The following was found in papers of the late Willie Kieffer Tebeau — an obituary from a newspaper dated Guyton, Effingham County, Dec. 8, 1899 (It is of note all the ads on the back are of Guyton so this appears to be a Guyton newspaper; the Springfield Herald was not yet in print):
The Victory Won
The Rev. H.S. Wingard, now a Saint in Paradise
In the course of a lifetime there often devolves upon poor humanity duties which are sorrowful and full of pain, and it matters not how we strive to evade such obligations they are inevitable and must come. There devolves upon The News this morning a duty which brings pain to our heart at each pulsation and causes our head to bow in sorrow – that duty of chronicling the death of Rev. Henry S. Wingard, which occurred in Savannah on Friday morning last.
Dr. Wingard had been suffering for some time past, having fallen a victim to an attack of acute indigestion which culminated in paralysis of the stomach organs, finally extinguishing the flame of life. Some time ago he went to the White Sulphur Springs in Florida in the hope that the change would prove beneficial to him. He returned home at the expiration of a week announcing that his trip had benefited him.
He then entered upon the work of ministerial duties, but the strain proved too much for him and he returned to The Springs. His condition did not improve upon this occasion and he came to Savannah entering the Savannah hospital for treatment. For ten days he battled with disease, every effort which medical said could suggest was brought to bear in prolonging his life, but to no avail and on Friday he fell into that sleep from which no one ever wakes to weep.
Surrounding the demise of this good man is a shadow of gloom which hangs heavily upon a thousand hearts and more which loved him, and which is spread from boundary to boundary in Effingham County. Dr. Wingard endeared himself to his people more and more each time he met with them, and often it was his presence alone which carried sunshine and hope into homes where desolation reigned.
He will be missed!
Dr. Wingard was born in Lexington, South Carolina, fifty-five years ago. He was educated at Newberry College, being at the time of his death president of the board of directors of the institution. When the call to arms was sounded in 1860, he laid down his all and followed the Stars and Bars. He entered war with the Third South Carolina and served his country with gallantry and distinction. After war he studied for the Lutheran Ministry and after some years of success and well-rewarded work his old alma mater conferred on him the degree of doctor of divinity. He was a minister of eloquence and power and his works will live after him for time to come. Dr. Wingard was twice married, his first wife being Miss Bowers and his second wife who survives him, Miss Mattie Rawls. He leaves also several children, Mr. Bowman Wingard and Master Muller Wingard of Effingham County, Mrs. J.U. Groover of Savannah and Miss Willie Wingard. The last named has been attending college at Mt. Pleasant, N.C.
Dr. Wingard’s remains were brought to Guyton on Saturday morning and conveyed to his home near Springfield. His funeral occurred Sunday morning at Bethel and was perhaps the largest occasion of the kind ever held in the county. Upward of 1500 people were assembled to pay the last sad respects to the dead. The funeral was conducted by the Rev. N.D. Bodie, assisted by three prominent ministers of the Lutheran Church. The funeral was beautifully impressive in its deep sadness. As each of the officiating ministers rose to pay tribute to the memory of the man they had known and loved there were few dry eyes, among the large concourse of friends assembled in the little chapel.
As is the custom of the Lutheran Church, at the conclusion of that portion appointed to be said in the church, the lid of the casket was removed and everyone desirous of taking a last look at the departed one were accorded this privilege. Dr. Wingard’s corpse was beautiful; there he lay like an infant dreaming, a peaceful smile could almost be outlined about the colorless lips, and the whole countenance wore an unmistakable expression as of rest.
At the grave the service was concluded, and as the cold, damp clods began falling into the grave hearts bled in bitter anguish. The spot where the remains are now moulding does not bear resemblance of a grave with its cheerless significance, but rather it reminds one of a floral mound where sleeps in calm repose he who once was so true to himself and his friends that the angels of God stand over him to make sweeter the slumber with their harps of love.
Dr. Wingard’s life and character approached as near to perfection as that of mortal man can do. He was gentle in all his manners and at the roots of his heart lived those sentiments characteristic of the true, the beautiful, and the good which marked upon his every bearing the stamp of the gentleman. It was these same Christian traits that made the people love him.
Too much cannot be said of this beautiful life, this spotless character. Indeed mere words are inadequate to portray the sentiments which made Dr. Wingard’s life the pretty reality which it was. In his death a beautiful and shining star has been seen to flicker and disappear. In its flight across life’s sky it has left a trail as of heavenly grandeur that will live in the memory of thousands so long as truth and beauty shall live.
A loved and loving husband, father, friend has passed away to be forgotten never. His ashes today are among the earth’s treasures. He loved life and was enraptured with the world, but when the hour came when life’s sun would set he was found watching the shadows as they gathered about him. We quote here the words of a well known writer, “And being weary for a moment he lay down by the wayside, and using his burden for a pillow, fell into the dreamless sleep which kisses down his eyelids still.”
To the family of Dr. Wingard our heart goes out in deepest sympathy in their sad bereavement. We weep with them in their great and irreparable loss. May the God of love and mercy accord them the assistance of his powerful arm in passing through the trying ordeal into which he has seen fit to bring them. We would point them to the consolation that where one short week ago his head rested upon a pillow of pain, today it rests sweetly upon the bosom of that God in whose service his beautiful life was spent.
It is of note that when Wingard Memorial Lutheran Church was established in Clyo it was named for Dr. Wingard.
This was written by Susan Exley of Historic Effingham Society. If you have photos, comments or information to share, contact Exley at 754-6681 or firstname.lastname@example.org.