Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 1 (1844 - 1868)


Lt 2, 1855

Stevens, Harriet

Paris, Maine

August 1855

Previously unpublished. See also Annotations.

Dear Sister Harriet [Stevens]:

Here I am at your old home in the girls’ chamber. I presume you have spent many hours here. Well it is a pleasant place, a pleasant house. Everything seems pleasant except the sickness of Angeline and Paulina, poor children are truly afflicted. 1LtMs, Lt 2, 1855, par. 1

Since we wrote you last a few things may have transpired that will be interesting. Will write just as it has been. Left Palmyra Sabbath morn, sick and disheartened, for Hartland. Father seemed too much worried and troubled about his work to be hardly at all interested in the things of God. This grieved us much. He had given up almost his anxiety and concern upon the Sabbath question and concluded Sunday would do for him, that as he was situated, the Lord would not require him to keep a new Sabbath and he could not work upon Sunday if he did, and he had about made up his mind to settle down in Palmyra. 1LtMs, Lt 2, 1855, par. 2

James was burdened and distressed beyond measure on the way to Hartland. He wept like a child. I pitied him. He said he wanted to help his folks, but they would not be helped. Mother did not feel as Father did. She longed to keep the Sabbath. She believed it with all her heart. 1LtMs, Lt 2, 1855, par. 3

At Hartland had a good meeting. All there were very glad to see us. There is a band in Pittsfield lately been raised up. First rate people, I should judge; some of them were present. 1LtMs, Lt 2, 1855, par. 4

James had quite a free time and the church was much comforted. Took supper with Brother and Sister Flanders. They seem good. She is quite feeble. I do not think she can stay with us long. She seems to love the truth much. James was much distressed that night. Could not seem to get liberty. I was quite sick, but was relieved in answer to prayer. 1LtMs, Lt 2, 1855, par. 5

Sunday, rose with sick headache, but go we must. Had an appointment to Pittsfield in the afternoon, about 12 miles distant. We rode in company with Abram and wife. They have three children, quite smart, nice children. We stopped on the way to Brother Burton’s, a poor Brother with nine children. Was so sick, had to lie down and in about an hour arose, refreshed, took dinner with them. They had molasses to sweeten our drink with. They are real good people. After dinner we prepared to start again when our father’s old “Dianna” acted bad, threw herself down, etc., but we got along without much difficulty. Was some frightened though. 1LtMs, Lt 2, 1855, par. 6

At a school house our meeting was held. It was well filled. Lothrope and wife were present. They acted as though they were trying to pray James down, also self, but did not do much. He has been trying to make a division between Pittsfield and Hartland band, has had some success and the evidence is quite certain that he has sent for the Messenger paper, that wicked, vile paper, and distributed it every where broadcast. I think he is one of their kind and the sooner we are rid of them, the better. As soon as meeting was done, out they went before we had hardly time to look up. Did not even speak to us. 1LtMs, Lt 2, 1855, par. 7

I think the children will not be left in darkness. They will see these things and know of what spirit he is of. 1LtMs, Lt 2, 1855, par. 8

After meeting closed we went to the house [of] one of the brethren. They made us stop to supper, molasses again for drink. There we met a Scotch girl from the highlands of Scotland. She is a Sabbathkeeper. Talks much like Jane. 1LtMs, Lt 2, 1855, par. 9

We drove to Father’s that night, found Mary Chase had come there from Fairfield. It was a glad meeting. She is a dear good sister. Our hearts run together like two drops of water. That night we talked the truth out as it is and then James prayed and prayed out all his feelings. There was a whole sermon in that prayer. Every word had weight to it and I knew it was reaching the heart. Father was deeply moved. Next morn the same spirit came upon me and I could not hold my peace. The Lord helped to pour out my feelings. O, how much there was in these words to me, “For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?” (Matthew 16:26)—the soul, the soul for whom Christ died, who can realize the worth of the soul. O, what is the approbation of the world? What are its scoffs or frowns when our soul’s interest is at stake? 1LtMs, Lt 2, 1855, par. 10

A change, a wonderful change took place in Father’s feelings in one day. His mind is settled. He will move just as soon as he can. He was tender hearted, subdued, all the rest of the while we were there, and Father’s dignity was most all gone. Lizzie Tenney and her husband came to see us in the rain, Monday. Lizzie is lame. Lamed her ankle by a misstep. Both of these seemed very kind and put themselves out to be obliging and kind. I helped Mother all the time I was there. Did up the dishes nearly every time occasion required. 1LtMs, Lt 2, 1855, par. 11

Tuesday, Father and Mary helped us to the depot about six miles. We parted with the tenderest of feelings. And on, on, we came in the cars. The old stage brought us to Paris Hill. Changed there for a single wagon and soon we were to your own home. Just before we got here saw Frances, Rebekah, and Angeline coming out of a house. They had just entered it but took their leave rather unceremoniously, I guess, and hastened home. We were glad enough to see them. 1LtMs, Lt 2, 1855, par. 12