Visit Your Local PBS Station PBS Home PBS Home Programs A-Z TV Schedules Watch Video Donate Shop PBS Search PBS
Rollover text informationAmerican Experience Logo
A Midwife's Tale









spacer above content
Transcript

Written and produced by Laurie Kahn-Leavitt
Directed by Richard P. Rogers
Based on a book by Laurel Thatcher Ulrich

NOTE: The transcript retains the original spelling from Martha Ballard's diary.

1st Birth

MARTHA BALLARD (voiceover):
April 24, 1785. I was called to Colo Sewall's wife in Travil. Stept out of the Canue & Sunk in the mire. Shee was not So ill as to call in other assistants this Day. I Slept with her till about 1 h morn when Shee Calld her Neighbours to her assistance. mrs Sewell was ill till 3 h pm. mrs Brooks, Belcher, Colman, Pollard and Voce assisted us. Shee was thro Divine asistance made the Living Mother of a Living Son, her 3rd child.

MARTHA BALLARD (dialogue):
The Head is out...

--Baby crying --

MARTHA BALLARD (voiceover):
Colo Sewall gave me 6/8 as a reward, Conducted me over the river.

LAUREL ULRICH (voiceover):
I don't know what Martha Ballard looked like. Still don't know after...

Diary Shot

LAUREL ULRICH (voiceover):
...all the years that I spent working with the diary.

LAUREL ULRICH (on camera):
Mrs Vaux and daughter and Nathan Howard...

LAUREL ULRICH (on camera):
reading in library

LAUREL ULRICH (on camera):
...returned from Boston

MARTHA BALLARD (voiceover):
I went to mr Savages

LAUREL ULRICH (on camera):
...I went to Mr Savages...

LAUEWL ULRICH (voiceover)
She became for me a voice.

LAUREL ULRICH (on camera):
...Sally Pierce sleeps here.

MARTHA BALLARD (voiceover):
...Sally Pierce sleeps here.

LAUREL ULRICH (on camera):
...Lad of Washington ate supper here...

LAUREL ULRICH (voiceover):-But that took a long time.

MARTHA BALLARD (voiceover):
Lad of washington Ett Supper here. Hannah Cool gone to See her Sister Pegy who is Sick.

LAUREL ULRICH (voiceover):-Before she was a voice, she was a mark on a page...

MARTHA BALLARD (dialogue):
writing

LAUREL ULRICH (voiceover):
...and I really began to learn about Martha Ballard through her marks, her scratching of a quill pen, day after day after day for twenty-seven years.

LAUREL ULRICH (on camera):
turning pages

LAUREL ULRICH (voiceover):
My connection to the past, like any historian's, is through the stuff that's left behind. It's not an imaginative connection, although imagination is part of it...

MARTHA BALLARD (dialogue):
making ink

LAUREL ULRICH (voiceover):
...it's about documents, it's about sources, it's about clues, it's about the leavings, the shards, the remnants of people who once lived and don't live anymore.....Without documents, there's no history. And women left very few documents behind.

LAUREL ULRICH (on camera):
looking at microfilm

LAUREL ULRICH (voiceover):
Reading the diary let me see a world I hadn't seen before. But it was very difficult to work with. My first task was to try to find some way to create order out of just a succession of facts.

MARTHA BALLARD (voiceover):
March 29, 1802...

LAUREL ULRICH (voiceover):-
Ah, oh, so Clarissa was there....she had company....

LAUREL ULRICH (on camera):
Using data sheets

MARTHA BALLARD (voiceover):
...Clear foren, Cloudy aftern. I have been mending Stockins and Legins for mr Ballard & Cyrus. mr Ballard is gone East Side of the river to Collect Taxes. I am informd that John Brown is in Jaol for Committing a Rape on his own Daught of 11 years of age.

MARTHA BALLARD (voiceover):
July 4. Clear. independence of America observd in this Town. we Bakt a quartr of Veal...

Shucking Stringbeans

MARTHA BALLARD (voiceover):-
.. & Began to Spin our Cotten

LAUREL ULRICH (voiceover):
...at home...

LAUREL ULRICH (on camera):
Working with data sheets

LAUREL ULRICH (on camera):
...DELIVERY, MEDICAL, VISIT, OVERNIGHT, CHURCH, BAKED, BREWED, CLEANED, GARDENED, MEND, SEWED, SPUN, WOVE...

LAUREL ULRICH (voiceover)
-Some other historians who had looked at this diary said, well, there were interesting parts, but it was filled with trivia, and that's what I loved about it. The story was in the details.

MARTHA BALLARD (on camera):
Writing at Night

MARTHA BALLARD (voiceover):
July 23, 1787. Clear. the Girls washt. mrs Ellis & Bolton here, gave me Some Coffee, Tea & Sugar; they Dind...

Martha Prepares Syrup

MARTHA BALLARD (voiceover):
...I made a Syrrup for mrs Savage.

Walking in mud, getting in canoe

LAUREL ULRICH (voiceover):
It's the dailiness of Martha's diary that helps us to understand the really important differences between the eighteenth century world and our own world, and what it means to be a woman in that world.

MARTHA BALLARD (voiceover):
July 25...

Martha examines Hardin Boy

MARTHA BALLARD (voiceover):
...A Shower this morn. Isaac Hardin Came for me to go and See his oldist Son, Sick with the rash; it has Sweled on the Neck. mrs Harris, Savage & Foster there.

LAUREL ULRICH (on camera):
Working with diary copies, data sheets

LAUREL ULRICH (on camera):.
reading -- And Polly Savage, Polly Hamlin here. Half the Savages are there. Isaac, little Isaac...rode horse to plough...

LAUREL ULRICH (voiceover):
A diary like this is... it's just filled with names. Kind of like walking into a room and just seeing a...

Roomful of strangers

LAUREL ULRICH (voiceover):
...bunch of strangers, you don't know who they are, and not sure if you care.

LAUREL ULRICH (on camera):
Working with diary copies, data sheets, maps

LAUREL ULRICH (on camera):
So he's next door.

LAUREL ULRICH (voiceover):
I had to get to know the people whose names were in the diary. I needed to know where they lived. I also needed to think about where they were economically.

LAUREL ULRICH (voiceover):
two oxen, one cow, three years old and two swine....

MARTHA BALLARD (on camera):
prepares herbs

MARTHA BALLARD (voiceover):
Clear. I left Mrs. Hodg and infant Cleaverly at 9 h morn. Calld at mr Westons, Pollards, mr Foster & mr Savages.

LAUREL ULRICH (voiceover):
medical, medical, medical...

LAUREL ULRICH (on camera):
working with data sheet

LAUREL ULRICH (on camera):
...medical, and overnight...

LAUREL ULRICH (voiceover):
When I finally was able to connect Martha's work to her world, I could begin to create stories. And the first story had to do with her work as a healer.

LAUREL ULRICH (on camera):
...Six overnights. Obviously this is an epidemic....

Kid almost falls in fire

Mrs Hardin-It's a long journey.

Little Hardin Girl-Mother!

LAUREL ULRICH (voiceover):
Martha called it Canker rash, which in more modern terms is Scarlet Fever. And it was life-threatening, and people were dying.

MARTHA BALLARD (voiceover):
July 27. Isaac Hardin Came for me. Says his child has the soar on its throat. Gave him some root, and gargled his throat, which gave him great ease.

MARTHA BALLARD (voiceover):
Clear & very pleasant...

MARTHA BALLARD (dialogue):
making sausages

MARTHA BALLARD (voiceover):
..we killed a swine which wd 174 lb.. I Salted it yesterday Eving...

Martha continues while the girls spin

MARTHA BALLARD (voiceover):-
..I was Calld to see mr Savages Dafter, find her very Low. Set up with her all night. Shee pukt up a considerable quantity of phlegm and Seems Some revivd.

LAUREL ULRICH (voiceover):
There were doctors in Martha's town, but she was usually the first one called. In twentieth century terms, she was a physician, pharmacist, and nurse, as well as a midwife.

MARTHA BALLARD (dialogue):
Hannah, will you finish this?

DOLLY (dialogue):
Yes, marm.

LAUREL ULRICH (voiceover):
She was also a good neighbor. You were never alone in time of illness, and that's a fundamental difference between her world and ours.

LAUREL ULRICH (on camera):
works with map

LAUREL ULRICH (voiceover):
OK, so we've got Martha going from the Fosters to see Lydia...

LAUREL ULRICH (voiceover):
As I began to map Martha's movements through the town, I found I could actually map the spread of the disease.

MARTHA BALLARD (voiceover):
July 28. Call'd to Revd mr Foster to See him; find him very Sick with the rash.

Mr Foster is Sick

MARTHA BALLARD (dialogue):
Good, the rash is moving down. Open...

MR FOSTER (dialogue)
Ahhhhh....

MARTHA BALLARD (dialogue):
Your throat is red.

MR FOSTER (dialogue)
I must preach tomorrow.

MARTHA BALLARD (dialogue):
Drink your tea, Mr. Foster.

REBECCA FOSTER (dialogue)
Have you seen Peg Cool today?

MARTHA BALLARD (dialogue):
She's near expiring.

Ephraim and Dolly are Sick

MARTHA BALLARD (voiceover):
Returned home to find mr Ballard & Dolly unwell. I Batht their feet & gave them Some herb Tea. I feel much fatagud my Self.

Shot of barn with cow in foreground

Medium shot of Sawmill

MARTHA BALLARD (dialogue):
in canoe daytime

MARTHA BALLARD (voiceover):
July 30. mr Williams has Bled again & is very poorly.

MARTHA BALLARD (on camera):
at Col Howards

MARTHA BALLARD (voiceover):
August 5. Clear morn. I was Calld at 9 o Clok to Mrs Howards to See James, he being very Sick with the Canker Rash; tarried all night. Colonal Howard made me a prest of 1 Gall Rhum & 2 lb Sugar on acount of my atendance of his famely in Sickness.

Night shot w/ moon

MARTHA BALLARD (on camera):
rubbing child's feet with onion

MARTHA BALLARD (voiceover):
August 6. I am at mrs Howards, watching with her Son. a very Severe Shower of hail with thunder and Litning began at half after one, Continud near 1 hour.

MARTHA BALLARD (on camera):
wakes up

Offscreen voice #1: Fire! Fire! Fire!

Voice #2: Fire! Fire across the river!

Voice #3: Go to the fort! -

MARTHA BALLARD (voiceover):
went out about Day. Discoverd our saw mill in flames.

MARTHA BALLARD (dialogue):
watches saw mill burning

MARTHA BALLARD (voiceover):
The men at the fort went over, found it Consumd together with Some plank & Boards. I tarried till Evinng.

Burning Mill

MARTHA BALLARD (voiceover):
Left James Exceeding Dangerously ill.

MARTHA BALLARD (dialogue):
watching sawmill burning; Hannah enters scene

MARTHA BALLARD (voiceover):
my Daughter Hannah is 18 years old this Day.

LAUREL ULRICH (voiceover):
Martha is in the middle of an epidemic, she's exhausted, and then she sees the sawmill in flames and this is her husband's mill.

Pan of smoldering timbers

LAUREL ULRICH (voiceover):
And then she adds, "My daughter Hannah is eighteen years old this day..."

Diary -- "Hannah 18" entry

LAUREL ULRICH (voiceover):
It seemed out of place to me until I began to put together the rest of her experience of that week.

William McMaster's sickness

LAUREL ULRICH (voiceover):
She's nursing a small child, William McMaster, and he dies.

MARTHA BALLARD (voiceover):
August 11. Clear. Calld from mrs Hds to Mr mcMasters to See thr Son William who is very low. Tarrid thr the night.

MRS MCMASTER (singing)
Hey my kitten, and hey my kitten deary, Such a sweet pet as this Was neither far nor neary. Here we go up and up and here we go down and downy. Here we go backward and forward and...

MARTHA BALLARD (voiceover):
at mr mc Masters, their Son very sick. I Sett up all night. mrs Pattin with me. the Child very ill indeed.

William McMasters dies

MARTHA BALLARD (voiceover):
August 13. William mc Masters Expired at 3 O Clock ys morn. mrs Patin & I laid out the Child. poor mother, how distressing her Case. near the hour of Labour and three Children more very Sick.

Diary Page

LAUREL ULRICH (voiceover):
I read this entry and I was very moved by it. But I was also puzzled. It's uncharacteristically emotional.

LAUREL ULRICH (on camera)
Talking Head

LAUREL ULRICH (voiceover):
And then I began to do more research into Martha's life and into the incidence of epidemics in the eighteenth century and suddenly it, um, it just all fell together in one place. It really almost gave me chills when I thought about it. Because in 1769, one of the worst epidemics in New England hit Massachusetts and in Martha's home town of Oxford, Massachusetts, diphtheria ran through the community, and Martha lost three daughters within a few weeks. Three little girls...and she was pregnant that summer...and Hannah was the child that was born in the summer of the epidemic, and you know that entry, that bland entry, "Hannah is eighteen years old this day" that meant absolutely nothing to me before, suddenly told me,

MARTHA BALLARD (dialogue):
washing dead child

LAUREL ULRICH (voiceover):
that as Martha nursed other women's children, she was recalling her own experience.

Ballards wake up

MARTHA BALLARD (voiceover):
Clear & warm. I have been at home, workt in my Gardin Some. Spent Some time Seeking my Turkeys & knitt some.

LAUREL ULRICH (voiceover):
Martha and Ephraim Ballard moved from Massachusetts to the frontier of Maine during the American Revolution. When the diary opens, Martha is fifty years old and has five children still living at home, ranging in ages from seven to thirty-one.

MARTHA BALLARD (voiceover):
Cyrus Carried 1 Bushl wheat & 1 of Indien meel to mr Carr. I have been Doubleing & Twisting Thread. the Girls washt.

MARTHA BALLARD (voiceover):
Clear and hott. I was at home all Day Collecting herbs. Hannah ironed and Parthenia spun cotton.

LAUREL ULRICH (voiceover):
Parthenia is Martha's niece, Parthenia Barton, who lives with the family for a number of years and becomes almost a daughter.

MARTHA BALLARD (voiceover):
Jonathan out to look for Loggs.

MARTHA BALLARD (voiceover):
Son Ephraim Cutt his finger.

MARTHA BALLARD (voiceover):
planted Garlic Seed, Dolly Sowd Some Pees.

MARTHA BALLARD (voiceover):
mr Ballard Gone to settle with mr Gardner, Pirkins, & Moore for Building ther Mill. A Cow is loos in town.

MARTHA BALLARD (voiceover)
I atended worship. Dolly was fritind by a Baire between here & Neighbr Savages.

LAUREL ULRICH (voiceover):
We know especially the kind of work that each member of the family did. What we don't know are some of the things we'd really like to know, that is, who slept where, and was this a playful household or was it a house where father ruled? Is this a harmonious family? Martha says very little in the diary about her relationship with her husband, but I don't think we can jump to the conclusion that it was a cold and formal relationship because she addresses him as Mr Ballard. What about privacy? How did they behave with one another? These are questions that the diary can't answer.

Girls washing, Sally arrives

MARTHA BALLARD (voiceover):
Clear. Sally Pierce here to Spin Shoe thrd. Drank Tea. the Girls washt.

Archives

LAUREL ULRICH (voiceover):
I remember when I started to do women's history that the response I would get from nearly everyone when I would go into an archive or a library and tell them that I was interested in women in the eighteenth century and the answer would be, --gruff voice-- "You won't find much!" And it's really true; there's almost nothing in surviving sources about Martha Ballard, except, of course, for the diary. It's easy to find evidence of her husband, Ephraim. He was a surveyor...

LAUREL ULRICH (on camera)
looking at large map

LAUREL ULRICH (voiceover):-
..and his maps are all over the archives. As a surveyor...

Ephraim's signature

LAUREL ULRICH (voiceover):
... he was caught in the middle of the conflicts over land that exploded in Maine in the years...

Ephraim surveying

LAUREL ULRICH (voiceover):
...after the American Revolution.

Map shot

LAUREL ULRICH (voiceover):
The Ballards moved to the Maine frontier as part of a larger migration. It was a time of geographic mobility and political upheaval...

Ephraim and Others Cutting Wood

LAUREL ULRICH (voiceover):
...a time of great uncertainty. No one knew what kind of a world would be born out of revolution. No one knew who owned the land....

MARTHA BALLARD (voiceover):
April 21. Clear. mr Ballard Surveying for Judg North. I've been at home. the Mrs Pages and mrs Cumings Calld here.

LAUREL ULRICH (voiceover):
Ephraim had a rough start in Maine. Some of his neighbors called him a rank Tory. I think he had moved on to find new opportunities for his sons: more land.

LAUREL ULRICH (voiceover):
Trees are obstacles to farming, but they are also very rich and important resources and the idea is to cut down trees, turn them into lumber, ship them out.

Ephraim and others milling lumber

LAUREL ULRICH (voiceover):
For a very long period in the diary, Martha and Ephraim are renters. Ephraim's renting the mill, and they're living in a rented house. They own land, but the land isn't cleared.

Man-One hundred.

MARTHA BALLARD (voiceover):
June 11...

Martha in garden

MARTHA BALLARD (voiceover):
...Clear & warm. I have been at home, workt in my Gardin Some. Hannah washt. Mr Ballard went to Mr Craggs

Girls weaving

MARTHA BALLARD (voiceover):
mr Savage made the irons for our Loome. I paid him 4 Shillings in Cash. Mrs Pollard here to warp a piece.

LAUREL ULRICH (voiceover):
In the early part of the diary, Martha and her daughters carded and spun, prepared yarn and thread, which they took to neighbors to weave. But as the girls grew into their teens, they began to weave, and that's an advantage for Martha, because if they're there, doing the milking and the washing, she can go out and deliver babies, and midwifery is the best paid of the female occupations.

MARTHA BALLARD (dialogue):
on horse

LAUREL ULRICH (voiceover):
In over a thousand births, she doesn't lose a single mother at delivery, and very few babies.

MARTHA BALLARD (voiceover):
October 10. at Mr Sewalls.

Mrs Sewell's Birth Scene

--Mrs Sewell screams--

MARTHA BALLARD (dialogue):
It's early yet. Let's get up and walk.

Mrs Sewell-No. I can't do it. I can't bear it. Go for the new doctor.

MARTHA BALLARD (voiceover):
they were intimidated & Calld Dr Page who gave my Patient 20 drops of Laudenum which put her into Such a Stupor her pains --which were regular & promising-- in a manner stopt till near night.

LAUREL ULRICH (voiceover):
The new physician in town was Dr. Benjamin Page, and he seemed determined to engage in the practice of obstetrics. Not to come in in an emergency, as an older physician might have done, but really to be part of normal deliveries. From Martha's point of view, Page was not only an upstart, he was a bungler. Eventually the doctor left, the opium wore off, and Martha delivered the baby.

MARTHA BALLARD (dialogue):
Good, good...

MARTHA BALLARD (voiceover):
Shee was safe. Delivd at 7h Evn of a Son, her first Born. I left her Cleverly at 10 & walkt home. I received 12 shillings as a reward.

MARTHA BALLARD (dialogue):
walking down path

MARTHA BALLARD (voiceover)
April 17. Mr Livermores Swine in our field a number of times. I went my Self & informd him.

MARTHA BALLARD (on camera):
riding horse-closer

MARTHA BALLARD (voiceover):
September 2. Clear and pleasant. thee girls moovd Beds. There was a thief Whipt at the post for Stealing Cloath fm Mr Ebenz Farwell.

MARTHA BALLARD (dialogue):-
walking in snowshoes

MARTHA BALLARD (voiceover):
February 2. Snowd. I was Calld to See Black Hitty. Shee was Deld of a Son before I arivd, Sally Cocks gave me a Snuff Box.

MARTHA BALLARD (dialogue):
at Mrs. Fosters

MARTHA BALLARD (voiceover):
August 25, 1789. Clear. I went to See mrs Foster.

LAUREL ULRICH (voiceover):
I didn't pay any attention to this diary entry- it was just another one of those visits.

REBECCA FOSTER (dialogue):
That was not the worst that has come to me since Mr Foster's absence...

LAUREL ULRICH (voiceover):
but later I discovered it was really one of the most important entries in the diary, it was connected to a very complex story. Mrs Foster was Rebecca Foster, the wife of the young minister...

Mr. Foster preaching at church

LAUREL ULRICH (voiceover):
...Isaac Foster, who had been settled a few years before in the town. Martha was very fond of Mr Foster, but not everyone in the town liked him.

FOSTER (dialogue):
The plain truth is an enlightened mind...

LAUREL ULRICH (voiceover):
He was perhaps a little bit of a prickly character himself, there was lots of trouble, and eventually he stepped down, and went off to try to find another job, and when he was away, a really terrible thing happened to his wife.

At Mrs. Fosters

REBECCA FOSTER (dialogue):
They could do nothing worse than they have unless they killed me. North has abused me worse than any other person in the world.

CU of North at church

LAUREL ULRICH (voiceover):
Judge North was a very powerful man in the county.

Ephraim and Col North at Tavern

LAUREL ULRICH (voiceover):
He also happened to be one of Ephraim Ballard's employers.

COL NORTHA (dialogue):
We need to know the names of every squatter and the date of settlement for each...

LAUREL ULRICH (voiceover):
They were associated in business and in town government.

At Mrs. Fosters

REBECCA FOSTER (dialogue):
I believe it is best that I...

MARTHA BALLARD (voiceover):
but Shee believd it was best for her to keep her troubles to her Selfe as mutch as Shee Could till her Husband returnd, which Shee hopt wd be soon.

MARTHA BALLARD (dialogue):
Never mention it to any other person. You will expose yourself and cause yourself harm.

LAUREL ULRICH (voiceover):
Rebecca Foster discovered she was pregnant. And that forced her to break the silence.

Weaving

MARTHA BALLARD (voiceover):
October 1. mr Savage here, informs that mrs Foster has Sworn a Rape on a number of men among whome is Judge North. Shocking indeed!

LAUREL ULRICH (voiceover):
When the story came out and Martha was called to testify...

Diary shot - CU on margin of page

LAUREL ULRICH (voiceover):
...she went back to her diary and wrote down everything she could remember.

MARTHA BALLARD (voiceover):
Today I Calld to mind mrs Foster Saying Colo North had positively had unlawfull Concourse with a woman which was not his wife.

At Mrs Fosters

REBECCA FOSTER (dialogue):
I know it was North. He is guilty.

LAUREL ULRICH (voiceover):
Despite North's power, the case went to trial ...

Judges in Mist

LAUREL ULRICH (voiceover):
... judges came from Boston, Martha was called to testify, a verdict was rendered.

MARTHA BALLARD (voiceover):
At Pounalboro...

Diary Entry

MARTHA BALLARD (voiceover):
... mr Ballard attended Coart. North acquited to the great Surprise of all that I heard Speak of it.

In church New preacher

REV. PARKER (dialogue):
But how comparatively small is the number of...

MARTHA BALLARD (voiceover):
Cloudy & a Sprinkling of rain. mr Parker preacht in this Town. I Did not attend my Self.

Martha in garden

MARTHA BALLARD (voiceover):
I have been at home. the Seeds begin to Cum up in the gardn.

MARTHA BALLARD (voiceover):
Sunday, August 2, I had String Beans, the first we have had from our garden.

LAUREL ULRICH (voiceover):
She virtually stopped going to church for almost four years.

Mist shot

River shot

LAUREL ULRICH (voiceover):
...The Rebecca Foster story led me to think about the entire diary differently.

Snow shot

LAUREL ULRICH (voiceover):
How many other stories might there be hidden in those cryptic entries about visits?

Martha collecting herbs

Barn shot

JONATHAN (voiceover):
I'll buy those logs off of Springer for a song and a dance...

Jonathan and Sally kiss

JONATHAN (dialogue)
...and push them on down to Papa's mill.

SALLY (dialogue):
Oh Jonathan.

JONATHAN (dialogue)
Oh Sally.

MARTHA BALLARD (voiceover):
November 21. Cloudy part of the Day, the Gentle men who were Chosen as referees in the Cause between Peter Jones & my Son Jonathan Sett this day. they gave Jones 8 damage & the Cost of Coart was 2 pound 5 shillings. I could wish my son might learn to govern his temper for the futer.

MARTHA BALLARD (on camera):
at store

MARTHA BALLARD (voiceover):
Clear. I houghd my Cabbages & went to the hook. I purchast at the Stores of thread what Cost 1/6, tape & Bob 1/6...

LAUREL ULRICH (voiceover):
For a point in her life, Martha Ballard had a, just a perfectly functioning domestic system, the girls busy at their work, she developing her own occupation. But the end of all this labor was to launch the girls in households of their own.

Quilting B

PARTHENIA (dialogue):
Look.

HANNAH (dialogue):
Let me see it.

MARTHA BALLARD (voiceover):
my Girls had some neighbors to help them quilt. They began to quilt at 3 in the afternoon. Finisht and took it out at 7 --in the-- evening. Mrs Rockwood & Mrs Pollard Came to help. We Bakt mins and pumpkin pies.

Daytime indoor dance scenes

MARTHA BALLARD (voiceover):
There were 12 gentlemen took tea. They danced a little while after supper.

LAUREL ULRICH (voiceover):
There seems to have been no real stigma against premarital pregnancy. The stigma is on the person who refuses to marry the woman. As long as they marry, everything's fine. And the watchful eye of the midwife and the other neighbors helps to assure that they do marry.

Evening outdoor dance scene

JONATHAN BALLARD and MOSES POLLARD (Singing):
Her pretty leg was seen, and something else and something else and what I know, but dare not tell.

MARTHA BALLARD (voiceover):
The young folks Behaved exceedingly cleverly...were all returned home before the 11th hour.

Indoors, another dance

LAUREL ULRICH (voiceover):
I don't think Jonathan wanted to marry Sally Pierce, or maybe he didn't like to be told what to do.

Sally Pierce's birth scene

MARTHA BALLARD (voiceover):
October 23rd. I was Calld to See Sally Pierce at 9 h morn, the rideing very bad. Sally Declard that my Son Jonathan was the father of her child.

MARTHA BALLARD (dialogue):
Push, push, push...Sally I have to ask you now, who is the father of the child?

SALLY (dialogue):
Jonathan

MARTHA BALLARD (dialogue):
Jonathan who?

SALLY (dialogue):
Your son, Jonathan Ballard.

MARTHA BALLARD (dialogue):
Push. Push.

Jonathan and Sally married

Martha Ballard (voiceover):
January the 11th, 1792. Clear & very Cold morn. Jonathan has not been at home Since yester day. I have been at home, mended a Coverld & knitt Some. Jonathan was married to Sally Peirce.

Laurel Working

LAUREL ULRICH (voiceover):
It may seem cruel to be questioning a woman at the height of labor about the name of the father of her child, but in fact this was part of the judicial system of the 18th century. Sally Pierce had gone to the justice of the peace and sworn a child on Jonathan. And the way that she assured that she could win that case was to affirm that testimony before the midwife at the height of labor.

Hannah's marriage

MARTHA BALLARD (voiceover):
October 28. thee Matrimonial writes were Cellibrated between mr Moses Pollard off this Town and my Dagt Hannah this Evng. Esq Coney performd the Ceremony.

Parthenia's Marriage

MARTHA BALLARD (voiceover):
November 18. rainy. mr Pollard & Pitt Dind here, thee latter was Joind in thee Bands off wedlock with Parthenia Barton. the Ceremony pirformd by Saml Dutton Esq. I have been at home. we had no Company Except our famely attend.

Weaving

LAUREL ULRICH (voiceover):
The wedding is almost a non-event. The girls stay at home after the wedding, they go back to work spinning and weaving and for several weeks the men come and go, sometimes they stay overnight, sometimes they don't. The real event is when all these household goods are gathered up and the girls go off to housekeeping.

Hannah goes to housekeeping

LAUREL ULRICH (voiceover):
After Hannah and Parthenia married, Martha no longer used their first names in the diary. She called them "Daughter Pollard" and "Mrs Pitts."

MARTHA BALLARD (voiceover):
Clear but very Cold. mr Pollard Came & Conducted my Dagt & his Spouse home to Hous keeping. I have been at home, washt my kitchen.

MARTHA BALLARD (on camera):
writing in diary at night

MARTHA BALLARD (voiceover):
my famely is reduced to four in Number. Cyrus has been to the fort, Ephm to work with his OXen for mr Livermore, & now this year is Come to a Close. May we begin a New one in the Servis of our Great Master, who will reward his faithfull Servants.

Parthenia sick at Pitts'

MARTHA BALLARD (voiceover):
May 1, 1794. --A frosty morn.-- I was informd that --my niece-- mrs Pitts was unwell & went to See her. I tarried all night.

Parthenia sick at Ballards'

MARTHA BALLARD (voiceover):
June 24. Clear. mrs Pitts Came here, had a feavour fitt.

Martha on horse

MARTHA BALLARD (voiceover):
June 30. Clear. I was Calld at 9 h morn to my Daughter Pollard who was in Labour. her women were Calld and Shee was safe Deliverd at 1 h Pm of a Daught, her first Born...

Hannah's baby

MARTHA BALLARD (voiceover):
... I tarried with her allnight. Shee is Cleverly.

Parthenia drinks from cow

MARTHA BALLARD (voiceover):
July 22. I was at Shubal Pittses all Day. Shee is very low, Exercisd with Severe Gripeing & loose Stools. God only knows how it may terminate. I Sent for my hors, but find her So ill I tarried thro the night.

MARTHA BALLARD (voiceover):
July 23. Clear. mrs Pitts rose about an hour by Sun in the morn, went out & milkt the last milk from the Cow into her mouth & Swallowd it. it is recommended as very Beneficial by mr Amos Page.

Hannah and baby visit Parthenia

PARTHENIA (dialogue):
She's lusty.

HANNAH (dialogue):
I don't think she favors our side of the family.

PARTHENIA (dialogue):
Oh, she does favor her papa.

MARTHA BALLARD (voiceover):
her pain Still Continues & God only knows what will be the event. may Shee be prepared.

Martha and Shubael change Parthenia's bed

MARTHA BALLARD (voiceover):
September 1: Shee Desird mr Pitts & I to moov her & fix her Bed. we Did & laid her in again.

Parthenia dying, neighbor peels potato

Martha washes Parthenia's body

MARTHA BALLARD (voiceover):
I Came home from mr Pittss after we had Performd our last Ofice of friend Ship. it is four months this Day Since I was Calld to See my Dear Neace who was Seisd with this, her last illness, which Shee has born with Christian meekness and humility. we morn the los of her Company but have the greatest reason to hope that Shee has Changd this for a world in which Shee will be free from pain and Sorrow, joind with Glorified Saints to Sing Redeeming lov.

Martha walks home

Horse grazing in pasture

Autopsy

MARTHA BALLARD (voiceover):
September 2. Cloudy forenoon, a very rainy afternoon. I walkt to mr Pitts this morning where I Saw the Dessection of his decesed wife. The opperation was performd by Drs Colman, Cony, and Page. Her Lights were found to be very much ulcerated & Skerrous utera.

Funeral w/singing

ALL (singing)
Why do we mourn departing friends, or shake at death's alarms? Tis but the voice that Jesus sends, to call them to his arms.

Funeral procession in rain

LAUREL ULRICH (voiceover):
Martha's reference to lights suggests that Parthenia may have died of a lung disease. Maybe it was tuberculosis, which was a great killer of young people in this period.

Martha washes old clothes

MARTHA BALLARD (voiceover):
October 11. Clear. I have been washing Old Cloaths which ought to have been Done long ago.

Martha sassed

LAUREL ULRICH (voiceover):
In 1795, the last of Martha's daughters married.. And she could no longer write in her diary, "Girls washed." She was dependent on hired helpers.

MARTHA BALLARD (dialogue)
This thread is too weak

ELIZABETH (dialogue):
Mrs Dutton thought my spinning was good enough.

MARTHA BALLARD (dialogue)
I'm your mistress now.

ELIZABETH (dialogue):
I have no mistress.

MARTHA BALLARD (dialogue)
Do you live here?

ELIZABETH (dialogue):
I sleep here.

Ephraim and Little Ephraim make a map

EPHRAIM (dialogue):
North, go north to Long Pond, 2, 3, 4, 5...

Martha makes beer and hired girl preens

LAUREL ULRICH (voiceover):
For Martha and Ephraim, the axis of the world was changing. A new political order was creating a new social order - less deference to authority, more concern about rights, and they experienced that as loss rather than gain.

MARTHA BALLARD (voiceover):
I am determined not to pay girls anymore for ill manners.

Ephraim out surveying

LAUREL ULRICH (voiceover):
In 1795, Martha is 60 years old, Ephraim is 70, and thet they're still hard at work. He's away fifty nine nights that year surveying, and she's away even more. Ephraim's work is risky. He's employed by wealthy Boston merchants who think they own the land. He's surveying land that the backcountry settlers believe is theirs. And they don't want him there...

MARTHA BALLARD (voiceover):
May 5, 1796. Clear and windy. mr Ballard and P. Bullin Sett out to Survey the Setlers Lotts at Bangor on the Penobskiot river.

Martha in cabin with fleas

MARTHA BALLARD (voiceover):
mrs Caton has been ill and was Deld of a Son at 2h 30m pm, and of a Dagt at 3 h. I tarried all night, have had but little Sleep this three nights. mr Simeon Clearks wife watcht. I Could not Sleep for flees. I found 80 flees on my Cloaths after I came home.

Sally Fletcher packs her duds

MARTHA BALLARD (voiceover):
Sally -- Fletcher-- took her Deeds and threatend to Sue us in 1 weak from this time if we Did not pai her what was her due. Shee looks thin fased to what Shee Did when Shee left us.

Ephraim attacked

Settler dressed as Indian:
Deliver up god damn you Tory!

Settler dressed as Indian #2:
Deliver the canisters, deliver the papers!

MARTHA BALLARD (voiceover):
November 15. mr Ballard and men were assaulted when a Sleep last Thursday night in the wilderness, by men they knew not who robd him of his papers and instruments. may we Ever praise God for his Goodness in preserving him and his assistants from hurt in person.

Martha's 60th birth

MARTHA BALLARD (voiceover):
This is the 60th Birth at which I have attinded Since I Came to this Eastern Clime. I receivd 9/, made a prest of 1/6 to the infant. I returnd home and find my house up in arms.

Martha's house up in arms

LAUREL ULRICH (voiceover):
I don't know how much of Martha and Ephraim's troubles is just the natural evolution of the life cycle. They're getting older, they have a greater need for support. And how much of it is that the world, too, is changing.

MARTHA BALLARD (voiceover):
how long God will preserv my Strength to perform as I have Done of late, he only knows.

Martha writes in diary at night

MARTHA BALLARD (voiceover):
Clear and Cold. I have been Doing my house work and Nursing my Cow, her Bag is amazeingly Sweld. A womans work is Never Done as the Song Says, and happy Shee whos Strength holds out to the End of the rais. it is now near the middle of the night and mr Densmore Calls me to his house.

Parade

LAUREL ULRICH (voiceover):
In 1800, a few months after the death of George Washington, the town put on a parade. There was the usual assembly of public officials, and at the head of the parade, sixteen young women, daughters of the town's merchants and judges and doctors, each to represent one of the sixteen states of the union. And they were all decked out with black cloaks and white banners, symbols of liberty and the new republic. 1800 was the year Napoleon's armies marched into Italy. 1800 was the year Thomas Jefferson defeated John Adams in an election so bitter it went to the 36th ballot in the House of Representatives. In 1800, the number of lawsuits in the county court began to expand almost exponentially. In 1800, the Reverend Mr Isaac Foster died a penniless drunk in Rehobeth, Maryland. Not long afterward according to rumor, his wife Rebecca headed off to Peru with her son, hunting for gold.

Cart takes belongings to new house

MARTHA BALLARD (voiceover):
Cyrus went and brot the team and Carried 1 Load of our things. Carried the ash Box, a Bed and bedstead, and Beets, & F. Turnips & Gardin roots.

LAUREL ULRICH (voiceover):
I'm not sure how Martha felt about the transition of 1800. The family had, in one sense, achieved the dream that had brought them to Kennebec County in the first place, that is they now had cleared enough land and were able to establish a farmstead, and as Martha put it in the diary, "Mr Ballard's house" had now been contructed. And of course it was Mr. Ballard's house. The Revolution hadn't changed the fact that married women couldn't own property.

The new house

The house was constructed on land that was in Jonathan's name, so two things were happening, the old couple were moving into the house, but at the same time there was a kind of shifting, in family authority toward the son and heir, and this set up a very interesting kind of tension.

EPHRAIM (dialogue)
To our contract and our new house.

MARTHA BALLARD (dialogue):
I'll have to start a new garden.

MARTHA BALLARD (voiceover):
April 29, 1800. Clear fore part of the day...

Martha and Ephraim hoe in Garden

MARTHA BALLARD (voiceover):
...Cloudy at Even. I have been diging and moving dirt in the gardin the most of the day, have made my hands very sore. I went to my Son Jonathans a little while before night.

Ballards' house in snow

LAUREL ULRICH (voiceover):
The family fortunes were rising, but Martha's were declining. The farm, unfortunately, was up on a ridge, high above the Kennebec River, and that seems to have made a real difference in her practice.

Ballards' house in spring

LAUREL ULRICH (voiceover):
It was harder for other people to come and find her, in a more out of the way place. She recorded 51 deliveries in 1799...

Geese flying overhead

LAUREL ULRICH (voiceover):
...which was the last year in the old house.

Ephraim and little Ephraim leave for surveying trip

LAUREL ULRICH (voiceover):
In 1800, that declined to 26, and by 1802, it was down to 11.

Ephraim and little Ephraim come home

MARTHA BALLARD (dialogue):
Are you all right, Ephraim?

MARTHA BALLARD (voiceover):
August 29, 1802. my Lott is Singular but with Patience I wish to Conform to it. my husband returnd at Evng fm Balls town much fatagued with his Jouney, had a fitt of Shakeing. I heat a Blankett and put it about him at about 3 h morn. he, being relaxed, Dirtied the Bed.

Martha helps him change

MARTHA BALLARD (voiceover):
I rose, Shirted him and removed the dirty lining, went to Bed again...

Martha lies awake next to Ephraim

MARTHA BALLARD (voiceover):
...but was so Cold that I Could not Sleep.

LAUREL ULRICH (voiceover):
I know from Ephraim's records, but not from Martha's diary that he had been attacked again in the woods. He gave up surveying in the back country and took on the job of town tax collector.

Ephraim goes to jail

MARTHA BALLARD (voiceover):
January 2, 1804. Clear. I feel very unwel. my husband Came home at 4 this afternoon. Took a little food. Complains of feeling the pain in his Stomach, but was Calld by John Sewall to answer an Execution of 800 Dollars. was by him Conducted to the Jail in augusta and Commited.

LAUREL ULRICH (voiceover):
He was in debtors' prison.

Ephraim in jail

LAUREL ULRICH (voiceover):
But the nature of his debt was a little bit unusual. This wasn't a personal debt. He had failed to collect the town taxes. Instead of going after individual taxpayers, they just jailed the tax collector. It was really a kind of house arrest, or maybe even a bit less than that. He could go out and do some kind of work during the day. He could not go home, because the Ballard farm lay outside the bounds.

Chickens in snow

Sheep in snow

Martha, soap barrel breaks

MARTHA BALLARD (voiceover):
March 12. Cloudy part of the day. I have been helping do hous work. brewd and have Soap in hand as the hoops of the Barril Sprung. it was not so when I had a husband with me.

House in snow

Martha gets wood in snow

MARTHA BALLARD (voiceover):
Clear part of the Day. Son Jonathan Came here this morn and treated me very unbecomingly indead. O that God would Chang his Stuborn heart and Cause him to behave in a Cristion like maner to Parents and all others.

Johnathan attacks Lemuel

MARTHA BALLARD (voiceover):
March 17. - Jonathan -- Came up on foot with out his hat. took Lemuel from his Supper, and Struck him.

LEMEUL (dialogue):
But I waited!

JONATHAN (dialogue):
Damn you you lazy... I'll show you waited!

LEMEUL (dialogue):
No Please!

Lemuel runs out of house, followed by Johnathan

MARTHA BALLARD (dialogue):
Jonathan!

JONATHAN (dialogue):
God damn you! Where the hell do you think you're going?

Martha runs after Johnathan and falls

MARTHA BALLARD (dialogue):
Jonathan! Stop it Jonathan!

MARTHA BALLARD (voiceover):
Shaw and Burr went on after to prevent his being deprived of life. I followed on falling as I went.

Dolly and Hannah comfort Martha

DOLLY (dialogue):
Mother, he was in drink.

HANNAH (dialogue):
You cannot stop him, you'll hurt yourself chasing after him

MARTHA BALLARD (voiceover):
March 18. Daught Lambd and Pollard here. my comfortors are much as Jobs were. O that my Patience may hold out. it is very Strange that men Cannot behave like rational beings.

Martha wanders aimlessly around empty house

MARTHA BALLARD (voiceover):
December 17. Clear. went to son Ephraims. then met my husband in jail. he Exprest a wish for me to keep possision of this hous at present. Somewhat Discomposed in my mind. I wish to retain my reason if it be the wil of the great Parent of the univers.

MARTHA BALLARD (on camera)
writes

LAUREL ULRICH (voiceover):
Martha's despair is reflected even in her handwriting.

Ephraim and jailmates toast and sing in jail

DANIEL CONY (dialogue):
To the president!

ALL:
To the president...

EPHRAIM (dialogue):
To the honorable Daniel Coney!

ALL:
Daniel Coney...

MAN:
To the candor and impartiality of the judiciary!

DANIEL CONY (dialogue):
To the fair sex!

EPHRAIM (dialogue):
Welcome Brother Debtor...

ALL (sing):
Welcome Brother Debtors -cont. over cut--

MARTHA BALLARD (on camera)
hacks up fence for fire wood

LAUREL ULRICH (voiceover):
We get the story from Martha's point of view, and it would be interesting if we had a diary from Jonathan or Sally. Here we have this old mother, she needs wood, she needs water, she needs help, our well isn't any good, we've got all these kids in this old house. Why don't we just move in? She could be fine in one room. She doesn't need this whole house. There are glimmerings of this in the diary.

MARTHA BALLARD (voiceover):
I've been geting wood, broke the old logg fence to pieces, and fatigued much to do it. Heard at Evng that my Son was Determennd to Come in to this hous within a fortnit. and that I might tarrie here or go and liv in their hous and See how good it was to bring water from his wel. O, thou Parent of the universe, Cutt Short thine aflictions and Sufer me thine unworthy hand maid to See Some Comfort before I go hence.

Martha stuffs rags in window

MARTHA BALLARD (voiceover):
December 19. Clear and Cold. this is 50 years Since I became a hous keeper.

Ducks in river

Martha Leaves Pollard

MARTHA BALLARD (voiceover):
December 23. Son Cyrus Came to Son Pollards...

Cyrus brings Martha home

MARTHA BALLARD (voiceover):
....we Dind on a fine Turkey and he then Conducted me home. I find son Jonathans family had taken possesion of my house.

Johnathan's family in Martha's house

SALLY (dialogue):
Billy, I mean Ephraim, Jack!

JOHNATHAN (dialogue):
Be still, you lazy drabs!

Iced-over mill shot

Martha pouring hot water, sleeps in clothes

MARTHA BALLARD (voiceover):
I have felt unwel, but have had the nois of Childn to Bear, some fighting, Some playing, and not a little Profannity has been performd.

MARTHA BALLARD (voiceover):
Clear and Cold. this is one year Since my husband was taken from me and Carried to Jail. A Gloomy year it has been to me. I have Sufered for fire but must bear it.

MARTHA BALLARD voiceover):
January 6, 1805. Clear and cold. I was oblidged to Sleep in my Cloaths or freas, unhappy Mother I am.

Gingerbread exchange Martha & Sally

SALLY (dialogue):
I brought you some gingerbread........--she waits--.......Thank you.

MARTHA BALLARD (dialogue):
You are rude.

SALLY (dialogue):
I'm tired of your complaints.

MARTHA BALLARD (voiceover):
Shee is an inconsiderate or a very impudent woman. I wish her to Show more maners and discretion or hold her peace for the future.

Martha sewing

MARTHA BALLARD (voiceover):
May 9. a rainy day. Cleard Some of the manure from under the out hous. I have been So much better this afternoon that I took some Tea.

Iced-over barrel

MARTHA BALLARD (voiceover):
--Son Jonathans' Dear little-- Saml Expired at 5 h ys morn. Saml was 19 months, 8 days & 3 hours old when he Expired. may the God of mercy...

Martha still sewing, Jonathan's son has died

MARTHA BALLARD (voiceover):
...Sanctyfy his Chastisements for our Ever lasting good.

Jonathan's kids writing on slates

MARTHA BALLARD (dialogue):
Let me see your letters. Oh, they're good.

MARTHA BALLARD (on camera)
looks out window at trees

MARTHA BALLARD (voiceover):
my Husband has this day seen 80 revolutions of the Sun, he has ended this and began the 81th year of his age in Augusta jail.

Martha and Ephraim in jail

MARTHA BALLARD (voiceover):
May 25. Clear. I have been at -son-- Ephms, went to Jail and Slept with my Husband.

LAUREL ULRICH (voiceover):
In 17 months, Ephraim is finally released from jail.

Martha and Ephraim in garden

LAUREL ULRICH (voiceover):
Jonathan and Sally immediately began to build a new house.


Martha with grandchild reading

LAUREL ULRICH (voiceover):
It looks as though Martha's going to have some peace and security in her old age.

(Child reads from emblem book)

Ballard house at night

MARTHA BALLARD (voiceover):
December 19, 1807...

Martha and Ephraim in bed

MARTHA BALLARD (voiceover):
..this is the annaversary of my Mariage, 53 years Since. O the Sceins which have past Sinc that time. I lay musing thereon, and slept but little.

James Purrington running in woods

Martha and Ephraim in bed

MARTHA BALLARD (voiceover):
July 9, 1806. my Husband & I were awake at 3 h yesterday morn by Mrs Heartwel and Gillbard, who brot us the horrible tydings that Capt Purington had murdered all his famely...

James Purrington running in woods

MARTHA BALLARD (voiceover):
..Except his Son James, who must have Shared the Same fate had he not fled in his Shirt only and ran to Son Jonathans.

MARTHA BALLARD (voiceover):
they two went to the hous where the horrid Scein was perpetrated.

James finds murdered family

MARTHA BALLARD (voiceover):
my Son went in and found a Candle which he lit and to his great Surprise Said Purington, his wife & Six Childn Corps! may an infinitely good God grant that we may all take a suitable notis of this horrid deed, learn wisdom there from.

Martha and Ephraim still in bed

MARTHA BALLARD (voiceover):
what are we Cuming to in this Eastern world?

Nature shots

Martha writing

MARTHA BALLARD (voiceover):
April 2, 1808. I have been to Son Jonathans to help her quilt her Bed quilt. what --elce--I have endured I wish not to write.

LAUREL ULRICH (voiceover):
"What else I have endured I wish not to write." Well that could almost be the theme of the last few years of the diary. But it doesn't become a kind of sacharine document. It becomes again very much what it was at the beginning of the diary: a record of work, a record of activity, rather than a record of feelings.

MARTHA BALLARD (on camera)
buys basket from Indian girl

MARTHA BALLARD (voiceover):
March 17, 1809. Clear day, Cloudy at Evng. Elisabth, the indn, here, let her have potatoes. A Son of John Babcocks here for a record of his Birth which was September 11, 1791.

Martha in garden

MARTHA BALLARD (voiceover):
Cloudy. I workt in my gardin, Sett Parsley & 3 quins trees by the Pigg pen, knit some. mr Ballard diging gardin & Setting hop poles. hear mrs Mosier is no Better

Martha in front of fire

MARTHA BALLARD (voiceover):
June 29, 1811. Clear. I have done my hous work, killd Buggs on my vines. Son Jonathan was put in jaill for debt, an unfortunate thing for him at this time as the freshet is risin and his Lumber up river in A precarious Situation. may all things work together for his good here, and here after, is the wish of me, his affectionate mother.

Final Birth

MRS SAUNDERS (dialogue):
It hurts here, harder. Yes, that's better, it's coming...

MARTHA BALLARD (dialogue):
Mrs. Savage

MARTHA BALLARD (voiceover):
Clear and warm. I was Calld at 1 h ys morn to See the wife of Wilm Saunders who was in Labour. her illness Came on at 3h pm and I took her into my Care. Shee was Safe Delivd about 5 of her first Son & 3d Child.

MARTHA BALLARD (dialogue):
Push, push. Head's out. Easy....easy....It's a boy, Mrs. Saunders. This one's a boy.

MARTHA BALLARD (voiceover):
I left her & inft Comfortable and reacht home at dusk in the Evng.

"Roomful of strangers" -- now no longer strangers but Martha's family at her bedside

LAUREL ULRICH (voiceover):
Suddenly, her midwifery practice picks up again. She's back on her horse, out in the middle of the night. In fact, in the last four months of the diary she delivers almost as many babies as she did at the beginning. And then, at the end of April, 1812, she came home from a delivery exhausted and ill. She didn't want to get out of bed for several days. She just seemd to sink down.

MARTHA BALLARD (voiceover):
May 7, 1812. Clear the most of the day & very Cold & windy. Dagt Ballard and a Number of her Children here, mrs Partridg & Smith allso. Revd Tappin Came and Converst Swetly...

Diary shot -- the last page of the diary

MARTHA BALLARD (voiceover):
..made A Prayer adapted to my Case.

LAUREL ULRICH (voiceover):
And then the diary just stops.

Martha gardening

LAUREL ULRICH (voiceover):
If I could confront Martha in some way and speak with her, I think maybe the question I would ask her is: did you expect the diary to survive? Did you want it to survive? Did you expect your family to read it? I'm quite sure she never expected a world of two hundred years later to read it and be interested in her life.

Black

MARTHA BALLARD (voiceover):
May 7, 1812. Clear the most of the day & very Cold & windy.

END



Site Navigation

The Film & More: Film Description | Transcript | Further Reading

A Midwife's Tale Home | The Film & More | Special Features | Timeline | Gallery | Teacher's Guide

The American Experience | Feedback | Search & Site Map | Shop | Subscribe | Web Credits

© New content 1999-2000 PBS Online / WGBH



Exclusive Corporate Funding is provided by: