Our forefathers in the days of yore,
Just as I often thought before,
Here on this farm where I now stand,
They used to join hand in hand.
To till the ground and reap the increase
Was their delight and ne'er to cease;
All their life long, from morn till eve,
They struggled for the richest sheave.
They true and nobly toiled for gain,
And left all other things amain;
They always tried the farm to save,
And in the Yorgey's name remain.
But one hundred years of time has past,
Since the Yorgey's here began their task;
They all were honest, just and true,
And loved their wives and children too.
I have the honor to let you know,
Just now one hundred years ago,
The first that ever came here anew,
His name was exactly Henry too.
In Yorgey's name he was alone
To leave his former native home,
He came over the billowy tide,
A sailors compass was his guide.
It makes a person stop and think,
How bold he stood on the sea's brink,
And then to step on board the ship,
To sail o'er waves rolling so thick.
While he was sailing o'er the sea,
Did he then think it could not be,
That he was already so far gone,
Seeking for land to him unknown.
When he arrived on this here shore,
He thought to return home no more.
And there to spend the rest of life,
With his two darling sons and wife.
From inner feelings of his heart,
He bought this farm to be his part.
And here to dwell until the day
Would call th' immortal soul away.
When time and age both him had tired,
He gave the farm which he admired,
To his oldest son, Christian,
With it to have no affliction.
He built a house, he built a barn,
Right in the centre of his farm,
But though not really in style,
Yet to protect (from) each storm and trial.
When Christian once grew old in days,
He thought of his father's good ways,
And gave the farm so bravely up
To his beloved son Jacob;
Who still survives and lives yet here,
Now in his 82nd year;
He owns the farm with all its rights,
Is hale and hardy yet besides.
But think of years and bygone days,
How these men had different ways;
For one built up, the next tore down,
Yet they always stuck to the farm.
For Greek and Latin they didn't care,
Of knowledge they were unaware;
They never took such books to heart,
For farming was to be their part.
No rule of law they cared to know,
For to court they never did go.
And every account they did square,
By the gain or loss equally share.
But time has passed and they did die,
In yonder graveyard they now lie;
Like I, they enjoyed youthful bloom,
But now they sleep in silent tomb.
By this you may not understand,
That I will boast of lofty rank,
But our forefathers all the same
Over the mighty ocean came.
With many trials they did meet,
And often not enough to eat.
Though their adventures were so far
Guided by the great polar star.
And all these men, in days of old,
Were able-bodied, strong and bold;
They loved to triumph o'er each foe,
And burden them with deadly woe.
They drove the Indian and his squaw,
For ever forth and with awe,
Way out into the far, far West,
For here they could no longer rest.
When first I took my pen in hand,
I did not fully understand,
How to begin or how to end,
But at last I did comprehend.
Approximately 60 or so years after this poem was written, the Yorgey's lost the family farm. My grandfather, Warren and his brother Henry B. Jr. evidently borrowed some money from the bank in order to expand the farm into a dairy operation. (I still have some 1 quart glass milk bottles that bear the name; Glennook Farm/Yorgey Brothers.) The Great Depression hit like a ton of bricks and the bank called in the loan and everything was auctioned off. If my memory serves me correct, Warren and Henry somehow scraped up the money (I believe they owed a little over $3,000) but the bank said it was to late and went ahead with the auction anyway. I have the advertised bill of sale in my possession. So a 160 year old thriving family farm was ripped away from the family and passed into oblivion.
When I was in my pre-teen years I would go horseback riding with my paternal grandfather, Frederick E. Frey. He and I would often ride together on Saturday mornings. It was not unusual for us to ride past the old Yorgey farm which was now a literal shell of what it once had been. At this time, it was what is called a "stink plant" (a place for processing dead animals). Of course it smelled horrific and I didn't care to ride past for that reason. In time, even the "stink plant" ceased to exist. At one point my Dad and I searched through the rubble of the barn foundation looking for the cornerstone that bore the hand-chiseled Yorgey name and date of building. But to no avail, we never found it. Today if you were to drive past where the buildings once stood there is nothing there to suggest that this land once sustained many happy generations of Yorgey families and farmers. It's all gone. A big fancy gate now blocks the driveway that runs right through the old barnyard and back as far as the eye can see. Although I don't remember my grandfather speaking a lot about this loss I do know that it cast a long, dark shadow over the rest of his days, knowing the the farm was lost on his watch.
Thanks again for the visit. Always appreciate that you take the time to read these humble words.
Blessings to you my friends,