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The Puritan Family

by Oliver Allmand-Smith

Samuel Sewall lived with his family in Puritan America between 1652 and 1730, and he suffered in ways unimaginable to us today. Over a period of 24 years, he and his wife Hannah had 14 children: his first son John died aged 17 months; his third son Hull died aged 23 months; his fourth son Henry died aged two weeks; his fifth son Stephen died aged 6 months; his third daughter Judith died aged 6 weeks; his fourth daughter Mary died following childbirth aged just 19 years; his fifth daughter Jane died at 5 weeks; his sixth daughter, Sarah, after just five weeks of life, was laid in the family tomb, and his seventh son never saw the world alive, being stillborn.

Of their 14 children, one was stillborn and seven died before they reached the age of three. Out of the 6 who survived to adulthood, only three outlived their father meaning that Samuel Sewall buried 11 out of his 14 children. In the years 1685, 1686 and 1687 Samuel buried three sons, Henry, Hull, and Steven.

In Samuel’s diary, we read of a nightmare he experienced. In it, he woke up and all of his children were dead – his nightmare nearly came true.

We also read that when his children were not actually dying, they battled with smallpox, measles, the flux, ague, colds and numerous…

Read the entire article at Reformation21.

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