50 years ago: A past tribute to William Pouchie

This week’s 50 years ago selection appeared in the Sept. 21, 1966 issue of the Caymanian Weekly, a precursor of the Cayman Compass. An ongoing column, “From Teacher Hill’s clippings,” offered up fascinating tidbits of Cayman’s history from bygone days, and this one pertains to the November, 1938 edition of The Presbyterian publication.

“Those who still remember with affection the late Rev. Wm. B. Pouchie will appreciate this tribute which is found in a copy of The Presbyterian for November 1938, kept, of course, by Teacher Hill.

“Forty years ago, the road to North Side was difficult, dangerous and often quite impassable. It struck in from Frank Sound – a foot track often lost in the bush, over swamps and jagged rocks till you heard the roar of the breakers on the reef again as you emerged at Old Man’s Bay.

“It was a far scattered village this of North Side to which I came a stranger in those far back days. From Old Man’s Bay it stretched to Grape Tree Point and inland in Forest Glen; yet in this village, isolated and neglected as it was, I was after mine own heart. As I went in and out of the houses making contact with the people, there was one name ever spoken with loving respect, it was Mr. Willie. The more I knew him, the more I realized how well he had earned that love and that respect, for I saw how in the compassion of his heart, he was literally giving himself to educate as well as he could the children of this native place. The people were poor and this young man, forgetful of his own interests, was sacrificing himself for the coming generation. Ah, but it was hard at times to keep choosing the way of poverty when good money could quite well earned otherwise, yet he did it, and I who saw it bear witness that Mr. Willie was truly one of God’s heroes.

“Things became a little brighter for him when I appointed him my Catechist there, then there came a day when I asked him if he would consider giving himself to the high service of the Ministry. He hesitated for a while, his education was meagre, he was not just a youth, but at last he heard the Call and decided to obey it. Many were the happy hours we spent together studying the subjects set for entrance into the Theological College and at last he passed into Woodlands, and in spite of his handicaps he came out well in his exams.

“As a probationer under my direction, I saw the splendid work he did in the George Town Charge, no small charge in those days with its five churches stretching from Savannah in the East to the western-most bounds of West Bay.

“Then that he might the more thoroughly fit himself for the work of his life he took a session at a Canadian university. On his return to Jamaica, he was called to succeed me in Bodden Town, where for some five years he exercised an inspiring and helpful ministry among his own people. Health failure caused him to resign and for a while he sought recovery in the southern states of America. Coming back to Jamaica, he was called to Bryce Church where he exercised a very successful ministry for some twenty years.

“Mr. Pouchie was a very unassuming and humble man, caring little for the honours of high place in Church Assemblies, his one ambition was to help his fellows in the things that matter, and to point them to the Saviour King he loved and followed. He was never of robust health, but his work in Bodden Town and Bryce remains to tell the story of a consecrated life. His passing to me is as the passing of a son beloved. In his last letter to me, he was making proposals for me to visit Jamaica, and with him to visit our old haunts in Grand Cayman, that island we both loved so well. But the Master had other plans for both and called him to the Church Triumphant and the Fellowship of the Saints in light, and me to long weeks of suffering when I all but joined that Fellowship too.”

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