A Poem to New Year’s Eve, 100 Years Ago

Sue and Ed Ramsey were both fighting bad colds on the last day of 2012–“sick as dogs”– just a few days ago. So they decided that there would be no New Year’s Eve party that night for them–just a quiet night at home.

Sue, who has been a researcher for Green-Wood’s Civil War Project for years now–even though she lives all the way out there in California–determined to put her time on New Year’s Eve to good use–doing some follow-up work online on some of our soldiers. She was working on the Es–and the next name up was Bartholemew William Ennis, born in 1839, died in 1925.

As Sue researched, she discovered that Bartholemew was often identified as B. William Ennis. Searching under that name, she found the front page of  The Brooklyn Daily Eagle from exactly 100 years earlier–New Year’s Eve, 1913. On that page appears this image of the then-President of the United States, Woodrow Wilson, greeting the New Year:

From the front page of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle, December 31, 1913--100 years ago.

And, to the left of that image, stretching down the column, is a poem, “The New Year”–by none other that B. William Ennis! As Sue reports, “Exactly 100 years ago!! What are the odds? I got goose bumps when I saw that!”

So here, in honor of the New Year, our Civil War Project, and volunteers like Sue who have made it all possible, is B. William Ennis’s poem of a century, to the day, ago:


The merry chimes, with joyous peal,

Sound forth the glad refrain;

“The Old Year’s gone, the Old Year’s gone,

The New has come to reign.”

The sorrows of the Old are past,

The New brings hope and joy;

Then welcome in the gladsome youth,

His praise all tongues employ.

The New Year’s come,

The New Year’s come,

The New Year’s come to reign!

The New Year’s come,

The New Year’s come,

With Hope has come to reign!

Entwine a crown of roses choice

His fair young brow to grace;

Sweet flow’rets in his pathway strew,

And garlands interlace,

To wreath the scepter-wand of love

He holds within his hand,

Whose virtue, with a magic power,

Speeds joy throughout the land.

The New Year’s come,

The New Year’s come,

The New Year’s come to reign!

The New Year’s come,

The New Year’s come,

With Joy has come to reign!

Hark! “Peace and joy,” the brazen tongues

A glorious pean ring;

Auspicious dawn pulsating to

The inspiring song they sing.

With tuneful sound the cheery chimes

Accord in mellow strain,

From man to man, in chorus grand,

Proclaim the New Year’s reign!

The New Year’s come,

The New Year’s come,

The New Year’s come to reign!

The New Year’s come,

The New Year’s come,

With Peace has come to reign!

And happy hearts forget the past

Where aught has given pain;

All joining hands in friendly grasp

Resolving weal again;

And as the days, still trav’ling on,

In time the circuit gain,

Let each, with upright, honest heart,

The New Year hail again.

The New Year’s come,

The New Year’s come,

The New Year’s come to reign!

The New Year’s come,

The New Year’s come,

With Love has come to reign!

A solemn pause–then sweeter tones

Swell softly on the air;

“To God give thanks, with grateful hearts,

For all His wond’rous care.”

O glorious bells! O gladsome chimes!

Our rev’rant souls respond–

We plead His mercy to endure,

His love continue fond.

The New Year’s come,

The New Year’s come,

The New Year’s come to reign!

The New Year’s come,

The New Year’s come,

God’s mercy to proclaim!

              B. William Ennis

 As Sue put it, “This project never ceases to amaze . . . .”

Here is Bartholomew William Ennis’s biography, incorporating Sue’s research:

ENNIS, BARTHOLOMEW WILLIAM (or B. WILLIAM) (1839-1925). Private, 13th Regiment, New York State National Guard, Company H. Originally from Ireland, Ennis became a naturalized citizen on December 15, 1859. A printer at the time of the 1860 census, he enlisted at Brooklyn as a private on May 28, 1862, mustered immediately into the 13th Regiment, and mustered out three months later at Brooklyn on September 12. The censuses of 1870, 1880 and the Brooklyn Directories of 1876 and 1885 all list his occupation as printer. In 1868, he was nominated by the Fifth Ward Democratic Club, the German Democratic Club, and the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Conservative Club for supervisor of the Fifth Ward. As per an article in The New York Times on July 5, 1896, he was active in the Gouverneur K. Warren Post #286 of the G.A.R. and was present for the unveiling of Warren’s statue, designed by Henry Baerer, at Prospect Park Plaza in Brooklyn. The Warren Post raised $1,500 of the monument’s $10,000 cost. In 1903, he read a paper at a meeting of the Thirteenth Regiment’s Veterans Association, “Incidents at Little Round Top, Gettysburg.” His application for an invalid pension, filed in 1905, was granted under certificate 1,116,001. Ennis spent some time in the Soldiers’ Home for Disabled Veterans in Bath, New York, from July to November 1908. As per his records there, he was 5’6″ tall with grey hair, blue eyes and a light complexion. On December 31, 1912, Ennis’s poem, “The New Year,” was featured in The Brooklyn Daily Eagle. The poem, with the oft repeated refrain, “The New Year’s come to reign,” underscores the feelings of hope, joy, peace and love that exemplify new beginnings. According to his obituary in The New York Times, which confirmed his Civil War service, he was the historian of the 13th Regiment Veterans Association and wrote for magazines and periodicals. His obituary in the Brooklyn Union Standard indicated that he had been a national department and post officer in the G.A.R. The members of the Society of Old Brooklynites, 13th Regiment Veterans, and Brooklyn City Post #233 were invited to attend his funeral. His last address was 298 Macon Street in Brooklyn. Section 166, lot 27422.

2 thoughts on “A Poem to New Year’s Eve, 100 Years Ago”

  1. Our hats off to Sue Ramsey for identifying not only the New Year’s poem he wrote but for the obit which mentions he was a member of the Society of Old Brooklynites which was founded in 1880 when Brooklyn was the third largest city in the Nation. We are also glad she was able to determine that he is a permanent resident of Green-Wood.
    By Ted General, Vice President, Society of Old Brooklynites


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