Many of these chronicles have dealt with the challenges faced by the pioneers who settled in this region, overcoming many obstacles to make it what it is today with a rich history.
But, I never stopped to think of a challenge that never seems to be mentioned. We seem to think that the pioneers run away from the challenges of their homeland for the opportunities of a new country, but that doesn’t mean they weren’t homesick.
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Meet local pioneer Homer Everett
It occurred to me while reading some historical letters written by Homer Everett who was among the most famous of our local pioneers.
Everett was the first president of the Sandusky County Pioneer and Historical Society and the author of 1882 History of Sandusky County, a book which provided most of the information for “Twentieth Century History of Sandusky County” compiled by Basil Meek. It is a book that I use often.
A lawyer, Everett has been active in many local organizations and has held leadership positions including mayor of Fremont, member of the first school board, state senator, sheriff and many more.
In his various roles, he was active in the formative years of the area’s school district and in the development of the first Ohio municipal codes.
To be fair, he was a local pioneer, but his family had already been in “the new world” for generations, before moving from the east coast to this region. In fact, her father, Jeremiah, was a local judge and the first Sandusky County resident chosen to serve on the Ohio General Assembly.
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A desire to be at home in ‘Song of Erin’
But Homer was a man of words and history, a poet among others. Passionate about history, he has preserved his many documents and letters for future generations and it was his words that reminded me of the rarely mentioned challenge for the pioneers of our nation and region – a longing for home. .
In 1831, nearly two decades before Lower Sandusky became Fremont, he wrote what he called the “Song of Erin”.
“A poor exile from Erin came to the beach.
“The dew on her thin dress was heavy and cold
“For his country, he sighed in the twilight while repairing himself
“To wander alone on the hill beaten by the wind
“But the day star caught her sad devotional gaze
“For he rose above his own native island in the ocean.
“Where once in the glow of his youthful emotion
“He sang the daring hymn of Erin Gobrough.”
“Oh where’s the cabin that stood by the wild wood
“Sisters and sisters have you mourned the fall
“Oh where is my mother who looked after my childhood
“And where is the close friend dearer than all.”
“Erin my country although sad and abandoned
“In dreams, I revisit your sea-beaten shore.
“But alas in a distant foreign land I wake up
“And sigh for the friends who can no longer meet me.”
Although he was a leader in this new country, I think he captured the feelings of many who faced his challenges and, for the most part, the unlikely prospect that they would one day see back home. .
Roy Wilhelm began a 40-year career with News-Messenger in 1965 as a journalist. Now retired, he writes a column for The News-Messenger and News Herald.