Transcribed by Dennis Brown
Dennis Brown passed away July 24, 2003, New Zealand
In his memory I dedicate this page in honor of him and his family.- 07/26/03
Oxford Torch Ledger
April 25th 1876
Obituary - In Memoriam
Mrs Isabella Alston VENABLE
In our last issue we announced the death of this highly revered lady, which occurred on Friday April 14th 1876, at the residence of her son, Col. T.B. VENABLE, in this place, in the 69th year of her age. For many months her health has been precarious, at times her sufferings were intense, but they were borne with an unmurmuring submission to God’s will, and with a fortitude that was absolutely heroic. Since the death of her dear husband, the late Hon. Abraham W. VENABLE, who preceded her to the grave only eight weeks, and with whom she lived nearly fifty-three years as his devoted confiding, true wife through every vicissitude and trial, the ‘Silver Cord’ of her life has been gradually to ‘loosen’ for to her the ‘golden bowl’ of earthly joy had been rudely ‘broken.’ She looked with sweet and cheerful anticipation to the hour of her release from the painful experiences and heart agonies of this life, saying with steady and ecstatic hope, ‘that her husband and eldest daughter awaited her coming on the shore ready to greet her.’ Her life was indeed beautiful: her death was a great triumph of grace. In health, affluence, happiness and truth she loved and served her Lord and Saviour, and in sickness, bereavement, tribulation and an honoured old age she found Him her ‘Staff and Joy, her Hope and Salvation.’
Mrs VENABLE was in many respects the most remarkable lady we have ever known. In saying this, we do not permit the enthusiasm of the eulogist and the admiration of the friend to control the judgement of the critic. She came of a stock that had known days of peril and darkness – a stock that had produced men of iron nerve, unswerving devotion to principal, and unfaltering trust in the ‘King of Kings and Lord of Lord’s; a stock that had produced, too, devout women who, schooled in the ancient faith of the Covenanters, had walked the path of duty with brave hearts and piety. She was the daughter Thomas BROWN Esq. of Auchlochan, County Lanark, Scotland, and was descended from Presbyterian Covenanters. The Sword one of her ancestors bore in the struggle with Claverhouse is still preserved as a precious heirloom among her relatives in that beautiful land.
Mrs Venable’s moral qualities were surely the highest possible, whilst her intellectual faculties were uncommonly strong, balanced and disciplined. Such was the sweet and gracious benignity of her life that all who came within her circle felt her fascination and yielded willing heritage to her exalted purity, dignity and cheerfulness that commanded the profound respect, admiration and affection. We do not think any other female ever excited in us so much of reverence and respect. She so impressed others said two ladies in our town of another community ‘of all whom we have known she was the model woman.’
She was indeed the friend of the needy, and in her neighbourhood she was held in the highest esteem, but by none was she more loved and revered than by the poor to whom she was so long time both a Good Samaritan and an assiduous almoner. Her piety was sincere, deep, humble. For probably fifty years she was a devout and active member of the Presbyterian Church, and in all this land it would have been difficult to find a higher type of Christian womanhood.
Quite unbidden Tennyson’s very striking lines on ‘Isabel’ occur to us, as having a peculiar application to the lady whose virtues we would communicate. Here are a few lines:-
"Sweet lips whereon perpetually did reign The Summer calm of golden beauty, Were fixed shadows of the fixed mood, Revered Isabel, the crown and head, The stately flower of female fortitude Of perfect wifehood, and pure lowly head Crown'd Isabel, thro all her placid life, The queen of marriage, a most perfect wife."
She died in perfect peace. Whilst conscious of her approaching end she sent messages of love to her dear absent ones. She conversed freely concerning her death, exhibited the completest fortitude, resignation and hope, and thanked her Heavenly Father again and again for His great goodness and mercy to her, and specially for her dear, obedient, loving children He had given her, who had so comforted her through a long earthly pilgrimage, and whose kindness, sympathy, and affection accompanied her even to the close of life. Her faith centred in the Cross, rested upon the finished and complete work of the Crucified One. Thus invincibly trusting, her soul in perfect peace passed from its frail, crumbling tenement through the golden gates of heaven into that glorious upper sanctuary where all is Light and Love immortal. ‘Earth has one angel less and heaven one more, from yesterday’.
She has doubtless met with that reception for which she looked with so much of joyful expectancy – that sweet, eternal greeting she was to receive from those dear ones of her household who had gone before.
Is there not a sweet plea for piety in such a life; Is there is not so much of goodness and graciousness in the closing of such a pilgrimage?
‘It little matters at what hour of the day To her untimely who has learned to die. The less of this brief life the more of heaven The shorter time the longer immortality.’
Her funeral service was conducted from the Presbyterian Church by Rev. Edward HIVES and D.E. JORDAN on Sunday last, and in the afternoon her remains were deposited beside those of her husband, in the old churchyard at Shilo, to await the resurrection of the just.