thanks to Marti Hale who sent the following note on October 11,
husband's mother is Clara Jessie Pence, 93 years old. She is
the daughter of Lafayette Pence, Jr., son of Lafayette Pence, Sr.,
son of David and Nancy Hart Pence. Clara has an original copy
of Nancy Hart Pence's 80th birthday journal that Nancy wrote herself
about her life. It's like an autobiography. I think it
must have been typed and given to all her children to celebrate her
life. It may have been done by her son, Edward Hart Pence.
Shall I copy it for you?
Marti Hale and husband Theodore Pence Odmark
after a bit of correspondence, Marti scanned and sent to me the
entire autobiography, including a map of the Bartholomew County,
Indiana farm owned by Gideon Blackburn Hart, the father of Nancy
Hart Pence. I think you will agree that it is a fascinating
life story, and I am pleased to make it available online.
November 4, 2006
A U T
O B I O G R A P H Y
N A N
C Y H A R T P E N C E
Written at Detroit, Michigan,
Published in Honor of
EIGHTIETH BIRTHDAY ANNIVERSARY
October 27th, 1905
WAY OF EXPLANATION.
The following was composed, now, some years ago. It is to be
lamented that it has not sooner fallen into the reader’s hands.
I know of no autobiography which quite equals this for transparency
of style. It has the etching’s excellence in indicating the
largest view by the fewest needful lines.
Let it be known that the undersigned was taxed to his utmost
ingenuity to meet the obstacles of diffidence in the autobiographer.
She relented, composed page by page, ---rather, sentence by
sentence, with great pains, and was content only after many
conferences and innumerable revisions.
The product is a
master-piece. As a contribution to our family history, it is
priceless; its failure to be should have been an irreparable loss.
It is singularly happy as a Christmas remembrance, --going as it
does to members of a family to whom Christmas has ever been a time
of family and domestic felicities.
Accompanying is a plot of the old Sand Hill Farm of the great and
good man, Gideon Blackburn Hart. Thereon and in its growth he
did a full man’s work; but from all I have heard of him, I cannot
but comment upon how vastly more was he than a farmer, and how deep
were his furrows in soil other than that in his two hundred and some
I know one thing, --somewhere back yonder the fountains broke forth
at high levels, for they have fed wide elevations of personal force
and moral character in these scores of descendants who sprang from
the loins of Gideon Blackburn Hart, Man, Citizen, Christian,
Presbyterian Elder, Neighbor, and of his gracious and heaven-mated
companion and other self, the nineteen year old bride of November,
1824, Hetty Taylor.
For him and for all of his we are grateful to God, beseeching His
merciful forgiveness that we have made such meagre profit of such
moral and mental heritages as have been ours.
[Note: Even though there is no
signature on the original document, it is clear that the writer is
Rev. Edward Hart Pence, son of Nancy Hart Pence. In 1908 he
was pastor of Fort Street Presbyterian Church in Detroit. – Bill
Anderson, November 4, 2006]
AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF NANCY HART PENCE.
The memories of my childhood days are very sweet and pleasant.
The Home where Father and Mother lived and raised their children
seems to me the dearest place on earth.
I was the first-born and I think one year old when Father bought and
moved to their Home.
I remember Mother telling me how happy they were to know that this
Home was their own.
The dwelling house with garden and walks and flowers of many kinds,
and currants, raspberries and strawberries in abundance; then the
orchard on the hillside reaching near the house, with the well at
the bottom of the hill; the branch running through he woods pasture
where we children spent so many happy ours; makes a bright, sweet
picture after all these years.
Happy days spent with our beloved parents, brothers and sisters!
My first impressions of my father and Mother were that they were
Christians and were trying to bring us up right, and that we must
obey them. They were very firm in their family training
(especially Father), yet most loving and kind. We as a family
of children, have abundant reason to thank God for our loving
Father always had family worship, no matter how busy he was.
We all, children, and the hired man, were called in just after
breakfast. Sometimes, Grandfather Hart, who lived with us, led
our devotions, but oftener Father. Our dear Mother had a very
sweet voice and led in the singing. Dear parents, they have
long since gone to their reward to join in singing the songs of the
I remember that often Presbyterian ministers stopped with us, and
preached in the school house near Father’s. I remember once
during family worship, Father Dickey, grandfather of Rev. Sol
Dickey, stepped in and quietly knelt down, and Father did not know
he was there. A warm welcome he received, as he was beloved by
I started to school when about six years old. Miss Clarissa
Morris was my first teacher. I loved her very much. As
Mother had taught me my letters and to spell some at home, I soon
learned to read. I have heard Mother say that when I was six
years old I could read a chapter in the Bible. I remember of
reading a chapter for my Grandfather Taylor, I think the 23rd
Psalm, sitting his lap. When through, he presented me with a
Bible, which I still have. I was his first grandchild, and I
suppose he thought me a bright little girl. I was named for my
Grandmother Taylor, which may have made him somewhat partial.
My next school teacher was Mr. William Morris, brother of my first
teacher. My remembrance of him is not very vivid, but my next
teacher, Mr. Hestin Buchanan, was dearly loved by us all. He
taught several terms, as we only had a fall and winter school those
times, lasting perhaps four or five months.
When I was about nine years old, at a meeting held at Father’s Home,
Father and Mother had their children baptized. Father was just
recovering from a long spell of fever, and during his sickness had
resolved to have their children baptized if his life was spared.
I remember we stood by his bedside while the rite was administered
by Dr. David Montfort. In the light of that scene by my
Father’s bedside, I have always thought I better understood the
passage, Acts 16:15, where Lydia, too, gave her household in
baptism. At this same meeting our dear teacher, Mr. Hestin
Buchanan, with his wife, united with the Presbyterian church by
profession of faith. The same fall, during Father’s severe
illness, our eldest brother, Silas, aged 5 years and 20 days, died.
His death was my first grief, and I remember the night he died and
the incidents of the burial as if it were a year ago. I
remember him as a pretty little boy.
When I was two years old, my Grandmother Hart, Father’s step-mother,
died. Grandfather Hart, Uncle Harvey and Uncle Charlie came to
our home and lived with Father and Mother. Uncle Charlie was
about four years old and made his home with us until he was
fourteen. He then went to live with a Presbyterian minister,
Dr. Wood, near Franklin, Ind. He staid [sic] with him several
years. Uncle Harvey was with us, I think, about four years.
He then learned the tailor trade with Mr. Abbott of Columbus.
Grandfather Hart lived with Father and Mother from the fall of 1827
until his death, which occurred in June, 1841. I think he made
one visit in that time to his old Tennessee Home, going on
horseback, and one or two visits to Washington Co., Ind., to visit
his only daughter, Mrs. Elizabeth Trotter and family.
Grandfather was a devoted Christian. He had been an Elder in
the Presbyterian Church many years. I can remember well how
patiently he bore his severe suffering. His death was very
The school house where I attended school was built of logs hewn on
the inside. I think it was about 20 feet long and 10 wide,
more or less. It was lighted on each side by a long narrow
window, I think the whole length of the building, just the depth of
one pane of glass. Our desk or table reached the whole length
of the window, as I remember, about one yard wide, one half level
next the window to hold our writing material, the other half
slanting a little for convenience in writing. The girls’ desk
was on the east, the boys’ desk on the west side of the school
house. My place on the writing desk was about fourth from the
north end of the school room.
We had no steel pens in those days. Our teacher made our pens
from goose quills. Father often made Sister Lizzie’s and my
pens at Home, which pleased us very much, as he made an excellent
pen. Lead pencils had not come into use as we have them now.
The boys in our school made their pencils by taking common elder,
cutting it the length they wanted, pushing the pith or inside, out,
then filling the empty space with melted lead. This made a
useful and durable pencil. Though not handsome, they were
prized more by us than the pencils are by the young of the present
When I was about thirteen years old, Dr. Dudley was, through
Father’s influence, employed as teacher of our school for one year.
He was a fine teacher, a more learned scholar than any of our former
teachers. He was very eccentric. Sister Lizzie and I
attended his school the most of the year. My school books were
Geography, Kirkham’s Grammar, and Pike’s Arithmetic. Dear old
Webster’s Spelling Book was my first book. I have a book,
given me by my first teacher, which I prize very much, “Life of
Franklin.” On first page is written, “Nancy Hart, 1837.” Our
reading books in school were First and Second English Reader.
Several boys were sent from Columbus to Dr. Dudley’s school.
Amongst them were Will Terrill, son of Rev. Williamson Terill,
Methodist, and John and Buck Terrill, sons of Rev. Harrison Terrill,
Christian. I remember them as bright young fellows full of
fun, often whipped by the teacher, for that was his favorite
pastime. Buck Terrill was prominent during the Civil War.
He was Adjutant General and was on Gov. Horton’s staff.
I was, I think, in my fifteenth year when I felt that Jesus was my
Savior; and united with the Presbyterian Church in Columbus.
Rev. Benjamin Nyce was pastor of the Presbyterian Church. My
Father, Mr. Hubbert, and Mr. Samuel McGeehan were the elders.
The Presbyterians held services in the old frame Methodist Church as
they were building their frame church on Third and Franklin Sts. at
that time. The pastor and elders have all, long ago, passed to
their Heavenly Home.
In November, 1837, I do not remember the date, Grandfather Hart, who
had been sick and could not sleep, awakened all our family to see a
wonderful sight: the falling stars. The heavens were all
lighted up in a blaze of brilliancy and grandeur. The stars
were shooting in every direction. It was a glorious sight
never to be forgotten. The neighbors gathered in to our Home
and all with wonder and awe watched the grand and impressive sight
The last school I attended was taught by Harvey Sloan. He was
a good teacher and loved by us all. His father and mother, Mr.
and Mrs. Elijah Sloan, were our parents’ warm friends and neighbors,
members of the Methodist Church.
Our Mother taught her daughters to do all kinds of housework.
We were taught to knit our own stockings and help knit our younger
brothers’ and sisters’ as well. Sister Elizabeth was two years
younger than I. We shared together our work and pleasures.
Father kept a flock of sheep and from the wool Mother spun and wove
winter clothing for her family. We were taught to spin wool.
In that way we could help our Mother. Truly it could be said
of her, “she looketh well to the ways of her household and eateth
not the bread of idleness.” (Prov. 31:27).
Besides their own family, two boys, Uncle Charlie Hart and Nathan
Scott, were provided for as their own children for several years by
Father and Mother.
During the summer months, there was a Sabbath School held in the
school house where we attended school, which too was used for
preaching. Father was Superintendent. It was attended by
children and young people from different churches in the
neighborhood. The parents came, too, and the house was
generally crowded. I remember my teacher one summer was Mrs.
Parker, a sweet-faced woman who died the following winter. I
believe that many are in Heaven that came under the influence of
that Sabbath School held in that dear old school house.
When I was about 13 years old, our Mother’s Grandfather, my Great
Grandfather Taylor, came to visit us. He was a Revolutionary
Soldier. He lived with his daughter, Mrs. Woodford, near
Madison, Ind., near where Hanover College now stands. Our
Grandfather Hart who lived with Father (his son) too, was a
Revolutionary Soldier. Great Grandfather Taylor staid [sic]
all night at our Home. We children (brother Will well
remembers it) were given the privilege of sitting up until after
midnight to listen to our noble soldier grandparents telling of the
incidents that they were engaged in during their service in the war.
Would that I could write it as they told it that night.
Grandfather Hart was wounded and carried to a barn which was used as
a hospital. Great Grandfather Taylor, I think, served through
most of the war. He was a devoted Christian, a member of the
Baptist Church. Was past ninety years old at the time of his
visit. Oh, that was a wonderful night, never to be
forgotten. When the time came to retire, all knelt and there
was a prayer of thanksgiving from each of the beloved Grandparents.
In the fall of 1841, I think is the date, a union meeting was held
in the school house near Father’s. Rev. Williamson Terrill,
Methodist, and Rev. Benjamin Nyce, Presbyterian pastor, were the
preachers. The first Sunday evening, I remember, Mr. Nyce
preached from the text, Matt. 26:26, “For what is a man profited if
he gain the whole world and lose his own soul.” At the close
of the sermon, he asked if any were seeking to be saved to come
forward. I think not less than twenty went forward. The
meeting continued for some time, and was a glorious meeting.
It seems to me I have never witnessed anything like it since.
There were many conversions, Sister Lizzie, and a young man, John
Hawkins, who worked for Father, were amongst the first who went
forward. I rejoiced with all, for I had a few months before,
chosen Christ as my Savior. Nearly every young person, as well
as many married people, became Christians and united with some
Church – a glorious work.
My Mother’s Father’s home, Grandfather Taylor’s, from my earliest
recollection, was on a farm in the hawpatch, about five miles from
Father’s Home. Our visits to Grandfather’s are a very pleasant
memory. They had nine children:
Uncle James, who
married Priscilla Edwards.
Uncle William, who married Maria Hager.
Mother, Hetty A., who married Gideon B. Hart.
Aunt Jane, who married William Hamilton.
Aunt Sarah Ann, who married: 1st, John Harvey; 2nd
Aunt Mary A., who married Cadwalader Jones.
Aunt Elizabeth, who married: 1st Jonas Crane; 2nd
Uncle David, a bachelor.
Grandfather Taylor sold his farm about 1840, and moved to
Jonesville, Bartholomew Co., Ind. He died in 1849, and
Grandmother died in 1853. They are buried in the Jonesville
cemetery. They were devoted Christians, members of the Baptist
Church, both so kind and gentle and loving. I have the
sweetest memory of them yet with me after these many years.
Uncle James and William, also Aunts Sarah and Elizabeth, were
members of the Baptist Church. Aunts Jane and Mary were
members of the Christian Church (Disciples).
Mother was a member of the Baptist Church when she was married.
During a protracted meeting held in Columbus, Father was converted
and united with the Presbyterian Church some time after their
marriage; and mother, at the same time with him, united with the
Presbyterians by letter from the Baptist Church.
All Mother’s family, Father, Mother, brothers and sisters have
passed away, except Uncle David Taylor. He is living at Little
York, Scott Co., Ind. He is seventy years old and is
Uncle James Taylor removed to Iowa, and he and Aunt Priscilla died
there at their home near Washington, Iowa, and are buried there.
Uncle William Taylor and Aunt Maria died in Columbus and are buried
at Liberty Cemetery, Hawpatch. Aunt Jane and husband died near
New Philadelphia, Washington Co., Ind., and are buried there.
Aunt Sarah Crabb and husband, Uncle John Crabb, died in Louisville,
Ky., and are buried in Cave Hill Cemetery. Aunt Mary and
husband, Uncle Cad Jones, are buried at Crown Hill, Indianapolis.
Aunt Elizabeth and husband, Joshua Parker, died at their home in
Azalia, Bartholomew Co., Ind., and are buried there.
Uncle David Taylor is the only one living (in 1904) of our Mother’s
In the summer of 1837 or 1838, Aunt Jane Taylor taught a summer
school in the school house near Father’s Home. I remember some
Mormon preachers coming and having meetings. They preached
evenings and Sundays, and, strange to say, they drew a crowd and a
number from the best families in the neighborhood joined them.
Mr. Sloan’s son Albert and wife (Sarah Keith), and Almira Sloan and
husband (Nelson Kent), and a number of others.
On one occasion Aunt Jane dismissed her school, and teacher and
scholars went down to Clifty Creek to see the converts immersed.
I remember the converts went that same fall in a company, to Nauvoo,
the headquarters of the Mormons at that time. Mother Sloan was
almost in a dying condition when her children left for Nauvoo.
Other parents were mourning what they felt was worse than losing
them by death. Our Father and Mother comforted them all they
could in their sorrow.
Feb. 20th, 1845, I was married to David Pence. The
marriage ceremony was performed by Rev. John C. Abbott, a Methodist
minister, there being no Presbyterian pastor in the Columbus church
at that time.
I can truly say our marriage was a happy one. We had a
pleasant home a mile and a half from Columbus. We lived a few
months in a rented home while David built us a two-story frame
house. We had a nice garden with currants, raspberries and
strawberries in abundance. David set out an apple orchard.
We had a lovely little farm. We lived a quarter of a mile from
Father Pence. Mr. Francis Crump, Sr., lived half a mile away.
His son, James, played the clarionette, Brother George played the
flute, and David played the violin. The two young men often
came to our Home and spent the evening making, it seems to me, the
sweetest music I ever heard. All three have long since passed
to their Home beyond.
Brother George enlisted in the Mexican War, I think in 1846.
It was a hard trial for all, especially for his Mother, when he went
away. He died at Monterey, Mexico, March 19th,
1847, and was buried there.
March 24th, 1847, our first-born, our dear little Emma,
was born. She was a sweet, lovely child. She was a month
old when we heard of Brother George’s death. There was no
telegraphing done then. The first message of the sad news was
in a letter to David from a friend of theirs whom David and George
had known in Columbus, and who had gone to Ohio and enlisted there.
Mr. VanSkike. His regiment, while on their way to the
battlefield, stopped over night at Monterey. Mr. VanSkike went
into the hospital thinking to find, maybe, some one he knew.
He found George very weak, but able to talk and so glad to see him.
He hoped to leave there for home very soon. He left him at a
later hour. The next morning he called to see him.
Brother George had passed away in the night. A day or two
after this letter came, Father Pence received a letter from the
steward of the hospital where he died. He wrote so highly of
George, of his kindness and patience in suffering. He said he
had endeared himself to every one by his gentle ways. This
letter was a great comfort to the family. I have wished that I
had a copy of it. The company, Capt. Boardman’s, arrived home
from Mexico July 4, 1847.
Sept. 26th, 1849, our dear little Mary was born. A
sweet little baby she was. We were a very happy Father and
Mother and very proud of our beautiful little daughters. The
memory of those days is very sweet after all these years.
In the fall of 1849 David decided to quit farming and move to
Columbus where he had built us a pleasant home. He wished to
work at the carpenter trade. In December, 1849, we moved to
Columbus. I remember there were only three houses north of the
Madison R.R. on Washington St., Mr. James Leason’s, our Home, and
the brick house afterwards the home of Mr. Aleck Kraining. I
must now give a loving tribute to my dear friend and neighbor, Mrs.
Kraining. She was a kind, gentle, loving woman, ever ready to
give a helping hand in sickness or health. My love for her
will never grow cold as long as my life lasts. Mr. Kraining
was an excellent neighbor.
Columbus, when we moved to our Home, seemed only a village. I
remember there was a cornfield across the street east and reaching
beyond where the Presbyterian Church now stands. The frame
Catholic Church was built, I think, in 1851. The King home was
built by Mr. Lakin, merchant; also the Cooper house and the house of
late years used for an office by the Cerealine Co.
Jan. 1st, 1852, our Emma was taken very ill. We
called in Dr. Hinman, our family physician. He pronounced her
disease scarlet fever of the worst type. Emma continued
growing worse, and on Jan. 7th, our Baby Mary was
stricken with the same disease. Dr. McClure was called in
consultation, and everything that skillful doctors and loving
nursing could do, was done, to save our darlings. But it was
God’s will to take them to be with Him. At one o’clock, A. M.,
Jan. 13th, Emma passed away, and at 11 P. M., evening of
the same day, our little Mary joined her in the “Better Land.”
Our happy home was left desolate.
(From the “Spirit of the West” Columbus paper). “The oldest
daughter of David and Nancy Pence, the sprightly, beautiful little
Emma, aged five years, was buried on the 13th. inst., and
on the 14th their only remaining child was added to the
treasury of the grave. We would not wish to recall the pretty
little prattlers from their new Home, but for their parents’ sake,
for as certain as Heaven is the abode of sinless innocence, so
certain is it that they are participants of its joys.” – Columbus,
Ind. Jan. 15th 1852.
These sweet sympathizing words were written by a dear friend of
ours, Mr. Alden. Their Father had engraved on their tombstone,
“they were lovely and pleasant in their lives, and in death were not
divided. Samuel 2nd, 23rd.
March 10th, 1852, our Home was blessed by the coming of a
little son. It rejoiced our hearts to again have a little one
in our Home. Mother Pence asked if we would name him George
for his uncle who had died in the far away land. We gladly
consented. George was a lovely, bright little one and a great
comfort to us. He came to us just two months and two days
after the death of his little sisters.
When George was nearly two and a half years old, his little brother,
Blackburn, was born. He was so sweet and bright, learned to
talk very young, and our two little boys were happy playmates.
But he too was only spared to us for a little more than two years.
He was taken with the flux and died Sept. 2nd, 1856, aged
two years and two weeks.
Feb. 16th, 1857, our little Ella was born. She was
a beautiful baby, and was very delicate. A neighbor, Mrs.
Leason, came in when Baby was a few hours old with her little girl
who was just taking the whooping cough. Our baby took the
disease and lived only fifteen days. Again George was our only
Dec. 23rd 1857, Lafayette was born. I need not say
how welcome he was. He was a healthy little boy and looked as
though he had come to stay. He slept the first month, which
made us uneasy. But the doctor told us he was all right, as
his arrival had been somewhat premature. We were at quite a
loss for a name for him. His Father who was working in his
shop one day, wrote on a little block and sent it in to me by
George, “Let us name our baby Lafayette.” I was pleased with
his choice and wrote on the block, “All right,” and sent George back
with the message to his Father. So he was named.
July 31st. 1860, our Ada was born, and we were happy to
again have a daughter in our Home. Her father chose her name,
and I was pleased with it. She was a sweet, loving child.
Her Father thought from her baby-hood that she showed musical
talent, and was anxious that she should have every advantage.
She commenced taking music lessons when she was eight years old, but
her Father did not live to hear her sweet songs and listen to the
skillful, beautiful performance on the piano which would have
delighted him so much.
June 12th, 1863, Charles J. was born, a very sweet
black-eyed baby. He came in war times, I think the week that
Vicksburg was taken by the Union Army. There was talk of the
Confederates marching to take Louisville. Brother John Snyder
lived there. Sister Sarah, with children and Father Pence who
was visiting with them, came to Columbus to stay until the trouble
should be over. Father Pence came up to see our baby boy who
was only a few days old. I told him that we were going to name
Baby for him, that Jacob should be a part of his name. Father
seemed very much pleased. Said he thought him a very fine
handsome baby. He was always very partial to Charlie.
Nov. 26th, 1865, our William D. was added to our home
circle and its joys. His dear sister Ada was very much
disappointed because her little brother was not a little sister.
It was my wish that our little boy should have his Father’s name,
and he consented, although he did not admire his name. I
insisted that it was a very pretty name, and think so yet. So
his Father wrote “William David” in the family record in our family
April 10th, 1868, our little boy, Ed. H. was born.
[Note: This is the Rev. Edward Hart Pence of Detroit, mentioned
at the beginning of this document. He also has his own section
of this website.] He was a frail, delicate little one, and until he was a month old,
we feared he would not long be spared to us. He then seemed to
take new hold on life, and we were made happy by our dear baby
regaining his health, and he was indeed a joy and comfort to us
through the dark cloud of sorrow that came to us. When he was
four months old, his Father was stricken down with typhoid fever.
From his first attack, his physicians, Drs. Grove and Wright,
thought him seriously ill. Dr. Barrett, too, often called to
see him. He seemed gradually to grow weaker. When her
Father had been sick four weeks, our Ada was taken with the same
disease. At his request and my wish, I was his constant nurse
until Ada was taken sick. After that, his Masonic brethern
[sic] and other friends came and took care of him through the night.
Everything that skillful physicians and loving nursing could do, was
done to save our beloved ones. But it was God’s will to take
the dear Husband and Father to his Home in Heaven. A little
while before his death, he bade each one of his weeping family
“Farewell.” Saturday morning at 11 o’clock, Oct. 3rd,
1868, he passed away from earth, trusting Jesus Christ as his
Saviour and Redeemer.
Ada was very low at the time of her Father’s death, but the means
were blessed for her recovery, and she was spared to us fifteen
years longer, to be a comfort and blessing to her Mother, brothers,
husband and friends, by her sweet music and loving Christian life.
Then she “was not,” for God took her, and later her sweet babe, Ada
Hart, to be with her Saviour and loved ones.
During David’s last illness, brother Edward Hart and Sister Edith
visited us for a week. Brother Ed sat by his bedside and was
with him almost day and night. David became very much attached
to him, and I remember when Brother Ed went away, he shed tears.
We had not named our baby, and I felt anxious that his Father should
name him. I took him to the bed and told him I wished him to
give the baby a name. He put his hand on Baby’s head and said,
“Let us call him Ed Hart, or Edward if you wish, for your Brother
Ed. I think it is a pretty name, and I never knew and loved
Brother Ed as I do since his last visit.” I was well pleased
with his choice. After their Father’s death, I told the
children what he had said, so George brought the family Bible and
wrote, “Edward Hart.”
In the summer of 1871, Ed., 3 years and 4 months old, was taken very
suddenly on Sunday evening with severe sickness. Dr. Collier
was sent for in haste. Before his arrival, Ed had a
convulsion. Dr. Collier worked with him until midnight, when
he was a little better. Serious symptoms were noticed the
following morning, and the doctor wished another physician called in
consultation, and we sent for Dr. Grove. He seemed to grow
steadily worse, and the doctors seemed puzzled, and we had little
hopes of his recovery. On the tenth day of his sickness, the
doctors tried their skills in an extreme measure and felt sure there
was little hope. They called me in after their consultation
and told me there was on remedy, a powerful medicine, that might
bring him relief, but there was danger of his passing away by
sinking, but it was the only hope, and a little delay might be too
late. I told the doctors to do what they thought best. They
gave him the medicine and it had the desired effect. He sank
away for several hours, I think 24 hours. We kept him alive by
giving him stimulants. I will never forget the kindness of my
neighbors during Ed’s illness. There was great joy in our Home
when the word came from our good doctor, “there is hope now.”
I had prayed all during Ed’s sickness if he could be spared to be a
useful man, that God would spare his life, and I do thank Him that
he heard my prayers and led him into the ministry. It was
several weeks before Ed could walk.
I wish to mention the kindness of the Masonic brothers after my
husband’s death. Three or four years after I gave my bond as
guardian for my children, the men who were on my bond failed in
business. I was notified that I would have to give a new bond,
or have new signers. I sent for a leading Mason and told him
my trouble, and stated my financial condition. He took the
bond at once and went away. In an hour or two he came back
with the names of several Masons on my bond. Their kindness
was highly appreciated in the relief it brought me. Another
time I needed names for security to sell heirs’ property.
Cousin Albert Trotter, Dr. Hogue and Mr. Fred Donner willingly gave
their names. I have been wonderfully blessed in having such
friends, and I thank God for his goodness; for I know that
every good and perfect gift cometh from his loving Hand.
The first pastor that I distinctly remember was Rev. Stintson, who
was pastor in 1841 when Grandfather Hart died, as he preached
Grandfather’s funeral. Rev. Benjamin Nyce was next pastor,
serving for two or three years. Father Romley was supply for a
year. In the fall of 1845, there was a protracted meeting in
Columbus Presbyterian Church. Rev. Henry Ward Beecher came
from Indianapolis and preached several days. Also Rev. Clement
Babb and Rev. Galiher, all noted ministers. There was a goodly
number united with the church. Rev. Merwin was the next
pastor. He was from the east, and as I remember, his family
did not like the west and he did not remain long. Mr. Brownlee
was his successor. I can not remember how long he remained.
Our dear Brother Dickey came in 1853, and remained our pastor for
seventeen years. He as much beloved by all, and his faithful
preaching did much for the Master in building up the Presbyterian
Church in Columbus. In 1870 Mr. Parker came to be our pastor.
The faithful work of Brother Dickey laid the foundation for the
faithful ministry of Mr. Parker. In the fall of 1870 there was
a glorious meeting in the Presbyterian Church. About 30
professed Christ and united with the Church, amongst them being our
Lafayette and Ada, and Ella and Rose Billings, afterwards my beloved
In October, 1874, George and Miss Ella Billings were married by Rev.
A. Parker. We were very happy in welcoming dear Ella into our
family circle, and for nineteen years, as long as she was spared to
us, she was greatly beloved by us all. A year after they were
married, during a meeting held in the new Presbyterian Church,
George and Charlie became Christians and united with the Church.
When Will D. was eleven years old, he professed Christ and united
with the church, and Ed. H., when in his twelfth year chose Christ
his Saviour and united with the Church. My dear Ada and her
five brothers were baptized and received into the Church by our
beloved pastor, Mr. Parker. He was our pastor for twelve years
and it was with much regret that we saw him leave for his new home
in Orange, Calif.
Map of Gideon Blackburn Hart's
Bartholomew County, Indiana
Same area, 2006. The green
arrow points to Sand Hill Cemetery.
Here's a wider view of the same
area, showing Columbus, Indiana in the lower left.