Thursday, March 12, 2009

Fathers, Part 2

Who knows if the Rev. A.H. Burroughs, the “marrying clergyman” of Franklin County, Va., had time to spend with his children, so busy he must have been riding the circuit and marrying all those couples. Little evidence can be found about the man until late in his life, when a remarkable incident gave him entry to history books.

In “Booker T. Washington and the Adult Education Movement,” Virginia Lantz Denton wrote of Washington’s tour of the South and a certain stop at a train station in Greenville, Tenn., in the fall of 1909: “Rev. A.H. Burroughs came to the station to see the group’s departure. He told Washington that he was from the Burroughs family in Franklin County, Va., Washington’s former owners. Washington turned to the crowd and exclaimed, ‘Why, Dr. Burroughs and I belong to the same family.’ As the train pulled out, Dr. Burroughs exclaimed over and over: ‘What changes time does bring. Just to think of it. The great man once belonged to our family. I’m proud of him, sir – mighty proud of him!’”

His father had worked the land with the human beings he had bought and owned. A.H. Burroughs had chosen a much different path – following the Lord. And his son, also named Ambrose Hammett, would likewise go in a completely different direction – the law – in search of luxury and the filthy lucre his father’s sermons most likely warned against.

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