James Ransom Wilmeth
The Old Soldier Called Home
Wilmeth, well-beloved teacher and preacher of Texas fell asleep at his home near
Ebony, Texas October 30, 1919. Surviving him are his wife, Mrs. Clara Antonio
Wilmeth, eight chidren: A.C. Wilmeth of Snyder, Texas; J.B. of Fort Worth; J.R.
Jr., of Ebony; Mrs. Clara Miller of San Angelo; Mrs. W.T. Malone, Mrs. E.O.
Dwyer, both of Ebony; Mrs. JR Briley Of Dallas; and Miss Grace Wilmeth of
Austin; also twenty-five grand-children and seven great-grandchildren; two
sisters, Mrs. Annie Davis and Mrs. Martha McKinney of Gunter; one brother H.F.
Wilmeth of McKinney.
Brother Wilmeth was born in Lawrence County, Arkansas,
Oct. 17, 1835. The family moved to Texas and settled near where McKinney now
stands in 1846.
At the age of twelve, he obeyed the Gospel and was baptized by Brother Polly. In
1857, he went to college at Bethany, Va. He wore a suit which his mother had
spun and wove, cut and made with her own hands. He did janitor work and preached
that he might make his means go as far as possible.
While here he was a student of Alexander Campbell. When
he returned from Bethany, he married Miss Martha Florence Lowry, near his home
at McKinney, Texas.
He was very much opposed to the Civil War, but he
served as Chaplain and did much preaching to the soldiers.
On July 20, 1868, his wife died, leaving him with five
small children. After this, he traveled to Mexico, studying language and
customs, teaching and preaching among them. Also in company with his brother,
C.M. Wilmeth, he attended school at Lexington, Kentucky, where he finished his
school days. While there he was a student of J.W. McGarvey.
On June 15, 1875, at Bryan, Texas he married Miss Clara
He has taught and preached in many places and it seems
that every one loved him. We are constantly meeting those who knew him and loved
him years and years ago.
He taught in Add-Ran College at Thorpe Spring. He
taught at McKinney, at San Marcos, and many other places. His last teaching was
a Corinth, Arkansas where he assisted his brother, C.M. Wilmeth in a college
there. Since then he lived on his farm near Ebony, in Mills County, a quiet
little nook on the Colorado River, about twenty-five miles from Brownwood.
Here he lived a busy, active life. When he was at home
he was always busy about the place, or if he was too tired to work with his
hands, he rested by reading and writing. He read extensively and wrote some
publication. His mind was a wealth of useful knowledge.
He was a builder. He tried to build to the good of
future generations. He took great pride in his orchards and gardens and his
budding pecans. He liked to see things grow and improve.
He was poetic in nature, kind, and courageous. He did
not mind the hard things in life. He was humble. He did not seek honor of
himself. He walked the humble paths of life and mingled his life freely with the
lowly. He was always trying to lift his fellowman to a higher purer plane of
Geniality radiated from him as warmth from the
sunshine. Friend or stranger was always welcome within his gates and he made
himself a welcome guest wherever he might be. He mingled freely with the people
of his community. He taught in their homes and preacher far and near in their
churches and school houses. He advised with those who needed advice, comforted
those who needed comfort. He remembered the widows and orphans and was always a
friend to the needy.
He was not rich in this world's goods, but was always
rich enough to help someone else. I always thought of him as laying up treasures
He never gave up preaching entirely, although he had
grown deaf and feeble. Only last summer during a re-union at his home, he rode
horseback by himself seven miles to a little place called Ridge, to fill an
appointment. He came back Monday so happy because everyone had been so kind to
him, and even the little children had told him that he preached a good sermon.
In August, think, he rode horseback across the river to
New Hope, a little place near Richland Springs, to be with Brother A. Ellmore in
a meeting. He stayed during the meeting. Soon after he came home he took his bed
and was not able to be up any more. Hosts of friends poured in from day to day,
and when he was free from pain his mind was alert and he was eager to talk and
plan for the future.
This was a glorious year for him. The rains made West
Texas blossom as the rose. He called his children home Jul 10 for a family
re-union. His orchids were breaking with their loads and his gardens bearing an
abundance that could never be gathered. On the day of his death his gardens were
still bearing luxuriantly and his pecan trees bearing down their abundance.
Many friends gathered for his funeral. Brothers J.B.
Jones and Walter Cook both made beautiful tributes to his life and work. A man
who was modestly great; whose life was rich and ripe; a Christian faithful until
death, who loved his God with all his heart, his soul, his mind, and loved his
neighbor as himself.
Clementine Wilmeth Briley.
-Source: Matthews Papers, page 26,27
Directions To The Grave
Of James R. Wilmeth Sr.
James R. Wilmeth and family are buried
in the Ebony, Texas Cemetery. Ebony is located in a very rural section in Mills
County, in south central Texas.
From Waco: South of Waco on I-35N take the
SR340 Loop N toward the west. About one mile turn left on Woodway Dr. Hwy. 84.
and head out of town toward Goldthwaite. Head 85 miles into Goldthwaite. In
Goldthwaite you will come to split. Take Hwy. 15 to the left and cross over the
railroad tracks. Take a right on Hwy. 183/16. Go four blocks and turn left on
Co. Rd. 574 (Hannah Valley Rd.). Head out of Goldthwaite about 20 miles through
the little community of Regency. Take the third road to the right on CR-536
(Gravel Road), and head north. Go about one mile and turn left on CR-538. The
cemetery is on the right. Go into the cemetery and the Wilmeth plot it toward
direction across from the entrance.
From Brownwood: Head south on S. Main Avenue
(Hwy. 377). South of town head east toward Camp Bowie Military Reservation on
Hwy. 45. Hwy. 45 will cut toward the south. You will go through part of the
Military Reservation. Go south about 12 miles and turn left on CR-532 (Gravel
Road). Go about 2 1/2 miles to enter the Ebony Community. Turn south on CR-536
to Buffalo Community. Turn right on CR-538 and cemetery is on the right.
While in the cemetery, be sure to visit the grave of another gospel preacher of yesteryear, Don Vinzant.
N31º 28.824' x W98º 53.972'
or D.d. 31.480377,-98.899542
Grave Facing East
Accuracy to 14ft.
View Larger Map
Red Dot: Location Of Buffalo/Ebony Cemetery
A man who loved his God
with all his heart, his soul, his
mind, And loved his neighbor
James R. Wilmeth
Oct. 17, 1830
Oct. 30, 1919
A Minister Of The Gospel of Christ
June 3, 1853
June 24, 1939
She believed it more blessed
to give than to receive
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