EXPERIENCE AND VIEWS
Second Visit to Michigan.
XXVII. Second Visit to Michigan
We soon visited Michigan again, and I endured riding over log-ways, and through mud-sloughs, and my strength failed not.
We felt that the Lord would have us visit
Wisconsin, and were to take the cars at Jackson at 10 o'clock in the evening. About 5 o'clock in the afternoon a young man of very pleasing appearance called at Bro. Palmer's and inquired if they wished books bound, and stated that he was going out on the evening train, and would bind them at Marshall, and return them in a few weeks.
As we were preparing to go to the cars we felt very solemn, and proposed a season of prayer. And as we there committed ourselves to God, we could not refrain from weeping aloud. We went to the depot with feelings of deep solemnity. We looked for seats in a forward car, which had high backs, with the hope that we might sleep some that night, but were disappointed. We passed back into the next car, and there found seats. I did not as usual, when traveling in the night, lay off my bonnet, neither did we hand up the carpet-bag. We spoke to each other of our singular feelings, and both stated that we felt that we were waiting for something.
The cars had run about three miles from Jackson when their motion became very violent, jerking backward and forward, and finally stopped. I raised the window and saw a car standing upon one end, and heard most distressing groans and great confusion. The engine had been thrown off the track. But the car we were in was on the track, and was
separated from those before it about one hundred feet. The express car was crushed to pieces, the goods scattered, and many of them destroyed. The baggage car not much injured, and our large trunk of books was safe.
The second-class car was crushed, and the pieces, with the passengers in it, were thrown from the track on both sides of it. The car in which we tried to get a seat was much broken, and one end was raised upon the heap of ruins. The coupling did not break, but the cars separated, as if an angel had unfastened them. Another train was expected in a few minutes, and the greatest excitement was raised. The broken pieces of the cars were used to build a large fire, and men with torches went upon the track in the direction the cars were expected. We hastily left the car, and my husband took me in his arms and carried me, wading in the water, and placed me upon the fence, got over, then carried me across a swampy piece of land to the main road. Four were killed or mortally wounded. One of them was the young bookbinder referred to. Many were much injured.
We walked one half mile to a dwelling, where I remained while my husband rode to Jackson with a messenger sent for physicians. I had opportunity to reflect upon the care God has for those who serve him. What separated the train, leaving the car we were in back upon the track? I have been shown that an angel was
sent to preserve us. We reached Bro. S.'s, in Jackson, about two o'clock, thankful to God for his preserving care.
We took the afternoon train for Wisconsin. Our visit to that State was blest of God. Souls were converted as the fruits of our labor, yet it was a hard field to labor in. The Lord strengthened me to endure the tedious journey.
We returned from Wisconsin much worn down, desiring rest; but were distressed to meet Sr. Anna afflicted. She had changed much in our absence. We also found brethren and sisters assembled at our house for conference. Without rest we were obliged to engage in the meeting. After the labor of the conference was over, Sr. Bonfoey was taken down with the fever and ague, and suffered weeks with this most distressing disease. It was a sickly summer. Deep affliction was in our family, and we felt the necessity of help from God. Many and fervent were our prayers that his blessing might be felt throughout our dwelling. Especially was Sr. Anna a subject of our earnest prayers; but she did not seem to feel her danger, and unite with us for the recovery of health, until disease had fastened upon her, and she was brought very low.
Trials thickened around us. We had much care. The Office hands boarded with us, and our family numbered from fifteen to twenty. The large conferences and the Sabbath meetings
were held at our house. We had no quiet Sabbaths, for some of the sisters generally tarried all day with their children. Our brethren and sisters generally did not consider the inconvenience and additional cares and expense brought upon us. As one after another of the Office hands would come home sick, needing extra attention, I was fearful that we should sink beneath the anxiety and care. I often thought, we can endure no more, yet trials increased, and with surprise I found we were not overwhelmed. We learned the lesson that much more suffering and trial could be borne than we once thought possible. The watchful eye of the Lord was upon us, to see that we were not destroyed.
August 29, 1854, another responsibility was added to our family in the birth of little Willie, which took my mind somewhat from the troubles around me. About this time the first number of the paper falsely called the "Messenger of Truth," was received. Those who slandered us through that paper had been reproved for their faults and wrongs. They would not bear reproof, and in a secret manner at first, afterwards more openly, used their influence against us. This we could have borne, but some of those who should have stood by us were easily tempted of Satan, and were influenced by these wicked persons, some of whom were comparative strangers to them, yet they readily sympathized
with them, and withdrew their sympathy from us, notwithstanding they had acknowledged that our labors among them had been signally blessed of God.
The Lord had shown me the character and final come-out of that party; that his hand was against them, and his frown upon those connected with that paper. And although they might appear to prosper for a time, and some honest ones be deceived, yet truth would eventually triumph, and every honest soul would break away from the deception which had held them, and come out clear from the influence of those wicked men whom God despised As God's hand was against them, they must go down. The first number of their paper was in our house six weeks, and I had not interest to look into it, or to even inquire concerning its contents.
Sister Anna continued to fail. Father and mother White, and her sister E. Tenny, came from Maine to visit her in her affliction. Anna was calm and cheerful. This interview with her parents and sister she had much desired. She bid her parents and sister farewell, as they left to return to Maine, to meet them no more until the trump of God shall call forth the precious dust to health and immortality.
In the last days of her sickness, with her own trembling hands, she arranged her things, leaving them in order, and disposed of them
according to her mind. She expressed the greatest interest that her parents should embrace the Sabbath, and live near by us. "If I thought this would ever be," said she, "I could die perfectly satisfied." The last office performed by her emaciated, trembling hand, was to trace a few lines to her parents. And has not God regarded her last wishes and prayers for her parents? They are now keeping the Bible Sabbath, happily situated within less than one hundred feet from our door.
We missed Anna very much. We would have kept her with us; but we were obliged to close her eyes in death, and habit her for the tomb, and lay her away to rest. Long had she cherished a hope in Jesus, and she looked forward with pleasing anticipation to the morning of the resurrection. We laid her beside dear Nathaniel in Mount Hope cemetery.