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General Sherman at Osoyoos

by Ann Casselman Paul

 

(as published in Legends of the Pioneers and other Poems.  Stanley Printing Ltd:  Lillooet, B.C., 1977)


 

While on a military expedition

To Osoyoos came, in days of yore,

General William Tecumsah Sherman,

Famed veteran of the Civil War.

Through the Chesaw hills they wended;

The General riding straight and tall.

The Company, cavalry included,

Numbered eighty-one in all.

Midnight found them fast approaching

The border of their vast domain.

Near the U.S. Customs House* they tarried,

A sod roofed shanty on the plain.

They pitched their tents upon a hilltop

Where a streamlet flowed with swirl and leap

And music from the sparkling waters

Lured them into dreamless sleep.

The Canadian Customs o’er the border

Was administered by John C. Haynes

Who built a log-hewn home, imposing,

A landmark then which still remains.

A veranda wide around it skirted;

A refuge from the searing heat.

Beneath a basement overflowing;

Shelves and bins with food, replete.

The rooms were spacious and inviting.

Refinement met the stranger’s eye

And pilgrims found an instant welcome

Whene’er their travels brought them nigh.

That noted morn John’s wife departed

On horseback, riding through the wilds

To New Westminster, there expecting

The birth of yet another child.

* * * *

General Sherman, on arising

Resolved a friendly call to make

And soon was riding o’er the border

Through sand and brush beside a lake.

Hospitably John Haynes received him,

Bade him dismount and come within.

Outside the sun was hot and glaring,

Inside, the rooms were cool and dim.

From imported whiskies in his cellar

John selected some of Ireland’s best.

They drank to health and to their countries,

Discussed events and oft made jest.

Then the guest with Host beside him

Rode to Theodore Kruger’s store.

The General bought a round ‘ere parting

And said farewell outside the door.

Back o’er the border rode the General

With escort and Official Scribe.

At the Hynes abode, the memories lingered

Those memories would long abide.

* * * *

When word came of his son’s arrival

John thought upon his guest of fame

And being ever diplomatic

He named the infant Sherman Haynes.


* Nighthawk, WA, USA