April 11, 1902.
A Noted Vermonter.
Hon. S. L. Griffith of Danby, who was in town last week looking after his extensive lumber business gave some of his friends a few points on Cuba and his travels in the old county that will interest the readers of THE TIMES.
Senator Proctor was intending to go with Mr. Griffith and party at that time but owing to the illness of the late Senator Morrill his trip was deferred, but at the request of Senator Protor Mr. Griffith made a thorough investigation of affairs there and consequently is better informed than those who visit the island out of mere curiosity and pleasure.
The Senator’s description of the reconcentrados is very vivid and gives to the listener a convincing statement of their terrible condition and the inhuman purpose of their concentration. The terrible picture of their suffering is only brightened by the joy that comes to them after American occupation of the island and the eagerness they returned to their little thatched hut, and although destitute of a thread to cover their nakedness or an implement to aid in tilling the soil, they were happy for the palm leaf shelter was to them a home in the same meaning that we count home, and the wonderful productive soil supplied the actual necessities that kept life within them and they were free.
The vegetation is so luxuriant and soil so rich that it is possible to obtain articles of food with only the effort of gathering. The Senator related that he had seen sweet potatoes gathered in a wild state that were a foot long and as large in diameter as one’s arm. Honey, too, is another article that is easily procured and very plenty, and for flavor and clearness rivals any Vermont made honey, and that, too, gathered in its wild state. The editor has a sample sent by the Senator from a supply received from the island that is superior to the home grown product. This sample was made when the plant called stephenoteis was in bloom. This plant was one long used in the making of perfumes for its fragrance. This is imparted to the honey and the excellence of the same is due to the flowers from which it is made.
The Senator is a genial conversationalist and his talk on the holy land is interesting. He made much of his journey and by photographs and notes has their trip in hand so as to give a realistic account of it. He is often asked by churches to give a lecture on his trip but he says he is “not a lecturer, only a lumberman,” but nevertheless he has the happy faculty of imparting to those fortunate enough to listen a most interesting and instructive picture of whatever he attempts to relate.
The Senator is in close touch with Vermont affairs and a large factor in her industrial progress. His home town has cause to know of his whole hearted interest and generous help. On last Easter Sunday he made his town the most noted of any hamlet in the state by its observance of Easter, as the following from the Free Press will show:
Probably no other town in Vermont had a greater display of flowers or more interesting services on Easter day than the little town of Danby. The flowers and views were furnished by the Hon. S. L. Griffith and the exercises were in charge of Mrs. E. G. Wight, Mrs. S. L. Griffith and Miss Libbie Sowle. About 60 children took part in the exercises which consisted of recitations and singing and the church was literally packed. One end of the church was entirely filled with flowers. Directly back of the pulpit was a bank of cytisus 8×10. The cytisus is a potted plant having yellow blossoms. Besides these, there were hyacinths, tulips, narcissus, begonias, palms, ferns, lilies, roses, carnations, azaleas, vincas, 150 cut carnations and as many more of tulips, lilies and roses. The exercises were illustrated by views of the holy land taken by Mr. Griffith during his trip there thrown on a screen with the stereopticon.
The views included a general view of Bethlehem, Church of the Nativity, Chapel of St. Mary (the chapel is supposed to cover the place where Christ was born and in the chapel there is a scene of the manger with an image of the divine infant), the star which is set in the center of the floor in the chapel, a general view of Jerusalem, The Field of Blood, The Pool of Siloam, Ecce Homo Arch, or the Arch of Pilot (this is the arch covering the street of Pain, or Way of the Cross, and is supposed to be the place in that street where Pilot said “Behold the man”). The ford of the River Jordan, where Christ was baptized, general view of Bethany, Tomb of Lazarus, remains of the house of Mary and Martha and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem. Besides these reproductions of paintings of celebrated painters such as Raphael, Rubens, etc., illustrating the Birth of Christ, the Holy Night, Three Wise Men with their gifts, the Childhood of Jesus, Flight into Egypt, the Holy Virgin Tree (under which the family rested) Christ before the Doctors, His baptism in the River Jordan, Raising of Lazarus, in the house of Simon the Leper with Mary and Martha, Garden of Gethsemene, the Betrayal, the taking of Christ, Christ before Pilot, Christ Rejected, Christ Carrying the Cross, the Crucifixion, Descent from the Cross, Preparing for Burial, the burial, the Resurrection, Doubting Thomas, Christ’s Charge to Peter and The Ascension were shown. The exercises closed by singing the hymn “All Hail the Power of Jesus Name,” the hymn being thrown on the canvass where the entire congregation could see it.