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Saturday, December 18, 2004

My Great Great Grandfather's Beard (Further Updated -Twice)

Early this morning, during a 6:00 AM endowment session at the Washington, D.C. Temple, a powerful prompting persuaded me to go home immediately afterwards and record this following bit of family history:
My Great Great Grandfather, *John F. Kump (6 July 1849 - 30 October 1937), son of **David S. "Cooney" Kump (25 September 1815 - 25 April 1895), always wore a beard, with one brief exception.
Once, thinking that perhaps his beloved wife, Ruanna Koontz, would be pleased with him if he was clean-shaven, he shaved off his beard and then slipped up behind her, to surprise her with a loving embrace.
Frightened, Great Great Grandmother Ruanna didn't even recognize him at first, thinking he was an intruder.
She then made him promise to never again shave his beard, and he thereafter kept his word to her for the rest of his life.
Following Ruanna's death in 1929, John was hospitalized (I don't remember why) and the head nurse decided that his beard, now matted and stained with years of accumulated tobacco juice drippings, would have to be removed.
Tearfully, he told the nurse of his pledge to his now deceased sweetheart, and begged her not to shave his beard.
Touched, she relented, and took the time to arduously clean and comb his long beard, until it glistened in white purity.
Since then, John and Ruanna were reunited forever, as they were "sealed" together in God's Holy Temple, as husband and wife for all eternity.
To learn more about how marriage does not have to be only "until death do you part", call 1-888-537-6777 for a free video about loving relationships and how they can last forever.

PostScript: Gertrude "Trudy" Zeger, Granddaughter of John, tells me that she was fifteen when he died, and that he used to come to her parents' home on Sundays for dinner, walking the approximately six mile round trip. According to Trudy, he loved to sing, and their favorite was "When the Roll is Called Up Yonder", and that she can still "see" him singing for them. He was hit by a car walking home from a friend's one day, and was in the hospital for a week before he died. Now that Trudy mentions it, I also remember being told by my Dad that Great Great GrandDaddy refused to believe in cars, and would ignore them when he was out walking, thus leading to his fatal accident. Trudy tells me that she was only seven when Great Great GrandMother Ruanna died, about a month after she had visited Trudy's family and told them that it would be the last she would see them.

Another Postcript: Trudy also tells me that another of his favorite hymns was "The Old Rugged Cross", which must have been passed down through the generations, because my Dad used to sing parts of it when I was a kid. Trudy goes on to tell me that his son, J. Frank Kump (same name but different twist on it) made the communion table for the United Brethren Church in Fayetteville, PA., with "In Remembrance of Me" carved on the front. He also made the hymn boards for the church, all on or about 1935.

*During the Civil War, when John F. Kump still was barely into his teens, Confederate troops captured Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, burning the town to the ground for refusing to pay ransom.
Captured by the Rebels, John was pressed to gather firewood for their camp.
Each day he ranged farther and farther away from camp to gather firewood, until he finally got far enough away to keep on going and escape.

**Returning home late one night and falling down drunk, David S. "Cooney" Kump came to a creek, which only could be crossed over via a fallen log.
Later, when asked how he was able to walk across the log in his stupor, he grinned and confessed that he "cooned" it.


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