Monday, August 15, 2011

A Musing upon Pennsic XL, August 2011


To travel far from home for to make war.
To make camp with strangers soon to be brothers and sisters.
To waken to a warrior’s call.
To put on armor which could save your life, and take up arms which may take life from those who oppose you.
To march toward a place of battle, exultant in hope of victory, not knowing what may come to pass.
To assemble on a field of battle and wonder what fate awaits you.
To ponder whether any living is left to you.
To consider the fate of your child and your loving wife, in your absence.
To gaze across an open place and see many massed against you and your comrades, and wonder how your fates will be met.
To mass shoulder to shoulder with new companions and hope to preserve at least one of their lives.
To hasten, and to wait.
To hear the call to battle, and look out upon the place where so many will meet in conflict.
To run toward an uncertain fate, keeping pace, listening for orders, observing the fluid motion of masses of warriors moving to take the best advantage.
To hear warriors’ yells and the crash of weapons all about you.
To see your comrades fall and move to take their place, swinging your weapon and shielding yourself from enemy blows.
To feel your racing heart and the heat of your own exertions, coupled with the mid-day heat.
To rest, but only briefly, wanting only to hurry back to find your brothers in arms.
To gaze out again upon the remains of your army and the one it opposes, and wonder, again, how the battle may end.
To crash headlong, again, into the thick of fighting.
To see blows coming, and feel the one which ends the battle for you.
To fall among the ranks and lie on the ground, waiting for the end.
To hear the cheers when victory is won.

To return to camp after a hard-fought battle, and shed your armor.
To drink and eat and share tales of loss and victory.
To miss one’s common life with a physical pain, yet hardly remember its comforts.

To finally journey toward home, and find that it seems a new and strange place, though thoroughly familiar.

To have spent many days on a plain without shade, and finally find oneself among the hills of home.
To arrive in cool woods in a mountain retreat, and know the calming refreshment they grant.

For a woodsman, to have fought a battle in a forest, but not remember what manner of trees sheltered him, for there was not time to consider even a lily.

The warrior’s heart must be one of exaltation and of deep sorrow. Perhaps the warrior's heart loves peace as does no other.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Obituaries for our great-great-grandparents, Sam and Chloe (Sherman) Stillman

"The Sabbath Recorder", Vol 38, No 27, p 27, July 6, 1882.
In the town of Alfred, Allegany county, N. Y., July 1, 1882, Mrs. Chloe Sherman Stillman, daughter of George Sherman, deceased, of Alfred, and wife of Samuel N. Stillman, aged 65 years. She was born in Norway, Herkimer Co., N. Y., in 1817; married there in 1835, and came to Alfred in 1837. She became a Christian in Norway in 1835, embraced the Sabbath there, was baptized by Eld. Eli S. Bailey, and received into the Seventh Day Baptist Church then existing in Newport, in that vicinity.
Soon after removing to Alfred, she, with her husband, united with the First Alfred Church, where, until the day of her death, she has been known and loved as a faithful and exemplary Christian. We shall miss her much; but our loss is her eternal gain. She has been sick since the 1st of April, but patient and resigned. She has left one son, four daughters, her husband, and a wide circle of relatives and friends in sorrow, but not without hope that they shall meet again, safe in the kingdom of God. C. M. L.

"The Sabbath Recorder", Vol 53, No 52, p 820, Dec. 27, 1897.
Samuel Newberry Stillman was born in Newport, Herkimer County, N. Y., June 27, 1812, and died at his home in Alfred, N. Y., Sabbath-day, Dec. 18, 1897, aged 85 years, 5 months, and 21 days. He was the son of Ezra and Polly Stillman, and the second of ten children, of whom two survive him - a brother living in Brookfield, and a sister (Mrs. Nancy Frank) living at Alfred Station. In 1835 he married Miss Chloe Sherman, and to them were born two sons and five daughters. A son and daughter having died some years ago, he is survived by his son Alonzo and his daughters, Madelia, Clotilda, Mrs. John F. Langworthy, and Mrs. Ophelia Clarke of Nile.
In February, 1837, he removed to Alfred, bringing his family and household goods on a sleigh; here he bought a farm, cleared it up, and continued in the business of farming until his death. He enjoyed a happy married life until July 1, 1882, when his beloved companion was taken from him by death. As a father he was wise in the government of his household and in the training of his children, bringing up his whole family to become industrious, thrifty and highly respected members of society.
As a citizen and neighbor he was highly esteemed and beloved. His example and influence have always been healthful. His life was in strict accord with the Golden Rule. He was a man of public spirit, always ready to help on any good work for the benefit of the village and the welfare of those around him. He was deeply interested in Alfred University, for many years an active member of its Board of Trustees, and contributed several thousand dollars to its financial support.
As a Christian he was exemplary; brought up a Seventh-day Baptist; at the age of 21 years he experienced a change of heart and joined the Newport church - being baptized by Elder Eli S. Bailey. On removal to Alfred he joined the church here by letter and remained to the day of his death a consistent and worthy member. He was an industrious man, never eating the bread of idleness; and, as God prospered him, he was a cheerful and most liberal giver, and brought up his family to the same spirit of liberal beneficence.
In character he was transparent, genuine, without guile. He loved his fellow-men, and sought in all his life to glorify his God and Saviour whom he loved with a true and whole heart. The secret of his life is found in his devotion to secret prayer and the daily reading of God's Word, and his custom of daily family worship in his home. He loved the covenant meetings of the church and would often manifest deep emotion while telling of God's goodness to him and the joy he experienced in the Christian life.
Although he could hear scarcely one word of the sermon, he was generally in his place in the sanctuary. When he remained at home on Sabbath morning he spent the time reading the Bible or one of Dr. Talmage's sermons. When the family left him last Sabbath morning he was seated near the stove with paper in hand containing Dr. Talmage's last sermon. He was well as usual. When they returned, the paper had fallen to the floor, and he sat in the chair as though asleep. He was asleep, "Asleep in Jesus." His spirit had taken its flight without a struggle as it left the tenement of clay.
He will be missed in the home, the community, the church; but he has left a memory which is as an ointment poured forth. "Mark the perfect man, and behold the upright; for the end of that man is peace."
Funeral services were held at the church on Tuesday, Dec. 21, conducted by Pastor Gamble assisted by Pres. Davis, and the remains were laid to rest in Alfred Rural Cemetery, to await the resurrection of the just. J. L. G.