Wilbur Dick Nesbitt was a well-known poet and writer who was born in Xenia in 1875, but grew up in Cedarville, which he claimed as his home town.
His father was a veteran of the Civil War and for many years was a court bailiff.
Disk, as he was known to his friends, began his writing career at the Cedarville Herald. His first job with the paper was that of a printer.
After typesetting so many words by other individuals, he determined that he too, could write and so became a reporter for the Herald.
In 1889, he moved to Anderson, Indiana and became the editor for the Anderson Times.
Always interested in hew opportunities, he continued to move from city to another, seeking better employment. He lived in Indianapolis for a while where he worked in a clothing store where he was in charge of advertising. He was on the ad staff of the Indianapolis Journal. He lived in Muncie, Indiana for a while and then moved to Baltimore where he was a featured writer for the Baltimore News-American. While in Baltimore, he used the pen name, Josh Wink.
As a newspaper writer, he was interested in furthering his career and thus applied for employment at bigger and better-known newspapers over the years.
He moved to Chicago in 1902, where he wrote for the Chicago Tribune. He had a regular column which he titled “A Line O’Type or Two”.
In addition to writing for the Tribune, he was on the staff of the Chicago Evening Post.
While living in Chicago, he worked at the Mahin Advertising Company. Later he partnered with William H. Rankin and others to purchase the company which was re-named William H. Rankin Company. Nesbitt was the Vice President and Director of the copy staff.
A prolific author, he wrote and had published a number of books including After Dinner Speeches and how to Make Them. Another of his publications was An Alphabet of History, which was illustrated by an artist. .
He had several books of poetry including Sermons in Song and Poems of Homely Philosophy.
During World War I, he wrote a song “Let’s Keep the Glow in Old Glory And the Free in Freedom Too.”
He was honored at his home town when he was the commencement speaker in 1923 at Cedarville University. He died at the age 50 in Chicago. His home there is as local landmark.
Perhaps his best-known and best remembered writing was a poem which was first published in 1902 in the Baltimore-American. This poem became very popular, particularly during WWI and was often recited in classrooms around the country.
With Memorial Day, Flag Day and Independence Days coming up, this is certainly a poem to remember.
Your Flag And My Flag by Wilbur D. Nesbitt:
Your Flag and my Flag!
And how it flies today
In your land and my land
And half the world away!
Rose-red and blood-red
The stripes forever gleam;
`Snow-white and soul white –
The good Forefathers dream;
Sky-blue and true-blue
With stars to gleam aright
The glorious guidon of the day
A shelter through the night.
Your Flag and my Flag
To every star and stripe
The drums beat as hearts beat
And fifers shrilly pipe!
Your Flag and my Flag-
A blessing in the sky;
Your Hope and my Hope
It never hid a lie.
Homeland and far land,
And half the world around
Old Glory hears our glad salute
And ripples to the sound.
Your Flag and My Flag!
And Oh, how much it holds-
Your land and my land
Secure within its folds,
Your heart and my heart
Beat quicker at the sight;
Sun-kissed ad wind-tossed
Red and blue and white.
The one Flag – the great Flag
The Flag for me and you
Glorified all else beside
The red and white and blue.
Joan Baxter is a local resident and weekly historical columnist.
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