August 17, 1788

Sun Mr. Hop pr 1st John 3 and 18. Let us not Love in word and in tongue but in truth—and from Galatians 5 and 22. But the fruit of the spirit is Love. Tuesday a Violent storm of wind from the southward. We did not suffer so much as some—many buildings blown to pieces—some persons we have heard were Killed, others much hurt. It lasted about an hour—thanks to God we were so far preserved. Wednesday I a visit at Mr. Shipmans. Thursday at Mr. Hop to help Quilt. Mrs. Emmons there (came up Tuesday) and a number of others.

As always, Elizabeth begins her diary entry by listing the Bible passages that Mr. Hop (Hopkins, the pastor) spoke of in his sermon. Galatians 5:22 reads as follow:

The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions 21 and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.

 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,  gentleness and self-control. 

Elizabeth recorded the words of this last phrase in her diary, so they seem to have had a significant impact on her. Unlike many of her contemporaries, she publicly and privately exhibited traits of “forbearance, kindness, and goodness” even to those who had committed the highly stigmatized “acts of the flesh” mentioned in the same passage. 20 years prior to this entry, in 1768, she was called upon by Betty Goodrich and her mother, as Betty was pregnant, unmarried, and faced with nowhere to go to give birth. A midwife was called, the baby was stillborn, and Betty stayed at Forty Acres three more weeks (Carlisle 33). On multiple occasions Elizabeth cared for women pregnant out of wedlock, allowing them to give birth in her own home and stay until they were back on their feet.

Elizabeth also writes of a storm with violent winds that ravaged the town of Hadley. It appears that for the most part this storm spared Forty Acres. Being the largest house in town, and far better built than most Hadley homes, the Phelps were safer than many others. Forty Acres, set back from the banks of the Connecticut River, faced numerous weather challenges over the centuries. James Lincoln Huntington, the founder of the museum, writes of a hurricane in 1938 that caused considerable damage to the property—much more than was sustained in the 1788 storm:

“First the ancient apple trees fell and then the great elms and maples by the roadside crashed. When these went down, all communication with the outside world ceased. No telephone, radio, or heat! We had candles and lanterns. A big fire was blazing in the kitchen fireplace in the oldhouse and we cooked our supper in pots hanging from the crane” (64)

The storm forced James Lincoln Huntington to life how it was for Elizabeth in 18th century.




Carlisle, Elizabeth. Earthbound and Heavenbent: Elizabeth Porter Phelps and Life at Forty Acres. New York: Scribner. 2004.

Diary of Elizabeth Porter Phelps, in Porter-Phelps-Huntington Family Papers [Box 8, folder 1]. On deposit at Amherst College Archives and Special Collections, Amherst College Library.

Huntington, James Lincoln. Forty Acres: The Story of the Bishop Huntington House. Photographs by Samuel Chamberlain. New York: Hastings House, 1949.

Phelps, Elizabeth Porter. The Diary of Elizabeth (Porter) Phelps, edited by Thomas Eliot Andrews with an introduction by James Lincoln Huntington in The New England Historical Genealogical Register. Boston: New England Historic Genealogical Society, Jan. 1964, p. 6, in Porter-Phelps-Huntington Family Papers [Box 9]. On deposit at Amherst College Archives and Special Collections, Amherst College Library.