Search billions of records on

Section 4

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


March 24th, 1897


And here lived Ebbe Congdon ere he sold and move away,
Where teachers used to send the boys to get the time of day;
To get his axe to chop the logs to blaze the winter fire,
To warm the boys and girls, and cool the teacher’s ardent ire;
And from his well without a curb, to fill the empty pail,
That made the ancient boys and girls so hearty and so hale.
Behind his house upon the ice we loved to skate and slide,
And on our sleds we often gave the romping girls a ride:
And near his barn, octagonal in form and built of wood,
A great substantial public institution proudly stood;
An institution of reform for truant cattle found,
And Ebbe Congdon was the pions keeper of the pound.


Elezar Woodworth senior, lived anear the river’s flow,
Beyond the fence where cherries wild and hazel nuts did grow;
His house that stood alone on Woodworth’s grassy lane,
In spite of all the wasting years, a relic does remain;
There oft at early morn, across the fields, through brakes and briars,
My childish feet have run for coals to wake the slumbering fires;
For in those early rural days the friction matches were unborn,
And oft the sleeping brands went out before the rising morn.
Beyond his home, and near the river’s soft and gentle flow,
His was a favored spot amid the scenes of Long Ago; -
The little lily pond which all the neighboring children knew,
Where, on there long and slender stems, the white faced lilies grew.


And here was Mr. Woodworth, all people called him Dan;
Perhaps it was his proper name, please tell me if you can.
His ancient cottage still survives the glories of to-day,
Tho’ in the restless march of time it took a leap away.
And Guilford Dudley was his son, his house upon the hill;
And more, he was a captain, when people went to drill.
It was because he thought the little village was complete,
And would remain for aye, his home, the last upon the street;
Upon the forest front he placed the lonely kitchen door.
While from the sightly north he grandly viewed the landscape o’er.
He made the carts, and chairs, and tables, all of the native wood;
Unlike the flimsy trash to-day, his work was always strong and good.
Amanda and Ermina were his cherished daughters fair;
And gently trained with all a faithful mother’s prudent care;
With them at school in childhood’s merry sports I used to play,
But like the early sweetest flowers, too soon they passed away.

NOTES: - Mr. Congdon was another good man; a Covenanter, read long chapters of the bible, sung the psalms of David, and made long prayers. In my boyhood, after he moved from Berwick, I boarded with him a few weeks, and always enjoyed a very restful sleep on my knees at the hour of family prayer, and never failed to wake from the sudden stillness that followed the "amen." His house stood a few rods east of Mr. Geo. W,. Eaton’s, and tumbled down with age, after the property was sold to Mr. John Webster who built the house occupied by Mrs. Anthony.

Mr. Elezar Woodworth was our nearest neighbour. The old homestead is now occupied by Mrs. Porter. The lily pond on the meadow which has disappeared, was a source of great annoyance. Some who were boys then still remember the emphatic salutations addressed to them when going to the pond, for trampling down the tall grass. It was a misfortune to have the brands in the fire place covered with ashes go out during the night. This sometimes occurred at home, when I found myself brandishing a fire-brand as I ran, returning from neighbor Woodworth’s. But these was another way of getting fire; it was with the back of the steel blade of a jackknife, a flint, and tinder or spunk wood; or in the absence of these the old flint musket of King George'’ time was made to do service by charging it with a wad of tow. The tow when fired from the gun was set on fire. The friction matches were invented the year I was born, and were called Lucifers, and with only a few in a box were sold for 12 or 15 cents. They were accompanied with a piece of sand paper. The first I remember seeing had the sand-paper on the bottom of the box, and sold for four pence most eight cents a box, and many of them when used would fail to burn.

The old home of Mr. Dan Woodworth is one full of history which no one person can write. It stood a few steps west of Mr. A. F. Chipman’s till moved to its present site, on the road south of Mr. T. H. Parker’s . It was built by Burton Woodworth and his brother Dudley for their parents. Many families have lived in it, among whom was the late Dr. Marsters when he first came to Berwick.

Dudley Woodworth was a man of commanding presence and in many respects as a mechanic, and in enterprise and refinement, was in advance of his age. He usually kept two apprentices, who were carefully trained not only in the shop, but in the house, and many lads, now, if trained to the same habits of tidiness in their homes, would save weary women much needless care and toil. Articles of furniture from his shop may be seen in many homes in the valley, having all the qualities of great durability. A few years ago I examined a bureau from his shop, and while it was firm and sound, every part was fastened with wooden pins, where nails are now used. Nails at that time were all forged by hand and were expensive. I have now in mind a bureau he made of native woods, without a mirror, and the price paid for it would now purchase two full hard-wood chambers setts. The world moves and we move with it.