Barry's Relatively Speaking: Dull Task Brings Delight 139 Years Later

Posted on Sep 27, 2012

Barry's Relatively Speaking shares the personal experiences and stories of genealogists found in the Everton Genealogical Helper Magazine collection on MyGenShare.com. L. F. Parsly shares the following experience.

One spring day in 1841 John Gibbs Whitson, age 20, bored with entering statistics in an Anderson County, Tennessee tax book, doodled his name and birthday, then penned this poem next to his lists:

Tho crud my hand and bad my form, this can perhaps be read Yet Not by One whose Under ten-Where mind has not to light been lead.

I write this not in bosting way I never brag Upon my self Yet hard I labor here today Enumerating quarter third & half.

It is the duty of the Clerk A list of Polls & Tax to make Tax Upon all both Black & White Money thendoth the shff. Rake.

Each man his portion he must pay Advalorum for the state & county too

And that in haste without delay Or else he doth his bargain Rue.

Quick doth the sheriff on him light Thick and fast his plunder flies The tax must come wrong or Right The Amt. must come the sum precise.

One can picture young John, overcome with spring fever, taking a break from his dull task and thus adding delight to my digging more than a hundred years later.

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