Roxana Howe Waller was my three times great grandmother. Roxana was the daughter of Seth Howe and Achsa Washburn. She was born in Pennsylvania in 1802 and came to Elba, New York with her parents. In Elba, she married Orrin Waller, and bore at least seven children, one of whom was our Martha Cordelia Waller Taylor. Roxana died on Christmas day, 1858--at age 56 years.
We do not know much of Roxana, but luckily, her daughter Cordelia wrote in yearly journals and did other writings, such as poems and articles. From her, we learn a bit more about Roxana. When her mother died, Cordelia wrote:
Dec. 29th. My best of mother’s was yesterday consigned to her last resting-place, the cold—damp silent tomb. Oh! my Heavenly Father, sustain & support us through this trying hour of deepest affliction. We are sustained in view of her happy departure from this world of sin and sorrow,& the hope of again being reunited in a better world. Oh! my God, how can I bear up under this terrible blow. It is indeed, the greatest grief of my life. Nought is able to sustain me, but the all-sustaining grace of God.
But oh! my dear, dear Mother, how dearly I loved her, how dearly we all loved her, & oh! it is so hard to part with her. That holy Christmas day was her last upon earth. Sweetly did she fall asleep in Jesus & was borne by angels to that blessed land where the inhabitants say not, I am sick. Oh! our hearts are all bleeding & torn, but we are comforted when we reflect upon the sweet expressions & passages of Scripture full of happiness & trust in her “blessed Savior” that fell from her lips in her dying moments.
And a later poem echoed the pain and loss of her mother:
My Mother’s Bible, By Martha Cordelia Waller Taylor
This book is all that’s left me now,
Tears will unbidden start.
With faltering lip and throbbing brow,
I press it to my heart.
For many generations past,
Here is our family tree.
My mother’s hand this Bible clasped
She, dying, gave it me.
Ah! Well do I remember those,
Whose names these records bear,
Who, round the hearth stove used to close,
After the evening prayer.
And speak of what these pages said,
In tones my heart would thrill.
Though they are with the silent dead,
Here they are living still.
My father read this holy book
To brothers and sisters dear!
How calm was my poor mother’s look
Who leaned God’s word to hear
Her angel face I see it yet,
What thrilling memories come,
Again that little group is met,
Within the walls of home.
Thou truest friend man ever knew
Thy constancy I’ve tried
When all were false, I found thee true
My counselor and guide.
The mines of earth no treasure give,
That could this volume buy,
In teaching me the way to live,
It taught me how to die.
How I wish we had that Bible with its ‘For many generations past, Here is our family tree.’
Roxana---Thank you for being my great great great grandmother! And, Cordelia, thank you for writing about your mother so that we can feel a bit of Roxana’s spirit.