William L. Brewer

Cumberland Presbyterian Minister

1830 - 19??

We Need a Photograph!


By Rev. W. P. Kloster.

We often hear it said that we should "scatter the roses in the pathway of the living--a bouquet now is better than great heaps on the grave." More flowers during life would make the prick of the thorn easier to bear. Too often we fail to let people know that we appreciate their life, what they have done, and what they are doing, and then with enthusiasm unbounded recall volumes of good things while the clods are falling upon their coffin lid.

Brother Brewer's life is one of much usefulness. When Texas was on the frontier, he labored for the advancement of God's cause, and for the building up of his beloved church. I fear we do not appreciate the work of these pioneer preachers as we should. We are today enjoying the Christian civilization they helped to establish. But if the world fails to recognize their noble efforts, I am sure the recording angel has not been indifferent in a single instance, and our Heavenly Father will place the accurate number of stars in their crown.

Rev. W. L. Brewer was born April 19, 1830, in Robinson [sic: Robertson] County, Tennessee, twenty-five miles north of Nashville. At the age of eight he started to school in a log school-house, with split logs for seats. Mr. Reuben Cole was the teacher. With occasional interruption, his education continued till he was seventeen, when he went to Missouri. There he split rails at twenty cents per hundred and worked on the farm for Rev. J. M. Tucker, a Cumberland Presbyterian preacher, for eighteen months, at $7.00 a month. Consciously or unconsciously in the life of us all, some one influences our lives so as to help shape our destiny.

Methinks I see here in the association with this Cumberland preacher an influence that counted for much in the life of this young man. While here he experienced one of the darkest times of his life. He was not satisfied with his religious condition. In the woods alone with God he would work and pray. After a season of earnest prayer the light came to his soul, and also an irresistible call to the ministry, but like all true children of God, he was made to quake and tremble under a keen sense of his unworthiness.

In 1857 he placed himself under the care of presbytery, and began to preach. In 1859 he was licensed. As a part of their education, in those days, it was made the duty of young preachers to attend the camp-meetings in the bounds of their presbytery. Brother Brewer was assigned to the meeting to be held in Green County, Missouri. On his arrival, the grounds were covered with tents, wagons and people. He was deeply impressed with the importance of the occasion. If he could have gotten away honorably, he would have done so. Soon the tallow candles were lighted, and the people came into the shed. Our young preacher felt heavily the great responsibility, and restlessly walked around the shed, finally taking his seat against an outside post. The sermon over, penitents were called, and he went forward to work with them at the altar. He took special interest in one young man. After quoting a few of the precious promises of Christ, he said: "Will you shut the door of your heart, and lock, bolt and bar it against him, or will you not open the door and say, "Come in Master, and I will dwell with you, and you with me.'" In a few moments the young man was rejoicing in a Savior's love.

Of his marriage, Brother Brewer speaks as follows: "The next spring after I felt my call to the ministry, Miss E. B. Tucker and I were married. She was one of the best girls that ever lived. We lived together for seven years and then the Lord took her from me." He married a second time, and now he and Sister Brewer are quietly passing the evening of life in their pleasant home in Decatur, Texas.

We have no one more true to the doctrines, and interests of the Cumberland Church, than this noble man of God. When the union crash came he stood firm. While others were shrinking and wavering he never faltered. He was a great factor in holding intact the organization of Decatur Presbytery.

"I live for those who love me,
   For those that know me true.
For the heaven that smiles above me,
   And awaits my coming too.

"For the cause that lacks assistance.
 For the wrongs that need resistance,
 For the future in the distance,
   And the good that I can no."

[Source: Our Senior Soldiers: The Biographies and Autobiographies of Eighty Cumberland Presbyterian Preachers. Compiled by The Cumberland Presbyterian Board of Publication. The Assistance of Revs. J. L. Price and W. P. Kloster is Greatfully Acknowledged. Nashville, Tenn.: The Cumberland Presbyterian Board of Publication, 1915, pages 194-197]

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Updated July 20 2007