Lines, a poem by Scott Cummins, Barber County, Kansas Barber County, Kansas.  

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Musings of the Pilgrim Bard

Lines

by Scott Cummins

Rehearsed at the "Old Settler's Picnic in Paddock's Grove on Upper Elm Creek, Barber County, Kansas, September 16, 1886, on the grounds where Esq. Paddock and his entire family drowned in the flood of 1885.

In this pleasant grove, by the winding stream,
Kissed by the rays of the sunlight's beams,
May the white wings of peace ever hover above
The multitude now in this beautiful grove.

Once the Red Man's wigwam nestled here,
And this land ye love, that each heart holds dear,
This land of plenty ye call home,
In the land where the Red Man used to roam.

Aye, often here 'neath this leafy shade
The warrior wooed the dusky maid
In his native tounge 'neath the moonlight pale
He told Miss Lo the oft old tale.
And she loved to listen, as girls do now,
To the sweet, fond words of a lover's vow.
Here, too, has the bison's shaggy head
Shook off the sands from yon rivulet's bed,
While the timid doe and her spotted fawn
Bounded o'er nature's grassy lawn.

Where now the crow of the Chanticleer
Proclaims the hour of twilight near,
Once the prowling gray and the wild coyote
Told of nearing dawn with their dismal note.
But the wolf and coyote and game have fled
And the red-faced braves are scattered and dead.
Now the pale face fills the fallow land,
And homesteads dot the landscape grand,
And while in prosperity all rejoice,
List to the wail of sorrow's voice,
And deem not weakness a silent tear
To the memory of those who perished here.

Every bright and pearly dew drop
Falls like a weeping angel's tear.
      And the ring doves note
      On the zephyr's float,
Mourning for those who perished here
In the cold, cold water and the darkness drear.

The soil we tread is scared
As the soil 'neath the churchyard yew:
      While the household slept
      The dark waves crept --
No farewell blessing, no fond adieu,
Closed those eyes forever to mortal view.

Sweetest flowers fade and wither,
Chilled by winter's ice-fettered wraith,
      But in joyous spring
      When the warblers sing
There are waked to life by the south wind's breath,
But none return from the house of death.

Oft we start with dread foreboding
At the gentle patter of rain,
      And the thunder's crash
      And the lightning's flash
Bring to mind those dreadful scenes again
When this valley was one vast billowy main.

When the cries of the doomed and helpless
Were born on the midnight air,
      Vain, vain that wail
      For the flood and gale
Hushed forever the dying pray'r,
And death claimed the victims of dark dispair.

Plant on the graves of the household
The evergreen tree and the rose,
      And strew o'er each head
      In the hallowed bed
Their leaves in memory of they who respose
Calmy unmindful of earthly woes.


Paddock Family Memorial Stone, 
Paddock Cemetery, Barber County, Kansas.

TO THE MEMORY OF
G.W. & S.R.
PADDOCK
And Children
THOMAS R.
CHARLES O.
JOSEPH.
CLARA.
AND INFANT.
ALL DIED
Apr. 21. 1885

Photo by Nathan Lee.

TO THE MEMORY OF
G.W. & S.R.
PADDOCK
And Children
THOMAS R.
CHARLES O.
JOSEPH.
CLARA.
AND INFANT.
ALL DIED
Apr. 21. 1885

Paddock Cemetery, (also known as Haas Cemetery) - 8 miles north of Medicine Lodge. The Paddock Cemetery is named for the 7 family members who were washed away in the Elm Creek flood of April 21, 1885, and are buried in the cemetery. Photo courtesy of Nathan Lee.


Also see:

A Christmas in the Wilderness, 1871 by Scott Cummins. A story about some buffalo hunters' Christmas dinner near where Medicine Lodge, Kansas, was later established.

The Flood -- The Medicine Lodge Cresset, May 7, 1885. This poem by The Pilgrim Bard is about the Great Flood of April 21, 1885, in Barber County, Kansas. At least 18 people perished in the flood.

The Great Flood of 1885, Barber County, Kansas.

Paddock Cemetery, (also known as Haas Cemetery) - 8 miles north of Medicine Lodge. The Paddock Cemetery is named for the 7 family members who were washed away in the Elm Creek flood of April 21, 1885, and are buried in the cemetery. Photos courtesy of Nathan Lee.

Court in the Old Days, The Barber County Index, February 4, 1937. This is an article about a divorce petition which was withdrawn because a woman and her child died in the 1885 flood of Elm Creek.


Thanks to Frank Cummins for the gift of a copy of Musings of the Pilgrim Bard, the book by his great-grandfather in which the above poem was published.

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