RECOLLECTION OF WYOM. VALLEY IN PIONEER DAYS

Perhaps this poem was written by some researcher's ancestor. From Wilkes-Barre Record, 3 may, 1940 Disaster recollection of Wyoming Valley in pioneer years comes frequently into the local limelight since the recent flood. The Record prints today a picture of the old covered bridge and ice packed Susquehanna River at Market St., taken at flood times three quarters of a century aga and a poem thereon by an old resident, c

Clara M Phillips, now of Seattle, granddaughter of John Lowther and his wife Rebecca and daughter of Squire Barney Stroud of Kingston. The poem was sent to Ernastine Kaehlin of the Wyom Historical and Genealogical Society this week by another former resident, Mrs. Edith Thomas, 88, now of Quakertown, author of the well known " Mary on the Farm, a treatise on PA Germans, who is a cousin of Clara M. Phillips, author of the poem. The first Market St. Bridge, built in 1818, was torn from it's supports by the hurricane of 1824, and for two years the only means of communication between the two villages of Wilkes-Barre and Kingston, according to old records, was over the ice in winter and by ferry in summer. The bridge pictured was built about 1826 and was replaced by a steel structure in 1892 which gave way to the present memorial bridge in 1929. Toll was charged until 1908. Annual family rates were paid by persons of importance, in the early days and ministers and officials of the Co. crossed free. The wooden frame dwelling for the toll keeper, which stood under a wide spreading willow tree at the Wilkes-Barre end, was replaced by a two story brick structure in 1885.

THE OLD COVERED BRIDGE
Do you remember the old covered bridge
That we crossed when we went to town ?
And the sign that over the entrance
Hung as a warning down.

There in letters, big and bold and black
I read it every time
For " driving faster than a walk
The penality will be five dollars fine."

I always feared old Kate would run
The way she tossed her head,
But a word from Father and she'd slow down
And then continue her tread, tread, tread.

How she loathed the sight of that old covered bridge
As the river beneath it would roll.
She was champing and eager- could scarcely wait
Till Father paid the toll.

It thrilled me each tome, I remember so well
As I gazed at that distant shore,
With the old Susquehanna rolling below-
I could see through the cracks of the old plank floor,

The old covered bridge brings sweet memories to me
Of the days of long ago.
When we were dressed in our Sunday best
And to grandmother's house we'd go.

I almost fancy I see her now
In her dainty cap of lace
On her silvery hair that sometimes curled
Around her dear kind face.

How sincere the greetings at grandmother's home
As playthings and dolls were brought
No guest of honor was happier than I
For their sweet and loving thoughts.

The old covered bridge has long since gone
There's structure of steel in it's place-
But the long ago thrills of my childhood days
Can never be effaced.

Clare M. Phillips
January 10, 1937

This article was donated by Rose Vosler

1997-2016 by Mary Ann Lubinsky for the PAGenWeb Project, and by Individual Contributors

 Mary Ann Lubinsky
County Coordinator

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