Suppose I tell you what I have had to go through in Virginia. In traveling some Circuits, I have walked twenty miles a day without anything to eat and did not rightly know where I would lodge at night. To accomplish my Conference studies, I had no such conveniences as you have here, but have had to take my books in hand, or if riding, take them in my saddle- bags, and in walking sit down by the road side, and there read, think and pray. Now after all this, I am here without any charge for these services, and get from the Circuit, for the support of my family a mere subsistance."
This rehearsal was too much for him. He said he had never gone through anything like that. He then asked me how much I thought he ought to give me. I told him, I thought he ought to give me five or ten dollars. In a moment he drew his pocket book and handed me five dollars. Another incident in connection with this begging expedition, which I liked to have forgotten, took place in the Preacher's Meeting, at Wash- ington.
After I had stated my cause, and after resolution passed, and letter given the Rev. R. W. Black, who I perceive by the Minutes of the Baltimore Conferenee is Presiding Elder of East Baltimore District, but at the time of which I am writing was stationed at "Wesley Chapel, in Washington, stepped forward and said : Brother Murray, I have a little oil in the cruse and some meal in the barrel yet, and here is something for your cause." With this he handed me ten Hollars. I have often thought of that dear brother for this generous outburst of benevolence.
The year closed up. Conference approaching, and this } T ear away from my family again. The Conference this time was to meet in the City of Norfolk, Virginia. The course of study for the third year, upon which I had to be examined was : Watson's Institutes, (the third and fourth parts,) Nast's Introduction to the New Testament, Butler's Analogy of Natural and Revealed Religion, Angus' Hand Book of the Bible, Whately's Logic, and Written Sermon. The books to be read were : Hagenbach's History of Doctrines, Hurst's A Brief History of the Author's Life.
35 History of Rationalism, D' Aubigne's History of the Reformation, "Wythe's Argument of Science and Revelation.
I met the Com- mittee with the other members of the Class. I learned after the Chairman made his report to the Conference, that my examination was highly complimented. When the appointments were read out I was to go to Old Point Comfort, Va. The appointment was then called Chesapeake City, but has since been changed to Old Point Comfort. This was a station with a comfortable parsonage. Here I had to preach twice every Sabbath, hold prayer-meetings, class-meetings, and attend the Sabbath School. To this place I had to go without my family, as my dear son was too low to move.
A few day's before he died I received intelligence that he was worse and I hastened home, but his spirit had departed, as I was leading the Class at Old Point, on Sabbath evening, at six o'clock, April the 27th, in the 25th year of his age. We buried him in the Methodist Episcopal Church burying ground, of Pocomoke City.
This closed up the life of John W. Murray, who was a bright light in my family and also in his native town in which he was reared and in which he died. My wife and I had five children born to us ; three are now dead, namely : James Henry, Lavinia Catherine and John Wil- liam, and two are still living, namely : Francis Thomas, who is engaged in the railroad business in the City of Peoria, 111., and Harriet Ann, wife of Rev. Albert Jump of the St. Louis Confer- ence, who is stationed in the City of St. Louis, Mo. It is but just to the name of Francis T. Murray, my son, to say that he was a delegate from Worcester Couuty to the Constitutional Conven- tion of 1864, and was one of that patriotic band who passed the Ordinance giving to Maryland a free constitution.
After the death and burial of our son, my wife and I packed up our house- hold goods and moved to Old Point Comfort.
After being settled in the parsonage, an arrangement was entered into with Captain Woodfin, governor of the Soldiers National Home at Hampton,
(36 A Brief History of the Author's Life.)
Va., by and with the consent of the Official board of the Church to serve that institution as chaplain, giving it preaching once in four weeks, visiting the Home every week and burying the dead. Frequently I was by the bedside of the sick and dying two or three times a week, trying to give a word of cheer. I pursued this course during the time I served them, and to show the spirit of those men at my last appointment when I told them that for two years I had served them to the best of my ability and now I must bid them good by.
They came forward, took me by the hand and gave me the greatest assurance of their appreciation of my visits to that Institution. Captain Woodfin, the Governor of the House, is deserving great credit for the tact which is exhibited in the laying out of the grounds, for the wise and judicious man- agement, as the executive officer of the Home, which is seen cov- ering the entire Institution, for it is ©ne of the grandest places to look at and to visit.
Doctor "W. M. Wright, the Surgeon of the Home at that time, is among the princes of the land, a man of noble bearing. The Church at Old Point was not large in its membership, but a nobler set of men and women I have never met, in supporting the Gospel.
When I went to this appointment there was a debt on tbe Church of eight or nine hundred dollars, at the end of my two years stay there, I reported to Conference the debt reduced to one hundred and seventy-five dollars. I formed many pleasant associations while there, and had many warm friends. The first year that I was there I took no vacation.
The second year my health was perceptibly failing. I asked for a few weeks rest, this was readily granted, and a letter was handed to me by William H. Kimberly, Esq., containing a sum of money to bear my expenses, with the names of the doners : Harrison Phoebus, William H. Kimberly and James Kelly. For this surprise I made my acknowledgements. The first year closed up with some few accessions as the result of a revival meeting. The approaching Conference met in Alexan-
A Brief History of the Authors Life. 37
dria, Va., in the latter part of February, 1874. I met the Com- mittee of the fourth year's course. The answers to all questions in this course of study had to be submitted to the Committee of Examination in Writing.
To insert them here in detail would be too burdensome, as they amounted to about seventy-five in number, together with the statements required, and rilled over sixty-three pages, of closely written matter, in a book of three inches and rive eighths wide, by five inches and five eighths long.
The leading topics upon which this course of study was based were laid down in sections as fol- lows : Section I, Personal Religions, Life and Habits. Section II, Examination of the Bible. Section III, On the Doctrines of the Bible. Section IV, Church Organization and Government. Sec- tion V, Ecclesiastical History. So far as I know this examination was entirely satisfactory. The appointments were read out and I was returned to Old Point. During this year, as I have already stated, my health began to fail, and I had to contemplate the propriety of asking, at the hands of the Conference a rest for one year.
I made it a subject of special prayer and sought direction from him who heareth in secret. The year closed up in peace and success in the interests of the church. The approaching Conference was to be held in the City of Portsmouth, Virginia. When it convened I made my request known, which was granted, though not without an expression of regret by the Presiding Bishop, Doctor Jesse T. Peck. I took a supernumerary relation with the understanding that I was to return to the work the next year. I then moved to New Town, now Pocomoke City, and commenced fitting up a resting place.
In October, of this year I received a letter from the Presiding Elder, of Richmond District, inquiring whether or not I could take charge of Vienna Circuity which was left vacant by the former pastor, who had left his post. Immediately, I answered that I would, and, as soon, thereafter, as I could get ready, I started for the work.
This Circuit embraced
38 A Brief History of the Author ] s Life. five appointments.