Volume 3; published 1918
A SERIES OF LIFE-SKETCHES INDICATING THEGROWTH AND PROSPERITY OF THE
AS REPRESENTED IN THE LIVES AND LABORSOFEMINENT MEN AND WOMENIN MISSOURI
J. C. MAPLE, A. M., D. D.ANDR. P. RIDER, A. M.VOLUME III.PUBLISHED FORTHE MISSOURI BAPTIST HISTORY SOCIETY,LIBERTY, MISSOURI BYSCHOOLEY STATIONERY AND PRINTING COKANSAS CITY, MISSOURI
Page 4- Transcribed by A Friend of Free Genealogy
Alexander Trotter, Esq.
There are men who become eminent in their own immediate neighborhood, who are wholly unknown beyond the narrow circle of their friends. Some of these confine their lives within these limits. They have no ambition for a wider or more extended field in which to be known. Absorbed in the duties that come to their hands, they think not of extending their operations beyond that to which they are devoting their energies.
The successful business man, whether upon his farm or in his factory, or in his store, finds ample room for the use of all his talents.
He may be selfish or narrow in the promptings of his heart or the great aims of his life, but the work in which he is engaged demands constant attention, and gives full scope to the purpose of his life. He deals fairly with all men, and yet has regard for his own profits, and obtains wealth and popularity.
Alexander Trotter of Carrollton, Missouri, was one of these men.
He never sought prominence, nor asked for any political office. He was both a gentleman and a Christian in all business transactions and in his relations to his own family and his friends.
That he gained and held the confidence and esteem of those with whom he came in contact will be abundantly shown in the quotations found in this brief sketch of his useful life.
Alexander Trotter was born in Trotter Township, Carroll County, Missouri, April 19, 1829. He was a son of John and Martha Trotter, and grew to manhood on the farm owned by his father.
In 1849, when but 20 years of age, he went, with many others, to California, and remained three or four years. Having returned to his former home, in December, 1853, he was united in marriage to Miss Martha F. Minnis.
Four children came to bless their home, all of whom survived both their parents.
Just a few months before the fiftieth anniversary of their marriage, the wife was called to the home of the redeemed, and the tie that bound the family into one loving band was severed. The children were now, however, more than ever devoted to the living parent, and the one daughter, the wife of Rev. T. L. West, D. D., made the home of her father all that her loving heart and willing mind could accomplish.
Mr. Trotter for some years dealt extensively in land and lived in the localities that business required.
In 1880 he became a permanent resident of the city of Carrollton, and remained there to the end of his life.
"In 1870, he, with others, organized the Carroll Exchange Bank of this city, the growth of which institution has been a part of the life of our town. For thirty-six years he was a director, and nearly all of the time vice president of that institution. While he did not devote his whole time to the bank, yet it was his every care that it would be able to meet any emergency that might arise, and be of the greatest service to the community in which it was located."
Rev. G. W. Hatcher, who was for years pastor of the Baptist Church in Carrollton, and Mr. Trotter an honored Deacon, in the sermon preached at the funeral of this model officer in the church, said, that in three things, Deacon Trotter was truly a great man.
1. In natural endowments. Sometimes nature is very lavish with her gifts. It was so in this case. Physically he was great. He had a large, strong, muscular frame. His shoulders were broad, his head was large and his features striking. A man among men. His boast was that he never knew sickness until after he was forty years old. His mental powers were equal to his physical. He had a large brain and a wonderful mind. He was far-seeing, of sound judgment and keen discrimination. His common, hard sense was proverbial. His heart was in proportion to his head and frame. He was a man of noble impulses. While he detested sham and fraud, yet poverty and suffering appealed to him and found in him a helper. He loved his friends, and sought the good of all.
2. He was great
in what he did for himself. He was self made, but was made and well
made. He was not a dummy made into a man by a tailor, who advertised
through him the texture and style of his goods. Neither was he made
by a teacher, who poured into his ears, as a mould, the treasures of
his own mind. The schools did but little for him. While he was well
posted and eminently practical, he got nearly all his lessons from
life. He used well and wisely the gifts bestowed upon him by birth.
By his own indomitable and invincible will, guided by a sound
judgment, he moulded circumstances, overcame difficulties, pushed on
and up in the face of storms that assail every young aspiring life
until he achieved success. His physical, mental and moral resources
were made tributary to a worthy end.
But was this all? Can we say no more of him who lived among us so long? If there is no God and no future, this is enough. But if God is, and we are responsible to Him for our stewardship, and the destiny upon which we enter after death is determined and fixed by our life here, this is not enough. How flat this all falls upon the casket and how empty such words seem to those who believe in immortality. As the proud waves, set in motion by the mighty deep, strike the shore line and go up in mist, or fall back in fragments, so does a life, however honest and successful when it strikes the tombstone, if that is all that can be said in its favor. But our brother was—
3. Great in what grace did for him. He was a Christian. The greatest thing in his character was his simple, child-like faith in God as revealed in Jesus Christ and recorded in His word. His religion was of the old style. He knew nothing of salvation by character, but accepted Christ for salvation and character came as a result. He never substituted "doing good" for getting right and doing right. There is a form of philanthropy that is exceedingly popular nowadays. A man may be a liar and a drunkard, urged on by greed and graft, he may cover his loathsomeness by starting a library, endowing an institution of learning, opening an asylum, or contributing in some other way to the public good. But through this veneering the deviltry of the life shows and the fact is made plain that with some people to be right with men is religion, rather than being right with God.
In the religious vocabulary of our brother some words had a large place. He emphasized God, Sin, Savior, Blood, Salvation and Grace. His favorite text was: "The blood of Jesus Christ, His Son, cleanseth us from all sin." He believed in salvation by grace, producing works of righteousness. More than half a century ago he responded to the claims of God upon him and accepting Christ as his personal Savior he entered upon the divine service. Some of us knew him better as a Christian than as a business man. He was at his best in the work of the Lord. How he loved the sanctuary and its worship. The last time I ever looked upon his form and face in life was the night before he died, in a prayer meeting. How fervently he prayed. He took right hold of God and wrestled with Him like Jacob of old. The loss of his hearing made it harder for him to enter into the spirit of the worship. A few months ago he came to church and asked the pastor to preach a little louder. But with the aid of his ear-trumpet he caught but little of the sermon. After the service he sat with his little company of sympathizing brethren and sisters around him and with tears rolling down his cheeks, he exclaimed: "Just to think, I'll never hear any more preaching." His religion was of the helping kind. So many people leaned hard upon him.
Yesterday a colored woman of this town told me her experience in this matter. There was a time when she was pressed for money. Her husband was discouraged. They knew not where to go for relief. She saw this man pass along and called to him. When her story was told, he put the needed amount in her hand. The Great Day alone will reveal the number, stimulated, encouraged and helped to success by his brotherly kindness. Your unworthy speaker was one of his beneficiaries. Thirty-six years ago I came to Missouri. My ambition went beyond the limits of my purse. With a widowed mother and her seven children to care for, I found it difficult to carry out my plans for preparing myself for my life's work. He knew me only as a young brother who wanted to preach. When I was financially pressed, I timidly went to him in my distress, and most gladly he gave me the amount needed and took my note without security. When the time came to pay the note he released me from my obligation and aided me to that amount in paying my way in college.
These are only a part of the good things his pastor said of him in the funeral discourse.
Rev. N. R. Pittman, who had been in the home of Mr. Trotter, and knew him, said, when writing of the loss that came to the churches of Christ in Missouri when he was called to the rest above:
"Ten years ago Alex Trotter, then a man of sixty-seven years, traveled throughout Europe, climbed mountains, wandered through famous cities, journeyed among the pagans of Asia, camped in the deserts of Egypt and won friends wherever he went on land and lakes and rivers and seas. He was a living interrogative. His ready wit could conquer a robber and his quenchless humor could dismay an assassin.
"A few weeks ago, in the middle of this winter, I spent a night in his mansion in Carrollton. The weather was not at all delightful. He was not entirely well; but he was in the prayer-meeting of the Baptist Church. I heard him pray there in the meeting. He prayed for complete and conscious submissiveness to God's righteous and holy will. While he prayed I felt the divine presence and I thought of L. B. Ely and W. S. Crouch, who had often prayed in that prayer-meeting room."
His business associates in the bank where he was so long an officer, wrote of him:
"After a long life, filled with earnest endeavor, good deeds and loving kindness, our dear friend and business associate, Alexander Trotter, has passed to his reward. He was one of Nature's noblemen. Large of frame, broad of mind, pure of heart, always loyal, ever fearless, tender and true. He was a man, take him all In all: We shall not look upon his like again.' We loved him for his virtues, cherished him for his ripe judgment, and while we lament the dispensation that has deprived us of his companionship, still, we try to say with child- like faith: Even so, Father, for so it has seemed good in thy sight.'"
The lifelong friend and intimate associate of Alexander Trotter was L. B. Ely, known and loved by Christian men and women and children all over the great State. He and Trotter were Deacons in the same church.
They often conferred together as to the best interests of the church they loved and delighted to serve. They were intimate, too, in many business affairs of their city.
Mr. Ely wrote of his friend, Alex Trotter, for the St. Louis Republic:
"The life of the
West has been the lives of these men and is typified in
them—pioneers who with no capital save the equipment of vigorous
manhood, that of brawn, brains and character, achieved broad results
for themselves and the country. The West is self-made, like these
men; the product of their courage, energy and foresight. They were
men of large heart and what may be called social responsibility; big
men, community builders, great citizens and leaders of the march of
civilization. Their passing must be noted with respect and an
appreciation of what we owe to them."
"I was greatly
surprised and grieved to learn of the sudden death of my friend and
benefactor, Alexander Trotter. On returning to my native land after
seven years on my field in China, I was looking forward with great
pleasure to seeing him and talking to him in his hospitable home in
Carrollton, Mo. While I was yet in Oklahoma, however, before I had
time to reach Missouri, the sad news of his death reached me. It is
a source of deep regret to me that the message did not reach me in
time for me to attend the funeral services. From the depth of my
heart I want to give expression to my love and appreciation of my
dear friend whom I shall not see again till we meet in 'the better
It has been necessary to abbreviate these testimonials that this sketch should not be too long.
At one time, in company with Dr. J. T. M. Johnston, Dr. T. L. West and others, he made a tour of Egypt, Palestine, and visited many of the old cities on the shore of the Mediterranean Sea.
Rev. Dr. Q. W. Hatcher, when asked about this tour of Mr. Trotter, said: "He got more out of it, and could tell more about it when he returned, than all of them put together."
He made a study of the countries he was about to visit, and knew what he wanted to see, and why he wanted to look upon those scenes.
His friends all speak of him as a most companionable friend. He was full of humor, and an admirable storyteller. In fact, was the life of any social group. Unusually quick in repartee, but never in any way obtrusive or offensive. He was a man of prayer, and ever found upon the side of that which was the highest type of morality, and ready to say things that were helpful to Christian living. A consistent Christian, he greatly desired that all those with whom he came in contact should be sharers in the blessed life that came from God and made men and women "new creatures" in Christ Jesus.
At the time of his death he was 76 years, 10 months and 12 days old. His death was almost without warning. The end came as he had often expressed the wish that it might. A stroke of apoplexy on the evening of the 1st day of March, 1906, carried him speedily away from earth to the home of the righteous.
But his life had for more than fifty years borne testimony to the fact that he was ready to heed the call and enter the mansion above.
This man, by the proper use of his money, is now preaching the gospel in China to the million of that great nation.
And those who have heard him, and will still hear the admirable sermons of Dr. G. W. Hatcher and his pleadings for the education of the young women of the Central West, that they serve better the Lord Jesus, may truly say, that here again we see the fruits of the wise investment made by the good Deacon of the Carrollton Baptist Church.
May many others be led
to make like investments of their wealth.
WILLIAM WOODS WALDEN
Rev. W. W. Walden belonged to that class of Baptist ministers who formed the connecting link between the pioneers and the strong body of efficient workers who made the organized forces the great power for the advancement of the kingdom of Heaven that they are at the beginning of the twentieth century.
Dr. Yeaman said in the "foreword" to his history of the General Association: "A people without a history are out of the course of progress; neither benefited by the past nor benefiting the future." Missouri Baptists have a history, both of the pioneer period and of the great work of the twentieth century.
Though Mr. Walden was not associated in the real pioneer work with such men as Wilhite Fristoe and others, he knew them well in his younger days, and was a close friend and co-worker with A. F. Martin and others who had long labored with these men. He most heartily, in all the purposes of his mind and heart, joined in the unselfish efforts of these consecrated men of God.
W. W. Walden was a son of Austin Francis Walden and Sallie Woods Walden. His parents were married in Howard County, Missouri, January 13, 1819. The father of the subject of this sketch was a farmer and lived near Fayette, in Howard County.
Their son, William Woods, was born on the farm January 19, 1823.
The parents were consistent members of the Presbyterian Church, and sought to bring up their children in the "Nurture and admonition of the Lord." When the son had passed a little beyond his nineteenth birthday, he was converted under the ministry of Rev. Dr. A. P. Williams, and baptized by him into the fellowship of the Chariton Baptist Church, in Howard County. His conversion and baptism being under such a teacher, it need scarcely be written that he was well grounded in the "faith once for all delivered to the saints.''
The conviction now took strong hold upon the youth that he must preach the Gospel. There was no peace to his mind until he yielded to this call, which his future life proved was from God.
His first sermon was preached at Miami, Saline County, beneath the shade of a big elm tree.
This same year, 1843, he was married, in his native county, to Miss Sarah Ann Morrin.
The following year, 1844, he moved to Livingston County, and made a home for himself and family near Hale City.
In this county he resided to the end of his laborious and useful life.
In the cultivation of his farm or in some form of mercantile business he provided for the support of his family, and either as a Missionary or a pastor of rural churches, continued perseveringly to preach wherever he could find or make an opening.
He assisted in organizing the Fairland Baptist Church, located near Bedford, Livingston County. There were eleven constituent members; Mr. Walden and his wife were among the eleven.
At that time Rev. H. M. Henderson was chosen as pastor. At the end of the first quarter the church was constituted, the pastor moved to Trenton, and Rev. Kemp Scott became pastor.
It was by this Fairland Baptist Church that Mr. Walden was licensed to preach, and at the call of the same body was ordained by Elders Kemp Scott and J. M. Goodson.
He was soon
called to the pastorate of that church, and continued that relation
for ten years. During this time the church grew in numbers from the
original eleven to eighty.
Mr. Walden now moved his family to Chillicothe, and here continued his residence until 1872, when he moved back to the vicinity of Hale.
The writer of this brief sketch of his life was his pastor for some months, and learned to love him. He was in every way helpful, and aided the pastor in every possible way in the upbuilding of the church.
During the war between the States, the membership of the Fairland Church was scattered, and the few who remained voted each other letters, and the church formally disbanded. But after the war was over, the church was reorganized, and in 1913 represented 62 members.
After the Civil War, Mr. Walden could not take the oath prescribed in the "Drake Constitution," and, therefore, could not preach the Gospel without being liable to arrest and imprisonment. He therefore did not open the Bible or take a text, but simply "made speeches" on some religious topic at the usual places where before he had preached the gospel.
He stood upon that provision of the Constitution of the United States that "Congress should pass no law . . . abridging the freedom of speech." And, as we all know now, the Supreme Court of the country declared that provision of this "Drake" Constitution was in violation of the supreme law of our free country.
Mr. Walden's life was one of unceasing effort to advance the kingdom of Heaven. A mere mention of the churches he served will show how incessant were his labors. He was pastor of the churches at Chillicothe, Utica, Chula, Hale, Bedford, Fairland, Hurricane, Linneus, Parson Creek, Big Creek, Meadville, Wheeling, Alpha, Trenton, Mount Olive, Mount Pleasant, Union, Browning, Bogard, Dawn, and perhaps others that are not here mentioned. Very few, if any, of these churches paid him any regular salary.
In fact, for a few years just following the Civil War, the people had very little means. The farms in many cases were laid waste, the houses, barns and fences were destroyed, and most of the live stock had been driven away or slaughtered by the armies marching through the country.
Truth demands that it should be said that much of the wanton destruction of property was by bands of guerrillas who belonged to neither army, and were sometimes composed of deserters of both armies, banded together for no other purpose than robbery.
The pastor accepted whatever the membership paid him for his services. There is no doubt but that they might often have been more liberal than they were, but the pastor was far more considerate of their needs than they were of his. If he could only increase their faith and persuade sinners to be reconciled to God through faith in the Lord Jesus, his joy was complete.
At the time the writer knew Mr. Walden, he resided in Chillicothe. He was then pastor of some four churches, preaching one Saturday and Sunday every month for each congregation. He was also clerking in a large dry goods and clothing store, and administrator of a number of estates.
This mere statement of facts is sufficient to show that he was a man of affairs and leading a strenuous life.
Rev. R. S. Duncan, in his History of Missouri Baptists, says of Mr. Walden: "He emphatically founded the Baptist Church at Chillicothe, and has given his life to the building up of Baptist interests in that section of Missouri. ''
In the fall of 1872 a movement was started in Missouri to organize Baptist Associations in every county where there were a sufficient number of churches to make such bodies strong enough in wealth and numbers to become efficient in supplying the destitute territories with the Gospel.
A call was made for a meeting in Chillicothe, to be held on the 25th day of October, to consider the propriety of organinzing (sic) a Livingston County Association. Only three churches responded by sending messengers. An adjournment was agreed upon, and a second meeting was held on the 6th day of December, when a constitution was adopted and a date agreed upon for the first meeting of the new Association.
My recollection is that Mr. Walden presided at both these preliminary meetings. The minutes of the Livingston County Association show that he was chosen to preside over this body in 1877, and was continuously elected to that office until 1885, with one exception, when he was unable to attend.
A friend of his in writing of him said: "He was a tireless worker, a sound Baptist, and a bold defender of the faith."
At a meeting of the North Grand River Baptist Association, held with a church in a country district, after the introductory sermon had been preached and an organization effected, some one who was a member of the church where the body had assembled, moved that the "Doctrinal Sermon" be dispensed with. No reason was given for this motion, and Rev. A. P. Martin, who had been appointed the year before, not being in the house at the time, the motion passed.
It was soon learned that the house of worship, being unfinished, some of the local membership did not want anything said or done that could offend those who were not Baptists, hoping thereby to obtain financial aid in completing their meeting house.
Mr. Walden and another brother, who had been selected to preach on Sunday in a grove near by the church house, learning of the purpose of this motion to dispense with the Doctrinal Sermon, at once decided that the people there should learn some of the reasons why Baptists maintain an existence separate from other denominations. And so he preached a sermon upon Baptism and the other brother followed with a sermon upon the design of baptism and the reasons for restricted communion.
Some weeks after this a prominent layman called at the store where Mr. Walden was at work, and said to him: "Those two sermons preached that Sunday morning were worth a thousand dollars to that community." But the thousand dollars was never paid in cash.
That no harm was done, but that much good was accomplished by the kind, Christian spirit in which the arguments were set forth, finds proof in the fact that the house of worship was soon completed and that this is one of the best and most prosperous churches in the county where it is located.
It has been truly said of Mr. Walden, that "he was a kind father and a devoted husband."
His last illness was lingering, but he retained his mental faculties, clear and bright, and his faith in God was unwavering.
Some three weeks before his death he sent a message to Rev. W. D. McPhetridge of Wheeling, Missouri, to visit him, and requested him to preach at his funeral upon the text, "By the grace of God I am what I am." When the visiting brother asked how he was feeling, he replied: "I am very feeble in body, but my faith is strong and unbroken. ''
On the tenth day of June, 1889, he heard the call of the Master to come home and rest.
The minister just above mentioned conducted the funeral services beneath the shade of a large oak tree that stands at the entrance of the Walden Cemetery. Beneath the shade of this old oak tree a multitude of his friends and relatives heard the words that were spoken by the minister, as he told of the more than forty years of ceaseless toil of this man of God, that others might enjoy the blessed hope that had been such a blessing in the life of their departed friend.
And here in this
home of those we call dead, but who are really the living, and are
sharing with the Christ His own glorious triumph over death, the
body of our beloved brother awaits the dawn of the morning of the
Missouri Baptists owe a debt of gratitude to the laity too great to justify the omission of the names of these good men from our list of worthies.
W. M. Walker was always a quiet man in his home church. He was ever ready to serve upon committees where common sense and hard work were needed.
He seldom spoke upon public occasions unless in response to some work the church had placed in his hands. Then, with duties honestly discharged, reports were made and the membership knew his work was faithfully performed.
Many good people do not seem to appreciate the services of our silent workers. The kingdom of Heaven is advanced much more by work than by talk if the speaking is not combined with deeds that show a willing mind and a believing heart.
In many private heart to heart talks with Mr. Walker the writer learned that he had a comprehensive conception of Baptist doctrines.
He had thought profoundly over the whole field covered by the Articles of Belief as adopted by Baptist Churches, and knew well what these meant and why they were advocated.
The grandfather of W. M. Walker was Edward Walker, a native of Virginia, and a soldier in the War of the Revolution.
In the very decisive victory of the patriots at the battle of Cowpens, fought in South Carolina, he was an active participant.
Samuel Walker, a son of Edward, became a resident of Tennessee at an early day. Here he met and won as wife, Miss Agnes Bradford, whose father had also served as a Revolutionary soldier.
When their son, W. M. Walker, who was born in Smith County, Tennessee, on the 22d day of October, 1833, was three years old, they moved to Missouri and made their home in Moniteau County.
The family were farmers, and the subject of this sketch began life in the same honorable calling.
When 22 years of age, he was married to Mary Isbell Garrett. And here again we find the family allied to those who had won the independence of the original thirteen colonies. The grandfather of Miss Garrett had risked his life upon the fields of battle to overthrow English tyranny and establish the great American Republic.
The home of his wife being in Saline County, Missouri, they soon decided to make their home in "the best county" in this great Commonwealth.
In a few years Mr. Walker became proprietor of a very valuable farm near Orearville, which was in fertility, equal to the best.
He was industrious and enterprising, and was in comfortable circumstances. But as he once said to the writer of this brief sketch of his life, he could not say "No." He endorsed the paper of several unworthy and designing men, and having to pay debts for these undeserving men, lost all his property. It can be truly written that there was no act of dishonesty on his part. He became surety for a stranger and suffered the consequences, which he would have escaped had he heeded the advice of Solomon. Proverbs 11:15.
Mr. Walker served as Representative in the 33d General Assembly. In this service for Saline County, he proved worthy of the confidence his fellow citizens had bestowed upon him.
He was three times chosen Collector of Revenue for the wealthy county of his residence.
In all the positions of trust given him by the voters, he was true to the obligations thrust upon him.
In his later years, he, with his wife and two younger daughters, moved to Seattle, on the Pacific Coast.
Here, having passed his three-score and fifteen years of the early pilgrimage, he passed to the home above.
He was an active member of the Masonic fraternity. Had received all the degrees as far as that of Knight Templar, and loved and appreciated the whole of the beautiful ritual. He was far removed from placing his obligations to that fraternal order above the duties he owed to the Church of the Lord Jesus.
To him, the consecration of his youngest daughter, Nannie, to the Sunday School, the Young Peoples Meetings and all the services of the Baptist Church, and her intelligent comprehension of the principles of the Baptist Denomination, was a constant source of delight. He was fond of mentioning the fact that the consecration of his daughter had led him to higher appreciation of the duties and privileges of a Christian.
His remains were brought from Seattle and placed to rest in the cemetery at Marshall, after funeral services in the house of worship he had, to the full extent of his ability, aided in building.
As a matter of justice to the memory of Mr. Walker, mention should be made of his family. Mrs. Walker has always proven herself to be a genuine Christian, a good neighbor and ever ready to aid in any work where goodness of heart was needed. The four daughters, Mrs. Pemberton, Mrs. John W. Rose, Miss Olive and Miss Nannie, were ever the jewels of the heart-life of the father. Miss "Olie," as she was always called, was for ten or twelve years a teacher in the public schools in Marshall and was a favorite with both her pupils and their parents.
Miss Nannie, as
stated above, was one of the most devoted of the younger members of
the Baptist Church. She had rare gifts as an artist and had her
worldly circumstances permitted might have won world wide fame among
those gifted with the power to portray nature. Four daughters, three
sons, and a number of grand children survive this honored citizen.
REV. MILTON JOHN
Baptist work in Missouri began in the southeast quarter of the state, but because of the fact that but few of the early preachers, or laymen, kept any record of their work, little can be written about the men of this section. This absence of material does not exist because of any lack of effort on the part of the authors of these historical sketches, but solely because no records can be found.
Rev. M. J. Whitaker was born in Lincoln County, Tennessee, September 18, 1832. His grandfather, Rev. John Whitaker, was a Baptist preacher. The occupation of his father was that of a farmer. While yet a mere youth, the boy heard an old negro servant praying for him and this prayer was God's chosen means of convicting the boy of his sin, and his need for a Savior. There are many instances recorded in the Southland where negro servants were the means of the conversion of their young masters.
Some years after his conversion M. J. Whitaker united with the disciples and was baptized.
In 1853 the family moved to Obion County, Tennessee, where the future Baptist preacher engaged in teaching. He had obtained large training in the English branches and was thoroughly competent to teach. For six years he devoted his life to the honorable calling of teaching school.
In 1881 the father died at his home in Obion County. In 1858, when about 26 years of age, M. J. Whitaker changed his place of residence to Dunklin County, Missouri. Here he united with Oak Grove Baptist Church. He was elected deacon of this church in 1870 and was ordained to that office. When the war between the States broke forth in our land, he followed his convictions and joined the Confederate Army, and spent three years in the service of the South. He was a brave soldier and when the war was over became a good citizen of the reunited country and sought in every way to allay all bitterness and to live in peace with all the people, no matter what may have been past differences.
Soon after Mr. Whitaker was "set apart" to the office of deacon the Oak Grove Church gave him a license to preach the Gospel. He now engaged with his pastor, Rev. M. V. Baird, in quite a number of protracted meetings and proved himself worthy of the confidence and esteem in which he was held by the church.
The question of his ordination to the full work of the ministry was now considered. He had been received as a member of the Church without baptism by the authority of a Baptist Church, and he himself, with his best friends, saw that it would greatly hinder his usefulness and cause a refusal of many good brethren to recognize his good standing as a Baptist minister if he thus entered into the fraternity of Baptist preachers. After careful study he became convinced that there was but one way to forever settle this question and he resolved to settle it so that there could be no further controversy. Believing it to be his duty, he asked for baptism and received the ordinance at the hands of his pastor, Rev. M. V. Baird.
It is mentioned by his pastor that when he entered the waters to receive the ordinance he did not remove his pocketbook and therefore was baptized "pocketbook and all." And those who knew his after life say that if the same results would follow in every case then let all men take their pocketbooks with them into the baptismal waters.
Mr. Whitaker owned a large and fertile farm. This was always cultivated with skill and diligence and his family was well cared for. And though he received some pay for his ministerial labors, he always gave to the Lord's work much more than his salary. His promptness in response and liberality in aiding all the work of the churches were so full and cheerful that his example and teachings were in harmony. Because of his diligence as a farmer he was able to give far more than he received from the churches where he served as pastor.
July 12, 1874, he was ordained at the call of the Oak Grove Church by a presbytery composed of Elders M. V. Baird as moderator; J. W. Pillow, clerk, and R. G. Cagle and Tilford Hogan.
At various times in the thirty-four years of his ministry he was pastor at Oak Grove, Shady Grove, Palestine, Holcomb, Little Vine, Friendship, Prairie Grove, Bible Grove, Four Mile and Varner River churches.
These churches are all in the southeast part of Missouri and most of them in Dunklin County.
His ministry was among the people who knew him well. His everyday life was before those to whom he preached. They knew that he lived the same Gospel that he proclaimed from the pulpit.
Mr. Whitaker was twice married. There were three children born of the first marriage and six by the second. One son of the second marriage, R. L. Whitaker, is an ordained minister.
On March 3, 1908, in the seventy-sixth year of his age, he came to the end of his long life and was called to '' enter the joy of the Lord.''
His second wife survives him.
That a man could continue among the same people, a ministry for thirty-four years, and for all these years hold the confidence and esteem of those with whom he lived and for whom he labored, proves not only an orderly Christian life, but intellectual gifts and faithful exposition of the word of the Living God.
In writing of him, one who knew well his record, said: "He was always first and foremost in supporting the pastor, in contributions to missions, schools and everything that was for the good of the Church and society."
The influence of such a man cannot die. His work proclaimed his worth. And eternity only can reveal the good he accomplished.
The great work in Missouri, and in other states as well, by farmer-preachers has never been fully appreciated. Many of these men were profound thinkers and thorough in their investigations. They searched the Scriptures and with all the movements of their vigorous minds and the deepest affections of their hearts grasped the meaning and in powerful and simple language gave the people the pure word of the Gospel of Christ. They did not deal out technical terms, but they did see the force of any form of speech that did or did not convey the truth.
While, either in person, or by others, cultivating the soil or marketing its products, they thought upon the great themes of the Gospel and their relation to human needs. They were not troubled as to the source of food and clothes for their families because they knew whence these would come.
In the best sense of the word they were eloquent in preaching. Behind the message was an honest and consistent life. In many cases, as in that of the subject of this sketch, all that was paid them for their services as pastors went back into the treasury of the Lord, with no small increase.
These men kept the country churches alive, and from among those, by them brought to the new life, come a large per cent of the most efficient ministers in all our city pulpits and many laymen who support the churches, both financially and spiritually, in all parts of our great country. Let us not forget the gratitude we owe these men and thank the Lord of the heavens that He gave them to His churches.
WHITING, D. D.
I am now writing of the most peculiar man that lived and labored among us in this state some thirty years ago. He was a native of Massachusetts. In the peculiarities of his pronunciation of words and the tones of his voice one could imagine him to be a cross between a New Englander and a native of the Emerald Isle. In the use of elegant and select English words in all his addresses he was without an equal. It seemed that it was natural for him to speak in figurative language. He presented thought rather by visions than by the ordinary methods of us plodding mortals. I do not know that he wrote his sermons or addresses, but if he did not write he evidently composed the whole discourse in his mind, in a form so nearly complete that when he began to speak the pressure was on at full tide and the sentences flowed as water from some vast reservoir upon a mountain height. It must not be thought that there was nothing more than a cataract of words, for his mind was crammed with truths and figures of speech gathered from the varied fields of literature. He read history, fiction, theology, and many works upon all branches of science. He was for a time connected with the Methodists. A very intelligent Methodist minister told me that when he was at work in a Methodist Sunday school, Whiting could repeat almost verbatim the books used in the school. I have heard men of high standing say that they could not report the substance of his sermons to the newspapers. This difficulty is not hard to explain. His thoughts were not expressed as anybody else would put them into language and hence, unless one should be a most rapid shorthand reporter, he could not keep within sight of the lightning speed of those flashing meteors of radiant truth. It was my privilege to succeed Dr. Whiting as pastor of the First Baptist Church in Springfield, Missouri. Here his peculiarities of speech were by many highly prized; by others not so well appreciated. But by all who knew him he was regarded as a man of extraordinary ability in the pulpit. His final settlement as pastor was in Canton, Illinois. In this city of some two thousand, more or less, people, the Baptists have one of the strongest churches in that state. Dr. Whiting had always said it was the duty of a Gospel minister to "go into all the world" and that he did not like long pastorates. At this point, however, when he hinted at a change of pastors, the leading members would say to him "What do you want to go away for; we don't want you to go; we are satisfied and want you to stay with us." And as they would not open the way for his departure he continued as pastor there as long as he lived.
The week before his death, Rev. Terah Smith, an evangelist, who at that time was supplying a church on the T. P. & W. R. R, some distance west of Canton, proposed to Dr. Whiting that the next Wednesday night they would make an exchange and Smith would lead the prayer meeting at home and Whiting would go and lead the other called at Dr. Whiting's study to see if the engagement was still to hold good. As soon as he entered the pastor's study, Dr. Whiting, who was in a state of great animation, said, "Brother Smith, I was sitting here a few minutes ago, I saw into heaven.'' Brother Smith said, '' You mean you thought you did." Whiting sprang to his feet and began to walk rapidly back and forth and said, "No, I tell you I saw into heaven." "Well, what did you see?" said his friend. "Oh, I saw things that it is not lawful to utter, but I tell you I saw into heaven."
Time for the departure of the train was near at hand and Mr. Smith hurried away, filled with wonder at the strange words he had heard. When he returned home on Monday afternoon, he was greeted by his wife with the statement that Dr. Whiting was dangerously ill. He hurried to the home of his pastor to be informed that the doctors would not admit any one into the room of the dying minister. That night Dr. Whiting entered into heaven.
Does anyone ask me to explain this strange vision of that man of God? I simply say, I have no explanation and no disposition to seek for one. I have related the facts in the fewest words possible, as it was stated by Rev. Terah Smith in my own home. If anyone wishes to philosophize upon it, I have no objection. With one possessed of such unusual powers of expression, it is somewhat surprising and certainly greatly to the credit of Dr. Whiting's wisdom that he seldom, if ever, overstepped the boundaries of Evangelical Christianity, in order to say keen or bright things. We have had and have yet good men who would rather say smart things than to confine themselves strictly to acknowledged truths. These men cannot resist the temptation to send out some brilliant thrust when it comes in their way, even though it may wound the sacred truths of the word of the living God.
In a literary address before one of our state Normal schools, Dr. Whiting condemned in strong terms much of the trashy fiction circulated in the so-called Sunday school libraries. That he or any other good man should recommend Sir Walter Scoot and Charles Dickins as more worthy than many of the books found in Sunday school libraries, was only proof of his good sense. He could also strike hard blows at some of the Sunday school songs that were popular a quarter of a century ago, but if he were living today, he would find that they are now forgotten. When Dr. Whiting presented the Divine Savior as the Model Man and the only hope of a lost world, his peculiar way of talking in metaphors seemed just suited to such a theme. That he had been with Jeesus (sic) and learned of Him would then appear so evident that all who heard and believed would feel like falling upon their faces before Christ and exclaim, "My Lord and my God."
S. B. Whiting was born in a suburb of Boston, Massachusetts, January 26, 1836, and died at his home in Higginsville, Missouri, January 16, 1901.
He was the youngest son of Marcus and Eugenia Nickerson Whiting. His father was a direct descendant from one of the founders of the New Haven Colony, while the mother was similarly related to the founders of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. His father was a graduate of Yale and at one time president of the Handel and Hayden Musical Society of Boston. The elder Whiting was at one time wealthy but lost his property by having to pay the debts of one of his friends. His property was all gone except a small tract of land in Benton County, Missouri. He moved his family to this small farm in a region of country that was then almost a wilderness. It certainly must have seemed to the family accustomed to city life, and the society of educated people as the "Wild West" indeed.
The two sons, Charles and S. B. Whiting, who became Baptist ministers, owed much of their fondness for study to the father's early instructions.
S. B. Whiting always remembered with the most tender and grateful love how, on starry nights his father paced the dooryard with one arm around his boys' shoulders and with the other pointed out the bright constellations in the brilliant heavens above.
The father died in 1849. A few years later the only daughter married and one son, Marcus, was taken east to be educated. Charles, the oldest son, moved to Lafayette County and became a clerk in a store at Dover. He was such an expert as a salesman that in time he became proprietor. Here Charles married Miss Lucie Webb. Then the mother and her youngest son, Samuel B., moved to Dover and the younger of the two brothers became a clerk.
A few years passed when the two brothers were equal partners in a large mercantile establishment and enjoying an extensive trade with the planters who had grown wealthy from their successful farming.
The two brothers prospered in their business until the Civil War came, which ended their prosperity in this line. The store was sacked in 1861, some of the goods carried off and the remainder burned.
At the beginning of the Civil War Samuel entered the Confederate Army and was elected captain. He had not seen much service when he and his company were captured by General Lane, known by everybody as "Jim" Lane of Kansas. The entire company was released on parole except the captain and first lieutenant. At first they supposed they would be shot. But on the third morning General Lane said, "Well, Captain, when will you leave us?" "Whenever you say, General." "You are at liberty to go at once," was the reply. The young captain then returned home and soon afterward was married to Miss Virginia Webb, a sister of his brother's wife. Only three weeks after his marriage he was arrested and kept in prison three months. He was then released and remained at home with his wife and her mother, Mrs. Webb, who had four sons in the Southern Army.
He was converted in 1869 and united with the Baptist Church in his immediate neighborhood. His daughter, Mrs. J. H. Campbell, from whom I obtained the facts recorded in this paper, said of him, "Though not born a Baptist he was a born Baptist."
Beginning in 1867 he gave several years to the development of a farm inherited by his wife. He had from his conversion felt constant convictions that he ought to preach the Gospel.
For at least two years before leaving the farm he gave diligent study to a preparation for the ministry. With the family to support he would not go from home, but he did through a careful study of books gain such knowledge as made him a very acceptable and efficient pastor. Before entering fully into the ministry he sold the farm and moved to Dover.
When, where and by whom he was ordained is not known to the writer. He was the leading spirit in the organization of the Baptist Church in Higginsville and was the first pastor. While pastor of this church he continued to reside at Dover. He would never serve as pastor of a church where his family resided. The fact that church members have such a large gift for picking flaws in the conduct of the wife and children of the minister may have led him to pursue this course.
He was pastor at Higginsville, Sweet Springs, Buckner, Bethel and Arrow Rock in Saline County, and of many other churches, many of them in the country and some of them at quite a distance from railroads.
He once told me that for several years he preached to one church six or eight miles from the nearest railroad station. At the beginning of each year the names of the months were written upon slips of paper, and twelve farmers each drew a slip and obligated himself to meet the pastor on the proper date of that month and convey him to the neighborhood where he would preach on that Saturday and the following Sunday. Blessed with good health and energy he never disappointed his congregations. The people heard him gladly. He was a very pleasant and attractive speaker. His manner was unique. He had a perfect command of his language. The words flowed as if from a perennial spring.
It was easy and natural for him to say things in a way that was different from others. If this was done from any purpose not to follow in beaten paths, that purpose was not apparent. He was always just himself. It was S. B. Whiting's way and no one else could imitate him.
Sometimes his peculiar way of presenting well established truths caused some who followed the old forms of speech to imagine that he was proclaiming some new doctrine. But he was in his own way advocating and enforcing the same old Gospel.
There was always a sterling, manly independence in his character. One said of him, '' He could no more whine than fawn."
He always felt that his brother Charles was greatly superior in ability and was far more useful than it was possible for him ever to be. But there was the most sincere and abiding love each for the other. Their wives were sisters and they loved each as did Jonathan and David. Among the last words heard from his lips as he was dying was the name "Charlie."
For about thirty years he preached the Gospel. And many will call his name with reverence and love, when they meet him in heaven. They will there hail him as God's chosen instrument in leading them into the Kingdom of Heaven.
W. R. Wigginton was born in Prince William County, Virginia, May 7, 1819, and was a son of John W. and Catherine (Redd) Wigginton. He was a nephew and namesake of William I. Redd who located in St. Louis, Missouri, in 1820 and became widely known as a distinguished criminal lawyer, his practice extending out into this state to all towns along the Missouri River as far as Old Franklin and Fayette.
When the son, W. R. Wigginton, was six years of age the father moved with his family to western Tennessee, locating not far from Memphis in Fayette County where he improved two farms. Here the son, William, learned all about the raising and marketing of cotton, the staple crop of that section. His father had a number of negro slaves who did most of the heavier work of the plantation, but very wisely, the sons were expected to do their share.
In the year 1836, Mr. Wigginton again changed his residence, moving to Illinois where he settled upon a farm ten miles west of Jacksonville. After a few years the family moved to Missouri and, after spending a year in Pike County, they became permanent settlers in Boone County—the family home until the death of the parents being near Grand View in that county.
Both the parents were members of the Regular, or Old School Baptist Church, and remained in that fellowship through life. In the earlier days of the Baptist history in Missouri, many of the most noted men in the ministry and also among the laity belonged to that communion.
In 1838, William, the subject of this sketch, united with the Pisgah Baptist Church, in Scott County, Illinois, and was baptized in January, 1839. While a few months under twenty-one years of age, he was married to Miss Obedience Hickman Daniel of that state but formerly of Kentucky. Miss Daniel was a daughter of Captain James Daniel of Kentucky, and was a second cousin to the late Dr. John A. Broadus, president of the widely-known Baptist Seminary of Louisville, Kentucky. She also had one brother, Rev. John Daniel, who became a Missionary Baptist minister, and through a long life honored the Baptist name and accomplished great good in the Prairie State.
The young people were married on the second day of May, 1840, and the following autumn moved to Missouri, bought a tract of land in Boone County and began to make for themselves a home. Most of the property owned in Illinois had been sold on time, and the money panic of 1842 coming on, the Legislature passed a "stay-law" that made it impossible to collect debts for a period of time, and the property was lost. The loss fell heavily upon the family, but they resolutely faced the situation and continued to provide for the families, and soon began to reap the reward of their efficient activities.
About this time, Mount Tabor Church (Old School), voted him a license to preach. He worked as a licentiate until the year 1844, when by a presbytery consisting of Elders T. P. Stephens, Benjamin Wrenn, Franklin Jenkins and Peter Kemper, he was ordained to the full work of the ministry as a Regular or Old School Baptist minister. After ten years' service in the ministry with this denomination a church was organized in his neighborhood under the labors of Rev. William Thompson. This church was organized as a "United Baptist Church," and was pronounced in its devotion to the cause of missions. (Here I quote from a brief autobiography that is at hand.)
"Up to this time I had been identified with what was, and still is, called the Old School Baptist Church. They, no doubt, honestly believed and taught that the proclamation of the Gospel extended only to the elect, or to the sheep and lambs; and he who would call on sinners to repent and believe the Gospel, was an Armenian. On this account I felt to be much trammeled in my preaching, for my honest convictions were that if I were called to preach it was to sinners in warning them to flee from the wrath to come—leaving the result in the hands of God; and while ashamed of my poor efforts, I was never ashamed of the Gospel of Christ, for it is the 'power of God unto salvation to every one who believes.”
He now asked for membership in the newly organized church and was immediately called to become its pastor. He accepted this call and faithfully served this church as pastor for nineteen consecutive years. He began his ministerial work and continued it throughout his life solely because he believed he had been called of God to preach, and it was his delight to obey that call. Mr. Wigginton was what some people might term a severely conscientious man, in that he never would consent to preach for a fixed salary. By conducting his farm and sometimes teaching schools in his neighboring districts he managed to gain a sufficient competency for rearing and educating his family; and it must not be overlooked in these premises that the congregations he served in most all instances showed their appreciation by reciprocating financially and in other ways to the material welfare of the man who served them as their pastor. Another characteristic of the man was that he always spoke inspirationally, never using manuscript while preaching. Often had he been heard to remark that some of his most delightful experiences in the study of scriptural texts came to him while he was going about the duties of his farm upon week days—that by studying the scriptures during more convenient hours and meditating upon them while looking after his farm work he prepared his sermons, or arranged his line of thought to be expressed in the pulpit upon the succeeding Sabbath. Mr. Wigginton never claimed any merit for himself, but attributed all his manifold successes to the Lord working through him, an humble instrument.
His orthodoxy was of unquestioned soundness. He preached that salvation comes through faith in the Divine Redeemer; with all of his heart he believed in the sovereignty of God in the salvation of the human soul; that the beginning, the development in the heart and life of every believer, and the final and glorious completion of this work were through the unmerited favor of God, and yet such was the modesty of his personal claim that he scarcely dared to say with Paul—Second Tim. 4:8—Henceforth there is a crown, etc., but in his simple modesty, would have said, I hope there is a crown, etc.
While actively engaged in the ministry he served for varying periods of time the following churches: In Boone County, Mount Tabor, Pleasant Grove, Mount Horeb, Nashville, Bethel and Mount Moriah; in Calloway County, Millersburg, and Fulton; in Audrain County, Hopewell, New Hope, West Cuivre, Mount Zion, Farber, Bethlehem, Martinsburg and Mexico; in Monroe County, Long Branch; in Montgomery County, Wellsville. To each of these churches he preached one Saturday and one Sunday in each month. To Hopewell Church he continued these monthly ministrations for 22 years; at Mount Pleasant Church he gave like service for nineteen successive years. Never did he accept a call to the pastorate of any church unless that call was unanimous on the part of the membership. Rev. Wigginton was an eloquent and convincing speaker and gracious revivals came to many of these churches and large numbers were added to their respective memberships.
During the sixty years in which Rev. Wigginton was engaged in the ministry in Missouri he united in marriage something near one thousand couples. This estimate is based upon a partial record which he, for a long time kept. Perhaps the most notable marriage at which he ever officiated and the one for which he received the largest fee or gift, was that of Governor Leslie of Kentucky and Mrs. Kirkendorf of Columbia, Mo. The bride was a young widow and a daughter of Brother Maupin, a member of the church of which Rev. Wigginton was pastor. Governor Leslie paid the preach in a $20 gold piece and also paid his expenses of the occasion. In after years Governor Leslie was elected Governor of Montana. After this former governor of two states had become, like the minister who first married him, an octogenarian, he wrote Rev. Wigginton a beautiful letter from his home in Helena, Mont., that letter now being in possession of Mr. Wigginton's children.
The following little story in connection with Mr. Wigginton's life may be of interest to the public: Residing as he did in Boone County during the Civil War, and that county being at times a storm center of the war, Rev. Wigginton was never in the least molested during that entire unpleasantness, nor did he ever miss an appointment to preach. Being a minister he was exempt from military service, and being a man who kept his own counsel concerning the conflict he simply went about his ministerial work unmolested, other than that he would be occasionally halted by soldiers of either side and asked who he was and where he was going; when told who he was and the nature of his mission as a preacher of the gospel, the soldiers invariably let him pass on undisturbed. The following amusing incident which occurred at the Wigginton home during the war is in line with the foregoing story. Mr. Wigginton kept upon his place a colored boy named Dank. One day a company of soldiers who were passing the place called Dank out to the yard fence, and Mrs. Wigginton overheard them make inquiry of Dank as to his master's politics. "Don know," said Dank, '' but I blieve he's a Baptis'.'' The soldiers simply laughed and passed on.
In 1869 Mr. Wigginton purchased a farm four miles west of Mexico, Missouri, where he moved with his family and lived happily and prosperously until ten years later when the death of his wife occurred. The loss of the wife of his youth was the greatest sorrow that ever fell to his lot. Through the struggles of their young manhood and womanhood they had toiled together; together they had enjoyed the temporal and spiritual successes of life, and her departure left an almost unendurable void in his life. He sold the farm where they had dwelt together in love, and moved to Mexico, Missouri, where he purchased property and placed those of his children remaining at home in the public schools.
After some four years of loneliness he married a second wife, a niece of Rev. Jas. E. Welch, the early and efficient missionary who came to Missouri with Rev. J. M. Peck in 1817. He then changed his residence to Centralia, Mo., where they lived until the infirmities of old age compelled them to relinquish housekeeping and he went to his children in Linneus, Missouri, and at Rothville, where he was tenderly cared for by his children until he was called to enter the rest above. Concerning the passing of this Soldier of the Cross, The Bulletin, published at Linneus, Missouri, said:
"It was nearing the sunset of a beautiful Sabbath day, March 29, 1908, that Rev. "William R. Wigginton closed his eyes upon the scenes of earth, while for him dawned the glories of the Day Eternal. His passing seemed more like a translation than like a death. He had no sickness, and apparently, suffered no pain. With his children gathered around him at the home of his youngest daughter, Mrs. R. P. Watts in Rothville, he simply fell asleep 'like one who wraps the drapery of his couch about him and lies down to pleasant dreams.'"
About one year after the passing of Rev. Wigginton his second wife passed to the better world from the home of her son-in-law and daughter, Mr. and Mrs. Walter Price, at Centralia, Missouri.
At the present writing Rev. Wiggington is survived by the following children: Mrs. Anna M. Conger of Chicago; Mrs. C. Josephine Barton of Kansas City; Mrs. Geo. W. Westgate of Linneus, Missouri; Mrs. R. P. Watts of Rothville, and Hickman J. Wigginton, editor The Bulletin, at Linneus, Missouri. Rev. R. Russell Watts, a Baptist minister of Hopkins, Missouri, is one of Rev. Wigginton's grandsons.
The late Howard A. Gass, then State Superintendent of Schools, and who in his younger days lived for a time in Rev. Wigginton's home and was converted under his ministry, upon Mr. Wigginton's death, wrote a letter to one of his children in which he said, "I verily believe that your father was a means of helpfulness and encouragement to more people than any other one man in my entire acquaintance."
The above brief and inadequate sketch of the life and labors of this honored servant of the Christ, will end with an Appreciation, written by Hon. Joseph Barton, a prominent lawyer of St. Louis, Missouri, who was once his neighbor.
"The Bulletin, Linneus, Missouri, of May 10, was to me a welcome visitor indeed, inasmuch as it contained the miniature of your aged father, my revered friend. If you will permit the suggestion, I will say that it was accompanied by too brief a notice of a life heroic in endeavor, and surpassingly rich in the fruitage of fourscore years and more. His life! His life!
"How in the presence of that stupendous array of good deeds, surrounding like a clustering bough a Godly personality, do I bow with uncovered head in the conscious comparison that my own life is as the scorching winds, the desert wastes and sand dunes of human existence.
"As I gazed upon the representation of those benevolent features, my memory took wings and I was a boy again, listening to a sermon under the whispering leaves of an arbor, wherein truth and Heaven's blessing were divinely commingled.
"I heard again those old songs, of memory blessed. I was again awe-stricken by the solemnity of the sacrament. I witnessed once more the triumphal baptismal services on the flower-clad banks of a neighboring stream. I caught the music of his benediction, as it floated in mellow notes above the heads of the congregation, and then I saw your father striding his way across the fields, a man loved by his people, supremely happy, superlatively blest.
"Have you an ideal? Be like him. His head is among the clouds, his life a living monument and a beatitude among men."
"He was a true man; true to his convictions; his impulses were ever toward the noble and the good. Human influence could not induce him to depart from anything that he thought the Bible taught. And so, firm as the native rock, yet staggering under conscious weakness—if the Christ were not with him—he held on to the way that shines more and more unto the perfect day.'"
Rev. J. T. Williams was born in Accomac County, Virginia, March 19, 1820. His father, William Parker Williams, was a physician and a farmer. The father was a member of the Episcopal Church and his mother, Mrs. Adah Laws Williams, a Baptist. When their son, John T., was ten years old they moved to Missouri and made their home in Marion County, near Hannibal. In 1844 Mr. Williams was converted and united with the Baptist Church in Hannibal. The name of the pastor by whom he was baptized is not known at this time. After acquiring such knowledge as the local schools could impart he entered Georgetown College in Kentucky and was graduated from that institution in 1852. While a student there he was licensed to preach the gospel by the Baptist Church in Georgetown. The fact that the name of J. M. Frost, as Moderator of the church is attached to the license is proof that this permission to "exercise his gifts as a minister," was the result of careful inquiry into his religious character and his native endowments. Soon after his graduation he returned to Missouri and became pastor of several churches in Marion County. He preached for the churches at Bethel, Providence, Union, Pleasant Hill and elsewhere. The church at Providence called for the ordination of Mr. Williams and selected the following ministers to consider the propriety of inducting him into the full work as a minister of the gospel: Rev. Nathan Ayers, Rev. J. S. Green, Rev. M. M. Modesett and Rev. D. L. Russell.
By a Presbytery composed of these brethren he was ordained on the fourth Saturday in October, 1853. After some years of labor on these fields he located in Louisiana, Missouri. Here he engaged in teaching. At first he established a private school and then, when success had attended his efforts a charter was obtained and McCune College was begun. While at the head of this school he was for a time pastor of the church in Louisiana. But when not engaged for all his time with the church in that city he served the churches at various times at Dover, North Creek, Sugar Creek and other country churches.
Mr. Williams served in all nineteen years as recording clerk of the General Association. On all occasions his records were accurate and the printed minutes show great care, not only in the preparation of the material but in the industry necessary to careful proofreading.
It may be said that the great work of Mr. Williams was as an educator. Yet, as we shall see, he was also a successful pastor and learned in the Scriptures. All his efforts in the pulpit were of a high order. He was both a faithful pastor and a skilled expositor of the Word. For five years Mr. Williams was president of the school for girls, now known as Stephens College. While holding this position he was either pastor of the Baptist Church in Columbia or of some country churches near by. He was president of Grand River College at Edinburg, Grundy County, Missouri, for some years. While at the head of this school he was also pastor of the church there. He also acted as stated supply for the church in Trenton for a time. He was pastor—I do not know how long—for the church in Chillicothe. As no dates have been furnished me I cannot state when, but he accepted the pastorate at Paris and continued there for five years. He accepted the position as general agent and field editor of the Central Baptist and enlarged the circulation of that paper and helped to place it upon a more secure financial basis.
That he held a large place in the confidence of Baptists everywhere is shown by the fact that he was for years a member of the Board of State Missions, a trustee of William Jewell College and of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary of Louisville, Kentucky. In all these positions of trust and honor he was faithful and efficient. He was not afraid of work. He knew that the mission of every Christian is to serve in all the walks of life, the Lord and His people. While he did not seek prominence he accepted the work assigned by his brethren, and heartily performed every duty.
As a preacher his sermons were filled with profound thought and those thoughts clearly expressed. His introductory sermon at the meeting of the General Association in Trenton in 1883, was fully up to the highest standard for such occasions.
His address on "The Origin and Progress of the Missouri Baptist General Association," as printed in the Semicentennial Volume is, in every way a very able discussion of the theme assigned him.
It is but just to say that in every position given him by his own people, who loved him and delighted to honor him, he proved himself worthy and honored the occasion and illustrated the wisdom of those who pushed him forward. There is not a blot upon the pages of his life history.
While on a mission to advance the Master's Kingdom he was stricken with a fatal disease in Keytesville, Missouri, and there ended his useful life on the 13th day of August, 1891.
By loving hands and with tearful sympathy from those who loved him, his body was placed in the beautiful cemetery at Chillicothe, Missouri.
That he was greatly loved and honored while he lived was shown by the honorary degree of Doctor of Divinity conferred upon him by LaGrange College. He was worthy of this honor and yet his modesty kept him from making any display of this or any other titles he so well deserved.
Lockey McCammon was born in Grundy County, Missouri, December 18, 1838. Her father, Elder William McCammon, was a native of Kentucky, and one of the pioneer Baptist preachers of Grundy County and northwest Missouri. At the age of twenty-three, Lockey McCammon married Charles P. Brandom, who later became the leading farmer and stock raiser of Grundy County, a member of the County Court, and for the last few years of his life, a prominent banker of Trenton, Missouri. Mrs. Brandom lived her entire life in Grundy County. Some years before her death the Republican Tribune of Trenton offered prizes to the oldest citizens of the county, among them being one for the oldest person who had been born in the county and lived continuously there. This prize was awarded to Mrs. Brandom. The Daily Republican Tribune, of Trenton, Missouri, date Tuesday evening, May 19, 1908, among other things referring to Mrs. Brandom, contained the following: "Another pioneer citizen of this county was added to the list of dead when, today at 12:45 o'clock, Mrs. Lockey Brandom passed away at her home at the west end of Chandler street. At the age of twenty-three Mrs. Brandom was married to Judge C. P. Brandom, a prominent farmer and banker, who, soon after their removal to Trenton in 1894, was actively connected with the financial interests of the city. Since his death, in 1897, Mrs. Brandom has lived with her two daughters at the suburban home on Chandler street.
Before moving to Trenton, Mrs. Brandom was a member of the Baptist Church, and at that time transferred her membership to the First Baptist Church of Trenton. Of her bountiful fortune she has always given liberally to religious and charitable enterprises, and she was one of the chief contributors to the building fund of the new church. She was a devoted Christian, an active religious worker, and one who never failed in a duty. In the church, as well as in the home, and again amongst an acquaintance that embraces many of the city's best people, her passing away will be a sad and significant occurrence. Mrs. Brandom leaves one son and three daughters to mourn for her; Hon. S. W. Brandom of Gallatin, Mrs. S. G. Witten, Mrs. A. R. Cannady, and Miss Ora Brandom of Trenton."
Mrs. Brandom died peacefully trusting her Savior. She was 69 years, 5 months and 1 day old. Her life is deserving of emulation.
[Her son, S. W. Brandom, is a graduate of Grand River College and of the Law Department of Washington and Lee University.
He is a practicing lawyer and a Baptist minister. His standing in both professions honors the name of his father and grandfathers. Added by the Editors.]
MRS. ADAH WILSON
It is a source of regret that so few facts of the life work of this devoted Christian woman are now available.
The work of women in her day was not organized, as it now is, and she did all her work in quiet and with no other aid than that prompted by her own love for the Lord.
Mrs. Fairchild was the daughter of Timothy Brown and Sophia Wilson Brown. This godly couple were both members of the Presbyterian Church. After the birth of their first child, wishing to have a "thus saith the Lord" for every step in their lives, they began a careful and prayerful study of the New Testament, before taking any of their children to have them "baptized."
Having failed to find any support in the Word of God, for any other than believe in baptism, they both became Baptists. They now decided to move to the western frontier and made their first home at Aurora, Indiana. Here they became constituent members of a Baptist Church which was organized in their home.
In this new country their daughter, Adah, was carefully educated under the instruction of a private teacher, John Alden, "who was a graduate of Oxford, England, and other highly trained teachers."
The family were of that Puritan stock that prized above all other things the training of the mind and the development of the heart life, through the religion of the Lord Jesus Christ.
In 1834 Miss Brown made her first visit to Missouri to visit her brother, Rev. Horace Brown, who was one of the pioneers of Methodism in Missouri.
That she saw the need of Christian effort on the western side of the Mississippi River is evident from the fact that she afterwards became such an efficient laborer in the great State of Missouri.
She was converted at the age of 18 and from the date of her new birth manifested great desire for the progress of the Kingdom of Heaven. She had an earnest desire to go to the foreign field that she might make known to those who were in darkness the light of the gospel. The way did not open to her to carry into action this purpose, but the way is always open to the earnest heart, to serve the Lord near the home. Her brilliancy of intellect and her real culture along all lines, made her approach to others a pleasure to them as well as to herself, and gave her an influence for good that had no appearance of parading her piety and not only did not give offense but made her very presence a blessing. Her society was sought by the refined and intellectual people wherever she lived.
In 1836 she was married to Oliver Hubbard Fairchild, and to this union six children were born, one of whom died in infancy. In their early married life Mr. and Mrs. Fairchild were the intimate friends of Rev. H. G. Weston, D.D., who was later for many years the distinguished president of Crozier Theological Seminary. The place of the family home at this period of their lives is not given.
The great love of Mrs. Fairchild for her pastor, at this time, was shown by the fact that her eldest son was named for this great scholar and eloquent preacher of the Gospel, Henry Weston Fairchild.
At one time, because of their residence, the family were members of the Fourth Baptist Church, but afterwards united with the Second Church. For how long the writer is not informed, Mrs. Fairchild resided at Ironton, Missouri. Here, by soliciting help from the prominent Baptists of St. Louis, she was the leading spirit in the establishment of a Baptist Church and the erection of a house of worship. She was also able to perform a similar service at DeSoto. She would not be happy unless she was "about her Father's business." Like her Divine Redeemer, it was her "meat and her drink" to do the Father's will."
Her children, who lived to the years of maturity, were Mrs. Emma F. Vail, who was a well known and honored member of the W. C. T. U. and Christian worker, and the highly esteemed wife of Judge James H. Vail; Henry Weston, prominent in business circles in New Orleans, as proprietor of cotton presses in that city; William G. and Charles O., both merchants in Ironton, Missouri; Mrs. Mary F. Gill, wife of Judge A. F. Gill of Huntsville, Missouri. The last named is the mother of Rev. Dr. Everett Gill, the honored missionary of the Southern Baptist Convention, now doing a great work in Italy, where he superintends many mission stations, with his principal residence in Rome.
It may be said of Mrs. Fairchild as the wiseman said of the true, good woman, "Her children rise up and call her blessed."
The friendship between Mrs. S. Y. Pitts and Mrs. Fairchild was long and of that nature that grew from the fact that they were kindred spirits. Their love, each for the other, was the outgrowth of their mutual love for the Redeemer, "whose they were and whom they served."
September 10, 1890, was the crowning day for Mrs. Fairchild. She had, for a time, lived near Huntsville, Missouri, where the influence of her consecrated life was felt by all who knew her. And here came the call to "rest above," where the crown of glory was made more beautiful by the many stars she had won. Not only had she led many to the Christ, but she had taught them the joy of working for Him.
She had passed into the 79th year of her age. The Lord whom she loved and served saw that she had finished the work He gave to her and then came the joy of the endless rest in the blessedness of the Divine presence. Hers was a consecrated life. "Her religious fervor and missionary spirit were ever active."
Though not permitted herself to go to the foreign field, she has a representative in the person of her grand son, Rev. Dr. Everett Gill, "who owes to her his earliest indication to give himself to the Lord's work beyond the seas."
We thus see how a good life continues in those influenced by the true disciple of Jesus, and that every such life is lived over again in ever enlarging circles.
MRS. MARGARET ANN JOHNSTON (NEE WATSON)
By Her Son, Hon. H. W. Johnson, Montgomery City, Mo. An active man's life is only half told if the life of her who aided him in gaining his successes and sympathized with him in his trials, is left without record. The old decree that they who stay by the stuff shall share equally in the spoils taken by those in the active field, certainly hold good when it comes to meting out the honors due those who have labored in the holy co-partnership of husband and wife in the vineyard of the Lord.
Mrs. Margaret Ann Johnston was born in Christian County, Kentucky, October 29, 1817. Her parents, James Houston and Elizabeth Carr Watson, came from Kentucky to Missouri, and landed on Grassy Creek, Pike County, December 25, 1817, with their two daughters, Mary Houston and Margaret Ann, the latter being not quite two months old. The trip was made on horseback, Mary Houston riding behind her mother, and Margaret Ann in her lap. This incident will show the sturdy character of the stock from which Mrs. Johnston sprang, people who never shirked hardships that it seemed necessary to undergo.
Shortly afterward her father removed to the place that had been settled by his father who had preceded him to Missouri. This place was west of the Big Bridge over Noix Creek between Louisiana and Bowling Green. About two and a half years after they came to Missouri, Margaret Ann's mother died and a few days later her father passed away, leaving three little girls parentless. They were taken and reared by an aunt, a sister of their father, Mrs. Rowanna Garnsey, wife of David Garnsey who lived just north and adjacent to the Watson place.
Her education was acquired before the day of ladies' colleges in Missouri, and at a time when the local high school was not dreamed of, but the mothers of that day were often wonderfully well equipped for their life-work in the excellent local schools whose curriculum was not limited by any formal course of study, but to enterprising pupils that desired to advance beyond the realm included within the limits of the proverbial "three R's," ample opportunity was given to do good work that later ranked as collegiate in its character. Margaret Ann and her sisters attended the school kept in the old McQuie school house which stood near the present site of the Baptist Church at the junction of the Louisiana and Paris roads. The late venerable William McQuie, "Uncle Billy," as he is still remembered in the neighborhood, was their teacher.
Her ancestors on both sides, the Watsons and the Carrs, were excellent, enterprising, intelligent people, and the combined virtues of the two lines seemed to have been represented in the character of Mrs. Johnston. She was amiable, lovable and of great force of character. She was bright, intelligent and industrious.
She was married to the Rev. Thomas Thornton Johnston, June 15, 1836, at the home of David Garnsey, near the Watson-Igo place, and from this time her whole energy was devoted to the interests of her home. Rev. Johnston was necessarily absent from home much of the time, attending to his ministerial duties, and the burden of rearing the family rested mainly upon her, and well and nobly she performed this important duty. She had early espoused the Christian religion and united with the Baptist Church at Noix Creek, and her Christian life, her precept, and her example were such as to make her influence in the family for good irresistible. She was indeed queen in her home. She was totally unselfish. The interests of husband, children and home were always first and paramount with her. The confidence between mother, husband and children was delicate, tender, affectionate and unrestrained. It was her ambition to raise her boys up to be sober, intelligent, and useful men; and her girls to be good and true women. In this she succeeded most admirably. At the day of her death, her boys were all grown, sober, industrious and well to do men and her girls good, true and useful wives. This was a source of great satisfaction to her. She felt that her life-work had been accomplished, and when the summons came, though sudden and unexpected, her house was in order and she was ready to answer the call.
She died in the full consolations of the faith that had been her stay through life, and her remains now lie beside those of the husband who had preceded her several years before. Her death occurred October 6, 1884.
MRS. O. P. MOSS
Mrs. Caroline Marjory Moss was born in Clay County, Missouri, July 2, 1823. She was the daughter of Colonel John Thornton, a distinguished pioneer of northwest Missouri, and his wife, Mrs. Elizabeth Trigg Thornton. She was carefully reared and educated, having received the best scholastic training to be had west of the Mississippi River in those days, and being somewhat precocious in intellectual strength, she surpassed many that were her superior, in age in her attainments, and was, withal, so wise as to supplement her work in the school room by a well selected course of reading in the English classics. In her later life, after she had espoused the cause of Christ, without neglecting her general culture, she devoted much of this intellectual taste and ability to the study of Holy Writ and books of a devotional type.
She was married to Oliver Perry Moss December, 1837. He in his twenty-fifth year, she in her fifteenth—an early marriage, which, when happily made, as was in this case, always results in a lovely merging of two human interests into one. This harmony in union which seemed complete from the first, was, at the same time, cumulative, as their natures deepened, and eventually whole-heartedly espoused the same holy cause. When they were married the two noble characters united to do their simple duty as upright children of the world may do. Some years later, when the wife surrendered her human will to the Divine, a richness intensified by the spiritual element became evident in her influence in matters in which both were involved, but later still, when he, too, came under the transforming influence of the changed life, nothing human could be more nearly complete than their uninterrupted unity of purpose. To quote from a testimonial offered by Rev. J. B. Link, a once-time pastor of the Second Baptist Church of Liberty, of which Mr. and Mrs. Moss were active members:
"She stood by her noble husband in prayer, in sympathy, in toil, in high endeavor, and in the valley of discouragement, in all conditions, her devotion, her counsel, and her strength of purpose were an inspiration to his whole religious life."
This progress toward complete oneness in purpose and feeling, was marked by the sacred stages of seven years-marriage 1837; her conversion and union with the Second Baptist Church in 1844; his conversion and membership in the same church in 1851. This unity was not marred by surrender of individuality in thought and feeling, but was like the twining together of two silken cords of different color into one stronger cord, each strand maintaining its own hue but both contributing to the greater strength of the combined strands.
Mrs. Moss was converted under the preaching of Rev. A. P. Williams and was baptized into the fellowship of the Second Baptist Church, by him, July 7, 1844. After this her home became the halting place of messengers of the Cross, when they felt the need of congenial rest.
The following item from Mrs. Moss's diary was given me by her sister, Mrs. M. L. Lawson of St. Joseph, Missouri, and while it is of almost too sacred character for the public print, it serves so well to show the enthusiasm and spirituality of Mrs. Moss's nature, I will venture to give it entire:
"I was baptized in the morning, July 7, 1844. A large concourse of people were present at the Jordan to witness the baptismal scene. It was a blissful day to me, the happiest of my life—my marriage not excepted. I was led into the water, my precious mother— baptized the same day—held my hand.
"I remember seeing many persons as I went into the water. Brother A. P. Williams baptized me. I was unspeakably happy, indeed, until I had nearly reached the shore, I was unconscious of all surrounding objects.
"When I came near some of my sisters and brethren reached forth their hands in hearty welcome. My husband with tears streaming down his cheeks, embraced me. My precious father, weeping, kissed me.
"That scene is indelibly written on my heart. In heaven I may remember it. Blessed scene! The recollection of it fills my soul with holy joy. With the poet I could say: 'How happy are they who their Savior obey!'"
To quote again from Rev. J. B. Link's memorial:
chamber at Lindenwood, the name of their home near Liberty,
Missouri, was always ready for any passing occupant. The generous,
cheery, hearty welcome to all; the social life, whose atmosphere was
made sweet and fragrant by the breath of heaven; the unfailing
presence at the weekly prayer-meeting and the Sabbath school, where
they were always to be found; then the touching sympathy in his
work, and the words of cheer and comfort and encouragement to her
pastor; the abounding, prompt, and ready help for the poor, comfort
for the afflicted, and tears for the sorrowing, all sustained by the
strength of a united life." These combined formed the happy
condition of their life of consecration. No husband could have said
more in praise of the woman God had given him, than did Captain Moss
in the later years of his life, in a letter to his sister, written a
few months before his death. He said:
me is the Christian religion and the best wife in the world."
Another friend writes:
"In all the activities growing out of her station and relationships in life; In the church, in society, in the neighborhood, she discharged her duties with enthusiastic, untiring energy. Her obligations to Christ shared the larger portion of her thought after her union with the church, and the result of her activity and care in regard to them have often been felt in movements of the Baptist denomination in Missouri; in its associations, Sunday-schools, missions and educational works."
In 1869 a Woman's Foreign Missionary Society, auxiliary to the Foreign Board of the Southern Baptist Convention was organized and Mrs. Moss was elected president thereof. While this society was a local institution, its definite alignment with the Southern Baptist Convention brought it into more than state-wide recognition, and the aggressive work done by the president in her intelligent effort and well-directed zeal caused its influence to reach the Baptist women of the state. In 1876, several of the Baptist women held an informal conference for the discussion of the feasibility of organizing the sisterhood into Missouri Baptist Woman's Foreign Missionary Society. Mrs. Moss, having been the most prominent woman in advocating this movement, was logically and very fortunately chosen president of this organization when it was effected and it held its first annual meeting during the session of the General Association at Lexington in October, 1877. At this meeting announcement was made that during the year just closed thirty-six local and auxiliary societies had been formed.
It will be appropriate at this point to present the objects of this society, which can not be done better than in the elegant and expressive language of one of its gifted officers, Mrs. G. W. Hyde of Lexington, Missouri:
"The object of this society is to enlist the active sympathy and co-operation of the entire sisterhood of the state in the work of foreign missions. To accomplish this we have adopted a system of life membership, and local or auxiliary woman's missionary societies in the churches. The leading feature in the local societies is the collection of an average of one cent a week from the entire membership of the churches."
Mrs. Moss held
the presidency of the society from 1876 to 1886, though ably
assisted by the noble sisters who were her co-workers, she, as its
chief officer, bore the weight of its burdens. Through her untiring
energy and efficient executive ability, she not only won herself an
enviable name with the sisterhood, but with all the active workers
in the General Association. Not till her declining health demanded
her release from the arduous duties of the society, did the sisters
permit her to lay the burden down. Then, it was taken from her
shoulders, only, for till her death she bore the interests of the
society on her heart. Can not the present magnificent Missouri
Woman's Missionary Society, in which more than $20,000 annually are
devoted to the cause of missions, be considered an eloquent monument
to her wisdom and zeal, more expressive than the noble marble that
marks her final resting place?
ADDENDA (Furnished by Mrs. Lawson)
In the autumn of 1886, Mrs. Moss was living with her sister, Mrs. John Doniphan in St. Joseph and consulted with Dr. B. S. Dulin about doing something for the poor of the city. The result was that she organized the Moss Mission Sunday School in September, 1886, and this led to the establishment of the Moss Memorial Church which was built and ready for work January 15, 1887 For 17 years Mrs. Moss toiled there among the poor until the very end of her life.
An appreciation of her work in this field was written by Mr. and Mrs. L. M. Lawson in New York, Mrs. Lawson being her youngest sister.
made an effort to shun public duties on account of failing health,
her indefatigable spirit and boundless energy were not content with
what seemed the triumph of life. In the rapidly growing city of St.
Joseph a large and populous region was destitute of physical
comforts and religious instruction; crime flourished and its
concomitant evils abounded. The law seemed powerless to check the
downward tendency. Into this scene she entered upon a peaceful
crusade against confusion and riot, disorder and turbulence. She
believed that wherever there were human habitations and human
depravity she had a divine mission. She hoped, when others
despaired; she fought when others fainted. She aspired to the
physical and intellectual elevation of the people and the doing of
practical benefits to the masses. The unlabored art of doing good
was her ideal. She had that tender compassion which is the chief
grace of womanhood and the true badge of nobility. She interested
herself in the common life of the people and its humble necessity.
She established agencies for the relief of their wants. Her helpful
hands collected and dispensed more than 5,000 garments in periods of
emergency and need. She founded Sunday-schools and missions in this
desolate region of the thriving city, which grew to wide and
beneficent influence. She lifted the people from degredation; she
assured them of their own merit; she disclosed to them their own
capacity; she made them believe in their own moral value, and she
therefore became the object of their love and admiration."
Mrs. Moss died in St. Joseph, July 16, 1904, and was laid away beside her husband in the Thornton lot in Fairview Cemetery at Liberty, Mo.
MRS. JOSEPH B.
The most beautiful tribute to Christian womanhood in the literature of the ages is, without doubt, found in the Second Epistle of John, paid to the Elect Lady in the following eloquent words: "The Elder to Elect Lady whom I love in the truth; and not I only, but also all that have known the truth, for the truth's sake, which dwelleth in us, and shall be with us forever. Grace be with you, mercy, and peace, from God the Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of the Father, in truth and love."
There are many conditions which conspire to make the Christian woman the loveliest, the most exalted character of all God's creations. The unselfishness of her loving nature; her intense sensitiveness to the balance that should be maintained between the right and the wrong; her devotion to the truth; her willingness—yea, her anxiety—to suffer, if need be for the amelioration of pain and the assuagement of grief; her ready sympathy with the humble and the downcast and, finally, her power to give herself to the abatement of evil in all its hideous forms; all these strengthened, refined and sweetened by the exercise of a loving faith, place her on the summit of consecrated excellence.
Mrs. Joseph B. Thompson, an eminent embodiment of the virtues mentioned above, was born in St. Louis, Missouri, July 21, 1844. Her parents were George B. and Lucy A. Pritchard. She was reared and educated in the city of her birth, and was always under the spiritual influence that resulted in her surrendering her life to the Lord when a very young woman. In the year 1862 she openly confessed her faith in the Christ, and was baptized into the fellowship of the Second Baptist Church of St. Louis by the Rev. Dr. Galusha Anderson. Her activity in religious work, however, ante-dated her public profession by several years. From 1859 to 1864, she was a faithful and earnest teacher in the Jefferson Mission Sunday School. During the five years of her devoted labor in this mission, her gracious influence was felt in the wholesome impression she made upon the lives of many poor people with whom she came in contact. To the present time, the memory of her benign influence during these blessed days, is sweet with many of these lowly ones.
About the time of her marriage with Mr. Thompson, 1863, she entered upon her work in the primary department of the Sunday School of the Second Church. In this capacity, she served the Lord for thirty-five years, and for the remaining fourteen years of her life, was active in other departments of Sunday school work in the same church. A notable experience of forty-nine years in the same school. Had her Christian zeal found its satisfaction in this work alone, her life would have been one of unusual beneficence, but other Christian labors appealed to her, and for forty-two years, she was an active worker in the management of the Woman's Christian Home and the Woman's Christian Association, and was for many years the vice-president of each organization. She was, also, greatly interested in the Summer rest for Working Girls, and was for a time a member of its board of trustees. She was the moving spirit in the foundation of the Baptist Orphans' Home, and for twenty-six years was the treasurer of the institution. Her faith in the ultimate success of the home was such that no matter what unfavorable vicissitudes it encountered, with unswerving trust she would say: "We must pray more earnestly"; and her faith was rewarded in seeing the home resting on well established financial foundations and imbedded in the hearts of the Baptist fraternity throughout the state before her death. The Ladies' Mite Club, an organization, working in the interests of the home was established by her and in the seventeen years of its existence had, at the time of her death, turned over to the treasury of the home about $4,200 and still prospers.
In view of her great spiritual activity, we were not surprised to her one of her pastors say: "She was ever like a right hand to her pastor in the ready assistance she gladly rendered him any way that was open to her sympathetic efficiency. The brethren and sisters of the church always felt that in Sister Thompson they had a competent and willing co-worker."
We now say: "Sister Thompson is dead," but the good die not, but live in the precious memories that cluster around their beneficent lives, and their works truly follow them. They cease from their physical activity, and so are sadly missed by those they leave behind, but they still live on.
This beloved sister, this Elect Lady, was called to her heavenly home August 17, 1913. Her remains were laid to rest in the family lot in the beautiful Bellefontaine Cemetery, St. Louis, Missouri, after impressive services at the church where her entire Christian life had been spent. Tears and flowers bedecked the place of her interment; the one the symbol of the outpouring grief felt at her loss, the other, the effort to portray the fragrant beauty of her lovely earthly life.
By Her Daughter,
Mrs. J. T. Long, St. Louis, Mo.
Matilda was converted at an early age and always took an active interest in the affairs of the First Church, Charleston, in which her father was a deacon. She was educated in Charleston and at Limestone Springs.
During the troubled years of the Civil War the Silcox family went as refugees to Anderson, South Carolina. There Matilda met and married David Gaillard, a young Confederate soldier whose father's home adjoined the Silcox place. It was while the soldier of nineteen years was home on furlough recovering from a wound that the marriage took place. The bride was not yet eighteen. Returning in two months to his regiment, the young husband was killed in the first battle which he entered and was buried in the trenches. When the war was over the young widow returned to Charleston with her father's family.
In 1868, Rev. Wm. H. Williams, of Richmond, Virginia, was called to the pastorate of the "Old First" and received a warm welcome in the family of Deacon Silcox. It soon became evident that the new minister's "pastoral" calls were not confined to the good deacon, and few were surprised when his engagement to Mrs. Gaillard became known. An amusing incident is told of this period. The organist was so accustomed to seeing the couple come into church together that she invariably began to play the Voluntary when Mrs. Gaillard's hat appeared beneath the gallery rail, knowing that the pastor would immediately enter the pulpit; but one morning Mrs. Gaillard came quite early and came alone. It was said that the organist played a full half hour before the minister appeared, and the whole congregation enjoyed the joke and Mrs. Gaillard's discomfiture. June 22, 1869, Mr. Williams and Mrs. Gaillard were married by Dr. E. T. Winkler and left in a few months for a new pastorate in Staunton, Virginia.
In subsequent pastorates in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, and Charlottesville, Virginia, Mrs. Williams was engaged in home rather than in church work. She used to say that her seven little ones were as much of an "Infant Class'' as she could manage, but she found time to drive around in the carriage drawn by the gentle old horse and filled with children and provisions, carrying cheer and comfort to many homes. These early experiences prepared her for the work that occupied much of her later life.
When Dr. Williams took charge of the Central Baptist in St. Louis, Missouri, they pleasantly said, Missouri is our adopted state, and so they always called it. He purchased this paper in October, 1882. Very soon thereafter, Mrs. Williams began to edit the "Family Department." Many stories that she had read or repeated to her own children found their way into this column, and delighted children all over the state. Later, the "Silent Hour" column comforted sad hearts and encouraged weary lives.
Mrs. Williams' name is well known throughout the state from her work on the paper, and her activities in the Women's Societies of the Third Baptist Church, St. Louis. Her chief occupation was that of being a good mother and home-maker. Her life stood pre-eminently for the Christian home, where Christ's presence was always felt and His law of love ruled. An old-fashioned hospitality greeted all guests who came to the Williams' home, and so happy were the seven children and later, the orphaned nephew and niece, whom she reared, that one does not wonder at Dr. Jeter's remark that he would like to be a little boy again and have Mrs. Williams for a mother.
After Dr. Williams' death in 1893, she spent several years in Liberty, Missouri, while her son and nephew were students in William Jewell College.
She died July, 1905, in Louisville, Kentucky, after a very brief illness.
The six children
who survive her are all engaged in the making of Christian homes,
and when time permits, in some form of religious work, either in the
Sunday School or on the foreign field. Her son is following in his
honored father's footsteps as a Gospel Minister—all exemplifying her
life motto, "Train up a child in the way he should go." From the
Report on Obituaries, St. Louis Association, 1905, we make the
following notice of the death of Mrs. Williams: "We would make
special mention of Mrs. W. H. Williams, whose life and character
reminds us of the words of our Savior, 'Peace I leave with you, my
peace I give unto you.' In fact, the power and influence shed forth
from such a one is beyond compute, and is more like a divine
breathing. The quiet, restful effect on those privileged to know her
gave courage and higher aspirations. Her memory will always be as a
sweet benediction, precious to the circles in which she moved."
MRS. SARAH LOGAN
The father of Mrs. Yancey, Judge John Viley, was a very early settler in what is now Randolph County. He served this county as Judge of the County Court for many years and was therefore always known as "Judge" Viley.
He was a man of action. His business became extensive. He owned land extending from Howard County to the Iowa line. At one time he owned not less than 20,000 acres and it was all carefully chosen and the richest in productiveness when put under cultivation of any of this fertile region.
He was a native of Georgetown, Scott County, Kentucky, and had a number of negro slaves who cultivated the land and looked after the large herds of cattle and horses that fed upon the abundant pasturage of the summers and consumed the fruits of the well cultivated crops in the winter.
Mr. Viley's first wife having died he married her younger sister. They were both daughters of Mr. Harry Ely, who was also a Scott County Kentuckian. After the marriage of his second daughter to Mr. John Viley he also became a resident of Randolph County, Missouri.
He was a planter of large means and a man of devoted piety. He was an active and useful member of the Baptist Church, and lived his religion, showing all fidelity to the Master whom he loved, and encouraged his pastor by his constant presence at all the services in their sanctuary.
Mrs. Yancey was a daughter of the second marriage; and was born on the farm near where the town of Yates now is located, in 1847. When a mere child she had the very great misfortune to lose her mother by death.
Her oldest sister was then the wife of W. R. Burch. This sister, Martha Elizabeth took the younger to her home and she was here the idol of that home until her marriage, and gave all the love of her mother heart to her younger sister.
In this home of luxury, gaining and holding the love of both Mr. and Mrs. Burch, she grew to her young womanhood.
There lived in that part of the State of Missouri at this period Rev. B. T. Anderson, who was a graduate of Richmond College, Virginia, who taught school and preached the Gospel. He was a man of ripe scholarship and of varied talents. It was the good fortune of Miss Sarah Logan to be placed under the instruction of this man of thorough scholarship.
She gained a thorough knowledge of the English language. And in after years possessed unusual ability to speak and write her mother tongue. As a writer of friendly letters, the writer of this sketch can bear testimony that she possessed great ability both in thought and in elegance of expression.
For years Judge Viley had been what was called in those days a "Southern Trader." He had been a grower of hemp and a trader in horses and mules. And when the war between the States burst upon our country he had large interests in the Southland. Upon those he could realize nothing during the four years of bloody strife. It was the opportunity of those who coveted his lands. They forced sales by obtaining decrees of court that gave decisions in form of law, but did not always regard the real equity of the causes. His lands were, therefore, sold under the sheriff's hammer and brought much less than their real value. By this means the fortune of Judge Viley was swept away, but great riches were secured by others.
Before this time, Judge Viley in partnership with Mr. Dameron, carried on an extensive mercantile business in Glasgow. There was at this time a large trade in tobacco at Glasgow. Here large fortunes were accumulated. Some firms that became leading establishments in St. Louis laid the foundation of their fortunes. One of the partners was named Logan Dameron, and because of the high esteem in which Judge Viley held this man, he named his daughter Sarah Logan.
During the school days of this bright girl, there was upon a neighboring farm, a boy who attended the same school. The parents of this boy had both passed to the heavenly home. His father had presided as Circuit Judge of the district including Springfield, Mo., for many years. He was considered one of the legal lights in the great State of Missouri.
The sweet old story of youths and maidens was again repeated in the mutual love of this young man and the bright and charming young girl.
It was greatly to the credit of both Stephen Bedford Yancey and Sarah Logan Viley that they learned to love each other. It was destiny to them both. They could not help it and their hearts would not permit any effort to try to avoid such a result. And so on the 8th day of October, 1867, she became the wife of Mr. S. B. Yancey.
After their marriage they made their home upon a farm very near where Mr. and Mrs. Burch resided. Here began their united efforts to make a home. The admirable success that attended their mutual efforts, their large possessions abundantly testify.
Their trials and successes were mutually borne and appreciated. In 1873, at a series of meetings conducted by Rev. W. R. Painter, at Roanoke, she became a Christian and united with the Baptist Church. Her husband had been a Baptist for some years. This was the beginning of a real Christian life. She has always been undemonstrative in the discharge of her duties as a church member. In fact, there was little that to her seemed duty. It was always far more a privilege to serve the Divine Christ by acts of kindness to His own people, than to regard it as a discharge of any other obligation than that to which love prompts.
She was ever kind to the poor. The needy were not turned away empty. A single illustration of her thoughtfulness illustrates her concern for others. One cold winter day, with the ground covered deeply with snow, she saw that there was no smoke coming from the chimney top of the home of a neighbor. She called the attention of her husband to the fact that there was no evidence of any activity about that home. There lived there a single lady and her brother.
She urged her husband to go at once and learn if there was not need of help. Upon going to the home he found the young woman unable to leave her bed. The house was cold and no food prepared. It did not take long for there to be in that home a cheerful fire and an abundance of such nourishment as the sick one needed. And no one ever heard from her a boast that she had extended needed help to those in distress.
It was, however, in her own home, and it should be said, with the fullest sympathy of her husband, that the real spirit of Christian fellowship was always exhibited. Her pastor and any worthy minister of the Gospel was made to feel that here he was always a welcome guest.
There was no need that she should say to such, "you are welcome here," for in a real hospitable manner she made them feel the best this home affords is at your service while here.
The Lord gave to her and her husband four children. Charles Edwin Yancey of Liberty, Mo., a very successful farmer and a man of varied talents and wide culture, is the father of four children, bright and promising; the older ones are college graduates, and the younger ones are being trained for full courses of college education.
The second child a daughter, was taken to heaven in her infancy.
The second son, William Burch, was educated at William Jewell College, and after attaining manhood, at once became a leader in the business life of his community. Besides operating a large farm, he was assistant cashier of the Farmers' Bank of Armstrong, which institution owes its large and growing patronage to his executive and financial ability. Without his solicitation he was elected mayor of his home town, Armstrong. He was in every way a model young man; a member of the Baptist Church, but was in early life stricken with tuberculosis and passed on to receive the reward of a well-spent life, in Heaven.
The youngest child, now the wife of W. R. Evans, after her mother became an invalid, gave up her own home that she might better minister to her mother's needs, and lived with her. The daughter of Bettie and Roper Evans has been for all the years of her young life the bright jewel of this home.
Mr. Yancey always bears witness most gladly that whatever success has attended his efforts in life largely came from the cheerful encouragement and co-operation of his wife.
Her two living children, her daughter-in-law and her son-in-law, and her five grand-children are as devotedly attached to her as any human love can bind hearts in one. No family can be found in any country on earth more lovingly united than the children and grand-children of Stephen Bedford and Sarah Logan Yancey.
It is intimated above that Mrs. Yancey's love and sympathy was world wide. She was engaged in the work of the Red Cross when the final stroke fell that suddenly took her from earth to Heaven.
We often permit ourselves to be over-cautious in expressing our admiration of our best friends. Many a sad heart would be cheered in the battles of life if those who love them would express to them while living the high esteem in which they are held.
A son once said to his dying mother, "Oh, mother, how can we live without you?" With feeble voice she said, "My son, why did you not say that long ago?"
Yet now, in closing this inadequate sketch of the life of one who has been a very dear and a true friend for more than thirty-six years, though it be late so to do, my heart prompts me to write a few sentences of appreciation.
It has been the great privilege of this writer to spend many weeks in the hospitable home of Mrs. Yancey. We lived close neighbors during the three years, when my wife was an invalid, lingering upon the very border of the better land. And all this time the presence of Mrs. Yancey brought to her moments of rest and cheer. The very presence of this dear friend quieted the trembling and aching nerves and soothed the disquieted spirit. And when the voice of the Redeemer called Mrs. Maple to the home on high, she was so ready to render aid, and to express her love that much of the gloom was for the moment dispersed. There was yet the light of life gleaming from a true heart, and this world was not all darkness.
Her home was always an ideal place for the heart of a Christian minister or any Christ-loving one to rest and regain strength to continue the battle for the good.
Blessed with a great abundance of this world's goods, she made her home beautiful and "adorned the doctrine of God our Savior in all things.'' There was no excess of neatness, yet every appointment seemed absolutely perfect. Her husband, her children, her friends and the "stranger that came within her gates," felt that here is a beautiful type of the home above, for here love abides.
disposition she was retiring and avoided all publicity. She was what
we might call a "lady of the old school.'' But she did not live
wholly in the past. She kept the best traditions of the "mothers in
Israel," but her thoughts were busy with the present. She knew the
world moves, and was well informed- as to the progress of the
present age. Nothing however, disturbed her faith in the great truth
that “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever.” And so
her faith in the unchanging God, and the ever-enduring principles of
the Gospel was unshaken.
After some three years of serious invalidism, suffering from a complication of diseases, Mrs. Yancey was suddenly stricken with paralysis, and passed on to her great reward the 29th of July, 1917.
As soon as the sad news of her death was known letters and telegrams of condolence came from many friends in various parts of the State.
The funeral services were conducted at the home by Dr. J. C. Maple, assisted by Dr. S. B. Cousings of Liberty, Mo., and Rev. J. M. Major of Armstrong. Her favorite hymns were sung by a quartette, and many testimonials were given as to her lovely Christian life.
Many were present from Boone, Fayette, Randolph, Clay and other counties.
The floral offerings exceeded anything ever before seen in all the vicinity in which she had lived.
Her body was then placed in the beautiful and carefully kept cemetery at Roanoke, where rest the remains of her loved ones who had gone before her to “the land of rest.”