History of Whiteside County, by W. W. Davis
23 Aug 2012
HISTORY OF WHITESIDE COUNTY
Vol. 1 & 2, 1908 by W. W. Davis
MARTHA A. JOHN
Her parents were substantial people of Pennsylvania, and belonged to the Society of Quakers or Friends as they are now called. The early home was in Shamokin, Northumberland County. Her father, Elida John, was a surveyor, and a prominent man in the community, a strong advocate for temperance, and every good cause. Her mother, Sarah H. Hughes, came from Chester County, Pa., her ancestors owning a farm on which Kennett, Bayard Taylor’s town, was afterward built. Martha was one of ten children, and came to Whiteside as early as 1856 to take a position as teacher in the family of Joseph Wilson, proprietor of the well-known mills.
An intelligent family, all of the children showing mental power in some form of activity. Martha was meditative, andput the musings of her leisure hours into verse. IN 1902 she had a booklet printed entitled “A Souvenir: Incidents, Experiences, and Reflections, by Martha A. John.” We select a few stanzas to give an ideaof the chaste spirit of the collection. The little volume opens with tributes to her father and mother, with their likenesses above. This is one of the stanzas To Mother.
True and thoughtful friends, the very nearest,
We cherish tenderly,
Yet mother, oh, our mother dearest,
None can be like thee!
In from the fields and from lowlands fair,
In from the fragrance of summery air
We sat one day in a restful chair,
By an invalid’s side.
Stay friends! do not sleep so early
This calm and starry night –
Cast aside the spell of slumber,
And catch a wondrous sight!
There’s a stranger in the heavens,
With his luminous train
Following a northward pathway
Where constellations reign!
Martha never married, and resides with her brother, Chalkly, in Jordan.
A BIRD IN WINTER.
‘Twas a jay at noon that caught our view,
Lazily afloat in air;
Its life seemed linked with the misty blue;
Our interests awoke, afresh, anew,
As we traced its pathway there.
Earth’s canopy is robed in blue,
Celestial grandeur pressing through!
No hint of cloud is on the sky,
And only sunlight sparkles by.
Far out in the country, in a quiet dell
A family of children were wont to dwell;
They knew most of the birds of ev’ry name,
That each new year with the sweet spring-time came.
In these verses, we are reminded sometimes of Wordsworth, sometimes of Whittier.