Lighting Ancestral Lamps

Page 36

CHAPTER VII

The Story of Benjamin
of Poughkeepsie, New York

Returning our thoughts to the life of Benjamin of Poughkeepsie, records indicate that this first Benjamin died in 1795. Elizabeth, his wife, does not appear as a legatee in his estate. For this reason it is presumed that she preceded her husband in death.

Probation of his insignificant estate began in l795 while his daughter Phebe was alive, but for some unknown reason, it was not closed until 1811. Seely, the eldest son, was the administrator of the estate. According to the Christian Advocate and Journal, New York, dated December 20, 1823, "Revered Seely Bunn of the Baltimore Conference, a minister for forty years, died November 18, 1833, at the home of a close friend, William Gratham, Esquire, near Middleway Virginia (now West Virginia). He was an itinerant minister as early as the year l792. In the year of l8l5 because of local affliction and corpulency, he took superannuated relation, Jefferson county (West) Virginia. He died from effects of an injury sustained by his horse, hitched to a gig, when the horse became frightened and ran away." From another source and also from a number of letters in the original files of Charles N. French both he and his wife Susannah are buried in the Methodist churchyard at Charlestown, West Virginia- There were no children born to Seely and Susannah.

Dr. J. McKendree Reily, staunch early Methodist minister of the period centering about 1800, commented on Seely Bunn and wife and others of his acquaintance in printed form as follows:

"It is not always in the din and battle of public life that we are to look for the highest example of merit. They may be found here, but are as frequently met with in the more retired walks of society, among those who cultivate no higher ambition than usefulness in the domestic circle." /3 Such was the train of thought that crossed the mind of the writer recently, on a brief visit to his friends in Charlestown, Jefferson County, West Virginia, as he stood beside a newly made grave in the old Methodist Churchyard of the place. .

The surroundings embodied but few of the modern improvements which go far to dissipate the natural dreariness of the graveyard. They rather revealed the impress of neglect, the more palpable, since the establishment of a new public cemetery in the neighborhood has drawn attention away from the older denominational grounds. And yet, this old cemetery has clustering about it associations, the duplicates of which are hardly as yet possible to the new. Here lie the remains of citizens who distinguished early local history, especially the Methodism of the place. In an enclosure may be seen the marble slab, beneath which reposes the dust of Reverend Seely Bunn, an old itinerant, of the Asbury school, who retired shortly after his superannuation to this town, and here spent the remaining years of his life preaching Christ and doing good as opportunity offered, endearing himself to all- by his blameless deportment and fervent piety. The remains of his wife, Susannah, who survived him many years, and died during the late war at the advanced age of ninety-seven slumbers by his side." /4

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Cover | Contents | Forward | Intro | Orgins | England | Crest | First | Interlude | Benjamin 1

Benjamin | Hyatts | Hyatt1 | Hazard | Perry | William | HM Bunn | Index