February 2, 1861 - March 21, 1923
|Margaret Verdie Estes, wife of Rev. J. 0. Bennett, of the Louisiana Conference, was born at Moresville, Lee County, Miss., Feb. 2, 1861, and died at Haughton, La., March 21, 1923, and was buried at Colfax, La., being sixty-one years and one month of age.
Sister Bennett was converted at fourteen years of age, and lived a devoted and consistent Christian life, and died an unusually triumphant death. She was married to Rev. J. 0. Bennett at Moresville, Miss., Dec. 28, 1879, and for forty-two years she lived a life devoted to the interests of her husband and his work as a preacher of the gospel, being at all times a faithful companion and a loyal helper in the arduous work of the ministry. To them were born six children, two of whom, Charlie Howard, who died at the age of three months and ten days, and Joseph Carl, who died on Nov. 21, 1892, at the age of ten years and eleven months, preceded her to the heavenly home. Of the other four, Mrs.’ A. S. J. Neill, wife of our pastor there, lives at Belcher, La.; Will A. Bennett lives at Westline, Mo.; Robert C. Bennett lives at Colfax, La., and Miss Ethel, a graduate of our Mansfield Female College, and a school teacher, lives with her father at Haughton, La., it having been her rule for a number of years to accept only such position as would allow her to be with and to help minister to the needs of her afflicted mother.
At the beginning of the writer’s ministry on the Farmerville circuit in 1896-1897, it was his good fortune to have as his nearest pastor Brother Bennett on the Downsville circuit, and there began a friend-ship for him and his Christian family that has grown and ripened with the intervening years, and we looked upon Sister Bennett as one of our dearest friends, and feel that in her going we have lost one of our own “mothers in Israel.” Her hospitality to visitors, and her motherly care for her own household were of the old type of Sarah-like women, who “looketh well to the ways of her household and eateth not the bread of idleness. She stretcheth out her hand to the poor; yea, she stretcheth forth her hand to the needy. Her children arise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her.” Her household was so well ordered, and the fruits of her industry and motherly management were so abundant, that her home was ever a haven to those who chanced to be her guests, and it was our happy lot during the last twenty-five and more years’ to have many times been blessed in this hospitality; and in her home we felt all but as free as if in our own. The natural fruits of such a motherhood and home-making would be the filial devotion that the children of such love and care should and did show to such a mother during the nineteen years of her affliction that she suffered preceding her death, being practically helpless for the greater part of this time; and the life that she lived was the natural preparation for the victorious death, of the old-type Christian, that she died.
In the days and hours preceding her going, Sister Bennett was so rapturous in her victorious faith that her attending physician was led to acclaim: “This is holy ground; I have never seen the like before.” Brother Bennett, in a personal letter, tells us of many of these expressions of dying victory. “Heaven is not far away, there is no darkness here, it is all light,” she said one time; “Don’t cry, don’t weep for me, I am so tired, I am so anxious to go, I suffer so much, I want to go where I can rest,” she said at another time. “It is all right, my hand is in His, and He is leading me;” “Jesus is with me, and is comforting me—he is my only hope,” at another time; again on opening her eyes she said: “The angels are here! Oh how glorious! Glory hallelujah! What victory, what victory!” As her voice was failing and she could only speak in a whisper, she said: “You have all been good to me; I have wanted for nothing, and I will have to tell them when I get to heaven. I see the children” (who had died), “I see papa” (who died when she was twelve). Such a death, following such a life, is Christianity’s greatest “evidence.” Such Methodists as these “die well”
“How blest the righteous when he dies,
“Life’s duty done, as sinks the clay,
|Source: Journal Louisiana Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, 1923, pages 98-100, by P. O. Lowrey|