Norwood, Noel B.


November 23, 1845 - June 3, 1895
Reverend Noel B. Norwood was born in St. Helena Parish, Louisiana on November 23, 1845. His early educational advantages were excellent through all the primary studies, and had not the war deprived him of it he would have received a regular collegiate course of instruction. Upon the death of his father, soon after the war, the support of his mother and several helpless children devolved upon him, a duty that he cheerfully and faithfully discharged.
His parents were both active, pious and prominent members of the M. E. Church, South, and under their consistent example and careful religious training he grew up to manhood. At twelve years of age he was converted and joined the M. E. Church, South, at a campmeeting held at Greensburg, St. Helena Parish. Subsequent to his conversion, under unfavorable circumstances, both during and after the war, he became worldly. Though always a man of honor and integrity, even during this clouded chapter of his history, still he was far from being a consistent character.
It was on December 14, 1873, during this period of alienation from God, that he was married to Miss Almira L.Irwin. Seven children blessed this union, five of whom are still living. His wife, who was a great sufferer for years, exchanged earth for heaven only three weeks before he was called to follow her. He went from her funeral service to his work broken hearted, yet comforted with the consolation of the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.
In 1877, Brother Norwood was reclaimed, “soundly reconverted,” as he termed it, at Winans Chapel, East Feliciana Circuit, Mississippi Conference, under the pastorate of Reverend I. B. Robertson. After this he was noted for his zeal, earnestness and consistency of life, as well as for his great energy, and untiring efforts in the Master’s cause. All who knew him well had implicit confidence in his piety, and never entertained a doubt of his unwavering purpose, and to do what he believed to be right. Immediately after he was reclaimed he began to take an active part in religious’ services, talking and praying with the people wherever he went, as well as exhorting when permitted or called upon. He was licensed to preach at Olive Branch Church, East Feliciana Parish on July 14, 1883.
As a local preacher he labored in this and in all the adjoining parishes as well as in the State of Florida. On December 7, 1890, he was employed as a supply on the Grosse Tete and False River Circuit. On December 16, 189!, he was admitted on trial in the Louisiana Conference, and was reappointed to Grosse Tete and False River Circuit. In December 1893, he was again appointed to the Grosse Tete and False River Circuit. On Decenber18, 1893, he was appointed to the Lower Coast Mission, and on December 7, 1894 was admitted into full connection. He was reappointed at this Session to the Lower Coast Mission.
Nearly half of the Conference year had passed away when he met a sad and untimely fate. On June 3, he fell out of a skiff into the Mississippi River and was drowned. His remains were recovered, and by loving and brotherly hands they were laid to rest at 8 o’clock Sunday morning, June the 9th in Wesley Church lot, near Daisy, on the Lower Coast.
His manner of preaching for years were chiefly hortatory and persuasive, frequently interspersed with personal experiences and adventures. Later in life, he acquired a more pronounced and positive manner. He denounced sin in the strongest and most un-compromising terms. While these blows fell upon the guilty sinner with terrible force he never feared any evil result. While he was regarded as eccentric, yet he never aimed to excite any undue mirth among his hearers. His success according to the popular verdict was remarkable, as measured by the number who claimed to have been converted by his preaching, exhortations and prayers. As a minister of the gospel he was thoroughly consecrated. He lived for the cause of Christ, he made great sacrifices for it, he advocated and defended it with all his powers of pathos and eloquence, and would have given his life for it had his Master demanded it. He was great in his goodness. The morning on which he met the last enemy, he seemed to be full of interest in, and plans for, the Mission he was serving; and was never seemingly happier in his loved employ. He literally died at his post of duty. A good and true man has fallen from our ranks to join the host of triumphant conquerors in heaven above.
Source: Journal of the Louisiana Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, 1895; Pages 39-40; By J. F. Scurlock

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