|Birth: ||Jun. 9, 1865|
|Death: ||Feb. 6, 1916|
Prominent evangelist of the Free Will Baptist denomination. At the time of his death, not yet 50 yrs old, he was living in Live Oak, FL, trying to regain his heath following several paralytic strokes. Dr. St. Claire had been pastoring the church in Glennville, GA, and his body was returned for burial in the Ebenezer FWB cemetery.
Reverend O.B. Rustin officiated at his funeral, which included full Masonic rites.
An account of his death appeared in the Free Will Baptist paper, pub. in Ayden, N.Car. on Feb. 16, 1916, with a tribute to his life and ministry. Editor Phillips stated Dr. St. Claire, had conducted many revival campaigns there and had won many friends by his kind and genial disposition. Especially was he remembered for the great zeal and energy he had put forth in building and strengthening the Free Will Baptist Seminary in Ayden, N.C.
He was orphaned at age four years, and it is unknown if he had any siblings. Both parents were of English descent. He spent his early life on an old-fashioned plantation.
He pursued his higher education at the University of Alabama, with Master of Arts, and in one paper, the editor states he studied and graduated from "several theological colleges." The Doctor of Divinity (D.D.) designation appears consistently wherever his name appears in print.
Upon completing his secular education, he embarked upon a successful business career, but soon felt the call to the ministry.
In his relatively short period of twenty-three years of ministry, his accomplishments were nothing short of phenomenal. Written of him, "In several of our Southern states he has done a great work. Association after association has been organized and put in working order. Thousands of souls have been led to the Lord in his meetings. In his first year of ministry, he helped to organize three associations." In his autobiography, he stated he had organized seventy-three churches and won and baptized 4,879 persons.
FWB church records at Glennville, show that Dr. St. Claire was its founder in the year 1899. He pastored this congregation off and on up until his death.
Dr. St. Claire was also known as an orator, writer, and public debater. Debating was one of his skills, done in a witty manner, and at least five of these occasions are on record. He is acclaimed as one of the foremost preachers of the land, of scholarly ability, a man of culture and zeal, and service to his denomination.
For Dr. St. Claire's entire life as a Christian and as a minister of the Gospel, he was almost totally blind. This would mean that his Bible and theological education was acquired in spite of his lack of physical vision. How he acquired such vast and thorough knowledge of letters is hard to imagine for that time. Was Braille available to him? However it came to him, he got it. This fact is a tribute to his indomitable spirit, for such a man cannot be defeated.
His wife died shortly before he did. They had one son, and two daughters.
from family contact: [unknown where she is buried]. His wife's name was Amanda Evelyn (Ray) and they m. in 1897. Their children: Edgar Pearl (dau; Ruth M. dau, b. ca 1903; and Erastus E., son b. ca 1905.
(taken from an article 1991-1992, to the "Timemachine" paper of Georgia FWB Hist. Soc., by Miss Laura Belle Barnard, b. 1907, Glennville, GA, and missionary to India for many years. Permission was granted for reprint in "One Magazine" national FWB paper.)
Thank you Dottie, for sponsoring this memorial, and posting some tombstone photos.
Photo of Dr. St. Claire reading Braille: Courtesy of FWB Historical Collection, Moye Library, Mount Olive College , NC.
Edgar Pearl St Claire Tooke (1900 - 1977)*
Eugene L. St. Claire (1901 - 1901)*
Ruth Mildred St Claire Miller (1903 - 1972)*
Ebenezer Free Will Baptist Church Cemetery
Created by: wvy
Record added: Apr 10, 2010
Find A Grave Memorial# 50917864