Sketches Of

Tennessee's Pioneer Baptist Preachers


(pages 22-24)

Simeon Acuff, a brother of John D. and a cousin of Anderson Acuff, was born near Puncheon Camp in Clinch Valley, Grainger County, Tenn., February 4, 1818.  He was a son of Thomas Acuff, who was a son of John Acuff, and he, or his father, was among the first settlers of this section, and came from a place called Tuckaho, in Maryland.  Said Thomas Acuff being a farmer, his son, Simeon, with the rest of the family, was brought up to farm life.  At the age of eighteen he was married to Susan Strange, and built a log cabin on his father's farm, reared a family of five children, and remained on this farm as long as he lived.  He was converted during a series of cottage or community prayer meetings, which he and his wife, who was already a Christian, attended.  In one of the meetings, when, as it happened, the service was being held at his father's house, he received the light and made his profession of faith in Christ.  Soon after this he was baptized, uniting with the Puncheon Camp Baptist church.  Not long after his conversion he began to take an active part in these community prayer meetings and to exercise his gifts in public prayer and exhortation at the church, under the watch-care and encouragement of Elder Asa Routh.  In 1847 his church licensed him to preach and a little later authorized his ordination to the full work of the ministry.  He continued to farm for a living, preaching as he had opportunity.  His education was very limited, being only able to read and write.  But by devoting his spare time to reading he became in time a fairly good Bible scholar.  His strength and success as a preacher did not by any means come from his educational equipment, but from his reliance upon the Holy Spirit, whose effectual working and gracious help were always in evidence in his preacher and life.  His services were greatly in demand, both as pastor and evangelist.  He was pastor of most of the prominent churches in his native county of Grainger, also of different churches in Union, Campbell, Claiborne, Hancock, Jefferson, and perhaps other counties.  He was a successful revivalist, and witnessed hundreds of conversions in his meetings.  He took great delight in baptizing newly  made converts who loved the Lord and wanted to obey him in baptism.  He was sent for, far and near, to preach funerals, perform marriages, attend communion occasions, and aid in protracted meeting efforts.  He was not a doctrinal preacher so much as he was a preacher of the beautiful and tender and consolatory messages of the gospel.  He was sympathetic and had a love for the souls of men.  He preached with power the beauties of the Christian life and had the gift of picturing the home of the saved in heaven, the beauties of the New Jerusalem, and the meeting of God's children in their heavenly home with the Father and their Elder Brother, the Savior, so as deeply to impress his hearers, and make them want to become members, if not already members, of the family of Good.  He was for some years moderator of the Northern Association, and traveled a good deal as missionary of that body, organizing churches and Sunday schools and fostering "weak interests".

His character was above reproach, and his patience in troubles and adversities was marked; he had faith in God and his goodness. He died May 6, 1893.  His nephew, Elder W. S. Acuff, on the occasion of his burial, preached the funeral sermon, which was pronounced by many to be a really "great oration," due in part to the fact that there were "great" things to be said of a great and good man in Israel who had fallen in the harness. 

Among the living descendants of Elder Simeon Acuff is his son, Coram Acuff, Esq., of Maynardville, who has kindly furnished most of the items for the above sketch.


Burnett, J .J.  Sketches of  Tennessee's Pioneer Baptist Preachers.  Nashville, Tenn.:  Press of Marshall & Bruce Company, 1919.


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