Section 11

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

D. O. PARKER.

Wednesday, May 12, 1897


THE DEACON AND HIS WIFE

The sober Deacon and his faithful wife,
Whose names adorned a good and useful life,
Who left their names deep graven on this place,
In works of love and generous deeds of grace.
Who toiled from love to God and not for fame,
I need not record their cherished name;
And yet my filial pencil may portray,
Some fading scenes ere all have passed away,
Still lingering round the home they reared,
In loving hearts by kindred yet revered.

Between the meadow and the hill,
Where dreams of childhood linger still,
And old and hollowed is the ground,
With fields and orchards richly crowned,
There stands with grandeur gray with age,
An old ancestral hermitage.

The ancient trees in gorgeous pride,
Lift their great branches high and wide,
‘Neath which the boys have grown to men,
to age of three score years and ten;
old patriarchal charms are there,
and sacred sweetness fills the air.

Yet while I view this old retreat,
I taste the bitter with the sweet,
For wasting Time with cruel hand,
In passing through the peaceful land,
Where love of home is all aglow,
Has killed the joys of long ago.

Of those around the altar there,
Who kneeled at morn and evening prayer,
In worship round the mercy seat,
A family circle then complete,
A part have reached the heavenly state,
The rest draw near the golden gate.

Within, without, around, how strange,
"The dear dead past!" Oh what a change!
Not here, – the patriarchal head,
In serving with the sainted dead;
And she who lived to serve and love,
Is with the resting ones above.

The Gilead Balm before the door,
And poplars tall, are seen no more;
And from the well the sweep is gone,
With which refreshing drinks were drawn;
The barns from across the road have fled,
The most familiar scenes are dead.

The lilacs and sumac trees,
That scented every passing breeze,
The honeysuckle by the door,
With cups of sweetness running o’er,
And roses, damask, white and red,
No more their fragrant incense shed.

The morning glory and sweet peas,
All buzzing with the busy bees;
The hollyhocks in queenly pride,
The violets nestling by their side;
The bachelor buttons and the pinks,
Are all its sad, and broken links.

A mother ‘mong her garden flowers.
Improving Sunday’s early hours,
Selecting roses for bouquets,
To please her boys on Sabbath days;
Through memory’s sad and flickering gleams,
Is only seen in passing dreams.

A father at the pasture gate,
With box of oats a calling Kate;
The wagon with its double seat,
The shining shoes for little feet,
And Neptune barking at the door;
Ah me! They’re gone forever more!

And yet no spot on earth so dear,
Save that were mourners shed the tear,
Beside the Cypress, or the stone,
That marks the slumber of their own,
When to the sober past they turn,
And stir the dust in memory’s urn.

Notes: - Mr. Abel Parker was from English ancestry. Early in the 16th century three brothers emigrated to New England. In 1635, fifteen years after the landing of the Pilgrims at Plymouth, Mass., one of the brothers from whom the celebrated Boston divine – Theodore Parker came, is found settled in Reading, Mass., Theodore Parker Esq., now living in Worcester, Mass., and who has published the genealogy of his branch of the family, has written me that the poet, Nathaniel Parker Willis’ ancestry was from Reading, and this accounts for his given name, and the same name – Nathaniel – being perpetuated as a family name in this province. Abel Parker was the son of Wm. Parker and Mary Benjamin of Aylesford. Wm. Parker was the son of Major Nathaniel Parker and Miss Hardy of Nictaux. Nathaniel was the son of Wm. Parker and Mary D. Maynard of Shrewsbury, Mass.; and here again we have a reason for the names Maynard Freeman, M. P. Wheelock and others who have mixed into the family. Major Parker, according to Ward’s history of Shrewsbury, was baptized by sprinkling in his infancy, March 20, 1743. In June, 1779, he and his wife rode on horseback from their home in Nictaux to Wolfville, about forty miles, and on the 12th of June, 1779, were baptized in the Gaspereau River, and received into the Horton Baptist Church. When about seventeen years of age he left his home in Shrewsbury and served as a volunteer, and was with Wolfe at the taking of Quebec. At the close of the war he came to N. S. and settled on the property awarded him for his services, near the Nictaux meeting house, where some of his descendants yet live. A short extract from rather a quaint letter written to me by his son 39 years ago may be of interest: -

"If I should say what I know about this man it would fill a volume. I will state a few things that I know of his support of the gospel. In a reformation when there were few to feed the people, and the scattered people came a great way to meeting, and the family provisions became short, he had a very fine fat ox which he intended for market, which he killed and fed out to the people. On a similar reformation several years after, he fed so many that his meat began to get short and having nothing fat to kill, he took the forwardest cow he had and fed her on corn till she was fat for beef and fed her out to the people. I mention these as some of his acts toward the gospel. The Lord has blessed his posterity and has raised up sixteen ministers to preach the gospel out of his family. I am now the eldest of it, in my 83rd year, and in good health. NATHANIEL PARKER.

"Nictaux, August 30th, 1858."

The notes which naturally belong here were given in the first section.


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