Metuchen Edison History Features
In Old Metuchen
David Trumbull Marshall
Published by The Case Publishing Co., Flushing NY 1930
(Second Edition)- (c) 1930
Some time about 1880 Dr. Kempson hired one of the Huckleberry twins, a boy of about ten years, to help Frazer with the work about the place. There were two horses, a cow, a pig, and a lot of chickens and a lawn and garden to be cared for.
Henry Huckleberry, or Hen, as we called him, was a good-natured boy and bore with patience the endless plays and rhymes made up on his alliterative combination of names.
How boys do like to tease and sometimes how cruel they are in their teasing!
Henry Huckleberry had gotten well used to the song ....
"Do, do, My Huckleberry do,
Be careful what you do do,
For if you do your neighbor,
do Be sure you do him good."
"Henny, Henny Huckleberry
What cha goin' to eat?
When you eat your berry pie
Don't forget to treat."
and so on.
One day Frazer noticed that the boy seemed stupid or inattentive and at last lost patience and began to scold. The poor kid began to cry and blubbered out: "I ain't Henny, I'm Willie." Henny and Willie looked so much alike that none of the boys could tell them apart.
Later on these Huckleberry twins minded cows for Old Man Green.
One time I bought a small muzzle-loading shot gun for a dollar.
I used it for a while but finally became afraid the thing would burst and sold it to Henny Huckleberry for seventeen cents.
Henny used it for a time and actually shot Old Man Green's cow full of fine bird shot, though I don't think Old Man Green knew of this.
One day Henny loaded his gun and the wooden ramrod got stuck in the barrel.
Henny was afraid to shoot off the gun and could not get the ramrod out any other way.
Henny asked me to shoot off the gun. I was going to at first but later thought maybe it would be safer to fire the gun by fastening a string to the trigger and pulling it from a distance.
This I did, but before firing the gun I put the stock against the bottom board of a picket fence.
The kick knocked the bottom board off the fence.
I was glad it was not my shoulder that was being knocked off.
About that time it began to be the fashion for us boys to buy old army muskets and use them as shot guns. Rollo Plumley used to get them for us at some store in New York for fifty cents apiece.
My old musket weighed ten pounds.
It was so heavy and so long that I couldn't hold it steady to shoot.
The first few times Gene Moss and I went hunting with that musket we had to rest it on some fence when we fired it.
We used to take turns firing.
Later I filed off six inches from the barrel and by shaving wood off the stock got the weight down to nine pounds.
I used that musket for hunting for some years.
The first time I ever fired a shot gun was up back of Charley Freeman's.
Charley was firing at a pumpkin set in the crotch of an apple tree.
He was using marbles for bullets.
Charley asked me if I would like to fire the gun.
Of course I said yes.
"How many bullets ?"
I answered "two."
Charley put up a new pumpkin. I rested the gun on a fence and fired. I put four holes in the pumpkin. There were probably some of the marbles that did not hit.
I think Charley had filled the whole barrel with marbles for it seemed to me that a shot gun gave an awful kick when it went off.
My brother Will was an inveterate hunter.
I could think of no greater honor or pleasure than being allowed to go with him on his hunting excursions.
I remember one time going to a field up back of Redfield's woods where there was a large pepperidge tree loaded with berries.
Will built a little blind of corn shocks and we two got inside and shot more than twenty-five robins in a few hours.
Robins and highholders used to come to that tree constantly when the berries were ripe.
Once when I was out with Will he shot a blue heron in Dismal Swamp. The heron measured six feet spread and six feet from the tip of his toes to the tip of his beak.
When I was with him Will shot a turkey buzzard.
A boy shoots everything that has wings or legs with which to move. The question as to what to do with the creature is to be decided after it is dead.
We hear nowadays much of men who wish to preserve the wild life.
Most of these men desire to have the wild creatures preserved so that they may have a chance to kill them later.
Very creditable to the men, I don't think.
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Lasted updated 6/8/99 by Jim Halpin.