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Rev William Webb Bays
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Birth: Aug. 25, 1839
Russell County
Virginia, USA
Death: Oct. 10, 1916
Mecklenburg County
North Carolina, USA


“Was One of the Greatest
Preachers of the South”
Says Friend— Died at Age
of 77 Years and After Service of Over Half Century to His Church — Biographical.

After a life of more than half a century of active work In the church which he honored and loved. Dr. William Webb Bays died last night at 7:30 o'clock at his home, 501 North
Church Street, at the age of 77 years, following a brief illness of two weeks duration.

Dr. Bays had been sinking for several days and friends and members of the family realized yesterday that the end was close at hand, yet the death of this venerable minister was so peaceful that that it was hardly possible to tell when the last spark of life flickered and went out and the calm spirit took its departure. It was the death of a righteous man and one who was well assured of his calling and had no doubt as to his future, believing serenely to the very end in the guiding Hand that had been his stay and support through many long years of labor and service.

With Dr. Bays when the end came last night were his wife and daughter, Miss Mamie Bays, and his eldest brother, Rev. H. W. Bays, of Sumter, S. C.

Pending the arrival of the only son, W. W. Bays, Jr., who is on his way from California, the funeral arrangements have not been announced.

Dr. Bays and his beloved wife had recently celebrated their golden wedding and fiftieth anniversary, and the occasion was one of many felicitations and well-wishes from friends and acquaintances scattered over many states.

Of Dr. Bays a leading Methodist minister said today: "He has been a member of the General Conference, has served on various boards, has been a great church-builder, and one
of the greatest preachers of the South."

This tribute was representative of many that were heard today concerning the life and labors of this man of God who has fallen on sleep. Dr. Bays' life was an inspiration and was devoted so completely to the service of his Master that other things with him were of secondary importance, yet he knew what the charm of life was and understood how to get the best out of the everyday life. His death will be a great loss to his church and age.

Biographical Sketch.
William Webb Bays was born in
Russell county, Va.. August 25, 1838, his parents being James Joseph Bays and Mary Webb Bays. He was educated in the common schools of his day and later attended school at Elk Garden Academy, and then went to Emory and Henry College in Virginia.

On September 11, 1866, he was married to Miss Harriett Henritze, of Lebanon, Va.

Dr. Bays was converted and became a member of the Methodist Church in 1856 and was licensed to preach two years later. It was in 1867 that he applied for admission and was received into the Holston conference which embraces parts of Tennessee, North Carolina and Virginia. It was in this conference that his largest service was rendered. He served first on Independence circuit in Virginia, then at Wytheville, Va., then at the following points; Lenoir City, Tenn.; Bristol, Cleveland; First church, Chattanooga; Broad
Street. Knoxville; Central Church, Asheville; then as residing elder of the Knoxville district, and later of the Chattanooga district. Following this long term of service In Tennessee and western North Carolina Dr. Bays was sent for four years to Rome, Ga., in the North Georgia Conference, and later to the Little Rock, Arkansas, conference.

Dr. Bays then returned to North Carolina and served as pastor of Tryon Street church, this city, and was then
made presiding elder of the Statesville and later of the Salisbury district of his church.

Member General Conference.
Dr. Bays was also sent by his church as official representative at the general conference and has served on many boards and other bodies having charge of church philanthropic work.

Dr. Bays Is survived by his wife and two children, Miss Mamie Bays, or this city, and William Bays, who is connected with the Interstate commerce commission in Washington. The son was in California when his father died and has been telegraphed for. Four brothers also survive, these being James H. Bays, Emory, Va.; Silas J. Bays, Oakland. Cal.; Rev. John U. Bays, Valley Head, Ala., and Rev. H. W. Bays, D. D., who is presiding elder of the Sumter district In South Carolina.

Dr. Bays received the degree of doctor of divinity from Hiawassee College, and also from Emery and Henry
College, in Virginia.

Was Great Worker.
That Dr. Bays was an indefatigible worker is evidenced by the long term of service which he rendered to his church, 62 years. His labors are also shown by the large number of appointments which he filled during his active life, there being 17 of these. Many of these 62 busy years were spent in the office of presiding elder, a task both responsible and demanding the closest and most painstaking attention. But In all of these various fields of labor Dr. Bays listened only to one voice, and his dally walk and life were reckoned as the best proof of his fidelity and of his strong faith, a faith which never watered in the presence of difficulties and which was always strong and living. Dr. Bays went in and out among the people whom he served with a firm step, always filled with a sense of the divineness of his call and the dignity of the Master's service. His life was a light to many and through his influence and the closeness of his walk with his Maker, many have been led to the higher life. He served his generation with the best that was in him and only advancing years caused him unwillingly to desist from active work. His last charge was as presiding elder of the Salisbury district. About 12 years ago. since which time Dr. Bays with his family have been residing in Charlotte.

Dr. Bays was one of the generation of Methodist ministers that is fast passing away. Courteous and sympathetic, he was always ready to listen to the humblest and his delight in his active work, was to be in a position in which he could cheer and assist some disconsolate one, or could instill into the mind of the troubled, some of the pure trust and confidence which his
own life so largely reflected.

When Dr. Bays entered the ministry before the outbreak of the war, the work of the preacher was far different from what it is today. He traveled through the country over his circuit in Virginia in all weather and never shirked his duty, either in the pulpit or as a citizen. He was upborne by a strong confidence in God and at all times made the divine will the guide of his life.

Dr. Bays for his able and long service was honored by his church and by the educational institutions of the country, two of which bestowed upon him the honorary degree. His work comprehended at one time is so great as to seem almost impossible for one man to achieve, and yet the 62 years
of active service were to him the best part of his life, for he felt them that he was laboring in that cause which
he had accepted as worthy of his busy endeavors, and then when the time came for him to give up the more arduous duties he retired to private life with the fullest assurance that he had well served his church and land.
and that duty well done was his record and would be his reward in that life towards which in his later years he almost constantly looked.

The death of Dr. Bays removes from the roll of the Methodist church one of its most shining marks and one of its ablest and best ministers.

The Charlotte Observer
October 11, 1916, Wednesday
Page 7

Family links: 
  Harriet S. Henritz Bays (1840 - 1926)*
  Mamie Elizabeth Bays (1870 - 1940)*
  William Webb Bays (1877 - 1946)*
*Calculated relationship
Elmwood Cemetery
Mecklenburg County
North Carolina, USA
Plot: I-26
Created by: JJH
Record added: Jan 10, 2014
Find A Grave Memorial# 123097205
Rev William Webb Bays
Added by: JJH
Rev William Webb Bays
Cemetery Photo
Added by: Robert A. Young, Jr.
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