Sunday, December 22, 2013

Draped in Purple & Black for Rev. Edgar Orgain 1883

The Rev. Edmund Orgain, rector of Grace Episcopal church, on Hernando street, died at his residence on McKinney street, near the Hernando road, a square south of the Selma railway crossing, between six and seven o'clock this morning.  The reverend gentleman had been suffering with malarial fever for about ten days past, and three or four days ago the malady, accompanied by hemorrhages, took a serious turn, ending in dissolution at the hour named.  Mr. Orgain was a native of England, and possessing agreeable manners with a genial temperament, together with a cultivated mind, he grew to be very popular with the parishoners he has served for some five years past, and was also much liked by the people of Calvary parish.  

The deceased leaves a young widow, formerly Miss Maggie E. Peyton, to whom he was married but two years ago, and it was but a few months since he erected the comfortable little cottage home near the southern suburbs of the city, where he died this morning.  The demise of Mr. Orgain will be deeply regretted by a wide circle of friends and acquaintances, and the sympathy of all will be extended to his grief sricken companion and her little eight months old daughter.  Mr. Orgain's parents are at Somerville, and have been notified of their sad loss.
Originally posted in the Public Ledger December 17 1883

 30th--Sunday after Christmas.  I officiated at Grace Church, Memphis.  The chancel was appropriately draped with purple and black in consequence of the death of its Rector, our beloved brother, the Rev. Edgar Orgain.  In the morning I preached from 2 Cor. i.3, 4, and celebrated the most comfortable Sacrament.  At 4 p.m. a Memorial Service was held.  The Rev. Dr. White, assisted by the Rev. Davis Sessums, officiated; and I preached from the words of our blessed Lord, " This day shalt thou be with me in paradise."
From the Diocese of Tennessee, Journal

The Standing Committee of the diocese of Tennessee met in this city on Saturday the 22d of December, 1883, for appropriate action on the occasion of the recent death of the Rev. Edgar Orgain, late member of said committee, the Rev. George White, D.D., President, in the chair, when the following report, presented by Judge Sneed, was ordered to be spread upon the minutes, and a copy thereof presented to the diocesan convention at its next annual meeting with the request that it be entered upon the journal thereof.

  Whereas, It has pleased Almighty god to call unto himself the spirit of our brother, the Rev. Edgar Orgain, late rector of Grace Church, Memphis and a member of this committee.  While we can but realize that in the death of such a man, "how beautiful to die like the watchworn sentinel upon the outer walls of Zion," yet we count it but a sinless sorrow to deplore a dispensation which, through a mercy to the dead, has left the living in tears.  An intrepid soldier of the cross he was yet affable, generous and just as a citizen, genial and entertaining as a companion and so harmoniously blended the grace of the true gentleman with a never faltering zeal for Christ, that the very symmetry of his Christian character, in and out of the pulpit, was an eloquent and continuous appeal to all men for a purer and better life.  As a church man, he fashioned his doctrinal polity after the maxim of Melancthon, unity in essentials, liberty in non-essentials, charity in all things.  As a clergyman, he made the pathway to the church inviting by repelling the spirit of intolerance, and bruising the head of the spirit of bigotry, too often found across it, and he charmed the people to the holy altar, not by priestly traditions of creed and doctrine, but by the all-sufficient pathos of the cross.   Flushed with a noble pride in his exalted mission--recognizing but one pre-eminent model for the Christian life--this young warrior, though fallen upon the skirmish line, had made a history especially in one respect, profitable not only for doctrine to all, but to some of us for reproof also.  He saw no appreciable difference in the value of human souls.  To the beggar and the millionaire alike he felt it to be his mission, as it was his pleasure, to carry the sweet manna of the gospel--and of all the tears now falling on his new made grave, none tell a more touching story than those of the poor widows and orphans, the homeless and the friendless he has succored in distress and consoled in misfortune.  the death of such a man is a calamity to the church, a bereavement to the community, a special sorrow to this committee, while to those who were bound to him by a tie more tender still it is a grief to which human condolence brings no fortitude, and nothing less than the grace of God can bring resignation.
George White, D.D., President.  
S. H. Lamb, Secretary
Originally posted in the Public Ledger Dec. 24 1883

Though the obituary indicates Rev. Orgain was a native of England, Census records say he was born in Tennessee.  The obituary also indicates his parents were living in Somerville, Tennessee. There is an "Organ" family listed in the 1860 Fayette County TN Census with an 11 year old Edgar in the household.  His parents are Thomas L. age 43, Elizabeth (Trotter) age 37.  Siblings are William age 13, Fanny H age 6, T.H. age 3 and "no name" age 7 months old.  By 1870 the census lists the name as Orgain.  William and Edgar have left the household leaving behind siblings Fannie, Walter, and Oscar.  In 1880 T.L. Orgain, age 62,  and his family are living in Haywood County TN and his occupation, which previously was that of farmer, is now Preacher.  In 1880 Edgar is living in Washington D.C.  Edgar moved to Memphis shortly after that and served as Rector of Grace Church till his death.  He married Maggie in 1881.

Thomas L. Orgain died prior to 1894 which is when Elizabeth begins appearing in Memphis City Directories as his widow.
Elizabeth Trotter Orgain died January 1, 1910 and was buried in the Stanton Cemetery.
Oscar Orgain died in Memphis Sept 23, 1919 and was buried in the Stanton Cemetery.
William Gregory Orgain died in Memphis May 5 1926 and was buried at Elmwood Cemetery.
Fannie Orgain Parker died February 14 1928 in Memphis and interred at Augusta Arkansas.  She married James H. Parker in Haywood County Tn in Dec. 1878.
Walter Orgain married Kate Chlore, date of death is unknown.  His son Thomas Edgar Orgain was interred at Memorial Park.
Rev. Orgain was interred at Elmwood Cemetery.  

His wife Maggie and daughter Louise moved to Texas where Maggie's mother, Virginia L. Eskridge Peyton, was living. Louise died in 1933 and Maggie followed her in 1938.  They are both interred at Evergreen Cemetery in Ballinger Texas.  Maggie's father was James Tate Peyton who died July 26 1869 in Monroe County Virginia.  He enlisted May 1861 in Maynard's Rifles, Memphis Tennessee and served as Major and Quartermaster in 1862.  His place of burial is unknown. 

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