Tuesday, January 5, 2010

digging up family history

Handsome, isn't he! Does his long, narrow face remind you of my husband?
What a man this Reuben Steele was - born in 1802 - barely three years after the death of George Washington - in Wythe County, VA. His parents were not Christians. However, on his deathbed, Reuben's father converted and admonished his family to believe. The whole family believed. Desiring to serve God all his days, Reuben prayed to be a preacher and was ordained by a man whose last name was Patton - a forerunner of General George Patton.
Reuben's mother was Jerusha Powers Steele. The Powers line continued through to Francis Gary Powers, the pilot shot down over Soviet Russia in 1960.
Reuben Steele studied with Calvanist Presbyterian ministers in his area and wrote extensively as a diarist and meditative thinker. Larry has a copy of a sermon diary written in Reuben's lovely hand. He emphasized repentence, service, devotion to Christ, love of fellow man. He went on to be a much loved circuit riding preacher during the Civil War, preaching at hangings, praying at many battles and funerals. It is written that in his 51 years of ministry he preached thousands of sermons and tenderly cared for his family.
Reuben married twice. It is the youngest of his second marriage, his 14th child, Isaac, who is Larry Steele Parsons' great-grandfather.
He died in 1876, having lived through much significant American history. More importantly, it is said that 7,000 souls are in heaven through his ministry.
It is on the shoulders of such a godly man as Reuben Steele and his ancestors and descendents who share his faith that our family "works out (our) salvation".
We will meet Reuben and others some day.
What a day!

1 comment:

  1. I love your sentence: "It is on the shoulders of such a godly man as Reuben Steele and his ancestors and descendents who share his faith that our family 'works out (our) salvation.'" My father comes through his son, Robert, of his second wife. The brother of Isaac. It's a great spiritual heritage! It's also a continued family calling to carry on the good work Reuben began in our generation.
    stefnoonan@msn.com

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