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

17 From The Diary of Samuel Sewall – Birth and Death of a Son

Samuel Sewall

Monday, Decemb. 7th 1685.
About One in the Night my Wife is brought to Bed of a Son, of which Mother Hull brings me the first News: Mrs. Weeden Midwife.

Sabbath-day, Decemb 13th 1685.
Mr. Willard baptizeth my Son lately born, whom I named Henry: David Stoddard, the son of Mr. Simeon Stoddard, was baptized next, and then Several other grown Children. Nurse Hill came in before the Psalm was Sung, and yet the Child was fine and quiet: Mr. Willard preached from John 15: 8.
“Herein is my Father glorified, that you bear much Fruit, so shall ye be my Disciples”: which is the first Sermon my little Son hath been present at.

Dec. 17.
One Trescot, an ancient woman of Dorchester, riding over the Neck, Tide being high, her Horse drowned and she hardly saved: questioned whether she may live or no. This night Little Hull hath a Convulsion Fit, as he lay with me in Bed. Henry very restless.

Satterday Dec. 19.
Mr. Willard Prayes with my little Henry, being very ill.

Sabbath-day, Dec. 20.
Send Notes to Mr. Willard and Mr. Moodey to pray for my Child Henry.

Monday, about four in the Morn the faint and moaning noise of my child forces me up to pray for it.

21. Monday even Mr. Moodey calls. I get him to go up and Pray with my extream sick Son.

Tuesday Morn, Dec. 22.
Child makes no noise save by a kind of snoaring as it breathed, and as it were slept.

Read the 16t. of the first Chron. in the family. Having read to my Wife and Nurse out of John: the fourteenth Chapter fell now in course, which I read and went to Prayer: By that time had done, could hear little Breathing, and so about Sun-rise, or little after, he fell asleep, I hope in Jesus, and that a Mansion was ready for him in the Father’s House. Died in Nurse Hill’s Lap. Nurse Hill washes and layes him out: because our private Meeting hath a day of Prayer tomorrow, Thorsday Mr. Willard’s Lecture, and the Child dying after Sunrise (wether cloudy), have determined to bury on Thorsday after Lecture. The Lord sanctify his Dispensation, and prepare me and mine for the coming of our Lord, in whatsoever way it be. Mr. Tho. Oakes our Physician for this Child. Read the 16th Chap. of the First Chronicles in the Family.

Tuesday night read the 15th Jn° in the Chamber, out of which Mr. Willard took his Text the day Henry was baptized: in the Family, the 3d of Matthew, both requiring Fruit.

Wednesday, Dec. 23.
Go to the privat Fast at Brother Williams’s. Capt. Scottow begins and is enlarged and fervent in praying for the Church and Christ’s Witnesses: Made me conclude. Sung part 137. Ps. But if I Jerusalem, &c. Just before I went, Brother Longfellow came in, which was some exercise to me, he being so ill conditioned and so outwardly shabby. The Lord humble me. As I remember, he came so before; either upon the funeral of my Father or Johny.

Thorsday, Dec’ 24th 1685.
We follow Little Henry to his Grave: Governour and Magistrates of the County here, 8 in all, beside my Self, Eight Ministers, and Several Persons of note. Mr. Phillips of Rowley here. I led Sam., then Cous. Savage led Mother, and Cousin Dumer led Cous. Quinsey’s wife, he not well. Midwife Weeden and Nurse Hill carried the Corps by turns, and so by Men in its Chesnut Coffin ’twas set into a Grave (The Tomb full of water) between 4 and 5. At Lecture the 21. Psalm was Sung from 8t to the end. The Lord humble me kindly in respect of all my Enmity against Him, and let his breaking my Image in my Son be a means of it. Considerable snow this night. At night little Hull had a sore Convulsion Fit.



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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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