Bio: Pond, Mary A. (? – 1913)
----Source: History of Eau Claire County, Wisconsin (1914) pages 819-821
Mrs. Mary A. Pond.
Read at the funeral service of Mrs. Mary A. Pond at Los Angeles, Cal., March 30, 1913:
To the Memory of My Dear Mother and to Universal Motherhood:
I am impelled to give this tribute. It is but another testimony to the countless millions of women martyrs who take up the noble office of motherhood — your mother, the mothers of the ages past, and for the centuries and ages to come, who has thought of them? What has been done for them to lessen their burdens? What will future ages give to these noblest of earth's martyrs who must forever enter the valley of the shadow when giving birth to humanity who people this globe?
The life of one dear mother, my mother, passes before me.
Mother of eight children and one other she took in childhood — a family of nine to care for, to nurse and sew and mend and cook. We were given the most absolute devotion of a mother's care. In health and sickness, the unending duties of the day and night watches. It staggers belief that this one woman, without preparation, with no education for parenthood, married before she had reached the age of sixteen, could accomplish what this dear mother has done.
The family was raised in very moderate circumstances. The purse was never full. My father made a great fortune by an invention, but the money passed through other hands and his interests were kept from him.
All we had could have been used for our family for modest physical comforts. Mother needed it all, but at any time she would divide what she had with the widow and orphan children and give her bed and loaf to the stranger. The sick she nursed and gave comfort to unfortunates. When church and neighbor called for assistance she gave to the limit of her strength, and so happy was she in the giving. It was her life. All she had and all she was she gave.
Intensely devoted to home duties, her table was always spread. The story of the loaves and fishes was demonstrated when the sons and daughters and grandchildren and friends and neighbors came to see us.
Upon Sunday evenings mother's hospitable table was ready. She would go out herself to prepare the evening meal at any time, no matter what the physical or financial sacrifice to her. Her savory dishes were known far and near. All enjoyed coming. Her life and happiness was in giving.
She had nearly reached her sixtieth year and had earned a comfortable and honorable release from life's severe duties, when three little motherless boys, 4, 6 and 8 years of age, were brought to her at her request. Without hesitation, not even for a moment, did she stop to consider the consequences to her. They needed her, her home and care. She took them and for twelve long years she reared those boys. Do you know what it meant to her at that age? A new family. She must begin all over again. Never in all those years did I hear one word of regret for the comfort and ease she had resigned for them.
Blessed, unselfish mother. No one but God and the angels know of the heart throbs and anguish she endured in the long night watches.
These boys have reached young manhood now. I trust they will give to others a noble quality of mind and soul because of the care for them. The eldest of them wrote to me: "Dear grandma's great work was over before she left Wisconsin for Los Angeles four years ago. I was thinking, with all the progress this country has made during her life of seventy-eight years, grandma's work, woman's work, is not relieved or changed since the day she left New Brunswick. Our indebtedness to her is very great and can never be repaid. I realize more and more what a care our young lives were to her at her age. She has won her place in that mysterious beyond of rest and peace."
Whenever her purse was nearly empty, then an inborn faith compelled her and the need was met. She made homes for two sisters and a niece several years. One by one she sent young people to business college. They are today prosperous and enjoying the results of that education and her sacrifice. Oh the little babies she has mothered! Hers was not a selfish mother heart for her own children only. She had the universal mother love.
"Grandma Pond" did the duty of a brave soldier. She builded well. She gave her life to her children, her friends, her country and her God with absolute unselfishness, and no one knows to what limit but the Master Himself, who watched over her. She never spoke of herself or asked for a favor for herself.
In her last days I often said to her, "Mother, I am sure of one thing — He who said 'Suffer little children to come unto me' is waiting for you, and He has many little children He will put in your arms till their own mother comes,' and she gazed into the wonderful eyes of the face of Christ upon the wall when she could not speak or recognize me. I know, and she understood. Devotion and unselfishness is uplifting and pays the bigger profits. In the end the life goes straight to their throne.
Mother passed away March 23, 1913, a beautiful Easter Sabbath morning.
Life's tasks were great. They are over and the crown is dear mother's.
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