Obituary of Elder James Harper

Died at his residence near Hersman, Ill., at 7:30 a.m., October 25th, 1886, aged 75 years, 10 months and 1 day. Thus one by one, the faithful soldiers of the cross are being called to their reward.

Elder Harper had not been well for some days, and on Tuesday evening, Oct. 19th, he sent for his physician, who found him suffering with obstruction of the bowels, and spent the night with him. During the day Wednesday, all reasonable efforts having failed to relieve him, two other physicians were called in for consultation with the attending physician in the evening. From that time until late in the day Friday, the most heroic efforts were put forth for his relief, in the face of the almost hopeless condition and circumstances, when the obstruction gradually gave way, and at midnight the pulse and temperature had dropped almost to the normal, and the patient was comparatively comfortable. Saturday afternoon, symptoms of inflammation manifested the presence of that dangerous complication; and all hopes of his recovery were lost.

During the day Sunday, unconsciousness came to his almost complete relief from the excruciating pain, and with but occasional signs of suffering during the last hours, he slowly sank into the sleep of death, surrounded by his family and friends, who ministered as far as human hands could do, to his every known want.

During his sickness, Elder Harper suffered most intensely; yet he murmured but little, and declared to his attendants that "The suffering of this present time is not worthy to be compared with the glory that shall be revealed in us." His lucid hours were spent in a great measure in repeating the comforting declarations from the word of God, and he often expressed himself as being ready to go at the Master's call. His humble, patient, christian life, and his fearless death, proves successfully the truth of the faith that he lived and rejoiced in for nearly half a century.

The deceased was born in Lewis county, Ky., Dec. 24th, 1810; removed with his parents to Champaign Co., Ohio, in 1828, where he grew to manhood, and was married to Miss Mahala Grover, in 1832. In 1835, he came to Brown county, Ill., and two years later moved onto the farm where he died.

His wife having died February 14, 1853, he was married to Miss Matilda Taylor, Dec. 20, 1855, who survives him.

During his residence in this county he was several times elected by the people to offices of trust and responsibility.

In 1844 he united with Mount Gilead Church of Regular Predestinarian Baptists, and the same year was chosen clerk of the church, which office he filled with credit for 25 years.

In 1863 he was licensed to preach, and chosen moderator of the church, which office he held at the time of his death.

In 1871 he was ordained to the work of the gospel ministry, and since that time he has been a faithful laborer in the Master's vineyard (until the past two or three years, having the care of four churches).

On Tuesday, Oct. 26, at 2 o'clock p.m., an unusually large concourse of weeping friends assembled at Mt. Gilead Church, and after reading the 5th chapter of II. Corinthians, and prayer by Rev. E. G. Moore, of the Presbyterian Church, the writer attempted to preach a discourse from the first verse of the chapter named above, which was spoken only in broken accents, but listened to with marked attention and tearful eyes by the waiting multitude. His remains were then laid away in the family burying ground. Our whole neighbourhood will feel keenly the loss we have sustained, and the whole church will long remember his faithful, earnest labors, and sadly mourn the loss of him who so earnestly worked and prayed for our peace and welfare.

Mt. Gilead Association will sadly miss him for he had been her moderator for more than a decade of years.

May he who is touched with a feeling of our infirmities be a God indeed to the almost helpless widow, causing her to lean on the strong arm of his grace. May the weeping children be comforted in his love. May the church be comforted by the presence of his Holy Spirit and the divine rays of his love shed abroad in our midst. Amen.

D. W. Owens.
Hersman, Ill.

(Copied from: Messenger of Peace, Macon City, Missouri, Tuesday, February 1, 1887. Vol. 13, No. 6, page 47.)

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