September 15, 1883 - April 16, 1962
|Bennett Daniel Watson was born September 15, 1883, in Greensburg, Louisiana. His father was Willis L Watson. His mother was Elizabeth Williams Watson. They were devout God-fearing people. Bennett was one of twin sons born of this union. His twin brother died in infancy. His mother died a short time later. Some years later his father married his second wife, who mothered and guided Bennett through the tender years to manhood. Bennett loved her dearly.
After high school he entered Norvilla Collegiate Institute and graduated in 1902. After serving two years as “Supply”, he was admitted on trial, November 1917. While serving as a pastor he entered Biloxi Divinity School; graduated in 1923. Later receiving an honorary degree from Louisiana State University. He was admitted into full connection, Louisiana Annual Conference, December 1, 1922. He was ordained Deacon at this Conference and was ordained an Elder in 1924.
When Saint Paul had finished the years of his active service and was writing in calm expectation for the end he wrote to Timothy these words, “I have fought a good fight. I have kept the faith.” These are great words. They are life’s triumphant words. They tell of conflicts waged and victories won. At the close of life’s short day Saint Paul’s greatest joy was that he had kept faith with the Master and been loyal to the high calling for which he had been apprehended of God.
I know no man to whom these great words may be more truly applied than to Bennett Daniel Watson, subject of this memoir. His call to the ministry was to him the call of God and there was never a moment when he questioned or doubted it. He was on business for the King. His life radiated this truth. He was a preacher of Apostolic spirit and power and an eminent citizen of passionate patriotism and undaunted heroism, he made for himself a large but unique place in the story of his times. There was a charm in the originality of his mind and an awe in the grandeur of his character, a splendor in the power of his personality and a flavor in the quaintness of his humor and a surprise in the vastness and variety of his public service; whether pastor of his flock, preaching in evangelistic services or as chaplain of hospital ministering to the sick that produced a man worthy of high place in any society or any church. There were some lessons in the toil and triumph of his great soul that should make him an inspiration to every reverent and aspiring spirit. We had too few like him. In many respects he dwelt apart-a star of the first magnitude-whose very appearance was suggestive of serious purpose and rugged, honest and fearless purpose.
There were some notes in the psalm of his noble life that rarely fell upon the ears of the world. If he suffered injury he would never mention it. He never held a grudge or harbored resentment. He was a great lover of people. He had a spirit of forgiveness that forgave all. He had “the mind and spirit of Christ” His spirit was happy. His pronouncements were positive, his course was sure. He had a goal and he knew the way. Much of his ministerial life was spent in and around the city of Shreveport and here his body shall gently rest.
On March 15, 1918, Brother Watson was married to Miss Maggie Zona Bridges. Of this union four children were born, Reverend Wilson Watson, Tallulab, Louisiana, Cushman Watson, Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Mrs. Sarah W. White, Carmin, Illinois, Mrs. Helen W. Chamlee of Shreveport, Louisiana.
On November 18, 1949, Maggie, the wife and mother fell asleep.
In the Autumn of 1950, Brother Watson was married to Enola Glenn Harper, a wonderful woman, a great Christian. She was a real joy and com-fort during the closing days of his life. Now left to mourn his death.
The end came no doubt, as he would have preferred—quietly in the morning of a beautiful day. Monday, April 16, 1962. The day after was a beautiful Palm Sunday. For some time he had been sitting at the gate watching, the coming twilight shadows, ready to go with the going down of the sun. Every preparation had been made for the journey. He had discussed with the writer about his departure and his faith in God the Father and Jesus Christ the son.
At 6:31 A.M. he fell asleep to awake on the banks of that stream, clear as crystal, that flows near the throne of God.
I may but gasp his name
Preach him to all and cry in death
Behold, behold the Lamb.
|Source: Journal of the Louisiana Conference of the Methodist Church, Pages 246-248, 1962 by E. P. Drake.|