Don't Forget Me, Part V - 27 East


Southampton Press / Opinion / Letters / 2204221

Don’t Forget Me, Part V

Pyrrhus Concer here. Before I tell you about my neighbor Elihu Root and my family, I would like to say thank you for caring to publish and read my stories — it means a lot. I hope you are enjoying my stories as much as my little ferry boat passengers. Not to be forgotten.

Okay, about my two boys. I think every man is honored to leave a family legacy and pass his inheritance or business down to his sons. You know, that proud feeling seeing your seed grow and flourish, carrying on your name.

But, unfortunately, that didn’t happen for me. My two boys died at an early age, and, honestly, to this day, we’re not sure of the real medical reason why.

But my neighbor Elihu Root was the best neighbor ever. He was there for me. He treated me like family.

Do you know who he is? Elihu Root, my neighbor and friend, was an American lawyer, Republican politician and statesman who also served as the 41st secretary of war under Presidents William McKinley and Theodore Roosevelt, and 38th secretary of state under Roosevelt. In both positions, as well as a long legal career, he pioneered the American practice of international law.

My dear friend Elihu Root was considered the prototype of the 20th century political “wise man,” advising presidents on a range of foreign and domestic issues. He also served as a U.S. Senator from New York and received the 1912 Nobel Peace Prize.

In spite of all of his achievements and recognition, this wise man treated me as his equal. Becoming a landowner on Pond Lane, aka “Concer’s Way,” in 1891, and having this kind man as my neighbor, was perhaps almost unbelievable in the eyes of many. But all true. True indeed. We were neighbors sharing the beautiful view of the lake together and sharing our life stories.

My lovely Rachel passed on, and Elihu remained my dear friend all the way until my departure from this Earth, and even after.

Next week, I’ll share what this kind neighbor did for me.

Brenda Simmons

Founder and Executive Director

Southampton African American Museum