Saturday, December 12, 2009

George Bemis's poem, "Grafton to Sutton"

Sutton’s first struggle to survive was a struggle against the Burlington and Missouri River Railroad. The story ended when a few Sutton settlers quietly purchased all but one of the buildings in Grafton, the railroad’s choice for the local town, and towed the depot to Sutton one night with a couple of teams.. This Grafton was just four miles east of Sutton; the present town of Grafton was settled later further to the east.

George W. Bemis celebrated this event in 1872 with a poem that was published in the State Journal the next year.


"What a clanking of hammers and ringing of saws;
 How they sound through the valleys and ring in the draws;
 Oh! Sutton is growing, in the midst of the fray,
 With the city of Grafton only four miles away.

"How the B. & M. engines shriek, whistle and squall,
 And send forth the order that Sutton must fall;
 How they thunder and mutter and groan night and day,
 With the city of Grafton only three miles away.

"Then came Mr. Marthis, and thus he did say,
 'I am tried of Grafton; if only I may,
 I'll come down to Sutton, without delay.'
 Soon Grafton will be only two miles away.

"Then started the wagons and horses and men,
 The steeds, how they foamed, as a whip now and then,
 Came down on their sides, near the close of the day,
 With the city of Grafton only one mile away.

"Then rushed down the hill the black and the gray,
 Close followed the crowd to have sport on the way,
 And the shout that went up at the end of the fray,
 Said 'The city of Grafton is in Sutton to-day.'"