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A bench, seat, or rail set aside for penitents at the front of a church or revival meeting.1834 Lieber Letters 312 sePA, These tents . . are divided lengthwise by a bench about a foot high, and called the mourners’ bench. 1845 Hooper Advent. Simon Suggs 126 AL, “Bimeby I felt so missuble, I had to go yonder”—pointing to the mourners’ seat. 1848 Ladies’ Repository 8.102, She loves the mourner’s bench, for there she found peace and pardon. 1903 DN 2.321 seMO, Mourner’s bench. . . Seat reserved for those seeking religion. 1906 DN 3.121 sIN, Mourner’s bench. 1907 DN 3.233 nwAR, Mourner’s bench. 1909 DN 3.350 eAL, wGA, Mourner’s bench. . . The front bench or seat in a church where the mourners are assembled. 1911 Wright Barbara Worth 20 CO, When the rush for the mourners’ bench come I unlimbered an’ headed the stampede pronto. 1912 DN 3.583 wIN, Mourners’ bench. . . The altar-railing (in newer churches) at which penitents kneel. 1915 DN 4.186 swVA, Mourners’ bench. 1916 DN 4.326 KS, Mourner’s bench. . . Seat, bench or rail, etc., near the altar, where in evangelical churches, in ‘revivals,’ ‘protracted meetings,’ etc., persons (‘mourners,’ because of their sadness over their sinful condition) gather, usually kneeling, to ‘seek religion’, to bewail their sins, etc. Not local. Ibid 345 FL, Mourner’s row. The front row in church. 1953 Brewer Word Brazos 14 eTX [Black], Hit takes lots of patience to deal wid a sinnuh at de mounah’s bench. 1958 Humphrey Home from the Hill 282 neTX, But what annoyed Fred was having the christening of his son in the very best church in town spoiled by the attendance of any revivalists of the mourners’ bench sort. 1965–70 DARE (Qu. CC5, Names for seats in a church, especially near the front) 100 Infs, chiefly Sth, S Midl, Mourners’ bench(es); SC10, Mourner bench; MI92, MA68, Mourners’ pew(s); MN38, Mourners’ row; KS13, Mourners’ seat.