A Remarkable Old Man


March 23, 1893

 

A REMARKABLE OLD MAN.

 

SOMETHING ABOUT THE CAREER OF MR. JAMES PRINGLE.

 

He Is Hale, Hearty And Happy At Ninety-Six.

 

The most remarkable man living in Livingston county, Ky., is James Pringle.  He was born in Henry county, Ky., the 16th day of July, 1797, and came to Livingston county in 1819 and here on the 10th day of July, 1820, he married Miss Agnes Wilson, daughter of James Wilson, who played his part in the history of our country, for he fought in the Revolutionary war, and was one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence.  James Wilson was born in Pennsylvania, moved to North Carolina, in which state at the age of fifty years he married, and moved from North Carolina to Livingston county, Ky., in 1811, and died here in the spring of 1813 and was buried near the Ohio river.

Mr. Pringle and his good wife lived a peaceful, happy and prosperous life together, until the 10th day of September, 1879, when she departed this life, for her home in heave, where she is watching and waiting for him.  They never had any children.  Mr. Pringle had three sisters and five brothers, all of whom are dead.  His father was a Scotchman, his mother Irish.  In his youth he was learned the hatter's trade, and was a journeyman hatter when he found his way to this country, and here in connection with farming he continued to make hats for many years.  By untiring energy and the hardest kind of work, in connection with close economy, good judgment, and fair and honorable dealing with his fellow-man, he began to grow rich; then he dropped off the hat business, and besides farming and working as hard as ever, he began to loan money, and in this, as in every thing else, he watched his business, and a man had to get up before day to beat Mr. Pringle out of any of the principal or interest, for, like Napoleon Bonaparte, he always slept with one eye open, and was always up before day himself.  Well, thus he continued to prosper until it became a familiar saying among the people of this county, "That if I have not got the money, Pringle has."  And so to-day he is counted one of the richest men in this county; his property consisting of lands, town property, Government bonds, good promissory notes secured by mortgages on good real-estate, and money in banks.  Mr. Pringle is one of the few men in this life who has always proved his word to be as good as his bond.  While he has never thrown away any money on frauds and vagrants, he has always given liberally and with open hands and heart, to charitable objects and to persons needing and deserving help.  Many poor men and women of this county have been pulled out of the mud and mire of poverty and distress by the open purse and kind heart of James Pringle.

He is possessed of a first class English education, which he obtained himself without the advantages of a school, by close, hard study, by burning the midnight oil, by knowing how to economize time.  He would carry his book with him to the field and read as he went to and from his work.  I very much doubt if there is a better posted historian in this end of the State the Mr. Pringle; he has been blessed with a most remarkable memory, and now in his ninety-sixth year, he can repeat almost the entire Bible, word for word, from memory.  The other day your correspondent called on him and he repeated in grand style, "Harney's Meditation on Creation," which he had not read for twenty years.  He can write good poetry himself, and is good in mathematics, and no other man can beat him working out sums in interest.

In politics he was an old line Whig under Prentiss, now a Democrat under Grover Cleveland.  He has been a member of the Baptist church for man years, and for man years was the leader in the singing at this church.

Mr. Pringle is fond of talking of things related in ancient history, and can give you names and dates accurately while talking on historical subjects.  He has not read the Beecheam's [Beauchamp's] Soliloquy, which was published shortly after Beecham [Beauchamp] killed Sharp, since it first came from the press, but he can repeat it to-day word for word.  While he is as kind and tender hearted as a child, there never has been a day, since he reached manhood, but what he would fight, and fight bad, if any one reflected in any way upon his honor.  He has proven his bravery upon more than one occasion.  Mr. Pringle has never used tobacco in any form, and never used whisky in any shape or form, unless when sick, and then it had to be prescribed by his attending physician.  Many years ago Mr. Pringle bought his tombstone and wrote thereon his motto and his epitaph, which is in the following, "Honor, Virtue, Justice and Truth."

"When consolation in these words,
What consolation it affords;
If we follow them in our lives,
They are a warning to the wise.

O, that He who rules in Heaven above,
Where all is pleasure, peace and love;
Would incline our hearts to see
The way that leads to felicity.

Then we could shout, there we could sing,
O, monster Death, where is thy sting?
Why should I fear the raging sea,
When Jesus Christ died for me?

O, what a blessing it would be,
If all our follies we could see;
To guide us to the realms above,
Where all is pleasure, peace and love."

Mr. Pringle has always lived up to his motto, Honor, Virtue, Justice and Truth, and so when the question comes to him from above, "Are you ready?" he can safely answer back, "I am ready."  We hope and pray however that God in his mercy may spare Mr. Pringle for many years yet to come; at any rate, until he can say in round numbers, one hundred years.

 

Source:  Crittenden Press. (Marion, Ky.) 1879-1907, March 23, 1893, Image 2 - Chronicling America - The Library of Congress.

 

[My comments are in brackets.]