Days of Yore
 
as recounted by

Bill Day

 
 

Walt Whitman (The Invitation)
In the gutter by Feinstein's Store, corner Main Street (Kings Highway) and Haddon Avenue was a pump and trough where horses pulling wagons on the 'turnpike' from Camden could be watered.  When a traveler stopped for water it was the custom for anyone standing nearby to release the horse's check rein so that it could lower is head to drink.

One sunny day a small boy, George W. Day was playing near the pump when an old gentleman arrived from the direction of Camden and stopped to water his horse.  The boy released the check rein for the horse to drink.  The old man asked George if he would like to take a ride wiht him to the Ellisburg Inn Kings Highway (the present site of McGroarty's Liquor Store}.  The youngster, taught not to take rides with strangers, ran away fast!  A merchant, witnessing the scene, called the boy and asked him what the man had said to him to frighten him that way. George told him of the invitation.  It was with regret for the rest of his life that George remembered the merchant's reply to him: "Why George, you should have gone with him -- that old gentleman was Walt Whitman!"


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