Fursterbild [A princely portrait] is a compilation of
the meager facts which I have concerning the family of my wife, Barbara
Ann Furst Stumpf. It is evident from the first document that the family
name in Germany was Furster, which spelling was continued for a
generation or so in America. Sometime in his life, Martin Luther
Furster shortened his last name to Furst, as can be noted from his
EARLY BIRTHGlued inside a manila folder is the ornate Certificate of Birth and Baptism. Printed and for sale by G.S.Peters of Harrisburg, Pa., it is printed in subdued yellow and dark orange in addition to the black ink. Size was probably originally about 16" H X 13"W. The heart of the information is in a central framing surrounded by poetry inserts and pictures of two angels, an eagle, four birds in fruit tree limbs and various flower baskets and bouquets. The whole is surrounded by a floral border.
It reads [penned entries underlined]:
To these two Parents: As Mr. Samuel Furster and his Wife Mary a daughter of Mr. Michel Wilt was born a Son on the 13th. day of January in the year of our Lord 1844.
This Child was born in Lamar Township in Clinton County, in the State of Pennsylvania in North America; was baptized by the Rev. Lewis Eggers, and received the name of Martin Luther.
Witness present at the Act of Baptism: The Parents.
Then under a basket of flowers picture:
"Twas the commission of our Lord,
To teach the Nations and Baptise:
The Nations have received the word,
Since HE ascended to the skies.
Repent and be baptized, he said,
For the remission of your sins
And thus our sense assists our faith
And shows us what his gospel means.
An inward baptism of pure fire,
"Tis all my longing soul's desire:
Kindle in me the living flame,
Baptise me in Jesus' name!
Wherewith to be baptiz'd I have,
This, only this, my soul can save.
Inserts in the upper left and right corners contain the following "cheerful" gems, respectively:
€ Infinite joy or endless woe,
Attends on every breath;
And yet how unconcern'd we go
Upon the brink of death!
€ Our wasting lives grow shorter still
As days and months increase,
And every beating pulse we tell,
Leaves but the number less.
LATER DEATHA Testimonial, dated Nov. 27, 1908, by Rev. C.G. Leatherman
The youngest son of Samuel and Mary Furst was born near Salona, Pa., January 13, 1844. At his infant baptism he received the name of the great reformer, Martin Luther Furst. After the training of pious parents, the catachization of a devoted pastor, he was confirmed in the Lutheran Church. Thus began the life of usefulness which closed suddenly on October 8th., 1908.
As a boy Martin was faithful and studious in the district school, the Salona high school and Susquehanna University. In these places of learning he was equipt for teaching. But this work called him to the ministry, and obeying the impulse, he entered the seminary at Gettysburg in 1877 and graduated in 1880 when he entered the public ministry. As pastor Rev. Furst served in Washington County, Pa., for five years; at Salem Ev. Luth. Church in Fayetteville, Lawrence County, for three and one-half years; in Ramsey, N.J., for five years; in Bedford County, two and one-half years; in Brandonville, W.Va., a pastorate covering six congregations, two years; in Butler, Ind., two years.
Retiring on January last, Rev. Furst moved to the Village of Fayette and prepared to spend his latter days. These days proved to be less than a year. Very suddenly, while yet in bed in early morning, he breathed easily and then faintly and was no more in the flesh.
On October 4th. he was installed as elder in Salem Church, and in less than one week we stood over his open grave and committed his body to the earth. Here in brief are the stepping-stones of his life. As one seldom looks at the ground over which he passes, so in sketching this life many things between stepping-stones are left for the reader to fill in. Suffice it to be suggested that faithful seed-sowing, careful catechization, faithful visitations, and Scriptural preaching---these are the things that tell in t_____ and make noble and true citizens both here and hereafter. The people of the pastorates he served may not hold memorial services for him---they may not know of his death---they may forget his memory---but many live in the service of the Church because he ministered to them in sorrow and joy, in home and church, in word and life.
The good people of Bethany Church, Pittsburgh, will remember his services during last August, and the writer knows with what longing he awaited the dedication of Bethany, New Castle, where he was to take part in the services.
It has been said by one who knew him best: he who was so easily pleased here with the appreciation of friends must be overjoyed with "the crown of righteousness" from him whom he loved and whom he served. Rev. Furst was humble, the result of a clean character. He was strong of purpose, because he was unselfish in service. He loved his people and his church because he loved his God. Such lives witness for God.
The writer knew him but little in the life of which the above expressions are but words. He lived what he said he believed, and the world knew he believed what he said.
His helpmeet, Mrs. Austa Elder Furst, his son Gordon, and his sister, M. Katharine Furst, survive. His body was laid to rest in Fair Oaks Cemetery near Fay, on October 10th., with his pastor in charge of the services.
"Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord."
"For me to live is Christ, to die is gain."
New Castle, Pa.