Simonton, Benjamin (1794 - 1883)
BERRY, PARKER, SIMONTON, BUCK, ORROOCK
Posted By: Jim Pearson (email)
Date: 7/9/2004 at 01:01:24
[Death notice sent to Mass. Newspaper, prob. the Herald]
Letter from Sister Berry
Dear Bro. Orroock: With a sad heart I pen a few lines for you and any readers of the Herald who may feel interested to hear from us. God has dealt strangely with us since we left our pleasant home and friends in Boston last October. He has seen fit to lead us through the deep waters of trials, sufferings and privations. I have not strength to speak of the past few months of darkness and discouragement when it seems at times as though our God has forsaken us. I will only say that when my dear father was so suddenly taken away in January last, it seemed that our cup of sorrow was full.
We have traveled, in my helpless and suffering condition, hundreds of miles, and when within a little more than a hundred miles of his home and were anxiously expecting that in a few short months we should see his face and receive his fatherly greeting (after a separation of eleven years) the unexpected tidings came to us that he was dead. As soon as the intensely cold weather and traveling would permit my taking the journey with safety we hastened (in company with my brother at Vancleve) to the home of my widowed and almost helpless mother to comfort her if possible in her sorrow. We found her able to sit up most of the day, but so changed by disease and suffering as to be scarcely recognized by me. It was a sad and sorrowful meeting when my brother, in his strong arms, held me up to receive the affectionate motherly greeting, before us in a helpless condition, and I found no father to welcome me. His chair was vacant and his pleasant smile and voice silent in death. The grief was greater than I can express, and oh, how I longed for him who has said, "I am the resurrection and the life". I am assured that God hears and answers the prayers of his children in his own way and time and I can see and understand now so many of the working of my heavenly Father which in the past were dark and incomprehensible that I can truly say with the poet "By his own hand he leadeth me."
A day or two after our arrival mother said; "Lizzie, I have prayed most earnestly that I might live to see you once more, and now I am ready to go when God thinks best; I only await his time". For many months she had often expressed this desire to friends and neighbors who called to see her, while I, far away in Massachusetts, was earnestly praying and longing to see her face once more and to be with her in her last hours. Truly "God moves in a mysterious way". Mother gradually failed and two weeks and one day after our arrival she fell asleep with Jesus. "Blessed sleep, from which none ever wake to week." We mourn, but not without hope. Her end was peaceful and calm as the setting sun, for she was "ready". When the dews of death were on her brow she tried to repeat the words:
"Jesus can make a dying bed feel soft as down pillows are, while on his breast I lean my head and breathe my life out sweetly there".
These were words she often repeated. Those days and hours of holy converse, when we repeated together the "exceeding great and precious promises" of God, and I endeavored to comfort her with the consolations of the gospel of Christ, "where with we also ourselves are comforted in our sufferings," are days most sacred to me, and will ever be kept green in memory's casket, watered with memory's tears. Whatever may lie before us in life's future of joy or sorrow, I shall ever thank God for those sweet hours spent with my precious mother. With kind regards to all our loved ones in Christ I remain yours in affection.
Lizzie P. Berry
Wiota, Iowa, May 15, 1883
(Note: Lizzie Parker (Simonton) Berry was Elizabeth Parker Simonton, daughter of Benjamin and Anne (Buck) Simonton.)
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