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The Brethren's Family Almanac — Offering #3

A Sketch of the Life of Elder Samuel Mohler

Eld. Samuel Mohler was a member of a large family who resided in Juniata County, Pa.  At the age of twenty Bro. Samuel was married to Catharine Saylor, a relative of Bro. D. P. Saylor, deceased.  Soon after this union they, by mutual consent, journeyed over the mountains to one of the Antietams, near Waynesborough, where a second union was consummated by them, with the church in holy baptism.  Their loyalty to both of these unions, entered into by them in early life, was characterized by many long years of untiring zeal and visible fruits of prosperity.

Shortly after this they moved to Ohio, and located near Covington.  In this vicinity he lived about sixty-two years.  He came to Ohio when markets were far away, and the conveniences of life were few.  Many of the roads were almost impassable during portions of the year.  Ohio's heavy, timbered forests stretched far and wide.  He lived to see and enjoy the changes and improvements now abounding on every hand in this fertile valley.

There were born unto them thirteen children,—eight sons and five daughters.  At present three of his sons are in the ministry,—Samuel S., of Warrensburgh, Mo.; Martin, of Cornelia, Mo.; and John S., of Morrill, Kans.  Jacob and Levi are deacons in the Covington church.  The daughters are yet all living.

Bro. Mohler was elected to the ministry in 1858, with his son Samuel, brethren Peter Nead and Abraham Flory officiating.  His special line of work in the ministry was not in preaching the Word, but in watching the general interests of the church,—keeping the church in order.  I here name this as being the most important line of ministerial work in the Brethren church.  Our present great lack is watchful shepherds,—right doing in church business.  In this line Bro. Samuel had great natural ability.  He was quick to observe, but rather slow in rendering his decision; but when his decision was once rendered, his mind was difficult to change.

A brother in the West, who used to be in his employ, recently told me that Bro. Samuel controlled all his business with great order and system.  One part of his help was employed in his tannery; a second on the farm; a third in the timber.  The hours to commence and quit work; the hours for prayer were all understood and promptly observed.

His manner of work in the church was on the same line; everything was prompt to the hour announced.  His success in raising his children, so that they all early united with the church, aided in giving his efforts force in church work.  His long years in the vicinity in which he lived were years of strict honesty and unbending integrity,—with an open hand of charity to all in want.  It was not an uncommon thing for him, on Lord's Day, to take up a public collection, in response to a letter received from some brother who had lost his crop by storm, or buildings by fire.

Bro. D. L. Miller remarked to me once: "If all our elders would send in their missionary collections as Bro. Samuel Mohler does, our treasury would be well filled."

His fixed rules in doing church business, and his unwillingness to change, unless there were good reasons for doing so, gave him a basis to do church work that would avoid many difficulties that so many churches and elders get into.

There was something peculiarly striking and impressive in his person and appearance, as the following circumstance will show:

In August of 1890 the Teachers' Institute of our County was held in our town.  Prof. W. H. Venable, of Cincinnati, arrived in Covington on Saturday previous, as one of the lecturers.  On Sunday morning he was present at our service.  By invitation he took part in our Sunday-school.  At the close of the service he approached Bro. Mohler and said, "You look to be a father among them here," to which Bro. Mohler replied, "Yes, I have been among them here quite a while.  The Professor again added, "You remind me of one of the old patriarchs."  To this Bro. Mohler simply smiled.

Eld. John Hershey and Bro. James Quinter made their homes in the Covington church for a number of years.  While they were elders and able expounders, yet the leading care of the church remained in Bro. Mohler's hands.

Bro. Mohler was a man of remarkable vigor of body and mind.  Rheumatism at times enfeebled him.  On the night of April 13, in trying to walk across the room, all alone, his strength gave way, and in the fall he broke his left limb.  The limb never properly healed, and, owing to natural feebleness of old age, his vigor steadily declined until, on the morning of July 26, he passed away at the age of eighty-three years, two months and seven days.

The funeral was largely attended from all parts of the County, including ministers from adjoining congregations.  A number of ministering brethren took part in the services.  Text, 2 Tim. 4: 6-8.

We express the sentiment of many, both in and out of the church, by clipping the following from the editorial of the Covington Gazette: "Probably no man in this community was more highly respected.  As a Christian he practiced what he preached,—not only one day in the week, but every day in the year.  His counsel was always wise, and it, will be hard for the German Baptists to fill the place of `Eld. Sammy,' as his people loved to call him."      I. J. Rosenberger.


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