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In Their Own Words

February 13, 1805

Birthday - and Life - Reflections

This was Reuben King’s birthday; he noted some thoughts on it - and life in general - in his journal:

“I am this Day 26 years of age 5 years I have been out of my Aprinticeship I have not accumilated much property for that length of time It may justly be observed that a Single man Seldom obtains property so fast as one married allowing them to be equally Industrus I have been fully in this belief for five years and at this time I have no particular Woman in view How frequently Mankind are deceived by the pleasing and flattering hope of future enjoyment but alas! we always find it transfered - If thare is any such thing as happiness in this life the person who enjoys is possest with a virtuous and contented mind - I have alway[s] followed the dictates of my own reason and for the want of experience I have frequently erred - I have Divided my life into four parts Provided it be the will of kind PROVIDENCE to prolong my life - as the length of my life only by Him is known my will ought to be His will - I may perhaps have mentioned something of this Kind in my Journal before but wheither or Know I shall mention that I con[si]der the first part of my life from the age of 21 years untill 31 being ten years which time I think will be the Most Laborious part of my Life as much industry as I can use without injuring my health is my intension and all leisure hours or half hours (which I some time have) to spend trying to git useful knoledge either by reading Writing or an agreeable conversation; the conversation of the aged is generally the most agreeable to me tharefore I make it a point to frequent their company in preference to any other - With a flatterring Idea at the end of this term I shall be so independent as to labour only when it is agreeable Should tliis be the case - the Next term of time from thurtyone unto fortyone I shall with moderate labour Spend my time; prepareing to spend the remainder of my Days as comfortable as I can calculating at all times to live within the bounds of my income; if at the expiration of this time I should be able to live comfortable without labour I will the following ten years if called upon serve the public - and after that live retired. - But alas; who can tell the path he is to walk or the misfortunes he is to encounter - Tharefore it is our duty to live as if we ware to Die Shortly; and prepare to live in this world always…”

Source: Virginia Steele Wood and Ralph Van Wood, ed. The Reuben King Journal, 1800-1806. Savannah, Georgia, The Georgia Historical Society, 1971, pp. 98-99.