The following is a transcription of a Journal/Diary kept by Nancy Mathews Hicks covering the period from 1816-1872. While the first entries are from as early as 1816, I suspect most of the entries were written into this book starting around the time of her husbands death in 1866. It appears that Nancy Hicks transcribed entries from older documents into this single journal. One piece of evidence of this is that an older piece of paper was included in the journal describing the death of her Mother. The information from this piece of paper appears to have been transcribed into the Journal. Most of the entries in this journal are religious in nature as her religion was the central focus of her life. She had many tragedies in her life, which are described in the journal, including the death of her son at 17 months, and the discovery of her sister & her sister's husband dead under the ice of Onondaga lake (along with their horse & cutter) after they had been missing for four weeks.
Nancy Hicks was born in 1794, most likely in Fulton County NY since she lists the town of Kingsboro as her 'native place'. She married Jonathan P. Hicks and lived in Salina in Onondaga County. Jonathan Hicks was elected the first Treasurer of Liverpool in June of 1830 and was president of the village in 1837. Nancy Hicks was one of the original nine members of the Presbyterian Church in Salina (Liverpool) which was founded in 1829. Her husband was the main funder in 1841 of the frame edifice for the church. The 'History of Onondaga County ' written in 1878 states 'The principal financier in the erection of the church and its most useful and efficient member, about that time and for years afterwards, was Jonathan P. Hicks. Kind hearted, noble and generous, the church owes him a great debt of gratitude."
This journal contains many purely religious entries along with entries regarding the deaths of all of her family members (son, mother, father, husband, five sisters, and two brothers). It also provides a glimpse into the attitude of a person living over 150 years ago.
The following link will display a scan of a page from the journal for those who are interested in seeing what a typical page actually looks like: Journal_Page
I'd love to hear from anyone with information on the people, places, or events in this journal. I can be contacted firstname.lastname@example.org.
Now, here's the journal:
In 1816 my attention was called up to the subject of religion. There was a great revival of religion in Kingsborough, my native place. Almost all of the young people of my acquaintance were subjects. I attended reading the Bible. Saw it my duty to give my heart to God and felt as if I shant perish I would perish seeking almost in dispair. The Lord saw fit to open my blind eyes and give me a hope in the blessed Lord and Savior. Where in I was blind I was made to see. I had a new song put into my mouth even praise unto my redeemer and God. Very precious words seemed to me if ye live after the flesh ye shall die but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body ye shall live. It seemed that the savior reached out his hand and said resist the Devil and he will flee from you. Blessed words and light shone into my soul which the world could neither give nor take away. Draw nigh to God and he will dare nigh to you then my soul was filled with love I could say Jesus all the day long was my joy and my song I lived so for some time but did not join the Church. I had some friends that were Baptist. They used to say so much about the mode of baptism. I must attach a great of deal of virtue in that made my Mother was a Baptist but she said nothing to me for she wished me to see for myself. Both of my grand Mothers was and so I did not join the church.
1817 February 15 -I was married to J. P. Hicks and moved to Liverpool. I found no church nor home but wandering into by and forbidding paths he that knoweth his masters will and doeth it not shall be beaten with many stripes.
February 1819 the 10th day. The Lord blessed us with a son. I did not realize this was a blessing only lent. Seventeen months and seventeen days, July the 26th 1820 he died of convulsion fits. Now no afflictions or chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous but grievous. For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth. I was visited with sickness & death which was blest to me for before I was afflicted I went astray but now I felt as if I must be engaged in the good cause of my Redeemer for if God be God serve him.
January 1821. My health was not good. I went to Kingsboro, my native place and in April united with the Church. I felt to come out and be more decided on the Lords side for if you be God serve him. I returned home to Liverpool in June. No society except a few females had female meetings at hour house and the sabbath was kept more as a holly day. I saw a log house raised & men a fighting & lo we * to pray for the heathen in a foreign land but here we had heathens all around us. Darkness and heathenism.
1822 There was a church formed in Salina in 15th January. A branch from Onondaga Hollow of 36 in number and the church dedicated. I thought to be one of that number. My sister and her husband Mr. Hawley started to go to Johnstown the 2nd day of January to be gone about 2 weeks and we expected them after this every day after day passed and they did not come till the 29th of January. Some person was crossing the Onondaga Lake and discovered their trunk and search was made and they cut a hole in the ice and found them horse cutter and all and they brought in lifeless corpses before us. This heartrending scene needed a God to support us in this hour of trial or nature would have sunk beneath it. Altho I felt as if the Lord had prepared me for such a trial in some measure even before they went away. The spirit of the Lord told me to tell her to prepare to die, for I never would see her again this side of Eternity and if it should be me to die I want you to prepare to follow me and it may be its you. In talking with her the night before she went away I told her how I had felt for sometime and I must do my duty to her. Before she went away we had a serious interview for I walked the house and we cried. A Mrs. Wentworth was present until a late hour. We all cried. 29th taken out of the water, lain there four weeks. Kept the 30th and buried the 31st. It was a solemn scene to all who witnessed it. There were here people from all parts of the town and county, so it seemed as tho all the community mourned. No one hears the shocking tale with heart unmoved.
The Lord can clear the darkest sky, can give us day for night. Make deps of sacred sorrow rise to rivers of delight.
1822 - I sent to Kingsboro and Mr. Yale sent me a letter to unite with the church at Salina the first of May. Mr. Taylor, the first settled Minister in the town. I was a member of that church seven years. In 1829 there was a church formed in Liverpool, nine in number.
1826 - Was a church formed in Syracuse. J. W. Adams Minister. 25 years and he died.
1831&1832 - We had revivals of religion all through this region of Syracuse & Salina & Liverpool and we had accessions to all of our churches and my beloved husband was one of the number. He professed to have a hope before he was married. The seed lie buried long in dust. It shant deceive our hope. He has been more decided on the Lord side thus ever since. THE PRECIOUS GRAIN CAN N*** BE LOST, FOR GRACE ENSURES THE CROP.
J. P. Hicks died July 3, 1866. My Dear beloved husband confined to his bed four months, his limbs palsied & he suffered beyond all account but his faith was strong in the Lord & pray that Lord would give him patients and resignation to his blessed will but during the whole of his severe & trying affliction I do not remember to have heard a murmuring word escape his lips yet he was cheerful in all his trials. I never pray life for that seemed impossible. I could pray for the Lord to release him and take him home to glory. Dearly as I loved him I could give him up into the arms of our blessed Savior. He died without a struggle or a groan almost 20 hours unconscious till he breathed his last Tuesday after noon 10 minutes past 2. The Rev Mr. Hilton preacht from 2cnd Cor 4th Chapt 16 & 17 verses. For which cause we faint not but though our outward man perish yet the inward man is renewed day by day. 17th verse. For our light affection.
I use to sing for him All Is Well, his favorite hymn. There is not a chord that doth arise to hide my Savior from my eyes. He was my pleasant companion, my affectionate husband, and I left to mourn his loss and the Lord has strengthened me in the consolation that I shall soon go to him for he will not return to me. Then we will be united in praising God to all Eternity. Our union will be complete in Christ Our Savior. BLESSED SLEEP NONE EVER WAKES TO WEEP. SLEPT IN JESUS, PEACEFUL REST.
The months of affliction are oer, the days and the nights of distress. We see him in anguish no more. He's gained his happy release. His soul has now taken its flight to mansions of glory above. To mingle with angels of light and dwell in the kingdom of love. He's gone, his dear 20 hours and angels are waiting to Savior to see. I could say the chariot is come and angels are waiting to carry him home. O I ask not to stay for a kings throne or power. Tis to poor to invite them to invite to tarrey one hour.
February 15th, 1867 - 50 years today since we were married and lived in Liverpool all these years and shared each other society and love. Till death separated us he sympathized with me in all my trials I ever passed through and now I sit and grieve alone and pray alone, live alone. Only my Savior and my God to support me in my lonely hours for the vacancy no one else can fill. To God, Ill make my sorrows known and tell him all my griefs.
On every side I cast my weeping eyes. I see memorial of his pleasant life and happy events when here below but now he's gone to join the general assembly and church of the first born whose names are written. Heaven has gained the victory through our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Gone to heaven a little before me or in advance of me.
August 25, 1867 - Went to the cemetery where my all that I counted once dear to me on earth is now turning to our mother dust. Tis God that lifts our comforts high or sinks them in the grave.
A STRANGER LONELY HERE I ROAM FROM PLACE TO PLACE ARE DRIVEN MY FRIENDS ARE GONE AND I'M IN GLOOM THIS WORLD IS ALL A DISMAL TOMB I HAVE NO HOME BUT HEAVEN
Oh may I receive these corrections of my heavenly Father with patients and submission.
In the year 1848 I was very sick. Had a council of doctors & all thought my case doughtfull and all thought my time had come die. I told my beloved husband to write a verse to put on my tombstone.
Farewell my husband fond and near if ought on earth could keep me here it would be my love for you but Jesus calls my soul away to realms of bliss she wings her way where sighs and sorrows cause my dearest friends adieu.
But oh the ways of providence for God moves in a misterious way, his wonders to perform. He plants his footsteps on the seas and rides up upon the storm. But the Lord spared my life to see my dear husband depart July 3rd 1866. But all my passports were not sealed. I could not go home for Gods ways are not as our ways.
After the death of my dear beloved I was going to Church alone here militant but he as walking the golden streets in heaven. Far removed from pain and anguish he is chanting hymns above.
Written June 6th, 1867:
J. P. Hicks was born in Galloway, Saratoga County in this state. He came to Liverpool in 1813. He went through all the hardships of a new country by sickness and manny privations. He aided in building our former house of worship and in bearing the burden and beat of the day he help build the present one 1862 and when he died he left something for the benefit of the church to be anualy had as long as a church exists in Liverpool. He was always honest and upright in all his intercourse with men sustaining a well earned repuration in all the walks of life. He was one of the Elders in the church almost at the commencement of it in 34. He was always first on a subscription list. Hardly ever one wrote without he wrote it he was always liberal and ready to give to all the calls of the day for giving to the Lord was one part of his religion.
He was seized with paraletic shock and for four months so he could not move a limb without help. From that time his active usefulness ceased. He enjoyed the powers of his mind without interruption and was generally able to converse and did so with as much pleasantness as in the days of health. He was patient and mild in all his affliction as he never dishonored his profession by errors or disorderly conduct. He thought the Lord sent these afflictions to try him.
He was tried in the furnice and his patience held out to the last and he longed to go home and be at rest so he finished his course here on earth and went to his heavenly home to be forever with the Lord this 3rd day of July 1866. For my severe trial in giving him up I came in the morning and told I prayed that the Lord would release him and take him home to rest. I knew I should be lonesome without him that it would ot be very long till we meet again. I would meet him in heaven. O he said I hope you will not have to suffer as I do. So pleasant he looked. He said it as pleasant as ever without a murmer.
When Gathering clouds around I view And days are dark and friends are few. On Him I lean who not in vain Will guild me through this lonely plain
On every side I cast my eye and find my helper gone. The best relief from sorrow is to apply myself to study and reading the scriptures and all good reading keeping the mind full of the love God.
O ye mourners cease to languish Oer the grave of these you love Far removed from pain and anguish They are chanting hyms above Light and Peace at once deriving From the hand of God most high In his glorious presence living They shall never never die. While in darkness I am straying They are chanting hyms above
November 17th, 1868 - Our society being without a paster in these dark times reminded me of the leaders of Israel that was taken from us some by death and some to other fields of usefulness. O that the mantle of Elijah might fall upon all that is left of us that we have a double portion of his spirit to rest upon us & the Lord would send fourth laborers in to this vineyard for the harvest is great and the laborers is few is my daily prayer.
My beloved husband had gone and left us when the church was least able to bear it. God called him to come up higher to leave the cares and interest of his church to others hands. The cause is Gods and he will see to it if he comes out in judgement against it.
The youth of my acquaintance and friends that experienced religion when I did are most of them gone. Yes and my beloved husband the partner of all my joys and sorrows is gone but where. Ah pause and see, gone to a long Eternity.
Gods ministering angel of angels in the Old and New Testament. I could not numerate them. It is beyond my power because they are so numerous. I write but a few when I read my bible.
March 29th, 1873 - Gods Ministry of Angels. For if the word spoken by angels was steadfast and every transgression and disobedience received a just recompence of reward; how shall we escape if we neglect so great salvation. Hebrews, Second chapter, 2 & 3 verse. The sins of Sodom had increased beyond forbearance. The Lord sent two angels to warn Lot to flee and escape for life and while he lingered they laid hold of hand and said escape to the mountain. Abraham had entertained these two angels unawares. Genesis, 18 ch, 12.
And the angel of God which went before camp of Israel removed and went behind them and piller of the cloud went from before their face and stood behind them &C.
As the angel smote the Sodemites with blinds Hezekiah made intersesion to God. His prayer is heard and God commior* an angel to defend Jerusalem. And it came to pass that night that the angel of the Lord went out and smote in the camp of assyrians an hundred four score and five thousand.
A very singular power was manifested by that angel who appeared to the roman soldiers and to shose women before the sephulchre at the resurrection of Christ. While the glory of his presence strikes the soldiers with terror and they fall as dead men before him &C. Comprehend the rapidity of their flight is beyond our imagination to comprehend. Psalms 78, 17 verse. The chariots of God are twenty thousand even thousands of angels. God is among us in Siria in the holy place. Psalms 100 three 20. Bless the ye his Bless ye his angels that excel in strength that do his commandments &C.
Hagar the bond woman is cast out with her child. She wanders in a dry and barron wilderness till she and child are ready to perish. And the angel of the God called to Hagar out of heaven and said what * the Hagar &C and fount water and the angel shuts the lions mouths when Daniel was cast into the den of lions. The bless Saviour said he could pray and his Father and he would him twelve legions of angels and the * speaks of tens of thousands of times ten thousand thousands of thousands angels.
Fifth chapter of acts: Peter is put to prison, the church assembles and prayers made without * for him. God in heaven hears and answers a swift witness was sent. But the angel of the Lord by night opened the prison doors and brought them forth and said he thought he saw a vision. These are the beings who minister to the heirs of salvation. The angel of the Lord encampeth round about them that fear him and he deliverith them.
And if these high and holy beings manifested such deep interest and joy in our welfare on the occasion of the birth of Christ being announced to the shepherds so suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the hosts prasing God saying glory to God in the highest &C. And will not all the sons of God shout again for joy as when the morning stars sang together I cannot numerate all and these are but a few sceches of holy beings comes to aid mortals here below.
But the blessed Savior told his disciples that they should see the Son of man coming in the clouds with great power and glory and then shall he sent his angels and shall gather together his elect from the four winds from the uttermost part of the earth &C. Thus we see the angels do their office work at the command of God. The beggar died and was carried by angels into Abrahams bosem his angels are ministering spirits sent forth to minister to them who shall be heirs of Salvation through Christ our Savior.
27th December 1868 - The Lord has come very near to me by removing my friends by death one after an other and now a widow the partner of all my joys and sorrows and the husband of my youth has gone yet it has been done by the hand of a Father in heaven. I dare not murmer bless his holy name that he met the enemy without knowing as his approach for he was disarmed.
October 13th 1872 - This Day. This day seventy eight years old. My pilgramage almost over. How long I may stay here I need not know. God knows what is best. That is best for me. Why was I made hear thy voice and enter while there's room. When thousand make a wretched choice and rather starve than come. Religion is my chief concern and shall be till I die. When the hand that pens these lines will soon be motionless in death and cease to speak.
Mr. Conklin commenced 184* preaching here August. Heb 4 13, Psalm 15th, Sept 1 - Luke 16.31, 2nd Corin 5.17 Sept 8 - Heb 9.13, Eccl 12 7 verses Sept 15 - Math 4, first 10 verses, Luke 14, Chapter 10, last verse * Sept 22 - Galations 5.22 23; Romans 17.12 Sept 29 - 2nd Kings 5.3 about Naman; Titus 3.2; Speak evil of no man Oct 6 - * 29 - The * being of eternity.; Mark 8.36 - For what shall it profit.
Mr. Conklin left here July 12, 1843 on account of ill health. Mr. Darling preacht August 3rd, Jeremiah 9.
Mr. Caselton commenced January 1st 1845. A course of sermons to the church and imperitent sinners. John 2.15 - Love not the world nor the
Mr. Tuttle our Paster in 1841. James 5.15, The prayer of faith Job 22.21.214 depart from us we 22.21 Acquaint now thyself with him Psalm 142.4 no man cared for my s* Is 43.10 ye are my witness saith Is 55.7 Let the wicked forsake his Haggai 1 Chapter 14, they were stirred to work in the Lord's house 1 Timothy 2.5 For there is one God and one mediator Heb 7.25 Wherefore he is able to save the uttermost Romans 6.23 For the wages of sin is death &C Acts 24.25 Felix trembled Ezekial 18.31 Make you a new heart 2nd Corinth 5.15 They should not live unto themselves but unto him which died for them and rose again. Funeral discourse.
Died Saratoga January 15th 1862 my sister, Susan Stanley. Died January 15 on hearing of the death a sister, I could only exclaim: Hail ye happy happy spirit. Death no more shall make you fear. Pain nor sorrow grief nor anguish shall no more distress you there. She suffered greatly. Oh glorious thought of entering into heaven. She could say, And is this heaven and am I there. How short the road, how swift the flight. I am all life eye all ear. Jesus is here - my souls delight. Her age was 55.
My dear sister passed through great trials and was ready to depart and be with Christ which is far better. The text she chose to be preached at her funeral Phillippians 1 Chap 22 23 verse. Rock of ages left for me. Let me hide myself in thee, by her request sung at her funeral and when I sour to words unknown. While I draw this fleeting breath. When my eyelids close in death, when I rise to worlds unknown and be hold thee on thy throne. Oh Rock of ages left for me. Rev 7th chap. Could add this that she came out of great tribulations ready to wash all to heart. * robes wash in the blood of the lamb.
My mother died March 17th 1853, her age was 83 & 5 months. She was waiting for her Lord to come and call her and she died without a struggle or a groan. Her bible was her constant companion. Her last words was Jesus, Jesus is my friend. She passed through the valley so quick. Her blessed Saviour made the sting of death no terror, for death was disarmed of his terror. Happy flight in a moment she was gone.
(sheet of paper inserted in journal provides the following additional info on her Mother's death):
March 17th, 1853. My Mother died and the 18th we started for Kingsboro. Got there in the night. Had the funeral the next day to * Cases 19th discourse by Rev. E. Wall Sabbath the 20th he preached from Isaiah 6th chapter 5 6 verses. Then said I woe is me for I am undone because I am a man of unclean lips and I dwell in the midst of people of unclean lips &C.
My father died May the 6th 1828 of heart disease. Only a few moments and he was gone without speaking a word. But O the soul that never dies at once it leaves the day.
My brother John Mathews died June the 20th 1862. He profest a hope in the blessed Saviour soon after the death of his wife. He gave his heart to God. He promised he would meet her in Heaven.
Louissiana Johnson died June 18th 1875 in her 50th year of age.
Margaret, wife of J. Mathews died February 11, 1851. A happy Christian.
John Mathews Jr. died June 20th 1849.
The text preached at her funeral was in Job. I would not live always. Sung the hymn on the same subject and the hymn tonight. Unveil they bosom faith *.
My sister Mary Gillett Died February the 22 1865 and her age 72. Professed religion 50 years. She from a child used to pray and pour out her heart before God in retirement and devote herself to God and pray that the Lord would take the stonney heart away and give her a heart of flesh. The Lord touched the heart of this chosen vessel in her early youth. Mr. Gillett died August 5, 1859. Friend after departs.
Sweet is the scene where Christ * die Where holy souls retire to rest How mildly beams the closing eye How gently heaves the exporing crest. Farewell we meet no more On this side heaven There on harp of gold They praise his name And see him face to face
My brother Barnet Mathews died June 4th 1868 of a paraletick shock only 5 days.
My sister Elizabeth Cameron died November 15, 1872, Hempstead Texas Austen.
(Inside back cover)
He was about three years gone. Rev. Mr. Hawly, our former Paster came to visit us and he saw so manny of our numbers gone some to a world of spirits he preached on that subject. Union of spirits in Heaven and on Earth. Come let us join our friends above who have obtained the prize. And on the eagle wings of love to joy celestial rise. Let saints below in covert sing with those to glory gone.