Niagara County

Birthday Celebrations

Baby Girl Balcom

On Tuesday, Oct. 8th, Mr. and Mrs. A. J. Balcom were the recipients of one of the finest gifts it is possible to receive and which will be both useful and ornamental, and will give them much pleasure to care for. The present was a bouncing baby daughter - net weight, 10 1/4 pounds. The congratulations of their many friends will be showered upon the happy parents.

Source: The Niagara County News, Youngstown, N.Y., 21 Oct 1881

Mrs. Goble - 86th Birthday

At the residence of L. Brookins on Wednesday Eve. last, were gathered together all the old pioneers of this place, to celebrate the 86th birthday of his mother, Mrs. Goble. A very pleasant day was spent with stories of pioneer life from the older ones. Mrs. W. Porter was present, a woman of seventy with as good heath seemingly as when we first knew her; and Mrs. Jacob Moote, who is past four-score, and who, we would think many years younger. Lastly comes Mrs. S. Brasington, 93 winters have passed over and she is quite a smart old lady now for her years, more so than one would expect. After partaking of a bountiful repast, they all retired to their homes much refreshed by their day's entertainment. - Cuffy.

Source: Niagara County News, Youngstown, 17 Mar 1882

Judge Ira Tompkins - 90th Birthday

The Birthday Party of Judge Ira Tompkins, of Newfane, Niagara County, N.Y.

The ninetieth anniversary of the birth of Ira Tompkins occurred on Tuesday Feb. 21st, 1882, at Mr. Walter Shaw's residence, in the village of Charlotteville, when the following invited guests assembled, viz:

Albert Tompkins
Wm. H. Tompkins
Charles I. Tompkins
Mrs. Cornelius Tompkins
L. Van Horn
Mrs. L. Van Horn
Mr. Wm. Shaw
Mrs. Wm. Shaw
Mr. W. Mandaville
Mrs. W. Mandaville
Henry Mandaville
A. Craw and wife

Some who were invited were too ill to attend.

The aged pioneer, who has resided in this town about 64 years, appeared to be in his usual state of health, of good memory, and the possessor of a large fund of reminiscences, which were both instructive and amusing in their rehearsal, as they were related with a warmth of interest and a wealth of detail, which were rich to all persons present who heard the conversation. The aged patriarch is tall and of a slender physique, of an intelligent look, and of a remarkably thoughtful mien.

The guests treated him with marked attention, of which, he was not unmindful. The friends were social, and the day very mild in temperature; thus nature assisted in rendering the occasion one of the best we have ever enjoyed.

After a very friendly interview, in the small hours of the afternoon, dinner was announced; and the long table, which groaned under the load of varied luxuries of the season, was filled. After all present had partaken of the sumptuous repast, the party returned to the pleasant parlor, where the host made a brief speech, setting forth the exceptional event which had called us together by invitation on this interesting occasion, and desired that Providence should be adored, who had for so long a term of years spared our aged friend; whereupon a beautiful hymn was sung and prayer offered by A. Craw, after which, the said Craw read a paper which he had previously prepared for the occasion, as follows:

"My honored and aged friend: We congratulate you this day for having lived through so long a period of time, and the many changes for the better which have occurred during your extended history of our country. When first you looked out upon the world, on Feb. 21st, 1792, our nation was in its youth, having completed but little more than nine years of its existence; after a birth which cost the young nation the terrible ordeal of nearly eight years of untold suffering in a bloody and cruel war.

The people had been taxed to their utmost, and had poured out their blood like water, while their finances were well nigh exhausted, when a free nation was born on the Western Continent of America. Scarcely two years had elapsed from the adoption of the National constitution" previous to the advent we are here today to celebrate. Your history blends with that of Washington whose demise occurred in the 8th year of your age, and thus your history reaches back to our nation's early history when we were a feeble folk with bankrupt credit, a foreign debt, and a devastated country; of thirteen states and a population aggregating less than that of the State of New York in 1880. You have seen the Indian tribes east of the Mississippi River reduced to submission. You have seen vast tracts of land added to our nation's domain by purchase from Spain by our Government. You have seen a foreign war to maintain our rights as a nation against a government who had invaded them. To our shame, perhaps, you have seen an aggressive war with Mexico in the interest of the slave power by which, Texas was obtained, and her State debt of $10,000,000 entailed upon the Government. You have witnessed the supplementing of our national domain by the purchase of the northern portion of Mexico - larger in extent than the thirteen original states that formed the national nucleus, which has, by these large additions, become a great nation in extent of territory.

You have lived to behold our western boundary, stretching on from the Mississippi River on the Pacific Ocean, so that our national zone spans the Continent, and in width, reaches from the great lakes on the north to the gulf of Mexico on the south; containing a varied landscape, a large variety of soil, climate, and production, and well marked with rivers and dotted with the largest lakes in the world.

The varied rich vegetable productions of the different climates greatly enhance the national revenues, while the rich mines of precious metals in the newly acquired territory, which were not even thought of in your early manhood, - largely increase the aggregate of our nation's wealth.

During the foreign war with England, our commerce on the high seas was nearly annihilated, and our wooden ships perished unused in the nation's ports; and in presence of a menacing foe who blockaded them. But you have seen her commerce, once limited to a few inferior wooden ships, limited in trade to European states, or nationalities on this hemisphere, extended to all nations of the earth, and carried on with noble steamers that proudly plow through the billowy deep; while all nations respect our flag, "stars and stripes," the red white and blue, while in the meantime we have grown to be one of the greatest and most wealthy nations on the earth, and rightfully challenge the respect of all. You have seen late in your eventful history a frightful internal war which menaced the national life. Through the interposition of Providence and well-timed human efforts the nation maintained its integrity intact, while the great underlying cause of the awful conflict (American Slavery) has been forever swept away into the land of forgetfulness - its own native darkness. You have witnessed the introduction of steam, which is the powerful agent not only of water navigation, but is the great system of railroads; while to no inconsiderable extent is the propelling force of the machinery of the civilized world.

You have witnessed the excellent system of free schools in our commonwealth. Also you have witnessed the wonderful advance in journalism , which from a very meager circulation four score years ago has increased to a grand system, and reduced to such easy terms that the newspaper reaches every well regulated household, while volumes of accredited authors adorn their centre-tables and libraries. You have lived nearly through the period of three generations of men. Three times the extent of your history would reach back beyond the landing of the pilgrims on Plymouth Rock, and find them suffering under cruel persecution, " in the land beyond the sea." Twenty-times your present age would reach beyond the "Babe of Bethlehem." A little more than thirty times your life at this time would enable you to shake hands with David, the sweet singer in Israel, while sixty-six times your history would reach beyond the advent of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Paradise."

After this paper was read, the following poem was read by the author:

Judge Ira Thompkins was born in the Town of Colwell, County of Essex, and State of New Jersey, February 21st, in the Year of Grace 1792.

First Part
Address to Judge Tompkins

By invitation we have met,
To celebrate the ninetieth year,
Of one, who lingers with us yet,
Through fords of Jordon may appear.

One day before the birth of one,
Who led our armies in the war,
The great, the noble Washington,
In history is our brightest star.

'Tis ninety years go to-day,
How swift the moments fly,
Since you were born in New Jersey
But like your friends, you, too, must die.

You've seen our feeble country rise,
From five to fifty millions strong,
Forests melt before your eyes,
And yet the time does not seem long.

When young you left your father's home,
To seek your fortune as best you could,
First east, then west, your feet did roam,
And built up mills within the wood.

This town then formed a part of three,
When first you came to settle here,
Now looking back how can it be
That such a change does now appear.

You've built the mills, the road you've cleared,
With people poor and country new,
The axe caused woods to disappear,
Thus people found enough to do.

Justices to others you did dispense,
Assisted, too, in making law,
The labor now doth seem immense,
What conclusion other can you draw?

Second Part
Judge Tompkins Replies

The forest's cleared, the swamps are dry,
Now fields of grain where forests stood,
I could not tell if I should try,
Why Providence has been so good.

I once was young but now am old,
And find my strength is failing fast,
Winters seem long to me, and cold,
My time, I feel will soon be past.

A checkered scene my life has been,
Sunshine and storms have crossed my way,
It's not in reach of human ken,
To measure out life's fleeting day.

I stand alone my peers are gone,
And few will cheer my pathway now,
Since my wife has died long years have flown,
I feel my journey'll soon be through.

A gracious Lord has helped my store,
Houses and lands He's given me,
Why should I ask for any more,
Only for death prepared may be.

Thanks, my friends, for your presence here,
Children my wife has left to me,
I hope their mother's God may fear,
And that we all may meet up there.

You, who do pray, remember me,
My friends have all left me behind,
Pray as my days my strength may be,
And I the joys of heaven may share.

Composed by A. Craw, to be read at a birthday gathering of children and friends of Judge Tompkins, at the residence of Mr. Walter Shaw, of Charlotteville, Feb. 21st, 1882.

After the above paper and poem were read, Mr. L. Van Horn made a few well-timed remarks, as also did the host, Mr. W. Shaw, in which he spoke of being long and favorably acquainted with Judge Tompkins, and he wished that he might live to see the occurrence of like events. The guests separated with renewed acquaintance and pleasant feelings, and none neglected to take the aged and honored friend by the hand on leaving. It was good to be there.

A. Craw.

Source: Niagara County News, 10 Mar 1882

Transcribed Jul 2017 by Lisa Slaski.

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