Saturday, February 26, 2011

My Great-Great-Great-Grandaunt Margaret’s Obituary

I recently came across the obituary of my 3rd great- grandaunt in the January 17, 1884 edition of the Cambridge Jeffersonian.  She was the sister of my 3rd great-grandfather, James W. Arbuckle. His daughter Amanda Rachel was the mother of my great-grandmother, Lucy Pearl Clark.  Lucy’s daughter Velva is the mother of my mom.

Margaret was born in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, but moved to Cambridge with her husband (whom she married when she was only 16) shortly after their wedding in 1810. “When they came to Ohio there was only a toe path to Cambridge, and the farm on which they resided was at that time in woods and Cambridge consisted of a few log cabins, the howling of the wolf and the scream of the panther could be heard on every bend. What a change!” 

{Panthers?  There were panthers in Ohio?  It would explain why Maysville chose the panther as their mascot.}

Margaret was the mother of 14 children, 10 sons and 4 daughters.  The obituary stated she “had about 230 grand and great-grandchildren.”  Wow!  That’s a large family!! 

But those weren’t the most interesting parts of the obituary.  This was: “Her parents were Presbyterians. Many years ago she became a member of what is known as the "Bible Christians," and ever since has been a faithful and devoted Christian, exemplifying to her family and neighbors her confidence and trust in Christ. She was a very remarkable Bible reader. Her good, peaceable and gentle life, and her intelligence was noted throughout the neighborhood. About 9 years ago she fell and broker her hip, and since that time has not walked, only as she was helped. Much of this time was spent in prayer and close Bible reading, her Bible lying open near her when she was not reading. That text "Pray without ceasing." is applicable to her case.”

If only we could go back to a simpler time when family and faith were the most important things.  But the fact is, we can.  It is a choice one has to make.  Even though in current times we are more into what is fun, what feels good, what can bring us glory, as individuals we can make the choice in what will be the most important things to us.  What do you want your obituary to say about you? Yes, leave it to God to use an obituary 127 years old to speak the truth.

The last line of the obituary was the sweetest.  Having died on Christmas Eve,  “She had seen many happy Christmas days, but that one to her was the best of all.”