Purcell, George Dowell


Aug. 29, 1870-Sept. 19, 1932
George Dowell Purcell, son of James S. Purcell and Mrs. Fannie M. Cole Purcell, was born at Black Hawk, Miss., August 29, 1870, and ended his life’ s journey at Shreveport, La., September 19. 1932, at the end of sixty-two years and twenty-one days of pilgrimage. Funeral services were conducted at Noel Memorial Methodist Church. in Shreveport, with interment in Plain Dealing, La. Rev. J. B. Williams, Rev. T. M. Brown-lee and Rev. H. W. Ledbetter were in charge.
At the age ot 17, George Purcell was converted,’ and he united with the 1W. E. Church, South. He felt called to preach, but, realizing his lack of sufficient education and of opportunity to prepare himself for the high calling, hesitated to apply for license. At length, after five years, deeply convicted of his duty, he confided in his mother, who encouraged him to make the attempt to become a minister of the gospel. He was licensed to preach at Black Hawk, Nov. 19, 1892. For a few years he worked for his expenses and studied at Millsaps College; then, on the advice of his presiding elder, he left college about the junior year of his course, and came to Louisiana as Junior preacher on the North Bossier circuit, under Rev. J. R. Roy, in 1897. Most of the summer was lost through typhoid fever, which impaired his hearing. At the close of the year he was admitted on trial into the Louisiana Conference. Bishop H. C. Morrison ordained him deacon in 1898, and Bishop Joseph Key ordained him elder in 1903.
He served Wesley, Plain Dealing, Davis Springs, Eon Ami. Pelican, Oak Grove, Ida, South Mansfield, Columbia. Jena, Dubach, Ringgold, Lecompte, Boyce, Baker, Eunice, and Walker.
Although his scholarly attainments never ranked high, he was a close student of the Bible, and could quote readily a large part of the scriptures. It was his custom to buy and study a few choice books each year. His sermons were seriously and carefully prepared. He diligently avoided stagnation in the pulpit. But there was an ever-present fight to keep the wolf from the door, and he often longed for a greater opportunity for study. His ardor for the work led him to abhor any slackness in any of the officials of his charge. One who knew him well writes: “His frank expressions sometimes made him unpopular. He never courted the esteem of men, even those over him in the Conference. He never permitted a petition for his return to a pastorate to be sent to the Conference, although there were numerous, unsought opportunities for such occasions. He took the initiative Ix leaving a charge where he felt another man could secure better results. Perhaps his most outstanding quality was his devotion to duty. Idleness and slothfulness found no place in his make-up. He was persistently at work. He did not hesitate to begin a task because of its difficulties, for his faith was in God, and on Him he relied for strength to press forward. With such an attitude, it is not surprising that he never had a fruitless year in his ministry. Almost without exception his reports showed progress over previous records of his charges.”
On May 24, 189~, he was married to Miss Ela Browne of Coushatta, Louisiana. Of this union there were six children, two of whom died in infancy. Four children—George, Jr, Herbert, One and Mary (Mrs. J. G. LaBorde)—and his widow survive.
At the session of the Conference held in Monroe in 1931, he was superannuated on account of deafness, and he then made his home in Plain Dealing. He immediately reported to the pastor there and offered his services, to be used in any way. It was a privilege and honor to be his pastor. He preached for us often— was always ready. He gave to the Louisiana Conference thirty-three years of earnest, faithful work. A good man has gone to rest.


Source: Annual of the Louisiana Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, Pages 83-84, 1932

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