Philo M. Goodwyn was born in 1820, November 24, in the State of Indiana, near New Albany. He moved to the South in 1837; was converted and joined the Poydras Street Church in the year 1840. He was licensed to preach by that society and was admitted into the Mississippi Conference, at Jackson, Miss., at its session of 1842; was first appointed as the junior preacher to the Lafourche Circuit, Louisiana. In 1843 he was appointed to Caddo circuit; in 1844, to Yazoo circuit. From this time until a part of the Mississippi Conference was set off as the Louisiana Conference he received appointments annually, the record of which is not now in hand; and afterward as follows: in 1848 Alexandria; 1849, Opelousas; 1850, Newton and Franklin; 1851, Franklin and Patttersonville; 1852, Monroe district; 1853 to 1856, Opelousas district; 1857, Richmond; 1858, agent Mansfield College; 1859, Minden; 1860, Plaquemine and Grosse Tete; in December, 1860, Bayou Rouge and Big Cane; 186l, W. Chapel; 1862-63, Ouachita circuit; 1864, Lisbon; 1865, presiding elder of Alexandria district; 1866-67, Thibodeaux; 1868 to 71, Jefferson City; and in 1872 was superannuated. Since then he has lived in this city (Mansfield) in precarious health, rarely able to preach, but always ready. He breathed his life out sweetly in the midst of those he loved most, his wife and children, on Wednesday, the 15th, instant, after an illness of but three days. He said that “on the Godward side the future was bright.” It was only on the earthward side, for his family, that things were dark.
He was a man of industrious devotion to the ministry of the word for more than thirty years, until failing health arrested him. He traveled, as presiding elder, as preacher in charge, and as assistant preacher among the swamps and bayous of Louisiana, along its rivers and in its highlands, until he had lived in every part of the state. He took the work as it came, as one of the rank and file of the itinerancy. He asked no favors and received none, and wherever he was did a good work. His talents were representative of the average of human ability, but they were improved so as to stand the inspection of his Lord. He was of the people, and had access to the people. He attended consciously to the spiritual and temporal interest of whatever part of the field was placed in his care.
Of very sprightly disposition, and of active temperament, it was a source of profound sorrow that in mature manhood he all at once found himself unable to take an appointment. His constitution had broken under the severe and constant labor of the itinerant service. Thenceforward a new field of Christian life was opened to him, that of patient suffering. He was always ready to talk of his Savior. Not punitive, nor disciplinary to him, but elevating and refining were the sharp pains of disease and the gloomy labyrinths of the poverty of his daily life. He emerged from each experience with a nearer view of his Lord, who was perfecting him by that route to glory. Oh! The mysterious association there is between the sufferings of this present time and the apocalypse of the soul! That life which now, by natural conditions is so hid with its Lord shall presently burst forth in the full splendor of his coming.
The son of a widow when called to preach, he has left nothing to his wife and children but the blessing with which he started. A greater part of his life he rode by vast fields of cane and cotton that promised to enrich and sustain their owners, owning nothing himself. Their vast resources and his slender ones have in the end left the families of each on an equal footing. The fortunes of a generation, however diverse for a while, presently settle down to a uniform dependence. But with the good man, who has mean while lived more for heaven than for earth, there remains to his children a precious residuum; the blessing which maketh rich and addeth no sorrow with it.
|Source: Journal Louisiana Conference Methodist Episcopal Church, South, 1882|