This is another beautiful tribue to Robert W. Brahan.
AT THE TOMB
FUNERAL OF THE LATE MAJOR R. W. BRAHAN
A BEAUTIFUL TRIBUTE
SAN ANTONIO WEEKLY EXPRESS
APRIL 23, 1885
The funeral of the late Major R. W. Brahan who was known far and near as one of the purest and best of men took place yesterday afternoon at 3 O'Clock from the residence of his son-in-law, Col. Ed H. Cunningham. The imposing and impressive ceremonies at the house and at the tomb were conducted by Right Rev. Bishop Elliott of the Episcopal Church, assisted by Dean Richardson. The cortege was a very large one, composed of the most prominent people of the city, who honored and loved the good man in life and mourn for him in the hour of death.
The floral tributes, wrought by loving hands, were the most beautiful and elaborate ever witnessed in the city.
After the conclusion of the Episcopal burial rites and just before he Masonic ceremonies, Hon. Columbus Upsom delivered the following beautiful and touching tribute in honor of the memory and noble character of his friend of other days.
"Standing by the open grave, soon to be closed and covered with the floral emblems of love and affection, containing the last remains of Robert Weekly Brahan, in the presence of sorrowing kindred and friends, and being in accordance with the expressed wishes of the deceased, I desire to pay a friendly tribute, though feeble it will be, to his noble life and character. Should I speak with seeming emotion and apparent sadness, it will be real and heartfelt, because, knowing the deceased intimately and well, I loved and admired him in his lifetime and deeply deplore his death. Although ripe for the grave, and death to him was the inevitable, it is but human to lament the loss to the world of so good a man. It has been a thousand times truthfully said, and I have myself oft repeated that "God never made a better man than Major Brahan".
No more fitting and deserved epitaph can be chiseled upon his memorial tablet than: "Here lies the body of Robert Weekly Brahan, honest, true and guileless!"
My acquaintance with Major Brahan dates back more than a quarter of a century. During that time, although he was many years my senior, we became intimate, and, I have every reason to believe, firm and trusted friends. I learned from his own, always truthful lips, many interesting incidents in his life which enabled me, as I believe, to form a true conception of his manly, upright and exemplary character.
Major Brahan was born at Lockland, near Nashville, Tennessee, June 9, 1811. He was the son of General John Brahan, who served with distinction as Brigadier General under General Andrew Jackson, with whom he was on the most intimate and friendly terms. The deceased was educated at Nashville, Tennessee where he studied medicine, but having been left a handsome estate by his father, he abandoned the idea of practicing medicine as a profession, and turned his attention to planting. While at school, Major Brahan spent considerable time at the Hermitage and in the company of General Andrew Jackson, to whom he became warmly attached and of whom he was a great admirer and from whose teachings he learned the principles of democracy to which he clung to the end of his life. On may 1st, 1832, Major Brahan, at the age of 20 years, married Martha E. Haywood, an accomplished daughter of Judge John Haywood of North Carolina, a distinguished lawyer and professor of law, the son of Judge John Haywood of Tennessee, who first revised the laws of that state. Thanks to a kind providence, Mrs. Brahan still lives at the advanced age of 70 years.
The deceased moved to Florence, Alabama in 1835, to Mississippi in 1840, and to Texas in 1854. He was major of militia in Mississippi whence arose the title of major by which he was generally known and called to the day of his death. He served several terms in the legislature of Mississippi. He was a member of the Secession Convention of Texas and was often solicited to serve in the senate and house of Texas which he declined principally on account of a defect in his hearing with which he was afflicted for many years.
During the late unfortunate conflict between the North and South, Major Brahan, being too old and physically unable to endure the hardships of the soldier in the field, but anxious to do all in his power to aid in the establishment of the independence of the Southern Confederacy, accepted the appointment by the then governor of Texas, of "General of Militia". To the lost cause, the deceased gave his whole heart and soul; on it he staked his all and contributed liberally of his means.
In the very beginning of the war he freely gave his consent to his then oldest son to go to the field of contest; who, though but a beardless boy, bared his breast to the storm of battle until the surrender at Appomatox. But thanks to a kind providence, that boy was spared to the departed and the deceased's beloved wife, the fond and aged mother who, thank God, still lives as their pride, comfort and blessing, in his maturing and matured manly manhood. Upon him the sacred mantle of his
noble father has fallen, there be assured it will fittingly hang and be preserved, unspotted and unstained.
In the death of Major Brahan, we have lost from among us a true and noble type of the hospitable and generous hearted southern planter, of the cultured southern gentleman, of southern chivalry, of the southern nobleman, in the olden times of the south, rapidly passing away.
As a master to his dependent slaves, he was kind and indulgent; he administered to their wants and nursed them in sickness with a fatherly care. Their obedience was willing; they looked up to him as their kind and only protector. "God Bless Old Maser", was their daily prayer. Wherever found, whether in the family circle, at home or abroad, in private or public life, Major Brahan was the same kind, genial, curteous and pure gentleman. His kindness of heart, purity of motive, honesty of purpose, charity, unstinted hospitality and fair dealing with his fellow men were proverbial among his neighbors and all who were acquainted with him. The scriptural injunction, "Whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them", he fulfilled in letter and spirit. although Major Brahan was mild and gentle in spirit, and of the most charitable, forebearing and forgiving nature, yet, in the defense of his own honor and rights, when wantonly, insolently or groundlessly assailed, or in the defense of the honor and rights of his friends and the helpless, when and only when, he believed them to be in the right, or in the advocacy of a cause he believed to be just, he knew no fear, was regardless of all personal danger, and met the issue boldly and defiantly without a quivering nerve.
He had in his heart a fountain of warm and tender tears, which ever flowed unbidden, when touched by the sorrows and sufferings of those around him or the remembrance of true old friends and dear ones gone to their "long home" before him, and welled up with sparklings of truest and brightest love and delight when excited by the sincere grasp of the living hand of real kindness and unfeigned friendship. Could all the tears which will be poured out over the death of Major Brahan, swelled by the emotions of deep regret at his loss, be dripped into this narrow grave, they would fill it to overflowing.
For 48 years, Major Brahan was a zealous devoted and true member of the Order of Freemasons. He rose step by step in the order; was a Master Mason for 48 years and a Royal Arch Mason for 37 years. His religious faith was that taught in Freemasonry, viz: The recognition of a Supreme Being; a belief in God and obedience to His Laws; love to God and love to man; faith in God, hope in immortality and charity towards all mankind; ye shall be true men to God and the holy church; that pure religion and undefiled before God and the fathers requires man to visit the fatherless and the widow in their affliction and to keep himself unspotted from the world; that "ye may worship God in Jerusalem or in Jerico, in the cathedral or the forest, so you sincerely worship God". He petitioned the great Architect of the Universe in his Masonic prayer: "We beseech thee oh Lord God, to illuminate our minds by the divine precepts of thy holy word, and teach us to walk in the light of thy countenance, and when the trials of our probationary state are over, be admitted into the Temple not made with hands, eternal in the heavens."
In his life and character, without professions of church, faith or tenets, faithfully following the teachings of his order, he exemplified the highest principles of Christianity.
Some months ago, Major Brahan contemplated visiting some of his oldest and most devoted living friends and relatives in Alabama, Tennessee and Mississippi; among them ex-Governor Patton, his brother-in-law, and his cousin, Colonel Samuel Weekly of Alabama. He looked forward to the event with the most pleasant, and I may say, almost boyish anticipations of pleasure. One sad event followed another to mar and finally destroy all of his bright hopes. Governor Patton died in February last, and a few days ago he received the sad news of the severe illness of Colonel Weekly. Just previous to his death he had packed his trunk and made all arrangements to start on his long anticipated journey;today, when instead, we are consigning his body to the tomb.
He has gone on another journey to meet his old companions, traveling not over the rough and dangerous roadway of earth, but over the flowered pathway that leads to the bright spirit land.
How beautiful the thought, that a life so well spent, having run its course of more than three score years and ten, having reached its end by the enevitable laws of nature, should go out on a bright spring morning, and that the spirit of the departed, amid the perfumes of sweet flowers, the caroling of merry birds,should take its flight, borne on the soft breezes of a southern spring to that peaceful, happy and beautiful eternal home--land of the good and true--where there is no night, no pain, no sorrow, no death, but an everlasting life of joy and happiness.
When we realize that life from the cradle to the grave is but a round of toil, pain, suffering and sorrow, are we not often constrained to exclaim? "Oh, that unstung by humnan strife, from youth's green fields to spirit land, man might o'er leap the dismal gulf of life, and there rejoin the Angel Band."
In contemplating the exemplary life and character and the "good works" of the deceased, his sorrowing kindred and friends may find much consolation. The universal acclaim of all who knew him, without an exception, will be, "Well done good and faithful servant". "Tis ever wrong to say a good man dies". "Death's but a path that must be trod, if man would ever pass to God".
Death is but an eternal rest for the body; to the mind, an unbroken and undisturbed sleep, or perchance, a pleasant dream in the spirit's flight to the Angel Realm. It gives no pain to the departed, only pangs to the living, left to mourn the absence of the dead. "Tears drop all gently when the aged die, for now their work is done".
In bidding a final farewell to the departed, my prayer is: "Sleep sweetly, tender heart, in peace; Sleep Holy Spirit, blessed soul, while the stars burn, the moons increase and the great ages onward roll".
On conclusion of the address, the Masonic Fraternity concluded the obsequies with the beautiful ceremonies of that time honored order. Thus has the good man gone down to his grave full of years, and honored and beloved by all whose good opinion is worth having.
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