Frank Grasson Davis, Clay Chapel's Dead Missionary
Hundreds, and possibly thousands,
of persons have ascended the bluff on top of which the church stands,
and have passed by the grass-grown mound neath which Clay Chapel’s
missionary hero rests, wholly unconscious of the proximity of the sleeping
dust of one, whose life story, briefly told is this:
Frank Grasson Davis was the oldest child’ of Grasson
and Celicia Davis and was born June 16, 1844, at the old Grasson Davis homesteads
now occupied by B. H. Ingels and standing about one-fourth mile above the mouth
of Raccoon creek and half as far back from the Ohio river. Here he passed his
boyhood days in very much the same manner as thousands of other country boys
of that period. At eleven years of age he passed through that strange experience
in spiritual life which is known among Methodists and some others as “conversion,” the
more proper term being “regeneration.” It is better understood perhaps,
if called “a change from an irreligious life to a religious one.”
From an early youth he heard the command of the Master, “Go
ye into all the world and preach my gospel to every creature.” But like
many others, he shrank from the burden of responsibility imposed upon all who
would obey. The only possible result followed. He because backslidden in heart,
and continued in that condition until between sixteen and seventeen years of
age, when after wrestling: with his stubborn will for
more than a fortnight,
he exclaimed, “I’l1 preach,” and lo, the light broke in upon
his once-disobedient soul, and he was henceforth the
Lord’s own servant, and the bearer
of good tidings to many of the earth’s sin-laden, sorrow-burdened
Rev. Joseph Griffith gave him his license as an exhorter,
which was in 1866 or 1867. He graduated from the 0. W. U. at Delaware, Ohio.
There lies before me now, his first license as a local preacher.
It reads thus:
LOCAL PREACHER’S LICENSE.
TO ALL WHOM IT MAY CONCERN.
This certifies that F. G. Davis,
having been examined by us concerning his gifts, grace and usefulness,
we judge that he is a suitable person to be licensed as a Local Preacher
in the Methodist Episcopal Church, and we accordingly authorize him
to preach the Gospel, subject to the requirements of the Discipline
of said Church.
Signed by order of the Quarterly Conference of Gallipolis
Circuit, in the Gallipolis District this 2 nd day of September 1871.
JOHN T. MILLER,
On the back of the above license
is found this endorsement:
“Renewed by order of the Quarterly Conference of Downie’s
Grove Circuit, Chicago District, Rock River Conference, Sept, 14, 1872.
W. C. DANDY, P. E.”
While serving in the Rock River
Conference he attended school at Evanston where he graduated in about
From Evanston he went as a missionary to India, where he spent
nine years in assisting like heroic spirits to hide the leaven of the Gospel
in the meal of a sin-cursed nation, a partial result of which, is the present
out pouring of the thousands of India’s millions from the heathen temple
with its idol worship, to the humble Methodist chapels with their intelligent
worship of him, who is the light of men.
Lack of space forbids a general description of his arduous
labors “on India’s coral strand,” but it is enough to say that
at the end of the nine busy years, he came home broken in health.
While in India he had married a Miss Mary Carey, of Catskill
on the Hudson, New York, who was then also a Missionary in India.
After the long voyage to his native land, he stopped for three
month’s at the home of his wife’s parents. But he longed for a sight
of the “beautiful Ohio,” and a clasp of the homestead hands, so to
his ‘Buckeye’ home he came. The Ohio washed her banks with the steamboat
waves as of yore, and the music was sweet to his ears. The old hills crowded
his mind with thoughts of boyhood days, and the memories were pleasant to his
soul. The homestead door opened as of old, and as he crossed the threshold loved
ones welcomed him again to the sacred altar, the table, and to rest, and his
cup of joy was full.
This was on Friday. Saturday came and went and old neighbors
clasped his emaciated hand. Sunday, with its country quiet came on, but he was
too weak to seek
the temple of worship. Monday dawned, and ere its son was
hid, he had passed from earth to be forever with the Lord.
They laid him to his long sleep just in front of the church
where Jesus spoke peace to his soul, and there his body has moldered back to
mother earth to be called again to life when time shall forever cease to be.
His wife was mother to four little ones, who, had he lived,
would still have had an earthly father. Their names are Dora W., Amy Eliza, Frank
Carey, and Willis Brooks-aged respectively nineteen, eighteen, seventeen and
fifteen years. Their home is at Ocean Grove, New Jersey, where the brave mother
has educated or is educating them, supporting herself meanwhile by teaching and
by canvassing for books. Surely such heroic work ought to move the people here
to erect a suitable monument to the memory of one whose record.
Note: At this point another page is missing from the original book.
The next page begins with an incomplete sentence.
passages of Scripture, pertaining to the same.
As I turn its soiled and worn leaves, I think how often the
hands now moldered to dust, turned the pages in search of the truth; how often
the eye, whose luster is gone, lit up with joy when it perceives the much-desired
truth; and how frequently the voice, now hushed forever in death, uttered that
truth to those whom the providence of God placed under his care. My soul thrills
with joy at the thought of his entering into the city of God, and the words of
Charles Wesley float out of the sea of memory as a fitting tribute to our dead,
but living, heroes:
|Servant of God. “well done!
Thy glorious warfare’s past;
The battle’s fought, the race is won,
And thou art crowned at last.
Of all thy heart’s desire
Lodged by the ministerial choir
In thy Redeemer’s breast.
With saints enthroned on high,
Thou dost thy Lord proclaim,
And still to God salvation cry,
Salvation to the Lamb!
0 happy, happy soul!
In ecstasies of praise,
Long as eternal ages roll,
Thou seest thy Saviour’ face
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