Death of Mrs. E. L. Springer
Preached on the occasion of the death of Mrs. E. L. Springer, of Vicksburg Baptist Church, by the Pastor, Rev. D. S. Snodgrass, Feb. 20th, 1859, and requested by Judge Springer and the Church for publication.
Elizabeth L. Taylor was the daughter of John Taylor and Mary Ann “Molly” Hawkins, born in Loudoun County, Virginia, about 1796. Elizabeth married Judge Benjamin Springer, in Vicksburg, Mississippi, on February 10, 1829. Judge Springer was the dear friend of my great-great-great-grandfather, John Cotton Taylor, brother to Elizabeth. In fact, he named his son Benjamin Springer Taylor, after his dear friend.
As many times happened in those early days of our country, one sibling went one way, and one the other way. John Cotton Taylor left the family home in Loudoun County and headed west over the Appalachian Mountains to Washington County, Kentucky. Elizabeth moved south to Mississippi. John Cotton remained in Kentucky for almost 40 years, married and raised a family, buried one wife and after 12 years married a second time. At this point in his life the call of new lands was too much. John Cotton moved his family to Cape Girardeau, Missouri, except for daughter Catherine Elizabeth who at that time was married to Edward Linton and had a new baby girl, Alice – they remained in Washington County, Kentucky.
Cape Girardeau is located on the Mississippi River, just two hours south of St. Louis. Perhaps John Cotton Taylor was able to take a steamboat down the Mississippi River to visit his sister Elizabeth and husband Benjamin Springer. If not before, perhaps he was able to attend her funeral – and this publication of the sermon I have was brought back from that sad time. “Mother Springer is at rest! She is at last with that Savior whom she loved and labored to glorify on earth. O! that her mantle may fall upon her dear friends who survive.”
John Cotton Taylor did not find Missouri to be the glorious place he hoped – within 12 years, five of the original eight who make the trip were dead, including John Cotton Taylor. Four children of his son, Benjamin Springer Taylor, and wife, Martha Jane Janes, were born in Missouri – two of whom died while infants. Three adults and two children made the trip back to Washington County and the family they had left behind.
Today we take for granted the sacrifices our forebears made in moving on to new lands, the harsh life of settlement on the prairies and the sadness and heartache they endured. Life was not easy, but they persevered and continued on with life – though sometimes, undoubtedly, with a very heavy heart.
Elizabeth L. Taylor Springer must have held a very special place in the hearts of her family. This copy of her funeral sermon has been passed down through the generations for 153 years – I treasure it.