It is now 40 years since the “the boys in blue” passed through Washington, on their return from the civil war. The young child who then stood in wonderment, gazing at soldier, father, or brother, has long since grown to be a man; the young wife who bade her idolized husband a tearful farewell, when he started to the “front,” has now become decrepit and totters on her staff, or, perchance, has long since gone to her rest.[i] Forty years of sunshine and shadow have intervened since we were there; successive seasons have come and gone; for forty years the sunshine of summer has gilded the graves of those whom we have buried; for 40 years the winds of autumn have whistled around these little mounds, and the snows of as many winters have covered their last resting places. But the question is often asked, and the thought is often suggested: How is it with our soldier boys who have gone to answer to their last roll call? We do not know, but we believe. I once heard one of the most fluent ministers of this peninsula remark, in a sermon: “I don’t believe that any man who fell in the service of his country went to hell!” A part of his congregation, at that time, thought him more enthusiastic than wise; but I have always had faith in that doctrine. Today is Decoration Day again–don’t they come often?–and loving hearts will meet all over this great country to pay tribute to the departed braves. There are none in Milton cemetery whom I knew in life, who fell in the fight, but in the sacred precincts of old Barratt’s Chapel we can count almost a score; the companions of our early manhood, who fell, and even now their memories are almost forgotten, save by the sisters and brothers, or perhaps an old comrade who may have survived.
“Full many a mother’s breaths has swept
O’er Angostura’s plain,
And long the pitying sky has wept
Above its mouldering slain;
The raven’s scream and eagle’s flight,
Or shepherd’s pensive lay
Alone now wake each solemn height
That frowned o’er that dread bay.
Thus ‘neath their parent turf they rest,
Far from the gory field,
Born to a Spartan mother’s breast
On many a bloody shield,
The sunshine of their native sky
Smiles sadly on them here
And kindred eyes and hearts watch by
The hero’s sepulchre.”[ii]
Mr. Purnell Johnson has a pretty garden of vegetables growing along Federal Street. It is clear of weeds, and the potatoes, beans, and corn are attractive to the eye of the passers.
William Mears, the barber, has had some alterations made to his property during the past week.
Edward Calhoun has a curiosity in the form of a young chicken with four perfectly formed legs and feet. It is now over a week old, and appears healthy and bids fair to reach maturity.
The Misses May and Lottie Welch attended the Commencement exercises of the Milford Public Schools last week.
Mulberry Street has been repaired during the past week.
The anniversary of the Epworth League was celebrated at the M. E. Church on Sunday evening.
Myrtle Owens was drowned in a small pool of water on Saturday at Lincoln, while at the home of a relative. The funeral was held at the home of Mrs. Ella Clark (the relative) on Tuesday, and interment made in Lincoln Cemetery. Rev, J. W. Prettyman conducted the last sad rites, and S. J. Wilson & Son inhumed the body.
The agitation in town at present is over the appointment of a Justice of the Peace. “Pike Neck” is after the appointment; Edward Bacon wants it and it is not known whether the present incumbent wants it, or does not. If he does, he is making a “still hunt”[iii] for the position.
[i] The first few sentences of this paragraph are a rewording of a piece Conner wrote exactly one year earlier for the June 3, 1904 Milton letter on the occasion of Decoration Day (now known as Memorial Day).
[ii] Excerpts from Theodore O’Hara’s poem The Bivouac of the Dead have been used by David A. Conner at least twice previously, for eulogies of individuals.
[iii] The Bowhunter’s Encyclopedia defines a still hunt as hunting “on foot, continually moving, but you make no sound and leave the area free from disturbance.”