Batchellor and Wilson Emigrants of 1853
Contributed by Hazel Kerr Wilson
The following poem was found in an old ledger belonging to Charles DeForest Wilson, my husband's grandfather. The poem was written in beautiful script....I can only assume it was written by Amy Batchellor. The family in the poem included: David Batchellor 1807-1879 (s/o Nehemiah and Rachel Batchellor) and his wife Amy Hall Batchelor 1808-1867; Their children---John W Batchellor 1830-1919; Phebe Batchellor 1838-1858; Mary Batchellor 1843-1855; Herman V. Batchellor 1834-1913 (I found them in 1850 census in Griggsville, Illinois): also on the wagon train was Oscar Fitzallen Wilson 1827-1858
The Oregon Emigrant Family
They left their home in Illinois
To seek a home in Oregon.
They had two daughters and two sons
Named Phebe, Mary, Herman, John.
They safely passed the dangers through
That lurked in mountains, streams, and plains,
And there they fondly hoped to reap
A full reward for all their pains.
But disappointment was their doom
Our fate through life is often such.
They did believe but half they heard,
And even then believed too much.
One-sided were tales they heard
About the western Paradise
And so exaggerated that
They found a number of them lies.
But landed there they felt inclined
To make the best of their sad fate
And like the old Apostle tried
To be content with their state.
Twas in the fall they landed there
And in the winter Herman strayed
Away towards the golden mines
Where many said they fortunes made.
And in the spring the father went
Away from home to seek employ
That he might gain a livelihood
For those that were his earthly joy.
And while he was away from home
Yes, very far from home away
His lovely daughter Mary died.
She died, was drowned, the 1st of May.
She went on board a little boat
With four young girls, companions gay,
Across the dark Willamette’s stream
And there they crowned her Queen of May
Of flowers that bedecked the field
And scented all the air around
With the sweet odors they did yield,
The sun was setting in the wet
The evening shades began to come.
When they concluded to return
Across the river and go home,
They got into their little boat
Their hearts were light nor did they dream
That one of them should lie that night
A lifeless corpse in that deep stream,
But it was so for ere they rowed
Two rods in distance from the shore
The lovely Mary, Queen of May,
Fell overboard and was no more.
Then her bereaved companions all
Poured forth a sad and piercing wail...
Twas borne along the silent stream
Upon the passing evening gale.
Their mothers all were in one house
That stood not far from where they were
And faintly heard the wailing sound
That rode upon the evening air.
And thinking that the happy girls
Were yelling in their childish glee
One of them said unto the rest,
"They have a real jubilee."
Another went unto the door
And there with cheeks all colorless
She soon exclaimed, alas, the noise
Is not of joy, but of distress.
Their cries brought help, but twas too late
For she was gone, oh heavy shock!
Nor did they find her lifeless form
Till the next day at ten o’clock.
Her brother, John, the wailing heard
And ran down to the deep dark stream
And should have plunged in after her
But calmer friends prevented him.
For she was gone, already gone,
Beyond the reach of human power
And then besides, the place she sank
Was over near the other shore.
It was a time of melting grief
For all who knew her loved her well
And mourned that she so young and gay
Should go among the dead to dwell.
Ant then her friends more sadly wept
Because her dying time had come
While Herman was so far away
And her fond father far from home.
They bore her lifeless form away
Unto its last long resting place
And when those loving friends returned
They saw her grave, but not her face.
And the summer following
Their daughter, Phebe, married one
That journeyed with them on the plains
In traveling to Oregon.
His name was Wilson, and he hailed
From Pennsylvania I believe.
He gave his heart and hand to her
And in return did hers receive.
And soon they moved from Phebe’s home
And went to dwell in Butteville town
That stood upon the river shore...
Next to where the lovely Mary drowned.
And then the parents thus bereaved
Of both their daughters sadly sighed
But always felt somewhat relieved
As only one as yet had died.
They often went to Wilson’s house
And stayed a day, a night, or so
And then with heavy heart again
They to their lonesome home would go.
But while they thought of Mary’s form
In mouldering ruins in the tomb,
They thought in transports of her soul
Which soared to heaven, the Christians home.
And soon they hoped to meet her there
With many other kindred friends
Where sorrows tears are wiped away
And rest begins and labor ends.
But soon another trial came,
Their daughter, Phebe, died also
Her first born child sixteen month old
She bade adieu and home did go.
They opened Mary’s resting place
And placed both sisters in one grave.
Tis on a hill above Butteville
A fir tree’s branches o’er it wave.
But, ah, affliction stopt not here
Death came for Mr. Wilson, too
In one short month from Phebe’s death
He bade his infant son adieu.
They bore his lifeless form away
And placed it neath the same fir tree,
And there they slumber side by side..
Two silent graves contain the three.
And Phebe’s parents have her child
And Charles DeForest is its name
They loved its parents tenderly
Their love for it will be the same