Ledbetter, Mattie Willie McKinnis (Mrs. H.W.)

8/13/1910

MATTIE WILLIE MCKINNIS (Mrs. H.W.) LEDBETTER
May 3, 1874 - August 13, 1910
 
Since we as pastors are called to ‘‘comfort my people’’ saith the Lord, and no sympathy is so genuine as that born of the same experience of grief with those whom we would comfort, Christ himself being ‘‘a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief.’’ that he might succor those who are tempted, we should not, brethren expect to ‘be exempt from the common sorrows of life, and in time we in common with those of our membership must ‘‘pass though deep waters’’ And while we are devoutly thankful that our pastors have all been spared for another year to the Church militant, until we have cause for grief and brotherly sorrow iii that the homes and lives of some of our brethren in the ministry have been overshadowed in grief. Such. is the experience of our brother, H. W. Ledbetter, whose life has been saddened in the death of a devoted wife, a sketch of whose life is appended.
Mrs. Willie Mattie K. Ledbetter, wife of our pastor at Colfax, La., died in the triumph of a Christian faith at the Colfax parsonage August 18, 1910, and was buried by Rev. P. M. Brown at Simmsboro, La. She was born in Webster parish, near Minden, La., May 3, 1874, and was married to H. W. Ledbetter June 24, 1894, and was the mother of three children—Bessie, Blanche and Willard. Bessie died nine years ago, leaving two little ones to bless and be comforted by their father. At the time of their marriage Sister Ledbetter was a member of the Baptist Church, but when her, husband was recommended for admission into the Methodist ministry she thought it best to join with him, which she did after attending meeting conducted by Brothers Sheppard and Barr, and her walk was ever as becometh a saint, being extremely modest and rarely beautiful, with her conversation always seasoned with love. Through a long sickness, in which her body wasted away from consumption, and while her life was sinking out of time into eternity, she was ever conscious of the Lord’s presence, and left many beautiful evidences of assurance of His sustaining grace. On the fourth Sunday in May, when she had, her first hard spell, after which she was unable to leave the house, in the presence of her husband and a friend, she testified that she had a vision of angels, so beautiful that she only wished those with her might be present to see them, too. At least at one other time she seemed to have been allowed to look into the faces of these heavenly messengers, and never once gave expression to any fear of death. Once she awoke repeating the 14th chapter of John. When she saw that a further fight for life was useless she was deliberate in her directions as to where she wished to be buried, how she was to be dressed, and that she wanted ‘‘Nearer, My God to Thee” and “There Will Be No More Goodbyes in. Heaven,” songs that she had often sung for others, sung at her funeral; and just a few hours before she passed away she took her ring from ‘her finger and give it to her husband, with directions for its disposal. She was a faithful and worthy preacher’s wife making many friends and drawing all closer to Christ, and an unselfish mother, whose life was full of sacrifices for her loved ones. And, although she was cut off in young womanhood and rests from her earthly labors, her works do follow her, and her memory to many is precious. But it is more for our bereaved brother pastor and for the motherless children that we think than for the saintly ones from whom all sighing and sorrow has fled; and we assure him that he does not weep alone, and that, when all others may have forgotten him, the inner brotherhood of pastors shall still be found doing a brother’s part.
We also remember in love our aged brother, J. M. Brown, in the death of his dutiful and beautiful Christian daughter, Miss Della, who through her life was her father’s faithful co-worker in his pastoral labors; and Brother S. D. Howard in the death of a son who had just turned into a hopeful young manhood; and for ‘Brothers R. W. Vaughan and C. B. Powell in the untimely deaths of sweet little babes, buds that were plucked to bloom in heaven ’ere sin could blight them, called to the bosom of the Chief Shepherd who said ‘‘of such is the kingdom of heaven.’’
Brethren we love you and your burden is our burden, and while we do not understand these sorrows now, some day we shall know even also as we are known. “God is in the heavens, all’s right with the world.’’
Source: Journal Louisiana Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, 1910, pages 55-56, , by P. O. Lowrey.