Monday, January 30, 2017

Memoirs of Rev. David Rice: State of Religion in Kentucky

Continued from the Memoirs of the Rev. David Rice: He Moves to Kentucky.

This is from Chapter IX 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 soon found that his suspicions concerning the character and situation of those who had put their names to his call, were not without ground. He expected that as soon as he should gave obtained a temporary residence, a number of old professors would have come and made up their acquaintance with him. But he was greatly surprised and distressed to find scarcely any such, a few who had been his old acquaintances and bearers in Virginia excepted. "After I had been here, says he, "some weeks, and had preached at several places, I found scarcely one man but few women who supported a credible profession of religion. Some were grossly ignorant of the first principles of religion. Some were given to quarreling and fighting, some to profane swearing, some to intemperance, and perhaps most of them totally negligent of the forms of religion in their own houses."

"I could not think," continues he, "a church formed of such materials as these could properly be called a church of Christ. With this I was considerably distressed, and made to cry, where am I! What situation am I in? Many of these produced certificates of their having been regular members in full communion and in good standing in the churches from which they had emigrated, and this they thought entitled them to what they called Christian privileges here. Others would be angry and raise a quarrel with their neighbors if they did not certify, contrary to their knowledge and belief, that the bearer was a good moral character. I found indeed very few on whose information I could rely respecting the moral character of those who wished to be church members."

In these perplexities he resolved not to administer sealing ordinances, but preach among the people one year, that he might get better acquainted with them and they with him. This exposed him to much censure from the loose nominal professors and tended greatly to thin his flock; though it was considered by the few solid church members as the best expedient which the circumstances of the case would admit.

At the commencement of the second year all was to begin anew. With a good deal of difficulty, however, a congregation was organized in what is now called Mercer county, with as much formality as their distance from other regular churches, and other disadvantages, would admit.

They had three places of worship, which were known by the names of Danville, Cane-Run, and the Forks of Dick River; and though circumstances were far from being promising, Mr. Rice considered himself as called by the head of the church to preach the gospel and dispense other ordinances within these bounds, and leave the result to the decision of the great day.

Mercer County, Kentucky; courtesy of FamilySearch Wiki

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: 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, January 23, 2017

Memoirs of Rev. David Rice: He Moves to Kentucky

Continued from the Memoirs of Rev. David Rice: His Comfort and Success among the Peaks of Otter

This is from Chapter VIII 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.

The duty which a christian minister owes to his family is of a varied kind. With every other christian parent he is indeed to be deeply concerned for their eternal welfare, but he is also to have a due regard to their temporal comfort; and to their temporal comfort not only when they are under his roof, in a great measure incapable of providing for their daily wants -- but his views and arrangements ought also to extend as far as possible to the mode in which they may provide for themselves and others when they shall have arrived at maturity, and have other families depending upon them. Now, in what particular way, and to what particular extent a provision of this kind is to be made, is often with a conscientious servant of the cross, a question of difficult solution.

It is doubtful whether any christian parent ought to form and attempt to execute plans having for their chief object any independent fortune either for himself or for his children. All agree that such a spirit cherished in a christian minister is utterly incompatible with his character. Yet a preacher of the gospel, who has a rising family, must look a little ahead and contemplate a period when perhaps he himself may depend entirely for his support upon his own children. It is of importance, then, that as soon as possible these his children be placed in some such situation in which, with the blessing of providence, they may discharge at once parental and filial duties.

It was under circumstances of this nature that Mr. Rice first turned his attention towards Kentucky. It was spoken of and recommended to him as a country where the best of land might be procured with little more expense and trouble than that connected with having it entered and surveyed as the law directed. He accordingly was induced at a convenient time to ride out and see the country, not principally with the view of preaching the gospel, nor even with the view of moving there soon, if ever; but merely to become acquainted with the country, and if all circumstances were encouraging, to procure settlements for some of his numerous family.

Kentucky Landscape by James Pierce Barton; courtesy of Google Cultural
Institute

A land office for Kentucky had just been opened, and swarms of land speculators were pouring into it. -- Though he was charmed with the country, neither the mode appointed by the Legislature of Virginia for taking up land, nor the character of the settlers generally, pleased him. "I saw," says he, "that the spirit of speculation was flowing in such a torrent that it would bear down every weak obstacle that stood in its way. I looked forward to fifty or sixty years, and saw the inhabitants engaged in very expensive and demoralizing litigations about their landed property. I knew the make of my own mind, that I could not enjoy the happiness of life if engaged in disputes and law-suits. I therefore resolved to return home without securing a single feet of land."

While in Kentucky he preached when opportunity offered. On his return he met with upwards of four thousand people moving out. Shortly after his return he received a verbal invitation to come to Kentucky and officiate as a minister. He replied, that if a written invitation were sent him, signed only by those who were permanently settled, and who wished to attach themselves to religious society, he would take it into consideration, and return an answer in due time. After a few months a call, subscribed by three hundred men, was forwarded to him; but from the face of it he had strong suspicions, that his request, respecting the situation of subscribers, had not been attended to. However, he, upon the whole, resolved to remove to this new country, which he did in Oct. 1783.

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: 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

Friday, January 20, 2017

Slave Name Roll Project: Frederick County, Maryland

Earlier this year Betsy left a comment on the Slave Name Roll Project with information about named slaves she has uncovered while researching her family history.

Thomas Warfield, son of Davidge Warfield, died on 17 October 1855 at the age of 85. He and his wife had no children. His will, written a few months before his death, included the following information:

To his negro servant HARRY ROBERTS he devised 5 acres of "Warfield's Good Luck."

The remainder of his will was less surprising as there were bequeaths of several nieces and nephews.

Will of Thomas Warfield, dated 11 Jun3 1855 and probated in Frederick County, Maryland, on 31 October 1855.

_______________
Slave Name Roll Project

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Children of James and Margaret (Semple) Muir

Margaret Semple had eleven children over the course of her life but only six lived to adulthood. Like many young Scottish women of her class, she had a daughter out of wedlock in 1871. No father was included on the civil birth registration, which was not unusual as the father had to be present in order to be identified as the father of an illegitimate child. However, to this day, we do not know who the father was. She named her Janet after her mother, Janet (Torrance) Semple, which was the custom at the time. Her daughter was called Jessie throughout her life and my grandmother called her Aunt Jessie. Margaret left her job as a dairymaid before she delivered Jessie and returned to Dalserf to live with her parents.

Dalserf countryside; photograph used with the permission of Andrew
Scorgie

After she married James Muir in 1873, Margaret had ten more children, the youngest two being born in Illinois. These are Margaret's children who did not survive their infancy:

Robert Muir (1873-1874)
Robert Muir was born on 4 October 1873, three months after his parents married. He was born at Swinhill, home of his maternal grandparents, Peter and Janet (Torrance) Semple. Swinhill is in Dalserf, Scotland. His mother registered his birth by marking her mark. Little Robert died on 25 January 1874 at Swinhill of hydrocephalus and convulsions, which is an abnormal accumulation of cerebrospinal fluid in the brain. His father registered his death. Robert Muir was three months old when he died.

Peter Semple Muir (1877-1877)
Peter Semple Muir was born on 14 February 1877 at Swinhill in Dalserf, Scotland. He was James and Margaret (Semple) Muir's third child. He was named for his maternal grandfather. Peter died at the age of 5 weeks in his grandparents' home of coryza, from which he had suffered for one month, and bronchitis with which he was afflicted two days before his death. Coryza is an acute inflammation of the mucous membrane in the nose.

Peter Semple Muir (1878-1878)
Peter Semple Muir was born on 5 July 1878 at Swinhill in Dalserf, Scotland. He was James and Margaret (Semple) Muir's fourth child and the second son they named for Margaret's father, Peter Semple. He died on 8 September 1878 at the age of two months in Coalburn, which was a small railway and coal mining village in Lesmahagow parish. Peter died of enteritis, a disease most commonly contracted by eating or drinking things contaminated by bacteria.

Peter Muir (1879-1879)
Peter Muir was born on 12 July 1879 in Coalburn in Lesmahagow parish. He was James and Margaret (Semple) Muir's fifth child and the third son they named for Margaret's father, Peter Semple. He died 10 days after his birth on 23 July 1879 of marasma, which is severe malnutrition. It may be caused by a extreme deficiency in one's diet of calories and protein or by diseases such as dysentery.

Henrietta Brown Muir (1882-1884)
Henrietta Brown Muir was born on 29 July 1882 at Birkenshaw in Dalserf. She was the sixth child of James and Margaret (Semple) Muir and was named after her paternal grandmother. She, her mother and living siblings moved to her maternal grandparents farm at Swinhill some time before her death, which was on 9 January 1884. She died of measles and bronchitis and was a year and five months old.

***
The lives six children -- Janet ("Jessie"), Robert, Margaret ("Maggie"), Peter, Alexander, and Jane ("Janie") -- who lived to adulthood will be covered in the coming weeks.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Memoirs of Rev. David Rice: His Comfort and Success among the Peaks of Otter

Continued from the Memoirs of Rev. David Rice: Scene of his First Labors.

This is from Chapter VII 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.

***
The general commission is, "go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature" -- and while a variety of circumstances may forbid this or the other servant of the cross to preach the gospel in this or the other city or district, the call may be very express from some other quarter, "come over and help us." It was so with father Rice. -- He left the people of his first charge with great reluctance. He was at least two or three years before he could see very distinctly in what particular region his Master would be again pleased to employ him. He was, however, during that period of suspense, employed in his Master's work as opportunity offered; and at last he found that souls were to be saved, and the church of the living God edified, even by his labors.

Bedford county, Virginia, was then a frontier. The inhabitants were a mixed race, from nearly all parts of the world, and of nearly all religious denominations. -- No messenger of salvation had as yet settled among them, nor had the message itself been often proclaimed in that region. Thither Mr. Rice removed and settled, and took the charge of three congregations -- one of which was five, another eleven, and another twenty-five miles from the place of his residence.

Here he labored for thirteen years and a half, with some considerable appearance of success. Times of refreshing came at least occasionally from the Lord, when old professors were revived and animated with the vigor of youth, and instances of fresh awakening among the people occurred.

The Peaks of Otter, which was the congregation twenty-five miles from his residence, appeared to be more especially visited. In that place a seriousness and attention to religious exercises commenced, which lasted, with very little abatement, for ten years. The divine influences felt were not like a plentiful shower, but they were as a continual dropping in a rainy day. Here he spent a considerable portion of his time very agreeably. Perhaps, all circumstances considered, he enjoyed more comfort during this period in this place, than ever he enjoyed any where else. The evenings, in places where he lodged, were peculiarly delightful. The house at which he put up was carefully marked and without any previous appointment for that purpose, the most of those in the neighborhood, who were under serious impressions, would collect there. Religious conversation, interspersed with songs of praise, was as naturally introduced and continued as the ordinary chitchat of ordinary meetings of Christians commonly so called, is introduced and continued. The subjects of conversation were usually such as the following. What is the difference between conviction of sin and mere terror of conscience? What is the evidence of true evangelical repentance, and how is it to be distinguished from false repentance? What is the difference between true love to God and the Redeemer, and self-congratulation of which hypocrites may be the subjects? What is the difference between true love of the brethren and that which arises from self-love and party spirit? &tc. &tc. &tc. These questions Mr. Rice endeavored to explain and solve, and in doing so patiently heard whatever remarks or inquires any persons thought fit to make. At a convenient hour, the small and attentive, and every way interesting assemblies, were dismissed by prayer and the pastoral blessing.

Peaks of Otter Presbyterian Church founded in 1761; photograph by Rev. Ken
Barnes

Their public assemblies during this period commonly consisted of Episcopalians, Presbyterians, and Baptists, who were pretty numerous, and Methodists, who then were few. All these denominations attended Mr. Rice's public ministrations with peace and friendship, with very little appearance of party spirit. Considerable reason was given to hope that God was glorified, and the souls of the people edified. There were commonly added at each communion, which was twice a year, from six to fifteen new members, some of whom had been old hardened sinners, but who had been made to bow to the scepter of the Prince of peace. Others, and the greater number, were young people rising up or settling in the world. The doctrines of the cross, which have always been the wisdom and the power of God to the salvation of many, appear to have been the great instrument by which men were added to the church under Mr. Rice's administration. "I do not recollect," says he, "that I ever attempted to made a proselyte, and seldom heard of any attempt of that kind being made by any denomination in these parts."

By the blessing of heaven on the faithful labors of his servant, the three congregations so increased, that the sphere of labor was too extensive for one man, even could they all have met in one place of worship. He, therefore, first gave up one of the congregations below, and then the other, and continued his attention to the Peaks of Otter.

It is to be added, that these people were faithful and punctual in fulfilling their pecuniary engagements with their pastor -- that the gospel continues among them and is supported by them still -- and that sometime after Mr. Rice's removal from them they were blessed with a considerable revival, a number of the subjects of which attributed their first serious impression to his preaching.

It is also to be remarked, that the period of Mr. Rice's residence among those people was during the war of the revolution, and that while many of the servants of God in the cities and on the sea coast were driven from their flocks by the unnatural invasion of the British troops, Mr. Rice was in the full, and successful, and uninterrupted discharge of the duties of the pastoral office. The mountains brought forth peace to the people, and the little hills by righteousness.

To be continued...

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

To be continued...

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

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

Friday, January 13, 2017

Slaves of Sarah Griffith (Gassaway) Brown (1776-1858)

Late last year Betsy left a comment on the Slave Name Roll Project with the named slaves she had discovered while researching her family history.

Here is her comment:

I am releasing 11 named slaves owned by my 3rd great grandmother Sarah Griffith Gassaway (born 1776, Anne Arundel County, Maryland; died 7 February 1858, Woodstock, Howard, Maryland). She was the daughter of Brice John Gassaway (1745-1816) and Dinah "Kitty" Warfield (1755-1805) both of Maryland and was the widow of Lieutenant John Riggs Brown (1775-1814) of Woodstock, Maryland. Sara Griffith Gassaway and John Riggs Brown were married 14 December 1797 in Anne Arundel County, Maryland. Her will was written in Howard County, Maryland and was dated 15 February 1855. In it she leaves 11 slaves to family members as follows. The use and spelling of the words "negro" and "negroes" is taken directly from her will.

To her son, Henry G. Brown, she gave and bequeathed her negro boy ISAAC and her negro girl MARY ANN.

To her son, Samuel Brown, she gave and bequeathed her negro boy ALEXANDER.

To her son, John R. Brown, she gave and bequeathed her negroes LEWIS, GEORGE, MARIA and LUCRETIA.

To her daughter, Louisa W. Davis, she gave and bequeathed her negro boy PETER.

To her daughter, Mary Ann Smith, she gave and bequeathed her negro girl LOUISA.

To her daughter, Elizabeth Gorman, she gave and bequeathed her negro girl AIRY.

To her daughter, Kitty Ann Hood, she gave and bequeathed her negro boy REZIN.

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Slave Name Roll Project

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

James Muir (1848-1926)

James Muir was likely the twelfth child of Robert and Henrietta (Brown) Muir. No parish church record exists for his birth. His birth date, 13 June, is listed on his death certificate and in my Grandmother's genealogy notebook. The birth year is more confusing. My Grandmother believed it was 1847. James' second wife believed it was 1845. I have settled on 1848. The closest record to his birth is the 1851 Scotland Census. That census was enumerated on the night of 30-31 March, which would make James Muir 2 years old, and that is his age as recorded on the census. He would turn three in June, hence 1848 as his year of birth.

When the 1851 Scotland census was enumerated, he was living with several siblings in Kirkton village, but his parents were not at home the night the census was taken. It is likely his mother had died by this time. We know she died before 1856.

Ten years later, James was living at 2 Birkenshaw in Larkhall with his father and several siblings. He was 13 and already working full-time in the coal mines. His father was no longer working in the mines but his older brothers still living at home were also miners. I have been unable to definitively locate James Muir in the 1871 census.

He married Margaret Semple on 4 Jul 1873 in Swinhill, Dalserf, Lanarkshire. She was the single mother of a young girl named Janet "Jessie" Semple. Margaret was pregnant with their first child at the time of their marriage, and that child was born on 4 October 1873. Their first son was named Robert Muir, after his paternal grandfather. Sadly, little Robert died on 25 January 1874 of hydrocephalus, which is the build up of too much cerebrospinal fluid in the brain. It is commonly called "water on the brain."

Parish church in Dalserf; photograph commissioned by me and taken by
Andrew Scorgie in 2013

My great grandfather also named Robert Muir was born on 16 March 1875. After my great grandfather, six more children were born in Scotland:
  • Peter Semple Muir (14 February 1877 -- 23 March 1877)
  • Peter Semple Muir (5 July 1878 -- 8 September 1878)
  • Peter Muir (12 July 1879 -- 23 July 1879)
  • Henrietta Brown Muir (29 July 1882 -- 9 January 1884)
  • Margaret "Maggie" Muir (6 May 1884 -- 29 August 1966)
  • Peter Semple Muir (3 February 1886 -- 30 October 1947)
Peter Semple was Margaret's father's name and naming a child in his honor was obviously important to her.

On 27 May 1887 James boarded the Anchor Line steamship Ethiopia in Glasgow and sailed to the United States. He arrived in New York City on the 6th of June and traveled to Streator, Illinois. Because the 1890 census was destroyed by fire, I do not know if he had relatives or friends who had already immigrated and settled in Streator or if he saw advertisements for Streator at the train station. 

James' wife, Margaret, and the living children followed him to Illinois, arriving in the U.S. on 30 September 1887. Margaret's daughter, Jessie, also traveled with her mother and half-siblings.  Margaret and James had two more children in Illinois: Alexander Muir (13 May 1889 -- 6 May 1957) and Jane "Janie" Muir (29 November 1894 -- 23 January 1990).

In 1900 James was living in Mystic, Iowa, a lodger at the home of Mrs. Margaret Greenbank. Appanoose was described as "one continuous mining camp" when James arrived. He claimed he was divorced. His wife, Margaret (Semple) Muir, however, was living in Reading, Illinois. According to her census records, she still believed she was married.

James married Margaret (McIntosh) Greenbank on 9 January 1913 in Princeton, Missouri. Princeton is in Mercer County, Missouri, which borders Iowa. I am left wondering after looking at the map, if Mercer County was a "Gretna Green" county, meaning it was possible to get a quickie marriage. Or perhaps county officials didn't look too closely at your documentation. I've found no evidence that James Muir actually divorced his first wife, nor can I find any evidence that Margaret Greenbank was divorced from her husband, Thomas, who was still alive, though living in the Mount Pleasant Hospital for the Insane.

Proximity of Appanoose County to Mercer County; image courtesy of
FamilySearch.org

I have not found James in the 1910 census. When the 1915 Iowa state census was taken, James claimed he had lived in Iowa since 1895. If that is true, then he left his first wife when their youngest child was barely a year old. In 1920 he lived in Nineveh, Missouri, and was a boarder in the home of Mrs. Ida Logsdon. Her home was very close to the home James' first wife and the home of their daughter, Maggie, and her husband, Robert Caswell.

The 1925 Iowa state census indicated James was still married and back in Mystic, Iowa, and lived with his second wife. At the time two of Margaret's sons by her first husband also lived in the home as well as 11-year-old Robert H. Muir, who was listed as a grandson. I believe he was actually the son of Ethel Greenbank, one of Margaret's daughters by her first husband. James Muir did have a grandson named Robert Muir, Jr. He was born in 1912 so it is possible he was living with his grandfather in 1925 though I do not know why this would be.

James Muir died on 18 March 1926 at his home in Mystic of arteo-sclerosis and chronic bronchitis at the ripe old age of 81. He was miner, retired from the Egypt Coal Company. He was interred in Highland Cemetery in Mystic on 20 March 1926. His second wife was the informant listed on the death certificate. She is also buried in Highland Cemetery.

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James Muir was my great great grandfather.

Monday, January 9, 2017

Memoirs of Rev. David Rice: Scene of His First Labors

Continued from the Memoirs of Rev. David Rice: Devotes Himself to the Ministry.

This is from Chapter VI 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.

***
No situation on earth is without its difficulties and peculiar temptations. Difficulties and temptations of one kind are no sooner over than they are succeeded by others of a different description. While the warfare is thus continued, a wise man and a saint will grow wiser and wiser, and be daily more conformed to the image of his Master. "In my first setting out," says Mr. Rice, "I was considerably popular, and often met with the applause of my fellow creatures, which soon filled me with a considerable degree of vanity. This convinced me of the propriety of the apostle's injunction, -- not a novice, lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil -- and that it requires much more knowledge to make a man humble than to make him a self-conceited pendant." How many otherwise well qualified preachers have had their usefulness nearly destroyed by not making, at an early period of their career, the same discovery! How kind is our Lord and Master in frequently letting loose the tongues of men against his servants!

He preached about six months in North Carolina and the southern parts of Virginia, not without some evidence of success. He then visited Pennsylvania, where, agreeably to a previous agreement, he married Miss Mary Blair, daughter of the Rev. Samuel Blair, late of New Londonderry, Pennsylvania. Thence he returned to Virginia, with a view to take charge of a congregation in North Carolina; but by a number of unforeseen events, in the course of providence, that design was frustrated. God appoints to us the bounds of our habitation, and a very little, or a number of very little seemingly trifling and accidental things, have frequently extensive influence on our whole lives. He stopped with a congregation in Virginia, which had been formerly under the pastoral care of Mr. Davies. Here, after a few months, he was with the usual solemnities ordained to the work of the ministry, and had that congregation committed to his pastoral inspection. "At this time I was not so fully satisfied as to my possessing some of the qualifications essentially necessary for a gospel minister, and consequently undertook the pastoral office with some degree of reluctance; but I considered that I was not my own but the Lord's, -- that I had in the sincerity of my heart given myself up to him to be devoted to that work -- that I had seen much of his care and kindness in bringing me thus far -- and that as faithful laborers were few I might be of benefit to mankind."

James Wimble's 1738 map of colonial North Carolina; image courtesy of
LearnNC

He labored there for four or five years, not without success, though he thought his success was great among the blacks than among the whites. -- How much has this unhappy class of our race been neglected! His prospects of usefulness were considerable, but all! they were soon blasted. An old dispute in the congregation, which had taken its rise in Mr. Davies' time, was stirred up afresh, which so disjointed the society, as to convince them that they were not able to afford him that pecuniary aid which was necessary for his temporal support; and having no other means of subsistence, he wrote to Presbytery to dissolve the connection between him and them, which was accordingly done.

What a world of mischief have "perverse disputes" done to the church of the living God? How necessary is it for christians both in public and private life to leave off contentions before they be meddled with. How highly ought christians to value a stated dispensation of gospel ordinances while it is enjoyed. Even the great Mr. Davies' congregation, whose praise is in all the churches, and whose sermons will instruct as long as the English language is known, even this man's congregation knew not the value of a gospel ministry. They sacrificed this great inestimable blessing for the gratification of some private, some sinful feeling.

No person who has not in holy providence been in a similar situation can have any adequate conception of the state of mind in which Mr. Rice left these the people of his first charge. He was leaving those with whom he had expected to be connected by the most endearing ties during life. Nay, he was leaving those with whom and with whose children he had expected to have spent an eternity. He was leaving immortal beings to whom he had not been the savior of life unto life, but the savior of death unto death. And he was leaving them from dire necessity, because they had actually put the gospel of God's salvation from them.

In this day of distress, as well as in many subsequent days, he found that "having found a wife he had found a good thing, and obtained favor of the Lord." Mrs. Rice was a woman of uncommon strength of mind, and being the daughter of a clergyman, she had given her hand and her heart to another clergyman, with a full view of the inconveniences and privations to which the family of a clergyman is exposed, which has little or no other source of support but what depends upon popular opinion. She most cheerfully, therefore, on this as well as on many other occasions, brought the resources of her mind into vigorous action. And the heart of her husband did safely trust in her, so that he had no need of spoil. She did him good and not evil all the days of her life. She literally sought out wool and flax, and wrought willingly with her hands. And to her economy and prudence, and cheerful and pious temper, the long and useful life of father Rice is in a great measure to be attributed.

Nor was Mrs. Rice merely an help meet [sic] for him with respect to this world. In the great concerns of eternity she was in her sphere equally active and equally successful. On silent Sabbaths, which, from Mr. Rice having several charges, were frequent, a portion of each day was spent in catechizing her children and servants, and in prayer with them. Having herself enjoyed a full and systemic religious education, and being blest with a considerable genius, a taste for reading, and a mind habituated to reflection, she had acquired a knowledge of the doctrines and the duties of christianity beyond many. Hence she was enabled to discharge the duties of a christian instructor to her family with a good degree of propriety.

She had her set hours of devotion, which were not to be disturbed by any ordinary occurrence. And a portion of every night after the family had retired to bed was allotted as a season of prayer exclusively for her children.

In her interview with her neighbors she possessed a talent which she often used for introducing with a great degree of facility serious conversation. Nor did she confine herself to her family alone, or to personal interviews. When she thought she had influence, and could do it with propriety, she wrote letters to her acquaintances on the necessity and importance of religion, and there are not wanting instances of persons who have given evidence of sound conversion, who have referred to their first serious impressions to these letters.

Her labors and her prayers in her family were particularly blessed. She raised eleven children. Nine of them have become fathers and mothers of families, and all of them have given evidence that they are the sons and daughters of Abraham, to whom the promise was made that he should be heir of the world. And in one instance the blessing was bestowed after the son had left his father's roof, and had no other means of bringing pious instruction to his remembrance but a Bible which his mother had, unknown to him, packed up with his clothes. "As for me, this is my covenant with them, saith the Lord; my Spirit that is upon thee, and my words which I have put into thy mouth, shall not depart out of they mouth, nor out of the mouths of they seed, nor out of the mouths of they seed's seed, saith the Lord from Henceforth Even forever."

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

To be continued...

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

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

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Margaret (Semple) Muir (1850-1920)

Margaret Semple was born on 22 June likely in 1850 in Dalserf, Scotland, a small village on the banks of the Clyde river. No church parish record exists for her birth so her birth year is my best estimate. Her age was recorded as being nine months old when the 1851 census was enumerated on 30 March. Therefore, she would have turned one the following June, making her birth year 1850.

She was the fourth child of Peter and Janet (Torrance) Semple. Her father was a coal miner at the time of her birth. In 1851 the family lived in Canderdykehead, miners' housing owned by James Nimmo & Company, Ltd. They were described in a 1910 housing report and I imagine few improvements were made in the nearly 60 years between 1851 and 1910 with the exception of adding water closets inside each apartment:

"Two story, brick built -- erected under Building Bye-laws [sic] -- damp-proof course; walls hollow built; wood floors, ventilated; internal surface of walls and ceilings in good condition. Good sized apartments. No gardens. Wash houses and coal cellars provided."

In 1861 the family was living at 31 New Street in nearby Stonehouse, which is less than 5 miles from Dalserf. The family now consisted of eight children. Margaret's father, Peter, continued working as a coal miner. Margaret was 11 years old and worked as an apprentice weaver of mixed fabrics, along with her two older siblings.

Margaret was living in the Maryhill area of Glasgow and working as a dairy maid in 1871. She lived in a four-room house with four other young women. She was about a month along in her first pregnancy but likely did not know it yet. On 25 November 1871, Margaret had a daughter, who she named Janet Semple in honor of her mother and in accordance with Scottish naming conventions of the time. No father was listed on the birth registration. Janet was called "Jessie" throughout her life. She was born in Swinhill, which was the home of her maternal grandparents. My assumption is Margaret returned home upon learning she was pregnant or just before the birth.

Swinhill Farm on a British Ordnance Survey; image courtesy of
ScotlandsPlaces

Two years later she married James Muir, a 25-year-old coal miner, on 4 July 1873, at her parents' home in Swinhill according to the forms of the Church of Scotland. Three months later their first child Robert Muir, named for his paternal grandfather, was born on 4 October 1873. Little Robert died on 25 January 1874 of hydrocephalus and convulsions, which is more commonly known as water on the brain.

Four more children were born between 1873 and 1882 but only one survived infancy. When the 1881 census was enumerated, Margaret was living with her parents at Swinhill Farm in Dalserf. Her husband James was not at home. Margaret's father's occupation was listed as a coal miner so the farm must have been something he worked in what little spare time he had. The house was full of grandchildren, including Margaret's two children.

Margaret had three more children between 1882 and 1886. A daughter, Henrietta, died of measles at the age of one, but Margaret, known as Maggie, and Peter, survived to adulthood.

In June of 1887 Margaret's husband, James Muir, immigrated to the United States. Margaret, and her living children: Robert, Maggie and Peter, followed in September. They boarded the Allen Line's S/S Manitoban in Glasgow, Scotland, and arrived in Philadelphia on 30 September 1887. Margaret's daughter, Jessie, traveled on the same ship as Jessie Muir, but was listed separately from her mother, several pages later on the passenger manifest. I imagine Margaret and the children took a train to join James Muir.

On 13 May 1889 Margaret had her tenth child, who she named Alexander. If she had continued using the Scottish naming convention, which she did for her previous children, this child should have been named for her husband James.  Alexander was born in Streator, Illinois, in the area of town called Coalville, which was the area where the miners lived.

Margaret had her last child, Jane Muir, who was called "Janie" throughout her life on 29 November 1894 in Reading, Illinois. When the 1990 census was enumerated, Margaret was still living in Reading in a house she owned free and clear. She listed her marital status as married. Her husband, James, however, lived in Mystic, Iowa, as a boarder in the home of Mrs. Margaret Greenbank, his future wife, and listed his marital status as divorced. Living with Margaret in her home were her sons, Robert and Alexander and her youngest daughter Janie. Robert and Alexander worked as coal miners. Margaret's daughters Jessie and Maggie were no longer living at home.

In 1910 Margaret and her youngest daughter, Janie, were living in a rented home on Third North Street in O'Fallon, Illinois. Her recently widowed son, Robert, lived next door with his two young children. Margaret claimed she was widowed.

Jane "Janie" Muir and her mother, Margaret (Semple) Muir, who was my great great grandmother;
photograph courtesy of Abby Muir

In 1920 Margaret and her granddaughter, Alice Muir, lived in a home Margaret owned free and clear in Nineveh, Missouri. Alice was the daughter of Robert Muir and his first wife, Ida Mae Riggin. Ida had died in 1909. Margaret listed her marital status was divorced. Margaret's two married daughters, Jessie and Maggie, lived in Nineveh near their mother. Curiously, so did James Muir. He was a boarder in the home of Ida Logsden and worked as a coal miner. By 1925, he was back in Mystic, Iowa, with his second wife.

Margaret was admitted to a hospital in Kirksville, Missouri, in late May 1920 where she had an operation on the 28th. She died three days later on 31 May 1920 of uremia. Contributing to her death were "old age and hemorrhoids." Her daughter, Jessie, was the informant listed on the death certificate. Margaret was buried in Novinger Cemetery on 3 June 1920.

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This post was republished from Descendants of Robert Muir (c1800-1869), Volume VII, Son James Muir (1848-1926), which has yet to be published but is available at The Robert Muir Family blog. Margaret (Semple) Muir was my great great grandmother.

Monday, January 2, 2017

Memoirs of David Rice: Devotes Himself to the Ministry

Continued from the Memoirs of Rev. David Rice (Chapter IV): Introduction of the Gospel into Virginia.

This is from Chapter V 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.

A heart which is really changed from sin to holiness will be anxious to be employed in promoting holiness. What shall I render to the Lord for all his mercies? will be its language. Having obtained an answer to the question, what shall I do to be saved? the happy person will next inquire, by what means shall I best promote the salvation of others? How shall I most effectually recommend to others the exceeding riches of that grace of which I am made an unworthy partaker? while revolving in his mind these and similar inquires, Mr. Rice's attention was turned towards the gospel ministry. He was far, however, from considering his anxiety for the welfare of souls, or his anxiety for the advancement of God's glory, a warrant from him to assume the character of a preacher; much less was he disposed to consider his experience of God's goodness in delivery him from the bondage of sin, a sufficient qualification to enable him to act as a preacher. His experience had a quite different effect. It had convinced him of his ignorance and weakness, and of the many qualifications which were necessary to enable a man to expound scripture, and deal with the souls of his fellow men. These qualifications he did not expect to receive by any extraordinary revelation, but by a diligent use of ordinary means. He believed also that the church, through the organs of those courts which the head himself hath instituted, is the only competent authority to decide what particular individual hath the necessary qualifications for the office of the holy ministry. These were his sentiment from the very first, and they were strengthened rather than weakened by the experience of upwards of fifty years. 'I yet believe,' says he, 'that the modern notion to lead men into many errors which have greatly corrupted the christian system.'

Having devoted himself to the work of the ministry, should God in his providence give him a regular call, he determined to sacrifice every inclination and every interest which would impede him in his pursuit of the necessary qualifications. He particularly resolved to avoid every degree of intimacy with the other sex, knowing that entering into the marriage state would impede if not entirely prevent the accomplishment of his object.

The great body of the people in the land of his nativity were of the Episcopal or English church, and the temptation to attach himself to the service of that church was considerable. It was the Established church -- under the special protection of the government -- every minister having secured to him the annual salary of 18,000 weight of tobacco, with other perquisites of considerable amount. But to a spiritual mind these external advantages presented no allurement. Though there were here and there a worthy respectable clergyman of that church, the great majority of the officiating clergy were vicious characters, and some of them so grossly immoral as to render them unfit company for any gentleman. This being the general character of the officiating priests, no discipline or government of a spiritual nature was exercised. The most profane atheists, and deists, and drunkards, and debauchees of every kind, were admitted, whenever they made application, to all the privileges of Christ's children. In this state of things, though, Mr. Rice's heart was attached to the doctrines, and by no means averse to the worship of the Episcopal church, he could not in conscience think of asking any steps to procure orders in that church. With Moses, in a case by no means dissimilar, he chose rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season. The very reproach of Christ was of more value in his estimation than all the honors and all the wealth of the dignified order.

He began the study of the Latin language at a Grammar school kept by Rev. John Todd, and finished his Grammar course at another school kept by Rev. James Waddle, who was some years after minister of the gospel and doctor of divinity in Albemarle county. After Mr. Davies was appointed President of New Surrey College, he went there, and at the end of two years commenced Bachelor of Arts. He then returned to Virginia, and studied Divinity under the aforesaid Mr. Todd.

Having struggled under a variety of discouraging circumstances, he was at last licensed as a probationer for the gospel ministry by the Presbytery of Hanover in Nov. 1762.

Site of Pole Green Church, where the Hanover Presbytery
was formed; photo courtesy of Wikipedia

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

To be continued...

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

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