"Blood is thicker than water."
RESPONSE BY ELLERY BICKNELL CRANE, WORCESTER, MASS.
MR. PRESIDENT, FELLOW KINSMEN AND FRIENDS:
I am really disappointed at being selected to respond to the sentiment just announced and feel that your President has made a great mistake in his selection this time, for the reason of my inability to do justice to the subject in hand. It calls for something to be said in behalf of the female portion of the Bicknell family, and they certainly deserve a more worthy and complimentary response than I can utter in their behalf.
This is a gathering of Bicknells of which we can justly be proud. But we must remember that they all do not bear that name here to-day and were those of your committee to deny those of us who do not answer to that name the privilege of being represented at this family gathering it would be doing a great injustice to a very large if not the largest share of the Bicknell family. But your committee has shown wisdom by making the invitation broad, blood being the shibboleth by which we are admitted and we join with you heartily in ascribing honor to our noble and respected Bicknell ancestry.
I have no doubt that there are some here to day who would term it a serious loss to be without the Bicknell name, for they are deservedly proud of it, but the record shows that since the death of Zachary there have been found those of the family who were willing to sacrifice the name, but not the blood for the good of mankind, and I know those generous souls may be found today. It has been proposed that there should be written and published a genealogical history of the Bicknell family. This gathering bespeaks encouragement and success to such an undertaking and we must give our individual support to the work, and aid our good and worthy cousin, Quincy Bicknell, Esq., all we can, who I know is the right man in the right place, and will give us a record such as every member of the family will take pride in possessing. There is great difficulty in tracing family blood without the name, so that those of us who belong to the female lines should see to it, that these branches are still vigorous and thrifty portions of the great family tree. We know they make noble women, excellent wives and the very best of mothers, always found ready to perform well their part in the onward march of progress, and although little may appear on the printed page concerning our noble mothers, volumes in commendation have been written, and will be written upon the hearts of their children.