Reverend Lydia Casad Sexton
A Mother in Israel
Rev. Lydia Sexton, who was so well known in many in the Church, passed peacefully away at the residence of her late son, Joseph Z. Sexton, in Seattle, Washington, on the evening of December 15, 1894, aged 95 years, 8 months, and 3 days. Mrs. Sexton was born in Sussex (now Rockport) County, N. J., in 1799. She was the daughter of Rev. Thomas Casad, a Baptist minister, and was a cousin to Bishop Matthew Simpson, of the Methodist Episcopal Church.
Her father died when she was nine years old, and for six years thereafter she lived with relatives or strangers respectively, and earned her own living amidst many trials and hardships. When in her sixteenth year she went with her brother Anthony to Ohio. The journey of eight hundred miles was made with a horse and cart. In 1820 she married Joseph Sexton, of Jacksonborough, Ohio, and with him lived happily for more than fifty years.
Mrs. Sexton was converted, and joined the church of the United Brethren I Christ, near Germantown, Ohio, in 1834, under the labors of Rev. Jacob King. Soon after her conversion she felt that it was her duty to preach the gospel, but from a sense of her inability to perform such a responsible duty, and because there were so few women in the Church, she resisted the divine call for some years. Finally, yielding to the judgment and advice of the leading ministers and the leading of the Holy Spirit, she began to exhort sinners to flee from the wrath to come. In 1851 she was licensed by a quarterly conference, held on Iroquois Circuit, in Illinois, to peach, Rev. Josiah Terrill being the presiding elder. Mrs. Sexton was eminently successful in promoting revivals of religion.
She, in company with her husband, traveled extensively in Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, and Kansas holding revival meetings and organizing societies. Everywhere her labors were blessed of the Lord, and thousands of souls were converted and led to Christ through her instrumentality. At a session of Upper Wabash Conference, in 1850, she was most heartily recommended to all the churches as a successful helper in Christian work. This recommendation was signed by Bishop Edwards and Secretary Cougill. The invitations that she received to hold revival meetings far exceeded both her time and her strength.
In 1870 Mrs. Sexton was appointed to the chaplaincy of the Kansas State Penitentiary. Very marked success attended her labors among the prisoners, many of whom, by her presence, were reminded of their own mothers. At the close of her term of service as chaplain she counted ninety-five among the number of the inmates of the prison who had been converted under her labors. The last years of her life were spent with her two sons, David F. and Joseph Z. Sexton, in Washington. Her last sermon was preached at the First Methodist Protestant Church, in the city of Seattle, Wash., when she was ninety-three years old.
Her son, Joseph Z. Sexton, with whom she spent the last days of her life, preceded her to the glory world just one month and ten days. Mother Sexton became blind toward the close of her life, but although deprived of her natural sight she was cheerful and happy in possession of that spiritual vision which beholds the beauties and glories unseen by mortal eyes. She retained consciousness to the last, called her grandchildren by name, and spoke of the many loved ones who had gone before. She was buried from the First methodist Protestant Church in Seattle, Rev. Clark Davis, the pastor preaching the funeral sermon.
P. C. Hetzler
*NOTE: found in a scrapbook in Roswell, New Mexico by Nancy Harvey while going though her mother’s things after her death. "The scrapbook is one which my great grandmother, Amanda Bryan Wetzel, or perhaps my grandmother, Nettie Wetzel Dean, pasted lots of obituaries of family and friends. These families were from around McDonough, Fulton and Schuyler Counties. These obits are probably around a hundred years old or may be more."
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