George Dougherty, the One-Eyed Hero

Chapter 10
The environment of the early preacher was always a strenuous one. He labored from
morning to night, and often late into the night. Add to the unusual drawbacks of his situation that of
a physical disability, and it would seem that human nature could not stand the strain. But the human
will is all-powerful, and will overcome the difficulties of any situation. Think of a man thin and
slender with effeminate voice, pockmarked face as the result of an attack of the smallpox, having
only one eye, the other having been totally destroyed by that disease, and it would hardly seem that
here was one who would be classed among the great preachers of his time. Yet he was a great
preacher. He was a man of marvelous memory. It is said that he could repeat almost anything that
he had ever heard, and with this faculty so fully developed, he had an implement for the
development of a sermon unsurpassed.
He was born in South Carolina, and began preaching in 1798. His ministry lasted only nine
years, and the list of his appointments is not a long one, but his influence was very great. His entire
ministry was in the State of South Carolina. He was not always left in peace, but had to suffer
persecution. At one time the persecution was so severe that he was rescued at the point of the
sword. One of his last public acts was to bring forward a resolution in his Conference, which he
attended about three months before he died. It was in the following words: “That if any preacher
deserts his station through fear in the time of sickness or danger, the Conference should never
employ that man again.” His arguments and energy carried the day, and he was satisfied. There is
on record a letter from Joshua Wells telling how he died. It is interesting to those who like the
writings of the early Methodist fathers.
Just a paragraph from the end of the letter: “Of his fortitude I would speak at large, but
although I saw it I can not describe it. He spake of death and eternity with an engaging feeling,
sweet composure, and manifested an indescribable assemblage of confidence, love, and hope. He
said, ‘The goodness and love of God to me are great and marvelous, as I go down the dreadful
declivity of death.’ His understanding was unimpaired in death, and so brave was his tranquillity
that his true greatness was probably never seen or known until that trying period. He died without
a struggle or scarcely a sigh.”
I have written the notice of this hero of other days for the purpose of bringing to our minds
again the oft-needed lesson that men are able, in spite of limitations and untoward environment, to
do great service for the Master and the world.
* * * * * * *

By Samuel Gardiner Ayres
The Methodist Book Concern
New York — Cincinnati
Printed Book Copyright, 1916
by Samuel Gardiner Ayres
* * * * * * *
Digital Edition 11/28/97
By Holiness Data Ministry
* * * * * * *


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