Clarence L. Wilkerson
The Life Of C.L. Wilkerson
This brother holds a place among the great preachers of the church, and likely had no superior among his contemporaries as a Christian. Brother W. B. Ragsdale said, "Perhaps no man was able to blend a great work and a pure life more beautifully than he." I heard Brother Wilkerson through two meetings at Walnut Ridge and Jonesboro, Arkansas. He produced his lesson with enthusiasm, putting his whole soul into the sermon. Brother Rue Porter called him a Masterful Preacher, saying in the Memorial Number of the Christian Worker of March 10, 1949, "I think it was in 1918 that I first met C.L. Wilkerson. We were both young preachers at the time, and I soon discovered that he was such a man as I both wanted and could be absolutely confidential with. Through the years that friendship and confidence grew and came to be a reality. Well educated, he was to me the best critic and the friendliest of all those who have helped me so much . . . . I never heard him utter one word which would be out of place in the pulpit. It was as a pulpiteer, however, that he was most attractive to me. I have never yet heard a man whose choice of words was more appropriate. His manner and style were without any objectionable feature."
Brother G.K. Wallace said, "As a preacher, C.L. Wilkerson had few superiors. He understood an audience's situation, he knew how to make an appeal to more people to the obedience of the gospel, also, Brother Wilkerson knew his lesson."
Brother Clarence L. Wilkerson was born July 26, 1888, at Wheeling, Arkansas. A graduate of Salem, Arkansas high school, he taught school one year; and, being under the influence of Brother S. C. Garner, entered the County Line Bible School to prepare to preach the gospel. After two years attending this school he entered Thorp Spring College, Thorp Spring, Texas. Already his preaching was a marked success. To further his work he next attended the National Teacher's Normal and Business College (now Freed-Hardeman University) for two years.
In 1915, on the recommendation of Brother S. P. Fields, who was a classmate at County Line Bible School, he conducted a meeting for the Johnson and Dale congregation in Springfield., Missouri. He liked it there and enrolled in Southwest Missouri State College and continued in it for two years. The brotherhood began to realize his great power for Christ and began to call him from far and near for gospel meetings. His name became known in all directions in Northeast Arkansas.
In 1920 he married Miss May Freeman of Springfield, Missouri. One daughter blessed their home, Mrs. Janice (Wilkerson) Edwards.
Brother Joe H. Blue said, "I have known Brother C. L. Wilkerson ever since he was born. He grew up in the neighborhood where I was raised. He was one of the purest boys in every way I have ever seen. When E. M. Borden baptized him at the age of sixteen (1894), some of the neighbors said to Brother Borden, 'You preach that baptism is for the remission of sins. We don't know why you baptized that boy; he never had any sins.' He was one of our best preachers. He was a fine speaker and could preach the gospel in all its simple truths. He was very careful in his language. It was only pure English at all times. He was very clean in his dress. In all my travels I never heard one word said against his life, manners, or his preaching. Truly he was a Christian in every way."
Visible results number thousand's baptized by this great preacher. Brother J. B. Barnett declared he heard a person ask Brother Wilkerson one time how many people he would baptize in a year's time when at his best. The answer was, "I never have kept a record, but I would suppose about a thousand per year." Eternity alone will reveal his good work of faith and labor of love.
Brother Wilkerson was a staff writer for the Christian Worker and also contributed many articles to the other brotherhood papers.
The last extended meeting of Brother Wilkerson seems to be in Charleston, West Virginia in 1947. He departed this life on February 15, 1949, at Springfield, Missouri having lived just a little more than three score years, but he was privileged to preach the Gospel for more than forty years.
In accordance with his own wishes, his body was placed in the Mount Comfort Cemetery near Springfield to await the resurrection.
-Arkansas Angels, E. Boyd Morgan, pages136-138
Clarence L. Wilkerson, one of our truly great preachers, was born at Wheeling, Arkansas on July 26, 1888. He enjoyed better educational opportunities than many of his contemporaries. After graduating from the Salem High School, he taught school for one year, then entered the County Line Bible school, then under the direction of S.C. Garner. He spent two years at County Line, then attended Thorp Springs College in Texas. He next attended the National Teacher's Normal and Business College in Henderson, Tennessee. (Now Freed-Hardeman University). He stayed here for two years and later did two more years of college work in the Southwest Missouri State College in Springfield, Missouri. Here he earned the B.S. degree.
He obeyed the gospel under the preaching of E.M. Borden, Sr. at the age of sixteen. Late in his life Brother Borden told me of that baptism. He said that each morning he would meet an old atheist in the Post Office when he went for his mail. The old gentleman would ask each morning about the services the previous evening, and ask about who was to be baptized that day. (Most baptistries were in the creek, and often there would be a baptismal service each afternoon.) On this day he told the old gentleman that he was to baptize Clarence Wilkerson that afternoon. The atheist asked why. Brother Borden replied: "for the remission of his sins." The atheist responded, "That boy ain't got no sins." This attitude was shared by many who knew Clarence Wilkerson. Soon after his death, Rue Porter wrote of him: "I think it was in 1918 that I first me C.L. Wilkerson. We were both young preachers at the time, and I soon discovered that he was such a man as I both wanted and could be absolutely confidential with. Through the years that friendship and confidence grew to the very end of life. Well educated, he was to me the best critic and the friendliest of all those who have helped me so much... I never heard him utter one word that would be out of place in the pulpit." (Ark. Angels, by Boyd Morgan)
In 1920 he was married to Miss May Freeman, of Springfield, Missouri. One child was born to them, Mrs. Janice Edwards. Sister Wilkerson still lives in Springfield. (1975)
His preaching took him into all parts of the nation. I first became acquainted with him when I was a boy in Washita County, Oklahoma. He was called again and again to various churches in that area and perhaps held more meetings in Washita County than any other preacher. Thousands of people learned of The Lord and His way through his preaching and were persuaded to obey Him. Once when he was asked about the number he had baptized, replied that he had kept no records, but that he had baptized about a thousand people a year. I do not know how many of these lived in Western Oklahoma, but many of them did.
In 1915, on the recommendation of S. P. Fields, a class mate at County Line, he conducted a meeting for the Johnson and Dale Street church in Springfield, Missouri. He liked it there, and soon Springfield was his home base. He attended college there, married there, and made it his home for the rest of his life. He never did any "local work." I do remember talking with him about it, and he expressed a preference for the meeting work in which he was so effective. Another factor that entered this decision was that he and his wife decided they would rather stay in Springfield than be moving from time to time, as men do who engage in "local work". Like all men who have to be away from home much of the time, he felt this sacrifice very keenly. In 1935 he was with us in a meeting in Sayre, Oklahoma while his companion lay seriously ill at home. It was with great difficulty that he stayed with the meeting. Only those who have made such sacrifices for The Lord can appreciate the meaning of them.
In his work, Arkansas Angels, Brother Boyd Morgan speaks of his character and quotes several men who knew him well. In
this vein he reports Brother W.B. Ragsdale as saying: "Perhaps no man
was able to blend a great work and a pure life more beautifully than
he." Rue Porter said: "It was as a pulpeteer, however, that he was most
attractive to me. I have never yet heard a man whose choice of words was
more appropriate. His manner and style were without any objectionable
feature." G.K. Wallace said: "As a preacher, C.L. Wilkerson had few
superiors. He understood an audience's situation, and he knew how to
make an appeal to more people to the obedience of the gospel . . . Also,
Brother Wilkerson knew his lesson." The last expression from Brother
Wallace is one with which all who heard him would agree, for he knew and
preached The Book. Brother Joe H. Blue said: "I have known Brother C.L.
Wilkerson ever since he was born. He grew up in the neighborhood where I
was raised. He was one of the purest boys in every respect that I have
I heard him preach in many meetings, and as long as he lived I took advantage of every opportunity to hear him. The last meeting in which I heard him was with the Eighth and Lee St. church in Lawton, Oklahoma. He had been in poor health for some time and felt keenly the fact that he was "not up to par," but his preaching was still far above average. In the autumn of 1948 I stopped in his home in Springfield to visit him. He had had another stroke and could not speak. He could hear and understand. He had not lost his keen and wonderful sense of humor. Though it was with great difficulty, he reminded me of a little joke we had enjoyed some years before. This was the last time I saw him. After a long illness he was called from this life on February 15, 1949 at the comparatively young age of sixty. For more than two thirds of his life he had faithfully preached The Word. He was not only a great man in the pulpit, he was also a writer of unusual ability, serving The Christian Worker and other publications. Boyd Morgan thinks his last meeting was in Charleston, West Virginia. At his request, his body was laid to rest in the Mount Comfort Cemetery near Springfield.
Truly he was a great man and preacher, and though dead, "yet speaketh."
-Gospel Preachers Of Yesteryear, Loyd L. Smith, pages 423-425
The Christian Worker Reporting C.L. Wilkerson's Death
The Life Of C.L Wilkerson
Clarence L. Wilkerson was born July 26th, 1888 at Wheeling, Arkansas. He departed this life February 15th, 1949 at Springfield, Missouri, having lived just a little more than three score years.
He graduated from high school in Salem, Arkansas. After finishing high school he taught school for one year. Being encouraged by S. C. Garner to be of greater Service to humanity, he entered the County Line Bible School for the preparation of becoming a gospel preacher. After attending this school for about two years, he then entered the Thorp Springs College, in Thorp Springs, Texas. During these years of schooling Brother Wilkerson had already begun to preach, and that with marked degree of success. However, he wanted to better prepare himself for this great task so he entered the National Teacher's Normal and Business College (now Freed-Hardeman College), Henderson, Tennessee. He continued in this school for two years. Upon the completion of his studies in the above named school he came to Springfield, Missouri in 1915. He did his first preaching in Springfield by holding a meeting for the Johnson and Dale congregation. Being recommended by one of his old school mates of the S. C. Garner school, Bro. S. P. Fields, who was doing local work for this congregation. After he came to Springfield he entered the Southwest Missouri State College, and continued in it for two years. All of this schooling and training ·he received prepared him for a very successful gospel preacher. The brotherhood soon realized he was a power for God and began to call him far and near for gospel meetings. His labors have carried him into many of the forty-eight states, though not all of them, and he gave himself to the task unreservedly. He was privileged to tell the "Sweetest story ever told," for more than forty years. Many precious souls have been led to the Christ through his splendid preaching.
He was married in the year of 1920 to Miss May Freeman of Springfield, Mo. To them was born one daughter, Mrs. Janice (Wilkerson) Edwards. His companion and daughter still survive him. He want was the last of his immediate family to pass away. His brother, John Wilkerson, jus.t having passed on about six weeks before him.
Brother Oscar Ellison, of Springfield, spoke words of praise, commendation and comfort to the bereaved at his funeral.
Some did not save their flowers especially to bedeck his casket, but gave them while he lived, by saying to him, "Clarence there will be nothing to say at your funeral for you have done so much good, said so many good things in your lifetime." These were indeed words of truth.
His body was: placed in the Mount Comfort Cemetery near Springfield, as that was his wishes, to wait the resurrection day. "Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labors; and their works do follow them."
(Information furnished by Sister Wilkerson, arranged by J. B. Barnett).
Source: Christian Worker, March 10, 1949. pages 1,8.
Eulogy Of Joe Blue
Another great and good man has gone to rest. I have known Bro. C. L. Wilkerson ever since he was born. I well remember the night he was born. He grew up in the neighborhood where I was· raised. He was one of the purest boys in every way I have ever seen. When Brother E. M. Borden baptized him at the age of sixteen, some of the neighbors said to Bro. Borden, "you preach that baptism is for the remission of sins. We don't know why you baptized that boy, he never had any sins." He was one of our best preachers. He was a fine speaker and could preach the gospel in all its sample truths. He was very careful in his language. It was only pure English at all times. He was very clean in his dress. In all my travels I never heard one word said against his life, manners, or his preaching. Truly he was a Christian in every way. He loved me as a father and I loved him as a son. I heard him say a few years ago, since his father and uncle died, there was1 not a man on earth that he loved any more than me. He was willing at all times to tell me his problems. I can't understand why such a pure, great, and good man has to die, but we will understand it better some day. He leaves a very fine wife and daughter to mourn his going. --Joe H. Blue.
Source: Christian Worker, March 10, 1949. pages 1,2.
Extended Sympathy In The Pages Of The March 10, 1949 Issue Of Christian Worker
We have been saddened by the death of our beloved friend and Brother, C. L. Wilkerson and wish to extend sympathy to his loved ones. We know by the work he did in God's service while here, tho he be dead his works will live on. While his passing is a great loss Heaven should be dearer to all who knew him.
-Mr. and Mrs. E. H. Wood, Granby, Mo.
We are very sorry that his work on earth is over, but rejoice that he lived a life of true service to God and that he is now happy in a greater way. Bro. Wilkerson is remembered by many here, in and around Cordell, Oklahoma. He was here in several meetings, and baptized one of my daughters, Margaret Ann, in about 1928. We all loved him, and our sympathy is with his family and friends.
-Mrs. A. H. Williams, Sr.
We were very sorry to hear of the passing of Brother C. L. Wilkerson. He was a good man and a great preacher. He conducted several gospel meetings for the Liberty Church of Christ. He made his home with me and wife while at Belle, Mo. It was a pleasure to have him in our home and he will be missed by many.
Christians all over this land feel keenly their loss in the passing of Brother C. L. Wilkerson. As a Christian he was1 loved because of his. godly life. His influence will continue to live in the hearts and lives of many. As a preacher of the Word he was loved because of his earnest, sincere, and effective presentation" of the Gospel. Many will remember him as the one who led them to Christ, or who brought to them greater realization of the meaning of the Christian life.
Though we are sad at his passing and the loss it brings to his loved ones, and to the cause of Christ, we are happy in our faith that for him it "is far better," that he has departed "to be with Christ."
-Herbert M. Broadus.
------------I have known Brother C. L. Wilkerson, since the year 1923. In fact, I lived next door to him for some five or six years. The church has sustained a loss that can never be replaced, for there was only one C. L. Wilkerson. He had great enthusiasm for the truth, and preached it with power, putting his whole soul into sermons. I am thankful this morning for two things: First. In the year 1923 he baptized Miss Marie Shaddy, who later became my wife. Second. During the past Christmas holidays I was permitted to visit with Brother and Sister Wilkerson in their home, for some two or three hours. We extend to Sister Wilkerson and the family our sincere sympathy.
------------The announcement in the Christian Worker this last week of the death of Brother C. L. Wilkerson was sad news to me. Brother Wilkerson was one of the great- preachers of the church. He was a real Christian gentleman, kind, humble, and yet loyal and true to the Bible. The church has suffered a great loss. I personally miss his counsel and encouragement. While I served with the church at South National in Springfield, he was a great help and inspiration in what I tried to do. May God bless Sister Wilkerson and her daughter in this hour of sorrow.
God has taken from us for a short time only, the personality and fellowship of a great evangelist, who accepted fully the responsibility of his high profession and discharged it scrupulously yet gently and without offence.
We shall remember him as one adorned with a beautiful Christian character, humble, gracious and refined.
He left a definite impression upon the lives with whom he had contact, and was universally admired and loved by all who knew him.
We look forward to the time when we will be re-united with Brother Wilkerson and other Saints who have gone to be with Christ for-ever-more.
-John E. Kirk
------------Our hearts were made sad when we read the announcement of the passing of our beloved Brother C. L. Wilkerson. We have known him for many years. In fact, since he started to preach perhaps he preached his first sermon where we worshipped. As we lived within five miles where he attended Bible school under the teaching of the late S. C. Garner at County Line, Arkansas near Bakersfield, Missouri. We have a son preaching in Parsons, Kansas who was named· in honor of Brother Clarence Wilkerson. He had been in our home many times. While Bro. Wilkerson was in high school he was baptized into the one body and some of his class mates made the remark "that is one person that has no sin!' to remit or repent of. That was in Salem High School in Salem, Arkansas. To know him was to love him. Let us so live that we may be able to meet him in the great beyond.
Since about 1930 I had known Brother C. L. Wilkerson. For nearly eleven years I lived in his home town of Springfield, Misr10uri. Like all others who knew him, I loved him for the great and good· man that he was. He was pure in speech and life, both in the pulpit and out. His presentation of the truth was without compromise, yet in harmony with the admonition of the apostle Paul, he was always found "speaking the truth in love." In his parsing the Cause of the Master has suffered a distinct loss. May the rich blessings of Him whom he served rest upon those whom he left behind.
His pen is dropped, his voice is stilled, His smile we see no more, But may we think 'twas what God willed, Till we meet ort yonder more.
-Fred H. Williamson.
------------With great sorrow we read the report of the passing of our Beloved Brother C. L. Wilkerson. I first met him in 1921 and from then on he was a genuine source of encouragement to me as a gospel preacher. Brother Wilkerson and I have spent many hours together. We were called to County Line, Arkansas after the passing of S. C. Garner, to prepare Bro. Garner's library for sale. Brother Wilkerson will be greatly missed and his passing makes all of us realize more fully that death is abroad in the land and soon we too will follow on, because it ·has been appointed unto man to die. May God help us live in that way and manner so that we can stand on the right hand with Brother Wilkerson and hear the great judge say, "come" enter into the eternal city prepared for all the faithful, is my prayer.
------------I want to join with those in the special issue who remember Brother Wilkerson for the great work he accomplished as a gospel preacher and devout Christian. Brother Wilkerson came to West Virginia to help the congregation as 618 Virginia Street in Charleston during two series of meetings. His last meeting here in May of 1947, I believe, was his last extended preaching. During this meeting 5 were added to the church and several were restored. He labored at this time under the severe handicap because of his high blood pressure. He would be concerned before each service as to whether he would be able to preach acceptably. He experienced difficulty in remembering his Scripture quotations, but carried on to the end of what the church here believes was a very successful meeting. I personally loved and respected him for his sincerity, his devotion to the work of His Saviour, and his splendid ability to illustrate the lessons he gave so carefully. He had the ability to make one want to listen and follow closely as he developed the lesson. Truly, he gave to the very limit of his physical endurance before, of necessity, withdrawing from active work.
------------I was grieved to hear of the passing of our dear friend and brother Brother C. L. Wilkerson. It was my privilege to assist in the song service for two meetings in Bristow, Oklahoma with Brother Wilkerson doing the preaching. We will remember him as a great preacher, a kind and loving friend and Brother. Our greatest sympathy is extended to his family.
------------I first met Brother C. L. Wilkerson in 1923 while I was a student in County Line Bible School. He was on his way to a meeting and came by to visit the school. He had already spent two years in this school. He made a beautiful talk at the chapel exercise on the subject: "Buy the Truth and Sell It Not." From this first meeting until the day of his death we were warm friends. He helped me much along the way and some of the best sermons I have, I am indebted to him for much of the material. Of all the men I have ever known he was the cleanest physically, morally and spiritually. I was deeply grieved when I learned of his going. Another one of our very best preachers is gone. Yet, he truly bought the truth and did not sell it. May God bless his bosom companion and children.
------------When I read the sad news of Brother C. L. Wilkerson's passing I thought. What a pity that men like him could not have lived many more years to herald the Gospel in that efficient manner that was so characteristic of him. I only enjoyed the pleasure of meeting him one time while he was engaged in a meeting in Moody; Missouri a few years ago. I shall never forget the impressive lesson he delivered that afternoon and the very sacredness that prevailed while he baptized two young ladies immediately after the service. I shall always treasure the memory of him and his humble manner of pref1enting the lesson. I have read many articles that he wrote to our many Gospel Magazines and all of them with much profit. We shall miss him sorely and his splendid lessons both from the pulpit and through the press. May God help us to fill the vacancy caused by the call of this Faithful Soldier of the Cross and may God bless and comfort the hearts of his loved ones.
Bro. C. L. Wilkerson was a Christian in the Biblical sense of the term. A Christian is a member of the Lord's church. A Christian will suffer and work in the Vineyard. A Christian will be pure in doctrine and life. As far as it was humanly possible to judge he possessed all that God required of His children. His reward of eternal life is certain.
I considered him among the greatest of preachers. His knew people, he knew the Bible, he knew how to present his lessons with force, and he knew to practice what he preached. I considered his judgment equal to any in regard to church affairs. Only one week before his passing I was meditating upon a conversation I had had with him about church problems. I was wishing I could sit down and talk with him some more about the same things. Those worries are no more his. I hope to dt with him on the eternal shore, not to converse about terrestrial troubles; but to enjoy celestial bliss.
Wife and I extend our sympathy to the bereaved family.
- Judson Woodbridge
------------C. L. Wilkerson has been a long time special friend of my family. He and my husband were old preacher friends for years. When he came to hold a meeting near us he made our home his· home, also as each loved to be together and he baptized six of my children into Christ, and we as Christian friends really had· a great love for him, and when I heard of his passing in the Christian Worker it caused me to mourn the loss of a much needed gospel preacher. But our loss is heavens gain and I know of his long time faithful service in the Marter's1 vineyard. He was loved by all that knew him and was a faithful soldier of the Cross to help save lost souls. What a wonderful life to lead in the Lord's work. Hope to meet him and my dear companion that preceded him by nine years. But the Lord knows how to call on the rest his faithful ones that have served Him here below, and will receive a reward over yonder where sorrow never comes and no more death, but life evermore with God and Christ and all the redeemed of earth.
It is possible for humble men to be great. It is possible to be strong in courage to fight against sin, yet meek in such a mightinesr1. Surely this is true with our late Brother C.L. Wilkerson.
For over twenty years it has been my privilege to know him and esteem him for his work's sake. In person he was clean; in preaching he was powerful; in the hearts of the thousands he will always have an abiding place. Many who had never seen his face, nor heard his persuasive eloquence, will treasure the work of his ready pen.
It was a pleasure to be on a writer's staff in company with such men as Bro. Wilkerson. His articles as well as his sermons always rang true to the Book. His contributions to the columns of the Christian Worker as well as of other papers among us., will bear fruit in years to come. Though departed from us., he still speaks to us, and will continue to urge us on toward the goal he has attained. It has been our privilege to be in the home of Brother and Sister Wilkerson and to appreciate them as hospitable hosts. May the Lord bless the good wife and daughter and sustain them in the memory of his faithfulness to God, his graciousness to his family, and his loyalty to the gospel he m much loved to preach.
-A. C. Williams.
------------I thought Bro. Wilkerson one of our best preachers, and one of the best preachers, and one of the most sincere, Christ men I have ever known, a man who lived his religion, as earnestly as he taught it.
In November 1936, he preached in Columbia, Missouri for two weeks and made his home with us. It was truly a pleasure to have him in our home and to be taught many truths by him in daily conversation.
My husband, Mr. Forbis, who passed away, September 20th last, felt the same love and appreciation for him that I feel. Brother Wilkerson was in Columbia last August 5th and expressed great pleasure in the work and progress being made by the new congregation (Paris Road Church of Christ).
While in the meeting in Columbia Bro. Wilkerson baptized my granddaughter, who joins with me in there few words of tribute to the memory of this good man.
-Mrs. J. W. Forbis and Betty Chandler, Granddaughter.
A MAN OF GOD GONE HOME
Clarence L. Wilkerson was a Christian! He impressed me as being a man of God with every single association with him. He conducted two gospel meetings in Springdale, Arkansas, in the years passed, He was neat as an ermin (sic) in body and in his dress. His personality was influential. He was pure in speech in his preaching and writing. He spoke fluently and rapidly; yet, one could scarcely detect a single flaw in his use of the English language. He preached the gospel of Christ in its fullness and very plainly, but with love and kindness. He was a man of firm convictions and preached his convictions. He was a world factor for good. The church of our Lord has profited greatly and the world is made better by the life of Brother Wilkerson. I knew him well, loved him much, and fondly hope to meet him on life's other -Eide. I believe a great man of. God has gone home to rest! With strong courage let us carry on with the work of the Lord that he loved so well!
-James L. Neal.
------------Brother Clarence L. Wilkerson and I were children together. We lived on farms in sight of each other and one-half mile apart near Wheeling, Arkansas. We played together in childhood; and when we were young men we rode together morning and night, a distance of six miles to Salem High School and sat on the same seat during the day. He helped me with my English and I helped him with his mathematics. He has stayed in my home a number of meetings since while conducting meetings in the towns where I have lived. He usually stood at the head of his classes and commanded the respect of all the boys and girls in school. To know him was to love him, and to live with him was to "be a better man. He was clean in person, thoughts, words, and deeds. His life was an inspiration to many a soul in this world that cause them to live closer to their God. I think of him in the words of the Master when he said, "O such is the kingdom of heaven." Brother Clarence loved and preached the gospel of our Lord in simplicity and firmness; but was always considerate of the feelings of those in the audience. He was an excellent speaker, round in the faith, and lived the life of a Christian. We have lost a great and good man in the church.
------------My heart was made sad as I heard of the passing of Bro. C. L. Wilkerson. Bro. Wilkerson was a faithful servant of Jesus Christ, and a splendid gospel preacher. He was also a long time acquaintance of my parents. And when I came into the world thirty-six years ago, my parents gave me the name of Clarence because they thought so much of Brother Wilkerson. Since I began to preach the gospel, there has been a number of times when I ran up against problems I could not solve, being young in the gospel. Brother Wilkerson gave me a helping hand with his good advice or an answer to any question but he always found time to help. I am 'confident that many will mourn his passing and he has left footprints on the sands of time that will not be erased from the hearts of those who knew and loved him. Many have been led to the truth by his efforts and the world has been made a better place in which to live and worship God, as a result of his influence. We pray that his good wife and daughter my find consolation as they remember the wonderful life that he lived, and the willing service that he rendered to the King of kings. Truly he was a great servant of the Master and God has lost a true soldier. The last time I was with him he expressed his sorrow to think he had to give up that which he loved most. May God give the kingdom of Christ more men like Brother Wilkerson.
The report of the passing of Brother C. L. Wilkerson came as a grievous shock to those of us who have known him and of his work through the years. A great defender of the word of God and a life of unusual influence in a world of sin, has quietly laid his armour down and gone to receive his reward and crown. The greatness of life here cannot be determined by the span of years, but rather by the use made of opportunities given. Time with its changing seasons will never be able to erase the influence for Christ of this life of this great and good man. May the hand of love guide us all until we may clasp his hand again in the sweet by and by.
-A. H. Bryant.
Brother Wilkerson had been a faithful gospel preacher for the past forty years. Thousands have obeyed the gospel under his excellent preaching. This writer heard a person ask him one time, "How many people he would baptize in a year's time when he was at his best?" The answer' came right back, "I never have kept a record, but I would suppose about a THOUSAND PER YEAR." Thus eternity alone will reveal hist good work of faith and labor of love.
There were approximately 400 people who gathered at the funeral parlor to pay their last respects to our Beloved Bro. Many of those who viewed his body for the last time were people in the Ozarks whom he had led to Christ and had baptized with his own hands. Truly we can say as did David of old, "Know ye not that there is a PRINCE and a GREAT MAN fallen this day in Israel." A vacant place was left in the front lines of the thickest of the battle in his passing. Not only a vacant place in the front lines, but also in the home, and in the hearts and lives of those who knew him. This writer has been in homes and held meetings where Brother Wilkerson has been in years gone by, but never have I heard anything but praise for him. Not one word, but what he was TRUE to the BOOK and always conducted himself as a Christian gentleman, and was courteous and kind to all. Many, MANY, were the friends of your friend and mine, Brother Clarence L. Wilkerson. "Precious in the sight of the Lord is the DEATH of his SAINTS." (Psalms 116:15.)
-J. B. Barnett
Almost twenty years ago, when I came to Wichita, it was my pleasure to become acquainted with Brother C. L. Wilkerson and to hear him preach. As a man C. L. Wilkerson was among the best. He was clean and pure in heart and life. He -had a good family, of which he was. proud, and made good provisions for them. His family always lived in good clean, neat surroundings and had the things that are necessary for good housekeeping. Brother Wilkerson was neat in his appearance, very punctual in his appointments and kind and considerate with all who heard him. Yet, he was firm, in bis convictions and taught the truth without compromise. His good wife and daughter, who so loyally stood by him through the years that he preached, will miss him more than anyone else. But his loss is not only a loss to a true wife and beloved daughter, but to the church of the living God.
As a preacher Brother C. L. Wilkerson had few superiors. He understood an audience's situation; he knew how to catch the attention of his hearers and to hold it; he knew how to lead the audience in the study of the word of God; he knew how to make an appeal to move people to the obedience of the gospel also, Brother Wilkerson knew his lesson. When he stood before a body of people he knew what he was going to say and his lessons were always couched in the very finest language; his diction was always correct. He had a great selection of words and could use them in the finest way to impress his lessons. He was true to the Bible and taught the Bible. A lot of preaching today is about the Bible. Bro. Wilkerson spent his time teaching the Bible. His sermons abounded with numerous scriptural quotations, with their correct application to his subject.
The loss of this great man to the church of the living God can hardly be replaced. Our loss is heaven's gain. It was far better for us and the church if he could have remained in health and vigor to preach the gospel, but for him it is far better that he has gone to be with his Lord.
Young preachers of today would do well to think carefully of the life and character of this good man and pattern theirs after him as he shaped his after Christ.
To his good wife and daughter we extend our sympathy, in this great hour of trial.
TRIBUTE FROM A FRIEND
Though it had been nearly five years since I had seen Brother C. L. Wilkerson in person, and though I knew by recent communication from his good wife that death was not to be unexpected, the news of his passing cast a pall of sadness over my soul that the days which have since intervened have not lifted. It seems that I feel his absence from the earth as sensibly as if he had been taken from my home. While we have not been intimate over the years as have been some men, I know of no one for whom I have had a greater and more abiding respect. I first heard him in a gospel meeting at Greenway, Arkansas, while I was still a barefoot boy. He impressed and inspired me then, and has done so ever since. Every opportunity that I have had to see him and hear him since then has been used to that end. At Rector, Arkansas, where he held many meetings, he often stayed in the parental home of my wife. And it was while in Rector to see and hear him that I first met her. Largely through his recommendation, I was employed to labor some years ago with his home congregation in Springfield, Missouri; and while I was there was the period of our greatest intimacy, the associations of which I shall always cherish.
I know of no better language to describe Bro. Wilkerson than that used in Holy Writ of Barnabas: "For he was a good man, and full of the Holy Ghost and of faith" (Acts 11: 24). Though none of us are absolutely perfect, and as compared with the perfection of God even Brother Wilkerson mw-t have fallen quite short, yet he seemed indeed sinless when compared with his fellows. It is reported that when in young manhood he was baptized in the name of Christ for the remission of sins, someone remarked that that boy had no sins to be remitted. Unexcelled in immaculateness of dress and in accuracy of use of the English language, he was none the less pure in thought, word, and deed his entire life through. His whole heart was set on serving his Lord and Master, whose spirit he imbibed to an unusual degree, and in whose word he had implicit and unwavering faith, which was manifest in all his preaching and in his personal conversations. His goodness, his spirit, his faith, coupled with his rare ability as a speaker. Made him one of the great preachers of his generation. Eternity alone can reveal the good that his years upon the earth have accomplished.
Through the death of such a man saddens us because of our own loss. It is a blessed experience for him, according to Revelation 14:13, and a precious thing in the sight of the Lord, according to Psa. 116:15. Hence we should not grieve as those who have not hope (1 Thess. 4:13). If he could speak to his faithful wife and loving daughter he would my to them, as well as to the rest of us who mourn his passing, in the language of his Savior and ours, "Weep not for me, but weep for yourselves, and for your children" (Lk. 23:28). Wherefore, let us be comforted, and give diligence to make our own calling and election sure as we believe he made his.
-Cecil N. Wright.
Directions To The Grave of C.L. Wilkerson
From Springfield, Missouri travel north on State Highway H about 5 miles until it intersects with State Road KK. Continue on KK 9/10 mile where KK curves to the right/east. Turn right/south on Farm Road 66, 3/10 of a mile to church and cemetery on right. The address is 2376 Farm Road 66, Springfield, MO 65803.
GPS Location Of Cemetery
or D.d. 37.326388, -93.247427
Mount Comfort Cemetery
Apr. 11, 1895
July 26, 1888
Feb. 15, 1949
Grave Photos taken by Tom L. Childers