Rosella’s

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Golden Anniversary

 

Miss Rosella Rice of Perrysville was then introduced by Mrs. Glessner, who with a clear voice and distinct enunciation, read a paper, giving many reminiscences in the history of the Andrews and Rice families and those of early settlers of that portion of Richland County, when no palaces or mansard roofs were known, and log cabins, privations and hard work were the concominants of a pioneers life. This highly interesting and amusing original paper is as follows:

The following is in a newspaper article found in a scrapbook belonging to Thomas B. Andrews of Worthington Township, Richland County, Ohio. The occasion was the 50th anniversary in January 1879 of Thomas and Marilla (Pollard) Andrews. From other clippings, we conclude that Rosella was a frequent guest at anniversary and birthday parties, but this is the only recording of one of her “addresses” that we have found. It reads very much like her magazine stories and was very likely the one referenced in the 1879 article, “Fading Footprints, or the Lowly Lives of Long Ago, No. 3” that appeared in Arthur’s Home Magazine. A note on the page where the article was pasted said we have John Y. Glessner, editor of the Mansfield Shield and Banner, to thank for recording Rosella’s talk in its entirety…

THOMAS B. & MARILLA (POLLARD)ANDREWS

We said to our father one snowy, cold day last week, “What a rare and touching event a Golden Anniversary is. One can hardly realize the lapse of time; the years and years of summers and winters of joys and sorrows, of changes that work so much of good and ill. What a sad and solemn thing a Golden Anniversary is.

 

“Yes, yes,” was the reply; “It seems only yesterday to me since Squire Andrews’ father moved to Richland County with his family. We lived in the cabin then,” he continued. “I just don’t remember the year but it was before my father died  in 1821 and before my mother married old Judge Coulter in 1825. Tommy was a likely boy, about 16 years of age. They were a Methodist family and so were we and that was how they came to stop at our cabin. People of this denomination in those early days just drew towards each other naturally they were kindred as of one blood. They saw a great deal of enjoyment.

 

“One incident I shall always remember. Old Mr. Andrews picked up the torn leaf of a shattered music book and sang aloud the piece which was new to all of us, and I never forgot it to this day. It was a very sweet tune.”

 

Then we said can you remember the words, father? Hum it over; let’s see how it goes. He thought a minute, his eye brightened, he leaned back, looking upward meditatively and said: “The name of the tune was called Lena,” and he sang from memory one verse:

 

See the Lord of glory dying

See Him gasping, see Him crying,

    See His burdened body heave;

Look ye sinners, you that hung Him;

Look how deep your wounds have stung Him

    Dying sinner! Look and live.

 

(Listen to this hymn HERE on www.reformedpraise.org.)

As the sound of the mournful pleading song died away, we could not help thinking that perhaps in the long ago when that verse found a lodgment in the heart of the wild young man, it had not been in vain, had not been fruitless; and that the Lord had blessed the little handful of good seed sown by the traveler in the cabin home at the wayside.

 

And after this old-time reminiscence, we began to think of our own , for we have one too. We knew nothing about the Andrews family, only as we read in the Shield and Banner occasionally such locals as “our sterling Democratic friend, T.B. Andrews, Esq., of Worthington Township, will please accept our thanks for a basket of the finest peaches of the season;” or, “We are laid under fasting obligations to that prince of Democrats, Hon. T.B. Andrews, Esq., of Worthington Township, for a basket of choice French potatoes, the la belle violettes; or thanks for a pair of dressed chickens; or “we are pleased to note that Worthington Township, the Gibralter of Richland County, at the late election gave our old friend Andrews over two thousand majority for justice of the peace.” Only this a nothing more, items that the little girl read as she sat and rocked the cradle, knowing nothing of the world beyond the post office and the school house and the one good weekly newspaper.

 

But one time long ago, a training day came round. That general holiday for men and boys, the good time when they put on their best clothes and had an early breakfast so as to get a very early start and pack all the joy they could into the time that intervened between dawn and twilight

 

Our mother was lately deceased and our father lay sick unto death, but those three little brothers were as eager to be off to witness general muster with its charm of martial music as were patriots to rush to their county’s defense in the days of the revolution.

 

We were the elder sister, and the responsibilities of the mother fell upon us. We helped the little lads to wash and dress, all the while indulging in sage advice, and when they started we gave them two or three cents apiece, saying, “Now boys try and have good times, but don’t make hogs of yourselves, just because you have a little money.”

 

Toward noon two of the boys came home, their eyes red with weeping and in reply to hurried questions as to where’s the baby, they told their pitiful story. While the fife played Yankee Doodle and the drums went rumpty dumpty dump, and the men marched, and the horses pranced; oh, you never saw the like; and me and Rube was lookin’ at them, and Ikey he --  and Ikey he --. When we gathered the story between their sobs, we learned that the baby boy, reckless of danger, had ran into the way, right under the very feet of the fiery horse on which was mounted the gallant young Adjutant, Mr. Andrews. The glancing hoof had cut the child’s forehead slightly, and the tender-hearted mothers of the village had gathered the little limp form to their bosoms and administered camphor and comfort and cool quiet bed where he could lie and recover from his fright.

 

In the afternoon he was brought home, and we made as much ado over him as though he was a battle-scarred veteran soldier returned from the wars. He was our hero; he’d had an adventure; and for three years afterward we never tired of hearing the little man related all the particulars about the glorious muster day, how grand was the stirring music of the shrill fife and rattling drum, of the men in clean clothes and the officers in chapeau and waving plumes and glittering epaulettes and of the magnificent horse, gaily caparisoned that stepped to the music, and pranced and curvetted and made itself and its rider the admiration of the gaping crowd.

 

Toward evening the Adjutant called at our house to make apologies for the accident. When he entered the sick room, his step was soft and his voice was low. There was a shadow on his face, for his regrets were painful. He was tall and straight as a mountain pine, and he looked every inch a gentleman. The neat fitting uniform was very becoming indeed, and we wish on this important occasion of his Golden Wedding that the sons and daughters and grandchildren could see the picture of him that hangs on our memory’s wall, the very picture that impressed itself on our mind as the modest, graceful adieu to the shy little maiden. But that is our picture and no word-painting can copy it faithfully, and though it is thirty-seven years old, it is as bright and as distinct as if fresh from the pencil of the artist, the creation of yesterday.

 

What a multitude of thoughts crowd into our minds on the occasion of the Fiftieth Anniversary – this Golden Wedding! What a long walk together for the Buckeye  boy and the Green Mountain girl! How strange that they, born so far apart should providentially drift nearer and nearer; until finally their hearts beat in unison, and their hands clasped together – but the poet sang truthfully of fate, when he said:

 

Two may be born the whole wide-world apart

And speak in different tongues and have no thought

Each of the other’s being and no heed,

And these o’er unknown seas to unknown lands,

Shall cross, escaping wreck, defying death;

And all unconsciously shape every act,

And bind each wandering step to this one and –

That one day, out of the darkness they shall meet,

And read life’s meaning in each other’s eyes.”

(“Fate” by Susan Marr Spalding)

 

Time works wonders; change is written on all things, the manners and customs of years ago are nearly all different, some better, some worse. But one of the best and the grandest of the traits of the characters of a half century agone we witness today, that of hospitality, unstinted, heaped up, good measure and running over hospitality. It swings us back to the days of our earliest recollections when our doors swing wide open to every body. Their beggars were not known, we called them poor folks; tramps, such as we bar our gates upon now, we hailed their coming with delight then, and we treated them to the best the house afforded, lodged them in the “curtained bed,” provided a lunch for their journey and pitied them as “unfortunate creeturs” instead of vagabonds.

 

Today’s example is a vivid reminder of the long ago, the days of unselfish prodigallity, when people grew younger as they grew older, when the voice of cheer was a daily greeting; when it did not seem that the blessed words of the scripture were truly exemplified, “Bear ye one another’s burdens and so fulfill the law of Christ.”

 

This olden time hospitality so cordially tendered reminds 9f an incident, related to us by a very ancient man, a minister of the gospel, one of the glorious old saints in the Methodist Church who pushed ahead into the frontier settlements without pay, lodging wherever darkness overtook him and with the starry drapery of the heavens only to close about him, as he lay down to dreams and to slumber.

 

He had stopped at a poor 12x14 cabin to stay all night and while outdoors he overheard a rosy sixteen years old girl say to her mother: “Mam, where’ll the preacher sleep, do ye spose?” and the mother, a bustling, hospitable, heartsome little soul, chirruped out like a bird: “Sleep? Why he’ll sleep in with Tom an’ Jake an’ you an’ Bet, or else in with Nate an’ Dick an’ me an’ dad an’ the twins.”

 

We think it was Madam DeStael who dreaded old age and who shrank from wearing the sweet white crown that the years of one’s life finally let’s down so softly upon the placid brow. She longed to grown old gracefully. Ah me! The wedded pair of a half century agone find it a joy to feel the lapsing years calming down their spirits, to drop the roses of the spring and regal blooms of the mid summer and to enter into the peace of the autumn, its calm and its rest.

 

They have gained that “better knowledge that maketh wise unto eternal life.” What more have they to regret? For what should they mourn?

 

    “Is it an evil to be drawing near

The time that we shall know as we are known?

    Is it an evil that the sky grows clear

That sunset light upon our path is thrown,

That truth grows fairer, that temptations cease,

And that we see afar a path that leads to peace?

(“The Autumn of Life,” author unknown)

 

They have learned that faith in God disarms sorrow of its sting, that grief is but a joy misunderstood, that divine help was always equal to their need and that sufficient for each burden came the strength for the day. They have been blest in a long well spent life, and they must acknowledge that they have had ample time in which to become well acquainted.

 

The simple words of a poet come to us as in benediction –

If counting o’er the vanished years

    That mark thy life’s brief span,

Thou findest they have brought to thee

    True love for God and man,

          Then let thy heart be glad.

 

If counting o’er the treasures gone

    Thou findest yet a store

Of human love as strong and true

     As in the days of yore,

         Then let thy heart be glad.

 

Should thoughts of failure in the past

    Bring thee a saddened mood,

Then look within, and if there dwells

    A stronger love for good –

        Then let thy heart be glad.

 

If still the blessed power be thine

    Another’s heart to cheer –

If thou can stand with heart or hand

    The Master’s service here –

        The let thy heart be glad.

 

And it, in these thine autumn hours,

    Thou still canst look above,

And trust thyself and all thy cares

    With Him whose name is love,

        Then let thy heart be glad.

 

(M.H. Rowland)

© 2011 Peggy Mershon                                                                                     Contact at marwelmer@aol.com