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Pioneer Poetry: A Quaker Reflects on the Civil War Era in the United States Paperback – August 8, 2015
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"Rebound" by Kwame Alexander
Don't miss best-selling author Kwame Alexander's "Rebound," a new companion novel to his Newbery Award-winner, "The Crossover,"" illustrated with striking graphic novel panels. Pre-order today
About the Author
Matthew Willis Born in Carperby, Wensleydale, UK in 1799 Died in Iowa County, Wisconsin, USA in 1883 After publishing his Mountain Minstrel Vol. 1 in England in 1834, Matthew Willis married Jane Longmire from near Lake Windermere in Westmorland. From then until he came to America in 1845, his time was spent in making a living as a farmer. All the while he dreamed of the new world and the freedom it would bring to his children and grandchildren. (i.e., freedom from discrimination against Quakers that the Willis family suffered in England) In 1845 Matthew Willis and family planned to sail to America. Matthew and Jane, their sons, John (b. 1837) and Thomas (b. 1841), and baby Matthew (b. 1843), their daughter, Elizabeth (b. 1835), with their friends, assembled at the wharf while the waiting “Wind Jammer” tugged at its moorings. Elizabeth, their 10-year-old daughter, became very frightened and hysterical. Ocean travel at that time was dangerous and Elizabeth wanted to remain in England with her aunt and uncle. The aunt and uncle wanted to keep the girl and promised that, when she was educated, they would send her to America. The parents agreed, thinking that God may have planned to save little Elizabeth, should they be shipwrecked. So the ship set sail without her. The voyage took more time than the travelers anticipated. Food ran low, and little Matthew, a babe in arms, sickened and died. As the ship was still far from shore, the baby was buried in the sea. At last the family arrived with their two little boys on America’s east coast. They came slowly westward by way of the Ohio River and stagecoach to Mifflin in Iowa County, Wisconsin. There, they “took up” land and built a home. This home they called “Rama”, which means “She would not be comforted.” (Matthew 2:18) Jane continued to grieve for her daughter, Elizabeth in England, and Matthew beneath the waves. Later, seven more children were born to Matthew and Jane: James (b. 1845), Rose Ellen (b. 1847), Richard Grainger (b. 1850), Anthony (b. 1852), Margaret Jane (b. 1854), Alice Ann (b. 1856), and Robert (b. 1859). Matthew Willis died in 1883 at the age of 84. You will learn about his life in America from his poems. He liked America, but loved England.
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