The Cameo Brooch
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The Cameo Brooch is the fascinating story of the Moulton, Abbott, Hungerford, Nye family from colonial days well into the 20th century. The story line is based upon the life, loves, and adventures of Constance Hungerford Nye, her ancestors and offspring, as she wrote the story in collaboration with her mother, Alice Moulton Hungerford Nalder, in the early 1930’s. The stories and vignettes of this larger family’s journey through history is filled with accounts that are humorous, as when a young Dr. Robert Hungerford decides to drum up patients by running out of his office and riding out of town on his horse at full gallop to make towns folk think he’s very important and busy with emergency calls, to the terrible sadness and struggles that come from early deaths of children and young parents. It’s the journey of pioneers and missionaries and those who struggled against the evils of slavery. It highlights human foibles and strivings to find the moral high road. It leads us through a murder mystery, a potential lynching, and the challenges to children who must grow up in a hard scrabble world. And it reminds us that all the generations face essentially the same issues and life struggles.
One Sunday, when Alice was past three years old, she flatly refused to stay through meetin’ with the kind lady in her pew. She insisted upon going into the pulpit with her papa. So Alice sat down on the black hair cloth sofa at the rear of the platform. It was a farewell sermon, as T.J. was leaving within the week for Washington to become a chaplain in the Union Army. The patriotism and pathos of his words were stirring and impressive; but with his best eloquence, he tried in vain to move his audience. A titter here, a cough, and finally someone giggled right out loud. Confused and embarrassed, T.J. turned and stared. There stood the small Alice on the hair cloth sofa, with her head thrown back and her mouth silently working as if with eloquent words. While, with her arms, she gesticulated wildly, much as her father had done only a moment earlier. T.J. took her forcibly in his arms. Then, remembering that violent wailing might break forth, he kissed her and seated her so firmly on the sofa that even her childish mind understood that she was to remain seated. He resumed his stirring discourse on patriotism; and his call to arms was not in vain. He recalled scenes of being at that moment enacted on the battlefield. Softly the old melodeon played, “Tenting Tonight On The Old Camp Ground.” Hanna Dustin, who had come down to stay with Elizabeth, clung to Sylvester and wept bitterly. For he would accompany his brother to those bloody battlefields. Many a mother and sweetheart in that crowded little church broke down completely when they rose to sing, “God Be With You ‘Til We meet Again.” That same week they left their peaceful homes to join the boys in blue at the front.
The author, Constance Hungerford Nye, had a deep love of family history. She schooled herself in family stories from the earliest age. As she got older, she collected artifacts of family life, ranging from the pewter cup and bowl of Governor Roger Wolcott of the Connecticut colony, to the Civil War diary of T.J. Abbott. She collected a spoon from each of the silver sets of the various brides through nearly two hundred years. She possessed, then tracked, the necklace made from a rock chip from Plymouth Rock about which she reports in this book, and the Cameo Brooch, which was purchased to honor the christening of the U.S.S. Constitution, “Old Ironsides.” In the 1930’s she finally set about fulfilling her dream of writing the family story, which at long last is presented here.
The editor, George Arthur Nye, is the oldest grandchild of Constance Hungerford Nye, and is an author and retired pastor and counselor. Published books include Relationships: 101 Reflections For Life, and Old Wine In New Skins, volumes one and two, as well as a number of magazine articles, and a popular newspaper column.
Perfect Bound Softcover
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