He Carried Me

The following story is adapted from the writings of John Lyman Smith, at the time Joseph's teenage cousin.

One evening in the summer of 1837, Joseph and I drove a carriage into the little town of Painesville, Ohio, and stopped at the house of a friend for supper. We had scarcely finished our meal when a disturbance arose outside. A mob had gathered; there were angry yells and threats of murder. They demanded that our host bring Joseph and me out to them. Instead, he led us out through a back door and helped us to get away in the darkness.

Pretty soon the mob discovered we had escaped, so they dispatched riders to hurry along the road they thought we would take. Bonfires were lighted, sentinels were placed, they hunted the countryside.

Joseph and I did not take the main road, however, but walked through the woods and swamps away from the road. We were helped by the bonfires. Pretty soon I began to falter in our flight. Sickness and fright had robbed me of strength.

Joseph had to decide whether to leave me to be captured by the mob or to endanger himself by rendering aid. Choosing the latter course, he lifted me upon his own broad shoulders and bore me with occasional rests through the swamp and darkness. Several hours later, we emerged upon the lonely road and soon reached safety. Joseph's herculean strength permitted him to accomplish this task and save my life.


("He Carried Me," New Era, December 1992, p. 38)

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