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Alaskan Boundary Settlement

Joseph Horatio Chant 1837 (Stoke Underham, Somersetshire, ) – 1928 (England)



My neighbor's farm and mine lie side by side,
And nothing should our mutual trust divide;
But they who made th' original survey
Were guided by the stars, the records say,
So that the line that marks out our domain
Is indistinct, and puzzling doubts remain.
 
Our farms are large, and portions near the line
With rocky soil and stunted spruce and pine,
With scarce a wigwam or a ranger's hearth,
We left untilled, and deemed of little worth;
The petals of this desert rose unfold,
When man discovers mines of yellow gold.
 
"Where is the boundary line?" is now the cry.
Each stakes his claim and gives his reason why;
One sought an exit to the main highway,
The other closed the gates and gained the day
In custom duties on the shining ore,
And stores for man and beast that inland pour.
 
Each claimed his own, whatever that may be,
Yet, neighbors true, we feared to disagree.
We studied maps and treaties old and new,
Yet each his own line-fence declared was true;
Then, to avoid unseemly strife, we chose
To settle our dispute as friends, not foes.
 
My neighbor chose three men in his employ,
I three, at least, accepted them with joy;
Not chosen these to arbitrate our case,
But from material at command to trace,
In harmony with law, the primal line
For boundary fence, between his farm and mine.
 
I lost my case--all but one narrow lane!
All other gates are closed, but why complain?
Diminished somewhat is my large estate,
But self-respect remains--nor place for hate;
O'er our line-fence we grasp each other's hand,
And for the right, united, ever stand.
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Submitted on August 03, 2020

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Joseph Horatio Chant

Joseph Horatio Chant was born on August 19, 1837 at Stoke Underham, Somersetshire, England. His parents moved to Canada in 1840, and settled in Niagara-on-the-Lake. Chant attended schools in the area and upon graduation taught for two years in Cathcart, Burford township. In 1864 he attended Victoria College and entered the ministry, being ordained in 1868. That same year he married Mary McKim and the next year their first of eight children were born. Chant, as a minister for the United Church, never remained in one place long, though he, his wife and daughter Hattie eventually did settle down in Newburg Village when he was Superannuated in 1896. His wife died in 1914 and he moved again, this time to North Bay where he lived with his daughter from 1916 until 1925. In 1915 Chant published a collection of poems, Gleams of Sunshine. This collection of unpretentious poetry is indebted to his spirituality in which he praises God, country and nature, extolling simple virtues, but in a practical and not didactic or heavy handed manner Joseph Horatio Chant died in North Bay, Ontario on June 8, 1928, two months short of his 91st birthday. more…

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