Sept. 10, 1850-Sept. 3, 1931
|Mrs. Ada Byron Dayton Whatley, widow of the late Rev. S. H. Whatley, and daughter of John W. Dayton and Florence Knight, was born near Jonesville, La., September 10, 1850, and passed sweetly to her rest September 3, 1931, from her home in Rayville, La., Just one week less than eighty-one years marking the bounds of her earthly pilgrimage. With eight other children, four of whom survive her, she was reared in a beautiful and wholesome country environment by parents who sacrificed to give their own the best, and taught them to love God, to be useful, honorable and upright.
On November 18, 1868, she was happily married to Mr. S. H. Whatley. Twelve years afterwards Brother Whatley felt the call of God to give his life to the ministry of the Church. Willingly and submissively she with her husband and children gave up their start in worldly affairs, and in 1880 Brother Whatley joined the ranks of the itinerancy of the M. E. Church, South. Fifty-one years ago it took undaunted courage, unwavering trust in God, and a holy love for lost souls, for young parents, with a growing family, to give up the comforts of a quiet country home, with none too much equipment for their tasks, and brave the hardships incident to the Methodist itinerary. For twenty-eight years they fought. bravely and unfalteringly the battles of life, and gladly bore their big-dens, counting it all joy to serve the Lord and his Church. These two servants of the Church went up and down the country wherever directed, serving large circuits in many difficult places, reared a large family on a small salary, but always building and making greater and better the Church they loved.
Their union was blessed with eleven children, seven of whom survive her—three Sons and four daughters. One daughter is the wife of Rev. S. S. Began, of our Conference; others are officials in the Church, and occupy prominent and honorable stations in life.
When Brother Whatley superannuated in 1908, they moved to Rayville, La., where a number of their children lived, built a home, and planned to make it their permanent residence, while the evening shadows gathered. Only three years were they permitted to spend their rest days together. On October 5, 1911, Brother Whatley went to his reward. After forty years of love and labor together, she continued on through the way of life, and for twenty years more was active In love’s labors, for her Lard, His Church, her dear ones and friends. Her’ s was to give the radiance of a hope and the richness of a faith, mellowed through the years by trials many and joys beyond compare.
Mother Whatley’ s death brought universal sorrow to the town and community where her life and influence were such a power for good, and doubtless many other places share in the grief her leaving has brought. She knew how to comfort the sad and sorrowful, to minister to the poor and needy, and entertain and welcome the stranger. She was happy in service as well as in worship. She encouraged the good deeds of all about her, and condemned the wrongs of the sinful.
Having for so many years graced the parsonage home, she knew intimately of the joys and the burdens of those who live there. This writer had the gracious privilege of being her pastor for three years, during which time he and his wife shared bountifully her loving and tender ministrations, both temporal and spiritual, and the aroma of her motherly spirit will continue to bless us through the years.
Mother Whatley was indeed a true helpmate to her sainted husband in the work of the Church; she gave to her own all that could be given of a devoted mother’s love and service; her ministries for the good of humanity, temporal and spiritual, in the Church and out of it, were lovingly and freely given, and now, when her long -day’ s work is done, she comes to the glow of her setting sun, full of years, rich in service, ready and waiting for the summons of her Lord to her home not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.
J. A. Alford.
|Source: Annual of the Louisiana Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, Pages 91, 1931|