William Erskine Stevenson

Parkersburg Daily State Journal
December 3, 1883

Dust To Dust

The Last sad rites paid to the memory of Ex-Governor Stevenson

An impressive funeral a large outpouring of the people Universal sorrow manifested for the deceased The largest funeral audience ever gathered together in a Parkersburg Church.

Sunday dawned clear and cool. A beautiful day in which to lay to rest in the city of the dead the earthly remains of our honored and beloved citizen. Ex-Governor Stevenson. The hour set for the public exercise was two o'clock at the Methodist Episcopal Church. Long before the hour arrived the Church commenced filling up with friends and neighbors from the city and all parts of the county and every available seat was occupied and the aisles filled with chairs and then many were unable to obtain seats or even admission to the Church. It was one of the largest audiences ever assembled in a church in this city and profound sorrow was manifested on all sides. Many strangers from abroad were present. The Mayor, City Council, and city officials, attended in a body.

At the house at half-past one the family and a very few intimate friends were assembled. Rev. Dr. Carter made a brief but beautiful prayer, and the family took their last look at the departed, after which the following gentlemen, acting as pall bearers, placed the casket in the hearse: Governor Jackson, Ex-Governor Boreman, Judge Okey Johnson, M. C. C. Church, Judge George Loomis, General Van Bukey, T. T. Davidson, and Capt. W. A. McCosh. The immediate members of the family present were the widow, Mrs. Stevenson; the son, Orlando Stevenson, wife and children; Andrew Stevenson, Thomas Stevenson, Mrs. Beattie, (brothers and sister of the deceased); Miss Jane Clotworthy, sister of Mrs. Stevenson; John Stevenson, son of Andres, and nephew of the deceased. Among the most intimate friends was Miss Hinckley, who was regarded as a member of the family.

The sad procession arrived at the church promptly at two o'clock, and proceeded up the aisle to the solemn strains of the organ, presided over by Mrs. O. G. Scofield. On arriving at the chancel the casket was placed parallel to the pews. Inside the chancel rail, on stands, were two large floral offerings, a crown of exquisite workmanship, made by Dudley Brothers, and presented by a near friend of the family's here, and a pillow sent from St. Louis with the word "Uncle" in violet flowers upon the white background. A magnificient [sic] floral design, a sickle and a bundle of gathered grain, was received on the cannon ball from Pittsburg friends, but too late to place in the chancel. On the casket lay a cross from a city friend.

The services were opened by Rev. Mr. Hughes of the M. E. Church, in charge of the services, who announced that the opening hymn would be read by Rev. R. A. Gibson of Trinity Episcopal church. The hymns and the scripture selections, the addresses, pall bearers, choirs, church, in fact all arrangements were made as per the request of Governor Stevenson before he died. He arranged for all the details of his funeral. Rev. Mr. Gibson then read Cowper's beautiful hymn, "god moves in a mysterious way." The Baptist and Methodist choirs, consolidated, then sang it in an impressive and beautiful manner.

Rev. W. A. Powell, pastor of the 1st Presbyterian church, then read the passages of scripture selected for the occasion.

Rev. Dr. Warner, of the U. B. church, offered up a fervent prayer, after which Rev. F. B. Carroll, of the M. E. Church, South, read the next hymn, "Nearer My God to Thee."

Rev. Dr. Warner next followed with a finely worded address full of exquisite feeling. It was a model of taste and one of the most appropriate funeral discourses we ever listened to.

Rev. Mr. Hughes, of the M. E. church, after a few explanatory remarks, proceeded to read the statement prepared by Governor Stevenson, (which we publish elsewhere) He read it with a clear voice and in an impressive manner. He was breathlessly listened to. With a few remarks in regard to Ex-Governor Stevenson's labors for good and alluding to the fact that his last public address was delivered to the children of the M. E. Sabbath School last July he closed.

Rev. F. B. Carroll then offered a heartfelt prayer closing with the Governor's favorite, "The Lord's Prayer." Rev. J. D. Clark of the M. E. Church then read the last hymn, "In the Sweet Bye and Bye."

After this hymn had been sung an opportunity was given to gaze for the last time upon the face of the dead Ex-Governor and for forty minutes a steady stream of friends passed by the casket.

The funeral procession was then formed and proceeded to Riverview (Cook's) Cemetery where the interment took place. The services at the grave were short but impressive. Rev. Mr. Carroll read a few lines of appropriate Scripture; Rev. Mr. Hughes committed the body to the grave, "Earth to earth and dust to dust;" Rev. Dr. Warner offered a brief prayer and Rev. Dr. Carter pronounced the benediction.

The friends then left the cemetery and repaired to their homes.

Too much praise can not be given to all who took part in the services and especially to Messrs. Bentley & Gerwig, the undertakers, whose considerate thoughtfulness placed family and friends under deep obligations.

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