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Full text of "Colonel Austin Rice, Charlotte Baker Rice of Conway. A memorial"

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COLONEL AUSTIN RICE 
CHARLOTTE BAKER RICE 

OF CONWAY 



H Memorial 

By their son 
CHARLES BAKER RICE 

Danvers. October, 1905 



BOSTON 

PRINTED FOR THE FAMILY 

1905 



f\^N 



PUBLIC LIBRARY 

A8T0R, LENOX AND 
TILDEN FOUNDATIONS 
_ 1 906 



It is written : 
The just shall live by faith. Romans 1:17 



The pastures are clothed with Hocks; the 
valleys also are covered over with corn; they 
shout for joy, they also sing. 

Psalm 65 : 13. 



A MEMORIAL OF LIFE 

The line, "The Just Shall Live by Faith,'' is 
upon the memorial stone that stands by my 
father's grave. The words might fitly be 
thought of as written above the doors of many 
dwellings that have been planted from the 
early generations upon these New England 
farms. The life within these homes has been 
reverent and trustful and cheerful and in a 
large measure steadfast in righteousness. The 
land itself has grown to be sacred. Every 
one must wish to do whatever he may to pre- 
serve and prolong upon these fields and within 
these dwellings the memories and powers of 
that Christian and manly faith which has so 
enriched the lives of the fathers through the 
days of their pilgrimage. 

An appropriate commemorative discourse 
was preached on the Sabbath following my 
father's death by Rev. Arthur Shirley, the 
faithful pastor of the church to which he be- 
longed; but many features of his life must be 
more fully known to his son, and the unex- 



12 A MEMORIAL OF LIFE 

hausted sentiments of honor and affection are 
also moving me to this further memorial. 

I do not write altogether out of my merely 
personal feelings and judgments. There was 
a concurrence of opinion to which reference 
may properly be made. Dr. Samuel Harris, 
lately of Yale Divinity School, whose first pas- 
torate was at Conway, said to me long after- 
ward that he thought of my father and mother 
as constituting as nearly an ideal head of a 
Christian household as any he had ever known. 
His exact words were stronger. There have, 
been many other marks of appreciation. But 
one's best personal feelings are likely to be 
sober. 

I had knowledge of my father throughout a 
large part of his mature life. It has been many 
years since he was with us. I should be 
peculiarly unwilling to speak concerning him 
otherwise than in truth and soberness. He did 
not himself practice nor love extravagance in 
speech. I remember how even in early man- 
hood his presence put a check upon me if I was 
ready to speak in any public place with undue 
vehemence or with any unexact scope of state- 
ment, as if whatever I said before him had 



ESTIMATION BY OTHER MEN 13 

need to be brought to the square of reason. I 
shall be with him again in the eternal state. 
And I do not desire to forget the companion- 
ship in the present time of that Father Him- 
self of men whose most clear and solid reason 
puts its constant and grateful restraints upon 
me. But of a Christian home, with a Chris- 
tian father and mother in it, one can always 
think both truly and happily. 

My father, Austin Rice, was born in Con- 
way in this state, July i6th, 1794. The house 
in which he lived and which is still standing 
had been built then about ten years. But his 
grandfather, Israel Rice, had cleared the spot 
and set up a building on it — among the first 
in the town — in 1765. 

Conway lies upon the eastern slope of the 
Green Mountains, as they extend southward 
into Massachusetts and among what may be 
called the foothills of the range. The old 
historic town of Deerfield, settled almost a 
hundred years before upon its open meadows, 
which the Indians had tilled and fought for, 
and of whose territory Conway had once been 
a part, lies next at the east, reaching to the 



14 A MEMORIAL OF LIFE 

Connecticut river. The Conway township thus 
from its eastern ridges and from all its higher 
points overlooks the valley region eastward 
and southward to the river and far beyond it. 
Its hills, less elevated than those further at the 
west, are also less cold and bleak.. They are 
covered with green pastures and forests; and 
they shelter plateaus and valleys of fertile lands 
upon their sides and at their feet. They are of 
graceful forms, casting everywhere as one goes 
among them their changing aspects upon the 
skies. They give forth springs upon every 
side; and there are many brooks and channels 
with stony beds, so that from almost every 
dwelling in the town there may be heard in the 
stillness of the night the sounds of the running 
waters. 

The Deerfield river, flowing here in a south- 
westerly direction, forms the northern bound- 
ary of the town, separating it from Shel- 
burne. The Deerfield valley is of various and 
shifting beauty. It is lined in part with its 
narrow intervale lands, or broader meadows, 
and in part the hills crowd closely upon it. 
Along the whole Conway border the river is 
pressed within a narrow gorge, sunk by steep 



TOWN OF CONWAY 15 

descending banks two hundred or three hun- 
dred feet below the general level of the neigh- 
boring uplands. There was no crossing the 
stream here from town to town in all the 
earlier times, and until comparatively recent 
years, except by a single ferry-boat, hard to 
reach and doubtful after every freshet to be 
found. 

The South river enters the Deerfield from 
the west at near the northwestern corner of 
the town. It rises in the neighboring town of 
Ashfield, and descends in its swift course of 
twelve or fifteen miles nearly as many hun- 
dred feet. It was the most clear and choice 
of streams before the mills stood upon it. 
The water-falls which the glaciers made as 
they pushed it in places out of its more 
ancient channel, still remain not wholly de- 
spoiled of their beauty. In the lower part 
of its course, as it approaches the Deerfield, 
the channel of the South river becomes also 
deep and its banks are steep and at some 
points almost or quite precipitous. 

The two streams as they draw together form 
thus a kind of promontory between them. The 
lands upon it, after the ascent of the banks 



i6 A MEMORIAL OF LIFE 

is passed, are mostly level or lightly sloping 
toward the water courses on either side. A 
line of hills stretches across the base of this 
triangular promontory, a mile or more at the 
west from the point of junction of the rivers. 
Seen from the plain the western sky has a lifted 
and picturesque horizon. Across the northern 
and southern valleys hills of many forms are 
in sight. To the east the view is wide, and 
there may be seen the level line of the Sugar 
Loaf peak and its northward-stretching con- 
nected range in Deerfield, and still further the 
long, higher, parallel top of Tobey and the 
slopes of the distant uplands on the eastern 
side of the Connecticut valley. 

To the child the earth is the form of field 
and sky that he began first to see; and that 
range and circle of lands and skies is still to 
me the natural pattern of the world. 

The hills at the west have both pasture lands 
and forests. The beech and maple are the 
more common trees, with many birches and 
oaks and elms. Great chestnuts are to be seen 
here and there, easily distinguished from far 
off by the lads of the neighborhood, and 
counted friendly. There are also other nut 



THE RIVER AND THE MAPLES 17 

bearing trees, all in like manner characteristic 
and recognizable in distant forms, and each 
with its seed in itself or upon the earth, after 
its kind. Pines and hemlocks are upon the 
lower lands near the streams. But the maple, 
wherever it grows in lands that suit it, is the 
first of New England trees. The maple loves 
the soil of the rocky slopes lying eastward and 
southward. It is a plant of great rocks and 
sunshine. Its juices carry sweetness through 
its trunk, solid almost as the stones. It can 
grow gigantic in its stock beyond three times 
the compass of the arms of a man. It is a 
creation of individual life. It stands often 
alone, or in groups that shape themselves as a 
single tree. It lifts its massy top far against 
the hills or upon the heavens, green or golden 
and scarlet, springtime or summer or autumn, 
and strong and steadfast, majestic and beauti- 
ful in every season. 

The main road crosses this table-plain from 
south to north, a little to the west of its center. 
It is a county road, though until these later 
years it was swallowed up rather than contin- 
ued to the northern Shelburne shore at its steep 
and doubtful ferrying place. To the south 



i8 A MEMORIAL OF LIFE 

there were three miles of road, partly hilly but 
not difficult, leading to the Conway village. 
The neighborhood land is divided into six or 
seven farms, but in the earlier times there were 
twice as many, and the small cellar-holes still 
mark the sites of former houses. 

The neighborhood itself has been known al- 
most from the time of the first occupation of 
the town as the "Broomshire District" or 
"Broomshire" alone. One of the first settlers 
upon it made brooms in the winter seasons of 
stripped walnut wood, and took them to Deer- 
field for sale. He had first to walk the eight 
miles to Deerfield to hire a horse and "pung" 
or sled to carry his brooms. He sold his 
brooms often not for cash, but in part for pork, 
and he got one pound and a half of the meat 
for a broom. From this primitive commerce 
the district had its name. 

My father's farm lay upon the southern side 
of the Broomshire district and had the South 
river in part for its southern boundary. The 
plain old white farm-house stands a quarter of 
a mile from the river, upon the higher ground, 
though here the ascent is not steep. It looks 
eastward upon fields of mowing and tillage, 



THE BROOMSHIRE FARM ig 

and southward across the river to hills and 
higher lands beyond. There is a group of 
maples at the north, between the house and the 
barns. A great elm stands at the southeast. 
At the west, on the opposite of the road, 
is a row of maples, and beyond and above the 
maples an apple orchard, and beyond the 
orchard the western hills. The trees shade the 
yards, but do not darken much the house. 
Some of these maples my father remembered 
helping to set out, in his childhood. 

From the first, until very recent years, the 
district schoolhouse stood upon the land of the 
farm near the river. The town had no posses- 
sion except by the free occupation of gene- 
rations of teachers and children. The play- 
grounds were in the pasture fields and among 
the pines of the forest not far off, and by the 
banks of the river and the small brook that 
empties into it. Brooks and rivers not too 
deep are themselves everywhere bright and 
faithful playmates of the children. There is 
no end to the changes they can bring to their 
companions, sitting by their banks. The South 
river could be walked upon or even crossed 
at spots in the summer months, stepping upon 



20 A MEMORIAL OF LIFE 

the smooth stones. The flattened and rounded 
stones, black and gray and blue and white, 
were for the walls of playhouses and for tables 
and furnishings. It was a thing of grief that 
they looked less shining taken upon the banks 
than when they lay with the summer waters 
washing over them. The girls of the school 
planned and mostly builded these houses, the 
boys only with persuasion, and often with pre- 
tended or sincere disdain, bringing the stones. 
In the deeper waters beneath the bridge the 
sheep from the neighboring farms were washed 
before their shearing in the spring. There 
were interesting exercises as they went unwil- 
ling down the steep paths and over the gnarled 
roots of trees into the basin. It would have 
been a pleasing thing to the children of the 
school if sheep washings might have been con- 
tinuous and if recesses could have had no end. 
Great floods have swept down the bridge and 
the pier, and one abutment alone remains. New 
ways and crossings have been made. The very 
place is changed, and the feet of the children 
are no longer by the soft running brook, or 
upon the blue stones of the river. 

Each school, or each term of school, in those 



THE DISTRICT SCHOOL 21 

days had its law unto itself, much beyond what 
it does now. Few rules, or none, were in force 
for all the schools of the town. The author- 
ity of the general school committee was but 
slightly felt. The government lay wholly with 
the teachers, or with the teacher and scholars 
together, or sometimes with the scholars 
wholly. The schools were unequal in quality, 
much more even than now, according to what 
the teacher might happen to be. These schools 
had their advantages. Any boy could get into 
whatever class in any study he could reach; 
and the younger boys had zeal to catch up with 
those ahead — or, some of them. But there 
was often outbreaking rudeness about the 
schoolhouse and within it, beyond what would 
be tolerated now. 

My father was a teacher of schools for many 
years in his early manhood, teaching in the 
winter and working on the farm for the rest of 
the year, as was common then. He was in 
repute as a disciplinarian, and was often 
engaged in neighboring towns for schools 
reckoned hard. I do not think that he was 
particularly severe, but he was steady in pur- 
pose and apt to be obeyed. He taught once or 



22 A MEMORIAL OF LIFE 

twice in his own district in this schoolhouse at 
the foot of the hill by the river. My mother, 
Charlotte Baker, was one of his scholars. 

In the division of the town for schools there 
was a range of farms on the southern side of 
South river that went with the Broomshire 
district, though Broomshire proper included 
only the tract at the north of the stream. The 
Baker farm was in this southern section, upon 
a table-land with bordering hills, higher than 
the Broomshire plain but much smaller. The 
farm was one of varied resources, with soils 
both light and strong, with timbered hills and 
many fruits and copious and beautiful springs 
of water. There were two houses upon the 
farm, and the one in which my mother's child- 
hood and youth were passed was in clear view 
of my father's home, a mile distant, across the 
valley. 

When my father kept that school there was 
no thought in the minds of either of these 
young people of the relation that came after- 
ward to exist between them. At least there 
was none at all in the mind of Charlotte Baker, 
though there was a due measure of admiration 
for the master. I learned by questionings of 



CHARLOTTE BAKER'S HOME 23 

her, late in life, how the thought was made 
after a time to occur to her, with surprise and 
appropriate satisfaction. Concerning the origin 
of such things in my father's mind I never in- 
quired. My mother has told me too of her 
visiting at the place before her marriage, and 
of the songs of many birds she heard in the 
morning hours, for it is a place of birds. 

They were married Oct. 23, 1822, my 
mother being then twenty years of age. On 
the wedding night, when the merry making 
was over and the guests were gone, the young 
wife, shrinking in feeling but steady in pur- 
pose, brought a Bible and said, "Let us begin 
right." Neither of them was then a member 
of the church. But the right beginning was 
made, and the family worship, evening and 
morning, was never interrupted while they 
lived. If there had not been this beginning 
it might have made a difference in that home 
through the sixty years almost that followed 
greater than all differences that could have 
been made in all other things. 

The married life of my father and mother 
began with a strong basis of mutual respect, 
as well as affection. Both these sentiments 



24 A MEMORIAL OF LIFE 

stood firm under the wear of time and life. 
Sentiments and principles ran close together 
with them both, so that their sentiments did 
not fall apart and blow away. The two were 
indeed in many things alike, or well fitted to 
each other. They were both of good bodily 
stock and frame. They were both used, 
sufficiently, to the common work of life, and 
capable in it. They were both practical and 
sensible in good measure, and disposed to be 
reasonable. Neither was noticeably brilliant 
or uncomfortably ambitious. Both were in- 
telligent. Both were public spirited. Both 
were fairly vigorous and thorough in what 
they undertook. Both of them had, or came to 
have, a steady religious purpose. And with 
both of them religion was a matter of reverence 
and obedience and of daily care and hope and 
courage. 

They joined the Congregational church by 
profession of faith, Sept. 6, 1829. My father 
told me, but a few days before his death, some 
things relating to his earlier religious ex- 
periences. It was, he thought, when he was 
eight or ten years old that his grandmother, 
Lydia Sherman Rice, spoke with him on the 



RELIGION IN BOYHOOD 25 

matter of religion and admonished him as to 
what he ought to do. As my father told me 
the story we were sitting at the southern end 
of the old, long kitchen, in the very place where 
they were when he was thus spoken to in that 
distant childhood. His grandmother's words 
made an impression upon him and he went up 
into his room in what was then a newly builded 
northern part of the house and spent a con- 
siderable time in prayer. He felt at that time, 
he said, "that his relation with God was 
changed," he "began to have love for the Sab- 
bath and for religious exercises and the society 
of Christian people." He felt a concern for 
his brother, a little older than himself, that he 
might be a Christian. But he was subject to 
variations and fallings backward. Reviewing 
the period he remarked upon the fact that but 
little care was then had with respect to young 
Christians. There were no Sabbath schools, 
and little was done to bring the children or 
young people intO' the church, and he said, "I 
think, with proper care I might have been 
saved, perhaps, from many relapses." 

As he continued through the years of early 
manhood and until his marriage in this not 



26 A MEMORIAL OF LIFE 

wholly settled state and without publicly com- 
mitting himself as a Christian, we may not be 
sure that he would have set out to "begin 
right" and to establish from the first a Chris- 
tian home unless his young wife herself had 
been ready and clear in proposing it. 

In those days every able bodied man was 
required to train in arms and my father was 
enrolled in the universal "floodwood militia." 
He liked a horse and was a good rider and a 
good manager of horses. He had also a 
capacity for order and method. He became 
colonel of a cavalry regiment in the *'01d 
Hampshire County" first brigade, receiving his 
commission from Gov. Levi Lincoln. He was 
regarded as a good officer, and it was under- 
stood that he might have held a higher rank 
if he had not declined promotion. His father 
had been colonel before him. It was thought 
by some of my boyish schoolmates, with much 
failure of forecast, that I might be also at some 
time colonel. My father was usually called 
among the neighbors by his title only. The 
place when spoken of from other parts of the 
town was "Col. Rice's," but near at hand it was 
simply "the Colonel's." 



THE COLONEL 27 

In his earlier active life my father was re- 
garded by some as stern and severe. I some- 
times heard him spoken of in my childhood as 
if he were proud. I scarcely think that pride 
could ever have been justly charged upon him, 
even at that period. But I suppose he must 
have had some vein of natural sternness. He 
had too a strong natural dislike of things 
shiftless and inefficacious, as well as things dis- 
honest, and he may have expressed himself 
concerning such things, when he expressed 
himself at all, in terms somewhat more severe 
than was most agreeable, at that period of his 
life. But it is the business of every man with 
Christian good sense, or with any manly good 
sense at all, to be making improvements upon 
his natural dispositions. My father did it. 
Comparing, not the judgments but the remem- 
bered facts of childhood with the observations 
of later years, I can see that there must have 
gone on with him a ripening and mellowing of 
temper along with the growth of Christian 
wisdom and grace. This is appropriate to life. 
In his later years I do not think that any one 
could ever have thought him austere or harsh. 
He had passed over on the opposite side, 



28 A MEMORIAL OF LIFE 

though he may always have been Hable to be 
affected \\-ith some disHke toward things use- 
less and wicked. 

Among the boys, my early schoolmates, it 
was thought that I was made to walk with un- 
common straightness at home. I never walked 
anywhere with too much straightness. It was 
supposed that I had, or was liable to have, 
severe punishings. I was gibed at upon due 
occasion with respect to the whippings I should 
get at home. I never got any whippings, not 
once. I needed them. But I recollect the dis- 
tinct impression I had that if my father should 
ever judge it necessary to enter upon a pro- 
ceeding of that sort the experience might be 
likely to become serious. My father was 
obeyed at home. But he secured obedience by 
reasonableness and firmness, and most of all, it 
has sometimes seemed, by the constant expec- 
tation that he would be at once obeyed. In the 
later years the grandchildren of the place, 
whenever they were there, were accustomed to 
sit by him in their small chairs at family wor- 
ship. If ever they were not quiet at first he 
would tell them that they must be still, and 
they would be still. ICnowing that they were 



GOVERNMENT BY EXPECTATION 29 

not all patterns of natural stillness, and also 
that he would not in any case undertake the 
work of discipline upon them there, I once 
asked him what he would do if they should be 
uneasy and should not mind him, and he 
answered partly in humor but altogether in 
truth, "that is not a supposable case." 

None of us ever saw our father in a passion, 
or in any nearness to it, whether the provoca- 
tion came from beast or man; though I think 
this steadiness of temper came only of prac- 
tised self-control. 

My father's father died when he was but 
about fifty years of age. His grandfather lived 
to a later date, dying in 1833, ninety years old. 
There was also an older brother of my 
father's.* Adjustments respecting property 
were thus somewhat complicated. They were 
arranged in every part with good and perfect 
understanding. The understanding was made 
to be distinct and perfect partly in order that it 
might be good. Careful legal agreements were 
repeatedly made between my father and his 
mother and brother. It is illustrative of the 



* Caleb Rice, a graduate of Williams College, lawyer, sheriff, and 
the first mayor of the city of Springfield. 



30 A MEMORIAL OF LIFE 

times, and of the changings of times, to find 
engagements on the part of my father to keep 
a certain number of sheep for his mother's 
"use and behoof." I can remember the spin- 
ning and knitting of the wool from those sheep 
by my grandmother. 

The Conway farm was a good one for its 
size. It had fifty acres of fine mowing and 
tillage land, and something more than one hun- 
dred acres of pasturing and woodland. Later 
there were added outlying pasturing lots in the 
town of Hawley. My father soon began the 
business of fattening sheep, being the leader in 
it in that region. The sheep were bought in 
spring or summer in central New York, driven 
home in the early fall, fatted rapidly in winter, 
and taken by drovers or market men on foot to 
Brighton market. The business was a paying 
one until the "Western Railroad" reaching to 
Albany with other roads beyond, brought in a 
distant competition, cutting ofif its profits. 
After that the place was turned to dairying. 

The farm was well managed, and gave 
usually fair returns in its different depart- 
ments. My father was careful and prompt and 
exact in his own business. He liked to have 



FAT SHEEP AND OXEN 31 

things in shape. He wished to have the pas- 
ture bars put up and the gates and doors closed 
and shut, whether we thought they needed tO' be 
or not. He wanted nothing left at loose ends. 
He had places for his tools and kept them 
there, and he made his boys do it. He stored 
away his cutters and sleds in summer. He kept 
his carts and wagons and machines under cover 
from rain summer and winter, and kept them 
whole and in good shape. He made the boys 
rake after the carts clean, and cut up the bushes 
by the walls. He disliked all wastefulness, and 
I do not know but he disliked all disorder even 
more. It was characteristic of him that almost 
in the last hours of his life and when he was 
scarcely conscious of what he said he repeated 
several times the words partly from Scripture, 
and partly from current annotations on it — 
"God is a God of order and not of confusion." 
But farmers in those days did not grow 
rapidly rich, even if they do now. I remember 
the consideration given to the buying of a new 
harness. The getting of a wagon was a graver 
matter and turned on the crops and sales of the 
year. To the boys of the farm, driving then 
miles to meeting on Sundays, and with other 



32 A MEMORIAL OF LIFE 

teams and neighbors in procession and in com- 
parison after or before them, the business of 
harness and wagon was serious if not Sabbatic. 
I do not think that the concern taken by the 
daughters of the place in such matters was 
much less. These considerations concerning 
expenditure were had not wholly as a matter of 
blank necessity, nor for thought of saving 
only, but also as a matter of rational control 
upon the desires of life befitting to man. Other 
uses of money too were kept in mind both by 
my father and mother. 

Notwithstanding his carefulness my father 
met with some heavy losses in his farm busi- 
ness. Most of these were due to the occasional 
contemplative rascality of men to whom meats 
and live stock were sold. Two such men 
cleared to the west, each with $500 or $600 out 
of the farm steers or wethers in his pockets — 
and serving others of the neighbors in the same 
way. If these men are now living they are 
probably managers or promoters of some 
illusory financial stock company. 

In the case of one of these fraudulent pur- 
chases of farm animals, my father bore a loss 
which might properly have been thrown, as 



CHEATING IN FORMER TIMES 33 

many would have thought, upon another man. 
And shortly after, in a transaction when the 
conditions were reversed and when he stood 
himself in a place corresponding to that of the 
other man in the previous instance, he took 
again upon himself the loss, with no effort at 
all to throw it off. This was characteristic, yet 
any sensible man would doubtless have done 
the like, since to any such man the being called 
to suffer himself unfairly would be a much less 
serious matter than the being the occasion of 
bringing suffering unfairly upon some one 
else. 

But my father's husbandry was, on the 
whole, prosperous, and he came to be a well-to- 
do farmer, after the moderate measure of those 
times. In some outside enterprises in which he 
engaged he was less fortunate, and I suppose 
it must be admitted that in entering upon them 
he was less sagacious. In these connections he 
met with heavy losses, by which he was for 
several years much embarrassed. He made 
little complaint. He had at least the comfort 
of thinking that he had meant in what he did 
to help forward the business of the town. He 
had, however, outside the farm an interest in 



34 A MEMORIAL OF LIFE 

a grist-mill for which he made the purchases 
of grain, and which gave fair returns. 

His judgment in matters of business had 
thus its limits of accuracy and its liabilities to 
failure. But my father's most estimable gifts 
of mind were those that had their exercise 
apart from the matter of money returns in 
business. As to concerns of character and on 
the lines of righteousness his judgment was 
most clear and admirable. The balance of his 
thoughts in all the moral interests of life was 
level and steady. In these the most real of 
human affairs, though his gains were more 
slow than he would have wished, they were not 
much directly broken up and set backward 
after such a sort as happened several times to 
his savings in things measured by money. 

My father and mother led a busy life for 
many years, after what is common to farmers. 
I do not call it of necessity hard. The labors 
of the farm abroad and even within doors are 
lightened with much variety. They are in close 
connection with the elastic and lively powers 
of nature. And they are fitted to awaken the 
most grateful thoughts of dependence upon 
God and of nearness to Him. Both my father 



THE FARMER^S LIFE 35 

and mother loved the sights and sounds of 
every season, and took interest in the growths 
and appointments appropriate to each. In 
March they saw the boys of the place tap the 
maple trees, and boil the sap — growing yellow 
over the fires. Then came the spring along the 
water courses, waking the frogs and birds and 
touching the grasses and trees. My mother 
thought much of the vegetable garden, and had 
care for seeds and herbs. She had a mind for 
mints and sweet ferns where they grew, and all 
berries. She could tell the smell of the tasselled 
cornfield. She considered and knew in the fall 
what apples should be taken for drying and 
what for sauce, and she caused them to be 
pared and quartered or sliced, as was most fit, 
by both girls and boys gathered together not 
unwillingly in the evenings in the old kitchen. 
And upon these occasions my father submitted 
himself graciously and ostentatiously to her 
direction. They both liked the melon crop, a 
production beset and made precarious often by 
risks beyond the vicissitudes of New England 
climate. They loved the sound of the soft 
rains upon the mown grass — the fields once 
mown and green with the midsummer second 



36 A MEMORIAL OF LIFE 

spring time. If the rain caught out hay or 
oats, the rowen was coming up. My father 
knew a thrifty steer and a good soHd ox team. 
In the last weeks of his Hfe he watched the 
bright eyed calves in the orchard west of the 
house, and talked jestingly and encouragingly 
to them when they lowed for their suppers. In 
winter there were fires and shelter and "a good 
measure of health" to be thankful for, and 
the barns with hay and grain and cattle, and 
the birds that my mother might feed. 

A wholesome devoutness lighted up life and 
helped it not to be hard and heavy. Family 
prayers, evening and morning, were never 
omitted, nor ever much shortened from their 
moderate and appropriate length. In the even- 
ing the Scripture reading was selected for the 
time. In the morning it was by course from 
"Scott's Bible." The "practical observations" 
were read, but not the "notes." The New Tes- 
tament was taken for this orderly use somewhat 
more frequently than the Old. But the Bible 
was read throughout I think seven or eight 
times. My father prayed with reverence for 
all things needed. But even in times when a 
member of the household was sick, or on oppo- 



HOUSEHOLD WORSHIP 37 

site occasions as if a child had returned to the 
home, while the prayer did not miss its special 
petition and thanksgiving, it was still first of 
all a Christian prayer, having respect to the 
soul and the kingdom of God. Sometimes we 
were ready to wish that the proportions might 
have been changed. But our father knew that 
the things of the Christian gospel are always 
the most timely things, and always in looking 
back we saw that the prayer should not have 
been changed. 

The days of fasting and thanksgiving that 
belonged each in the year were both kept. The 
festivities of thanksgiving were not omitted 
wholly, even in times of sickness or sadness. 
Upon one occasion when my father was sick 
and his recovery doubtful, he said to me, "I 
have told your mother that I wished thanks- 
giving to be kept as usual — according to her 
judgment.'' 

The house had its papers and books in large 
measure for those days. The Cultivator came 
from Albany. There was the old National 
Intelligencer for many years, with the debates 
in Congress; afterward the Tribune and later 
the Springfield Republican, always the County 



38 A MEMORIAL OF LIFE 

paper from Greenfield and always the Boston 
Recorder passing into the Congregationalist. 
In the kitchen cupboard and in divers desks 
were old histories and books of travel; Scott's 
Napoleon, Knickerbocker's History of New 
York, a fearful and barbarous life of field 
marshal Suwarrow, and works of Chateau- 
briand, Good's book of Nature, Smelley's 
Natural Philosophy, and such like. There 
was no Shakespeare, but a Bunyan and a copy 
of the Paradise Lost, old with my first remem- 
brance of it. Later many volumes were added. 
Then there was a share from the first in the 
Social Library at the village, a modest, inval- 
uable collection, mostly of histories and books 
of travel, open to be drawn from fortnightly 
on Thursdays after the church meeting, though 
it was not kept at the meeting house. The 
books went and came in a green flannel bag 
holding much good. 

My father was fond of history. The winter 
evenings brought about him the great things 
of the past. He liked the lives of eminent and 
steadfast men. Samuel Adams was a man 
much to his mind, and William the Silent. 
Speaking with him in his later years I found 



THE EVENING BOOKS 39 

that he had drawn in his thoughts a full com- 
parison between this father of the Dutch Re- 
public and Washington. He made mention of 
the greater difficulties by which William was 
beset, and said he doubted if his work were not 
as great as that of Washington. He knew well 
the conspicuous eminence in these lines of life 
of these two men together. 

There was much reading aloud in these 
evenings. My father himself would read 
either aloud or silently often until he fell 
asleep. The children of the place remember 
well the expression of his countenance when 
sometimes the book dropped from his hands. 
Then to become wakeful — or always indeed 
near the end of every winter evening — he 
went with his lantern to the barn. It was 
partly to see that everything was right, but 
partly, as we always thought, for his stay was 
not short, it was because the barn was a place 
where he worshiped God. 

There were four children, a daughter, 
a son, and two daughters.* It was the 
evening rule that we should attend to 

* Lois W., Charlotte M., Elizabeth C. They married respectively 
Thomas Hale of Castine, Zeno Russell of Pittsfield, and Henry Tracy 
of Toledo. 



40 A MEMORIAL OF LIFE 

our lessons for an hour before plays or 
an}i;hing else. With the younger sisters if 
the rule was relaxed the supervision was not 
given up. Their father made them stand 
diligently by him while they parsed their 
words and worked their sums. 

Besides these four there were other children 
of the place. It was the usage of our father 
and mother to take into the family children 
who had lost their own parents, one or both. 
They might be from six to ten years old when 
they were taken. They stayed usually until 
they were eighteen or twenty, and they had a 
small sum of money as the case required or 
admitted when they left. There was nearly 
always one such boy or girl in the household, 
sometimes more than one of each. They had 
a home given them, and they themselves gave 
help and strength to the home. There was 
but slight difference between the life or family 
estate of these children and the own children 
of the family. They were alike cherished and 
remembered, the living and the dead. Twelve 
persons known to me were thus brought into 
the household. I think there were one or two 
others only partly within the reach of my re- 



CHILDREN OF THE PLACE 41 

membrance or knowledge. I think that this 
usage of my father and mother made a large 
addition to the usefulness and value of their 
household life. It might be greatly to the 
general advantage if in these times it were 
more commonly followed. 

My father was frequently guardian for 
orphaned children, undertaking the charge at 
the request of their parents before their death. 
Among these were some of those whO' were 
adopted into the household. The settlement 
of estates came also occasionally into his 
hands. And being a justice of the peace he 
kept forms of legal papers for various uses, 
and did some conveyancing and other legal 
business after a manner still not uncommon 
in our country towns. But he kept clear of 
all litigation in the courts wherever it was 
possible. He had stoutly the New England 
habit and liking with respect to arbitration. 
He put and advised to be put into every en- 
gagement wherever it could be needed the 
standard provision that in case of any dis- 
agreement "the matter should be submitted 
to three disinterested men, one to be chosen 
by each of the parties and the third man by 



42 A MEMORIAL OF LIFE 

these two," it being- always added, "and their 
decision shall be final.'' 

My father's and mother's house was always 
hospitable, and it had many guests of relatives 
and friends, with frequent sprinklings of min- 
isters and teachers. They went themselves 
also upon occasional expeditions of visiting, 
driving to neighboring" or somewhat distant 
towns, and meaning that family and friendly 
ties should not be lightly broken or lost. 
They gave themselves liberty to attend re- 
ligious gatherings or public observances of 
any sort, within reasonable limits of time and 
distance, and they did not fasten themselves 
wholly to the farm. 

They seldom failed to attend the regular 
fortnightly Thursday afternoon meetings of 
the church. The children as they became 
members of the church, were encouraged to 
attend these week-day meetings. The farm 
work even on busy days was usually planned 
so that it could be left for this purpose. The 
Sunday meetings were almost never missed. 
Three or four times, I can remember, in the 
worst winter snows the teams were stuck in 
the drifts and we turned back of necessity 



THURSDAY AND SUNDAY MEETING 43 

when the shovelling grew hopeless. Possibly 
there may have been one or two such snow 
storms in which we did not set out at all, 
though I remember none. I do not think my 
father ever stayed at home for any rain storm 
whatever until the very latest years of his life. 
In winters the large old double green sleigh 
with four seats and elastic capacities took 
regularly to meeting beside the family, other 
people along the road that had no means of 
conveyance. My father had for many years 
a class of young men in the Sunday-school, 
in which he was greatly interested. They 
v^ent carefully through all the books of 
Moses, as things then were, and if they found 
in them less difficulty than we do they did not 
perhaps miss altogether the instruction which 
the books may contain. 

Speaking in meeting was not what my 
father's thoughts ran on most, but he took 
his share in it faithfully after a sense of duty. 
Neighborhood meetings were held for many 
years in summer on Sunday afternoons or 
evenings at the schoolhouse, and in winter at 
the various dwelling houses in the district. 
My fathec could state his views reasonably 



44 A MEMORIAL OF LIFE 

and clearly, but he was not fluent, nor specially 
effective in public speech, except by what 
weight went with his opinions and character. 
He had, however, a rare capacity to handle 
his tongue by keeping it still whenever that 
was best. He knew with singular wisdom 
when it was best. His avoidance of harmful 
or foolish gossip was total, sheer and stark. 
I have never known anything altogether like 
it. It was so complete that it did not seem 
to be hard for him, though it must often have 
been hard. Things that came to his knowl- 
edge unsuitable or useless to be spoken of 
were not spoken of. If anything were brought 
to him in confidence it was not necessary to 
say diligently and fearfully that it must not 
be told of; it would not be told of of itself 
with him. In repeated instances of curious 
or doubtful personal matters when others of 
us came to know about them it appeared that 
he had known for a long time. Such things 
did not seem tO' make any ferment in his 
mind, or to be trying to creep or ooze out of 
him. It was as if a bullet had dropped into 
a well. With some of his descendants, or 
others, such curious matters have been as 



A GIFT OF SILENCE 45 

corks thrown upon the water. They might 
be diligently held under, but their disposition 
has been to stay upon the top. In the well 
of his mind such corks turned to stone. 

So as to sharp words. My father had 
clear and sharp opinions as to wrong doings, 
and he spoke clearly when he thought it was 
needed, and not often when it was not needed. 
Not many useless and disagreeable remarks 
of his making came back to trouble him, or 
went about doing mischief. Once as we were 
sitting at table a lady visiting with us, asked 
my father if he knew that it was currently 
reported at the village that he had said of 
the man then pastor of the Baptist church 
that he was "a pretty poor pattern of a 
preacher," or words to that effect. My father 
did not seem to be either much informed or 
much agitated as to this subject. After a 
little while the lady went on to say that she 
had not felt clear about the story herself, and 
had gone to the person who was found to have 
started it and had asked her directly if Col. 
Rice had ever told her that the Baptist minis- 
ter was a poor pattern of a preacher, and she 
finally said that she did not know positively 



46 A MEMORIAL OF LIFE 

as Col. Rice had ever told her that exactly 
in so many words, but she knew what he 
thought by his looks while the man was 
preaching. I doubt if my father's looks at 
the meeting house were ever open fairly to 
such an interpretation, but his look at the 
table when the story came to its end was in- 
teresting. 

My father had a good opinion in general 
of his neighbors and of the people of the 
town. He seldom spoke anywhere of any of 
them except in terms of respect and friendli- 
ness. For his near neighbors in particular 
he had a specially warm regard. But they 
were people indeed of whom it was easy to 
think with interest and affection. 

My father held a considerable number of 
offices in the town and elsewhere. He was 
selectman occasionally, and a member of the 
school committee, but for no great length of 
time. He was assessor for a somewhat 
longer time, and county commissioner for I 
think six years, or special commissioner for 
a part of that time, and he was a member 
of the state house of representatives for one 
year. He was also for a time a director in 



BUSINESS AND STRONG DRINK 47 

the Conway bank, and for many years in 
the latter part of his life and until his death 
he was a member of the Board of Trustees 
of Mt. Holyoke Seminary at South Hadley. 

He was a reliable attendant upon political 
caucuses and upon temperance meetings and 
other important public or social gatherings. 
Occasions of business of many sorts took him 
often to the village, and the three miles even- 
ing ride was a common thing with him, as 
it was with us all when we came to the years 
of youth. At his return we could hear the 
soimd of his horse's steps upon the South 
river bridge a third of a mile away. My 
mother, if the hour were late or the night 
were dark, listened for it. We often heard 
it all of us with satisfaction and a certain 
relief. 

He was early interested in the temperance 
reformation, which got vigorously under way 
in New England between the years 1820 
and 1830, in many places nearer to the 
latter date. Alcoholic drinks had been used 
somewhat before in the family, as they were 
in all families, for the entertainment of guests, 
and for the supposed giving of strength to 



48 A MEMORIAL OF LIFE 

men that worked. He discontinued these 
practises and became a total abstainer and a 
steadfast supporter of the temperance cause. 
But a few months before his death he wrote 
a short article for publication in the county 
paper in which he referred to his acquaintance 
with active life in connection with both these 
practises, the moderate use and the total dis- 
use of alcoholic liquors, and he gave his strong- 
testimony to the profit and safety of total 
abstinence. Along with other things he said 
that the men who helped him had done more 
work after the change was made, had broken 
fewer tools, beaten the cattle less and made 
less noise. He spoke from memory and cer- 
tain knowledge. 

My father was a great lover of peace. 
Whenever occasions of difference arose, as 
they sometimes did even in that community, 
he used every effort to prevent or heal divis- 
ions and to restore a good understanding. 
He took time when it was necessary for such 
a matter. I think I should be justified by 
those that knew him in saying that the 
measure of respect and confidence enter- 
tained with regard to his soundness of judg- 



SUNDAY CHORES 49 

ment and integrity of purpose was such as 
to give much weight to his counsels making 
for peace. He stood for justice too as well 
as peace. Where truth and equity were in- 
volved he could be counted on to help main- 
tain them. His temper of mind in this 
respect was such that his disposition to up- 
hold justice did not interfere with his desire 
to preserve good feeling so much as it seems 
to do with some persons. These things too 
in their right nature are not contrary. 

A line of considerate kindness ran through 
all his plans and orderings. On Sunday 
afternoons in winter and for half of the year, 
he did mostly himself alone the chores at the 
barn — a heavy piece of work with the stock 
that was kept — so that the boys and hired 
men might have a pleasanter day of rest. 
There was everywhere with him a blending 
of affection and reason, and the strongest 
markings of his character were in these lines 
of affectionate reasonableness. 

He had respect for the rights of the other 
members of his own family. His authority 
was most complete, but it had its bounds 
which it did not pass, and within its bounds 



50 A MEMORIAL OF LIFE 

it was meant to be reasonable. As to my 
mother, there seemed to be established be- 
tween him and her, as by organic law if not 
by written constitution, certain lines of con- 
current and separate jurisdiction. They both 
observed these boundary lines. My father's 
walking about them was most scrupulous, or 
rather it was so exact and sure that it seemed 
not to be due to an exercise of carefulness 
but to have become in some manner habitual, 
organic and constitutional within himself. 
The internal economies of the household 
were to be ordered by my mother, not by him. 
Toward the end of his life, as we began to 
try somewhat to review and consider it, we 
bethought us concerning his manner at the 
table, upon which we had not before made 
any special remark. No one of us could re- 
member that he had ever spoken one word 
at his meals in the way of complaint or the 
slightest finding of fault concerning anything 
that was set before him, or to suggest that any- 
thing should be or might be in an)rwise differ- 
ent, or that anything should be there that was 
not there. I do not believe that within the 
last forty years at least of their life together 



THE TABLE 51 

any one ever heard him speak one such word. 
If something- that he himself had provided 
and for which he alone was responsible proved 
of poor quality he might apologize or make 
some reference to it, but not otherwise. I 
suppose that if we had heard him finding 
fault with his food we should have been 
astonished somewhat as if he had broken out 
into profanity. And he was not indifferent 
extraordinarily as to what he ate, and did 
not omit to express sometimes his satisfaction 
with the supplies of the table. But here it 
must be admitted that in these respects he 
had no great provocation and no heavy trial 
of patience. 

As to household management in general 
if it ever happened that my father by any 
oversight made suggestions touching upon 
affairs that could appear to lie within my 
mother's province, and if she took notice of 
it as of that nature, he would forthwith make 
an apology that would most likely be formal 
and serious and facetious all together. Thus 
once I remember his instant saying, "Madame, 
I am sorry that I have infringed upon your 
prerogative — yes, prerogative is the word." 



52 A MEMORIAL OF LIFE 

Touches of humor were constantly showing 
themselves in my father's intercourse with all 
the members of his family. This could hardly 
have been expected by those who saw him 
only outside his home, since he made little 
dealing with wit on any public occasions or 
in speaking with strangers. But in his home 
life there was a slight playfulness of temper 
that was often in action. It is not easy to 
tell how it went upon him. He was never 
rough, or brisk. He was far from all levity. 
He was constantly serious or not far from it. 
But a quiet humor ran through all his freer 
hours, as a small brook in summer among 
the grasses and roots of trees. I was several 
times and for many days at the home during 
his last sickness. I told him once of my 
having lost a coat at a state political con- 
vention which I had just attended, and of my 
taking steps to get it again. "No," said he, 
"let it go, let it go, and hereafter keep out of 
such company." He was a strong Republican 
and had no objection really to my being in 
that company, but he wished to bestow upon 
me the admonition. Referring to my pro- 
longed absences from my own home and 



SERIOUSNESS AND HUMOR 53 

people while I was with him he said he hoped 
that my people would not suffer by my being 
away so much, and after a moment^s pause, 
he added, "It may be that they will be 
profited." He had a considerable degree of 
skill in the use of tools, and he had also for 
some reason a poor opinion of my capacities 
in that direction. On one of these days of 
his sickness I remarked of some article I had 
made that "it might do for the time being.*' 
"You do well," said he, "to use that phrase 
'for the time being.' It may be reputable 
viewed in that light." He was inclined to 
the use of lengthened and somewhat formal 
words, a habit which he had gotten I think 
by his much reading of books of devotion 
and particularly from the practical observa- 
tions in Scott's Bible. Upon any inanimate 
or living thing that tried his temper his usual 
form of objurgation was to call it "infamous." 
I made remark to him in the way of pleasantry 
upon this occasional habit, and for some time 
the word was not heard. But a few days 
after some slight article that he tried to 
manage in his weakness had gone with per- 
versity against his purpose, and he looked at 



54 A MEMORIAL OF LIFE 

me and said, "I shall call it infamous with- 
out any qualification whatever." 

With the first years of my father's Chris- 
tian life he became interested in missionary 
work and in other lines of Christian benevo- 
lence. He formed and kept a steady purpose 
of having some share in it. He had a strong 
sense of responsibility to God for the use of 
his possessions. He carried his choices and 
interests, as becomes a Christian man, along 
with the range of his obligations; and his 
purpose of benevolent giving became to him 
a most fortunate power and hope of life. I 
have from his accounts a record of his gifts 
from the time he came into the full posses- 
sion of his farm to the summer of his death, 
a space of forty-seven and one-half years. 
The total sum given by him during this 
period was $4668.95, or an average of 
$98.29 for each year. This does not include 
his contribution to parish expenses of any 
sort. He assisted largely in building a meet- 
ing house, and he gave $100 towards the 
purchase of a parsonage. In all things of this 
nature he took his share, but I have made 
account of nothing except what we should 



BENEVOLENCES ^^ 

reckon as ''benevolent contributions." By 
tar the larger part of what he gave went to 
the regular benevolent societies, as it was 
most wise that it should. His general pur- 
pose, which in the main he kept, was to give 
$100 a year. In prosperous years he went 
beyond. In times of loss or depression in 
business he retrenched his gifts. These losses 
it will be remembered were severe, and in 
one year his contributions fell to $21.00, 
But as he began to recover his standing they 
arose again rapidly as they might, and al- 
w^ays steadily. 

I think these figures are in many ways in- 
structive. This is the example of a prudent 
man in a moderate condition in life. He 
was a man who held things in fair balance, 
in a fashion somewhat unusual, and his con- 
clusion and practise have the more value on 
that account. He was not careless about 
property. He knew its worth as to effective- 
ness in life. He was thrifty fairly as to busi- 
ness. It was not especially easy for him to 
part with money. He lived plainly, not poorly. 
He spent with carefulness in all matters of 
light personal gratification for himself or his 



56 A MEMORIAL OF LIFE 

family, but he did not cut off absolutely all 
such expenditures. He gave I think in a 
reasonable and practicable manner and 
measure. There may be here and there a 
person who gives too freely and impoverishes 
or greatly pinches himself or his family. 
Such persons are not common. There are 
others far more numerous, it may be feared, 
who cast off the obligations and pleasures of 
Christian charity and greatly pinch their souls. 
I think my father took the even line of a» 
wise, practical Christian man. And more 
nearly than almost any one else I have ever 
known he seems to me to have seen his 
duties and opportunities and to have chosen 
his hopes in the light of both worlds. I do 
not think he gave too much. If he had set 
his heart upon his possessions, if he had 
hoarded up sordidly all he gave away, if he 
had put it at interest at first or invested it 
and not lost it, as perhaps he might, it would 
have amounted in the long years to a sum 
larger than what he did in fact ever possess. 
He would have left behind when he died a 
property twice as large as he did leave, but 
he would have died himself a poorer man. 



WISDOM AND BENEVOLENCE 57 

As he laid out his life he died having some 
possessions. He had laid up safely whatever 
value belonged to his Christian gifts in the 
sight of God. And his habit of placing his 
own business in some alliance of thought 
with God tempered for him the cares of life 
and lifted off their wear and worriment. I 
think it lengthened his days. I am sure it 
made them easier and brighter. 

So the long swift years went on and 
passed. In his 86th year my father was still 
comparatively vigorous. He had rheumatic 
lameness, and his walk was not erect as in 
former years, but his eye was clear, and his 
ear not heavy. His hair was only of an iron 
gray. His face showed no marks of extreme 
age. I think a stranger sitting and convers- 
ing with him would have supposed him 
younger by fifteen years. And his mental 
powers had scarcely in the very least abated. 
In the spring of 1880 he drove twenty miles 
to Hawley mountain upon business and re- 
turned in one day. But some unusual pres- 
sure of occupation and concern connected 
with the management of his farm came at that 
time upon him. In April of this year he was 



58 A MEMORIAL OF LIFE 

taken with a serious illness, by the developing 
of a disease of which there had been some 
slight indication for many years. Except for 
a brief rally after the first attack, he grew 
continually more weak through the three 
months that followed. He was able for the 
most of the time to be about the house, and 
he was often out of doors. But he had also 
many seasons of severe pain, with distress 
from difficulty of breathing. And he was 
w^eary with the loss of sleep, and with in- 
ability to sleep. He was patient and trustful. 
It was pleasant for us his children that we 
were able to be much with him. He held his 
fatherly place, his full headship, his dignity, 
his kindly and steadfast reasonableness of 
Christian temper. The certain view of the 
approaching end increased, befittingly, the 
seriousness of a life always serious. But it 
did not cast any gloom upon him. He was 
not free from natural apprehensions, but he 
was not afraid to die. "I ought to be will- 
ing," he said, "to die by the faith I have lived 
by." He breathed what he might of the open 
air, and looked what he could upon the 
familiar fields and hills. In the wakeful and 



THE CLOSING WEEKS 59 

often painful hours of the early morning, 
before the sun had risen, he heard the songs 
of the multitudes of birds from the tops of 
the maple trees. He sat often before the 
southern kitchen door from which across the 
valley my mother's early home was in sight. 
Here was his last look out upon the earth, in 
the places he had known so well. Sitting here 
on the afternoon of Saturday, July loth, he 
was seized with sudden weakness and distress 
and was assisted to his bed, from which he did 
not rise. 

As the evening came on he wished the 
family called together for prayer. He leaned 
upon his arm, supported by one of his 
daughters. He prayed in a portion of his 
prayer respecting himself, speaking in the first 
person, as we had never heard him before. 
It was his personal and household prayer, both 
together. In each part he began with giving 
thanks. He described himself, speaking be- 
fore God, as "thine unworthy servant about 
to die." His prayer was at first concerning 
the things of the Christian salvation, as it 
would have been on any day of his life. He 
gave thanks for the word of God, for the pro- 



6o A MEMORIAL OF LIFE 

vision for the pardon of sins and the offers of 
the gospel. He prayed that we might all ac- 
cept it; that our hearts might be renewed and 
that we might be able to lead Christian lives. 
Then referring to himself he prayed that his 
soul might be renewed and his sins forgiven, 
that he might not be deceived as to his hopes, 
and that the Lord would take him to be 
with his redeemed children. Then when half 
the prayer was passed and we feared he 
might not have strength to finish, he prayed 
for his family and friends. He first gave 
thanks. He thanked God for his loving 
wife, with whom, he said, "I have lived so 
long and with whom I hope to be speedily 
reunited." Then he gave thanks for his 
''affectionate children," and for his '*kind 
friends and neighbors." Then he made 
petition for each of these in order, as he had 
given thanks. He prayed for his wife, and 
for his children, mentioning his son and his 
daughters, praying "that grace might be given 
them in the ordering of their households." 
Then he prayed for the grandchildren, for 
whom there had been a fear that he might not 
remember them distinctively. He prayed that 



THE LAST HOUSEHOLD PRAYER 6i 

God might bless them all, and that they might 
*'all be gathered into the Christian fold." 
Then he prayed in terms of affection for his 
kind friends and neighbors, and for all that 
had lived upon the place. And he closed with 
the prayer that we might all be brought to- 
gether in heaven. 

Then he called me by name, and asked me 
to pray. I replied with the answer that was 
in all our thoughts, that he had prayed for us 
all and for all that could be prayed for. But 
he said, "Pray, a brief prayer, brief." I 
offered what prayer I might and he said 
*'amen" at the close. 

These were almost his last conscious acts, 
his prayer, his command to his son to pray. 
He reviewed his life, with thankfulness and a 
humble trust; he laid down his family head- 
ship, and committed his soul to his Saviour 
and his God. 

With the following morning he was but 
partly awake. He remained for three or four 
days, but scarcely in life. And he passed from 
us on the early morning of Thursday, July 
15th. 

The funeral was upon the next day, the 



62 A MEMORIAL OF LIFE 

86th anniversary of his birth. The service 
was conducted by the esteemed pastor of the 
church. His children and many neighbors and 
friends were there. There were sung the 
hymns : 

"Through every age, eternal God." 
"There is a land of pure delight." 
"Why do we mourn departing friends?" 

And he was laid in the ancient burial place, 
with his grave in the line of the graves of two 
generations before him. 

The soft rains fell soon; and the summer 
sun smiled upon the fields that seemed still to 
be his. We were not left without remaining 
thankfulness and faith. Yet it scarcely seemed 
to us fitting that this course of nature should 
continue onward upon these lands — and they 
no longer his. 

Our mother continued for nine years with 
us. She was most submissive and patient and 
trustful. She gave up largely the cares and 
directions respecting the household which she 
had kept for many years so fully, and had 
before only in part surrendered. Yet she wel- 
comed her children and her children's children 



OUR MOTHER 63 

in their visits to her home with continuing 
interest and affection and with sprightliness 
of mind. She still had care when they left 
that something from the farm or house should 
be taken with them. But her thoughts were 
much upon the past, and the future. Her 
memory was filled with hymns and passages 
of poetry learned in her childhood and youth, 
portions of which she often quoted upon ap- 
propriate occasions — and she waited in her 
lot. 

Always as we left her, we thought we might 
not see her again. At my last visit, as I came 
away I said, as I was accustomed to do, "The 
Lord be with you, mother." And she said, 
"good bye," calling me by name, "you will 
try to do your duty, won't you." These were 
her last words to me. On the next day which 
was the Sabbath she sat at the table and gave 
thanks to God at the head of her household. 
In the afternoon, taken probably by some 
sudden faintness, she fell upon the floor, where 
she had long walked in strength. And she 
did not recover from the injury and the shock. 
She died two days after, Aug. 6th, 1889. We 
made for her another in the line of graves, 



64 A MEMORIAL OF LIFE 

and sang or read in part the same Christian 
hymns. And the long Hfe the two had begun 
there in the home together was ended. 

This is the earthly end. This is the day of 
man, — the songs of the birds as the dawn be- 
gins, the morning freshness, the mid-day life, 
the lengthening shadows, the setting sun. 

This is not the end. I do not speak now 
further for a single family, but for all the 
households of the Christian faith. Our friends 
that have gone from us are in heaven. Their 
friends were gathered there before them. 
They are not dead. Their bodies only rest 
for a time in the soil of the earth, whose dust 
is sacred. Their lives are within the power of 
God. Their souls, with all their rational 
affections, have survived and are now im- 
mortal. The end of their faith has not been 
lost. The faith of God with them has not been 
broken. They have fulfilled and reached the 
purposes they valued most and chose. They 
have entered the pure inheritance of the chil- 
dren of God. They serve and behold the Lord 
whose righteousness here they began in part 
to copy, and on whose power and grace they 
wholly rested. 



REMEMBRANCE AND HOPE 65 

It belongs to us here to be followers of 
their faith, their humility and their patient 
carefulness. We need not give way to fear. 
Our lives will be sustained of God, and our 
hopes fulfilled with him. 



A Song: of the Earth 

Thine earth, O God, thy children love. 
Its summer rains, its silent trees. 

The gold and softening blue above, 
Tlie midday warmth, the evening breeze. 

Here are the homes our childhood knew, 
Our mothers' sheltering household fires, 

The fields where grains and grasses grew, 
The ways long trodden by our sires. 

Its fairest thoughts their end reveal, 
Each grateful hour the past recalls. 

On all its lights the shadows steal, 
With dawn of day the twilight falls. 

We do not yield our souls to fear, 
With care we catch a Father's voice, 

The distant song of hope we hear. 
The path of faith we take of choice. 

We hold the word of promise given 
Our life shall have a second birth, 

Beneath a freshly kindling heaven 
Upon the new abiding earth. 



^t giraktlgan |P«ss 

364-372 Congress St. 

boston, mass.