Born: Ap­ril 5, 1839, Or­ange Coun­ty, Vir­gin­ia.

Died: Ju­ly 20, 1908, At­lan­ta, Geor­gia.

Buried: Fair­view Ce­me­te­ry, Eu­fau­la, Al­a­ba­ma.



Morton was the son of Mal­colm Hart Whar­ton and Su­san Ro­berts Col­vin, and hus­band of Ma­ry Belle Ir­win.

Converted at age 18, he joined the Bap­tist church in Al­ex­an­dria, Vir­gin­ia. In Oc­to­ber 1858, he en­tered Rich­mond Col­lege, where he stayed through the ses­sion of 1860–61.

During the Am­er­i­can ci­vil war, he was an ev­an­gel­ist in the ar­my, un­der A. E. Dick­in­son, and la­ter, agent in Georg­ia col­lect­ing funds for the Vir­gin­ia Ar­my Col­port­age Board. At this pe­ri­od of his life he was al­so, for a time, agent for the Do­mes­tic and In­di­an Board of the South­ern Bap­tist Con­ven­tion.

After the war, he be­came a pas­tor in Eu­fa­la, Al­a­ba­ma, where he would lat­er serve a se­cond time un­til the end of his life. He al­so served pas­tor­ates in Lou­is­ville, Ken­tuc­ky; Au­gus­ta, Geor­gia; Mont­gom­e­ry, Al­a­ba­ma; and Nor­folk, Vir­gin­ia. For a while he served with the South­ern Bap­tist The­o­lo­gic­al Se­mi­na­ry, and ed­it­ed the Chris­tian In­dex.

Starting in 1816, he served se­ver­al years as the Unit­ed States Con­sul in Son­ne­berg, Ger­ma­ny, near Co­burg. Some­where along the way, he found time to earn a Doc­tor of Di­vin­i­ty de­gree from Wash­ing­ton and Lee Un­i­ver­si­ty, Lex­ing­ton, Vir­gin­ia, and a Doc­tor of Laws from the Un­i­ver­si­ty of Al­a­ba­ma.



A Christmas of Long Ago

I am thinking tonight in sadness
Of a Christmas of long ago,
When the air was filled with gladness,
And the earth was wrapped in snow;
When the stars like diamonds glistened
And the night was crisp and cold,
As I eagerly watched and listened
For the Santa Claus of old.

The forest was robbed of its treasures,
The house was a mass of green,
And I reveled in Christmas pleasures,
At the dawn of Aurora’s sheen;
Some talked of the Savior’s mission,
But I of my pretty toys;
Some knelt in devout petition—
I romped and played with the boys.

We went to the pond for skating,
To the stable to take a ride,
And we found new joys awaiting,
To whatever spot we hide;
But the climax of my story
Was that evening’s fireworks show!
Went out in a blaze of glory—
That Christmas of long ago!

But in sadness I think of that Christmas,
For many then happy and gay
Have gone to the realm of silence
And sleep in their beds of clay;
The hands that filled kindly my stockings,
I shall grasp in this world no more,
But when at Heaven’s portals I’m knocking
They’ll open the beautiful door.

They will lead me in tenderness clinging,
And place me before the throne,
Where the choirs angelic are singing
And the heavenly gifts are strown,
And there in the realm of glory,
With my loved ones at my side,
I’ll repeat the old Bethlehem story
And join in the Christmas tide.

Morton Bryan Wharton (1839–1908)