February 22, 1829 - June 4, 1895
|Reverend Robert Parvin was born February 22, 1829, in Hawkins County, Tennessee. He professed religion and joined the Methodist Church in September 1847. He moved to West Tennessee and was appointed class leader in 1850. In 1852,he attended school at Camden Male Academy in Benton County, Tennessee. In 1853, he was licensed to exhort, and on the 23rd of September 1854, was licensed to preach. He was admitted on trial, as a traveling preacher, into the Memphis Conference on November 16, 1855, and at the same Conference was transferred to the Louisiana Conference.
He attended the session of that conference that met that winter in Bastrop, Louisiana on December12, 1855, and was appointed to the Harrisonburg Circuit as preacher-in-large. He reports on that circuit seventeen appointments to be filled in three weeks. Three hundred members were received into the church; five church houses built; and a large campground established, where he held a glorious camp meeting.
In 1857 he was appointed to the Chicot Circuit as junior preacher. After the first quarterly meeting, he volunteered to go to Calcasieu Parish, a territory then unoccupied by any preacher. And here he established a mission and held another campmeeting. He received into the church on this mission 112 members. On February 8, 1858, He was ordained Deacon by Bishop Pierce, and was appointed to the Natchitoches Circuit. On this work he held two campmeetings, and received into the church 120 members. In his diary be says: “I have traveled this year two thousand miles on horseback, and preached two hundred ser-mons.”
On February 18, 1859, he was ordained Elder by Bishop Andrew in Franklin, Louisiana, and the same year was appointed to the Lake Bisteneau Circuit. On this circuit he held another campmeeting and received into the church two hundred members. On the 24th of August 1859, he was married to Miss Anna J. Evens. He says: “I traveled this year two thousand eight hundred miles, preached four hundred sermons, and received three hundred and ten dollars quarterage.”
In 1860, he traveled the Columbia Circuit. Of this year he says: “I traveled two thousand miles, preached five hundred sermons, held a glorious campmeeting, and received into the church two hundred members.” In 1861,he was returned to the Columbia Circuit. This was the beginning of the War Between the States. He speaks of many difficulties in this year, but had a successful year. Held another camp-meeting, built a church, had many conversions, and received as quarterage eight bales of cotton, two hundred bushels of corn, and one hundred dollars in cash.
In 1862,he was sent to the Ion Circuit. Here he reports a good work, held another camp-meeting and received into the church two hundred and fifty members. In 1863, he was sent to the Pleasant Hill Circuit, and had a most successful year, and held another campmeeting. He refers to this as the most pleas-ant year of his itinerant life. In 1864, he traveled the Red River Circuit. Here he did a good work; received into the church two hundred whites and four hundred colored members. In1865, he was returned to the Red River Circuit. “This,” he says, “was a successful year.” He held three campmeetings, one of which was in the town of Mansfield.
In 1866, he was ap-pointed to a work in the Southern portion of the State, but on account of a sick wife and other circumstances, he could not go. The Caddo Circuit being vacant on account of Dr. Parker having returned to New Orleans, he was appointed by the Presiding Elder to that work. On the 30th of July 1866, his wife died in the triumphs of a living faith. He remained on the circuit only a short time after this event, but before leaving this work he held a campmeeting in Greenwood. He then visited Arkansas, held some good revival meetings, and was that Fall transferred to the Little Rock Conference and appointed, to the Lewisville Circuit for the year 1867, on which work he reported two hundred members added to the church.
On the 13th of October 1867, he. was married to Miss Jennie Ward, of Center Point, Arkansas. In 1868, he was returned to the Lewisville Circuit. In 1869, he was sent to the Princeton Circuit, and reported one hundred accessions to the church.
On the 1st of August 1869, his second wife died, leaving a babe only three hours old. In 1870, he traveled the Bayou Metre Circuit. At the close of this year he transferred back to the Louisiana Conference, and in 1871 he traveled the Pleasant Hill Circuit, and was returned to the same work in 1872.
During the years 1873, ‘74, and ‘75, he traveled the Farmerville Circuit, in 1876 the Indian Village Circuit, in1877 the Evergreen Circuit, in 1878 the Lisbon Circuit, in 1879 the Downsville Circuit, in1880 the Indian Village Circuit, in 1881 the Arcadia Circuit, in1882 the Farmerville Circuit, in 1883 and 1884 the Pleasant Hill Circuit, in 1885 the Grand Cane Circuit, in 1886 the Sparta Circuit, in1887 the Brushwood Circuit, in 1888 and 1889 the Gibbsland Circuit, in1890 and 1891 the Ringgold Circuit, 1892 the Vienna Circuit, 1893 and 1894 the Sparta Circuit, and in 1893 and 1895 the Valley Circuit. This was his last appointment on earth. He had his family comfortably situated in a home, which he had secured and paid for in Gibbs, Louisiana. It was not convenient to secure a home on the Valley Circuit.
Although his work was a long way from his home, with his usual zeal and fidelity to his Master’s cause, he resolved to fill his work from home. On his first round he visited nearly every family on his work, and that too amid the severest weather of last winter. For five months, through sleet, snow and rain, he filled every appointment. He was stricken down while on his work, but succeeded in getting home, where he took to his bed, never to leave it until the Master came for him and the angels conducted him to his eternal home and reward. His sufferings were great, but amid his greatest pain he would burst out in a shout of praise. To the very last he would sing and shout, his shout of glory was never more hearty nor sweeter than when uttered upon his deathbed. His death occurred at his home in Gibbs, Louisiana. June 4, l895. He was buried in the cemetery at that place. His funeral was attended by his bereaved family and a large concourse of loving friends.
One of our most useful members had fallen. We have not a man in our Conference whose labors have been more abundantly successful in winning souls for Christ. Coming to us in the prime of his young manhood, he has for forty years received appointments at the hands of the appointing power of our Church. He has traveled over nearly all the swamp and hill country of Louisiana and South Arkansas and preached Jesus and the Resurrection over all this country from the Gulf of Mexico to the southern counties of Arkansas. His name is a sacred memory in every household where he has traveled, and the savor of his ministry and life will tell upon generations to come throughout this country. Though not cultured there was a magnetism in him which attracted men to him, and gave him a hearing before the most cultivated assemblies. He always secured the attention of the members of this Conference on any suject which he chose to speak upon.
We shall miss him in our annual gatherings. But we have the consolation of knowing that he was ready for the Master’s call. A ripe shock, ready to be gathered into the Master’s garner.
|Source: Journal of the Louisiana Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South 1895, Pages 37-39, By Jno. A. Miller|