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ernors, judges, ministers, and lawyers. Mr. Philbrick was the seventh generation in direct descent, from Gov. Thomas Dudley of Massachusetts. His great-grandfather, Judge John Dudley of New Hampshire, for whom he was named, famous in that State during the period of the Revolution, was one of the most pronounced characters of his time, – of unswervable integrity, of determined will, of clear foresight, of broad views and sound judgment. He was not a learned man, nor much read in books, but Governor Plummer of New Hampshire said of him that he would sooner trust Judge Dudley's native faculties to decide a legal point right, than all the lawyers' learning of the other judges put together.
His grandfather, Moses Dudley, was a remarkable type of the New England country 'Squire of seventy-five years ago, — wise after the manner of Ben Franklin, — who gave the last forty years of his life entirely to the study and reading of books. It was estimated that he had read the equal of 6,000 octavo volumes of 400 pages each; and his daily conversation showed the fruits of this great enrichment.
His mother was a woman of strong mind, well informed, with a determined will, with definite opinions and the power of expressing them, touched also with an honest pride of family and with an ambition for position.
Such was the descent and parentage of John Dudley Philbrick, and he inherited the best and strongest qualities of both lines of his ancestors. In his character, there was never a better illustration of the logic of heredity.
Deerfield, N. H., lies thirty miles from the coast and
well within the belt of hill country. This whole region is more attractive and picturesque than it is fertile, or productive under cultivation. Nevertheless it is a pleasant country to live in ; but to live, one must work, and the bounds of social and intellectual life, as in all rural towns, are rather narrow. The religious and political newspaper, a few common books, neighborhood visits and gatherings, occasional visits to the market-towns, the town meeting, the schools and church meetings, represent about all.
In this town, in the midst of one of its loveliest valleys, amid surrounding trees, and facing the south, stands the Philbrick homestead, a large main house, made still more ample by the additions of different generations. My personal recollections of it, from the merest boy up to this hour, clothe it with one supreme virtue, — the warm and generous hospitality which it always extended to all
These were the surroundings and this the home of this boy of fifty and sixty years ago.
But here, at this time, the life of a farmer's boy, possessed of imagination and spirit, doubtless, did not seem to the boy to be an ideal one. Yet if somewhat narrow, and unquestionably hard, it held some compen. sation. It was an open, free, country life, everywhere adapting itself to direct the forces of nature to the uses and comforts of living. On the side of work and on the side of play, it was full of education ; it made ingenious hands, strong arms, swift feet, muscular and well-developed bodies. There was no question here of introducing
the new educational factor, industrial training; the thing itself was present in never-ending forms, — the spring's work, the summer's work, the fall and winter's work. When the spring sun began to run high and the fields of snow to melt, the maples were to be tapped and the season's sugar made; then miles of fence were to be repaired, and the rocks to be picked and hauled from the cultivated fields; then the dressing was to be hauled and spread upon the land, to be followed by the busy plowing, sowing, and planting. The sheep were to be washed and sheared, providing the wool for home-spinning and weaving, — for the women made all the woolen cloth for clothes, and a surplus to carry and sell in distant markets. The cattle, the horses, the swine, the chickens and turkeys were a constant care. Then commenced the hand to hand contest to keep back the weeds with the hoe, until early July left the crops with a little start in their favor, if rain and sun should be kind.
Then came the midsummer harvest of haying, with no machines to lighten the labor, - mowing, spreading, raking, pitching, hauling, and stowing away, — every stroke one of main strength; work-days that began before sunrise, and ended with the late dusk of midsummer, -- all this for five or six weeks, interrupted only by lowering or rainy weather. Then came cutting the stalks from the corn, reaping the grain with the sickle, gathering and husking the corn, digging and housing the potatoes, gathering the apples, and making the cider; and the autumn ended with making all the buildings tight and snug for the winter.
In the winter, the season's wood was to be cut and hauled home, and occasionally, logs to be hauled to the saw-mill for boards and lumber, for home use or for the market, — all these things, with the endless daily chores of a farm.
It is at once seen, that being in the midst of a life like this, early makes a man out of a boy.
But there were recreations also: a day off fishing or gunning, a trip to the country store, a journey to the market town, a visit to relations or friends, and long winter evenings for reading and talk.
There was also a quiet factor at work, the most important of all, and that was the district school ; this kept three months in the summer and three months in the winter. The boy attended both until he was so large he could no longer be spared from the summer's work, and then went only in winter. But, in the country phrase, "he was a good scholar and loved his books."
And with this education, at sixteen years of age, he
was a man.
But what is there for him beyond this narrow bound of his home? Where is the opening through which the light can shine ?
To quote his own words :
“ This privilege of going away to school at an academy seemed to be something too high for me ever to dream of enjoying. But in the spring of 1834 some one suggested that I should go to Pembroke Academy, and thus the question was proposed, - Shall I stop with my common school education, or try to get a higher education? I saw the great difficulty of leaving home, for now I was as good as a man on the farm ; besides, where was the money to come from to pay the expenses? I did not then imagine it to be possible for me ever to reach the college. But the idea of acquiring an education above that of a common school, found lodgment in my mind, and the idea must become a reality. A young uncle, though six or seven years older than myself, was going to Pembroke to complete his fitting for college. He was to board himself, and kindly offered to take me into the partnership. This fortunate circumstance turned the scale in my favor. My father, who had hesitated to give his consent, not that he did not value education but that he valued my assistance on the farm also, seeing that the opportunity was too good to be lost, yielded, though reluctantly and sadly. I remember the day well. My father, leaving the team standing in the furrow, came into the house to hold a family conference. It must be settled then, for the tailoress was there, and if it was decided in the affirmative, she must be retained to make up the needed garments. My mother said yes, though with some apparent misgivings.”
Thus, at sixteen years of age, he went to Pembroke, N. H., for his first term at the Academy. In the four following years he managed to get five or six terms, or parts of terms, of twelve to fourteen weeks, at this school, and one term at Strafford Academy. Between whiles, he returned to the help of his father on the farm, rendered now all the more necessary from the untimely loss of his elder brother, Peter, who died in 1835. This bereavement left a deep and sorrowful mark on his early life.