Rev. Joel Saunders was born in Concordia parish, La., January 26, 1814, was converted on the night of November 1, 1828, and on the day thereafter joined the Methodist Episcopal Church, under the ministry of Rev. Thos. Griffin of the Mississippi Conference. On the 17th day of July 1836, he was licensed to preach and was admitted on trial in the Mississippi Conference the following December.
His first appointment was to Concordia Circuit. The second year he traveled the Raleigh Circuit, at the close of which he was received into full connection and ordained Deacon by Bishop Morris. The third and fourth years of his ministry he traveled the Lake Washington Circuit and was ordained Elder by Bishop Andrew in December 1840. In 1841 he traveled the Natchitoches Circuit. In 1842 and 1843 he traveled the Caddo Circuit. In 1844 he was reappointed to the Natchitoches Circuit. In 1845 he traveled the D’Arbonne Circuit. At the close of this year, having received but one hundred dollars for the year’s labor, and no probability of paying his debts, he located. In 1846 he taught school. In 1847 he was employed on the Minden Circuit. In 1848 he was engaged in agricultural pursuits, and at the close of this year was readmitted into the Louisiana conference. In 1849 traveled the Red River Circuit. In 1850 the Bossier Circuit; in 1851 the Jackson Circuit; in 1852 he was Presiding Elder of the Shreveport District; from 1853 to 1856, inclusive, he was Presiding Elder of the Monroe and Ouachita Districts. In 1857 he was agent for Homer College and was Tract agent in 1858. He was on Grand Cheniere Mission in 1859 and 1860. From 1861 to 1863, inclusive, he traveled the Calcasieu Circuit. At the close of 1863 he was granted a superannuated relation, which relation he sustained to the day of his death.
Brother Saunders was twice married, first to Miss Muford in 1840. His second marriage was to Miss E. H. Ashley of Vernon, La., in 1867. He immigrated to Texas and settled in Cherokee county in 1865, in which state he continued to reside the remainder of his life.
Brother Saunders was a good man and a sound preacher; always zealous in the cause of Christ and ready to defend the doctrines of his Church.
He was in feeble health for a long time, but about six weeks before his death he began to fail very rapidly and fully realized the fact that his work was about done. While disease committed its ravages on his body it seems that his mind was unimpaired. He died in “great peace” and without a struggle August 1, 1883. Thus passed away another of the faithful laborers in the Master’s vineyard. Inn the death of Rev. Joel Saunders the Church has lost a good man and a faithful minister.
|Source: Journal Louisiana Conference Methodist Episcopal Church, South, 1883|