Section 5 (6)
(printed in error as section 5, this is actually section 6 pv)

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

D. O. PARKER

April 7, 1897


WM. BRENNEN.

And here was William Brennen with his leather, pegs and knife;
St. Crispin was his patron saint, he made Miss Hinkle wife;
She taught the school, he made the boots and shoes, and patched their holes,
And kept in proper shape his own and other people’s soles;
And then with good and prudent wife – his helpmeet and his crown –
He bought a farm and left for aye this famous rising town.
And I remember well the frolic of the moving day,
When forty yoke of oxen dragged his shop a mile away.

JAMES BRYDEN.

When I a child ran up down,
Surveying wonders of the town,
By Curry’s Corner, near the street,
A factory mansion stood complete;
‘Twas built of logs, with thatched roof,
From storm and tempest weather proof;
Its fireplace was minus bricks,
Its flue was built of clay and sticks;
Its window small, was seven by nine,
Through which the sun did dimly shine,
Its door on wooden hinge did turn;
In short, it was a quaint concern,
Designed by Celtic skill and care,
Young Jimmie Bryden built it there.
Here from the land of Bobby Burns,
Where labor yields but small returns,
He youthful came in costume clad, -
In Scottish cap and Highland plaid;
And he was skilled in working wood,
Its home-land secrets understood.
He used the lathe with magic power,
For genius was his native dower.
Upon the lathe with cunning hand,
With skilful tools at his command,
From blocks of wood and burls of ash,
He earned his bread and coined his cash;
For in the lathe he’d place a burl,
And dish on dish from it would whirl,
Concentric cut from one another,
The smaller from its larger brother,
Which in their graded sizes ran
Up from the baby to the man;
And these were used for milking pans,
And basins for the face and hands;
And old and young from these were fed,
Their mush and milk, their milk and bread.
He made the buzzing spinning wheels,
And spools, and swifts, and winding reels,
The wheels without the "patent head"
That slowly spun the woolen thread,
And distaff wheels for spinning flax,
And handles for the hoes and hacks,
And mended broken stools and chairs;
Was famous for his neat repairs.

NOTES. – Mr. Brennen’s shop stood in the corner, on the vacant lot, a few steps west of Mr. J. Andrews’. After his marriage it was moved about a mile north on the old Valley road, and used for a barn. The moving apparatus was very primitive. Heavy timbers were placed under the sills. On a set day all the oxen, chains, men and boys for miles around were "invited to the moving." The teams with their drivers formed a grand procession. Poles from the road fence were placed across the road for the building to move on. It was the work of the boys to keep the poles moving, and in their place. When all was ready, the manager gave the word of command, and the voices of the teamsters, the lashing of whips, and the shout of the boys, as the building moved, was an indescribable tumult of discordant sounds, once heard, never to be forgotten. The great embarrassing feature of this kind of moving was the constant breaking of chains. None could be found to stand the strain of so many teams. Though doubled and re-doubled, their constant breaking, was the one great embarrassment of this memorable movday. On this account, the building was two days reaching its destination.

Mr. Bryden stands before me in the memories of childhood as a man of sandy complexion, with tobacco embelished whiskers, clad in homespun plaid, and a cap with a large flat top, surmounted with a big tassel, on his head. The work he did on his foot lathe is almost incredible. How it was done I cannot tell. He turned "nests" of dishes from ash burls, the largest containing more than half a bushel, down to a small soap dish, and all perfectly finished. In the old homestead these were the common and favorite dishes. His shop stood directly opposite the Ell’s property in the corner where is now Mr. Ilsley’s garden.


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