July 30, 1870 - January 19, 1956
|Rev. Albert Sibley Johnson Neill was born July 30, 1870, at Hazelhurst, Mississippi. He was a son of William Neill and Mattie Lucindy Pool Neill.
He moved with his family to Natchez, Mississippi when he was fourteen years old and lived there until he came to Louisiana as a bricklayer’s assistant, working at New Iberia.
When he was 18 years of age, he was licensed to preach in Wesley Chapel Church in Natchez, under the ministry of Reverend L. M. Burton. He joined the Louisiana Conference in December, 1894 at New Orleans, Louisiana.
He was married at Coushatta, March 29, 1905, to Grace Bennett, daughter of Reverend J. 0. Bennett.
Brother Neill spent his entire ministry in Louisiana, serving the following Charges: St. Martinvile Mission as junior preacher under Reverend Thomas Randell of Lafayette, Louisiana, Jackson Street, Lake Charles, Abbeville, Winnsboro, Bonita, Lake Providence, Winnfield, Winnsboro a second time, Eros, Lake Arthur, LeCompte, Haynesville, West Monroe, Bastrop, Belcher and Gilliam, Mooringsport, Glenmora, Oak Grove, Springhill, Jena, Gueydan, Logansport, Athens and Clay.
Reverend A. S. J. Neill departed for the Eternal Home on January 19, 1956. His funeral was conducted in first Methodist church of Bastrop, conducted by the writer assisted by Reverend J. T. Harris, Reverend C. B. White and Dr. R. W. Vaughn. Interment was in the family plot at Springhill. He is survived by his wife, Grace Bennett Neill, two daughters, Mrs. Athlee Roberts of Denver, Colorado, and Mrs. Grace Bennett Wright of Springhill, three grandchildren, James Albert, Margaret and Michael Wright. Three sisters and a brother of Houston, Texas, also survive him.
One of the great blessings of life is companionship with those whose lives are fashioned after the Perfect One. Certainly fellowship with Reverend A. S. J. Neil was such a blessing.
Brother Neill consistently stood for and lived by the right as he saw it to be. His was a good life by reason of principle, and not of expediency.
During a long ministry he ever tried to show the way by precept and example. There will, doubtless, be many to follow, as there have been many to go before him, who will rise up to call him blessed because he directed them toward the better life, which is eternal.
He was most devoted as a husband and father. His home was always a place where the Lord’s presence was welcome. The entire household lived above the world. Love was always abounding—love for each other and love for God.
He was a friend to all, and had love for his fellowmen.
The Louisiana Conference is richer because God lent him to us. Many individuals will join the host of white robed saints because of Brother Neil. Surely, he followed the example of his Lord as he went about doing good.
We expect to see him again, in the “Land of fadeless day” where he lives today.
Jesus said, “The pure in heart shall see God.” Brother Neill lived in that faith and today shares the reality of the anticipation, which he cherished while on his earthly pilgrimage.
The following poem fits Brother Neill as I knew him.
My Jesus as Thou wilt!
All shall be well for me;
Each changing future scene
I gladly trust with Thee.
Straight to my home above
I travel calmly on,
And sing in life or death
“My Lord, Thy will be done.”
|Source: Journal of the Louisiana Conference of the Methodist Church, Pages 158-159, 1954 by R. H. Staples.|