“AN ANGEL VISITED FIVE CHILDREN IN OHIO”
(From “Heaven and the Angels” – H.A. Baker, p.216)
When I was in Shanghai a friend asked me if I had ever heard about the angel who visited some little children in Ohio, and she offered to copy the account from a typewritten record she had. When she gave me the copy another missionary friend, Miss Longstreth, said: “Why, I know all about that angel’s visit. The children’s parents told my parents all about it before the account was ever published. From what publication the account is copied I do not know, but that is unimportant, as I have the story verified by one who knows it to be true. I later had a friend visit the home of this angel’s visit and had photos taken of the place and of some of those who saw the angel. The story is as follows:
“For the glory of God and the encouragement of His obedient children, I recall this bit of marvelous history, which occurred in the month of February, 1887, in the northern part of Dark county, Ohio. About three miles from Roseville there lives a man and his wife, by the name of John and Hattie Hittle. They had six children whose names and ages were as follows: Ora, twelve; Henry, ten; Lizzie, eight; Ida, six; Nettie, four and Pearl, two.
“They were very religious people and enjoyed the blessing of sanctification. They were, and still are, members of the Massasinawa Class of Greenville Mission of the Indiana Conference of the Evangelical Association. Their home has for many years been the home of itinerant preachers.
“There was a protracted meeting in the neighborhood to which the parents and Ora were going while the rest of the children were to stay at home alone. They had never stayed alone before, and they protested it on the plea that they were afraid; but the mother told them not to be afraid, for God and the angels would take care of them.
“Finally they consented, and after the parents were gone they lowered the blinds, locked the doors and gathered together on the sofa to have their family worship. Pearl had been put to sleep in the cradle in the bedroom. After they had all said their prayers they happened to get hold of the ‘Foster Child’s Story of the Bible’ which had been presented to Ora on his twelfth birthday. They began looking at the pictures, and presently came to the picture of an angel, whereupon Henry exclaimed: ‘Oh! I wish I could see an angel once!’ And the rest said, ‘I wish I could, too!’
“They had hardly said this when they heard a sound on the porch as of a rustling of silk garments; then a knock on the door. So they all jumped up and ran to the door to see who was coming. They raised the curtain and looked out, and behold! To their surprise, an angel came right in through the door, or glass of the door, the latter being locked, and stood among them. He asked them where their parents were and they told him they had gone to meeting. Then Lizzie, who happened to be standing by the rocking chair, said to him: ‘Take a chair and sit down.’ He answered, ‘Oh, I can’t stay long.’ But he took the chair and drew it up toward the stove and sat down, saying as he did so: ‘You have a nice stove and a good, warm fire.’
“Then the children noticed that he was bare-footed. As the weather was cold and the ground covered with snow, they would naturally suppose he must have cold feet. Therefore, Henry said to him: ‘Put your feet on the railing of the stove and warm them.’ The angel did so, and then called the children to him. They were still wondering in their minds why he should be bare-footed in such cold weather, and this made them take particular notice of his feet, which looked perfectly white and glistened like wax.
“He then reached out his hands and took Ida on one knee and Nettie on the other, and caressed them by putting his hands on their heads as if he were blessing them. At the same time he kept talking to them all, telling them to be good children and keep on praying to God, etc. His voice was clear and charming, his hair fine and wavy, and he wore a beautiful little crown on his head.
“After he had held them awhile he put them down, and rising from the chair, began to walk around and look at the pictures on the wall. As he walked they noticed that his garments were loosely thrown about him and extended a little below his knees. They could now have a better opportunity to see his wings, which were quite large and fairly glittered for whiteness.
“The children followed him wherever he went, and presently they came to the bedroom, where Pearl was sleeping. With the children close at his side he went to the cradle and took Pearl in his arms and kissed her, and then laid her down again, saying as he did so: ‘When Pearl gets older you must tell her to be a good girl and pray, too.’ Then he said to them: ‘Well, I must go now,’ and began to shake hands with each one of them and thus bid them good-bye.
“It is impossible to describe the loveliness of his hand as they took hold of it. It felt like snow, or some downy cushion and, like his feet, it was perfectly white and glistening. He wore a most heavenly smile upon his countenance. His voice was tender and sweet. His entire demeanor was marked with gentleness and kindness, and his whole appearance was that of grandeur and beauty. They felt perfectly at home and enraptured with his presence, and it made them feel sad when he told them he must go.
“After he had bidden them good-bye, he started for the door, while the children were still standing at the bedroom door. When he came to the door he paused a moment, and the children noticed that he had a long staff in his hands, and in an instant they saw him gliding out through the unopened door in the same manner that he had come.
“As soon as they saw he was gone they instantly made a rush for the door, literally tumbling over one another to get there first, and they say him standing on the edge of the porch, and a bright cloud had gathered about him. They saw him glide out into the yard. His body was now in an inclined position with his feet extending backwards and his wings partially folded, while the lower part of his garment and the bright cloud seemed to roll and fold themselves together in a unique manner. He went on in this way until he came about half way between the house and a pear tree which was standing in the yard, and then he ascended, his beautiful white feet being the last thing they saw of him. Then one of the children exclaimed: ‘Now he is gone!’ Another said: ‘I wonder why there was no bright cloud around him while he was with us in the room.’ Still another said: ‘I wonder how long it will take him to get to heaven.'
“The next thing in order was to wait until the return of the parents and Ora that they might tell it to them. They could scarcely wait until they came, they were so anxious to tell them. In the meantime they carefully examined the door from top to bottom, rubbing their hands over it to see if there was not a crack, or a break, of some kind where he had come in and gone out; but, to their astonishment, they could not find the least sign of a crack either on the door, the glass, or on the casing of the door.
“After awhile they heard their parents coming and they were all up and ready to meet them. The mother went to the house first, while the father and Ora put away the team. Who can imagine the bustle and excitement as the mother entered the house. Henry, Lizzie, Ida and Nettie, each trying to tell it first. They jumped, they laughed, they clapped their hands and were perfectly wild with joy. So great was the noise and holy racket that the father and Ora heard them at the barn and wondered what in the world was the matter with the children.
“’Who do you suppose was here, mother, while you were gone?’ they all exclaimed with one accord. ‘An angel, yes; an angel! Oh! Mother, an angel was here.’ When the mother had quieted them sufficiently, they went on to describe him, how he looked, what he had said and what he had done.
“Their shining faces, their exultant spirits, their positive declarations, and the unison of their assertions soon overwhelmingly convinced the mother of the truthfulness of her children’s story and of the reality of the vision which they had seen. Besides, being a spiritual woman and having an insight into spiritual things, she could the more easily be persuaded of the facts in the case. She listened with suppressed emotion until her heart could no longer contain the joy which filled and thrilled her whole being. Then, going to the bedroom she threw herself upon her bed and gave vent to her feelings with loud shouts of ‘Glory to God.’ She felt that the very house was hallowed by the presence of the Lord, and that from henceforth, more than ever, her home should be like a little heaven on earth. After rising from the bed she seated herself in a chair near the stove and buried her face in her hands.
“Presently the father and Ora returned from the barn and as they entered the room where she was sitting, she exclaimed: ‘Oh, Father! You ought to hear the children tell of the wonderful visitor they had while we were gone;’ whereupon the children began to tell the story to their father and older brother. ‘Ah!’ said the father: ‘you are only excited; it is simply your imagination. You did not see an angel.’ ‘Yes, yes – father; sure, sure,’ came from every one of them.
So positive were they, and so overwhelmingly happy that the father could not stand their simple arguments, but was compelled to believe what they were telling him was true, and he also began to praise the Lord and to participate in their joy.
“This simple story has been told to only a few of their most intimate friends. They deemed it too sacred to be told to everybody, lest they could not appreciate it. The writer became their pastor in the spring of 1896, and not until the evening of January 7, 1897, did they tell me about it; and the way it came about was this:
“Ida and Nettie had been to school during the day and the question came up whether, or not, the Lord revealed Himself to men now as He did in olden times through the ministry of angels. The teacher seemed to be skeptical, and said he did not believe such things were possible at the present time. He had never heard of this instance and therefore, knew nothing about it until Ida declared her belief in such things from the fact that they had seen an angel in their home when they were children. So when she came from school she was telling her mother what the teacher had said, and how she had convinced him contrary to his former belief. I overheard their conversation and began to wonder what they were talking about. Then they happened to think they had never told me the story and at once began to relate it. As the children were all at home they were soon seated around me and with shining faces were busily engaged in making known to me this remarkable incident, and it has made an impression upon me that shall never leave me. While they were telling me I felt that such a good thing should not be kept secret any longer. Therefore the day following I wrote out a minute account of it, just as the children had told me. Of course, they were no longer little children, for all, except Pearl, had grown up.
“The reader may imagine what a thrill of joy and gladness filled my soul, while by the help of God I undertook to write this story. Here I was in the very room where it occurred. To my left was the same sofa upon which these children had their family worship on the memorable night in February, ten years before. A little farther on to the left was the very door through which the angel had come and gone. To my right was the same rocking chair in which this heavenly messenger had been seated. In my lap lay the same book, opened at the very picture which had brought from them the wish that they might see an angel once, and upstairs is the stove which he said was nice.
“Nearly five years later (November 27, 1901), I visited them again. All the children, except Ora, are still at home, and in the evening while seated with them in the same room, and talking together about this same matter, I found that after the lapse of nearly fifteen year it has not in the least lost its freshness in their memories. For with shining faces and with hearts glowing with gratitude to God for His goodness to them, they still love to talk about the wonderful visitor whom He, in His kind providence, had seen fit to send them in the days of their childhood. Their whole lives have been influenced by it.”
NOTE: “Visions Beyond the Veil,” the first book by H.A. Baker written in the late 20’s, came into my hands as a new believer in 1944. It is the first of about a dozen of his books. Many are still available, mostly in a used state. Do a “Google” search, and you will be amply rewarded. The Three Worlds, God in Ka Do Land, Heaven and the Angels, Seeking and Saving – are his earliest books that followed. I have seen most of them on a Google Search. Heidi Baker married his grandson Rolland Baker, and together they have had a remarkably fruitful ministry in Mozambique. “Visions Beyond the Veil” has been reprinted, and is available on Rolland and Heidi’s Website www.irismin.com(then click on Books & Videos). “There is Always Enough” by Rolland and Heidi is also available here. Amazon carries both of these books also, the latter under the title “Always Enough.”