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Section 12

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


Wednesday, May 19, 1897


Forgive the weakness which I show,
In lingering round the long ago;
On olden scenes I love to dwell,
And ere too late their stories tell.

It is a conscious bliss to know,
Amid the cares of Long Ago,
My sainted mother loved the flowers,
That came with smiles from Eden’s garden.

Encircled by the growing woods,
She courted in her sweetest moods
Dame Nature, clothed in a wealth of flowers,
Who smiling blessed her weary hours.

So where the balmy winds yet blow,
Come let us to her garden go,
And note the flowers in review;
That here in sweetness richly grew.

Around her windows seven by nine,
The Honeysuckles loved to twine,
And from full cups of nectar there,
Poured out their sweetness everywhere.

The Roses by the door and gate,
With otto wealth of queenly state,
In robes of damask, blush and white,
Inspired praise and gave delight.

The Hollyhocks and Lilac tree,
Soft whispering in the balmy breeze,
With Pinks and Violets at their feet,
Make her loved home our glad retreat.

Sweet Balm, Sweet Clove and Sweet Peas,
The home of hummingbirds and bees,
Make fragrance and their sweets to flow,
And sweetened many cups of woe.

The Marigold with golden frills,
Peony and the daffodils,
In all their gaudy robes arrayed,
To their queenly tribute paid.

The Live-for-ever fresh and green,
In simple beauty here was seen;
And severed from the parent shoot,
Immortal grows without a root.

The Ribbon-grass of many hues,
The playful children did amuse;
In all the wealth of nature dyed,
It is their playful sport and pride.

In summer, here, the Snow-Balls grow,
With petals like the flakes of snow;
And Southern wood with fragrant breath,
That sweetest breathes embalmed in death.

The Bachelor Buttons, much admired,
And you Sweet Williams, there retired,
Nasturtions on their pungent beds,
With Lilies, bowed their modest heads.

The Poppies on their slender stems,
With thousand tints of blooming gems,
When all their modest charms have fled,
Still hold erect their drowsy head.

The Star of Bethlehem divine,
And Musk and Mint and Columbine,
The Blue bells with their bells of blue,
Here in her garden richly grew.

And last of all – I most forget –
The little sweet Forget-me-not.
And now we’re seen you all, good-bye;
And may your off offspring never die.


O yes, and I remember well,
The flowers pinned to my lapel,
By her dear hand long gone to rest,
Herself a Rose on Jesus’ breast.

‘Twas when I went to Sunday school,
a child, to learn the golden rule;
with mother love she fixed them there,
and followed then with faith and prayer.

Notes: - Surrounded as we are with the pleasures and luxuries of the present, we too little realize the privations and hardships experienced by our ancestors in their pioneering days. And we must not suppose that they were insensible to the emotions of ease and refinements peculiar to this luxurious age. Our comfort and refinements are the purchase of their weary and anxious years. While I may not enter the old homes and hearts of others, a few words about her I know best may be given as a sample picture of the other mothers who have left their impression on Berwick. When in her seventh year she rode behind her father on horse-back from her home in Nictaux to two or three miles below Bridgetown to attend a boarding school. The mother accompanied them on horse-back carrying the child’s clothes on the horn of the side saddle. Her grand parents Abner Morse and Ann Church came to Nova Scotia from Massachusetts in the sloop "Charming Molly" in 1760. Her mothers maiden name was Jane Woodbury from Haverhill, Mass. She had an uncle and sister in Nova Scotia and came on a visit intending to return after a year. In the meantime she married Daniel Morse, and after seven or eight years returned to her old home on a visit. Not till she reached the old homestead in Haverhill did she learn, with an aching heart, that her parents had moved two hundred miles away to Onion River in Vermont. It was two hundred miles of wilderness with no carriage road or public conveyance. Her feelings may be imagined by absent daughters, but can never be told. Had she not been most earnestly dissuaded by her friends she would have undertaken that perilous journey on horse back. She returned to her family and never saw her parents afterwards. Mrs. Parker had a passion for flowers. In the early days with the woods all around, and the thousand cares of the household pressing on every side, she found rest and recreation in the care of her well cultivated garden and household flowers. And now there is a fragrant sweetness in the memories of the flowers that graced the garden in front of the "old homestead." The hospitality of her home knew no limit. It was before the advent of railroads or even stage coach through Berwick that the old homestead was widely known as a free house of entertainment for all comers. I have heard what a trying ordeal it was to her pride, with one child in her arms and another in the cradle, in the early days here in the wilderness, with uncarpeted floors and unfinished rooms, and scant furniture, to entertain some of her guests. Among these were the Hardings and Mannings and Dimocks, Crawley and Pryor, Attorney General Johnston and many others of their contemporaries in religion and politics. But in the more affluent days of old age she had her reward. On her death bed she said, "The Lord has been good to me. He has repaied me many fold. The educating influence of these guests on my family has done more for it than all the schools of the land could possibly do." She was born in 1797, just one hundred years ago, and died Nov 4th, 1878 when she joined the assembly of the redeemed with her companion who had departed ten years before.