Person:George Hewitt (21)

Rev. George Legette Hewitt
m. 1849
  1. Rev. George Legette Hewitt1854 - 1898
Facts and Events
Name Rev. George Legette Hewitt
Gender Male
Birth[1] 22 August 1854 Ketona, Jefferson County, Alabama
Death[1] 17 July 1898 Oneonta, Blount County, Alabama,
  1. 1.0 1.1 Find A Grave.

    Rev Geo L Hewitt
    BIRTH 22 Aug 1854
    Ketona, Jefferson County, Alabama, USA
    DEATH 17 Jul 1898 (aged 43)
    Oneonta, Blount County, Alabama, USA
    BURIAL: Walker Chapel Memorial Gardens
    Fultondale, Jefferson County, Alabama, USA

    George Legette Hewitt was, through his mother Josephine Union "Seraphine" Tarrant Hewitt Sharit, the Great Grandson of the Reverend James Tarrant (1753-1840), one of the most prominent Methodist churchmen during the earliest days of Alabama as a state. In 1819, Reverend James Tarrant became the first pastor of Bethlehem Methodist Church in Rutledge Springs, Jefferson County, Alabama, near what is now known as Hueytown.

    In 1849, Josephine Tarrant married Thomas Leander Griffin Hewitt (1827 – c. 1866), son of John Hignight Hewitt (1798-1860) and grandson of Goldsmith Whitehouse Hewitt (1766-1846), who was born in England and came to colonial Virginia with his parents Thomas and Elizabeth Whitehurst Hewitt just before the Revolution (where he served as a messenger for American troops as a child), and then moved steadily south and west through North Carolina, Kentucky, and Tennessee before arriving in Alabama in the first decade of statehood. With his wife Nancy Jane Kirkman (1769-1838), Goldsmith Whitehouse Hewitt had several children, of whom John Hignight Hewitt – Thomas Leander Griffin Hewitt's father – was the eldest. As an adult, John Hignight Hewitt married Anna Young in 1820, and Thomas Leander Griffin appears to have been their oldest son.

    Thomas Leander Griffin Hewitt and Josephine Union "Seraphine" Tarrant appear to have had three children: Anna (b. 1850); George L. (1854-1898); and Martha (b. 1857). In the 1850s, Thomas became a mason and moved his young family from Jefferson County to Walker County, where they were living at the outbreak of the Civil War. Thomas served in the Civil War, but was dead by the end of 1866.

    On February 12, 1867, Josephine, Thomas's widow, married Amos L. Sharitt, a blacksmith and farmer, whose family appears to have been neighbors and friends of her late husband's family. The ceremony was conducted by Reverend Benjamin Tarrant, Josephine's uncle.

    George lived with his mother and stepfather until adulthood. In 1875 he married Mary Elizabeth Billingsley, daughter of prosperous local farmers. George and Mary Elizabeth had two sons: Edgar Gaines (b. 1882) and Gurley Legette (b. 1885).

    In 1879 George became a Methodist circuit rider, also known as an "itinerant," a position he evidently filled with much satisfaction on both sides until his untimely death in 1898 from typhoid fever while he was serving the Oneonta Circuit. The obituary published in The Blount County News and Dispatch of August 25, 1898, gives the best surviving look at the kind of man he was and the general distress occasioned by his death. The obituary is reprinted in full below:

    "In the early morning of August 18, 1898, the beloved pastor of the M.E. Church, South, at Oneonta, passed quickly over the river of death. It is easy to write of a man made upon so fine a model. His address was winning and his personal appearance attractive. His speech was refined, correct and entertaining. His opinions were positive and his demeanor conciliatory. His piety was so sincere that no one thought of doubting it. He had no idea of malice, except as he saw it defined in the dictionary. He loved everybody, and all, saint and sinner alike, loved and revered him. He saw what was good in people and did not seek for what was bad. In his family he was a model of what a husband and father should be. He loved the life of an itinerant and could be content in no other vocation.

    "Physically weaker than people suspected, he toiled on and on uncomplainingly, because he saw work ahead, until he finally sank from exhaustion and could rise no more. As a preacher he was clear, logical and often eloquent. A hard student, he brought no unbeaten oil unto the sanctuary. Firm in his convictions, he was tolerant of the opinion of others, and he had no truer friends than those in the different denominations where he labored. As a friend he was true, sympathetic and self-sacrificing.

    "He was kind and gentle and the elements so mixed,
    That all nature could stand off and say of him,
    'This was a man'."

    During his ministry, he served these areas: Clear Creek Mission (1879-80); Jasper Circuit (1881-1884); Warrior Mission (1885); Vernon Circuit (1886-88); Jasper and Cordova (1889); Coalburg and Horse Creek (1890); Morris Circuit (1891); Carbon Hill Circuit (1894-1895); and Oneonta Circuit (1896-1898). His obituary in the North Alabama Conference Minutes for 1898 included this touching tribute: "He was truly the shepherd of his flock...All loved him. And when he died, not only the members of his own charge but the members of other Churches in the community and the irreligious people were placed under a deep sense of loss."

    He was so popular with his fellow Masons that they passed a resolution honoring him upon his death, and his tombstone bears the Masonic symbol.

    George is buried near his mother at Walker Memorial Cemetery. Her grave is marked as "wife of A.L. Sharit." The location of the grave of his father Thomas Leander Griffin Hewitt is at present unknown.

    George L. Hewitt, figures prominently in the book about the family written by his great-grandson Robert Griffith Hewitt. The title of the book is WINNIE AND GURLEY: THE BEST-KEPT FAMILY SECRET. It is available in Kindle format on Amazon.