Sarah Willmington, Obituary/Death NoticePorter County obituaries and death notices . . . .

Sarah Willmington

The funeral of Mrs. M. L. McClelland, whose decease has already been announced in out columns, took place yesterday p. m., services being held at the residence of Mr. McClelland at 2 o'clock. There was a very large attendance not only of our citizens, but many relatives and friends were present from abroad. The choir of the Presbyterian church sang "Jesus, Lover of My Soul," "Nearer, My God, to Thee," and "He Will Hide Me." After the reading of Scripture selections the Rev. Dr. Boyd offered prayer and was followed by the Rev. Robert Beer in a brief address, of which the following sketch is the concluding portion:

Sarah A. McClelland, daughter of John Wilmington and Anna Beall, was one of a numerous family of children and was born in Louisberg, Preble county, O., April 8th, 1834. In the fall of the same year, when but a few months old, she was brought with her father's family to South Bend, in this state, of which place they were among the early settlers. There she grew up to womanhood, and on the 3d of October, 1852, when in the 19th year of her age, she was married to Marquis L. McClelland, and removed with him to Valparaiso in March, 1853, where they have ever since resided. There were born to them three children, of whom two are now living. A little more than three years ago Mrs. McClelland's health began to fail; indication of an affection of the lungs of a serious nature manifesting themselves. The peculiar type of her disease was such as to cause her from the beginning great distress, and her sufferings grew more aggravated until Sunday p. m., Dec. 9th inst., when she passed away from this world, at the age of 49 years, 8 months and 1 day.

Thus ended the earthly life of one of God's dear children. She had at an early age confessed Jesus Christ and united with the M. E. church of South Bend. Having a beautiful and well cultivated voice, she was always a lover of songs of Zion, and before her marriage she was a member of the choir of the Presbyterian church of South Bend. On the 25th of February, 1854, she was received into the membership of the Presbyterian church of this place by letter and remained in its communion until her death. From the time of my first acquaintance with her eighteen years ago she was always deeply interested in every work of the church. As long as her health admitted of it she was a regular attendant upon the services of God's house, whether the weather was fair or stormy, and gave the sanctuary the preference over entertainments of a secular character. I expected always to see her at the prayer meeting if she had the strength to be there. In various departments, of church workl she was also active, giving her time freely and laboring oftentimes even beyond her strength. It was a sad day for us when it was found that she could no longer be present in those gatherings of the ladies where hard work was to be done to forward the material interests of the church. But not even sickness could deter her from some humble labors of this kind, for even until within a few days of her death, and when for long months she had been denied any comfortable repose, she was still engaged with her hands laboring to promote the cause to which her heart was given. But she was more than a mere worker in the church. The Savior of men had touched and anointed her heart with something of his own compassion and tenderness, and she was found walking in his footsteps in ministering to the poor and sick and in comforting the bereaved and sorrowing. Where there was trouble you would be almost sure to find her while her strength remained, doing what she could in cheerful and helpful ministry to the afflicted. She was a woman of a strongly affectionate nature, loving her husband and frirends and children unsweringly. No one has any better right to bear testimony to the constancy of her friendship than her pastor. Through a period of 18 years, from my first acquaintance with her until the day of her death, I received many evidences of her steadfast attachment to me as her spiritual guide. Never exacting or complaining because of the lack of personal attention to herself, she was watchful of opportunities for my doing good to others and ready with kind suggestions in regard to those who stood in need of my attention because of sickness or discouragement. So sensible have I been of her disposition to aid me in my work in every way within her power, that from the time her disease left us without hope of her recovery, I looked forward to her death as an event which would make a very great change in my own surroundings. I consider it a privilege to have been permitted to remain long enough among you to cast a handful of earth upon the remains ofso true a friend. With great vivaciousness or temperament Mrs. McClelland was of an humble mind. When in death she was sensible that she had not attained to fulness of stature as a Christian and oftentimes made confession of her failings and shortcomings. During the latter part of her sickness, so harassed was she with incessant coughing that she could not converse with any comfort. Yet with the prospect of death before her life had been full of imperfections, and she regretted that she had not more honored the Savior, she trusted in the merit of that blood that cleanesth from all sin. Nor was it some merely imaginary sinfulness she bewailed. She well knew what her shortcomings were, and sin, with her, was a real thing, the tendency to which in the impulsiveness of her disposition and her natural fondness for gayety, she deeply deplored. From sufferings which none could see without being moved to pity, she was at length kindly released by the Savior or sinners who has taken her to be with himself at his Father's house. Though under the circumstances, none of us could have desired her longer continuance with us, what a change does her death work in her own household, and what sorrow does it bring to those of her friends who survive. May God in his infinite mercy bless this sorrow to their good in making it to bring forth the peacable fruit of righteousness.

In the roll of the church on earth with the interests of which she was long identified, there is a vacancy. The poor, the sick and sorrowing will miss henceforth her sympathizing and helpful ministry. To me her pastor through so many years, her death is a personal loss and grief. But in laying away her remains this beautiful December day in the old cemetery on the hill, we have the consolation which is brought by the gospel of Jesus Christ and the assurance that this eath is made better by the lives of such persons, and heaven enriched by their death.

At the conclusion of the service at the house the remains were taken to the old cemetery, a large procession following. At the conclusion of the burial service the choir sang "Rock of Ages," the people, with sorrowful hearts, returned to their homes. Requiescat in pace.

Newspaper: Porter County Vidette
Date of Publication: December 13, 1883
Volume Number: 27
Issue Number: 50
Page: 4
Column(s): 5 and 6

Key to Newspaper Publication Locations:
    Newspapers Published in Chesterton, Porter County, Indiana
                Chesterton Tribune
                The Tribune
                Westchester Tribune

    Newspapers Published in Valparaiso, Porter County, Indiana
                Porter County Vidette
                Practical Observer
                Valparaiso Practical Observer
                Vidette and Republic
                Western Ranger

The obituaries and death notices appearing on this website have been transcribed exactly as they were originally published in the newspaper. Please note that we do not provide photocopies or digital scans of obituaries and death notices appearing on this website.

Obituary/death notice transcribed by Steven R. Shook


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