Tuesday, May 12, 2009

The Soul in Humble Subjugation

by David Parmer

Elizabeth (Johns) Church, mother of Orlando's Ingabo (Church) Parmer, wrote the lines to the right in 1852, when she lived near Staunton in Pendleton County, Virginia. Elizabeth was 46 years old at the time and the mother of eight children. Her husband was 80(!) and our Ingabo, one of eight children, was eight years old.

Right: photostat of the Elizabeth's poem. Click on it to enlarge. A transcription is below.

Left: Map of the state Eliabeth lived in in 1852, showing (light green) Pendleton County where Elizabeth was raised and (pink) Wetzel County where her husband, William Church, was raised. Some time after the Civil War they moved to Lewis County (orange) The (yellow) heart is located over the Oil Creek watershed where their daughter Ingabo (Church) and David Parmer settled. Click on the map to enlarge it.

Elizabeth (Johns) Church lived her early life in the valleys of Pendleton and Highland Counties where many ancestors of Orlando folks lived before they moved westward to the Oil Creek Valley. She knew the simple life of agrarian pursuits and the strength and majesty of her God. Many years after her death, found among her papers, was a poem she had written, a testament to her faith and her love of the land of her birth. Elizabeth Johns was born about 1806. Her father William Johns died around the time she was born. He was a veteran of the Revolutionary War, having been drafted to serve, and was present at the siege of Yorktown. We don't know much about Elizabeth's mother, Sarah (Wood) Johns.

In 1828, at the age of 22, Elizabeth married William Clark Church who was 56 years of age. Elizabeth and her husband William lived on the Staunton Trail and during the Civil War there was "much shooting and fighting going on all around them", according to Elizabeth's 2great grandson Ed Wilson, who had heard the stories from his great-grandmother Ingabo (Church) Parmer.

Left: Elizabeth's daughter who settled in Confluence/Orlando, Ingabo (Church) Parmer
The poem reveals a woman who finds reflection and fulfillment of her faith in in God in the hills and valleys of her Appalachian home.

Transcription of
Poem by Elizabeth Johns Church **
October 9, 1852

. . . . . The Soul in Humble Subjugation
‘Tis low down in that beautiful valley
Where love crowns the meek and the lonely
Where no storms of envy or folly
Can ‘ere roll their billows again.

The meek come in humble subjection
Can there find unshaken protection
The soft gales of cheering reflection
The mind soothed from sorrow and pain

This low vale is free from contention
no soul can dream of decension
Where no wild or eveal intention
Can find out this region of pease

‘Tis there there the Lord will deliver
And souls drink of that beautiful river
Where pease flows for ever and ever
And love and joy for ever increase
There there where stormes have been driven
Shall move there bark in that beautiful haven
And there bask in the sun shine of heaven
And triumph in immanuels name
Tis their their yonders bright glory
We’ll shout and sing and tell the glad story
And when we’v passed cold Jordan over quite
We’ll sing hallelujah to God and the Lamb
** This poem is tendered as it was written, without correction. -D. Parmer
. . . . .

NOTE 1 by Donna Gloff:
Elizabeth (Johns) Church and her husband William Church lived in Lewis County in their later years. Through daughter Ingabo they were grandparents to six (at that time) Confluence children: George, David, Nathan, Dora, Rosa and Susie Parmer, and through them, great grandparents of many, many Orlando children.
The children of Ingabo Jamima (Church) Parmer 1842-1935 + David Parmer Abt 1812-?
1 George W. Parmer 1861-?
2 David William Parmer 1864-1936
. . . m. Barbara Zickefoose
3 Nathan Parmer 1871-1964
. . . m. Olive T. Skinner 1873-1941
4. Dora Jane Parmer 1883-?
. . . m. Matthias Veston Skinner 1875-1946
. . . m. James Skinner 1876-?
5. Rosa Parmer
. . . m. Mr. Church
6. Susie Parmer
. . . m. Mr. Lang

Left: Three of Elizabeth's granddaughters (Ingabo's daughters) who were raised on OIl Creek: Dora (Parmer) Skinner, Rosa (Parmer) Church, Susie (Parmer) Lang.
Right: Elizabeth's grandson (Ingabo's son) Nathan Parmer

NOTE 2 by Donna Gloff:
William Clark Church, Elizabeth's husband and our Ingabo's father, had an interesting heritage. He was the son of an English Soldier and a Quaker girl. Following are two tellings of their story.
1. A transcription done in 1974 at the Fort Wayne, IN Library, transcriber unknown.
from the book History of Wetzel County West Virginia by J.C. McEldowney Jr.

Henry Church, better known as "Old Hundred" was born in Suffolk County, England in 1750. He came to this country a British soldier of the 63rd Light Infantry and served under Lord Cornwallis in the memorable campaign of 1791. He was captured by the troops under Lafayette and sent a prisoner to Lancaster, Pennsylvania. He remained there until peace was declared in that place. He fell in love with a Quaker maiden, Miss Hannah Keine. She was born in the year of 1755. Henry Church lived to be 109 and h is wife 107. When the first excursion train ran over the B&O Railroad in 1852, it made a stop at the home of "Old Hundred" and among its passengers was an attache to the British Legation at Washington City, who was introduced to the old man as one of his countrymen, who sounded one of the martial airs of England. "Old Hundred" stood up as though his blood had been warmed with wine, and said, "I know it, I know it." He was loyal to his King for more than 100 years, about which time he took allegiance to the United States. The home of "Old Hundred" stood near Main Street at Hundred, and was constructed from logs. They had eight children, the youngest dying at 68, on which "Old Hundred" made the remark that they never did expect to raise her; that she had never been a healthy child.

2. by Ruth Hixenbaugh Jones, Great-great-great grandaughter of Henry and Hannah Church.
History of Wetzel County, West Virginia 1983:
The people of this little town in Wetzel County located on U.S. 250 in t he West Virginia hills have the deepest respect for longevity. Our town w as named after a couple of pioneer centenarians who settled here before 1800. Henry Church (known as "Old Hundred") was born in Suffolk England on November 30, 1750 and died September 14, 1860, being 109 Years 9 months and 14 days old at the time of his death. His wife, Hannah Keine, was born in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania in 1755 and died July 27, 1860 at the age of 106 years. They lived in blissful wedlock for 82 years.

Henry Church came to America as a soldier. After the Revolutionary War, he married a Quaker lady, Hannah Keine of Philadelphia, Pennsylvani a. To this union were born eight children. The family cleared the land and built a log cabin where the Bank of Hundred was built in 1906. This was the most prominent corner then and still is today. Henry and his wife gave the plot of ground known as the Hundred Cemetery to the community as a gift so they would be buried there. It is located behind the Hundred United Methodist Church. A new marker for their graves was purchased by Norval Throckmorton and Dr. J. S. Church in 1972 to be a lasting tribute to Henry Church and his wife, Hannah.

Henry Church came into the spotlight when the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad was completedin 1852. The railway station that at one time was a busy place, no longer stands. In 1858 the company officials sent an observation tra in over the railroad to Wheeling. They wanted to take Henry Church and his wife to Wheeling but he said "No, I never did make a show of myself a nd I never will". From then on, the train conductors would point out the couple sometimes sitting on their porch and other times working in the fields, calling attention to their being the oldest couple in the State. Cassie (Church) Hixenbaugh tells when her great grandfather, Henry Church, was 100 years old, he jumped over a rail fence four feel high.

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