xt77sq8qc92w https://nyx.uky.edu/dips/xt77sq8qc92w/data/mets.xml Alexander, Arabel Wilbur. 1898  books b92-53-27061877 English Publishing House of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, : Nashville, Tenn. : Contact the Special Collections Research Center for information regarding rights and use of this collection. Helm, Lucinda Barbour, 1839-1897. Woman's Home Mission Society (Tampa, Fla.) Methodism History. Life and work of Lucinda B. Helm  : founder of the Woman's Parsonage and Home Mission Society of the M.E. church, South / by Arabel Wilbur Alexander. text Life and work of Lucinda B. Helm  : founder of the Woman's Parsonage and Home Mission Society of the M.E. church, South / by Arabel Wilbur Alexander. 1898 2002 true xt77sq8qc92w section xt77sq8qc92w 





















1-4                      M b

 


THE LIFE AND WORK


                       OF



         9Luciuba  f13. lbehn,



FOUNDER OF THE WOMAN'S PARSONAGE AND HOME
MISSION SOCIETY OF THE M. E. CHURCH, SOUTH.


                     BY


          ARABEL WILBUR ALEXANDER.



We live in a new and exceptional age. America is another name
for opportunity. Our whole history appears like a last effort of
Divine Providence in behalf of the human race.-Emerson.






                  NASHVILLE, TENN.:
  PUBLISHING HousE OF THE METHODIST EPISCOPAL CHURCH, SOUTH.
               BARBEE  SMITH, AGENTS.
                       189S.

 

























Entered, according to act of Congress, in the year iSgS,
         By ARABEL WILBUR ALEXANDER,
In the office of the Librarian of Congress, at Washington.

 















                TO
THE WOMEN OF THE HOME MISSION SOCIETY
     OF THE M. E. CHURCH, SOUTH.

 This page in the original text is blank.

 






                   PREFACE.

  LUCINDA B. HELM'S relation to a movement which
had its birth in her fertile brain, and has grown up
under her leadership to be one of the most potent
and efficient departments of the great Methodist Epis-
copal Church, South, makes it eminently appropriate
that the story of her life and work should be told.
  During her life she was urged by many to publish a
full account of her work; but, although possessing the
ability to lead and organize, to mold thought and direct
energies, she had the modesty that shrank from this
task, as became a lady of her gentle breeding.
  The intimacy between her and the writer was such
that conversations concerning the history and develop-
ment of her work were frequent, and in one of these
she expressed a desire that if the facts were ever given
in permanent form it should be done by the author,
adding: " When I am gone, I think perhaps God
would use the record as a blessing." Thus, while wish-
ing that a worthier pen might render this loving serv-
ice, we trace with sacred feelings the footsteps of this
peerless woman.
  It has been a source of encouragement that so many
requests have been made since her death for a prepara-
tion of her biography. Her host of friends through-

 
                 LUCINDA B. HELM.

out the Church desire to know more of the inner
springs of a life that was so fair and beautiful in itself,
and that brought such help and inspiration to thou-
sands. In response this little volume goes forth with
the prayer that its imperfections may be overlooked,
and that it may contribute to the promotion of that
cause for which she gave her life.

  We wish to acknowledge with gratitude the assist-
ance rendered by Miss Mary Helm, the late Dr. David
Morton, and other friends.      THE AUTHOR.

 





                INTRODUCTION.

   THE mission of Christ to the world was to save it
from sin; the mission of his followers is to give the
story of this evangel to every creature. Early in life,
even in girlhood, Miss Helm had received a vision of
her Lord and his mission. She taught and superin-
tended a night-school for negroes. Thus began the
work of laboring in the kingdom of God, a work
which grew from dropping a few seeds near her Ken-
tucky home to the sowing beside all waters. In later
years she had the privilege, among many other under-
takings, of making the first donation for the establish-
ment of a mission in Korea.
  Wholesomeness of religious life is rare; some per-
sons are consumed by zeal; others are apathetic and self-
controlled. Asceticism is not yet dead; while on the
other hand there are men and women who feed on the
emotional and sensuous side of religious life. No one
was ever better poised than was this woman. With
an uncompromising adherence to the right, she was no
Pharisee; and, with a courage of conviction which
made her a fearless advocate of truth, she was no
Puritan.  There was in her a joyousness of faith
and a buoyancy of spirit which carried constant sun-
shine.

 

LUCINDA B. HELM.



  How magnificently she was endowed for leadership!
Out from the discipline of a remarkable mother's
realm, and from the counsels of a father invested with
the care of a great commonwealth, came this woman
with a body as frail as a flower, but with the courage
of a Deborah. Hers was a spirit so resolute that no
infirmity could conquer it. Hers was a strength of
will so powerful that difficulties melted away as mist
before the morning sun. Consecration, sympathy, in-
tellectual grasp and soundness of judgment character-
ized her life-work.
  " Glimpses into the inner regions of a great soul do
one good," wrote Amiel in his journal. " Contact of
this kind strengthens, restores, refreshes. At the sight
of a man we too say to ourselves: ' Let us also be men."'
It is appropriate that the author of this life-sketch
should lead us along the unbeaten paths where many,
who did not know Miss Helm personally, may come
into closer touch with her remarkable life. As the
author had learned to know and love her so well as a
friend, their companionship in effort and fellowship in
Christ make her eminently qualified for this work.
                          WALTER R. LAMBUTI.


 









                CONTENTS.


                CHAPTER I.              PAGE
Ancestry....................               13

                 CHAPTER II.
Girlhood .................................... 26

                CHAPTER III.
Early Missionary Work ...................    45

                CHAPTER IV.
Woman's Department of Church Extension ..... 6o

                CHAPTER V.
Woman's Parsonage and Home Mission Society . 84

                CHAPTER VI.
Full Development of the Work ....... ......... io8

               CHAPTER VII.
Editorial Work ............................. 134

               CHAPTER VIII.
Twilight .................... i68

 This page in the original text is blank.

 















LUCINDA BARBOUR HELM.




     DECEMBER 23, 1839-NOVEMBER 15. 1897.











 Behold, what manner of love the Eather hath
 bUs/owed upon us, that we should be called children
of God!l (,-John iii. r.)

 This page in the original text is blank.


 







                 CHAPTER 1.

                   ANCESTRY.
   "When a firm, decisive spirit is recognized, it is curioas to see
how the space clears around a man and leaves himn room and
freedom."-Foster.

THE ancestry of Lucinda B. Helm may be
1traced back to an early period in the history
of our country. Some of her forefathers, it is be-
lieved, could boast of patrician blood, while others
possessed a nobility higher than that of birth or
station-the nobility of personal character. The
family was one of the most influential of those that
originally settled the Old Dominion colony. The
first in the direct ancestral line of which we have
any definite record was Thomas Helm, the grand-
father of the late Gov. Helm and great-grandfather
of Lucinda B. Helm. In 1780 he, with his family,
left Prince William County, Va., where he had been
born and reared, and started to seek his fortune
in the yet unexplored wilderness of Kentucky.
They reached the falls of the Ohio (where the city
of Louisville is now situated) in March, at which
place he remained for about a year; but as his
family suffered from diseases contracted there, he
mounted his horse one morning and set his face in-

 

LUCINDA B. HELM.



land, with the determination not to return until he
had selected a permanent abiding-place. On the
third day of his search he reached the foot of the
hill in the vicinity of the present village of Eliza-
bethtown. This hill commands the site of the
place where he afterward lived and died, and
also of the cemetery where he is now buried, sur-
rounded by his descendants to the fifth generation.
  A singular circumstance is related in connection
with the selection made by Thomas Helm of his
future place of residence. Before leaving Vir-
ginia, but while deliberating on the subject of a re-
moval, he had dreamed of just such a spot as that
upon which his eye rested when he ascended the
hill to which we have referred. The very spring
at which he drank-rushing out of its rocky bed,
strong and clear-was as the visionary fountain
that had appeared to him in his dream. The co-
incidence startled him, and, although anything but
a superstitious man, he accepted the omen as a
happy one, and concluded to search no farther.
  This grandfather of Gov. Helm was just the
kind of man to make his way in a new country.
Daring, active, and possessing tastes suited to the
life of a pioneer, he was soon the occupant of a
strongly built fort, which he had erected for the
protection of his family against the then frequent
predatory excursions of roving bands of Indians.
This fort was situated in the small valley which in-
tersects the hills traversing the farm now known as

 

HER LIFE AND WORK.



"Helm Place." Although Thomas Helm and his
wife came of good families, they did not regret
the hardships encountered in the "wilderness" of
Kentucky. Gradually the Indians left the state,
and Mr. Helm built a comfortable house beside the
old fort, which served them for a residence the
remainder of their days.
  When a boy Gov. Helm was a great favorite
with his grandparents. His grandfather was the
oracle of the neighborhood on all matters con-
nected with the Revolutionary era and the Indian
troubles of Kentucky. It was at the knee of his
venerable progenitor that he drank in the history
of his country, and learned to appreciate the sac-
rifices made by the patriot band that achieved our
liberties. His maternal grandparents were John
and Mary Larue, who had emigrated from the
valley of the Shenandoah, Va., in I784.
  Mrs. Larue was a beautiful and gifted woman.
The county in which they lived, adjoining Hardin
County, was named for their family-Larue
County. Their daughter, Rebecca Larue, was
a babe when her parents came to Kentucky,
having been born in Frederick County, Va. She
afterward became the wife of George Helm and
mother of Gov. John L. Helm.
  No man in that section of country was more re-
spected than George Helm. He filled, at different
times, various offices, civil and legislative, in the
service of his fellow citizens.



15

 
LUCINDA B. HELM.



  John Larue Helm, the father of Lucinda B.
Helm, was born on the 4th of July, i802, at the
old Helm homestead on the table-land of " Mul-
drough's Hills," one and one-fourth miles north
of the village of Elizabethtown. The country at
that time was sparsely peopled. The war-whoop of
the red man had then scarcely ceased its echoes
through the forests, and herds of wild animals
wandered over woodland and prairie, fearlessly and
almost undisturbed. The country embraced a ter-
ritory which is now divided into three counties and
parts of others, and the inhabitants consisting then
of a few hundred are now numbered by thousands.
  John L. Helm lived with his parents and grand-
parents up to the age of sixteen, and for about
eight years attended various schools in the neigh-
hood. With a mind naturally bright and strong,
and remarkable habits of industry, his advance-
ment in knowledge was swift and easy. He was
at his books in the morning before others had
arisen, and long after they were sleeping at night
he was at them again, storing his mind with the
wisdom of the past. Before the age of sixteen he
had a knowledge rarely acquired by men at that
period of the history of his country and the char-
acter of its institutions. He had scarcely reached
the age of twenty when death deprived him of his
father, and he was not only thrown upon his own
resources for subsistence and further necessary ed-
ucation, but suddenly found himself the main sup-

 
HER LIFE AND WORK.



port of his mother and the younger children. This
phase of the bereavement, however, proved to be
a blessing in the making of his magnificent man-
hood. The members of the family found their
hearts more closely drawn together in their afflic-
tion, and, mutually striving to lessen each others'
burdens, they lived on in hope of a better future.
This came at last, principally through the un-
flagging energy of the elder son. His nobility
of character was further exemplified by his
assumption, a few years later, of the entire in-
debtedness of his father's estate, which he paid
off out of the first-fruits of his legal profession.
After he had become prominent in political circles,
and a man of some means, he became very much
attached to a young lady, who was the daughter
of Hon. Ben Hardin, one of the most celebrated
lawyers and orators that Kentucky has ever pro-
duced. At one time Mr. Hardin was an opposing
attorney to a lawyer from Pennsylvania in an im-
portant case. The Pennsylvanian found himself
so badly discomfited in the contest that he soon
returned to his native state. His name was James
Buchanan, afterward President of the United
States. Mr. Hardin had a pleasant home that had
become the accustomed stopping-place of Meth-
odist ministers. He used to say: "My wife is a
member, and I am an outside pillar of the Meth-
odist Church."
  This young lawyer, Mr. John Helm, made fre-
     2



17

 
LUCINDA B. HELM.



quent visits to the home of Hon. Ben Hardin, and
laid siege to the heart of his eldest daughter, Lu-
cinda. She was a beautiful young girl, with rare
intellectual gifts. He had met her accidentally
one day when he had called to see her father on
business. She was only fourteen years of age
then, and while he was in the parlor she went in
to show her father a map she had drawn. All of
her studies were under the immediate supervision
of her father, to whom she was devoted. Mr.
Helm said he loved her at first sight. There was
something irresistible about her even at that early
age. As she grew older she was still more attract-
ive, and her career as a young lady was a brilliant
one. She spent several winters with her father at
the capital, and also in visiting Mrs. Maj. William
Preston and other women of prominent social
standing in Louisville. An extremely rich man
sought to gain her affections, but she said he had
very little sense, and she realized then how intol-
erable a married life would be for her unless the
virtues of the man lay in his character rather than
in his estates. Mr. John Helm persevered in his
attentions to her for seven years; but at the end of
that time he claimed her for his own, and they
were married at Bardstown, Ky., in 1830. The
happy and gifted young couple went to Elizabeth-
town, while Mr. Helm began to build their elegant
residence in which they ever afterward lived.
This residence, situated about one and one-fourth



z 8

 

HER LIFE AND WORK.



miles from Elizabethtown, and known as " Helm
Place," is still the home of their children. The
entrance to the grounds is about a fourth of a
mile from the house, the approach to which is
made beautiful by an overarching avenue of
Scotch fir-trees, which continue to the summit of
the hill, where it opens into a circle leading to the
house. It is a typical " old Kentucky home," built
of brick, with spacious rooms and broad verandas.
  Mrs. Helm was delighted at the prospect of
keeping house in their beautiful new home. The
sterling worth of her character could hardly be
overestimated. She was a devoted and helpful
wife, and as her husband steadily rose to promi-
nence she was his most fitting companion.
  With a noble ancestry, equal to that of her hus-
band's, she was by birth and every right which
society recognizes entitled to all the social prestige
that can be given one. Tall, stately, and hand-
some, she was indeed a queen among women,
a noticeable figure in any assemblage of cultured
and elegant people.
  In the relation of mother she showed such wis-
dom and beauty of character that her large family
of children were devoted to her, and have kept
her before their memory all down the years as
their ideal of womanhood. She was such a potent
factor in molding the characters of her eleven
children that we insert a few pen pictures of her
methods and her home associations.



I9

 
LUCINDA B. HELM.



  The subject of this biography has stated repeat-
edly that she owed all the worth of her character
to the teachings of her wonderful mother. The
noblest attributes of that mother's womanhood,
the brilliant luster of her intellect, the charms and
graces of social culture-all found their highest
expression through her motherhood. Its respon-
sibilities, cares, joys, and privileges superseded
all else with her. Her sons held all womanhood
in chivalrous reverence, because they accepted her
as its type; while her daughters felt that with such
a type before them they must needs aspire to the
highest to reach her standard, and to fall below
was to fail in life.
  Miss Mary Helm, in writing of her mother, says:
  "Instead of my mother pining for the opportu-
nities of social life, from which she became in a
measure debarred by her large family of children
and by living in her country home, she made that
home bright by her wonderful flow of joyous spir-
it, humor, and repartee. There was no such thing
as a dull hour when mother was in the house; in
her absence, the sun was in eclipse. In our child-
hood she was the merry companion of our games;
as school children she gave a strict supervision to
our studies. After lessons were over, in the eve-
ning came those delightful hours of reading and
conversation that I shall never forget. Ah! Chris-
topher North never presided over more delightful
noctes ambrosianlz. Her knowledge was lavished

 

HER LIFE AND WORK.



upon her children, who thrilled under her exqui-
site reading from the master minds of literature, or
glowed with the ardor that longed to emulate as
she recounted the deeds of the world's heroes. I
can never forget how my childish heart swelled
until it overflowed in tears as she told us of Martin
Luther before the Diet of Worms. Moral cour-
age she held the highest, yet to fail in physical
courage was a disgrace.
  "My mother was given to hospitality, enter-
taining with a grace and dignity that made her an
elegant as well as charming hostess. Parties, teas,
and dinings of the formal kind were frequent; but
what she enjoyed most was the informal coming
together for the day of her chosen friends. There
were many occasions when, for weeks at a time,
the only limit to the guests was when the last bed
was full. Her children were also at full liberty to
fill the house with their friends; and, whether they
were old or young, she was the center of attraction
for them as well as for her own family, and en-
joyed all the fun as much as any one else in the
house.
  "My mother was a born commander, without
the slighest element of a tyrant. Not only her
own children, but everybody's children obeyed her.
They could not help it, and they did not want to
help it. Consistent, prompt, and systematic, she
had well-defined laws for governing her family and
house. My father left all domestic matters entire-



2I

 

LUCINDA B. HELM.



ly to her. His admiration for her was unbounded.
What she did could not have been better done;
what she said was beyond question the right thing.
With the children he was always her stanch sup-
porter, never entertaining for an instant any ap-
peal from her decision. Besides raising eleven
children to maturity, and giving them attention in
every line, she was a most thorough housekeeper,
and trained her servants to perfection, not only
for present service, but the young for the future.
Cooks, laundresses, waiters, maids, and seam-
tresses all received their training from her per-
sonally. It was a fine model of an industrial
school, and all were devoted to her.
  " Every spring and fall she cut out with her
own hands all the garments worn by the negro
women and children, and the shirts for the men
(my father owned sixty negroes); she attended to
the picking of the wool, the spinning, and the
knitting into socks or weaving into cloth. By her
servants (the word 'slave' was never heard) she
was regarded as something beyond human. Be-
sides training them in material things, she instilled
moral and religious truth in every way possible.
She encouraged their confidence, but never
brooked familiarity. Quick to defend one who
was mistreated or oppressed, she was the Cour,-
of Appeals for final settlement of every case
where overseer, parents, children, or the strong
abused their power. When sickness came she



22

 

HER LIFE AND WORK.



nursed them all with tender carefulness. At one
time there were five of her own children and ten
of the negroes very ill with scarlet fever, and she
gave every dose of medicine day and night, going
with a lantern from cabin to cabin all through the
night; and so successful was her care that all re-
covered.
  " For years Sister Lucinda was almost an in-
valid, needing her care day and night; and later,
when I became a helpless sufferer for many years,
she went through it all again. For eighteen
months she was never out of the sound of my
voice, and for five years never left me for longer
than an hour. During all that time she kept up
my despairing heart with her indomitable courage
and unfailing hope, turning my morbid thoughts
to brighter things outside of self, leading them
into fields of literature and art, history and fancy.
She was the most wonderful combination of an
encyclopedia and a magician! But when the
darkest hours would come, and my rebellious soul
refused its God, with a firm hand she held my
spirit in check while her own faith took hold on
God in prayer. Oh, those prayers! I have never
heard anything like them. They had to be an-
swered, and they were."
  Thus this grand, broad-natured woman gave
herself to her children in such a way that in after-
years they naturally became distinguished for
their mental and moral worth.



23

 

LUCINDA B. HELM.



  The eldest son, Ben Hardin Helm, educated at
West Point, afterward a lawyer of high standing,
was finally a brigadier-general in the Confederate
service, and fell at the battle of Chickamauga. In
i86I he became a brother-in-law to President Lin-
coln, having married Mrs. Lincoln's sister. The
President, who was his personal friend and ad-
mirer, offered him the position of quartermaster-
general of the United States army at the begin-
ning of the civil war; but Mr. Helm declined,
tendered his services to the Confederacy, and was
killed when in command of what was known as
the " Orphan Brigade."
  Lizzie Barbour Helm, their eldest daughter,
married Hon. H. W. Bruce, who was a member
from Kentucky of the first permanent Congress
of the Confederate States, and is at present chief
attorney of the Louisville and Nashville Railroad.
  George Helm, now dead, was a lawyer, and a
man of very noble character.
  Their fifth daughter, Emily Palmer Helm, mar-
ried Martin Hardin Marriott, who died young,
[and she has for two years managed the Industrial
Department of the Scarritt Bible and Training
School, in Kansas City, Mo.]; while Misses Mary
and Lucinda Helm have been known and loved
in Methodist Church circles all over our Southland
for many years. Thus is strikingly shown that for
generations back the Helm family has been distin-
guished for strength of mind and nobility of charac-



24

 

             HER LIFE AND WORK.             25

ter. These qualities were illustrated in a marked
degree by the beloved founder of the Woman's
Home Mission Society of the M. E. Church, South.
With the mind of a lawyer and the heart of a saint,
she gave her remarkable intelligence, energy, and
faith to the establishment of a work that has iden-
tified her inseparably with the history of American
Methodism.


 






CHAPTER 11.



                   GIRLHOOD.
  "alNo one is born into this world whose work is not born with hiln."
-Lowell.

I T was said by Lucinda Helm's mother that she
I believed little Lucinda was converted before
she could talk, so marked was her individuality
even in infancy, and so devout her instincts be-
fore they could hardly be called "beliefs." Prayer
was to her little mind a most sacred thing, and
she became conscious of a higher Power in her
life almost as soon as she was conscious of her
mother. When as a very small child she was wil-
ful or obdurate, she could not be corrected as the
other children, but the mention of God in prayer
made her perfectly submissive and obedient. Be-
fore she was old enough to go to school she taught
herself to read, and the Bible was her text-book.
  It was a matter of remark by the other members
of the family that little Lucinda, a mere prattling
infant, should open the old family Bible, and at
her mother's knee learn the letters and spell out
the words.
  She writes in later years of the joy she experi-
enced in the gift of her _irst Bible. She says:
" When I was very small my father brought home

 

HER LIFE AND WORRKK.



one day some Bibles. He gave each of my two
older sisters one, and I thought that was all; they
were always coupled together. But there was one
more. When I took in the idea it was for me I
sprang up with a bound of joy. My mother had
told us stories out of her big Bible, and now I had
a little one all my own! I shall never forget my
delight as I hugged it to my heart, or my father's
merry laugh at my impulsiveness. How I loved
that Bible, loved to find the stories, loved to know
my father brought it to me! With what zest I re-
peated the lines:
            Holy Bible, book divine,
            Precious treasure, thou art mine!
Many times in after-years in the agony of sorrow
I have soothed myself to sleep by holding it to my
heart as I did that first day it came to me when a
little child."
  The honesty, simplicity, and frankness that
characterized her during her entire life was stri-
kingly prominent in her childhood. Absolutely
faithful to her convictions of right and wrong, even
in childhood, she resolutely refused to compromise
any matter of principle, and would endure with
unflinching steadfastness popular disfavor, if need
be, to maintain the right. She has told us that
when childish difficulties arose in play she invari-
ably chose the side of the weak ones or those in
disfavor, and used every means her little brain
could devise to properly balance things. A ver-



27

 

LUCINDA B. HELM.



itable peacemaker and missionary she was from
the beginning. Her love for books and study was
all-absorbing. Everything interested her. The
world was a sort of fairy-land, out of which she
would often weave wonderful stories, to the great
delight and entertainment of her child friends.
She never had robust health after she was four
years old, and when she was eight the family phy-
sician told her mother that she might die any mo-
ment from heart-disease or she might possibly live
for fifty years.
  Although often prostrated by illness and always
very delicate, she advanced rapidly at school.
When but a little child she stood at the head of a
class of nearly grown boys and girls, her blue
eyes sparkling with intellectual ambition, while
her poor, weak heart beat so hard and fast that
her little white apron would quiver from its puls-
ing. Many times she had to run aside from her
frisking, romping playmates, and rest under the old
apple-trees in their shady back yard. One would
hardly have thought, seeing her then so sweet and
fragile like the blossoms that fell upon her, that
she would after all have a career of wider useful-
ness than any of her companions. The favorite
playground for the children was a large garden
back of the house; and as their mother was a nat-
ural florist and horticulturalist, their yard was bril-
liant with flowers and shrubs from early spring
until snow.



28

 
HER LIFE AND WORK.



  The old - fashioned garden was divided into
squares, each square bordered with flowers of ev-
ery variety, and there were summer-houses dense-
ly covered with honeysuckles and grape arbors.
  Little Lucinda loved the old-fashioned flowers:
the daffodils and morning-glories.  The wide,
well-kept walks made splendid race-tracks for the
children and their friends in the neighborhood.
In the lower part of the yard was a large spring,
and the brook that flowed from it was to them en-
chanting in its sparkling beauty. They made sail-
ing-vessels in which they fancied themselves
"storm-tossed and wrecked on cannibal islands."
  Lucinda could excel all the others in making
cataracts and sailing her little bark boats as she
accompanied them with wonderful made-up fairy
tales of adventure about them and their crew.
She was so imaginative, and read so many stories
from "Arabian Nights " and other child-lore, that
she was unanimously chosen as the best at making
up stories, half the charm of them being in the fact
that she and the others too were so carried away
in fancy that for the time being it was reality to
them.
  All the children had their little negro maids,
who played with them, and Lucinda was much at-
tached to hers, and continued so until the maid's
death, which occurred soon after she became
free.
  An important personage, who figured largely in



29

 
LUCINDA B. HELM.



the home of her childhood, was old Aunt Gilly.
She was nurse to all the eleven children; but little
Lucinda was preeminently her " chile," partly be-
cause her ill health so frequently made her require
a nurse's care.
  The children often had " night-schools " inasmall
way for the negroes, and here Lucinda was in
her element, especially on Sunday afternoon, at
which time she was superintendent and principal
teacher. At their prayer-meetings they would get
her to come and read the Bible for them, then
they prayed one after another, and when they
prayed lovingly for " little Miss Cindy," who had
read God's Word to them, it made her very hap-
py. She says in speaking afterward of those
days: " They continually looked to me for this
service. If one of the older ones sat spelling out
the words in her Testament on a quiet Sabbath
afternoon, it came very natural for me to sit down
by her, take the book, and read the precious
words to her. I learned to find the most comfort-
ing passages that told of God's wonderful love
and his bright promises of the ' happy land of Ca-
naan.' "
  Of those early years of ministry to the negro
servants and others she again says: " More times
than I can count did God speak through my child
lips to the blind, the sick, the sinful, the sorrowing,
the old, the dying-speak to their hearts through
me with a meaning I could not then comprehend,



30

 

HER LIFE AND WORK.



though the words passed my lips. It was God
speaking to them, not I. He was using my voice
to say his own words."
  When she was about eleven years old her father
became Governor of the state, succeeding J. J.
Crittenden, who resigned to accept a place in
President Taylor's cabinet.  He removed his
family at this time from their country home near
Elizabethtown to the seat of government at Frank-
fort. Here she was brought into contact with un-
accustomed gaiety, calculated to fascinate a young
and ardent nature, but she was glad when the
family returned at the end of a year to their beau-
tiful old home. Her father, after serving the first
term as Governor, applied himself to his pro-
fession for the three years following, and then
became President of the great Louisville and Nash-
ville Railroad, of which he was practically the
originator. The first train that crossed the Roll-
ing Fork into his native county bore the Presi-
dent of the road.  He was a proud man that
day, and justly so. He had lived to serve the ma-
terial interests of his people, to see his own be-
loved county wedded to the beautiful Ohio, fifty
miles away, and his heart dilated with a sense of
pleasure as his lifelono friends and neighbors,
from the positions they had taken up beside the
track all along the course, waved to him their
congratulations as he was swiftly borne on his
way to Elizabethtown