Rev. Dr. Franklin Patton, whose obituary appears elsewhere in this issue was the first native of Missouri to enter the Presbyterian ministry. He was a rare man – of superior gifts, of unusual acquirements, of wide reading of sterling common sense – a most kindly, devoted faithful servant of Christ, whom he loved supremely and whose gospel he preached with eloquence and power. F.
Oh tread softly here,
In silent grief approach, yet stay
A soul of meekness,
In hallowed sweetness,
Once dwelt within this clay.
Death has again entered the portals of the Presbyterian church in Dardanelle and in this instance, oh, how sad dissolving the earthly the relation of pastor and people.
Doctor Franklin Patton, the venerable and beloved pastor of the church, quietly passed away to a higher reward at his home about 9 o'clock on the morning of the 4th of March, 1895 at the age of seventy-five years. He died of pneumonia after a period of ten days illness and patient suffering. He was faithfully attended by family and friends and competent physicians kept constant watch by his side but,
"Leaves have this time to fall
And flowers to wither at the north wind's breath
And stars to set, but
Thou hast season for thine own, oh Death"
He fell asleep as a child, apparently without pain and his gentle spirit ascended to Him whom he so greatly loved and to whose glory his life for fifty years had been solemnly and faithfully dedicated.
The subject of this sketch was born in Franklin County, Mo. January 5, 1820.
Bereft of his father at the early age of ten years, he entered bravely upon the battle of life. Fond of books, he determined to secure an education and, mainly by his own exertions, he was enabled to pursue his studies at Marion College, Mo. While there, in 1844, he confessed Christ and united with the Presbyterian church. Going thence to Mississippi, he taught a while, and then entered the Western Theological Seminary at Allegheny, Pa. He began his ministry in 1848 and continued in the harness, according to his expressed desire, until he was seventy-five years old. His first charges were Hopewell, Lebanon and Sarepta churches in Mississippi. In 1857-9, he preached at Cape Girardeau, Mo., and then returned to his first field which he occupied twelve years. After this, for ten years, he had charge at Tupelo, Mississippi.
In 1881 he removed to Helena, Arkansas and after serving that church acceptably for one year only, removed to the town of Clarendon on White River and at Holly Grove for a period of about three years. In 1885 he removed to this place, Dardanelle, accepted the pastorate of this church and commenced his work here about the first of March of that year and for ten years went in and out faithfully and acceptably before his people as its pastor never for once diminishing ?eat and love for the work before him. His great love for the salvation of souls shone out in his whole nature and in every department of church work. During his long ministry he was directly instrumental in the erection of a number of church buildings, the last of which was the Washburn Memorial church at Russellville, completed a few years ago. His efforts in this behalf were untiring.
He lived a circumspect, honest and upright life in pure and simple consecration to God. His daily walk before the church and before the world was very a bright and living witness of gospel truth, and a constant invitation to come to Jesus.
Dr. Patton was a learned man, a polished scholar of high attainments, possessing a simplicity of eloquence rare and remarkable, and with all these richly endowed with all the Christian graces which make the perfect man. He was not a stranger to humility, and loved meekness. He loved his family, loved his church, his people, the cause of the Christian religion, fervently and was ever ready to bear witness in every good word and work. He was universally beloved and respected by all who had the good fortune to know him. That fact was fully attested by the large concourse of people who came from far and near to attend his obsequies. The funeral services were conducted by Rev. M. M. McKay, of Ft. Smith, assisted by Rev. Mr. Green, of Russlelville.
Dr. Patton was married in 1852 to Miss Martha McCord of Mississippi who bore him seven children of whom three and their mother survive. The daughter, Mrs. Bettie Ervin is the wife of Rev. S. B. Ervin of Mexico, Mo. Dr. Joe A. Patton, the older son, resides at Evansville, Ark. and John, the younger, lives with his mother. This bereaved family has the heartfelt sympathy of not only the church but also the whole community and while we bow submissively to the divine will of the great Creator in this sad affliction, we would not hide our sorrow, but bear our grief in silence and in prayer.
"We will be patient and assuage the feeling
We may not wholly stay,
By silence sanctifying, not concealing,
The grief that must have way."
Sill white face of perfect peace,
Untouched by passion, free from pain
He who ordained thy work should cease
Took to himself the ripened grain" G.
The publication in which this obituary appears is unknown.