Wilson, Luther Gavel


August 5, 1865 - 1946
Luther Gavel Wilson, son of William Thomas and Mary Ragan Wilson, was born in Tippa county, Mississippi, near Chalybeate, August 5, 1865. He spent his boyhood on his father’s farm, attended the local public school. In 1890-91 he attended the Iuka Normal School, known widely for sending out so many men and women that became prominent in Mississippi affairs. Here he met the young woman that later was to become his wife.
He united with the Methodist Church at old Camp Ground on the then Jonesboro circuit, now Chalybeate circuit, when sixteen years of age.
He was granted license to preach by the quarterly conference of the Chalybeate charge on August 27, 1887, at the age of twenty-two years, by Rev. J. B. Stone, presiding elder, Rev. B. B. Sullivan, pastor, and W. T. Wilson, his father, Secretary Of the quarterly conference.
His first charge was as supply on Redfield circuit Little Rock Conference, in 1889. He served Selma circuit as supply 1890. Following this he went to Iuka Normal College.
In the fall of 1891 he was received into the Little Rock Conference on trial and was appointed to the Arkansas Post circuit. He was soon promoted to the City Mission work in Pine Bluff, Arkansas. Here he organized the Riverside Church that now is Carr Memorial Church on Sixth Avenue. He was pastor here three years, then served in succession: Dewitt, Benton and Amity charges.
Ill health came as a warning and he was transferred to the Pacific coast, Oregon Conference, Columbia, and stationed at Grant’s Pass where he served two years. He was then transferred to the Pacific Conference and stationed on Red Bluff Charge, California, where he served three years. At the end of this period he was transferred to the Louisiana Conference where be spent the remaining years of his ministry. In this conference be served Kentwood, Zachary and Slaughter, Amite, Franklinton, Mer Rouge, Oak Ridge, Grand Cane, Clinton, Lake Arthur, Athens, Boyce, for seven years. At the end of this pastorate he was superannuated. After superannuation he served Alco and Colfax and Montgomery charges. In 1987 he returned to Iuka to spend his remaining years in the old ancestral home of his wife where he came as a bridegroom more than fifty-one years ago.
During his four years pastorate at Amite a disastrous tornado swept away the town. The parsonage and church were destroyed. The pastor’s family was miraculously saved, one of those marvelous dispensations of divine providence.
On January 17, 1895, he was married to Miss Minnie Lee Barnette of Inks. Theirs was a happy home and married life, a devoted couple. In his declining years he was most tenderly nursed by his devoted wife, six years his junior. God blessed their home with six children, one dying in infancy. Two sons and three daughters were reared to maturity and survive their father. All were at his bedside at his passing. They are Mrs. Amy Lee Hornbeak, Mer Rouge. La., Pearl Conway, Mrs. Gaudy, of Athens, La., Dr. Barnett Wilson, Rex Hospital, Raleigh, N. C., Clifford Wilson, Library of Congress, Washington, D. C., and Mary Alice, Mrs. Walter Tiltjen, Mt. Vernon, N. Y.
Bro. Wilson was a sound gospel preacher, evangelistic in spirit, a teaching preacher who ministered to the needs of his congregation. He was faithful in every good work. To sum up his virtues would be to catalog the Christian virtues of a true follower of Jesus Christ.
He had a fine sense of innocent humor that stayed with him until his dying hour. He was universally beloved. He enjoyed the confidence of every citizen of Iuka.
Burial services were held in the Methodist Church, Iuka, the pastor, Rev. J. H. Holder, assisted by the District Superintendent, Dr. L. P. Wasson, Evangelist S. M. Butts and the Baptist pastor, Rev. Raymond Pate, conducting the service in the church where he was married fifty-one years ago. His body was laid to rest beneath a mound of beautiful flowers to await the resurrection angel.

“Servant of God, well done!
Thy glorious warfare’s past;
The battle’s fought, the race is won,
And thou art crowned at last.”

Source: Journal of the Louisiana Conference of the Methodist Church, Pages 100-101, 1946 by J. H. Holder

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