Scurlock, Joshua Fletcher


April 28, 1834 - April 23, 1902
Joshua Fletcher Scurlock, the son of Joshua and Hannah Scurlock, was born in Jackson County, Alabama on April 28. 1834. As his father was engaged in teaching he received the
educational advantages of the times. After living for a while in Morgan County, Alabama, also in Mississippi, the family moved to Morgan County, Illinois. Here his father and mother, who had been members of the M. E. Church, South, united with the M. E. Church.
His early religious and moral training were in the M. E. Church, South. In April 1850, while alone, he was convicted of sin and diligently sought an experience of Divine Grace at every opportunity. At a camp-meeting near Richmond, Illinois on September 21, he found Christ as a personal Saviour.
Soon after his conversion he became conscious of a call to the ministry. He was licensed to exhort by Reverend G. W. Hughey, preacher in charge of the New Liberty Circuit, Southern Illinois Conference, and in July 1854 he was licensed to preach by the Quarterly Conference of the Jonesboro Mission. In the fall of this same year he came south and was employed as a supply on the Holy Springs Circuit, Memphis Conference. At this time he also attended the Ses-sion of the Memphis Conference and there met Reverend Robert J. Harp, who made a call for volunteers for the Louisiana Conference. He with several others responded.
He was admitted to the Louisiana Conference in. December 1855, at Bastrop, and was
appointed Junior Preacher with Frederick White to the Chicot Circuit. In February 1858, he was received into full connection and ordained deacon by Bishop George F. Pierce. He served in the Grand Cane Circuit in 1858-59. He was ordained elder by Bishop Andrew at the Conference held in Franklin in the winter of 1859-60. He served the Trinity Circuit in 1860 and the Cotile Circuit in 1861-62.
The War Between the States having commenced, he volunteered as private and joined the regiment of Col. John H. Morgan, and was soon after appointed Chaplain. After a few months he resigned. and. was appointed to the Atchafalaya Circuit for 1863, but subsequently returned to the army, serving there until 1864.
In the summer of 1864 he was appointed agent of the Evangelical Tract Society. He collected between $7,000 and $8,000 for this work. In January 1865, he was appointed to serve the Clarksville and McKenzie College Circuit of the East Texas Conference, where he remained six months and carried on college studies.
He served various circuits until 1868, when he was transferred to the Pacific Conference. During the fall of 1869, he was transferred to the Louisiana Conference, but coming to St. Louis he was there employed upon the St. Louis Circuit by its Presiding Elder and became a member of the St. Louis Conference. Upon the division of this conference in 1869 he became a member of the Southwest Missouri Conference. From 1870 to 1872 he was stationed at Waverly, Missouri. In 1872 he was superannuated.
He was transferred to the Florida Conference, but stopping in New Orleans he again entered the Louisiana Conference and served the Opelousas Charge in 1875. He served the Franklin work in 1876 and the Spring Creek Circuit in 1877; Lake Charles in 1878, ‘79 and ‘80; Abbeville Circuit in 1881, ‘82 and ‘83; Thibodeaux in 1884 and ’85; and Algiers a part of 1885. He was on the Winnsboro Circuit in 1886 and was then transferred to the North Georgia Conference and stationed at Dalton in 1887. He returned to Louisiana and was appointed to the Lower Coast Mission during l888, ‘89, ‘90 and ‘91; Simsport in 1892; Pollard in1893; Bunkie in 1894. He again supplied the Lower Coast work for a few months and was returned for 1896. Moreau Street, New Orleans, was his work in 1897 and ‘98. At the session of 1898-’99 he was superannuated and subsequently spent most of his time in Covington. Louisiana until his death on April 23, 1902.
During the past few years his health was precarious. He suffered much from the infirmities of the body, but was always cheerful and hopeful. He seemed never to lose the elasticity of spirit, which was a peculiar characteristic of the man. He always hoped to get well. His end came suddenly. He left no dying word. But he left the record of many years fidelity to the work he loved above life. Some years ago, in a short account of his ministerial life, he wrote that he praised God for all His goodness and mercy to him, and that he was ready to depart and be with Christ.
He was a diligent student. His intellectual attainments were above the average. He read constantly and digested what he read. He knew general literature and had some skill in the classic languages.
He loved to preach. Hindered much in this by the disease, which clung to him for years, he persisted to the utmost of us feeble strength. His preaching was instructive and original. He edified the Church, and sinners were converted to God.
He was a man of deep and childlike piety. He prayed much. He was careful in everything, “fervent in spirit, serving the Lord.” No man who knew him could help feeling the genuineness of his soul and the sincerity of his faith. In all my acquaintance with him he was always the same – a just man, faithful to all men and devoted to God. His body sleeps in the tomb where repose the ashes of Elijah Steele and other of his brethren long since called to the presence of Him Who hath redeemed us and washed us from our sins in His Own blood, and made us to be kings and priests unto God, to Whom be glory now and evermore.
Source: Journal of the Louisiana Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, 1902; Pages 69-70; by F. N. Parker

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