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Bridging Time Through Poetry: Words from my Fifth Great-Grandpa

This poem was written by my 5th-great grandfather Jesse Ballard (1808-1865).

He writes about the biggest trials he faced in life including the deaths of his wife and his seventeen-year-old son. 

His poem is very religious and even though he wasn’t a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the focus of his poem is on eternal families and faith in Jesus Christ.

It was really moving for me to come across this poem. I took comfort and found solace in his words.

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When I look back upon my past life, 
The troubles I’ve had to pass through;
Is it not enough to wound a poor man’s heart?
My brothers, has there, been such trials for you?

My loving wife, that bosom friend,
Was taken from my embrace;
What greater trials has any man
Of Adam’s fallen race?

When a beloved son of seventeen
Was taken away in his youth,
Who had learned in early life
To always speak the truth.

As he was walking through the field,
One beautiful Sabbath morning
A voice from Heaven spoke to him,
And gave him his last warning.

Told him he must shortly die,
To meet his God he must prepare;
Such news from Heaven sent to a child
Is something very rare.

These solemn words sent from above
Could not have been resigned
To cause him to faint by the way, 
Or to distract his mind.

He knew it was from Heaven
Those words had been revealed;
So he spent some time in prayer
Before he left the field.

And in answer to the same 
God filled his soul with love;
He then could praise his God on earth,
But soon will praise Him above

He soon was taken very ill, 
To his bed while he was confined
He sent for his young playmates
He soon must leave behind.

He exhorted them to seek the Lord,
And make a full surrender, 
While they were young and free from pain,
Their hearts so young and tender.

He called his sisters one by one, 
From the oldest to the youngest,
And those that had not found the Lord
He seemed to talk the longest.

Then he fixed his eyes on me, 
Saying, “Meet me in Heaven, Papa,”
Which filled my soul with love
To see my dying son so happy.

Those sparkling eyes and blooming cheeks — 
Fresh blooming as the rose, 
Had turned so pale and soon must die
By bleeding at the nose.

He had fought the battle of the Lord, 
The victory almost won, 
His mother appeared upon the wall
To welcome home her son.

This lonely bud, so young and fair,
Called hence be early doom,
Just come to show how sweet a flower
In paradise could bloom.

He wished to be buried at Sandy Ridge,
By his departed Mother
And close by on the other side
Was laid his little brother.

So you see my trials have been great, 
Like those of my friends departed,
I like a lonesome dove was left,
And almost broken hearted.

Many lonesome days and tedious nights
Had been appointed unto me
By him who suffered, grieved and died
And spilt his blood for me.

So let us cheerfully submit
To the will of God most high
And always be prepared
For we like them must die.

I thank the Lord he spared me
To compose this little story,
And when I am done with trials here
I can meet them again in glory.

Written by my fifth great-grandfather Jesse Ballard (1808-1865). Source:


I honestly can‘t listen to this poem without thinking of all the young lives recently lost in Gaza. This somber poem has brought me peace and solace- maybe it can offer you some peace this evening? It‘s thrilling to read the words from my fifth grandfather. He wrote this hundreds of years ago. He felt what we feel today. The human experience knows no borders- we are all human. I don’t know him, but reading his poem made me feel close to him. Such a talented writer, he must have written more, all of it presumably now lost- except this ❤️ discover more about your family history on family search 💎 #peaceonearth #love #family #loss #nauvooblogger #generations

♬ Backsound Puisi – Audiolist Productions

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