Our Family Legacy
Our parents, as was customary with them, attended Sabbath meeting accompanied by the little ones. On this occasion, though, instead of going directly home at the end of the service they called at the home of a neighbor who still resided in the old rock fort near the west gate, on the bank of Pleasant Creek [the Abraham Day family]. The little four year old, James, soon complained of hunger, and father said to mother, "I will take him for a little walk and then return for you." But when they were outside the little fellow insisted on going home for a piece and the kind hearted father humored him, all unconscious that his baby girl was following him at a distance.
After reaching home and attending to the wants of the little boy, he took him once more by the hand, saying, "Let us go over to the orchard and see how much the trees have grown." So saying he left the house by a opposite door and led the boy across the plank spanning the stream that ran between the two lots. This ditch was somewhat deep and rocky. The water ran swiftly so the little ones were never allowed to cross alone.
They walked around for a while looking at the young trees of which father was justly proud and then went back to the fort for mother and the baby. There was the distance of three blocks between the two places. When they re-entered the neighbor's house father noticed the absence of the little girl and asked concerning her. But the mother answered him only with an incredulous smile. He searched the adjoining rooms with no better success and then repeated his question in a way that could not be misunderstood. The mother turning deathly pale exclaimed, "I--Oh, Heavens! Didn't you take her with you?"
She had missed the child, as she thought, from the moment the father left and, as he was in the habit of taking her with him almost everywhere he went, she had rested perfectly easy in regard to her [the baby]. All was consternation and dark confusion in a moment. The poor mother wild with fright ran screaming to the near stream [Pleasant Creek where baby Josephine Hansen had drowned some time before] followed by the others. But with one horrified glance at the hopeless prospect of its dashing waters she turned her tearful face in the opposite direction. She saw father halfway up the street leading to the home. He was running as fast as his poor lame foot would carry him. The little boy was left behind and the mother overtook him as soon as possible, and grasping the little quivering hand she hurried on with a heart ready to burst with fear and dread.
Father retraced his steps to the foot bridge leading to the orchard and then following down the stream to the bottom of the lot, climbed the partition fence and hurried on until half way down the adjoining lot. There he beheld the object of his hurried solicitous search laying with its shining head [of very blond hair] pillowed among the rocks at the edge of the stream nearest him. The little frock had caught upon a snag in a way that caused her to lodge with the upper part of her body above the water, which gave hope that she might be saved, though to all appearance she was dead.
The mother reached the gate just in time to see father approaching the house with the little lifeless form clasped to his heaving breast. She sank to the ground where she sat, tearing the hair from her head like one distracted, until a kind neighbor assisted her to the house, where hurried preparation for resuscitation was going on.
Apostle Orson Hyde was a visitor at Mt. Pleasant that day and had been one of the speakers at the meeting. News of the accident had spread rapidly and he with several other leading brethren [arrived] on the spot, and [making] connection with my father, stood with clasp[ed] hands and prayerful hearts watching the little pale face while the necessary treatment was being applied.
[Elder Hyde walked slowly through the garden to the little two-room log home and past tear-stained faces to where he was shown the body of little Eliza. Nathan asked him if he would administer to his little girl and call her back to life.
Orson Hyde examined the little body in silence. He could detect no pulse, and no beat of the tiny heart. The body was getting cold.
"How long was the little girl in the water?" he asked. Brother Staker examined his watch.
"It's just about an hour since I went to the orchard, and I suppose she followed me."
"I am very sorry, Brother and Sister Staker, but I have examined your baby thoroughly, and she is dead," said Elder Hyde. "And it isn't pleasing in the sight of the Lord that we should try to bring back our dead after he has called them home."
Nathan was quite disturbed by this statement and answered, "Elder Hyde, I have always tried to bow to the will of the Lord in all things, and am willing to now, but one thing troubles me very much. Soon after our little girl was born a year and a half ago, we took her to Bishop Seeley to give her a blessing and a name. I gave her that blessing myself, and I distinctly remember that I promised her that she should grow to womanhood and become a mother in Israel. I sincerely believe that such promises made by the authority of the priesthood will be fulfilled, but now--" he broke off and gestured helplessly.
"In that case," Brother Hyde answered, "I will ask God to restore your little girl to life again, and if that promise was made in the spirit of faith and righteousness, she shall live again to fulfill it."]
Father then anointed her with holy oil that had been consecrated for the healing of the afflicted, and President [Hyde] was mouth in sealing of the ordinance. The little one soon began breathing and opened her eyes like one just awaking from peaceful slumbers, with no appearance of suffering.
At the close of meeting that day I had obtained permission to go for a walk with some young companions to Sanpitch [River], as the main stream in the valley, while there several small boys came running all out of breath to tell me that my baby sister was drowned. The shock was terrible I started home at once, almost beside myself with grief, when I reached the edge of town to my great joy I was informed that she had been brought back to life. As I neared home I saw the beloved little form toddling around the chipyard where father was chopping wood. I never will forget the sweet expression of satisfied joy on his dear face when I caught the baby in my arms [and] covered the bruised face with rapturous kisses."
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