The Hidden Key.

by Sarah Ward Benedict

I relied on myself in my search for the key
That would unlock the gate for a sinner like me.
I searched all around, but the search seemed in vain,
And my heart was so full of an undefined pain.
Oh, my heart was so heavy! the night had grown late,
And I had not found the key to the gate.

I went back to childhood, my life I lived o’er,
And searched all along from shore to shore;
But no key could I find, not even a trace,
And the tears seemed to deluge my poor wrinkled face.
Oh, how hard it was, when it was so late,
That I could not find the key to the gate!

Oh, I must have hope, for I must have the key!
And then I asked Jesus to come and help me.
He came, and it seemed a miracle wrought,
For there, in my heart, was the key that I sought.
My heart had been crusted quite over with care.
And I never once thought that the key could be there.

A warm wave of love, when the Savior drew near,
Soon thawed out my heart that was frozen with fear.
My heart has grown warm, for the Lord on me smile,
And I have become as an innocent child;
Am loving, and trusting, clasp firmly each hand,
For love brings us close, like a family band.

Oh, the beautiful key! the love-burnished key!
That can unlock the kingdom of Heaven for me,
It never can tarnish, its prisms so bright
Will sparkle and glow in a glorified light.
A new life came to me when dear Jesus came
To show me the key when I called on His name.

Published in ‘Local and National Poets of America” edited and compiled by Thomas W. Herringshaw in 1892


What the birdie said to me

by Sarah Ward Benedict

A bright little birdie sang to me to-day
While it sat all alone on a sweet leafy spray.
It seemed to be saying when life would be o’er
There still would, for me, be a sunshiny shore:
That I would find roses most sweetly abloom,
Surpassing the blossoms on this side the tomb;
That I had my garlands awhile here to braid
Ere I could see blossoms that never would fade;
That though I was pining for love that was mine,
They were waiting to fold me where love was divine.
Was the birdie a messenger sent from above
To speak to a heart that had buried its love?

Published in ‘Local and National Poets of America” edited and compiled by Thomas W. Herringshaw in 1892



by Sarah Ward Benedict

Grander, grander notes are swelling
From the valleys and the hills;
Tears of thankfulness are welling
As my soul with music fills.
Christian workers, we’ll be voicing
All the notes we’ve learned to-day,
And together go rejoicing
That we’ve found the better way.

Published in ‘Local and National Poets of America” edited and compiled by Thomas W. Herringshaw in 1892

10th Anniversary Celebration- 1911

Dwight and May Powell received a surprise 10th anniversary party from their family and friends on October 17, 1911.  It was all the more surprising because their wedding date was March 2, 1902.   They received $17 as a token for which they purchased a set of dishes.  This information was logged in their original wedding album (link pending).  The gift money that was received is referenced in the poem shown below.

Click for more about Dwight and May

In attendance at the party were Reverend Wesley Feldwisch and his wife Zoe.  Mrs. Feldwisch presented the following poem for the occasion:

Dearly Belov’d, we’re gathered here
as guests, tho’ uninvited,
But one and all with right good cheer
For surely are united.

In wishing Dwight and May the best
That this old world can give one,
And so with laugh and merry jest
We’ve watched the happy hours run.

We bring congratulations here
Tis joy you will agree
To visit our friends to us most dear
And their “olive branches” three.

Oft on (have cooked?) on a tableau here
Surely there is no other
That makes a picture quite as dear
As a sweet, devoted mother.

Doe’r listened to the father’s song
In his melodious bass
And wondered how he kept so long
That smile upon his face.

But these we know the reason is
That Heav’n has blessed this place,
And feel that all the praise is His,
Who keeps us by His grace.

Dear friends, we know that on this day
Nice gifts are quite the thing
But do forgive us if we say
Such things we could not bring.

However for so many days
(Pray do not think it shocking)
We’ve saved our cash, all we could raise
And kept it in a stocking.

For thine we knew it safe would lie
And you could “salt it down”
To purchase whate’er you wish to buy
Next time you go to town.

And, now, again we say to you,
Your friends all wish you well.
May joy and health and sorrows few,
By yours, while here you dwell.

Z. H. Feldwisch
Oct. 17, 1911


10th anniversary poem

10th anniversary poem

10th anniversary poem page 2

10th anniversary poem page 2

“Gone Home” poetry by Sarah Ward Benedict, August 1872

Click here for more of Sarah’s poems


In Memory of Harley N. Leete (her brother), who died
in Verona Village, June 1872

Gone! gone! gone to his rest;
Home! home! home with the blest;

But oh, how we miss him! how sad is the day!
The husband, the father, by Death called away.
The neighbors will miss him–he’s been here since youth;
His motto in business has ever been “truth.”
They know he was good, was upright and just,
His word was a bond they ever could trust.
A bright link has fallen from our family band;
We cannot but weep,–grief-robed we stand.
Oh, hearts ! why this anguish? The loved one’s above,
Has met kindred spirits in the City of Love,
Has laid down life’s burden, and gone on before,
To await our arrival on that restful shore.
The dear one stepped through–the gates were ajar–
Among the celestials there’s another bright star.
Oh, we must look up! let our thoughts calmly rise
To that blissful abode where there’s no severed ties.
The way is not far–just above the blue dome;
We seem nearer Heaven since he has gone home.

Home! home! home with the just!
Gone! gone from the casket of dust!

We feel he’s gone home; our loss is his gain;
But still we are weeping, we cannot refrain,
For here our thoughts tary in the home grown so dear;
Our hears will keep crying, “I wish he was here.”
He made home so sunny, was loving and kind,
Sweet poetic beauties ever filling his mind,
The songs he has written a solace will bring.
They tell of salvation; of Christ as our King;
Even now I’m repeating his inspiring verse,
And the rhythms I feel while the songs I rehearse.
The words are so hopeful they bear me along
To that homewhere no sorrow will tincture my song.
He bade me write hopeful; how short is the time
Since he pointed to shadows I’d woven in rhyme;
He said, “bring more sunshine, to bright pages turn;”
He knew what was best, and his lesson I’ll learn.
He’s only gone home, there no shadows can come,
The kind, loving brother has only gone home.



Click here to learn more about Sarah

1891 in Frank Cummings’ Wallet / “Now Keep Your Nose Clean…”

The above picture (front/back) appears to be one of several receipts that he had in his wallet.  This one describes the sale of 4 parcels of land in Sault Ste Marie to EB Colton.  The paper serves his guarantee to FB Cummings to repay him $100.00 at 8% interest.

Click here for more of Frank

Fifty Faithful Years

Fifty Faithful Yearspowell ephraim and nancy

Original poem by Mrs. Eva Rickes read at the Golden Wedding of Mr. and Mrs. Ephraim Powell of Shirland, IL August 5, 1912.

It was just fifty years ago today
At four o’clock in the afternoon,
Our Nancy appeared in bridal array
For Ephraim, her cherished groom.

The affection they gave each other,
Was more precious than jewels, or

And their nuptial vows are unbroken,
Though they’ve struggled through
trials untold.

Just eleven days after their marriage
Came the call for more volunteers.
Our groom left his bride and enlisted,
Leaving her in a dark cloud of fear.

Think you that the parting was easy?
Those were times that tested men’s lives.
Twixt humanity’s cause imperiled,
And the pleadings of mothers, and wives.

For three long, cruel years, they were parted.
By the numberless horrors of war,
He, struggling with dangers, and hardships,
She, praying he be saved from a scar.

He was spared to come home to his trueheart,
And together they furnished a home,
On the prairie they furnished a home,
On the prairie not far from Rockton,
They were happy, and cared not to roam.

It was there that the stork left Parker,
A black-eyed mischievous lad.
He proceded to stir things up lively,
And kept them all merry, and glad.

In four years they moved to this homestead,
Where baby Hattie arrived one day;
You all can guess, if you only confess,
The “Dickens” and all was to pay.

Then that miserable cow in Chicago,
Kicked over that kerosene lamp.
The fire ran on, ‘till it reached the lake,
And the people were forced to de-camp.

A loud call for carpenters reached here,
And pitiful were the tales they told,
Of families out in the cinders,
With no feed, or sheltering fold.

The plea was too strong for our brother,
He moved his whole household, and bit,
And staid there, and worked like a hero,
‘Till all were as snug as a ship.

Then back he came to old Shirland,
And built him this pleasant home,
Then curly-haired Dwight and Freddie,
Came to help pick the Thanskgiving bones.

They all have helped in the church work,
And faithful have served through the years.
We don’t know what we’d do without them,
The mere thought just brings the tears.

fifty faithful years page 1 scan fifty faithful years page 2 scan