Thursday, January 17, 2008

Poem by Nancy Place (Trombley)

This is a poem written by Nancy Place (Trombley), daughter of Levi Place and Polly Moorhouse (Place) ; she is Kieran’s great-great-great-aunt. In the poem, she refers to Hickory Kingdom, near Sabula, in Clearfield Co., Pa. It is where her grandfather Asa moved from Farmington Center, Tioga Co., Pa. (He is the “grandpa” mention later in the poem). The poem describes the event that caused Levi (with his brother Charles) to leave Pennsylvania. It was written sometime after 1910, and she describes the death of her second husband, Eli.

I've been visiting old Hickory
in the state of William Penn,
Where I was born and brought up
'till the year that I was ten.
Where my father and my mother lived
in their youthful days,
When all were wilds, and Deer, and Bear,
in those early Pioneer Days.

My Father was a hunter,
the fleetest among men,
He roamed those hills and valleys and
mountain tops and glens.
Many a bear and buck has fell 'for his
muzzle loading gun,
And flocks of them around him, would
hoist their tail and run.

No game warden disturbed his path,
He killed three Deer a day,
And wrapping their skins around him
For home he made his way,
Where all were anxious waiting, to see
their Father come.
And often after sunset we would hear
the echo of his gun.

The biscuits and the johnny-cake that
Mother used to bake,
'Round that old fashioned fire place,
it makes my heart to ache.
To think how good they tasted, and
what fun life did afford,
With thirteen of us gathered around
that family board.

The big pots of fat venison all roasted
down so neat.
With lots of gravy for our bread,
provided us with meat.
We all were fat and chubby, and as
healthy as could be,
And Father, he was proud of us, when
he held us on his knee.

He would sing the songs we loved to
hear, with chorus sweet and clear.
And early in the morning he would
go a hunting deer.
And Mother, she would knit and sew
and fix his leggins fine
To see her husband bound away toward
the waving pine

At length there came a dreadful blow,
that struck that dear old home;
It caused my Father's heart to grieve,
and caused his mind to roam,
My mother died and left us, and Father
thought it best
To go and take a homestead in
Wisconsin way out west.

So we moved to old Wisconsin in eighteen-
Where we all lived, as happy, as
could be.
That same old gun provided meat that
had in days of yore.
And helped to keep the wolf away,
from our little shanty door.

When we moved to old Wisconsin, I'll
Plainly let you know.
My husband's Father and five children
came west with us also.
They sleep in Round Hill graveyard
my husband's Father and mine.
They dream no more of running deer
in Pennsylvania pine.

I visited the graveyard, one bright and
shining day.
Where my mother, and my brother
and my husband's mother lay.
Likewise my dear old Grandpa and
Grandma lie there too.
They heeded not my coming or the
trampling of my shoe.

I visited the homestead where I first
drew my breath.
I drank out of its crystal spring, and
sat on its hallowed crest.
Thinking the past life over, the tears
came in my eyes.
To think of those who had passed
away, and of those broken ties.

My husband died in 1910, the 19th day
of March.
The wound is still aching, his death
left in my heart.
He played along those very banks when
he was just a boy.
His cheeks were red, his eyes were blue,
his heart was full of joy.

I visited the homestead where my
husband's Father dwelt.
In thinking of our playtimes, there
my heart did nearly melt.
My husband was a jolly boy, I used to
play with him.
I'll not forget our parting in the year of 1910.

The apple trees and peach trees that
grew upon that farm.
Are like the hands that raised them,
they are passed away and gone.
I'll not forget the aprons full of peaches
red and gay.
I used to carry home with me,
and hide them in the hay.

Things are not what they used to be, in
years of long ago.
When Father roamed those mountains,
and chased the buck and doe.
The pine is gone, the game not here
and all things look forlorn.
I'll take the train and I'll return to,
my old Wisconsin home.

- Mrs. Eli Place