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Light, Mattie McNab



“Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord.”


     Mrs. Mattie McNab Light entered upon life eternal Friday night, February 22, 1918 at 10:55 o’clock.  She had been seriously sick for six weeks, and bore her suffering with true Christian fortitude.  She was surrounded during her illness and at the time of her death by all of her children and her grandchildren.  She was born in Eufaula, Alabama, February 28,1851, and lacked one week of being sixty- seven years of age at the time of her death. She was the daughter of John and Janie Graham McNab. She was married in Eufaula, Alabama on May 18,1867 to Professor James C. Van Houten of Paterson, N.J. Of this union there were six children, four of whom survived her, and live in Richmond: J.G. Van Houten, J. Essie Van Houten, Mattie L. Van Houten and Mrs. W. Franklin Jones.

     She adopted and reared a son who took her name, Charles M. Light. Her two grandchildren are Hazel B. McCleary and C. Graham McCleary.

     Some years after the death of her first husband she was married again on November 23, 1897, to Rev. Milton K. Light of Lebanon, Pa. During the past twenty-seven years she has been engaged in religious work, especially devoting her time and talents to evangelistic and rescue work among girls and women. Countless numbers have thus found in her an appreciative and sympathizing friend and a guide and help in time of sorest need. She has been a mother to many a wayward girl, and has pointed the wanderer back to the path which led to the Saviour. Multitudes of reclaimed lives are constant witnesses of her abiding love for the sinning, and her strong arm extended in an hour of peril. What a host beside her own children “rise up and call her blessed.”

     Her body rests in Riverview, beside that of her later husband, and she has entered into the presence of the Saviour, to be “forever with the Lord.”

Servant of God, well done
Rest from thy loved employ;
The battle fought, the victory won,
Enter thy Master’s joy.”


(1918 February, 27). Richmond Times-Dispatch, p.10.


For further reading: 

Bush, E. N. (2020). Virginia Home and Industrial School for Girls. Social Welfare History Project

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