Mrs. John Tate (Almira Stanfield) Appleby
Courtesy of John Tate Mitchell
Article from the Fayetteville Daily Democrat
19 April 1924
Mrs. Almira Appleby, Historic Character, Goes to Long Rest
The body of Mrs. Almira Stanfield Appleby was laid to rest in Mount Comfort Cemetery this morning at
10:30 o'clock. Internment following services at the church conducted by Rev. M. L. Gillespie, and a
brief service at 9:45 at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Charles Appleby where Rev. N. M. Ragland led in prayer
and where Mrs. Richard Jaynes sang.
Funeral music at the church was sung by Mrs. Jaynes, Mrs. Claude Walters, Fount Earl, jr., and Frank
Moore. Hymns used were favorites of the deceased. "Rock of Ages", Nearer My God to Thee", and
"Jesus, Lover of my Soul'.
Mrs. Appleby was the daughter of Alexander and Louanna Gordon Stanfield. She was born in this county,
April 23, 1836. If she had lived until next Wednesday, she would have been 88 years of age.
She was married January 18, 1855 to John T. Appleby, who died November 28, 1908. There were born to
the couple eight children of whom three died in infancy or early childhood. Five survive as follows: Mrs.
C. S. Stearns, C. W. Appleby, Mrs. L. M. Freyschlag, George Appleby and Mrs. Bertha Cunningham. She
also survived by a brother whom she partly reared, E. M. Stanfield, living near Elm Springs. In addition to
her own family she reared a niece, Mrs. E. A. Jackson, who departed this life a few years ago.
In the funeral sermon Dr. Gillispie paid this tribute to one of the county's historic characters:
"The going of this good woman marks the passing of one of the last of a generation which has contributed
much to the life and character of this country and deserves much more than a passing notice. Her father
and mother with her mother's twin sister and her husband, Reverend Thomas Banks came here from middle
Tennessee in 1830. These sisters belonged to the famous Gordon family which produced General John J.
Gordon of Civil War fame who was one of the greatest characters of the South. These families homesteaded
in the neighborhood of what is now the Appleby school house. The Stanfields homestead has been later
known as the Appleby farm, part of which contains the old home site which still remains there now. The same
year that these families came to Arkansas another pioneer, Hezekiah Appleby, with his family came from the
same section of Tennessee and settled on what is known as the Clark's Spring Farm west of town in the Mt.
Comfort neighborhood. Two neighborhood Centers of Christian influence were thus established.
The Stanfields and Banks founded a Methodist church known as Gearing's Chapel, northeast of town,
which served the pioneers of that community form many years, and a few years earlier Hezekiah Appleby
was a charter member of the old Mt. Comfort Cumberland Presbyterian Church which has served that
community for almost one hundred years.
"These two pioneer families were united in the marriage of J.T. Appleby, son of Hezekiah Appleby, and
AlmiraStanfield. Young Appleby had a homestead near old Sycamore Spring in the neighborhood of Litteral
and builded him a cabin in the forest in which he and his young bride established a Christian home. He had
been made a ruling elder in the Mt. Comfort Church at the age of seventeen and at their marriage the young
wife, who was a devout Christian and a member of the Methodist Church, placed her membership in the
church of her husband and a family altar was established on which the altar fire never went out. Her husband
remained a ruling elder in the church until his death. The last few years of his life he served in the Central
Presbyterian Church of Fayetteville because of its great need of him, but his wife remained a member of the
Mt. Comfort Church until the day of her death.
Mr. and Mrs. Appleby remained on the farm where they settled until the breaking out of the Civil War.
Soon after the beginning of the war he was captured by the Federals and taken as a prisoner to Springfield,
Missouri where he was held for three years. Much could be recorded of his young wife's heroism during
those awful days in which such women played so great a part. She went to Springfield to be near her husband
and remained there until the close of the war when they returned and re-established their home on the old
Stanfield homestead, he buying the interests of other heirs in her father's farm, where all of the living
children except Mrs. Stearns were born and where they lived until her husband's death in 1908. After his
death she made her home with her children, where every possible care that loving ministry could give was
hers,and where she was as happy and content as anyone could be who was homesick for heaven and her dear
ones gone. She lived in daily anticipation of her home-going and when the end came and the angel touched
her she went to sleep in her Savior's arms like a child on it's mother's bosom.
This historical background of this Christian woman is given because it accounts for her character and the
character of her generation and what it wrought. She was of that Scotch-Irish Presbyterian stock of middle
Tennessee whom careful students of our history as a nation tell us have produced more great characters and
put their impress more indelibly upon our civilization of the last century than have any other - and there is a
reason for it. They were a people of deep, firm, rugged, religious convictions. To them God was as real as
breathing. His attributes of holiness, justice, truth, goodness and love were the overmastering convictions of
their lives. To them the Bible was the veritable word of God.
It was the man of the Counsel, the law of their lives, the foundation of their civilization, the revelation of
God's will. They read it and believed it and assimilated it in their characters. In this good woman's home it
was opened and reverently read in the presence of the children daily, as their mother gathered them around
the family altar and their father presided as the priest of God over his household, and then they bowed
together in prayer. When Sunday morning came the children were always ready, under the supervision, and
in the family conveyance, generally a road wagon, the days when the children were small, the family went four
miles to Mount Comfort to Sunday Schools and church. This was the regular program, much more regular
indeed than most people in these times who live within a few blocks of the house of God. Thus they builded
the church into the home, and the home into the church. Always with these pioneers along with their church
and home went the establishing of schools, which crude as they were in beginning were dominated by their
Christian spirit and their fear of God, and wrought mightily for the present civilization."
09 February 2004
background revised: 31 August 2005