The Rev. Samuel Moody, of Scotch-Irish descent, was born in Northampton county Pennsylvania, February 14, 1801, in the vicinity of the mission station of David Brainard, among the Indians. His parents being Presbyterians, he was at an early period of his life indoctrinated in the tenets of that faith. His youth was marked by morality and sobriety. When about fifteen years of age he was greatly impressed by the preaching of Rev. Robert Finley, D. D., of New Jersey. At the age of eighteen he removed to Beaver County with his father's family. When about twenty-three years of age he attached himself, by profession, to Mill Creek church, in Beaver County. Prior to that time he had attended the common schools of the neighborhood. Having thoughts of preparing for the ministry in the fall of 1824, he commenced the study of Latin with his pastor, Rev. George Scott. He continued under his tuition for about three years, and then entered Washington College, Pennsylvania. When in his senior year, the college was temporarily closed by the removal of the president. Still ambitious to become a scholar, he entered Jefferson College, where he graduated in September, 1829, being twenty-eight years of age.
He then taught one year, and entered the Western Theological seminary in 1830, at Allegheny City. On the third of October, 1833, he was licensed to preach by the presbytery of Washington. He preached a few months at Upper Ten Mile, Wolf Run, and Unity churches in Washington presbytery, and in 1834 located at Big Spring, in Carroll County, Ohio, and remained about eight years. He was ordained by the presbytery of Steubenville, July 5, 1837, and installed pastor of the Big Spring church. In 1843 he was invited to Hopewell, in Ashland, and Orange churches, and accepting the call, removed to Ashland, July 9, 1843. He continued as pastor of Hopewell and Orange about thirteen years. His ministry was characterized by an exemplary and devout life, and during his residence at Ashland he won the esteem of all. Owing to an unfortunate division arising among his people concerning church music, and a separation of a number of members from the parent church, for the establishment of the First Presbyterian church of Ashland, the number of members in Hopewell was not largely increased during the labors of
Mr. Moody. In April, 1856, Mr. Moody and some members of his family visited western Pennsylvania. While crossing the Ohio on the 24th of April, near Wellsville, in a skiff with his little daughter, the ferryman and three others, the skiff being moored to the ferry-boat, on approaching the Ohio shore, became separated from the barge and overturned by the violence of the current, and he and his daughter thrown into the stream. Mr. Moody soon disappeared beneath the turbid current and was drowned, while his daughter floated, being supported by her clothing, and was saved.
The remains of Mr. Moody were recovered on the fifth of May, eleven days after the fatal accident, in the vicinity of Steubenville, and brought to Ashland for interment. His funeral was preached by Rev. John Robinson of the First Presbyterian church of Ashland. We are indebted to him for the following summary of the habits and character of Mr. Moody:
Brother Moody’s traits of character are easily sketched for they were apparent to all his acquaintances.
First—He was unobtrusive, quiet; not as easily known as some, and most highly appreciated where most intimately known. He was a man of tender attachments, disposed to contribute in every practicable way to the comfort of those about him, and exceedingly careful not to give pain by word or act.
Second—He was a man of correct judgement. He carefully weighed matters presented for his consideration, and seldom failed to reach a conclusion, which commended itself to others. Associated with him from our earliest ministerial life, we have rarely known him to mistake in transacting ecclesiastical business. Calm, thoughtful, and under the influence of sterling principle, his judgements were to be relied upon in all matters pertaining to the interests of Christ’s kingdom.
Third—He was very conscientious. This may be illustrated by a fact in his college life. Washington College closed temporarily when he was a senior half-advanced. The other members of his class received diplomas, as if they had graduated. He felt that he was not strictly entitled to a diploma, and, therefore, took a certificate and went to Jefferson College, and after a summer term of study, graduated. Now the last term of the senior class is generally passed, mostly in review and preparation for the commencement. So that he had little to gain by this course, as far as mere learning is concerned. But then his diploma never disturbed his conscience by asserting what was not literally true. And this trait ran through all his conduct, in all his relations.
Fourth—He was very uniform in his temper and manners. During an acquaintance of nearly sixteen years, we have scarcely ever seen him either manifestly depressed or elated. He was seldom irritated or fretted, of unduly buoyant. He seem to live realizing the great truth that the Lord reigns, and that “he doeth all things well.” More than almost any man we have known, he fully filled the poet’s description:
“The good man lays his hand upon the skies
And bids the world roll on, nor heeds
Its idle way.”
Mr. Moody was married February 17, 1840, and had five children, three sons and two daughters, all of whom survive. Mrs. Moody, his widow, and most of her family, reside in the village of Savannah, Ashland County
Source Ashland County Ohio Bio's
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