16 May 2012

"I Call to Mind My Parent Dear": Isaac Stone's Tribute to His Mother

[Continued from Isaac Stone's Paternal Ancestry, posted 16 May 2012.]

In my previous post, Isaac had just finished describing his father's family. Here he begins on his maternal line, focusing for three pages on his mother, alone.  Two things strike me about this long passage. First, in the days before Mother's Day, children surely appreciated their mothers, just as we do now. And somehow they got by not buying Hallmark cards, taking her out to brunch, sending flowers or making keepsakes in school to demonstrate their love. No doubt they honored and respected both their mothers and fathers, or they would be in serious trouble. But I wonder if he ever mentioned to his mother how he felt about her? Did he discuss her with other people? I doubt it. You don't need Hallmark to get sentimental, as you can see from his memorialization--the feelings were there, just probably not spoken of. I suspect that then, just as now, mothers could feel the love of their children and didn't need any extravagances beyond the best gift all, a loving glance.

Sometimes people say that because death was so prevalent in earlier times, people were somehow hardened to it. Perhaps they didn't get attached to infants as early, didn't "decorate the nursery" before a child was born, but I love Isaac for making it perfectly clear that death struck an equally cruel blow two hundred years ago as it does today. Mother suffering for lost child, son lamenting loss of beloved mother, nothing can change the way our hearts react to losing loved ones. This letter is a treasure in the way that it brings out Isaac's humanity.


p. 4 [cont.]
My Mother, Raschel Stone was born at Marlbo-
rough April 2, NS. 1723. Moved with her parents
to Shrewsbury, 1737: age 14. Died April 17. 1787.




p. 5
Tues. eve. 10. o'clock. Married Feb. 1747: in a mar-
died state 40 years - - age 64. 7. 17. d. at Death.
   She was lame + feeble from her childhood;
a woman of Sorrows. Since my remembrance,
her lameness increased by a broken bone, at-
tended with anguish + exquisite pain. In
1759. In June her eldest daughter Lydia, was
sick; languishing thro' the Summer +
Autumn till Jan. 1760. By watching + ten-
ding, + by the death of her child, my mo.
ther received a shock, of which she never
recovered; tho' she had comfortable hopes,
that her little daughter was an heir of
heaven: after this She lived 27 years; but
could never promise herself enjoyments
in this world any more: willing to
wait, + to do, + to suffer her heavenly Fa-
ther's will, her great change appeared
definable in God's time. She was of a very se-
rious turn of mind while quite young; dedi-
cated herself, + made a public profession
early. She spent much time in secret meditation
+ prayer. Her mind was [best/bent] and looked, waiting
to learn Christ Jesus + holiness according to
the holy Scriptures. She deeply mourned for
her sins: abhorring all sin; renouncing
self, trusting in Jesus Christ. She constantly
took her infants with her to the house of worship.
She, watchful of her children, counseled them
most seriously with a mixture of tenderness.
Many of her pious counsels in her own hand
writing are my monitors and embalm her memory.



p. 6
She was ready to drop some pious word when
she could with propriety as long as she lived
She was provident in her family, careful +
an ingenious, industrious tayloress, curious
with her pen + needle, she employed her in-
ventive faculties + imagination judiciously.
She was a compassionate friend to all the hum-
ble + distressed. I call to mind my parent dear,
    Over her grave I weep__
Comfort! ____ Her Soul, her Mother's care,
   Tho in the dust she sleep.
From toil + sorrow ever free
   The Lord will raise the dead;
In realms of joy the blest agree
   With life eternal clad.
Monday, April 9. 1787. I wrote: "I visited my sick
Mother, last monday: found her in extreme pain
+ distress; waiting earnestly for her change. I was
filled with sorrow at seeing my kind parent in
such a wasted, distressed + low estate. She has ever since
my remembrance appeared to be a woman
of piety, always showing regard to God + to His in-
stitutions; expressing her dependence upon Christ
alone for Salvation. ___ She told me she had se-
cretly given me up [^to GOD] after I was born + before. __
I bless God for her earnest cries to Him for me:
+ for her pious care for me ever since I have had
an existence. I hope my parent's solemnly dedicating
me to GOD, their instructions, prayers + example
have been sanctified to me. Upon her death bed,
in the near [^view] of death, my Mother told me, she had
often cried to God, that I might be sanctified from
the womb. __I hope her prayers have been XXXXXX





p. 7
answered. May these considerations deeply affe[ct]
my mind, to excite me to strive to answer the
pious concern + expectations of [^my] Parents; that
I may be instrumental in promoting GOD's Glory.
The advancement of His kingdom, + the conver-
son of many Souls. __ If my mother is yet a-
live, I desire affectionately to commend her in
to the hands of GOD, thro' or Redeemer: GOD,
[alsoficient?] is our only hope. In extremity we
may safely trust in Him! May she have Divine
supports; when she  walks thro' the dark val-
ley of death, may she fear no evil: may thy
rod + thy staff comfort her! She has taken
her leave of us all: we leave her with GOD; hum-
bly pleading, that when death closes her eyes, all
her sorrows, grief + cares may end. May an open
+ abundant entrance be ministered to her into the
joys of her Glorious Redeemer. Weaned from the
world + from all its pleasures. She longs to be
with Jesus, I pray Thee, O my GOD, afford her Grace,
patience, hatred of Sin, self-denial, + to do, +
to suffer the whole will of God, until, full of love
to holiness, she shall be presented faultless + blame-
less before GOD, in chimes of boundless bliss, where
there is no sin, pain, nor Sorrow; but her Soul
shall eternally rest in God her Redeemer:
"April 22. '87. My Mother died Apr. 14 eve. 10 o'clock.
Her last words were, "I see the truth clearer than
ever." She bid my Father, "Farewell!" When he
asked her, if her faith held out? she answered, "yes."
How religion, how faith bears the Spirit up, un-
der most pressing pains + distresses? What a re-
commendation of religion, when its professors
p. 8
hold out to the end of life, + appear supported
by it, in distressing hours, in near views of Death.
////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////




[continued in "I Begun to Learn Latin Latter End of the Year 1763"]


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1 comment:

Marian Pierre-Louis said...

Wow! Amazing stuff! Thanks for all the work in transcribing it and sharing it with us.