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Sunday, August 3, 2014

1903 :: Death of Rev. Fred L. Allen

Rockdale, Tex., Aug. 2. -- Rev. Fred L. Allen died at his home in Rockdale on yesterday afternoon in his 68th year. He had been in feeble health for some time, but the immediate cause of his death was from a carbuncle on his face, which almost wholly destroyed one side of his face. He was a member of the Texas conference of the M.E. Church for over thirty years, where he served as pastor and presiding elder. He had resided and labored in Rockdale for a number of years, where he was held in high regard. His remains were taken in charge by the members of Camp Sam Davis, of which he was a member, at his late residence, at 10 o'clock and escorted to the M.E. Church, where the funeral services were conducted according to the ritual of that church. His remains were then taken in charge by the Masonic fraternity and interred under the ceremonies of that lodge. Dallas Morning News, August 3, 1903 

Frederick Lowery Allen was born of Christian parents in the state of Georgia, February 5, 1835, and died at his home in Rockdale, Tex., August 1, 1903. He came of a sturdy old stock, and is much indebted to his ancestors for the strong characteristics that made him a strong, manly man. His grandfather, William Allen, was in the Revolutionary War, and was badly wounded in the battle of Yorktown, and was left on the field for dead: but the God who watches over us even in battle and time of need brought him out of his peril, and partial recovery followed; but he never entirely recovered from his desperate wounds, and died in the prime of life. His parents were not converted until after they had resting on them the cares of a family, but from the time of their conversion they were devoutly pious.

In a brief sketch of his life written by himself, in speaking of his early life he said: "My first recollection of my parents as religious people was in a love feast at Shiloh Church In Fayette county, Georgia. I was then about four years old. The strange feature of that scene left its impress on me, as I could not understand how religion made them cry and rejoice at the same time. Thank God, I understand it now." It is not strange that with parents who prayed in the home and rejoiced in the love feast, and who made so much of their religion, their children felt its power, that he should have been led in early life to give his heart to God. At nine years of age he joined the Methodist Church, but even earlier than this he said he enjoyed religion. When twenty years of age he felt called to the ministry, but like many others fought against duty and tried hard to escape its behest. He left his home three times and started out into the great West hoping to leave duty behind, but just as often God's Spirit followed him and led him back.

In 1861 he entered the Confederate Army, and for four years he endured the hardships and privations of a soldier's life and came out of the war without a wound, and with the honors and confidence of his comrades, having been promoted to the captaincy of Company F, Third Georgia Cavalry.

Of his fight against his call to preach, through all these years of trial, exposure, and danger, he says: "No one knows, except the called to this work, how much intense anxiety and mental anguish I suffered." But at last grace conquered, and he made a full and complete surrender to the work in which he lived so long and wrought so well. He was licensed to preach November 11, 1865, and was at once recommended to the Georgia Conference for admission on trial. When admitted he transferred to the Texas Conference, but reached the seat of the Conference after it had adjourned, and was employed by Rev. I.G. John, presiding elder of the Austin District, as supply on the Winchester Circuit.
From that year, 1866, to the time of his superannuation, in 1901, he was one of the most faithful, active, and consecrated members of the Texas Conference. No charge was considered too unimportant to enlist his most earnest efforts; on the circuit, in the station, on the district, he was the same earnest, faithful, painstaking "minister of the word."

He served the following charges: 1866, supply on Winchester Circuit, and reappointed to the same charge for 1867-8; 1869-70, Webberville Circuit; 1871-3, Cedar Creek Circuit; 1874-6, Bastrop Station; 1877, Austin Circuit; 1878, Bastrop Station; 1879-80, La Grange; 1881-2, Huntsville Station; 1883-6, Calvert District; 1887, Bremond and Reagan; 1888, Davilla Circuit; 1889-90, Cameron District; 1891-4, Calvert District; 1895-6, Franklin Station; 1897-9, Rockdale Station: 1900-1, Willis Station.

At the Conference of that year after thirty-five years of loyal and uncomplaining service to the Church, he was forced by declining health to ask for a superannuated relation, and allow his younger and stronger brethren to push the battle. He retired gracefully and with a Christian spirit, and waited in good hope till the Master called him up higher.

Brother Allen married in 1868 to Miss Celinda Whipple, of whom he wrote in his private diary: "A better helpmeet no itinerant preacher ever had." She shared with him the lights and shades of the itinerancy for nearly thirty-five years, and how much she helped him we will never know till we see "face to face." Three children blessed this union, all of whom survive him, his oldest son, Beverly, being an honored member of the Conference.

Brother Allen's preaching was earnest and effective; he spoke with authority, and seemed never to doubt his call or the sacredness of the message that he was commissioned to preach. His ministry was not barren and fruitless, but strong, earnest, and successful. The years he was presiding elder were years of widespread revival influence. He led in many a meeting that was crowned with wonderful success, and the districts were wrapped in revival flames from one end to the other. At the Conference held at Huntsville in 1901 he had to retire from the active work, and returned home to wait for his transfer to the Great Conference above. 

Soon after getting home he sent to the Texas Christian Advocate a very touching little piece, headed "I'd Do It Again." In it he spoke of the years he had spent in the ministry; the toils and privations, the hard places and the easy ones, the lack of sympathy, the times of discouragement and misjudgment; what he had given up and what he had suffered for his Lord and Master, and closed by saying, "If I had my life to live over, I'd do it again."

Blessed heroic spirit, known only to those who serve their Lord and love their fellow-men. His work is done. He rests from his labors, and has gained the crown. May we also be ready. 

Minutes of the Annual Conferences of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, for the Year 1902 (Google eBook) Methodist Episcopal Church, Southern Methodist Publishing House, 1902

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