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David Greenhill Ligon

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David Greenhill Ligon

Birth
Prince Edward County, Virginia, USA
Death
21 Jun 1855 (aged 51)
Moulton, Lawrence County, Alabama, USA
Burial
Moulton, Lawrence County, Alabama, USA Add to Map
Memorial ID
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Gospel preacher.

The following is written by Kenneth Randolph and appeared in the World Evangelist, August 1984, pp. 3-4 and reprinted in "The Alabama Restoration Journal" Feb 2012, pp. 23-24.

He Died Preaching
by Kenneth Randolph

David Greenhill Ligon of Moulton, Alabama is one of those "unknown soldiers" of the cross whose life and labors deserve recognition. He was born April 6, 1804 in Prince Edward County, Virginia to William and Sarah (Leigh) Ligon, the third of five children. He was tutored in law by the distinguished educator, William Branch, in Virginia. He moved to Courtland, Alabama in 1823 where he set up a practice, and married Elizabeth Greenhill Rice in 1824. Ligon moved to Moulton, Alabama In 1824 and soon distinguished himself as a lawyer. He was elected to the House of Representatives of the State Legislature in 1829. For about the first twenty years of his adult life, David Ligon gave himself to his politics and law practice, with little concern for spiritual matters. His lifestyle led him into intemperance and as a result he lost his practice and became very poor. He moved several times, to Courtland, back to Moulton, then to Decatur were he tried his hand at running a newspaper. About 1838, he moved back to Moulton, reformed his life, and began to regain his practice. The great change, however, took place in David Ligon's life in 1843 at the age of 39. The following notice appeared in the 1843 issue of the Millennial Harbinger, a gospel paper edited by Alexander Campbell: "Brother Fanning held a discussion of five days with Mr. Edward McMillan of the Presbyterian ranks, at Moulton, Ala.; after which 22 persons confessed the Lord; among the number a distinguished lawyer of the place." The lawyer was David Ligon and within three months he had begun to use his considerable skills in preaching the gospel. Between 1844 and 1855 various notices appear in the Christian Review and the Christian Magazine, periodicals edited by Tolbert Fanning, and the Bible Advocate, edited by Carroll Kendrick, as well as the Millennial Harbinger, of his preaching. His work at Triana, near Huntsville, at Courtland, and at Moulton, are mentioned specifically. Brother Ligon continued his law practice and in 1845 was elected Chancellor of the Northern Division of the state of Alabama. He was an unsuccessful candidate of the US. Congress in 1849. He served as an Associate Judge of the Supreme Court in Alabama from 1851-1853. He became somewhat of a legendary figure in Lawrence County. Professor C. GLynch, writing in the Moulton Advertiser in 1911, says, "It was with much pleasure, when a boy, we listened to the many recitals of the deeds and ability of Judge David Greenhill Ligon. " James Edmonds Saunders, in Early Settlers of Alabama, who lived during Ligon's time, spoke of his life and outstanding abilities: "He had a fine person, was about six feet high, had dark hair and deep blue eyes. In manners he was remarkably social and popular . . .He had been thoroughly educated, and was master of the English language; indeed, in pronunciation and style, he was fastidious." Saunders recalled that Ligon always had a ready answer, and had never heard him silenced but once. Ligon was defending a horse thief who was found guilty and sentenced to 39 lashes the next morning at 10 o'clock. Ligon entered a motion for a new trial and the next morning began his argument. At his most critical part, he heard laughter in the courtroom. He paused, and could hear the sheriff whipping his client; he sat down without a word, amid the laughter of the court and spectators. In his campaign for Congress, Saunders recalled that Ligon accused his opponent of speculating in lands. His opponent confessed it, and said that bad laws were what allowed him to do it, and that he wanted to go to Washington to change the laws. Ligon said that was the first time he's ever heard of the bell cow being sent to fix the fence. Ligon served as a trustee for the University of Alabama, and for the Mountain Home Female Institute, located eight miles north of Moulton. He was also a trustee and generous contributor to Franklin College, founded by Tolbert Fanning, in Nashville, Tennessee. He published a book in 1848, Digested Index of the Supreme Court of Alabama, in Chancery Cases, from 1820-1847. David and Elizabeth Ligon's children were: Charles W., who was a doctor at Moulton; Pascal L., who practiced law, and became a senator from Powatan County to the State Legislature of Arkansas; David G., Jr., who was killed near Shannon, Mississippi in the Civil War in 1862; John H., who served as Sergeant in Company 0, Fourth Regiment, in the Civil War; Sarah, who married E. C. McDonald, son of Crockett McDonald, who was postmaster and probate judge in Moulton, and who preached for the church in Moulton most of his adult life. There were those who felt that Ligon should have given himself full-time to preaching. J. J. Trott, who travelled through North Alabama on preaching tours wrote to the Christian Magazine, in June, 1851, "I had the pleasure of the good company of our talented brother Ligon last Saturday but to our mutual regret he had to hasten away to serve the children of the world in the office of Chancellor. 0 that the church would divert such ability from the service of Caesar and consecrate it to Christ." From the time of his conversion in 1843 brother Ligon never wavered, and amidst his other duties, he continued to preach the gospel. On June 21, 1855 while preaching a sermon at Moulton, he suffered an apparent heart attack, and died before he could be removed from the building. Professor Lynch said of that occasion: "Full of years and full of honors, the Master called him at his post of duty, and in the church house he loved so well, his soul left its tenement of clay. What a glorious ending to such a glorious life.'" Perhaps he was buried in the McDonald Cemetery on the outskirts of Moulton, where there are unmarked graves, and a number of Lion markers dating back into the
19th century. The life of David G. Ligon is interesting, but also instructive.

1. It is good that we recognize the debt that we owe those who have labored before us.

2. It is possible for one to do much good in preaching the gospel while supporting himself by other means.

3. It is possible for one to turn from a wasted life to a life of usefulness in the kingdom. The end Of one's life is more important than its beginning.

4. There is no better time nor better way to die than while preaching the gospel.
Gospel preacher.

The following is written by Kenneth Randolph and appeared in the World Evangelist, August 1984, pp. 3-4 and reprinted in "The Alabama Restoration Journal" Feb 2012, pp. 23-24.

He Died Preaching
by Kenneth Randolph

David Greenhill Ligon of Moulton, Alabama is one of those "unknown soldiers" of the cross whose life and labors deserve recognition. He was born April 6, 1804 in Prince Edward County, Virginia to William and Sarah (Leigh) Ligon, the third of five children. He was tutored in law by the distinguished educator, William Branch, in Virginia. He moved to Courtland, Alabama in 1823 where he set up a practice, and married Elizabeth Greenhill Rice in 1824. Ligon moved to Moulton, Alabama In 1824 and soon distinguished himself as a lawyer. He was elected to the House of Representatives of the State Legislature in 1829. For about the first twenty years of his adult life, David Ligon gave himself to his politics and law practice, with little concern for spiritual matters. His lifestyle led him into intemperance and as a result he lost his practice and became very poor. He moved several times, to Courtland, back to Moulton, then to Decatur were he tried his hand at running a newspaper. About 1838, he moved back to Moulton, reformed his life, and began to regain his practice. The great change, however, took place in David Ligon's life in 1843 at the age of 39. The following notice appeared in the 1843 issue of the Millennial Harbinger, a gospel paper edited by Alexander Campbell: "Brother Fanning held a discussion of five days with Mr. Edward McMillan of the Presbyterian ranks, at Moulton, Ala.; after which 22 persons confessed the Lord; among the number a distinguished lawyer of the place." The lawyer was David Ligon and within three months he had begun to use his considerable skills in preaching the gospel. Between 1844 and 1855 various notices appear in the Christian Review and the Christian Magazine, periodicals edited by Tolbert Fanning, and the Bible Advocate, edited by Carroll Kendrick, as well as the Millennial Harbinger, of his preaching. His work at Triana, near Huntsville, at Courtland, and at Moulton, are mentioned specifically. Brother Ligon continued his law practice and in 1845 was elected Chancellor of the Northern Division of the state of Alabama. He was an unsuccessful candidate of the US. Congress in 1849. He served as an Associate Judge of the Supreme Court in Alabama from 1851-1853. He became somewhat of a legendary figure in Lawrence County. Professor C. GLynch, writing in the Moulton Advertiser in 1911, says, "It was with much pleasure, when a boy, we listened to the many recitals of the deeds and ability of Judge David Greenhill Ligon. " James Edmonds Saunders, in Early Settlers of Alabama, who lived during Ligon's time, spoke of his life and outstanding abilities: "He had a fine person, was about six feet high, had dark hair and deep blue eyes. In manners he was remarkably social and popular . . .He had been thoroughly educated, and was master of the English language; indeed, in pronunciation and style, he was fastidious." Saunders recalled that Ligon always had a ready answer, and had never heard him silenced but once. Ligon was defending a horse thief who was found guilty and sentenced to 39 lashes the next morning at 10 o'clock. Ligon entered a motion for a new trial and the next morning began his argument. At his most critical part, he heard laughter in the courtroom. He paused, and could hear the sheriff whipping his client; he sat down without a word, amid the laughter of the court and spectators. In his campaign for Congress, Saunders recalled that Ligon accused his opponent of speculating in lands. His opponent confessed it, and said that bad laws were what allowed him to do it, and that he wanted to go to Washington to change the laws. Ligon said that was the first time he's ever heard of the bell cow being sent to fix the fence. Ligon served as a trustee for the University of Alabama, and for the Mountain Home Female Institute, located eight miles north of Moulton. He was also a trustee and generous contributor to Franklin College, founded by Tolbert Fanning, in Nashville, Tennessee. He published a book in 1848, Digested Index of the Supreme Court of Alabama, in Chancery Cases, from 1820-1847. David and Elizabeth Ligon's children were: Charles W., who was a doctor at Moulton; Pascal L., who practiced law, and became a senator from Powatan County to the State Legislature of Arkansas; David G., Jr., who was killed near Shannon, Mississippi in the Civil War in 1862; John H., who served as Sergeant in Company 0, Fourth Regiment, in the Civil War; Sarah, who married E. C. McDonald, son of Crockett McDonald, who was postmaster and probate judge in Moulton, and who preached for the church in Moulton most of his adult life. There were those who felt that Ligon should have given himself full-time to preaching. J. J. Trott, who travelled through North Alabama on preaching tours wrote to the Christian Magazine, in June, 1851, "I had the pleasure of the good company of our talented brother Ligon last Saturday but to our mutual regret he had to hasten away to serve the children of the world in the office of Chancellor. 0 that the church would divert such ability from the service of Caesar and consecrate it to Christ." From the time of his conversion in 1843 brother Ligon never wavered, and amidst his other duties, he continued to preach the gospel. On June 21, 1855 while preaching a sermon at Moulton, he suffered an apparent heart attack, and died before he could be removed from the building. Professor Lynch said of that occasion: "Full of years and full of honors, the Master called him at his post of duty, and in the church house he loved so well, his soul left its tenement of clay. What a glorious ending to such a glorious life.'" Perhaps he was buried in the McDonald Cemetery on the outskirts of Moulton, where there are unmarked graves, and a number of Lion markers dating back into the
19th century. The life of David G. Ligon is interesting, but also instructive.

1. It is good that we recognize the debt that we owe those who have labored before us.

2. It is possible for one to do much good in preaching the gospel while supporting himself by other means.

3. It is possible for one to turn from a wasted life to a life of usefulness in the kingdom. The end Of one's life is more important than its beginning.

4. There is no better time nor better way to die than while preaching the gospel.


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