WILLIAM DAVENPORT was born in Oglethorpe County, Ga., September 8, 1796; and died in Campbell County, Ga., March 28, 1877. The subject of this notice was married to Miss Andrew (sister of our late bishop [James Osgood] Andrew), who still survives him, and with whom he lived a devoted husband, a bright and shining light in the interests of Church and country. He possessed in a rare degree practical common sense, and an inquiring mind, added to a fair education, that kept him well informed as regards the great political, literary, and ecclesiastical movements of the age. He liked to read. In his house the minister of Jesus could not only find a home, but books of theology and early Methodism. He was wise in counsel, and his great soul was felt in the correctness and cogency of his admonitions. To use his own language, he was "born with an unusually incredulous heart, and for several years made an honest effort to be an infidel." In 1824 he attended the Salem camp meeting, in Clarke County, Ga. At a night service, as he approached the stand, Dr. Lovick Pierce rose and with unusual emphasis read Charles Wesley's hymn, beginning, "Stay, thou insulted Spirit, stay," which produced a strange feeling in his heart. The text was Rom. xi:22 – "Behold the goodness and severity of God." When the sermon closed the last fragment of infidelity was gone, and he, for the first time seeing himself a lost and ruined sinner, knelt for prayer and called on God to be merciful. At that meeting he was converted, and joined the Methodist Episcopal Church, in the communion of which he lived a faithfull and useful member to the end of his life. His views of the plan of salvation were more than ordinarily clear and correct. Although brightly converted, he was often in great doubt and Darkness, which he ascribed to not coming to Jesus when he was a child. But withal, he had the true, Scriptural idea of trust in God. He was an invalid for about six years – for ten months confined to his bed. During all these years of gloom he wrestled in prayer to God for unmistakable assurance of his acceptance with God. Fifteen months before his death, when bathed in penitential tears at the mercy seat for the witness of the Spirit, he said, "If I have never again have it, and am finally lost, I will tell the enemy till doomed, I still trust God." O, how grand such faith! At last the cloud lifted, the shadows fled, and he exclaimed, "My God is reconciled," etc. He never had another doubt – praised God all the time- often saying "Hallelujah" – "Glory be to God" – "Happy, so happy" – "Bright, bright." He had always been devoted to the Sunday-school, the children, and young people, but now he exhorted them, and all who came near him, to meet him in heaven, and not to be discouraged though satan should pursue them to the gates of the city. He had reached "through great tribulation" faith's beatitude in sight of the Jordan, and there rejoiced in hope of an entrance being administered unto him that would be all the sweeter because of the afflictions. His departure was ecstatic. As the ship loosed its moorings he exclaimed distinctly, "Heaven, sweet heaven;" "Farewell;" "Glory, Glory:" and "was not, for God took him."
John M. Bowden [from the Wesleyan Christian Advocate (Atlanta), unknown issue in 1877] Shortened version ran in Southern Christian Advocate 5 Jun 1877.