Rev. George Mathews Liverman was born in Jefferson County, Ala., December 29, 1838, and died March 3, 1889 in Meridian, Texas.
Bro. Liverman was the youngest child of Jonathan Liverman, Sr., by a second marriage with Martha, daughter of James Boyd, a Revolutionary soldier of 1776. When in his ninth year Bro. Liverman lost his father by death, the following autumn his mother removed to Tuscaloosa County, where he received a part of his primary education; but in less than a year his mother (who had lost her house meantime by fire) moved to Newton, Miss., and four years later to Scott County, Miss. In 1854 his guardian (a Mr. Metcalf, of Scott County) arranged for his education in view of his becoming a teacher. The triumphant death of his Christian mother in 1857 greatly affected young Liverman. Three months thereafter, while at school, he was converted; in October of the same year joined the Baptist Church (that being the church to which his parents belonged), and was immersed by Rev. W. A. Hudson. Soon after his conversion Bro. Liverman felt his call to the ministry. At the same time he was impressed with the importance of a finished education as a necessary preparation for that high calling, but while he was planning to accomplish this purpose the late Civil War put an end to all hope in that direction for the time. In the spring of 1861 he enlisted in the army of the Confederacy and was mustered into service in Company E, Sixth Regiment, Mississippi Volunteers, which after drilling a few weeks was sent to the front. When the Sixth Regiment was holding a position at the battle of Corinth, under a galling crossfire, Bro. Liverman was among the remnant of eight-four which, of that large regiment, had not been swept from the field; and that exhausted and battered handful of men made two gallant charges upon the enemy the same day on which they had been so decimated, in one of which he was wounded by a shell. But soon recovered, he was subsequently in the battles of Shiloh and Port Gibson and the bombardment of Port Hudson. He was twice a prisoner of war, taken first to Alton, Ill., and next to New Orleans and Ship Island.
During the war Bro. Liverman continued the religious life that he had entered upon three years before. The company prayer meeting and the chaplain’s services at headquarters were fresh in his memory till the end of his life. During a halt, when forming the line of battle on April 3, 1862, he wrote on the leaf of a blank book as follows: “If I get killed, I am perfectly resigned to the will of God. I know I am born to die, and if it is my lot to fall in battle, I know the debt is paid. I do feel that I am at peace with my God and need not fear being harmed by the enemy. . .If I get killed, I want this book sent to my brother in Scott County, Miss., and I close, if for the last time in life, feeling and believing that I have discharged my duty before God and man.”
After the surrender, Bro. Liverman returned to his home with a shattered constitution and suffered the effects of the strain upon him to the end of life. In the summer of 1865 he taught school, but was so deeply impressed that he was “divinely called to the work of the Ministry” that he could not rest. As a member of the Baptist Church there were insuperable difficulties in the way of obtaining license to preach, owing to his avowed opposition to close communion, and his belief that people ought to be baptized according to the dictates of their own consciences. He said: “While these were my honest views, to have made the confession required in order to obtain license would have involved a falsehood. I could not do it.” Under these circumstances he made a formal application for a letter of withdrawal, which was refused, and the refusal accompanied by a threat of expulsion for heterodoxy if he persisted in the views above stated; but as no other charge or complain accompanied the refusal, the Congregational Methodist Church (the only Methodists in that part of Mississippi at that time) accepted it as an admission that his moral character was good and received him into fellowship. In the fall of 1865 he entered Cooper’s Institute in view of further preparation, and on September 1, 1866, he was licensed to preach. On May 12, 1867, he was married to Miss Lavina Y. E. Jones, of Jasper County, Miss. In the summer of 1868 he was called, and in September of the same year ordained elder and appointed to the Smyrna and Union Seminary Churches. In the winter of 1869-70, desiring to make a more full and complete consecration of himself to the ministry, he wound up his affairs and pastorate and joined (on recognition of his orders) the Mississippi Conference, Methodist Episcopal Church, South. He served the Holmesville and Magnolia circuit in 1870, the Rankin circuit in 1871, and Forest circuit in 1872. In December, 1872, he was transferred to the Louisiana Conference, and has served the following works, viz.: Floyd and Delhi circuit in 1873; Floyd circuit in 1874; South Bossier circuit in 1875 and was elected principal of the Fillmore Male and Female Academy but was continued on the same circuit in 1876 and traveled the North Bossier circuit in 1877. During this year he was called to mourn the loss of his first wife. He was appointed to De Soto circuit in 1878 and 1879. In 1879 he completed the beautiful church in Keachie, which is an ornament to the village and a monument to his memory. He was married February 25, 1880, to Miss Nannie Hungerford, of Keachie, La., and traveled the Caddo circuit in 1880 and 1881, Evergreen circuit in 1882, and Coushatta circuit in 1883. In 1884 he was superannuated.
Bro. Liverman was a man of great earnestness and worked to the extent of his ability to the last. His fervency and pathos in prayer could not fail to impress and carry with him to the throne of grace everyone who loved the Lord Jesus. His sermons were thorough and expository and were delivered with an earnestness that stirred the souls of his congregations. The confidence and respect of all classes gave him a power for good among his acquaintances which few possess. His life was a blessing to the community in which he lived. The news of his death created a profound impression at Keachie, where he had resided during the last six years of his life. The congregation assembled at the memorial service held for him was one of the largest ever seen in that place. Bro. Liverman was frank, fearless and faithful in the expression of his views and in vindication of the doctrines of the Bible. He was a man of faith and fellowship with God. Many times during the months preceding his death he spoke freely of the fact that his work was done and the confidence with which he looked forward. He said: “For the sake of my wife and children, I should like to live if it is God’s will; but he knows best, and it’s all with him. His will be done.”
A widow and six children mourn the loss of one who was the light of his own home as well as a model for his neighbors. It was not the privilege of his family to be with him in the last hours of his life, but the oft-repeated experience of his “acceptance with God, and readiness to die at any time,” compensates for the absence of dying testimony. His last hours were clouded by unconsciousness.
|Source: Journal Louisiana Conference Methodist Episcopal Church, South, 1889|