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Samuel Arnold Fike Story
Posted by: Dianne Bowders Date: February 12, 2002 at 19:24:50
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"Allegheny Passage, Churches and Families West Marva District Church of the Brethren 1752-1990", E. Bittinger, Penobscot Press, Camden, Maine, 1990, p. 522 (information also in "Some Who Led", 1912)
Samuel A. Fike
       "Born Dec 22, 1820 and died May 7, 1905, Samuel was a son of Peter and Magdalene Arnold Fike who moved to Eglon in 1854. Peter and Magdalene were soon followed by their children, many of whom were already married.
       Samuel was married to Rachel Snyder when he was 23 years of age. In 1856, when Elder John Kline visited the Peter Fike home near Eglon, Samuel was elected to the ministry.
       His first sermon was a failure, and he sat down, weeping, amidst abundant criticism, Not a quitter, he soon mastered the art of preaching and came to be known as 'the son of thunder'. He used his fist liberally to pound the table. He was ordained in 1861 and placed in charge of the German Settlement Congregation, a position he held for 44 years.
       During his ministry he preached 263 funerals, solemnized 184 marriages, and baptized 207 members. He served twice on Standing Committee, and assisted in the organization of many congregations. He usually had the charge of four or five.
       He traveled many thousands of miles on his faithful horse, Bill, and they were good friends. On one occasion, during a sermon at a place distant from home, Bill became untied and started home. After a while, he returned, apparently not feeling right about not having his master astride his back.
       While presiding over German Settlement Congregation, he was aided by his younger brother, Aaron, who served as assistant elder for forty-one years. Samuel traveled extensively on the frontier of West Virginia, going from as far south and west as Wirt, Braxton, Gilmer, and Ritchie counties and as far north as Pennsylvania. Being away so much, he obviously relied heavily on Aaron to care for matters in the home church.
       Familiarly known as 'Sammy', he was loved and implicitly trusted by the people he met, and he never betrayed that trust, sometimes at great sacrifice to himself and his family. Grown people loved him and looked forward to his coming. Uniquely in his time, when children were usually ignored or ordered to be quiet, Elder Fike was able to converse with them at length to their great delight and lasting friendship.
       He and Rachel had twelve children. Of the sons, three became elders, namely John, Jonas, and Tobias. Levi and Peter became deacons. His children reported to his biographer that he was even tempered, and that they had never seen him angry. The fine congregation which he and his fellow ministers and their devoted wives helped to build was 'the best monument that could be erected' to his memory."

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