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Reunion of the Family of William White Watkins and Rebecca Elliott Watkins

William White Watkins (1825- 1897) and his wife, Rebecca John Elliott Watkins (1821-1826), had ten children: William Jasper, Charles Wesley, Nancy Elizabeth, James Hamilton, Joseph Milton, Mary Melissa, Eliza Jane, Isaac Newton, Harriet Adaline, and Aaron Sherman Watkins.  However, Harriet died in infancy so only nine children survived. 

About 1869 William and Rebecca began to hold a family reunion at their home in Rushsylvania, Ohio.  The following poem was written sometime in honor of these nine children and in celebration of the Watkins Family Reunion. Based on the fact that the poem says, "Master, We're seven," the poem must have been written in 1921 as Mary had died in 1913, and Nancy in September, 1920 and two other siblings would die in 1922.  Judging from the 'signature' at the end of the poem and the poem's religious tone,  it must have been written by Aaron Sherman Watkins, the youngest of 'the nine.'

The Watkins Reunion in 1894
The descendents of William White Watkins and Rebecca John Elliott Watkins gather at the Watkins Homestead for their annual family reunion in 1894.


THE NINE

We´ve gathered today, from the east and the west,
For a day of pleasure, a day of rest,
From cares and from duties, that crowd on us thick
We´ve turned eager eyes to the "Factory Brick"

Our unbroken ranks may truly afford
Great cause of thanksgiving to our Father and lord.
We pause in the rush of time's onward flow
To cherish the mem´ries of long, long ago.

The years as they passed, have each left a trace
Of eternity's warning, now read in each face.
But our hearts are the same as in bright days of yore
When we played happy children, around mother's door.

We are all growing old and our pathways diverge
As through life's duties our footsteps we urge
But the pure bonds: of kindred, still hold firm and true,
And heed not the work that is given us to do.

The maid of the cottage though some were in heaven
Still answered unswervingly, "Master, We're Seven."
So though others have joined' us in life's holiest vows
And walked with us in sunshine, or beneath shaded boughs

And God to us each has young precious souls given
As pure as the angels that brought them from heaven
Yet our muse turns today, to the first stairway line
To the brothers and sisters, the unbroken nine.

William Jasper, Esquire, at the head of the class,
Quick, nervous and lively, big-hearted Jas.
Charles Wesley: comes next, like Jacobus Straw
Though named for a preacher, he follows the law.

Then Nancy Elizabeth, straight, slender and tall,
With more cares than Martha, second mother of us all.
Systematic and careful, bony and slim,
Our firm would go under, if it wasn't for Jim.

If you have any blues, just pick up and go
And shake out a laugh from our big brother Joe.
Mary Melissa, romantic and dreamy in youth
Her life has been useful, her motto is "Truth".

Then Eliza Jane comes marching along
With her life full of hope and her heart full of song.
He is quiet, not marching with drum or with flute,
But he´s faithful and useful, our tall brother Newt.

To raise the next boy seemed almost in vain,
He was nothing, but pipe-stems - poor little Ane.
He was always attempting things out of his reach
And still as in childhood, he´s, trying to preach.

We have met this life bravely, we've fought long and well,
But, what we´ve accomplished, time never can tell.
We have in the rank of our three times three,
H. 0. N. and and L. L. D.,

But on this Reunion, no names we will know,
But Newt, Sher and Charley, Jim, Jas and Joe,
For the cup of cold wafer we´ve given without thought
May out weigh the honors that so dearly we've bought,

So as time weaves its garland, and together we come,
To be children again in our old earthly home,
May we so use our blessings our joy and our love,
That we all may inhabit the bright home above.

---Ane. E.



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