William Hemby Lane


William Hemby Lane was born in Chowan County, North Carolina, ninth month, 27th, 1850. He was the son of Elsberry and Sallie A. Lane, both members of Piny Woods Monthly Meeting of Friends. From early childhood their children were trained to honor and obey father and mother, and so live in the fear of the Lord.

Hemby, as he was familiarly called, stayed with his father and mother until he was twenty-one years of age, when he was soon married to Sarah E. Winslow, daughter of Jesse B. and Sarah Winslow, members of the aforesaid meeting. They settled in Perquimans County, about five miles from Piny Woods, and were regular attenders of that meeting, unless kept away by sickness or some other unavoidable hinderance. He very seldom spoke in meetings for worsnip, but the life which he led proved him to be a humble follower of the Lord.

In the year 1883 a great sadness visited his heretofore happy and peaceful home, when his beloved wife was taken from him, leaving five little children with no longer a tender mother to soothe their childish fears. This seemed like a dark day, but the Lord was

round about, and wonderfully blessed him both in basket and in store. His youngest sister, Emily, now came to live with him, and herein was a way made, where there seemed to be no way; for no one, save a mother, could have filled in the ranks and acted the parental part as did she,—ever loving, patient and kind in whatever seemed her duty.

In 1885 he was again married to Lucinda Winslow, daughter of Exum and Elizabeth Winslow. She, too, was a member of Piny Woods Meeting, and also a cousin to his first wife. It proved that rich blessing were continually added, for a step-mother indeed had filled the mother's vacant chair, and joy and happiness was again felt around the family altar. A mother's love now reigned supreme.

The subject of this sketch appeared to have a special gift for business, and though he had but little education, could solve any problem that came to him in way of business. He was always honest in his dealings with people and endeavored to so live in a way that was well pleasing in the sight of his Lord, which brought to him a host of friends whom he was ever ready to help in every time of need.

Hemby was a man of very few words, but what he said had great weight, and proven a lesson wherever spoken.

In 1900 he moved to Centre Hill, in Chowan County, where he spent the remainder of his life.

On the afternoon of the tenth month, the 15th, 1911, he was taken violently ill, being conscious only a short part of the time. All that loving hands could do was of no avail. The dear Lord saw best to take him away; yet we have Paul's assurance: “All things work together for good to those who love the Lord.”

His funeral was conducted at his home by friends and others on first day afternoon, 10th month, the 22nd, 1911, in the presence of an immense crowd of sorrowing relatives and friends, after which he was quietly bourne to the family burying ground, and peacefully laid to rest amid a shower of beautiful flowers, placed on the casket by loving friends, which were wet with sad tears from those who loved him.

Two beautiful characteristics manifested by Hemby deserve special mention. Sad to say, they are too rare, even in Christian homes. We never knew him to display the slightest temper, or give away to anger; nor did we ever know him to speak unkindly to a mortal soul. He had cause, of course, as we all have, more or less, yet grace sustained him. Truly, a good man has gone to his merited reward. He was an excellent provider, a kind and effectionate husband, a true father, and a loving friend, always cheerful and shedding forth sunshine and happiness in the world, with always a smile for those with whom he mingled.

Though his form cannot be seen in this world again, yet his influence for good will live on and on, and his life be an inspiration to those who knew him.

He is survived by eight children, viz: Jesse E., Charlie R., Sarah M., Oliver E., Martha J., and William Hemby Lane, of Tyner, N. C.; Mary L. Chappell, of Belvidere, and Elizabeth White, of Tyner; two brothers, Israel and Elson Lane, of Tyner, and one sister, Emily L. Copeland, of George, North Carolina. These, with a host of unnamed friends who mourn the loss, are still left behind to trudge as God sees best, this lonely veil of tears, while the beloved subject of whom we speak has joined the Anthems of Glory in singing praises to the Lamb throughout the countless ages of a never ending eternity. “O, Death, where is thy sting? O, Grave, where is thy victory?” For, of what profit are the sin pleasing things of this world when compared with the joys of that Celestial City where pleasures do not end and where the inhabitants can never say, “I am sick”; and while we sorrow that we will never meet here on earth again, we have the sweet assurance that we may meet in that Better World where there is no parting, pain nor sorrow, and that another one has been taken to that beautiful Home to assist in welcoming the saints into Glory as the Lord calls.

Only a few short years and we shall be

judged. The same debt must be paid by each of us, and, “When this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: Death is swallowed up in victory.” And methinks I can almost see the inscription engraved upon the tombstone:

  • “Dear friends, as you go passing by,
  • As you are now, so once was I;
  • As I am now, so you must be,
  • Prepare for death, and follow me.”
  • Dear father, we sorely miss thee,
  • Since from us thou art laid;
  • Yet, we can hope again to meet
  • When by us the debt is paid.
  • Dear father has gone to rest
  • Where never a pain shall disturb his breast;
  • No trouble distress him, no sorrow annoy;
  • He has gone to Heaven, that land of joy.
  • Dear father, can it be
  • That look of love no more we see;
  • Those loving eyes now closed in death,
  • We will think of thee with one last breath.
  • Earth was not for thee, dear father,
  • God had more need for thee;
  • How can we dare to disobey
  • Since He has willed these things to be?

  • When e'er we speak thy loving name,
  • Our eyes with tears are wet;
  • O father, how we loved thee!
  • And love can not forget.

A tract entitled, “Getting Ready to Mome” was found in the pocket of the aforesaid subject after his death, which we have reasons to believe was his feelings before his death, and read as follows:


The owner of the tenement which I have occupied for many years has given notice that he will furnish but little or nothing more for repairs.

I am advised to be ready to move.

At first this was not a very welcome notice. The surroundings here are in many respects very pleasant, and were it not for the evidence of decay, I should consider the old house good enough. But even a light wind causes it to tremble and totter and all the braces are not sufficient to make it secure. So I am getting ready to move. It is strange how quickly one's interest is transferred to the prospective home. I have been consulting maps of the new county and reading descriptions of its inhabitants. One who visited it has returned and from him I learn that it is beautiful beyond description; language breaks

down in attempting to tell of what he heard while there. He says that in order to make an investment there, he has suffered the loss of all things that he owned here, and even rejoices in what others would call making a sacrifice.

Another, whose love to me has been proven by the greatest possible test is now there. He has sent me several clusters of the most delicious fruits. After tasting them, all food here seems insipid. Two or three times I have been down by the border of the river that forms the boundary, and have wished myself among the company of those who were singing praises to the king on the other side.

Many of my friends have moved there. Before leaving, they spoke of my coming later. I have seen the smile upon their faces as they passed out of my sight.

Often I am asked to make some new investments here, but my answer in every case is, “I am getting ready to move.”

William Hemby Lane
William Hemby Lane. North Carolina : [s.n.], 1912. [7] p. ; 17 cm. Part of cover is missing. The words "father, husband, friend" can be seen on the partial cover.
Original Format
Local Identifier
F262.C44 L36 1912
Location of Original
Joyner NC Rare
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