Sawyer, D.D., John Talbott


Feb. 4, 1843-July 12, 1932
There passed away a few months ago one of the best beloved ministers of the Louisiana Conference. It was our brother, John T. Sawyer, who slipped away very quietly and peacefully on the evening of July 12, 1932, and thus, after several years of very poor health, his long and useful labors as a servant of God came to a close.
He was not a native of Louisiana, but was horn at Ann Arbor, Michigan, February 4, 1848, and came South with lila parents at a very early age. After graduating with honors from the public schools of New Orleans, he became principal of the old Magnolia School of that city, and subsequently graduated from the Law School of the University of Louisiana. being chosen valedictorian of his class. This was in 1871. Two years later the young lawyer felt the call to the ministry, gave up a promising career in the practice of law, and applied for, and was received on admission on trial in the Louisiana Conference. From that day on he dedicated his fine talents to the service of Christ and the Church, and we find that his ministry of nearly forty years covered the entire State of Louisiana. It is safe to say that thousand~ of men and women were blessed by the labors and messages of this consecrated man. At the Conference of 1910 he took the superannuate relation.
John T. Sawyer possessed a striking and attractive personality. His appearance and physique suggested vigor and power, and his manners were cordial and gracious. He was a very Industrious minister. Indeed, his entire ministry was characterized by untiring energy and the most assiduous attention to the business of the kingdom of God. His work was constructive, and probably no one among us built more churches, raised more money, or touched more lives for the better than the subject of this sketch. He leaves behind him a very fine record of good deeds and great enterprises well done. He had marked ability as a public speaker, considerable gifts as a writer, and unusual talents in facing and handling difficult financial problems.
Doctor Sawyer was a faithful preacher of the gospel. He preached the law and the prophets with great intensity of soul, but did not fail to emphasize as well the blessed doctrines of the love and goodness of God. In the pulpit his manner was winsome, and his sermons always gracefully delivered.
This appreciation of Doctor Sawyer would be very incomplete without remembering that his life and labors were most happily blessed by the help, grace, and companionship of his wife. In 1877 he was united in marriage with Miss Elizabeth T. McKnight, and the union was blessed with three children, two of whom survive him—Mrs. Joseph Donaldson of New Orleans and Mr. John T. Sawyer of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The closing years of his life were passed in the borne of his daughter, who gave him the most devoted care and attention.
Our good friend has gone, a kindly, big-hearted brother, a splendid workman in the kingdom of God; he slipped away very quietly and peacefully as the shades of evening fell about him,

“No moaning of the bar; musical drifting
Of time’s waves, turning t~ the ‘ternal sea,
Death’s soft wind, all thy gallant canvas lifting,
And Christ, thy Pilot, to the peace to be.”

Source: Annual of the Louisiana Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, Pages 82-83, 1932

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