The Alan Sondheim Mail Archive

turning 60 -

The last of days I'm 59, I'm reading as follows - and
now listen carefully from The Honorable Jacob Willsey's Journal,
1831--1860, I'm not sure where to put the line breaks in (not
the quotation, but this domain where history and thought
lose one another) -

On October 28, 1831 - "Mr. Clark sawed in the mill 1 week, pd. him $3."
Now listen, November 6, 1830 - "Clark quit; Warren went to Dryden; wrote
to H. Warren in Pittstown; Gaylord on the RRoad at Tinneros; Gaylord went
to Ithaca on the RR."

Who is Clark? Now again February 2, 1831 - "Weather warm and thaws today;
people flock like pigeons to a wheat field to see Clark hung; snow runs
fast; bot 2 pr boots and 2 pr shoes of Mr. Smith, Springville, Pa. for

Then - on the day of my birth, 112 years early, February 3, 1831: "All
hands went to Ithaca to see Clark hung; carried a clock to R.  Jennings;
warm, thawy weather; I went to the mill and cut ice to save the dam."

The same Clark or another? The weather of ice, as here against the
Susquehanna, merganser ducks around, ice beginning to break against the
culverts speeding the water downriver, huge flows of free water.
February 1, 2003, spent the afternoon rephotographing the muskrat lodge.

Which Clark? Of this, no other record, the same or different? In the
Journal, accorded a mention, and now 1835, Utica, New York, near Ithaca;
William Williams publishes a new edition of The English Reader or Pieces
in Prose and Verse; selected from the Best Writers: Designed to Assist
Young Persons to Read with Propriety and Effect; to Improve their Language
and Sentiments, and to Inculcate some of the most important Principles of
Piety and Virtue: by Lindley Murray.

A select sentence: "Mixed as the present state is, reason, and religion,
pronounce, that, generally, if not always, there is more happiness than
misery, more pleasure than pain, in the condition of man."

Another: "Time, once past, never returns: the moment which is lost, is
lost forever. There is nothing on earth so stable, as to assure us of
undisturbed rest; nor so powerful, as to afford us constant protection."

Here at the dusk of my 50s, I wonder, who is Clark? The first edition of
Lindley's book was 1822; did Clark or Jacob Willsey glance upon it? In
January, 1859, on the first day of the new year, Willsey writes:

"1--Comes in Moderate. El Wilcoxen is about leaving of us & going to
Lisle.  Started the 14th with his wife, which leaves us destitute of
preaching. He has been here 11 years & I fear we shall not get another
preacher to supply his place soon as our church has run down & but few
members & they are more engaged after the things of the world, than they
are after their soul salvation. Oh what the results will be is yet hidden
in the future. I feel that my days are very few & full of trouble, And my
labour is about done and I have nothing but the promise of a crucified
Saviour to rest upon and in Him I put my trust, believing that He will not
afflict us willingly more than we are able to bear."

This next morning of the 3rd will be dark, black beyond belief; I shall
neither see nor comprehend. Debility awaits me & I cannot call on God.


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