Saturday, April 22, 2017

Chipping Away at the Dagutis Family

My husband's family tree has been a particularly tough nut to crack. I discover a bit more each time I poke at it but what I know has taken years. His ethnicity is 98 percent eastern European. His paternal grandparents immigrated from Lithuania; his maternal grandmother, from Austria; and his maternal grandfather was a citizen of the Austro-Hungarian Emipre but immigrated from what is now Serbia and considered himself German.

My husband's oldest sister believes their paternal grandmother, Cecilia Dagutis/Degutis had 13 children, including three sets of twins. I have learned of nine children, including two boys who died young. Cecilia's oldest known son was John Joseph Degutis. I now believe was born on 16 April 1902 in Luzerne County, Pennsylvania.

When the 1920 census was enumerated, John was 16 years old and worked as a clerk in a drug store. His family lived in West Hazleton. Five years later John was arrested and held on $3,000 bond. He was charged with performing an illegal operation which resulted in the death of Mrs. Linnie Baker. Arrested with John was Peter O'Donnell, who was described in the newspaper as being "friendly with the woman."

21 February 1925 Scranton Republic, courtesy of Newspapers.com

After the above article and similar ones appeared in several local newspapers no other mention of the incident has been found.

John married Mary Bridget (or Bernadette) O'Donnell, daughter of Hugh and Ella "Nellie" (Campbell) O'Donnell on 35 June 1925. For several years I knew nothing more about John and Mary. When I found them through a series of obituaries discovered on Newspapers.com, I discovered that John had changed the spelling of his surname to DeGatis. There is a family story that John had performed an abortion (which was illegal at the time) and disappeared for several years before his younger brother, Tony, found him in either Pittsburgh or Philadelphia.

I learned John and Mary had a son they named Bernard who lived but three days in in March 1928. Little Bernard died on 21 March of circulatory failure due to toxemia from his mother who had eclampsia. When I found the 1930 census, I discovered Bernard had a twin brother, John Joseph DeGatis, Jr., who lived. A sister Constance "Connie" followed in 1936. John Sr. worked as a pharmacist and a salesman for a candy manufacturer in 1930 and 1940, respectively.

He died on 26 April 1983 and was interred at Our Lady of Grace Cemetery in Langhorne, Pennsylvania. His wife, Mary, died on 7 February 2000 and was buried beside her husband.

John Joseph DeGatis, Jr., married Nancy McMullen; they had three children before her death in 1987. John Jr.'s second wife was Margaret Jane (Lavin) Berry. John's son Michael Dennis DeGatis died suddenly in 1993. He was married to Rosemary Mace and had three children. John Jr. died 11 May 2006.

Constance "Connie" DeGatis married Thomas Francis McArdle, who died on 16 September 1999 and was interred at Our Lady of Grace Cemetery. They had two children.

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Three Sons Born in One Year. . .Really?

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Janet (Semple/Muir) Hutchison (1871-1942)

This is one in a series of posts about the family of my great great grandparents James and Margaret (Semple) Muir. Janet (Semple) Hutchison, Margaret's eldest child, was an aunt of my grandmother, Alice (Muir) Jennings.

Janet Semple was born on 25 November 1871 in Dalserf Scotland to Margaret Semple, who was unmarried at the time of her birth and worked as a dairy maid away from her parents' home. She returned to Dalserf for the birth of her daughter. A father was not listed on Janet's birth registration and Janet was known as Jessie throughout her life. She frequently used Muir as her surname before her marriage and she was raised as part of James and Margaret (Semple) Muir's household.

British Ordnance Survey of Dalserf, including the farm
Margaret's father leased

When Jessie was almost two years old her mother married James Muir. In 1881 Margaret, Jessie, and Robert Muir, were living with Margaret's parents, Peter and Janet (Torrance) Semple, at Swinhill Farm in Dalserf. Jessie's step-father was not enumerated with the rest of the family. From 1877 until 1886, Jessie's mother had six children. However, only the two youngest, Margaret and Peter (the fourth son so named) lived to adulthood.

When Jessie was 15 years old, she, her mother, and half siblings, boarded the Allen Line's S/S Manitoban in Glasgow. After stopping in Ireland, they arrived in Philadelphia on 30 September 1887. Jessie was included on the passenger manifest as Jessie Muir, but she was listed on a different page than her mother and half siblings. Her occupation was listed as a domestic.

Margaret and the children settled in Streator, Illinois. The town was the second fastest growing town in Illinois, besides Chicago. The coal mines attracted workers from every part of the globe. Two years after immigrating to the United States, Jessie married a fellow Scot, Alexander Hutchison on 2 January 1889 in Streator. Her step-father, James Muir, was listed as her father on the marriage certificate and acted as one of the witnesses to the marriage.

They had three children in Illinois before moving back to Scotland, but only two were living when they made the trip. On 14 February 1894, the young family arrived in Glasgow aboard the Anchor Line's S/S Ethiopia. They had traveled to New York City to board the ship.

In 1895 the family lived at 20 Swinhill Colliery, which was housing for the miners and owned by the colliery. There were just over 50 one- and two-room apartments in the complex. In 1910 the housing was described as fair in size, with five privy middens for residents living in all the apartments. There was no ground for private gardens, no sinks in the homes, and water had to be drawn from wells. By 1910 most of the complex had been demolished.

When the 1901 census was enumerated in Scotland, Alex and Jessie lived at 31 New Street in Stonehouse. Alex worked as a coal miner and the couple had five children. Interestingly, Jessie's mother and her family lived at the same address in 1861. I do not know if it was still being rented by the family or if this is merely a coincidence.

Jessie had a daughter in 1903. The family decided to return to the United States. They boarded the Anchor Line's S/S Furnessia in Glasgow on 21 July 1904 and arrived in New York City on 1 August. Traveling with Alex and Jessie were their six children. Everyone in the family was a United States citizen and their physical description was listed as good. The family's destination was Kirksville, Missouri.

Jessie had her last child, a daughter, in 1905. When the 1910 census was enumerated the family, including their seven children lived in Nineveh, Missouri, next door to Jessie's half sister, Margaret (Muir) Caswell. Alex and his brother-in-law were coal miners.

Children of Alexander and Janet "Jessie" (Semple) Hutchison
  1. Jessie Hutchison born about 1889; died about 1891 (this information was according to my grandmother)
  2. Alexander Hutchison born 1891-Illinois; died 1959; never married
  3. James Hutchison born 1893-Illinois; died 1970-Illinois; married Emma Frances Hanlin
  4. Maggie Hutchison born 1895-Scotland; died 1994-Missouri; married William Bruce Melching
  5. Lily Hutchison born 1898-Scotland; died 1989-Missouri; married Andrew Jackson McDaniel
  6. Joseph Hutchison born 1901-Scotland; died 1966-Georgia; married Ruth Anna Richardson*
  7. Jane "Janie" Hutchison born 1903-Scotland; died 1959-Missouri; never married
  8. Ruth Hutchison born 1905-Missouri; died 1993-Missouri; married David Connel Combs
In 1920 Jessie and Alex remained in Nineveh. Alex worked as a coal miner. All the children lived at home except for their daughter Maggie, who lived and worked in Kansas City, Missouri. Jessie's mother had moved from O'Fallon, Illinois, to Nineveh, sometime between 1912 and 1920. She lived nearby with her youngest daughter and granddaughter, Alice Muir, likely to be near her daughters, Jessie and Margaret.

Plat map of Novinger, which indicates it was at the junction of two
railroad lines; image courtesy of Plat Book of Adair County, Missouri

Jessie lost her husband 19 May 1927. She continued to live in Nineveh with a daughter. The John Blacksmith family boarded in their home. By 1935 Jessie had moved to nearby Novinger to a house she owned, which was valued at $400. Two of her children lived with her.

Jessie died on 23 February 1942 of pernicious anemia from which she had suffered for four years. She was buried in the Novinger City Cemetery beside her husband.

Mrs. Alexander Hutchinson of Novinger Dies

Succumbs at age of 70 after ten-year illness

Mrs. Jessie Hutchinson, 70 years old, died at her home in Novinger this morning at 10:30 o'clock after a ten-year illness.

The body is at the Dee Riley Funeral Home here and will remain there until Tuesday evening when it will be taken to the Hutchinson home. Funeral services will be held at Novinger Wednesday afternoon.

She is survived by her husband, Alexander Hutchinson, four daughters, and three sons, Mrs. Ruth Camles and Mrs. Margaret Melcher, of Kansas City, Mrs. Lillian McDaniels of Memphis, Mo., Miss Janie and Alex Hutchinson at home, Joe Hutchinson of Springfield, Ill., and Jimmie Hutchinson of Taylorville, Ill. One child preceded her in death.**

As published in the Kirksville Daily Express on 23 February 1942.

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*Joseph Hutchison may have also been married to Edna L. Ridgeway but I have been unable to definitively prove it.

**There are several inaccuracies in this obituary. The Hutchison surname is not spelled with two 'n's. Jessie's husband died in 1927 and did not survive her. All of the daughters' surnames are incorrect. Camles should be Combs; McDaniels should be McDaniel; and Melcher should be Melching.

Monday, April 3, 2017

Slave Name Roll Project: Tracing Descendants of Former Slaves

On 3 March 2015 I wrote a post about the Slaves of Harvey Claytor (1800-1871) of Franklin County, Virginia. I used Cohabitation Registers I found in the digital holdings of the Library of Virginia. These registers are often the first time that a former slave appeared officially in a public record and included extensive information about their families and former owners, enabling researchers to perhaps link a former slave to the 1870 census. These records also included the surname used soon after emancipation.

According to an Out of the Box, a blog written by staff members of the Library of Virginia, post, "Virginia provided no legal recognition for slave marriages. The commissioner of the Federal Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands directed assistant commissioners of states to order the county clerks to make a registry of such cohabitating couples in 1865. A year later the Virginia General Assembly passed an act to amend the Code of Virginia to legalize the marriages 'of Colored Persons no Cohabiting as Husband and Wife'."

I found four people formerly enslaved by Harvey Claytor, my first cousin five times removed, in the Floyd County registers. After watching the educational video entitled Documenting the Enslaved with Crista Cowan, I decided to handle the slaves owned by my ancestors in the manner outlined in the video. I went through all the blog posts I wrote about named slaves. As I created a person in my tree for each for each named slave and associated wills, estate inventories, probate documents, deeds, letters, and other documents to those people, I would search for additional records about their lives after they were freed.

Web links added to owners and enslaved people when there is no known
blood relationship. Also included is a blog link with more information;
image courtesy of Ancestry.com

Facts added to formerly enslaved Samuel "Sam" Henry Claytor. Most of
this information came from the Cohabitation Registers but I have not yet
made a source citation; image courtesy of Ancestry.com

I had success with two families I found in 2015. This post is about:

Samuel Henry Claytor and Adaline Lemons, Floyd County, Virginia

Samuel "Sam" Henry Claytor[1} was born on 13 February 1845 in Franklin County, Virginia, and was born into slavery owned by Harvey Claytor. In 1866 he began cohabitating (marriage between slaves was not legal) with Adaline Jane Lemons[2], who was born about 1849 also in Franklin County, and was enslaved by Creed Lemons at the time of her birth. On 27 February 1866 when the cohabitation registers were created, they lived in Floyd County, Virginia, but had no children.

The 1870 census indicated Sam and Adaline lived in Jacksonville, Virginia; Sam worked as a day laborer. In 1880 the family remained in Jacksonville, but Samuel may have run afoul of the law and served time in the county jail. He was also enumerated with his family in Jacksonville. By 1910 Sam's family owned a farm on Franklin Turnpike in Floyd County and he farmed his land while several of his children worked outside the home. Adaline had eleven children during their marriage and two were no longer alive. In 1920 Sam and Adaline were still living and working on their farm. Three of their sons worked the farm with them and several other children had married and left home.

Adaline died on 25 October 1922 of apoplexy and Sam died on 9 September 1923 of broncho-pneumonia following a bout with the flu. Adaline's death certificate indicated she was interred at Robertson Graveyard in Floyd County.
  • Baltimore "Balty" Claytor, born 3 October 1866 in Floyd County; died 4 June 1936 in Floyd County; married Judie Loretta Banks, daughter of Bruce and Ellen Banks, on 18 December 1909 in Floyd County. Two children: Ada M. Claytor (about 1900) and Mary E. Claytor (about 1903)
  • Mariah Jane Claytor, born in 1871 in Floyd County; died 9 November 1935 in Floyd County. Never married
  • James Claytor, born 11 May 1873 in Floyd County[3]
  • Peter Claytor, born about 1875[4]
  • Adelaide Claytor, born on 30 November 1875 in Floyd County; died 10 March 1961 in Floyd County; married Doctor "Dock" Simpson Turner, son of Stephen Turner and Frances Patterson. No children.
  • John Claytor, born about 1878[5]
  • Mary Claytor, born 20 June 1879 in Floyd County[6]
  • George W. Claytor, born about 1882 in Floyd County; married Clyde A. Jones[7], daughter of Richard and Edna Jones, on 4 November 1906 in Floyd County. No children.
  • Palmer "Pal" Claytor, born 20 March 1885 in Floyd County; died 29 June 1957 in Floyd, Virginia; married Eva Baker on 11 March 1914 in Mercer County, West Virginia; divorced before 1920
  • Anna "Annie" Claytor, born about 1889 in Floyd County; died 7 March 1961 in Floyd, Virginia; married Falos Morris Akers, son of David and Albina Akers, divorced; married Elliott Pritchett. One child: Vernon Akers
  • Minnie Claytor, born 15 February 1897 in Floyd County; died 21 August 1958 in Radford, Virginia; married William Reed Columbus Ingram, son of George Ingram and Laura Beaver or Moran, on 6 October 1938. He was married previously with several children; Minnie had one son: Oscar Claytor.
In reviewing the Member Connect feature available through Ancestry.com, many people have some of this information, but not all of it. It appears they have worked their family trees backwards in time, as is recommended. However, I worked from the 1867 Cohabitation Registers forwards and in this particular case, it enabled me to break through the 1870 census which is frequently a brick wall for African-American family historians and genealogists. I hope this information will help descendants of Sam and Adaline (Lemons/Menefee) Claytor break through their brick walls. 

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[1] The Claytor surname is often written in records as Clayton.

[2] Adaline's maiden name was often recorded in documents about her children as Menefee. Her death certificate listed Steven and Harriett Menefee as her parents. However, she was listed in the cohabitation registers as Adaline Lemons. I do not know the origins of the Menefee surname.

[3] Information about James Claytor is from the Virginia, Floyd County Births, 1873-79.

[4] Information about Peter Claytor is from the 1880 Census.

[5] Information about John Claytor is from the 1880 and 1900 Census.

[6] Information about Mary Claytor is from the 1900 Census and the Virginia, Floyd County Births, 1873-79

[7] Clyde (Jones) Claytor married James Lemuel Redd in 1923. I do not know if George W. Claytor died before that date or if they divorced.

Slaves of Harvey Claytor (1800-1871) of Franklin County, Virginia
In Celebration of Black History Month (or More DNA Discoveries)

Monday, March 27, 2017

Memoirs of Rev. David Rice: List of His Publications

Continued from the Memoirs of Rev. David Rice: Some of His Death Bed Exercises

This is from Chapter XVII of the memoirs of Rev. David Rice, which were included in An Outline of the History of the Church in the State of Kentucky, During a Period of Forty Years by Robert Hamilton Bishop and published in 1824.

To do good to the souls of men, and to do good by bringing plain practical truth before the mind, was the great object of Mr. Rice's life. This is peculiarly the character of his writings. The state of society in which his lot was cast did not afford him much time or many opportunities for study -- yet the opportunities which he had were improved, and when he considered himself called upon by Providence to speak for his Master through the Press, he was ready.

His publications were:
  1. An Essay on Baptism, 1789 -- This was probably the first pamphlet which was written in Kentucky. It was printed in Baltimore.
  2. A Lecture on Divine Decrees, 1791.
  3. Slavery inconsistent with Justice and Policy, 1792.
  4. A Sermon at the opening of the Synod of Kentucky, 1803.
  5. An Epistle to the Citizens of Kentucky professing Christianity, especially those that are or have been denominated Presbyterians, 1805.
  6. A Second Epistle, &tc. &tc. 1808, And,
  7. Letters on the evidences, nature, and effects of Christianity -- composed for the use of his sons, in 1812, in the 79th year of his age -- and published in the Weekly Recorder for 1814.
Mr. Rice was born in 1733, and died in 1816, aged 83 years.

He was licensed in 1762, aged 29 years. He labored in Virginia 21 years. He lived in Kentucky 32 years, and labored there 30 years.

When in health he preached not only once, and twice, and sometimes three ties, on every Sabbath, but also frequently on week days -- say, at an average, thrice every week.

The whole of his active ministry may be said to have been fifty years, and fifty Sabbaths in every year make two thousand five hundred. This number doubled will probably give nearly the number of sermons or set discourses delivered by him on the great concerns of eternity.

Say that for two thousand Sabbaths of his life, five heard him each time for the last time, and you have ten thousand immortals, who heard the message of salvation for the last time from the mouth of father Rice. Gospel hearer, and preacher of the gospel, it is an awful thought, that in every worshipping assembly, however small, there is probably some one hearing the message of salvation for the last time -- and that very few assemblies on the Sabbath will ever again all meet in any one place, till they meet before the judgment seat!

Making the average number of hearers for two thousand Sabbaths only fifyy, and you have the number of one hundred thousand. And taking into view the extent of country over which Mr. Rice's stated labors were spread, the fluctuating state of society, and the journeys of fifty years, one hundred thousand will not be too large a number for the amount of the different individuals to who he made a tender of salvation. And to every one of these this gospel was, without a single exception, the savor of life unto life, or of death unto death. And a very large portion of these had departed and rendered their account before the departure of father Rice.

Reader, whosoever thou art, they account is also soon to be rendered -- and the account of thy Sabbath days will be particularly required.

***
This is the last chapter of Rev. David Rice's memoirs except for several appendices.

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Rev. David Rice (1733-1816) was my fifth great grandfather.

Memoirs of Rev. David Rice: Some of His Death Bed Excercises
Memoirs of Rev. David Rice: The Part He Took in National and State Affairs
Memoirs of Rev. David Rice: Last Years of His Life
Memoirs of Rev. David Rice: Resigns His Pastoral Charge and Retires
Memoirs of Rev. David Rice: A Little Reviving in the Midst of Bondage
Memoirs of Rev. David Rice: Secret Exercises
Memoirs of Rev. David Rice: Character of Some of the First Preachers in Kentucky
Memoirs of Rev. David Rice: State of Religion in Kentucky
Memoirs of Rev. David Rice: He Moves to Kentucky
Memoirs of Rev. David Rice: His Comfort and Success among the Peaks of Otter
Memoirs of Rev. David Rice: Scene of His First Labors
Memoirs of Rev. David Rice: Devotes of Himself to the Ministry
Memoirs of Rev. David Rice: Introduction of the Gospel into Virginia
Memoirs of Rev. David Rice: Relief Obtained
Memoirs of Rev. David Rice: Further Convictions
Memoirs of Rev. David Rice: Birth, Parentage, and First Convictions 
Preparing for the Revolutionary War
Pray Together, Stay Together
Apostle of Kentucky

Monday, March 20, 2017

Memoirs of Rev. David Rice: Some of His Death Bed Exercises

Continued from the Rev. David Rice: The Part He Took in National and State Affairs

This is from Chapter XVI of the memoirs of Rev. David Rice, which were included in An Outline of the History of the Church in the State of Kentucky, During a Period of Forty Years by Robert Hamilton Bishop and published in 1824.

"I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course." -- Paul

During the last three years of father Rice's life, he was able to preach but very little. He had no complaints but the weakness arising from a regular decay of nature, until about the beginning of the year 1815; when he had a slight apoplectic stroke, which confined him chiefly to his room the remainder of his day. On the day of his arrival to the age of fourscore, he preached, at his own house, his last sermon, on Psalms xc. 12: So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom. The natural division of his subject, embracing so correctly the matter contained in the test -- the judicious collection of proofs -- the copious illustrations of each proposition -- and the practical improvement of the subject, appeared to be the work of a younger* and more active mind; and all joined to convince that his outward man only had failed.

About the first of the February preceding his death a difficulty of breathing, occasioned by a callous state of the Diaphragm, aided by Hydro-Thorax, gradually accumulating, made him sensible that his end was at hand, and also rendered that end extremely painful. Early in May he was attacked with something like Influenza, accompanied with considerable fever and acute pain; which, added to the difficulty of breathing, confined him to his chair for nearly a week, without sleep; except what, as soon as commenced, was interrupted by distressing Incubus.

After this period he could occasionally take some sleep, but seldom more than and hour at a time; but the difficulty of breathing continued to increase till a constant act of volition was required to enable the organs of respiration to perform their functions at all. Bowed down with age, a general Hydropic Diathesis, and extreme debility, this distressing symptom, though not so painful, became more and more frequent, until a day or two he lay calm and speechless to his last.

During this period, from the first of February to his last moments, he had death in daily expectation, and viewed it with composure, and with patience waited till his change should come. The divine manifestations to him were not of the most lively kind, such as he had at times enjoyed through life, but a calm, uninterrupted view of the complete plan of redemption proposed in the gospel, and his interest in the atoning blood and righteousness of Christ, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption. 1 Cor. i. 30. Having through life defended the superiority of the work of God to feelings, frames, and exercises of an ordinary or extraordinary kind; so in death he derived his chief consolation from the same rich fountain. The precious promises he would often repeat with feeling emphasis, saying, that the precious book abounds in them if we only had faith to appropriate them, accompanied with pertinent and connect comments upon them.

The glory of God is the salvation of sinners had ever been in him "the ruling passion," and this was eminently "strong in death." His greatest fear was, that he should dishonor the cause of Christ by a fretted, impatient temper, which he would remark was too apt to be indulged by old age even in health. In his most painful moments he would often say, when writhing in anguish, "shall we receive good at the hand of the Lord, and not evil: my life has been crowned with mercies -- I have had a good constitution, capable of relishing the bounties of heaven -- have enjoyed plenty -- have been blessed with an agreeable companion, long preserved to me -- I have a numerous family of children, in whom I have much comfort -- when I was a boy God took me into covenant with himself, and I took him to be my God, and why should I murmur now when he is chastising me for my sin. If the blessed Jesus, who had no sin of his own, bore the wrath of his heavenly Father for a world of sinners, how willingly ought I to endure all the pain I suffer if my dying example might be but the means of the salvation of one soul." When expressing his jealousy of himself on this head, he would frequently accommodate the petition of the Savior to his heavenly Father, in the near prospect of his suffering: "Father, glorify thy Son, that thy Son may glorify thee -- Father, glorify thy unworthy servant, that thy unworthy servant may also glorify thee." When using this language, he did not, he said, mean a glorious exaltation in heaven, but the same as when he spake of the glory of God, not the innate glory of Jehovah, but the declarative glory of God among mankind; which we ought to promote by living in the christian temper, walking as Christ walked, living soberly, righteously, and Godly, in this present world.

He lamented his incapacity for conversation, and seemed disposed to reflect on himself for not having improved his time with more diligence while he had strength for usefulness.

Ever fond of society, but especially that of his brothers in the ministry, he manifested an increasing anxiety to have frequent interviews with them, and at every such interview he would dwell principally on the necessity of ministerial diligence and zeal. This was not done as if flowing from passions recently harrowed up by the alarms of approaching death, but in a firm and rational way, like a man getting a clearer view of the object the nearer he approached it. He endeavored much to impress the minds of his brethren with just ideas of the unpromising state of religion and morals in our country -- of the worth of souls -- the comparative littleness of the world -- its profits, and its honors, and its pleasures -- the importance of family religion, and family instruction, to both civil and religious society -- that without a reformation in these things the American government will degenerate into anarchy and consequent despotism; and the civil, and perhaps the religious liberty of the nation be lost in the ruins of the republic.

Good will to man appeared to be the fountain from whence all his conversation flowed: not like a torrent foaming by the inundation of a sudden shower, but as an equal stream from some never-failing spring; according to the promise, it shall be in him a well of water springing up unto life eternal.

His efforts were not confined to the ministry. He improved every opportunity during the period of his confinement, to urge upon all who visited him the excellency, the importance, and the necessity of true religion, and the danger of neglecting it. All his conversation was, as ever, aimed at the great object of benefiting mankind. When light-minded persons would enter his room, he would even condescend to some little humorous detail, that he might make his company agreeable to them, and put them in a good humor to receive some useful lesson which he had in view to give them -- to teach them something important -- something calculated to promote their present and future happiness. At one time a servant came into his room while he was in a hard struggle: calling him by name, he said, "This is hard work: you had better even now be engaged to obtain a preparation for such a period, or it may go much harder with you. You will find when you come to die, that to struggle with death will be as much as you can bear; with the load of all your crimes upon you un-repented of, unforgiven, you will find this is no time to secure your soul's salvation. Don't put it off any longer."

The low estate of Zion in our country -- the prevalence of vice, ignorance, bigotry, superstition, enthusiasm, error and schism, for years before his death, cost him many painful hours. He was frequently heard to express it as his opinion, that without a miracle of divine grace, the next generation would become heathens or infidels -- that he hardly ever met with a company of young persons, but it excited a kind of gloom on his state of the church, when the present generation was gone. He always considered them as the hope of the church; therefore; therefore, in his addresses to youth, he was ever pathetically tender and affectionate. He had the heart of a father, -- he wept over them in life and in death, and his last advice to them was, to weep for themselves. This state of mind was so impressive in his last illness, that for many months before he left us, that of a mourner appeared to be a leading feature in his in his character. Often, when reflecting upon the deplorable condition of the youth among us, he felt an ardent desire to have them collected around him, that he might once more weep over them, and warn them of the danger which awaited them. When about to take anything agreeably to the doctor's direction, to mitigate his pain, he would be apt to observe that the best cordial for him would be to hear of the prosperity of Zion -- that his careless neighbors were attending to the one thing needful -- if it would not remove, it would enable him to bear his burden. He often spake of his own deficiencies in the most humbling terms: not so much his want of faithfulness in publicly preaching the word, as his not improving every opportunity in families and with individuals to promote their spiritual interests, and in laboring to do good to the souls of his fellow creatures by recommending the religion of Jesus. He was afraid his brethren in the ministry were criminal in the same way; and would lament that private christians did not appear to consider it their duty, by every prudent method in their private capacity, to recommend religion; and in that way to be preaching the gospel. He deeply lamented the folly and madness of multitudes in paying no regard to the authority and commands of God, and neglecting the only way of salvation. He would sometimes observe, "that as he saw a propriety in it, so he felt an inclination to go mourning to his grave."

This was a common theme with him, and he was apt to close his observations in the words of the prophet, "Oh that my head were waters, and mine eyes a fountain of tears, that I might weep day and night for the slain of the daughter of my people." This he would express with emphatic fervor. Having imbibed much of the spirit of his divine master, at a time when it appeared natural that every other thought should be swallowed up in his own sufferings, like Him, they did not make him forget the church, his country, or his fellow creatures through the world, but appeared to quicken his ardor for the prosperity of the one and the happiness of the other.

His anxiety for the promotion of religion, and his seeing or hearing of little or nothing that appeared favorable, at least in this country, gave a coloring to the state of his mind, while the uncommonly distressing nature of his disorder made him fond of repeating and commenting on such passages as these: -- "A bruised reed shall he not break, and smoking flax shall not quench" -- "Though he slay me, het will I trust in him," etc.

As in all his sufferings his own bodily pain was less distressing than the fear that he might dishonor God and religion by manifesting an unbecoming temper; so, to obviate the effects of such example, frequently would he tell his family and his neighbors that he had great jealousies of himself on this head, and that if, in his long affliction, he should become peevish, he wished them to take notice that he entered his solemn protest against himself for it. When he would be reminded with how much patience and firmness he suffered, he would observe, "You know nothing about me, I know I shall fail if God withdraw the kind supports of his grace from me." Speaking to his much esteemed friend, the Rev. Mr. Abell, he said, "Tell my friends, in their prayers for me, I wish this to be their petition, -- that I may not dishonor God before I die." Patience and resignation were the subjects of his prayers; his prayers were answered -- he never to the last moment discovered that weakness of mind which utters the impatient sigh.

So far from being in a terror at approaching death, he had full command of all his reasoning powers, like a man about to die in perfect health, with all his senses about him. He frequently directed his family to give him water often, should he become speechless, (which took place about two days and a half before his death) because many, he believed, often suffered greatly for water after they became incapable of calling for it. In attending to this direction, which was done about every ten minutes when asked if he would receive it, he generally intimated his assent.

He meditated with much pleasure on the dealings of God with him in his youth, in bringing him to an early knowledge of the gospel plan of salvation through a divine Redeemer; particularly on the exercise of covenanting with God, in which exercise he was engaged during the space of about two weeks not long after he received the first manifestation of God's love to his soul. But he said, he feared that he fed too much on past experiences. His present exercises, however, were often very comfortable. On one of his wearisome nights, sitting in his chair, and not able to hold up his head without having it held up for him, "I have been sitting here," said he, "hanging down my head, and meditating upon these words: When he shall appear we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is; and I trust I was brought to his banqueting house, and his banner over me was love." He dwelt much on the faithfulness of God. "He hath made with me an everlasting covenant, ordered in all things and sure," was the theme of his soul. He would often add, "This is all my salvation and all my desire." -- About the last words he was heard to utter were, "O when shall I be free from sin and sorrow." And on the 18th day of June, 1816, and in the 83rd year of his age, the weary wheels of life stood still at last.

The foregoing gives some imperfect account of the last days of this ancient and faithful servant of Jesus Christ, and of the exercises of his mind at a time when he had a clear, calm, and deliberate expectation every day of receiving the summons to appear before his Creator. The relation is made from memory after his departure, but care has been taken to guard against any incorrect statement; of several who were with him great part of the time embraced in this narration, none have discovered any inaccuracies. It was very desirable to preserve a more detailed account, by committing to writing his observations and remarks as they occurred. Something of this kind was attempted -- but, his great distress requiring so interruptedly the attention of all about him, it was found it would be difficult, perhaps impracticable, to have affected it.

Could this have been done, such extracts might have been made as would have shown to the world an instance of age, under an enormous weight of distress, rising, by the supports of divine grace, superior to its infirmities and pains. It would be seen how precious Jesus is to those who put their trust in him -- it would be seen how rich a treasure the divine word is to those who thence deduce the rules of their life, and all their hopes of comfort in time, of support in death, and of peace and joy in eternity -- it would have seen that in his most distressing moments he often almost forgot his pains while repeating over the precious promises of God's word, and commenting upon them with a perspicuity, diffusiveness and pertinency, which was surprising to all who viewed his age, his weakness, and his sufferings -- that this exercise appeared to afford more relief than any thing else -- it would be seen that "the kingdom of God is righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost" -- it would be seen that there is a reality in religion which is even tangible -- in fine, it would be seen why he esteemed the reasons urged in his letters on the evidences of Christianity, as more convincing than all the arguments of the school-men. It was an every way interesting scene to those who witnessed it, and must have dissipated every skeptical doubt in the mind of any who would draw near and take a close view of it.

"He is dead -- he is departed." Shall we lament his death? Shall we weep over his urn? Shall not our tears at the same time be mingled with a mournful pleasure, that his warfare is accomplished -- that he is free from sin and sorrow -- that he is now in the full enjoyment of all the blessings of the everlasting covenant which were in reversion for him?

His was a long life of painful disinterested devotedness to the service of his generation. He was without contemporaries; and remarked, when he heard of the death of the Rev. Mr. Sutton, whom he much respected, that he was now left without a contemporary, but that it made not much difference, for he should soon follow, and did.**

In his official addresses he was tender, affectionate, and solemn. Having devoted himself to the service of the sanctuary, his was not a life of idleness. He ever considered that his duty as a preacher of the gospel was not confined to the pulpit -- it was a maxim with him, that preaching, in ordinary cases, was not likely to be blessed, unless the hearer had been prepared by a previous course of catechetical instructions. To this duty he set himself as often as circumstances and the state of society would permit. It was his custom before, and some years after he removed to Kentucky, to divide his church into two catechetical districts, for the convenience of collecting the children, and to attend each at stated times when not interrupted by other duties.

These pious labors were not confined to his own immediate charge, but were frequently extended to vacant churches, as often as he could avail himself of a suitable person to act as catechist under his superintendence; and in such cases he recommended, as the best preservative against disputation with any of the catechumens, to close the exercises of the day with a serious address, suited to the occasion, and by prayer.

The happy effects of this course he witnessed in the great improvement in religious knowledge, and an increased attention to public ordinance; and the neglect of it in this country he very much regretted. It was a common remark with him, "The people are starving the ministers, and the ministers are starving the people for it."

In dealing with those under distress of soul, the way in which he had himself been brought eminently qualified him -- and it was a duty which he always performed with sympathetic delight.

In public he was faithful, in private he was exemplary. In his commerce with mankind he was upright -- in his domestic circle he moved with majestic evenness; perhaps the oldest of children never saw him manifest irritation or passion in a single instance.

He was a tender, cordial, kind husband -- an affectionate father, a humane master. He knew well how to order his house -- in administering religious instruction to his household, his manner was calculated to impress the mind with the idea that the truths taught bore a relation to eternity. He knew how to command obedience without austerity. Never under the influence of a blind partiality, he was quick to discern the foibles of his own, and with steady hand corrected them.

In his neighborhood he was always kind and obliging. His conversation was seasoned with the precepts of wisdom. In all his deportment he displayed the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit.

Much of his time was spent in prayer; he delighted to draw near to his heavenly Father, and hold converse with his God and Redeemer -- and in his prayers he always bore the church on his heart. Kentucky! many tears has he shed for you and your children.

The following is extracted from a letter of friendship of one of his brothers in the ministry.

"It is with pleasure I embrace the opportunity now presented to communicate to you my impressions and reflections on visiting and viewing alone the grave of our reverend and dear father. I was struck with the simplicity and decency of the place, which seemed rather formed to excite serious pleasure than melancholy. The western breeze gave an undulatory motion to the pendent branches of the weeping willow which shaded the memorable spot that gives repose to that heart which has felt more for the distressed -- that head which has thought and studied more for the purpose of benefitting his countrymen -- those limbs which have been longer and more constantly employed to promote these ends, than probably any other grave in America contains.

The paled enclosure was large enough to contain the happy pair who had become companions again after nine years separation. Here, said I, he has found his long lost Maria at last -- here they lie in the same position in which they stood at the altar when they first pledged their vows to each other; they are now joined to be parted no more forever -- and together shall they rise triumphant at the general doom, to be joined in more perfect union.

A little gate gave admittance to the solitary visitant, while a willow at each southern corner afforded him a shade. The rich carpeting of blue grass which covered the surrounding glebe, seemed to add to the tranquil appearance of the place. The peaceful forest at respectful distance on one side, and a row of fruit trees at equal distance on the other, seemed to secure this venerable repository from the approach of all idle curiosity. O what, like the manifestation of affection to its corresponding object, so calculated to warm the heart and enliven the pleasing sensations of fancy. I need not tell you how the christian doctrine of future glory charmed me, when I viewed it as the place of rest from so many years of labor, and the reward of so many years of suffering. I have seldom been so fully pleased with death. O let us try to emulate those whose graves we view with such delight, and whose memory shall be blessed forever."

*He preached from the same passage, Jan. 1st, 1765, and regretted, after preaching his last sermon, that he had not recollected his having notes on the same passage.

** At his birth the population of this country was half a million, at his death it was eight million.

To be continued...

***
I am publishing a chapter of Rev. David Rice's memoirs every Monday.

_______________
Rev. David Rice (1733-1816) was my fifth great grandfather.

Memoirs of Rev. David Rice: The Part He Took in National and State Affairs
Memoirs of Rev. David Rice: Last Years of His Life
Memoirs of Rev. David Rice: Resigns His Pastoral Charge and Retires
Memoirs of Rev. David Rice: A Little Reviving in the Midst of Bondage
Memoirs of Rev. David Rice: Secret Exercises
Memoirs of Rev. David Rice: Character of Some of the First Preachers in Kentucky
Memoirs of Rev. David Rice: State of Religion in Kentucky
Memoirs of Rev. David Rice: He Moves to Kentucky
Memoirs of Rev. David Rice: His Comfort and Success among the Peaks of Otter
Memoirs of Rev. David Rice: Scene of His First Labors
Memoirs of Rev. David Rice: Devotes of Himself to the Ministry
Memoirs of Rev. David Rice: Introduction of the Gospel into Virginia
Memoirs of Rev. David Rice: Relief Obtained
Memoirs of Rev. David Rice: Further Convictions
Memoirs of Rev. David Rice: Birth, Parentage, and First Convictions 
Preparing for the Revolutionary War
Pray Together, Stay Together
Apostle of Kentucky

Monday, March 13, 2017

Memoirs of Rev. David Rice: The Part He Took in National and State Affairs

Continued from the Memoirs of Rev. David Rice: Last Years of His Life.

This is from Chapter XV of the memoirs of Rev. David Rice, which were included in An Outline of the History of the Church in the State of Kentucky, During a Period of Forty Years by Robert Hamilton Bishop and published in 1824.

Mr. Rice was naturally of a modest and retiring disposition, yet when duty evidently called, he could come forth, from the humble walk of a country parson, and take a part in the public concerns of the nation. At the commencement of the Revolutionary struggle he took a decided stand, and let slip no opportunity of warning the people among whom he labored, or the danger to which their civil rights were exposed. He indeed, like many others at first supposed that the grievances of which the colonies complained might have been redressed, and complete security given for the enjoyment of all these privileges, without a dismemberment of the British Empire. But when the attainment of the object in this way was found to be utterly hopeless, he was prepared to make every sacrifice, and to exhort his countrymen to make every sacrifice, rather than submit to arbitrary power, in any form or in any degree. He knew the force and the spirit of the apostolic injunction -- "Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord's sake: whether it be to the king, as supreme; or unto governors, as unto them that are sent by him for the punishment of evil-doers, and for the praise of them that do well." See Sec 1 Pet. ii 13 & 14. But he knew also that he who had made of one blood all the nations of the earth, never authorized any one class of men, or any one nation, to exercise authority over another class, or over another nation, any farther than it was consistent with the general good. He knew also, that in the case of British subjects there were a solemn compact between the rulers and the ruled, and thus obedience was only a duty when protection and justice were afforded.

An illustration of these remarks, the following extracts are given from a discourse when appears to have been delivered at a county meeting, at an early period of the Revolution. Having given a brief statement of the grievances complained of, he proceeded thus:

"These high proceedings could not fail of giving a general alarm. Every sensible man saw, that the same power that seized private property in one colony might do it in another: that the same power that altered one charter might alter or take away another: that the by jury in one colony, might take it from the subject the right of trial by every colony: that the same power that established popery and tyranny in one place might establish it in another. Which weighty and important considerations excited every colony from New Hampshire to Georgia to oppose these unrightious proceedings. They evidently saw that it was a common cause, in which every American was deeply interested, and were sensible of the necessity of being united to a man. The mode of opposition they adopted was the best, the most pacific, their circumstances would admit of. It was calculated to bring about an accommodation without the effusion of human blood.

Should our king attempt to extend the royal prerogative beyond its proper limits, and thereby deprive us of our liberties, we should not even in that case be bound by the oaths we have taken to submit. The compact between the king and the people would then be broken; he would cease to be our king; resistance would not only be lawful, but an indispensable duty; it would be resisting a tyrant, not a king. And he who maintains the opposite doctrine, except through ignorance, is a traitor at heart; he is a Jacobite in principle, unfriendly to the English constitution, an enemy to his king and his country. Should the Pretender again attempt the throne of Britain, this doctrine would be universally received by every loyal subject: the doctrine is as sound now as it would be in that case: it is upon this principle of the lawfulness of resistance that king George III sits upon the British throne.

But this is not the case. His Majesty, as I know of, has made no attempt to extend the prerogative, but has rather suffered a diminution of it. The dispute is not between us and the parliament. The king has the same authority here he has in Great Britain: the Americans never denied it, they always submitted to it; and have, particularly in the late war with France, and are still willing to hazard fortunes in its support.

The question is this: Has the parliament of Great Britain authority to make laws to bind the Americans in all cases whatsoever? or in other words, have they a right to take our money out of our pockets without our consent, and apply it to what purposes they please? They assert they have; we maintain they have not."

And again,

"All the rights of free born British subjects have been made over to us, ratified and confirmed by royal charter, and can never be taken from us but by a flagrant breach of faith. And what we are not contending for is an undoubted, and indisputable right of a British subject. We have then as good a patent for this as we have on our lands; and if this can be taken from us,  by the same authority and with equal justice may our lands and all we possess be taken. This assumed right of taxation is contrary to every idea of liberty, and to the spirit of the English constitution of government, according to which no man can be bound by any law but those of his own making; he cannot be obliged to pay any tax but by his own consent. It is a blow at the root of the English constitution, it saps the foundation of English government.

The house of Stewart attempted to destroy these constitutional rights of the people; for which one lost his head and another his crown. The Revolution succeeded, and the present royal family were placed on the throne on the principles of liberty; in the principles of liberty their title is founded: destroy these, and you destroy the claim of the house of Hanover to the crown."

The closing paragraph is in these words:

"I do not, gentlemen, exhort you to rebellion: rebellion is opposition to lawful authority and our rightful sovereign. The king and not the parliament is our sovereign; the power we resist is not lawful but usurped; it is an attempt of part of his Majesty's subjects to tyrannize over the rest, in violation of the most sacred rights. I acknowledge the power of Great Britain: she has fleets and armies at her command, she has skillful generals; but she has not justice on her side. Her forces cannot act against us without an expensive voyage of near three thousand miles: when here, they are in a strange land. We are at home, in our own land, a woodland country, with which we are well acquainted, and of which we knew how to make an advantage. We have provisions in our own houses, and we have justice on our side. We contend for our estates, for our liberties, for our lives, for our posterity, for the rights of our king and our country; they to gratify the ambition and avarice of a few. They are destroying their country; we are endeavoring to save it from ruin. This some in Great Britain already see; and I hope a vigorous and manly opposition on our part will soon open the eyes of ethers, rouse up the ancient generous spirit of Britain, bring just vengeance on the authors of these wicked counsels, and restore the chartered rights of America: should not this be the case, I fear the glory and prosperity of Britain is at an end, which may God of his great goodness forbid."

These were Mr. Rice's political principles from the beginning, and to the close of his life he acted upon them. Hence, when the Declaration of Independence was made, it met with his hearty approbation and support, and though he never was, so far as it it is known, in the field of battle, yet the services which he rendered in his sphere of action were by no means without their influence on the final results.

He was, in 1792, a member of the convention which formed the first constitution for the state of Kentucky, and from the same principles which made him a decided friend to the political independence of his country, he exerted himself on that occasion, both before that meeting of the convention in his place as a member, that an article in the constitution should have provided for the gradual abolition of slavery. He was born and raised in a slave state. He lived, and labored, and died, in a slave state. Yet he never was reconciled to slavery. He uniformly considered it as a great moral and political evil, and he was also decidedly of opinion that a remedy for this evil might have been obtained at the formation of the different state constitution.

Pamphlet printed of speech given by Rev. David
Rice at the Kentucky Constitutional Convention;
Mr. Rice was very active, and succeeded against considerable opposition in obtaining the establishment of Hampden and Sidney college, Virginia, and was the means of bring the two first distinguished Presidents, Rev. Samuel S. Smith, and his brother John Blair Smith, who succeeded on his removal to the college of New Jersey.

The late Hon. Caleb Wallace was the year before Mr. Rice's removal to Kentucky, but after his determination to remove, the representative from Lincoln county in the legislature of Virginia. On his application he obtained the grant of certain escheated lands within the district of Kentucky for the purpose of establishing a public school, and a charter for the establishment of a college to be called The Transylvania Seminary. Mr. Rice was one of the first appointed Trustees, and upon the organization of the Board, was appointed chairman. The first meeting of the Board was a Lincoln, Nov. 10, 1783. Mr. Rice continued chairman till July 1787, when he begged leave to resign, and Harry Innis, who was afterwards judge of the federal court for the district of Kentucky, was appointed in his place.

The first Grammar School in Kentucky was opened and taught at the house of Mr. Rice, in Lincoln county. The order for the opening of it was passed by the Board, Nov. 4th, 1784. It was opened the February following; and this was the beginning of Transylvania University. The school continued there, and the Board continued to meet there, or in the neighborhood, till Oct. 13th, 1788, when they met for the first time in Lexington.

The Kentucky Academy was incorporated by the legislature of Kentucky in 1784. The Board of Trustees had their first meeting for business in Lexington, March 11th, 1795. The Board having, at several subsequent meetings, received proposals from Paris, Harrodsburg, and Pisgah in Woodford county, for the location of the academy at these places, and having also by subscriptions and donations obtained a fund of upwards of one thousand pounds, finally determined to locate the institution at Pisgah, and entered into engagements for the erection of the necessary buildings.

Mr. Rice continued an active member of this Board from March 11th, 1795, until Oct. 11th, 1796, when he resigned; the infirmities of age, and the distance of his residence, rendering it inconvenient for him to attend. Among other services which he rendered during the period of his membership, he, in company with another member of the Board, visited several parts of Virginia, Baltimore, Philadelphia, etc., etc., for the purpose of soliciting donations to the institution. While on this tour, his friends connected with New Jersey college proposed obtaining for him the degree of D.D. This he rejected with a considerable degree of determination, and said that there was professional standing implied in that honorary degree to which he had not attained, and that consequently he would be ashamed to wear the title.

The last meeting of the Trustees of the Kentucky Academy was in Oct. 1798, when they passed a resolution to unite with the Transylvania Seminary. The two Boards were accordingly, at the subsequent meeting of the Assembly, united, and styled, The Trustees of Transylvania University. The history of the transactions of these two institutions, which were at that period legally united, would make a volume of itself, and the subject is worthy the attention of all who wish well to the honor and prosperity of the state.

To be continued...

***
I am publishing a chapter of Rev. David Rice's memoirs every Monday.

_______________
Rev. David Rice (1733-1816) was my fifth great grandfather.

Memoirs of Rev. David Rice: Last Years of His Life
Memoirs of Rev. David Rice: Resigns His Pastoral Charge and Retires
Memoirs of Rev. David Rice: A Little Reviving in the Midst of Bondage
Memoirs of Rev. David Rice: Secret Exercises
Memoirs of Rev. David Rice: Character of Some of the First Preachers in Kentucky
Memoirs of Rev. David Rice: State of Religion in Kentucky
Memoirs of Rev. David Rice: He Moves to Kentucky
Memoirs of Rev. David Rice: His Comfort and Success among the Peaks of Otter
Memoirs of Rev. David Rice: Scene of His First Labors
Memoirs of Rev. David Rice: Devotes of Himself to the Ministry
Memoirs of Rev. David Rice: Introduction of the Gospel into Virginia
Memoirs of Rev. David Rice: Relief Obtained
Memoirs of Rev. David Rice: Further Convictions
Memoirs of Rev. David Rice: Birth, Parentage, and First Convictions 
Preparing for the Revolutionary War
Pray Together, Stay Together
Apostle of Kentucky

Monday, March 6, 2017

Memoirs of Rev. David Rice: Last Years of His Life

Continues from the Memoirs: Rev. David Rice: Resigns His Pastoral Charge and Retires

This is from Chapter XIV of the memoirs of Rev. David Rice, which were included in An Outline of the History of the Church in the State of Kentucky, During a Period of Forty Years by Robert Hamilton Bishop and published in 1824.

Better wear out than rust out, appears to have been Mr. Rices motto. In 1798 he ceased to the be pastor of a congregation, and ceased in a great measure to take any share in directing the judicatories of the church -- yet neither his labors nor his usefulness were at an end. He moved to the county of Green, a new and frontier county, and resolved to spend his last days in visiting the vacancies, and assisting his brethren as opportunities offered. The state of religion in general, in this new county, first attract his notice. "I found, says he, "that there were but few of reputable characters as Christians. There were a few presbyterians, a few Baptists, and a few Methodists, and but few upon the whole. These all united would make but a feeble band to carry on a war against the devil, the world and the flesh. Yet if a union, a good understanding, could be accomplished, something might be done -- whereas, should we divide, we should weaken each other's hands and injure the good cause in which we professed to be engaged." All the brethren of the the different denominations appeared to coincide with father Rice in these sentiments, but there were all too ignorant of human nature, or too much tinctured with party spirit, and likely also possessed too little piety, to act as these sentiments demanded.

In the summers and falls of 1805 and 6, under the appointment of the General Assembly, father Rice made a tour through the churches of Kentucky and lower parts of Ohio, comforting the saints, and trying to gather in some of the lost sheep of the house of Israel. Two small pamphlets, entitled a first and second epistle to those who are called, or who have been called Presbyterians, will be monuments to generations of his affections and faithfulness on these occasions.

The year 1812 or 1813 may be said to have closed the public administrations of father Rice. He was at home from that time till the day of his death, by the mere decay of nature, continued to his own house. He had been often applied to by his brethren in the ministry, and others, for a short account of his life. In the winter of 1814 and spring of 1815, when he was incapable of writing with his own hand, and could only walk when assisted, he considered it his duty to comply with their request. A neighboring brother attended as often as he could conveniently, and acted as his amanuensis. From the account thus received all the facts respecting his private exercises and private conduct in the preceding narrative are selected; and whenever he is introduced as speaking, the very words are retained which be then uttered.

The narrative closes with these words: -- "During these two years I have spent a good deal of time in reflection. When I look back as far as my joining myself to the church in full communion, I do not accuse myself of much outward vicious conduct. I do not recollect ever wronging a man out of a shilling, either by cheating him in a bargain, or by withholding from him his due when in my power to pay. When I had money which I owed, I always viewed it not as my own property, but as my creditors. I never indulged myself in lying -- never was a profane swearer -- was never drunk but once, and that was occasioned by my following an injudicious advice to assist the operations of medicine. I never gambled with any man. I never invented and spread false reports of others, though I have too often ignorantly propagated them when told by others. I do not remember that I ever envied a minister of the gospel for his talents and usefulness, or wished to bring him down on a level with myself. But on reflection conclude, that a man may experience as much and perhaps much more than I have done, and yet be a great sinner. Hence I feel a great reluctance that any thing that might appear amiable, in me, or in my character, should  be set off partially, lest some ministers or private christians should think if they are just as good as I have been, then may rest satisfied. See Phil. iii. 4-14, and Titus iii, 3-7.

In this season of serious reflection, I recollect much sinful deficiency, much highly aggravated guilt in my intercourses with God and in my dealings with my fellow men. I lament my want of deep humility, reverences, and holy love, in my most fervent acts of devotion. My addresses to my fellow creatures have also lacked that tenderness, that compassion, that love to their souls, which are proper. I lament also my backwardness to introduce spiritual conversation among my fellow men, or to turn common conversation into a spiritual channel. I have too often neglected addressing families where I have lodged, or which I have visited, on the solemn things which make for their everlasting peace, and on those relative duties of life on which the honor of God and the prosperity of religion greatly depend. I have too often neglected to instruct the children and youth, and to urge upon them the necessity of early piety; which neglect in ministers and heads of families is very pernicious to both religious and civil society. I have too much participated in the criminal and great neglect of the souls of slaves. Though we live at the expense of these unfortunate creatures, yet we withhold from them a great part of the means of instruction and grace. -- Many indeed deprive them of all, so far as they can. This, added to that of depriving them of their inalienable rights of liberty, is the crying sin of our country; and for this I believe our country is now bleeding at a thousand veins.

I have too often neglected to visit the fatherless and the widow in their affliction, and to relieve and comfort my fellow creatures under the various calamities of life. Much of practical christianity consists in exercises of this kind. See James i. 27.

I will here mention, as a warning to youth, a matter which as often distressed me, in advanced life. My father, in his last sickness, had a bottle of mouth water, which some days before his death got broken by accident. He requested me to provide more, -- but, either through forgetfulness or want of time, it was neglected. This may appear a small thing to others, as it did to me at the time -- yet it has been to me since a matter of the most painful reflection. It was a want of filial duty, a sin base in its nature and highly offensive to God, and which is often punished in this life. I lament the great degree of self-seeking and self-sufficiency which have often prevailed in my performance of religious duties. This is making self the object of our worship, and is as contemptible and as criminal a species of idolatry as any practiced by the ancient Syrians, or Grecians, or Romans, or is now practiced by any Pagan nation on the earth. I lament my frequently making my feelings, instead of the word of God, my rule of duty, to the neglect in a good degree of the duties of my station. I lament also my being too much under the influence of partyism and bigotry, though long since convinced in any judgment of its impropriety.

This things often oppress my mind, and thicken the gloom of the valley of the shadow of death. They often make me think of the propriety of going mourning to the grave, and excite a kind of desire to do so. They do not, however, sink me into despair. I hope to land in the regions of glory, through the free grace and mercy of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. Yet I often think I shall be ashamed to show my head there. I shall be particularly ashamed that it should be known there that ever I was a minister of the gospel of Christ. Amongst all the mansions of our Father's house, I cannot imagine one suitable to the reception of so unworthy a guest. But worthy is the Lamb that was slain, to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honor, and glory, and blessing.

Come, let us join our cheerful songs
with angels round the throne:
Ten thousand are their tongues,
But all their joys are one.

Worthy the Lamb that died, they cry,
To be exalted thus;
Worthy the Lamb, our lips reply,
For he was slain for us.

Jesus is worthy to receive
Honor and pow'r divine:
And blessings more than we can give,
Be, Lord, forever thine.

Let all that dwell above the sky,
And air, and earth, and seas,
Conspire to lift thy glories high,
And speak thine endless praise.

The whole creation join in one,
To bless the sacred name
Of him that sits upon the throne,
And to adore the Lamb.
Watt's Hymns, Book I. 62.

In this time of mournful reflection I often feel myself disposed to set myself up as a beacon to warn my fellow professors and brethren in the ministerial office, particularly of the rocks against which I have dashed, and of the quicksands in which I have sunk. I am often thinking what it is which has brought us into such a wretched state, and conclude, on the whole, that we have lost the true spirit of christianity, and mingled it with the spirit of the world. We have taken up religion by scraps and fragments. Some making it consist in one thing, and some in another, when it is a uniform connected system. We have done with religion what the heathens did with the object of worship. We have formed and molded it so as to suit our own depraved natures. Some of us have made it to consist chiefly in an orthodox creed -- some in a regular external behavior -- some in a certain set of religious experiences -- some in a flaming zeal for certain sentiments or particular practices -- some in a very punctual observance of the external forms of worship -- some in an unbounded charity, which entertains hopes of all, let their sentiments and conduct be what they may. Thus our ideas of religion being broken into fragments, they never lend us into uniformity and consistency of conduct -- and scarcely one is to be found who even professes to observe all God's commandments.

I often feel an earnest desire to address my fellow creatures on these subjects. But I find my day is past, that I have neither strength of body nor strength of mind to perform it. Hence I can only lament over myself and others, and, as standing on the verge of the grave, earnestly entreat that we should consider whether it is probably that we shall live useful lives, enjoy the comforts of religion in our day, or die a comfortable death, unless the fallow ground of our hearts be broken up, and we cease to sow among thorns.

I know nothing short of the Almighty power of divine grace which can produce this change. Yet God ordinarily works by the use of means; and these means be hath put into our power. We should then guard against every thing in our hearts and lives that opposes the work of God's grace, and be diligent in the use of all appointed means, with resolution to persevere therein to the end. Especially we should be careful to search the sacred scriptures, and form our notions of religion from them, and not from any man or set of men, or sect of christians whatever. We often attend more to human authors, and to our fellow creatures, though they be ignorant, than to the oracles of God. This is a great and God-dishonoring error. Thus it is that the divine life languishes in our souls, we live unprofitable lives, and prove a real injury to the cause of Christ, and a stumbling block to the unbelieving and profane. I have often thought that the professors and members of the present day, instead of being burning and shining lights to animate and enlighten all around them, are like rocks of ice that chill the air and freeze every thing which comes in contact with them.

While we consider these things, let us humble ourselves before God our Maker. But let us not despair either of our own particular religious prosperity, or of the prosperity of the cause of religion in general. -- There is a fountain opened in our world for the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem for sins and for uncleanness. There are many great and precious and absolute promises made in God's word, to which the most needy may look, whether in a converted or in an unconverted state. Who is there among you that feareth the Lord, and obeyeth the voice of his servant, and walketh in darkness, and hath no light? let him trust in the name of the Lord, and stay upon his God. In a little wrath I hid my face from thee for a moment, but with everlasting kindness will I have mercy upon thee, saith the Lord thy Redeemer. Ho every one that thirsteth, com ye to the waters, and he that hath no money, come buy wine and milk without money and without price. Incline your ear and come unto me, hear and your soul shall live, and I will make an everlasting covenant with you even the sure mercies of David. Behold I have refined thee but not with silver, I have chosen thee in the furnace of affliction. Then will I sprinkle clean waters upon you, and ye shall be clean; from all your filthiness and from all your idols will I cleanse you: a new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you, and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh, and I will put my spirit within you, and I will cause you to walk in my statutes, and yet shall keep my judgments and do them. Be not afraid, it is I. Reach hither they finger and put it into the print of the nails, and thrust thy hand into my side, and be not faithless but believing. I am he that liveth and was dead, and behold I am alive forever more, amen, and have the keys of hell and of death. Come all ye who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Look unto me all ye ends of the earth, and be ye saved, for I am God, and besides me there is none else. Surely he hath borne our griefs and carried our sorrows. He was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities. The bruised reed he will not break, and the smoking flax he will not quench, till he bring forth judgment unto victory, and the isles shall wait for his law. Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord, though your sins be as scarlet they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson they shall be as wool. Thy dead men shall live together, with my dead body shall they arise. Awake and sing, ye that dwell in dust, for my dew is as the dew of herbs, and the earth shall cast out the dead."

Here father Rice concluded, saying, "When I began this little history, I designed a lengthy address on some particular subjects, but find I must conclude for want of ability to proceed. The watchman," says his amanuensis, "hath once more told us what of the night. It was indeed a last effort. Like Jacob of old, his weak state required to be strengthened when he sate upon his bed, and gave his last blessing to his children. He had been a father to the scattered churches in this country and he still had the feelings of a parent, though his tongue was deprived of its eloquence, his voice had lost its harmony, and the powers of articulation sometimes failed. While dictating these Memoirs, he had often to take rest before he could proceed, yet his mind was firm. He was an old man among a thousand. Amidst all the infirmities of nature, he was Mr. Rice still. His memory with respect to recent occurrences had failed greatly, but his understanding was the same that ever it had been. He was still cheeful, still instructive. He talked about the grave with serious composure, and with as little alarm as a man talks of his bed when undressing. His mortal clothing was worn out, and he was about to lay it off without a murmur. I could not help wishing him another suit, that he might go on preaching again, but it was an unjust wish. He had endured the storms of half a century. Why should not the relief come at last? We knew not his value while he was with us in full vigor. May we profit by his character, and example, and writings, which are now all that we have left of him.

To be continued...

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I am publishing a chapter of Rev. David Rice's memoirs every Monday.

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Rev. David Rice (1733-1816) was my fifth great grandfather.

Memoirs of Rev. David Rice: Resigns His Pastoral Charge and Retires
Memoirs of Rev. David Rice: A Little Reviving in the Midst of Bondage
Memoirs of Rev. David Rice: Secret Exercises
Memoirs of Rev. David Rice: Character of Some of the First Preachers in Kentucky
Memoirs of Rev. David Rice: State of Religion in Kentucky
Memoirs of Rev. David Rice: He Moves to Kentucky
Memoirs of Rev. David Rice: His Comfort and Success among the Peaks of Otter
Memoirs of Rev. David Rice: Scene of His First Labors
Memoirs of Rev. David Rice: Devotes of Himself to the Ministry
Memoirs of Rev. David Rice: Introduction of the Gospel into Virginia
Memoirs of Rev. David Rice: Relief Obtained
Memoirs of Rev. David Rice: Further Convictions
Memoirs of Rev. David Rice: Birth, Parentage, and First Convictions 
Preparing for the Revolutionary War
Pray Together, Stay Together
Apostle of Kentucky