In Other Words

In Other Words

Now and then, during my Titus research, I come across the results of a common urge to put emotions on paper in the form of poetry and verse. I have titled the section “In Other Words” simply because the emotions expressed below are unique to each author.

This should not be looked upon as some form of literary contest, but it can perhaps provide a glimpse into the personalitys of some of our wonderful Titus ancestors.

In 1999 I received photocopies of pages from a book of handwritten poems written by friends of Mary, wife of John William Titus, in 1839 shortly after her death. Below is one by her husband. I have not been able to trace the lineage of John William Titus, but the material was sent to me by Edwin T. Johanson of Van Anda, BC. He is a descendant of John William.

I don’t know whether or not this was a custom of the times or of their religion, as I have never known of it being done before. It is, however, a very effective and moving method of remembrance.

To My Mary in Heaven

 by John William Titus

I see thee still!
Remembrance faithful to her trust
Calls thee in beauty from the dust;
Thou comest in the morning light —
Thou art with me through the gloomy night;
In dreams I meet thee as of old,
Then thy soft arms my neck enfold,
And thy sweet voice is in my ear;
In every scene to memory dear,
I see thee still!
I see thee still.
In every hallowed token round;
This little ring thy finger bound —
This lock of hair thy forehead shaded,
This silken chain by thee was braided;
These flowers, all withered now like thee,
Beloved, thou didst cut for me:
This book was thine – here didst thou read –
This picture, ah! yes here, indeed
I see thee still!
I see thee still!
Here was thy summer noon’s retreat,
This was thy favorite fire side seat,
This was thy chamber, where each day,
I sat and watched thy sad decay;
Here, on this bed thou last did lie,
Here on this pillow thou didst DIE!
Dark hour! once more its wars unfold –
As then I saw thee pale and cold,
I see thee still!
I see thee still:
Thou art not in the tomb confined;
Death cannot claim the immortal mind.
Let earth close oer its sacred trust,
Her goodness dies not in the dust.
Thee, oh beloved, tis not thee,
Beneath the coffin’s lid I see;
Thou to a fairer land art gone –
There let me hope, my journey done,
To see thee still!

Saint Louis Nov 11 1839

Hazel May Titus was the daughter of Joseph Franklin Titus and Minnie Lucinda (Getts). She was born Feb.26,
1894 and died on Aug. 16, 1947. She married Arthur Elwood Hennigar.

During World War II Hazel and Art had eight sons who served in the South Pacific. It is said that she wrote a letter to each of them every day. Below are two of her poems:


by Hazel May (Titus) Hennigar

I’m rich in memories
Of little things —
Pockets stuffed with trinkets
And strings.
A broken shoe —
Protruding toes;
Boxing gloves
And a bloody nose.
Of grimy hands;
A mud tracked floor;
Coats tossed carelessly
Behind a door.
Gay voices calling,
“Gee I’m hungry Mom!”
Cupboards raided And they are gone
With purloined cookies,
Bread and jam.
Out they race —
Doors bang and slam.

A houseful of laughter and oodles of noise
Blessed memories — life with my boys.

I’m rich in memories
Of little things —
Wooden planes
With shingle wings;
Wondrous trucks
(Wheels made of spools),
Long curly shavings
And scattered tools.
“Peachy” slingshot
And long wooden gun;
A twilight game
Of “Run, Sheep, Run” —
A catcher’s mitt,
A ball and bat;
A broken window —
(They hadn’t counted on that).
Ten gallon hats
And gaudy shirts;
Lariats — and spurs — and quirts,

A fearsome cowboy gang, and oodles of noise;
Marvelous memories — life with my boys!

I’m rich in memories
Of little things —
Of skinned up knees,
And bumble bee stings;
Patching pants —
“Darn those rips!”
Of rabbit hunts,
And fishing trips.
“Rassling” matches —
(A spring just gave in that chair);
Of comics strewn
Most everywhere;
Boys in and out
For a slab of cake;
The first green apple
And a stomach ache.
The first cigarette —
The first long pants;
The first time they “escorted”
Their girls to a dance.

Happy-go-lucky — oodles of noise;
Wonderful memories — life with my boys!

I’ m rich in memories
Of little things —
Memories that tug
At my heart strings.
My boys are men —
They are “Over There;”
Fighting for freedom
Doing their share,
The house is quiet —
All too still;
No more racing —
The rooms are at will.
No more —
“Gee, I.m hungry Mom!”
All too soon — grown up —
And gone.
Like other mothers
I utter a prayer,
“Dear God, keep them safely over there.”

“Should they fail to return from over the seas,
I thank Thee, dear Lord, for these memories.”


by Hazel May (Titus) Hennigar

Hazy purple mountains: Guard their rest,
South Pacific breezes: Croon a sleepy lullaby,
Stately plams: Cast shadowy fronds.
O’er the graves where our warriers lie.

Guadacanal street is a one way road
Leading straight to the Throne of God,
Its lanes are snow white crosses
Each guarding its own strip of sod.
Gaudy with phlox, zinnias and clover
Strewn with a Master’s care:
Beloved blooms of their home-land
For our boys, sleeping quietly there.

Tropical sun: Warm them gently
Each in his narrow green bed.
Bright stars: Shine down in your glory,
“Forget-me-nots” of the dead.

White crested waves sing a sad, sweet requiem,
Birds nest in the palm trees high.
Flamboyant parrots and myna birds
Sweep across its brilliant blue sky,
There’s a neat little chapel on Guadacanal street
With its steeple and cross. You’ll find it there
Organ and pulpit and alter complete.
Let us pause — for a moment — of prayer.

Old Glory unfurl your stars and your stripes
In proud rippling folds overhead
Dear God: Grant a special blessing
To this “Last Rest Camp” of our dead.

Comments are closed.