Friday, November 4, 2016

"James George Davis" by Esther Parker Robb

"James George Davis" 
by granddaughter Esther Parker Robb
from book "Together Again", edited by Sophia Parker Stapeley

James George DAVIES / DAVIS

Grandpa Davies was a Welshman, very sociable, a lover of music and had a very good voice and was always invited to sing whenever an occasion presented itself. The Welsh used to get together, often holding regular singing festivals (Wales). There were many good singers among them. Grandpa was always the leader. When Grandpa was leading the singing, he would always take off his hat and fold it three-cornered like and whip it back and forth across his leg, keeping time to the music, so the singers ould stay together and follow the beat of the music. One of everybody’s favorite songs that I remember him singing was the Mormon song. There were two versions. This is how they went: The Mormon Song (Sung by James George Davies) First Version:
First Verse Come Brethren and come sisters dear, I’ll sing a song your hearts to cheer; For I’m a Mormon to the bone, I’ll stick to Mormonism. Chorus For we are right and they are wrong, Truth and right to us belong; Let us all join in the song, For the Mormons shall be happy. Second Verse Sectarians say “We’ll go to Hell” And with the Devil we shall dwell; If that is so and all is well, We’ll make of Hell a Heaven. Third Verse The parson said the other day, That Miracles were done away; But poor old parson’s gone astray, So never mind the parson. Fourth Verse The hypocrits may grunt and groan, Because we sometimes sing a song; How can the Mormons hold their tongue, When we are all so happy. Second Version: First Verse Come Brethren and come sisters dear, I’ll sing a song your hearts to cheer; Though hypocrits may laugh and snear, But never mind their chanting. Chorus For we are right and they are wrong, Truth and right to us belong; Let us al join in the song, For the Mormons shall he happy. Second Verse According to sectarian creed, Of gifts and blessings there is no need; They’re satisfied on husks to feed, But ‘tis not so with the Mormons. Third Verse The parson said the other day, That miracles were done away; But poor old horse he’s gone astray; So never mind the parson. Fourth Verse Beyond the times of time and space, They think there is a Heavenly place; Where modern Christians run their race, But they never end their journey. Fifth Verse The gifts they can’t all endure, Because they are beyond their power; The grapes you know were very sour, When Reynord could not reach them. Sixth Verse Sectarians they may grunt and groan, And never cease to sigh and moan; But I’m a Mormon to the bone, And I’ll stick to Mormonism. Seventh Verse The people say we’ll go to Hell, And with the Devil we shall dwell; If that is true and all is well, We’ll make of Hell a Heaven. Another of his favorite songs was “To Zion We will Go.” I only have one verse of it. To Zion We will Go I was so very pious once, I scarce could take a joke; You see how pious I have been, By my religious coat. To Zion we will go, to Zion we will go, We’ll leave the old sectarian, And to Zion we will go. They were a happy group and it was a regular jubilee, with wine as the popular drink. Some liked it. Others drank but very little if any. Grandpa liked his wine. I recall once when I was a very small girl and Grandpa was feeling the effects of his favorite beverage, he called me to shingle his hair. I took the scissors and cut off a lock here and another there and he kept letting me cut it shorter. I kicked and gouged, obeying his orders as he called out ”Shorter! Shorter!,” So I cut it all over as short as I could. The next day when the effects of the wine had worn off and he looked at himself in the mirror, he was so ashamed of the way his head looked, he tied a red bandana handkerchief around to cover it and would not let anyone see his hair. Everybody had a good laugh. Grandpa was a missionary among the Indians. He visited with them to bring about friendly relations and learned to speak their language so he could converse with them quite friendly. They called him “Jim Davies” and were very fond of him. I remember poinkum, his squaw blind Mary, and his two Sons Wiley and Posy. When they came to town in the fall of the year they brought along their pine nuts (piñon) which they had harvested. They had the pine nuts and buckskin to sell. My father always bought a buckskin from them for use in his cobbler work, mending shoes for the family. Mary Squaw used to call at our house to ask for food, always a biscuit. Although she could not see, she recognized mother as “Jim Davies’ Papoose” and spoke of him being “Wino” (this was the Indian word meaning “Good”). Mother learned some of their language from Grandpa, and could converse with them some. “Wino” and “Tuwige-wino” were some of their expressions. I remember very well the day of my Baptism, when I was eight years old. My Grandpa was waiting there at the edge of the pool, with his team of horses all ready to take me to the ranch with him. Just as soon as I was baptized and dressed, and my extra clothes were hurriedly rolled up into a bundle (as I had no suitcase to pack them in), we took off. Grandpa didn’t have a wagon or buggy, just the team of horses and a running gear. That is where we rode, seated on the running gear behind the horses, with Grandpa singing to the top of his voice, all along the way up to the ranch. Just before we arrived, it poured down rain and we both got soaking wet, so I had my second dousing in one day. It was just like being baptized all aver again. Grandpa organized a quartet, in which he had the lead. The other three singers were Martha Williams, John D. Williams, and Henry Davis. They were very popular and almost every social occasion called for the “Welsh Quartet” to entertain the crowd. It pleased the singers to be active, as there was nothing they enjoyed better than using their voices to make harmonious music together. Later when John D. was called back to Wales on a mission, by co-incidence he met up with an elderly lady there who was a former friend of Grandpa’s. She asked John D. about “the little white curly-haired boy who was such a good child singer”. John told her that he was still living, but he was an old man with grey curly hair now, and still a Singer.
Grandpa and I used to get together for our own little singing sessions, which we both enjoyed. I played the organ e he sang, and then I would join in the singing too. Our favorite song was “A Hot Time in the Old Town Tonight”. He wanted me to make a promise that I would sing that one at his funeral.

Ancestry Chain: TR, Lark, Kirt DeMar WOOD, Laura Elizabeth PARKER, Elizabeth Ann DAVIS, James George DAVIS / DAVIES and Polly WILLIAMS.

No comments: