Friday, May 04, 2007

Eulogy of Adelicia Cheatham

Born March 15th 1817, died May 4th , 1887

Eulogy of Adelicia Cheatham
The remarks of Rev. Dr. Witherspoon, pastor of First Presbyterian Church at her funeral:
Each life in this world is the center of social and domestic interest peculiar to its own sphere. 'No man liveth unto himself; no man dieth unto himself This Scripture does not make a load for us to live under; to only declares a principle and propounds in the works of the sprits' own dictation, a law that is grounded in the very nature of things. It would yet be true had the inspired writer never written the passages quoted, that we have influence to build up or destroy the happiness of some about us, and that our lives will be either fruitful of happiness or harm to many whose lives touch ours in many points contact. Some lives have a wider field in which to work than others have. The circle through and around which it modified forces of influence operate may be ampler in one case than another, but that fact remains that clusters about the life are the interests I spoke of and the anything that touches the central life top disturb or destroy it affects the interests that depend on it. It is in accordance with this principle of the interdependence and correlation of lives that this godly company crowds into this holy place to express its grief at this hour. These doors have swung open once more to admit a coffin and those who sadly follow it.

The Tones of the Bell

That swings in the tower, and according to circumstances announces danger from fire, the flight of the hours, the union in marriage of congenial hearts, the worship of the great Father of us all, and the burial of the dead have been heard proclaiming a death. Death has done his work when a life that touched beautifully and with blessings so many of our lives, and this company assembled to do honor and show sympathy is itself a testimony to the value and strength of that life. This falling of a polished pillar that long has helped to hold up its part of the weight of the structure built on it and not be witness without regret. It is a double regret we fill feel at such a site. We are saddened at the thought that the shapely pillow is broken and the structure it supported suffers injury besides. Mrs. Cheatham's death, the news of which occasioned such genuine sorrow in our midst appears to my mind as a suggestion of the failing of that comely shall, a pillar so admirable in itself and having so much to sustain in the structure resting on it. Possessed of those admirable qualities of heart and mind that made her presence among acquaintances a friend always welcome. Social circles where she moved with queenly grace and civility have sustained a loss that it will be well nigh impossible to fill. There is no need for me in these few marks to say what result in her own home will follow her death. It was there that the brightest side of her life was shown. As the center of that home, she was its permanence, its ornaments and joy. Who can nominate her friends in this the city of her former residence and the home of her girlhood and dismiss over this land whenever she visited or sojourned for any time. When you know the extant of her friendships and the possibility of that feeling of affection which was entertained for her by all those hearts that are touched by the finger of grief today, you may then estimate what her departure means in the way of loss in this respect. The church of Jesus Christ had in her a faithful and conscientious member.

To this Church her devotion was firm and unfailing.

She revered the memory of its sainted pastors. She honored its institutions and was ready to sustain them by her prayer, her co-operation and means. She was the friend and faithful supporter of all who have labored in the pastorate of this church. At her hands before took leave of Nashville as a home, I received kindness that are fresh in memory now and will ever remain so. The day of God in which the secrets of all hearts are to be made known and when the gracious judge shall reward his servants for what they have done to help forward his work, will bring to light many of her deeds of kindness and of self-sacrifice wrought in his name and for his sake, that the public eye has never seen. Our beloved church mourns her loss today. The officers of the church thought it fitting that the bell which she place in the tower years ago at her expense should be made the means of ringing out to this city and to all of her friends the news of her decease. And down through all the coming years her name shall be associated in our mind with the vibrating echoes of that bell. The goodly pillar has fallen and the falling has involved lose to society, friends, family and church. On Wednesday evening at 7 o'clock the close of day, came the close of that life whose history is the history of accomplished womanhood, self-denying friendship and unswerving Christian devotion to the master In her death are illustrated the vanity of human hopes and the uncertainty of this mortal life. God took her away while plan for her new home life were projected. Exposure to bitter weather in the city of New York, whither she had gone to provide for the furnishing of her Washington home, brought on the illness of which she died How sweet to know that though she was never to occupy and enjoy that earthly home she had on high a home made ready for her and into which death came as an angel to introduce her Jesus has gone to prepare a place for his people and all who follow him as our friend and sister did and may rest in the confident expectation of inhabiting, while the years of eternity roll, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens Mrs. Cheatham had attained the age of three score years and ten. She was bom in the county in the year 1817 and has been closely identified with Nashville and her people though all those years. As you are doubtless aware she was thrice married. She has a wide circle of friends and acquaintances over the country, by whom she will not soon be forgotten. To her bereaved family I tender the consolations of God's Holy Word, and command for their love and service the Savior, whom as wife, mother and sister she faithfully followed. To
Jesus of Nazareth that we must turn in this moment of sorrow for comfort and hope. He has brought life and immortality to light in the Gospel- resurrective life for a perishing body and immortally for the sprit that is to occupy it as a tabernacle forevermore. Faith unites us to him and he becomes true life and immortality. Out friend's trust in God deep and abiding. To her such a confession of distrust was but a wall of despair. She believed in a glorious future for the Christian. She could have made answer to the Patriarch s question, 'If a man dies shall he live again?' In these words of the poet
Shall I be left forgotten in the dust
Which fate relenting lets the flowers revive?
Shall nature's voice, to man alone unjust,

Bid him, though doomed to perish, hope to live?
Is it for this fair virtue oft must strive
With disappointment, penury and pain?
No! heaven's immortal spring shall yet arrive.
And man's majestic beauty bloom again
Bright through the eternal year of triumphant reign.'
In this hope of a beautiful immortality for our friend and sister, we bear her remains lovingly and tenderly to the appointed place for their repose, cherishing the memory of her many virtues and commending her sorrowing one to the guardianship and grace of him who has said; ' I will never leave thee nor forsake thee.'
From the Nashville Daily American May 8, 1887