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.
‘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.
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
‘Tis there there the Lord will deliver
And souls drink of that beautiful river
Where pease flows for ever and ever
NOTE 2 by Donna Gloff:
History of Wetzel County, West Virginia 1983: