POEM ON THE Death of Mr. Job Hoisington, Who fell in the Battle at Black Rock, on the 30th Dec., 1813
By Elder A . TURNER .
A Melancholy fate,
‡‡To you I will relate,
And give to you a short detail
‡‡Of a poor widow’s fate.
‘ Twas on the thirtieth day
‡‡Of December, the last,
Alarm was made, and cannons they
‡‡Did roar and play so fast.
‘ Twas down at the Black Rock,
‡‡The battle first began;
The people they began to flock,
‡‡And to the country ran.
From Buffalo they flee,
‡‡And make a rapid flight;
Male and female we now do see,
‡‡Crying , “a horrid sight.“
‘ Twas “escape for thy life,
‡‡No time to look behind;”
The husband, children and the wife,
‡‡No more can either find.
British and Indians all,
‡‡The massacre began;
Arrows of death, the leaden balls,
‡‡Forbid our troops to stand.
Widows and orphans were,
‡‡Made in a moment‘ s time;
Children and mothers, all despair,
‡‡Their fathers, husbands, find.
How many garments were,
‡‡Stained with purple gore ?
While blood and carnage do declare,
‡‡Thc battle it was sore .
‡‡But honor did redound
To the brave SEELYE‘s name,
‡‡Who did command and stand his ground,
With candor and with fame .
While others did retreat,
‡‡And balls like hail did fly;
This hero scorned to be beat,
‡‡Had rather fight or die.
But the alarming part,
‡‡Of all the tragedy;
Broke the kind mother‘s tender heart,
‡‡To hear her children cry.
My pa‘ ! they will him kill,
‡‡We ne‘er shall see him more;
O, no ! my children, all be still,
‡‡It soon will be all o‘er .
But when the battle‘s done,
‡‡I look for the return,
Of my dear husband, HOISINGTON,
‡‡But I am left to mourn.
Whether alive he be,
‡‡Or in the battle fell;
Or yet a pris‘ner carried away,
‡‡I surely cannot tell.
Upon suspense I wait,
‡‡For ten long days or more;
I now am brought to know my fate,
‡‡My HOISINGTON‘s no more !
In death‘s cold hand he‘s found,
‡‡Wrapt up in purple gore;
His head and body scar‘d with wounds,
‡‡The tomahawk had tore .
And still for to increase,
‡‡And irritate my pain;
Three of my children in great haste,
‡‡Carried by light horsemen,
Forty or fifty miles,
‡‡Unto Batavia ‘ s coast;
Scattered they were, I knew not where,
‡‡Or whether they were lost .
After ten days or more,
‡‡I found they were all safe;
Which seemed to heal my wound or sore,
‡‡And gave my soul relief.
And now to God with all
‡‡That I do here possess,
I give away to him, and call
‡‡For gratitude and grace.
That this bereaving stroke,
‡‡Be sanctified to me;
That my hard heart of stone be broke,
‡‡And from this world may flee.
And rise triumphant high,
‡‡Far hence away to soar,
Above the regions of the sky,
‡‡Where wars shall be no more.
Source: Buffalo Historical Society. Publications of the Buffalo Historical Society, vol. II. Buffalo: Bigelow Brothers, 1880.
Listen to a podcast about Hoisington
Read about the Battle of Black Rock, also known as the Battle of Buffalo
Introductory note to the poem:
In volume i of these Publications, at pages 52, 53 and 199, allusion is made to Mr. Job Hoisington (there spelled less correctly, Hoysington) and a full account is given of the circumstances of his death, and the discovery of his remains. The publication of these stories of the olden time serves to link the early days with the present, and to call up in the minds of those perhaps far away from the places where the events which they narrate occurred, associations which give life to the “Dead Past.” To illustrate this, and add interest to the poem here given, it is suitable to quote a paragraph from a letter to the editor, by Lyman C. Draper, LL.D., of Madison, Wisconsin, Corresponding Secretary of the Wisconsin State Historical Society. He says: “I am delighted with your volume of publications. It does great credit to your Society, and to those who have shared in its production. My maternal grandfather, Job Hoisington, is worthily mentioned; his oldest daughter, my mother, is yet spared, at the age of eighty-five.”
But the story itself of the tragic end of Mr. Hoisington did not escape the fate of many another similar one in those earlier days; since it, like for instance, that of the crime and execution of the Three Thayers (see volume i, page 122) fell into the hands of an elegiac poet. He did upon it a (rhymed) execution, – inflicted upon it a (poetic) violence, – rivalling that suffered by the person whose decease was bewailed, or – celebrated. These primitive effusions of the Muse became household words with the people of that generation, now nearly passed away; many of whom, as for instance the late Mrs. Dr. John E. Marshall, mother of Orsamus H. Marshall, Esq ., could repeat them verbatim et literatim. It is fitting that amid the ordinary utterances of historians, in prose, the “fine phrenzy” of those poetically inclined should now and then find expression in these grave pages.
The poem is here reprinted from an ancient copy, without date, in the possession of the Society. An endorsement states that this copy was “preserved by Heman B. Potter, Esq.; and by his daughter, Mrs. George R. Babcock, presented to the Buffalo Historical Society.”
The original heading of the poem is reproduced below, as nearly as the modern resources of the printer’s art allow. An ornamental head – piece, in the original, is very appropriately composed of Death’s – heads and cross – bones, according well with the subject and the remarkable reflections of the poem itself. – Ed.
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