Long-time pastor of 19th century Louisiana Methodism
Rev. Robert James Harp was born in Lawrenceburg, Tennessee on April 29, 1829. He felt the call to preach at the young age of fourteen. He was licensed and preached at the same age. His ministry was to last for seventy-one years. He transferred to the Louisiana Conference in 1846, when he was appointed to the Caddo Circuit. He started Shreveport's first temperance society. He moved southward, serving Alexandria and Baton Rouge before being appointed to Thibodaux. While pastoring a church in New Orleans, he married Miss Agnes Pennington on September 23, 1869. They had three daughters.
Rev. Harp had been working on the history of the Methodists in south Louisiana. Unfortunately, all of his notes were burnt in a fire. If not for that fire, we would have an extensive history of 19th century Louisiana Methodism from someone who was there.
He was a true example of the itinerant minister, having served around the state over a distinguished career. He was an intelligent, unselfish, and gentle man. One of his family said that he could not even think evil. He lived the thirteenth chapter of first Corinthians. It was said that if Methodist ministers could ascend to sainthood, Rev. Harp would be placed at the head of the line. He passed away in Shreveport on July 24, 1914.