How Grandmother Was Lost 1897

Berwick Register,

Wednesday May 12,1897

How Grandmother Was Lost.

A Bit Of Family History

Moses Shaw, my great-grandfather, was born Jan. 18, 1735. Ann, his wife, was born Feb. 16, 1738. The dates of the birth children of their are as follows: Isaiah Shaw, Oct. 11, 1763; Elizabeth, Dec. 26, 1764; Moses, Sept. 23, 1766.

On April 1, 1770, Elizabeth and Moses, taking advantage of the fine weather, stripped their tiny feet of shoes and stocking, and were following their father who was ploughing with a yoke of oxen, around and about the field.

The two children were called by their mother, who was a smoker of tobacco, and sent to a neighbor’s house to borrow a fig of that weed for her benefit. Having obtained the tobacco they started homeward, on a path through the woods. Becoming absorbed with childhood fancies they wondered off the path and were soon – lost in the woods.

As soon as it was generally known that the children were lost the neighbors turned out en masse, and for three days the surrounding country was searched over and up the face of the North Mountain, between the Annapolis Basin and the Bay of Fundy on the north. Thinking it impossible for them to go up the mountain they had gave up the search and decided that either the bears had devoured them, the Indians had stolen them, or they were drowned so they all returned to their respective homes.

In the meantime the little children were wandering through the bushes looking for their way home. On the way they lost the fig of tobacco and after some search found it again.

The weather changed to cold and wet, night came on and they laid down tired and hungry in a little hollow. The little girl, with motherly instinct, tried to make her little brother as comfortable as she possibly could, but he, cold and hungry and away from the comforts of home, would wake up and cry and call for his mother and sometimes would crawl out of his leafy bed and wander away looking for his mother. Then his sister would go after him and coax him back and wrap her scanty clothing around him and get him to sleep again. Thus they passed the night.

At the dawn of morning they started and travelled all day till their scanty clothing was torn and tattered so that they were half naked, but faithful still to their trust fund – the tobacco. In a starving condition they tried to catch the little birds, and Moses said, "O Lizzie, if we could only catch a little bird alive we would not stop to pick the feathers off on it; we’d eat it feathers and all," but they did not catch any birds.

During the three days’ hunt they heard the horns blow and guns fire and the men calling but did not dare to answer; for fear the bears would hear them and come and eat them up. Thus they spent four days.

Now, on the fourth day of the children’s absence from home, an old man (I have forgotten his name) took his gun and told his friends he was going to the Bay shore to his traps, but his real intention was to hunt for the children that were lost. Toward the close of the day he was at the top of the mountain. Suddenly he saw a few leaves quivering on the ground. He paused, looked again, then carefully examined his gun, his first thought being that there was a wild animal below the surface of the leaves. He advanced a little farther, and seeing the children’s clothes he came to the conclusion that their remains were lying there, they having been destroyed by some wild beast. In another moment he heard a child’s voice. Being overcome with joy and sorrow and sympathy mingled together, he was so completely unmanned that he could not utter a sylable.

The little girl looked up and said, "Where are you going to take us?" By this time he had so far recovered his speech as to say, "I am going to take you to your mother"; and on hearing this little Moses, for he used to stutter started up and said, "We l-l-lost the b backer."

The hunter lifted the little fellow in his arms – for he was too weak to walk and taking the girl by the hand- he found she could walk by being led – took them down the steep side of the mountain and to their way home, which was a mile and a half from the top of the mountain, reaching the house shortly after dark. The joy with which they were received was unspeakable.

Their father was sitting before the fire. He took the little boy in his arms, his feet and limbs, (as were those of his sister) being cold and purple. The little fellow seeing a plate of potatoes on the hearth made a spring from his father’s arms and got hold of a potato. As they dare not let him eat after such a long period of hunger the potato was gently taken from him by his father, whereupon the child looked up in his father’s face and "Now, father, I have been lost for four days and am starving to death and you won’t give me a potato." His father always said it was the hardest thing he ever did in his life to take the potato from his starving child.

For fear the parents would be tempted to give them more than it would be prudent for them to eat, the rescuer of the children remained all night. He put them in a warm bed and once in a while gave them a little thin gruel. After a few days had elapsed they were allowed to eat the desire quantity of food so they were restored to health and strength.

But their mother was nearly demented. She would wonder about in the night and call the children by name and say "Come to mother, dear, come to mother," and she never fully recovered from the shock. She lived about seven years after the children were found. After her death the little Elizabeth took charge of her father’s house and family, but finally he got married again and was the father of eleven children, eight by his first wife and three by his second. Their names were: Isaiah, Elizabeth, Moses, David, Joseph, Zebina, Havilah, Mary, Susanna, Second Susanna and Ann. They were born and brought up in Granville in the Annapolis valley. At about the age of nineteen Elizabeth, the heroine of the story, married Josiah Snow. Eleven children were the outcome of this alliance. In the year 1814 they moved to Wakefield, in what is Carleton Co., N.B., and there they both died, he in the year 1832 and she in 1854 in her eighty-ninth year. The last twenty-five years of her life she was blind, and although she always said "Death was a terror to her," yet in her last days her faith was triumphant. As a neighbor she was kind and cheerful and greatly loved by all. As a singer her voice was not excelled in the old church music. She seemed to know by heart all Watt’s hymns, and many old people who survive speak of her singing to this day. A number of her children lived to the ripe old age of ninety, but all have passed away.

Now, this girl who was lost on Granville Mountain, my grandmother, and I belong to a family of eleven children. One is dead and the youngest has many grandchildren. Our family live in six different States of the Union and the Province of New Brunswick.

The above story was narrated to me by the lips of my grandmother, the girl who was lost, and this little history I bequeath to the eyes of the reading public.

John Mallory

Jacksontown, Car. Co., N.B.