This year came to me as learning to work, to find an honorable way to get a living, or even a few shillings possible for a boy to possess. There was not much opening. I drove a cow to and from pasture quite faithful for one man a neighbor, and was to have the current ninepence "Spannish Coin" for the job, really it was twelve and a half cents counted out in the coin of the realm.
I probably bought in imagination more toys and useful to me things than one could store in a good sized room. When the cash was earned I just went for it but never once cent could I get; finally I was so persistent that the neighbor told me; if I ever asked for it again he would slap me! I then gave up, and if I could found the Emperor of China. I could in great humbleness told my tale. I watched him after years, for I was sure he would take things that did not belong to him if the opportunity [full line of text missing] he broke in and took what he please and never made any report of his pilfering.
I never but once lifted any thing that did not belong to me. That time I was going to school about seven years of age, and I wished a piece of white chalk to mark with. At my father's sawmill there was a mill wright at work in the yard. He had laid a small piece down not larger than a small walnut or chesnut. I carefully edged to it and pocketed it, and went on to school. But of all the fears, that afternoon were the worst I ever knew. I could not mark with it for others would see it and the constant expectation to be called for was terrible. But after school closed I made my way back to the same identical square stick of timber to replace that ill gotten trouble.
I recollect in September my father in regard to my industry said I could go with him a 17 mile ride to Goshen, this was a great treat, never been so far from home and the weather was beautiful. We passed the Leicester Pond. Father related what happened at one end. There was an iron ore mine found, what is called "Bog ore". The miners had been digging it for a number of years. One day they went to dinner and on their return the mine was full of water, and no one drowned. This Leicester pond or lake had burst in and the iron ore was irrecoverably lost. The twenty five wheel barrows and all other tools lay there, and no one can ever recover them.
My father was a preacher of the Christian Denomination and this was his appointment in Goshen. We stayed at a member of the church by the name of Justus Dart. Some way that evening I burned my hand, Mrs. Dart took me quietly and exorcised the fire out of it, by saying over a form, that must not be repeated in a loud voice, and the previous form is only learned by a man repeating to a woman one at a time and the believer a woman, may repeat to a man. I was told this mystery, and the burn was easier, whether the success was owing to the flour paste it was covered with or the exorcise; I have never been able to determine. I have given this away to the opposite sex sometimes with great caution, only such as I supposed could reverence the form.
At service the next day there was a full house and awakening interest influence was felt; at the close of the preaching the house seemed to be in tears, and when the invitation was given out for to rise, if they wished a change of heart. I made a move, as if I was forced to do it, appeared to me. Now was the time. I had been a Sunday School scholar a number of years and this training probably has ben the reason of starting out in the new life. Age thirteen and three months. I immediately commenced to do right in my estimation. It seemed no trouble to getting to the right path, but it was a watchful effort to keep there. I came back with father the Monday following pondering a portion of the journey on what Mrs. Dart told me the last thing. "That I was made for a preacher!" I wanted to ask father about that prophecy - but concluded to wait until I could understand the duties of such a calling.
When we came home Grandmother Hurlburt was informed that I had a change of heart. She was quite positive it was a wrong thing in one so young. This grandmother was in every evening. One of my chores were to milk two cows; a job I had always protested more or less. But after this experience the disagreeable tax seemed to have disappeared, and one evening as I came in with the milk, grandmother made the remark. "I think Hiram is converted for he makes no fuss about milking." Then I discovered myself the irksomeness of the job had disappeared; even now when writing at the age of seventy four this has a strong argumentative force to convince me of God's word and the forgiveness of sin.
(The full diary will be located here when complete.)