Friday, September 12, 2008

This Week in Texas Methodist History September 14

Seth Ward Dies in Kobe, Japan September 20, 1909

Bishop Seth Ward, the first native Texan to be elected a Methodist bishop, died on September 20, 1909 in Kobe, Japan. His body was returned for burial in Glenwood Cemetery in Houston.

Ward was born in Leon County in 1858. He joined the North West Texas Conference in 1881 and was appointed to the Corsicana Circuit. He progressed rapidly through the ranks and transferred to the Texas Conference. After the Galveston Storm of 1900 he successfully united St. John’s and St. James’ into First Methodist Galveston (later renamed Moody Memorial). He served in a variety of administrative positions. While serving the MECS as Assistant Mission Secretary, he was elected bishop at the 1906 General Conference meeting in Birmingham, Alabama.

Junior bishops were often sent to hold the mission conferences since it was assumed they could stand the rigors of travel better than the more elderly bishops. Ward was thus assigned to hold the China, Korea, and Japan annual conferences. He died in Kobe, Japan, on his second tour of the East Asian Conferences in 1909, before completing his first quadrennium as bishop.

His widow, Margaret South Ward survived him by more than 50 years. She died in Beaumont in January, 1960. She, too, was buried in Glenwood Cemetery.


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