"And my God put into mine heart to gather together the nobles, and the rulers, and the people, that they might be reckoned by genealogy" (Nehemiah 7:5).

People matter to God! He lists them in the Bible. The purpose of the genealogical lists is not intended to divulge the date the earth and mankind was created as a direct act of God, but to set forth, in outstanding representative names, the line of the promised Redeemer, Jesus Christ.

As the scribes wrote the dateless documents, all demands were satisfied when known occurrences were referred to definite periods, as within a certain generation or under a specific dynasty, or within the reign of a given ruler already familiar to the people of that time.

For the lineage of Jesus Christ, genealogies are recorded of ADAM (Genesis 5); of NOAH (Genesis 10); of SHEM (Genesis 11:10-32); of HAM (I Chronicles 1:8-16); of TERAH (Genesis 11:27); of ABRAHAM (Genesis 25); of ISHMAEL (Genesis 25:12-16); of ESAU (Genesis 36); of JACOB (Genesis 46); of the tribes in chapters 2,4,5,6&7 of I Chronicles; of DAVID (I Chronicles 3); and of JESUS CHRIST in Matthew 1.

The birth of Christ relies on three capital facts:

  1. The star of the ancient wise men, a scientific conclusion.
  2. The death of Herod the Great, with special reference to an eclipse of the moon.
  3. The enrollment of the Jewish population at the birth of Christ, by the Roman Quirinius.

Today, our family genealogy or "tree" begins with the date our forefathers came to America. A family is truly blessed if they can trace back to their ancestors' arrival with the Pilgrims on the Mayflower in 1620.

I, Anne Russum Klepper, was born in 1922. I married Fred B. Klepper, whose life span of fifty years was from 1911 to 1961.

My parents were Henry P. Russum, 1886-1948 (62 years) and Grace Matilda (Tillie) Hacker Russum, 1893-1989 (96 years).

My Maternal Grandparents

Ephraim Bradley Hacker was born in 1858 in Benton, Arkansas. He died in 1921 at the age of 63. I regret that I did not seek information about my ancestors. Who were Grandfather's siblings? I remember Dora who married Tiz Spencer. Two more sisters were Celie and Betty because of a story Grandmother told of Celie sitting on the floor, looking up at her mother and saying, "Mama, Betty made me cry."

Ephraim married Mary Elizabeth (Bettie) Clark. She was born April 24, 1864 and died on December 13, 1962 at the age of 98 years. I do not know how many children they had. There was a daughter named Hazel. My mother was Grace Matilda (Tillie) Hacker Russum, the seventh child in the family. The ninth child was named Velma.

I cannot remember a time in my life without Aunt Velma, who married W. Emmett Cole. They had two children: a daughter named Eschol and a son Emmett, Jr. called "Little Emmett" who was the very image of his father. He was born in 1926.

In September, 1932, Mother received a letter telling her that Little Emmett was killed in an auto accident. He was six years old, and the first of our cousins to die. Aunt Velma's heart was broken. She was inconsolable. Eschol was twelve years of age at that time. She felt utterly helpless as her mother cried continuously. Every night she would pray, "Lord, please let me do something so Mother doesn't cry." I was ten, and saddened by my aunt's grief. Years later as a young adult, I visited Aunt Velma, who still cried for her son. She lamented over the years that she didn't get to share his life to adulthood.

Eschol married John Victor Shroyer, Jr. They had two daughters. When Eschol was pregnant with their second daughter (Betsy Cole), she contracted Polio. She was devoted to her home, husband and children; a wonderful wife and mother; an outstanding Christian. Only time will tell how many people she touched with her life.

Six years later, God blessed Eschol with the miraculous birth of a son, John Victor Shroyer, III. The grandparents, Velma and Emmett, were overjoyed. Aunt Velma didn't cry anymore! She had a "son" in her life again. Twenty years had passed since Eschol began her prayers to "Let me do something so Mother doesn't cry." God answers prayer in His time and in His way. Aunt Velma told me, "God has healed our broken hearts.

John was young when his grandfather Emmett died of cancer (the same type that took Eschol's life). After graduation, John attended Dental School in Dallas and stayed with his grandmother (my Aunt Velma). Her joy was overflowing, for at last she could experience the thrill of having a "son" grow up.

My life was influenced by the family women of faith who lived before me. They were not famous. Their stories were not published in a "best seller." Yet for perhaps the past 125 years, stories of their faith gave great encouragement to their heirs and will be continued in future generations. Bettie Clark Hacker will be remembered as a woman of faith. Velma Hacker Cole saw the faith of her mother. Eschol Cole Shroyer lived to see the power of God through her faith; but she saw the model of faith in those who had gone before her. What will we write about our life?

Many people spend their lives trying to create a lasting legacy on earth. I think we all wish to be remembered when we're gone. However, our ultimate goal here on earth is to prepare for eternity. The Apostle Peter wrote, "Moreover I will endeavor that ye may be able after my decease to have those things always in remembrance" (II Peter 1:15). He is concerned that he might have a voice for God on this earth after his decease.

Mom Melder, wife of one of the deacons at Hidden Valley Baptist Church died in August, 1964. Just prior to her death, she was asking the same question: "What will they remember of me?" This was the name of a poem she wrote. It follows:

"The sun is fast sinking into the west; Soon will I be in the Home of the blest.

And when I've crossed over life's surging sea, What will the world remember of me?

I remember my mother; the life she led. I remember her prayers and the tears she shed,

That I might know Jesus of Calvary. What will my loved ones remember of me?

Will they remember God's Word I have read? Or will it be the idle words I said?

Can they say 'Lord, she was faithful to Thee?' What will my loved ones remember of me?

When life's work is over and my race is run, Can Jesus greet me and say, 'Well done?'

My past I am leaving just a memory. What will my Christ remember of me?"

Wield as much Godly influence for Christ as possible among family, friends and strangers you meet. Trust that influence to become a part of their lives after you are gone.

--Anne R. Klepperv
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