In Memory of W. H. Dawson
Long-time Kentucky Baptist Pastor
The Baptist Argus, 1908
At the funeral of Rev. W. H. Dawson, Thruston, Ky., March 30, 1908, Rev. Theodore H. Compton read the twenty-first chapter of Revelation; he also read from 2d Timothy, 4th chapter, 6-8th verses: "I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith," etc.
William Harrison Dawson was born near Thurston, Daviess county, Kentucky, November 30, 1841, being the second child of Gipson and Catherine Dawson. He went to school in the country, also in Owensboro. He studied Greek two years and learned Latin and some Hebrew. Was himself a teacher four years having taught one year in Whitesville High School. In his early struggles for an education while at the plow handle, he carried books in a sack strapped about his neck. He recited at night to his mother what he learned during the day's toil. At the end of life he possessed one of the best libraries in the county, besides having given away hundreds of books to young ministers.
On November 12, 1865, he was married to Miss Martha W. Howard.
His wife and four children survive him, two children having died in infancy. Those living are: J. Coleman Dawson, Owensboro; Dr. G. W. Dawson, Channing, Texas; Dr. A. W. Dawson, Stringer, Miss., and Miss Kora Dawson, Thruston, Ky.
Up to the date of his marriage Bro. Dawson was not a professing Christian. He, with great pleasure, attributes his decision for Christ to the influence of a Christian wife. He united with the Macedonia Baptist church April, 1866, was at once licensed to preach and on the fourth Saturday in June following ordained to the full work of the Gospel ministry. The ministers composing his ordaining council were: Elders Jas. M. Dawson, J. C. Maple and D. S. Colgin. For awhile he did supply work, but in March, 1869, he became pastor at Hawesville, Ky., for half time. He was noted for his long pastorates. He became pastor at Yelvington in 1875 and remained such until the end of his life. He held meetings at school houses, and destitute places adjoining his pastorates and became useful as an evangelist. In many of his meetings he numbered accessions by the score; at times by the hundred.
He kept a daily journal giving his life in detail, the completest diary I have ever seen. In his ministerial life, in fact, in all life, he was the best organized and most methodical man I have ever known. Some fourteen months ago he was stricken with partial paralysis. The attacks recurred with increased violence until on Sunday, March 29, at 9:30 a. m., he passed away quietly surrounded by his family.
In his ministerial work he traveled 175,000 miles, made 43,000 pastoral visits, preached 8,000 sermons, preached more than 1,100 funeral sermons, baptized 1,500 people and married 800 couples. He was a hard student, a discriminating scholar, analytic and homiletic as a preacher, broad in his sympathies, but deep and uncompromising in his convictions, a loyal husband, a fond and loving father, a sincere and helpful friend, a patriotic citizen, a universal benefactor, a stalwart Baptist, a devout Christian.
The best known and most loved citizen of his county while he lived, and will be most missed and best remembered now that he is dead.
To know him was to love him, to speak of him was to praise him. The pools and streams in which he baptized the multitudes will go dry, the church houses he has dedicated and in which he preached will crumble, but the name of W. H. Dawson will live when the hand of time shall have woven the meshes of decades and the network of centuries about his tomb.
[From The Baptist Argus, April 16, 1908, p. 31; via Baylor U. Digital documents. Scanned and formatted by Jim Duvall.]
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