Friday, June 15, 2012

The Ballad of Daniel Bray

taken from: "Patriotic Poems of New Jersey,"
compiled by W. C. Armstrong, 1906



Daniel Bray was a captain in the Second regiment of the Hunterdon
county militia. He was born at Baptisttown, Hunterdon county,
N. J., October 12, 1751, and died at Kingwood, in the same county,
December 5, 1809.

Washington abandoned Jersey in the early part of December,
1776, the last man of the rear-guard under Lord Stirling reaching the
Pennsylvania shore on December 8th, about midnight. To prevent the
passage of the British, all boats had been removed from the Jersey shore; but Washington soon had far deeper plans in mind; he wished a little fleet of boats collected so that he and his army might recross the river at will.

Accordingly he summoned Captain Bray and directed him to
gather secretly all the river-craft that could be found on the Delaware
from Phillipsburg downward.

Associated with Capt. Bray in this undertaking were Capt. Jacob
Gearhart and Adj. Thomas Johnes; these three met at Baptisttown, about three miles inland, to make their plans and engage the assistance of others. They worked at night disguised as hunters; and no easy task it was to find the boats hidden away in creeks by their owners, to cut them out of the ice and to keep them from being swamped in the rapids while taking them down the icy current in the darkness.

Capt. Bray and his companions worked at this for ten nights and
succeeded in collecting about twenty-five craft, including fourteen Dur
ham boats, four scows and several rafts for the transportation of cannon; all these they hid behind Malta, a heavily-wooded island opposite Lambertville.

Thus were the boats gathered for Washington s famous crossing.





December, 1776. 

The Delaware, with stately sweep,

Flows seaward as when armies fought:
But they who struck for freedom sleep

Beneath the soil their valor bought.
At Rosemont, inland, Daniel Bray,

In lonely grave, with rest hard won,
Waits for his country s voice to say:

"He brought the boats to Washington."

At Trenton lay the Hessian host,

Pluming their pride with gay parade;
They thought the freeman s cause was lost

And hoped his last brave stand was made;
But safe on Pennsylvania s shore,

The master patriot aimed the blow
Which thenceforth in the nation s lore

Would mark oppression s overthrow.

To Captain Bray on Kingwood height

A horseman sped by field and brake,
Till on his door, at dead of night,

He knocked, and bade the soldier wake s
A hasty mount, a quick farewell,

And then miles down the frozen track,
Like musket shots the hoof-beats fell,

While Mary slept and dreamed him back.

Down Stony Batter Hill they sped,

Across Duck s Flat; then up the slopes
To Rittenhouse (where sleep the dead)

Their coursers climbed with steadier lopes ;
The ten-mile creek is left behind,

Gilboa s slant is swiftly run;
At Coryell s the inn they find,

And waiting them, great Washington.

That hour Bray heard his general say:

"Seize all the boats from Easton down,
And guard them safe, by night and day,
Until we cross to take the town."

The echoes of a noble voice

Hied with him from that meeting place,
Praise made the soldier s heart rejoice,

And spurred his zeal to quicker pace

Ere gray dawn paled o er Hunterdon,

He ranged a circuit twelve miles wide,
For brave Gearheart of Flemington,

And Johnes of Amwell countryside.
To foil the Tory s cunningness,

With squads in hunter s garb uncouth,
They pierced the Jersey wilderness,

From Ringoes to the Lehigh s mouth.

Then downward on the broader stream,

They drove by night their project bold,
With but the planet s wintry gleam

To cheer them in the bitter cold.
December s slashing wind cut keen

O er ice-cakes massed with frosty grip;
And longside, in the dusky sheen,

They watched the chill black waters slip.

Beneath the river s gloomy banks,

And where the friendly ferry plied,
They seized the craft with scanty thanks,

And launched them on the swirling tide:
Through eddies deep, and rapids swift,

They guided sure their precious fleet;
Minding the rock and treacherous rift,

And creeks where angry currents meet.

No hostile shot disturbed the verge,

Where ghostly woods loomed drear and dark
No voice, except the hound s sad dirge,

Or, far away, the wolf s gruff bark;
But sometimes cross the distant slope,

A farmhouse shed its candle ray,
And warmed the wand rer s heart with hope

Of fireside joys and freedom s day.

The river s speech is low and weird,

It bears no tales of deeds long past ;

But Bray, ere morning light appeared,
His boats by Malta Isle made fast;

And on that famous Christmas night,
They bore the heroes o er the tide,

Who broke the spell of Britain s might,
And flung the Hessian mob aside.

The Delaware shall ever flow

Through sacred soil, forever free.

And every free-born child shall know
The tale of Trenton s victory:

And till the stars shall cease to shed
Their light o er hilly Hunterdon,

Of Daniel Bray it shall be said:

"He brought the boats to Washington."

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Gods Hand of Provision

I honestly do not know where to begin, or where I am going with this particular blog. I just feel the need to write, so I write. I always intend to do more writing, but time never seems to be there. I also know that a person will do what is important to them and will make time for things they hold priority in life. I guess that means that writing has not been much of a priority lately. Recently I have had an abundance of time, but didnt want to write too soon that my emotions of the moment would spill out without thought. A month has passed and now I feel more in control in what I want to say.

Last month I lost my job with Frac Tech. To be perfectly honest it was no ones fault but mine. I am relatively new at driving, but I guess the incident was avoidable. I was driving an empty flat bed back to the yard. Once I got to the yard it was a confusing mess, as usual. There is quite a bit of construction going on and vehicles are all over the yard. Parked in places they are not normally. The regular place I would make a left at was blocked. So I went to another area. When I went to make my turn I noticed a pickup with a couple of guys standing by it talking. I guess I focused on them to much because I did not follow my tail through the turn. I looked to see if it was clear, but when I saw that truck my focus went to them. Just in case the truck did not see me and swung out in front of me. So focusing on that made me lose attention to my follow through. I clipped a Frac Pump that was parked. It did not do much damage at all, just bent the housing for the tail light. The light still worked, it just needed to be bent back. They did not see it as a small incident. Three hours later I was terminated.

The flat bed was not the only incident though. Two weeks before I accepted the blame for a fork lift mishap that happened on location. That with this recent incident led to my dismissal. I thought I was doing good by telling them to put the blame solely on me and away from the two spotters that I had. My spotters were there to prevent me from having any mishaps. But we all missed it. I was behind the wheel, so I felt a little more responsible. They wanted to suspend all three of us. I asked to go easy on them and to only suspend me. And they did. Little did I know that it probably led to my dismissal rather than a stiffer suspension.

The thing that upset me was that I was a model employee. In the year that I worked there I was never late. I only called out sick once when I had severe bronchitis. Whatever they asked, I did. Whatever hours they needed me to work, I did. I never complained openly to anyone. It hurt that I was just kicked to the curb. I did appeal their decision, but even the higher-ups decided the original decision would stand.

The one thing, through this all, I have not lost is my trust in God. I know he has a reason for me leaving Frac Tech. He has a reason for me being out of work this last month. He has another job out there for me. I have complete faith in that. I have complete faith that He will provide my family's needs. And He has. I was given opportunity to work helping friends out. Whether it was installing insulation or running a dump truck, God provided enough money to meet our needs. (and a little angel that left an envelope on our car a few weeks ago at church...THANK YOU who ever you were). That with the little bit of savings we had helped us make it through the month..... I also have to say that tithing has been a big part of our faith. No matter if I was paid $200 or $2000, 10% of it went back to God. After all, He is the one who provided us with the work in the first place. I believe that more than anything is what has allowed the little money that we have had to be stretched so far.

A couple of days ago, I spent another day filling out applications. I went by a place that I have passed dozens of times and never really thought of stopping. That day I did. I filled out an app and was pretty much hired on the spot (pending the usual drug test and pre employment physical). I should start some time next week. The job sill still be somewhat in the oil field, but just a little more on the driving end. Which is what I need to get over this little incident. While it was not an accident that goes on my record, I am thinking that other employers are frowning on it. I needed a break. For someone to give me shot and look past the mishaps.

I know the thing that has gotten me through all of this is my faith in God. Without him I would not have handled the situation the way I have. I would not have the peace that I have. We woulnt have had the money to make it through. I wouldnt have the supportive wife who helped keep my head in it when things seemed overwhelming. Together we went through this. When I would get discouraged, she would be there to help me, and me her. God has us together for that reason. She is my soul mate. The person God made for me. And God has always provided exactly what we needed. It was in his timing, not ours.

So no matter how dark it looks. No matter what obstacle you face. As long as you hold tight to your faith in God and His provision, your needs will be met. Remember, the word I am using here is 'need'. Not 'want'. Carolyn and I WANT to get a new car. We WANT to start the process of buying our house. Those wants are not met. They are simply that 'wants'. And if one focuses on what they want, then they will always be disappointed. Talk to God. Remember that He will be there when no one else is. His hand will provide what you need when all seems lost. I pray that our recent experience will help you and show you evidence of Gods provision.