|CHAPTER VI. -- MARRIAGE AND DISAPPOINTED HOPES--RETURN TO PHILADELPHIA -- --A STRANGER IN NEW YORK--MOTHER JONES' HELP--DEATH -- OF MY FATHER.|
After my conversion I continued to live in Columbia, Pa., a year or two; then went to live at Colonel McGraw's in Lancaster, about ten miles from Columbia, where I remained some four or five years. In the meantime the civil war had broken out, and my husband, in common with so many others, enlisted and went South with the army, from which he never returned. From Lancaster I went to Philadelphia, where I remained at service with different families for several years. There I became acquainted with James Smith, a local preacher, to whom I was subsequently married.
When the first few months after my marriage to James Smith had passed, things began to get very unsatisfactory. My husband had one grown daughter, eighteen years of age, by a former marriage, and I had one daughter, about nine years old, by my first marriage. At times, things in the house were very unpleasant. I was greatly disappointed, perhaps I had expected too much of my husband. He was a local preacher and an ordained deacon in the A. M. E. Church. My first husband was not a professing Christian at all, neither was I when I married him. During the years of my widowhood I boarded my little girl, here a while and then there. Sometimes she was well taken care of and at other times was not; for I found that often people do things just for the little money they get out of it; and when I would go and see the condition of my poor child, and then had to turn away and leave her and go to my work I often cried and prayed; but what could I do more? I had not yet learned to trust God fully for all things.
One reason for my marrying a second time was that I might have
The marriage was over and the Conference came. For several weeks prior to the session of the Conference I saw that my husband did not seem to be interested and studious as he had been, and when I would speak to him about it he would be cold and indifferent. O, how indescribably sad I felt; I was frightened. Now I thought if he changes his mind and does not join the Conference,
"No, I don't want to hear them;" so I went out alone. It seemed to me I could scarcely walk to the church--old Bethel Church, on Sixth street, Philadelphia. I went in, sat down and listened to the long list of appointments read. James Smith's name was not there. I said, can it be I have heard rightly. I saw my mistake, Satan had deceived me. "O, Lord," I said, "what shall I do?" I went home and asked my husband all about it.
I shall never forget how he took me on his lap and kindly put his arm around me and said, tenderly, "My dear, I was afraid to tell you what was really in my heart, I was afraid you would not marry me."
"But how could you deceive me so?"
"I knew it was wrong," he said, "but you will forgive me?"
Of course, I would, and did, but the remembrance was grievous. The Lord sustained me and gave me His grace.
After a year Mrs. Colonel McGraw, with whom I had lived in Lancaster for some four years, came for me to go a few months to Wheatland, Md., where they had moved. They found it difficult to get a cook, and they thought I might go for a few months to get the house settled. After getting the consent of my husband, I took my baby, little Nell, six months old, and my daughter Mazie, and we went for the summer. O, what I went through during those three months! I had to do all the cooking for the house, and eight farm hands, beside helping with the washing and doing up all the shirts and fine clothes and looking after my children. How I did it I don't know. There were but two other servants in the house, chambermaid and waiter, so I had no help only as they were kind enough, at times, to lend a hand. My baby seemed to get along nicely for the first three weeks, then she was
In the fall I returned home to Philadelphia, and went out to days' work and took washing, in every way to help my husband. In the course of time the Lord gave me another dear little boy, and I named him after Thomas Henry, whom I loved for his Christian, manly bravery in the dark days of slavery.
He was a member of the M. E. Church, and was a licensed preacher for a number of years at Hagerstown, Md., and left that church and joined the A. M. E. Church in 1834. The stewards and sometimes the preachers, in those days owned slaves, and as one of the stewards of the church he belonged to, sold a poor colored girl away from her child, he was sad about it, knowing them all as he did; so he went to the Presiding Elder and asked him about the clause in the discipline about buying and selling slaves. He told him that he had nothing to do with the Steward's property; and after still further inquiry the same answer was given. Then with Tom Henry forbearance ceased to be a virtue and he said no man whose hand is red with innocent blood shall ever put the Sacrament in my mouth. He remained a worthy member of the A. M. E. Church, which he served nobly till he fell asleep in Jesus, about ten years ago.
I speak of him because he was a father to me, and so often comforted my heart when I would be almost overwhelmed.
The story of his life ought to be read by every Methodist preacher of to-day, for many of them have forgotten what the fathers had to go through in preparing a church for them to carry forward. What wonderful changes have been since then! Surely, God hath been good to Israel.
In 1865 my husband took a position at Leland's Hotel, and we moved from Philadelphia to New York. We were strangers, I, especially. My husband, James Smith, was a Mason and an Odd Fellow, so in that way knew many more persons than I. The New
I was greatly disappointed in the spirit that I saw manifested among the members, but I said I will have to get used to things, then it will be better, so I went on for a year. Then there was a new society started called the "Heroines of Jericho." None but Master Masons' wives and daughters could join it, and this society was very high-toned, and as my husband was a Master Mason, he was anxious for me to join. He came home one night and told me all about it. Nothing would do but I must join this if I let some of the others go.
Well, after some weeks I did, and we had flashy times, all the tinsel regalia and turn out and money spending and show; it took all I could gather to keep up with it, and I had no chance to draw anything, for I had good health and was never sick; but still I must go on paying my dues regularly, as I had begun; and so I did till '68, then after God had sanctified my soul He opened my eyes to see the folly of all this and taught me how to trust in Him, and I came out of every one of them.
The more I prayed about it the clearer God made it to me that
After this I had my trials. My husband could not understand why I should take such a position, but I could not explain, I could only sing,
"He leadeth me! Oh! blessed thought,
Oh! words with heav'nly comfort fraught;
Whate'er I do, where'er I be,
Still 'tis God's hand that leadeth me."
One morning as I was over the wash-tub my heart was sore. Oh! what a night I had had. I felt I could not bear any more, and I said, O, Lord, is there no way out of this? And as I wept and prayed the Lord sent Mother Jones. I did not want her to catch me crying; I did not believe in telling all my little troubles, but there she was, and I was so full and had suppressed so long that I could hold in no longer. "Well, Smith," she said, "how do you do?"
"O, Mother Jones, I am nearly heart-broken; James is so unkind," and I began to tell all my good works; how I did this and how I did that, and all I could to make things pleasant, and yet he was unkind.
"Well," she said, "that is just the way Jones used to do me, but when God sanctified my soul He gave me enduring grace, and that is what you need; get sanctified, and then you will have enduring grace."
"My," I thought, "is that what sanctification means? Enduring grace? That is just what I need; I have always been planning to get out of trials, instead of asking God for grace to endure;" and as she talked on, down deep in my heart I prayed the Lord to make her go so I could get sanctified and get enduring grace,