Photo by Norman Stubbs
Joshua Long Halbert
July 22, 1874,
Our city is again called upon to mourn the
loss of one of its most prominent and highly esteemed citizens.
Death is truly mournful at all times, but when it strikes a
shining mark, with such, a short notice, the heart of the public
gives utterance of its deep grief in something more than the
In the prime of life, he was stricken with
disease on Tuesday, and on Sunday morning at 9:30 his spirit took
its flight to that world of which the living have but the faintest
conception. His funeral sermon was preached at his late residence
on Sunday evening by his friend and pastor Rev. H. Bishop, and the
remains followed to their last resting place in Oakwood cemetery
by Corsicana Lodge No. 174, A. F. & A. M., and the largest
concourse of citizens ever assembled in the city on an occasion of
this kind. The body was interred with Masonic honors, amid the
lamentations of not only his brethren but of the whole people.
Capt. Halbert was born in Aberdeen Miss, in
1833, and was educated for the legal profession. He started out in
the practice of his profession associated with his brother-in-law,
the Hon. Reuben Davis, but the inviting field of Texas afforded
greater inducements to the young and aspiring student, and in 1857
he moved to and settled in this city (Corsicana) where he rapidly
rose to the highest distinction in his profession. In 1859 he was
married to Fannie, second daughter of Col. Henry Jones of this
county (Navarro), who, with fours little children, is left to
mourn her irreparable loss.
He was a strict member of the M. E. Church
and died in full fellowship.
Capt. Halbert filled several important
stations. He commanded a company of infantry in Col. Speight’s
regiment during the entire war, and endeared himself to both
officers and men by his courage, humanity and moral, upright
conduct. After the close of the war he was elected to the first
State Convention, in which he took an active and prominent part in
forming the new constitution. On the field he was as courageous as
a lion; in the Legislative field he was courteous, dignified and
mauly; at the bar, profound and logical; in society, gentle as a
female, and in his family a model for parents. But he sleeps the
sleep of death. No more will we meet him in the walks of men. The
last sad offering of a sorrow stricken community has been
tendered. His body has been given back to the dust, and the soul
has taken its flight to the God who gave it, and we can but repeat
the last words that trembled on his dying lip: "All is peace and
September 09, 1874,
Joshua Long Halbert was born in Tuscaloosa
County Alabama, January 23rd, 1833. Embraced religion
when only nine years old, in Aberdeen, Miss. Was educated at
Oxford, Miss., and his diploma bears the autograph of Dr. Bledsoe.
He was the son of a Baptist minister, from whom he inherited many
of the excellent features of his character. His father and mother
died when he was small, leaving him in care of his oldest brother
and sister. He studied law under his brother-in-law, Gen. Reuben
Davis, of Aberdeen, and came to Corsicana and commenced its
practice nearly twenty years ago. He blundered in the army and
served as a Confederate captain during the war. He then returned
to Corsicana, and resumed the practice of his profession, to which
he was devoted until his death. He was married to Miss Fannie E.
Jones, the daughter of Col. Henry Jones of Navarro County,
February 29, 1860/ With four children, she mourns, in hope of
reunion in the resurrection. He died Sunday morning, July 19,
1874. To those who knew him not, the truth would seem extravagant.
Therefore, with a word of explanation, we give to his friends his
dying testimony. Two weeks before his death he said to me: "I am
in darkness; my faith is firm; my resolution fixed; I cling to the
promises of God, but I have no pledge of my salvation outside of
the Bible promises. I lack the witness of the spirit." In ten days
from that time, he was on his death-bed. I went to him and asked
him about his condition, and this was his answer: "When I was in a
much better condition to appreciate things than I am now, I solved
the question: Alone, I walked upon the bleak breakers of a
troubled, angry sea of doubt and dread. I would place my feet upon
a billow, and that billow would be swept away from me, leaving me
without a foundation; billow after billow, would roll on, leaving
me lost and undone. Before God, I sought the pledge of which I
talked to you. I said: ‘O God, I acknowledge that I have done
wrong; I have sinned. Spare me and I will be a better man; I will
devote my life to thy service.’ I sought in vain; no pledge was
given me. On my bended knee, I sought and saw the Lion of the
tribe of Judea, but found no relief, and the thought thrilled my
soul: how shall I escape so great a damnation! Then I said: ‘O
God, for twenty years, in my frail, imperfect manner, I have tried
to serve thee, to follow in thy footsteps. Now, I know that no
works of mine can save me, but I come and on the broad basis of
the atonement demand the pledges promised in thy word.’ And thus I
solved the question. I received the pledges, and am as calm as a
summer’s dream. By prayer alone I obtained the forgiveness of my
sins; by prayer alone, I conquered . Peace reigns, and I thank God
for it. But I have gone far ….
Tribute of Respect.
To the W. M. Wardens and Brethren of
Corsicana Lodge, No. 174 of A. F. & A. M.
Your committee appointed to draft
resolutions expressive of the sense of this Lodge on the death of
Bro. Joshua L. Halbert, submit the following:
Whereas, It hath pleased the Great Architect
of the Universe on the 19th day of July, A. D. 1874, L.
L. 5874, to remove from among us our dearly beloved Brother Joshua
L. Halbert to that Supreme Grand Lodge, not made with hands, where
God forever sits as the Great Grand Master. It is
Resolved 1. That in the death of our beloved
Brother this Lodge has lost a member for whom all our brethren
acknowledged a profound reverence, and whose zeal as a Mason,
whether presiding over his Lodge or laboring with his brethren,
ever caused him to be loved and followed as a model of the craft.
Resolved 2. That in our loss we experience
the mournful fact that in this Lodge a true workman is gone, and a
vacancy is left which can never be filled.
Resolved 3. That we sincerely condole with
the sorrowful and grief stricken family of our deceased Brother,
whose loss is irreparable, but to whom comfort is promised by
faithful adherence to the teachings and hope in the promises
taught in the book of God.
Resolved 4. That the Lodge wear the usual
badge of mourning for thirty days.
Resolved 5. That these resolutions be spread
upon the minutes of this Lodge and draped in lines of mourning,
and that a copy of these resolutions be furnished the widow of our
deceased Brother; also a copy to the editor of the Corsicana
Observed with a request to publish.
Committee C. M. Winkler, Sam R. Frost, S. H.