Dec. 25, 1805 - April 14, 1892
|Reverend Anthony Ross, so long known and honored by our people throughout this State has quit the walks of men and gone to his reward. He was translated to his home in heaven Thursday morning, April 14, 1892, at 10 o’clock, from his late residence in New Orleans. Walking with God for two generations, like Enoch, “he is not, for God took him.”
After several week of failing health, he finally succumbed to the inroads of the last enemy, and dropped the earthly house of his tabernacle, and has gone to his house not make with hands, eternal in the heavens. It was a privilege to witness how triumphantly such a saint could look, as it were, into the eyes of death and preach his own funeral and cry out in victory over death, hell and the grave.
His funeral took place the next day, Good Friday, at 2:30 p.m. from Pleasant Plains Church, where the preliminary services were held, and from Wesley Chapel, where an elaborate funeral program, worthy of his previous life and services were carried out. At Pleasant Plains, the services were conducted under the direction of the pastor, Reverend Simon Evans.
At Wesley Chapel the pastor, Reverend T. J. Johnson, took charge of the services, assisted by the ex-pastor, Reverend F. T. Chinn. Appropriate and touching addresses were delivered by the Reverends Emperor Williams, the last of the original colored brethren that organized the Mississippi Mission Conference, William P. McLaughlin, D. D., Pierre Landry, A. E. P. Albert, D. D., Henry Taylor, J. W. Hudson, etc. The services at the grave in Girod Street Cemetery were conducted by Reverends Simon Evans, Stephen Priestly, W. P. Forest and Emporer Williams. The Wesley Chapel choir rendered solemn and appropriate music. Among his favorite hymns sung were “Servant of God Well Done,” “I Would Not Live Always,” “On Jordan’s Stormy Banks I Stand,” “ Oh, Glory! Oh Glory!,” “What’s This That Steals Upon My Frame – Is It Death?,” “How My Soul Shall Praise the Lord,” etc. All our city pastors were present, and representatives from every denomination among us united in the services.
The funeral was one of the largest that has ever occurred in New Orleans. The church and streets were crowded with the surging multitude that came to pay their last tribute of respect to the memory of our venerable father. Bishop Newman, who assisted Bishop Thompson in the organization of this work, having requested nearly two years before that he be notified of Father Ross’ death, and if he could possibly come, wherever he happened to be, he would do so, sent the following telegram, which was read by Dr. Albert:
“OMAHA, NEB., April 15, 1892.
To: Dr. A. E. P. Albert, New Orleans, LA:
General Conference work detains me. My old friend and brother has one to heaven. Place a flower on his coffin for
Signed: John P. Newman
According to his request Dr. Albert placed a flower o the coffin in the name of Bishop Newman.
The following sketch read by Reverend T. J. Johnson was furnished him by Father Ross. “I was born in Rich Neck, Md. on December 2, 1805. My father was named Ben Ross and my mother, Rebecca. There were sixteen children of us. I was the second. I was stolen from them and brought to New Orleans in 1831 by a Negro trader by the name of Woodfork. Oh, what will God do to that man in the judgment? My mother was down with the rheumatism for ten years and it was twelve years before she heard from me, but when she heard that I was alive she got up and walked. I joined the church in 1831. I was pastor of Wesley Chapel, St. Matthews and Pleasant Plains and Thompson Creek, and Presiding Elder. I suppose that over 10,000 people were converted under my ministry.”
His last words to his wife were: “We have been together for a long time; over forty years. I find no fault in you. There will be a change soon, but God will be with you and all is well.”
Father Ross was one of the twelve colored brethren organized into the Mississippi Mission Conference on December 24, 1865 by Bishop Thomson in Wesley Chapel, New Orleans. In that conference he was ordained a deacon, with the eleven, and an elder with Fathers Scott Clinn and Henry Green, who preceded him to heaven. These old fathers had been local preachers in the M. E. Church, South for many years before the war. With the exception of two years, when he did not take work on account of poor health, Father Ross served the Conference from 1865 to 1884, when he was superannuated. He was a matchless giant of great power and strict integrity. He was a man who was born to be a spiritual leader among men. He only needed the literary training which slavery denied him, to have won a place among the greatest men of his age. May we, his spiritual children, prove ourselves worthy of such spiritual ancestry.
|Source: Journal of the Louisiana Annual Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church, 1893; Pages 84-86|