The following biographical sketch was sent to me by a member of a Methodist Church in St. Clair County, Michigan. Arthur Lincoln was a brother of my GGGrandfather Allen G. Lincoln. They were sons of Oliver and Almira Lincoln from Batavia, Genesee County, New York. Almira Lincoln died in Kimball, St. Clair Cty., Michigan on 24 April 1886 and is supposed to be buried in the "Kimball Cemetery". We have not been able to find any record of her death or burial in the county. Nor have we been able to determine if the adopted girl, mentioned in the biographical sketch, ever made it back to the US from Africa. If anyone has information on any of the people listed in this biographical sketch, I would be more than willing to share what I have in exchange for that information.
BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH OF BROTHER AND SISTER LINCOLN
DEAR BROTHER ROBERTS: It may seem as though sufficient had been written concerning the death of Brother and Sister Lincoln, missionaries to Africa; but as Brother Mudge (Sister Lincoln's father) requested me to preach their funeral sermon at their home at Smith's Creek, and write a biographical sketch, I have cheerfully complied. I wish to give a few quotations from letters received from Brother and Sister Lincoln, showing that they were satisfied all the way through that they were in God's order in going to Africa as missionaries.
In Sister L.'s letter of March 15, 1888, she speaks of an "oasis in the desert". She says" "We are on board 'Garth Castle' in Dartmouth Harbor -- the most lovely place my eyes ever beheld. It is situated on the sides and at the bottom of a range of high hills which surround the place where our vessel is moored. The ground is covered with green and the houses and castles are partly covered with running vines, which make the village more picturesque. * * * I thank the Lord for an oasis by the way." After giving an account of how nicely the vessel was furnished with comforts, etc., she says: "All I could say and feel when I saw what pleasant quarters we were to have during our long voyage was, 'Praise the Lord. If I am sick it will be a decent place to be sick in.' " Brother L., writing the next day, says they "were all so sick that all they could enjoy was salvation. They all have that, praise God. I rather like the water. While at Attonia when the waves were running six feet high I stood on the upper deck of the Umbria and watched them trying to swamp our iron monster. They would rise high above me as if to come down and swallow me up, but as they came nearer, the Umbria would rise above them; or if they struck her broadside they would recede back upon each other, and as they came together would fly high in the air, sending their spray over us as if to have revenge in some way, 'foaming out their own shame' as Jude says." (He refers in this to their trip previous to coming on board the Garth Castle.)
After arriving at their destination they wrote, giving an account of their journey and a description of the country, which is very interesting; but I can only give little sketches of the letters. April 26 Sister L. write; "Here we are, safe and well at Brother Agnew's Mission. Praise the Lord! Now, Brother Will, you see your prophecy has not come true, for I am here." She then gives an account of their mission and how they are situated, and speaks of honey being plenty and adds, "Now pa will want to come to Africa for some honey. Perhaps we will see you all here some day. It is so nice here I can hardly realize I am so far away from my kin. If you ever do decide to come let me know long enough beforehand to give you directions for the journey. Well, praise the Lord! I am glad I am here. As we look over the past we can see how wonderfully the Lord has guided us and been with us. I believe still I am in the order of the Lord. I will work, I will pray, I will labor every day in the vineyard of the Lord, and do it cheerfully as unto the Lord, and not man. Well, it is night, and part have gone to bed already. Be true to God, dear parents, and be thankful you had a child that was called to this dark place (and yet so beautiful). And pray much that we may be kept safe in the arms of Jesus, doing his will day by day. May God's blessing rest upon you, and save the unsaved is my prayer: and may 'God be with you til we meet again'." Brother L. adds at the close of her letter; "God has been with us all the way along, and is still keeping us. Meanwhile the devil is doing his best to get us. We are ready to work now, and we just begin to see what is to be done. Pray much for your absent children."
I will now give a portion of her last letter to her parents. She had received news of her mother's illness, and she writes: "We are very sorry you are so sick, but glad to hear you are resigned to the Lord. If it is the dear Lord's will, I hope your life may be spared long enough yet to do much good, and perhaps in after years we may meet again on this side eternity. If not, 'twill not be long any way before we will reign with the Lord forever, if only true to him who has promised us so much. Oh, let us double our diligence, and make sure of Heaven! My dear mother, I have just read some verses that I think will be comforting to you, and will pen them:
CHRISTENING ACCEPTED How happy the sorrowing man, Whose sorry is sent from above! Indulged with a visit of pain, Chastised by omnipotent love; The author of all his distress, He comes by affliction to know, And God he in Heaven shall bless, That ever he suffered below.
Thus, thus may I happily grieve, And bear the intent of his rod; The marks of adoption receive, The strokes of a merciful God; With nearer access to his throne, My burden of folly confess; The cause of my miseries own, And cry for an answer of peace.
Oh Father of mercies, on me, On me in affliction, bestow A power of applying to thee, A sanctified use of my woe; I would in a spirit of prayer, To all thy appointments submit; The pledge of my happiness bear, And joyfully die at thy feet.
Then, Father, and never till then, I all the felicity prove, Of living a moment in pain, Of dying in Jesus' love; A sufferer here with my Lord, With Jesus above I sit down; Receive an eternal reward, And glory obtain in a crown.
She then gives an account of things in Africa, and closes with sending love, asking their prayers, and saying, "I am happy in the Lord." This was her last letter. She little thought as she was seeking to comfort her dear parents by writing of that excellent poem, that they would be so much in need of comfort in so short a time. In notifying her parents of their loss, Brother Lincoln writes: "Dearest parents; It is with a sad heart that I sit down to write to you today. I know not how to begin, but this I must tell you: Our sweet, loving treasure is gone. Our Abbie is with Jesus. She left us on the 20th of June, for a better land." He then gives an account of her sickness and death, which has already been given. I only wish to add that although sick and reduced with fever, he worked over her all night, keeping cloths wrung out of hot water across her, when the stove or fire was four rods from where she was lying; and then she died while he was with her alone, and his own hands had to lay her out and perform the last work which could be done for her. But no doubt the angelic host watched with that lone pilgrim, and only waited for the order to take him to be with her and the baby, and all the hosts above, forever. Some may arise yet in eternity to bless these faithful servants of God.
Brother A. Y. Lincoln was born at Batavia, N.Y., February 7, 1850; was converted to God in 1882, under the labors of Brother Israel Mudge, at the same time, or in the same meeting which his wife was converted (though they were not acquainted at the time). He died at Bethany Zulu Mission, Estcourt, Natal, South Africa, in Brother Shemeld's mission home. The funeral services of both were conducted as follows: First, we sang the "Missionary Farewell", which was followed by a prayer by Rev. J. F. Wetherald; Job xiv.to verse seventeen; also 1 Thessalonians iv. 13-18. Then we sang "We'll Be There," from the "Happy Singer", after which the writer spoke from Rev. xiv.13. The congregation joined in singing, "Servant of God, Well Done!" and Brother Seward W. Stone read the Report of the East Michigan conference on Memoirs concerning Sister Lincoln's death, and a short biographical sketch of Brother Lincoln; and Sister Stone read the letter of Sister F. Grace Allen published in the FREE METHODIST. Afterward, as it was Sister Lincoln's custom to close her letters by saying, "God be with you til we meet again," we sang the hymn entitled, "God Be With You Till We Meet Again." I then called for free-will offerings for the purpose of bringing the child, which had been adopted by Brother Lincoln and taken to Africa, back to America; and $57 were pledged (over forty dollars of which were paid with the understanding that if she died before it reached her, the money was to go to the other missionaries).
The house was thronged with people, and the deepest sympathy was manifest toward the bereaved friends, and great reward was shown for the deceased. By request we staid and preached in the evening. God came in power. Three arose for prayers, and we had a melting time. Eternity will reveal how much of a success Brother and Sister Lincoln's going to Africa has been. May God help us to "judge nothing before the time". CLARA L. WETHERALD. Pontiac, Mich., October 4.