Memorial for Abner Heald



Short Title

Memorial for Abner Heald

Full Title

The Testimony of Middleton Monthly Meeting, Ohio, concerning Abner Heald




Middleton MM





Publication Information

Approved by Middleton MM and Salem QM

Last Modified By

Chronicler 05/23/2011


This memorial was not published. The original manuscript version resides in the Ohio YM vault at Olney. The following is the entirety of the memorial:
That survivors may be encouraged to faithfulness in the discharge of their several religious duties; it is a christian obligation to transmit to posterity some account of those who have been exemplary in their lives and have finished their course in peace [the following words have been crossed out: "their good examples shining with greater clearness when they have with the flesh put off all human infirmities"].
This our beloved friend was the third son of William and Sarah Heald, and was born the 20th of 11th Month 1799. From his childhood he was remarkable for speaking the truth on all occasions though he at times deviated from the path of rectitude in his younger years, yet he was preserved from indulging in gross misconduct and immorality.
In the year 1822 he was married to Ruth Dixon, a worthy young woman of Redstone Mo. meeting, Pennsylvania. In less than three months after their marriage she died; which event was an exceedingly sore trial to him, and led him more deeply to reflect on the uncertainty of life and the instability of all earthly enjoyments; and under this afflicting dispensation he was induced to rely on the Redeemer's arm of never failing strength for support, and to seek after an establishment on the alone sure foundation.
In 1824 he was married to Sinah Sidwell with whom he lived in much unity during the remainder of his life.
About the 27th year of his age, after much deep exercise of mind and greatly in the cross, he appeared in the ministry; and being careful to wait for the clear openings of the spirit of truth, he grew in his gift and was acknowledged a minister by this monthly meeting in 1834. He was frequently engaged under a religious concern and with the approbation of his friends in visiting the meetings within the limits of our own yearly meeting. He also visited the meetings of Friends in some parts of Indiana and Virginia Yearly Meetings, the meetings of Baltimore Yearly Meeting, and was twice engaged in visiting those of North Carolina. These visits were to the relief of his own mind; and from accounts received to the satisfaction of friends amongst whom he travelled.
He was a lover of good order in the church, diligent in the attendance of our religious meetings, being a good example in the transactions of discipline. Zealous to maintain the doctrines and testimonies of our religious society on their original foundation, not hasty or forward in the exercise of his gift, being careful not to minister without the fresh anointing of that Life and power which first brought him forth in the ministry whereby his public services were to the refreshment of many. He was a tender sympathizer with the afflicted and was frequently enabled to administer suitable counsel and encouragement to those under trial. For several years preceding his death he underwent much exercise of mind in consequence of a departure from the doctrines and testimonies of our religious society, promulgated by the writings of members which of late years have been productive of much difficulty and dissention in the Society at large.
In his public testimonies, he was led to dwell much on the necessity of recurring to first principles, to that deep indwelling of spirit, whereby our worthy predecessors saw it right through much suffering and persecution to forsake the customs of the world, and were gathered to be a people, relying on the Lord alone for strength, giving heed to his spirit in the heart, as the more "sure word of prophecy."
From some expressions made several months previous to his decease, he appears to have been apprehensive that his travelling in the line of the ministry was finished. He was taken sick of the Typhus fever in the latter part of the 6th month 1847; his disease did not at first assume a very alarming character, and some hopes were entertained of his recovery; though he mentioned to a friend that he was unable to see anything beyond that spell of sickness. His suffering of both body and mind at times was very great; at one time after an unusually severe paroxysm, he queried "can it be possible that all this suffering is on my own account" then added "that it mattered not how much he suffered provided the arm of the Lord was underneath to support" saying his "sufferings were nothing to compare with those that the blessed Saviour endured on our account."
On another occasion, having said but little for some days and appearing to have almost lost the power of speech, symptoms of a more alarming nature coming on, he had his family called, when contrary to all expectation, he addressed each individual in a clear voice, and sent a message to an absent son who was sick. After which he lay quiet for a time; then requisitioning those around him to be silent, he spoke at some length respecting the state of Society, and in a very pointed manner referred to the dissemination of the unsound doctrines before alluded to [lined out: "the writings already alluded to seemed to him to darken the atmosphere of God's firmament"] and saying that "those who say they are in accordance with the writings of Ancient Friends will be found liars before Almighty God."
The day following at his request many of the young friends of his particular meeting assembled in his chamber, and he was enabled to give them much valuable counsel, to the tendering of many minds, in a voice distinctly heard; After which he requested each to take him by the hand and bid him farewell, and he had something to communicate to most of them individually. This opportunity was to the relief of his mind.
At another time, some of his relatives standing around his bed he said "his friends had better give him up," his brother replied they would endeavour to be resigned; he remarked "it is best in all cases to be resigned." His sister soon after came in and asked him how he was; he replied "I am alive sister; I have passed through the valley of the shadow of death or nearly so."
Afterwards, he said "it seems to me from the feelings of my mind, as if I might be permitted in a short time to join the Heavenly host in singing praises to the Lord God and the Lamb forevermore." From this time the comfortable feelings of his mind appeared to mitigate the sufferings of his body, he was cheerful, but said little afterwards. As the period of dissolution approached an awful solemnity attended, hushing every selfish desire into submission to the Divine will; when his purified spirit departed on the 13th of the 8th month 1847 in the 48th year of his age; and we have the consoling belief that thro the adorable mercy of Him in whom he trusted was permitted to enter into the rest prepared for the righteous.
Signed on behalf of the meeting aforesaid held 11th of 5th month 1848. Nathan Warrington and Rebecca Boulton, Clerks
At Salem Quarterly Meeting held 12th of 8 mo. 1848.
The aforegoing testimony was read and approved by this meeting and directed to be forwarded to the meeting for Sufferings. Taken from the minutes of the meeting aforesaid, Jehu Fawcett, Clerk