Born in Mercer County, Pennsylvania, Tirzah's family moved to Wisconsin when she was very young and came to Cowley County, Kansas with her family when she was 31 years old. Her father was one of the founders of New Salem, north of Winfield. Miss Hoyland was a school marm, where circumstance permitted, and a contributor and New Salem correspondent to the Winfield Courier newspaper for many years. She married, for the first time, Joseph M. Johnson when she was 55 years old. The lady died at age 85 and is buried next to her parents, John Walter and Nancy Jane Hoyland, in the New Salem Cemetery. Her brother Joe and nephew Roy are interred there also. Tirzah wrote epic poetry, and one is presented here as her life story. But first, the opening verse of "Memories Leaves" for assurance that she is speaking to us :


Accept this Christmas token friends
From one who would be true
And loyal in sweet Friendships' name
To you, and you, and you.
Tis from the inmost recess of
My heart, my soul, my brain
This little booklet that I send,
Just a holiday refrain.

Oh hills and valleys, woods and streams
Dear Pennsylvania "Home"
Where to this world of joy and grief
One April morn I came.
Two sisters came to Keystone State
Dear kindred lived near by
And I can see them every one
Through Memory's bright eye.

Those dear Scotch-Irish ancestors
All lived to good old age,
Nor dreamed that memories of them
Should grace this booklet's page.
Grandparents and so many sleep
In City of the Dead
Near to Grandfather's dear old home
Where large weeping willows spread.

Scenes that are brighter now I see
In Memory's long hall
And to the big old sugar camp
I hear the Springtime call.
My goose egg filled by Uncle Jess
With maple sugar sweet
And golden taffy cooled on snow
That surely was a treat.

There's Easter, Christmas, New Year
With their attending joys;
The big the wide warm fireplace,
The happy girls and boys.
The stockings filled up to the top
Nuts, candles, apples, toys
Oh who would not go back again
To share those Christmas joys.

To kindred dear we bade good bye
Upon an April day,
And for Wisconsin home set forth
Tho' the West seemed far away.
Strawberries, plums, crabapple grew
In fields and woods nearby
While rabbits, pigeons, fish, wild deer
Helped our table to supply.

The years flew by, dear kindred came
To visit in the West;
We children were as happy then
As any welcome guest
In Summer time we waded deep
In cool clear stream nearby,
In Winter coasting down the hills
We fairly seemed to fly.

Three brothers, Joe with Walter, Ward
In western home did stay,
When Walter seven years of age
Was quietly called away.
A dear young comrade went to sleep
When on furlough in our home---
Now he and brother sleep in death
Side by side in silent tomb.

Our father marched with Union men,
With Sherman to the sea,
We were so glad as glad could be.
Jennie and Mary both were wed
Same day 'neath noon day sun
Upon December twenty-seventh
In eighteen seventy-one.

Then brother Joe to Kansas went
To claim Wisconsin bride,
When parents, brother Ward and I
On Kansas did decide.
As Home! for health and hapiness
We chose Sunflower State,
And here my brother dear and I
Each found congenial mate.

From here our mother went away
To the Eternal home,
And from that happy Spirit-land
Her soul will never roam.
Twice to Wisconsin we returned
To visit dear ones there,
But Kansas seemed to call us back
Her sunshine for us to share.

Then father dear and I went back
To dear old keystone state.
There father found another wife
A kind and devoted mate.
She came to share his Kansas home
New Salem is the place
Tho' father now is eighty-five
He's not aged in his face.

In Texas land--the Lone Star State
With brother Ward's I stayed,
Just eighteen months--TheTexas Ranch
called me "The Kansas Maid."
There love and friendship true I found
From kindred and from friend
So true and faithful that in death
It surely will not end.

The woods, the bayou, and the gulf,
Like deep and restless sea--
All these so often do come back
In memories sweet to me.
Our school room and the happy days
The roses oh so fair--
Oh Texas! In my dreams sometimes
I'm with the loved ones there.

The years passed by with sun and shade
They brought both joy and pain.
I had decided (thought I had)
That single I'd remain.
But when a lonely suitor came
With purpose strong and true
Determined I should be his wife--
What else then could I do?

I knew he was both kind and good
Would loyal be and true,
So I surrended heart and hand.
He needed me--I knew,
And Heaven only knows the worth
Of heart and soul and brain
Of that pure man--my husband dear--
Sweet the memories that remain.

Lonely! I sought for comfort then
With Kindred far away,
My Conway Springs dear home I left
Upon a warm June day.
To South Dakota first I went
To friends and kindred see,
And then to Inwood, Iowa,
Where sister welcomed me.

There rest and true compainship
For weeks and months I found--
There old time friends and school mates
And pupils did abound.
Then Oklahoma seemed to call
Husband's children there I'd see,
And we could visit that dear mound
Dear to them--and dear to me.

Oh Memories! Sweet Memories!
Childhood-girlhood-maid and wife
Now a lonely childless widow--
Memories! Stay with me thru' life;
The bright and happy memories
Of sunshine, flowers, love
Abide with me, 'till I am called
To happy home above!

Good bye and Merry Christmas all,
Tirzah Hoyland Johnson

1848 1933