Friday, September 06, 2019

More Ministers In Our Past, September 6, 2019

Well done, good and faithful servant.
Come and share your master’s joy!
Matthew 25.21

Juanita Eeds with Granddaughter 
Kristina Eeds Ferrero, 2009
Juanita Hicks Eeds (1921-2019). Early last month, I wrote about the 98th birthday celebration for Cindy's aunt Juanita Eeds. Cindy and granddaughter Preslea went to Oregon from San Diego to celebrate her birthday with her. It was a subdued but happy celebration and, as it turned out, a final goodbye as well. Just four days after her birthday, Neen passed away peacefully at the home of her son Keith Eeds in Bandon, Oregon, where she lived the last year of her life. Born in Oklahoma in 1921, she had more than her fair share of hardship, but she lived a good long life. About 70 of her years were spent in San Diego. A life- long member of the Church of Christ (Hillcrest, Allied Gardens, El Cajon Blvd), she will be missed. Her sister and life long companion Paula Harris preceded her in death by just a year. With Neen's passing we say goodbye to the oldest member of our family.

Yet More Ministers In Our History. In my last post I profiled two ministers in our family tree from the 18th century, James Wright and his daughter Martha Wright Mendenhall. They were two of the 6 members of one family, over three generations, who were Quaker ministers. Earlier this summer I wrote in some detail about another child of James and Mary Wright, who also became a Quaker minister, their oldest son John Wright. John and his wife Rachel Wells Wright served as Quaker ministers in Maryland and the Carolinas in the mid to late 1700s. The following is a profile of one more Quaker minister from the Wright family who deserves mention, a grandchild of James and Mary Wright.

Susannah Wright Hollingsworth (1755-1830). Susannah was born in Cane Creek, North Carolina in the spring of 1755, the 11th child of John and Rachel Wright. In 1772 at the tender age of 16 she married "Big Isaac" Hollingsworth and over the next 20 years had 10 children with him. Two of their children had the same name. How was that possible, you ask. Their first child they named John, but he died at just 9 years old in 1781. Their last child was born in 1792. They chose also to name him John, presumably in memory of his deceased younger brother, and in honor of Susannah's father John.

Susannah Hollingsworth along with Charity Cook, her older sister by 10 years, are often referred to together in historical records since they were both Quaker ministers from the same family. John Belton O'Neall wrote this in The Annals of Newberry (part first): "In the women's meeting, on the preacher's bench, under their immense white beavers, I recall the full round faces and forms of the sisters, Charity Cook and Susannah Hollingsworth. Both wives, both mothers of large families, still they felt it their duty to preach 'Jesus and him crucified.' The first, Charity Cook, was indeed a gifted woman. Her sister, Susannah Hollingsworth, was not so highly gifted. Young Friends used to affirm that when Aunt Suzey, as she was called, began to pray, they could always keep ahead of her by repeating the words she was about to say."

Susannah was a "recorded minister of the gospel," meaning she was authorized by the Church. She traveled widely in different states in the service of the gospel. In 1805 she and husband Isaac Hollingsworth, along with their children, were part of a mass migration of Quakers from their Colony in Newberry, South Carolina. In about 1800 an apocalyptic Quaker preacher named Zachary Dicks had come to South Carolina and warned all Quakers that they must leave the "slave state" of South Carolina. If not they would be slaughtered like numerous blacks had been in the recent "massacre of San Domingo." Dicks was quite convincing. Within just a few years the entire Quaker colony did indeed leave the state, never to return, according to one writer. Many of them settled in Miami County, Ohio north of Cincinnati, and became part of the Miami Monthly Meeting of Quakers.

Incidentally, it was this fearful 500 mile migration of all these Quakers from South Carolina to Ohio that furthered the movement of the Wright family westward. From Western Ohio it was an easy 175 mile trek to Spencer, Indiana where some Wright family members settled in the early 19th century. Spencer, Indiana, of course, is where my Great Great Grandmother Malinda Wright met Charles Davis whom she married in 1869. 
West Branch Cemetery, Miami Co., Ohio where Susannah Wright 
Hollingsworth and husband "Big Isaac" Hollingsworth are buried.

Also from The Annals of Newberry (part second), this from John Chapman about his own grandmother Susannah Hollingsworth: Left a widow in 1809 at the age of 54, she lived among her children in Ohio the remainder of her life. She made religious visits after her husband's death, one of which was to Newberry, others to the East. Possessing an excellent memory, I heard her tell the fearful tales of the Revolution in Newberry district. Her piety, equanimity and kindness, particularly towards her grandchildren, were such that they loved her with the most ardent affection, believing that no grandmother could be better. One Sunday evening in July, 1830 she went on horseback to the residence of her son-in-law Robert Pearson. On the way she said to her young grandson: ’I am going to thy father's just to die.’  This was said with as much calmness of feeling as though she had said I'm going there to live. The next day she was taken ill. To her son Joel who visited her she said ‘I am going, but not as speedily as I could wish.’  Death came to her as a friend. Near the close of the week she died [on July 31, 1830] and was buried on the following Sunday in West Branch Cemetery, West Milton, Ohio. 

Susannah Wright Hollingsworth then becomes the 5th Quaker leader in this cluster of 18th century ministers in our family tree. All of them were respectable, faithful servants in the spread of the gospel. The final one of these 6 I will profile in my next post. This minister may be the most impressive one of all.
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Steve Shepard
(he, him, his)

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