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 "Ol' Settlers Day" - A Poem by Cara Thomas

  Old Settlers celebration in Halstead, Kansas.  

For more information about Halstead's Old Settlers Celebration, or to offer your help or suggestions, contact:

Old Settlers Committee
P.O. Box 99
Halstead, KS 67056

A poem written by Cara Thomas, a Halstead poet published in The Halstead Independent Old Settlers’ 1905.

Cara A. Thomas was a Halstead woman who was a prolific poet. Her poems were published in statewide newspapers such as the Mail and Breeze. A book published in 1915, entitled Kansas Women in Literature, states that she writes “prose and beautiful verse.”

She was born Caraline Thomas, daughter of Thomas Thomas and Nancy Gillam in Indiana 26 Feb. 1865 and moved to Halstead March 1877. She married William D. Hoover and lived in Rialto, CA from 1909 to 1949. She died Jan 10, 1958. Cara is Buried in Halstead Cemetery.

Poem compliments of the Halstead Historical Society.

Come visit the Halstead Heritage Museum and Depot! Special Hours for Old Settlers!


Ol’ Settlers’ Day
by Cara Thomas
Written for The Mail and Breeze
Published in The Halstead Independent
August 3, 1905

Ought to see the crowds a-comin’ to the picnic that we run
Ev’ry year along in August, when no farmin’ can’t be done.
Come in steam cars, come on horseback, come in buggies, come in gigs
In new fangled things called motors, highfalutin’ liv’ry rigs.
Come piled into lumber wagons, come on wheels, come any way—
Come a-foot, jest so they get there on Ol’ Settlers Picnic Day.

Ought to hear the talk an’ laughin’ an’ the “how-de-doin” hum,
An’ the “hellos” an’ the how’r yous’ when the crowds begin to come.
Ought to hear the steam pianner at the merry-go-around
Playin’ “Where’s My Wanderin’ Boy”—wisht that ‘ere chap could be found.
Ought to hear the blind man’s organ playin’ “Land o’ Liberty”,
Ought to hear the babys crowin’ at the purty things they see;
Ought to hear the big horns beller, an’ the bands bust out an’ play—
O, we have all sorts of music on Ol’ Settlers’ Picnic Day.

An’ the dinners! Great Jeminy! Ought to see the stuff we take—
Buckets, baskets, tubs an’ dishpans filled with truck the women bake—
Apple pies, an’ tarts, an’ cookies, frosted cakes an’ pickled goods,
An’ the chickens lyin’ helpless in all sorts of attitudes.
Ought to be there, you’d be welcome as a growin’ day in May,
Fer we share our horn o’ plenty on Ol’ Settlers’ Picnic Day.

Ought to hear the speechifyin’—nothin’ ain’t beyond our reach—
Why one year we writ the gov’ner to come out an’ make the speech,
An’ he talked so rattlin’ purty, that we ‘lowed he’d mighty near
Jest give up the govn’er business fer to be a pioneer.
Hope the pride we feel ain’t sinful, but the purty things they say
Makes us feel that we’r some punkins on Ol’ Settlers’ Picnic Day.

Ought to hear the speakin’ likewise of the ol’ time pioneer
When you come down to our picnic them’s the stuff you want to hear—
An’ the fellers what has tuck out a poetic license soar,
In a poem just as purty as you’d buy at any store,
Jest as good as boughten poetry er a reg’lar lariat’s lay,
But it ’tain’t too good fer getherin’s like Ol’; Settlers picnic Day.

‘Nother thing about our program apt to strike a feller right
Is the getherin’ of what’s left you of yer fam’lly ‘long towards night,
An’ strike out then fer the homestead, cross the river, thro the town,
Out where cottonwoods are throwin’ waverin’ quaverin’ shadders down;
Up the road where sunflowers blossom banked agin the hedges green,
‘Cross the slough an’ up the laneway—purtiest laneway ever seen—
Leadin’ up to jest the purtiest spot on all the Kansas’ plain,
Where you’ve lived, an’ loved, an’ labored year in an’ year out agin.
Home an’ tired, but happy, dreamin’ in a reminiscent way,
An’ already lookin’ forrud to Ol’ Settlers Picnic Day.