A SERIES OF LIFE-SKETCHES INDICATING THE GROWTH AND PROSPERITY OF THE BAPTIST CHURCHES AS REPRESENTED IN THE LIVES AND LABORS
BY J. C. MAPLE, A.M., D.D.AND R.P. RIDER, A.M.VOL. I.
A. F. Martin was born in St. Louies County, Missouri, April 23, 1812. His parents, with others, came from Virginia to Missouri Territory in 1794. They came, as did most of these settlers in this new country, in covered wagons, or, to use the expression of the former days, in a "prairie schooner." After they had crossed the Mississippi River on a ferry boat, they drove up into the French village then called "Pain Court" (without bread). Great wonderment and curiosity were aroused at the sight of wagons with four wheels. The two- wheeled carts to which the people were accustomed were the only vehicles they had ever seen. It is stated that when the party moved forward, many followed, expecting to see the "big wheels catch the little ones."
A home was made in the wilderness, and after a residence of eight years in this wild land west of the great river, a baby boy came to bless the home and, as the future proved, to be a great blessing to multitudes who should in after years make their abode in this rich Territory.
It should not escape our minds that the boy, Alton, was born the year that Missouri was set off as a territory from the immense region secured to our great Republic by the Louisiana purchase.
The lad was early afflicted with "white swelling." Those who have knowledge, either by observation or experience, of this disease, will realize that it caused intense and prolonged suffering to the youth. The disease was so severe that his physicians decided to amputate the limb, but the boy pleaded so earnestly for that member of his body that the knife was not used, and he recovered and retained to a good old age the use of all parts of his body.
The parents, believing that their son would be a cripple for life, decided to educate him for a teacher. This, with other children to care for and their limited means, involved no small amount of self-denial on their part. Educational opportunities in this wild, new country were very meagre, indeed; but the hand of Providence was leading in a way they knew not of.
They learned that Dr. John M. Peck had established a school at Rock Springs, Illinois. The school established at that early day was afterwards moved to Upper Alton and, in time, became Shurtleff College. No possible association in all the valley of the great river could have been more fortunated for the youth than that of John Mason Peck. While Peck was not himself a full college graduate, yet he was, in the highest and best sense, a man of broad culture and of great practical common sense. He knew men and how to be helpful to all who came under his influence, and he sincerely wished to aid in the development of the largest endowments he found in his pupils.
The new student was as anxious to learn as his preceptors were to teach. Two active and energetic minds now came in contact. The result was that rapid progress was made by the pupil.
There has been preserved a certificate from his teacher testifying to the attainments of his pupil. This testimonial is here copied:
"This certifies that Alton F. Martin has been both a student and a teacher in Rock Springs Seminary for the last six months, and his correctness of principle and attention to study and business, entitle him to the confidence and affection of all his friends. I consider him ably qualified, both in learning and experience, to teach an English School."
JOHN M. PECK,
Principal, April 25, 1831
And now at the age of 19 he began what had been planned for him as his life work: he engaged in teaching. The confinement of the school room did not agree with his health. He must seek some more active employment and live more an out-door life, and so he joined a party of surveyors. This life proved very beneficial and he became well and strong.
While associated with Dr. Peck, he was converted and by his teacher baptized into the fellowship of a Baptist church.
With the recovery of his health, the long suppressed conviction of duty to preach the gospel asserted itself with increased force. And, yielding to this conviction, he began what proved to be his real life-work and entered wholly into the ministry. That preparation for the school room proved a preparation for the pulpit.
When A. F. Martin was well advanced in years, Rev. Dr. W.R. Rothwell wrote of him: "I knew and loved Brother Martin as a leader among our pioneer ministry in Missouri." At the time A. F. Martin began his ministry in Missouri, the entire State was one great missionary field. There were churches in various places, but they were generally small in numbers and financially weak. Outside a few towns the people lived in widely separated communities. In localities where enough members could assemble, churches were formed and pastors were called who served virtually without pecuniary remuneration. The idea of a fixed salary was seldom thought of, and, in many cases, viforously opposed. There were church members who claimed that it took as much of their time to attend preaching as it did the minister to preach.
In 1859 Mr. Martin secured the title to a farm near where the town of Linneus, county seat of Linn County, now stands. Here he made a home for himself and family.
He was first married to Martha Ann Walton, and after her decease married Ann Mariah Ely, an older sister of Lewis B. Ely, well known and universally loved by Missouri Baptists.
A. F. Martin was, all the remainder of his life, both farmer and preacher. He rode from his home near Linneus to Trenton, the county seat of Grundy County, and preached on Saturday and Sunday in each month for some twenty-five or thirty years. Only sickness or insurmountable hindrances kept fim from filling all his appointments. On one occasion, when he was on his way either to or from one of these regular appointments, the weather became unusually cold, even for the northern part of Missouri. Towards evening a farmer heard some one call near his door, and, upon going out, found his old friend, Elder Martin, so chilled as to be unable, without assistance to dismount from his horse. He was at the home of a good brother who knew him and loved him. Having assisted his friend into the house and provided food and shelter for the faithful horse, every comfort that good friendship and brotherly love could supply was given to the worthy man of God. Here he was made to stay until the weather moderated enough to make his journey to his own home safe.
He was one of the three gospel ministers who planted the Baptist church in Carrollton, Missouri, Thomas Fristoe, Fielding Wilhite and A. F. Martin, the latter the young man of the trio, under conditions that were interesting and would have been discouraging to men less endowed with that faith tht insures the co-workers with the Master, that, with His aid, nothing is impossible, organized the Baptist church in Carrollton, Missouri. For a full account of their sucessful efforts, see the Life-sketch of Thomas Fristoe in this volume. The present generation, after many years, are reaping the fruits of this early sowing of the gospel seed.
In 1844 the General Association appointed A. F. Martin as one of the evangelists approved by that body to labor on the north side of the Missouri River. Dr. W. Pope Yeaman, in his history of the General Association (page 200), says of A. F. Martin: "In the first decade of our history, he, too, was one of the Lord's 'Rough Riders.' He was a deeply pious man and an unselfish preacher. He sought not his own, but, with consuming desire for the salvation of souls, and seeking to magnify the name of Christ, he went forth weeping, bearing precious seed."
"In 1844 he reports to the Board: Rode 1,000 miles and spent 120 days; preached seventy times, baptized twenty-six persons, organized one church, ordained one deacon-have supplied four churches during part of the year." I have not at my command the means of knowing how much was paid him for this arduous toil, but we know it would be now regarded as a more pittance.
The exalted privilege of being a "co-worker" with the triuphant Lord Jesus was to him above all earthly reward, and he went forward blessed with the Divine Companionship.
He was one of God's chosen instruments in establishing churches at Carrollton, Trenton, Linneus, Brookfield and in a great many places in the country. In all these citie And while we give unstinted praise s the churches are at the present day active in all departments of the Lord's work; while many of the country churches have continued to supply the towns with the best material in their pews and with the ablest men in the pulpits. Which of the localities has contributed most largely to the progress of the "Kingdom of Heaven" in the whole world-wide mission, we cannot undertake to say, but all fields are parts of our Lord's husbandry; and he who helps to till this land, whether he sows or reaps, is sure of the reward. And while we give unstinted praise to the man who labored so faithfully and with great selfdenial upon this broad field, we should not forget that the wife, who kept the home and cared for the children and cheered the husband on his way, deserves no less praise than he.
"If they who wait do serve the Lord, As well as he who plants and sows, And warns with ministry of word The sinner of the coming woes; When earthly confilcts are laid down She, too, methinks, will wear a crown As bright and radiant then, as he."
A.F. Martin was the father of fourteen children. Four were born to him by his first wife and ten by the second. I can tention here but two sons. My knowledge of the others is too limited to justify any attempt to protray their characters.
Rev. Lewis Ely Martin and Rev. John Mason Peck Martin, are well known by Missouri Baptists and highly esteemed as faithful ministers of the gospel. It cannot fail greatly to increase our admiration for the great industry and self-denial of Elder Martin and his two Christian wives, to know that they cared for such a large family and this, too, in spite of the fact that the father was compelled to spend so much of his time away from home. That there was diligent and faithful training is shown in the lives of the two sons above mentioned.
Mr. Martin's last years were spent upon his farm, whence he continued such services in the ministry as his failing strength permitted.
The number of years he gave to the preaching of the gospel has not been learned. The date and place of his ordination were sought, but have not been ascertained; nor have we been able to learn who composed the presbytery by which he was "set apart" to this work.
He was buried at the old homestead in Linn County, and, at his request, the tombstone bears simply his name and the dates of his birth and death, with the words, "A sinner Saved by Grace."
"We live in deeds, not years; in thoughts, not breaths; In feelings, not in figures on a dial. We should count time by heart throbs. He most lives Who thinks most, feels the noblest, sets the best."
That the period of a soul's conscious existence in this life is the least valuable measure by which to guage it, has been the burden of the song of poets and the lesson of prose writers from the earliest times. So it was with the days on earth of David Henry Hickman. Born in 1821 he had only entered upon his 48th year the summons came to him. Humanly speaking, his life wasx cut short, but by the Divine measure it was complete.
David Henry Hickman was the second son of Captain David M.Hickman and Eliza Keller Johnson, of Bourbon County, Kentucky. Captain Hickman was a lieutenant in the War of 1812, and a captain in the Black Hawk War in 1832. In 1819 and 1820 he represented his county in the Kentucky Legislature. In 1822 he removed to Boone County, Missouri, locating near Bonne Femme Chruch, where he resided until the date of his death. He was one of the most beloved, honorable, enterprising and useful citizens of his Kentucky and Missouri homes.
David Henry Hickman was born in Bourbon County, Kentucky, on the 11th day of November, 1821, and was brought by his parents to Boone County, Missouri, the following year, and the remainder of his life was spent in that county. He received his education principally at Bonne Femme Academy, under the tutelage of Prof. Oliver Cunningham. He was united in marriage with Anna C. Bryan, of St. Joseph, Missouri, daughter of Milton E. Bryan and Zerelda E. Moss, September 15, 1861. Two children were born of this marriage, Sallie, who died in infancy, and Mary D., born October 14, 1866.
Coming to Missouri only one year after the admission of the State into the Union, David Henry Hickman lived and grew up under the wholesome and character-building influences of pioneer life. Upon reaching manhood he found on every hand open doors of business opportunity incident to a new and fast developing community, and, possessed as he was with unusual business talents, he was not slow to enter them. As a business man, at the time of his death, he had no superior in Central Missouri. His sense of proportion gave him shrewdness without cupidity, and in a business way he had the ability to make his dreams come true. He wasx one of the organizers of the Bank of Boone County, now the Boone County National Bank, of which he was president continuously until the date of his death. He promoted and built the railroad from Centralia to Columbia, known as the Boone County and Boonville Railroad, and was one of the principal owners of this railroad at the time of his death.
Exceedingly modest and retiring, he never sought preferment but seemed the more frequently called upon to fill important positions in the councils of his people, either social, political, or religious. During the session of 1852-3, as a member of the Missouri Legislature, he drafted the first statue creating a state tax for the support of public schools in this State, and was a pioneer in the development of our present splendid public school systems. He was a Curator of the Missouri State University and an ardent and earnest promoter of the sound and permanent development of his county. He was a splendid type of a successful business man and a rare example of those unusual qualities summed up in the two words, "common sense." His ability to arrive at a happy medium in all things was the keynote of his life, and to this quality of mind was doubtleww largely due the great and beneficent influence wielded by him. Descended on both sides of the house from a long line of distinguished ancestry that had figured prominently in England and Scotland and in early Virginia and Kentucky days, David Henry Hickman enjoyed the best traits of a line of men of whom leadership was accepted as a matter of course.
Some expressions by his contemporaries will perhaps better indicate the character of man and the estimate in which he was held by those with whom his life was spent:
"He was as gentle as a woman, yet firm and uncompromising in asserting the right. His character was beyond reproach and his well-rounded life an example of a perfect Christian gentleman." -Editor of "Americans of Gentle Birth."
"One of those rare men equally useful in Church and State, illustrative of the possibilities of Christian laymen. Sagacious in judgment, quiet in manner and pure in life, he possessed a singularly strong and attractive character." - Hon. E. W. Stephens, of Columbia.
"He was a gentleman in manner; a Christian in spirit; a Baptist in sentiment, and a religious leader by the soundness of his judgment, the force of his character and disinterestedness of his motives. He devoted himself with earnestness to the advancement of the Kingdom of Christ." - Religious Herald, Richmond, Va.
"We loved him for his gentle Christian spirit, above all for his high sense of an indebtedness to his Redeemer and his conscientious liberality. He needed not to be reminded of his duty. He wrote shortly before his death: 'It is time I was again contributing of what my most gracious Lord has lent me, and I enclose a check.'" - Home and Foreign Mission Journal.
"He was the friend of the poor and needy. The widow and the orphan will plant and water with their tears beautiful and fragrant flowers that will bloom perpetually around his tomb. His sphere of usefulness was in the family circle, in the church, in society where, in his quiet and unobtrusive way, he gave strength and decision by his wise counsel and earnest labors to all those moral, social and religious agencies calculated to improve the condition of his fellow men." -Major James S. Rollins, of Columbia.
"A worthy example to all, how they may best employ their talents and labor in the world and at the same time prepare themselves for that which is to come." - Extract from resolutions adopted by citizens' meeting of Columbia, June 26, 1869.
Strength of character and ability are often marred by a harsh sensoriousness, but Mr. Hickman escaped this, for the arrogance of the egotist found no place in his make-up.
At the age of 15 David Henry Hickman was converted under the preaching of Rev. Fielding Wilhite, and united with Little Bonne Femme Church, of which organization he was clerk for many years. Later in life, upon his going to Columbia to reside, his membership was transferred to the church at that place. Never was his religious life marked by narrowness. A happy mean was found between theological bigotry and laxness, and thus in his life was exemplified the example and teachings of the Savior. From the verybeginning of his religious life, he was active in all matters pertaining to the Master's business, and at once identified himself with all the activities of his denomination. Of broad vision, wise in counsel, his advice was sought by the leadersof the denomination in all parts of the State. From 1856 to 1868 inclusive, he was Moderator of the Little Bonne Femme District Association, and, in the first named year, he was also elected Moderator of the Missouri Baptist General Association, and again in 1868 was elected Moderator of that body, which position he held at the time of his death. He was one of the founders and incorporators of the Baptist Female College at Columbia (now Stephens College), and, from its organization to the time of his death, was a member and president of its Board of Curators. He gave to it liberally of his means, and the beautiful campus upon which the college is now located is a monument to his generosity. Not long before his death, he gave $5,000 to the endowment of William Jewell College and otherwise materially aided that institution, and at the time of his death was president of its Board of Trustees. Rev. R. S. Duncan, in his "History of Baptists in Missouri," says of Mr. Hickman; "The rule of his life, as a contributor, was to five as the Lord prospered him. He said to the writer, 'The more I give, the more I feel like givingto the Lord's cause.'"
Mr. Hickman was suddenly stricken, and after a brief illness, died at his home in Columbia on the 25th day of June, 1869, and his body was committed to Mother Earth in the cemeteryat Columbia. It would seem a calamity that a life so full and useful as was that of David Henry Hickman should be ended so soon. He fell, not as the ripened grain before the reaper's blade, but aw a soldier fighting on the battle front; yet who can say that his life was not full and complete/ - and that life work is his highest eulogy: What he wrought for his fellow men and the impress he made upon his county and the State at large, will be his best and most enduring memorial.
Friends of Mr. Hickman will doubtless be interested in a frief record here of a continuation of the family line. His only surviving child, a daughter, Mary D., married John Ewing Price, on June 3, 1885, and they now reside in Seattle, Washington. To them have been born two sons, Hickman, on June 9, 1886, now manager of "The Democrat," a prosperous and influential newspaper published at Nashville, Tennessee, and Andrew, born February 18, 1890, now in the banking business with his father in Seattle. Hickman Price married Mary Washington Frazier, of Nashville, and they have one son, Hickman Price, Jr.
This pioneer Baptist layman of Missouri was born in Fleming County, Kentucky, December 3, 1797. He was the son of Dempsey Carroll Jackson and Mary Pickett, his wife, and grandson of Joseph Hackson, a native of Ireland who came to this country about the middle of the Eighteenth Century and settled in Virginia. Dempsey Carroll, although but a lad at the time, was a soldier in the Revolutionary Army and was in General Morgan's command at the battle of Cowpens. With his wife, Mary Pickett, he came to Kentucky in 1792, sittling in Fleming County, where he lived until his death in 1832. His widow subsequently came to Missouri and made her home with her son, Wade M., and at whose house she died in 1846. She was a most estimable woman of strong mind and character and a worthy representative of the great ickett family of Virginia. To Dempsey Jackson and his wife, Mary Pickett, were born a large family of children, one of whom, Claiborne F., was afterwards Governeor of Missouri. Wade M., imbued with the aggressive and pioneer spirit of his forebears, left his native State and the home of his father in 1822 and came to Missouri, then but recently admitted to the Union. The population of the entire State was then less than 70,000 and it was of course very sparsely settled. But it was a land of promise and of great opportunity. Locating in Howard County, he for six years superintended the salt works of Bass and Shackleford, but afterwards engaged largely in agriculture, clearing and improving at different times, over 1,200 acres of land. In 1831 he improved and moved upon the farm about twelve miles east of Fayette, where he resided until the date of his death. In 1826 he was elected a county magistrate, which office he filled for a number of terms. In 1830 and again in 1840 he represented Howard County in the State Legislature, and in 1844 he was elected Judge of the County Court. His entire official career was characeterized by the same energy and unswerving integrity that were a marked feature of his entire life.
On December 18, 1823, Judge Jackson was married to Sarah M. Bass, a daughter of Judge Lawrence Bass, of Boone County. To this happy union were born eleven children, six boys and five girls, all of whom grew to honorable and useful manhood and womanhood. Mrs. Jackson, who was a spendid Christian woman, died February 28, 1854, and on January 22, 1856, Judge Jackson married Mrs. Hannah A. Conner, a daughter of John Spillman and formerly the wife of Greene Conner, of Cooper County. One son, the result of this union and who bears his father's name, now owns and lives upon the farm of his father.
In 1838 Judge Jackson united with the Baptist church, and, from this time until the date of his death, he gave unstintedly of his time, talents and means to the service of his Master. Writing of the period immediately following the division on the subject of missions in 1835, of the Baptists in Mt. Pleasant Association, Rev. S. Y. Pitts, in his admirable history of that Association, says: "With the shackles of anti-mission loosed, breathing the benevolent spiritof the gospel, moved by the demands of the growing State, and urged by the spirit of progress on all sides manifest, the churches began to awake from slumber and nerve themselves for work. The decade succeeding the split was a marked period of forward movement in the Association's history. This interval gave to the churches such men as Wade M. Jackson (and others, mentioning them)." Again, quoting: "The churches during this time began to move out on two lines of progress, viz., Missions and Ministerial Education. In 1839, at Mt. Gilead, a committee of which Stephen Wilhite was chairman, entertaining a deep sense of the need of chairman, entertaining a deep sense of the need of educating the rising ministry, recommended to the Association a proposition which was adopted, setting forth the propriety and practicability of establishing a Theological Seminary in the State, and asking the co-operation of Baptist churches and Associations throughout the State in the enterprise. Thus was agitated the wave that led the General Association later to adopt a plan for the erection and endowment of William Jewell College at Liberty, and here, Dr. Jewell found in Wade M. Jackson (and others, mentioning them) its warmest friends and most efficient supporters."
At a meeting of the General Association held at Walnut Grove Chruch in Boone County in August, 1847, a resolution was adopted providing "that a committee of five persons be appointed as a Provisional Committee on Education, whose duty it shall be to originate an institution of learning for the Baptist Denomination in this State; provided the same can be accomplished upon a plan by which its endowment and perpetuity may be secured." Judge Jackson was made a member of this committee which reported to the General Association in 1848 that they had secured subscriptions to the amount of $16,936, and recommending a further vigorous prosecution of the enterprise. This committee was then continued and authorized to locate the College and secure a charter from the Legislature. This was done in 1849, and Judge Jackson was named as one of the original trustees of the college. (See "Cuncan's History of the Baptists in Missouri, " pages 847 and 848; also Session Acts of Missouri for the year 1849, page 232.) Judge Jackson served as trustee of the William Jewell College for more than ten years, making the trip on horseback from his home in Howard County to Liberty in Clay County to attend the frequent meetings of the Board of Trustees, and he canvassed a large part of the State on horseback in soliciting funds for the endowment of the College, and all this, it is needless to say, without one cent of compensation, besides giving largely of his own means.
Judge Jackson was equally zealous in his efforts in behalf of Mt. Pleasant College at Hutnsville. In 1853 the erection of this college had been begun by the citizens of Randolph County, but was placed under the care and patronage of the Baptists of Mt. Pleasant Association which accepted it and undertook its completion and endowment. In his work Judge Jackson took a leading part, and was one of the committee appointed to obtain a charter from the Legislature in 1855, and was named as one of its first Board of Trustees. (See Session Acts 1855, page 288.) The war greatly crippled the resources of the school, and, upon an urgent appeal from the trustees to the Association at its meeting at Mt. Gilead Church in 1866, a committee consisting of Judge Jackson and Rev. Y.R. Pitts was appointed solicitors to raise the sum of $10,000 in twelve months. At the meeting of the Association held the following year, the committee reported that they had raised the required sum, lacking $1,660, which was raised at that time. Considering the then impoverished condition of the country, not having yet recoverd from the paralysis of business caused by the war, the energy and zeal required of these two brethren can well be imagined. (See article on Mt. Pleasant College by Rev. S. Y. Pitts in Duncan's "History of the Baptists in Missouri," page 868.) Had Judge Jackson done nothing more,. His labor in behalf of William Jewell and Mt. Pleasant Colleges would entitle him to honorable and grateful mention in any account of the Baptist cause in Missouri. But from the very beginning of his Christian life, he threw himself unreservedly into all the various activities of his denomination. In 1843 and 1844, and again in 1850, he was elected Clerk of the Missouri Baptist General Association, serving most acceptably.
Writing of him shortly after his death, Rev. J. M. Robinson of blessed memory, said: "As a Christian, from the time he became one, he took hold with his brethren and earnestly and vigorously consecrated his intellect and means to the cause of Christ. For many years he gave his time, talent and means to the advancement of the mission work in Missouri, constantly standing at the helm of the Mission Board of the General Association, while located at Fayette. His head, heart and hands were constantly engaged in every good work."
In person Judge Jackson was of spare build, erect, blue eyes, of boundless energy, quick tempered, but absolutely fair and just in his dealings with his fellow man. Of strong mentality, he had strong convictions, and was fearless but tactful and persuasive in the expression of them. He was a successful and progressive farmer and in horticulture was an adept. He reared his children in the good old-fashioned wasy. All, boys and girls alike, were taught and required to work. No drones were tolerated in his household. As a citizen he was public spirited and progressive. In the published history of Howard County it is said of him, "Though so long in public life he filled each and every office so as not to leave room for a single reflection on either his private or official life and left a record which the rising generation may safely emulate."
On March 22, 1879, full of years and good deeds, Wade Mosby Jackson passed peacefully and quietly to his reward. In the family burying ground on the farm where he had lived so long, his body was laid away, there to await the coming of the King.
If space would permit and full information were at hand, a large volume would be necessary to portray fully the character of this stalwart man. While his character was wholly human, he was always open and unreserved. He with held nothing that seemed to him necessary that his views might be fully understood.
He was born in Shelby County, Kentucky, June 14, 1809. He grew to manhood in his native county, having only such mental training as a country school taught in a log house could afford. When about 19 years of age he became a disciple of Christ and united with the Baptist church now located at Christianburg in his native county.
When 20 years of age he came to Missouri and, supporting himself by working at the trade of a tailor, continued to attend school. He became a pupil at Marion College, Marion County, and institution under Presbyterian control; and while here he was licensed to preach by a church called Little Union. He at once began preaching, and in many portions of Northeast Missouri planted churches. He was truly a pioneer evangelist.
From this point he went to Upper Alton, Illinois, and entered Shurtleff College. Here two of his fellow students were Rev. Samuel Baker and J. M. Frost, St. These men both became very eminent in the Baptist ministry. In an old catalogue of Shrutleff College I once saw the name of Noah Flood as having graduated with the degree of A.B. He must, therefore, have completed the course of study that includes both Latin and Greek, for at that date this degree was not conferred without a knowledge of the classics.
From college he went back to his native State, and while there was ordained. He also there married Miss L. J. Ayers, a sister of Rev. Norton Ayers, one of the early and efficient workers among Missouri Baptists. In 1839 Mr. Flood returned to Missouri where he spent the remainder of his life, except only for occasional visits to other States.
He now settled in Callaway County where the ablest of all the anti-Missionary preachers of the State resided. With these men, who set themselves to oppose the preaching of the gospel to the whole human family, he came into direct conflict. "Here with scarcely any ministerial co-operation, he stood firmly and intelligently for the missionary spirit and intent of the gospel. He had a battle to fight, though but 30 years of age he proved himself more than the equal of the noted and influential champions of the anti-Missionary faction. Theodorick Boulware and T. Peyton Stephens. These leaders often warned the people against this young defender of the faith and closed their meeting houses against him. The only house of worship open to him was that of Providence Church, where years before he sat with the fathers at the preliminary meeting for a State organization. * * * He was now denounced from the pulpit of the anti-Missionary Baptists as a "hireling," a "money hunter" and other like epithets. But this opposition seemed to strengthen his purpose. He continued to reside in Callaway County until 1852. During his labors in that county, Richland, Grand Prairie, Unity, Union Hill, Mount Horeb and Dry Fork Churches came into existence.
In 1852 Mr. Flood moved Fayette, cpital of Howard County; and while residing there served as pastor for the Fayette, Walnut Grove, Mt. Zion, Mt. Gilead, and Chariton Churches.
After residing in Fayette for six years he moved to Hutnsville, and about five years later went to Roanoke in Howard County.
When the war came on he was out-spoken in his sympathy with the South. At a time when the most bitter feelings between the contending parties existed, a regiment of Missouri State Militia camped at Roanoke. In some way word was conveyed to Mr. Flood that he was one of three men who had been marked for execution by a kind of court martial. An intimate friend went to the colonel in command, and, because of the fact that both the colonel and the preacher were Masons, gained permission to speed him away until after the regiment had gone to some other part of the State.
A year or so after this incident, and just after the close of the war, Mr. Flood had an appointment to preach in Roanoke. A young man came to him and called him "Brother Flood," and offered his hand. The preacher took hold of the proffered hand, and said, "I cannot call your name." the young man answered, " I am So and So. I have known you a long time." "Oh, yes," said Mr. Flood, "I remember now when you came to my house, broke open the 'smoke house' and robbed my family of the supply of meat we had." The young fellow grew angry and told some of the young men he met that he intended to attack Mr. Flood as soon as he came out of the church. But the other young men said: "Well, he told you the truth. We did take just anything we happened to want, while in the army, and if you attack him you will have us to reckon with first, for we will defend him. A preacher has the right to tell the truth, no matter who is hit thereby." The preacher was not disturbed at the close of the service.
In 1859 I first met Noah Flood at the General Association at Huntsville. He was then a very influential leader among Missouri Baptists. In the ministers' meeting preceding the business sessions of that body, he read an essay upon an important subject. His position was assailed by a learned preacher who took part in the discussions. Flood defended his position and, with withering sarcasm, as well as spiritual argument, thoroughly sustained himself. There were times when he held public degates with men whose views were antagonistic to Baptist principles. In all such discussions his ready wit, profound learning and mastery of expression, made him the triuphant victor.
At the meeting of the General Association in Lexington, in 1867, the question of uniting the Baptists of the State in one organization effected after the war, called the "Missouri Baptist State Convention." The membership was composed of those who could conscientiously take the "Test Oath" of the "Drake Constitution"; but all saw that to continue two State Conventions would cause constant friction and manifest a spirit not in harmony with the gospel. The Convention had asked for the union. In this the leaders deserve much credit. When the proposition came before the General Association, many of good brethren did not want Flood to speak, but he could not be restrained. He presented all his grievances against the Federal representatives in the army during the war period, but having now relieved his conscience, and feeling assured that no one could accuse him of hypocritically uniting with those of opposite sentiments, he was ready to go forward and, in spite of all these differences on civil matters, work together for the advancement of the Kingdom of Heaven. And this he did. The friend that sprang out of this discussion between Dr. A. H. Burlingham and Noah Flood was characteristic of both and was a beautiful exhibition of what the Spirit of the Christ can accomplish.
In 1869 Mr. Flood was chosen to preside as Moderator of the General Association. He presided at this session in Columbia and the next in St. Louis. He filled the position to the full satisfaction of all his constituency. He soon after this realized that his health was seriously imnpaired.
At the Glasgow meeting, in 1872, he took a most affectionate leave of the brethren he loved, and with whom he had for many years labored, and before the next meeting of the General Association he was in heaven.
It is not the purpose of this series of brief biographies to write eulogies of the men of God whose work is so meagerly portrayed. The work they have done tells of their merits. The approval of the Lord is seen in the blessed fruits of their labors.
But I must here repeat what was written in 1884: "Among all the heroic characters that adorn our Baptist history in Missouri, no grander man has ever found a grave in our soil than Noah Flood." In August, 1873, on the 11th day of the month, one of Missouri's greatest Baptist preachers bade a final adieu to family and friends and closed his labors for an eternity of refreshment.
Noah Flood was one of nature's rare works, one of God's blessed gifts of a man to men. He was Westerian in mental frame and power of thought, Jacksonian in will, and Lincolnian in generosity of hear, with the candor and unevasiveness of a Cleveland; but above all he was Christly in spirit. He was unpretentious and socially jolly, yet an example of moral uprightness and Christian integrity." - Yeaman's History of General Association, page 153.)
His body was buried in the cemetery of the Richland Church in Callaway County. This church was founded by his labors, and was always regarded by hnim as a child of his heart.
His many friends erected at his grave a monument, and had engraved theron the words," A sinner Saved by Grace." He had often said that if ever his grave should be marked he wishted these words to be placed upon the stone.
He claimed no works of his own that would merit salvation. He had always and earnestly preached that no man could enter heaven because of any labor or sacrifice he could render, and, therfore, for himself and for all others, salvation must come through the merits of the Lord Jesus. That he now in glory ascribes all honor and majesty to Him who was slain but who arose from the dead, is evident to all who knew how humble he was before the Divine Redeemer.
In the year 1817 Overton Harris and wife, Mary (Polly) Rice Woods, came to the Territory of Missouri from Kentucky. They settled in what is now known as Boone County, and there on the 17th day of May, 1818, James Harris was born. He was the second of seven children, and grew to manhood on his father's farm, on which the present postoffice of Deer Park is located, trained and disciplined by the sturdy and vigorous life of a pioneer. His father, however, was a man of culture and education, being the first Sheriff of Boone County and later County Judge, and he gave his children the best school advantages possible at that time. James was educated at Bonne Femme Academy, then one of the best schools in the State, and from which he was one of the first graduates. Being especially proficient in mathematics, he studied the art of srveying and, receiving an appointment as Deputy United States Surveyor, he surveyed many of the public lands in Missouri and Arkansas for the government, preparatory to bringing them into the market. While still quite a young man he was elected Surveyor of Boone County and was re-elected to this office until he declines to serve longer. In 1858 the people of his county further showed their confidence in him by electing him as their representative in the Missouri Legislature. Although of Kentucky and Virginia ancestry, and a large slave owner at the commencement of the Civil War, yet Judge Harris was firm in his conviction that the Union of the fathers should be preserved, and so counseled the people of his county. A large mjority of the citizens of his county, howerver, were in sympathy with the South, yet, notwithstanding this fact, he was elected County Judge in 1866. No stronger proof could be given of his fine character as a man or of the esteem in which he was held by his fellow citizens. _____ (?) into 1878, when he voluntarily retired.
Whilst he had traveled much, Judge Harris lived and wrought during the whole of his useful life in the county of his birth. He acquired and improved a magnificent farm of some 2,500 acrews, which included the farm of his father upon which the Judge was reared, and for many years he was one of the most extensive farmers and stock dealers in his section of the State. The postoffice of Deer Park, situated on the Harris farm, takes its name from the large park of deer maintained by Judge Harris on his farm for many years prior to his death. In public and civic affairs Judge Harris was for many years one fo the leading citizens, not only of his county, but of the State. In 1875 he was appointed by Governor Hardin as honorary member of the Board of Mangagers for Missouri of the Contennial Exposition held in Philadelphia in 1876, and he promoted the splendid system of macadamized roads which for many years made Boone County famous throughout the State. Everything that tended to uplift mankind at once received his sympathetic interest and hearty support. As an indication of the unselfish liberality that marked his entire public career, one instance will suffice. When the State came to establish a University it was determeined to locate it in that county offering the greatest inducement Judge Harris, although but a lad at the time an dabsolutely without means, yet subscribed one hundred dollars to the fund that was raised in Boone County to secure the location of the University, and in this way the very first money earned by him was given to the cause of higher education in his State.
In an article published just after his death, the Colubia Herald said: "Few men possessed such vigor of mind, such sagacious judgment, and such remarkable resolution, shrewdness and foresight, as it will be universally conceded were exemplified in him in all departmenst of effort. The death of such a citizen is a public loss."
Perhaps as deserved a tribute as was ever paid Judge Harris, and one with which he himself would have been pleased, was by Col. W.F. Switzler in an account of his official and public services, published in the Columbia Statesman, in which he said: "To Judge Harris more than to any other man is Boone County indebted for its excellent credit and fair name among the various counties of the State." It expresses what had always been the endeavor of Judge Harris, to make of his home county, a prosperous and happy community.
On the 5th day of December, 1848, Judge Harris was united in marriage with Sabra Brown Jackson, a daughter of Judge Wade M. Jackson, of Howard County. Mrs. Harris was a woman of strong character and splendid Christian and wifely virtues, and inherited many of the qualities of her noble father and ancestors. She died at the home of her son, Judge David H. Harris, in Fulton, Missouri, December 29, 1903. Judge and Mrs. Harris were the parents of fourteen children, all of whom, except one dying in infancy, grew to honorable and useful manhood and womanhood.
James Harris was descended from a long line of Baptist ancestors. Back in Virginia they had suffered grievous persecutions at the hands of the extablished Church, but theirs was a religion that could not only withstand persecution, but could travel, and so they brought it with them when they came to the "dark and bloody ground" of Kentucky; and later when they pushed still further west to establish a new home in the wilderness of Missouri, it was part and parcel of their daily lives. And so it came to pass that of six constituent menbers of the first church organized in Boone County, there were two uncles and one aunt of James Harris. This was Bethel Church situated about eight miles north of the present village of Rocheport on what is known as Thrall's Prairie. This is where the Harris family first located on coming to Missouri. The second church organized in Boone County was Little Bonne Femme, located about eight miles southeast of the present city of Columbia. This church was organized in December, 1819, and Mary (Polly) Harris, the mother of James Harris, and two uncles and two aunts of his, were constituent members of this church. It was but natural, therefor, that James Harris, upon his conversion, should turn to the church of his fathers; hence, on the 8th day of August, 1839, upon a profession of faith and baptism, he became a member of Little Bonne Femme Church, and for nearly forty-two years he was a member and active worker in this congregation, being a deacon for many years. As an earnest Christian and Baptist layman, his influence was known and felt throughout the State. Of calm and judicial temperament and with a keen sense of quiet humor, he was the peascemaker in his District Association at a time when strong speech and unseemly wranglings were not uncommon. His quiet and dignified statement of the situation, coupled with his suggestions as to a proper setttlement of the subject under discussion, was most always accepted by his brethren as final and conclusive. Judge Harris was one of the founders and incorporators of the Baptist Female College at Columbia, now Stephens College, and, from its organization to the date of his death, was a member of its Board of Curators and one of its staunchest friends and most liberal supporters. He gave largely and grequently to Ministerial Education in connection with William Jewell College, giving at one time the sum of $5,000, which constituted him a member of the Board of Visitors in connection with the Vardeman School of Theology.
Writing of him just after his death, Rev. G. L. Black said: "Socially, he was a connecting link between two generations. Such was his knowledge of men and things that the aged sought his society and claimed him as one of their number, while his genial temper, boundless humor and sparkling wit made him a thrice welcome guest in the circles of the young. It is but just to state, however, that in his life work he sometimes clashed with other men, but this was natural. He thought in advance of those about him, and any advanced thinker who has the moral courage to act out his convictions will create friction with the more tardy in thought. But even an enemy in his grasp was at once the subject of undeserved kindness and unexpected protection. As a Christian he was a pronounced Baptist, but charitable towards all who showed themselves lovers of God and Christianity. He was more deeply pious than he seemed. Abhorring anything like ostentation, especially in religion, he shrank from any public parade, either of his scriptural knowledge or personal experience. As a member of the church he was looked to as a pillar and counted on as a liberal contributor of his means to the various enterprises which looked towards the advancement of enterprises which looked towards the advancement of the cause of Christ. His largest benefactions were directed in the way of Christian education, and several men are now preaching the gospel whom he helped to educate."
Rev. J. M. Robinson, also writing of Judge Harris shortly after his death, said: "As a Baptist his influence was known and felt, not only in his own church, but in the region beyond. The mission work of the State has often been largely advanced under God by his wise counsel and liberal contributions. He was a member of the Executive Board of the General Association for several years, and, though his hands were always full of business, yet he was always ready to leave his own affairs to attend to the Master's business."
A number of years prior to his death Judge Harris was stricken with a disease in one of his limbs and for many months was confined to his room, but a strong constitution, aided by patient fortititude and an iron will, enabled him to partially overcome the disease, although for several years he had no use of one of his limbs, compelling the constant use of crutches. Not withstanding his maimed and nearly helpless conditian, he continued to manage his large business in terests with the same energy characteristic of his former years.
On Monday, July 11, 1881, after an illness of but a few days, surrounded by the wife and children he loved so well, Judge James Harris passed to his reward. His funeral services were conducted by Rev. G. L. Black and Rev. J. M. Robinson, both former pastors and life-long friends, and in the family burying ground on the farm where his life was spent, his body was laid to rest.
Tyree C. Harris, the tenth child and seventh son of Tyree Harris, who moved from Kentucky to Boone County, Missouri, in 1816, was born in Boone County, August 29, 1824. When but little past 15 years of age he was convicted of his sinful state and soon afterwards obtained a full realization of his acceptance with Christ the Son of God. He was attending a meeting of the church called Mount Gilead, in Howard County, when he was brought under conviction. There are two statements before me; on says it was under the preaching of Elder Kemp Scott and the other that the preacher was Elder Fielding Wilhite. It would have been in harmony with the custom of that day, if both were present, that both preached.
The following month, December, 1839, he was received into the fellowship of the Bethleham Church of Boone County, and was baptized by the pastor, Rev. Gielding Wilhite. The prayer of the pastor at the water's edge will never be forgotten by those who were present. "His whole soul was drawn out in the most earnest melting appeal and supplication to the Divine throne that young Tyree Harris might be qualified to dispense the word of life, and become an eminent minister of the gospel. The youth was licensed to preach when but a little past the 17th year of his age." He had begun attending school when 6 years of age. His mind was so bright that, with "an uncommon aptness, he comprehended as by instinct every problem presented to him." This same activity of mind and ready comprehension was characteristic of his whole life.
Roland Hughes, that prince of laymen in his day, having heard him in his earnest pulpit efforts, at once took him to his own home and provided the means for his education. He saw the promise of a most brilliant career in the youth, and was glad to provide the means that he might not enter the ministry with the handicap of inadequate preparation.
It is said of another layman, a resident of Boone County, that he declared the best investment he ever made of money in all his life, was the means he put into the mental training of Rev. G. L. Black. And surely no Christian could put money where it will pay such a large dividend as that invested in the preparation of a brilliant youth for preaching the glorious gospel of the blessed God.
On statement that is before me says he was educated in Fayette, and another, that his studies were under the instruction of Prof. Kemper of Boonville. It is probable that he attended school in both places.
He was ordained at Bethlehem Church (date not obatianable) by elders Fielding Wilhite, Green Carey and probably Noah Flood. Already he had gained the confidence of all who knew him,. And his brilliancy had won great admiration.
In December, 1843, he assisted in the orgainzation of the First Baptist Church in Boonville. He was not yet 20 yers of age, but in August following became pastor in that city. His very youth was helpful. He drew large congregations and won many souls to the Christ. Under his leadership a house of worship was built, and the church continues to the present day. It is still maintaining regular services and has for years had in the pulpit men of learning, talent and piety. Whle here he preached also to two country churches. They were Big Lick and Mount Nebo.
After eight years' successful work upon this field, he preached at Fayette for a short time, and then became pastor at Columbia, Missouri.
It was during his pastorate at Boonville that he was united in marriage to Miss Louis Hughes. If she was related to his patron, Roland Hughes, the fact is not stated in any document that is at hand. While residing in Boonville he was associated with Professor Kemper in conducting the school which became so noted throughout the State.
In 1852 he began his pastorate in Columbia. Here "his distinguished pulpit efforts and his Christian and gentlemanly deportment" won high encomiums from that cultured people.
He also became president of the "Columbia Female Academy," the predecessor of Stephens College. The historian of that period said, "He canvassed the State in behalf of the institution, preaching the claims of female education; and his eloquent appeals met a liveral response, for around him were gathered one hundred and twenty-five young ladies from all parts of the State."
He was chosen Professor of English in William Jewell College. Dr. R. S. Duncan says in his history that he did not accept this position; but Prof. J. G. Clark, in the history of the College, gives his name as serving two years in that position.
He was offered the presidency of the Ladies College at La Grange, Georgia, which he declined.
He then accepted the call to the pastorate of the Baptist church in Lexington, Missouri, where his work gave promise of the same distinguished success that had come to him on the other fields. He had spent but a few months on that dield when he died of typhoid fever, on October 10, 1854. He left a wife and two children, a son and a daughter, and another daughter was born after his decease. Thus at the early age of 30 years, not yet having reached the full growth of his brilliant intellect, he passed on to the great reward.
He was in almost every respect a model young man. Endowed with mental vigor far beyond the lot of most men, with a character wholly spotless so far as human eye could detect, and yet, in himself conscious of many weakness, he preached the gospel both by word and by blameless life. Missouri has seldom had in the ministry any man that in every respect so nearly approached the true ideal of a gospel preacher as did Tyree C. Harris.
The Lord of the harvest knew just when to call him to rest in His own presence. He did the work assigned to him well, and his name is held in high esteem.
Judge R. E. McDaniel was born near Drumfries, Prince William County, Virginia, March 9, 1799. In early life he became a Christian and united with a Baptist church. He continued his residence in his native State until 1841, when he came to Boonville, Missouri, and lived there for three years. Here he was a successful merchant. In 1844 he moved to Saline County and established mercantile businesses both in Miami and Marshall. The latter was then newly established as the capital of Saline County. He superintended these mercantile establishments for several years, and then became a farmer. He had purchased from the government several thousand acrews of the richest land in Saline County, and there is not better land anywhere than is found in this county. As soon as he was located upon his farm he sought for himself, his family and his neighbors, the regular preaching of the gospel. He secured the services of that prince of Baptist preachers, the Rev. A. P. Williams, and opened his own house as the sanctuary. A great revival came from God, and many souls were won to the service of the the Christ. Among others who at this time gave their heart and life to the Divine Redeemer, were his daughter and her husband, Rev. W. M. Bell. The result of these meetings was the organization of the Bethel Church of Saline County, which has continued to this day (1912) to maintain regular services.
They worshiped, in winter, in the home of Judge McDaniel, who deserves to be called the founder of this church, and in summer his large barn was their sanctuary. It was not long, however, until a suitable house of worship was built. Judge McDaniel was for some years one of the leading citizens of Saline County. He filled the office of County Judge for several years, and every vorter knew that as long as he presided all county funds were safely managed and every dollar of revenue was used for the fenefit of the entire citizenship. His charity was bounded only by his opportunities and his means. His success as a planter was such that he left to his family a large landed estate; but he left a far richer heritage in his spotless character and well known works of relief to the needy, and liberal contributions of time and money to the cause of the Christ.
He traveled almost any distance to attend the meetings of the District Association to which his own church belonged, and spared no expense or labor to give his presence and influence to the meetings of the General Association. He was chosen to preside over the State Convention of Missouri Baptists for five of its great assemblies, and always performed the duties of this office with such dignity and fairness in his rulings as to give entire satisfaction to the whole membership.
When the Baptists of Missouri had decided to establish a college to be owned and controlled by themselves, "a committee consisting of Roland Hughes, William Carson, Wade M. Jackson, R. E. McDankel and David Perkins, was appointed to originate an institution of learning for the Baptists of Missouri upon a plan by which its endowment and perpetuity might succeed." It is but an act of justice to call attention to the fact that the men chosen for this very important decision of the establishment of the College, were all laymen. There have been many occasions on which Missouri Baptists have shown wisdom in calling to prominence business men of high standing and honorable record to decide questions that concerned the very life of the denomination; and worthily indeed have these men of God performed the work assigned them. When a charter had been secured and the College was about to be established, Judge R. E. McDaniel was appointed one of the Board of Trustees. The Board had not only the wisdom of this man of business, but the College also profited by his frequent donations of money which were limited only by his ability.
He gained and held the confidence of all good men with whom he came in contact, and now all must honor his name for his genuine manliness and Christian integrity. He died April 6, 1870.
Mr. Ligon was born in Prince Edward County, Virginia, on the 18th day of December, 1796. In the 18th year of his age he was baptized by Rev. Poindexter P. Smith, in Jamestown, Virginia. This minister was the father of the wife of Rev. J. B. Fuqua, who was for years an efficient Baptist preacher in Missouri. Rev. Dr. Poindexter Smith Henson, well known throughout our whole country as one of the greatest preachers and lecturers, was named for him. The youthful Ligon at once became an active worker hin his home church. Yet he persistently suppressed his convictions that he ought to preach the gospel. His father intended that he should be a merchant, and secured employment for him in a mercantile establishment, that he might become familiar with his future mission in life.
Frequently was the young man asked to explain portions of the Bible, and his expositions were so correct that the members of the church would ask him if he did not believe it his duty to become a preacher. To these inquiries he answered that he was unworthy to enter such a holy calling. After waiting for months, when he was not present at a business meeting of the church, he was voted license to preach. This expression of confidence and esteem on the part of the membership of the church enable him to decide, and he at once began his life work. In a few months he was ordained by Elders P.P. Smith and A. W. Clapton, at the request of the church where he had grown to manhood and was known by all the people.
The writer yields to an impulse here to say that in this series of biographies the same experiences, varying only in the mentality of the different persons and to some extent controlled by environment, are realized by every man who becomes a gospel preacher. The world calls to another life. Human ambition and the desire for wealth unite in pressing other callings; ye we find young men putting aside all these things and yielding to an inward call that will not be hushed. Thus, this Miracle of the Ministry continues on through the ages. We are told that the ascended and glorified Redeemer "gave" to His churches "prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers" – Eph. 4:8-12.
In 1828 Mr. Ligon was called to the pastorate of the Baptist church in Lynchburg, Virginia. He served in this pastorate for about five years and then took the oversight of the work at Lewisburg in the same State. He was also for some years pastor at Kanawa.
His intimate friend, Rev. L. A. Alderson, to whom we are indebted for our knowledge of his life in Birginia, says of him: "He was the most agreeable traveling companion I ever knew. A long and wearisome journey over high mountains, or a dreary passage through some lonely wilderness, was relieved by his genial spirit and cheerful conversation."
In 1841 Mr. Ligon moved to Missouri and made his home near Carrollton. He began his work as pastor and evangelist without delay. The next year he was called to the pastorage of the Baptist church in Lexington. He resided here for five years.
There are no available records of the good work done on this field, but we feel sure that he was faithful to the Great Master. The fact that the church there has prospered until the present day, is proof that the early sowing was by men of God who planted the true seed of the kingdom.
He then went back to Carrollton, where he found "the church in a weak and crippled condition, unable to pay a pastor; and he served for two years without any remuneration."
In 1850 he was called to the pastorate at Liberty, where he again labored with great zeal for about three years, when he again returned to Carrollton. It must be remembered that in that day few churches employed a preacher for more than one-fourth of his time. Mr. Ligon's field of labor emcompassed the Counties of Carroll, Lafayette and Saline, with not infrequent excursions into the adjoining territory.
When the Civil War came upon our country, he was of necessity forced into narrower limits. For the period of the bloody strife, his labors were limited to Carroll County.
In 1866 he moved to Dover, Lafayette County, where he spent the remaining years of his life. He had been feeble, and his voice had almost left him. He had preached for many years, and so often in the open that now his ability to speak in public was gone.
In order that justice may be done to the memory of this man of God some things concerning his peculiar talents must be written. He entered the ministry with only a common school education and practical experience in commercial life. But he was endowed with a strong mind and a great fondness for reading. He was fond of the English poets, and read much. His favorite authors are said to have been Milton, Young and Cowper. In the use of his mother tongue, he found it easy and natural to fall into a flowing style. His rhetoric is said to have been unusually elegant. With some he was thought to be too eloquent to be profound; but surely if a minister is blessed with ability to express the great thruths of the gospel in beautiful and attractive forms he ought to be honored therefor. He had a warm heart and a great gift of elegant speech. His words seemed to flow like a clear running stream, and the music of his voice charmed his hearers. His early and life-long friend, Rev. L. A. Alderson, said of him: "I have seen on association occasions vast crowds of people become wearied under the long discourses, and then on the outskirts of the assembly, gather under the shade of trees and engage in promiscuous conversation; but when Brother Ligon would rise, all would press forward around the stand, and, most of them on their feet, listen an hour to his glowing discourse; and his was a callous heart that was not moved to tears."
"For more than thirty years he toiled without ceasing, upon many fields, and always with sincere love for the Christ and humanity. He did more, probably, to establish William Jewell College and secure its location at Liberty, than any other man." (R.S. Duncan's History.) He was one of the trustees named in the charter granted by the State of Missouri in 1849. We know that he was alive to every interest of the Baptists of the State.
The name of W. C. Ligon must be ever honored by the people he loved and fiathfully served to the end of his life. He died at Dover, Missouri, April 13, 1877.
The act of the General Assembly of Missouri, chartering William Jewell College, was approved February 27, 1849. The first meeting of its Board of Trustees was held in Liberty, Missouri, November 12 in the same year. At that meeting the Board ordered that the institution be opened for tuition in the "seminary" in Liberty, on Tuesday, January 1, 1850, and elected Rev. Elijah S. Dulin, Professor of Ancient Languages, and the subject of this Sketch, the Rev. Thomas Francis Lockett, Professor of Mathematics.
Persons intimately acquainted with the history of the early days of Missouri know that the year 1849 marks a period in the State annals which powerfully appeals to the affection and pride of older citizens, stimulates their imaginations, and awakens, in a remarkable degree, their recollections of past events.
The facts group themselves: The incidents and traditions of the first settlement and primitive years of the State—the odors of the forest—remained fresh and invigorating among the people. The sense of manhood and personal valor energized all. The Mexican War had closed and in it the soldiers of Missouri had won for her unfading laurels. Her citizens felt the swell of emotion at thought of it. There was peace everywhere. The horn plenty had been emptied into the State. In 1849 the first wave of gold-seekers to the new Eldorado had swept across the plains and mountains of the West, and 20,000 Missourians were of it.
As yet, however, a man could stand at the southwest border of Clay County and fire a rifle-ball across the Missouri River into the Indian Country. And, as yet, the adventurous traveler could journey from Missourit towards the setting sun, among tribes of Indians as savage as they were 1,000 years ago, until his steps would be arrested by the roar of waves beating on the Western Coast of America.
Into the consciousness of all this Prof. Lockett, on his arrival in Missouri from his native State, like the true man that he was, entered at once and became a Missourian in every possible sense.
He was born in Prince Edward County, Virginia, July 30, 1826. His family had long been settled in that State.
In his early childhood his opportunity for education was simply the common schools of the neighborhood. In these were taught, in the old-fashioned way, the primary studies—spelling and defining, reading, writing, arithmetic, geography and grammar. When 15 years of age, he was sent to an academy in Clarksville, Mecklenburg County, Virginia. He remained there for near three years, and, in that period, finely prepared himself for matriculation at Richmond College, Richmond, Virginia. He entered that institution in 1843 and there graduated at the close of the year 1846-7.
He was, constitutionally, of an inquiring mind and studious temperament, and, during his school and college years, read extensively in scientific, historical and literary directions. Hence, it became apparent early in his career, that his store of information extended much beyond his acquisitions at school and college. Yet, though he sought a variety in culture, his taste and bent of thought were mathematical.
He was without any special religious training in his early youth and was even profane. By nature, however, he was serious, earnest and inclined to religious feeling and thought. As a consequence, he was easily attracted by the religious speech of any person about him or in his neighborhood.
In the part of his native country where he lived, the Methodists predominated in numbers. Though not as a rule highly cultured, they were a God-fearing people and very earnestly urged their own and other children to read the Bible and seek its way of salvation. They had organized a Sunday School. This was somewhere between young Lockett's 9th and 12th years. He attended it and was strongly impressed by the religious feeling observable in the teachers. The school was, in the mere teaching, an indifferent one, but, as far as he ever learned, every pupil in it subsequently became a consistent Christian. Its influence induced him to abandon his profanity and to see himself a sinner in the light of the Bible.
During his 12th year, he attended a great revival meeting among the Baptists of Prince Edward County. He felt a strong conviction of sin—greatly wished that some one would approach and converse with him on relifious matters - but, being a boy, no one gave him any attention.
He was converted to religion and baptized in Clarkville, Virginia, in 1842, and, on return to his home in Prince Edward County, united with a Baptist church of which the Rev. Mr. Witt was pastor, and aided in the organization of its first prayer-meeting and Sunday School.
He was licensed to preach the gospel by the Sandy River Baptist Church, Virginia, November 14, 1847. Soon after, and during the latter year, he removed to Missouri and settled in Cole County. He was at once elected principal of the Osage Institute. During the two years succeeding his arrival in Missouri, he taught in that institute and preached throughout Cole County. He was ordained to the full work of the gospel ministry by Osage Baptist Church, on September 18, 1848.
On May 15, 1848, he was united in marriage to Miss Sallie W. Dixon, a daughter of the late Levi Dixon, of that county, a gentleman of high social standing. Mrs. Lockett died March 15, 1898. Of the marriag eof Prof. Lockett and Miss Dixon, there were born the following children, viz., Osborne L. Lockett, of Cleburne, Texas, now Judge of the Eighteenth Judicial District of that State; William H. Lockett, who died at Abilene, Texas, August, 7, 1899; Thomas Bolton Lockett, of Diamondfield in Southern Nevada; Mrs. O.C. McPhaile, of Grapevine, Texas; Levi Dixon Lockett, of Thurber, Erath County, Texas; and Mrs. Mary Katherine Carter, of San Diego, California.
On his election to the professorship of Mathematics in William Jewell College, he removed at once with his family to Libery Missouri. He was near his 24th year and in the very prime of his youthful bigor and ambition. He looked older. Because of the gravity of his thought and the seriousness of his expression, there was in him a prematurity of manner which would lead one to think him a senior, when, in fact, he was a junior.
His colleague in instruction was, as before indicated, the Rev. Mr. Bulin. They were perfectly in harmony—David and Jonathan. As directed by the Board of Trustees, they opened the College for instruction in the "Seminary" at Liberty, on January 1, 1850. Something over fifty students entered the College at the opening. These, with the two teachers, a number of distinguished citizens, several of the trustees (including the venerable Dr. William Jewell), were present. The Rev. Mr. Dulin, who had the distinction of being the principal, rose and offered up a fervent, eloquent prayer. The work of the College then began.
The purpose was for the first term to end the last Friday of June, 1850, but an outbreak of smallpox in Liberty, in May, terminated it some weeks in advance. Because of this early termination and by way of compensation for the loss of time, the collegiate year, 1850-1, began on August 19, 1850. Such was the idea then of a quid pro quo- something for something. The collegiate year, 1850-1, terminated on the last Friday in June, 1851, and with its close ended Prof. Lockett's connection with the College. He was exceedingly fond of preaching-- felt himself impelled to preach the gospel - and, hence, when his labor in the College permitted, he engaged in pastoral work. Under the strain his health yielded and he was compelled to resign his professorship at the close of the year, 1850-1, and reitre to his farm in Cole County.
The period of Prof. Lockett's connection with the College was one of great interest and profit to it, religiously and educationally. He, Prof. Dulin, and the tutor in 1850-1, William H. Hunsaker, of Moniteau County, Missouri, were teachers of great ablitity. Few men had the faculty of stimulating the ambitions of pupils in an equal degree with them. No men in the school room ever displayed greater interestin the studies or the pupils. It was evident to the students that their work was not perdunctory - the mere going-through-the-motions for the sake of a salary.
It was said of the English general, Picton, who fell at Waterloo, that his countenance was excessively stern and inflexible in peaceful life, but that, in the midst of the danger and tumult of battle, his features relaxed into smiles and his manner became genial. So in ordinary life Prof. Lockett's expression was somewhat austere, but, when hearing recitations - particularly when hearing a recitation in some higher study-- he became bright and cheerful, familiar in manner, and overflowed with anecdote and illustration.
The curriculum adopted by the Board Trustees, on the advice of Profs. Dulin and Lockett, was collegiate. The studies were divided between the teachers with reference in the main to the specialties of their respective professorships. In the division advanced arithmetic, classical geography and history fell to Prof. Lockett. The text books in those studies were: Davies' University Arithmetic, Mitchell's Classical Geography, and the best of all historical manuals, Taylors Manual of History.
These three studies, under Prof. Lockett, have clung to the memories of his pupils, as veiwed from the standpoint of interest and continued benefit, beyond all others. Every one of his pupils, particualarly those who studied the classics, will agree as to this. In the study of classical geography localities and names well in the recollection, to compel the students to map-drawing, and by the eye. It was a habit and became a pleasure with the students to draw them. There yet remains in Liberty a map of the classical world drawn by one of his students in 1850.
Some evidence of the influence of these really great teachers may be seen from the following facts: confessedly, at the time, the faculty of the College was too small to do complete college work, but its members urged powerfully to higher and wider education. Hence, at the conclusion of the year 1850-1, there were five young gentlemen –more advanced students-- who were compelled to go to institutions where faculties were larger and opportunities greater.
The five young men were: Willaim Berry, Webster M. Samuel, Charles Bruce Younger and Samuel Ringo, of Clay County, and Robert P. C. Wilson, of Platte County, Missouri. Mr. Berry went to Bethany College, Virginia (now West Virginia), then under the presidency of Alexander Campbell, and the others to Centre College, Danville, Kentucky, then under the presidency of Dr. John C. Young.
As was said, the period of Prof. Lockett's stay at the College was one of interest. Of the many interesting events which occurred, one is selected because he was an agency in it, both his influence when teaching and when he was engaged in pastoral work.
In February and March, 1851, there was the greatest and most interesting revival of religion that ever occurred in Liberty, either before or since. All of the churches aided in it and shared in its results. It was begun in the Presbyterian church by the famous Presbyterian revivalist, Rev. Dr. Nathan Hall, of Boonville, Missouri. Profs. Dulin and Lockett assisted him in every way—in prayer-meeting and preaching. They strongly urged the students to attend the meetings. Probably as many as forty students joined the churches—the larger number the Baptiist church. There was then in Rush Creek, a hundred yeards below the Milwaukee bridge across that stream and a mile from Liberty, a beautiful pool, quite large and deep. At its upper edge it had a gravelly, sloping access. A proper depth could be easily selected. In this pool, Prof. Dulin baptized all those who joined the Baptist church.
As already stated, Prof. Lockett felt himself called to preach. His preaching extended through fifty years, and from Virginia to San Diego, California. Nor did he cease (and then from infirmity) until a couple of years prior to his death, which occurred at Meridian, Bosque County, Texas, March 14, 1902. To follow him in detail through the labors of those fifty years-- in pastoral work, as teacher, or farmer when not incosistent with his religious or educational work, in Sunday School and church organization, in evangelizing, as chaplain, at our State Capitol, as well as chaplain and soldier in the Confederate Army, as agent for Waco University-- is beyond the scope of this sketch. Its purpose is rather to preserve—if it may be –the name of one of the old worthies of Missouri; to honor that name and keep it fresh, as long as God wills, in the memories of his student; to link it with William Jewell College, and to present to the living, from the dead, one who is a part of the history of Baptist education in Missouri.
Prof. Lockette, as people ordinarily think, was not as eloquent preacher; but his evident sincerity and undoubting faith - visible in every utterance of his mouth and expression of his eyes-- were persuasive in the highest degree. It was God in him. To as high degree as in any one I ever saw, he united those qualities which go to make the soldier or the martyr-- a courage that never flinched, absolute purity of feeling, integrity complete, undoubting, implicit faith in a cause, supreme love for the object sought, and will and energy to achieve a purpose.
Like mathematicians, generally, he was ingenious in mechanics. He could construct. He had a very decided taste for architecture. He resided while he lived in Liberty in the property known as the "Watkins Place," situated in the North East angle made by the junction of Harrison with Kansas Street, afterwards owned by Mrs. Elizabeth Thornton. The dwelling was without a porch or portion, though a large two-story building. In the south front he had constructed, under his own directions, the most perfect and beautiful Doric portico that ever existed in Clay County.
Prof. Lockett was in principle and feeling thoroughly a Southern man, and so, when the Civil War began in 1861, without a moment's delay or hesitation, he joined the Southern Army under Gen Sterling Price and served in the armies of the Confederacy until the close of the war, first as a chaplain and afterwards as a major, and, never at any time, hesitating to do the full duty of a soldier.
His gift in organization and construction was recognized, and, in the year 1864, Gen. Price detailed him to go to Texas and there construct and operate a factory for the making of clothes for the use of the Confederate soldiers. He was engage in the construction of this factory in Robertson County, Texas, when the war closed.
It so happened that in the dissolving of the Confederate armies, he never technically surrendered. In regard to this fact a paragraph in a letter form him to the writer of this sketch, in 1895, will somewhat illustrate his grim determination and complete sinking of himself in a cause which he had at hear. Said be: "I had the good fortune never to have lowered the Confederate flag nor the banner of the Cross of Jesus, during the entire four years of my service."
After the close of the Civil War, he removed with his family to Texas and made his home in that State during the remainder of his life.
Prof. Lockett was tall - above six feet in height, if erect - but he had a marked stoop in his shoulders. This threw his head somewhat forward. His limbs were long, sufficiently full for his height, but possessed the appearance of strength without activity. He was what may be termed raw-boned. His walk was rather a stride, or swing, with long, firm steps. He looked, in walking, neither to the right nor the left, and, always then, if not addressed, had the expression of one wholly intent on his own thought. His words were uttered rather slowly and were fully pronounced. His upper teeth projected, which was apt to throw his mouth open, and hence, in the effort to close it, his lips were wrinkled or puckered. His nose was somewhat long, slightly aquiline, and ended in a point rather sharp. His features were fairly regular, with forehead high and moderately narrow. He wore no beard. His eyes and hair were dark and complexion in harmony with them, though not particularly dark. His hands were large, well-shaped and strong. He looked like a man-- not a curious, defiant, cross-grained man-- but a modest, merciful, quiet, courteous, orederly man. His chin was not large nor small, but in accord with his face. In dress he was careless, and seemed to be satisfied with what was decent and comfortable. In manners he had nothing of the petit maitre. He was calm, dignified, genteel, His pronunciation of English was fine, distinct, and clear. He used the word, "Sir!" in addressing persons, in a tone and way precisely like the old class Virginians-- a way and tone, indeed, which excels in courtesy, kindness, ease and dignity, anything tht I have ever heard in the English speaking world.
This distinguished preacher and editor and author presided over the General Association when it met at Mount Nebo Church in Cooper County, in 1858. He was at that time editor of the Western Watchman, the Baptist periodical of Missouri. He was the author of a work showing wide research and great ability, called the "Church Member's Mannual." He discusses in that work the questions growing out of Baptist church polity with clearness and bifor. He no doubt differs in some points from others of our writers, but he certainly proves that he was a strong man and a careful student. He was no doubt much better adapted to the position as editor of some theological review than that of a weekly paper.
While he lacked that versatility of genius that is so necessary to the position of an editor of a weekly paper, he had strength of mind, was capable of making wide and thorough research, and wrote with great power when he had once mastered his subject.
Having labored for years in this field he found the fruits of all his toil scattered by the cruel hand of war.
He entered the pastorate farther east than Missouri and in a few years was called home to reap his great reward.
It was the privilege of the writer to know him for several years before he left Missouri. He was bold in the expression of his sentiments, but among all those who were then advanced in years, no one seemed to take greater delight in expressing encouraging words to young ministers than Dr. William Crowell.
At that period of a young minister's life when he leaves the college and first begins his public life, he needs encouragement more than at any other part of his work. And whatever may have been the stern and unrelenting characteristics of this great man in other respects, in this he certainly kndled a flame of love in my own heart that still glows at the mention of his name. Missouri never had living in her borders a man of more thorough culture and of wider scholarship. That he was, withal, a man of piety as well as firmness, there can be no doubt. He rests from his labors.
Only a few facts have been found concerning the life of this man. He was, so far as learning was concerned, far superior to most of the preachers in Northeast Missouri at the time of his labors. It is thought by some of his friends that he was a native of the State of New York. By others it is stated that he bame to Missouri from Maryland. He may have been born in New York and then taken to Maryland. But the facts have not been learned by the writers of this series of biographies.
For many years he preached the gospel with great power in the Counties of Scotland, Clark, Lewis and Knox in Missouri. He also rendered effective service in other sections. Under his ministry there were many large ingatherings. The membership of the churches was freatly increased and the faith and churches was greatly increased and the faith and activity of the consitituency enlarged. In some respects he can justly be called an accomplished orator. His language was correct, and in manners he might well have been taken as a model by the younger preachers.
This writer when pastor at Marshall, Missouri, invited Mr. Bush to make the principal morning address in a protracted meeting, when a noted evangelist was preaching daily for two or more weeks; and seldom has he heard a more beautiful and effective appeal to both saint sinner than was that which came from Rev. Caleb Bush. He was then venerable in years, and had given up all regular pastoral work; but his brain and heart were full of vigor, and his love for the gospel controlled all the purposes of his life. Such was the method of presenting this greatest of all themes that all Christians who heard him were delighted. He was always and everywhere affable, and his self-composure disarmed all opposition. He had no enemies because he won opponents by a Christ like spirit. He was fearless but so kind and gentle in proclaiming the teachings peculiar to the Baptists, that he could in no proper sense of the word be called a controversialist. This fact is worthy of mention in presenting a view of his ministry because his manner partook more of the spirit of the Twentieth Century than of the early part of the Nineteenth.
He lived to a good old age and spent his time in the last years of his long life in visiting his children and former parishioners. His own children, while kind and appreciative, could give a welcome to their homes with no more cordial greetings than did many of those who had been blessed by his ministry.
In the contest between the States, from 1861 to 1865, Mr. Bush sympathized with the South. On one occasion he was arrested and taken into camp by a colonel of a regiment of Union soldiers. This colonel concluded that he could amuse himself and others by demanding that the old preacher should pray for them. He placed his prisoner astride a cannon and ordered him to pray. With that true earnestness of heart that characeterized the devotion of this man of God, he poured forth with earnest pleadings, petitions for blessings upon those who showed such disrespect for Christianity. When Mr. Bush closed his prayer, those who had thus sought to make sport of religion were in tears, and he was told that if he could pray that way for them they were sure he would do them no harm and that he was now released from custody.
He was loved and honored to the end of his days. The years of his life had been filled with labor for the souls of men, and, with many sheaves of golden grain gathered from the harvests of earth, he was gladly welcomed to the home above by the Lord he had honored by a faithful life.
Up to the time I begin wrtiting of the career and character of Rev. William Thompson, I have written about sixty brief biographies of Missouri Baptists; and now I find myself facing the most difficult problem of them all. He was not like anyone else; he stood in a class by himself. In some respects he was far beyond all the others in brilliancey of his charmingoratory, yet he was but a very frail human being, subject to temporary afflictions that seemed wholly to unfit him for public life.
William Thompson was born in Edinbury, Scotland, September 10, 1821. When he was 16 years of age his parents came to America and settled in Washington City. For five years he was a student in various schools in that city. He then returned to his native country and entered the University of Edinburgh.
Dr. W. H. Burnham, who was under his instruction for two years in William Jewell College, says: "I have heard him say that it was his custom to study all night, every other night, and until 12 o'clock the succeeding night, thus sleeping only six hours in forty-eight."
At the age of 25 he completed the course of study and was graduated. He then returned to the United States and began the study of law. It required a short space of time, with his vigorous mind and marvelously retentive memory, to receive a license to engage in the practice of the legal profession.
I was told that on one occasion he, with several others, prepared a report to be read before some convention of Baptist preachers and laymen. Before they made the report the one having it in his keeping mislaid it and was unable to find the paper. As some of the committee who had signed the report were not present, it became very necessary to have it reproduced word for word. Dr. Thompson was present, and, though he had heard it read only once, repeated every word, and the committee was able to present the report when called for, just as it had been agreed upon before.
At what place, or for how long a time, he practiced law is not known. He resided for a time, however, in the State of Illinois. He was traveling by stage coach in this last named State when the coach was so crowded that he took his seat on top. Passing rapidly over a rocky hillsidethe coach was over-turned and his head struck a rock. He was picked up in a state of unconsciousness, and remained in that condition so long that his life was almost despaired of. But after many hours he regained consciousness, and, to the surprise of all, began to preach the gospel. He then said to those present that the Lord had sent this affliction upon him because he had refused to do his duty and enter the ministry.
About this time, but under what circumstances he went there is not now known, he was in Hancock County, Illinois, near Carthage, the county seat. The people were so amazed and enthralled by his eloquence that immense crowds gathered on every occasion when it was known that he would preach. Great revivals followed him and many united with the churches.
It is said that he was converted while studying law in Washington City. The presumption is that he there united with a Baptist church, for he was a Baptist when he began preaching.
Because of his occasional attacks of mental aberation, he was denounced by some as an impostor, but many others were most decidedly his supporters. He was, after a time, ordained at Carthage, Illinois, though I remember reading in the Baptist periodical of Illinois, at the time, a denunciation of those who composed the presbytery that ordained him. While I was pastor in Keokuk, some ten miles from Carthage, I conversed with several brethren who knew of the circumstances attending his work there. I am not at this time positive in my recollections, but I think Rev. Samuel Pickard, one of the pioneer preachers of Southeastern Iowa, Northeastern Missouri and of that portion of Illinois just across the river, was one of the council that ordained him.
He now became alarmed lest his remaining there would cause serious divisions among the ministers and churches in that region and therefore left that State and wandered into Missouri.
He traveled on foot. All his worldly possessions were a bundle of clothing. I will here again quote from Dr. Burnham in Buncan's history: "One evening in the later part of July there came a care-worn, weary-looking stranger to the house of Mr. Hawkins in the northern part of Boone County. He asked for a draught of water and then inquired if Mr. Hawkins was at home. When informed that he was absent, the stranger observed that he was very sorry to learn it, for he was desirous of seeing him. After resting for a few minutes, the stranger arose, wished them good evening and started on his journey. He had not gone far from the home, however, before Mrs. Hawkins commanded one of her sons to go and call him back, stating, at the same time, that there was something about his looks that attracted her attention and made her desirous that he should remain at least long enough for her husband to see him. When Mr. Hawkins returned the stranger was invited to stay over night.
"Having informed the family that he was a Baptist minister, a request was made that he conduct family worship. When he prayed, 'So earnestly, so eloquent were the utterances that came from his heart and his lips that the family were startled and moved to tears.' Mr. Hawkins said he remained upon his knees with his face in his hands listening to the suppliant until he could stand it no longer, but was constrained to rise up and look at the man from whose lips were flowing such torrents of eloquence as he had never heard before. When he turned to look upon the praying man, behold! All the members of the family were standing before him, gazing in his face, while tears were streaming down their cheeks."
He was then invited to remain and preach to the people in that neighborhood. Soon the whole populace for miles around were rushing to hear the man whose marvelous eloquence surpassed anything they had ever heard. His fame soon spread far and wide.
Rev. S. Y. Pitts wrote me that they heard of his wonderful power in the vicinity of Walnut Grove Church in the southwest part of Boone County. Immediately one of the Wilhites was sent to see and hear of the effects of this new star that had arisen. The messenger was gone for a week, when another of the same name was sent to inquire what had become of the missing messentger. The waited a week and he did not return. Then the third man was sent to seek the absent ones and, at the end of the third week, thay all returned and brought the preacher with them, that their home church might hear him and be amazed and blessed.
For several years Dr. Thompson continued to preach at various places in bone, Howard, Randolph and adjoining Counties. The same results followed wherever he went.
But alas! The attacks of mental aberration continued occasionally to render him wholly irresponsible for a short time. I was told by several reliable persons that if some friend discovered the approach of one of these attacks and persuaded him to rest quietly, he would fall asleep and continue sleeping for more that twenty-four hours, when he would awake thoroughly at himself again.
I have in my possession an article clipped from the Standard of Chicago, written by Rev. J. D. Fulton D.D., for years pastor at Tremont Temple in Boston, Massachusetts, who was one of the most eloquent Baptist preachers of North America, in his day. For a time Mr. Fulton edited a paper called the "Gospel Banner," published in St. Louis. He attended a meeting of the General Association held with the Rehoboth (now Slater) Church in Saline County and there heard Dr. Thompson. The text was, "God forbid that I should glory save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ."
"His divisions were admirable, his language simple, chaste and beautiful. He painted with the hand of a master the things in which the world gloried, and then, after weighing them each in turn and proving them lighter than vanity, he truned to Christ and portrayed His life in language so loving, so appreciative, and yet so commanding, that every eye was kept bent upon the form moving from the flowing Jordan to the reeking cross.
"At last we stood before Calvary.
"Long since we had forgotten Cone and Welch and Fuller, and believed that the half had not been told about the rapt preacher before us. Did we look about? The sight was appalling. There were Western hunters and mule drivers standing with the tears streaming down their cheeks and with agony of the cross delineated upon their faces.
"For over an hour he held the audience and closed with this illustration: 'It is said that away up at the source of the mighty river that flows through your valley, there is a fountain from which two streams take their rise; one goes westward and empties into the Pacific; the other flows close beside us and pours its freight into the Gulf of Mexico. I have imagined a ledge of rocks a dew-drop suspended. A wind coming from the east will bear it into that portion of the fountain whence the Columbia takes its rise, and it will be borne on to mingle with the blue waters of the distant Pacific. A wind coming from the west will bear it into that portion of the fountain whence the Missouri takes its rise, and so it will be borne down to the Gulf.
"'Sinner, you hang like that dew-drop upon the ledge of rocks today. A wind coming from the gates of heaven, and controlled by the Holy Spirit, may bear you to that portion of the fountain whence the stream takes its rise that flows just by the throne of God. A wind coming from the opposite quarter shall result in the destruction of your soul for time and eternity.'
"Then in a brief way he sketched the agonies of the damned. The scene beggars description. The audience forgot itself. Hell opened to its gaze.
"Then turning he swept with the rejoicing throng up the shining steps of glory. We came up before the throne; the Crucified One was victor. Oh, how he looked! How he welcomed us, one and all! The sermon closed, the spell was on us.
"For three days that scence was repeated. His powers of description were unsurpassed, but as he could not be trusted amid the excitements of the city, he lived and wrought in places this, far removed form the din and bastle of a noisy life. * * * He was simply an earnest, gospel-loving, Christ-honoring minister of the New Testament, possessed of more magnetic power than any man in America.
"He had not the dramatic power of a Gough, nor the forceful power of a Beecher, nor the splendid appearance of a Fuller, nor the culture of a Williams; yet there was something about him which surpassed them all, and which made him the greatest preacher of his time; and, he he been able to exist in a city, his fame would have crossed seas and continents. * * * Knowing him so well, we shall believe that his errors, if he had them, were of the head and not of the heart, and that at the feet of the Master he will be found at last, casting a great multitude of sheaves which he reaped upon those harvest fields in the great and rising West."
I have before me "A sketch of Rev. William Thompson, L.L.D., second president of William Jewell College, " by Hon. D. C. Allen, of Liberty, Missouri. Col. Allen, being an early graduate of the College, gave these reminiscences at a meeting of the Alumni, June 9, 1909. I am sorry that I cannot here insert every word of his address, but for the want of space will give only a part of it:
"I wish, indeed, that I could portray Dr. Thompson to you as he was and as he flashed like a meteor before the Baptists and people of Missouri. This, however, is beyond my power. The orator, lie the actor, must suffer alie in reminiscences and in the hands of history. All that is embraced in voice and action-- the magic of delivery-- are incommunicable. The grace of action, the adapted mien, the expressive glance, the subtile comment in utterance, gesture, harmonious or vehement speech—none of these can be transmitted to posterity. We might just as well attempt to paint in words the flashes of lightning or the crashes of thunder.
"As I always understood, President Thompson was a native of Edingburg, Scotland, and had been educated in one of the great Universities of the country. Wheresoever he had received his education, it had been of the most finished character—literary and classical. I can not call to mind a single solecism in his speech. His sentences were always complete in form. They were never broen or crude. In this regard I have never known a public speaker who surpassed him.
"In his utterances there were a melody, a rhythm, a sonorousness and splendor which were remarkable. He had that rich pronunciation of English, free from dialectical peculiarities characteristic of persons in the higher walks of life who had been educated in Edinburg or Dublin. He sounded every syllable and agreeably trilled his r's. In discourse he spoke with the completeness of a book.
"In person he was at least six feet in height, broad-shouldered, muscular, and indicated great physical strength. He was very erect. His head was large with a grand pose, his hair brown and his eyes a deep, pure blue, with the upper lids drooping somewhat. His mouth was large, and he was not afraid to open it. His chest was capacious. There was an air of dignity—grandeur--in his bearing. In and out of the pulpit he was graceful. The elegance of his manners would indicate that his rearing and education had been in the midst of polished society. He dressed finely, his garments were of fashionable cut, and, during his presidency of the College, he was always smooth shaven.
"He had one of the true characteristics of a finished gentleman-- ease of manner and modesty of address. There was not a more approachable man in Liberty than he. A child, a negro—any one—could approach him without embarrassment.
"As an orator his mighty gifts were in his voice and gesture—action--and these had been trained and cultivated in the highest degree. Here he was without a rival in the pulpit of Missouri-- perhaps, in that of the world. In matter I have heard other preachers who were his equal. I never heard such a voice as his. It was truly a basso profundo. While extremely powerful, yet it was so smooth, resonant and liquid-- if I may so say-- that it was always pleasant. There was no harshness in it. It was a vast flow of delightful sound. It penetrated everywhere and "operated unspent." It fell on the ears of the hearer just the same whether he sat beneath the pulpit or at the outer verge of the audience. It was equally forceful in or out of doors-- in a vast hall or at a picnic. There was apparently no effort on his part. There was no scream or shout or bawl in his declamation. I do not now the limit of his voice. I felieve it could have been perfectly and easily heard by an audience as large as the public square in Liberty—an acre—or even by a larger one.
"I believe declamation as an art embracing culture of voice and gesture was more thoroughly studied and practiced in President Thompson's day than now. In fact, I am sure of this. I am satisfied that he had studied declamation in the most scientific and thorough manner. His intonations and emphases were wonderful. A chapter of Scripture, under his reading, took on a new and larger meaning.
"I first saw and heard him in 1856, and first new him in 1857. He was elected President of th College in 1847, entered upon the discharge of his duties a such the first of September, 1887, and continued in that position until instruction in the institution terminated in the earlier period of the Civil War. So, from September, 1857, until his death, I knew President Thompson well.
"I never new the extent of his culture of elocution, however, especially in gesture, until nearly thirty years after I first heard him. The knowledge came to me in all of its extent, in 1886, during the issue of the ninth edition of the Encuclopedia Britannica. I then became aware that, to become finished and elegant in posture and gesture, as well as highly expressive, he had most carefully studied sculpture and painting, classic and modern, and especially, the grand sculptors and painters of the Renaissance.
"Of this fact I will give the following instance: In 1857 I heard him preach on the Creation. I noticed the remarkabl grand and expressive gesture he made in representing the act of creating the stars. The gesture was the throwing of both hands upwards and backwards, with hands open, as if the Almighty had the huge orbit of a world in each palm and was hurling it to its home and fixed place far away amid the rolling planets of the starry heavens. This conception in geature he had gotten from a Mosaic by Raphael in the dome of th Chigi Chapel at Rome, where God is represented, in the midst of clouds and angel boys, in the act of throwing the orbs of the stars into their predestined places.
"I have indicated that no one can adeequatley convey by words the effect, magic, of an orator in his utterance and gesture. An effect on an audience, however, may be so expressed. From this effect the imagination can fill out the picture. For this purpose I will take the effect produced on the audience by the first sermon I ever heard him preach.
"It was in midsummer, 1856, in Lexington, Missouri. The day though bright was not oppressive in its heat. The sermon was delivered at the morning service on a Sunday of the Baptist congregation in Lexington. That congregation had some months previously sold their first church edifice and were engaged in erecting the building in which they now worship. In the interim they worshiped in the Court House, the lower room being used. It was President Thompson's first visit to Lexington. His fame, however, as an orator had preceded him. It had, indeed, permeated the State, particularly among the Baptists. Expectation was on tiptoe. A great audience greeted him-- one, indeed, which overflowed and gathered into packed groups about the doors and windows. It was worthy of him or of any orator.
"Lexington has always been noted for the number of her men and women of culture. The very cream of her society, without reference to church affiliations, had crowded to hear him. It may be easily conjectured that the ladies of the city and vicinity were in a great majority among his auditors. Nor will I hesitate to say tht the ladies of those days were just as handsome as are those of today.
"Fashions change the appearance of audiences. In those days ladies in dress used greater richness and vairety of color. They were the times also when, in summer, great numbers amongh the young beauties could be seen in low necks and bare arms, with bracelets and necklaces. The elevated seats in the audience room looked like great parterres of gorgeous flowers.
"I can not at this moment recall the text chosen by the speaker. It will be sufficient to say that, in general terms, his topic was the final triumph of the Christian Warfare. From his evident fervor in utterance and marvelous gesture, one could see that the speaker was inspired by his audience and subject. With wonderful brilliance and clearness, he sketched the gathering of the Christian hosts, the maneuvers, the battle formations, the vast attack, the overqhelming defeat of the adversary of God and man, and the convergence, after triumph, of the Christian soldiers in prodigious divisions around the great White Throne. Then, with the boldness of Raphael, as if God himself spoke, he stetched himself to his full stature, swing his arm above his head, and with voice that rolled and swelled throughout the building and flowed far out into the yard and street, exclaimed with mighty emphasis, 'Christians! Stack your arms!'
"The climax created the most profound effect that I ever knew in the pulpit. The whole audience sat for some moments in awed silence. Not a sound was heard. And even the singers or choir could not for a while intone the closing hymn."
The College closed during the Civil War period, and, for a time, Dr. Thompson engaged in the practice of law because he could not support his family on the small salary that any church outside the cities in Missouri could pay him.
He went to the State of Iowa, and was called to the presidency of a college at Sidney in that State, it is said; but it was not long before his eventful life came to an end. He died from an attack of pneumonia in the southwestern corner of Iowa, in the winter of 1865.
Dr. Maple whose ability is so vividly shown in his admirable contributions to the history of the Baptists of Missouri in the biographical sketches from his pen that are found in the four volumes of Missouri Baptist Biography, has himself joined the goodly host of godly men and women who have faithfully and lovingly given their lives to the cause of Christ and the denomination in Missouri, and have gone to rest on the other shore.
DR. J. C. MAPLE IS DEAD
Our acquaintance began in the fall of 1854, when we met as students of Shurtleff College, Upper Alton, Illinois, I, fresh from the country, at the age of seventeen years, just beginning to feel that I was a man; he twenty-one years of age, and two years in advance of me in the College Course of Study. He was a young man of attractive appearance, tall, straight as an arrow, handsome in feature, genial in manner, just such a man as to command the admiration of a hero-loving boy. Our frequent meetings in the halls of the two societies of the College – the Alpha Zeta, devoted to the intellectual development of the young men; the other The Society of Moral and Religious Inquiry, devoted to their spiritual advancement, gave the opportunity for closer and more sympathetic acquaintance. He was preparing himself for the sacred calling of the Gospel Ministry. I had come from a home where sacred things were given the first place in the family interests, and had been taught that the man called by God to bear His message of love to a dying world, was a man set apart to be reverenced. Admiration, esteem, friendliness, reverence, elements of the strongest human ties had their unfailing influence in cementing a friendship so auspiciously begun. In the nearly two-thirds of a century of more or less frequency of companionship, as varying conditions decreed, everything in our intercourse has contributed to the strengthening of these fraternal ties. Thus the writing of this sketch becomes, not only the compilation of the historical record of an holy life, well-spent, but, out from, and beyond this, and peculiarly so, a tribute of loving regard.
Joseph Cowgill Maple was born in Guernsey County, Ohio, November 18, 1833. His parents were sturdy, intelligent farmers, and loyal Baptists. In the spring of 1836 when the boy was four and a half years old, the family removed to Peoria County, Illinois. Here on the farm, Joseph spent the early years of his life, helping with the farm work when necessity demanded, and attending the nearby country school during the seasons of lighter work, until he was seventeen years old.
In the Autumn of 1850 he entered an academy in Mt. Palatine, Putnam County, Illinois, and remained there during two winters. In 1852 he attended a private school taught by the Rev. G. S. Bailey and his wife, in Pekin, Illinois. In these schools he was amply fitted for college, and in April, 1854 entered the spring term at Shurtleff College, as a student well-advanced in the Freshman Course. He was graduated from the College, June, 1857, acquiring the Baccalaureate Degree, and bearing well-earned scholastic honors. Three years after his graduation, he was invited with other members of his class to attend the Commencement Exercises of the College and receive the Master's Degree, with the additional honor, that he deliver the Master's Oration. This was a tribute, not only to his excellent scholarship, but was a recognition of his superior ability as a public speaker. He had been facile princeps in the estimation of both faculty and student body as an orator while in college. The opinion was prevalent in school that his love for the study of the classical languages had its influence upon his style both as speaker and writer. The purity as well as the versatility of his style in writing will be evident to one who will give himself the pleasure of reading such of his sermons and addresses as have been published; his articles on the History of Baptist Effort in Missouri; his more formal work along the line of biography; his charming letters on travel, both in his own country and in Europe; and very particularly in his greatest work, the memoirs of Dr. W. Pope Yeaman. In this rather extensive range of writing, he shows cogency in reasoning; sentiment in the portrayal of character; lucidity of study in describing the picturesque in such manner as to cause the scenes to unfold before the view of the reader like a panorama.
CALL TO THE MINISTRY AND PROFESSIONAL LABORS
When between fifteen and sixteen years of age, he in his life of spiritual indifference, was startled by the thought presented by the honored Rev. H. G. Weston, in a sermon on the text: "He that is not with Me is against Me," into the realization that while he was not conscious of any real antagonism to the Christ, he certainly could not be classed with those that were "with Him;" and the Holy Spirit so applied the thought to his receptive mind that he decided that he would no longer be found on the side of those that were "against Him." June 18, 1849 he was baptized into the fellowship of the La Marsh Baptist Church, Peoria County, Illinois, by the pastor of the church, Rev. W. T. Bly. Like many another consecrated young man with liberal and suggestive "gift of speech," he felt that he could serve his Lord in the most effectual way by preaching the Gospel, and this feeling continued to grow in strength until it took entire possession of his mind and heart, and he recognized it as a "call" from the Divine Master.
In January, 1853, he preached his first, and what might be called his trial-sermon in the old home church, an ordeal under which many a young man has trembled, realizing that while his auditors would be sympathetic listeners, they would at the same time, be severe critics, saying, perhaps in their hearts: "Is not this Joe, the farmer's son, and his mother, brothers and sisters are they not with us?" His sermon, however, must have convinced his brethren of his ability to preach, as at the next regular business meeting of the church, they without his request, and with commendable caution that we, of this day do not always exercise, voted unanimously to give him license to exercise his gifts within the bounds of the church. After a probation – as it were – of three months, the brethren expressed their fixed approval of him by extending his license to exercise his gifts wherever God in His providence might call him, and he became licentiate. Feeling that it was not meet that he should be "set apart by the laying on of hands," before he was ready to enter upon a regular pastorate, he preached as a licentiate all the time while was in college. During this time he preached in the surrounding towns in Illinois with great acceptance, and was the permanent supply for the struggling little church in Carlinville, Illinois, during the year of 1856 and till his graduation in June, 1857. For three months after his graduation, July, August and September, 1857, he served the church in Cape Girardeau, Missouri, as temporary supply. In October, the church having tested his ability to perform the regular duties of the sacred office, called him to the pastorate, and to equip him for the performance of all the duties of this office, arranged to have him ordained. He was examined with regard to his conversion, his call to the ministry, his beliefs, and his spiritual zeal by a presbytery, composed of Rev. Daniel Read, D. D., President of Shurtleff College, Rev. John H. Clark, resident of Cape Girardeau, and Rev. D. L. Phillips of Jonesboro, Illinois, was unanimously recommended to the church as a candidate, worthy of the consecrating rite, and was ordained on the 4th day of October, 1857. He died after sixty years of loving service in the cause of his Master, as the honored Pastor Emeritus of the church over which he first exercised a regular pastor's care. Who can doubt the sublime fitness of God's providence, in view of this happy coincidence? At this time his services were distributed among the three churches, Cape Girardeau, two Lord's days in the month; Jackson and Goshen, now Oak Ridge, one Lord's day each. Until 1861 his residence was in Cape Girardeau.
Near the close of his first year as pastor of the church in Cape Girardeau, September 28, 1858, he married Miss Sarah Juden, the lovely and accomplished daughter of Judge Thomas Juden and his wife, Nancy Holcomb Juden of Cape Girardeau County. This marriage was a peculiarly happy one. Adapted by nature, training, and rich spiritual experience for the sacred calling of a Christian minister's wife, she devoted all the riches of her noble character to the performance of the duties of this exacting relationship. Mr. Maple would often say that while his marriage was the most important event of his life, it was also the most fortunate, for with her ready assistance, her wifely helpfulness, and her feminine intuition that enabled her to judge wisely, she so sympathetically wrought with him in all his efforts to serve the Lord to the best of his ability, that one might say that to her influence he owed more of his signal success in life, than to any other single agent.
The first day of January, 1861, Mr. Maple opened Jackson Academy in Jackson, the county seat of Cape Girardeau County, and here with Mrs. Maple's efficient assistance he conducted a thriving school until it was closed by military order. After this he opened a private school in Cape Girardeau, and in a very short time had enrolled one hundred pupils, with promise of permanent success.
In his pastoral work, beginning in 1857 in this locality, where he preached uninterruptedly until the beginning of the war between the states, he did signal service in promoting the cause of Christianity and the Baptist Denomination. Even after the military condition of the community was such that regular religious public exercises were greatly disturbed on every Lord's Day when the movement of the army did not prevent, he accomplished much in keeping the brethren heartened amid conflict and trial, and in leading souls to find the peace that outer conditions failed to give, in a surrender of themselves to the gentle and loving service of their Lord. But the labor of preaching and teaching, and the debilitating influence of the malarious climate – now, in 1917, rendered salubrious by the efficient draining of adjacent swamps combined, proved so detrimental to his health, that he was impelled to relinquish his work here and seek different if not lighter labor in a more healthful climate. In 1864 he went to Kentucky, where he spent a few months in successful evangelistic work. With greatly improved health, he accepted the call to become pastor of the Baptist Church in Owensboro, Kentucky, and entered upon these duties January 1, 1865, and thus returned to the chosen occupation of his life. He labored here with gratifying success for five years, and when he tendered his resignation he left the church in spiritual matters, strong and united; in material affairs, free from debt and active in all benevolent enterprises. He left Owensboro to accept the call to the pastorate of the First Baptist Church of Kansas City, Missouri. He entered this pulpit June 1, 1870 and preached here during the perplexing period of reconstruction after the Civil War, when party feelings of the strongest hue invaded even the churches. There was an effort making on the part of some earnest brethren to consolidate the two Baptist interests, that of the First Church, located on Eighth and May Streets, and the Third Church on the corner of Eleventh Street and Grand Avenue, each at the time being naught but a struggling interest, and form a substantial church. The failure to accomplish this union, though greatly deplored by the advocates of the plan, has proved in the lapse of years to have been providential, as witness, see the two great and prosperous churches into which these weak churches have grown, in addition to the many other flourishing Baptist churches now existing in this great city. Dr. Maple, rather than struggle along under the apparent handicap of the unsuccessful effort resigned.
While he was pastor of the First Church, he did very successful work among the Swedes in the city, which resulted in the organization of the Swedish Baptist Church, which at the present writing, is a flourishing organization, and holds its venerable friend in the most affectionate remembrance.
In the spring of 1872 he went to Chillicothe for what proved to be a very short pastorate. Arriving there he found an excellent membership, but handicapped by some local troubles that he feared would militate against his doing the good there that it was his desire to do and after an eight months' residence, accepted a call from the First Church, Springfield, Missouri. His work here commenced auspiciously and he found a hearty welcome to the responsibilities of the pastorate in a rapidly growing city. After he had been in Springfield for a few months the church in Cape Girardeau sent a request that the brethren in Springfield lend them their pastor for a few weeks that he might hold a meeting with them. This request was granted and a gracious meeting was held in the Cape, and he returned to his home. Without consulting him, the Cape Girardeau Baptists secured an ample subscription, and unanimously called him to take charge of their church. Some of the conditions in the securing this subscription were unusual. The church itself was in a struggling condition. Two or three of the largest sums subscribed were offered by men outside the church, and would be offered to no other man. The church pressing this fact upon him, induced him to accept this call, though reluctantly. This inside history of his early resignation from the pastorate in Springfield will remove from him the possible charge of having dealt unfairly with the Springfield brethren. In the spring of 1874 he returned to the field of his first labors.
The Third District Normal School had been located in this place and was just opening for work. The prospective influx of young people made this a place of unusual importance. The brethren of the Baptist Church here felt that this field needed a man of strategic ability, and his old friends of ten years before felt that he was the man for this important work.
(A digression) His diary for July 19, 1874 furnishes this interesting note of personal character.)
"Saw in the congregation this morning Professor R. P. Rider, an old schoolmate. After the sermon, spoke to him. He takes a professorship in the Normal School. How glad I am to be thus associated with him, no one but myself knows."
And thus we met after seventeen years' separation, caused by his ministerial changes and my tutorial wanderings. Then we renewed our old college intimacy, since which we have been to each other Brother Beloved.
Here he labored, reverenced and loved, until the summer of 1877, when by impaired state of health he was again obliged to leave Cape Girardeau to seek health in another part of the state. He became pastor of the Baptist Church, Mexico, Missouri, and he and his wife dwelt in Hardin College. Here they gave President and Mrs. Terrill valuable assistance in the difficult labor of managing so great a school.
In the year of 1878 he was appointed by Gov. J. S. Phelps to represent Missouri at the World-Exposition, Paris, France. His tour on this occasion embraced the city of Rome and the western part of Europe. The graphic and eloquent record of this tour is embodied in a series of letters to the Central Baptist. Two or three years after his return, he continued to minister to the church in Mexico. From Mexico he went November 1, 1881 to the church in Marshall, Missouri. Here in the varied experiences incident to a pastorate of five years' extent he labored abundantly and successfully. Many persons found the Lord and were received as new-born children into the church-family, and were nourished into stalwart servants, working gladly and earnestly in the vineyard of the Lord.
During this pastorate he was called upon to do the thing that has so often cost the pastor the unity of support that is a vital necessity of a consecrated ministry, viz: the building of a new house of worship. So frequently does the conflicting strain of difference in opinion between pastor and people work disaster, that some wise man has said: "The pastor who builds a new House of Worship, seldom remains to worship in it." But such was not the result in this connection. The new building was completed and the pastor and people rejoiced together. This loving harmony has extended into the later years, for in the year of 1912 the church at Marshall unanimously voted him Pastor Emeritus for the remaining years of his life. A loving tribute to a lovely man of God.
In this new building the church at Marshall welcomed the celebrating hosts of the Lord's people when they came together in the Jubilee-Year of the General Association to honor God and give praise to Him who had increased the number of His chosen ones in Missouri, from 5,000 or 6,000 in 1834 to much over 100,000 in 1884.
This beloved pastor and the affectionate flock labored together in this commodious fold, that owed so much of its elegant convenience to the wisdom and taste of its pastor and his wife, for two fruitful years. From Marshall he went in response to an earnest, even insistent call from the First Baptist Church in Keokuk, Iowa, November, 1886. He once said to me, not boastfully, but with the desire to let his friend know something of the exactions of a minister's life "I preached at Keokuk for eleven years and two months, and during that time never repeated a sermon." A young student for the ministry once asked an experienced and successful preacher how often it would do to repeat a sermon, if preaching to the same congregation. The minister replied: "Well, perhaps once in two years, if there are not too many white bears in it." Here, perhaps is a suggestion of one of the steps in the solution of the present day problem of the short pastorate. The people have become a reading people; they think in straight, business-like lines, and are ready to recognize any special or peculiar merit in the pulpit efforts of the preacher. The preacher finds that the growing needs of the pastoral life involve the performance of many and varied social functions, that engross his time and exhaust his energy, and in the midst of the whirl he feels obliged continually to bring new things out of the storehouse and he grows weary, and either fails to keep the interest of his flock alive, or wears out his physical and intellectual strength in the apparently fruitless effort to do so, and as the result seeks a new field where he may more effectively make use of his plentifully garnered riches. Notice the simple, unvarnished, almost pathetic statement: "Preached eleven years and never repeated a sermon." Twenty-five good sized volumes of earnestly thought out carefully produced reading matter!
From Keokuk he returned to what might be called his native heath, i. e., he returned to Missouri. He came to Trenton, Missouri, December, 1899 for a short pastorate of three and a half years, strengthened the church and gained many friends for the cause and for himself as a person well-fitted for friendship of the highest type; but the constant effort of nearly fifty years in the ministry began to tell upon a frame not naturally very robust, and he decided if in accord with the Master's will, to lay a portion of the burden down. In 1901 he purchased a comfortable home in the pleasant little town, Armstrong, Missouri, and there settled down to enjoy the comforts of a quiet home and such work as his strength would permit him to do without too great a tax upon his energies. He took charge of the Armstrong Church that had but half time preaching. He continued this work for three years, then decided that the Lord's will would be well served in his resting from his labors and giving special care to his invalid wife, who had borne with him the toil and anxiety of a long period of the Master's service, and was not unable to work further. And thus ended his professional life after a continual service of nearly fifty years.
Although the number of his pastorates is a goodly one, in looking back upon his long life of service, we find that it was not augmented at any time by personal whim, professional prejudice or desire for larger emolument. The condition of his health, the feeling that he could perhaps render the Lord more effectual service elsewhere were the efficient motives for his changes of field of labor. He at all times and consistently advocated the principles set forth clearly and cogently in his sermon on "Permanency in the Pastorate," published the Standard, Chicago, February 21, 1889. It would seem that in this discussion of a subject, then, all important, now 1917, vital, the last had been said, but evidences multiply that it will have to be said again and again if the restlessness in the pulpit is to be remedied.
HIS LIFE AS A PUBLIC SERVANT
Dr. Maple's ability as a speaker, reliability in judgment and readiness to do his full duty when it became evident what that duty was, made him not only an acceptable and reliable servant of the denomination in dealing with its state-wide questions, and in aiding its chosen institutions to plan wisely for their future welfare, he was an essental member of the various boards in control of these interests. His services were given freely, and his attention to the duties involved was always prompt and faithful. His period of membership of the State Mission Board extended from 1877 to 1886. From 1878 to 1886 he was president of the board, elected to succeed Dr. Yeaman, appointed secretary of the board, when he resigned, having accepted a call to the pastorate of the First Church, Keokuk, Iowa. This period embraced the era of dissension that was rife with calumnious misrepresentations, to the serious detriment of our state work. The progress of mendacity was effectually scotched by an impromptu reply to the attacks of those scattering abroad the seeds of dissension by a speech made by Dr. Maple during the session of the General Association in Kansas City, Missouri, in 1879. This painful era called forth the noted paper, "A Vindication of the General Association and the Executive Board, Etc." The eloquent tribute paid him by the Committee on Publication for the Semi-Centennial Memorial will better than any other statement set forth his outstanding merits as the loved and honored member and president of the Board of State Missions:
"In no department of Christian labor and in no official position has Dr. Maple won more distinction and affection of his brethren than in the State Mission work of the Missouri Baptist General Association. As chairman of the State Mission Board, a position which he held for six years, he has rendered invaluable service to the denomination of Baptists in the state. In this official position he has not been content with merely presiding at the meetings of the board, but to the duties of the office he has brought timely thought and telling speech and ready writing. He has given the subject of missions that attention that an enlightened and faithful Christian might be expected to give a subject so vital to Christian progress. He has worked.
"For five or six years of Dr. Maple's chairmanship of the State Mission Board, he has written the annual reports of the Board, which have each been adopted by the Board and presented to the General Association without any more than the slightest emendation. These reports discover to the careful reader a close attention and comprehensive thought of the great work of State Missions.
"When the Board has been depressed and hindered for want of funds, he has gone forth to churches and associations, and by facts, figures, and persuasiveness has induced them to make liberal contributions. When the Board, and its work, and the Corresponding Secretary have been misrepresented and falsely accused by misinformed, disappointed Baptists, he has come – not rashly and officiously – but modestly, yet deliberately and grandly to the front with the glittering sword of truth and volleys of flashing eloquence to silence the enemy and assure victory for the right.
"From his own income as pastor he has given liberally and cheerfully to help bear the burdens of the missionaries, as they went forth, weeping, bearing precious seed.
"His prompt and faithful attendance on the meetings of the Board at his own expense, helps to attest his worth as a member and officer, and his whole career as a Christian minister and servant of the General Association entitles him to this inadequate tribute."
For several years he was one of the curators of Stephens College, also a member of the Board of Trustees of William Jewell College. These and all other positions of honor and responsibility he resigned when he left the state to accept the pastorate of the First Church of Keokuk, Iowa.
On his return from Iowa in 1897 he was appointed a member of the Board of Home and Foreign Missions, and continued to be an active member of this board until 1914, when he felt that as his health would not permit him to attend the meetings regularly, it would be better for him to withdraw, which he did.
The latest honor that the denomination placed upon him was in his years of retirement to commit the compilation of Missouri Baptist Biography to his supervision. It came on this wise: The eloquent moderator of the General Association, that met in Nevada, Missouri, October 18-20, 1910, during the joint meeting of the Missouri Baptist Historical Society and the General Association, made an earnest appeal for the preservation of the life-records of our worthy leaders of the past. His appeal was followed by a presentation of the following resolution, which was unanimously passed.
"Resolved that we request Dr. J. C. Maple to prepare a history of our representatives of the past in Missouri for publication."
Dr. Maple accepted the commission, and on reaching home, at once began work upon it. On the work incident to this charge he labored not to the day, but to the hour of his death, with the gratifying result that with the aid of his co-laborer he had completed the compiling and writing of the biographical sketches of nearly two hundred eminent Missouri Baptist men and women.
A few months before his death, he was accorded a unique and signal honor: In the summer of 1917 some members of the church in Cape Girardeau, Missouri, where he was residing and waiting the call from on high, learned that he had among his manuscripts the first sermon that he preached from the Cape Girardeau pulpit sixty years before, July 5, 1857. As July 8, 1917 would be the sixtieth anniversity of this date, the church requested him to preach the same sermon on that date. He consented, and the following comments on the unusual circumstance appeared in the Daily Republican Saturday preceding the anniversary day:
"Tomorrow the Reverend J. C. Maple, dean of Baptist ministers in Missouri, will preach the same sermon he delivered in the old Baptist Church of Cape Girardeau just sixty years ago.
"He who can, in the evening time of life, return to the place of early endeavor confident of the respect due him who has done all things well, is indeed fortunate.' This was said centuries ago by an Oriental poet-philosopher who was inspired with the divine spark, although he knew nothing of a divinity other than taught by his philosopy.
"That the venerable man whom we all love to honor can, after three-score years, given in the place of his first endeavor the same sermon is evidence that he has ‘done all things well,' and that his fellow citizens, regardless of sect, delight to sit under the words of his discourse, is a tribute to one who has for all these three-score years lived in the spirit of the text he preached from in the virility of his early manhood, and which, in the evening time of life he is able to preach with long years of experience.
"'Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet and light unto my path' were the words taken from the beautiful 19th Psalm, July 5, 1857, and the same words of the Psalm and the same words of the sermon, read from the yellowed, ink-faded manuscript will be given by Dr. Maple, July 8, 1917.
"Not one of that congregation is left in life. All have been gathered unto the Giver of the lamp and its blessed light; but many there will be under the sound of his voice tomorrow who have known him during the years of their lives, as one who has walked in the light of the lamp and whose feet have not faltered in the way. That he can thus stand before the descendants of that pioneer congregation and once more tell of the beautiful Word which has been the light to illuminate his path, is a blessing that comes to few preachers and to few congregations."
Since the death of his wife, though not morbidly "longing," the attitude of his sprit can be expressed in these stanzas from Adelaide Anna Proctor's beautiful poem: "Only Waiting."
"Only waiting till the reapers Have the last sheaf gathered home, For the summer time is faded, And the autumn winds have come. Quickly, reapers! gather quickly The last ripe hours of my heart, For the bloom of life is withered, And I hasten to depart. Only waiting till the shadows Are a little longer grown, Only waiting till the glimmer Of the last day's beam is flow. Then from out the gathered darkness, Holy, deathless stars shall rise, By whose light my soul shall gladly Tread its pathway to the skies."
Hardly a letter through the eight years of his bereavement came to my desk from him between the lines of which I could not clearly read the throbbings of this desire to follow his loved one to the regions of the blest. The answer came to his constant prayer in just the way that he had desired that it might come. He had made all necessary preparations to meet me at Springfield, Missouri, at the meeting of the Baptist General Association, October 22, 1917, that we might consult each other with regard to some items of importance with reference to the publishing of the third volume of Missouri Baptist Biography. After supper on the night of October 19, he retired to his room. When called in the morning for breakfast, he having failed to respond, his landlady went to his room to summon him, and found him sitting in his chair, book in hand, under the friendly light that had stood watch over his lifeless form through the night. His spirit had taken its light to its everlasting home.
In accordance with an arrangement, previously made, Dr. H. E. Truex, an intimate friend, was summoned to conduct the funeral exercises. On Monday, October 21, he was borne to the Cemetery from the Baptist Church and buried by the side of the wife whom he had brought here for burial eight years before.
The exercises at the church were conducted by Dr. Truex, who delivered an appreciative address which those present pronounced the most appropriate address for such an occasion they had ever heard. The exercises at the grave were conducted by the Masonic Fraternity of which he was an honored member.
After a little over sixty years of life in the ministry, he rests from his labors and his works do follow him.
EUGENE B. ALLEN, ESQ.
Religious Activity in Missouri 1850-1861
Hon. D. C. Allen
Brother Eugene B. Allen died at Leavenworth, Kansas on January 26, 1913, and was buried in that city's beautiful cemetery by the side of his wife and his daughter, Fannie. He was a native of Clay County, Missouri, born on April 11, 1826, at Allen's Landing, owned by his father, three and a half miles south of Liberty. His father was the late Col. Shubael Allen, of that county. His mother was Miss Dinah Ayres Trigg. The father and mother were married in Howard County, Missouri, on September 19, 1822. The father had settled in Clay County on May 10, 1820. Brother Allen had a sister, Elizabeth Bathsheba, who married Lieutenant, (afterwards, General) Alexander B. Dyer, U. S. A. He had six brothers, Trigg T., Shubael, Jr., Robert E., Augustus E., John M. and D. C. Allen. Of his sister and brothers only D. C. Allen remains alive.
Brother Allen received the education of the schools of Clay County until his sixteenth year. Among his teachers was the father of the late Dr. E. H. Gregory of St. Louis, Mo. This education he supplemented by reading. During his entire life he was much given to reading, judiciously, in his leisure hours, and he thereby made of himself a very intelligent man.
In his sixteenth year he obtained a position as clerk in the mercantile house in Liberty, Missouri, of Melone and Edwards, a firm composed of Clinton Melone and Presley N. Edwards. He remained in mercantile pursuits until hin the spring of 1858, when, with the late Webster M. Samuel, he removed from Liberty, Missouri to St. Louis, Missouri, and there, with Mr. Samuel, established the commission house of Samuel & Allen. A large part of the motive for this, perhaps, much the larger, was to handle the immense freightage of Russell, Majors & Waddell. The firm of Samuel & Allen ceased in 1861, and Brother Allen removed to Leavenworth, having become one of the assignees of Russell, Majors & Waddell.
After the conclusion of the Civil War, and some years later, Brother Allen was engaged in the business of banking in Webb City and St. Louis, Missouri. Among his occupations, during quite a number of years, in and since the Civil War, was that of freighting for the United States Government. In this heavy losses occurred for which the government was responsible, and at his death, he left a large claim against the government, now in process of settlement.
Brother Allen was married in Richmond, Missouri, October 3, 1848, to Miss Harriet E. Morehead, a daughter of the late Charles R. Morehead, Sr., then of Richmond, Missouri. She had just completed her education at a female institute in Liberty, Missouri, under the superintendence of Mrs. Hannah O. Cunningham, a very noted teacher of that day. Miss Morehead was accepted as one of the most beautiful girls in Missouri. She preceded Brother Allen in death a number of years. They had three children, Fannie, Lizzie and Katie. Fannie married Samuel E. Hoffman, Esq., now of St. Louis, Missouri, and with their only child, died a few years later. Katie married a Mr. Nicholls, of Pennsylvania, and died without issue surviving her. Lizzie died in infancy. So Brother Allen died leaving no lineal heirs.
Brother Allen was of a Baptist family. His mother became a member, by profession and baptism, of the Second Baptist Church in Liberty, Missouri, in 1844. Both his paternal and maternal grandfathers and grandmothers were Baptists. He was converted to religion and joined his mother's church in 1850. This was, perhaps, under the ministry of the late Dr. E. S. Dulin. His wife was a member of the Baptist Church at her marriage with Brother Allen. She was a grand-daughter of the late John Warder of Lafayette County, Missouri, who was one of the pioneer, primitive Baptist preachers of Missouri, and a man noted for his piety and devotion to his religious work.
From Brother Allen's union with the church, he was, during the residue of his life, a most faithful, believing, earnest Christian man, prompt and unvarying in the discharge of his religious duties. In this, he was most affectionately aided by his devoted wife.
Brother Allen was from a short period after his union with the church, until his removal to St. Louis in 1858, a trustee of William Jewell College and Secretary of its Board of Trustees, and at the same time, clerk of the Second Baptist Church in Liberty. He was ever a most devoted friend of William Jewell College. In 1849, when the successful effort was made in Clay County to secure the location of that institution in Liberty, he was a ost liberal giver to the college endowment. He gave, in accordance with his means, to Baptist as well as to all charitable purposes.
Brother Allen wherever known, was held in the highest esteem as a man and Christian. He was an exact, energetic, able business man, always having the full confidence of those in touch with him. In manners, he was refined and elegant. His speech was remarkable for its respect and gentleness. No one came in contact with him in business, society or the life of his own home, without becoming conscious of the fact that he had a personal charm and was a gentleman of the highest principles.
T. W. Barrett was born in Wood County, Virginia, in 1835. In 1856 he united with the Baptist Church in Marietta, Ohio, and was baptized by Rev. Dr. Leonard. The same year he came to Missouri, and soon after entered William Jewell College.
He was ordained to the ministry Oct. 28th, 1860, and immediately began work as a Missionary of the North Liberty Association. This work he continued for one year, and then located in Weston, Mo. At the end of one year's service here, he was called to the pastorate of the Tabernacle Baptist Church of Leavenworth, Kansas. After two and one-half years on this field he was chosen as pastor in Saint Joseph, Mo. He then accepted an appointment as financial agent of the Sunday School Board of the Southern Baptist Convention for the northern part of Missouri. He soon relinquished this work and was appointed Missionary and general agent for the General Association. This work he continued for a part of the years 1866 and 1867.
In the latter part of the year 1867 he was recalled to the oversight of the church in Weston.
Here his work was very fruitful. In two and one-half years the membership was more than quadrupled in number, and a beautiful and substantial house of worship was erected.
In 1869 Mr. Barrett was invited to the pastorate in Hannibal, Mo. Here again a new house of worship was built, and the membership developed into larger activity and increased in numbers.
For a number of years the State Mission Board had sought the establishment of a self-supporting and vigorous Baptist Church in the Capital of our State.
It was believed that T. W. Barrett was the man whom God had endowed for this work. He was, therefore, induced to take this field and invest a few years of his life, at least, in this enterprise. The anticipations of the Board and of the brotherhood at large were not disappointed.
In speaking of his work in Jefferson City, the writer, from personal experience, knows whereof he writes. At one period of his pastorate there it was my privilege to labor with him for about three weeks in daily meetings. By faithful preaching and diligent pastoral work the seed had been sown and the soil well prepared, and therefore the reaping time had come. And he that had sown the good seed, and he that aided in reaping, rejoiced together.
During his pastorate in Jefferson City he served as Chaplain of the State Senate and also of the State Prison. In these official positions there was the same quiet and gentlemanly fidelity as in all the other positions he held.
He was blessed with ability to be firm, and yet always gentle.
When he became pastor in Jefferson City there was a heavy debt upon the house of worship, and outside help had been given. This debt was all paid, and the church became fully self-sustaining.
He was not able, when a student at William Jewell College, to complete the entire course and receive the degree given to students who had made high grades in all the studies essential to graduation. But he had proved himself so diligent in study and so proficient in all lines of research work, that in 1872 the College conferred upon him the merited degree of A. M.
He was an active member of the Board of State Missions, and seldom failed to attend the quarterly meetings, though at the time members paid the expenses of travel out of their own private funds.
For a portion of the time that he served on this board he was recording secretary. Before the State Sunday School work and the State Mission work were put into the hands of a single Board, he was also a member of the Board of the State Sunday School Convention.
After a long and successful pastorate at Jefferson City Mr. Barrett was chosen President of Stephens College, of Columbia, Missouri.
For ten years he managed this College for Women with entire satisfaction to the Board of Managers and to the patrons of the school.
Though many of his friends felt that one who was so well adapted to fill the office of pastor ought not to have turned aside, even for such an office as training young women for a high and honorable mission in life, yet all knew that his work here would be a blessing to many homes, and continue to life up multitudes to a higher purpose throughout their lives.
That he did his work well here, need not be written for those who know of his fidelity to every trust reposed in him. But his health began to fail, and he survived the surrender of this position only about one year.
He died in Columbia in July, 1894, and was buried in the cemetry of that city.
He left the record of one who lives a good life and faithfully serves in every position that he was placed. He was honored and loved by the Baptist brotherhood and sisterhood in all parts of the State, and many of the pupils in Stephens College who were under his instruction from other states have a warm place in their hearts for him, both as teacher and friend.
The two Barretts, Rev. W. C., the father, and T. W., the son, left an unspotted record in the annals of Missouri Baptist history.
REV. W. C. BARRETT
Religious Activity in Missouri 1856-1893
J. C. M.
W. C. Barrett was born in Wood County, Virginia, July 8th, 1810. The family were known and highly respected for their good and sturdy morality and for their patriotism. The grandfather was a soldier during the war that secured the Independence of the United States. The good man of whom I am about to write, grew to manhood upon his father's farm. Here in his young manhood he married and settled down to the life of a farmer. His mother was a pious woman and sought to fill the minds of her children with the teachings of the Bible.
She was a Methodist, and had her son sprinkled when an infant. Years afterward, when he became a Christian, after careful study of the teachings of the Lord Jesus and the inspired Apostles, he was convinced that the immersion of believers was the only scriptural baptism, and was baptized into the fellowship of the Mount Zion Baptist Church in his native county by Eld. Reuben Berkley, the first Sunday in January, 1835.
It required years of earnest inquiry, and many hard, heart battles to reach the decision that made him a full-fledged Baptist. And in after years he had the joy of seeing his immediate friends, including his mother, follow his example.
He was soon chosen clerk of the church, and as a layman, was made prominent, both in his home church and in the Parkersburg Association. But a growing family and the cultivation of his farm employed all his time and attention.
There were, however, mental conflicts and heart longings that he would not speak of, even to his most intimate friends.
After almost ten years, subsequent to his baptism, an intimate friend and brother in the church, asked him if he had not been impressed with the duty of preaching the gospel.
He confessed the conviction that had long disturbed his mind, and that because of home duties and the lack of preparation, he had suppressed all these desires.
Not long after this conversation, when he was not present at the business meeting of the church, he was voted a license to preach the gospel, and an appointment was made for him to preach.
He now hesitated no longer, but began his real life work as a gospel minister.
Before he entered the ministry, he had at various times, during the winters, taught school. In this way he served his neighbors and friends, and sought to make this kind of service take the place of preaching. To do good in this way would temporarily ease his conscience, and to his own mind, excuse him for not doing his whole duty. Yet, herein was a kind of preparation for his future labors.
Here he learned how to gain access to the minds of boys and girls, and as all men and women are but "children of larger growth," he was better qualified to instruct his hearers from the pulpit.
But little time elapsed after he was licensed before he was called to the pastorate of two churches, one of which was his home church.
His ordination was now called for by these churches.
That this was regarded as an event of great importance is shown by the fact that the ordaining council consisted of thirty-six brethren, both ministers and laymen.
The examination was "close and rigid." Rev. George C. Sedwick led in this part of the program. He was a minister widely known in eastern Ohio and adjoining states in that day. The sermon was preached by Rev. J. L. More, the agent of the Ohio Baptist State Convention. Among others who were present were Elders Courtney of Zanesville, Ohio, and Jesse Witt of Richmond, Virginia. Mr. Barrett, now received an appointment as Missionary of the Virginia Baptist General Association. His field included a number of counties in the northwest part of the State.
For seven years, without any cessation, he continued this work. He planted many churches that have continued to grow, and to help upon many other fields. He would often ride ten or twelve miles, preach at eleven o'clock, and ride on the same distance, preach at four o'clock, then push on to the next appointment and preach at night.
He was for two years the presiding officer of the Parkersburg Association. He surely had work enough and honor enough to satisfy any ambition.
About this time he began a correspondence with Rev. W. M. Bell, of Miami, Missouri.
Some of his children were now grown. One son and one daughter had become teachers. The father thought he could possibly do more for his family, and possibly more for the great Master, by going westward. He said, in writing of this period of his life, "I had strong drawing to this State" – Missouri.
Bro. W. M. Bell certainly did a valuable service in inclining the Barretts (father and son) to locate in Missouri.
In 1856 Mr. W. C. Barrett moved with his family to Missouri and settled in Clay County.
He soon began work as Missionary for the "North Missouri Association." To the writer it seems that this must have been the North Liberty Association. But both in a manuscript before me by Mr. Barrett himself, and in Duncan's history, the name is given, "North Missouri."
As there are no data within reach to settle the point, it must be left as it appears upon the records.
The Missionary found a large work facing him. There were, especially in Clinton County, localities where no Baptist minister was within reach to supply the people with the Gospel as it is, and has always been, preached by the ministers of this denomination. In this there was a call for work on the part of Him who came to fill just such a place. He was not looking for strong churches and liberal support. He felt that his call was to the needy fields.
He became, after a time, pastor of the Second Baptist Church in Liberty, Missouri, the seat of William Jewell College, and sustained himself with credit before this intelligent and critical congregation. He was also pastor at Missouri City, where there was a large ingathering under his ministry.
Then the war period coming on, he saw the people divided and scattered, and for four years and more, the work languished.
But when peace came, he resumed his labors and contiuued to gather new churches and to build up the weak ones as long as his strength would permit.
He had a comfortable home in Plattsburg, where he spent the last years of his life. An influence for good was everywhere wielded by him. It seemed scarcely possible for him to live anywhere without a church growing up around him.
His last days were spent in Lawson, where he had been blessed in his ministry, and where in the home of his daughter he had every attention and all possible kindness shown him. His body rests in the cemetery at the last named place. He was faithful and true to every trust, and was loved for his work's sake by all the Lord's people who were fortunate enough to come under his ministrations.
Rev. G. W. Hatcher, D. D.
On June 17, 1846, there was born to Dr. Thomas L. Bolton and wife (nee Cassandra Glover), in Cole County, Missouri, a son to whom they gave the name De Witt Clinton. For eight years after this event his father continued to reside in Cole County. When five years of age, this boy lost his mother. When he was eight years old his father moved to Lexington, in Lafayette County, where he lived until his death, many years after.
When De Witt was ten years old his father married again, and when he died, he left two sets of children – three boys by his first wife, one girl and three boys by his last wife.
In 1864 De Witt was converted and baptized by Rev. J. W. Warder, in Lexington. If a faithful, consistent life is an evidence of genuine conversion, this boy was converted at that time. There was no backsliding, letting go and taking hold in his life, but an upward, downward, outward growth of that which was then given him.
He went to a private school in Lexington after his conversion, and then to Westminster at Fulton, and then to William Jewell College.
The "Call to the Ministry" had gripped him, and to this he was looking, and into this he was being led, and for this he was equipping himself while in school.
In 1874, ten years after his conversion, he was ordained at Lexington. The Presbytery on the occasion was composed of Rev. Edward Roth, Rev. Geo. W. Smith and Dr. Henry Talbird, with representatives from the Second Baptist Church at Lexington.
The first service rendered as a minister was given to the work of the Missouri Baptist Sunday School Convention as Secretary. In this department he did faithful and conscientious service for one year, and then accepted the care of Fairville Church in Saline County. This was a young, vigorous church. Just the field for a young, promising preacher. He was cultivating almost virgin soil, he being the second pastor that this church had called. His work there was well done. He gripped the people in such a manner as enabled him to "come back," for after a short sojourn at Lamar, in Barton County, he was recalled at Fairville, and served them as faithfully as he had served during his first term.
One the 17th day of November, 1881, he was married to Miss Lena Graves of Saline County, near Fairville. Time revealed the fact that he made no mistake in selecting this woman to be his future companion, for she was suitable, congenial, helpful in all places at all times and in all things.
From Saline County he moved to Carroll County and became pastor of some country churches; among them was Wakonda, Bethlehem, Morton and McCrookins Creek. Among these people he moved as genial, warm, pure sunlight – a blessing to every home into which he went, and a friend to every person he met. He was fully identified with the work in the entire county, as his interest in and attendance at all the 5th Sunday meetings proved. His presence on these occasions was hailed with delight – and his absence was sorrowfully noted.
From the country churches he was called to Norborne Church in Carroll County, where he made good as preacher, teacher and man. In this town, as in every town, there was "lots" of devil. Sometimes he got into the church, but he always met his foe in De Witt Bolton. His pastorate at Norborne was a blessing to the church and community. The purity of his life; the Scripturalness of his preaching; his firm, yet gentle, course, gave him him the confidence and sympathy of the community, which he used in lifting the cause of Christ to a higher plane.
From Norborne he moved to Marshall, and took up country work again, serving Mt. Leonard, Napton, Nelson, and possibly others. He was then called to Miami, where he served for five years. During these five years he so lived among the people to whom he preached, as to give them an object lesson in practical religion. He was a "living epistle," which the humblest as well as the greatest could read and understand.
After his sojourn in Miami, he moved back to Marshall, which was his last more, for he lived there until his death.
During this second residence in Marshall he was recalled to Mt. Leonard, where he served for thirteen years, his longest pastorate, and the longest in the history of the church. He was also pastor at Grand Pass and at Antioch, resigning the latter a short time before his death. When called home, he was working in the interests of the "Home for Aged Baptists," at Ironton, Missouri, in addition to his work as pastor.
On Tuesday night, April 14, 1914, about 11 o'clock, after a very brief illness, this servant of God, was called to his rest and reward. He died in Marshall, Missouri, where he had lived so long, and among the many friends he had made and kept. His funeral was preached by the writer of this sketch, who had known him, loved him and worked with him for nearly forty years. His burial was largely attended by men, women and children, representing all ranks and conditions of town, village and country people; showing the extent to which he had embedded himself in the confidence and affection of all who appreciate true merit and noble, Christlike manhood.
He left a large family. He was the father of nine children, seven of whom, with the mother, survive him. To these he has left an untarnished name and an example worthy the imitation of all.
Rising above the plane of his every day uniformly consistent life were mountain peaks that were attractive. As a preacher, his strong points were not eloquence, oratory or fireworks. What he lacked in these, if it be a lack, was more than compensated in his clear analysis and logical presentation of the truth. It was impossible for him to sermonize without analysis, as it would be to make a stalwart human body without bones.
As a man, he was true to what he conceived to be right. For it, he contended, and with it, he stayed, regardless of consequences. In extending to others the right to think and act for themselves, he never surrendered his right to exercise the same privilege.
He was a clean, pure man. In thought, speech and action he was as pure, as innocent and as guileless as a child. This virtue often exposed him to the friendly jokes of his brethren.
As a "resident minister" he was a help to church and pastor, and never a hindrance. He was always at the mid-week prayer-meeting when at home, ready to assist in every possible way.
His influence was known and felt in the Baptist ranks in County and State. For sixteen years he was Clerk of Saline Association, and no man in that position ever filled it more faithfully or more efficiently.
Just what this gentle, pure, consecrated life of 66 years accomplished in good can only be revealed in eternity, for while he rests from his labors, his work will follow him, accumulating in depth and power as the years roll on.
ADDED BY J. C. M –
In preparing the sketch of the life of Rev. D. C. Bolton, Dr. Hatcher, solely because of a lapse of memory at the time of writing, failed to mention the History of the Baptist Churches of the Saline Association.
This history is not only proof of the love of his own people on the part of the author, but also an evidence of the great industry that was characteristic of his life. By careful research he collected all the facts from personal interviews, church records and minutes of the Associational gatherings, and then wrote them in his own matter of fact style. It may be possible for some one in future to find additional truths bearing upon the history of these churches, but such facts must come from some source that was not within the reach of D. C. Bolton. This history is thoroughly reliable. The writing consumed much time, but the labor of gathering the data required much more exertion, but it was all done from motives of love. He sought no other reward than that which comes to the heart of one who seeks to preserve the memory of those who serve the Lord, and the Lord's people, and by recording the story of their unselfish toils give incentive to others to follow the example thus nobly set.
Mr. Bolton's life was an open book. See the years of his residence in Marshall; he so lived that his daily walk proclaimed that the Christ lived in him and that he lived in the Christ.
There was no service that he could render to aid the pastor and hedp the church when there was no pastor, that he did not readily perform.
He was truly a good man, an able expositor of the Scriptures, with no question as to his faithful adherence to the teachings of the Baptists, and yet never an un-Christian thrust at any people who served the Lord and yet differed from him in their understanding of the inspired Word.
His life and preaching showed how one can be faithful to the truth and yet not offensive to other good people.
It has fallen to my lot to write of many good and useful men, of whom I had by personal contact no knowledge. Had, therefore, to write upon the basis of facts furnished by others. This was in no sense less reliable than the truths that come to my knowledge concerning the life-work of those with whom there had been personal and intimate association upon the many and varied fields of labor that fall to the lot of every gospel preacher that gives his whole life to the work that opens up before him.
T. A. Bowman was one of the faithful who never seemed to claim the right to select the place of the work that he should do in the Lord's vineyard. Whenever and wherever a door was opened to him he went in, and with all his strength labored diligently until called to another task. Even preachers do not always seem to realize that "both he that soweth and he that reapeth may rejoice together." We all want to be reapers, and often are too restless if our mission is to sow the gospel seed that another may reap the abundant harvest.
This is not written because there were not great results accompanying Brother Bowman's labors. In one series of meetings he held in Marble Hill, there were about 100 conversions and additions to the church.
T. A. Bowman was the son of Benjamin and Sophia Bowman, and was the youngest of eleven children. He was born at what is now St. Albans, Kanawah County, West Virginia, though the two Virginias were one state then. The date of his birth was May 7th, 1850.
The family at a later date moved, and this time established a residence in Jackson, Cape Girardeau County, Missouri. Here again the father was employed as a miller.
In 1861 the Civil War burst upon our country, and soon the hostile armies were marching across the State of Missouri. The mill in Jackson was burned, and Mr. Bowman, Sr., then took charge of the mill at Burfordville. This, too, was soon destroyed by fire.
A new location was now chosen farther up the Whitewater, which stream had furnished the power for the mill. Here he learned the carpenter's trade, and thus provided a living for his family.
Benjamin Bowman and wife, when they came to Missouri, united by letter with the Bethel Church, and remained members until that church ceased to exist. They then united with Goshen Church.
This did not imply any change of sentiment on their part, as they had before this time become, at heart, in full sympathy with the effort to have the Gospel preached to all nations.
They remained in hearty co-operation with the activities of the church until the end of their lives. They were both good Christians, and earnestly prayed for the triumphs of Christianity.
At the age of 18 years, in a series of meetings held by Rev. James Reid and Rev. J. P. Bridwell, T. A. Bowman was converted, and by Rev. Jas. Reid was baptized into the fellowship of the Goshen Baptist Church. This church was located some two miles from the present town of Oak Ridge. For many years it was one of the most vigorous churches in the Cape Girardeau Associations.
In later years, the membership having become greatly depleted by removals and death, the church disbanded, and the few members left joined with others and formed the Oak Ridge Church, which body still continues to hold regular services, and now worships in an elegant and modern house dedicated to the Lord's services.
In January, 1871, the Goshen Church licensed the youth to preach the gospel. The next fall he entered William Jewell College. He is said to have been the first student from southeast Missouri to enter this institution, that now has become one of the great colleges of the Mississippi Valley.
There were then only about 150 students enrolled, and fifty of these were preparing to preach the gospel. Since that date there have been enrolled, at a single session full 500 students, and at times over 200 of these had the Gospel ministry in view.
After two years of faithful study in the college, his means having become exhausted, he taught one year at Orrick, a small town in Ray County, Missouri.
The father of T. A. Bowman, having died, and he being the youngest child, returned to his mother, who was left alone.
It was not long after this that the New Bethel Church of Cape Girardeau County called him to become pastor, and June 14th, 1873, he was ordained to the full work of the ministry, and accepted this pastorate.
Having now entered fully into his life work of preaching the Gospel, he was, on the 21st day of October, 1873, married to Miss Sarah Emma Ghotson, who was to him a most faithful helper throughout his more than forty years as pastor, Missionary, field editor of the Central Baptist, and superintendent of the Baptist Orphans' Home.
Six children were born to them, two of whom survive – John J., who is cashier of the People's Bank at Bonne Terre, Missouri, and Thomas D., who is American consul at Fernie, British Columbia.
The others were Connie Irene, who died in 1891 at the age of 14; Myrta May, who died in 1898 at the age of 19; Bessie Beulah, who married J. W. Alexander and died in 1912 at the age or 30, and Orren Clyde, who died in infancy.
The widow also survives her husband. Her faith in Him who is the widow's God, will sustain her until she is called to join the members of her own family in the presence of Him whose love and power never fail those who believe.
For more than forty years Mr. Bowman continued to preach the Gospel. His work was varied. Sometimes he was pastor of one local church, as when he was stationed at Salem, Steelville, Slater, and at other places. And always he preached the gospel of the Lord Jesus with all the earnestness, and with unwavering faith, that this is God's message to men, and this alone is the "power of God unto salvation to every one that believes."
T. A. Bowman and wife made most diligent effort to give their children all possible mental and moral training.
The older of the two surviving sons graduated from William Jewell College in the class of 1897. The thorough training he received has enabled him to gain and hold the responsible position he now fills as cashier of the People's Bank at Bonne Terre, Missouri.
The other son graduated from the same college in 1907, and is now American consul at Fernie, British Columbia.
The inheritance thus left to the two sons is of greater value than merely great worldly possessions. They have such mental culture that prominence is very becoming to them, and the richest of all inheritances, the record of a good, Christian life on the part of a noble father.
More than once Mr. Bowman turned aside from regular pastoral work, and labored in the general denominational enterprises of the State.
He was employed by the Board of State Missions, and preached to weak churches and in destitute regions, and solicited funds for other parts where Missionaries were stationed. He was also Missionary for more than one District Association, which led him to investigate the needs of many localities, where help should be given to make the cause self-sustaining. For several years he was field editor of the Central Baptist.
The writer of this sketch of the life of this faithful man of God was once in the editorial office of the Central Baptist, and asked the editor if he read every communication that came to the paper before handing it to the printers for insertion in that journal. He said, yes, except in cases like the letters from T. A. Bowman, who is canvassing the churches. We know his letters are all right and do not feel it necessary to read them before they are printed. This is written to show how his wisdom was appreciated, and how unlimited was the confidence with which those who knew him best trusted his acts and the products of his pen.
We can here merely mention the names, which point out the locations of the many churches that were blessed by his faithful services. He was pastor at Jackson, Salem, Steelville, Pacific, Slater, Fredericktown, Chaffee, Corder, Owensville and Belle. Besides these, he served a number of churches in the country, of which the names or localities cannot be here stated. His services as representative of the Board of State Missions and Sunday Schools has been mentioned above, and also his work as field editor of the Central Baptist. For a few years he was superintendent of the Orphan's Home.
The writer of this sketch of his life, once heard him pleading the cause of the Orphans. His whole heart was in the work. It was not done mechanically, or without zeal. While speaking of the needs of these poor children, who were left without father or mother to care for them, he could not control his own emotions, but with flowing tears and aching heart showed that their interests were to him the object of his own heart's love.
He put his whole manhood into his work, and that manhood was tempered by the consciousness that Christianity seeks the best of God's love for every human being.
At one time Mr. Bowman engaged in the newspaper business, and issued a weekly paper at Fredericktown, and then engaged in the same work for a short time at Sikeston. This was done because he could not be idle, and as writing was to him a means of doing good, and at this time also one way of supporting his family, it was easy for him to perform the duties of an editor.
But his heart was not in any secular employment, and therefore, he was soon in his "loved employ" of preaching the Gospel.
That he could have been a triumphant success in this field no one who knew his varied abilities could doubt. But it was a short departure from his life motto: "This one thing I do" – preach the Gospel – and so, as soon as a door opened to him he was again in the pulpit, and so continued to the end of his life.
From 1870 onward he attended almost every meeting of the General Association and was fully identified with all the work of the denomination in the State.
He was a life member of the General Association, of the Ministerial Aid Society and of the Orphans' Home. He not only gave his time and energies, but also used his own earnings to advance the cause he loved.
He kept a complete record of all his work. He recorded the time, place and text of all his sermons.
According to this record, from 1873 to 1913, he preached more than 5,000 sermons, baptized 727 believers, married 180 couples, and received for his work $29,800. This made an average salary of $745 per year.
But, if from this we should subtract his marriage fees and the expense of travel in his work when preaching to more than one church, as he sometimes did, we can see that he and his wife must have been most careful economists to support a family, and, as they did, keep out of debt.
His last pastorate was at Bille, a town of about 600 population in Osage County.
Here, on the 16th day of March, 1915, he passed from earth to the kingdom of glory, after a short illness.
He was yet in his prime, being only 64 years, 10 months and 9 days of age.
His body was brought to Jackson, which had been his home in the days of his youth, and there, after the funeral services conducted by the pastor, Rev. F. W. Carnett, assisted by Rev. F. Y. Campbell and the writer of this sketch of his life, it was by loving hands placed in the grave.
After hearing the kind words spoken of him in the church, one man said to his son, J. J. Bowman, "I would rather have those things said about me that were said over his body today, than to be president of the United States."
But every word spoken on that occasion was sincerely uttered. Those who spoke, knew him well for many years and meant every kind word that was spoken.
As an appropriate close of this brief sketch of his life, the following quotation is taken from a tribute written by his son, and printed in the Word and Way of April 1st, 1915:
With the closing of the year he resigned his last pastorate and expressed the belief that his work was about done. Though seriously ill only a few days, he said he was tired and wanted to rest. He knew he was going and was ready. After a night of suffering, as the morning sun was rising, "God's finger touched him and he slept." As a tired child falls asleep, his spirit entered into that new day of everlasting sunshine to meet his Master whom he has served so long and so faithfully. He crossed over the river and now rests under the shade of the trees.
And so we are proud that we can pay him this humble tribute, through our sorrow, for we know that he fought a good fight, he finished the course, he kept the faith, and that a crown was laid up for him. – John J. Bowman.
His Son, Hon. S. W. Brandom
Charles P. Brandom was born in Rappahannock County, Virginia, September 7, 1834, where he grew to manhood. He attended a subscription school in the winter and worked on the farm during the spring and summer. He was for many years the principal stay and dependence of his enfeebled father, and while a mere boy made regular trips to Fredericksburg and other cities of the Old Dominion, driving four horses to a freight wagon, several days being required to make each trip. In these trips he gained the confidence in himself that was his main dependence through many an effort on his after life. On August 24, 1854, he married Miss Betta C. White of Virginia. He went to Greene County, Ohio, in October, 1855, and remained there until September, 1856, at which time he started to Missouri, and reached Gallatin, Daviess County, on election day, November, 1856. While living on his father's farm in Lincoln Township in Daviess County, his wife was killed by a bolt of lightning, August 9, 1859. At that time he was in bed, sick with a fever. The bolt of lightning broke every window in the house and tore the bed clothing on the bed he was lying on, and almost shattered the entire house, besides setting the building on fire. His father and mother, who lived only a quarter of a mile away, arrived in time to aid in putting out the fire.
In 1860 he took his only child, a little girl, and went back to Ohio, where his wife's people then lived. In about another year he returned to Daviess County, Missouri, and resided with his father until July 24, 1862, when he married Miss Lockey McCammon, daughter of Eld. William McCammon of Grundy County; his father-in-law gave him a farm in Grundy County, to which he moved in the spring of 1863, where he resided continuously until he removed to Trenton, in Grundy County, to go into the Farmers and Merchants Bank, after being elected President of that institution. While residing on the farm he served his township (Madison) as Trustee several terms, and in 1877, he was appointed County Judge. Upon the organization of the Farmers and Merchants Bank in 1894, he was elected President, and held that position until that institution, in 1895, merged with the old Union Bank to form a new bank, the Citizens Bank, of which he was the first President, a position he held until his death. For many years he was a trustee of Grand River College, and was President of the Board of Trustees for a number of years, and was the largest contributor to the finances of that school during the years of its great efficiency in Northwest Missouri. After settling on the 160 acre farm that his father-in-law gave him, in 1863, he arose rapidly to a prominent position as a farmer and stock raiser, and added to his real estate holdings until he owned 1,360 acres in Grundy and Daviess Counties. While accumulating wealth at a rapid rate, he was public spirited, and contributed to the institutions that were for the uplift of humanity. In the autumn of 1877, he professed faith in Christ and united with the Union Baptist Church near his home. He was soon ordained as a Deacon. At the time of his death he was a member of the Trenton Baptist Church, for when he moved his residence to Trenton, he also moved his church membership to the First Baptist Church of Trenton, where he lived. After his conversion, which occurred somewhat late in life, he became prominent in church work, attending the annual Association regularly. He died at his beautiful home in Trenton, Missouri, on July 24, 1897, that being the thirty-fifth anniversary of his marriage to his second wife. He left an impression on the people of his county and state that will last for many years. He was verily one of God's noble men.
Edwin T. Brown was born in Lancaster County Pennsylvania, in the year 1818. At twelve years of age he surrendered his life to Christ, and about one year thereafter was baptized into the Baptist Church in Pittsburg by the Rev. Dr. Elliott of that city.
He was a student in Fayette College, Pennsylvania, for a short time, but his family having removed to Virginia, he completed his education in Rector College of that State.
In 1838 he was licensed to preach the Gospel. In the selection of the text for his first sermon he showed what was to be the ruling principle of life – "God First." He was ordained as pastor of the Baptist Church at Connelsville, May, 1843. Shortly after he married Miss Eliza J. Bryson, daughter of Deacon Bryson, Uniontown, Pa., a cultured woman of earnest, consecrated life. She was a source of help and comfort to him during his years of Christian activity.
In 1844 he moved to Ohio, and during the succeeding twenty years, became successively the pastor at Mount Vernon, Wooster and Warner in that State. Each of these churches he left stronger and more beneficently active than he found them.
During the Civil War he entered the service of the Government as Chaplain of the 2nd Ohio Volunteer Cavalry, and here manifested the same zeal for the cause of the Master, and in the interest of winning souls to His service as had been, and was subsequently the ruling spirit of his ministry.
In 1865 he was appointed to represent the Home Mission Society, New York, and came to Missouri. He settled in Sedalia, and thence extended his work as Home Missionary into the surrounding regions. Here he found a few Baptists, but no church, and he went to work among the people of the Lord, and they said, let us rise up and build to His name, and today two flourishing churches stand where there was none. In continuance of his good work – in October, 1866, he and Rev. James Woods, as they were returning from the meeting of Tebo Association, stopped in Clinton, Missouri, and preached in the Courthouse for a period of about two weeks. At the close of this meeting, twelve converts were baptized, and a church of twenty members was organized. About one year later he became pastor of this young church, and entered upon the labor of building a suitable house of worship for it. He continued this effort for about two years, in the meantime serving the church in spiritual matters faithfully and efficiently. He superintended the work of the building to the smallest minutiae, and secured for the First Baptist Church of Clinton one of the best church edifices in southwest Missouri, at the cost of about $20,000. On October 17, 1869, the dedication services were conducted by Rev. Dr. Thomas Rambaut, President of William Jewell College, as preacher, and Rev. Dr. G. J. Johnson, assistant.
He then resigned his office as pastor in Clinton and took the field for the Baptist Publication Society. This agency he held for a few years, then accepted the appointment as financial agent for William Jewell College. He was peculiarly happy in his methods as financial agent, and the College was greatly blessed in his efforts to raise money for its endowment, and in the favorable publicity he gave it in all parts of the state through which he traveled. He held this important office but a few years, for as Sedalia became something of a railroad center, his interest in the condition of that growing city caused him to feel the pressing need of supplying the families of the railroad men with Gospel privileges, and he decided to devote his life to this cause. At his own expense – bating about $200.00 given by a brother in sympathy with his work – he built a commodious chapel in the eastern part of the city, and deeded it to the Home Mission Society. Here he preached without remuneration, and gathered together a church of about one hundred members.
On October 28, 1874, this house was dedicated to the service of the Lord, Rev. Dr. G. J. Johnson of St. Louis preaching the sermon. During the March following a series of meetings was conducted by Rev. Geo. Balcom. At the close of the meetings an invitation was given to those who held letters from Baptist Churches to come together and form a church at this place. Eleven persons presented themselves, and with appropriate exercises the East Sedalia Baptist Church was launched, and has become a veritable Ship of Zion. A pleasant coincidence is found in the fact that during this meeting, Rev. E. T. Brown had the sacred pleasure of baptizing eleven candidates for church membership in the baptistery of the new building, and of the eleven, his own daughter was the first. Brother Brown was chosen as its first pastor, and served one year. After an interim of one year, which he employed in general work for the cause of Christ, he was again elected pastor, and maintained this relationship until a few months before his death.
He had a consuming zeal for church organization, and in his period of labor in Missouri, reorganized many churches that had been dispersed through the vicissitudes of the Civil War, and gathered many of them into a new Association, called the Sedalia Association. This name was subsequently changed to Central Baptist Association. That name has also lapsed, and is in part represented by what is now (1917) Harmony Association. This reminds one that the history of the mazy relations of the Association in Missouri would furnish a striking illustration of the influence that the infinitesimal has in producing change in this world of ours. A number of the churches that ha united in forming Central Baptist Association withdrew and Pettis County Association was the result. Two years later, Pettis County Association was merged into what is now (1917) Harmony Association – and may it ever remain Harmony in spirit if not in name.
The ministerial life of Rev. E. T. Brown was a fruitful one. In the thirty-eight years of his religious activity, he baptized nearly nineteen hundred converts, was pastor of seven churches, organized three, reorganized many, number unknown, and built three church edifices. He seemed to have taken three mottoes as suggestive guides to his religious life, and to have lived up to the spirit of them all: God First"; Carey's "Attempt great things for God; expect great things from God" ; "Do with your might what your hand findeth to do."
He died at his home in Sedalia, June 9, 1879, with a stroke of paralysis, after an illness of half an hour. The Baptist Church in Clinton, that he had organized thirteen years before, when the fact of his death became known, devoted the prayer-hour of Wednesday evening to exercises memorial of his beneficient life and labors. It was decided that the church should be represented at the funeral exercises on the following Friday. The deacons of the First Baptist Church were appointed as the representatives, and at Sedalia they were assigned a place among the honorary pall-bearers. The laboring classes, for whose welfare he had so long, so faithfully, so lovingly labored, were prominent among those that mourned the death of this good man.
From my meager data, I am able to glean only a small sheaf of facts with regard to the life of this worthy brother. It is simply a gleaning. The full harvest of his useful life is garnered with Him whom he so faithfully served while on earth.
The Buckners of the United States are the worthy descendants of worthy British yeomanry. They derive their origin from three brothers, Jesse, John and Benjamin, who came to America in the Colonial days. It is not known from which of the three brothers Burrow Buckner descended. We do know, however, that his immediate parents were Henry Buckner of Georgia and Katharine Koons Buckner of Virginia, each having moved into East Tennessee. The brothers, Burrow and Daniel, were the fruit of this union, a second marriage contracted in his old age. These two sons became useful Baptist preachers, Burrow in Missouri, Daniel in Texas. The three ancestral brothers were Baptists, and Benjamin, the youngest, was a Baptist preacher.
The physical type of these men was of the stalwart kind – to quote from a description furnished by a descendant - "large men, having large ears, high cheek bones, large blue eyes, and straight black hair;" men built for physical conquest.
Burrow Bruckner was born in Lawrence District, South Carolina, in 1796. When he was a few years old, the family moved to Buncombe County, North Carolina, and three years thereafter, to East Tennessee and settled on a farm, where the boys grew up together, having only the meager educational advantages offered by that state at that time.
In 1815 Burrow made a profession of religion, and though leaning towards the anti mission principles of the Old School Baptists joined the Lick Creek Missionary Baptist Church, Green County, Tennessee. Later in life he saw the error in the Old Baptist belief and became a zealous Missionary Baptist, and so remained for the rest of his life.
In 1818 he married Miss Matilda Matties, a native of Virginia. She evidently was the woman destined of the Lord for the man. A relative speaks of her as "one of the best of wives." In 1822 he was licensed to preach the Gospel; soon thereafter was ordained. He preached for a few years in Tennessee, but felt his soul drawn out in the desire for the salvation of the Cherokee Indians, so without any official appointment in obedience to the Commission given by the Great Head of the Churches to preach the Gospel to every creature, he obtained leave of the Nation to move into their midst. This he did and settled in the woods. He soon opened a good little farm and he and his boys made a comfortable support for the family. He worked during the week and preached every Sunday, and soon had gathered together a sufficient number of those who had embraced the Christ to organize a church to which he continued to minister until led of the Spirit, he sought a new field of labor, and in 1842 came, bringing a family of goodly size, to Dade County, Missouri, purchased a farm on Turnback Creek, and repeated the activities of his former life, in working during the week and preaching on Sundays. This he did in harmony with the general custom of the day, without specified remuneration. He was said to be an average preacher, but an apparently inspired exhorter. Two or three of his sons became prominent ministers of the Gospel.
In 1861 while preparing to go to the meetings of his Association, he was stricken with apoplexy and died before his faithful wife could reach his side. He died at the age of sixty-five years, forty-three of which had been spent in trying to serve the Lord. His remains were interred in the burying ground of Sinking Creek Baptist Church, Dade County, Missouri. What members of his family are living at this time (1917) is now known, but whoever and wherever they may be they have a noble heritage in the reputation of the honored head of the family.
Rev. J. S. Buckner was born in Meigs County, Tennessee, August 7, 1832. His father was a Baptist preacher, but the writer has been able to gather no facts concerning his life. In 1839 the family became residents of Dade County, Missouri. Here the subject of this sketch was converted and united with the Baptist Church near his home.
In 1850 he went to California, where he was ordained to the ministry and where he was diligent in this high and holy calling. After some 21 years of ministerial work on the Pacific coast he returned to Missouri and made his home in Greene County. Thence forward until his crowning day, he devoted his time most industriously to the Gospel ministry in Southwest Missouri.
He assisted in the organization of the Greene County Baptist Association, and if my memory is not at fault, he was made moderator of that meeting. From that day until his death he presided at every meeting of the Association except one, when he was not present because of his absence from the state at the time of the meeting.
He served as pastor of many of the churches in that part of Missouri where he resided. Among these churches the following may be mentioned, Ash Grove, Brookline, Mount Pleasant, Old Liberty, Friendship, Friendship Chapel, Central Baptist, Union Hall, Marshfield and perhaps some others. When the town of Marshfield was wrecked by a cyclone he canvassed a large portion of the state and raised funds to erect a Baptist meeting house in that county seat. He thus secured a permanent home for the church in that place and its future growth was made possible.
My impression is that Baptists there had not owned a house of worship prior to this great calamity that came upon the town. But this wise servant of the Lord saw the opportunity and his great energy and tact carried the enterprise to success. He served as Sunday School Missionary in Southwest Missouri for some years. As a speaker to children his plainness and simplicity of style always engaged and held their attention.
Mr. Buckner's educational opportunities in his youthful days were very limited, but by care he attained to a high degree of accuracy in the use of his native tongue. Blessed with a large measure of common sense, he was both prudent and wise in his conversation in the home, and in his public addresses. At the session of the district associations which he attended, at ministers' meetings or at Sunday School conventions his speeches were always well timed, and instructive. He was very successful in raising money for the building of church houses, for missions or other causes where it was needed for the advancement of the Kingdom of Heaven. These facts illustrate his executive ability and his large measure of honest purpose in life. He had little patience with anything that showed pretense without real foundation. Any sermon or address must, in order to receive his approval or endorsement, be made up of a good sense and not merely of ornamental periods of showy sentences. He was always plain and practical. He would not speak unless he had some thoughts to express, and then these thoughts must be expressed in a few and simple words as clearness would permit. The result of this was that this plain spoken man was always heard with profit by the thoughtful portion of his auditors.
He reached the advanced age of 75 years and 3 months, when the summons came to enter the Mansion prepared for him, by the Divine Redeemer whom he loved and diligently served. Mr. Buckner was twice married. To the first marriage there were born to him four children and by the second union eleven. At his death all of his living children were members of Baptist churches except one. For some years his home was near Ash Grove, Greene County, and from here he was called to the "home beyond." He died November 6, 1907.
Rev. E. T. Sloan, who was baptized by Mr. Buckner into the fellowship of the Friendship Baptist Church many years before and who had been for quite a while the pastor of his Spiritual Father conducted the funeral services. The body of the old veteran was placed in the cemetery at Sinking Creek in Dade County by the side of his loved ones who had preceded him to the "better land."
A suitable obituary was published in the minutes of the Greene County Association, as well as a picture of their faithful moderator.
Few men with the small advantages for early mental training have equaled him in their contributions to advancement of the Master's Kingdom. To the earnest, unselfish and unrequited labors of such men as J. S. Buckner the Baptist churches of Missouri owe a great debt of gratitude.
James Burton was born in Henry County, Kentucky, March 10, 1821. When an infant of one year his parents moved to Missouri and established their home in Randolph County, where the town of Higbee now stands. When he was 18 years of age he was converted in a series of meetings held by Reverends William Duncan, Jesse Terrill, Benjamin Terrill and Joshua W. Terrill. He was baptized into the fellowship of the Ebenezer Church of Randolph County. He was licensed by this Church shortly after his union with that body and in 1840 was ordained by request from the same Church.
Immediately after his ordination he was appointed missionary of the Mount Pleasant Association. He continued in this work for ten years. His field of labor included Randolph, Howard, Chariton, Macon and Monroe counties, and at least a part of Boone. This wide field he cultivated with earnest zeal and with such success that he was continued by the churches as their representative for a full half score of years.
The other fields where Mr. Burton continued his ministry have not been mentioned in the material for this sketch. It is mentioned that he with Rev. W. K. Woods organized the Oak Grove Church in Monroe County.
He became pastor there and continued to serve that Church for nine years. At one time the spiritual condition of the membership was such that the pastor's heart was filled with sorrow and anxiety. He conferred with one member who, like the pastor, was troubled because of the "low state of Zion."
The two prayed over the case and then decided to begin a visitation of the entire resident membership. Calling at the home of the nearest neighbor they made known their purpose. After prayer at this home they asked the brother and his wife to join them. This they consented to do, and with earnest prayer they went to the next home. Pursuing the same course, they continued their way, gaining new recruits at almost every home, until they had to gather at the house of worship to find room for all those who wished to unite in the prayer for the manifestation of the Holy Spirit's power.
Here they confessed their coldness and besought each the forgiveness of the Lord. Then, of course, when they were in a frame of mind to receive the Lord's blessing, the power came from above. A genuine revival broke forth among the people, and for a distance of 15 miles around the gracious influences were felt. The work was so deep that for the space of 7 years the Church continued to have frequent additions.
The reader may justly take this case as a sample of the labors of this devoted servant of the Lord Jesus. This work he was permitted to continue for 60 years. No records made by human hands can tell the great influence for good that such a life will send down through coming ages.
Another incident of Mr. Burton's ministry at Oak Grove Church deserves mention. It illustrates the delightful experiences of pastors in the ante-bellum days. Among the many converts baptized by him were quite a number of Negroes.
Years afterward he visited his former charge and was solicited to preach to the colored people who now had a house of worship of their own. After the sermon by the veteran visitor, they held a conference meeting, when many related their first experience of the grace of God in their hearts and lives. Many of the white members attended and took part in these delightful services. Among others was a Negro called by everybody "Uncle Bob." He told how years before under the preaching of Brother Burton he had been led to trust in Christ, and that on to the present day he had retained the joy of the conscious presence of the Savior with him. He laid his hand upon his breast and said: "I have the title to my home right here." One of the most intelligent Christians among the white folks present said: "I don't want to hear anything better than Uncle Bob's experience."
Mr. Burton was thrice married. His first marriage was to Miss Rebecca Kirby of Howard County. To this union nine children were born – 3 girls and 6 boys. After the death of his first wife he was married, in 1859, to Mrs. Saunders. They lived happily together for 22 years, when he was bereaved of her death. His last wife, who survives him, was Mrs. Mary L. Green.
For many years his home was in Kaseyville, Macon County. After Mr. Burton was unable to continue regular labors in the ministry he was often called upon to conduct funerals and to render such other services as his failing strength permitted. On many occasions did both men and women bear willing testimony to the fact that under his faithful preaching they became Christians. Rev. S. Y. Pitts writes of his decease, which occurred when he was 88 years and 23 days old: "Blind, deaf, and comparatively helpless, he was tenderly cared for by his wife, son and granddaughters, and kind neighbors. Among his last words were, "I am going home to rest forever, forever, forever, bless the Lord! Hallelujah! Little woman, praise the Lord for all his mercies." He died at his home on April 2, 1909. The funeral services were held at Darksville April 4. Memorial addresses were delivered by several ministers, including J. D. Smith, who had been baptized years before by the deceased. M. D. Heifner of Macon, P. M. Sears of Prairie Hill, D. B. Clifton of Huntsville, S. Y. Pitts and others.
Then the Huntsville Lodge of Masons took charge of the body and with the most affectionate tenderness it was placed in the grave. The long life of more than four score years of Rev. James Burton was filled with earnest labors for the extension of the Kingdom of Heaven. He literally crammed his days with unceasing labor. He was "instant in season and out of season," and all was prompted by his great love for the Lord Jesus and a deep solicitude for the salvation of human souls.
The subject of this sketch was born in Sharpsburg, Kentucky, October, 1833, and in 1835 was brought by his parents to Missouri. He was a son of Lewis and Eliza Burley Busby. It has not been possible to obtain any further knowledge of his parentage.
The first home of the family after leaving Kentucky was in Monticello, Lewis County, in the commonwealth of Missouri. In 1844 the family moved to Palmyra, Marion County, where the son grew to manhood. Here he followed the good old English custom of learning a trade, that of tinner.
On the 28th day of November, 1852, young Busby united with the Baptist Church in Palmyra, and was baptized by Rev. J. S. Green. Mr. Green was for many years pastor of this Church, and it became under his ministrations one of the most efficient churches in Northeast Missouri and retains its prominence to the present day. The genuineness of the conversion of the young mechanic was such that the conviction that he must give his life to the service of the Christ, and "Tell to sinners round "What a dear Savior he had found;" took full possession of his brain and heart. He entered Bethel College at Palmyra, Missouri, that he might prepare for the ministry. This school was co-educational, and furnished good mental training to the pupils. The writer has within reach no means of learning the origin or history of this school. That there was such a school and that it was called a college is well known. But the names or standing of those who were then teaching there is not available to the writer. Yet it is well known that many of the students became very useful men and women and that some very efficient Baptist ministers received their mental training at that school. Like many other institutions started in Missouri in the early settlement of the state, the founders believed there would come to the school such growth that in a few years an adequate endowment to support a college would be secured, and feeling secure of further triumph obtainable a charter for a school to be known as "Bethel College." And for years there seemed every prospect that their faith was well founded and that the enterprise thus begun must become a most valuable asset in the enlargement of all forces that contribute to the elevation of the patrons, and that through the influence of the youths trained here large blessings would come in the intellectual, moral and spiritual elevation of the whole community. But lack of endowment made it impossible to sustain the school, and in course of time, like many other such ventures, it ceased to exist.
After three years' study Mr. Busby was called to the pastorate of the first Baptist Church in Hannibal and was here ordained. He spent most of his life in the city of Hannibal, Missouri. Here he was preacher, pastor, private member of the Church, and always a quiet man of piety, who made no demonstrations of his Christian character, always feeling that the kind of life one lives will proclaim the basis of his hopes and the foundation upon which he has built his mental and moral temple.
For six years after he went to Hannibal he was pastor of the Church now known as the "Fifth Street Baptist Church." Beginning here in 1856, his work was largely that of one who plans for the future. He seemed intuitively to recognize the genuine and to draw to the church the good and true and to repel the bad. In this city he was ordained, here he was married and here he lived to the end of a long and useful life.
In 1864 he engaged in the hardware business in Hannibal. At this time the civil war was going on in all its horrors, and no minister in Missouri could expect any financial support from country churches.
The same year of his ordination he was married to Miss Virginia Halsy. This good woman continued to aid him in all his good work, until a few years before his own demise, when she was called to her great reward.
Mr. Busby from the time he resigned the pastorate in Hannibal preached to a number of churches in Northeast Missouri.
As long as his strength permitted he continued thus to serve the Lord. For about 30 years he presided as moderator of the Bethel (N. E.) Association. Missouri Baptists owe a large debt to the class of preachers among whom Mr. Busby enrolled himself. He was always undemonstrative, never seeking for himself prominence, not asking for leadership, but ever willing that others should have the honors, if only he could in an humble and quiet way perform the duties the Lord and the Lord's people laid upon him.
The first Church in Hannibal as the city grew and needed more churches, became the "Fifth Street Church" and is now one of the strongest and most aggressive Baptist bodies of the state. And to the quiet but faithful labors of that early pastor much credit is due for the solid foundation that was in its early history, laid by Mr. Busby.
Dr. Yeaman in his history of the General Association, page 282, says: "In 1848, when the General Association was in session at Big Lick Church in Cooper County, an appropriation was made to aid the Church in Hannibal. A Brother Granger was the missionary pastor. The struggle at Hannibal was a severe and prolonged one. Its pastoral changes have been somewhat frequent. But each incoming incumbent found in Rev. W. C. Busby, who on account of ill health retired from that pastorate years ago, a warm friend and sympathizing helper."
When Rev. W. C. Busby died, all the older citizens of Hannibal felt that a great loss had come to them. He had not sought prominence, but had preferred quiet and was, outside his own Church, retiring from all publicity. Yet there was such an influence for good that his very presence was a benediction to his entire circle of acquaintance. He was a man of God, and an influence for high standards of morality and even a pervading aroma of Christian excellence went forth from his life.
Such in substance was the sentiment expressed by the newspapers of Hannibal at the time of his death. He was loved by those who knew him best, and his memory will be cherished as long as any survive who knew him.
No Christian life ends its influence when the spirit is called to receive the crown of glory. Those whom the true followers of Jesus has brought into a saved relation to the Christ will continue to be a blessing to others until the end of time. And so will the life of Rev. W. C. Busby ever continue its blessed influence.
The ancestors of Elder C. L. Butts were of English origin. His great-grandfathers, Butts and Lillard, came from England previous to the Revolutionary War. The one family, Butts, settled in Virginia; the other, Lillard, in Maryland. Both families took an active part in favor of the Colonies in that war. From these two families that first came across the ocean have sprung, as far as is known, all the Butts and Lillards scattered over this country. Their descendants are to be found in almost every state of the Union.
The grand-father of the subject of this sketch, Mr. Samuel Butts, emigrated with his family, in 1810, from Virginia to Kentucky, the father, William Hamilton Butts, being at that time five years old. The family settled on Salt River, in Anderson County. In the same community was a descendant of the Lillards, having come from Maryland. The two families became united by the marriage of Mr. Wm. H. Butts and Miss Frances A. Lillard in March, 1829.
After eight years sojourn in Kentucky, Mr. and Mrs. Butts came to Missouri in 1837, and located first in Ray County. Two years after they removed to Caldwell County. Her the subject of this sketch was born, February 2, 1844. In the spring following his birth, the family moved to Andrew County and settled on a farm near Filmore.
Here "C. L.," as he was familiarly called in after years, grew up to manhood. His parents were both Baptists, and had brought their membership with them from Kentucky, and had united with a Baptist Church some five miles distant. Religious opportunities, however, except in the home, were not very good. Preaching services were held only "once a month." There were no Sabbath Schools and no prayer meetings, except at the family altar. The social amusement of the community was the dance, of which young Butts was very fond. Under such influences it was not to be wondered that he led a kind of dual life, influenced in part by parental control and in part by the social influences surrounding him.
His opportunities, in this early period of his life, for an education were limited. He had only the common school of that day, which last but a few months in the year, and was not of a very high order as an educational institution. Yet, under the control of his parents, and using judiciously such opportunities as they could afford and he could obtain, he received a fair English education, sufficient to enable him to teach at the early age of seventeen, having taught in Holt, the adjoining county, in the spring and summer of 1861.
Elder Isaiah T. Williams, brother of the noted and devoted Dr. A. P. Williams, was the Baptist preacher in the community where young Butts lived, and was pastor of a Baptist church at Nicholl's Grove, Holt County. In the winter of 1860 a protracted meeting was held with this church by the pastor, and many precious souls were converted. Among the number was "C. L.," after a severe conflict between his innate love of worldly pleasures and the influence of the Holy Spirit, in which the latter was victorious. He immediately made a public profession of faith in Christ, was baptized, and united with the church at that place.
The Civil War coming on, he, with his brothers, enlisted in the Confederate service for three months; was in the battle of "Blue Mills"; also at Lexington when Col. Mulligan surrendered to General Price. His term of service having expired, he returned home; but, owing to the "troubles" in the community, in 1862 he left Missouri and went to Kentucky. Here he remained, teaching, principally, until the close of the war. During these years not much progress was made in the religious life or in religious work.
At the close of the war he returned to Missouri, and proceeded on to Sidney, in Southwestern Iowa, where his parents were living, and engaged in business. Here he entered into partnership with his father, in which he continued for a year or more. During the time he became, by relation, a member of the Baptist Church at this place. He immediately took an active part in church work, especially in the Sunday School. In 1866 he is again in the school room teaching. This year also, in March, he was united in marriage to Miss Wayne Dennis of Sidney, Iowa, a most estimable young lady, who proved a true and faithful companion and a helpmeet in reality.
Even while in Kentucky, young Butts had premonitions of a call to preach the Gospel. But by reason of his environments there, he easily resisted these convictions. When, however, he returned to Iowa, and came under the influence of such men as his father, I. T. Williams, B. T. F. Lake and I. Seay, these convictions returned. Accordingly, without his knowledge or assent, the church at Sidney, Iowa, licensed him, at its regular meeting in November, 1866, to exercise his gifts among them and elsewhere as the spirit should direct. Feeling the necessity of a better education for the work to which he believed God had called him, the next year he settled all his temporal business in Iowa, and in September, 1867, entered Georgetown College, Kentucky. He remained here one year. The next year, 1868, he entered William Jewell College, Liberty, Missouri. Here also he continued one year. Returning he located in Hamburg, Iowa, and in September, 1869, established a private graded school there. This he continued successfully for two years, preaching at various places in Southwest Iowa and Northwest Missouri.
In January, 1870, the church at Hamburg set him apart by ordination to the work of the Gospel ministry, elders M. F. and I. T. Williams favoring the council.
He closed his school at Hamburg in 1871, and henceforth until his death devoted himself to preaching the Gospel, sometimes as an evangelist and sometimes as a pastor, in both of which he was eminently successful. His field of labor was principally Southwest Iowa and Northwest Missouri. In both of these territories Elder Butts' name is a household word. He was pastor at Pleasant Grove, McKissicks Grove, Shiloh, Lacy Grove, and other places in Iowa, and at Rock Port, Walkups' Grove, New Liberty and other places in Northwest Missouri. He held protracted meetings with all these churches while pastor. But his labors were not confined to these. Wherever there was destitution he would find time from his pastorates to preach the "unsearchable riches of Christ." In this way he was successful in establishing a number of churches, both in Iowa and in Missouri.
In his work as a pastor his object was to build up the church, to strengthen it and to make it efficient in the work of the Lord. In protracted meetings, his object was to win souls to Christ, and his preaching was adapted to this end. Every sermon carried with it prominently the two great fundamental ideas of the Gospel, man a sinner and Christ a Savior. His themes were: Salvation by grace; justification by faith; regeneration; repentance; faith; obedience to the requirements of God.
Elder Butts died at Cameron, Missouri, August 4, 1889 and his remains were laid to rest in the cemetery at Liberty, Missouri. His wife, Mrs. Wayne Butts, died at Craig, Missouri, and at her request was buried by the side of her husband in Liberty.
To Elder and Mrs. Butts four children were born, two daughters and two sons. The eldest, a daughter, Mrs. Ada Butts Smith, was born June 29, 1867, and is now a resident of Craig, Missouri. The second, a daughter, Mrs. Mollie B. Rippe, was born June 25, 1870; died at Craig, Missouri, February 1, 1898, and was buried in the New Liberty Cemetery, five miles east of Craig. The third, a son, William, was born June 10, 1875; and the last, a son, Neal, was born June 13, 1879; both of whom are now residents of St. Louis, Missouri.
James P. Cape was born November 21, 1825, near Belleview, Washington County, Missouri. August 21, 1848, he married Miss Laura E. Breckenridge, who after a long and useful life as a Christian wife and mother, preceded him to the Better Land. The larger part of Bro. Cape's life was spent on a farm about three miles south of De Soto, near Swashing Baptist Church. The records of this church, of which he was a member for probably sixty years, show that he was ordained a deacon of that church on the second Saturday in May, 1855. It is not known with certainty at what time he began to exercise his gifts in the ministry, but the record shows that a call was made for his ordination at the July meeting, 1861. He had been preaching then for some years and his ministerial career thus lasted for more than half a century.
Like many of our pioneer preachers he possessed in a large measure the two-fold gifts of pastor and evangelist. His revival meetings were fruitful in conversions and his pastoral care edified the churches.
Generally having charge of three or four churches, some of them at long distances from his home, he was faithful in keeping his appointments. His principal fields of labor were, Lebanon, Sandy, Vineland, Charter, Temperance Mission, Moontown and his own home Church. In these and other points blessed by his ministry, he has in many cases preached to three successive generations. His preaching was original, biblical, earnest. He copied no man and walked in the tracks of no other preacher. His text book of theology was the New Testament. The divine blessing rested richly upon his labors and he gathered many sheaves in the harvest fields that he both tilled and reaped.
He was a successful business man. Using the same energy and devotion in his private business that he did in his religious work, God blessed him with a good farm, a comfortable home and a loving family. In his intercourse with his brethren in the ministry, he was fraternal and helpful, but his own ideals of the ministry were so high that any ministerial misconduct pained him exceedingly. One of the secrets of his success in the ministry was that his hearers all knew that there was a good man behind the sermon, and that he lived the religion which he preached and professed. A man of singular purity of character, of unblemished integrity and of stern, unyielding principles, he gained and kept up to his fourscore years the abiding respect of all who knew him.
And so the name of Uncle Jimmy, as he was familiarly known, will be held in long and loving remembrance in the bereaved home circle, in his own home neighborhood, in the churches which he served with self-denying fidelity, in the Jefferson County Association, in which he was a wise and loving counselor, and by all who knew him, and especially by those of them who believe as he did in the old, old story (using one of his own familiar phrases) "of dying love and redeeming grace."
He kept up his usual preaching appointments until the Christmas before his death, when increasing infirmities compelled him to relinquish his beloved tasks. He entered into rest at the home of his son, James E. Cape, three miles south of De Soto, Missouri, on Friday, March 8, 1907.
His funeral took place at the Swashing Church, Sunday, March 10, the sermon being preached, at his request, by Rev. George Steele. Two passages of Scripture were used as texts, Acts 11:24, "For he was a good man and full of the Holy Ghost and of faith, and much people was added to the Lord;" and I Peter 4:1, "Arm yourselves likewise with the same mind." The Word declares that the end of the commandment is love out of a pure heart and of a good conscience and of faith unfeigned. Then James P. Cape's life on earth was a living proof that this end can be reached in faithful, loving obedience to the Master of all, at whose feet, after the burden and heat of the day, he was able to lay his bundle of well-won sheaves.
JOHN C. CAPE
In his efforts to spread the Gospel and to build up the churches James P. Cape had an able helper in the person of his brother, John C. Cape, who lived on a farm near him, and who was a leading layman in the Jefferson County Association for many years. He was moderator for ten years and served faithfully and efficiently on the District Mission Board..
Alexander Wilds Chambliss was born in Darlington District, South Carolina, July 4, 1812. His father, John Chambliss, was a planter of considerable wealth, who came of the Virginia stock of the same name and of Huguenot ancestry. His mother, Sarah Williams, of Welsh descent, died when her son, Alexander, was a boy of ten or twelve years of age. The lad early became a disciple of Jesus, but for many years had to stand alone on the Lord's side in his family.
When he expressed the Spirit-born desire to give himself to the ministry of the Gospel, he met with violent opposition from his father, who was not at the time a religious man, but having heard, as he believed, a divine call, he decided to obey it at all costs.
His education at the time was no more than elementary, or what would be called a grammar school course, and because of his determination to devote himself to the cause of Christ, he could get no further pecuniary help from his father. (Later in life his father became a devout Christian and was baptized by his son.)
He left home to seek employment by which he might earn money to go on with his studies. He found a situation as clerk in a store in Augusta, Georgia. While there he came under the influence of the Rev. Charles D. Mallory, of blessed memory in Georgia, who gave him encouragement and probably opened the way for him to take the next important step in his career. This was entrance as a student at the Furman Institution, then at High Hills, near Camden, South Carolina. Here he had for instructors Rev. Samuel Furman and Rev. Jesse Hartwell, and for fellow students such men as James C. Furman, J. O. B. Dargan and Edward Lathrop, the last named serving, a year or two later, as groomsman at his wedding. Dr. Dargan performed the marriage ceremony. Young Chambliss had only two years at the institution, but already appeared to be a man of unusual ability. He was a diligent student and when he began to preach immediately discovered extraordinary power. Thoughtful, logical and fervent, with astonishing fluency, rapid, graceful, of commanding presence, noble head and face, he was undoubtedly an orator, and was recognized as a man of wonderful promise. At the age of twenty-two he married Rebecca Ellerbe, the daughter of a wealthy planter of the Peedee section of the state, who came of a long line of honorable English ancestry. At this time he was entering upon his first pastorate at Wilmington, North Carolina. Here he labored for two or three years with great success and growing reputation. But he wanted more education in the schools. He found it possible to enter the theological seminary (Presbyterian) at Maryville, Tennessee. Thither he went with his young wife and one child, and quite a number of servants whom they had inherited. (These latter were for the most part hired out then and afterwards, only two or three being retained for domestic uses.) At Maryville our young preacher advanced rapidly in scholarship, in theology, of course, but also in Greek and history, in which he became, for his day, remarkably well versed.
From Maryville he was called to the pastorate of the church in Athens, Georgia, and at the same time to the headship of the Preparatory School of the University of Georgia, located at Athens. Here, as elsewhere previously, he made his mark and was widely known as a fine scholar and powerful preacher.
He was thirty years old when he decided to go westward. Alabama was then a new state, was just through with troubles from the Indians, who were now removed to the Indian Territory, was sparsely populated, and, of course, with no railroads. Mr. Chambliss journeyed to Alabama in his carriage with his family, which by this time included three children, followed by wagons with his servants and household goods.
His life in this state for the next twelve or fourteen years was one of distinguished usefulness. He held several important pastorates, wrote and published by request of the State Convention his "Catechetical Instructor," a work of some three hundred pages, which sold an edition of five thousand copies and was widely used in Sunday schools for both white and colored people, (afterwards revised and republished as "A Hand Book of Bible Doctrine").
He became closely identified with Howard College, for which he raised, by subscription, an endowment of $100,000. He was the owner and editor of "The Southwestern Baptist," the name which he gave to "The Alabama Baptist," when it passed into his hands, and the circulation and influence of which he greatly extended.
From Alabama he removed to Mississippi, and for some years gave himself to educational work, because of serious throat trouble forced to resign regular pulpit work, first as president of the Central Mississippi Female College and then of the Castalian Springs Institute, which he purchased and ran as a private enterprise. Both of these schools drew large patronage from all parts of the state. Then came the great war with its disastrous consequences to the country and to individuals. Mr. Chambliss continued his work of teaching and preaching as best he could. He served the Central Church, Memphis, Tennessee, till he was driven out by the Northern Army. At the close of the war, he was called to the pastorate of the church at Aberdeen, Mississippi, and served them until the needs of his family forced him to leave these people whom he loved and who loved and honored him, because they were too impoverished, first, by the terrible viscissitudes of the war, and afterward, by the harrowing conditions of the Reconstruction Period, to employ a pastor. He went thence to Maysville, and afterward to Russelville, both in Kentucky, and from Kentucky the Lord led him to Missouri.
About this time, becoming seriously impressed with the apparent disposition of what he thought, too many of those who had been once called to preach the Gospel to leave the pulpit for some secular or at best, some semi-secular calling, he wrote the notable work, "God's Ministry," a book that ought to be read by every man who, having laid his hand to the plow, finds himself tempted to turn aside to some more convenient or lucrative employment.
In Missouri he held several pastorates and served his Master and the churches with a devotion and an ability that gave him prominence among the brethren, who constantly sought his counsel and leaned on him as a theological tower of strength. Hannibal, Boonville and Montgomery City will long remember him as one of their greatest preachers and most faithful pastors.
Many years ago Baylor University, Texas, conferred on him the title of Doctor of Divinity, and it has rarely been more worthily bestowed.
Dr. Chambliss died at Montgomery City, Missouri, in his eighty-third year and was buried at Liberty by the side of the beloved wife of his youth, who preceded him to heaven eleven years before. Six children survive him, and the name that he honored in life is still a name of honor whenever heard.
When one reads Dr. A. W. Chambliss' notable book, "God's Ministry," he can readily see whence came the decided bent that made four of his sons ministers of the Gospel, and further what, next to their great zeal for their Master's cause, made them so earnest in their devotion to the work of soul-winning. Their lives seemed to be the physical embodiment of the noble sentiment, "This one thing I do."
Joseph Ellerbe Chambliss was born in Wetumpka, Alabama, February 10, 1843. No data of his early childhood are available, but that he was well-grounded in the elements of a classical education is known from the fact that in doing the higher work required in the excellent schools of Alabama and Mississippi, he finished these courses of study with distinction. In his later life in Missouri, he was recognized as a more than ordinary scholar. He completed the course of study in these schools just in time to enter the Confederate Army. He enlisted as a private, but was soon discharged on account of ill health, but upon regaining his strength he re-enlisted and served as missionary among the soldiers with the rank of chaplain.
The time and place of his conversion are unknown, but there is a tradition that he met with a change of heart while at school, either at Lexington, Mississippi, or Gainesville, Alabama, and was at once baptized into the fellowship of the church in that place. Nor is the time nor any of the circumstances of his license to preach the Gospel or of his setting apart to the fuller privileges of the Gospel ministry by the ceremony of ordination. In later years the honorary degree of Doctor of Divinity was conferred upon him by Howard College, Alabama.
On January 17, 1865, he was married in Rome, Georgia, to Miss Lavice Gwin, of Madison Courthouse, Virginia. His wife was an earnest Christian, and zealous worker in the church, as well as a loving companion for her husband, and a doting mother for the goodly flock of children given them of the Lord. She died in 1897, leaving her devoted husband and ten loyal children to mourn her loss. After a few years he married a second time. This wife lives a bereaved widow in Stoutland, Missouri, the home of her husband at the time of his death.
Before coming to Missouri, he occupied the pulpits of these several churches: Aiken, South Carolina; Williamsburg and Harrisburg, Virginia; Eutaw Place, Baltimore, Maryland, and North Carolina, Camden, New Jersey. He came to Missouri in response to a call from the First Baptist Church, Kansas City, Missouri, and on the division in this church, that took place at this time, he went with those who withdrew, to organize Calvary Church as their pastor. His health after a few years failed him and he closed, by resignation, a pastorate of eight precious years, to go to a more salubrious climate. During the seven years of his alienation he successively filled the pulpits of the churches at Eufala, Furman and Eastlake, Alabama. In 1889 he returned to Missouri to the pastorate in Montgomery City, and subsequently ministered to the churches in the following towns: Me-Fall, Butler and Carondelet, Missouri, and East St. Louis, Illinois. Later, in quest of health, he declined the office of the stated pastorate, and, living in towns surrounded by prosperous rural territory, served as visiting pastor for several country churches, and finally settled in Stoutland, Camden County, in that beautiful section known as "The Foothills of the Ozarks."
In common with the other members of this gifted family, he wielded a facile pen and wrote much for "The Central Baptist," of which paper he was for a time a member of the editorial staff. "The Word and Way" published frequent communications from his pen and his brethren were assured of something of interest when they saw his name signed to an article. His chief achievement, however, as an author, is found in the book, "The Life and Labors of Livingston in Africa."
In his latest home, Stoutland, Missouri, he died after a very short illness, January 9, 1916. His remains are interred by those of the wife of his years of saintly service, Lavice Gwin Chambliss, in the cemetery of Gallatin, Missouri, where he had dwelt while he was vice-president of Grand River College. Here he had taught and she had labored, and here were found hosts of friends who mourn the loss of them of the lovely influence of these servants of the Lord.
Dr. Chambliss was a man of genuine and attractive qualities of mind and heart. Those who knew him best admired him most greatly and loved him most warmly. We will allow a few of those whose knowledge of the outstanding qualities of his beneficient life is intimate to voice the appreciation of his character, in beautiful words to which all who knew him, if only casually, will heartily say amen.
The editors of "The Word and Way," the Baptist paper of Missouri, wrote as follows:
"More than a quarter of a century ago Dr. Chambliss came into the lives of the editors of this paper. Through all these years they have known him intimately, having had the privilege of his fellowship, and sometimes and in some things the confidences of his heart. We admired him greatly and loved him with unfeigned love. He was scholarly in his habits and in his attainments. His versatility was remarkable. His humility was beautiful. He was always thoughtful, kind, and brotherly. He knew the Gospel on its deeper lines, and was an interesting and eloquent preacher. He was polished in manner and in language. He was doctrinally sound, and has left to his children and his friends the heritage of a noble and flawless character."
An extract from "A Tribute," written by a friend of many years, Rev. N. R. Pittman, Kansas City, Missouri:
"Apropos to the recent passing of J. E. Chambliss, it seems to me that it would be well and clearly just to him and beneficial to mankind if some one would write for publication an article on his character and work, in his honor. His affectionate and humble spirit; his brilliant and scholarly intelligence; his accuracy in speech and beautiful eloquence; his full fellowship with God, and his spiritual vision of eternal good in times when adverse temporal conditions over-shadowed every human outlook, emphatically prove that he was a valuable, worthful, God's man."
Dr. Donald Duncan Munro, now (1917) pastor of Calvary Church, Kansas City, Missouri, of which church Dr. J. E. Chambliss was the first pastor, writes thus, in part:
"There are some experiences which no human genius, however great, can interpret – neither brazen tablet nor marble form nor bronze molding nor breathing canvas nor gold-decked volume is adequate expression. Only the eye of God perceives them, only the mind of God appreciates them, and only the spirit of God articulates them. Listen to some of them: ‘Enoch walked with God.' Abraham was called ‘the friend of God,' Moses ‘spake with God face to face,' David was ‘A man after God's own heart, and of all the saints.' He said, ‘Ye are no longer servants but friends.' Could anything be more flattering? Can anything that earth's grandest provides match these? Nothing! And yet of this dear man of God, all these in a large degree are true. He was pure-minded as a lily. This in God's eyes is more precious than rubies, and is the first great principle of His kingdom.
"His devotion to Jesus was sublime and supreme. As a result of these two great qualities he enjoyed a fine spiritual perception and discrimination, always distinguished between the carnal and the spiritual. Where-ever he went he left the consciousness of benediction, and a rich deposit of heavenly-mindedness. The earth is made richer by such a presence as his."
He was a good man – Acts.
Luke says of Barnabas, "He was a good man." The same may be truthfully said of the lamented Rev. W. E. Chambliss. Than this no higher encomium could be offered the living or the dead. The dead need not the praise of the living or the dead. The dead need not the praise of the living. The living need the testimony of those who being dead yet speak. The voice from the tomb of our departed brother is not a "doleful sound," nor the voice of warning, but the notes of love, cheer and encouragement. The living who may look upon the grave or read the memoirs of W. E. Chambliss can well exclaim, Let me die the death of the righteous and let my last end be like his!
Our departed brother was the eldest child of Rev. A. W. Chambliss, D. D., and his wife, R. A. Chambliss. His mother had preceded him to the realm of the blessed and his father followed him in a few years. He left younger brothers, eminent in the Gospel ministry, and sisters devoted and cultured to mourn him who was a loving representative in spirit and manner of his sainted mother.
From the earliest dawn of intellect our departed brother evinced a rare spiritual institution, and in the language of his venerable father, from the first as one might say, he appeared to be a well rounded Christian. It was on the 2nd day of February, 1836, at Cheraw in South Carolina, that he, who 51 years two months and three days thereafter went to heaven from the home of Maj. Jos. Fink, in Salisbury, Mo., was born. At what age he was born of the Spirit is not definitely known, but before he was full twelve years of age, he made a profession of faith in Christ and was immersed into the fellowship of the Baptist Church at Marion, Alabama. He was reared and educated to graduation at Howard College. From Alabama he removed to Mississippi, and at Canton in that state, he prepared himself for the practice of the law, and was admitted to the bar of the courts of that state. At Canton he was married to Miss Lou M., daughter of Col. Daniel O. Jones. This was a happy marriage. The amiable spirit and heroic faith of Mrs. Chambliss fitted her as the wife of the modest and brave man.
In 1859 Mr. Chambliss abandoned the profession of the law, and consecrated his gift and acquirements to the ministry of the Gospel. He was ordained in 1860. In the ordaining Presbytery were Rev. Drs. B. Manly, Sr., Wm. Howard, and A. W. Chambliss. These were troublous times, particularly in the South. The disturbed condition of society and business made it next to impossible for the churches to provide pastoral support. Without abandoning the ministry, the young preacher adapted himself to the situation and temporarily devoted himself to the work of an educator. He was called to the chair of Modern Languages and Metaphysics in the Mobile College of Alabama. Thence he was called to the presidency of the Baptist Female College at Aberdeen, Mississippi. Thence, in 1870, to a like position in Bardstown, Kentucky. In each of these responsible positions he acquitted himself with credit. It is legitimate and Christian like for a minister of the Gospel to devote his learning, talent and piety to the good of society in any honest calling of a Christian civilization.
He who educates as a Christian is rendering eminent service to the cause of Christ – the cause of humanity. In 1875 Brother Chambliss moved to Missouri and entered the pastoral work to the exclusion of other pursuits. At Shelbina, Paris and Kirksville his labors were acceptable and fruitful. He had just entered upon the pastoral work at Salisbury, where he died April 5, 1887.
During the eleven years of Brother Chambliss' life and labor in Missouri, it was the writer's good fortune to know him intimately. Their personal interviews were not so frequent as their interchange of letters. It was a peculiar pleasure to receive a letter from W. E. Chambliss. The assurance of elegant and chaste diction, the words of modesty and wisdom, and the breathings of the Spirit of Christ were expectations never disappointed. As a preacher Brother Chambliss was thoughtful, schol-. As a pastor he was industrious, prayerful, faithful and sympathizing. As a counselor he was judicious and influential, but his modesty was even too great – so great as to hold him back from active participation of the general meetings of the denomination. In this characteristic he is well described by Rev. B. G. Tutt:
"In him were combined the unaffected modesty of a woman and the courage of a determined, resolute man."
The writer can call to mind more than one serious and threatening complication involving the peace of the churches in a certain association when by timely, judicious counsel our departed brother averted impending disaster. He could be tender yet decided; he was conciliatory without the compromise of convictions or the surrender of principle. If he had faults, they must have been fewer or much less conspicuous than the faults of many of us who survive him. Why should we mourn the death of such a man? Of him, the world was not worthy. Of men like his it is true, the day of one's death is better than the day of his birth. ‘Tis glorious! the victory over the last enemy!