Monday, October 28, 2013

"On a Lady's pointing out the place where she intended to be interred" (1798)

"On a Lady's pointing out the place where she intended to be interred

AND must she die? must merit pass away,

And cold and lifeless leave that blooming clay?

Must here, one narrow space of earth contain

The last dear relics of that angel frame?

It must. Yet shall the cypress spread its shade,

The mournful yet here bend its dropping head;

Spontaneous shall the willow, weeping, rise,

And wave, in sadness, where Ephelia lies.

E'n while the wind moves fighting o'er her grave,

Shall friendship's breast with sighs despondent heave,

And from her eye, diffus'd with silent woe,

The genial tears of pensive sorrow flow.

"Poetry; Impromptu, On a Lady's pointing out the place where she intended to be interred." Farmer's Oracle [Troy, NY]. April 10, 1798: 1 col 1.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Poems about Trojans by Col. William H. Rowe, Jr. (1910)


Scattering good seed daily,

        As he moved along our way,

Troy has had good citizens,

        But we all can truly say

They never had a better

        Justus Miller there than you ;

And we know up in Heaven

        You received your rightful due.


He is a memory

        Now of the past

A memory fragrant

        Forever 'twill last.

In the hearts of all Trojans

        Of this of all days

A fitting eulogium,

        A good life it pays.


Not since it began,

Elias P. Mann,

Has Troy ever had

Any better lad,

Any truer man ;

That city e'er can

Point to your life there

As one straight and fair.


Editor of Troy,

A good Dem. old boy;

On you I could count

For any amount.

Of your newspaper praise

On near or far ways,

A true, faithful friend

May blessings ne'er end.

Rowe, William H., Jr. Third Book Verse and Toast and Children's Poems. NY: Garrick Press, 1910. 9, 31, 33.

A couple verses from the "Casey Reminiscences" (baseball poems) in the back of the book mention Troy as well:

from "With the Mutuals in Seventy-Four"

Mart King of Chicago,

        An' ould Lip Pike of Troy,

They hild fieldin' records

        In early days, me boy.

from "With the Mutuals in Seventy-Five"

I'll knock the ball to Troy,

        Home of Paddy Ryan."

Straight it wint sailin' there,

        An George started cryin'.

Some of the other poems in the book are likely about Trojans as well; they just don't mention Troy by name.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Den Arsch mit Ohren: schmackhafter als Möhren

"Hans Riegel, Marketer of Gummi Bears, Dies at 90." Eddy, Melissa. N.Y. Times. October 15, 2013.

"Haribo: the confessions of a confectionery addict." Olterman, Philip. The Guardian. October 16, 2013.

RIP Hans Riegel!

The Guardian's piece has this: "Riegel's one-off gum for the 2006 carnival season, the "arse with ears", may remain a collector's item only."

In fact it makes more sense than at first glance: idiomatically Arsch mit Ohren means a butthead, an idiot. Trophies have even been made of asses with ears, I suppose for people who are or who have done something monumentally, perhaps obscenely, stupid. UAlbany might consider changing Minerva to the Arsch mit Ohren - it would be fundamentally more honest.

Den Arsch mit Ohren:

schmackhafter als Möhren

herabgesandt Ihre Zuleitungsrohren

in den Mund mit Gießtiegel

fremde Erfindung von Hans Riegel

Er verdient eine Medaillenspiegel

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

"Egregious Philistines" (1889)

        The reckless misquotation and wrong crediting of poetry by the newspapers is becoming a grievance against which it is time somebody made a protest. It is only within a fortnight that the Troy Press offered, as one of the "classic gems" of Martin Farquhar Tupper, Longfellow's immortal lines:

        Art is long, and Time is fleeting,

                And our hearts, though stout and brave,

        Still, like muffled drums, are beating

                Funeral marches to the grave

which it telescoped and maltreated and mutilated by printing them thus:

        Hearts like muffled drums, are beating

        Funeral marches to the grave.

        And now comes the Minneapolis Times stumbling along with this couple, which it credits to Gray's "Elegy":

        Like muffled drums are beating

        Funeral marches to the grave

        Shakespeare possibly suffers more than any other one poet at the hands of reckless quoters. He generally wrote better than most of those who attempt to improve him. Indeed, he is about as difficult to improve as any writer we [?]. The addition, subtraction, or change of a single word or syllable is an inexcusable impertinence. It makes him say what he didn't say, and there is no possible excuse for blundering when every newspaper office is supposed to have a copy of the bard of Avon. It is surprising therefore, to read this couple in the Albany Journal:

        A merry heart goes all the day—

        Your sad heart tires in a mile-a.

        The stanza to which these maltreated lines belong is sung in a "A Winter's Tale," and reads as follows—punctuation and all:

        Jog on, jog on, the foot-path way,

                And merrily hent the stile-a

        A merry heart goes all the day,

                Your sad tires in a mile-a.

        But from Chicago—which has lately bloomed out, or boomed, into a sort of hot-house of the arts—comes the rankest offense of all. Nothing but a reproduction of the entire matter will do anything like justice to the wisdom and research of the editor of the Herald, who prints the following question and answer:

                                PROBABLY NEWSPAPER POETRY.

        Editor of the Herald:—Please give me the name of the author of the following lines:

                "The snow had begun in the gloaming,

                                And busily all the night

                Had been heaping field and highway

                                With a silence deep and white."


        [We cannot find these lines in any of the usual sources of information.]

        "The usual sources of information"—including a fair acquaintance with the best poets of American—would have told the Herald man that these lines form the first stanza of James Russell Lowell's beautiful poem, "The First Snow-Fall." But even should the Herald deign to inform its correspondent of the poet's name, it never can efface the egregious Philistinism of that headline: "Probably Newspaper Poetry." Chicago is a big city, and Matthew Arnold sized it up right.

Buffalo Express. January 3, 1889: 4 cols 2-3.

Column 4 also has a poem, an amusing one:

The year of eighteen eighty-eight

Would rhyme with many words first-rate.

And likewise eighteen eighty-nine

In rhythm could terminate a line.

But poets now are full of doubt.

The present sadly knocks them out.

In vain they search for perfect chimes,

For eighteen ninety has no rhymes.

                                -Chicago Herald.

"To Literary Students" (1890)

To Literary Students

Oh, you who raise to fame's resplendent domes

        The books that tell of Buddha and Mahoun;

        Oh, you who go to the libraries in the town

(In such strange paths the fancy sometimes roams)

To read of Isben; you who in your homes

        Are busy turning Browning upside down,

        Who feel a touch of honor and renown

In digging deep in o'er mysterious tomes

I pity you, alas! you do not feel

        The exultation and the ecstasy

                The joy unlimited that comes to him

Who, striving no enigmas to reveal,

        Keeps track of all newspaper poetry

                And revels in a tale like "Deadwood Jim!"

                                                -Nathan M. Levy, in Judge.

Illustrated Buffalo Express. October 26, 1890: 2 col 4.

"How It Is Done" (1922)

        One of the most essential tricks in manufacturing humor is "to be able to say nothing and say it interestingly." J.P. McEvoy, newspaper humorist, said in an address before the Medill School of Journalism of Northwestern university. Then, he added, "just keep on saying it."

        He gave the following plan for making a "funny column."

        "One of the old standbys of the newspaper humorists," he said, "is to take an old proverb, phrase or slogan and either reverse it or substitute for one or more of the words in it, other which have a similar sound but local significance. There is the proverb, 'go the the ant, thou sluggard.'

        "Very well, now it is spring, and the improvident man has shed his coat. So the newspaper humorist: 'Go to the uncle, thou sluggard.' Not so good, but I've paid for lots of 'em much worse. Here's more of 'em:

        "'It is called a club steak because you must club it.' (Pun).

        "'A gay dog now is a hot dog later.' (Pun).

        "'You can raise a devil best on a bottle.' (Double pun).

        "'There's many a trip 'twixt the hip and the lip.' (A new body on an old chassis).

        "'Women may have no sense of humor, but they take many a joke at the altar.' (A pun, and a good one).

        "In writing a newspaper verse, use little rhymes like 'Spoony or floosy Bambinos like her agile architecture is conducive to conjecture' or 'a sophisticated sentence of unrelated facts does not postulate ability to calculate a tax.'"

        Thank goodness, Mr. McEvoy has saved us a lot of work for today.

Syracuse Herald. April 11, 1922: 8 col 3.

"He's a gibbering idiot" (1880)

In the morn he brightly rose,

        Clear of mind and strong of limb,

Found beside his pillow laid

        A box some enemy sent him.

Opened he the present then,

        Saw what he had never seen:

Blocks therein and numbered all,

        One to fifteen, all between.

        Waiteth not to eat or drink;

        Waiteth not to sleep or think;

        Quickly graspeth he the box;

        Moveth here and there the blocks,

        Easy moves from one to seven;

        All in place from one to 'leven.

        Then reversed the figures stand,

        Thirteen, fifteen, fourteen and

        Twelve is also out of place.

        Wearily he wipes his face,

        Rubs his head and rubs his nose;

        He can do it, well he knows.

        Hours fly, and still the moves

        Backward, forward, nothing proves.

        Fifteen, fourteen, nine and ten,

        Still no nearer to the end.

        Twelve and thirteen, eight and seven,

        Then he gets mixed up on 'leven.

        Night is come and day has gone,

        Still the labor is not done.

        Morning with its smiling face

        Finds him in the self-same place;

        Haggard looks and vacant stare

        Fastened on the puzzle there;

        Nothing moves him from the spot,

        He's a gibbering idiot. —Oil City Derrick.

N.Y. World. March 9, 1880: 7 col 6.

No title on that one. The rhyme of spot with idiot is amusing. There's got to be at least fifteen such poems!

"13-15-14": the "Gem Puzzle" craze (1880)

"Arizony's Probation" (1909)

The following doesn't include the entire poem. What makes it sort of interesting, aside from reminding how Arizona was the last join the United States prior to Alaska and Hawaii, is the framing of it concerning the role "newspaper poems."

If newspaper poems are a requisite to Statehood, the admission of Arizona need be delayed no longer. There is evidence of a great literary renaissance in the Territory. Charles B. Clark, jr., the "Cow Boy Poet," writes of "Arizony's Probation" in the Tombstone Prospector:

Though the Utah man wears a dozen yokes,

        And Nevada stacks her chips,

They belong to the forty-six grown-up folks

        And nobody minds their slips;

But young Arizony must do right

        And her people must be good,

So she'll walk in robes of shinin' white

        When she jines the sisterhood.

The bard proceeds:

In the gloomy mines and roarin' mills

        Where the air was once so blue,

They have changed their ways and assumed the frills

        Of the W.C.T.U.

And the fireman sweats, but he plans to flee

        From the blisterin' fires to come,

And the miner just says, "Oh, dear me!"

        If the hard steel whacks his thumb.

It is, however, in his vision of Arizona entering the charmed circle that the poet rises to his best:

When our Arizony sashays forth,

        Dainty white as her yucca bloom,

All the fat old States to the east and north

        Will remark, as they make her room—

"It is plain to see by your sweet face, dear,

        That you're strange to the ways of sin;

Plum stainless is a rare thing here

        And we need you had. Come in."

N.Y. Evening Post. March 20, 1909: 4 col 6.

Arizona unfortunately caught up with the rest of the United States on sin pretty quickly.

"What Every Verse Writer Hears" (1922)

"Writing verse must be a lot of fun—isn't it? All you fellows have to do is get a theme and then dash it off."

* * *

"I used to write a lot of verse when I was in school—little things, you know, that just popped into my head, and I jotted them down. It never was any trouble to me."

* * *

"I suppose when you have no ideas and are at a loss for something to say you just write a poem and let it go at that."

* * *

"A fellow told me one time that it was a cinch to write verse when you found out how. He put down the rhymes at the ends of the lines first and filled in in front of them."

* * *

All you have to do to write newspaper verse is to take some old favorite like 'The Raven' or 'Curfew Must Not Ring Tonight,' and change a few words here and there, isn't it?"

* * *

I never could write two lines that rhymed myself, but I suppose, once a person has caught the trick of it, it's no trouble at all."

* * *

Of course, you have to wait for an inscription. But when you've got the inspiration the mere mechanical part of it is easy enough, I presume."

* * *

"Your work isn't like you were producing art requires intense labor, of course. But humorous verse isn't art, you know. The sort of thing you do should be a snap."

* * *

"Some day I want to show you some things I've done. They aren't quite right, I know, but you could fix them up for me in five minutes without any trouble."

"I suppose you have a set of rules to go by in writing that kind of verse, and after you get the rules fixed in your mind the mere writing is quite simple."

"What Every Verse Writer Hears." Buffalo Evening News. December 30, 1922.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

"appropriated and mutilated" (part 2)


        Another poem to which the Troy Times gave celebrity was the following, which was published in these columns May 15, 1886:


If I should die to-night,

My friends would look upon my quiet face

Before they laid it in its resting place,

And deem that death had left it almost fair;

And, laying snow-white flowers against my hair,

Would smooth it down with tearful tenderness,

And fold my hands with lingering caress;

Poor hands, so empty and so cold to-night!

If I should die to-night,

My friends would call to mind, with loving thought,

Some kindly deed the icy hands had wrought;

Some gentle word the frozen lips had said;

Errands on which the willing feet had sped.

The memory of my selfishness and pride,

My hasty words would all be put aside,

And so I should be loved and mourned to-night.

If I should die to-night,

Even hearts estranged would turn once more to me,

Recalling other days remorsefully.

The eyes that chill me with averted glance

Would look upon me as of yore, perchance,

And soften in the old familiar way.

Fo who could war with dumb unconscious clay?

So I might rest, forgiven of all, to-night.

Oh, friends! I pray to-night,

Keep not your kisses for my dead, cold brow,

The way is lonely; let me feel them now.

Think gently of me; I am travel-worn;

My pattering feet are pierced with many a thorn.

Forgive, O hearts estranged, forgive, I plead?

When dreamless rest is mine I shall not need

The tenderness for which I long to-night.


        Like Mrs. Sherwin's verses, these evoked many inquiries, but for a long time the authorship remained undiscovered. Then it was mistakenly credited to different persons. W. Herries of the Brooklyn Eagle thus throws light upon the subject:

        The poem "If I Should Die To-Night" was published in the Eagle November 3, 1889, when it was credited to Robert C. V. Meyers. I found it in "One Hundred Choice Selections," No. 27, P. Garret & Co., Philadelphia. At the time of Henry Ward Beecher's death it was printed by some papers under his name. On the Sunday of its appearance in the Eagle I met David M. Stone of the Journal of Commerce, who said the Eagle was in error as to the authorship of the poem. And during the week that followed I received letters from "American Notes and Queries" and a number of gentlemen, all pointing to a note in the Journal of Commerce on Tuesday, January 24, 1888, giving the credit of the poem in question to Miss Belle E. Smith of Tabor college, Iowa. Although satisfied with this testimony I wrote to Garret & Co., and received the following reply:

        PHILADELPHIA, Nov. 14, 1889.—The poem "If I Should Die To-Night" has been attributed to Mr. Meyers by various authorities and papers in different parts of the country. During the time of the controversy, a few years ago, we devoted considerable time and attention to the matter, and are convinced, in our minds, that Mr. Meyers is the author. P. GARRET & CO.

        Here is the note from the Journal of Commerce, January 24, 1888:

        After a search of nearly a year we have at last reached a reasonable certainty as to the authorship of the poem "If I Should Die To-Night," about which there has been so much dispute. In a mangled form, with some of the finest parts omitted (because they did not suit the character), its authorship was ascribed by H. Rider Haggard to his heroine in the novel entitled "Jess," the assumption being, of course, that it was the composition of the author of that work of fiction. We soon found a much finer version in a little work published without the name of the author, by A. D. F. Randolph of this city, under date of 1873. Mr. Randolph replied to our inquiry that he scissored it from a newspaper where it was printed anonymously, and being struck with its truth and tenderness he had reprinted it for preservation in a more durable form. We then set to work to trace the author. We found it in print with Henry Ward Beecher given as the writer, but his family at once disclaimed the credit. We next discovered it in "Hill's Manual of Social and Business Forms," published in 1879 by Moses Warren & CO. of Chicago, which contains "Selections from the Poets," to give interest to the volume. In that book it is credited to F.K. Crosby. We followed this evidence until we were satisfied that the ascription was an error of the publishers. Soon after a correspondent sent us a newspaper statement that the poem was written by Lucy Hooper. We searched the published volume of her poems, first issued in 1848, and later editions of 18?? and 1857, but neither of these contained it. Continuing our investigation we found a work entitled "One Hundred Choice Selections," in which the poem is credited to Robert C. V. Meyers. Obtaining no corroboration of this statement, we pursued the inquiry. Recently we received a letter from Mr. William M. Brooks, president of Tabor college, in Iowa, in which he asserts that the author is Miss Belle E. Smith, formerly a student in Tabor college and now a teacher in that institution. He states that he has known Miss Smith from childhood and that she wrote the poem in the winter of 1872-'73, and first published it over her initials in the Christian Union June 18, 1873. In corroboration of this, if any were needed, we have found the poem in the paper of that date over the initials "B. S.," and we have no doubt that Miss Smith is its author.

        There is not a particle of doubt that Miss Smith is the author. Here I give you another little poem from the same pen, which was printed in the Journal of Commerce. W. HERRIES.

        This is conclusive, and there can be no doubt in any impartial person's mind that Miss Smith is fairly entitled to the credit given her.


        The following, furnished by Mr. Herries, is in the same tender vein which characters "If I Should Die To-Night," though treating of a wholly different theme. It has appeared in the Journal of Commerce, but in no other publication:



One day, in dreary mood, I sat and thought

        Of all the blessed Lord had done for me;

And of the slight return my hands had wrought

        For all his loving kindness full and free.

"What can I do? My daily cares," I said,

        "Press hard upon me. I am faint and worn,

A humble toiler for my daily bread;

        Such gifts as mine so great a king would scorn."

And then, the while I made my sad complaint,

        I turned to see beside me, fresh fair,

As if they ne'er had known an earthly taint,

        A vase of flowers most exquisite and rare,

Blossoms soft-tinted as a sea-shell's heart,

        Blossoms as white as winter drifts of snow,

And blossoms that had caught by magic art

        The splendor of high noon, the sunset's glow;

A gift most beautiful—a costly gift;

        Beside it, in a tiny snow-white vase,

Almost too frail its drooping head to lift

        A little, common rose had found a place.

And, looking on it, I could see again

        The giver's childish face upraised to mine;

A pallid face that told of want and pain,

        Though still with joy the eager eyes could shine.

"My only rose!" she cried, with glad delight,

        "Because I love you it is all for you!"

And the frail flower was dearer in my sight

        Than the exotics, rare in form and hue.

Thus thinking, suddenly there came to me

        A thought like some stray sunbeam from above:

"If love so glorifies a gift to thee,

        Will the Lord scorn thy humble gifts of love?"

"Three Beautiful Poems." Troy Daily Times. October 25, 1890: 5 cols 4-5.

The poem "If I Should Die To-night" is attributed to the Christian Union in the Sabbath Recorder [Alfred Center, NY]. July 10, 1873: 1 col 1.

It's attributed to "B.S. in Christian Union" in the Corning Journal. September 12, 1873: 1 col 3. W. Herries seems to have been correct.

"appropriated and mutilated" (part 1)


"Love After Death"—Written for and Originally Published in the Troy Times—How it was Copied and Changed—The Author's Name Now First Made Public—"If I Should Die To-night"—Its Appearance in the Times—Inquiries for Its Author—Light Finally Shed on the Subject—Another Touching Production from the Same Source.

        The Brooklyn Eagle publishes the following poem:



They say if our beloved dead

        Should seek the old familiar place,

Some stranger would be there instead,

        And they would find no welcome face.

I cannot tell how it might be

        In other homes; but this I know,

Could my lost darling come to me,

        That she would never find it so.

Oft times the flowers have come and gone,

        Oft times the winter winds have blown,

The while her peaceful rest went on,

        And I have learned to live alone;

Have slowly learned from day to day

        In all life's tasks to bear my part;

But whether grave, or whether gay,

        I hide her memory in my heart.

Fond, faithful love has blessed my way,

        And friends are round me true and tried,

They have their place, but hers to-day

        Is empty as the day she died.

How would I spring with bated breath,

        And joy too deep for word or sign,

To take my darling home from death,

        And once again to call her mine.

I dare not dream the blissful dream;

        It fills my heart with wild unrest;

Where yonder cold, white marbles gleam,

        She still must slumber; God knows best.

But this I know, that those who say

        Our best beloved would find no place,

Have never hungered, every day,

        Through years and years, for one sweet face.

WATERFORD, N.Y., December 28, 1886.


        A short time ago the verses, slightly changed, appeared in the columns of the Eagle, which found them in the Chicago Advance. It was evident that some one had secured their publication in that well-known religious journal after making some modifications which were by no means improvements. In the third verse "oft times" in the first and second lines was altered to "twelve times," and a fifth verse was inserted which read thus:

        And if my darling comes to share

                My pleasant fireside warm and bright,

        She still will find her empty chair

                Where it has waited day and night.

        It will be seen that the added verse is distinctly inferior, both in poetic thought and in form of expression, to what precedes and follows it. It was clearly an interpellation which marred the beauty of the original poem.


        Readers of the Troy Times will remember the poem. It was first published in its columns December 28, 1886, as "written for the Troy Daily Times" and bearing the caption "December 26, 1882," with the Waterford date as above given in the Eagle. The poem instantly attracted general attention and commendation and was widely copied by the press.


        On January 21, 1887, the poem was republished in Tea Table Gossip, in reply to a correspondent from De Land, Fla., who wrote of a recent bereavement and said the verses had "touched my heart and moistened my eyes," and he invoked blessings on the author and expressed the hope that they might be "a comfort to others as they are and ever will be to me." The Times accompanied the republication with the statement that they were written by a Waterford lady, though her name was not given, in deference to what was then understood to be her wishes. Our De Land correspondent was not the only one to whom the poem brought comfort. The Times received many similar tributes to the consolatory power of the verses.


        Since the poem has been appropriated—and mutilated—by others, it is only just that it should be given in its original form and with the name of the author. This has been furnished the Eagle, together with the facts above outlined, and it has honorably undertaken to do justice to a worthy and gifted lady. Her name is Mrs. W. F. Sherwin (not F. W. Sherwin, that being a typographical error), and she was a resident of Waterford when the poem was published in the Troy Times, though we believe she has since removed to Elmira.

"Three Beautiful Poems." Troy Daily Times. October 25, 1890: 5 cols 4-5.

Mrs. Sherwin was evidently known as an elocutionist:

"Sherwin Scrapbook and Related Items

"Multiple items in a group(Acc. 03793)

"Scrapbook. Pasted newspaper clippings and multiple loose clippings, most related to career of elocutionist Mrs. W. F. Sherwin. Most from New York state newspapers; some dated 1880s and 1890s. Envelope. Printed return address: 'OFFICE OF / TRAVELING PASSENGER AGENT / WISCONSIN CENTRAL LINES / Northern Pacific Railroad Co., Lessee / ELMIRA, NEW YORK' (Was used to hold clippings.)"

"Jerry Tarver Collection of Elocution, Rhetoric and Oratory: Ephemera." Rare Books and Manuscripts, The Ohio State University Libraries.

One wonders if it's a poem she had merely delivered, not written. It had appeared in print prior to its appearance in the Troy Times in 1886, prior to the 1882 date of its caption. The title is different, and there are variations on spelling "Ofttimes" instead of "Oft times"; "blest" rather than "blessed", etc.

"Coming Back." The Journal of United Labor 1(3). July 15, 1880. 1. attributed to the San Francisco News Letter

The version with "Twelve times" and the additional stanza about the empty chair had also appeared prior to the publication of the poem in the Troy Times, in The Lamp 22. London, 1882. 62.

Perhaps a listener had transcribed Mrs. Sherwin's reading and sent it in to the paper, mistakenly attributing it to her? Or perhaps Mrs. Sherwin had sent it to the paper without claiming authorship and the editor wrongly supposed her to be the author? Hard to say without exploring the matter further.


Anna "Annie" Margaret Snyder Eisler, born January 1849 in Germany (according to the 1900 US Census), widow of Isadore Eisler (according to city directories), mother of eight children including Libbie (b. abt 1871), Mary (b. abt 1874), Margaret (b. abt 1876), John (b. abt 1883), Julia (b. abt 1885-October 6, 1924) (according to the 1892 NY Census).

The granddaughter of A.M. Eisler, the daughter of Julia Eisler Rowe, published at least a few poems in memory of her mother and grandmother; her siblings Lorraine, Winifred, and Mildred did as well. Like verse on headstones, they largely seem to be old standards, e.g.

"EISLER—In loving memory of my dear grandmother, Mrs. Anna Margaret Eisler, who passed away Dec. 17, 1927:

"A precious one from me has gone,

"A voice I loved is stilled;

"A place is vacant in my heart

"Which never can be filled.


"In Memoriam." Knickerbocker News. December 17, 1945: B9.

That poem can be found, for example, included in a 1909 periodical; I'd guess it's even older than that. "American Death Poetry," as Beverly A. Bleicher called it in her 1990 University of Michigan-Flint Master's thesis.

"A loved one from me has gone,

        "A voice I loved is stilled;

"A place is vacant in my home,

        "Which never can be refilled."

"In Memory." The Railroad Telegrapher 26(11). November 1909. 1807.

Friday, October 11, 2013

"Football, by All Means" by Wallace John (1905)

Football, by All Means.

Rah! rah! rah! who cares—do you—

For a broken leg or a death or two?

Let the pimply youths on the bleachers root

For that manly hero, the Perfect Brute,

For shoulders and legs in the ghastly play

That maketh a college holiday!

While the pretty girl with the college pin

Adds her shriek to the general din,

While fond mamma and foolish pas

Split the sky with their rah-rah-rahs

As a man drops out with a broken knee

Or a crack in the upper vertebrae.

Rah! rah! rah! let's make a noise

And help the sport of these tender boys;

For love of college is doubly thrilled

When men are mangled and maimed and killed.

Each end they run, each yard they gain

Is done at the cost of blood and pain,

Making the noble game a sort

Of prize fight, bull fight, a cannibal sport,

A modern gladiatorial show

Where you and I and the world may go;

A Graeco-Roman burlesque*

I'm fond of that sort of thing, aren't you?

        —Wallace John to New York Globe.

Syracuse Herald. December 30, 1905: 4 col 3.

The State University of New York at Albany on their recent post on "It's that time of year again. Reminisce w/ college friends. Watch UAlbany Football at the new Bob Ford Field. Tailgate w/ UAlbany alumni. It's HOMECOMING! Join us!" evidently couldn't handle having the link for "League of Denial: The NFL's Concussion Crisis." (Frontline. October 8, 2013) posted in response and they deleted it. UAlbany's pro-free speech only when it comes to the Westboro Baptist Church and their ilk? Egads.

UAlbany's new Joe Paterno Field: a field with no "fertile ground for open discussion on contradictory viewpoints." How many people have they injured, broken, traumatized, terrorized, or killed?

A former UAlbany Athletics Director had written that he'd received death threats when he cut some athletic teams when UAlbany was trying to comply with Title IX:

"Three years ago, the State University of New York at Albany dropped three minor men's sports, added women's sports, capped men's rosters, increased women's rosters and equalized budgets. We found ourselves in court, ridiculed by the local media and ostracized by some alumni. I even received death threats. Ultimately, a five-judge appellate court ruled unanimously that our actions were correct, and the suit against us was "meritless.""

Richards, Milton E. "Short-term pain means long-term gain." The NCAA News: Comment. June 16, 1997. (Archived by WebCite® at )

The problem of "College Athletics by Any Means Necessary," to paraphrase Wallace John, would be a good topic for discussion... though I don't know how someone could be in favor of such things as UAlbany's done.

"President Barack Obama says he's a football fan but that if he had a son, considering the impact the game has on its players, he would think long and hard before allowing his son to play." news services. January 28, 2013.

"'I believe that within 10 years there will be no more youth contact football,' Holloway said. 'And there shouldn't be.' […] 'If it were today, when opportunities have opened up, there's no way I'd play football,' Holloway said."

Churchhill, Chris. "Football disabilities endure long after roar of crowd ends." Albany Times Union. September 19, 2013.

Having an ex-athlete, ex-coach, football fan as a supposed police "chief" is a big boon when there's football players with an appetite for gang rape or other crimes. Having a coach who works hand-in-glove with the so-called "chief," a coach who uses his good friend Joe Paterno as his model, works out about the way anyone without football brain damage would think that it would.

"Throwing around the old pigskin"

"nary a rumor of scandal"

Profiteering off people damaging their brains when they should be improving their minds... I can't get behind that.

* The word I rendered as "burlesque" is blurry on the copy I consulted, but the word seems to fit provided it's mispronounced as burl-ess-cue rather than as burl-esk.

"A Tribute to Everybody's Column" by "Onebody" of Eden Valley (1896)

A Tribute to Everybody's Column.

No advantage have the "classes,"

In this column, o'er the "masses."

Here are everybody's question,

Grievance, theory and suggestion.

Queer opinions queerly written,

Plaint of youth by Cupid smitten;

Bits of wisdom from the sages,

How to clean canary cages,

Theologic disputations,

Recent street car observations,

Cry for help from heart-sick mother,

Where John Jones may find his brother,

Call for handkerchief flirtation,

Plea for Cuban annexation,

On horse-fiddles and their uses,

Pedagogical abuses,

Tale of landlord's sore oppression

Apostolical succession,

Bachelor-maiden's cogitations,

Spinster youth's deliberations,

Views of various "Educators,"

Great success with "Pingry 'taters"

How to wheel to Billings' station,

Blavatsky's reincarnation,

Cost per pound of Grover's fishes—

Quips and notions, wants and wishes,

Witty, wise, absurd and solemn—

All in "Everybody's Column."


Eden Valley, Nov. 24, 1896.

Buffalo Evening News. November 27, 1896: 7 col 3.

"a Writer of Newspaper Verse, Mysteriously Murdered"! (1896)

A sensational story - therefore the yellow journals of New York then, as now, could be depended upon to get it wrong! Perhaps the finding that poor Mary E. Hills starved to death came after the newspapers' artists had done their work, as they still published portraits, crime scene diagrams, etc. when one wouldn't think that necessary for a case of starvation?

Our lives posterity may judge; so we

        But work well now, would hear nor blame nor hiss;

Content to say in all humility,

        Each one, some day, has epitaph like this.

No farther seek his merits to disclose,

        Or draw his frailties from their dread abode

(There they alike in trembling hope repose).

        The bosom of his father and his God

What care, if not to us has come the prize,

        Since we know we joined the chorus, exulting, free?

We sang: "Shame on the fools who have but eyes?"

        And "King of minstrels, live forever!" said we.

Adding, perhaps, to the tragedy:

"In the cottage where she died were found many manuscripts. They were most carefully written, some with a typewriter, while some were printed so cleverly that they looked as if they were typewritten. Many first drafts written in the beautifully clear hand were found. Men who gained entrance to the house stole many of the manuscripts" (italic emphasis added).

Even with all the media attention on the crime scene, nobody ever secured it. Perhaps all the media attention on the crime scene was enabled by the failure to secure the crime scene; perhaps the manuscripts were stolen by unscrupulous reporters.

Among the many articles about her death:

"Strangled By a Thief? Miss Hills, Poetess and Teacher, Found Dead in Her Cottage; Arms Tied with a Stocking; Her Chamber in Confusion, as if She Had Been Dragged Out of Bed Struggling for Life; Bruises on Her Throat, Arm and Body; Drawers Ransacked for Money Which the Lonely Woman Was Supposed to Keep There." N.Y. World. January 22, 1896: 1 col 4.

"Found Dead; Miss Mary E. Hills, a Writer of Newspaper Verse, Mysteriously Murdered; Was Probably Strangled; Her Body, Covered With Bruises, Found in Her Cottage at Mamaroneck Yesterday--Evidences of a Terrible Struggle." Buffalo Evening News. January 22, 1896: 1 col 5.

"Starved, Not Slain; Death of Miss Hills Strange, but It Isn't Murder; Mamaroneck's Mystery Brief; Autopsy Shows That the Poor Little Poetess Died from Lack of Nourishment." N.Y. Press. January 23, 1896: 1 cols 5-6.

"It Was Not a Murder; Miss Mary E. Mills Starved to Death; Result of the Coroner's Investigation-A Bonny Brook Farm-Little Foundation for the Sensational Reports about the Case-A Sample of the Woman's Poetry." N.Y. Tribune.. January 23, 1896: 1 cols 2-3.

"Mysterious Death; Miss Mary E. Hills Found Dead; Had Probably Been Dead 14 Hours; No Marks of Violence on the Body; The Murder Theory but Mere Sensation; No Evidence That Robbery Was Committed; The Bound and Gagged Story Groundless; We Believe Death Due to Natural Causes; She Was Eccentric and 38 Years of Age; The Inquest Yesterday." Port Chester Journal. January 23, 1896: 4 cols 3-5.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

"Epitaphs" by H.C. Dodge (1884)


Here doth a joking barber lie

        Who dyed to live, yet lived to die,

Again he’ll turn “from ‘grave’ to gay”

        If on the razor-rection day,

The angel Gabriel says he’s “next.”

        But, if St. Peter him rejects,

He’ll light the shavings for Old Nick,

        And scrape acquaintance with him quick.

Here lies a tailor with his thread

        Of life cut short. Now that he’s dead

He’ll mend his ways so in the sky

        He and his goose can both hang high.

This is the last of the first shoemaker

        Who pegged out booting his undertaker,

He left his wife and children small,

        His stockin’ trade, and that was awl,

For saving soles he was well known;

        So we may hope he saved his own.

Buffalo Evening News. February 15, 1884: 3 col 1.

Sterling Standard [IL]. May 15, 1884: 6 col 6.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

"The Malady of Dishonesty" by Rev. Joseph C. Booth (1926)

The Malady of Dishonesty.


Written for The Troy Times.

Dishonesty's a moral leprous sore,

        A deadly cancer that perverts the heart,

        A gorging leach that sucks the better part

Of its possessor—glutted with his gore,

Who cheats his fellows robs himself far more,

        For conscience will become a fiery dart

        To make him at his guilty shadow start,

And run when none pursue, and bolt his door.

Dishonesty bepowdered is a sham,

        And stolen dollars prove a man a thief;

No magic wand can make a wolf a lamb,

        Nor gifts of charity give thieves relief;

"Thou shalt not steal" rings in the culprit's ear—

The voice of God that strikes the thief with fear!

        Brandon, Vt.

Troy Times July 17, 1926.

Would that the bosses of CSEA, the Hearst Corporation, SUNY, and such others as might benefit did read such things and would that that they took it all to heart!

"a vast and continuing terrain of popular poetry, work that remains invisible until we look at literary history from that vantage point and until we venture into the extensive archive of newspaper poetry, something few literary scholars have been willing to do. Ignorance about poems published only in newspapers […]".

Nelson, Cary. "A Century of Innovation: American Poetry from 1900 to the Present." The Oxford Handbook of Modern and Contemporary American Poetry. Ed. Cary Nelson. NY: Oxford University Press, 2012. 6.

"A random walk through the newspapers of the nineteenth century is a surprising experience. Consider the case of poetry. Poems appeared in newspapers during colonial times and were commonplace in the early republic. During the stormy days of party strife poems were often political or satirical in nature, but they were nonetheless considered to be important to the editorial mix. Some writers—Philip Freneau was a good example—moved from newspaper editing to poetry. Others moved the other way. It was not considered off in 1829 that a poet of the stature of William Cullen Bryant would take on the editorship of a newspaper. During his nearly half century as editor of the New York Evening Post, Bryant published a good deal of verse, sometimes his own, although he was scrupulous in avoiding the appearance of using the Post as a vehicle for his own poetry.

Douglas, George H. The Golden Age of the Newspaper. Wesport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1999. 133.

A random walk: "One of the basic situationist practices is the dérive, a technique of rapid passage through varied ambiences. Dérives involve playful-constructive behavior and awareness of psychogeographical effects, and are thus quite different from the classic notions of journey or stroll.

"In a dérive one or more persons during a certain period drop their relations, their work and leisure activities, and all their other usual motives for movement and action, and let themselves be drawn by the attractions of the terrain and the encounters they find there. Chance is a less important factor in this activity than one might think: from a dérive point of view cities have psychogeographical contours, with constant currents, fixed points and vortexes that strongly discourage entry into or exit from certain zones."

Debord, Guy. "Theory of the Dérive." Bureau of Public Secrets - situationist texts and translations.

"Five decades after newspaper verse seemingly succumbed to extinction, some parties now labor to reintroduce newspaper poetry's aesthetic dodo into journalism's dwindling winds."

Stein, Kevin. Poetry's Afterlife: Verse in the Digital Age. University of Michigan Press, 2010. 75.

Newspaper poetry used to be so common there had been yearly anthologies of it. For entirely different kinds of newspaper poetry, see and

"Mt. Tahawus" by Benjamin F. Leggett (1899)

Mt. Tahawus.

Written for The Troy Daily Times.


        Tahawus, the heart of the Adirondacks and the highest peak of the Empire state, signifies "he splits the sky."

Cloud-cleaver of the Empire's mountain land!

        His crown he lifts above the conclave meet

        To hold their court about his royal feet,—

Proud monarch of the lordly mountain band!

Sunset's last arrows as a dying brand

        Pale on his crest, and morning raptures greet

        With matin song and melody complete

His gray old brow uplifted stern and grand!

A Pisgah height to hold the bated breath;

        A crested tumult liften to the rim

        Of rosy skies that bend above and lean

O'er cloudy cliffs that hang as still as death,

And bastioned walls of mountains dark and grim,

With purple valleys folded safe between.

        Ward, Penn.

Troy Daily Times. June 23, 1899: 6 col 2.

It's better known today as Mount Marcy, named for the late governor.

"The Unknown Grave" by Rev. Joseph C. Booth (1924)

The Unknown Grave.


Written for The Troy Times.

In many an unknown grave,

        Where dew-wet poppies weep,

The gallant men, who gave

        Their lives for freedom, sleep;

They kept at bay those furious Huns

And held our freedom with their guns!

They faced the teeth of death,

        They faced the jaws of hell,

While angels held their breath

        As our young heroes fell;

When, o'er the top that fearless band

Drove back the foe from "No-Man's-Land!"

How can their glory fade,

        Our mem'ry of them cease,

When such a price was paid

        For our triumphant peace?

Indebtedness will ever be

Our part of such a victory?

Then let us pay our vows,

        This Decoration Day;

Stop our internal rows

        And for each other pray;

While millions deck the unknown grave,

May Christ from sin our country save!

Troy Times. May 29, 1924: 6 col 3.

"How can their glory fade?" Ask the Mayors, Supervisors, Board of Regents, Governor, President who've let it happen - or helped it happen.

Wherever graves are paved o'er for an overpass

Where they're laid down so the mowers can mow the grass

        politicians shut the government down

        billionaires - the modern crown

        internal rows, they never cease

        everywhere - corrupt police

        Decoration: just for show

                Freedom'll cost you $lots$ of dough.

Friday, October 4, 2013

"13-15-14": the "Gem Puzzle" craze (1880)

"Puzzle poems are very rare. But there are many poems about the 15 puzzle"


He sat and gazed with a placid mien

        And a cheerful and confident smile

At the little square box with the "gem fifteen,"

        And he said he'd bet his pile

That he could finger it out right thar;

        So he jumped the blocks about,

And then he remarked: "It's simple, I swar,

        And I reckon I'll work it out."

So he tackled it sharp for an hour or more,

        And his hands he ran through his hair

As he jumped right up and fearfully swore,

        And his eyes had a maniac's glare,

That he'd "be dashed if the dash, dashed fool

        That invented this game was here

He'd smashed his dash, dash, dashed skull

        And chaw off an end of his ear."

But after another hot hour had flown

        The bead drops down 'gan to roll

And he raved in a way that, the people all say,

        Struck terror to each watching soul.

For Thirteen-Fifteen-Fourteen-alas!

        Were all that he got for his pains,

So he frantically swallowed of poison a glass

        And with a bullet he bored to his brains!

                -Philadelphia Press.

Weekly Saratogian. March 18, 1880: 4 col 4.

Daily Saratogian. February 25, 1880: 2 col 1. (image from

The game, some articles stated, cannot be ever solved when the tiles are in certain positions. As such, it's a game more like Solitaire (where one can get stuck) than like a Rubik's Cube.

13, 14, 15.

Of all the sad words uttered by men

Are these "13, 14, 15" might have been.

"Oh, hubby dear, I've called you twice,

        Your dinner is quite done."

"Just wait a moment," shrieked the man,

        "I've got 'em all but one!"

William goes a courtin',

        With her silent sits,

Both engaged in sortin'

        Wood in little bits.

Not a word they utter—

        Cur'ous kind o' courtin,—

Now and then they mutter,


Push, brothers, push with care,

Push the 14 to the 15 square;

The 6 to the 7, and you've got it there;

The 10 to the 9, or you don't care whewre,

But the 15 and the 14 they will stick there,

Push, brothers, push with care,

Till your minds are all a jumble and you tear your hair.

O'er the puzzle Brown is bending,

        Never once his strained eyes liftin'—

Gee! he thinks at last he's triumphed;

        No! 'tis 14—13—15.

Once again he tries the puzzle,

        Puzzle that there's fatal "sport" in;

Ha! He's got it now! Not much he

        Hasn't, 13—15—14.

Long he pauses, long he ponders,

        Now he thinks he's got it certain,

Moves the figures very slowly—

        Pshaw! 'tis 15—14—13.

Gee! hs eyes dilate and glisten!

        Into madness he is driftin'!

One more victim for the asylum,

        Crazed by 13—14—15.

Do not weep for Jason Rogers,

        He has gone away for good.

Quickly passed his latest moments,

        Shoving little blocks of wood.

When was brought that awful puzzle

        To his happy fireside,

Little thought his wife and children

        That from them he soon would glide./p>

Daily Saratogian. March 19 1880: 2 col 5.

"A Sioux Indian has been arrested in Syracuse with the gem puzzle in his pocket. The case is to be investigated."

"Onondaga County." Utica Morning Herald. March 19, 1880: 4 col 3.

"First it was firewater, and now, it is alleged, the post traders have begun to supply Indians with the block puzzle.

"We suggest that everybody drop the discussion of the gem puzzle and try and find out why bass viol players are always fat.-Bridgeport Standard.

"The Graphic's International." N.Y. Daily Graphic. March 26, 1880: 229

-The proper thing to do when you call upon a friend is to ask him whether he will hear you whistle 'Pinafore,' or join you in a friendly tussle with the gem puzzle.-Bridgeport Farmer.

        -Put away the new prize puzzle,

            'Twill be never needed more

        'Fifteen, fourteen, botheration!'

            Bang! there goes the asylum door!

-N.Y. Express.

"Wit and Wisdom." Holley Standard. April 8, 1880: 2 col 7.

"Washington never told a lie, but if the gem puzzle had existed in his day we fear that he might have-have said, 'Oh, I've done it, done it lots of times; but I can't tell just how'-Boston Transcript."

Mount Morris Enterprise. March 20, 1884: 1 col 8.

The poems and questionable jokes were perhaps not so far-fetched.

"Daniel Conroy of Erie, Penn., has gone raving mad over the 'fifteen puzzle.' He is a strictly temperate man, a devoted husband and kind father. For several days he neglected his business and applied himself constantly to the game, until his brain gave way under the attempt to master the 13, 15, 14. On Monday morning he grew violent, seized his infant child and was dumping it on a hot stove when the neighbors rushed in. He was overpowered, and a body opf police carried him to jail, a raving maniac, scratching the game on the wall and shouting 'Thirteen, fifteen, fourteen.'"

"Mad Over the Puzzle." Republican Watchman [Monticello, NY]. April 2, 1880: 1.

"His Brain Turned by '15'; A Stonecutter in Erie is Alleged to Have Been Made a Murderous Maniac by the 'Gem' Puzzle." Oswego Palladium. March 27, 1880: 2 col 6.

According to the above article, Conroy had gone quite insane, in prison shrieking "I have it, I have it at last. Oh, thank God, I can do it—13, 14, 15. Where's my children? I'll cut 'em into fifteen blocks, 13, 15, 14. Oh, my God in heavy, what shall I do?"

"ERIE, Pa., Aug. 2—Daniel Conroy, who became insane over the 15 puzzle two years ago and was committed to Dixmont Asylum for the Insane, was released on his supposed recovery. Today John Bowden alleges that while working on the tower of the new cathedral, 135 feet from the ground, Conroy became furious over a trivial matter, and after threatening to throw him down from the tower proceeded to put his throat into execution. A terrible struggle ensued, and the men rolled and tumbled about on the narrow scaffold until Conroy was overpowered by other workmen who came to the rescue of both from being dashed to pieces. Bowden was seriously injured and caused Conroy's arrest."

"Crazed by Fifteen Panic." Buffalo Evening News. August 3, 1883: 4 col 2.

Anyone who was supposedly driven insane by the puzzle presumably had a pre-existing problem. Whatever ultimately set the person off could have been just about anything had it not been the puzzle.

"Violence on the screen increases violence in people only if those people already have sick minds. I once read somewhere that a man admitted killing three women and he said he had killed the third woman after having seen 'Psycho.' Well, I wanted to ask him what movie he had seen before he killed the second woman. And then we'd ban that movie, don't you see? And then if we found out that he'd had a glass of milk before he killed the first woman, why then we'd have to outlaw milk, too, wouldn't we?" - Alfred Hitchcock

Donohue, H.E.F. "Remembrance of Murders Past: An Interview With Alfred Hitchcock." N.Y. Times. December 14, 1969.

Curiously, a university administrator charged with risk assessment who also serves as the university's Clery Act Compliance Officer reportedly believes that a student or alumnus liking Hitchcock's films is a sign that the person is dangerous. When the university has a professor who's published several works concerning Hitchcock and teaches a course about it, the university's located in a city whose mayor introduced a zombie film and welcomed a horror convention - well, one has to wonder how much of a risk that the risk assessment administrator himself poses to the university! (He has nothing to worry about from brain-eating zombies, at least, be they fast or slow ones.)

"HORRORS! FantaCon comes back from the dead." Saratogian. September 11, 2013.

"Zombie fans in Albany for convention." FOX23 News. September 12, 2013.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

"Secondt Nigh Yorck" by Colonel E.L. Cole (1906)

Poems written in faux-dialect were once relatively common. The poem below seems done affectionately, though certainly open to criticism. The rest of the article is very informative and will be transcribed hopefully soon; likewise I'll try to link the findagrave memorials for as many men as can be found on that website.

        Troy is distinguished as having raised the first regiment of volunteers that answered the call of President Lincoln to suppress armed secession. By an error in recording at Albany [O, Albany...!] a regiment raised later received the name of the First, and the soldiers deserving that title became known as the Second New York. Their valor and fidelity matched the promptness of their patriotic enlistment. There were 1,380 men on the roll of the Second New York during the war. How battle and exposure and the thinning process of time have reduced these ranks is shown by the fact that last night, in celebrating the forty-fifth anniversary, only about forty survivors could be assembled. But these, with their guests, made up a happy company that sat down to a banquet in the restaurant of the Young Men's Christian Association.

        The Survivors.

        The following were the survivors who were present:

        Company A—William Gault, Springfield, Mass; Lieut. George A. Hitchcock, Charles Balantine, James W. Green, John R. Horan [(1840-1914) St. Mary's Cemetery], P. McNamara, Thomas E. Himes [(1840-1915) Oakwood Cemetery].

        Company B—Col. William A. Olmstead, Capt. Joseph J. Hagen, Harry Murray, Fred A. Boltwood, Thomas Doyle, David M[olyneux] Ranken [(1843-1926) Oakwood Cemetery]), Utica, N.Y., and John B. Davis.

        Company C—Lieut. Robert B. Dickie, Dalton, Mass, and Philip McDonough, Albany.

        Company D—Capt. John Maguire [(1840-1913) St. Joseph's Cemetery], Lieut. Daniel D. Maguire [(1842-1909) St. Joseph's Cemetery], James Shanley, Martin O. Iler [New Mount Ida Cemetery], John B. Shattuck.

        Company E—None.

        Company F—Sergeant John McGahan [(d. 1924) St. Peter's Cemetery], Sergeant Adam Bancroft, Color Corporal William Moore and Arthur W. Bradley.

        Company H—William H. McFeeters [(1838-1910) New Mount Ida Cemetery], Capt. J[oseph] G. McNutt [(1833-1914) Oakwood Cemetery], Charles A. Seymour, Michael McGraw.

        Company I—Sanford Vanderzee.

        Company K—Sergeant Charles F. Fahl (1844-1926) St. Mary's Cemetery?], Fred Epling, Schenectady; Lieut. August Kolbe [(1830-1907) New Mount Ida Cemetery?], John Miller, Benjamin F. Simonds, drummer.

The Guests.

        The guests of the regiment were Rev. Dr. Edgar A. Enos of St. Paul's Church, Hon. William Kemp, the first Paymaster of the regiment, and his son-in-law, Reuben R. Lyon of Bath, Steuben County; Samuel Foster, Edward Eckardt, William P. Armitage, son of Capt. John W. Armitage of Company A; Charles Hagen, son of Capt. J.J. Hagen and a representative of the Sons of Veterans; Charles Kehn and James H. Potts.

        The staff officers present were Col. Timothy Quinn and Dr. R.B. Bontescou.

        Letters of regret were read from Thomas H. Sanders of Company F, of Columbus, Neb.; E.H. Webster, Hospital Steward, of Rutland, Vt.; William E. Walton of Company H, Westfield, Mass.; Col. Arthur Mac Arthur of Troy, Lieut. Henry Marcotte of Company G from St. Augustine, Fla., and Mayor Elias P. Mann.

The Retrospect.

        Dr. R.B. Bontecou of the Regimental Association, which was organized April 22, 1886, presided, and has as his competent Adjutant the Secretary of the Association, Arthur W. Bradley, who submitted the following facts:

        Forty-five years ago to-day the old Second New York Volunteer Infantry left our city with a proud and gallant tread. Then we were all in the bloom of youth and vigor of manhood. God and our country know how well we discharged our duties. While our regiment was not called upon to suffer the terrible shocks and trials of carnage and bloodshed of wars, which so many regiments in our armies endured from 1861 to 1865, still we had offered ourselves on our country's altar for any sacrifice we might be asked to endure. It was our good fortune many times to be exempt from the severe losses and hardships borne by other regiments, due to our being held in reserve as the result of our fine military discipline attained through the efforts of efficient officers during the thirteen months of our encampment at Newport News and Fortress Monroe, where we were prepared and educated for the hardships that followed up the Peninsula, reinforcing McClellan's army at Fair Oaks, Va. After that terrible battle they placed us in the very forefront of the line, and you all remember how the New Jersey boys asked us when we came up "What brigade is that?" but we can say they were not ashamed of the old Second New York Volunteers after better acquaintance, for we were ever ready for everything that came along.

It is my intention to-night to saw only a very few words, calling attention to the rapid disappearance of the boys since our return home in 1863, and especially since the organization of this association, since which time it had been my privilege to act as one of your officers. And may I say to-night that our earthly tents are indeed being rapidly folded, and our weapons of war are rusting in the halcyon days of peace; but he is none the less the good citizen who recalls for personal gratification and as guides to present duty the days of the bivouac and the charge, whose happy issue has made such an hour as this reunion possible. A happy hour this, my comrades, is the interchange of greetings, the renewal of friendships, the new fidelity to the Union, evoked by the backward glances at the struggles which have made it what it is, the resolution always to be true as we were then true, to the government we have helped to perpetuate. And in these annual reunions that we enjoy so much, of the friendships and fellowships, of the old days of the sixties, how we recall those comrades who have been mustered out of the service here for the life beyond. And to-day, "tenting again on the old camp ground" we are thinking of those days gone by, of the brace ones dead, and their dear ones crowned with a grief that will not die. And as these forty odd years have rolled around since the war ended, each and every year has added names of our comrades to the roll of the dead, not falling now on the field of battle nor dying in the camp or hospital, but passing away from the scenes of earth, in the quiet, peaceful home, among kindred and with their loving care.

        Surely a sad reflection mars all of our reunions, the thought that so many of the boys who were with us in the long marches, by the cheerful campfires and in the desperate assaults upon the enemy, cannot be with us here to-night; they would come as freely at the call of friendship as they went from homes of comfort at the call of duty, but the cause for which they fought is sanctified in their deaths. We revere their memories, the vacant places in our ranks are more suggestive than the presence of the living; there are pages in our country's history which tell none too forcibly their achievements. It might be well for us at this time to look backward over the list of names of our comrades who have answered their last roll-fall since the organization of our association in 1886, and at the sam time remember the many blessings and privileges we have been permitted to enjoy.

        Commencing almost immediately after our first reunion we come to the name of Willard F. Goodspeed of Company E, Capt. Michael Cassidy of Company D, Andrew Haumeister of Company K, Edward Egan, Company E; Anthony Schwartz, Company K; Nicholas Myers, James Sullivan, Thomas Sullivan and Michael Looby, of Company D, all dying in 1887; John Hessy, Company B, died in 1888; Amos Briggs of Company G died in 1889; John Hollis of Company H died in 1890; Assistant Surgeon N.H. Camp, James Martin of Company H, Godfried Warmt, Company K; David Johnson, Company H; George W. Thompson, John F. Wolf of Doring's Band in 1891; Lieut. John Fairchild of Company F, 1892; John A. Dodge, Company F; William Kendall, Company E; Capt. Joseph Egolf, Christian Laubmeyer, William T. Derrell, John H. Pierce, Leolin Rogers, Major Charles H. Otis, Donald Rogers and W.H. O'Brien, all in 1893; Adolph Staude, Henry Yeggle, John H. Preston and Albert W. Roberts in 1894; Gen. Joseph B. Carr, our beloved Colonel; John A. Thompson, Company A; Major George W. Willson, Jacob Harris, Felix Curran, Andrew Hennessy and Nathan Edwards in 1895; in 1896, James Utter of Company G, Max Stegmeyer of Company K; in 1897, Arthur Curran, John Wells, Company F; Andrew Forrest, Company D; James Atkins and Nicholas Hickey, of Company G; Surgeon Major LeRoy McLean, George H. Cole, Company H; Lewis R. Morris of Company E and Z. Van Ness of Company F, in 1898, Capt. Henry Harrison, Daniel Bounds and Hiram Andrews. In 1899 Eugene Hoffman, Company G, and William Kennedy and James Vanderzee, also our first Chaplain, Rev. Valentine Lewis. In 1900, Bandmaster Charles Doring, George Chippendale, Frank Doring and Andrew Weidmeyer, also members of the old band. In 1901, George Vier of Doring's Band, H.A. Evarts, George K. Felt, John Buson and Lieut. James Merrill. In 1902, Matthew McMahon and John Combs, of Company D; Theodore Forcey, Thomas Halsey, Peter Nolde and Col. Sidney W. Park. In 1903, Fred P. Fonda, Patrick and Thomas Gaynor and James Doyle. In 1904, Robert Brown, Peter Liker, Lieut. William G. Morris and John H. Miller. In 1905, William W. Bounds, Lee Churchill and Fred Newton, and so far this year William H. Boughton, Company H, and Major George H. Otis, who died March 24, 1906.

        And there are also many simple mounds in our beautiful Oakwood and the unknown graves that billow the southern fields, inclosing the clay of our heroes, to whom chilling circumstances forbade distinction.

        Comrades, their memory is in our keeping, indelibly engraved upon the tablets of our hearts, and to-night as we look around at our little band gathered here, we almost wonder how many of us will be permitted to assemble at our annual roll-call May 18, 1907, and if our Grand Commander should call us, we trust we will be ever ready to respond, Here!

The Exercises.

        The military calls were given by Bugler Charles Kehn and Drummer Benjamin F. Simonds, whom all Troy knew as "Benny" Simonds, the boy drummer of the Second. Rev. Dr. Enos invoked the divine blessing, and after the edibles had been served by Manager Sanford of the restaurant and his corps of assistants there was an informal series of addresses. Much interest centred in the presence of Col. William A. Olmstead, and his remarks, which abounded in reminiscence and congratulations, were listened to with the deepest attention. Hon. Samuel Foster spoke eloquently of the strife which seems to be the necessary introduction to great accomplishments, and praised the spirit with which the Union volunteers went forth. Dr. Enos gave some interesting recollections and expressed the wish that he might meet the soldiers again and that their ranks might be unbroken until their next annual gathering. James H. Potts congratulated the Second Regiment on being the pioneer, and therefore having the distinction and all the romantic interest which attach to those who are first in the field. Members of the regiment who recalled incidents of their campaigns and expressed their fraternity included Comrade David M. Ranken, formerly of Troy, and who came from Utica to attend the reunion; Lieutenant Dickie of Dalton, Mass; Capt. J.G. McNutt and Capt. John Maguire.

        William P. Armitage, son of the Captain of Company A, spoke in behalf of his father, who is a resident of Dayton, Ohio, and who could not attend the reunion. Mr. Armitage referred to the pride which the descendants of the veteran soldiers feel in their valor, and of the remembrance of their good deeds as a precious heritage bequeathed to succeeding generations. Charles Hagen also expressed his pleasure at being invited to meet with the Second Regiment and read, as representing Col E.L. Cole of New York and formerly of this city, the following poem by Colonel Cole, which was written for the occasion.

The Poem.


Hans Breithaupt comes to reunion of the Second New York Volunteer Infantry May 18, 1906.

Hello, you vas here; bei golly dis vas fine,

Feur und forty year, I see you dis last dime,

Hoch Gottsdunder, I remember vell der dime,

It vas die last dot dis oldt regiment vas in line,

Bei dis day dat ve come back bei der vars,

Bringing mit us old clothes, our guns und our scars,

Und now, mein lieber friend, just vonce dis day,

Let her rip out vonce, you vill, you say?

        Now, all togedder, Whegh! Whegh!! Whegh!!!"

        Secondt Nigh Yorck vas here to-day.

Pottstausend it vas most like some dream,

Dat five and forty years have past peen,

Since dat day dat ve marched through dis town,

Und py des vars have start to go down.

You vas remember all der poys dat day,

Mit der swords und bayonets, und all der band play,

Und der "milish," und der women, und der cheers,

Bei golly! now dink of it, five and forty years,

Aber I feel joost so young I do bei dat day.

        So vonce more, Whegh! Whegh!! Whegh!!!"

        Secondt Nigh Yorck vas here to-day.

You haf peen married? you? you vas a poy,

Der youngest dat go mit der Secondt from Troy,

Yah, married! So, so, und vas gross fater,

Vell, vell, der dime gone like running of vater;

Und now I dink, yah, I vas dinking some dis day,

Dot's few dot now left of dem vent away,

Lieber Gott, how thin der ranks would surely pe.

Bei der regiment form py der oldt gompany,

        Hoop her up vonce for dem gone away

        Whegh!!! Whegh!!! Whegh!!!

        Secondt Nigh Yorck vas here to-day.

Sure, vhen I see here all dese oldt men,

Gray headed, baldt, der most of dem peen,

I van dinkin' I vas grown oldter den I dink,

Dat makes me solemn like, und some lager beer drink.

Aber dis vos no dime for thought like dot;

But a good sholly dime, whoop her up hot,

Von tear for her dead, den broosh it away,

Der goot soldier he lives only in der to-day.

If dose dat are gone vere here mit us to-day

        Heigh! vat a chorus denn ve could say,

        Mit dat oldt cry, Whegh! Whegh!!

        Secondt Nigh Yorck vas here to-day.

It vas hardt work bei my farm I get free,

Boot dis day I moost all der oldt comrades see.

No matter der plow stand still in der landt,

No matter der seed stop sowing by handt;

Dis von day dis year, I vas come py der men

Dot mit us in der oldt Second hadt peen,

Und dalk over der days of Fair Oaks und Malvern Hill,

Brisbow, Bull Run and der old Chancellorville.

Heigh! vhen I dink of dose patties, dink of each day,

        I must me should right out, dis vay,

        Dot oldt pattle cry, Whegh! Whegh!!

        Secondt Nigh Yorck vas here to-day.

Vell, I drinks zwei lager beer mit you now,

Aber nicht zu mooch, I must minder my frau

She say, "Hans, pe careful by dot lager beer,

Dat somedimes maken sie acteen queer."

Vell, goot health to all dem poys dot ve know

Vhen der oldt Secondt down to der var did go;

Here's handshake for der living, tears for der deadt,

Goot wishes for you, under der vife dot you wed.

Und vhen der eighdeenth come again round dis bay,

May every von of us peen here to say,

        And hooper her up in der oldten way,

        Dot Secondt's cry, Whegh! Whegh!!

        Secondt Nigh Yorck vas here to-day.

        After the speechmaking there was an informal reunion in which personal greetings were exchanged by the members of the gallant Second.

        The rooms were decorated with pictures of the regiment and with the regimental battle flags, two of which were brought by Dr. Bontecou from Fortress Monroe.

        Lieutenant Dickie of Dalton carried a cane which was made from the Merimac, the destruction of which vessel by the famous little Monitor was witnessed by the members of the Second, who were encamped on the shore while the sea battle was in progress. The cane bears dents which were undoubtedly made by the projectiles thrown by the Monitor.

A Distinguished Soldier.

        Col. William A. Olmstead is one of the most distinguished fighters of the great company of brave and honored men that Troy sent to the front. His first military lessons were gained at school at Ballston Spa under the principalship of Deodatus Babcock, whose son, George Babcock, was the military instructor of the boys in drills. Coming to Troy, Mr. Olmstead became a member of the Troy Citizens' Corps and was elected Corporal of that company, which position he held at the time of the breaking out of the war. He was also an officer of The New York Central Railroad Company, having charge of the work at Green Island. He was looked to immediately by patriotic citizens of Troy as a valuable man to enter the service of the Union, and this harmonized with his own views. It was difficult for him in that time of busy transportation to get release from his service with the railroad company, but this was finally accomplished through the company's officials at Albany, and a committee of twenty-five Trojans, including such citizens as Rev. Father Havermans, Hannibal Green, John M. Francis, John B. Gale and E. Thompson Gale, waited on Mr. Olmstead and expressed their desire that he should be one of the city's representatives in the field. He took the Captaincy of Company B. Captain Olmstead was the youngest officer in the regiment. By bravery he was gradually promoted to Lieutenant Colonel, and while serving the regiment as that officer he was transferred by the Brigadier General to the Colonelcy of a Pennsylvania regument. When the Second returned home Colonel Olmstead remained at the front, and when he was mustered out he was a Brigadier General. After service for some time in the Regular Army General Olmstead returned to civil life, became a physical and subsequently a clergyman of the Roman Catholic Church, and is now the pastor of an important parish in New York city. Colonel Olmstead has just presented to the Troy Citizens' Corps, of which he was once Corporal, two large photographs, one of full size, taken on his return from the Army. These representations of one of Troy's bravest soldiers will decorate the walls of the Corps quarters at the Armory.

Generations have come and gone since the Second Regiment marched to the front on May 18, 1861, but it was remarked several times last night that many of the surviving veterans were still far from being old men, and in their strength of body and clearness of mind they challenged comparison with many of a younger generation whose knowledge of the greatest war of history is gained only from the printed page and from the reminiscences of such veterans as those who with most patriotic promptitude sprang at once to the defense of their imperiled country.

"The First to Answer; The Patriots Who Were First to Respond From New York State to President Lincoln's Call For Volunteers—A Regiment's Forty-fifth Anniversary—The Reunion of Survivors—Colonel Olmstead Present." Troy Times. May 19, 1906: 11 cols 1-3.

"The Prophecy of the Hudson" by Rev. T.L. Drury (1919)

The Prophecy of the Hudson.


Written for the Troy Times

Roll on, proud Hudson, to the sea,

I have a prophecy for thee:

Great ships shall on thy waters float,

And days like these shall seem remote.

The lakes above shall open wide

Their gates unto the ocean tide,

And nation's wealth have passage free

Upon thy bosom to the sea!

And Troy shall wake as ne'er before,

When greater ships along its shore

Shall anchor there; then see it rise

A town of greatest enterprise!

Then roll, proud Hudson, ever on;

Thy greater triumphs shall be won

When mingled with thy waters are

Those waters from the lakes afar.

As now for beauties that are rare

Thy name has gone forth everywhere,

It shall for thrift and greater worth

Be proudly known in all the earth.

Nor then thy grandeur shall be less,

For millions thou shalt doubly bless;

Thro' energy of enterprise

Shall others see thy glory rise!

When lakes shall thy blue waters meet,

Then West shall East most freely greet;

And grand shall be their fair renown

For charming scenes to ocean down.

Flow on, proud Hudson, to the sea;

Thy wealth in service great shall be,

And great thy name where flag's unfurled

Upon thy ships in all the world!

Troy Times. June 25, 1919: 6 col 1.