Harp, Agnes Penniston (Mrs. Robert)

6/10/1913

AGNES WORTHINGTON PENNISTON (Mrs. Robert) HARP
October 23, 1843 - June 10, 1913
 
Agnes Worthington Penniston was born in Princetown, Indiana, October 23, 1843. She was married to Rev. Robert J. Harp, Sept. 23, 1869, and entered into everlasting life June 10, 1913. She was indeed well born—the daughter of parents of high char-acter and culture. Her father was Dr. John J. Pennington of Mechlenburg, Va., a prominent physician and surgeon of his day. His mother was Elizabeth Sneethen. a woman of great intellectuality, and a member of one of the oldest and most representative families of Maryland. Her grandfather was Rev. Nicholas C. Sneethen, a great Methodist preacher. Of Mr. Sneethen, Bishop Asbury often said, “He is the silver trumpet of Methodism.” Rev. Walter Pennington of Mechlenburg, Va., was Mrs. Harp’s paternal grandfather. He was an earnest, devoted, pioneer preacher, and possessed a good worldly estate. His spacious home was always open for church services, and upon his plantation many gracious, old-time camp meetings were held. Thus from both sides of the family there came to Agnes Pennington a precious inheritance of all that could contribute toward making a model womanhood. From the endearments of such a home there came forth influences to bless and sanctify a long and useful life, in the years that were to come.
From early girlhood, Miss Pennington was an enthusiastic lover and student of music and painting. It was while she was studying art and residing with her uncle, Mr. N. C. Sneethen in New Orleans that she met Rev. Robert J. Harp, at that time pastor of Moreau Street Church. In due time, they were married at the home of her father, who was then living in Evansville, Indiana. This happy event occurred Sept. 23, 1869. Here it may be stated that members of her own household did not look with favor upon this marriage to “Methodist preacher.” Even her own brothers, while admiring Mr. Harp, did not think it best or wise that the lively, talented and fun-loving young lady should even consider a life-union with an - itinerant minister. Others beside the family no doubt entertained the same view; but they were mistaken. Beneath the exterior that seemed ever bubbling with gayety and sallies of wit, there were ever-flowing currents of pure devotion to God; and along with these, there were the qualities of undaunted courage, an iron will and indomitable spirit,, inherited from a long line of noble ancestors. From the very beginning the marriage-union was a blessed and happy one. To her devoted husband, Mrs. Harp was a true comrade and helpmate. She was actively interested in every good word and work. She was not only a persistent, but intelligent worker. She was an excellent teacher in the Sunday school. She was a faithful and untiring member of the Woman’s Missionary Societies. She was deeply interested in the work of the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union; and she was a charter member of the first society formed in New Orleans. She was, of course, a regular attendant on all the services of her church, and loved to participate in the privileges of the old-fashioned Methodist class meeting. She had a tender, loving heart. Her ear was never deaf to the cry of distress. Even when her own need was great, she was never indifferent to calls for charity. Her husband, called by the Church, was for a number of years in charge of the Book Agency at New Orleans. When, because of the embarrassed state of the Nashville house, the New Orleans house was closed, entailing upon Brother Harp new losses and burdens, this good woman proved her nobleness of character, helping her husband and little ones by teaching music and painting, and by keeping boarders. While Brother Harp published and edited “The Independent,” she helped him with her pen and even read the proofs, while he was busy with more pressing burdens. For many years afterward, while he served the Church In the regular work, she was his untiring helper, and wherever they labored, this queenly woman left evidences of her exalted Christian character and enduring influences for good.
The writer of this sketch knew her well and greatly honored her, since he was her pastor, first in New Orleans, and after many years in Shreveport. He devoutly thanks God that he ever learned to know this dear servant of the Church, and to enjoy so long her confidence and friendship. He conducted the funeral services and helped to lay her away in the beautiful Cemetery at Shreveport, June 11, 1913. Her last days on earth were marked by the same faith and peace that had sustained her through life. She is not forgotten. Really, such a woman never- dies. She lives on and her works follow her. Her venerable husband still lingers here, but it will not be long, she will soon welcome him in paradise. Her children and grandchildren lovingly cherish her memory, and call her blessed. The Church she loved and served so long, honors her name. She is now forever with her Lord. It is all-well.
Source: Journal Louisiana Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, 1913, pages 64-65, by Fleix H. Hill.