March 10th, Thursday afternoon. Sister I. came in from the country. She lives about ten miles from Battle Creek. She walked about three miles before she could get any opportunity to ride to Battle Creek. She looked sad, appeared chilled, and her sensitive heart was deeply affected as she thought of her errand--she had come for her daughter's wages. Stern necessity had compelled her to take that which she had previously earned, and now her only dependence was to get a few dollars from her daughter for bread. Her disagreeable errand sent the blood from the extremities. She appeared like a woman about to faint. Her teeth chattered, her whole frame shook. She had a husband at home dying with a lingering consumption, and she had four children to supply with bread. They were poor, suffering poor. Their daughter has worked with us ten weeks, and has deprived herself of suitable clothing to help her parents. I asked the mother in the daughter's absence how they were prospered. She said when she was at Battle Creek six weeks before, A. had given her, her wages, and now she had come to ask her if she could let her have a little money to get some flour with. Said the mother, (while her heart seemed ready to burst,) "I hate to be compelled to ask her wages; it is more than ought to be asked of any child, but I know not what else to do." As the mother told A. her wants, A. informed her mother that her wages were all taken up in getting her brother a pair of boots. The mother was disappointed; she saw that there was nothing for her. Said she, "We could have done in some way without the boots; but breadstuff we must have." I stepped out of the house, leaving the distressed mother and daughter weeping. I related to my husband what was going on in the house. He entered into the matter with me, and we relieved their present necessities. Our little boys, H., E. and W., were moved at once. They begged the privilege of adding their mite, ten cents each. The mother's burden was lightened, and we all wept together as she expressed her gratitude. I shall ever remember these circumstances.
March 17th. We rode out of the city to visit Bro. I's family, the daughter A. accompanying us. We found the mother had been absent. She had just returned from walking three miles and back, making six miles, to obtain help to put up a fence around a little spot of land they had cleared for the purpose of making a garden. She was disappointed, and her long walk amounted to nothing. We found her husband very low, and his difficulties aggravated by the inconvenience of the dwelling. It was a log house, unfinished. There was only one room, and a chamber which they used for a sleeping apartment by climbing a ladder. The steam of the cooking increased the sick man's cough, and the only relief he could obtain was to go out doors and cough in a painful, violent manner. They had one little son about ten years old, and small of his age. The labor of one nearly double his age came upon him. He seemed willing to do all he could. We had a praying season before leaving, and it was a solemn place; it was indeed the house of mourning. The daughter A. prayed for her father in an earnest, touching manner, and then for her sisters. As our petitions went up unitedly to God, there was weeping aloud for some time in the dwelling, and after we had risen from our knees we heard A. outside of the house pleading with her sisters to serve God, and all were weeping aloud. All felt that a sacred tie was about to be broken. Our visit was a profitable one, and we believe God approbated the efforts we had made to comfort the afflicted, suffering one, and ease his passage to the grave. The knowledge that there were those who would have a kindly care for the mother and children was a great consolation to him, for he knew that he must soon part with them.
After we returned home we made the church acquainted with the situation of the afflicted family, and measures were immediately taken to relieve them. A little addition was put on to their log house for a cook-room, that the sick parent might be made more comfortable. A few weeks after this he fell asleep. He died, leaning upon the strong promises of God. Jesus was his friend, and all through his sickness he seemed to lean upon his bosom with assurance that he should come forth in the resurrection morn immortal. The family are now left without a husband and father. They must not want, they must be supplied with life's necessaries, if they are deprived of many of its comforts. And we believe it will be the highest pleasure for those who have abundance to help the poor who are needy. Especially should widows be taken care of. They should have our tenderest sympathy, prayers, and we should look after the interest of the fatherless children. Husbands and fathers, make their case your own, and have a care for them just as you would wish others to have a care for your companion and children if you should be called away from your families. This is a cold and selfish world. It is natural to look out for self, and neglect those who are pining for sympathy and consolation, and are suffering privation.
The Good Samaritan December 1, 1859