Thursday, October 28, 2010

The Old Folks at Beverly

The Marietta Register, October 28, 1875

Beverly, Ohio, Oct. 22, 1875.

Editor Register:

Did you know what a grand, good time we have been having here?  But then we are always having so many "good times," you could hardly expect to keep posted.

This, however, was something quite out of the usual way, therefore, all the more enjoyable.  We called it a relic gathering, or more pretentiously, a centennial dinner.  I am sure if you had been within the boundaries of our comely town on last Tuesday morning, you would have sniffed excitement with the very atmosphere, for every body was in qui vive, and on the street.  All the country round about came to town on holiday attire.  If anybody stayed at home to "mind the children" or "tend the fires" it was not the old folks, as usual.

At eleven o'clock. a.m., the lecture room of the Presbyterian church was filled with happy faces "and still they came."

Five large tables stood in the south side of the audience room, loaded with articles of every conceivable kind, which had belonged to former generations.  What the tables would not hold was hung upon the wall and in other ways displayed, provision not having been made for so extensive an exhibition.  Most of the articles were over a hundred, and many several hundred years old.

On the other side of the room were three long tables loaded with the fatness of the land -- an appetizing array, indeed -- a substantial old fashioned dinner, such as our great-grandmothers loved to spread for their friends.  Chicken pies, baked beans and pork, immense puddings and pones, potatoes with their jackets on, boiled cabbage, doughnuts, pound cakes, pies, ginger bread after the good old way, and indeed almost everything that goes to make up a good dinner.

We think you would have enjoyed most of all the sight of the ladies on table committee.  They were in old style costumes, veritable belles and matrons of ye ancient times.  They were a never ending source of interest and amusement to all the guests.  The ladies in costume were, Mrs. Thurza Stull, Mrs. Eva Reynolds, Mrs. Mollie Parker, Mrs. Mary Blondin, Misses Ella Flowler, Tillie Glass, Flora Parker, Rose Davis, Lottie Buck, Jessie McIntosh, Mary Cooney, Emma Robertson, Josie Davis, Flora Flowler, and Mary Robinson.  Who looked quaintest and queerest, "deponent saith not," but who looked prettiest we know very well but will not tell.

The hour for dinner having arrived, the audience was called to order by our friend, Boylston Shaw, and that good old song, Auld Lang Syne was "lined out" by Prof. Smith, and sung by the audience, after the manner of ye olden time.  Prayer was then offered by Prof. Smith, in an earnest and fervent manner, and appropriate to the occasion.  The guests were then seated, the old folks first quite filling up the tables.  Mr. Jonathan Sprague returned thanks to the Giver of all mercies for the bounteous repast.  Oh! how the good old folks enjoyed the dinner, we will not attempt to say.  To say the dinner did honor to the occasion is but doing justice to those who gave it. 

After dinner Mr. Shaw again called the audience to order, and short addresses were made recalling events of the past, by Col. Enoch McIntosh, Ezekiel Emerson, Joseph Nickerson, of Morgan Co., Gen. H. F. Devol, and Prof. Smith of the Beverly Academy.  Space will not admit of particular mention of the addresses; they were good and appropriate.  Col. McIntosh read a list of all the first settlers of this community, and gave a brief biographical sketch of the life of each one, which was not, by any means, the least interesting feature of the occasion.

Taking a look among the tables containing the relics, we were greatly surprised at the large number and variety.  We can mention but a few of the most interesting and valuable.  A sun dial 125 years old, wooden plates over 100 years old, beautiful butter dish 100 years old, an iron kettle brought from Massachusetts by Mrs. Owens, grandmother of Elijah Sprague, the first white woman who landed on the Ohio Company's purchase.  In this old kettle she cooked the first meal ever cooked by a white  woman in Marietta.  This valuable relic is now in the possession of Elijah Sprague.  A cradle belonging to the Devol family, in which was rocked the children of that family twenty-five in number, from Alpha Devol, 1789, down to 1873.  What squalls it must have witnessed in its eventful life.  Two salt dishes 420 years old, a china mustard cup 175 years old, a horn drinking cup, carried by Benjamin Shaw in the Revolutionary war, a silver teaspoon over 300 years old, brought from England by Miss Judd of Morgan county; sword and bayonet from Bunker Hill battlefield, the Ulster County Gazette, January 1800, containing account of Washington's funeral, and battle of Zurick, The Maryland Journal and the Baltimore Advertiser, August 20, 1773; The American Friend, Marietta, Friday, December 4, 1812, printed and published by Royal Prentiss.  Episcopal Prayer Book 1725, examples of catechising upon the Assembly's Shorter Catechism for instructing the young and ignorant, &c., 1737.  The above are but a few of the valuable relics found upon the tables.  Every one was surprised at this display of relics, for it far exceeded the most sanguine expectation.

What added most to the enjoyment of the occasion was the deep interest manifested by the old men and women, and the intense pleasure it seemed to afford them to be allowed this opportunity of meeting together in such a way that they could recall to mind once more the days of old, when they were boys and girls, upon whose brows old time had not dared to strike a furrow.

In the evening a mush and milk supper was served at the same place, and was well attended by the younger people.  This event will long be remembered as one of the most pleasant episodes of 1875 in our village.  All feel grateful to the kind ladies who gave the entertainment, and we can assure them that all, with one accord, pronounce it an honor to the fair ones who gave it.


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