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Sequoyah Research Center

Harriet Livermore

“The writer of the following “Farewell Address,” is Miss Harriet Livermore. She arrived at this place in the steamer Volant, on Thursday last, on her way to the new Choctaw Nation, west of this Territory, where, we are informed she intends to devote the remainder of her days to the instruction of the Indians in the truth of the gospel.

Since the above paragraph was in type, we have been requested to state, for the information of her distant friends, that Miss Livermore, in consequence of ill health, will not leave here, for her place of destination, until March or April.

The Pilgrim’s Farewell Address to her acquaintance in the State of North-America. (On board the steam-boat Volant, Capt. Charles Kelly, Arkansas river, Nov. 26th , A.D. 1832.)

West of the dangerous troubled stream, With a grateful heart I say; Some cheering rays from the Great Light beam, Or the lesser emits a silvery ray. I’m on the red Arkansas borne, Self-exiled - for the Indians - far I roam, Yet thought reverbrant, would sound adieu, I’m gone! But thought, though speedier in its mystic flight, Than the red man’s arrows are, Returns with the morn, the noon or night, No farewell gives to ear or sight, Of those I’ve left afar. Then will I take the pen, and bid it tell To people in the States who wish me well, The Pilgrim gives her kind, and last farewell!

It is a Christian, Apostolic meed, When by the Spirit given, Yet none can ever farewell indeed, Who slight the Redeemer’s holy creed, “Seek first the Kingdom of Heaven.” Words are like wind I know, and ink will fade. But in my heart, as with iron pen is laid, Farewell in Christ - obey him, and be saved.

My theory “wild” I shall repeat, Thus named by some of you, That quickly the Shiloh’s sacred feet, Will stand upon Olivet’s mount elect; And his ancient tribes review, Yea, “Juda’s Lion is a thief” will come, And the earth’s disordered fabric overturn, Renew it, Eden to millenial bloom.”

Source: Arkansas Advocate, December 5, 1832.


“When the steamboat Volant, commanded by Capt. Charles Kelly, left Arkansas Post for Cantonment Gibson, among the passengers was Harriet Livermore, a woman missionary enroute to the new Choctaw country to spend the remainder of her days “imparting religious instruction to the untutored sons of the forest.” As the Volant churned upriver, the anxious woman wondered about her fate, and on November 26, 1832, expressed her feelings in a poem entitled “The Pilgrim’s Farewell.” From her pen came these words:

West of the dangerous troubled stream, With a grateful heart I say; Some cheering rays from the Great Light beam, Or the lesser emits a silvery gleam To illume the traveler’s way. I’m on the red Arkansas borne, Self-exiled, for the Indians I roam. Yet every thought reverbrant would sound adieu, I’m gone! But thoughts, though speedier in its mystic flight Than the red man’s arrows are, No farewell gives to ear or sight, Of those I’ve left afar. Then will I take the pen and bid it tell To people in the States who wish me well, The Pilgrim gives her kind and last farewell!

Miss Livermore, facing her life with grim reality, then wrote eloquently of the Redeemer’s Holy Creed and the wages of sin, after which she mentioned the Holy Prophecies, warning of the mighty woes of the Seventh Vail and of the groanings of the blasphemers. She closed with these words of resignation:

Now I repeat the words–farewell, farewell, And though ’tis not unlike a church-yard knell, Since you will see my face of clay no more, ’tis well. With Christian Indians join “the note to swell,” That Israel’s Shepherd ordereth all things well, And now, once more, America’s States–Farewell!

And with this sad poem, Harriet Livermore enters historical oblivion.”

Source: Duane Huddleston, “The Volant and Reindeer Early Arkansas Steamboats,” Pulaski County Historical Review, 24 (June, 1976), 21-33.

Updated 8.4.2010