Tribute to Joseph Wade Conkling – Killed in Action Argonne Forest

Joseph Wade Conkling

A letter from a relative of Dr. Joseph Wade Conkling, former minister of the Unitarian church in Atlanta, Ga., brings the information that he has died in France in the defence of his country’s and the world’s peace. He was wounded in the battle of Argonne Forest on October 16. The end – say rather the beginning – came October 16. He re-enlisted on that day in the Army of the Living God.

Dr. Conkling prepared for service in one of the evangelical denominations as a medical missionary, but on discovering the Unitarians he felt that his rightful place was with them. He became minister of the Unitarian church in Atlanta in 1912, serving it until the time of his enlistment. In his brief pastorate he did much for his church, not only building it up in heart and hope, but rebuilding its earthly tabernacle in a beautiful and appropriate new church edifice.

Enlisting in the United States Army at Fort McPherson, Ga., a year or more ago, he won a captaincy by his intelligent, diligent, and faithful devotion to the heroic drudgery of the camp and field.

A manly man, young, strong, virile, brave, honest in thought and act with himself and his neighbor, lovable and loving, a happy husband, a fond and proud father of an endearing little daughter, he might have been alive and working and walking with us today but that he preferred the hazard of quick death with honor to the chance of a life of lesser impetus and glory.

We were not worthy of him, I fear, either as church or as friends, but we can try to be worthy of his memory and mindful of his example. The peace of God which passeth understanding be with him and keep his memory fresh in the hearts of all who knew and loved him. The church in Atlanta has had its helpers, friends, companions, confessors not a few from first to last in the changing years. It has now its martyr.

“Fight on, brave warrior of the fight eternal.
For live and liberty in joy’s pursuit,
Till every teacher of the lie infernal
The Might makes Right dies with his kindred brute.”

George L. Chaney

Source: The Christian Register found in Google Books, Vol. 98, No. 1, Jan 2, 1919, Page: 21 (21)

Posted in Christian Register, Conkling

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