Henry Church was born in Suffolk, England, in 1750, and came as a British soldier in the Sixty-third light infantry, and served under Lord Cornwallis in the memorable campaign in Virginia, in 1781. A short time prior to the surrender of Cornwallis, at Yorktown, while on a scouting party between Richmond and Petersburgh, he was captured by the troops under Lafayette, and sent a prisoner to Lancaster, Pennsylvania. He remained there until peace was proclaimed; but the general amnesty brought no freedom to him. He was soon after captured by the meek eyes of a Quaker maiden, and forgot his loyalty to King George, and bowed his neck to the gentle yoke which he wore with exemplary patience for a period of about eighty-one years.
Hannah Keine, the lady that held him so long a captive, was born in Chester county, Pennsylvania, in 1755, and survived to the advanced age of about one hundred and five years. Mr. Church survived until 1863, when he died at the great age of one hundred and eleven years. He located near Burton, West Virginia, after the close of the Revolutionary war, and continued to reside there until his decease. The fruits of his union with the meek Quaker maiden were eight children, the oldest of whom, Anne, died at about sixty years of age; William, the next, lived to be about ninety-six years of age; James, the third member of the family, removed to Milton township, Ashland county, about the year 1817, and yet survives at the age of eighty-five years; Elsey, the fourth child, lived to be fifty-five; Henry, who still survives, is eighty years old; Elizabeth lived to be seventy-five; Hannah lived to be seventy, and Sarah, the youngest, still survives at the age of sixty-eight years. In 1859 an excursion party of artists, with some members of the British Legation at Washington City, visited Father Church at his humble home near Boston, and made drawings of his residence, himself and members of his family. A young English soldier, who had been decorated for gallant conduct on the bloody parapets of the Redan, was introduced to Mr. Church. The old gentleman extended his hand mechanically, but his dull-dim eyes gave no sign. "Bring here the bugle," said a member of the company. It was produced, and one of the martial airs of old England was sounded. Private Church, then one hundred and eight years old, stood up as if his blood had been warmed with wine, and his aged face flashed with intelligence. "I know -I know it. An Englishman and a soldier, did you say? Ay, a brave lad, I'll warrant." The scene was indeed touching. The old man, eighty years before, had landed on our shores an armed invader to aid in crushing out the spirit of revolt. With the sound of the martial bugle he, in imagination doubtless, heard the roll of musketry and the thunders of the deep-mouthed cannon. With his dim eyes he again called up and saw the scarlet battalions of his king marching towards the camps of Washington, Lafayette and Lee. What memories must have crowded upon his brain! He survived until 1863, and left his countrymen again in a death struggle to preserve the liberties and institutions bequeathed by his fathers.
James Church, of Milton, born in 1791 in West Virginia, now 89, is in possession of all his faculties, though his bodily vigor is greatly impaired by reason of age. The longevity of the Church family is quite remarkable, and arises, no doubt, from their plain and simple diet.
Mr. Church has been twice married. His children by his first wife were Elsey, Henry, William, Hannah, wife of Henry Speece, Amanda, Mary, Elizabeth and Caroline.