From the western face of the beautiful monument which Deerfield has recently
erected to her fallen braves, I copy--"With Pious Affection and Gratitude,
their Descendants would hereby associate the Sacrifices and Sufferings of the
Fathers of the Town, in establishing our Institutions with those of their Children
in Defending them." In this Deerfield has done well; but there is another
duty which she owes to her departed ancestry, another tribute to their trials
and sufferings, another offering to keep their memory green. Beneath the level
turf or broken mounds of our ancient cemetery, many brave
" forefathers of the hamlet sleep,"
the place of their repose often marked by moss-grown monuments,
" With uncouth rhymes and shapeless sculpture decked."
But very many graves contain, and always will, the ashes of the unknown dead.
All record, trace or tradition of their tenants, being forever lost. But there
is one grave in a corner, neglected, overgrown, unmarked and almost unknown,
a constant reproach to the passing generation, and a constant appeal for recognition
for the unhonored slain. For these died not peacefully in their beds, stricken
by years, waiting for their crowns, with the dimly seen faces of loved ones
around them, and the solemn voice of prayer falling upon their dull ears; nor
were they the victims of lingering disease, or cut down by the malignant pestilence
of the wilderness,--these two score and ten, who here wait for the last trump.
On that darkest day of Deerfield's history, when more than one-half of her people
were slain or carried into a miserable captivity, these gave up their lives
in darkness, or by the glare of their burning homes, by thrust or shot, or fatal
crash of tomahawk, mid yells of savage fury, cries of despair, dying groans
and cruel taunts. Stalwart men and noble matrons, infants of a few weeks, and
men who had outlived their "appointed time." Young men and maidens,
newly made mothers, and brides of a month, childhood and youth all went down
to death in that terrible storm, and were all swallowed by this common grave.
How much longer shall the men of Deerfield and the descendants of these slaughtered
ones, allow this reproach to rest upon them? how much longer suffer this sad
neglect, before a fitting memorial shall be erected to mark the consecrated
spot, and be another proof of our "affection and gratitude?"
Deerfield, July 30, 1869. s.