Metuchen Edison History Features
In Old Metuchen
David Trumbull Marshall
Published by The Case Publishing Co., Flushing NY 1930
(Second Edition)- (c) 1930
Once Noah Mundy gave my brother John a rooster.
John named it Jeff Davis.
It was some kind of a mongrel.
Later it was killed and roasted and put on the dinner table.
It was so tough that none of us could eat it.
I think it was about forty years old.
We finally chopped it up and fed it to the other chickens.
They ate it; the cannibals.
Chickens don't have any teeth in their mouths. They swallow things whole if the pieces are small enough, so it makes no difference whether the meat is tough or not.
Chickens have their teeth in their gizzards and chew their food there. Their teeth consist of stones and pieces of glass which grind against the food and work it up small.
I once saw a chicken's gizzard which had a common pin stuck clear through one side of it, the head of the pin being inside.
Once, in 1870, two very small city boys visited our house.
A rooster flew out of the barn. The smallest boy was much frightened and began to cry. We country kids thought it very strange that one should be afraid of a rooster.
I once found a duck's nest in some bushes. The duck ran at me and caught hold of the knee of my pants and gave me a good beating with her wings. It didn't hurt much.
Geese sometimes get hold of children and beat them severely with their wings. I never was beaten by a goose, for we never kept geese.
When a duck leaves her nest she covers the eggs with feathers and leaves until she comes back.
Hens do not do that.
A duck has to sit on her eggs for thirty days to hatch them.
A hen has to sit but twenty-one days. Her temperature is 103 degrees Fahrenheit. Ours is 98.6. A chicken is some warm baby.
When I was a child my Father kept light Brahma chickens. Light Brahmas are very large chickens.
The roosters have great, thick, yellow legs, partly covered with feathers. They have great deep bass voices.
There were three rooms finished off in the attic at the Parsonage in Metuchen.
My brother Bruyn and I occupied one and my sister Julia occupied another.
Just under the eaves next my sister's room there was a space about four feet wide and ten feet long.
One night my Brother and I got our biggest Brahma rooster and put him in the space next Julia's room.
At two o'clock in the night, as the Scripture has it, "at the time of the first cock crowing," Old Diogenes, for that was the name of the rooster, began to crow.
The crowing of Diogenes waked my sister but she was too sophisticated a country girl to be much frightened.
We had names for our chickens. I remember one stately Brahma hen who was called Madame Roland, and another Semarimis, and a pullet called Bunchy.
When Bunchy was a little chicken he got caught in a crack in the fence and the other chickens ate all the pin feathers out of his tail and some of his flesh.
I rescued him and soaked his feet in warm water and put a bandage on his tail. He was my property after that.
His tail-feathers grew out in a round bunch, hence the name Bunchy.
We had a cat named Cinerarius, which is Latin, and means like ashes, because he was gray like ashes.
We had a dog named Tramp. Tramp because he came to our house and sat up and begged for something to eat.
We had another dog, a Dalmatian, named Lazarus. Lazarus is Latin and means spotted.
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Lasted updated 5/13/99 by Jim Halpin.