The Plowmans of the 1800s and early 1900s greatly enjoyed writing poems, some of them quite long, to celebrate Christmas, birthdays, and everyday events of life. Poems were read at the Plowman Christmas Tree, a family reunion always held on Christmas Day with great fanfare — more about the Christmas Trees in later posts. Following is a poem written by Pearl Benedict, daughter of Mary Eliza Plowman Benedict and granddaughter of William Tuthill Plowman, to be read at one of the Plowman Christmas Trees. I have taken the last line of the un-named poem for its title.
Plowmans of the Long Ago
By Pearl Benedict
Years have passed since first was written
Jokes in rhyme for all to hear.
Plowman born, with those they married
All who came from far and near.
Many of the first who gathered
Round the Family Christmas tree
Have now passed to brighter glories
Bringing near eternity.
First the families lived together
In one county side by side,
Later many cousins “wandered”
But returned at Christmas tide.
Then this younger generation
Planned the program, trimmed the tree
Wrote the jokes and served the “oysters”
Sang the songs of cheer and glee.
Many hands have penned their message
Rhymes both good, and bad I fear,
But they never failed a welcome
Laughs they got, from some a tear.
Still another generation
Lives afar from that first home
But the ties of family hold us –
Binds us all where e’er we roam.
What’s the value of these writings,
Quiltings, fish frys, family “bees?”
They all form a band around us
Strengthening us for troubled seas.
Happy are those ties which bind us
Give us background, makes us know.
We are one, both youth and aged,
Plowmans of the long ago.