Sketches Of

Tennessee's Pioneer Baptist Preachers


(pages 140 - 142)

John B. Denton was born in Jefferson County, Tenn., near Dandridge, August 16, 1826. He was converted at the age of 16, at the old Antioch Church, south of the French Broad River, in his native county. He was ordained to the ministry at the age of 20. He was pastor of Antioch and Leadvale churches in Jefferson County, and Alder Branch Church in Sevier County. He was pastor of Antioch a number of years, and was chiefly instrumental in building up the spiritual body at that place, also in rebuilding their house of worship, after the old meeting-house had burned down, giving of his means, his time and his labor. Most of his ministerial life was spent in Jefferson County. Be was a great stay and pillar to his home church, rarely failing to attend the regular meetings. He was a thoroughly dependable man, a good preacher, and a wise counsellor [sic]. He loved to meet and associate with his brethren, and nearly always attended the meetings of his own and of sister associations. One of the writer's earliest recollections is of meeting Elder J. B. Denton at the East Tennessee Association, and of seeing him in his father's home and hearing them discuss Bible doctrines and questions of theology.

Elder Denton was married four times: First, to Martha Baker, in 1858, to which union were born seven children, five sons and two daughters. His second marriage was to Mrs. Jemima Butler. To this union was born an only son, who died in infancy. His third wife, before marriage, was Margaret Swann; his fourth Dorcas Click.

In the minutes of the Nolachucky Association for 1911 the committee on obituaries reports, "Brother John B. Denton, aged 85 years, and probably the oldest minister of our Association, has passed from our midst to the great eternal city of God, greatly beloved by all who knew him, and a devoted member of the Dandridge Church. He died January 8, 1911." The following notice is taken from The Journal and Tribune: "Dandridge, Tenn., January 8, 1911. Rev. John B. Denton died at his home about two miles from this city at nine o'clock this morning. He was in his eighty-fifth year, had been a Baptist minister more than sixty years. His death was caused by pneumonia, from which he had been suffering for two weeks. He was one of the best known and most highly respected men in the county, and has always been considered one of the best men that ever lived in the county. Although beyond his 'four score years' he had not given up his ministerial work. He preached in Dandridge quite recently; he has not been preaching regularly, however, for some time. Mr. Denton is survived by his widow, who was his fourth wife, his son, Hugh W. Denton, who lives near Dandridge, also two brothers, Berry, aged 92, living in Cocke County, and David, aged 80, whose home is in Jefferson County." Elder Denton was buried in the family graveyard at his late home, near Dandridge. Peace be to his sleeping dust, and blessed be his memory.


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


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