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Section 10

Its People and Institutions as I knew them about Sixty Years ago.


Wednesday, May 5, 1897

Asa Beckwith.

Here Asa Beckwith was a bold and enterprising man,
He sought to make his fortune by a new projected plan;
His enterprise was this, to make his hens lay golden eggs,
By giving them a wide, but guarded use of wings and legs.
To bring about and realize this enterprising scheme,
And demonstrate to all this was no idle dreamer’s dream,
Old slabs he hauled in heaps for days, and weeks from distant mills,
Then round his acres wide he stood them up like corn in drills;
And here his flocks in freedom sweet from stones and dread alarm,
Did cackle, scratch and crow and never did his neighbor’s harm;
And that was all, though richly fed and watched with patient care,
Alas, for him! The golden eggs he dreamed were never there.
And then he sought a better home, but one he never found;
And while abroad he lived an honest worker of the ground,
So central here, so rich his wide domain of fertile land,
He might have lived in lordly ease and died a wealthy man.

Dr. Kerr Beckwith.

His brother Kerr forsook the family farm and chose the healing art,
He wore fine clothes and had a gentle maiden’s heart;
When for a nervous, suffering, howling, growling, frenzied youth,
He would relieve the pain by taking out a naughty tooth,
Then in his sympathy I have heard his neighbor’s loud assert,
He’d take the turnkey off and ask the patient, "does it hurt?"
‘Twas meant for him a slur, but was indeed a compliment,
One which no honest, earnest prudent doctor would resent;
For doctors with their nerves of steel should have a woman’s heart,
For pity softens pain and helps alleviate the smart.
He was the first of the great doctor harvest gathered here;
A harvest like the orchard fields, enlarging every year.
A useful life he lived "in practice" on the southern shore,
And toiled with windmills there to supersede the sail and oar,
And on the water made his little model boat to ride,
The genius of his scheme to prove against the wind and tide.

Notes. – Mr. Asa Beckwith’s home was nearly opposite the Baptist parsonage. He owned the land on which a large part of the village is built west of Commercial St. His poultry yard which was about opposite his house in the eyes of a child was then a great enterprise; it however proved a failure.

His brother Kerr was for many years an esteemed doctor in Lockeport and had great faith in wind as a motive power and claimed much for a windmill of his own construction. He actually propelled a small boat with a windmill.

Before passing on to the Institutions of the Long Ago, I will give as representing the "Deacon" the lines revised with additions which have already imperfectly appeared in print, entitled "The Old Homestead." Rev. Wm. Chipman and wife, though not residents of Berwick, were so closely associated with all its social, educational and religious interests, that they will be given a liberal place in these Reminiscences.

There were others in the vicinity of Berwick but the most I remember of them is their names. Andrew Woodworth in the west, Holmes Morton on the old Valley road, Solomon Crocker and Benjamin Killam on Crocker’s lane and Wm. Woodworth across the river at the end of Woodworth lane.