The Atlanta Constitution (Atlanta, Georgia)   Sat, Nov 16, 1918

The Atlanta Constitution (Atlanta, Georgia)
Sat, Nov 16, 1918

Dr. J. W Conkling, former pastor of the Unitarian church in Atlanta, and a captain in the 82nd division, died on October 16th from wounds received in action in France, according to a message received in Atlanta from the war department.

Mrs. Conkling was in Battle Creek, Mich., when the news came announcing the death of her husband, and the message was not made public until she had been informed of the telegram received here. Mrs. Conkling had gone there to take a special course to fit herself, as she stated to friends, to aid her husband in his work if returned, and if not, to be able to support herself and little boy.

Dr. Conkling resigned from the pastorate of the Unitarian church here to enter the army, not in the capacity of a chaplain, but as an officer of the line.  He was a graduate at the first officers’ training camp at Fort McPherson. Commissioned a captain, he was assigned to the 82nd division at Camp Gordon, and went overseas with that command.

In resigning to enter the army, Dr. Conkling told his congregation that he thought he could serve his country better as a soldier than he could as a chaplain. “I feel, too,” said Dr. Conkling, “that I can perform a service to my flag and to my fellowmen as one of them – a soldier.”

His congregation passed resolutions expressive of deep feeling with which his resignation was accepted.

Dr. Conkling was a Mason of high degree.  At one time he was scout master of Troop Ten of the Atlanta Boy Scouts, and is the second former scout master to die for his country on the battle front.  The other was G. Richard Rices, also scout master of Troop Ten.

The beautiful little gothic chapel in which the Unitarian church is now housed stands as a monument to this work as its pastor, for it was under his leadership that the church was built.  In addition to his service in public institutions he found time to serve the poor and needy, the extent of which has been discovered since the news of his death, many unfortunate children testifying how he had aided them.

The Atlanta Constitution (Atlanta, Georgia) – Sat, Nov 16, 1918 – Page 6
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Posted in Conkling, Ministers, Newspaper Article, Unitarian Church of Atlanta

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