back Clara and the Axe next
It was surely in Freedom in 1830, and plausibly in the yard adjoining the Deckers’ red house, that a traumatic incident overtook Isaac Decker and his toddler daughter Clara. I’ll leave it to you to decide which was more grievously injured.

For the narrative, we turn to Utah historian and Decker family friend, Orson F. Whitney:
She was always a delicate child, being afflicted with asthma from her earliest years. Until she reached the age of ten, her fond parents had scarcely any hope of rearing her…When she was not quite three years old, (a month before her sister Fanny was born), she met with a fearful and well nigh fatal accident, the painful details of which can scarcely be read without a shudder. It was a day in March. Her father was busy chopping wood in the woodshed, when little Clara, who was nearly always at his heels, toddled out to where he was working. She drew near unobserved, as he was bending over, intent on the task, and as he raised the ax to strike, ran right under it. Before he could prevent it the blow descended, and terrible to tell, almost cleft the skull of the little innocent, who fell to the ground, as the horrified parent supposed, dead. Half - insane with grief, he bore her to the house, where the startled and stricken mother and family shared his sorrow and despair.

“A young surgeon chanced to be living with the family, so that immediate care was at hand, although life was then deemed extinct. Seizing upon the forlorn hope that possibly the child might not be dead, but only stunned, it being discovered that the thick matting of the little woolen hood she wore had partly broken the force of the blow, and prevented the axe from penetrating to the brain, the surgeon experimentally put a spoonful of liquor between her lips, whereupon she moved one of her fingers. Finding that she was alive, every possible effort was to restore her and with eventual success, though for six months the little sufferer hovered between life and death, and was anxiously watched, night and day, the house meanwhile being kept almost deathly still. It was nearly a year before little Clara spoke a loud word. The wound, which was a long gash running back near the middle of the head, was stitched and finally it healed, though leaving a deep scar which remained to her dying day.”

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