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Margaret Cavers Richmond, 1832-1919


Posted By: Emmet County IAGenWeb Coordinator (email)
Date: 3/8/2009 at 15:18:14


Margaret Cavers Richmond was born in Roxburghshire, Scotland, November 24, 1832, the daughter of Adam and Janet Cavers. Adam was for some years in the British Army and came near being "one of the soldiers of on that memorable day was at some distance from the scene of action, and though they moved by forced marches, when they arrived on the field the battle was over, the victory won, and Napoleon had started on his long and dismal journey to St. Helena. Not many years after young Cavers settled down to family life in Scotland, and he and his wife became the parents of ten children, and of the ten Margaret was the last to leave the world, having lived 87 years lacking 8 days. Adam seems to have been a deeply religious man. His daughter told someone that she remembered her father praying most earnestly for his family and especially for the salvation of his children.

When about twenty Margaret came with a brother and a sister to Ontario, Canada, and February 18, 1858 was married to Matthew Richmond at Ayr, Ontario. After living ten [JMR:years] in that land they came west, and crossed the Mississippi near Lansing, Ia. where one or two of her brothers had been living for some time. Mr. Richmond with his little family started west in a wagon over northern Iowa. He told me that they arrived Thursday at Decorah, Friday at Howard Center, and by Saturday night reached Burr Oak in Mitchell county. They rested, of course, over Sabbath and on Monday arrived at Ellington, Hancock county. Tuesday at Buffalo Forks, and by Wednesday night were at E. B. Campbell's in Armstrong Grove Township. Mr. Richmond had been here the year before and had secured section 34 at Government prices, but he settled with his family on section 36, near the county line.

They were industrious and economical and prosperity came their way. The log house was replaced by a large and modern residence, and here they lived until the spring of 1897 when they moved to the town of Armstrong. In early days, of course, on the farm, they were familiar with pioneer life with its pleasing as well as its trying features. In early [JMR: "days"] both had become members of the Presbyterian church and in Armstrong and vicinity this church owes more for its success to them than to any other couple. Mr. Richmond was elected elder, and the presbytery of Ft. Dodge conferred a special honor upon him by sending him as a delegate to the General Assembly at Los Angeles in 1903. Mrs. Richmond accompanied him and they both greatly enjoyed the trip. We must not forget Mrs. Richmond's services to the church. There was not much of the 'public' about her. I do not think she was prominent in Sunday school, or as a 'missionary worker'. She was retiring, modest, humble; there was nothing of the "modern woman" about her. But at home Mrs. Richmond was a queen. One feature we must mention especially. She will long be remembered for the entertainment and encouragement she gave to ministers of the gospel, who always found the most cordial and sincere welcome to her home and to her table. Her service to the church in this line is remarkable, and she kept this up for 20 or 30 years, when advancing years suggested the propriety of leaving the farm for a more quiet life in the town.

In recent years advancing age was beginning to tell upon her, and after suffering considerably, especially during the last three months, on Sabbath November 16, [JMR: 16 November 1919] about noon she entered, as we believe, the great Sabbath rest, the rest which remaineth for the people of God. She longed to depart and be with Christ, and one day she said,-showing the simplicity of her faith- "Jesus said that he could ask the Father for 12 legions of angels. I know, he can send one for me."

On Saturday, about twenty-four hours before the end, her old neighbor and friend, Mrs. Jane Dundas, from Estherville came to see her, to whom she said, "I want you to pray for me and pray loud so I can hear you." A very sincere prayer was offered, then the patient being very weary, turned and said in a friendly way, Now Good-bye.

Numerous friends have testified to the help and inspiration her life has been to them. The local paper said of her,"The life of a woman like Mrs. Richmond does much to prove there is a spark of the divine fire in man upon this earth, and that there is a better realm where such spirits must go and whence they have come. For they are not of the earth."

In the sermon I observed that Mrs. Richmond was one of the old settlers and that probably very few of them were left. At the cemetery after the burial, Mrs. Fish and Mrs. Dundas came to me and said they are the only ones living who were here and were heads of families when the Richmonds came in October, 1868. The Fish family came in September and Mrs. Dundas was married here the spring before.

The pall bearers were her two sons, William and Walter, and four nephews, William and James Weir of Estherville, George Stewart of Armstrong, and Adam Cavers of Village Creek, Ia.

Mrs. Richmond leaves to mourn their loss her husband, six children, and fifteen grandchildren. All of her children are living in or near Armstrong except John who lives at Waterloo.

The text of the sermon was Jesus Loved Martha and Her Sister and Lazarus.

Music was furnished by Mrs. Fred Robinson, Mrs. I.H. Hospers, Mr. T.W. Doughty and Mr. A.J. Bosworth, with Miss Vandenburgh at the organ.

First they sang:
O think of the home over there,
By the side of the river of light,
Where saints all immortal and fair,
Are robed in their garments of white.

Before the sermon they sang one of the favorite hymns of the deceased:

I will sing you a song of that beautiful land,
The far away home of the soul,
Where no storms ever beat on that glittering strand,
While the years of eternity roll.

And at the close, the beautiful memorial song of P.P. Bliss for that sweet musician, William B. Bradbury.

Gone to the silent land
Over the River of Death
Joining the glad Jubilee
Welcome, the bright angels say,
White robes are waiting for thee.

Contributed by: James Richmond. Unknown source, written by: Rev. Daniel Williams.

On the Passing of a Pioneer
By George N. Luccock

Recently at Armstrong, Iowa one died who had an unusual share in development of Presbyterian Christianity in northwest Iowa. Mrs. Mathew Richmond with her husband who survives her and who became the first Presbyterian elder in that region; went to Emmet County; Iowa in a very early day when the prairies were roadless; fenceless almost homeless and altogether churchless. Born Presbyterian; it was her dream or hope and her unceasing prayer that God would send a Presbyterian minister to her new country. As I was the unexpected and at the first quite disappointing answer to that prayer; I crave space for a bit of church history; which is also reminiscence; in Mrs. Richmond's praise.

Dr. A. K. Baird; synodical superintendent; himself Scotch and sympathizing with this desire of the Scotch Richmonds for a Presbyterian share in the religious development of the promising prairies; requisitioned the seminaries for summer students. So he sent me to Richmonds.

It did seem a mysterious providence. The dear lady's idea of a Presbyterian minister was definite and clear. He should naturally be tall of course he would be dignified; and in all the virtues and example to youth. With what pride and expectancy did she look forward to next Sunday; when all the neighbors would assemble in the schoolhouse to see and hear a real Presbyterian minister! Alas that the spirit of moral should be proud! The minister proved to be a boy. He was not tall and he was fat.

Before a week had gone she made him feel that her heart was glad he had been chosen of God to come. Her home became his home; and what a home it was! Just a cabin; with two rooms and an attic. It was a large family too. But there was always room; not for just one more but for as many as might come; even strangers stranded on the prairies. I think the record was the sheltering of sixteen wayfaring guests for a night. Later in prosperity; a commodius; modern house was built; but it could not surpass the charm of that hospitality cabin.

It is not my purpose to write an obituary eulogy; but to bring into the publicity of these pages; which first as The Interior and since as The Continent she had cherished for more than a generation; the name of a woman rare in her quiet faithfulness and; with her good husband the real founder of Presbyterianism in that part of northwest Iowa. It was my privilege last winter to have an hour's visit with her; then in her eighty-seventh year. She had never expected to reach old age; but her talk of the goodness of God through the lengthening years; her joy in seeing the development of the country to which in her youth she had come as a pioneer; her happiness in recalling the beginnings and growth of her own church; and her fine readiness to go hence whenever God willed-all was like the benediction of a mother's hand on the head of her first pastor in that new country. And many other such like men and women joined with the Richmonds in helping along the kingdom there. --The Continent

Contributed by: James Richmond. Source: The Continent, written by George N. Luccock.


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