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Thursday, December 17, 2009

Christmas of 1888 - John Greenleaf Whittier


On this date in our extended family history . . . the 17th day of December . . . in the year 1807 . . . John Greenleaf Whittier is born in Haverhill, Essex County, Massachusetts . . . this future poet found his way into the extended branches of our family tree by way of the fact that . . . his great-grand-uncle, Nathaniel Whittier (1658-1722) . . . was married in 1710 to Mary Brackett (ca.1670-1742) . . . who is a double 1st cousin 10 times removed to the Keeper of this family history blog, i.e. . . .



  • Mary's father is Anthony Brackett (ca.1636 - 21 Sept 1689) . . . who is a brother of Thomas Brackett (ca.1635-11 Aug 1676) . . . who is a 9th great-grandpa of the Keeper of this family history blog . . . 

  • Mary's mother is Ann Mitton . . . who is a sister of Mary Mitton . . . who married the previously mentioned Thomas Brackett . . . and is a 9th great-grandma of the Keeper of this family history blog . . .






New York Times. December 18, 1888. Whittier's Birthday. Quietly Celebrated at his Farmhouse at Oak Knoll. Danvers, Mass., Dec. 17. -- At the quiet farmhouse at Oak Knoll, on the outskirts of the town of Danvers, there was a pleasant family circle to-day, and one of the most beloved of New-England's famous sons received congratulations on his eighty-first birthday. 

Here, surrounded with the tender care of the Misses Johnson and Mrs. Woodman the poet, John G. Whittier is quietly passing the Winter. Today being the anniversary of his birth The Time's representative called to pay his respects. 

The poet was found in his library, his erect figure and bright but kindly eye and the warm pressure of the hand gave but little token that more than fourscore years had passed over his head. A slight defect in hearing and snow-white hair and beard are the outward symbols of his ripe years. . . . 

Whittier would write of The Christmas of 1888 as follows . . .


Low in the east, against a white, cold dawn,
The black-lined silhouette of the woods was drawn,
And on a wintry waste
Of frosted streams and hillsides bare and brown,
Through thin cloud-films a pallid ghost looked down,
The waning moon half-faced.
In that pale sky and sere, snow-waiting earth,
What sign was there of the immortal birth?
What herald of the One?
Lo! swift as thought the heavenly radiance came,
A rose-red splendor swept the sky like flame,
Up rolled the round, bright sun!

And all was changed. From a transfigured world
The moon's ghost fled, the smoke of home-hearths curled
Up to the still air unblown.
In Orient warmth and brightness, did that morn
O'er Nain and Nazereth, when the Christ was born,
Break fairer than our own?

The morning's promise noon and eve fulfilled
In warm, soft sky and landscape hazy-filled
And sunset fair as they;
A sweet reminder of His holiest time,
A summer-miracle in our winter clime,
God gave a perfect day.

The near was blended with the old and far,
And Bethlehem's hillside and the Magi's star
Seemed here, as there and then, --
Our homestead pine-tree was the Syrian palm,
Our heart's desire the angels' midnight psalm,
Peace, and good-will to men!






See also ::



A little smile, a word of cheer,
A bit of love
from someone near,
A little gift from one held dear,
Best wishes for the coming year...
These make a Merry Christmas!

John Greenleaf Whittier







4 comments:

Elizabeth said...

Lovely tribute, Vickie. BTW, there's a DAR chapter in California named for John Greenleaf Whittier. You can read about it here.

Merry Christmas!

~Elizabeth
Little Bytes of Life

Carla Gade said...

I enjoyed your post on JGW very much. He is also my distant cousin and I posted a Christmas page about him on my blog -

http://familyhistory.wordpress.com/2010/12/13/john-greenleaf-whittier-christmas-poems/

Happy Birthday to cousin John!

benotforgot said...

Thanks for stopping by, Carla . . . funny timing, for I had already been browsing around on your family history blog this afternoon . . . as of this time, I only have "cousin John" in our tree by marriage . . . I need to go look at your blog to see just how you connect . . . V. . . .

Lisa said...

Love it! Merry Christmas!

Lisa
100 Years in America
Small-leaved Shamrock
A light that shines again
Carnival of Irish Heritage & Culture

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