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Article: Wynken, Blynken and Nod Statue
Township: Wellsboro Borough
Article by Jane Webb
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Wynken, Blynken and Nod

The Story Behind the Statue on the Green

by Jane Webb It was a bright, sunny September afternoon in 1938 and 2,000 people gathered on the village green in Wellsboro, Pennsylvania. Bands played and children laughed as they anticipated the unveiling of a gift to the community. The cord was pulled, revealing a bronze statue of Wynken, Blynken and Nod sailing on its man-made sea and fountain.

Eugene Field was a newspaper columnist, inspired to write poems dedicated to childhood and its world of make-believe. He believed in simplicity and the genuineness of children’s thoughts and felt children should be allowed to grow up during their early years in an atmosphere of make-believe. One of his best-loved poems was Wynken, Blynken and Nod, the story of three children who sailed off in a wooden shoe.

The Honorable Fred W. Bailey of Denver, Colorado, presented the statue of the Green to the children of Wellsboro as a gesture of love for his late wife Elizabeth. Elizabeth’s love for Field’s poem and love for her hometown inspired Bailey to donate the memorial.

Elizabeth Cameron was born and raised in Wellsboro, Pennsylvania. She was a great-great granddaughter of Richard Mitchell, one of the pioneer settlers of Tioga County. Fred Bailey also grew up in Wellsboro, but followed his yearning for the West to Colorado in 1884. In a few years he returned to Wellsboro, courted and married Elizabeth Cameron, and returned to Denver. Fred and Elizabeth Bailey never had children, but her love of children was obvious by the Memorial her husband chose to reflect her life.

As a child growing up in Wellsboro, the statue on the Village Green was a memorable part of my childhood. Many days I sat on the edge of the fountain and dabbled my bare feet in the sea at the base of the ship carrying the three children. My mother wrote a poem titled MEMORIAL about the statue of Wynken, Blynken and Nod. It was a poem I always loved and wanted to present in a special way so that my children could appreciate it also. I did not know at the time that the Elizabeth on the memorial plaque was a family member. My mother, Ruth Inscho, was also a great-great granddaughter of Richard Mitchell.

by Ruth Inscho

The small inscription reads;
Written on a fountain which 
Adorns the village green.
(“Tis money squandered on the dead.
Some doubting person pleads;
“Twere better spent upon the poor
Or crippled folk, I ween.”)

The dear memorial was built,
A fountain forming a sea,
Where sailed a quaint boat and three fisherman small.
“Wynken, Blynken and Nod.”
And it stands where the world passes by
And everyone can see –
Where babies ride and children play,
And the weary homeward plod.

I fancy the fishermen smile to hear
The music of happy laughter –
Their wisdom, light as the song of a child
Yet deep as the heart of God!
For every night while the village sleeps,
Its children go sailing after
The three little fishermen, catching the stars,
“Wynken, Blynken and Nod.”

Oh, who can measure with wealth or with words
A joyousness, lovely and wild,
Quickened by symbols of stardust and dreams
Deep in the heart of a child.

In the Artist's Studio

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By Joyce M. Tice

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