One of the most precious items that I’ve inherited from my family is a handwritten obituary that my great grandmother, Della Simmons (née Hanes), wrote about her father, John Nelson Hanes.
She included several important details, such as when and where her father was born, lived, and died, but also spoke much about his religious life, and even included the cause of death.
Fell asleep in the arms of Jesus, John N Hanes, son of Thos. Hanes. He was born November 6th, 1825, married to Lucinda J. Hire, Oct 13, 1846, and died April 10, 1878, aged fifty-two years five months and four days.
Born, married, and died on Long Creek, Macon county, Tenness. He professed faith in Christ when in his 18th year at home in his father’s house joined the M. E. church and commenced praying in public, a practice which he kept up during his life. He leaves behind him his companion and nine living children, six sons and three daughters, all of whom mourn greatly the loss of their loving husband and father. He was a christian in the truest sense of the term. After his marriage he elected the family altar and prayed with his family night and morning. He was a class teacher and a licensed exhorter, ever ready to visit the sick, feed the hungry, and support the gospel. He was noted for opposing wickedness of every shape, and to aid all institutions which have for their end morality, ???, and civilization. During his illness his house was a house of prayer. He would frequently call upon his christian children, brethren and pious father, who stayed with him a great deal during his illness, to pray for him that he might have fortitude to withstand the disease and that the same might be light(?). As a laborer for Christ he was never known to tire. During the war, when wickedness and crime overshadowed our land, when robbing and murdering were common and the gospel neglected, he did not fail to attend to his christian duties. He talked a great deal of heaven, and advised the unconverted to meet him there. His advice and farewell words to his family were enough to melt the heart of an infidel. He will be greatly missed by the church and country. He has crossed the river Jordan and is waiting on the other shore the arrival of his christian companion and friends. Many preachers who have partaken of his hospitality will mourn his loss, for his house was the stopping place of preachers. To those let me say hold out faithful to the end, as he died, that you may cross over safe to where he is waiting for you.
Religious services were held at the burial by his old friend Daniel Dalton, a local preacher of Allen county, Kentucky, who made a very feeling and interesting talk, which brought tears from the eyes of hundreds. He was sick three months and died of pneumonia.Della Simmons, November 6, 1893
What I find most interesting about this document is that Della wrote it over 15 years after her father died. You see, her father passed away when she was just 4 years old in 1878, but she wrote this obituary in 1893 when she was 20 years old, married, and a mother to her first born child (Berch). As such, I think it’s important to view this document through the eyes of a youthful mother who lost her beloved father when she was very young.
Facts About People
John Nelson Hanes (son of Thomas Allen Hanes & Elizabeth Law)
Born: 06 Nov 1825 in Macon County, Tennessee, USA
Married: 13 Oct 1846 to Lucinda Jane Hire
Died: 10 Apr 1878 in Macon County, Tennessee, USA
Buried: Lyles Cemetery in Macon County, Tennessee, USA
Lucinda Jane Hire (daughter of Eli Hire & Mary Epperson)
Born: 29 Aug 1830 in Macon County, Tennessee, USA
Married: 13 Oct 1846 to John Nelson Hanes
Died: 17 Sep 1901 in Macon County, Tennessee, USA
Buried: Haysville Cemetery in Haysville, Macon County, Tennessee, USA
Della Edna Hanes (daughter of John Nelson Hanes & Lucinda Jane Hire)
Born: 23 Aug 1873 in Lafayette, Macon County, Tennessee, USA
Married: 07 Mar 1892 to Walter Lee Simmons
Died: 03 Mar 1959 in Indianapolis, Marion County, Indiana, USA
Buried: 06 Mar 1959 at Haysville Cemetery in Haysville, Macon County, Tennessee, USA
Walter Lee Simmons (son of Andrew E. Simmons & Amanda Alice Gibson)
Born: 06 Nov 1871 in Little Rock, Pulaski County, Arkansas, USA
Married: 07 Mar 1892 to Della Edna Hanes in Macon County, Tennessee, USA
Died: 18 Oct 1960 in Indianapolis, Marion County, Indiana, USA
Buried: 21 Oct 1960 at Haysville Cemetery in Haysville, Macon County, Tennessee, USA