|Paul Marvin Brown was born in Woodville, Mississippi, August 25, 1270, the name which was given him by his parents suggesting thee Christian atmosphere and Methodist traditions of the home. He was a son of the parsonage. His father was Rev. Thomas W. Brown, a well-known member of the Mississippi Conference, and his mother Mary P. Smith, of Cazenovia, New York.
The name of his father appears in the graduating class of Centenary College in the year 1850. He lived to old age, was a man of exalted mental and spiritual attainments, being, as the writer well remembers, a sprightly conversationalist, and especially gifted in prayer. I
There were five Sons and seven daughters in this parsonage home, only two of whom are now living, Rev. J. Wilson Brown, of Baton Rouge, and Mrs. Horace Kellogg, of Boyle, Mississippi.
Paul received his preparatory education in various schools in Mississippi, a part of the time being under the direct tuition of his parents who taught in those schools. He took his four-year college course in Centenary College, Jackson, Louisiana, receiving his degree in June 1890.
In a revival service conducted by the students he had a bright experience of conversion. The writer was present and distinctly remembers his joyous confession, followed by successful efforts to lead other boys to Christ. The writer well remembers hearing Paul’s father tell of college revivals in his boyhood days, and, if I mistake not, father and son were both converted on the old Centenary campus.
On August 25, 1891, Paul was married to Miss Mary Alice Perry, of Jackson, a cultured young woman whose family connections had been closely identified with Centenary College. He had recently responded to the call to preach and in December 1891, he joined the Mississippi Conference, and the happy young couple began their itinerant ministry at Amite, Louisiana, where they remained three years.
In 1894 the General Conference changed the boundary lines of the Louisiana and Mississippi Conferences to conform to State lines. At this time Brother Brown was transferred to the Louisiana Conference and appointed to the Caddo Circuit, with his home at Keatchie, where he served four years, 1895-1898.
During the first half of 1899 he served the Coushatta Charge, accepting the presidency of Johnson Collegiate Institute, Greensburg, La., in the middle of the year, being officially appointed to this school during 1901. This was one of the many heroic ventures of our church. in the field of Christian Education.
He served the Bunkie Charge during 1902-1904. During 1905 he was again engaged in school work, accepting a position at Milburn and serving in connection there with the White’s Chapel Charge, returning for the year 1905 to the Bunkie Charge. During 1907-08 he served the Trout and Jena Charge, at the expiration of which time he began a five-year period of service as presiding elder, three years of the Alexandria District, 1909-11, and two years of the Shreveport District, 1912-13. His appointment as presiding elder was much appreciated by the Conference, and these years of service were of great value to the church. In the year 1910 he served as a member of the General Conference that met in Asheville, North Carolina. During the year 1914 he served as Secretary of Education, making a heroic effort to adequately finance Centenary College in Shreveport at a critical time in its history. In 1915 he served as pastor in Natchitoches. In 1917-19 he was pastor in De Ridder, where he established a permanent home and resided up to the time of his death at Mineral Wells, Texas, June 13, 1923.
The period of the De Ridder pastorate was during the strenuous closing years of the World War. All the children of the home, three valiant sons, who were just completing their education in Centenary College, were enlisted in service. There was a tense anxiety in the heart of father and mother. The father consecrated himself to patriotic duties and, though he could not join his sons, determined to have full fellowship with them in “keeping the home fires burning.” He was Parish Chairman of the Council of Defense, and labored by night and day, overtaxing his strength and laying the foundation for in-sidious disease. The youngest son, Ellis W. Brown, splendidly furnished, an honor graduate of Centenary College, died in Camp Colt, Pennsylvania. Another son was severely wounded at the front. Sor-row pierced his heart but did not diminish his labors.
During 1920 Brother Brown held the supernumerary relation on .account of poor health but, nevertheless, -with his determination to preach, served as pastor in adjacent towns. In 1921-22 he served as pastor of the Ludington Circuit. At the close of 1922 he was again granted the supernumerary relation.
His character and labor made a most profound impression on the Community where he spent his 1ast years. A handsome silver loving cup had been presented to him by the American Legion a few weeks before his death and at the funeral service in De Ridder there were remarkable evidences, both in word and token, of the very great esteem in which he was held as it public-spirited citizen.
Brother Brown had pulpit ability of a very high order and, like his father, had much power in public prayer. He was a successful winner of souls. He was well informed in world affairs, was a careful student of Scripture, versed in theology and church history. His life as a Christian was a shining mark of fidelity. His deep sincerity was never questioned. He was unselfish and self-sacrificing, never seeking “his own” but always “the things of others.” He was naturally sym-pathetic, drawing and holding his many friends with bonds of love. Re had an undaunted faith that made him face impending death with perfect composure.
He is survived by Sister Brown, his companion during a ministry of thirty-two years; two sons, Major S. Perry Brown, of Beaumont, Texas, and Mr. Paul M. Brown, Jr., an active official in the Noel Memorial Church, Shreveport, Louisiana.
|Source: Journal Louisiana Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, 1923, pages 88-90, by R. H. Wynn|