Before My Time is about the ancestry and extended family of my four grandparents: John Samuel Krentz (Indiana/North Dakota), Margreta Tjode Hedwig (Gertie) Buss (North Dakota), Rosmer Pettis Kerr (Pennsylvania/Michigan), and Evelyn Elvina Hauer (Michigan), and other topics in genealogy and family history.

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Monday, November 26, 2012

A happy rendering? How is that possible?

From The Winona Daily Republican: 27 January 1886, page 3:



Few of the social gatherings this season have afforded more genuine enjoyment than the entertainment given by the Equitable Aid Union at their hall the the Wakefield block on Tuesday evening. Over two hundred members and invited guests were present, including a delegation from the sister Union at Wabasha. The programme of exercises was as follows:

Address of Welcome--Dr. S. B. Sheardown.
Prayer--Rev. R. J. Thomson.
Organ Solo--Prof. Roberts.
Song--guitar accompaniment--Master Preston.
Select Reading--Miss Pettis. [Kate Pettis, my great-grandmother]
Song--Mr. Schoonmaker.
Mottoes of the E. A. U. Order--Jno. Chapman.
Harmonica and Bones--Miss Mary Thomas.

The programme in all of its features was attractive and pleasing.

The opening address by Dr. Sheardown was pithy and right to the point.

The prayer by Rev. R. J. Thomson was replete with excellent thoughts and kind words that touched the hearts of the audience.

The organ solo of Prof. Roberts, song by Master Preston, the mirth-provoking song of Mr. Schoonmaker, were all good, and duly appreciated.

The recitation by Miss [Kate] Pettis greatly pleased the audience, as did Mr. John Chapman's essay on the Mottoes of the Order. Miss Thomas's performance on the harmonica and bones was also well received.

At the conclusion of the programme refreshments were served, consisting of oysters, sandwiches, cake and coffee in abundance. A pleasing incident occurred just before the serving of refreshments, in the presentation of an exquisite basket of flowers by the Winona Union to their brethren of the Wabasha Union, Captain Slocumb making the presentation speech, which was responded to by Mr. J. N. Murdoch of Wabasha. The basket of flowers had the letters "E. A. U." imbedded in a floral design on the top. 

After refreshments there were several impromptu speeches by both the Wabasha and Winona members. Also a happy rendering of the familiar song "Oft in the Stilly Night" by Miss [Kate] Pettis. The sociability continued to a late hour, and the unanimous sentiment was expressed that it was the pleasantest gathering within the history of the society.

I'd never heard "Oft in the Stilly Night" but easily found lyrics, sheet music, and several versions online. It's a beautiful song, but so sad! I am still scratching my head over the choice of the words "happy rendering" in the newspaper description of my great-grandmother's performance. Here's a stunning version recorded by Maggie Teyte in 1945, also, perhaps, a happy rendering?
Update: Sorry, readers, the Maggie Teyte video which was formerly posted here is gone from YouTube. However, you can listen to a short snippet of Teyte's rendition here.
What's that you say? You couldn't understand a word of it? A happy rendering, indeed. Here's Kevin McDermott's version, in which the lyrics are quite clear:

"Oft in the Stilly Night" was written by Irish lyricist Thomas Moore (1779-1852).
Oft, in the stilly night,
Ere slumber's chain has bound me,
Fond memory brings the light
Of other days around me;
The smiles, the tears,
Of boyhood's years,
The words of love then spoken;
The eyes that shone,
Now dimm'd and gone,
The cheerful hearts now broken!
Thus, in the stilly night,
Ere slumber's chain hath bound me,
Sad memory brings the light
Of other days around me.

When I remember all
The friends, so link'd together,
I've seen around me fall,
Like leaves in wintry weather;
I feel like one
Who treads alone
Some banquet-hall deserted,
Whose lights are fled,
Whose garlands dead,
And all but he departed!
Thus, in the stilly night,
Ere slumber's chain has bound me,
Sad memory brings the light
Of other days around me.

Blog Archive


Our Family in Books: A Bibliography

  • My Ancestors in Books (a library of resources and notes pertaining to Reverend Samuel Stone, Major General Robert Sedgwick, Elder John Crandall, and other early Americans in the forest where my family tree was grown)
  • The Zahnisers: A History of the Family in America by Kate M. Zahniser and Charles Reed Zahniser (Mercer, Pa. 1906)
  • History of St. James Lutheran Church [full title: A little of this and a little of that in the 141 year (1861-2002) History of St. James Lutheran Church, Reynolds Indiana] by Harold B. Dodge, published at Reynolds, Indiana, 2002; 170 pages.
  • Lisbon, North Dakota 1880-2005 Quasuicentennial, published at Lisbon, North Dakota in 2005; 391 pages.
  • The Paschen and Redd Families of Cass County, Indiana by Alfred Paschen, c. 2005 (Gateway Press, Inc., Baltimore, MD); 322 pages.
  • Sheldon Community History: Sheldon Centennial 1881-1981, published at Sheldon, North Dakota in 1981; 376 pages.
  • Sheldon, North Dakota 1881-2006 - 125th Anniversary: The Queen of the Prairie, published at Sheldon, North Dakota in 2006; 498 pages.
  • A Standard History of White County, Indiana, written under the supervision of W.H. Hamelle, c. 1915 (The Lewis Publishing Company, Chicago and New York).
  • The Roots of Coventry, Connecticut by Betty Brook Messier and Janet Sutherland Aronson, c. 1987 (Coventry 275th Anniversary Committee, Coventry, CT); 206 pages.
  • "Elder John Crandall of Rhode Island and His Descendants" by John Cortland Crandall; New Woodstock, New York, 1949; 797 pages.
  • "The Descendants of Robert Burdick of Rhode Island." Nellie (Willard) Johnson, Pd.B.: H & L Creations, LLC.

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