Morning World – May your Day be Lucky
Morning World – May your Day be Lucky
I’m participating in the “Book of Me-2018 Series.” Five prompts are given monthly by Julie Goucher of Anglers Rest. You can see her monthly prompts and earlier posts HERE.
This is my second prompt for January 2018. You can see my previous “The Book of Me” series posts HERE .
What do I look like?
You would think this would be an easy prompt. Just give a description of yourself. Five feet three and half inches tall; more of an apple shaped body than pear; dark blonde hair with graying highlights; fair complexion; blue eyes; pleasant smile and smooth skin with freckles, age spots and skin tags. My weight ranges between 200 and 211 pounds. I just can’t break that 200 mark. I will keep trying.
That is the physical description of me as I am today. That’s fine, yet it does not tell me how others see me as or what I looked liked over the years.
Here is a photo collage of me from 1954-2018.
I’ve had many looks over the years from no hair (after chemo,) wigs for those times, short hair, curly hair, buttercup blonde to sandy blonde/brown, straight hair, curly hair, even a brunette and a redhead with my wigs. I embraced each “me” that I was.
I posted a request on Facebook asking how my friends and family see me. I will update this post if I get any response as to how others see me.
Pictures In Verse Poetry Contest entry 2017
Bill West recently reminded us of his annual Genealogy Poetry Challenge. I decided that this poem honors our nation’s early immigrant’s culture from whence they came and their descendants. It gives a sense of where we came from.
I believe the sentiment expressed in this poem could be applied to immigrants to our nation today. Life is uncertain, filled with the unknown. It’s how we deal with Life that determines who we are.
Today I honor my 8th great-grandfather, John MacBean/Bean.
While researching my John MacBean/Bean lineage, for an Ancestry DNA hint, I came across this poem written by Mrs. Alice Bean Lodge of Gilmanton, New Hampshire (31 Aug 1899); read by Mrs. E. W. Johnson of East Wilton, Maine, for the Fourth Annual Reunion of John Bean (1660) Association at Portland, Maine 31 Aug 1899.
Picture In Verse
Good morrow, friends and kinsmen,
I greet you one and all,
Who’ve seen the fiery Cross go forth
And heard the bugle call.
Ours be a peaceful meeting,
We need no cross or flame,
No plaid or Scottish bonnet
To tell from whence we came.
With pride of ancient ancestry
And love of Highland lore,
Our hearts may be as leal and true
As those who lived of yore.
Warriors were they, and artizans,
Our coat of arms doth show
An arm and hand, with dagger raised
To strike an avenging blow.
The motto of ye olden time
Sounds strange to us to-day,
But in the seventh century,
When Douglas Bayne held sway,
They challenged every man they met,
They made him stand and show
What might his name and station be
And whether friend or foe.
“Touch not the cat without a glove,”
Or you may rue the day
You made him lift the velvet paw,
Or stroked him the wrong way.
Clan Chattan’s foes may well beware,
Her sons are strong and fleet,
And a mountain wildcat might not be
A pleasant thing to meet.
Let us go back to those old days
And see the life they led,
Their home a mountain cavern,
Their dress, the Highland plaid;
Their bed of flinty rock was strewn
With heather and wild fern,
And they drank the sparkling water
From out of the nearest burn.
With trusty bow and arrow
They chased they flying roe,
And watched the mountain passes
To guard against the foe.
While from the castle on the cliff
The watchman, old and grey,
Gave warning to the warder
To keep the foe away.
Within the castle all looked bright,
The knights were brave and true,
The ladies taught their maids
To spin, tow weave and sew.
The laird was father of his clan,
The lady, sweet and fair,
Made all the poor and stricken ones
Their own especial care.
Their peaceful days were brimming o’er
With happiness, I ween,
When all the lads and lassies met
To dance upon the green.
With hearts as light as thistle-down,
With laughter, song and jest,
Each Lassie laced her bodice blue,
Each laddie donned his best;
The lairds looked on approvingly,
My lady with a smile,
The older folks sat round in groups
To chat and rest awhile.
And e’en the poor were not forgot,
Who through the twilight stole,
With bag in hand from door to door
To gather up the dole.
What visions danced before their eyes
As they white sails unfurled,
To seek for home and fortune
In a strange, far off new world.
What anxious days were those at sea,
When parted from the land,
They steered their bark to westward
Till they reached a rocky strand.
Tho’ few indeed their numbers were,
Their hearts were stout and bold;
The dangers met, the toils they shared
Have oftentimes been told.
The German sighs for Fatherland,
The Switzer mourns his mountains
With many a silent tear;
And tho’ Columbia beckons
And the future may beguile,
The bells of Shandon still sound sweet
To the sons of Erin’s Isle.
We talk of Merry England,
The vine-clad hills of France,
Of Spain and her Alhambra,
Of Moorish song and dance;
Italia’s charms and chanted oft
By light of the silver moon,
And we sing of bonny Scotland,
“Ye banks and braes of Doon.”
And why from lands so fair and fine
Is it so many come?
In the fair land—America__
A man can own his home;
Freedom of thought and action,
A chance to see and know,
The land is board, and fair, and free
Wherever he may go.
Her flag is known in every port,
Her ships sail every sea,
She stretches out her strong right arm
To help the oppressed go free.
The morning sun shines brightly
When he leaves his ocean bed
Upon a busy commerce
And crowded marts of trade—
Upon a restless people
Who hurry to and fro,
As here and there with eager steps
Throughout the land they go.
‘Tis true the world is very wide,
And some are sure to find
In leaving home that they have left
Their “Fortunate Isles” behind.
And tho’ like Esmeralda,
We “sing in every bower,”
Or like the bee who all day long
Sips honey from each flower,
When twilight closes round us
Wherever we may be,
We hear our Mother singing
Aneath the “Rowen tree;”
And with the Germans “Wanderer,”
Our hearts cry out, “Where art thou.
O my beloved home>’
And you whose lives are shadowed
By grief, or pain, or loss,
From whom the sky is darkened,
And gold is naught but dross,
Worn out with tears and watching,
Caught by the undertow
And carried outward by the tide
Wherever it may go;
Helpless to bear life’s burdens,
Yet hoping while you call,
That haven may prove a refuge
And a resting place for all.
Look up for strength and courage,
Take note of little things,
You may see angels’ faces
And hear the sound of wings.
Old Allan Bayne, that harp of thine
Has mute remained for many a year,
The chords that thrilled the soul are hushed,
The hand that touched them is not here.
How often in the olden days
Unseen it welcomed many a guest;
It cheered his sorrows, soothed his fears,
And gently lulled to rest.
But when the clansmen filled the hall
To talk of deed by field and foray,
How loud and clear the notes that rang,
While sand the bard of fame and glory.
And when the exile wandered forth
To shadowy cave and forest near,
The ancient harper followed on
To charm and make his life less drear.
O, ancient harper, may my strain
Allure, and comfort as thine own;
Let joybells ring, and Hope’s bright ray
Illume a future all unknown,
For life may yet hold much of good,
Tho’ often mixed with grief and care,
And flowers still loom and birds yet sing
As in old Scotland vales so fair.
Written by Mrs. Alice Bean Lodge
John MacBean/Bean 1634-1718 & Margaret Edwards 1640-1714
James Bean 1672-1753 & Sarah Bradley 1673-1738
Samuel Bean 1710-1786 &Mary Buzzell 1714-1812
Judith Bean 1732-1817 &Moses Quimby 1713-1826
Hannah Quimby 1759-1831 & Philip Nelson 1756-1841
William Nelson 1795-1869 & Patty Teel 1795-1891
Benjamin P. Nelson 1824-1862 & Elinor M. Babb 1830-1906
William F. Nelson 1855-1932 & Clara J. Chase 1875-1955, my great-grandparents
Lillian M. Nelson 1895-1934 & Nathan A. Stearns 1887-1851, my grandparents
Nelson W. Stearns 1930-1988 & Shirley B. Pease 1935-2001, my parents
Judith Bean 1732-1817 &Moses Quimby 1713-1826 are founding families of Sutton, Merrimack, New Hampshire the home of my heart.
Day 2 (13 June 2017) of our Road trip found us taking a limo tour of Niagara Falls. The history behind them was an amazing trip in time. The tour gave an overview of the formation, preservation, above and BELOW The Falls.
Did you have an ancestor who work on the construction of the tunnels?
Wikipedia gives an overview. Below is a quick overview of the Power Plants the use the water to power the area.
Genealogy Peeps, Don’t forget to check out those guns and swords in your family. You may just find another piece of history about your family.
Check out my Christmas homework assignment results.
I found some great information on the sword.
I started by researching the engraving on the sword, I wasn’t sure if it was a personal engraving or not. it turned out to be a military/manufacturing.
Doing more research I found out that it was a common sword used during the French Wars. The end of “Defense Nationale government and beginning French Third Republic.” The first president in France at this time, President Theirs, main goal was to deport all German sodilers from France. This fitted with the “Prussian-German” link to the family genealogy and the time the families migration to America.
My point is, check all types of family heirlooms for a hint of their life. Even a sword gives clues that might surprise you.
FYI, I was given the sword with the request, can you find out anything about it? When I sent an email of what I found, that is when they told me which family line the sword came from. It made so much sense of how the sword came to be with the family. Yes, some military items were sold or stolen after the wars, in this case we have a better clue how this sword became part of this families treasures.
The screenshot is from Wkipedia. It is a Chassport rifle baronet from the French Wars.
Christmas I was given several “genealogical homework” assignments from my family. One assignment was to try to find out a bit of history of a sword passed down to the current generation.
The Fredonia Censor Wednesday Feb 1 1899
This is the second part of the Newspaper transcriptions honoring Willard McKinstry. You can read the first entry here.
Death of Willard McKinstry
Senior Editor of the Censor 57 Years
Mr. McKinstry had been feeble for some time past but seemed no worse than usual recently, in fact he was in better strength and spirits than he had been at times. New Year’s Day he attended the Presbyterian Church, and he took occasional rides to Dunkirk on the electric cars up to two weeks ago. He began to fail in strength Thursday, Jan.19, and did not respond to the remedies for weak action of the heart. Still he seemed to hold his own till 48 hours before he died, and all hope was not abandoned until that morning, Thursday, Jan. 26. His sons were telegraphed for but they could not get here in time. He was unconscious, and sank peacefully to his final sleep about 11 a. m.
With one of Mr. McKinstry’s advanced years and feeble condition, every illness is alarming, but he had rallied from far more serious conditions. It seemed as though the machinery of his strong frame had finally worn out, and no artificial aid could longer keep it in motion. He was prepared to go, and had long expressed a desire to be released from his spells of suffering, yet the sudden ending was a shock to his family and friends. They can only give thanks that he had no final suffering, and that he was spared to them so long. His was a long life of usefulness and honor, and the general expressions from all over the State of sympathy and respect, have been a great consolation to those who were dearesr to him. Some of these expressions, and farther reflections on Mr. McKinstry’s life and character, will be found elsewhere in this paper. His personal history was well written in the Buffalo Express of last Friday, and the history of Chautaugua County, published in 1894, and edited by Hon. Obed Edson of Sinclairville, also has a concise biographical sketch. From the two we copy the following:
Willard McKinstry was born in Chicopee Mass., May 9, 1815. His great-great grandfather, Roger McKinstry, emigrated from Scotland to Ireland about 1669. Mr. McKinstry’s great grandfather, John McKinstry, was born in Ireland in 1677, graduated at Edinburgh University in 1712, emigrated to America in 1718, became a Congregational clergyman first in Sutton, Mass., then at Ellington, Conn. His grandfather, John McKinstry, was born at Sutton in 1723, was graduated from Yale College in 1746, and was the first pastor of the Second Congregational parish of Springfield from 1752, and labored with that church until his death in 1813. Perseus McKinstry, son of John of Springfield, was born at Chicopee in 1772, married Grace Williams in 1803, was a tanner at Plainfield, then a farmer at Chicopee, and died in 1829. They had eleven children, of whom Willard was the seventh. Nine grew to maturity; only one now survives-the youngest, Hon. A. Winthrop McKinstry, formerly associcated his brother in publishing the Censor, now publisher of the Faribault (Minn.) Republican.
In 1842 he brought the Fredonia Censor, the oldest publication in Chautauqua County, having been founded in 1821 by the late H. C. Frisbee. Mr. McKinstry was connected with this publication almost to the last, being a frequent visitor at the office up to a short time ago.
In 1843 Mr. McKinstry married Maria A. Durlin of Fredonia, who died in 1882. They had four children, of whom three are still living. Louis, the oldest, is the present proprietor and editor of the Fredonia Censor, Willard D. is editor and one of the proprietors of the Watertown Times. Anna is the wife of Prof. Myron T. Dana, vice-principal of the Fredonia State Normal School, with whom he lived at the time of his death. In 1887 Mr. McKinstry married Marian A Baker of Achley, Ia., who died in less than a year. He was a member of the Congregational Church of Northampton from 1832 till 1847, when he joined the First Presbyterian Church of Fredonia, of which he had been a member ever since.
Willard McKinstry’s character was formed in that industry, frugality, integrity, patriotism and piety for which New England was noted 75 years ago. There was much work, little play, some schooling, and the small farm furnished a frugal support for the large family until he was fourteen, when his father died. Then Willard worked out two summers, attending school winters. In 1832 he became an apprentice in the office of the Northampton, Mass., Courier. He journeyed to Northampton, 14 miles on foot, carrying all his effects in a handkerchief; his wages was $30 the first year, $35 the second, $40 the third and $50 the fourth. That knowledge of public affairs and of the English language which made him such a clear and vigorous writer was chiefly acquired by careful study and extensive reading during his apprenticeship, and services as a journeyman printer in New York, Hartford, Springfield and Mayville. In Springfield he worked three years for G. and C. Merriam, publishers of Webster’s dictionary, and in Mayville he worked on the Sentinel for his cousin, Benjamin Brockway, with whom he was a fellow apprentice in Northampton. Mr. Brockway finally moved to Watertown, where he became proprietor of the Times, and died a few years ago honored by all. A third apprentice with those two boys was Mr. L.L. Prat, formerly publisher of the Fredonia Advertiser, and now, aged 80, an assistant on the Watertown Times.
At the time of his death Willard McKinstry, was the oldest editor in New York State. The condition of Chautauqua County, when he first came here, is best told in his own words, in the following selection from the preface if his “Editorial Miscellanies and Letters” published in 1895:
“More than two generations have passed since the Fredonia Censor was founded by the late H. C. Frisbee in 1821. Not a single original subscriber is now living. Probably those who remain whose names were on the subscription list when I commenced 52 years ago would number less than a score.
“When the Censor was established in 1821 a large portion of the people in this county lived in log houses, located in clearings in the wilderness. When I came to the county in 1839, it is safe to say that more than half the land was mortgaged to Holland Land Company, and the remainder had but recently been purchased by William H. Seward and two partners.
“I came to Fredonia the village was the largest in the county and contained only 1,200 to 1,500 population. The road to the nearest village, Dunkirk, was a considerable part of the way through the woods and made passable in spring and fall through the swamp intervening by a corduroy road.
“But one railroad existed within 300 miles of us, and that of a most primitive kind, laid with flat bar rails on longitudinal timbers. There were no friction matches here then and the embers of the huge back log were buried in the ashes to preserve the fire overnight. No ocean steamer had then crossed the Atlantic and some four weeks were required to cross from Europe to America.
“Then the boundaries of the United States were on the east side of Mississippi, except Missouri, which was made a State the year the Censor was established, and even when I commenced publishing the Censor, the enterprising pioneers living west of the Mississippi River, excepts those in Missouri, had their papers directed to the territories.
“Then not a telegraph had conveyed information to the newspaper or individual and the mails by stage coaches was the most expeditious method of communication between friends or doing business.”
Mr. McKinstry was a Whig in politics and cast his first vote for Henry Clay and had been a staunch Republican since the organization of that party. He served as postmaster in Fredonia for eight years, being first appointed by President Lincoln in 1863. There are few public improvements in and about Fredonia in which he had not been interested in the last 60 years.
He was one of the original trustees of the Forest Hill Cemetery, one of the original Stockholders of the Dunkirk and Fredonia Street Railroad Company, of which he was president for many years, and was one of the most active citizens in placing the State Normal School here. He was a member of the first local board of Managers of the Normal School. During part of the Civil War , he was a representative of the U.S> Christian Commission with the Army of the Potomac before Petersburg, where he shared the hardships of the soldiers, helped care for the wounded in time of battle, and made himself useful in every way possible to the soldiers of his division. He was a charter member of Fredonia Grange, No. 1, which was the first Grange established in what has since become the great order of the Patrons of Husbandry. He was a Ruling Elder in the First Presbyterian Church of Fredonia, for forty-five years.
I will continue the transcription of the second half of the scrapbook page posted in my next blog post.
Thank Pamela Morey Okolita Sherrill for sharing your ancestor’s scrapbook of News articles honoring Willard McKinstry , the newspaperman, life.
Willard McKinstry is remembered even in the year 2016 by his descendant Pamela Morey Okolita Sherrill. Her email to me says it all
“Please share, and post. He was a newspaperman. This was published in the Fredonia Censor… 1 Feb 1899.”
A newspaper man that was revered by his colleagues, family, friends, and a society that was under Civil War. Willard McKinstry, to quote his great granddaughter, “Was an awesome role model, for sure.”
The following is a transcription of E. P. Cleveland’s address at Willard McKinstry’s funeral 29 Jan 1899. It was published in the Fredonia Censor 1 Feb 1899, Fredonia, Chautauque, New York.
Rev. E. P. Cleveland’s address.
AT THE FUNERAL SERVICE FOR WILLARD MCKINSTRY, IN THE FIRST PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH, FREDONIA, JANUARY 29, 1899.
When a good man dies, who for more than half a century has exercised a formative influence upon the thought and life of a community, it is both fitting and profitable for the living to do honor to his memory by laying emphasis upon those strong traits in his character that may help to explain the high place that he held in the public esteem, and the wholesome influence that it was his privilege to exercise. No small part of the secret of such a man’s character and achievements must be sought for in that spiritual legacy that he received at birth from a worthy and godly ancestry; and as we unite this afternoon in paying a tribute of respect and love to our beloved friend, Willard McKinstry, I ask you to consider briefly that sturdy ancestry from which he sprang.
Probably you all know that he was of Scotch extraction. His great-great-grandfather, Roger McKinstry, was living near the city of Edinburgh when the religious persecutions arose under Charles II, and he was compelled, in the year 1669, in order that he might secure that religious liberty and that independence of thought and conscience which are so dear to the true Scot, to remove to the province of Ulster, Ireland. There, in the county of Antrim, Mr. McKinstry’s great-grandfather, John McKinstry, was born in the year 1677. This young man went back to the land of his birth for his education and was graduated with the degree of Master of Arts from the University of Edinburgh. He was educated and ordained for the Presbyterian ministry, and in the year 1718 sailed to America, and settled in Worcester County, Mass. He was pastor during all of his active life over Congregational churches in Massachusetts and Connecticut. Mr. McKinstry’s grandfather was born in Worcester County, Mass., was graduated at Yale College in 1746, and was ordained in 1752 as the first pastor of the Second Congregational Church of Springfield, now in Chicopee, Mass. He continued in this relation, either as active pastor or as pastor emeritus, during all of his long life. He is described, and I think that we shall recognize the family likeness, “as having been a man of exemplary piety, of a candid spirit, of a modest and humble disposition.”
Willard McKinstry, the seventh of eleven children of Perseus McKinstry and Grace Williams was born at Chicopee, Mass., on May 9th, 1815. His early life was spent on his father’s farm. His father died when he was 14 years of age, and at the age of 16 he, in company with two other young men, became apprenticed in the office of the Northampton Courier to learn the printer’s trade. These three young men were ambitious for learning, and eagerly embraced every opportunity for acquiring useful information, and for the buying and reading of good books. They were indeed destined in a remarkable way to magnify and adorn their chosen profession, following it through life; and to-day the last of the trio, Mr. Prat, of Watertown Times, is bearing no small part of the grief incident to this sad occasion. [Paper torn here] _e first break in this little circle of ___g friends was made by the ______ Brockaway, the late edi__ __tertown Times.[editor of the Watertown times]. In an ex_____ ____nching tribute to Mr. _____ ____lished in the editorial _____ _____ Watertown Times on ______ Pratt says of him, at _____ ______f his apprenticeship, _____ _____ or 17 years of age: _____ __der than writer,_____ [blanks due to torn paper.]
Seemingly intelligent beyond his years, remarkably sedate in demeanor and serious in conversation, and never frivolous in conduct or speech, he made an early and deep impression on his then youthful associate-apprentice, which ripened and solidified into a life-long friendship that has known no estrangement or abatement in all the intervening sixty odd years.”
After working as a journeyman printer in the cities of New York and Hartford, and for three years in the famous publishing house of the Merriams, in Springfield, the publishers of Webster’s Dictionary, he came in 1839 to Chautauqua County, and in 1842 to Fredonia upon purchase of the Censor. Of the details of his career since he came to this village, where for more than half a century his life has been known and read of all men, I need not speak. We all may recall the stirring and critical events in our national history through which he passed, and in which he bore a part as an editorial writer of ability and of earnest and honest convictions. The Mexican War and the territorial expansion resulting therefrom, the Civil War and the wiping out of the curse of African slavery, the reconstruction of the South after the war, and all questions deeply affecting the public weal which have come up during the last fifty years, engaged his deep and serious interest. He enjoyed the confidence and friendship of such leaders of public opinion as Thurlow Weed and Horace Greely, and was regarded by them as one upon whom they could count for great things in the battle for human rights and for the preservation of the Union, and they were not disappointed. His interest in public events was not political, but patriotic, and he gave practical evidence of his patriotism and of his board Christian philanthropy as well, by going to the front during our Civil War, under the auspices of Christian Commission and engaging in the work of caring for wounded and dying soldiers. In all his public and private life he exhibited that absolute integrity which belonged to his Scotch him, and to which he tenaciously adhered as one of his most cherished principles. No true Scotchman like Mr. McKinstry can be accused of ever having lacked the courage of his convictions, but yet his uncompromising character did not make him and enemies. He was magnanimous in his treatment of those with whom he differed. I have heard him tell with satisfaction and delight how grandly on of his friends, to whom he was radically opposed in politics, rose to the demands of a great occasion in the eulogy that he pronounced upon Gen. Grant.
There is not time this afternoon to speak of all the strong points in Mr. McKinstry’s character; but there are a few that deserve to be specially emphasized. The first of these is his strong democratic principles and sympathies. I suspect that he did not greatly reverence that nobility which is determined only by blood. To him the only true nobility was nobility of character. He could endorse heartily the familiar sentiment of Burns:
“The rank is but the guinea-stamp, The man’s the gowd for a’ that.”
And this also from Tennyson:
“Plowmen, shepherd, have I found, and more
Than once, and still could find,
Sons of God, and Kings of men in utter nobleness of mind.
Here and there a cotter’s babe is royal born by right divine:
Here and there my lord is lower than his oxen or swine.”
He had a hearty contempt for that cheap aristocracy, sometimes found in this country that seemed to him to be utterly at variance with national character and institutions. He felt, with Lincoln, that God must love the common people or He would not have made so many of them. And in this intense sympathy with those that make up the great body of society he felt that he was in harmony with the spirit of Him whose words the common people heard gladly. The legend that stood out in letter of iron o the front of the press on which the CENSOR was originally printed, expressed a sentiment with which Mr. McKinstry was in the heartiest accord: “A Free Press. The Tyrant’s Foe; the People’s Friend.”
But there is one thing that I am sure Mr. McKinstry would rather have said of him to-day than almost anything else that could be said. That is, he was ever the friend of the down trodden and oppressed. Nothing else could rouse his indignation as a tale of oppression or wrong. This trait in his character was the secret of his intense moral enthusiasm in the interests of the abolition of African slavery. He was the black man’s friend, however, not only before but also after he was set free. He made generous donations every year to the American Missionary Association for educational work among the freedmen of the South, and it was only two years ago that by a donation of #30 to this society he constituted his pastor a life member of it. But these glowing words from Mr. McKinstry’s own pen reveal his sympathy with the oppressed more clearly than can any words of mine. In his editorial on “The modern Martyr Age,” published over 30 years ago, he said: “Of all the martyrs of this century, none may wear a brighter crown than those who made such great sacrifices for the benefit of a helpless and oppressed people, who for 200 years had worn the shackles of slavery. When such men as Gerrit Smith and Wendell Phillips, cradled in affluence and surrounded with a;; the comforts which wealth can give, devote their great talents, time and wealth in behalf of the down trodden and oppressed-such men as Garrison, Lundy and John Brown, the noblest martyr of the century—and scores of others, who gave themselves to the cause of a people who were helpless in themselves, and struck hard blows for those who could make no return but their gratitude, such men will wear the martyr’s crown, and the brightest pages of history will herald their praise, and the richest breathings of poetry will perpetuate their renown.” During almost the last call that made upon Mr. McKinstry, only a few days since, he spoke with a glow of enthusiasm, his rugged features radiant with that benignant smile that all his friends knew so well, of the monument in Washington, erected to the memory of Abraham Lincoln, representing the emancipated slaves kneeling amid their broken shackles at the feet of their deliverer, expressing gratitude for their freedom, and he felt and said that no grander monument had ever been erected.
Still another characteristic of Mr. McKinstry was his open mindedness; his readiness to accept truth from whatsoever quarter it might come. I do not mean by this that he was inclined to take up with present-day, so-called liberal fads, or to chase intellectual will-o’-the-wisps. He had too much good strong common sense for that. I simply mean that he believed in truth and in its invincibility. He believed that true progress consists in the discovery of new truth, or of old truth newly discerned, and that it is our duty ever to be struggling towards light. It is remarkable that at an age when most men become conservative, his tendency was toward broader views of truth and more tolerant spirit. He was already well advanced in years when, writing to one who he hoped would become his pastor, of the temper of the church to which he belonged, he said: “We believe that not all the light which has come into the world has been exhausted. “The world moves’ and no earthly power can stop it.” The statement that his mind was in an unusual degree open to the reception of truth is still further justified by his own closing words in his lecture on “The weapons of truth are not those of war and bloodshed. It asks no penal statues for its protection, though hecatombs of victims have been offered at its shrine when the arm of political power has been arrayed against it. ‘Let truth and error grapple,’ only let the field of contest be free and open and we need not fear the results. ‘The toleration of error is safe, if truth is left free and unrestrained action. Let the schoolmaster be sent abroad to develop and awaken its latent powers, and the press teem with new thoughts, thrown forth for examination and investigation. Let the mind be free, and we cannot be slaves. He whose soul is in bondage to his passions and prejudices is most abject of slaves. Then let us cherish freedom of the mind as the basis of civil and religious liberty-ever remembering that he whom the truth makes free is free indeed.” It was this trait that gave him his hopeful view of life. He had little use for pessimism or pessimists. He looked not backward but forward. He believed that the golden age is yet to be.
But any attempted sketch of Mr. McKinstry’s character would be strongly incomplete, if emphasis were laid upon that which was his crowning glory and the secret of his usefulness and nobility of life. I refer to his simple religious faith. When but 14 years of age he joined the church to which his grandfather had preached long before he was born. He joined the Presbyterian Church in this village in the 1848, and was for 45 years one of its ruling elders. During all his life, until within the last two years, when his feeble health would not permit, he was identified with the Sunday-school. In this church his presence was a tower of strength. The simplicity and child-like confidence of his faith made those of us who heard him speak and pray and saw him live, turn with greater simplicity and devotion to his God and ours. I remember the dep emotion with which Mr. McKinstry, within the last year, at the funeral of a friend, listened to this illustration of Christian confidence: One of Garribaldi’s generals had suddenly been ordered to advance. Some of his subordinates asked him: “Where are we going?” The general replied: “I don’t know, but Garribaldi knows.” Was it not this same Christian confidence that led our venerated friend and brother to answer the surnames of his Divine Master, and to breathe as his final prayer of praise in this world, the last words that ever fell from his lips, “WE THANK THEE, HEAVENLY FATHER.”