Men & Women Who Dared To Be Different! Friday, May 29, 2009

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Finney’s Deepest Setback

Back in Oberlin, Lydia Finney had grown more and more frail, something that was not helped by the pregnancy and birth of her fifth child, Sarah, in 1841. Sarah fell deathly ill early in 1843 and died on March 9. The Finneys’ sixth and final child, Delia Finney, was born in 1844 but would live only eight years, dying from illness on September 1, 1852. Lydia Finney died when Delia was only three on December 17, 1847.

The burden of work for his revivals and the busyness of his teaching schedule made it difficult - if not impossible - for Finney to remain a single parent. It was a tough decision to remarry, but on November 13, 1848, Asa Mahan, then president of Oberlin College, officiated at the marriage of Finney and Elizabeth Ford Atkinson, a widow from Rochester. Though the marriage of Finney and Elizabeth may have been more of a matter of convenience than of love, Elizabeth proved an able mother to Finney’s children, and Finney came to love and admire her over time as she became a positive influence on his ministry and family throughout their years together.

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