July 4, 1870 - November 16, 1965
|Henry Walter Ledbetter was born on July 4, 1870, in Union County, Arkansas. He was the son of William Henry Ledbetter, and Mary Powledge Ledbetter. In the late 1800’s the Ledbetters moved to North Louisiana where they were to rear their family. Brother Ledbetter attended Louisiana public schools and Claiborne College. As a young man he taught for several years in the public school system. However, after his conversion at Arizona, Louisiana, in 1891, he began to feel his call to the ministry. The experience, which he had known during that revival, which was led by the Knickerbocker Brothers, was one which left his life restless, as he sought to serve God. In 1895, on his birthday, in Minden, Louisiana, he was licensed as a local preacher of the Methodist Church. He was then admitted on trial at Ruston, Louisiana, in the fall of 1896, and was ordained an elder two years following in 1898.
He was married in 1894 to Mattie Willie McKinnis, who passed away in 1910. Two daughters, Miss Blanche Ledbetter, Shreveport, Louisiana, and Mrs. L. R. Nease, Suffolk, Va., survive this union.
Brother Ledbetter used his talents well in the service of his Christ, for it was under his leadership that many people were brought into the fold and fellowship of the church. He was responsible far the building of several parsonages and 15 church buildings. The ministry, which he knew because of his labors, was a deeply rewarding experience for him. The churches, which he served, were scattered throughout Louisiana where all of his ministry was spent, with the exception of three years in the Arkansas Conference. Brother Ledbetter remained active until he was 78 years old, and because of this, he was able to give to the Louisiana Annual Conference over 50 years of service. He was a member of the Louisiana Conference for almost 70 years. Certainly, the church is indebted to this man, and to many like him, who, through the years, were able and willing to give of themselves, that the church might emerge as the great church, which she is today. There is no way for us to adequately express the deep gratitude, which is ours for men such as Brother Ledbetter.
His work cannot be assessed just by the buildings which were built under his ministry, but it must be assessed by the fine spirit, and the great knowledge of Christ which he implanted in the lives of those whom he served and touched, for this spirit and knowledge is passed on from generation to generation, and the effects of his ministry will stand long beyond the time of buildings, and will be reflected down through the years in history.
Brother Ledbetter was a deeply spiritual man. One of great faith; and ever mindful and appreciative of God’s love and His blessings, and the Gift of life, for which he never ceased to thank his Maker.
He married again June 26, 1925, to Mrs. Kathryn Harris Anderson.
He lived the last few years of his life in Shreveport, where he passed away on November 16, 1965, at his residence in the Fairfield Manor Apartments. His funeral services were held on November 18, at the First Methodist Church in Arcadia, one of the churches built during his ministry. He is survived by his wife, and two daughters.
Henry Walter Ledbetter loved the Methodist Church: He loved those whom he served, but above all he loved the One whom he served. His gentle spirit, alert mind and genuine interest in those about him, endeared him to hundreds of parishioners and many friends throughout our State.
May God richly bless the memory of our departed one.
Servant of God, well done!
Rest from Thy loved employ,
The battle’s fought, the victory’s won,
Enter Thy Master’s joy!
|Source: Journal of the Louisiana Conference of the Methodist Church, Pages 230-231, 1966 by Oscar E. Cloyd.|