LANE, James Sterling

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Transcribed 25 May 2005 By Michele Holland Mills


Published in the Texas Christian Advocate (a similar article published in the 1883 Minutes of the Northwest Texas Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, p. 43-44.)


Rev. James Sterling Lane was born in Morgan County, Georgia, Feb. 27, 1818. He was converted and entered the Georgia Conference in his nineteenth year. In 1845 he moved to Talladega, Alabama, and was a member of the Alabama Conference for twenty years. He moved to Texas in 1865, and in 1866 was elected President of Pierce and Paine College, Louisiana. In 1870 he became a member of the Northwest Texas Conference and was appointed to the Owensville Circuit, where he traveled in 1871. he was the Principal of the Owensville High School in 1872.

In 1873 he was sent to Georgetown Circuit and was instrumental in awakening the interest of the citizens of Georgetown and vicinity in the proposed location of the Southwestern University. He canvassed the county in that interest and secured a liberal portion of the subsidy that secured the location of the University to Georgetown. In 1877 he was on the Salado and Davilla Circuit. In 1878–9 he was on the Gatesville Circuit; in 1880 and 1881 on the Round Rock Circuit, where his health failed. Reared in the lap of Methodism, Bro. Lane was entirely Methodistic in belief and opinion, experience and habit. His experiences in grace were clear and satisfactory, which caused him to urge constantly from the pulpit the same privilege to all believers.

Though not himself demonstrative in religion, he seemed greatly to enjoy its emotional manifestations in others, and as it often accompanied his preaching he felt he had failed in the pulpit unless he discovered that his congregation felt moved by his preaching.

Bro. Lane was highly entertaining in the social circle, possessing in an unusual degree the art of instructive conversation. Though he talked much, he talked wisely and well, never foolishly, and never talked nor hinted at a topic that was not scrupulously pure or good.

He was an ardent Southerner, and in his manner and habits and conversation bore himself as a polished gentleman of the old school. He scorned all baseness and knew nothing of the basis for sordid gain. Unselfish, devoted, and zealous, he gave himself wholly to his work, and from his pureness and gentleness of character he made many ardent friends.

His health had been precarious for several years, but he was zealous for his master’s cause and believed himself stronger than he really was. His looks deceived his friends, his clear dark eyes and raven black hair making him appear younger and stronger than he really was. He was at the session of the last Conference, and, contrary to the judgement of several of his friends, he received an appointment to Granbury. He came home to arrange for the entrance upon his work there but was taken down soon after reaching home. He said at the beginning of the attach that he would never get well. He sank to the surprise of his friends, steadily and rapidly, and fell asleep in Jesus on Dec. 8, 1882.

F. A. Mood
A. A. Allison
J. H. McLean