Thursday, November 20, 2008

Historical Society

A number of Rusk County Baptists have roots in Tennessee. The Tennessee Baptist Historical Society now has a web presence. Click HERE.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Obituary of Rusk County Baptist Ed Parker


E. S. Parker was born 1825, died 1904. Uncle Ed Parker, as he was affectionately called by those who knew him best, was born in Taliaferro county, Georgia, May 5, 1825. He joined the Missionary Baptist church at the tender age of 16 years, and was baptized by Eld. Jno. Harris at White Plains, his native state. He married in 1846, immediately moving to Green county, Ga. He came to Texas in 1853, settling in San Augustine county. Jan 9, 1855, he cast his lot with the good people of Rusk county, where he resided till his death, which sad event occurred four miles east* from Minden, Oct. 13, 1904. A wife, three children, twenty-six grand children, and thirty great grand children, besides a host of more distant relatives survive him. He was in the Confederate service from 1862 till 1865, being detailed at Tyler, Tex., as a shoe maker for his company. Bro. Parker’s life was, indeed, the full ripe grain for the Master’s sickle. Yet, however often we may have witnessed the unerring aim of death’s fatal stroke; however often the sable wing may have darkened the sky of joy, still the uninvited guest always comes with awe in his mien, and pain in his touch. But we are grateful to the spirit of peace and life, for a faith and hope instilled into our natures that death is not the end of man, but only a sleep from which will spring new life and joy. The kind sun will again appear, the gentle moon will lend her smiles, the lovely stars – forget-me-nots of angels – will shed their effulgent beams. The body will be reproduced by the [process] of the Infinite, whose ways are past finite comprehension, but who doeth all things well. Hugo said: “The nearer I approach the end the plainer I hear the immortal symphonies of the world which invites me. The tomb in not a blind alley, but a thoroughfare which closes on the twilight to open on the dawn.”

During his long life of usefulness and honor, covering a period of nearly eighty years, he was ever a staunch friend, plain in manners, simple in speech, unpretentious in conduct, brave in thought and act, and conscientious in his dealings with God and man. No temptation or desire for advantage could cool his ardor or alienate his friendship. He was true amid all the changing vicisitudes of life. No disturbance could frighten, no storms drive away, and no darkness blind his trust in humanity.

“A combination and a form indeed,
Where every God did seem to set his seal
To give the world assurance of a man.”

Uncle Ed belonged to that brave and patient class of pioneers, whose heroism and glory in civil life, is equal to the historic renown of sailor or soldier; and who marched in the van of civilization, with axe and plow, to carve empires from forests, and to found and perpetuate states. He was recognized as a patriarch among his friends and neighbors. These times of busy strenuous living are inconsistent with the calm, quiet spirit and reverential ways of patriarchial life; yet at times, their walks among us, one so venerable as to claim this tribute of faithful affection, who possesses such a gracious authority of character, such purity of heart and affections, that all bow to him with instinctive love and veneration.

As we look upon the epitaph which the touches of his superb character have chiseled, we are reminded that words of praise are poor, when the spirit has been translated to “that bourne from which no pilgrim ever returned.” The whispered expressions are faint which strike, in vain, the deaf ear of dreamless silence of one who has joined

“The innumerable caravan, which moves
To the mysterious realm, where each shall take
His chamber in the silent halls of death.”

Bro. Parker was a marvel of tenderness and affection to his family and enjoyed in return the wealth of their unbounded love. His devotion was untiring. He watched their interests, guarded their rights, anticipated their wants, serving them with a fidelity as boundless as his industry was tireless. For everybody, he scattered generous deeds of goodness and gracious rays of sunshine, which he gathered from the infinite fountain of light and love.

With him, the noise and strife of earthly battles have died away. Peace and quiet have stolen into the heart. His eyes have read a mystic meaning which only the parting soul may know. Sounds from another world have beaten upon his listening ear. He hears the musical notes from the ocean of eternity and sees the lights of Heaven shining upon its waters, while living faith sings the song of glorious conquest. Cheered by the consolation of an assured faith, with the lofty confidence of Seneca, and the simple childlike faith of Paul, he approached the gate to the Eternal City.


[Edwin S. Parker was baptized in White Plains, GA by Eld. John Harris. He joined White Plains Church by faith in August of 1843, moved to Texas circa 1853, and became a charter member of Smyrna Baptist Church in August of 1873. I received this as a copy some time ago, and am not sure from which newspaper it came. Words in the text are enclosed in brackets if the print and/or meaning were unclear. The author, Lon A. Smith, was from the New Prospect/Oak Hill area northeast of Henderson, the son of Mr. & Mrs. J. A. Smith. He served in several aspects of political life, including State Comptroller, Railroad Commissioner, and State Legislator. I am not sure of his connection with Ed Parker. rlv]

* Bro. Smith got his directions wrong. Ed Parker lived west from Minden. The Parker place was in the vicinity of the current Pine Springs Baptist Camp.