May 11, 1846 - October 5, 1911
|In 1864 an old, superannuate local itinerant preacher found himself fast reach-ing his end. Calling his son to his bedside, he said, “My son, brush away your tears. For forty-five years~ I have been preaching up and, down this land, and -have shown you how to live. Now I shall show you how a Christian should die. Soon I shall be very happy in my eternal home.” Then after a short while, re-membering his far away unsaved boy, he said, “0 Lord, have mercy on Sam Hugh and save his soul,” then quietly passed to his glorious reward. Thus died Uriah Whatley, for forty-five years an acceptable, efficient and honorable preacher, lo-cal and itinerant in the hill country between Campti and the mouth of Red River -- the Red River on the west and the Ouachita on the east.
On Thursday, October 5, 1911, at 2:25 p. in., in the comfortable home at Rayville, La., which he had just completed after much arduous toil and self-denial, this prayer was fully answered, when Rev. Sam Hugh Whatley passed over to meet that glorified Father, For thirty-one years, Brother Whatley had been an accepted and effective itinerant, traveling over much of the same territory where his father from 1825 to 1864 had sown the seed of the kingdom. Only ten years intervened between the death of the father and the call of the son, who was admitted on trial into the Louisiana Conference in 1880. Brother Whatley served the Rapides Circuit in 1880-81, Colfax Circuit 1882-83, Evergreen and Big Cane 1884-87, Lecompte and Bayou Boeuf 1888-89, Caddo Circuit 1890-91, Pleasant Hill Circuit 1892-93, Prudhomme Circuit 1894, Indian Bayou 1895, Gross Tete 1896, Gir-ard and Colony 1897-1900, East Feliciana Circuit 1901, Melville Circuit 1902-04, White Castle 1905, New Roads 1906. His health failed from organic trouble and he was forced to ask superannuation at sixty-one years of age. For four years he has labored in and around Rayville so far as his health would permit.
During his active ministry he wrought well and left behind thirteen churches by his efforts, showing himself to be a builder, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed. A record worthy of emulation.
His early educational advantages were limited, his school days coming at a time when our state, as all are Southland, was rent with strife and turmoil of civil war, yet like many of our most successful preachers, by earnest study, dint of perseverance, native manliness and the grace of God, as he went from circuit to circuit through the length and breadth of the state, many souls found their way out of the darkness into the light under his faithful ministry.
He first saw the light of this world in Catahoula Parish, La., May 11, 1846, thirty miles from Alexandria, and when about thirteen years old the light of the eternal world, and again when around his family altar when his full duty flashed upon him and he was moved to give himself and all to the service of his Lord, November 18, 1868, he was married to Miss Ada B. Dayton, who by the grace of God through all the strenuous labors of his itinerant life, proved a helpmeet in-deed for him, sharing with glad heart his many joys and sorrows.
He came to his end in full assurance. He grew old without sourness, but happily, cheerfully accepted the providence of God that necessitated his superannuation because of disease.
During the last two years he had periods of great suffering, which were endured without complaining, and a strong undaunted faith, Among his last words, a few hours before his death, were “Sweet peace,” quoting in part that beautiful song. What a welcome that father gave the son for whom his dying prayer was breathed out almost with his dying breath. The father rested from his labors; the son took up the cry ten years after, and for seventy-five years the cry of father and son, “Perhaps the way of the Lord,” sounded forth through the Louisiana hills and valleys. Now the two rejoice together forever in the estate of the Lord’s blessing, whose death is precious in his sight.
With all powers at hand, and availing himself of all opportunities that came his way, we can truly say, “he hath done what he could” for his Lord and Master. He was in his sixty-fifth year, having lived an itinerant minister thirty-one years. He leaves a wife and five daughters—three married, two single—and three sons, two married and one single.
May the father’s walk in faith, who has shown his boys how to live and how to die, be so impressed upon his family that they may meet him on the other shore as he already rejoices with his ascended father.
The battle fought, the victory won, enter the Master’s joy.”
|Source: Journal Louisiana Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, 1911, pages 56-57, by W. B. Henderson.|