Hattie Macknet’s Diary

Excerpts of a diary given to the Oneida Community Mansion House by Mrs. Carol Jane Babcock Davenport a great-granddaughter of Hattie Nuttman Macknet.  A copy of the diary of Hattie Nuttman Macknet was given to me by Carol Jane Babcock Davenport.  Hattie did not join the Oneida Community but was very involved and interacted with the Community members when they came to Newark, NJ branch near where Hattie lived.  This diary gives insight to the religious fervor that many people had at that time.

Hattie Fieldman Nuttman       and her husband         Charles  Macknet

Charles Macknett

The following was copied from Hattie Nuttman Macknet’s diary:  A Diary of Hattie Macknet, wife of Charles S. Macknet, mother of Caroline Amanda Macknet (Woolworth).


(Hattie Nuttman)  I was born in Newark, N.J., Nov 5th 1809. My father Aaron Nuttman was born and brought up a few miles from Newark. My mother near the same place. I remember it was always a great pleasure to me and my sisters to please & obey my mother. I had six sisters and two brothers. They looked upon me with a jealous eye, knowing that our parents regarded me as their pet. This fact caused me much suffering, as they would often inform upon me in the absence of my parents. My mother was daily in the habit of taking the younger part of her children alone & commending them in prayer to God. When she was sick instead of making sympathy with my sisters I would go to weep alone for fear she would die. My youngest brother died when I was 12 years of age. I felt this loss very much as he was my playmate. This embraces my school days and the first 19 years of my life.

1824. This winter my father died, about the time Dr. Richard left the First Presbyterian church of which he was pastor. Mr. Russel and Mr. Hamilton were called as candidates.  A revival of religion commenced, a part of the congregation agreed to separate with Mr. Russel, our family included in the number and form another church. My mind now became interested on religious subjects; retirement from the world & enquiry meetings was all that I cared for. There was nothing very definite in my conviction as a sinner but after a few weeks distress of mind I was conscious of a very decided change in my feelings. I see the willingness of Christ to save in these words- “Look unto me and be ye saved for I am God there is none else.”

I was comforted because it appeared to me that God had undertaken my case. The session of the church set me to work with a number of the young converts in visiting from house to house to converse with the unpenitent. I soon lost what little comfort I had but continued to attend the weekly prayer meetings to hear the convert’s re1ate their experience.

In six months from the time that I was awakened, I was prevailed upon to unite with the church. With reluctance I joined with about 61 in number. It was a dark day in my soul, as I see others rejoicing I envied them for I had nothing but doubts and fears of my own estate. I thought it very strange when they manifested confidence in my experience. I was in the habit of secret prayer & found more comfort in being alone & repenting of my follies than in anything else.

1826. I was called to a new experience to work at my trade in a shop with 20 girls. This situation was very unpleasant as they were thoughtless and would often use profane and offensive talk. I took it upon myself to always reprove them either by word or looks. I had but one real friend among them. She was a convert in the same revival with myself-amusements I was fond of but never engaged heartily in any, I had such a fear of doing wrong.

1827 This winter I was introduced to Mr. Macknet. His first visit was to invite me to a ball.  I declined. My reasons were that it was not consistent with a Christian profession. When he had continued his visits two years, I asked him whether he intended to marry me as I, thought it time to come to some decision. He said that it had been his intention from his first acquaintance. Soon after this my mother broke up housekeeping, as nearly all my sisters were married. My sister, Mrs. Grant offered a home to me as long as I wished it. After spending six months in her family, I was married May 4th, 1831, after 3 years very friendly & pleasant courtship.

During this time there was nothing special in my religious experience. I attended the ordinances of the church but all this time thought that I was destitute of the power of godliness. In a few months we were to housekeeping on Franklin St. Our family consisted of my mother, Mr. Macknet’s sister 10 years of age & a few apprentices. We were prospering and happy as the world’s portion could make us. During this time Mr. Russel left the P.  Church of which I was a member & as Mr. Macknet attended the first church I joined by certificate, Mr. Hamilton was then their pastor.

A few months after I was married I had a fit of sickness which brought me very close to death & very much impaired my constitution. I then made up my mind that if God would spare my life it should be devoted to His service. Soon after I recovered, my sister Elisa was taken deranged, under the excitement of Mr. Moffit’s preaching, the Methodist. She was with us some weeks until we could make arrangements for taking her to the asylum. She was a perfect maniac; she said I was her greatest enemy. One day while I was alone with her she attacked me with both her hands pulling my hair with all her strength & saying, “Now where is your God” and at the same time calling upon the angels to help her. My mother came and defended me. Six months from this time Theodore was born, December 15,1831.

The following summer the cholera was prevalent in Newark. Two of my sisters died. One was Mrs. H. the wife of Henry Halden, the other an unmarried sister twin to the one deranged. My health was now very poor & I began to think pretty seriously of my promise to serve God.

1834.  A protracted meeting commenced in the first church where I had joined by certificate. Mr. Hamilton their pastor with the help of Finney & Norton a great excitement was raised.

I now began to pray earnestly for the conversion of Mr. Macknet.  He soon became anxious & very attentive to meetings & after a few weeks concern of mind he thought he yielded his heart to God.  I felt very much rejoiced & we went on our way rejoicing for some time but our zeal abated with the excitement in the church.  I had by this time become a confirmed dyspeptic. I resorted to the medical doctors with their blue pills.

They reduced my system to extreme debility.  One day the doctor called to see how they were reducing me.  Why, said he, you should use your own judgment in taking them. I did use it and threw the reminder of the pills out of doors & never tried them again.  I now resorted to the Graham system-my health somewhat improved & Caroline was born 1837, Aug 17th.


The Millarts (William Miller was one of the pioneers of the millenial movement, the people who use numbers in Daniel, Ezekiel and Revelation to plot out the time of Christ’s Second Coming. After a few false starts (or stops, as the case may be), he settled on October 22, 1844, as the big day and urged his followers to sell what they had and move to the hills to await Judgment Day. October 22, 1844 came to be known as “The Great Disappointment” for obvious reasons). got up an excitement in Newark.  Their ideas at first were startling to me. I examined their books but found nothing satisfactory in them. About this time Charles Fitch of the Free Church came out with his belief of Salvation from Sin.  I attended his sanctification meetings, as he termed them, & was very much interested in his testimony. I now went to search the Bible for myself. The millennium first attracted my attention & the prophecies of the reign of Christ upon earth. The Bible appeared like a new book to me.  I now felt that this command was binding upon me. Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, soul mind and strength. I now hung upon the promise, I will circumcise thy heart.  I selected such passages as these. The Lord sanctify you wholly, bring every thought into subjection. Filled with all the fullness of God. Perfect & complete in all the will of God. I believed that in these was God’s will concerning me.  I now made it my daily habit of praying with the Bible open before me that my understanding might be enlightened. I now read and studied the most spiritual books.  Luther on Faith. Life of James B. Taylor.  Wesley’s works.  I will give a few excerpts from my diary, which I then kept.

Aug 30, 1840

Have increasing desire after purity of heart. Have been reading a work on sanctification and everything that treats upon entire consecration of soul to God, I find profitable whether reading, conversation, or prayer, because it is the very thing my soul needs, “Cleanse thus me from secret faults” which none but the eye of God can witness.

Sept. 10 Have had for some days past an agonizing desire that Jesus would take full possession of my heart that He would rule & reign there without a rival & am now resting upon this Promise.  I will circumcise thy heart (Deuteronomy 21st)

Sept.13th Called on Mr. Eddy to receive some instruction. I told him my desire was to have Christ dwell in my heart by Faith. He endeavored to make me believe that it was all well with me, Vain is the help of man.

Sept 22,1842

I do this night call upon God to make me more faithful to my children that I may have grace to govern & instruct them aright and that I might be the instrument of leading their minds to a right knowledge of the truth.  I fear that I have for some time past pleased the world & too little of the fear of God. I do feel some kindling of repentance that it might be increased.

June 18th Time appears very short & I feel that I have no desire to live but for the glory of God. Heard a sermon from these words.  Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian. How many there are of this stamp to be imbued with the spirit that I may worship in spirit and truth.

Lord I come to thee for rest I cannot rest while I have any remains of sin. I trust I believe in that blood that cleanses from all sin.

I now became acquainted with a few Perfectionists, Abner Dod and my sister M. Y. Williams, confessed themselves dead to sin. The books that Abner lent me on Faith I valued highly.

Mr. Macknet at this time was building a fine house in Broad Street. I was fearful it would be a snare to me. I now made it a subject of prayer that my prosperity might not have a tendency to turn me from my purpose which was to be saved from sin & be a true follower of Christ, until I felt an assurance that God would help me.

The house was finished & we moved Sept 1842. Reports were now in circulation about the Perfectionists & I had to receive some opposition to spice my experience.  I however contrived to attend some of their evening meetings.


1854 February 21st

There is an almighty power of good nature in Jesus Christ.  We expect good luck and health where the perfect spirit has a command for us. It is perfectly safe to trust ourselves in the hands of Christ and drop off from ourselves all the influences of custom and habit received by traditions from man and launch out into entire newness. Behold the ships though they are great and are driven of fierce winds yet are they turned about with a very small helm. Withersoever the governor wishes.

Peter 13: And who is he that will harm you if ye be followers of that which is good. Keep thy eye on what we are receiving, not on what we are giving.

March 25th

I thank God for the liberty of self-improvement and the right to acquaint ourselves with the truth – I desire to approach this liberty of the soul. Every effectual thrust you make against unbelief is advancing your education and clearing your medium.

If you can by prayer, faith and willful attention to the truth create a free medium for your mind to operate in, you will find it is a great deal stronger than you ever imagined and you will find that you have now much more knowledge than you suppose. The remembrance of tribulation patiently endured shall become sweet.

April 15th

I have been much tried in the last weeks but I find my trials are my weak suit. I will rejoice that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For when I am weak then am I strong. A state of complete salvation is one in which we have mastered all external forces and attained liberty to act from inward impulse. The question is how to get this liberty. It is best for one to look well about me and see how to get it, and be sure I am taking the right way. Our own will must become a will like God’s, so that we can will with Almighty energy. With such a will we can throw off these obstructing influences and not without.

To shake ourselves clear of the laws of the moralists is one thing, but not the greatest; we must shake ourselves clear of the hold that habits and evil spirits have upon us. I am bent on reaching a spot where my freewill in all its exercise shall be energized by God himself and shall not be obstructed at all by habit or evil influences. That is the heaven of the passions. It is the prize of our high calling, and we will work toward it.  Acts of sincerity are like circles in the water when a stone is thrown into it; one produces another.

May 3rd My wants.

I want to appreciate quality over quantity. I want to have the beam out of my own eye that I may see clearly to pull out the smoke of my brother’s eye.

May 13th

This is a day of firmness of spirit, but I shall not lessen my effort but with a determined spirit patiently wait on God. I am aware the life of Christ will flow in my heart.

May 21st

We are living in the Kingdom of Christ. And in His Kingdom every man will be rewarded according to their works; and persons will have liberty in proportion to their civilization.  Those only who set their heart toward God and attain salvation from sin and inspiration will have perfect freedom. Resist the imaginations of the flesh and the will of the flesh. Set reason and common sense on the throne. Be not faithless but believing.  It is good to simplify our allegiance and consider that our only relation is to Christ as our husband and then do all we do for others for Christ’s sake, and serve him in serving others. The Idea of future good is the idea of faith.

Have just heard of Mr. Miller’s death. I pray that his spirit of earnestness and faithfulness may be diffused through every member of the church of Christ.

July 4th 1854

A very warm day. Mr. M. (Macknet) came home 9:00 remained home the rest of the day. In the afternoon Mrs. C. (Carrie) and myself heard a grammar lesson and had a Bible game. Also read the Home Talk on the Fear of Criticism. I invite God’s Criticism.

July 16th

All glory, all honour all might and dominion. Who brought us through grace to the Eden of Love. Only Jesus will know Jesus crucified.

July 28th

Acquainting thyself with Him and be at peace whereby good shall come to thee. We become acquainted with God by trusting Him quietly without any fear. Peace comes by trust…

September 4th

This question came to my mind today. What is it to be spiritually minded? To be spiritually is the only sure support under trial and a continual recognition of God’s Goodness.

September 18th Monday Eve

Today Mrs. L. and Mrs. C called. They have not been here for some years. I found great freedom in confessing Christ to them. That He is a complete physician for soul and body. Faith identifies itself with Christ in the resurrection.

October 6th

Have constant occasion for the return unto thy rest 0′ my soul for the Lord is bountiful with me.

1854, September 28th

This has been a day of special manifestation of the love of Christ. He renews strength day by day and grace in every time of need.

If I am satisfied of a truth, I will pledge myself to that truth in all possible ways. I will take up the bridge behind me and make it difficult for me to retreat as possible in all cases. I will bind myself to what I know is best. No fear of a change of feeling in the future shall hinder me from doing this. If I am proved a liar in the future I will do what I know to be right in the present.

November 26th

We may withdraw from all quarrels that grow out of personal interest and from all quarrels with individuals and devote ourselves wholly to the war against evil as a public enemy.  We may be sure that persons or things around us receive attention from us that is true to God or in a wrong way it will make trouble and disease.

December 29th

Christ is our charmer. I believe that He is near enough and has the ability to present his side of any case, so that He will carry me away with Him. And make me choose to do what He wants me to.  If you feel dull and shiftless you may be sure there if driving somewhat. The difficulty of my walking in the Spirit arises from the interference and mischief making of an evil spirit that takes advantage of my quietness. This must be conquered by faith.

1855 January 7th

We have a double work to do, not only to learn new truth but to unborn falsehood.  Attention is the secret of memory. Mrs. Campbell left for Oneida today, September 11th 1855.  Truth to be wholesome must be timely; and we may scatter firebrands, arrows, and death in telling the truth out of place. You will find in your nature a sanctuary of a Holy of Holies – a place where God reveals himself – an ark of the covenant – a place of the oracle; and it is the privilege of all in all their transactions to ask God to take counsel and talk with Him.

September 18th

We should let hope expand, give free play to the buoyancy of childhood, believe the best is before us, that it is not hard, but a plain way that is cast up for us and it will grow easier and easier and we shall go home with songs and everlasting joy.  So long as a person is pulled by direct force of attachment to any or all the objects of life, he can have no real comfort with them, for God has a power in the case which he does not exert in our favour until we set our face toward Him.

Every passion rightly managed will lead us to God.

We are not really released from any evil possession by cutting right down through it. Our life has to be disentangled or dissected away and this is a process of time. Let us then adopt the true standard of the heavenly state and commit ourselves to God to attain it by Grace and truth so that we shall be really free. The object is to get power of our own wills and withdraw our parts from all other things, that they may be established in God.

Jan 27th

Look on and see how Christ will fight your battles for you. Things to remember suffering. Hold still and wait upon God. Feel after Him – believe that He overlooks all things and does not permit us to be tempted above what we are able to bear and will find a way of escape. Ask God to show us our difficulty – “Ask and ye shall receive.”


I for one am going to study the precepts and examples of the Chief Justice – Jesus Christ and treat vice as he did.  I shall go for the virtue He did. The chief virtue in his mind was Faith. The chief vice Love of money. Everything good is summed up in Faith.  “Have no confidence in the flesh” – i.e. believe that it has on power either good or evil. Be unbelieving as to its power in any way – It is a dead stalk – it died with Christ. If you meddle with evil in any way, you will be swallowed up with it: either it is in the way of complaining of it or sinking down under it or fighting it. Cultivate fellowship with God as the remedy for all evil.

Good is steadily gaining among us – the struggles between the two principalities of good and evil are like the contest between armies – they appear to be very nearly evenly balanced now: neither gaining much advantage but by and by one of them will have to give way and the other will carry everything before it in a general rout. The spirit of good will rush in like a flood.

Oneida, January 1856

The truth telling sincere spirit that begins by criticizing us will finally praise us continually. It sees us just as we are and will detect faults as long as we have any; but as our faults gradually disappear it will praise us more and more – and end in everlasting praise.

April 24th

It is a grand idea, that if we let in a true influence from above it will let itself out in us. We need not worry ourselves as to what we do – the indwelling spirit will take care of that.

1856, November 9th Sunday morn

Awoke early and had some talk with J.B.C. We thanked God for an increase of faith. After breakfast Mrs. Langstaff and myself took a long walk.


Arrived at Wallingford October 9 in the company with Mr. Aiken and Mrs. Langstaff. The day after I arrived I felt very tired.

October 17th

From the Home Talk Purpose. By the coercion of suffering, by the conviction of reason and finally by the Omnipotent Charm of God every thirst and passion is made to bow and take in the light and life of his presence.

Mr. Noyes arrived at Wallingford October 22, 1859.

When are we going to see an end of all these spiritual frails and judgments? When we get security from the contagion of evil – when we get such a victory that we not only drive out evil spirits but shut the door on them. These judgments will be repeated over and over so long as we turn out evil spirits without shutting the door.

Wallingford, October 29th

In the trap shop two hours with Mrs. M. Assisted in blowing the blacksmith bellows have had a tremendous cold for five days past.

October 30th

Assisted more than usual in cooking. My cold much better. Since I have been here I have told Mr. N (Noyes) of my sufferings of the present – he gave me a gentle hint by telling me of a lady onboard the boat. She was flashy looking and had to be propped up by pillows. This I thought a gentle hint, to be diligent in business.

Bag Room, November 2nd

Mr. Noyes left Wallingford in company with Mrs. Thayer and Mrs. Kellog. In the afternoon husked corn with Mrs. C. At noon the company returned with oysters. Mr. R. opened some for me. I ate them out of the shell.

Wallingford, November 9th

Sitting alone in the woods. Started for a walk in the garden but kept on until I got over the fence. It is charming here with a clear and beautiful sky. In the afternoon went up on the mount with Mrs. C. and Mrs. Ellis.

November 4th

Got up in the morning took an airing with Mary Louise in the garden.

November 5th

Down in the garden with Mr. M. and Georgine. Such splendid sun risings and I enjoy them much. My cold is going away for which I am thankful.

November 16th

Returned to Newark from Wallingford in company of Mr. Inslee. Mrs. Campbell returned from Oneida on November 18th.

June 28th 1859

Lord help me. I am nervous. Lord help. Give me strength to do without tea. I am not sure that it is this that makes me nervous but I want to try the experiment. I am not straightened in Thee but am straightened in myself. Lord help.

February 16th 1860

Upstairs all day with influenza. Took oil at night in obedience to Paul’s suggestion.

February 17th  Upstairs made a light breakfast. Carrie for my attendant. Have not seen Mr. M. since yesterday morning. Thought this morning how the Spirit of truth is an exact accountant. I am thankful for the disposition to wait on God for improvement. Not withstanding our distresses–Christ will manifest himself to us. About noon and while looking through the Testament I asked Him to give me some truth suitable for me to feed on. This attracted my attention more than any other. Blessed are they that are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb.

Mr. Dunn called in the afternoon. I said to him that it seemed to me that my spirit was a type of Christ but my body a type of the world. I now see clearer–I am sure I owe what life I have got to Christ. Thus far my body is a type of Christ.  I looked in the Christian Almanac and found this excellent motto. Never look backward but forward, forward, forward should be the Christians motto.

Evening. Our Savior always, in his instructions, enjoying the peace upon his disciples and the apostle Paul says–the Lord give you peace always by all means.

If we are frustrated about anything we say be answered that some spirit is endeavoring to get our attention beside Christ. Come unto me, he says, and I will give you rest. The Spirit of Christ is a spirit of rest. He sees everything by faith.

Went downstairs this afternoon.

February 18th 1860

Went down to breakfast–breakfasted on boiled mackrel and a cup of tea–most excellent. Snow storm this morning. I said to Mr. M. that influenza was trying but I expected that it was good–he thought that I expose myself to much to the air. But I am confident that egotism is the root of all disease and all trouble. I trust God to purge out the old leaven that I may be a whole new lump leavened. Our text for today is bless the Lord or my soul.

February 22nd Washington’s Birthday. The bells rang for the 1st time on this occasion. I see this morning that the use of the tongue was a great reservoir either for life or death–that only, as we can govern our tongue, that we can reserve our life for God. I offer my whole attention to God that I may see love inscribed on everything. Our text for today is–I have blotted out, as a thick cloud, thy transgressions, and, as a cloud, thy sins: return unto me; for I have redeemed thee. Isaiah 44:22

March 5th 1860

Commenced today to leave off drinking tea and coffee entirely in sympathy with Oneida. It is just what I have long desired but had not strength to resist it entirely. “I confess my confidence in the Christ that without him I can do nothing.” Mrs. Campbell’s baby died at Oneida–October 28, 1859, aged 7 months Mrs. Campbell came to Newark to make a visit by invitation March 20, 1860

July 24, 1860 mother passed away quietly this morning at 5 o’clock

Carrie Amanda Macknet (Woolworth)

Carrie Macnet c1860s

Born Aug 17, 1837

Carrie Joined the Oneida Community  Nov 28, 1863


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