Thursday, April 29, 2010

Lines by Nathaniel Healy

I found this poem apparently copied by my great-great Aunt, Evalina (Nellie) Richardson Thompson. In her early years she had very tiny and distinctive handwriting. The poem is entitled Lines by Nathaniel Healy and is either written by her grandfather Nathaniel Healy or her uncle, Nathaniel Church Healy. If the former, it was written before he passed away in 1841; if the latter, before 1874 when he passed away while in London, England. Both Nathaniel Sr. & Jr. were Universalist in their Christian beliefs while other family members were strong Congregationalists including their son and brother Joseph Warren Healy who was a Congregational Minister as well as a physician and an educator. They must have had some very interesting dinner conversations!

Lines by Nathaniel Healy

When people to their end are brought
And hope of life forsakes them
If reason hold they’ll stretch a thought
Where death will likely take them..
As hope or fear preponderate
So they drew their conclusion
And hence from reason form their faith
Or else from strong delusion.

The curious world do eager wait
To catch their last expression
And argue thence their final state
On their death bed profession.
But if this dogma prove correct
Which common sense would distance
Infallible ‘Twould prove each set
That ever had existence.

For any age where was the sect
But died with [faith] unshaken
And were their systems all correct
Or else were all mistaken.
They each have persecution caught
Or of it have partaken
From worshipper of Juggernaut
Down to the humble Quaker.

They have been tortured, burned or maimed
And hanged and whipped and banished
Yet of their faith were not ashamed
And every fear had vanished
With facts like these before my eyes
I’ve come to this decision
That all we know beyond this state
We’ve learned from tradition

If any should my faith inquire
When I in death shall falter
I think if reason doth remain
My faith will never alter.
I have a hope of future life
And think all will enjoy it
But know not when or how or where
Or how we shall employ it.

I think that Pain, Disease and Death
By which we are amazed
Were all created here in time
Of course must be destroyed.
When we immortal shall be raised
And changed to incorruption
Our happiness will be complete
And know no interruption.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Poem for Golden Anniversary of David and Rosina Jane Stevens

Fifty years have come and vanished
Gliding down life’s turbid stream
With their changeful lights and shadows
Seeming almost like a dream.

Fifty years when looking forward
At the time how long it seems
Fifty years when looking backwards
Vanished like a dream of dreams.

Very beautiful the mornings
When the suns first ray of light
Wakens all the earth to gladness
With a radiance pure and bright.

But the time that speaketh ever
To our hearts with matchless power
Is when gazing on the splendor
Of the golden sunset hour.

Spring with tender leaves and blossoms
Is an ever welcome guest
And we sometimes almost fancy
That we love her coming best

But we know the year’s best treasures
Come to us in after days
When we garner up the harvest
In the Autumn’s golden days

And we thank our Heavenly Father
With a grateful heart today
That so much of joy and blessing
Has been yours along the way.

Fifty years of life together
In the sunshine and the rain
May the chain so long unbroken
Many added links obtain.

Mrs. Julia (Whitcher)Richardson

(Sister-in-law of Rosina Jane Stevens & wife of her brother Nathaniel Healy Richardson)

Interestingly, on the back of this two page poem with faded velvet ribbon, is another little section which says "last verse". Apparently the idea was not to add any sense of the inevitable end to this marriage and so cast a pall on the festivities of the day. The final section reads and is in a different handwriting ~

And the faithful strong affection
That hath made your life so bright.
Shall go with you to that country
Where there iso pain nor night.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Letter from Grandma and Grandpa

What a treat to find this draft of a letter sent to me so many decades ago. The original seems to be long gone, but my grandmother's rough draft was found among other letters. Grandmother was always a bit eccentric, but I find that as I get older I am getting more that way myself. Can't you just imagine this old man finding clovers in the pasture and telling his wife about them? And then they both wander down to the old pasture and dig it up and discuss where best to plant it. Such insight into the lives of my old people when I was but an infant and they were 71 and 57. They wrote
"And He took them up in His arms, put His hands upn them and blessed them." Mark 10:16

Dear Precious little Grand-daughter,

Grandfather found this lovely five -leaf clover and two others in the pasture north of the cow barn on the old Wisconsin Farm on your Great Grandfather Sherwood's ninety-third birthday anniversary (Aug 28th) and then we both went down in the pasture and dug up the plant and found that it had another five lobed leaf and four four-lobed leaves. I planned to plant it the next day on your little brother's birthday anniversary (Aug 29th) but was not quite sure just where would be the best place and also did not have time. Thought surely I would get it planted on your birthday anniversary but unexpected things came up to delay even getting this written, though my thoughts and prayers were with you all the day and I kept singing and humming "That Little Girl (Boy) of Mine."

All the dear, cute interesting things which Ronald does make me ache realizing how much we are missing of the dear, cute, interesting things which you are doing at your age, and how much we are missing of you as an individual, our own precious little Grand-daughter.

We so long to see you and hold you in our arms and be with you and have you here on the Old Wisconsin Farm and we hope and pray that it shall be possible next summer for all of you out there to come and see us all here and you and Ronald play together and all of you get acquainted with Ronald's little sister or brother.

And perhaps sometime we can visit you in your own home.

God bless and keep you always.
Lovingly and prayerfully, Special Birthday Hugs and Kisses
Grandpa and Grandma

Front page) Pink Stationary

Large five-lobed clover fastened with stem through slits

To Our Precious Little Grand-Daughter
On Her First Birthday Anniversary
The Best of Lovingly, Prayerful Wishes
For All the Years To Come
From Her Loving
Grandfather and Grandmother