We think of him now as a feeble old man,
Who nodded and dreamed all day.
As he sat there alone in his old wicker rocker,
Pushed back out of folks' way.
His fast-dimming sight, and war-deafened ears,
Wrapped him in memories.
So he'd sit there and dream of bygone years
And hard-won victories.
Sometimes he would tell us an old war tale,
As eager-eyed kids we would gather 'round,
He'd tell how they trampled in wintry gale,
Or slept like dead on the hard frozen ground.
He told us a tale of a brave young lad,
Who shot down a pig as they marched along,
To supply them with meat, which they needed,
Not thinking, perhaps, of committing a bad.
'Twas against the Army rules, you see, wrong,
To fire a shot while the march was on.
So he must be hanged by his thumbs to a tree,
To pay for the wrong that he had done.
The boys were laughing and joking around,
Saying the price was too high for meat.
The General, somehow, couldn't be found,
So they put some stones 'neath the guilty one's feet.
And so, as this tale he told was gay,
Others he told were sad.
Of comrades calling to him, as they lay
For water, when none could be had.
He told of a sun in a hot Southern sky,
Beating down on a field of dead,
Where only a few short years gone by,
Green com had stood instead.
Again he would tell of great days when,
As their hearts beat glad and free,
They marched along with Sherman's men,
On his victory March to the Sea.
Then marching home in their grime and sweat,
When the long hard task was done,
Thinking of loved ones soon to be met
Forgetting the victories won.
And so, Old Warrior, departed alone,
A few short years gone by,
Down a country lane all overgrown,
With ferns and grasses high.
His horse carried him over the hill,
Where cars could never go,
And it seemed God answered one of his wishes,
For we know he wanted it so.
And today we see o'er a soft green mound,
Old Glory gently wave,
For him who sleeps 'neath that hallowed ground,
Old Warrior, true and brave.
(Dedicated to the memory of John Grove by granddaughter Emma Elston)
Submitted by Addie Grove
Back in 1955 a call went out from the editors of the then Capper’s Weekly asking for readers to send in articles on true pioneers. Hundreds of letters came pouring in from early settlers and their children, many now in their 80s and 90s, and from grandchildren of settlers, all with tales to tell. So many articles were received that a decision was made to create a book, and in 1956, the first My Folks title – My Folks Came in a Covered Wagon – hit the shelves. Nine other books have since been published in the My Folks series, all filled to the brim with true tales from Capper’s readers, and we are proud to make those stories available to our growing online community.