Deborah's mother becomes too ill to care for Deborah and her siblings, and sends them away to various places. Deborah is sent alone to live with her cousin.
Deborah's cousin dies and the only person who will take Deborah in is 80-year-old Mrs. Thatcher. Deborah is too you to do all of the hard work she is responsible for with Mrs. Thatcher.
Deborah becomes an indentured servant in Deacon Thomas' household. She works hard for 10 years and earns her freedom.