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A Farewell to Thomas Peirce

Peter H. Peirce's family was born and buried in Middleborough. Their legacy remains years after they walked this land.  With the passing of Thomas Sproat Peirce, the family paid what they felt were their final debts to the town they loved. 
This eloquent farewell to Tom which was written by James Riley is a tribute to the impact that the family had and continues to have on the community,

They have laid away the last of a line! –  line linked with the old town’s past! 

Ashes to ashes gathered, asleep on the hill at last! 

They sleep on the hill but men move on – the living, up and down! 

yet all for them the village now puts on the sable crown.
"They sleep on the steel! And a void is left as deep as the winter’s snow! 

And hearts go back to the dear dead days of the priceless long ago,

The waives of Nemasket sparkle! The old way flowing on! 

by mead and hill they are winding still, but something dear is gone, 

The town the Pilgrim laid so fair – familiar, branching ways! 

Will meet no more on its way a Peirce, as in the old time days. 

No more will the bells by the river, at morn ring out for toil! 

the cheery village ope its doors – with hand for bench and soil 

“The mower in the meadow, and the teamster on the hill, 

the crash of the great trip hammer, and rumble of cotton mill-

The town in its moil and struggle –labor’s unceasing theme! 

The days long passed when sire and sons were kings of the soil and stream. 

“The bright wave floods and shallows from Assawampsett down, 

On its shores is May-time’s fragrance, June’s rose, and Autumn’s brown -

And on its banks are happy homes—on to the Taunton's flow!

Yet Middleboro longs for days it never again may know. 

“No more the farmer driving, will wheel to the open door, 

Greeting the Colonel and the boys,’ as in the days of yore, 

The jibe, the trade, the barter! all, all old ways are gone! 

Yet still the fields and valleys bloom, and still the stream flows on, 

“And still the varied spires reach to catch the gold of the new born day! 

But brighter than gold, is the kindly hold on him now passed away 

One hundred years of the me and mine, and, tall, on his own good rood, 

The last Peirce falls in his native town, and his breadth of soul is viewd. 

“Coin and claim and lands for a name!—a place in his people’s heart!

The wine of worth poured to the last from sould of noble part.

Honored, revered, and lifting the burdens that were near, 

Thomas Sproat Peirce was loved while living here.

The stilt of position for merit, the culture of tone for the word.

The shrine for the soul in the way to the goal - that Goad in his wisdom preferred

The sod for the birth, a favored part fo He called all to this strand-

All this was foreign to the soul that gave the equal hand.

”Democracy lay on graves what you will! all, all the Mayflower means! 

The right of the man to look outward – giving Nature her kings and her queens –  

Then come to this man’s record! closed in the welfare of man! 

His last great act off – setting Society’s plan,  

“A town in accordant people! Law, and the right to land! 

And in these days it is well to praise the far dividing hand. 

The waves of Nemasket flow onward, they widen, and narrow and sing! 

And methinks one place in their flowing they exult with silv’ry ring, 

“There, where the green vale is spreading, and the hill is high and steep, 

And the sun is long in its lingering, they talk of the good man asleep. 

Of him with the ‘rude forefathers,’ who, with his forbears wait, 

A free town far! Sure key-ston e’er to our broad arch of state.   


James Riley 

Dorchester, October 1901 

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