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as they do a thief; and let me tell you, boy, a good name is the best thing that a young man can have. If you will take my advise, and never tell a falsehood, under any circumstance whatever, you will in the end find that, in any and every place, truth is far better than a lie. And now, Meshach, I do not blame you for leaving your uncle John; and I wish you may have good luck in your undertaking, and that you may become a good and honorable man.236

memory of James Spurgin, to whom, I am free to acknowledge, together with another kind friend of mine of whom I shall speak hereafter, I owe all that I now am.”237

Meshach said about this conversation, “And here I say, thanks be to the name and to the During this same night,

Meshach talked with his cousins, among whom was Jonathan, with whom he mentions doing the chores at daybreak in knee-deep snow to feed the 50-60 head of cattle and the horses in the barn. Meshach mentions his uncle James one more time when he returned 7 months later, “... sub- sequently I was at my uncle James Spurgin’s in Monongahela County, in a very different situation from what I was when I left there the previous January ... I showed them my clothes, besides from 20 to 30 dollars in silver, which I had in my pocket, and described all that I had seen.”238

Meshach didn’t think as well about his other relatives. He had one good thing to say

about his Aunt Polly (wife of his Uncle John) - that she was, “an even-tempered woman ... she was always mad.” He told the story of how he caught two rabbits, which she thought was a waste of time, and to which she said, “You must have grease to fry them in. So saying, she ... began to pour grease on me without mercy. Round and round she went, as fast as she could turn me. I soon found out what she was at by waltzing me round the room so fast: it was to have a new switch at hand as fast as she broke one over my back and shoulders. I thought I might as well die fighting as to tamely submit to be beaten to death; and at it I went, with all my strength; pulling her hair, scratching her face, and biting her arms and hands, till at length she got my head between her knees, and holding me by one arm, began to beat me unmercifully ... Nothing being between my keen teeth and her leg, I took hold of her flesh and skin a little higher up than she ever tied her garter, and there I hung, like a bull-dog, trying my best to bite out the whole of what was in my mouth ... but her skin was so tough that I could not tear it ....”239

The contest finally

ended in a draw, and Meshach said she never undertook to beat him again in that way. James Spurgeon died in the Sandy Creek Glades, Monongalia County, (West) Virginia at

about 54 years of age, June 1810. His will (written on 23 May 1810, naming his sons Jesse and Jonathan as his executors), in part reads (spelling as found):

In the name of God Amen, the 23rd day of May in the year of our Lord 1810 I James Spurgeon of the County of Monongalia and commonwealth of Virginia being very sick and weak in body but of perfect mind and memory thanks be given unto God for the same and calling to mind the mortality of my body and knowing that it is appointed for all men to die to make and ordain this my last will and testament that is to say principally and first of all I give and recommend my soul unto the hand of God that gave it and for my body I recommend it to the

236Ibid., p. 35. 237Ibid., p. 37. 238Ibid., p. 68. 239Ibid., p. 42f.

© 1993 Spurgeon Family History by Dr. Gary Alan Dickey, 1546 Devonshire Avenue, Westlake Village, CA 91361 • p. 59

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