Archive for January 9th, 2009

More TARIFFic Poetry

January 9, 2009
Grover Cleveland - Benjamin Harrison

Grover Cleveland - Benjamin Harrison

Campaign Propaganda:

[Air — “Benney Havens, O.”]
The Free Trade, Bourbon parrot cry, “The tariff is a tax,”
Cannot be made to tally with the cold and frozen facts.
Our everyday experience is, things never were so low,
As since the Grand Old Party made the tariff all the go
Made the tariff all the go, made the tariff all the go.
As since the Grand Old Party made the tariff all the go.

It may be well for England, late “mistress of the seas,”
To fight for pauper labor — a political disease
But Uncle Sam’s dominions, now, are not the proper place
To flaunt this British doctrine in the Yankee workman’s face.

Our wage earning boys well know that Bourbon Free Trade means
Conditions here precisely same as foreign daily scenes.
They know that competition with redundant Europ’s hordes
Would drag our workmen to the plane of that controlled by lords.

The thirsty Bourbons never were so hungry and so lean;
The equal of their fight for “pap” has never yet been seen;
But Cockran, Sickles, Flower, Hill — all say “Grove” cannot win,
Til useless for the boys to part with any of their tin.

Our Yankee nation, though yet young, the bottle has put by,
As one among the nations grand her mission is to try
To elevate her masses all — make men and women free,
Through well paid Labor, Tariff, Schools and Reciprocity.

The Free Trade disciple who lives on Buzzard’s bay
Cannot again be president, the tariff boys all say;
And they mean “biz,” you better bet, they’re in the proper mood,
To send him up Salt river to “innocuous desuetude.”

Our Benny is the boy they want, the boy they mean to have,
His term has been a great success, wise, fl??, and true and brave;
The business men and laborers, too, will, we are sure, “stand pat”
For Harrison, Protection and our old Grandfather’s Hat
Our old Grandfather’s Hat, our old Grandfather’s Hat,
For Harrison, Protection and our old Grandfather’s Hat.
–Buffalo Express.

Trenton Times, The (Trenton, New Jersey)  Aug 3, 1892


An interesting note: When googling the “Buffalo Express,” I discovered that Mark Twain was once part owner and editor of the paper, although many years before this poem/song was published in it:

In Western New York, Twain sharpened his writing abilities as editor of The Buffalo Express newspaper. His co-editor at The Express was Joseph Larned, with whom he often collaborated on articles and columns. Larned, a lifelong friend to Twain, subsequently became director of the library in Buffalo in 1877.

Twain in Buffalo

Keep it Under Your Hat!

Keep it Under Your Hat!

The Grover Cleveland Virtual Exhibit has pictures of various memorabilia related to the campaign and his presidency. If you want to see close-ups of the pictures under these campaign hats, which are very neat, click the link.

The whole “hat thing” was quite prominent during this election. I will be posting another piece of propaganda featuring hats soon.

Patrick Kerwin: The State’s Oldest Voter

January 9, 2009

A Seward Man, Aged 107, Cast His Vote For Parker Yesterday.


The oldest voter in the United States yesterday was probably the venerable Patrick Kerwin, of Seward. His is over 107 years old, and has been voting the Democratic ticket since 1825.

His first ballot as a citizen of this country was cast for Andrew Jackson when John Quincy Adams was the finally successful candidate after the election had been thrown into the House of Representatives. From that day to this he has voted at every presidential election, and whenever possible at the State elections in the State of which he was a resident at the time. Mr. Kerwin is a most enthusiastic partisan and walks from his home on the farm into the village, one mile every day for his paper. In appearance he is a man about seventy and has the best of health. His intellect is as bright today as at any period of his life, and his reading is wide and in many directions remarkable.

Mr. Kerwin was born in Ireland March 9, 1797 [there is a crease in the paper right over the date, the 9th might be incorrect] and the old parish records of the little church in the county of Waterford tell of the christening at the home of John and Mary Kerwin on a day nearly 108 years ago. His first home in this country was in Massachusetts, where for six years he worked in the granite quarries. In 1820 he engaged with others in the fishing business and went to New Foundland. Thereafter this trip was made annually for fifteen years.

In 1848 he moved to Johnstown and was employed as a contractor by the Pennsylvania Railroad. In 1864 he emigrated to Nevada, making the long trip across the plains in a wagon. In 1888 he returned to Seward, where his wife, to whom he was married in 1852, soon afterward died. He then went to make his home with Patrick Moore, where he has since resided.

Indiana County Gazette (PA) 09 Nov 1904

Incidentally, I would imagine Mr. Kerwin may not have been too happy with the outcome of the 1904 election. Here are some of the headlines:

Republicans Will Have a Majority of More Than a Hundred  in the Next Congress


Every Doubtful State Rallies to Their Support and Completely Swamps the Hopes of the Democracy.


States Bordering the Solid South and Which Were Depended Upon By the Democrats to Carry the Day For Parker, Come into the Rough Rider’s Camp.


Those were the good ol’ days.



Patrick Kerwin, of Seward Passes Away After Record-Breaking Career.


Despite Infirmities, However, His Mind Was Clear Until the End.

Patrick Kerwin, who would have been 111 years old on March 17, and who claimed to be the oldest resident of Pennsylvania, died Saturday morning at 8:45 o’clock at the home of Mr. and Mrs. James Bowker, with whom he had been living for a number of years. Mr. Kerwin had been confined to his bed for nine months and only last week seemed to have recovered from the last of several sinking spells which he suffered during December. The aged man was very bright Saturday morning and partook of light refreshments only a short time before he suddenly dropped over dead.

Patrick Kerwin has been a resident of Seward for many years and was well known throughout the surrounding country on account of his advanced age. His mind was very clear, and until the past years he could accurately recall all of the main events that had occurred in his lifetime. Kerwin was born in Ireland, where record of his birth is found in the parish church. He came to Newfoundland at the age of twenty and followed the fishing trade for fifteen years. He then moved to Ohio, and later to New York, where he was engaged in railroading for several years. Kerwin came to Pennsylvania when the Pennsylvania Railroad was built through Johnstown. Shorty after his arrival, he was married to Mrs. Rebecca Campbell, widow of James Campbell, a railroad contractor, and located on a farm along the old Canal just below Johnstown. At the time of the Flood, Kerwin and his wife removed to Seward, where Mrs. Kerwin died about two years later.

As far as can be learned Kerwin had no relatives. Two stepsons, who had provided for him, survive. They are M.R. Campbell, of Tennessee, and James of Nevada. The funeral was held Monday morning at 10 o’clock with services in the Seward Catholic church. Interment followed in the New Florence Catholic cemetery.

Indiana County Gazette (PA) 08 Jan 1908

After a little searching, I think I found Mr. Kerwin in the 1900 census. He year of birth is way off, but being he is in a Moore household and there is a James Bowker also in the household, it is more than likely him. His immigration year doesn’t match up either. Possible reason for this: someone else gave the information to the census taker.

Name:  Paddy Curwin
Home in 1900: St Clair, Westmoreland, Pennsylvania
Age: 88
Birth Date: Mar 1812
Birthplace: Ireland
Race: White
Ethnicity: American
Immigration Year: 1832
Relationship to head-of-house:    Boarder
Father’s Birthplace: Ireland
Marital Status: Widowed
Residence : New Florence Borough, Westmoreland, Pennsylvania
Household Members:
Name     Age
Harry Moore     24
Elizabeth Moore 47
Mary A Moore     31
Paddy Curwin     88
James Bawker     44

Here is a possible match for Patrick and Rebecca, but if it is them, his age is off once again, and so is the timeline in the above accounts of his life. I didn’t find anyone in 1880, Nevada that could have been them. Johnstown was in Cambria County.

Name:  Patrick Curwine
Home in 1880: Taylor, Cambria, Pennsylvania
Age: 70
Estimated Birth Year: abt 1810
Birthplace: Ireland
Relation to Head of Household:  Self (Head)
Spouse’s Name:     Rebecca W.
Father’s birthplace: Ire.
Mother’s birthplace: Ire.
Occupation: Farmer
Marital Status: Married
Race:     White
Gender: Male
Household Members:
Name     Age
Patrick Curwine 70
Rebecca W. Curwine 71

I did a little more searching, trying to find either of them in other census years, but no luck so far.

Johnstown Flood 1889

Johnstown Flood 1889

Here is a short account of the Johnstown flood from Wikipedia:

The Johnstown Flood disaster (or Great Flood of 1889 as it became known locally) occurred on May 31, 1889. It was the result of the failure of the South Fork Dam situated 14 miles (23 km) upstream of the town of Johnstown, Pennsylvania, USA, made worse by several days of extremely heavy rainfall. The dam’s failure unleashed a torrent of 20 million tons of water (18.1 million cubic meters/ 4.8 billion U.S. gallons). The flood killed over 2,200 people and caused US$17 million of damage. It was the first major disaster relief effort handled by the new American Red Cross, led by Clara Barton. Support for victims came from all over the United States and 18 foreign countries.

Death: Dickens and Little Nell

January 9, 2009
Little Nell and Grandfather

Little Nell and Grandfather


On Mr. Dickens’ first visit to this country he made a speech at the dinner given him in Boston, in which he thus alluded to Little Nell:

“There is one other point connected with the labors (if I may call them so) that you hold in such generous esteem, to which I cannot help adverting. I cannot help expressing the delight, the more than happiness, it was to me to find so strong an interest awakened on this side of the water in favor of that little heroine of mine to whom your President made allusion, who died in her youth. I had letter about that child, in England, from the dwellers in log huts among the morasses and swamps, and densest forests and deep solitudes of the Far West. Many a sturdy hand, hard with the axe and spade and browned by the summer’s sun has taken up the pen and written to me a little history of domestic joy or sorrow, always coupled, I am proud to say, with something of interest in that little tale, or some comfort or happiness derived from it; and the writer has always addressed me, not as a writer of books for sale, resident some four or five thousand miles away, but as a friend to whom he might freely impart the joys and sorrows of his own fireside. Many a mother — I could reckon them now by dozens, not by units — has done the like; and has told me how she lost such a child at such a time, and where she lay buried, and how good she was, and how in this or that respect she resembled Nell. I do assure you that no circumstance of my life has given me one hundredth part of the gratification I have derived from this source. I was wavering at the time whether or not to wind up my clock and come and see this country; and this decided me. I feel as if it were a positive duty; as if I were bound to pack up my clothes and come and see my friends; and even now I have such an odd sensation in connection with these things that you have no chance of spoiling me. I feel as though we were agreeing — as indeed we are, if we substitute for fictitious characters the classes from which they are drawn — about third parties, in whom we had a common interest. At every new act of kindness on your part, I say it to myself, That’s for Oliver — I should not wonder if that was meant for Smike — I have no doubt that it was intended for Nell; and so became a much happier, certainly, but a more sober and retiring man than ever I was before.”

There are none, we think, who will not, after reading this allusion to the child who has so long been a reality to many minds, take a sad interest in recalling the final scene of her life:


She was dead. No sleep so beautiful and calm, so free from trace of pain, so fair to look upon. She seemed a creature fresh from the hand of God, and waiting for the breath of life; not one who had lived and suffered death. Her couch was dressed with here and there some winter berries and green leaves, gathered in a spot she had been used to favor. “When I die, put near me something that has loved the light, and had the sky above it always.” Those were her words.

She was dead. Dear, gentle, patient, noble Nell was dead. Her little bird, a poor, slight thing the pressure of a finger would have crushed, was stirring nimbly in its cage, and the strong heart of its child-mistress was mute and motionless forever! Where were the traces of her early cares, her sufferings, and fatigues? All gone. Sorrow was dead, indeed, in her; but peace and perfect happiness were born, imaged in her tranquil beauty and profound repose.

And still her former self lay there, unaltered in its change. Yes! the old fireside had smiled upon that same sweet face; it had passed like a dream, through the haunts of misery and care; at the door of the poor schoolmaster on the summer evening; before the furnace fire upon the cold, wet night; at the still bedside of the dying boy there had been the same mild and lovely look. So shall we know the angels, in their majesty, after death.

The old man held one languid are in his, and the small, tight hand folded to his breast for warmth. It was the hand she had stretched out to him with her last smile; the hand that had led him on through all their wanderings. Ever and anon he pressed it to his lips; then hugged it to his breast again, murmuring that it was warmer now, and, as he said it, he looked in agony to those who stood around, as if imploring them to help her.

She was dead, and past all hope, or need of help. The ancient rooms she had seemed to fill with life, even while her own was waning fast, the garden she had tended, the eyes she had gladdened, the noiseless haunts of many a thoughtless hour, the paths she had trodden, as it were, but yesterday, could know her no more.

“It is not,” said the schoolmaster, as he bent down to kiss her on the cheek, and gave his tears free vent, “it is not in [this] world that Heaven’s justice ends. Think what it is, compared with the world to which her young spirit has winged its early flight, and say, if one deliberate wish, expressed in solemn tones, above this bed, could call her back to life, which of us would utter it?”

She had been dead two days. They were all about her at the time, knowing that the end was drawing on. She died soon after daybreak. They had read and talked to her in the earlier portion of the night; but, as the hours crept on, she sank to sleep. They could tell by what she faintly uttered in her dreams, that they were of her journeyings with the old man; they were of no painful scenes, but of those who had helped them, and used them kindly; for she often said “God bless you!” with great fervor.

Waking, she never wandered in her mind but once, and that was at beautiful music, which, she said, was in the air. God knows. It may have been. Opening her eyes, at last, from a very quiet sleep, she begged that they would kiss her once again. That done she turned to the old man, with a lovely smile upon her face, such, they said, as they had never seen, and could never forget, and clung, with both arms, about his neck. She had never murmured or complained; but, with a quiet mind, and manner unaltered, save that she every day became more earnest and more grateful to them, faded like the light upon the summer’s evening.

Along the crowded path they bore her now, pure as the new fallen snow that covered it, whose day on earth had been as fleeting. Under that porch where she had sat, when Heaven, in its mercy, brought her to that peaceful spot, she passed again, and the old church received her in its quiet shade.

St Joseph Herald (Saint Joseph, Michigan) June 25, 1870