David Long was born in Washington County, Maryland, on January 29, 1820. In 1826, when the Annual Meeting was held in that county, Joseph took the six-year-old boy along with him. Being too young to be interested in the sessions, David spent much of his time playing with Mary Reichard, the daughter of Daniel and Catherine Reichard, on whose farm the Annual Meeting was held. This friendship eventuated in their marriage in 1841.Even though David was an eager student he had few opportunities for securing an education. To a large extent he was self-taught. To ensure having a good vocabulary, he secured a dictionary and read it from cover to cover. By this means he learned to express his thoughts clearly.
The Longs took title to about two hundred acres of land; it was part of the Conococheague Manor, a tract owned by General Samuel Ringgold. Their home was like the average home of that day - built to accommodate both family and guests, for all of whom there was ample room. Many were the Brethren who were entertained in the Long home. During the battle of Antietam this house was within range of both armies; although the soldiers tramped over the farm, damaging it as they went, little damage was done to the house. One day a cannon ball penetrated the east wall of it.
David and Mary Long were the parents of twelve children, eleven of whom grew to manhood and womanhood. Of the six daughters, three married ministers; of the five Sons, four became ministers.
When David was twenty-three he was elected to the office of deacon. To the Brethren in those days this meant being a person of great promise, for they were slow to lay hands on those young in years. Having made good in this office, he was elected to the ministry when he was thirty. On the very day of his election his wife was at home at the point of death. Much sympathy was expressed to the young man who, many thought, would be left alone with his young family; Mary recovered, however, and lived to sustain and strengthen him in his new duties. In the course of time his home church, Manor, advanced him to the full ministry and he became the elder, or bishop, of what is now the Manor, Beaver Creek, and Hagerstown district. He was plain spoken, a skilled executive, and was trusted by all.
In the community as well as in the church he was held in respect and confidence. Many people entrusted their investments to him without requiring any papers. His word was as good as his bond. A man of more than average intelligence, he had a strong, active mind and a character conspicuous for uprightness and integrity.
In his church relationships he was a hard worker and was called upon from many quarters for advice and help. In fact, he gave of his time and his means so freely that his personal affairs suffered. When his estate was settled, the assets just canceled out the obligations against it. His day was that of the free ministry, when it seemed, in the thinking of most Brethren, that the minister must make the major sacrifices. One person remarked to the author that the minister barely eked out an existence while the deacons left farms to their children.
Source: Sidelights on Brethren History, Freeman Ankrum
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