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Title: The Story of the Toys
Author: Dodge, Mary Harris Toy
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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[Illustration: Mary H. Dodge]





"We have heard with our ears, O God, our fathers have told us, the noble
works that Thou didst in their days and in the old time before them."

"Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of
witnesses ... let us run with patience the race that is set before


This story of my mother's family was set down by her originally only to
recall it to my mind when I might no longer listen to it as it fell so
often from her own lips. It was written in the intervals of her
ill-health, without copying or revision, and was not intended for
publication. For this reason, she has dwelt more at length upon the
history of her own family life than upon that of her sisters, and has
purposely omitted all but a slight reference to the grandchildren and
the events of later years, her intention being to record only what was
outside my memory, leaving the rest to some other pen. The story,
however, has proved to be of so much interest to the other members of
the family that she was expecting to review it with me as soon as
possible, in order to prepare it to be printed for them. Her sudden
illness and death cut short her plans; but I have carried them out as
closely as I could, and the little book is printed very nearly as she
wrote it. Any errors or inaccuracies are mine and not hers.

It has seemed to me that there could be no more fitting memorial of my
mother among ourselves, than this story. Its style is appropriate to the
subject and characteristic of herself--forceful, yet full of tender
sentiment, ready wit and apt quotation of Scripture; while through it
all, quite unconsciously to herself, there shine her cheery hopefulness,
her rare unselfishness, and her beautiful faith in God. Since my
father's death her health had been very much better, and she was looking
forward to years of comfort; but, in December, 1908, she was suddenly
seized with a serious heart trouble, and after a distressing illness of
about three months, which she bore with her own brave patience, on the
morning of February 27, 1909, she went to join her beloved.

For those of us who have known her wonderful personality, no memorial is
needed to increase our love and admiration of her; but to the younger
members of the family, whose memory of her may be slight, I hope that
this little book may give a glimpse of the beauty of her life, as well
as of the noble souls whom she so worthily represented and whose blood
we are proud to share.

  "They climbed the steep ascent of Heaven
    Through peril, toil and pain;
  O God, to us may grace be given
    To follow in their train."

                                                            S. W. D.


I wish to preface this memorial by a little sketch of Cornwall,
especially those parts of it most nearly connected with our family
history. I have gathered the materials for it from a little book on
Cornwall, by Mr. Tregellas.

The long coast-line of Cornwall, the most southern and western county of
England, has been, like Italy, compared in shape to a Wellington boot,
the iron heel of which is the mass of serpentine rock which forms the
southern point of the Lizard, and the foot that part which lies between
Mounts Bay and Land's End. The instep is at St. Ives Bay, and the body
of the boot constitutes the main portion of the county, the highest part
toward the eastern end forming the Bodmin moors. Along the northern
coast, the mural cliffs, against which the Atlantic rollers forever
break, are in marked contrast to the tamer and more sylvan scenery of
the south and west shores; while across the low-lying lands between St.
Ives and Mounts Bay the sea often threaten to meet in the spring tides.

The climate of Cornwall, owing to its situation, is so remarkable as to
deserve notice. The month of January at Penzance is as warm as at
Florence or Madrid, and July is as cool as at St. Petersburg. There is
scarcely a country in the world with a climate so mild and equable.

The people are "ardent and vivacious, self-reliant and versatile." It is
no uncommon thing for a Cornishman to build his own house, make his own
shoes, be both fisherman and miner, and, possibly, small shop-keeper
besides; and wherever the Cornish miner emigrates, he is pretty sure to
take the lead in enterprise and danger.

Wilkie Collins says: "As a body of men they are industrious,
intelligent, sober, and orderly, neither soured by hard work, nor
depressed by harsher privations"; and the old poet Taylor, in 1649,
writes: "Cornwall is the compleate and repleate Home of Abundance, for
high, churlish hills and affable, courteous people. The country hath its
share of huge stones, mighty rocks, noble free gentlemen, bountiful
housekeepers, strong and stout men, handsome and beautiful women."

Many curious old customs linger in Cornwall, among them the ceremony of
"cutting the neck," or last few ears of corn at harvest time, the
lighting of bonfires on the hills at St. John's Eve, and the "furry" or
Flora dance at Helston, on the eighth of May. Among the peculiar dishes
of the Cornish cuisine, prominent is the pasty, the almost universal
dinner of the working class. It is a savory compound of meat and
potatoes, inclosed in a crescent-shaped crust; but one must be a
Cornishman to appreciate this dish thoroughly. The variety of pies is
truly marvelous. It has been said that the devil himself would be put
into a pie if he were caught in Cornwall. Most of them are richly
saturated with clotted cream, a real Cornish dainty, which is very
popular, as are also Cornish seed-cakes.

From time immemorial Cornwall has had a leading part in the mineral
industries of England. Mines of tin, copper, lead, and zinc abound, and
have been the chief source of revenue to the county. They give
abundant employment to the laboring class, and men, women, and even
children are freely employed in various ways about the mines. Since 1870
the mining industries have declined; the mines have been less
productive, and the great discoveries of ore in this and other countries
have greatly reduced prices and scattered the Cornish miners over the

The fisheries of Cornwall have been another very important industry,
especially the mackerel and pilchard fishing. The pilchard is a very
delicious fish, similar to a herring, and is found almost exclusively on
the Cornish coast.

Cornwall abounds in interesting antiquities, and many of these are
claimed to be almost as old as the granite rocks and cliffs of which
they are composed. They are relics of the early Britons,--remains of
villages, various sorts of sepulchral and memorial stones, and also some
that were associated with ancient religious rites. Some of these, such
as the "holed stones," have given rise to many superstitions among the
common folk, who have been in the habit of dragging invalids through
the orifices in the hope of curing them. There are also "cliff castles,"
especially at Land's End and at other points on the coast,--retreats of
the native tribes from enemies,--and also earth-work forts on elevated
sites throughout the country. The early Christian antiquities include
churches and priories and the oratories or small chapels, frequently
associated with a Baptistery or holy well. Some of these are as early as
the fifth century. There is also an unusual number of crosses. As to
their uses an ancient manuscript says: "For this reason ben crosses by
ye way, that when folk passynge see ye croysses they shoulde thynke on
Hym that deyed on ye croysse, and worshyppe Hym above althyng." They
were also sometimes erected to guide and guard the way to the church,
and sometimes for the beautiful custom of leaving alms on the crosses
for poor wayfarers. The crosses were formerly far more numerous than
now, but recently some of them have been rescued from doing duty as
gate-posts and the like, to be reerected in the churchyards. There are
also inscribed stones, such as the Camborne altar-slab, and others.

Of the towns of Cornwall, almost all have some interest, ancient or
modern. Truro has recently become the episcopal town of the county; a
fine cathedral has been built, and the Bishop has his residence there.
Falmouth, at the mouth of the Fal, is a comparatively modern town,
beautifully situated. Its magnificent and famous harbor has given it
considerable commercial importance in former times. One of its chief
attractions is Pendennis Castle. It stands on a bold promontory two
hundred feet high, on the western side of the harbor. It was one of the
works of defense undertaken by Henry VIII, but the enclosure is of the
time of Elizabeth. It is an interesting example of the military
architecture of the period. During the Civil War, Pendennis Castle
played a prominent and interesting part, and was the last but one of the
old castles that held out for the King's cause.

A picturesque spot of much interest on the coast is the jutting headland
of the Lizard. The serpentine rock of which it is composed is very
beautiful when polished. The best time to visit this spot is at low
tide on a summer day, after a storm. Its soft yellow sandy beach, its
emerald waves, deep rock-pools and gorgeous serpentine cliffs, of green,
purple, crimson, and black, are then of astonishing beauty. Passing
eastward along the coast, we come to the little town of Marazion, in
front of which rises from the strand the far-famed St. Michael's
Mount--an isolated, rugged pyramid of granite, about a mile in
circumference and two hundred and thirty feet high at the chapel
platform. Several Sir John St. Aubyns have successively inherited it
since 1860, the date on which they acquired it from a Bassett of Tehidy.
The chapel and the hall are the portions most worthy of examination. A
few steps below the chapel is a recess called the dungeon; near it, a
narrow winding stair leads to the tower. Near the platform are the
remains of a stone cresset called St. Michael's Chair, which is supposed
to bring good fortune to those that sit in it.

The town of Penzance, "the Holy Headland," is the place of approach to
the Land's End--a bold promontory standing out into the sea at the
southwestern extremity of England. Its granite cliff-scenery is the
finest in Cornwall. The tempest-scarred cliffs, the furious onset of the
waves in stormy weather, and the gorgeous sunsets, so frequent at that
point, invest Land's End with a deep and almost melancholy grandeur. It
is said that Wesley stood upon this point when he wrote the hymn,

  "Lo! on a narrow neck of land
  'Twixt two unbounded seas I stand."

But the chief interest of Cornwall for our present purpose lies in the
town of Camborne on the Cam, or "crooked river." It is one of the great
mining centres, and has numerous rich mines, of which the principal is
Dolcoath, one of the deepest and most ancient in Cornwall. It is a busy
town, built mostly of stone, with nothing of note in the way of
architecture. The plain parish church, with its three sharp gables,
contains nothing of special interest. It stands in the midst of the
churchyard, in which are found many monuments and inscriptions to
attract the attention of those who love to recall the past. About three
miles to the north is Tehidy, the seat of the Bassetts, with its fine
park and gallery containing pictures by Gainsborough, Sir Joshua
Reynolds, and Vandyke. In driving to the high bluffs on the north shore
it is easy to visit Carn Brea, a rocky headland seven hundred feet above
the sea, with picturesque granite blocks piled upon its summit. Here, it
is said, was the chief scene of Druid worship; here was the sacrificial
rock, in the hollows of which the victim was laid; and here were the
granite basins hollowed out to receive his blood. The castle, of Norman
origin, was built by Ralph De Pomeroy, and was occupied by a Bassett in
the time of Edward IV. There are also here the remains of ancient
British earthworks, and "hut circles," and a tall monument to Lord De
Dunstanville of Tehidy, erected in 1836.

A point of great interest to us is that Mr. Samuel Davey, the inventor
of the safety fuse for blasting and mining, was a native of Camborne,
and had his residence there, as did also his partner in business, George
Smith, LL.D. Mr. Smith was a man of high character, and great ability as
a scholar and writer, and the author of many works of theology and
biblical history. Among these are "The Hebrew People" and "The Gentile
Nations," which have been accepted as text-books in some theological
courses. The other member of the firm was Major John S. Bickford, a man
of wealth and influence, and the title of the firm became "Bickford,
Smith and Davey." The manufactory was located at Tuckingmill, a village
a little distance from Camborne. The business, at first small, has grown
and become very successful, and has branches in many parts of Europe and
America. The original firm, as represented by its successors, still
carries on the business in Tuckingmill.

One of the noteworthy features of the town life is the Saturday
market-day. On this day are gathered the people from all the outlying
country, with varied products of farm, garden and dairy, as well as
wares of all kinds, which are offered for sale in the great market-house
of the town.

"Camborne Feast" is a harvest festival answering to our Thanksgiving. It
occurs on November 13.


In the little hamlet of Roskear, an outlying village of Camborne, my
father, Joseph Toy, was born. The long, low stone cottage, with small
windows and overhanging roof, still stands. A narrow drive runs in from
the village street, and a low stone wall separates it from the plain
yard in front adorned with here and there a shrub or climbing vine. The
house is little changed since the large family of children were
sheltered under its eaves and played about the yard, and the dear mother
spread the simple food on the white table, and sanded the well-scoured
floor. My father was born in April, 1808. He was the son of Robert and
Ann Hosking Toy. He was the youngest of eight children: John, Robert,
Nicholas, William, James, Joseph, and his sisters Mary Ann (Mrs. Sims),
and Nanny (Mrs. Granville). His parents were honest, God-fearing people,
training their children to a life of industry and integrity, and early
leading them into the ways of piety and obedience. Joseph, being a
bright, attractive child, and possessing an affectionate nature, was
very naturally the pet and darling of the family. While he was quite
young his father died suddenly, and as the elder children were mostly
married, the home was broken up, and he, with his widowed mother, was
received into the family of his brother John, a man of much energy and
ability, who afterwards became captain of the West Seaton mine. In a few
years his mother, too, entered into rest, leaving her beloved Joseph to
the care of his elder brother, and well did that brother and his
estimable wife fulfill their trust. The home was full of love and
sunshine, and the most tender affection was lavished upon the young
brother. My uncle scarcely ever came home without the inquiry, "Where is
the dear boy?"

Mrs. Jane Gilbert, my Uncle John's youngest daughter, writes thus of the
family. "Their father died when Joseph was a lad, but he was always a
great pet with his brothers. I have heard my father tell how when he was
going courting Joseph had cried to go with him, and he has taken him
many a time. Their mother died when your father was young, and he came
to him at our house and continued to live with us until his marriage. So
my sisters looked upon him more as a brother than an uncle. I can
remember that when the letter came to father announcing your dear
mother's death, he wept aloud and said, 'Poor little Joe!' Their
mother's maiden name was Ann Davey, and she was born at Nans Nuke
Illogan. She was a grand old Christian, a splendid character and
handsome. I have always heard her children speak of her with reverence
and love. Our grandfather's mother's name was Andrews, and she was born
in the parish of Newlyn East."

The circumstances of the family made it necessary that all should share
in its support, and, as soon as he was thought capable, my father was
put--as were other children of his age--to do such work at the mine as
was then almost the only employment open to children. They were set at
picking up the ore for wheeling from the opening, and other light work
suited to their age, the labor and responsibility being increased as
they grew older. The advantages of education for the children of the
working classes were few indeed at that day, and where so many mouths
were to be fed, but little could be spared for books or schooling. My
father early developed a fondness for reading which grew into an earnest
thirst for knowledge, leading him to devote much of the time spent by
other boys in play to the search for it as for hid treasure.

There was considerable natural musical talent in the family, and, as my
father had a sweet voice, he was early taken into the surpliced
boy-choir of the parish church, to which one or two of his brothers
belonged, though his family were devoted members of the Wesleyan church
of Camborne. The beautiful ritual of the church and its impressive
services had a refining influence upon the sensitive boy, and the
musical training he there received was of much value to him, and gave
him much enjoyment in after life. He used to speak with enthusiasm of
this experience, and I have often heard him tell of the delight with
which the boys would go forth in the frosty air of the Christmas morning
to sing carols under the windows of their friends, and how eagerly they
would catch the pennies which were thrown from the windows in response
to their greeting. The drinking habit of those days was universal, and
total abstinence was a thing unknown; and I have heard him say that the
good rector, Parson Rogers, would often pat the boys affectionately when
they had done particularly well, and say, "You have done well, boys. Now
come with me and have a little drop of something warm." His connection
with the parish choir was also the means of attracting the notice of
some people of influence who were afterwards of much assistance to him.

As he grew older, his interest in education increased greatly, and
produced a distaste for the drudgery of his life at the mine. The
conviction grew upon him that he was fitted for something better, and
while he patiently bided his time, he was diligently improving every
opportunity for study. Kind friends soon noticed the boy's struggles,
and began to encourage him by lending him books, assisting him in
evening studies, and giving him help in every possible way. Prominent
among these were Mr. Thomas Davey, Mr. Thomas Garland, Dr. George Smith,
the author and scholar, Lady Bassett, and Lord De Dunstanville of
Tehidy, whose kindness and sympathy were very helpful.

At the age of nineteen my father passed the religious crisis of his
life, and his conversion was thorough and complete. He united with the
Wesleyan church, and threw himself with all the ardor of his nature into
its Christian work. He was very active in the social meetings, and
showed such decided talent in that line that he was soon appointed a
class-leader. He was also a teacher in the Sunday School, where he
showed such aptitude for the work as to incline him to the profession of
teaching as a vocation. He became Superintendent of the Sunday School,
and was soon licensed to preach, receiving an appointment as local
preacher on a circuit.

By untiring diligence he had qualified himself for the position of
teacher and obtained a situation in one of the Lancastrian schools, so
popular at that day, located in Camborne. He filled this position for
some years with much acceptance, continuing at the same time his own
studies, until he acquired, almost wholly by his own exertions, a solid
and excellent education. He was a good English scholar, a fine reader,
carefully exact in spelling and pronunciation, well read in history, a
good mathematician, fairly proficient in algebra and geometry, with
considerable knowledge of Latin, Greek, and French. He demonstrated
clearly what can be accomplished by any boy with a good mind, by energy
and perseverance, in the face of the most serious obstacles.

[Illustration: BENJAMIN OSLER]

About this time he formed the acquaintance of Miss Jane Osler, a young
lady of refinement and culture, who was at that time proprietor of a
millinery establishment in Camborne; and he married her in 1833. My
mother was the daughter of Benjamin and Jane Osler of Falmouth, and was
born August 1, 1802. The family was a very excellent one. Benjamin Osler
was the son of Edward Osler and Joan Drew, sister of the famous Cornish
metaphysician. He was a man of very decided character, a "gentleman of
the old school." His discipline in his family was very strict, though
kind, the rod always occupying a conspicuous place over the mantel for
the admonition of any child inclined to disobedience. A fine miniature
of my Grandfather Osler is in my possession, and it is our most
cherished heirloom. It is in the form of a locket. The picture shows a
fine oval face, with delicate features, powdered hair, and the heavy
eyebrows we have learned to call "the Osler eyebrows." On the reverse
side it has the hair of my grandfather and grandmother, smoothly
crossed, and upon it the monogram, "B. J. O.," in exquisite letters
formed of tiny pearls. This locket was given to my mother by her father
when the family went out to the Cape of Good Hope, South Africa, in the
year 1819. It was painted in London some time previous to that.

In April, 1797, according to the Falmouth church register, my
grandfather married Jane Sawle, the daughter of Stephen Sawle of
Falmouth, an officer in the British navy and afterward Captain of a
Falmouth packet, the _Hanover_. A solid silver tankard is preserved in
our family, which was presented to our great-grandfather by the
British Admiralty. It bears this inscription: "For twenty years'
faithful service"; and on the side, the letters, "S. S." It is now the
property of my sister, Mrs. R. H. Ensign. There is also somewhere in the
Osler family a picture of our Grandfather Sawle, an old gentleman in
naval uniform.

My mother was also one of a large family, which consisted of eight girls
and two brothers.[1] They were: Susan, Eliza, Mary Ann, Amelia,
Philippa, Jane, Julia, Sarah, Stephen, and Benjamin.

While my mother was still young, her father went out to the Cape of Good
Hope, in charge of a colony of settlers. Dr. William Osler has kindly
loaned me a diary of my grandfather's, containing lists of provisions
and supplies purchased for the party, as well as other items. The
entries extend from January 3, 1815, to January 25, 1821. There seem to
have been in the party fourteen men, sixteen women, one boy, and three
girls. All payments were to be made in a proportion of the products of
the land. My grandfather settled in Simons Town, with most of his
family, and was probably a magistrate of the new colony. Two of the
daughters, Julia and Philippa, being in business in England, had
remained behind. My mother was left in the care of her mother's sister,
Mrs. John Harris. They were people of some culture, and having no
children of their own, were very fond of my mother and gave careful
attention to the cultivation of her mind and manners. Her uncle took
special delight in training her in reading and elocution. I have often
heard her recite with much spirit:

  "My name is Norval. On the Grampian hills
  My father feeds his flock";

also many selections from the Iliad and Odyssey, taught her by her
uncle. Her home with these dear friends was most pleasant, and she
cherished the loving memory of their kindness all her life. It found
expression in the name she gave to me, her first-born, of Mary Harris.
She learned her business while she remained with them, and became the
head woman in a large millinery establishment in Falmouth, and
afterwards set up in business for herself in Camborne. My mother became
a member of the Church of England, to which all her family belonged, at
the age of seventeen, and so continued till near her marriage, when she
united with the Wesleyan church in Camborne.

My grandfather Osler died at Simons Town, after some years' residence
there. My grandmother returned to her English home, but most of the
children, being married and settled in business at the Cape, made their
homes permanently there, and their descendants are now living mostly in
Simons Town and in Cape Town. After my grandmother's return to England,
she taught for a time a school for girls; but later came to Camborne and
made her home with her daughters who were in business there. Her home
was with my mother till her departure for America.

While my mother remained in Falmouth, her Aunt Osler, the last of the
old family, lived near her with her two daughters, and they were a
great comfort to her. This Aunt Osler died in April, 1864. She was Mary
Paddy Osler, the wife of my grandfather's eldest brother, Edward. Their
eldest son, Edward, has descendants in Canada, with whom we have had
very pleasant relations, and a daughter, Mary, was the mother of Mrs.
Truran of Truro. Another son, Rev. Featherstone Osler, came out to
Canada as a missionary, and became the founder of a large and
influential family there. Our own relationship to them has been only
lately discovered, and has been the source of much pleasure to us. Mrs.
Featherstone Osler died at the age of one hundred, in 1907, a woman very
remarkable and greatly beloved; and her large family of sons, including
Dr. William Osler of Oxford, Hon. Justice Osler of Toronto, Britton Bath
Osler, the eminent lawyer, and Mr. Edmund Osler, the financier are all
distinguished in public life.

Of my mother's sisters, Susan married a Mr. Fineran of Cape Town, and
had an interesting family of children. She was early left a widow. Her
daughter, Mrs. Kate Divine, has written me several times, and given me
interesting details of the family. One daughter went to New Zealand to
live after her marriage; one son, Charles, died early. Mrs. Divine's
son, Edmund, went to sea quite young, in a British ship, and coming to
New York, visited us all, which was a great pleasure. Mrs. Divine is now
quite an invalid, and with her unmarried daughter, Maude, lives in
Plumstead, a suburb of Cape Town, very near two of her sons and their

Mary Ann married Mr. Sayers of Simons Town, and her children are still
there. She was a very lovely character, and died about 1855, after a
long and severe illness borne with great fortitude and patience. The
inscription chosen for her tombstone was the same as that on my
mother's: Rev. xiv: 13. Her daughter, Mrs. Eliza Storrier, has written
me under date March 13, 1882, from the address: Mrs. J. E. Storrier,
Patent Slip, Simons Town.

Eliza Osler married Mr. Jordan, and lived at Wynberg, Cape of Good Hope.
Her husband was in good business, and they had a family of seven
daughters and one son. She was also left a widow.

Philippa married Mr. William Cogill, a merchant of Simons Town, who had
several children. She had three of her own--two sons and a daughter,
Julia, who married a Captain Bray and went to England to live. She was
left a widow with two children, in rather unpleasant circumstances. I
corresponded for some time with my Aunt Philippa, and her son Arthur,
who was at sea, came into the port of Boston at one time and we went to
see him while in port. Aunt Philippa died February 14, 1879. She had a
stroke of apoplexy and lingered for twenty-four hours, but never
regained consciousness. She was a woman of lovely character, and an
earnest Christian.

Julia Osler, who, with Aunt Philippa, went out to the Cape after we left
England, was married there and had one child, but died early. I have not
the name of her husband.

Amelia married Gilbert Williams of Falmouth, who followed the sea. She
sometimes went with him, leaving her two children, Gilbert and Amelia,
with her mother. The son, Gilbert, lived in Falmouth. He was an
engineer, and had a large family. We visited them while in England. One
daughter was named Mary Harris Dodge, for me, and one Julia Osler, for
my sister Julia. My cousin Gilbert had a good mind and was well
educated, but was never very successful in life. He died several years
ago. His children are doing well, and are still located in Falmouth. His
sister Amelia had always lived with them, being of feeble intellect and
a great care. My Aunt Williams had a hard struggle in life. She was
early left a widow, and her health was delicate, but she supported her
family by teaching, and educated her children. Her health failed,
however, and at last her reason gave way. She was for some time in the
Bodmin Asylum, but later her reason returned, and she lived some years
with her son, and died in Falmouth a few years ago.

Sarah, the youngest daughter, was nine years of age when the family
returned from the Cape. She was adopted by her Aunt Harris and her
husband, and through them received an excellent education--a thing very
difficult to acquire in those days. She remained with them till their
death, then went to Camborne to her sisters, and afterwards secured a
situation in Truro, where she became engaged to a man much older than
herself. She lost her interest in him as the time drew near for her
marriage, and determined not to marry him. Hearing of a family who were
going to Gibraltar and wished a governess, she at once secured the
position, and after a hasty farewell to her mother, having gained her
very unwilling consent, she left England in two days. This was in 1838.
In 1840 she married Mr. Watson, of Edinburgh, Scotland, who belonged to
the Royal Artillery. At the end of two years they returned to England,
and were stationed at Woolwich, but in 1845 they removed to Edinburgh.
In 1852 the discovery of gold in Australia created a rush to that
colony. My Aunt Sarah with her family removed there, her husband joining
in the search for gold with varying success, while she labored
energetically to rear and educate her children.

She was a widow for some years before her death. Her children, of whom
six lived to grow up, were a great comfort and an honor to her. They are
all respectably settled in Australia. Her eldest daughter, Julia Osler,
married a Mr. Thomas Sayle, and they now live at Queenscliff, Australia.
My sister Julia met them in her journey to the East, in 1900, as well as
another daughter, Mrs. Evans, and two sons, William and Arthur, the
latter of whom has since died. My Aunt Watson died after a short illness
a few years ago,--I have not the exact date. In a letter received from
my Aunt Sarah, dated June 10, 1872, she thus speaks of my mother:--

"My first recollection of your mother was when we returned from the
Cape. I was then nine years old. She was much occupied by business, but
often on evenings she would take a walk in a quiet, beautiful lane near
our home, with your Aunt Phillis and myself. In these rambles I first
learned to love nature and poetry, for, to our delight, she would repeat
to us choice poems which I have never forgotten. She sowed the seeds of
a love of literature in my mind, which time has never effaced and which
has been a solace to me in prosperity and adversity. I never think of my
dear sister Jane but as the most perfect and consistent Christian I ever

She also quotes from a letter written to her by my mother, August 15,
1844, in which she says:--

"Mary is smaller than our other children, but she is a kind-hearted
little creature, and is able to render me many little services. I think
her disposition resembles that of our dear mother. Joseph is naturally
self-willed, and little Susan volatile. Ann Jane is now two years old.
She is an engaging little creature, and can sing and talk remarkably
well. She is named for her two grandmothers."

Of the two sons, my Uncle Stephen Osler remained at the Cape. He was for
many years a teacher in the government schools. I had for some years an
interesting correspondence with him. He had two sons, Stephen and
Benjamin, and a very sweet daughter, Katherine Jane, who died quite
young. The sons were both men of position and influence at the Cape. My
uncle and his wife both died some years ago.

My Uncle Benjamin returned to England and established his business
there. He lived for some years in Barnstaple, and died of apoplexy,
February 3, 1864. He left two sons, both of whom were men of character.
One of them, Rev. Benjamin Osler of Exmouth, afterwards became a Baptist
clergyman. I have recently had a delightful correspondence with him, and
my sister Susan has met him and his family. He has two sons, John
Stephen and Ernest Edward, both of whom have children.

I should have inserted before a sketch of the family of my Uncle John
Toy, with whom we have been more intimately connected than with any
other branch of either family. My uncle married Jane Rule of Camborne,
and they had four daughters and one son. The eldest, Mary Ann, married
Mr. Josephus Snell. He was a builder and contractor, and had a
prosperous business. They removed to London, and most of their life was
spent there. They had a very pleasant home, and Mr. Snell owned several
houses which he rented. They have both died within a few years. The
second daughter, Amelia, married James Snell, a brother of Josephus.
They had two daughters. Asenath, the elder, was adopted by her Uncle
Josephus, as they had no children of their own. She married Edward
Brundell, and their home was in London. Louisa, the younger, always
lived with her parents. My cousin Amelia died quite suddenly about two
years ago. Jennefer married Philip Morshead of Camborne. They had two
children: a son, John, who has always been a teacher, and a daughter,
Annie Davis, who has been also a very successful teacher. My cousin
Jennefer was a little older than myself, and was very fond of us as
children before we left England. She was a favorite of my mother, and I
always corresponded with her occasionally. Both she and her husband have
recently died. Jane, the youngest, married John Gilbert, since captain
of one of the large mines, and a man of much intelligence and influence.
He has made several visits to America in the interest of the mines, also
he was sent to India, where he was employed for two years by the
mine-owners. They have a pleasant home in Camborne and three fine
children: two sons, Arthur and Bertie, who are both in business, and
Leonora, a sweet girl who is soon to be married to a Wesleyan
minister.[2] The only son, John Toy, was not as successful as the rest.
He came to America, and went from here to Australia, where he died some
years ago.

I wish also to mention the family of my aunt, Mrs. Mary Ann Sims. She
was my father's only remaining sister when we visited England in 1882.
She was then living with her daughter, Mrs. Arthur, in Camborne, and was
about eighty years of age. She was a lovely old lady, petite in figure,
exquisitely neat in dress, her face beaming with kindness from beneath
one of the snowy caps with which her grandson, Johnnie Arthur, delighted
to keep her supplied. She was greatly beloved by her grandchildren, and
the pet of all the nieces and nephews. She reared a large family of
children, who are widely scattered. One son has long lived in Norway,
and is the father of Joseph Sims of Simsbury, Connecticut. One is the
Rev. James Sims[3] of Council Bluffs, Iowa, who was for many years a
Methodist minister in Wisconsin. Reverend and Mrs. James Sims celebrated
the sixtieth anniversary of their marriage in 1907, when they were both
over eighty. They had ten children, of whom seven are still living, Mrs.
Mary Bainbridge being best known to us. Two sons and two daughters are
living in England.

My Aunt Sims had a cosy cottage at Carwinning, in the country, a few
miles from Camborne; and it was one of my mother's chief pleasures to
take her little children to this pleasant country home, where we were
always cordially welcomed and treated to the best of Cornish cream and
gooseberry pasties. It was a pleasant relief from her busy and confining
life in the shop where she personally superintended her millinery

My father lived, for over five years after his marriage, in Camborne,
holding the position of principal of the Lancastrian School, and making
himself very useful as local preacher and class-leader in the Wesleyan
church. Three children were born to them in these happy days of their
early married life. I was the first-born, and was ushered into life
October 31, 1834, at about 8 o'clock in the morning. I have often heard
my father speak of the joy he felt when I was placed in his arms for the
first time. The second was my brother Joseph, born July 23, 1836, a
bright, active boy, who made life busy for those who had the care of
him. Then came my sister Susan, born June 3, 1838. She was the household
pet when we turned our faces from the dear old home to seek a new one in
a land of strangers. This great change which now came into our family
life was in connection with the introduction of the manufacture of
safety fuses into America. The firm, having an established and lucrative
business in England, naturally sought to enlarge and extend it, and
America was considered an inviting field for the new industry.

About this time Mr. Richard Bacon of Simsbury, Connecticut, was
travelling in England in the interest of copper-mining, which was then
carried on at the old prison in East Granby, Connecticut, known as
Newgate. He met with the firm of Bickford, Smith & Davey, and they
determined to make an effort through him to introduce their business
into America. The first attempt was accordingly made at the old prison,
with some success. It had been transferred to Simsbury, and was in
successful operation there, when, in the summer of 1839, my father, who
was well and favorably known to the firm, and had been greatly
encouraged and befriended by Mr. Smith and Mr. Davey, and in their
employ, received from them an offer of a position as bookkeeper in the
American establishment, which was known as Bacon, Bickford & Co., with
what was for those days a good salary. The accounts of the new branch
were confused and unsatisfactory, and the company desired to have
accurate statements rendered. It was a fine opening for the future for
my father, as was proved a few years later when he became a member of
the firm of which he was afterwards the head.

This startling proposition brought a season of anxious thought and
prayerful consideration into the little home. My mother was well
established in her business; her mother and two sisters were with her;
her love for her English home and friends was deep and true; and she
shrank with all the force of her loving nature from the separation. The
journey was long and trying. No ocean steamers made the voyage a
pleasant pastime of a few days. Long weeks of tossing on the stormy
ocean were to be followed by the search for a new home in a land of
strangers. But with my mother the voice of duty was always the voice of
God. The prospects of a wider field for her husband, and enlarged
opportunities for her children, were not to be neglected. Her decision
was made, and saying, as did Ruth, "Where thou goest, I will go," she
bravely put away the arms of love which would have held her back, and
set herself to the task of closing her business and arranging for her
journey. At length the preparations were over. The last farewells were
said to the dear little home, to the church they loved and had served so
faithfully, and to the dear ones from whom it was so hard to part. The
van laden with luggage for the voyage, with space reserved for the
family, was ready to start; and amid the tears and prayers of those who
loved them, the dear old home faded forever from the eyes of my father
and mother.

The first stage of the journey was to Falmouth, my mother's early home,
where we remained for a rest of a day or two with my mother's sister,
Mrs. Williams. Pleasant days they were, of loving sisterly communion.
The children, wild with the excitement of the new experience, were
eagerly spying out the wonders of the city, in company with their
cousins. My brother Joseph, a bold, adventurous little fellow of
scarcely three, wandered off one day, to the great anxiety of his
mother. He was found, after a long search, by my aunt, gazing intently
into the mysteries of a rope-walk. Seeing his aunt, he exclaimed,
eagerly, "Oh, here comes Aunt Philippa! Now we'll go through the gate!"

These pleasant days soon passed, and with renewed good-byes, we left for
Portsmouth, from which port we were to sail. A vexatious delay of some
days was experienced there, but at last the good ship spread her sails
and stood off down the harbor. With tearful eyes they stood on deck and
watched the receding shores of their dear native land fade from their
sight. Then, with new devotion to each other and to the God who was
leading them, they turned with hope and courage to the new life opening
before them.

For six long weeks the vessel ploughed its way over the heaving sea. My
father was almost immediately prostrated by sea-sickness, and for most
of the passage was confined to the stateroom, unable to render any
assistance in the care of the family. My mother bravely rose to the
emergency, caring for her sick husband and the restless children, and
bearing the weariness and discomfort of the voyage without a murmur. My
brother Joseph, being of an inquiring mind and full of restless energy,
was constantly wandering about the ship, exploring every new place,
talking with the sailors, trying to climb the ropes, and requiring
unceasing vigilance to keep him from harm. Little Susan, then just past
her first birthday, learned to walk on board the ship, and one of her
first exploits in climbing about was to upset a teapot of hot tea into
her bosom, making a bad scald of which she carries the scars to this
day, thus adding much to the care and anxiety of her mother.

At last the weary weeks wore away, and their eyes were gladdened by the
sight of land. On the eighteenth of August, 1839, they made safe anchor
in the harbor of New York. From there an easy sail by the Sound brought
them to Hartford. Once more the luggage was mounted on a heavy wagon,
with space reserved for the family, and they were off on the ten-mile
drive over the mountains to Simsbury, their place of destination.

As the afternoon was wearing away, they came to the top of the high hill
rising abruptly at the eastern end of the street of East Weatogue,
where their journey was cut short by the breaking down of the wagon. The
prospect which opened before them was beautiful indeed. The little
village which was to be their home nestled at the foot of the mountain
range, while fertile meadows stretched away in the distance, through
which the Farmington river with its wooded banks wound its peaceful way,
the horizon bounded by the range of mountains west of the town. It was a
lovely picture, but the way-worn travellers could not realize its
beauty, as they alighted from the broken wagon, and took their weary way
down the hill to the village, leaving the driver to repair the wagon and
follow later. My mother, walking on, came to a hospitable-looking home
and ventured to ask a drink for the tired children. A pleasant-faced
matron greeted them kindly, invited them in to rest, and offering my
mother a cup of tea, proceeded to regale the hungry children with bread
and molasses. This was their first welcome to their new home. My mother
rejoiced to find that her new friend was from the dear home land, also
that her husband was in the employ of the same firm. They became
lifelong friends, and in sickness and in health it was their delight to
show a sisterly kindness to each other. This good woman was "Auntie
Whitehead," a warm friend of our family, who has since joined my mother
in the heavenly home.

At last, as the evening shadows were falling, the heavy wagon came
slowly down the mountain, and we were lodged in our first home in
America. It was an old-fashioned New England house, with long sloping
roof and lean-to running down behind. It is still standing and in fair
repair, just opposite the Cornish house, which stood by the old
schoolhouse in East Weatogue. One half the house was occupied by the
family of Mr. Joseph Eales, who was a member of the firm. We remained
there for a time, and afterwards removed to the house standing where Mr.
Aman Latimer's house now stands. But, desiring a more permanent home, my
father bought the farm owned by Mr. Roswell Phelps, lying just at the
foot of the mountain. It is now owned by Mr. Henry Ensign. My mother
rejoiced to feel that at last her wanderings were over and she was
settled in a home of her own.


How plainly I can see it now! The plain house with its gambrel roof and
double front-doors kept secure by a stout oak bar resting in sockets of
iron; the narrow front hall, the family sitting-room on one side, with
the east door opening on the grassy yard; and the wide stone steps, our
only piazza. The parlor was on the west of the hall, with its ingrain
carpet and plain furniture, which then seemed quite fine to my childish
eyes. The best bed standing in the corner with the heavy English
counterpane was one of the conspicuous features of the room. Behind was
the long kitchen with its great fireplace, my mother's bedroom at one
end, and a smaller one for the children at the other. Plain and simple,
indeed, and even bare as compared with the homes of these days, as was
this home of our childhood, it was "sweet home" to us, for it was bright
with the love that made our lives all sunshine, and peace and
contentment were our constant guests.

Two large buttonwood trees stood at the front gate, up to which led
some stone steps. By the street was an open shed under which wagons
could drive, and beyond was the garden with the great apple tree at the
top of it, flanked by peach trees, whose fruit was "sweet to our taste."
Behind the house was the well with its long sweep and its "oaken
bucket," which was our only refrigerator. It sometimes befell that a
luckless pail of cream or butter fell to the bottom. Then one of the
children was despatched in haste over the fields to borrow neighbor
Bissel's iron creepers, and great was the excitement as we watched the
grappling which surely brought up the pail, if not always the contents.
There, too, was the old pear tree, in the back garden, whose fruit was
so delicious as we ran out in the early morning to gather what had
fallen during the night; and the orchard with its long grass, often
trampled in our hasty search for the "golden sweets" which strewed the
ground. The hill rising at the back of it was crowned with the fine
spreading chestnut trees, which were such a joy to us in the autumn when
the frost had opened the burs and strewed the brown nuts on the ground.
Behind the house was the barn, with the cow which we early learned to
milk, and the white horse which carried the family to church on Sunday,
and my father on his semi-weekly journeys to the post office in
Hopmeadow. For daily mails were unknown in the peaceful valley then. The
yellow stage rumbled through the streets on its semi-weekly trip from
Hartford and was hailed with joy as a messenger from the great world

Across the brook and farther down the street was the little brown
schoolhouse, with its stiff hard benches, and open Franklin stove.
Behind was an old apple tree, and a barnyard flanked it on the north
side. There was a row of maples under which we played, and built stone
houses in the soft sand, making wonderful china closets of bricks and
shingles and filling them with bits of bright crockery laboriously
gathered from the children's homes and carried to school in our aprons.

Early rising was the rule in our house, for the early breakfast was
always preceded by family prayers, from which none might be excused;
and after it my father went to his office and the children to school. We
were happy children then; our simple sports and homely pleasures had a
zest which, it seems to me, children in these days of multiplied means
of diversion know little of. The free life of the fields and woods; the
fun of driving the cows to and from the mountain pastures, and, in
spring, carrying home pails of maple sap, and boiling it into sugar;
scouring the mountain-sides and pastures for berries and nuts, picking
up apples and potatoes in the fall, by which we gained a little money
which was all our own; and, in winter, the joys of coasting down the
steep hill and far across the fields below by moonlight. The wonderful
snow-forts our brothers built and stormed, and the rides over the snow
behind the frisky steers on the ox-sled they made; in-doors the
home-made dolls and pleasant games, and in the evenings the delightful
stories and songs with which our mother entertained us--all these were
enjoyed with a relish so keen as to leave nothing more to be desired.

As was most natural, my parents immediately connected themselves with
the church of their choice in their new home. The little band composing
the Methodist Episcopal church, which answered to the Wesleyan they had
left at home, had at that time no church edifice and were holding
Sabbath services in the schoolhouses, mostly at West Weatogue, about a
mile from our house. I well remember pleasant Sabbath morning walks down
the village street, through the "River Lane," bordered by a tall row of
Normandy poplars, over the bridge and by the sheep-fold of Squire Owen
Pettibone at the corner, where we were allowed, much to our delight, to
stop to look at the young lambs with their soft white coats and bright
eyes. I remember, too, the weekly evening prayer-meetings held at our
own schoolhouse at "early candle-light," when lamps and chairs were
brought in by the neighbors, and the simple service, generally conducted
by my father, was often as "the house of God and the gate of heaven" to
the earnest worshippers. It sometimes happened in the spring-time, when
the swollen river flooded the meadows and made the roads along its
banks impassable, that the brook which crossed our street was raised to
a small river, and the street could be crossed only by boats. When this
occurred on a Sabbath the young men would bring a boat, and to our great
delight we were rowed over, and the neighbors gathered at the
schoolhouse for a Sabbath service at which my father preached.

His talents as a preacher and religious leader were soon perceived and
appreciated by the people, and his services were in much demand. It is
said that he preached in the schoolhouse at West Weatogue on the evening
after his arrival in Simsbury. In those early days he preached
frequently, supplying every alternate Sabbath for many of the weaker
churches in the vicinity which could not afford a regular pastor. He
preached in this way at North Canton, Granby, Bloomfield, Washington
Hill, Newfield, Burlington, and many other places. He would often start
off on Saturday afternoon for a drive of ten or fifteen miles, leaving
his little family to get to church on Sunday as best they could. In cold
weather he would wrap himself in his long cloak brought over from
England, and with the faithful white horse, go forth to wrestle with the
wintry winds and snows, often not returning till Monday. In 1840 the
Methodist Episcopal church edifice was built, on land donated by Squire
Ensign, a Congregationalist. My father, J. O. Phelps, Esquire, and Mr.
Edward C. Vining were appointed building-committee. Through their
earnest efforts, it was finally located at Hopmeadow, in spite of strong
opposition from some of the most influential members, who resided at
"Cases' Farms," now West Simsbury, and who favored its erection there.
It was said of my father by his pastor, Rev. I. Simmons, "He was one of
the most efficient workers and liberal givers in the erection of the
Simsbury church." A contribution was secured by his efforts from the
English firm to aid in building the church. It was a plain white
structure with long windows and green blinds. The steeple much resembled
that of the present Congregational church, but was smaller. They have
been not inaptly compared to two boxes piled on one another. The
pleasant-toned bell still hangs in the church tower, and it was music
in the ears of the little company of Methodists, when its clear notes
rang out over the meadows and hillsides, calling them to worship in a
church of their own.

The interior was very simple: the plain pews with high doors; the
swinging gallery at the rear with the stiff green curtains on brass
rings across the front, which were drawn with all due ceremony when the
preliminary sounding of the tuning fork announced the beginning of
preparations for singing; the plain white pulpit with its purple velvet
cushion and hangings and straight seat cushioned with green baize, its
door closed and carefully buttoned after the minister had ascended the
narrow stairs; the high altar railing inclosing the communion table at
which it was so tiresome for children to kneel;--all these form a vivid
picture in my memory. Some years later an improvement(?) was introduced
which was thought to be a marvel of art, in the shape of a fresco behind
the pulpit. It represented two heavy curtains, supported by pillars on
each side, looped back by a large cord with immense dark tassels. This
was the wonder of our childish eyes for many years. Two large box stoves
stood near the entrance doors, at which I used to stand tremblingly to
warm myself after our cold ride in winter, while the stalwart young
sexton, whose rough manners concealed a kind heart, raked at the glowing
coals with his long poker and thrust in the big sticks which soon sent a
glow through our chilled hands and feet. The plain little church has
been transformed into a neat modern one with a corner tower,[4] and the
worshippers with whom my memory fills those pews all lie quietly
sleeping on the hillside in the neighboring cemetery. Only their
children remain to remind us of them and the good work they did in those
early days, but their memory is green, and the fruit of their labors is
enjoyed by their children to-day.

In 1844 my father served as pastor of the Simsbury church, giving his
services that the church might free itself from debt, which it did. He
conducted during all those years a Bible class of ladies in the Sunday
School, by whom he was greatly appreciated and beloved. The Sabbaths of
those early days were far from being "days of rest" to my father and
mother. They were obliged to rise early to get the family ready for
church, leaving home at about half-past nine for the two-mile ride to
Hopmeadow. Then the two services with Sunday School between, and the
drive home occupied the time till four P. M. Then my mother had to
prepare the warm supper, and when all was over it was nearly time for
the evening prayers, which were never omitted. Not until the restless
children were in bed and soothed to sleep by the sweet hymns she used to
sing to us, was there a moment of quiet rest for the dear mother. My
father at that time always drove to Hopmeadow for the evening service,
and later one or two of the older children were allowed to go with him.
In pleasant weather, when my father was absent on his preaching tours,
my mother would take such of the children as were old enough, and walk
to church on Sabbath mornings, leaving the little ones with her friend
Mrs. Whitehead.

One of the chief pleasures of that early time was the receipt of letters
from the dear mother and sisters left behind, for letters were indeed
like angels' visits then. They were full of tender memories and loving
messages for the dear ones over the sea. One of my most cherished
mementos is a letter written to my mother by my Grandmother Osler in
October, 1839, in which she speaks of her joy in hearing of our safe
arrival and settlement in our new home and of how much she missed my
mother, and her affectionate longing to see the children who were so
dear to her. She says,--

"Kiss the three darling children for me. I cannot express my love for
them and you, nor my feelings on account of the great distance between
us. I shed many tears in reading your much valued letter over and over
again. You are all generally uppermost in my thoughts, and I find you
wanting more than I can describe. I am very glad you like the appearance
of the country and that you were so kindly received. I hope the winters
will be more mild than we expected, and that by the blessing of the
Almighty you will all be happy and comfortable. Oh! how I would love to
see my beloved little Mary, and my darling little Joseph, who seems
inclined to remember me by expecting to find me in his new home, and I
should have been much pleased to see my dear, sweet, pretty little Susan
take to run off, but suppose the misfortune of pulling the hot tea over
into her tender bosom put her back some time. Pretty dear! I used to
love them all as if they were my own."

She goes on to speak of her health and prospects, and in closing says,--

"I hope the Lord will give me strength according to my day, and by His
divine assistance, may I and all of you be led on by His grace in the
way to everlasting life."

Such was the love and blessing which descended to us from our godly
ancestors. As nearly as I can learn, my grandmother Osler died in 1842,
about three years after our coming to America. I well remember my
mother's grief when the sad tidings came, and the black dress she wore
for some time afterward. Her sisters Julia and Philippa soon returned to
the Cape of Good Hope, where their brother and sisters were, and both
were married there, but my Aunt Julia only lived a short time, dying
soon after the birth of her first child. The sad news came to my mother
just before the birth of my sister Julia, and she was named for this
dear sister. My mother always loved dear old England with a right loyal
affection. She always spoke of it lovingly as "Home," and cherished a
longing desire to revisit it at some future day, but she never allowed
any feeling of homesickness to interfere with present duty. Her whole
heart was given to her family. It was her highest joy to make home
bright and happy for her husband and children, though her heart was
large enough to take in the church and the neighborhood and every one to
whom she might do a kindness. From year to year she toiled patiently
and quietly on, with very little to relieve the monotony of her life.
Vacations were a thing unheard of in that day, especially for women, and
though my father made frequent journeys to various parts of the country
on business, it was not thought of as possible that the mother could
leave her post. But her life, so far from being dreary or unsatisfying,
was bright with the love and confidence of her husband and the affection
of her children. These were her "joy and crown," the approval of the
Saviour she loved and served was her constant inspiration, and her
well-stored mind, and her fondness for good reading furnished pleasant
occupation for her leisure hours.

So the years passed quietly and peacefully with little change in the
life of the family. Two other children came to bless the home, Ann Jane,
named for her two grandmothers, born February 23, 1842, and Julia Osler,
born June 14, 1845. I must not fail to make mention of one who played
quite an important part in the history of our family at this time. This
was a young woman named Lucinda Andrus, who came into the family April
1, 1843. She had employment in the factory and assisted my mother in
such ways as she could for her board. She was a woman of excellent
Christian character and great kindness of heart, though possessed of
strong peculiarities. She was warmly attached to my mother and the
children, and very self-sacrificing in her efforts to assist in every
possible way. She was, in this way, a member of our family for many
years, passing with us through scenes of joy and sorrow, always
identifying her interests with ours and giving the most faithful service
and unchanging friendship. She was a woman of shrewd good sense and
often quite witty, and her quaint remarks and amusing stories and songs
enlivened many an evening for the children. She was somewhat credulous,
and had great faith in dreams and omens, which we eagerly drank in,
somewhat to the discomfort of our mother, who was singularly free from
any trace of superstition, and was the very soul of truth in all her
conversation with her children. Lucinda married later in life old Mr.
Thomas Morton, who, as she herself allowed after his death, was not
always "the best of husbands," though she did think the minister "might
have said a little more about him at his funeral." Her married life was
burdened with hard work and poverty, but her last years were made quite
comfortable by the kindness of many friends who respected her and were
glad to assist her. She died in the autumn of 1896. She is remembered by
the young people of our family as "Aunt Lucinda."

We come now to the time when the clouds gathered heavily over the happy
family, and its sweet light went out in darkness. My mother had not been
in her usual good health during the summer, and had been at times a
little low-spirited. On Monday, July 19, 1848, my father went on a short
business trip to Boston, and returning found my mother quite poorly. On
Friday she felt decidedly ill and asked Lucinda to remain at home to
assist her, which she gladly did. That evening my father, who was
suffering from severe headache, asked my mother to offer prayer at the
evening worship, as she often did, and Lucinda, whose recollection of
those scenes was very vivid, describes it as one of the most remarkable
prayers she ever heard. The mother's whole soul seemed drawn out in
special pleading for her children, that God would make them His own, and
would care for them if she was taken away from them. On Saturday she was
much worse, and on Sunday her condition was very alarming. The disease
having developed as malignant erysipelas, one of the most experienced
and skilful physicians from Hartford was called, a good nurse put in
charge, and all that human skill could do was done to save the life so
precious to us all. But all in vain. It became evident during Monday
night that the end was near, and toward morning the family were gathered
at her bedside for the last farewell. She called each separately, and
commended them to God with her dying blessing.

Little Julia, only three years old, was in my father's arms, too young
to realize the sad parting. My mother asked, "Where is my little Annie?"
My father lifted her and she laid her hand on Annie's head, but could
not speak. My brother Joseph, always impulsive and warm-hearted, burst
into tears, and begged forgiveness for any trouble he might have caused
her. She spoke words of comfort to him and sank back exhausted. My
father asked her, "Is all well?" She answered, "All is well. It is well
with my soul." And so in the morning of July 27, 1848, at 6 A. M.,
gently and peacefully passed away one of the purest and sweetest spirits
that ever brightened this dark world. Her lifework was finished, and she
"entered into the joy of her Lord."

No relatives were near enough to comfort and help the family in this
time of trial, but neighbors and friends were unwearied in their
kindness and sympathy. One instance worthy of mention was that of a
young girl named Delia Foley, who was living with the Phelps family and
to whom my mother had shown kindness as a stranger. She volunteered her
services in preparing the dear form for burial, which was the more
remarkable as the disease was of such a nature that there was great fear
of contagion. This fact became known to me by accidentally finding Miss
Foley, who was now a gray-haired woman, in the family of Hon. Joshua
Hale of Newburyport, where she had been an honored and trusted servant
for nearly forty years. It was a great pleasure to me to meet her, and
to express to her, in such ways as I could, our gratitude for the great
kindness rendered to the living and to the dead in the years so long
gone by. I gladly record this as an instance of unselfish kindness all
too rare in a world like this.

It was in the sultry heat of summer that our great loss occurred, and
the oppressive weather seemed to increase the burden of our sorrow. I
well remember the desolation which settled down over the home on the
evening of that first sorrowful day. To add to the gloom, the
storm-clouds gathered darkly. The picture is forever printed in my
memory. The father and his little motherless flock were alone in the
upper chamber. The rain fell in torrents, the thunder crashed, and every
flash of lightning lit up the surrounding country and showed the tall
row of poplars in the distant lane, standing stiff and straight against
the stormy sky. No wonder that my father gave way to the grief he could
no longer control, and the children mingled their tears and sobs with
his in unutterable sorrow. The funeral service was held in the Methodist
Episcopal church, which was filled with friends who loved and honored my
mother in life and sincerely mourned her death. A funeral sermon was
preached by her pastor, Rev. M. N. Olmstead, from Acts xxvi, 8,--"Why
should it be thought a thing incredible with you that God should raise
the dead?"--in which the sorrowing family were led for comfort to the
glorious certainty of the resurrection; and afterwards the sad
procession took its way to the cemetery on the hillside. The little
children with their black bonnets and frocks were a pathetic picture
which appealed to the sympathy of every heart. The last solemn words
were said, and we left her there to the peaceful rest of those who sleep
in Jesus. The inscription on the stone above her resting-place--"Blessed
are the dead who die in the Lord"--was never more fitly applied.

The months passed on, and life resumed its usual course, but the painful
vacancy was sadly felt in the family. A housekeeper was obtained who
did what she could to fill the dreadful void, and our faithful Lucinda
remained at her post. But there was no real harmony, and the children
began to show the need of a mother's care and love. In this dilemma my
father's thoughts were turned, as was natural, towards some one who
might fill the important place, and in February, 1849, he married Mrs.
Sarah G. H. Merritt. She was the daughter of one of the old and
excellent families of the town, and had been for years a friend of my
father and mother, and belonged to the same church. She was married when
quite young to Mr. James Merritt, a young man of much promise, and went
with him to Spring Hill, Alabama, where they were both engaged in
teaching. In little more than a year he died, leaving her a widow before
the birth of her first child, which occurred soon after. Her adopted
sister had married Mr. Rush Tuller, a merchant in good business at
Spring Hill, and with them she found a home and all needed sympathy and
help in this time of trial. She was a woman of strong character and most
indomitable energy, and rising above her sorrow, she bravely set
herself to the task of earning a support for herself and her child. She
remained in her position as teacher till her son was old enough to be
left, and then coming north she left him in the care of her mother and
grandmother, and returned to take up her work. She was a woman of very
attractive personality and pleasant manners, vivacious and entertaining
in conversation, and though she had not been without opportunities to
change her situation, she remained a widow about ten years. Such was the
person whom my father brought to us as our new mother, and to make us
happy again. There were no relatives to interfere or to make unpleasant
comparisons, and we received her with love and confidence, gladly
yielding to her the respect and obedience we had been accustomed to give
to our own mother, and so the family life flowed on harmoniously. It was
no light task she had undertaken, to train a family of five children,
and she addressed herself to it with her accustomed energy and courage.
She identified herself fully with the family, and made our interests
her own. She endeavored faithfully to improve our manners, to teach us
to have confidence in ourselves, and to develop the best that was in us,
and in every way to promote the best interests of us all.

She brought with her as members of our family, her son, a boy of nine
years, and her mother. It might have been a question whether the new
elements would mingle harmoniously with the old, but in this case they
certainly did. We were delighted with the idea of a new brother, and he
and my brother Joseph, who was near his age, became and always continued
real brothers in heart. They were devotedly attached to each other, and
were inseparable till my brother's death. Her mother, Mrs. D. G.
Humphrey, was a lady of refinement and intelligence. Though delicate in
health and nervously weak, she bore with commendable patience the noise
of children, and the rushing life of such a large family, which was a
great contrast to the quietness of her former life. We rejoiced in the
acquisition of a grandma, as we had no remembrance of our own. She was
an honored member of our family for many years, and as many of her
tastes and sentiments were similar to my own, we were much together and
enjoyed each other's society.

The schools in our town were very unsatisfactory, and when I reached the
age of fifteen it was thought that some better advantages should be
given me. Accordingly, I was sent to Wilbraham Academy, one of the
oldest and best schools under Methodist auspices in all that region. I
was to room with my friend, Miss Mary Weston, of Simsbury, but as she
was not quite ready when the term began, I had to begin my experience
alone. I was taken by my father and mother in a carriage to Wilbraham, a
distance of about thirty miles. I was full of anticipation, and all was
well as long as they were with me, but I shall never forget the
heart-sinking which overwhelmed me when they left me the next day. When
I settled down at evening in my little bare room alone, I could not keep
the tears from falling as I thought of the pleasant home circle, and
heartily wished myself among them. The school buildings were in sharp
contrast to the beautiful and nicely adapted appointments of most of
the schools and colleges of to-day. They were plain to severity, and
some of them showed marks of years of hard usage. The halls and rooms of
our dormitory were uncarpeted. Each little room was furnished with a bed
with dark chintz spread, a small study table, two wooden chairs, a
little box stove for burning wood, and a triangular board fastened in
the corner, with a white muslin curtain, for a wash-stand, with a small
bookcase above it. These, with a small mirror, completed the furniture,
and dreary enough it looked to me on that sad evening. But with the
young, though "weeping may endure for a night, joy cometh in the
morning," and as my room-mate soon came, and I began to be acquainted
with the students and interested in my studies, I was very happy. The
two years I spent there were among the happiest and most profitable of
my life. My sister Susan joined me there the second year, and afterward
my brother Joseph. He was also sent later to a school for boys in
Norwich, Connecticut, and Susan afterwards attended a private school in
Milford, Connecticut. My sisters Annie and Julia were educated in the
Hartford schools. Annie also studied music at Music Vale Seminary,
Connecticut. Brother James Merritt studied with a private tutor, Mr. T.
G. Grassie, of Amherst College.


It was the wish of my father that Joseph should have a college
education, but though he had a very bright mind, and was very literary
in his tastes, and himself a good writer, his choice was strongly for a
mechanical training. Accordingly, he was placed with the firm of Lincoln
Bros. of Hartford to learn the business of a machinist, and afterwards
worked with Woodruff & Beach of the same city. He became an expert in
the business, and some of the finest work was entrusted to him.

I should mention here the birth of two other children who were most
welcome additions to the family circle--George Bickford Davey, named for
the business partners, who was born March 18, 1852, and Sarah Jennette,
born October 26, 1857.

The year 1857 was one of severe financial crisis. Business of all kinds
was almost at a stand-still, and hundreds of workmen were everywhere
discharged. The younger men of course were the first to go, and both
Joseph and James, being unemployed, resolved to set off for the West and
take any chance that offered. After a short experience as farmers' help,
they both obtained schools in Illinois. This, however, continued but a
short time, as business revived, and Joseph came home and took a
position as machinist in the factory. James remained West, and was with
his uncle Humphrey's family in Quincy most of the time till he settled
later on a farm of his own.

That year was also marked by deep and extensive religious interest, and
both brothers became Christians during that year. So all of our family
were united in their religious life, as in all other things. In
December, 1859, a sad accident cast its dark shadow over us. My father's
factory was destroyed by fire. It was about 8 A. M. My father was
preparing to go to Hartford, and I was standing by him near a window,
when suddenly a sheet of flame shot from beneath the eaves of the
factory, lifting the roof, and instantly the wooden building was
enveloped in flames. The alarm and excitement were intense. A crowd soon
collected, and every effort was made to check the fire and to save those
in danger. But the explosion had done its deadly work, and eight of the
girls employed were instantly killed, while others were rescued with
great difficulty and were badly burned. My brother Joseph, who was at
that time employed in the machine department, found himself almost
without warning buried beneath a mass of falling timbers, while flames
and smoke poured in all about him. He managed to extricate himself, and
made a brave dash for his life. Carrying the window with him, he plunged
into the race-way of the water-wheel, and so escaped, though terribly
burned. The sad occurrence shrouded the town in gloom. The funeral of
the eight unfortunate girls was an event long to be remembered. The
company did everything in its power to care for the sufferers, and to
help the afflicted families, bearing all expenses and erecting a
monument to the dead.

My brother lingered through months of terrible suffering. For some time
his life was despaired of, but at last, by the blessing of God on the
efforts of the most skilful physicians, and with good nursing, he slowly
recovered. His nervous system, however, had received a shock from which
he never fully recovered. As mother was not at all well at that time,
most of the day nursing fell to me, while kind friends freely offered
their services for the nights. It was a long and trying experience and
was followed for me with quite a serious illness, but I always rejoiced
in the privilege of ministering to him in this time of greatest need.

In the autumn of 1860 occurred the exciting political campaign which
resulted in the election of Abraham Lincoln as President of the United
States. I need not describe here the gathering of the clouds nor the
bursting of the storm of civil war, whose mutterings had long been heard
in the distance. My brother was elected a member of the Connecticut
Legislature for 1861, and, though the youngest member, he was very
popular and made a fine record as a speaker on the floor of the House.
The war was the absorbing topic of the time. Energetic measures were
used to raise troops in response to the call of the President. A
committee of the legislature, of which my brother was one, was appointed
for this purpose. He threw himself into the cause of his country with
all the ardor of his nature. As he labored to induce others to enlist,
the conviction grew upon him that he must go himself, or he could not
ask others to do so, and when the news of the disaster at Bull Run
filled the country with dismay, the question was settled for him. Duty
called and he must go. The company of young men he had raised chose him
for its Captain, and in November, 1861, leaving his home and promising
business prospects, he with his company, Co. H, joined the Twelfth
Connecticut regiment, which was soon encamped at Hartford for drill. His
health was far from strong, and our family physician declared he should
never have consented to his going, but he passed the examination and was
accepted. He was very popular with his men, and they were ready to do
and dare anything with him.

The regiment was encamped at Hartford for the most of the winter, and in
the spring was ordered to join Gen. Butler in his expedition against New
Orleans. Before the departure, my brother was presented with a beautiful
sword and sash by his fellow-townsmen, as a testimonial of their
appreciation of his bravery. They left Hartford Feb. 26, 1862. The ship
was greatly crowded, and the voyage was made with many discomforts, but
on March 8 they reached Ship Island, where they were encamped for some
weeks. They were not ordered up to New Orleans until just after the
taking of the city, much to the disappointment of the young Captain, who
was ambitious to see a little of actual warfare. They were stationed at
Carrollton just above the city. The situation was low and unhealthy, and
my brother, who was greatly weakened by an attack of dysentery while at
Ship Island, was poorly able to resist the malaria of the region. He
felt his danger, and wrote home that if he felt it would be honorable,
he should be tempted to resign and come home. But as the young men he
had influenced to enlist had not the privilege of resigning, he could
not feel that he ought to leave them. He was attacked by typhoid fever
soon after the hot weather became intense. He was ill a few days in his
tent, but as he grew worse, he was removed to the regimental hospital, a
large house near the camp, where he had comfortable quarters and
excellent care. Kind comrades stood about his bed, anticipating with
brotherly kindness his every want. But the most skilful surgeons and
faithful nurses were powerless to save him. His system was too much
weakened to resist the disease, and after a short illness he passed
quietly away on the afternoon of Saturday, June 21, exchanging the
scenes of strife for the land of everlasting peace.

The sad news was flashed over the wires, carrying the deepest sorrow to
the home he had so lately left. The family gathered and waited in silent
grief for further particulars. A letter from his friend and First
Lieutenant, George H. Hanks of Hartford, soon told the sad story. He
gave full particulars of his Captain's last hours, and spoke of a
conversation they had just before his sickness, in which they mutually
promised that in case of the death of either, the survivor should take
charge of his effects and inform his friends, and said that he had
requested that if he should fall, his body should be sent home to
Simsbury. Lieut. Hanks says, "I promised, and to the extent of my
ability I have carried out his request, assisted by some of his townsmen
and personal friends who were at his bedside at the last hour. The body
is sent by steamer _McLellan_, in a cask of spirits, carefully fastened
in a sitting posture, dressed in full military uniform, and when it was
adjusted he looked so natural, one might imagine it was our dear Captain
sitting asleep in his chair, with his hands folded across his lap. But
alas! it is the long, silent sleep of death. Dear afflicted friends, it
is the saddest duty of my life, thus to return to you him who a few
months since took leave of you so buoyant and hopeful, and many a tear
have I shed while performing it. Possessing but few faults and many
virtues, generous to a fault, and honorable to the extreme, he was
universally esteemed and beloved by the entire regiment."

On arriving at New York, the body was transferred to a metallic casket
and sent to Simsbury. It was met at Plainville by a delegation of the
citizens, who with saddened hearts received him who had recently gone
out from them brave and bright and hopeful. The sad home-coming was
almost overwhelming to the family. They gathered sorrowfully to mingle
their tears for his early death. The body was taken to the Methodist
Episcopal church, but the public service was held in the Congregational
church, as the other was too small to accommodate the numbers who wished
to attend. The large church was filled with a throng of citizens of our
own and neighboring towns. Comrades, friends, companions, the Masonic
fraternity, all came to mingle their tears and sympathies with the
family and relatives, for the brave young life so early sacrificed, and
to do honor to him whom they all loved and lamented so sincerely. The
funeral discourse was given by the former pastor and dear friend of the
family, Rev. Ichabod Simmons of New Haven, from the text, II Timothy
iv:3--"A good soldier." It was a beautiful and appropriate tribute to
the departed, with words of hope and comfort for those who mourned him
so truly. After the service he was borne tenderly from the Methodist
church to his last rest in the hillside cemetery where he had requested
to be laid beside his beloved mother. The solemn burial service of the
Masonic order closed the services, and so the second great sorrow
settled down upon our home.

My brother was a young man of fine natural endowment and a most genial
disposition. He was greatly beloved at home, and popular everywhere,
especially among the young people, with whom he was always a leader. Mr.
Simmons said of him at his funeral: "It is a part of my mission to-day
to say that a young man of promise has fallen. An earnest and close
debater, a great reader of history, with a good memory, and an
imagination sparkling with poetry and beauty, he would have stood high
among the men of his day. He was a close thinker and reasoner, but never
anchored outside the clear, deep waters of the Bible. He was keenly
sensitive to the ridiculous, and on occasions could be very sarcastic,
yet his tenderness of feeling prevented his wit from wounding the most
sensitive. His nature was cast in a merry mould, his wit was original,
and in the social circle he was the happy pivot on which the pleasant
moments swung. The death of our friend is a general loss to this
community. He was a representative spirit among you. As a citizen you
had already learned to rank him high in your esteem. His large circle of
young friends are especially called to mourn. A bright light has gone
out among you."

The affliction fell with crushing force upon my father. His heart was
almost broken, and it was years before he recovered from the blow.

The events which now came into our family life were of a more cheerful
nature. The first break in the home circle was occasioned by my marriage
to Rev. John W. Dodge of Newburyport, Massachusetts, which occurred
November 7, 1860. Mr. Dodge was a graduate of Amherst and Andover, and
had at that time accepted a call to be pastor of the Congregational
church of Gardiner, Maine. Our acquaintance began by his coming to
Simsbury, in November, 1855, to teach a select school. His friend, Mr.
T. G. Grassie of Amherst, had taught it the year before with great
acceptance and was engaged to return, and as our family were greatly
interested in him, my mother had promised to take him as a boarder. He
was taken very ill during the fall term of college, and being unable to
fulfil his engagement, he sent his friend as substitute. So apparently
trivial events often change the whole current of our lives. We became
engaged during that winter, which was Mr. Dodge's junior year in
college. I attended his graduation in August, 1857, accompanied by my
cousin, Sarah Jane Tuller, and visited his home in Newburyport in the
summer of 1859. Though hampered by delicate health and small means, he
completed his theological course at Andover in 1860, and our marriage
took place as soon as he secured a suitable parish.

The first wedding in the family was a great event, and no pains were
spared to make it a delightful occasion. It was an evening wedding,
with about fifty guests. My sister Susan was bridesmaid, and was
attended by my husband's brother Austin as best man. Our dresses were
similar, of figured grey silk, mine being trimmed with white silk and
lace, and I wore a bunch of white Japonicas. The ceremony was performed
by our friend and pastor, Rev. I. Simmons, assisted by Rev. Allen
McLean, the blind pastor of the Congregational church, to whom I was
much attached.[5] A wedding supper was served, followed by a pleasant
social evening. Mr. Dodge's mother and brother were the only friends of
his who could be present. The good-byes were said early the next day and
we set our faces toward our new home. After several pleasant days in
Boston, we went to Newburyport, only to be met by the sad tidings that
Mr. Dodge's father had died suddenly on the very day of our marriage,
and that they were delaying the funeral till our arrival. It was a sad
home-coming and clouded the brightness of those first days. We remained
in Newburyport several weeks, and Mr. Dodge prepared his first sermon as
pastor, in the study of his old friend and minister, Dr. Dimmick, who
had recently died.

We were most kindly received by the people at Gardiner. Mr. Dodge was
ordained December sixth, 1860. The sermon was preached by Dr. Chickering
of Portland, and the ordaining prayer was offered by the venerable David
Thurston. We found a pleasant home for ourselves, and my father and
mother and Mother Dodge came to assist in our going to housekeeping. Our
outfit would seem simple indeed to the young people of this day, but
love and content abode with us, and we were happy. Our first great
sorrow and disappointment came in the loss of a little one to whose
coming we had looked forward with joy. This was followed by months of
weakness and ill-health for me. My husband's health also gave way in the
spring, making necessary a long summer vacation. Six months of this were
spent in tenting on Salisbury beach, which resulted in great gain to us
both. Our three years' pastorate in Gardiner was pleasant and
successful, but a second break in health, in the fall of 1863, made a
resignation necessary, and we came to Newburyport to spend the winter
with Mother Dodge. In December, through the kindness of his friend,
Captain Robert Bayley, my husband was offered a voyage in one of his
vessels to the West Indies. He sailed for Porto Rico in the _Edward
Lameyer_, commanded by Captain Charles Bayley, and received much benefit
and enjoyment from the six weeks' trip.

After coming home he supplied for some time at Northboro, Massachusetts,
and in the autumn he received a call to Gardner, Massachusetts, which he
did not accept. Later, however, he went to Yarmouth, Massachusetts,
where he supplied for six months for Rev. J. B. Clark, who was with the
Christian Commission in the Army of Virginia. We found a pleasant home
with Mr. Clark's mother in the parsonage, and greatly enjoyed this
experience, and as it proved it prepared the way for our chief life
work. On the return of Mr. Clark, in July, 1865, we went to Hampton,
New Hampshire, where my husband was immediately called to the vacant
pulpit of the Congregational church. A pleasant pastorate of three years
there was followed in 1868 by a call to succeed Mr. Clark, who had
resigned as pastor of the Yarmouth church. During our second year in
Hampton we had adopted a little girl, whom we called Mary Webster. She
was at this time nearly three years old.

We broke up our Hampton home in the cold, dark, December days, and I
shall never forget how delightful the change seemed to the warmth and
cheer of the cosy Yarmouth parsonage, where we spent so many happy
years. A pastorate of twenty-three years followed. The union between
pastor and people was remarkable. Nothing occurred to ruffle the harmony
during all those years. The best of our life work was done in Yarmouth,
and it was amply rewarded by the love and confidence of our people. A
new church edifice was built the year after our coming; and though the
strain of feeling was very great in consequence of a change of
location, and threatened at one time to divide the society entirely, the
crisis was safely passed with the loss of only two or three families,
and the attachment of all to the pastor who had led them safely through
the conflict remained unshaken.

In the summer of 1871 we adopted a boy of nine months. He was a sweet
and pleasant child, and for several years was a source of much comfort.
But as he grew older seeds of evil all unsuspected began to spring up,
and resulted later in bitter disappointment.

On the fourteenth of November, 1875, our dear daughter, Susan Webster,
was born. It was a boon we had not dared to hope for. Our home was
radiant with joy. The people showered congratulations, and gifts poured
in to attest the general joy at the advent of the parsonage baby. Our
Thanksgiving Day that year was one to be remembered.

This happy year was followed by one of severe trial. My husband's
health, never very strong, broke down entirely, and a long season of
complete nervous prostration followed. He kept his bed for months, and
at last rallied very slowly, appearing again in his pulpit after an
interval of nine months. The love of our people stood the trying test
bravely. They continued the salary and supplied the pulpit, and were
unwearied in their kindness and sympathy.

In the spring of 1882 we had the long-desired privilege of a journey to
Europe. Our people granted us a vacation of six months, and the means
were furnished by my father. We left our little Susie with my sister
Susan, the other children remaining with friends in Yarmouth. It was a
season of great enjoyment and profit. We visited England, Scotland,
France, Holland, Belgium, Germany, Switzerland, and Italy. Returning, we
spent some pleasant weeks with friends in London and Cornwall, and came
home greatly benefited in mind and body.

On the 22d of April, 1884, Mother Dodge passed to the heavenly rest. Her
home had been with us for many years. She had been failing perceptibly
for some time, and disease of the heart developed, which caused her
death, after an illness of a few days. Her funeral was attended in
Yarmouth by Rev. Bernard Paine of Sandwich, and afterward she was taken
to her old home in Newburyport, and a service was held at the North
Church, conducted by Rev. Mr. Mills. She was then laid to rest in
Highland Cemetery, by the side of her husband. She was a woman of strong
character and large heart, and her life was full of devotion and
self-sacrifice for her family, as well as usefulness in the church.

In the spring of 1889 we took a very delightful trip to California,
visiting the famed Yosemite valley, and spending some time very
pleasantly with my brother James's family in Oakland. Soon after our
return I was seized with a very severe nervous illness which centered in
my head, causing terrible attacks of vertigo. It resulted in shattering
my health completely, and was followed by ten years of invalidism. The
next year my husband again suffered a serious break-down, followed by
another long season of nervous prostration. It was the result, in part,
of over-exertion in revival services, joined with unusual labors in
connection with the quarter-millennial celebration of the town of
Yarmouth. As his strength slowly returned, he attempted to take up his
work again, with the aid of an assistant; but it soon became evident
that he was unequal to the task, and he was reluctantly obliged to
resign the office of pastor. He was dismissed October 20, 1891. We
removed to Newburyport November 7 of the same year, and made a home for
ourselves there on land previously purchased, adjoining my husband's old
home. We occupied our new house for the first time June 2, 1892. It has
proved a comfort and joy to us, and we have both greatly improved in

I cannot close this chapter of our history without making special
mention of our dear friends, Dr. and Mrs. Eldridge of Yarmouth, who
played such an important part in our life there, whose friendship and
sympathy were so constant and helpful during all the years, and whose
frequent and well-chosen gifts added so much to the brightness of our
home life, especially of the great kindness of Dr. Eldridge in providing
a night nurse at his own expense all through my husband's first long
illness. They have both passed to their reward, but their memory is a
treasure to us. Our people also manifested their love and appreciation
by numerous and valuable gifts. A full china dinner and tea service were
given us at our china wedding, and an elegant set of silver forks and a
fine cake-basket at our silver anniversary. A costly and beautiful
silver loving-cup was their parting gift to my husband. It was
appropriately inscribed with the text of his last sermon, "God is Love,"
significant of the character of his whole life work. The girls of my
mission circle also presented a silver tray and tea service to me.
These, and innumerable tokens of love scattered all along the way, form
a chain of adamant to bind our hearts to the dear friends of those happy
days, many of whom have gone before us to the heavenly home.

In April, 1896, Susie having left Wellesley College, her father took her
abroad. They were accompanied by her friend and classmate, Miss Effie A.
Work, of Akron, Ohio. My husband's illness on the way obliged them to
cut short their trip and return home, and another long illness followed.
He has now recovered, and my own health having greatly improved, we now
gladly "thank God and take courage."

After an interval of some years, caused by returning ill-health, I take
up again the story of our family life. Sadly enough, the first record
must be of the great sorrow which came to us in the years 1903 and 1904.
On the morning of August 8, 1903, my husband was taken very suddenly ill
with an attack of congestion of the brain, while standing by his library
table. He passed a day of great suffering and semi-unconsciousness, and
at night was carried up to his bed, from which he only arose after
months of utter prostration. He rallied at last very slowly, after an
alarming relapse, and so far recovered as to be able to come down-stairs
and walk about the house and mingle with the family at the table and
otherwise socially. He was able to read a little and join in
conversation, and greatly enjoyed his daily drives. On the evening of
June 14 he was suddenly seized with a hemorrhage of the brain as he was
retiring for the night, and became entirely unconscious. Every possible
effort was made to arouse him, but all was unavailing. He lingered
unconscious until the evening of June 17, when he passed quietly away,
and entered into the "rest that remaineth for the people of God." My
daughter Susan was absent from home, having gone to Simsbury, to act as
bridesmaid at the wedding of her cousin, Susie Alice Ensign. She
returned as speedily as possible, only to find that her father was
unable to recognize her. She was with him at the last, holding his hand
in hers as he passed over the dark river. The funeral services were held
in the North Church on Tuesday, June 21. Prayer was offered at the house
by Rev. Doctor Cutler of Ipswich, a lifelong friend. The procession
entering the church was led by the pastor, Rev. Mr. Newcomb, reading the
selections beginning, "I am the resurrection and the life." The music
was by the Temple Male Quartet, who sang the hymns, "Rock of Ages" and
"Abide with Me." Remarks followed by Rev. Dr. Cutler and Rev. Bartlett
Weston, both intimate friends, also a few appropriate remarks by the
pastor. The burial was at Oak Hill, the committal service being read by
Dr. Hovey, and our dear one was laid to rest in a quiet, beautiful spot
overlooking the meadows and hills he had loved so well. A granite
monument in the form of a St. Martin's cross, bearing the inscriptions,
"Resurgam," and "I am the resurrection and the life," marks his
resting-place. Beautiful flowers in profusion were sent by relatives and
friends and by different organizations in the city in which he had been
prominent in token of the love and esteem in which he was held. The
Yarmouth church, where most of his life work was done, sent two
representatives, and an elegant wreath of ferns and orchids.

The second marriage in the family was that of my sister Susan. She was
married July 21, 1863, to Ralph H. Ensign, a son of one of the oldest
and best families of the town. Their friendship began in early youth,
and was fitly crowned by this most happy marriage. The wedding took
place in the Methodist Episcopal church in Simsbury, and the ceremony
was performed by Rev. Arza Hill, then pastor of the church. It was in
the early days of the Civil War, not long after the death of my brother
Joseph. The family were in mourning at the time, and the bride made no
change, but was married in a gown of white crêpe. The reception at the
home consisted only of the two families, and as it was a time of alarms,
the men of the family had been called in different directions, so that
only the two fathers were present. The wedding was followed by a bridal
trip to Niagara.

Mr. and Mrs. Ensign made their home in Simsbury, occupying the house on
the hill now occupied by their daughter, Mrs. Robert Darling. Mr. Ensign
was in the fuse business with my father, and soon became a member of the
firm. He has been its head ever since my father's death, and it has
steadily prospered under his leadership. Their present home, "Trevarno,"
was built in 1881, and they have lived there since that time. They have
travelled a great deal, especially in England and France. Their
children: Sarah Isabel, who died at the age of four years, Joseph
Ralph, Susan Alice, Julia Whiting, and Edward William, who died at the
age of three. They also reared to manhood a child, Ralph Newbert, whom
they took into their family shortly after the death of their youngest
child, Edward.

Next in order was my sister Julia, who was married on May 29, 1886, to
Rev. Charles H. Buck of Neponset, Massachusetts, at that time pastor of
the Simsbury Methodist church. He was a graduate of Wesleyan University
and a young man of much promise, which has been abundantly fulfilled in
his ministerial career. They were married in the Methodist church by my
father and Rev. Mr. Simmons, and left at once on their wedding journey.
On their return they removed to Westville, Connecticut, where Mr. Buck
had just been appointed pastor. Since then, Mr. Buck has filled many of
the most important appointments in the New York East Conference, serving
large churches in Brooklyn, Stamford, Bristol, New Britain, and others.
He has always been greatly beloved and appreciated by his people and
urged to return to them, particularly at Bristol, where he had three
pastorates. When he retired from the active ministry in 1900, he was
presented by his people there with a magnificent loving cup, as well as
other tokens of their affection. Mr. Buck had previously been given the
degree of D. D., and he was Treasurer of Wesleyan University for a
number of years after his retirement, besides holding other prominent
positions. The Bucks have always been great travellers, both in this
country and abroad, and spent a year travelling in the far East, in
1900-01, before settling in a home of their own. On their return, Dr.
Buck was for a time Presiding Elder in the New York East Conference and
also pastor of a large church in Brooklyn. In 1903 they built a
beautiful Colonial house at Yonkers, New York, on land overlooking the
Hudson River, where they now live, having their daughter and her
interesting family near them.

They adopted two children: William Henry and Sarah Humphrey.

On the 19th of October, 1866, my sister Annie was married to L.
Stoughton Ellsworth of Windsor, Connecticut. He came of the straitest
of Puritan stock, including the historic Ellsworths and Edwardses of
Windsor, and has most creditably borne up the reputation of those
families. The ceremony took place in the Methodist church and was
performed by his brother-in-law, Rev. C. H. Buck, who was assisted by
Rev. J. W. Dodge. They resided for a short time in Windsor, Connecticut,
after which they removed in April, 1867, to Oakland, California, where
Mr. Ellsworth had charge of a branch of the fuse business, which had
been established there. They remained there only a few years. Two
children were born to them there, but both died very young, which
hastened their return to Connecticut, in the autumn of 1871. They
settled on a fine farm in East Weatogue, but in 1889 they built and
occupied their present residence in Hopmeadow, and Mr. Ellsworth also
became a member of my father's firm. Their children: Lucy Stoughton,
George Toy, Annie Stoughton, Henry Edwards, John Stoughton.

My brother George was married October 6, 1875, to Mary Seymour of
Granby. They were married at the bride's home by Rev. C. H. Buck, and
took a wedding trip to Canada. They lived afterwards in my father's
family, as George was associated in the business. There were no living

My sister Jennie was married April 19, 1876, to Mr. Charles E. Curtiss
of Simsbury. They lived for a short time with Mr. Curtiss' parents, and
then removed to Westfield, Massachusetts. Mr. Curtiss was afterwards
taken into my father's business, and they lived in the house adjoining
his on the hill. Their children: Joseph Toy and Grace Gilbert.

Having been divorced from Mr. Curtiss, my sister Jennie married Mr.
Charles A. Ensign, December 2, 1890. They settled in a very pleasant
home in Tariffville, where they have since lived, with the exception of
a short residence in Ottawa, Canada.[6] No children.

[Illustration: JOSEPH TOY]

On November 7, 1873, our grandmother, Mrs. D. G. Humphrey, who had long
been an honored and valued member of our family, died at the age of
81. She was a very intelligent, and interesting woman, and was loved and
mourned by us all.

My brother George died March 25, 1881, after a long and trying illness,
which eventually weakened him in mind as well as body.

My stepmother, Sarah G. H. Toy, died September 24, 1881. She had a long
illness, resulting from a shock of apoplexy which partially paralyzed
her and ended in softening of the brain. I was with her when she passed
away, and closed her eyes for the last long sleep. She was a brilliant
and interesting woman, a devoted wife, and a kind mother to the children
whose care she undertook.

After her death my father married Mary Seymour Toy, April 11, 1882. One
child was born to them, Josephine Seymour, born January 19, 1884. They
continued to live in the house on the hill until some years after my
father's death, which occurred when Josephine was three years old. As
she grew older and the question of a suitable education for her arose,
Mrs. Toy removed to Hartford, and the old house was closed. It was
later divided into two parts; the back portion was moved away and used
as a small tenement for the employees of the factory, while the rest was
rented as it stood. Later, in 1904, it also was removed to its present
position just back of the old site, where Mr. Joseph Ensign's house now
stands. Mrs. Toy and Josephine settled in a very pleasant home in
Hartford, and the latter attended Miss Barbour's school, and later went
for two years to Miss Porter's school in Farmington. On June 5, 1907,
she was married to Mr. Frederick Starr Collins, a son of one of the old
and prominent families of Hartford. The marriage was a very happy one,
especially as Josephine and her husband still remained with her

On the second of April, 1887, my father entered into rest. He had been
growing rather more feeble for some time. He was very ill during most of
the winter, and was confined to his bed a great part of the time. His
trouble was of such a nature that it was impossible for him to lie down,
which was very distressing, but he bore his sufferings with great
fortitude and patience. He improved as the spring came on, and was able
to walk about the house, and had even been out of doors once or twice. I
had not been able to go to see him during the winter, but on the last of
March I went to Simsbury. He was occupied by business on the first day
of April, so that I did not see him, but on the morning of the second, I
went in a driving snowstorm to see him. He was just coming out of his
room as I came in. I was greatly struck by his altered and feeble
appearance, but he received me cheerfully, and we talked pleasantly
together for an hour. His physician, Dr. R. A. White, came in at that
time, and suggested that he be given a little liquid nourishment. As he
attempted to swallow it, there was a struggle, and he threw back his
head, groaning heavily. I took his head in my arms, and in an instant
he had passed away. We laid him quietly down, and even amid our tears,
it was a relief to see him lying peacefully after his winter's
sufferings. The funeral took place in the Methodist church. His pastor,
Rev. C. W. Lyon, officiated, assisted by Rev. C. P. Croft. The
procession passed up the aisle, preceded by the pastor reading the
beautiful words of the burial service, "I am the resurrection and the
life." The choir sang "Servant of God, well done," and "It is well with
my soul." Mr. Lyon preached from the text, "I have fought a good fight
... I have kept the faith," and the choir sang, "Thy will be done."

Two wreaths were laid upon the casket, one of white callas, and in the
center was a sheaf of wheat. The church was thronged with friends and
neighbors who came to pay their last tribute of love and respect. Over
one hundred of the employees of the firm were present. The bearers were
S. C. Eno, D. B. McLean, A. G. Case, Erwin Chase, J. N. Race, and A. S.
Chapman. So he was carried forth from the church of which he had so
long been a pillar, and laid to rest on the hillside, in the midst of
his family who had gone before. So closed a long, honored and useful
life. "The memory of the just is blessed."


SUSAN WEBSTER DODGE, born November 14, 1875.

MARY WEBSTER DODGE (adopted), born January 24, 1866.

GEORGE TOY DODGE (adopted), born June 7, 1872.

SARAH ISABEL ENSIGN, born December 19, 1864; died January 25, 1869.

JOSEPH RALPH ENSIGN, born November 24, 1868;
  _married_ Mary J. Phelps, April 5, 1894.
    _Child_: MARY PHELPS, born February 9, 1902.

SUSAN ALICE ENSIGN, born September 7, 1873;
  _married_ Rev. William Inglis Morse, June 15, 1904.
    _Child_: SUSAN TOY, born July 4, 1905.

JULIA WHITING ENSIGN, born October 3, 1878;
  _married_ Robert Darling, May 14, 1902.
    _Child_: ROBERT ENSIGN, born September 19, 1904.

EDWARD WILLIAM ENSIGN, born July 5, 1881; died June 9, 1884.

LUCY STOUGHTON ELLSWORTH, born February 1, 1868; died April 13, 1870.

GEORGE TOY ELLSWORTH, born April 24, 1869; died October 24, 1869.

ANNIE STOUGHTON ELLSWORTH, born September 22, 1873;
  _married_ Emmet Schultz, April 16, 1895.

HENRY EDWARDS ELLSWORTH, born March 27, 1878;
  _married_ Susan Hotchkiss Starr, February 11, 1903.
    _Children_: JOHN EDWARDS, born September 15, 1904; MARY AMELIA, born
      July 30, 1907; JANE OSLER, born December 16, 1908.

JOHN STOUGHTON ELLSWORTH, born August 21, 1883;
  _married_ Lida Burpee, July 15, 1905.
    _Child_: JOHN STOUGHTON, JR., born June 16, 1907.

WILLIAM HENRY BUCK (adopted), born March 6, 1870;
  _married_ Sadie Fielding, April 25, 1893.
    _Child_: JULIA, born November 3, 1893.

SARAH HUMPHREY BUCK (adopted), born June 22, 1872;
  _married_ Dr. Albert Cushing Crehore, July 10, 1894.
    _Children_: DOROTHY DARTMOUTH, born May 17, 1895; VIRGINIA
      DAVENPORT, born February 4, 1900; VICTORIA LOUISE, born February
      4, 1900; FLORENCE ENSIGN, born August 21, 1903, died November 10,
      1905; JULIA OSLER, born December 15, 1906.

JOSEPH TOY CURTISS, born December 16, 1878;
  _married_ Abigail Goodrich Eno, December 16, 1899.
    _Children_: JOSEPH TOY, JR., born May 8, 1901; AUSTIN ENO, born June
      15, 1907.

GRACE GILBERT CURTISS, born September 26, 1883;
  _married_ William Pollard Lamb, May 11, 1904.
    _Children_: WILLIAM POLLARD, JR., born December 28, 1906; RICHARD
      HUMPHREY, born February 23, 1909.

JOSEPHINE TOY COLLINS, born July 5, 1909.



The following letter from Miss Maude Divine, a granddaughter of my
mother's Aunt Susan, gives a little different account of the events of
Benjamin Osler's life, as her mother knew them. She says:

"Our great-grandfather, Benjamin Osler, was a merchant in Gibraltar and
Cadiz from about 1814. Not doing well, he decided to try trading to the
West Indies, and bought a small vessel and fitted it with merchandise.
His son, Joseph, who had been a midshipman in the Navy, went with him,
but died at Trinidad of yellow fever. On the way home, grandfather's
vessel was seized by a French privateer, and he was imprisoned, where he
remained some time, unable to communicate with his family. Finally they
received information of his whereabouts, through the Free Masons, and an
exchange of prisoners being arranged, he came home, a helpless cripple.

"Just at that time South Africa was being much talked of, and he thought
he would try his fortune there. He brought out most of his family, my
grandmother being the eldest. He never recovered his health, and died
about a year afterwards. Our great-grandmother then returned to England
with the younger children. My grandmother, having married Lieutenant
Coleman of the Navy (who came out in their vessel the _Weymouth_),
decided to remain, as did also her young brother, Stephen and a sister,
afterwards Mrs. Sayers.

"My grandmother settled at Simon's Town, and after her first husband's
death had a school, having been left with two little girls. She
afterwards married my grandfather Fineran who was in the Commissariat
Department of the Army, and mother was their only daughter. Her two
brothers died as young men. There are several descendants of the other
Osler daughters, grandmother's sisters, about Simon's Town whom we have
never seen, mother not having kept in touch with them after
grandmother's death."

                                                               S. W. D.


[1] My mother's cousin, Mrs. Kate Divine, in a letter from South Africa,
dated September 8, 1809, speaks of another son, Joseph, the oldest of
the family, who died before they went out to the Cape. She also gives
additional information about Benjamin Osler and his family which I have
added as an appendix.--S. W. D.

[2] Mrs. Gilbert has now been for several years a widow, and all her
children are married and have children of their own. Her home is with
her daughter Leonora, whose husband is a successful clergyman.--S. W. D.

[3] Reverend Mr. Sims died in August, 1909.

[4] The beautiful stone church which now replaces the first wooden
building was dedicated June 10, 1909, shortly after my mother's death.
It was the gift of Mr. R. H. Ensign and is entirely furnished with organ
and fittings by the generosity of members of his family. The large
Tiffany window over the chancel is a memorial to my grandfather
presented by his daughters.--S. W. D.

[5] My mother was closely associated for some years before her marriage
with "Father McLean," as he was affectionately called, reading to him,
writing sermons for him, and delighting to render him in his blindness
such little services as she could.--S. W. D.

[6] In the winter of 1908-09, Mr. and Mrs. Ensign bought the attractive
place in East Weatogue, where they have since lived.

[7] On July 20, 1909, five months after my mother's death, Josephine Toy
Collins died very suddenly at her home in Hartford, leaving a baby
daughter, little Josephine Toy, only two weeks old. Her early death was
a terrible blow to her young husband and to her mother, to whom she had
always been a close companion. Her short life was sweet and lovely, and
a host of sorrowing friends mourned its early close.--S. W. D.


  Italicized text is indicated by underscores: _italics_.

  Inconsistencies in spelling and hyphenation have been retained from
    the original.

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