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February 1845


EVENTS IN EMMELINE B. WELLS’S DIARY FOR 1845

20 February

Reminisced about her conversion, opposition in her community, and marriage to James Harris.

28 February

Expressed hope that James would return from St. Louis for her.

24 March

Received news that James had gone to sea.

6 June

Defended her fidelity in her diary.

20 February 1845 • Thursday

Feb. 20. 1845.

When will sorrow leave my bosom all my days have I experienced it oppression has been my lot when O when shall I escape the bondage is not my life a romance indeed it is a novel strange and marvellous here am I brought to this great city by one to whom I ever expected to look for protection and left dependant on the mercy and friendship of strangers Merciful Providence wilt thou long suffer this must I forever be unhappy will the time never come when happiness and enjoyment will be the lot of this lump of clay when thraldom and oppression will be cast off my life has been one continual {p. 71} round of troubles & afflictions it seems sometimes as if death would be a comfort and then again when I think of the Gospel I feel resigned to the lot God has assigned me but what has life ever been to me from the days of my childhood almost ever since I left my mothers arms I have been afflisted [afflicted] and troubled is yes in school I had enjoyment to be sur but how often was I crossed were not some of the scholars persecuting me because Susa,2 and I were friends and as soon as Mormonism began to flourish were they not harassing me on every side did they not tear <me> from my beloved hom {p. 72} and the arms of a tender parent to keep me from Mormonism and then the Good Spirit interposed and provided a way for me to be released from the hands of a cruel guardian3 who pretended so much respect for me that he did not wish me to associate with my own mother and sister because they were Saints of the Most High God or as he called them Mormons. I adopted this method of escape not merely for escape but he with whom I was to be connected was my lover[.] in truth I loved him and I believed his proffessions to be true Then I thought all danger would be past but alas misery presses me heavier and <more> heavy can I go farther O God my Heavenly Father assist me do not let it {p. 73} always be thus thou hast promised me days of joy and gladness and O Lord send not more affliction than I can bear before it O Lord impart thy spirit I grow sick at heart in vain does the sun shine bright my heart is faint my soul longs– {p. 74}

24 February 1845 • Monday

Feb. 24. 1845.

This day like all others is full of trouble sorrow and affliction are my attendants O my God how long will thou suffer this once I could have filled this book with expression of happiness but Alas sorrow is my portion I behold those around me enjoying the society of their dearest friends while I am cut short and why is it is it because of my sin and wickedness or is it a trial of my patience Heavenly Parent in the name of thy Holy Son Jesus do I beseech thee to pity and send comfort and consolation to an afflicted soul have mercy and forgive and grant me the desire of my heart and I will forever praise {p. 75} thee O that I had a mother or sister to advise me but I am cut short of all these blessings I have friends dare I unbosom my heart to them no no I know them not but those I have tried and proved I am not afraid to trust Gr[e]at Father of mercies be pleased to grant me the request of my heart. {p. 76}

28 February 1845 • Friday

Feb. 28. 1845.

Last Night there came a steamboat up the river O how my youthful hea[r]t fluttered with hope with anxiety my limbs were affected to that degree I was obliged to lay aside my work I rely upon the promises he has made me and not all that has yet been said can shake my confidence in the only man I ever loved but to return hope revived in my bosom I watched the boat I looked out at the door I walked a few steps out of the yard I saw a person approaching my heart beat with fond anticipation it walked like James [H. Harris]4 I came nearer and just as I was about to speak his name he spoke and I found I was deceived by the darkness last night {p. 77} I dreamed he came home O that it were reality Heavenly Father again bring us together. Today I am alone and I have time for reflection memory brings the past before me in all its joyous light Life seems like a dream am I awake would that this were a dream and that I could awake and find myself at the side of him my h____ [husband?]

Boats are coming two have past to day and where is James can he have forgot all his promises all his vows no never they must sting him to the very soul and I pray God that they may and that remorse of conscience will bring him back to the path of duty. had I been treacherous I might have expected as much {p. 78} but God knows I have ever been true to him and if he would be as true to me I could not complain O God grant that he may soon return for my heart is braking for him and O God if he is situated so that he cannot return allow him to write to me that I can know something about his (whereabouts)

Footnotes

  1. [1]See Madsen, Intimate History, 21–24, 31–37, 51–62.

  2. [2]Likely Susan Bancroft Hunter, whom EBW later described as “one of my very dearest girl friends.” (EBW, Diary, 28 Dec. 1885.)

  3. [3]The “cruel guardian” may refer to Samuel Clark Jr., second husband of EBW’s mother, Diadama Hare. (Madsen, Intimate History, 16.)

  4. [4]James Harvey Harris was EBW’s first husband. They married 29 July 1843, and she moved with his family to Nauvoo, Illinois. The company arrived in May 1844. On 1 September she gave birth to a son, Eugene Henri, who died of chills and fever on 6 October. James left Nauvoo for St. Louis, Missouri, in November 1844 to find work. After sending two letters urging her to join his parents in La Harpe, Illinois, he took passage as a seaman and never returned. She received no word from him thereafter, but years later she learned that he died at sea in 1859 somewhere near Bombay, India. (Madsen, Intimate History, 35–36, 36n39, 40, 51–53, 121.)