General Fiction posted May 23, 2023

This work has reached the exceptional level
War looms and people are frightened.

Continue -Rumors

by Ben Colder

This story is created from the pages of true American History recorded in the Library of Congress.
The setting is in the year of 1859 in the state of Virginia just before the Civil War. The U.S. Army arsenal where Guns are made at Harper's Ferry, is about to be raided by John Brown who is burdened to free all the slaves. The Langly family are of the old Puritan religion, but things are changing. The family feels the war is coming and Thomas, the father is afraid of losing his sons to the cause.

At the Langly farm, the family were preparing to complete Marcu's and Hanna's house. It was planned that the family would move in within a few days, bringing absence to their present location, but only for sleeping and family time. All meals would still be eaten at Thomas's home, a custom he refused to abolish. It was his and Mary's way of keeping the family together, especially now with times of uncertainty.
The entire neighboring families knew something was about to happen. John Wilks, Langly's nearest neighbor had once said, "It was like the smell of death in the air and the buzzards were yet to find."
Marcus's house would be the third cottage built on the farm. Seith and Rebecca were the first and then James and Elizabeth leaving Daniel and Eli who had yet to marry.
The idea of having separate housing for private and sleeping arrangements stemmed from Thomas himself. He remarked, "You should have privacy and it would be best for you and your families to have separate housing to enjoy each other, just as your mother and I have enjoyed bringing you into this world. To ease the burden of meals, we shall all eat at your mother's and my kitchen table."
The idea was working for now. Though it gave the family moments to express their feelings toward various subjects, the wives were still miserable. They wanted to cook and serve special dishes for their husbands and themselves without hearing others discuss their opinions. However, in time, that would soon happen.
It was difficult for Thomas to be deprived of one ounce of control over his family, but things were changing due to Mary's persistence in accepting the innovative ideas. She remarked when she and Thomas were alone. "Our sons have chosen wisely concerning their marriages, and to deprive them of their independence of raising our grandchildren in the way they think would be acceptable. Thomas, it is time to put away your selfish thoughts and let the boys handle things on their own. They have enough of you in them to make proper decisions."
Thomas rested for the night but kept Mary's words at heart. He knew she was right. It was time to let them make their own decisions, but the brink of war was emerging, and he was afraid of losing them.
Thomas could see it was a spiritual war that would soon manifest itself in the natural world.
Much like Moses when God sent him to the Egyptians demanding the Hebrew slaves to be set free. John Brown was burdened by the Lord, but Brown was acting carnally. Declaring war on his fellow man was not the answer and there was no doubt Brown would suffer the consequences. God is spirit and it would take the Bible believers to seek Him for the answers.
Captain Lee and many others were said to be devout Christians and Thomas had no opinion either way, but in his teaching, he felt that if God allowed a war to come then it would be because of disobedience.
It was obvious things were getting out of hand. John Brown had made the attempt to capture the arsenal at Harper's Ferry and was captured and sentenced to hang. The incident circulated quickly which caused special meetings.
Thomas and all his sons were present the evening that news about Virginia withdrawing from the Union arrived. Silence filled the room as sadness hovered over the descendants of those who had fought for independence.
Questions of uncertainty flowed like a river, but it was Thomas Langly who insisted they should all pray for guidance. The Christian families knew God was in control of things and built their petition upon promises He had made through Christ.
Standing before the group, Thomas said, "Folks, we are all saddened over what our state has done. Our leadership has failed us. It is because of disobedience and promises made to God in return of our independence. Slaves have been in our nation since the sixteen hundreds and those who have participated in owning them have done so ignorantly toward God's word. It is not the question of Christianity, but the understanding of God's word. He has never approved of slavery and the story of Moses should be a guide. So, I ask you, will we or our families fight in the natural for something that is bound to fail or go on with our lives as though nothing is happening while hiding our thoughts in the mind of God?"
It was quiet, not one word was said as the meeting adjourned. On the way home, James asked, "Father, what happens if soldiers come to our farm demanding we surrender our food and everything we have? Will you let us stand and fight?"
Thomas thought a minute before responding. "Well, God will give us wisdom if that occurs."
As the sons continued homeward, Thomas remained quiet in silent prayers. Beneath his breath, he sought God for guidance. It was obvious that the nation's disobedience to God's word would allow the war to come. The only hope was prayer, and that God would show the new elected President, Abraham Lincoln His will concerning slavery.
When reaching the gate that stood at the edge of the Langly property, Little Eli was quick to jump from the wagon and remove the lock. The gate swung wide allowing both wagons to pass through. For now, things seemed safe but, no lock would stop the inevitable.


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