1841 - April 14, 1925
|Last April, one of God’s elect left earth for a better world, for with her to be absent from the body was far better, for it was to be present with the Lord.
Mrs. J. L. P. Sheppard, the subject of this sketch, was born in Catahoula Parish in 1841, being 84 at the time of her death.
She united with the Methodist Church in early childhood, and during the Civil War was married to Brother Sheppard, while he was a soldier in the Confederate Army, where, as a member, of the Twelfth Louisiana Infantry, he fought valiantly for the cause that lay near to his heart.
Shortly before his death, Brother Sheppard published in the Mansfield Enterprise the story of his courtship, detailing it with all the thrill of war-time interest, and, could I place my hands on same, it would be the best memoir of this good lady which could be given.
After the war, she, with her husband, entered the itinerancy, and for long years faithfully upheld his hands and made the home comfortable for this servant of God as he filled circuit, station, and district appointments.
Her husband was, at different times, presiding elder of Arcadia, Shreveport and Alexandria Districts.
After a long and useful ministry, they retired from active life, making their home in Mansfield, La. This home was always the home of the Methodist minister, and during their last years it was their delight to have the preachers as their guests.
Oft times it was my pleasure to be with them, both in the Arcadia home and likewise the Mansfield, and never did this good woman fail to make me, as a young pastor and later in life, feel that I was a much welcomed guest.
If space would permit, I could detail incidents of the long ago, when as a boy preacher I was her pastor in Arcadia, and thus show the genuine truth of her character and her zeal for her Master and church.
During the early years of the Mansfield life, the college was on the financial rocks, and while Brother Sheppard traveled the State raising funds to save this institution to the church and pledged his private property, she, with her usual unselfish loyalty, was one with her husband in all his labors.
Sister Sheppard’s life was that of the homemaker. She never sought the limelight, but quietly, during the long trips of her husband on circuits and districts, kept the home fires burning and let her light as a spiritually minded, prayerful soul, influence home and community in which she lived.
Her faith was simple; seldom troubled with doubt, and her life was one long poem of faithful service in the ministry of home and humanity.
If simplicity in living and loyalty in service are an evidence of greatness, this good woman in her quiet living was indeed one of God’s elect.
Simplicity, truth, loyalty and genuineness in life and friendship were the atmosphere of her living.
Her funeral was conducted in Mansfield on April 15, 1925, by Revs. J. B. Peters, R. H. Wynn, and the local Baptist pastor, Rev. H. R. Holcomb, and was attended by the entire student body of the Mansfield Female College, headed by the president and faculty, and a large concourse of friends. God’s children die well.
|Source: Journal of the Louisiana Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, 1925, Pages 115-117, by John F. Foster.|