Bethiah Pulsifer

Bethiah (Cotton) Pulsifer died young and not long after having married.

Josiah Cotton and his wife, Hannah Sturtevant, were no strangers to death and had five sons and one daughter before Bethia (Cotton) Pulsifer’s death. The Diary of Josiah Cotton is the only source of information available on Bethia Cotton:

1735On March. 1. Our 3d Daughter Bethiah was Married to Mr Abiel Pulsifer a Young Mercht in Plymo. (pp 242)

1735  Several in this Town have been Visited this Year With that Slow & long ffeaver which has been heretofore so fatal & mortal amongst Us Most [of?] which thrô. Mercy have Recoverd tho. Some are fallen Asleep—My Daughter Pulsifer was violently taken with the Same Distemper sometime in September, & lay a fortnight & then Expired on Thursday Night Septr 25: My Wife that tended her in the Beginning of her Sickness, came home Sick, kept her Bed above a (pp258)  Month; Confind. near two—and shall We Recieve Good which We don’t Deserve at the Hands of the Lord; & not Evil that We do? Oh Let Us not have any undue Thoughts on these Occasions, or Speak unadvisedly with our Sins, God is just & right & can do no Iniquity—Nay he has punished Us far less than Our Iniquities do deserve; tho. the Loss of a Child well Settled, & so near to Us, must needs be very great. My Daughter was buried Septr 2. And Survives in her lovely Child—the only Remains—

She Several times occasionally declared her Incapacity of fixed Thought in her Sickness; Which should put Others on Thinking of the Great Concern of their Souls, before they come to ly down on the Bed, from whence they shall no more arise—Howsoever She did (as it were in an Agony on ye. last day of her Life) Pray for an Interest in Christ: And what is remarkable She then Disclaimed her Conjugal Relation to her Husband; it being doubtless a Forerunner of her Speedy Entring into that [State?] wherein all Such Relations are dissolved—Our Son in Law Mr Pulsifer being much Affected with the Loss of his Wife (With whom he had lived in a friendly Manner, & wth good Agreement) was joyned to the Church Decr 7—And, Oh that he may behave as becomes Such a Relation, & may in due time be translated to the Church triumphant! (Pp 259)

By a Letter from Mr Ward Cotton, Ministr at Hampton in the Province of New-Hampshire dated Decr. 22: 1735 We have the following Acct. concerning the Sickness that has lately been there & thereabouts; viz. That at Hampton have died about One Hundred, At Kingston Eighty five : At Exeter One Hundred & five: at Stratham near twenty at Greenland ten: At Rye Thirty: At the Shoals thirty odd: At Salisbury under twenty—At Newbury above 40: At Portsmouth under 20: At Kittery above 30, at York upwards of 20. besides Many at a greater distance—All by a Distemper which he calls “A Plague in ye. Throat—” (pp 262)

[Section transcribed by MW] . A Short Poem occasioned by the immature Death of Mrs Bethiah Pulsifer just out of her Time & Entred into Eternity—

Death is a Tribute which by Nature We

Are bound to Pay to the divine Decree

A Tender Plant cropt in her Youthfull Years,

Lyes here a Subject not of Prayers but Tears.

Alas. when We [bear?] Thought of her Decay,

This pleasant Child by Death was born away.

So from Your Lips the Transient Breath shall fly,

Pale the red Cheek & dead the lively Eye—

And now be Wise Ye Mortals Young & ffair,

See Your sad Picture & Your Period here,

How Soon the Beauties vanish from your Forms,

Turn into Dust, & Mingle with the Worms.

Such as She is You quickly must become,

Stiff, Senceless, Putrid, Mouldring in a Tomb.

Then trust no More, Ye Young, your fading face,

Let bright Religion Court Your warm Embrace;

To her soft Beauties be Your Love inclind

The Deathless Beauties of the immortal Mind.

I nev’r look on Life but with a Loathing,

When it is barren & endureth Nothing.

To my Eternal Welfare but when I

Find it devoted to the Deity— (pp 264)

Be Pious thou, & You with Such shall rise

To reign with Christ above the lofty Skies;

Where Jesus Shines unutterably bright,

And Beams of Glory [beat?] upon the Sight

What then remains but to Impore our God,

That by his Grace, He’d Sanctify the Rod

Husband & Parents must their Will Resign

To him whose Will is holy, just, divine.

Mortals Prepare to Meet the Stroke of Death,

To yeild the Battle, & resign your Breath

And to this may be Added on the Ocassion of the Death of her Child not Many Months after her Own Those verses which were Omitted of the Poem Mentiond In these Memoirs (Pag. 232)

A pretty Bird did lately please my Sight

Ravish’d my Heart & fill’d me with Delight:

And as it grew, at once mighty & [?]

Belov’d by all that e’re its Beauty spy’d

I fondly called it mine, nor could I bear

A Thought of Losing that I held so dear:

For it had just begun with Warbling Strain,

To raise my Pleasure, & to Sooth my Pain

[?] Artless Notes & lisping Melody

Made in mine Ears a gratefull Harmony

This which I heard & lov’d its Charming tongue

For ye Sweet Singer is

[remainder is illegible]

1736 – In my last Years Paper there was an Acct of the Death of our Daughter Pulsifer, Whom I was in Hopes would have Survived in her only & lovely Child Abiel: But Providence has otherwise Ordered January. 14th. He died of ye. Quinzey after two nights illness Aged above 14. Months—Thus it has pleased the Sovereign Ruler of the World to pluck up both Root & Branch: to leave her, & Us in regard of her, neither Name nor Remembrance in the Earth: It is Our Duty to be Still, & know that he is God, & gives & take when, & in what Manner he pleases—Job-14-1,2—

This Year upon May 20. Our Son in Law Mr. Pulsifer was Married at Govr. Belchers to Mrs Sarah Noyes the Govr’s Niece—A Marriage followd with a Series of Sorrows and Disappointments; He was not well when he Married [Plithy?] Sicky, Short Breath’d &c. came home not well and soon grew worse, & finally died July 5. & was buried July the 8th. Just 7 Weeks after his last Marriage—

He was the only Child of his Mother—And I Wish to God, the Affliction may be of that Use, as to Correct any & every thing liable to Exception in her & my Conduct & Humr.That thô. this Death hath in Some Sort Dissolved ye. Usual Intercourse & Relations Yet that We may Enjoy Each Others Society in the Heavenly World—He had real thoughts of Bestowing Considerable on the Publick, but Incapacity & Death came upon him too fast—And all things Considered it may be better as it is, for he left his Estate & Affairs not so well as was thought of & Represented, but in Puzzled and Uncertain Circumstances— (pp 269)