Submitted by Claudette Lagasse, Killingworth Historical Society.
Editor’s Note: This is the first of a series about the Historic Women of Killingworth. In 2001 Sandy Smith proposed making small replicas of Historical Killingworth Women. Each doll was sold for $15 as a fundraiser for the Historical Society. Five dolls were made, one for each year 2001-2005.
CLARA E. PARMELEE – POET…TEACHER…ORGANIST – Our first Historic Women of Killingworth
“MY NATIVE TOWN”
You ask about my native town.
How can I half describe
The beauties of this piece of ground,
Though here I’ve spent my life.
“Tis here that nature has full sway,
She here displays her charms,
Here song‘birds trill their happy lay
On rocky, hillside farms.
In summer-time here may be heard
The robin, lark and jay,
The thrush, the cuckoo and blackbird,
The bluebird’s cheerful lay.
The hoarse caw of the crow is heard,
“Bob-white” shouts out the quail,
The cat-like call of the cat-bird,
The night-hawk’s mournful wail.
The humming-bird and the bee flit by
In search of honey sweet,
Hither and yon the swallows fly
On wings that are most fleet.
The cricket’s chirp, the croak of frogs
Sounds loudly in our ears,
The turtle’s whistle mong the boys.
Tree- toads say “rain is near.”
Now near the centre of all this
A church stands on a hill,
A Congregational church is this
And here we worship still.
For eighty years this church has stood
Through storm and heat and cold,
Its influence all has been for good
Blessing both young and old.
This church has missionaries sent
To lands far, far away,
And their lives have all been spent
In teaching men the way.
Now near this church but in the rear
Stands Agricultural hall,
Our great town fairs are all held here,
Town-meetings, courts and all.
And here the Y.P.S.C.E’s
Their weekly meetings hold,
Here also picnics socials, teas,
And festivals they hold.
Here too the Grangers have their home,
And semi-monthly meet,
When farmers and their families come
And brother-patrons greet.
Not far away’s a country store
And Post Office combined.
One mail a day does it afford
To satisfy our mind.
A wagon-ship is near at hand,
A blacksmith shop beside,
Here does the “Village smithy” stand
His anvil by his side.
The street is lined on either side
With houses, large and small,
Gardens and barns are there beside
And room enough for all.
Into districts the town’s divided,
In all they number eight,
In each a school-house is provided
For education’s sake.
The Methodist church’s ceased to exist
Their building’s even gone,
The “Piscopals have an edifice
Where their service they perform.
A paper-mill once was in town
And seemed to prosper well.
The mill long since burned to the ground,
Its ashes rest here still.
Old people tells us of the day,
When tan-works and shoe-shop
In operation were each day,
Long since their works did stop.
Now when our people need new boots
They to the village hie,
Look o’er the merchant’s line of goods
And ready made boots to buy.
Three saw-mills the town can boast
Of grist-mill likewise three,
Our industries are gone almost,
I fear all soon will be.
Our hills and valleys are here
And they are here to stay,
We’ve air so pure and springs so clear
And these can’t run away.
But boys and girls no sooner grow
To men and women strong,
Than to the city they all go
To join the busy throng.
They leave the farm to get along
In any way it may,
Because they rather join the throng
That’s rushing on its way.
More charms has city life they think
Than quiet rural life,
From pleasure’s cup they hope to drink
And never meet with strife.
It matters not where life is spent
Nor where our duty calls,
Trials to every one are sent
To each a full share falls.
So when old Killingworth you leave
Do not expect to find,
That cares, perplexities and grief,
Have all been left behind.
CLARA E. PARMELEE
Killingworth, Conn., July, 1899