Fayette County Man Writes His Mother's Obituary Notice.
Benson B. Fordyce, one of the most unique characters in Fayette county, was acquitted in court at Uniontown last week, on the charge of pointing firearms and threatening to kill, and the trial attracted much attention on account of the defendant being so widely known, especially in the southern end of the county. He is 68 years of age, a bachelor and regarded as one of the most harmless and kind-hearted men in Fayette county. On the death of his mother to whom he was much devoted, he wrote the following obituary notice which was published in the Uniontown News Standard March 24, 1887:
Catherine Fordyce died on the 15th of March 1887. She had almost reached her 83rd milestone. She was good in that she lived the life of a Christian and always taught her boys to keep their bodies from the doctors, their money from the lawyers and their souls from the devil. She had many ups and downs in this life, and more downs than ups, having had her left leg broken three times in the last 22 years, first at the ankle, second at the shin and third at the hip. Never having been away, no wonder she shouted when she saw the head light on the old ship. "So much trouble here; God have mercy, hallelujah." The subject of religion being the greatest subject that ever engrossed the mind of man, and being anxious about the future, having read Tom Paine, Voltaire, Hume and Ingersoll, and while I am sure of a good and wise God, (creation being positive proof), I always had my doubts about future rewards and punishments. Hence when mother told me her grip sack was packed, I told her if there was a heaven to come back and let me know in some way. "Oh," she replied, "you would not believe though one rose from the dead." She replied, "I will if I can." This she did by turning white after death and looking as young and sweet as a girl of sixteen; smiled just as sweetly. It remained till she was cold. The neighbors who were present will vouch for the truth of this. Her face was terrible to behold. Nothing but the love of God could produce such a change.
To my neighbors who have been so kind during this long, long and of earth the greatest troubles, I return my heartfelt thanks. War is nothing over the sea; but let it come home as it has come to me, then it goes for the heart strings, and even now while I am scribbling I feel more like singing the "Old Log Cabin in the Lane."
I also return thanks to Almighty God for rowing mother over the river a shouting, and landing her a smiling,
Benson B. Fordyce
N.B. - The above was the wife of Justice Garrard Fordyce, whose mother was a sister of Judge Garrard, of the Fort. His grandmother was killed by the Indians, near the Fort. You can read on an old gravestone, "Beneath the Indian's tomahawk, my baby and I were slain." He was one of President Harrison's electors in 1840 and could have been governor at that time, being very popular and possessed of plenty of means; but droving was his delight, having the road strung with cattle from Illinois to Philadelphia. It could truthfully be said of him the cattle upon 1,000 hills were his. He was also famous for being the only man in Greene county who ever made an almanac. He spent many sleepless nights at it. Having no printing press, he wrote it out. He died as poor as Lazarus, on the bosom of the ocean, and was carried in Abraham's bosom where all wear golden slippers.
Mrs. Fordyce's people came from on the Susquehanna and were closely related to John and Bill Bigler, who used to raft down that river and both of whom became governors, John of California and Bill of Pennsylvania. - B.B.F.
Newspaper obituary, date and source unknown (Greene County, Pennsylvania)
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