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Dexheimer, Florence Chambers, 1866-1925 / Sketches of Wisconsin pioneer women
([1924?] )

Wheeler, M. P.
Ella Wheeler Wilcox,   pp. 57-60 PDF (776.9 KB)


Page 59


the song was written, it ended thus: "The quick pulse
stopped! She was almost there!" It lacked a few lines
when sung to a certain tune and mother added these:
"And they laid her where the flowers would spring,
which oft she had sought in their early bloom; where
wild birds carol and sweetly sing, a requiem o'er her
lowly tomb." . . . These lines were quite as metrical,
quiet as poetical as the song itself.
    Ella Wheeler Wilcox wrote verses which appealed
to the public and never one verse strained or ungramati-
cal, as she states in her memoirs, her first check paid for
a dress to wear to a wedding, in March 1869. Her finan-
cial returns were not of importance until after 1880,
though she was known and loved by thousands of read-
ers. She wrote for the same reason that a bird sings. It
was what she was made for. Her marriage was a love
match, 1884. The death of Mr. Wilcox overwhelmed her,
until satisfied that she had received messages from him.
Then she resumed literary work, and other activities;
including war work in France up to Armistice Day.
    A malignant growth in one breast caused her death,
October 30, 1919, at her home in Short Beach, Conn.
    "The art of being kind" was her religion, and she
lived it every day of her life.
    In the years between 1865 and 1875, a strong prohi-
bition wave was sweeping over Wisconsin. Good Tem-
par Lodges became numerous. T. D. Kanouse was our
strong man with S. D. Hastings, H. W. Giles, Thurlow
Brown and Emma Brown all in the work A lodge met
in the Plackett school house, five miles west of us, and
the Wheelers were among the charter members. Many
of Ella Wheeler's earlier verses were in support of total
abstinence and in opposition to booze, its makers, and its
venders. Fifty-six of these were published in a volume
entitled "Drops of Water." Her volume entitled "Shells"
contained 119 poems-more than 175 poems and the
author not 23 years old. It is surprising that in no one
of those early poems have I ever noticed a crudity of
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