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Section 3

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

D. O. Parker

March 17th, 1897


I call the roll of Long Ago: the people that I knew,
When here a child I ran about as other children do,
I call for David Shaw and for his pious faithful wife;
The long departed years respond, “They’ve
Entered into life.”-
I did essay the roll to call,
But found one answer answers all;
To get away from such a plight,
Their short biographics I’ll write.


Beyond the willows in the east,
A Christian man almost a priest,
With conscious goodness in his breast,
Who held it as a sin to jest,
To smile or laugh or tell a tale;
There lived the blacksmith of the Vale.
We older ones recall the fields and bogs of
Newcomb Bent;
T’was there in sport to gather berries all the
Children went,
And in his friendly orchard knew the well
Remembered place,
To find the “Red-streak,” ripe and blushing
With its rosy face.
He mended pots with broken bales,
The wedges made for splitting rails.
The pot-hook and the chimney cranes,
Of which perhaps you’ve seen remains;
And hinges for the great barn doors,
That opened to the threshing floors,
The poker, shovel, and the tongs,
And stable forks with giant prongs;
He forged the farmer’s hoe and spade,
And horses shod, and axes made;
And other things a double score,
Imported now and kept in store.

Notes. – Mr. Shaw was a son of Captain Moses Shaw, who was a U. E. Loyalist who came to Annapolis at the close of the American Revolution. With his wife and ten children, in 1812 or 1813, he moved from the Phinney Mountain Annapolis Co. to the farm in Berwick where his grand son Henry now lives, into a small log house, then completely shut in by the forest. His offspring are numerous and prosperous now numbering about 224. Three of his grandsons are Baptist ministers and one grand-daughter is the wife of Rev. Alfred Chipman, who was one of the first teachers of Acadia Seminary; another grand-daughter has been for many years a missionary in China, and one of the grandsons was several years a missionary in India. A score of the great-grand children have been enrolled as teachers, some of whom are filling important educational stations. I remember his son Sidney as a very large man with a very large heart, and how when he “said grace,” bowed his high head almost to the table. In his boyhood his father sent him to a mill in Wilmot with a grist; and when returning he fell in with Mr. Preston, a very black and eloquent colored Baptist preacher, and invited him to accompany him home. When they arrived there, the family had all retired for the night. Sidney told his mother that a colored man had come home with him and wanted his supper. The response was, “If you have brought a nigger home, you may look after him yourself.” Mr. Preston overheard the answer, and as shrewd as he was eloquent, at once he began singing with melting sweetness, one of the old time revival hymns. That was enough, her heart relented, and she arose, and with gladness ministered to his appetite, with genuine old fashioned hospitality. The arrival in the wilderness neighborhood, in those early days, of such a man, was a great event, and created quite a sensation. Word was circulated the next day that he would preach at Mr. Shaw’s in the evening. He remained in the valley for several weeks preaching from house to house and a goodly number experienced religion and were baptised by Father Manning of Canard. They were received into the First Cornwallis Church and with others were dismissed from that Church on the 9th of Jan. 1828 and organized into what is now the Berwick Baptist Church. It is not my purpose to write the history of families. I am pleased to enlarge a little in this case; much more might be given. My pleasure is to give very short sketches of the Patriarchs as I knew them.

Mr. Bent lived in a small one story cottage, gray with age, with only board partitions, and whitewashed ceilings, near Mr. Almon Morse’s. The house was built by Mr. Congdon, the former owner. Mr. Bent’s shop to which people came from all the valley around was a few rods to the east of his house. He sold the property to John Spurr, and he again sold it to James and John Morse. James was a shoemaker and John a farmer. They went to considerable outlay in putting in vats near the brook beyond, with the intention of running a tannery, but soon abandoned that business, and John retired, subsequently, from the joint ownership. There were patient and long suffering women in those early days. The first three proprietors of this property, lived and reared families there without a well. The water for domestic purposes was brought by weary women and tender children from the brook, some distance beyond. My father watered his horses at this brook, and I remember when on this errand at an early hour in the morning of hearing Mr. Bent praying in his barn as I passed it. He was a good man, and devout Methodist, and his family, I think, were then the only ones in Berwick.