Sarah Ann Gragg McAfferty (1865-1895)
(Mrs. Walter Allen McAfferty)
The following undated, unidentified newspaper article was found in a copy of Helen Craft's Scrapbook at the Lowell Public Library:
Sarah Ann Gragg was born at Hemlock Lake, Livingston county, New York, on the 17th day of September 1865, and at the close of a protracted illness in which she endured much suffering, caused by a complication of diseases, departed this life at her home in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, on the 20th day of March, 1895, in the midst of her 30th year. Deceased was deprived of her mother by death, in her infancy, and was the recipient of a sister's care. She accompanied her father westward to Lowell, Indiana. In year 1886 she came to Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, and made her home with her sister, Mrs. D. Pettet. She was married to Walter Allen McAfferty, on March 13th, 1888. Of this union, one son was born, Herbert Gragg, now about six years of age. Deceased gave her heart to God and united in early womanhood with the Methodist Episcopal church. In this fellowship she remained until death took her to the spirit world. Mrs. McAfferty was a member of the Sabbath School and a teacher in the Infant Department, and one of the charter members of the Epworth League, the members of which hold her in high esteem. Our sister, deceased, was an affectionate wife, and indulgent mother, patient in suffering, hopeful, charitable and forgiving. In patience she possessed her soul. In faith she awaited her Master's coming. With Christian fortitude and expectancy she looked into the future. She found proper expression to her feelings in sacred poetry, such as: "What a fellowship, what a joy divine, leaning on the Everlasting Arms. What a blessedness, what a peace is mine, leaning on the Everlasting Arms." And in the hymn entitled, "Washed in the blood of the lamb," and similar spiritual songs. She fortified herself with selections from the word of God. "How blessed, when the suffering saint can feel the presence of the Infinite, and with the poet, Samuel Medley, sing with rich experience and glad heart:
Oh, could I speak the matchless worth
Oh, could I sound the glories forth,
Which in my Savior shine;
I'd soar and touch the heavenly strings,
And vie with Gabriel while he sings
In notes almost divine.
I'd sing the precious blood he spilt,
My ransom from the dreadful guilt
Of sin and wrath divine;
I'd sing his glorious righteousness,
In which all perfect, heavenly dress
My soul shall ever shine.
I'd sing the character he bears,
And all the forms of love he wears,
Exalted on his throne;
In loftiest songs of sweet praise,
I would to everlasting days
Make all his glories known.
Well, the delightful day will come
When my dear Lord will bring me home,
And I shall see his face;
Then with my Saviour, Brother, Friend,
A blest eternity I'll spend
Triumphant in his grace.
The subject of the above will be remembered by many of the people of Lowell and vicinity as a sister of Jessie Gragg, Mrs. W.C. Nichols, and Mrs. D.M. Burnhans. The greater part of the girlhood of Anna McAfferty was spent with her sister, Mrs. Burhans, on the farm southwest of Lowell; the winter of 1881 and 1882, however, being spent with Mrs. Nichols, and attending the Lowell High School. Her many friends will remember her quiet, gentle ways which endeared her to many hearts, and those who knew her best loved her most; but could they have known her during the last six years of suffering, which at times was terrible, and witness the patience and fortitude with which she bore it all, always forgetting self in her desire to make others happy, would only have loved her more. Many times during her bright moments she expressed a strong desire to visit the home, and scenes, and friends of her childhood; her thoughts seemed to revert to her past life, and on one occasion, after she knew her life's work was nearly finished, she expressed her desire to live -- to live for those she loved -- life, that she might do more for her Master; she felt she had done so little for him, and said: "How can I meet the responsibility of going out into the future with no sheaves garnered," she felt she was going empty-handed; "But," she said, "It is all right, I can trust Him." A few hours previous to her death she expressed that same faith and trust in trying to sing, as her little boy joined with her, "Leaning on the Everlasting Arms." and thus,
Her spirit brave and strong, its out worn case
Of prisoning clay broke grandly through, and
On wings of joy unto that life wherein rose
No pain or grief or night can ever come.