Camphor, Alexander Priestly

12/10/1919

BISHOP ALEXANDER PRIESTLY CAMPHOR
Aug. 6, 1865 - Dec. 10, 1919
 
Alexandria Priestly Camphor died at Orange, New Jersey, December 10th, 1919 at 4 P.M. He was born in Jefferson Parish, Louisiana, August 6,1865.
His mother had several children and after the death of his father, the mother had to provide the support of the children as none of them wre old enough to contribute to their support.
Reverend Stephen Priestly, the pastor of this blessed woman had only one child, a son, bh his first wife, from who he was separated by the rebels and carried to Texas during the war of the rebellion.
After peace was declared he returned to Louisiana and sought his wife and chi1d; he found them—but she was the wife of another man, for while he was away and separated from her, she thought he had been killed in battle, so she married the other man and had taken his son, who was about twelve years old, in the Roman Catholic faith. Reverend. Stephen Priestly desired to educate his son who was then living with his mother in the Parish .of St. James, so he influenced his son’s mother to permit the boy to live with him so that the boy might attend school in New Orleans. The boy came and began his school life with his father. In the mean time the father wanted his son to attend his church sometimes, but the boy refused to attend his father’s church willingly because, he said, it was in violation of the rules of the Roman Catholic Church for its members to attend a Protestant Church. His father gave him his choice to attend his church sometimes or return to his mother in St. James Parish.
The boy choose to return to his mother in St. James Parish.
The Reverend asked this boy, Alex, if he would like to live with him and he said yes. So he asked his mother to give him Alexander and the mother gave him to her pastor, as he needed a boy around his home, and thus Alexarider Camphor became Alexander Priestly Camphor.
The boy attended a private school I taught one session; and then attended Leland University two or more sessions, and later in lated matriculated in the New Orleans University, which was located on the corner of Camp and Race Streets, which was about five miles from where he lived. Many mornings he would walk that distance and walk back in the afternoon.
He graduated from the New Orleans University, where it is now located in 1889 and became professor of Mathematics for four years, graduated in 1895. He was pastor at Germantown, Pennsylvania, and Orange, New Jersey. In December of 1896 he and his good wife were appointed in charge of the college in Liberia, on the west coast of Africa, where he gave nearly twelve years of consecrated service in the redemption of Africa.
He returned to America and became the President of Central Alabama College.
In May of 1916 the Church was looking for a man to succeed Bishop I. B. Scott to Africa
and the General Conference which was then in session in Saratoga Springs, New York, elected him Missionary Bishop for Africa, where he gave his whole life in consecrated service,
Coming to -America in the first half of last year to give service in the Centenary Drive, that he might have a hand in raising money to be used in the evangelization of Africa, which had entered fully into his thought and life.
Bishop Camphor was studious, honest, modest and chaste during his whole life. He never
indulged in vulgar conversation.
Bishop Hartzell; his true and tried friend, was sent by the Board of Foreign Missions to
visit and console him in his great afflictions. Among some of the last things he said was in a letter to the Board as follows:
“I am melted to tears by the great courtesy you have shown me by sending my old, true
friend, Bishop Hartzell, on an errand to bear me your heartfelt sympathy and greetings in my present illness. It is true that I have been ill for several weeks, but the Lord has been and is with me now. I have a consciousness of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit and, though I am very weak physically I am strong spiritually, and have pleasure and joy in communion with Jesus, my Savior.
“The Twenty-third Psalm is my comfort in these days of my physical weakness and exhaustion, for I am now one of God’s weak lambs that must be carried in His arms.”
He wrote a letter to his mother, in which he said: “If I am not restored back to health, so I can return to my work in Africa, and the end comes to me in America, I desire that my body be brought to William Chapel, New Orleans, and the Sunday School children sing Sunday School hymns and each child lay a rose on my grave.”
His sun went down while it was yet day, and Alexander Priestly Camphor. is not, for God took him.
Source: Journal Louisiana Conference Methodist Episcopal Church, 1919, by Valcour Chapman.