
tractive homes? I believe so. But you
have work to do. Dangers are around
you insidious dangers which are little ap-
preciated, and which it is a thankless task
to call attention to. Be on your guard.
Depart not from the teachings of the fath-
ers. Remember that wealth is but a small
part of life and not the great desideratum.
I have often called attention to the beauty
of this part of the state in its rivers, their
steep wooded shores, the alluvial bottoms,
the stretches of marsh lands, whereon the
sweet grass grows, filling the air with its
fragrance, where the cat-o'-nine tail waves
its nodding plume and the blackbird has
its nest. With a light boat or canoe one
can travel for days, seeing scenes and vis-
tas ever new, and still never be far


from this lovely spot. There are the pic-
turesque woodlands about Great Bay and
the sharp headlands of the upper Cocheco,
the attractive approaches to the old school-
town of Exeter, the graceful sweep of the
Salmon Falls, the lowlands of the Berwick,
and finally the unique loveliness of the swift
flowing Piscataqua.

No wonder the early settlers were wooed
from Massachusetts and sought these lands
for their home. No wonder poets have
sung of them and novelists have woven the
airy filaments of their imagination into the
very history of the section. Whittier
loved it with a passion which only expired
with his last breath, and the summer
months always found him on our shores.
Edna Dean Proctor has poured out her
heart's best for the state of her nativity
and has just issued an Old Home Week
edition of her poems about New Hamp-
shire. Celia Thaxter was a part, almost,
of the Isles of Shoals, the embodied spirit
of the place, and to know and understand


and appreciate those outlying buttresses of
our state you must read her works.
Thomas Bailey Aldrich makes us all chil-
dren again in his " Story of a Bad Boy,"
the scene of which is laid in the fair city
of Portsmouth. Your own dearly-loved
author for she is your neighbor and al-
most your townswoman Sarah Orne
Jewett, has reached after and grasped the
life of the New Hampshire farmer and
placed it before us for examination and
dissection. And so I might go on, telling
you of the celebrated authors who have
found this region so entrancing, so fasci-
nating, that it fairly possessed them.

The ideal spot for a home, for a farm
especially, is near the seashore where you
can sit under the great elms' shade and
look out across the sedges, over the golden
sands to the sparkling sea and watch the
tall merchant ships go proudly by, or the
leaning yacht, skimming gracefully along
the coast. The next best place is contig-
uous to a tidal river where the sultry heats


of summer are tempered by the glorious
tonic saltness of the sea breeze which always
follows the tidal water wherever it wan-

There used to be famous gatherings over
on the old Rollins farm where I spent my
boyhood. As you may remember, my
father was somewhat interested in politics
and is said to have been a Republican ; at
least his tendencies were that way. During
the summer, gatherings of the faithful were
common. Among the faces I remember
seeing there frequently were Judge Doe,
one of the greatest lawyers and jurists
ever produced in New Hampshire; Col.
Daniel Hall, Col. Andrew Young, one of
the most entertaining men I ever knew,
Col. Samuel Fisher, Aaron Young, and
A. F. Howard of Portsmouth, Gen. R. N.
Batchelder, quartermaster-general of the
army, and who made such a brilliant record
in the war, Gen. Gilman Marston, that
sturdy old fighter, Gov. Charles H. Saw-
yer, quiet, lovable, appreciative of a good


joke, Hon. J. Frank Seavey, Henry M.
Putney of Manchester, keen and witty, Dr.
Spaulding, broad, incisive, one of the great
men of the day, O. S. Brown, your active,
clear-brained townsman, Hon. W. H. Mor-
ton, whom your town has honored itself in
honoring for fifty years, and many others.
Many of these men have finished their
labors, leaving honored names for us to
cherish. I shall not forget, however, those
gatherings, the thorough discussion of the
burning questions of the day, the sizing
up of the prominent men in public life, the
capital stories, the scintillating wit and
ready repartee. I learned many things
which I have never forgotten. In the pas-
ture was a fine grove of old pines and
there, bubbling and boiling, was a rare
spring of cold water around which those
reunions were apt to be held. Lying upon
the soft pine needles in the grateful shade
of the overarching trees, I could look out
upon a little glade through which laughed
and tinkled a famous trout brook, and see


the cattle grazing contentedly on the lush
grass a picture I love to recall.

If I might be permitted to offer a sug-
gestion to you in the most friendly way, I
should say that what you need here most
of all is a little stirring up ; a little more
civic pride ; a little more interest in the
affairs and welfare of your town. You
need to give more attention to your roads
and buildings. You ought to turn out
en masse on town-meeting day and have a
voice in the deliberations of your town
fathers. Let the representative men of
the town be there to shape public opinion
and forward the general welfare. There is
no escape from the responsibility of citi-
zenship. You cannot, must not, leave it
to others. You ought to use every effort
to keep the young people on the farms,
and to try to induce others of good blood
to settle here. You ought to protect and
build up your manufacturing interests, and
do everything in your power to assimilate
and Americanize the large foreign element


which has cast in its fortunes with this
community in latter days. This element
has brought new responsibilities and diffi-
culties but you must not shirk them. You
must meet them in a broad, catholic spirit.
You ought to give more attention to the
social life of the town ; make it more at-
tractive to young and old. Do away as
far as possible with the necessity for seek-
ing distraction and pleasure elsewhere.
You ought to jealously guard your schools
and rally to the support of your churches.
You have a little commonwealth here,
complete in itself. It should be your aim
to make it rank among the first in cul-
ture, thrift, honesty, Christianity, and right


AUGUST 14, 1900.


Old Home Week has developed many
interesting aspects in the scant twelve
months since it was introduced as a fea-
ture of the social life of New Hampshire,
but none that is more gratifying to me
than the tendency to make the new fes-
tival the occasion for recognizing and
commemorating important events in local

Our state has a history covering more
than two hundred and fifty years, which is
full of romance; illumined by records of
feats of bravery, endurance, sacrifice ;
memorable for strenuous effort and high
achievement. The instruction afforded by
our common schools is excellent, but I
wish that much more might be done in
the direction of teaching our girls and
boys what has been done right here on
New Hampshire soil to establish liberty


imperishably, and to make freedom secure
for all time. The published local histo-
ries cover hardly one in ten of the two
hundred and thirty-five cities and towns of
our state, and the biographical record
rich as it is in material is even less com-
plete. We have places associated with
great events in state and national history,
and with the lives of the participants in
those events, which would become shrines
of patriotic devotion if their location
could be made plain and their import-
ance signified.

I am gratified that you have brought
this important event in the history of your
ancient and honored town within the
limits of New Hampshire's second Old
Home Week, and that in all your prepa-
rations you have made the historical
element prominent. I am especially
gratified that you have made this the
occasion for setting up memorials, as was
done happily on Boscawen's Old Home
Day last year, and has since been done at


Odiorne's Point and in Concord, where
the first religious service was held, and by
private generosity at the birthplace of
Horace Greeley in Amherst. Bunker
Hill monument tells the story of a mo-
mentous event in the world's history, and
it has its most fitting place among
the nation's best memorials, but it stands
there with all its o'er-shadowing grandeur
no more worthily than does the modest
tablet which marks the last resting-place
of the humblest patriot who fought there.
I hope to see your example followed
generally in our towns and cities and to
live to know that visitors to our state need
not come here and enjoy our scenery
without learning something of the rarely
interesting history which makes these
hills and valleys as memorable as they
are beautiful. New Hampshire has stood
well to the front in movements which
have made conditions better, and especi-
ally in matters affecting the intelligence
of her people, and I have read with


sincere pleasure of the impetus to his-
torical consideration and recognition
which Old Home Week has given. Gov-
ernor Mount of Indiana by formal proc-
lamation called upon his people to devote
the last 4th of July to meetings for the
discussion of historical themes to the end
that the people might the better under-
stand the beginnings and the progress
of their communities, municipalities, and
commonwealth. The secretary of the
Ohio Historical Society wrote me not
long ago that their strong and energetic
organization proposed to adopt the Old
Home Week plan as a means for carry-
ing on its local work, and I could
mention other instances which indicate
how widely the Old Home Week leaven
is working.

You celebrate to-day the beginning of
Salem as an incorporated town, and
you do well to make the one hundred
and fiftieth anniversary of that event the
important occasion, which I think all


must admit this proves to be. That act
of incorporation when the Salem of to-
day, save the old North Parish village,
was mostly a waste, or at least unoccu-
pied and unimproved, meant that from
that time forward through generation after
generation, there existed thenceforth an
organization possessed of certain powers
and charged with certain duties, the pos-
session of which and the discharge of
which make up the honorable and patri-
otic record of Salem for fifteen decades.
The establishment of town government
meant that the duties of citizenship would
be performed so far as they related to
routine business, and it meant also that
the means existed for working out far
weightier and more serious problems.
Your town government made certain that
the meeting-house and the schoolhouse
would be established and maintained, and
I think we can judge something of the
high character of the first citizens of
Salem from the fact that, when the parish


was organized in the stockade some four-
teen or fifteen years before the town was
incorporated, a liberal sum was voted for
the support of preaching, and further, that
the Rev. Abner Bayley, who began his
pastorate in 1740, continued his ministry
here for more than half a century. The
town-meetings here, as in all New Eng-
land towns, were the forum in which were
discussed not only local questions but the
affairs of the colony as well, and, as the
controversy with the mother country grew
imminent, it was the town-meeting that
furnished the means for preparation, and
for action when action could not longer
be delayed. The town-meeting was the
place where patriotic sentiment was cre-
ated, and there this patriotic sentiment
took form in patriotic deeds. As early as
the 22d of April, 1775, we find Salem in
town-meeting considering the questions
of raising a proper number of men for
the defense of the country and making
provision for their pay; and two days


later voting to enlist thirty men, to pay
them $6 per month, and to furnish pro-
vision for the enlisted men. It was this
ability and willingness to meet the crisis
with prompt armed resistance which gave
confidence in the final outcome of the
War for Independence. The towns en-
forced law and maintained order while
the administration of justice was being
subverted by war, and when the contest
was over these same town governments
furnished the elements of organization
which were needed to carry the country
onward to prosperity and power. The
heritage of the old New England town
with all the glory that belongs to it, be-
cause of the part it bore in establishing
the freedom of the American colonies
and bringing into being this best and
greatest of all the nations of the earth,
is indeed a priceless one, and you people
of Salem may well point with pride to
your one hundred and fifty years of town
government with its grand record of pa-


triotism in all the wars this nation has
passed through, and of wise, sturdy, hon-
orable citizenship in the years of peace
which have followed.

Salem has a past to be proud of, and
there can be no question about what the
future has in store for this intelligent,
enterprising people. In her behalf I ask
of her absent sons and daughters not to
disregard the allegiance they owe to the
old town. New Hampshire has given
liberally of her children that other por-
tions of our common country might
profit by the New England training
which, above that of any other portion
of the earth, stands for common sense,
for courage, and for character. The
stream has flowed unceasingly for more
than a century, and I can see no sign
that its current is being stayed, although
we speak of Webster and Cass and Chase
and those other giants of New Hampshire
birth as if with their death the glory of
our emigrants had ceased to be. This I


count a grand result of Old Home Week
that the fact has been established that
men and women of New Hampshire birth
to-day are taking an active part in the
struggle for peace and wealth and honor
which never waged more strenuously than
in this year 1900, and that they stand as
shining examples of the results of training
in the homes of the old Granite state.
We are proud of the success of our New
Hampshire men and women in business
life, in the professions, in statesmanship,
in all the honorable callings and occupa-
tions, and while we rejoice that the oppor-
tunities, which perhaps were wanting at
home, have been found in other and
larger states, we ask them to share some

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Online LibraryFrank W. (Frank West) RollinsOld Home Week addresses → online text (page 1 of 5)