John W. Pointer was born in Missouri in the year 1839; the precise locality of his birth is unknown to the committee. His father having died before his majority, he being the oldest son became manager of his father’s business and provided for his mother and the family.
As a youth he was generous, brave and diligent. In business transactions he gained the respect of his acquaintances by his integrity and manly bearing. In social life he was cheerful, companionable and a marked favorite.
He reached manhood before he professed conversion and united with the church. The lessons taught by pious parents did not restrain him from worldly amusements, so that his awakening becomes an incident as singular as remarkable. While attending a dancing party during Christmas holidays, just after closing a dancing set, strong conviction seized his heart, he laid down his fiddle, which he had been playing for the party, and said to a companion: “Here and forever I cease this course of life and by the grace of God will endeavor to be a christian and seek a home in heaven.” From that time he changed his manner of life and sought religion until he realized a thorough regeneration of his nature, which, to use his own language, “was as clear as a sunbeam.” From that hour to the day of his death he never doubted concerning his conversion; although, to use again his own words, “he had come short of duty and felt clouds on his soul, yet he never wavered in his purpose to make his calling and election sure.” Soon after his conversion and connection with the church it was apparent to many who knew him and especially to his pastor that he was called to the ministry of the word and was urged to apply for license to preach.
He hesitated for more than twelve months, but finally yielded and received license. He confessed times of ministerial unfaithfulness passed over him, but he never regretted the step taken. He became a private soldier in the Confederate army and served in that relation for two consecutive years. On a Sunday morning, me think at Vicksburg, standing with gun in hand, expecting a charge from the enemy, he called his fellow soldiers about him and preached to them the Gospel of the grace of God. At this instant the division general for some cause came on the ground and saw brother Pointer preaching to the soldiers and inquired about him, and learning the facts sent to him unasked by brother Pointer a commission as Chaplain to the regiment. In this relation he continued to serve to the close of the war. The war having ended, he found it dangerous to remain in his native state, so he moved into Mississippi and became a member of his uncle Hollingworth’s family and joined the Mississippi Conference. We think he received an appointment in that Conference but did not fill it on account of the removal of his uncle from that state. He was afterwards transferred to Louisiana Conference, in which he served till the day of his death, November 28, 1880.
Brother Pointer as a preacher was above mediocrity--his manner solemn and earnest, his style clear and vigorous, his conception of doctrines and duties clear, his presentation forcible. He filled all the appointments given him with great acceptability. In the appointment which he last filled he was greatly loved both in his pastoral and pulpit relations.
Few men in his portion of the country commanded so much respect and confidence. For the few years past brother Pointer’s growth of power in the pulpit has been very marked. He seemed to grow and mellow into a sweet spiritual life in the past few months. His occasional attacks of sickness seemed to impress him that his stay on earth would be brief, and he expressed both readiness and willingness to go and be with the blessed in heaven. Our body has lost a worthy member, and some of us a greatly loved friend and need the consolations of our holy religion. We, and the world, are blessed with the example of a noble son, husband, friend and minister of Jesus, to cheer us on to gain the crown of life.
|Source: Journal Louisiana Conference Methodist Episcopal Church, South, 1882|