History of Salisbury
John M. Weeks
Published in 1860
“It is true that the notices of many men, for want of material, are exceedingly meager and inadequate, while others of no little usefulness and influence have been passed over in silence. But a great part of the history of any town or nation, is its unrecorded part; only its leading facts are written; indeed, many a good man’s unvaried life, affords less points on which a biographer can touch, than that of another of far less merit, but which has been full of events. And now, so far from having any written history, many a man of unpretending worth sleeps within the bosom of Salisbury, without even a monument to mark his resting place.”
“Society then had no cliques or exclusive circles, to engender prejudice and ill will, all met on a common level. In a semi-circle, before the immense fireplace, heaped with glowing logs, sat the old and young, and often the stranger and the friend, the host and the guest. There, with thoughts reaching back to the homes and hearts they had left, “looking each at each,” they were strengthened and encouraged by a mutual sympathy. There, before their glowing hearths, they spent many of their long winter evenings, teaching their children the ways of usefulness and right, or cheerily laying plans for the future.
Always industrious, both by necessity and habit, they imparted to the community a character of stern ability to meet difficulty, which no other circumstances could have produced, and by a studied economy, laid the foundation of general prosperity and wealth. In their labors was the beginning of all our present possessions; they cleared the forests; they opened the path for us; “they fought the battles.” By an impulse derived from then, we still move on, as an arrow moves, onward and upward, even after the bow which gave it force and direction, is broken and laid to rest.
Pleasant as it is to contemplate them in their rustic simplicity and enjoyment, we can but congratulate ourselves that our circumstances are not like theirs. To wish ourselves back in the good old times of our fathers, is unenterprising and subversive of that element of progress for which they so earnestly strived. It would be a wild and fanatical choice, to exchange the power of steam and improved machinery, and railroads, and the higher intellectual and social culture of our times, for the narrow conveniences and limited advantages of early days. But we can study the example of our fathers with profit, and while admiring their perseverance and steady, sober enthusiasm, imitate whatever of good we may find in them, either of character or thought, or high aspiration.”
“Wishing to the inhabitants of Salisbury that prosperity and happiness which results from a cultivated mind, industrious habits, refined manners, pure morals, and religious principles.”