and prompted him to leave for “points further west.”
Early in October of the year 1818, Thomas
and Betsy Sparrow
fell ill of the disease and died within a few days of each other.
performed the services of undertaker.
With his whipsaw he cut out the lumber, and with commendable promptness he nailed together the rude coffins to enclose the forms of the dead.
The bodies were borne to a scantily cleared knoll in the midst of the forest, and there, without ceremony, quietly let down into the grave.
Meanwhile Abe's mother had also fallen a victim to the insidious disease.
Her sufferings, however, were destined to be of brief duration.
Within a week she too rested from her labors.
“She struggled on, day by day,” says one of the household, “a good Christian woman, and died on the seventh day after she was taken sick.
Abe and his sister Sarah waited on their mother, and did the little jobs and errands required of them.
There was no physician nearer than thirty-five miles. The mother knew she was going to die, and called the children to her bedside.
She was very weak, and the children leaned over while she gave her last message.
Placing her feeble hand on little Abe's head she told him to be kind and good to his father and sister; to both she said, ‘Be good to one another,’ expressing a hope that they might live, as they had been taught by her, to love their kindred and worship God.”
Amid the miserable surroundings of a home in the wilderness Nancy Hanks
passed across the dark river.