Tennessee's Pioneer Baptist Preachers
(pages 120 - 121)
Andrew Connatser was a preacher in Sevier County in the early half of the last century, noted in several ways, and particularly gifted in exhortation and prayer. He was of German descent, and could speak the German language, but was born in this country. He was ordained deacon of Bethel Church, Sevier County, "August, fourth Saturday, 1829," and later was ordained to the ministry by authority of the same church. For a number of years he was a messenger of Bethel Church to the Tennessee Association. He was pastor of Alder Branch and other churches. In physical build he was rawboned, muscular and sinewy, a man of rare physical strength and endurance. Before his conversion, according to the custom of his day and neighborhood, he drank some, and would "'treat" his associates and receive "treats" in return, on special occasions. After his conversion, even after he had become a preacher and "had preached his third sermon," I was told, seven of his companions undertook to get him to drink with them and to "treat" in the old-time way. To prove his hospitality and to show that he was not "stingy," he yielded to their solicitations and furnished the "treats." But they were not satisfied; they wanted him to drink nolens volens, and undertook to force him. Thinking he had gone far enough on the "two-mile" road with his persecutors, or had taken enough of their abuse to satisfy the law of "non-resistance to evil," instead of turning the other cheek to the smiters, with his good fist he landed blows on the cheeks of about seven of his assailants, knocking them down as fast as they approached him. After that they "let him alone," the argument of hard knocks proving effective where the gentle means of moral suasion had. proved a failure.
For many years before his death Andrew Connatser lived in pioneer style in an old house in Sevier County which had been used as a fort in fighting the Indians. It had holes in the sides, corresponding to the port-holes of a ship, through which the whites could poke their guns and fire in case it "was necessary to defend themselves from the Indians.
In 1851 he was pastor of Tuckaleechee Church (Min. Tenn. Association). He was also pastor of Bethel and Bethany churches. He married a Miss Mary Blevins. He and his wife both lived in Kentucky before coming to Tennessee. He has a number of living descendants in Sevier County.
Burnett, J .J. Sketches of Tennessee's Pioneer Baptist Preachers. Nashville, Tenn.: Press of Marshall & Bruce Company, 1919.
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