Gabriella Havens

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“I was born in Bradford County, Pennsylvania, February 25, 1820. In 1837 my father, mother and father and their nine children came to Ohio where we remained long enough to raise a crop (or about a year) then we came on to Grant County, Indiana. Father did not like the country and did not want to stay but we children started to clearing the land and so we remained.

“When I grew older I taught four terms of school, receiving two dollars per week. By and by a man came along who had a farm and he persuaded me to come and live with him. I would have been happier if I had not gone with him. Girls, never marry; just stay in Marion and teach until you are gray-headed; Lord, you ought to be happy!

“I was twenty-two years old when I married. I have done a lot of hard work. My husband and I cleared twenty acres of land. He would get discouraged with the farm work, then. I would go out into the fields and help him. We had eight children, so I had to work hard.

“My husband died June 30, 1863, and I was left with the care of the children, the youngest one being but three years of age; but we managed to get along. I would go out into the fields and work like a man. I raised those children with my own two hands.

“I had many chances to re-marry but I did not want a man. I never ran after the men; if I had, I’d a got one. One day I was out in the orchard with my children when a neighbor man came and asked me to marry him. ‘I guess not,’ I said, and turning to my children—’I will not leave them for any man.’

“What church do I belong to? I was a Methodist all my life until 1879 when I became an Adventist. Oh, I believe in it.

“You ask if my father had slaves? No-o-o-o, I guess not. Why, I would have burned my shirt to make a light for a run-away slave. My uncle sheltered Fred Douglas for four days in an ‘underground station,’ that being his cellar. He hid behind potato barrels, and they covered him with comforts to hide him from the slave owner.

“My great grandfather was in the Revolutionary War. My grandfather was seven years old when his father was called to war. The mother soon died and left grandfather with the care of four little sisters, two of them being twins but six wec’1-s old. Some neighbors took the little girls and grand father was sent down the river seventy miles with a flock of sheep. He took a saddle horse and food enough to do him a week. He was only seven years old and got lost in the woods. At night he tied himself to his horse so he could sleep and not lose it. For three weeks he wandered about and when his food was gone he ate with the horse—roots, grass, etc. At last he came to a ‘clearing’ and begged food. They took him in, but~he never got back to his family for seventeen years.

“Yes, those were heart-rending times.

“Oh, must you go? I wish you could stay longer. Well, girls, remember what I said—DON’T marry, and may the dear Lord bless you. Tell your friends that an old woman one hundred and one years old blessed you. Good-bye.”

This dear aged old lady was interviewed by Miss Gladys Cole (Senior, 1921) and Miss Straughan. She was sitting quietly in her old chair when they entered her room, apparently asleep, but when told there were two ladies who wished to talk with her she was instantly alert and delighted to talk with them about her “early days.”

It was an inspiration to see, the “light that fades not” in her countenance-and feel the benediction of her last words.

“Of such is the Kingdom.”