James W. Copeland
Submitted by:  Laurel Baty

Alabama Christian Advocate Thursday July 19, 1888

James W. Copeland was born in Yorkville District, South Carolina, on the 18th of May, 1800, and “fell on sleep” the 16th of June, 1888. My father was left an orphan in childhood, and went to Tennessee in 1818 and married Miss Elizabeth Anderson in 1820. He bought a home and settled in White county, near Heathley’s Camp-ground. Soon after marriage he and my mother became Methodists. John Kelly received them into the church and was always held in sacred remembrance by them. My father was an official member of the church till age required him to turn his responsibilities over to younger men. Then he gave advice and prayers to his brethren that was a benediction to them and to the church. Almost the last act of his life was to advise one of his grandsons how to make a good steward and class-leader. Like Paul, he held as a basic principle of religion , justification by faith; and like James, he emphasized his religion by works. In building churches, sustaining camp-meetings, feeding the multitudes, taking care of the poor, and looking after his preachers, he was ever prominent and active. Besides his own numerous family, he raised and educated nine orphans. No man was more respected by his neighbors and brethren. Such was his integrity that all honored him. The young men honored him as they honored Job in his prosperity, and went to him for counsel and encouragement. Although a man of positive convictions and free to express them, yet such was his kindness and liberality for others that he offended none. If he ever had an enemy I know it not. He was the soul of honor, and had no taste for shams. He grew in grace and perfected holiness. When age had dimmed his vision, enfeebled his step, cut him off from active duties, he grew into the rich, mellow sweetness of ripe Christian experience. He never soured, as some old men do, but like John, grew into an element of love that radiated all about him. But his life work is done. “His works follow him.” Three days before his translation brother and I received a telegram, “Come on the next train.” We knew what that meant. When we reached his room he was near the crossing. He took to his arms and glorified God that we had come. He was ready, and knew it; spoke of going to heaven as confidently as ever Paul did to Timothy. He left his blessings on us and slept quietly in Jesus. “He giveth his beloved sleep.” On Sunday morning at Forest Chapel, to a large crowd of worshipful friends, J. P. M. Woodall and his father preached an appropriate funeral sermon, and exhorted all to a life of piety and a home with “Uncle Jimmie” in heaven. Father, mother, six sisters and one brother are at rest. I am hastening on to meet them “over there.” A. G. Copeland



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