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The one successively an overseer and elder and the other a minister of the Gospel, they were never called to move under diverse views, and were only separated by the calls of duty leading either to the visitation of distant places, when the sacrifice was made from the united sense of a religious obligation. These separations were felt to be privations in proportion to the intensity of their affection, but in a like degree was the sacrifice a source of consolatory reflection, when their minds were brought to the test of the inquiry whether they had fulfilled the Divine injunctions laid upon them. In the performance of the services required they were often separated in person, but in harmony of feeling, devotion to duty, love for each other and for their Maker, there was ever a unity in one mind and one spirit.
Philip Price was born the 8th day of the First month, 1764, and was the fifth in the line of lineal descent from Philip Price, who came into Pennsylvania with the Welsh settlers, who in 1682 took up Merion, Haverford, and Radnor townships, and increasing afterwards settled the townships of New-town, Goshen, and Uwchlan (1 Proud's His. 221). The name was continued to him through but a single male representative in each generation from the first settler. His father, Philip Price, of Darby, died 9 month 17th, 1811. His mother, Hannah Bonsall, of Kingsessing, was of English descent, and of a family of the first settlers in that place. They were both members of the Society of Friends in good esteem, the latter an elder, lived together in close harmony half a century, and extended to their children the guarded education recommended by the discipline of their religious society.
Rachel Price, born the 18th day of 4th month, 1763, was a daughter of William Kirk, of East Nantmeal, Chester county, the tenth child of Alphonsus Kirk, who came from the North of Ireland, and settled in Centre, New Castle county, in 1689 (1 Proud, 218), and of Sibylla Davis, who was of a family of early Welsh settlers. They were also members and held in esteem in the Religious Society of Friends, and their children received from them the religious care customary in that society.
The parents of neither were wealthy, and as a grazier in Kingsessing, Philip Price in the same season suffered the loss of his stock of fat cattle by the British, and afterwards of his poor by the American army, during the revolutionary war.
William Kirk, removing from his father's residence near Wilmington, prior to the middle of last century, was a pioneer in a new settlement, and encountered the usual hardships and perils of those who first penetrate the wilderness, to fell the forest and reclaim the earth for cultivation. At an early period of this settlement, when the clearing was small and the crops in proportion, a severe winter came on, with a heavy snow three or four feet deep, and drifting, made the roads next thing to impassable. It found them destitute of provision. The father rode all day to procure a supply, but returned at night exhausted and sick, without any success. The feelings of the wife and mother were roused to make another effort to avert starvation. She set off next morning and beating her way through the snows on horseback, reached George Ashbridge's mill, now Milltown, near Westtown School, a distance of more than fourteen miles. She offered her web of homespun and next year's crop in pledge for meal; frankly confessing that they were without food and without money. The miller—honoured be his name, as yet it is in Chester county and the city of Philadelphia in the third and fourth generations—took only her word, and furnished her the meal, and offered to supply the family until the next harvest. The husband in her absence had appeased the sharpest cravings of their children's hunger by the rinsings of the kneading bowl, and at night they found respite in sleep. But the sleepless husband watched in deepest anxiety and sympathy for her return all the night long, during which the heroic wife had battled with the snows. She reached their cabin in the morning, with the precious store for relief, and the husband and wife, overcome with joy and gratitude, fell into each other's arms and wept,—much to the astonishment of her young brother, a lad of ten or twelve years of age, at such a manifestation of rejoicing,—who sensibly hastened to make a pot of mush for breakfast. This relief from the extremity of peril, our mother often told us with a like emotion, her father never could relate without shedding tears; and with tears the narrative is now written, and will often so be read by the descendants of William Kirk. It is due to truth, however, to say that the courageous woman was the first wife, Mary Buckingham, and Rachel Price was a daughter of the second wife of her father.
An amusing substitute for the mail occurred between the families. William Kirk took with him to the new settlement a dog from his father's house. It occurred that the dog got his feelings hurt and travelled off to his old home, whence, upon the like offence being taken upon a like show of disrespect, he travelled back again. Observing this infirmity of temper, or perhaps a proper selfrespect and dignity, it was practised upon so as to make him the bearer of letters to and fro, inclosed in a bladder tied round his neck, so as not to be wet in swimming the Brandywine. The letter adjusted, the provocation to a departure was administered, and the excited temper sped the post dog, unconscious of the calculated purpose of which he was the victim, a distance of thirty miles, at the end of which he was welcomed by food and caresses. This incident may not be destitute of instruction to others than the canine race against suffering their infirmities to be played upon for the advantage of those more cunning than themselves.
William Kirk's eldest son, Caleb, interested for his father in his loneliness after the death of his first wife, and desirous of a good mother-in-law for the children, advised his marrying an excellent widow of the name of Coates. The father thought she was rather too old for him, and declined taking the advice, and thereupon the son courted and married her himself. The only issue of the latter marriage were three sons, one, Elisha Kirk, an eminent minister among Friends. The father, besides his ten children by his first wife, had nine by his second, the sixth of whom was Rachel Kirk. Happily, therefore, it was that the well intended advice was not taken.
Our father at earliest manhood, for deviations so slight that the world would deem them trivial and unimportant, was visited by compunctions and a repentance that produced an instant and marked effect on all his after life. Contrary to the known wishes of his parents he adopted a fashionable style of dress, and with a company of other young friends inclined to gaiety, visited first Shrewsbury and afterwards London Grove quarterly meeting. At the latter meeting, the powerful preaching of Jacob Lindley reached home to his state of feeling so strongly that he heeded not the call of his companions to rejoin them, and he returned home by himself, already experiencing the precious feelings resulting from the resolution to take up the cross and submit to the Divine will.
Thus commenced, in a ministration that made one as a