To Noonie and Nellie
A Poem by William Burton

"Noonie" and "Nellie" were Eunice (Naomi)-Emily Marsden (b. Aug 19, 1857) and Nellie Burton Marsden (b. Apl 14, 1859), the daughters of Eunice Marion Burton, youngest child of William and Lucy-Boyd Rice Burton, and Captain Charles Marsden.

The annotation and mention of the girls' ages suggest that this poem was probably written during the fall or early winter of 1866. While permanent residents of Cleveland (Ohio City,) William and Lucy Burton in their declining years together (after 1860 or 1862) spent most of their time residing on South Manitou Island. After her divorce from Captain Marsden (early 1860's), Eunice and her two young daughters joined them there. It is assumed that Mr. Burton wrote this at the Burton farm on South Manitou.

1   These children they are wide awake
Their books they've studied well
First A B C then A B abs
And then begin to spell

2   The spelling book and readers they
Now have at thier command
Geography and figures they
Begin to understand.

3   Their Mother is thier teacher now
She teaches them with care
In all their joys and troubles she
Most willingly does share.

4   They now can read the bible
And other books they find
To stove themselves with knowledge
And cultivate the mind.

5   Their age is nine and seven
They are fond of laugh and play
And when not wanted in the house
Run out the door and play.

6   With nimble fingers they do sew
They knit with ready hand
A sleight to make more Ratlin now
They have at their command.

7   Back gammon they do often play
To pass away the time
And then out door to play again
If the weather it be fine.

8   Fresh strawberries in summer time
They gather red and sweet
Among the vines and grapes
Fast speed their little feet

9   With baskets full they then return
Both full of fun and glee
With luscious berries fair and sweet
Which are served up for tea.

10   And thus the children spend their time
Each one from day to day.
With reading, knitting, sewing.
Then close the day with play

11   With tired limbs and sleepy eyes
They then retire to rest
Forgetting all their troubles they
With sweet repose are blest.


(click image to enlarge)

Marginal Annotation: "Written & Composed by Grandpa Burton in 1866"
Submitted by Phyllis Begens, granddaughter of "Noonie."