I hope that you enjoyed the story written by Helen Morris Gray about the William Morris, Sr., family as much as I did. I believe there are many intriguing stories like this that make up the tragic but yet wonderful history of our forefathers. I believe that we today are living the dream that they hoped for their families. Next week we will read more from Helen. She has honored us with a
story about hgrandfather, G. W. Williams whose picture appeared in last week’s paper. She explained to me that most of the information she included in her article was from memory and she only used Mildred Chapman Gibbs book for sequences of events and a time line. She said that when the older people talked about the history of her family she always wanted to hear it and remember. It is wonderful to talk to her about her family.
This week’s picture is a picture which w
as taken in Widen during the 1950’s of children at the Widen School. I believe I recognize Mrs. Cecil Butcher in the back and that means that J. B. and Sally Butcher are among this group of children. I hope that someone will help us out with this identification. This image was provided by Eloise Boggs and is from her late brother Blakely Boggs Collection
In doing my family history I have realized how important my Christian up bringing has played in my adult life. Mom and I try to study and read the Bible in the evenings. Of course this time is always followed by our evening prayer. The other evening the Lord impressed upon me heavily to read from the book of Jeremiah and gave me the chapter and verse. I went to my Bible and read the verse to my mother and told her I did not have any idea of what this meant. We started studying and running references on everything we were reading and finally in the Lord revealed to us what we was trying to say to us in the book o
f Romans. It was an exciting time but a very emotional time because the Lord revealed to us what an awful condition our nation is now all from a biblical point of view.
My mother and I both almost broke down we both wanted to cry. I said, “Mom, don’t you fill like just crying?” And the answer was a “yes!” Our parents and grandparents always instilled in us children a love for this country, this land, its people, love of family and a deep love for God.
I said all of this to tell you what happened next. My Grandfather Z.T. Whaling was an Elder in the Primitive Baptist Church and I have always had full confidence in his, wisdom, knowledge, interpretation and insight into scripture. Many years ago he made me aware of the document that I am including this week in this column. In studying history there is not any way that as Americans we can deny our Christian heritage. I am not presenting this article this week from the Clay County Landmarks Commission and Historical Society but from the heart of Jerry Stover.
I copied this article, out of a paper that my Grandpa Whaling had loaned me, and had not seen it for many years and did not know where it was. My grandfather Whaling passed away on October 16, 1973. When Mom got sick, we had to move, over a time period, we have ha
d to pack up things and put them in our basement and down stairs. I went to the basement for something and the first box I opened was the envelope that contained the copy of this article. I immediately took it upstairs and read it to my mother. It confirmed so many things that the Lord had been showing us for weeks during our Bible studies. I am not promoting any denomination above another but only presenting how it was presented to me. We are all God’s children and the Lord does not see labels but He does see us all as belonging to His flock! I am pleased to present this article to you at this time.
It is well worth reading. Washington stated in public papers that Baptists were faithful and loyal friends to the American cause. Elder John Gano, a Baptist minister, was a chaplain in his army, and though Washington was an Episcopalian, it has often been published that he was not satisfied with his mode of baptism and at his request was immersed in the Potomac River by his chaplain when many soldiers were being baptized.
The following article taken from the A
merican Banner, published at Pittsburgh in 1871: “The last time I saw Anthony Sherman was on the fourth of July, 1859, in Independence Square. He was ninety-nine and very feeble. Together we went into Independence Hall. Seated ourselves on one of the wooden benches my aged companion said:
“I want to tell you an incident of Washington’s life–one which no man knows except myself, and, (if you live, you will before long see it verified. Mark the prediction! You will see it verified!”
I give the following narrative as near as possible in his own words: “When the bold action of our congress, in asserting the independence of th
e colonies, became known in the old world, we were laughed and scoffed at as silly, presumptuous rebels, whom British grenadiers would very soon tame into submission; but undauntedly we prepared to make good what we had said. The keen encounter came, and the world knows the result. It is easy and pleasant for those of the present generation to talk and write of the days of ‘76 but they little know, neither can they imagine, the trials and sufferings of those fearful days. And there is one thing that I much fear, and that is the American people do not appreciate the boon of freedom. Party spirit is yearly becoming stronger and stronger, and without it is checked, will at no distant day undermine and tumble into ruins the noble structure of the republic. But let me hasten to my narrative.
From the opening of the revolution we experienced all phases of fortune, now good and now ill, one time victorious and other times conquered. The darkest period we had, however, was, I think, when Washington, after several reverses, retreated to Valley Forge, where he resolved to pass the winter of 1777. Ah! I have often seen the tears coursing down our dear commander’s careworn cheeks, as he would be conversing with a confidential officer about the condition of his poor soldiers. You have doubtless heard the story of Washington going to the thicket to pray;, well, it is not only true, but he used often to pray in secret for aid and comfort that God, the interposition of whose Providence alone brought us safely through those dark days of tribulation.
One day, I remember well the chilly winds whistled through the leafless trees, and the sky was cloudless, and the sun shining brightly. He remained in his quarters nearly all afternoon alone. When he came out I noticed that his face was paler than usual, and that there seemed to be something upon his mind of more than ordinary importance. Returning just after dusk, he dispatched an orderly to the quarters of the officer I have mentioned, who was presently in attendance. After a preliminary conversation, which lasted about half an hour, Washington, gazing upon his companion with that strange look of dignity which he alone could command, said to the latter:
“I do not know whether it is owing to anxiety of my mind or what, but this afternoon, as I was sitting at this very table, eng-aged in preparing a dispatch, something in the room seemed to disturb me. Looking up I beheld, standing opposite to me, a singularly beautiful female. So astonished was I, for I had given strict orders not to be disturbed, that it was some moments before I found language to enquire the cause of .her presence. A second, a third and even a fourth time did I repeat the question, but received no answer from my mysterious visitor except a slight raising of the eyes. By this time I felt a strange sensation through me. I would have risen, but the riveted gaze of the being before me rendered volition impossible. I essayed for the fifth time to address her, but my tongue had become powerless. Every thought itself suddenly became paralyzed. A new influence, mysterious, potent, irresistible, took possession of me. All I could do was to gaze steadily and vacantly at my unknown visitor. Gradually the surrounding atmosphere seemed filled with sensation and grew luminous. Everything about me seemed to rarify, the mysterious visitor herself becoming more airy and yet more distinct to my sight than before. I now began to feel as one dying, or rather to experience the sensations which I have sometimes imagined accompany dissolution.
“I did not think, I did not reason, I did not move; all were alike impossible. I was only conscious of gazing and vacantly at my companion. Presently I heard a voice saying, ‘Son of the Republic, look and learn! while at the same time my visitor extended her arm eastwardly. I now be-held a heavy white vapor at some distance, rising fold upon fold. This gradually faded away and I beheld a strange scene. Before me lay spread out, in one vast plain, all the countries of the world–Europe, Asia, Africa and America. I saw the Atlantic rolling and tossing between Europe and America, and the Pacific lay between America and Asia.
“‘Son of the Republic,’ said the same voice, ‘look and learn!’ At the same moment I beheld a dark, shadowy being, like an angel, floating in mid-air between Europe and America. Dipping water out of the ocean in the hollow of each hand he sprinkled some on America with his right hand, while he cast upon Europe some with his left. Immediately a dark cloud rose from each of these continents and joined in mid-ocean. For awhile it remained stationary, and then moved slowly westward, until it enveloped America in its murky folds. Sharp flashes of lightening gleamed throughout at intervals, and I heard the smothered groans and cries of the American people.
“A second time the angel dipped water from the ocean, and sprinkled it as before. The dark cloud was then drawn back to the ocean, in whose heaving waves it sunk from view. A third time I heard the mysterious voice saying:
“‘Son of the Republic, look and learn!’ “I cast my eyes upon America, and behold the villages, towns and cities springing up one after another until the whole land from the Atlantic to the Pacific was dotted with them. Again I heard the mysterious voice saying:
“‘Son of the Republic, the end of the century cometh, look and learn.’ “At this, the dark shadowy angel turned his face southward, and from Africa I saw an ill-omened spectre approaching our land, it flitted slowly and heavily over every town and city of the latter, the inhabitants of which presently set themselves in battle array against each other. I saw a bright angel, on whose brow rested a crown of light, on which was traced the word ‘Union’, bearing the American flag, which he placed between the divided nation, and said: ‘Remember ye are brethren.’ Instantly the inhabitants, casting from them their weapons, became friends, once more, uniting around the stars and stripes. And again I heard the mysterious voice saying:
“ ‘Son of the Republic, the end of the century cometh, look and learn: “At this the dark, shadowy angel placed a trumpet to his mouth and blew three distinct blasts, and, taking some water from the ocean, sprinkled it out upon Europe, Asia and Africa. Then my eyes beheld a fearful scene. From each of these continents arose thick clouds which soon joined in one, and throughout this mass there gleamed a dark red light, by which I saw hordes of armed men, who, moving with the cloud, marched by land and sailed by sea to America, which country was presently enveloped in the volume of the cloud. I dimly saw these vast armies devastate the whole country, and burning; villages, towns and cities that I had beheld springing up. As my ears listened to the thundering of cannon, clashing of swords, and shouts and cries of the millions in mortal combat, the shadowy angel placed the trumpet once more to his mouth and blew a long, fearful blast. Instantly a light as from a thousand suns shown down from above me and pierced and broke into fragments the dark cloud that enveloped America. At the same moment I saw the angel upon whose head still shone the word ‘Union’, and who bore our national flag in one hand and a sword in the other, descend from heaven attended by legions of bright spirits. These immediately joined the inhabitants of America, who, I perceived, were well nigh overcome, but who immediately, taking courage again, closed up their broken ranks and renewed the battle. Again, amid the fearful noise of the combat, I heard:
“ ‘Son of the Republic, look and learn.’ “As the voice ceased the shadowy angel for the last time dipped water from the ocean and sprinkled it over America. Instantly the dark cloud rolled back, together with the armies it had brought, leaving the inhabitants of the land victorious. Then once more I beheld towns and cities springing up where they had been before, while the ‘bright angel, planting the azure standard he had brought in the midst of them, cried aloud.
“‘While the stars remain, and the heavens send down dew upon the earth, so long shall the Republic last.’ And taking from his brow the crown on which blazed the -word ‘Union’, he placed it upon the standard, while the people kneeling down, said ‘Amen’. . . “The scene now faded away, and ‘I found myself once more gazing upon my mysterious visitor, who, in the same voice I heard before said:
“‘Son of the Republic,’ what you have seen is thus interpreted: Three perils shall come upon the republic. The most fearful is the second passing which the world united shall never be able to prevail, against-her. Let every child of the republic learn to live for his God, his land and the ‘Union’. With these words my visitor vanished and I started from my seat feeling that I had seen a vision wherein had been shown me the birth; progress, and destiny of the United States. In Union she will have strength; in disunion her destruction.” “Such, my friend,” concluded the venerable Anthony Sherman, “were the words I heard from Washington’s own lips.”– Selected.–Source: Advocate and Messenger — 1940
Please send your comments to Jerry D. Stover, PO Box 523, Clay WV 25043 or firstname.lastname@example.org. We again thank the Clay County Free Press for allowing us to publish our stories and pictures. I also can be contacted by calling 304-587-4316.