|Rev. Felix G. Hocutt was a native of Alabama. “His admiration and estimate of his mother were very great. He revered his father, but gave chief praise to his mother for Christian merit, and in winning her children to virtue and religion.” So writes Rev. Payton A. Sowell, in the New Orleans Christian Advocate. And further: “I do not know ‘why, but he was named for one of Tennessee’ s political and eloquent idols. He gave four years to the Confederate army. His bravery and valor won an advancement from the ranks to the captaincy. He moved into Mississippi at the close of the war between the States. He was licensed to preach and admitted on trial in the state of Mississippi, and transferred to Louisiana. He died just as the last hours of May, 1926, were. passing into June. He went where there is no need for a calendar—it is all an eternal June.”
Miss Elizabeth Bryan, of Baton Rouge, became the second wife of Brother Hocutt. She shared with him the trials and triumphs of the itinerant life and preceded him, by a short period, to the church beyond.
Felix G. Hocutt transferred to the Louisiana Conference on trial in January 1874. At the session of the Conference at Alexandria in 1875 he was admitted into full connection, but, as his name does not appear among the ordinations, we infer that he had been a local deacon. At the ensuing Conference, held in New Orleans, in December of the same year, he was ordained a traveling elder. Of his classmates and fellows in entering the order of elder, the Rev. Robert Randle alone survives him.
The list of Brother Hocutt’s appointments is as follows: 1874, Anacoco and Leesville, on the Shreveport District; 1875 (the year in which be was admitted into full connection), Castor Circuit, on the Homer District; 1876, Downsville, on the Homer District; 1877-’78, Bayou Boeuf, with S. H. Cooper as supernumerary, on the Alexandria District; 1879-’ 82, presiding elder of the Alexandria District; 1888, Plaqueinine and Grosse Tete, on the New Orleans District; 1884-’ 86, Plaquemine and Donaldsonville; 1887, associated with Dr. J. B. A. Ahrens in charge of Dryades Street and Craps Street churches in New Orleans; 1888-’89, Haynesville, on the Homer District; 1889 (the Conference having returned to the autumn date for its session), Abbevifle, on the Opelousas District; 1890, Abbeville; 1891, Boyce and Colfax, on the Alexandria District; 1892, Plaquemine and Donaldsonville, on the New Orleans District; 1893, Jackson Street and West Lake, Opelousas District; 1894, West Lake; 1895, West Lake and. Sulphur Mine, with
W. H. Hatfield, junior preacher; 1896, West Lake; 1897, Live Oak,on the Baton Rouge District; 1898-1900, Covington and Talisheek, on the New Orleans District; 1901, Covington.
At the Conference meeting in Alexandria, in 1902, Brother Hocutt was granted a superannuate relation. He was then becoming infirm and the wear of his twenty-nine years of faithful toil amid many hardships and perplexities, though not wholly unfitting him for his loved employ, indicated that his schedule of activities must be greatly diminished.
It has thus far proved impossible to obtain accurate data concerning his birth, early life, initial religious experiences and other facts that should be recorded. Nothing more can at this time be given in connection with the bare outline of the places and years of his labors, as it appears here, than a brief characterization of the man.
Brother Hocutt loved the Methodist church and its ministry. His membership in the goodly company of itinerant ministers was a source of satisfaction to him. If at times he seemed over-careful concerning the annual readjustments, this was due to his intense interest in everything that pertained to his Conference rather than to any selfish motive.
Though without the culture that comes from early familiarity with books, he was not lacking in sound knowledge and the ability to judge judiciously of the questions that must be decided. I once heard a distinguished fellow-minister say, when some one had remarked upon a solecistic expression that had fallen from Brother Hocutt’s lips, that he probably knew the Greek grammar better than his English. His preaching had in it the meat of the gospel, else, year after year, he would not have been welcomed to the same pastorate.
His character possessed the strength that well accorded with his rugged bodily presence. There was never a compromise with him. He saw no gray tints; things right or wrong provoked his hearty support or his unqualified condemnation. But there was much tenderness in his make-up, and during his later years, particularly after his superannuation, the love of the brethren, not in his prime a most obvious grace, shone forth in the true beauty of a character that had passed from death unto life.
Brother Hocutt’s ministry was especially fruitful in the two lines of church building and Sunday school development. His interest in the children assured growth of his congregations from the most hopeful class of recruits. In this work, as in all else, he was ably assisted by his excellent and competent wife. His enthusiasm for building has resulted in placing the work of the Lord on a substantial basis in many places, throughout the state of Louisiana. If means were not to be had for employing mechanics and architects, he would lay aside his more specific duties as preacher and wield the tools of the carpenter’s trade with skill and effectiveness. Such as he still justify our Lord’ s words: “Others have labored and we have entered into their labors.”
Brother Hocutt’s thrift was such that he was able after his superannuation to establish himself on the Mississippi Gulf Coast in a modest but attractive and comfortable home, adjoining the lands of the Seashore Camp Ground. There he and his hospitable wife dispensed gracious favor to those who from year to year attended the camp meeting and various other gatherings at the old Camp Ground. ‘ Thence his companion in the tribulation and patience of Jesus preceded him into “the rest that remaineth”. In order to assure the continued use of his estate, which rapidly enhanced in value through the rise of price of land, it was conveyed to the Board of Missions of the church, the usufruct remaining with him until his death.
He died “in age and feebleness extreme” at his home in Biloxi, Miss., with confidence unshaken and hope undimmed even to the point of his dissolution. He had loved his work in his days of strength, loved his rest in the days of failing bodily powers, and doubtless he laid him down with a will when the last call came.
Fitzgerald S. Parker
|Source: Annual of the Louisiana Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, Page 96-98, 1926|