Source: Crawfordsville Weekly Journal 1 March 1895 p 5
Col. Haviland Gifford was 75 years old Monday. In honor of the event his children, Mr. and Mrs. Charles Gould prepared a feast of fat things and invited about 20 of his GAR comrades to join with him in the merriment and joy of the occasion. At 12:30 they met at the courthouse and marched in a body to the residence of Mr. and Mrs. Gould with whom the Colonel has a home and where a cordial greeting awaited the guest. The house had been handsomely decorated, the prevailing adornments being the American colors. The old soldiers army desk, his coat through which a rebel bullet had passed, his sword, gloves and his different commissions were conspicuously displayed and closely inspected. Dinner was announced and served in courses, the first course consisting of a cup of coffee and HARD ATACK, the trimmings for the coffee being condensed milk and brown sugar, all reminders of the days of a third of a century ago. The succeeding courses were of the up-to-date style and it is unnecessary to add were all thoroughly enjoyed. At the conclusion of the first course the guests presented their host with a gold Grand Army badge. The presentation speech was to have been made by BR Russell but being unexpectedly called from the city that duty devolved on THB McCain. He prefaced his remarks by reading that beautiful poem by John G. Saxe, “I’m Grown Old.” The Colonel was visibly affected as his daughter, Mrs. Gould knew he would be and who responded in his behalf as follows.
Comrades: In behalf of our father, who is overcome with emotion, let me extend to you his sincere gratitude for your remembrance. I am sure you will understand you could have made no offering that he would have more fondly cherished, and in the 10 years we hope may yet be given him to enjoy, this token will be his dearest keepsake. As were the best years of his life given to the cause you all defended so it is the best love of these latter years, next to his family, given to his comrades. Again let me thank you for the share you have had in making his 75th mile stone whiter, perhaps, than all others. The second course was followed by a poem which had been written by Miss Europa D. Gifford as a birthday greeting to her uncle. It was most impressively read by Mrs. John R. Bonnell, and is as follows;
Hail! To the sire! The grand sire!
The soldier! The friend!
To my honored, aged uncle
This day a greeting I sent.
Be his the seat of honor!
With a triple crown is he crowned:
The first with hair grown hoary,
The second with children abound.
But the third is the garland he’s woven
Each day of his life on this earth
Its strands are heavy and glossy
With love, good will and mirth
His life has been long and varied,
With joys and sorrows combined;
His family circle been broke -
Precious gems are missing, we find.
But these living jewels remaining,
Will cheer and gladden the way
His feet have yet to travel
Before the dawn of Day.
For his life is but the evening
Ere that glorious, happy morn,
When our souls, so long imprisoned,
Into life divine are born.
Then will those precious jewels
We’ve missed in their family crown,
Shine forth with added beauty,
And enclose him all around.
Yes, some blessed, future morning
In that home on the other shore,
Will his crown of jewels sparkle
Complete forever more.
All hail! To you, his comrades.
All hail to you, his friends
Today you do him honor,
God’s blessin with it blend.
Our flag so proudly floating
Throughout the entire world.
Salutes you as heroes,
With its bright folds unfurled.
And now, here’s to the flag,
You defended so long,
Three cheers and a tiger
Let them ring loud and strong.
Prompted by the suggestion in the last verse the guests arose and gave three hearty cheers and a tiger. JD Tracy and WT Brush followed with remarks of a humorous character and apropos to the occasion. Colonel Gifford in whose honor the day was celebrated served through the war in a NY Regiment, passing through all the grade from Capt., to Colonel. His service was in the Army of the Potomac. He has lived in Crawfordsville for several years and has taken an active interest in all GAR affairs which has give him a warm place in the affections of all his comrades and who all extend to him the hope that he may round out a full century of his happy life.