Sketches Of

Tennessee's Pioneer Baptist Preachers


(pages 98 - 99)

John Howell Carmichael was born in Grainger County, Tennessee, February 2, 1833. He was a son of Daniel C and Prudence (Howell) Carmichael, being the third in a family of six children. His parents were natives of Grainger County. and Baptists, who walked in the ways of the Lord "blameless" and taught their children the holy Scriptures from their youth. The boy John was converted at the age of 12. He was brought up to farm life, his father being a farmer, and, having learned the art of farming and being enamored of country life, he stuck to the farm during life, owning at his death nearly 1,000 acres of land. For a youth brought up on a farm he had good educational advantages, and improved them, making the most of the district school and in his later teens attending the Morristown High School. Among the things he treasured 'as long as he lived was a letter he received from his beloved teacher at the age, of 20. In this letter, addressed to his "friend John," a former pupil, the teacher speaks in the highest terms of the pupil's excellent habits of study, his exemplary conduct and his marked proficiency in all of his studies. This letter is greatly prized by the family.

 March 28, 1858, he was married to Miss Mary E. Grove, of his native county, to which union were born eight children, two sons and six daughters. In 1865 he was duly ordained to the work of the ministry by the authority of the Head of Richland Church, Elder H. W. Taylor, G. G. Taylor and Lunah W. Lowe acting as an advisory and ordaining council. He became pastor of churches, serving Head of Richland, fourteen years; New Prospect, fifteen years; Kidwell's Ridge, nine years; Liberty Hill (afterwards County Line), six years, and Beech Grove and Cedar Grove, four years each. He was also pastor of Blackwell's Branch, Buffalo, Macedonia, Oakland, Bean Station, Narrow Valley, Central Point, and Puncheon Camp  -  it was chiefly through his instrumentality and by his labors that the Narrow Valley Church was founded and fostered. For a number of years he was the painstaking and efficient clerk of the Nolachucky Association. The annual sermon preached by him before that body in 1868 is an index to his character as a minister and as a Christian. The theme was Christ's new commandment, That ye love one another (John 13:34).

Elder Carmichael was a "deep thinker and a fine reasoner; he would always take time to study and reason things out before reaching a conclusion. As a preacher he was forceful, but always plain and easy to understand. As a pastor he was faithful as an under-shepherd. As a man and a citizen he was enterprising, public-spirited and liberal with his means. To his family he was all that was noble and good; his memory is sacredly cherished. He was faithful till death, passing to his reward February 9, 1913."

 Three daughters survive him -  Mrs. M. P. Russell, Grainger County. Mrs. W. P. Sykes, Bradley County, and Mrs. P. L. Brock, Morristown. His nephew namesake, John G. Carmichael a graduate of Carson and Newman College, and now pastor in Los Angeles, California, is one of our most promising young ministers.


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


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