“Thursday, November 4, 1852—This day my son Henry Augustus was born at 20 minutes past 12 (at night). The moon was in the last quarter, and not up yet. He weighed 8 ½ pounds. Before retiring to rest, we named, blessed and consecrated him to the Lord.
“For a good while before Henry was born, we had been very destitute of clothing and food. I had only one old shirt, an old ragged pair of pants, no coat or vest. Susan had no dress even, and no shoes. As the time for her confinement drew near, and we had not the slightest article to cut up or make for the expected one, and could buy nothing for want of money, we knew not what to do. A rich man owed me $11.00 [$257] for work I had done to be paid in lumber. I stated my extreme circumstances, and as he had a great abundance of all kinds of goods,–flannels, domestics, Calicoes, &c I tried to get some. He refused me any. I then offered to give him the whole amount for one half the value in goods. No. I then offered the whole debt if he would give me two or three dollars worth of flannel. He refused, saying he would pay lumber as agreed, but would pay nothing else. His wife also owed my wife for washing, three yards of domestic, but she also refused to pay even that, although she knew our peculiar circumstances.
1852—At the last, I had the good fortune to borrow .95¢ of Father, with which I got a little flannel just in time. Susan lost her courage but once, and cried a little. I said ‘Did you ever know a child born and go naked? She said ‘No’. Well, said I, I don’t think ours will be the first to do so. She said she guessed not, and dried her eyes.
“I cannot help thinking that the Lord will reward that rich man and his wife some time, as he deserves.
“When Henry was born, there was a furious snowstorm raging, and the room was full of fine sifting snow which fell all around in the room. But by the blessing of the Lord, my wife did not take cold.” (An Uncommon Common Pioneer, the Journals of James Henry Martineau, 1828-1918, pg. 19.
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