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Orley H. Sibley

Rev. Orley H. Sibley, click to enlarge


REV. ORLEY H. SIBLEY, A local preacher who for a long time did work as a supply in the Conference. This memoir is inserted in response to the request of several ministers and layman who were his friends.

Orley H. Sibley was born at Brockwayville, Pa., August 12, 1845, and died at Brookville, Pa., April 15, 1923. The last rites were performed at his home in Brookville, April 18, Dr. W. P. Murray officiated, assisted by the Revs. T. W. English, O. L. Winger and the writer.

He married Phoebe A. McMinn, of Brockwayville, December 24, 1870. Five Sons and four daughters were born to them. Mrs. Sibley and the following children survive: Mrs. Elsie C. Chamberlain, East Palestine, Ohio; Mrs. Blanche I. Crawford, Mars, Pa; Miss Mary E., at home; Lester M., Brockwayville Ross R. Portland, Oregon, and the Rev. Loyal, Keene, Ohio.

Beginning his ministry at Brockport. Pa., 1874, in the crowded years to come he served the following charges: Corsica; Hazen, three times; Ringgold, four times; Sigel, Emerickville, and Sunville. With the exception of a brief migration to Wyoming and Wisconsin in search of health, which he did not find, his life and work were limited to his home section and for the most part in Jefferson county. This has a significance. It means that here was special and real need for his ministry; that he understood the people and they him, and that his successful work was made possible because of mutual respect and affection. His sermons, visits, attendance at deaths, officiating at marriages, the gladnesses and sadnesses he shared with all, blended his life with the regional life of his time. He was a loyal and loving husband, a kind and thoughtful father and a kindly neighbor and solid citizen.

He was a pleasant comrade to travel with, being a great talker-not the idle lalage of the superficial, but the ready conversation of one who had read much and pondered more. And through it all a gentle humor bubbled, for despite ill health his outlook was genial. He was so inured with the more wholesome truth of the universe that he forebore to fret about the negative forces of the world. It could be said of him as Dryden said of Chaucer: "He is a fountain of good sense."

Boy and man I respected and loved him. His life, as his preaching. was of the very essence of staple. fundamental human virtues-sincerity, probity, directness, simplicity, love.

Old friend, your vibrant voice stilled, and now our noisy years seem moments in the eternal silence. Once again I stand with you at night time and see the stars race the edges of the hills. I hear the soft words on the wings of the night:

Asleep or awake, by night or day, 

The friends I love are loving me;
No wind can drive my bark astray,
Or change the tide of destiny.
The stars come nightly to the sky:
The tidal wave unto the sea;
Nor time, nor space, nor deep, nor high,
Can keep my own away from me.

By D.A. Platt, Memoirs of Deceased Preachers, Erie Conference Journal and Yearbook, 1923, pages 828-829.


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