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Section 5

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


March 31st, 1897


"Twas he in olden time, who taught the boys and girls to sing,
And measure off the notes with bullet hanging to a string.
In early life he was esteemed a Justice of renown,
To all dispensing legal lore, commissioned by the crown;
And when her sovereign Majesty, Victoria the Queen,
Would choose a man, through woods, to build a road where none had been,
He was her chosen chief, with level head and skilful hand;
Who knew her wants, was wise to do and sovereign to command.


From Halifax Miss Hinkle came with cultivated mind,
A city lady, fair, genteel, accomplished and refined.
She early taught the little children how to read and spell,
To say their A,B,C’s; their ba, be, bi’s, and did it well;
She taught the girls to make fine shirts and stitch them all by hand;
And talked about the gussets, which I could never understand:
She taught the boys good manners, how to make a graceful bow,
And not be rude upon the street, as thoughtless boys are now.
She taught the girls to be polite, in ways now obsolete;
To stop and courtesy people whom they met upon the street;
And on a piece of canvas, which every little girl must get,
She taught them how to make the letters of the alphabet,
A house, a tree, a bird, the year A.D., the maker’s name and age;
For sampler making then was all the go and rage.

NOTES: - Mr. Beckwith came from the eastern part of the county, and lived about half a mile west of the corner, near where Mr. L. D. Robinson lives. During the winter evenings, in various sections of the county he taught singing school. He was man well informed of superior judgement, and was the road builder over a large district.

Miss Hinkle was my first teacher. Many of the scenes in the little old gray school house, are as green in memory as if of yesterday; and I pass under a heavy cloud when I recall the many who have gone home, who were my playmates and companions at school. There in tender years, long and weary were the hours, we sat like martyrs on our rough, and slab made backless seats, with swinging feet, and chattering tongues. My sister Annie, the mother of her whose husband is soon to grace the presidential chair of Acadia University, was one of the number of those who at the tender age of six years while fixed to one of these backless benches, then in such bloom of health, that her teacher called her "Rosy Cheeks," not only made her sampler, but with perfect neatness did all the stitching on a fine shirt. When now I recall how in the comparative morning of life, she fell asleep under the orange trees at Florida, the question comes home, can the school of her childhood, plead, "Not guilty!" I may quote a few lines addressed to me, from one of her old schoolmates; - Mrs. A Chipman, of North Springfield Vt.

"Ah yes! The hills and meadows fair!
We’ve oft together wandered there
In childhoods trustful happy hours,-
Gathering the berries and wild flowers
Or in the noontime’s quiet hour,
Within the wild clematis bower,
The sweetest bliss our spirits knew,
To feel we were alone, - we two!

And when our feet the brook had crossed,
In which our girlhood’s steps were lost,
More closely still our lives entwined
In fellowship of heart and mind; -
The sweetness of her early youth
Unfolded in a life of truth,
And all the graces from above
Were mirrored in her life of love.

Far from her kindred laid away,
Her precious dust awaits the day
When our dear Lord will bid us rise
And gather round Him in the skies.
Kindred in Christ will then unite,
And faith and hope be lost in sight;
And memories sweet of earth will blend
In pleasures that can never end."

While this school was primitive and cruel, it had the virtue of cultivating good manners and morals. The grotesque courtesy of the girls however, we can afford to excuse from the present code of etiquette.