Autobiography of Virginia Caywood West
Jennie Caywood West was born four miles Northeast of Ewing, Fleming County, Ky., June 10th, 1851; died Wednesday, July 26th, 1916, at the home of her brother, Alex. Caywood, where she had resided for the past two years.
Mrs. West was a woman of culture and high moral character. She was a member of the Mt. Pisgah Church from early womanhood, always taking great interest in the church. She possessed great musical talent, and was organist at the Mt. Pisgah Church for fifteen years. Her devotion to the interest of this church, was manifested by her generous donation to it, provided in her will.
Mrs. West had been more or less an invalid for many years, and was especially frail during the last few months of her life. Had it not been for the tender and untiring care of her brother, Alex. Caywood, and his noble, kindhearted wife she could not possibly have remained in our midst as long as she was permitted to.
She often remarked to her friends, that the efforts of these two made her last days much brighter than they would have been otherwise.
She leaves many friends and relatives to mourn her death. To know her, was to love her, on account of her sweet disposition.
Her noble character and high sense of morality is shown by “A Synopsis of her Life,” which was written by her about a month before her death.
Mrs. Eva Adams
Autobiography of Mrs. Jennie C. West
I was born four miles Northeast of Ewing, Fleming County, Ky., June 10th, 1851. United with Mt. Pisgah Baptist Church February 4, 1877, and baptized by Rev. M. M. Riley, then pastor of Mayslick Baptist Church.
I was united in marriage to William J. West of Fleming County, Ky., (but formerly of Nicholas County) July 3rd, 1890, Rev. J. H. Wright, then pastor of Mt. Pisgah Church, officiating.
It is a source of great pleasure to me to reflect on my past life, the greater part of it, at least, and realize that I have always tried to live honorably and upright, and that I have always tried to do my duty in life so far as I was able.
While my life has not always been fraught with sunshine, yet there is enough sunshine left in it to make it pleasant for me to think of.
When a child I was very light hearted and happy. All was happiness and pleasure. The world was bright to me. There seemed so much in life to me, really all was life. Never did I dream that a cloud or even a care would ever cross my pathway of happiness.
I was happy in childhood and on to womanhood, and later on I have often wished that, if it was the Divine Will, I could live it over again. But Not All.
Oh! for the return of my voice that I might sing that sweet song, “Backward, turn Backward, Oh, Time in Thy Flight, Make Me a Child Again, Just for Tonight.” But, Alas! that pleasure is denied me.
Tho’ my life has been one sweet summer day and my pathway strewn with roses, yet they were not all without thorns. But such is life.
The happiest even of my life occurred March 13, 1906. While I was alone in my room I was in sweet communion with the Holy Spirit. This occurred twice the same day. Oh! that I had the power to relate it now as I did then. I was perfectly calm and composed. Life seemed so sweet and peaceful. I was at perfect peace with the world. I loved everybody and was supremely happy.
To have seen some of the angels of Heaven passing my window was my one great desire. Oh! how I wished for it.
During the time Billie came into my room and sat down by me. Taking both my hands in his, he said, “Jennie, what are you thinking about? Are you worse? Shall I call the doctor?” Then I gave him the whole experience from beginning to end with the most beautiful expressions that ever fell from my lips. I had perfect command of language then, such as I never had in all my life before, all of which was given me by the Holy Spirit.
It was always a source of great pleasure in after years to try to tell it all over to him. But he would always say, “Jennie, you can never tell it to me like you did on that day. The expression of your eyes and the bright countenance you wore were such as he had never seen before.” He never forgot it.
One year from that time my health began to decline. Of course, I tried various remedies, but of no avail.
I left my home several months at a time in search of health, and spent some time under care of different physicians in Lexington, Kansas City and elsewhere. I made several trips further West and South to Florida. There we located among millions of pines, where the air was fragrant with the perfume of the sweet magnolia and other beautiful flowers of the South, amid orange and grape-fruit groves and other tropical fruits. All these I hoped would aid me in my search.
I also waded the briny waters on the coast of the Atlantic and picked up shells (and as I well remember the words of that beautiful song, “Gathering up the Shells From the Seashore” came rolling through my mind) and I saw the beautiful hues of the ocean before and after sunrise.
Everything looked lovely to me, but nothing looked the color of health, which I would have rather possessed than all the lands between my home and the gulf.
I became so discouraged and felt that if I could travel all over the continent and from Maine to California it would be no benefit.
As there always seemed to be so much in life for me, I often asked the Lord to restore my health if it was His good pleasure, but if not to reconcile me to my afflictions and make me able to bow submissively to whatever might be His Divine will.
Now, like Job, “I will wait my appointed time,” for I have long since learned that it is sweet to lie passive in His hands and know no will but His.
I returned to my dear home in Ewing, only to realize that the remainder of my life had to be spent in more or less suffering, at which I felt I had served quite an apprenticeship already, but more especially in the last year and a half and even more so in the last eight months.
Oh! for the grace, like Paul, to help me bear my afflictions and glory in my infirmities.
What a blissful thought to realize that there is a more glorious place than this, beyond this vale of tears, where there is no suffering, sorrow nor crying and where Christ reigns supreme. I know there’s a mansion in Heaven for me, for Jesus said, “I go to prepare a place for you, that where I am, there ye may be also.” And I seem to realize that ere the snows of another winter fall my body will be resting in the silent grave and my spirit will have gone to God who gave it.
Blessed thought, that I shall enjoy that Heavenly mansion with my loved ones gone before.
Should these lines ever chance to pass before the eyes of any of my friends after I shall have passed away I wish to say in behalf of my dear brother and his wife, that since I have been in their home I have been well provided for in every respect. I came here March 9th, 1915. They have treated me very kindly and tenderly, even more than I asked for. Not a wish has been ungranted. I scarcely know how to express my gratitude to them. I wish to say that I have been perfectly satisfied in their home and not discontented and distressing myself to death to go back to my own sweet home, as some folks would have it. Now I write this for their benefit and also for the benefit of those (no unkind feeling whatever) who talk much and say so little.
I must say for this community that I never saw better people. They, with so many of my dear neighbors and friends of Ewing, Fairview and Mayslick, have surely been lovely to me.
The many flowers, delicious fruits and many waiters of dainties were surely appreciated by me. The little mementoes from I. O. O. F. and the Eastern Star Sisters are not forgotten.
And these dear little children around me that I love so and who love me so dearly and who have been so sweet and thoughtful of me, may God bless them and keep them is my prayer.
And now, last but not least, to my dear old Drs. Dye and Myers, who have attended me so long and put forth every effort in medical skill to aid in restoring my health: May their further efforts be crowned with success and at last may each of them wear a bright crown in the celestial world.
Now, my dear friends, I will bid you all a final farewell with the hope that I will meet you all in Heaven, where all is peace, happiness and love and the broken ties of earth are made complete.
JENNIE CAYWOOD WEST