Colonial Literature – Puritan Beginnings – Winthrop, Bradstreet, & Sewall

19 From The Diary of Samuel Sewall – Death of Wife Hannah after 41 years of marriage 1717

Samuel Sewall

8 15.
My Wife got some Relapse by a new Cold and grew very bad ; Sent for Mr. Oakes, and he sat up with me all night.

The Distemper increases ; yet my Wife speaks to me to goe to Bed.

Thursday, I asked my wife whether twere best for me to go to Lecture : She said, I can’t tell ; so I staid at home, put up a Note. It being my Son’s Lecture, and I absent, twas taken much notice of Major Gen Winthrop and his Lady visit us. I thank her that she would visit my poor Wife.

Friday, 18.
My wife grows worse and exceedingly Restless. Pray’d God to look upon her. Ask’d not after my going to bed. Had the advice of Mr. Williams and Dr. Cutler.

7th day, 8, 19.
Call’d Dr. C. Mather to pray, which he did excellently in the Dining Room, having Suggested good Thoughts to my wife before he went down. After, Mr. Wadsworth pray’d in the Chamber when ’twas supos’d my wife took little notice. About a quarter of an hour past four, my dear Wife expired in the Afternoon, whereby the Chamber was fill’d with a Flood of Tears. God is teaching me a new Lesson ; to live a Widower’s Life. Lord help me to Learn ; and be a Sun and Shield to me, now so much of my Comfort and Defense are taken away.

8 20.
I goe to the publick Worship forenoon and Afternoon. My Son has much adoe to read the Note I put up, being overwhelm’d with tears.

8 21. Monday,
My dear wife is embowelled afid put in a Cere-Cloth, the Weather being more than ordinarily hot.

My dear Wife is inter’d. Bearers, L Gov’ Burner, Majf Gen Winthrop ; Col. Elisha Hutchinson, Col. Townsend ; Andrew Belcher esqr and Simeon Stoddard esqr. I intended Col. Taylor for a Bearer, but he was from home. Had very Comfortable weather. Brother Gerrish pray’d with us when return’d from the Tomb : I went into it. Gov’ had a Scarf and Ring, and the Bearers, Gov’ Dudley, Brother Sewall, Hirst, Gerrish. Was very destitute for want of the help of Son Hirst, and Cousin Jane Green. This was the first day of the Gen Court Gave the Deputies Books. Allen’s Alarm1. They sent Mr, Isa. Tay and Capt. Wadsworth to me to Thank me.

guished long. The other four died of the Fever. 0 Lord ! as I have often Prayed, draw not the Line of Hingham over Boston ! but pity and spare thy people. Mr, Flint preached the Lecture from Philip. 3. 7. Loss for Christ : made a very good Discourse. First six verses of the fourth Psalm Sung, York Tune. Visited Mr. Belcher, who took it very kindly. Visited the widow Belcher, Cousin Powel; left Sermons with all, and for Mrs. Lillie delivered her, and for her Sister Arnold. Laus Deo.

Nov 22.
Son prays in the Council. The Govemour makes a very sharp Speech, Chiding with the Deputies because they gave him no more Money. Prorogued to the fifth of February. Went to Major Walley’s to shew Mr. Brown of Narragansett the Deed for the School and the Certificat of its being Recorded in their Town. He Thank’d me for it, and Acknowledged their error in not gratefully accepting it at first. Jn° Eyre grows better. Went to the Funeral of my Old Schoolfellow Jacob Adams, who was Representative for SuflSeld ; seiz’d with a violent Fever last Satterday, and buried this Friday, in less than a Week’s time. Lord make me ready for thy coming ! Sewall, Davenport, Tho. Hutchinson. Brother Northend was gon home, before I came to Diner. Sent a good Scarf to Mrs. Mary Hale by her Bro’ Sam Moodey, and Sermons to all my Cousins.

Saturday, 23.
Mrs. Clark is buried ; Bearers, Col. Tailer, Davenport; Tho: Hutchinson, Adam Winthrop ; Mr. Wᵐ Pain, Edw. Hutchinson. Col. Hutchinson and I followed next after the Gentlewomen. Madam Winthrop’s Coach was there. Mrs. Mather is gone to Hampton again to her Sick daughter Gookin.

1) Reverend Joseph Alleine’s famous “Alarm to the Unconverted” a 1672 best seller that Sewall gave as a gift to guests and coffin bearers.



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American Literatures Prior to 1865 Copyright © 2019 by Samuel Sewall is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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