February 10, 1832 - 1899
|Reverend Thomas B. White was born In Franklin, Tennessee on February 10, 1832, and was converted at the early age of eleven years. He was educated principally at Nashville, Tennessee., where at the age of twenty he was licensed to preach. Feeling the urgency of the divine call, he left school and joined the Tennessee Conference in 1852, where he served the Montgomery and Lynnville Circuits and the Cornersvllle and McMinnvllle Stations.
In response to a call from Louisiana for preachers, in company with his brother, B. F. White, he came to the Louisiana Conference and began his ministry with us at Plaquemine in 1857. For twenty-one years he was like a weaver’s shuttle, filling some of the most important works in almost every section of the Conference.
In 1873, he was transferred to Oregon, where he wrought faithfully for thirteen years, save a short while in Pueblo, Colorodo., where his health failed and he had to return to Oregon.
In 1886, he returned to the Louisiana Conference, and continued as a faithful itinerant until his health failed, and he was granted a superannuated relation in 1894. The remainder of his life was spent in Ruston, where he purchased a home in which to wait for the coming of his Lord. But while waiting he never ceased to work. Visiting the sick and preaching whenever opportunity was offered, his last theme being “Perfecting Holiness” (2 Cor. 7: 1).
In a few hours after preaching this last sermon at the Siloam Camp Meeting on the Gansville Circuit, Saturday night, October 14, 1899, the desire to go to his eternal reward from the preaching at a Holiness Camp Meeting, seems peculiarly to have been granted him and he went almost literally from the pulpit to glory.
His wife says of him: “I wish I could transcribe pages, as he had written himself of his devotion to God, resignation to his Providence, and love and labor for the Church. He finished every year’s work by expressions of his own frailty, and the prayer for more power with God for the year succeeding, always feeling that he was a sinner saved by grace and expressing the desire to see the King in His beauty. The very last sentence recorded was, “I am trusting implicitly in the Lord, Hallelujah!”
He was an exceptional Bible reader, having read through the Old Testament forty-nine times and through the New, one hundred and forty-three times. He has used one Bible for years, and it has been sacredly handled and marked considerably as the sentiment suited him.
As a pastor, Brother White was rarely equalled. Full of zeal, he always knew just what to do and say, and how to do it. He was shepherd of rich and poor alike, and was counselor for both young and old, not forgetting to extend a helping hand and speak a word of cheer to “our brother in black” in his daily ministrations to the world. Following then through his excellent prayer meetings and church improvements wherever he went you will find good reason for one of our bishops classing him among our exceptionally good pastors. His sermons were well prepared, mostly written, and delivered with much zeal.
He was happily converted in childhood and at a rather late period in his life, through faith in the atoning blood, he trusted Christ for sanctification. He believed it to be the privilege of believers “to be made perfect in love in this life.” His constant prayer was that he might adorn this life of holiness with all the Christian virtues, and there was always that humble, spiritual frame that showed the deep spirit of Godliness within.
His rule was to “pray, preach, and pay as you go,” and he was a model in systematic work, leaving on record the number of sermons preached, baptisms and marriages performed, number of members received into the Church and the total amount of salary received, and Conference collections raised during his ministerial life. Thus he went in joyous service to forty-three important pastorates in Louisiana, nine in Oregon, four in Tennessee, and one in Denver.
In 1832, Brother White was happily married to Miss Victoria E. Scales of Bedford County, Tennessee, who with a son, Dr. S. L. White, of Ruston, La., and two daughters, Mrs. Minnie Arnold, of Carvallis, Oregon, and Mrs. Lelia Carson, of Ruston, La., survive him. Two of his surviving brothers are now honored members of the Louisiana Conference.
He fought well, labored hard and kept the faith, and through grace was ready for his eternal rest. His desire for a simple funeral service, according to the Methodist ritual, was given and he was laid to rest in the Ruston Cemetery.
Though dead he yet speaketh, and in many lives he is being lived over again.
|Source: Journal of the Louisiana Annual Conference, Methodist Episcopal Church, South,
1899, Pages 38-39, by P. O. Lowery