About Mary Beckley Bristow
AKA Aunt Polly
In 1996 I published selections from the writings of my several-times-great aunt, Mary Beckley Bristow, as a book with the title of Aunt Mary's Diary. -Neil Allen Bristow, San Diego
Mary Beckley Bristow's Timeline
November 18, 1808
Bourbon, KY, USA
March 17, 1890
Kenton, KY, USA
The following notice appeared in Signs of the Times, a paper espousing the views of Primitive Baptists, 23 April 1890, a month after Mary's death:
Mary Beckley Bristow was born near Clintonville, Bourbon Co., Ky., Nov. 18th, 1808, and in her eighty-second year willingly passed away, leaving as testimonials of her superior worth as a woman, a friend and a christian the respect, esteem and tender love of innumerable friends and relatives. Her aged and only brother, two sisters-in-law, to whom she was very dear, and a large number of nieces and nephews, to whom "Aunt Mary" was next to mother, are left to miss and long for the voice that is still; but to each come only sweet memories, redolent with the perfume of her vanished presence. Gone from us but with us still. As I write, tears of selfish regret blind me, and I long for one more look at the dear, old, patient face; but the blessed assurance of her entrance into the rest of her Savior is a balm to our bereaved hearts.
In 1831 she moved with her parents, James and Jane Shelton Bristow to Boone Co., Ky., and since then her life has been passed in this and Kenton Co. She entered into rest at the residence of her nephew, J. E. Bristow, Bank Lick, Kenton Co., Ky., after an illness of several days of bronchitis, to which she had been subject for many years, and which has caused her much suffering. It is thought that her death was immediately hastened by heart failure, and the summons came quickly and painlessly. As we stood around her, during the ten minutes of unconsciousness, we saw the dimmed eyes close as sweetly as those of an infant on its mother's breast. "Asleep in Jesus." She united with the Predestinarian Baptist Church called Sardis, in Union, Ky., in October, 1836, and was baptized by Elder Wm. Hume on the first Sunday that services were held in the Sardis meeting-house. Her consistency as an orderly member is a shining example. Her remains were laid away in the cemetery in Independence, Ky. As she opposed funeral orations, the only religious services were Scripture reading, singing and prayer at the grave. I append a few verses found in her diary, written July 16th, 1863, to show her dependence and trust in God.
"My heart is deeply sad, O Lord!
May this prayer be echoed by all of us whose hearts are saddened by our loss; and may we honor her blessed memory by striving to live as she did, dependent upon the hand of God for our true happiness. Never having married, the great wealth of her affection was lavished upon her nieces and nephews, one of whom has weakly endeavored to write this tribute to her memory. Words are indeed weak when I attempt to do justice to her loveliness of character; but I know that she would say, "To God be all the glory."
NANNIE D. BRISTOW. Union, Ky.