Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Sarah Starling Sullivant, pioneer mother

Arriving in Franklinton in 1801 as the sixteen year old bride of Lucas Sullivant, Sarah Starling Sullivant faced a daunting life. As the sheltered daughter of a prosperous plantation owner in Kentucky, she was not acquainted with the harsh manual labor required by frontier living. Not one to complain, Sarah accomplished with her own hands much of the work she had always seen assigned to slaves. An attack of malarial fever in 1805 weakened her health so acutely that she no longer had the energy to attend to her tasks. In spite of poor health, however, she was a ministering spirit to all. When General William Henry Harrison made Franklinton his headquarters during the War of 1812, soldiers flocked to the settlement. Many of the Kentucky militiamen were old friends and relatives of Lucas and Sarah. The men were invited to camp in front of the Sullivant house, and Sarah provided food and nursed them when illness struck. It was toward the end of the war when typhus broke out in the camp. As Sarah nursed its victims she contracted the disease and died on April 28. She was only thirty-three and left behind four small children, William Starling, Michael Lucas, Joseph, and a little girl, Sarah Anne, who died the following month. Arthur Boke was adopted and raised by the Sullivants. Arthur, who was born in 1803 to a slave woman belonging to the Sullivant family in Franklinton. Arthur’s mother abandoned him at birth. Sarah Sullivant had compassion on this helpless baby and nursed him along with her son William. Sarah named the baby Arthur Boke after one of Lucas‘s white military friends who happened to be passing through Ohio in 1803 about the time of Arthur‘s birth.

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