Cain, Leonard Wesley


August 10, 1867 - 1960
Leonard Wesley Cain was born at Iuka, Mississippi in Tishomingo County on August 10, 1867. He was born during reconstruction days in which it was difficult to receive any education. His father died when he was only seven years of age, but in spite of this, the children received a better than average education for that day as evidenced by three of the boys entering the Methodist ministry. His two brothers served their entire ministry in East Texas.
He was licensed to preach in 1888 and served as a local preacher for a number of years while teaching school in Tishomingo County Mississippi. Two years after he was licensed to preach he married Miss Vista Jane Ward at Scottsboro, Alabama. Miss Ward was the daughter of Reverend Dempsy W. Ward who was a charter member of the Alabama Conference. To this union were born eleven children, eight of them are living, along with thirty six grandchildren, fifty - eight great - grandchildren and two great - great -grand-children, to mourn the passing of this good man. This marriage lasted for more than half a century until Mrs. Cain died in 1942.
Sometime in the early ninety’s Reverend L. W. Cain and his young wife moved to Texas and he became a member of the Northwest Texas Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South. He remained in this Conference for several years serving appointments both in Texas and Oklahoma. Sometime around 1900 he moved to North Mississippi and became a member of the North Mississippi Conference in which Conference he served until 1921 when he transferred to the Louisiana Conference and was stationed at Franklinton. He set to work immediately to build a new sanctuary which served the Church well until recently when replaced be a new building. He served the following appointments in the Louisiana Conference, Franklinton, Parker Memorial in New Orleans, Presiding Elder of the Baton Rouge District, Winnsboro, Park Avenue in Shreveport and Bunkie. He was retired from Bunkie in 1936 forty-eight years after he was licensed to preach. After his official retirement he served as a supply for several years within the bounds of the Baton Rouge District finishing out more than fifty years of service to his Church.
The strength of L. W. Cain’s ministry was in the nobility of his character and in the purity of his motives. He had strong convictions but he never made himself obnoxious by trying to force his opinions on others. He was straightforward in all his actions and was never under-handed in anything he did. He had a deep concern for all the men who served under him. It was the privilege of the writer of this memoir to be in his district when he was Presiding Elder of the Baton Rouge District and I can testify personally of the inspiration, the help, the encouragement, and the unselfish devotion he gave to the young men who served under him. He never sought honors, or special recognition. His sincerity, his integrity, and his faithfulness were his glory and reward.
It is a high tribute to a parsonage home when two of the boys are called of God to follow their father in the ministry and have found enough of the 6pirit of God in their parents to make them say “yes” to that call. He left two fine sons to carry on the work he laid down at the Master’s call. The Reverend Ralph W. Cain of Springhill and the Reverend Jerome Cain, District Superintendent of the Lafayette District.
After ninety-three years of Christlike living and in the seventy-second year since he was licensed to preach, his tired body gave up the struggle and he went home to be .with those whom he had loved and lost a while. He was buried by his wife in the Cemetery at Den-ham Springs after a service conducted by Reverend W. J. Reid, Dr. J. Henry Bowdon, Sr., and Bishop Aubrey G. Walton.
Source: Journal of the Louisiana Conference of the Methodist Chur ch, Pages 214-215, 1961 by J. Henry Bowdon, Sr.

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