July 18, 1852 - November 20, 1936
|The Rev. Daniel Clay Barr, known as “the grand old man of North Louisiana Methodism,” was born in DeKalb County, Alabama, July 18, 1852, and, after a life of more than four-score years, he was translated to his heavenly home on November 20, 1936, at Monroe, La. He had been in declining health for some years, but was active both physically and mentally unto the end. His going was peaceful and triumphant, he retaining consciousness to the last. Like his great and useful life, his death was victorious.
When he was quite young, his family moved to Mississippi; then, when he was eight years old, settled in Winn Parish, near Montgomery, La., where Brother Barr spent his boyhood days. He attended the old Atlanta Institute, at Atlanta, La., and was for some time under the tutor ship of Rev. J. F. Marshall, who was a pioneer teacher of those days, and boarded in the Barr home.
On October 13, 1875, he was happily married to Miss Anna Eliza-beth Hardy of Montgomery, La. To this union were born eleven children—three sons and eight daughters. Six of these—Kate, Alexander, Mrs. Eula Corry, John Sawyer, William Roberts, Charles S. and Mrs. Bessie Utley, preceded him to the home above. Those surviving are Mrs. S. M. Abel of Rochelle, La., Mrs. W. 0. Files of Oak Ridge, La., Mrs. J. M. Brothers of Monroe, La., Mrs. Minnie Boughton of San Marcos, Texas, and Mrs. Roberta Bondy of San Antonio, Texas. He also leaves twenty’~ one grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren, and one sister, Mrs. M. A. Hunt of West Monroe, La.
Brother Barr had the advantage of early Christian training and a religious environment. At the age of fourteen he gave his heart to the Lord and united with the Methodist Church, under the ministry of the late Rev. J. F. Wynn. in early manhood he felt .the call to preach; con-secrated himself to the ministry, and for some time served as a local preacher. In I 883, fifty-three years ago, he was admitted on trial into the Louisiana Conference, with a large class, only two of which survive— Rev. S. J. Davies and Rev. H. J. Boltz. He served awhile as a local supply and, after joining the Conference, filled the following appointments: Summerfield, Vernon, Downsville. Lisbon, Oak Ridge. Rayville, Bastrop, Harrisonburg, Winnshoro. Mangham, Tallulah, and Bonita. Four years, by Conference appointment, he served as superintendent of the State Training School at Monroe, La. Perhaps his moat outstanding work was done at Oak Ridge, where he was pastor, altogether fourteen years, and where, after his superannuation in 1925, he lived in the home of his daughter, Mrs. W. 0. Files, until he was called to the realms of glory. Thus ended one of the most unique and outstanding characters that ever lived in any community. His convictions were well defined, and he was positively pronounced in his make-up. All who knew this godly man honored him for his sterling worth, as they recognized in him those quali-ties that make one truly great.
The name of Dan C. Barr was “as the ointment poured forth.” He set in motion certain influences that will live on to bless generations following. People of all walks of life understood him and believed in him, being guided by his wise counsel, and, following his example, were led into higher ideals of life and into nobler deeds. He was truly a patriarch. Many who were not of his own family delighted to address him as “Papa Barr.”
He had a most wonderful personality, and numbered his friends by his acquaintances. He never forgot a name or a face. He was every-body’s friend, and everybody was his friend. He won his way into the hearts of all ranks of people and all nationalities; the rich and the poor’ the high and the low, the good and the bad were all loved by him. His heart was large enough and gentle enough to love and to yearn for the happiness and well being of the entire human family. Somehow he literally incarnated himself in the very life of the community where he spent so many years of his useful life. “He being dead yet speaketh.”
His activity did not end with his superannuation eleven years ago. He was constantly in demand to preach for the pastors here and there. He was in demand for special occasions, often getting more calls than he could possibly respond to. He was deservedly popular. His genial spirit and loving disposition made him so. Dan Barr officiated at the marriages of more young people, he baptized more children, and conducted more funerals than any other preacher in North Louisiana; sometimes delivering two funeral orations in a day. This busy life was continued to the Last.
His last sermon was preached in the Bastrop Methodist Church, he being selected among many former pastors who were present to deliver the anniversary discourse. Some said: “It was a masterpiece.” The house was filled to overflowing. He held aloft the old saddlebags, used by the pioneer circuit riders, as he carried his hearers up into the supernal heights of ecstatic joy. One who was present said: “I never expect to feel more like I am in heaven until I get there.” The last Sabbath that he spent on earth was in a service in which he led in the devotion. During the last three days of his fatal illness, he prayed and preached and quoted Scripture and sang the songs of Zion. Brother Barr was a veritable contradiction of the old saying that “a prophet is not without honor save in his own country.” As his pastor for two years, I soon learned that if I wanted to fill my church all I had to do was to announce that Brother Barr would preach.
But he is gone. Truly a prince has fallen. I was often with Brother Barr. It was an inspiration to be in his company. We had sweet counsel together. I was always welcome in his home. He was liberal with his means. Just a few days before he left us, he placed in my hands a liberal offering for the benevolent fund. He looked on the bright side of life. During his years of bodily suffering, and in the midst of deep sorrows, he never murmured nor complained. He lived the gospel he preached, and exalted the Christ he loved.
His faithful, good wife, who fought many hard battles with him in the early days of Methodism, went to her reward eleven years ago. As he requested, his body lay in state in the First Methodist Church, Monroe, La., and was viewed by many of his faithful friends. Late in the day (Friday), the remains were taken to Oak Ridge and there, in the Meth-odist Church, lay in state until the services on Saturday afternoon. Rev. H. L. Johns, the Presiding Elder, had charge, and he was assisted by the following ministers: A. S. Lutz, R. W. Vaughan, W. C. Scott, S. W. B. Colvin, and the writer. Twenty other Methodist preachers were present. It was estimated that one thousand people attended the service His body was placed beside other departed members of his family, and the graves of himself and the others were buried beneath a hank of one of the largest floral offerings ever seen in Oak Ridge. A number of old songs were sung at the church and also at the grave. Many declared that it was the most impressive funeral service they had ever attended.
He has fought a good fight, he has finished his course, he has kept the faith. There is, therefore, laid up for him a crown of righteousness at the right hand of God the Father, and not for him only, but also for all those that love His appearing.
Our dear, beloved brother, we will see you no more on earth, but in the land above, where no storm clouds arise, on the sunny banks of everlasting deliverance, up yonder with God the Father, the blessed Christ, and the Holy Spirit, the royal retinue of angels, and the spirits of just men made perfect, by the grace of God we’ll meet you! Until then, my brother, farewell.
|Source: Journal of the Louisiana Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, Pages 92-95, 1936, by J. M. Alford|