Tennessee's Pioneer Baptist Preachers
Joshua Edwards was born in Henry County, Va., August 11, 1781. He came with his parents to upper East Tennessee when he was four years old. In the year 1800 he was converted, and was baptized by Jonathan Mulky [sic], uniting with the Cherokee Church, one of the oldest churches in the state. He was a member of this body twenty-seven years.
September 30, 1802, he was married to, Nancy Erwin, and on December 9, 1838, was married to Drusilla Delaney.
In the constitution of the Holston Church, June 16, 1827, he was a constituent member, and on the same day was chosen clerk of the church. December 20, 1834, he was ordained deacon, Benjamin White and James Poindexter acting as a presbytery. March 20, 1836, he was licensed to preach, and soon after was ordained by the same presbytery, as above mentioned. He at once became pastor of the church and continued as such for some sixteen years, till the infirmities of age made it necessary for him to resign. He was chiefly instrumental in building a house of worship for this newly constituted church, holding church services in his own house till the meeting-house was ready for use.
In 1845 this church was the fifth largest in the Holston Association, numbering 135, with "J. Edwards the spiritual guide." J. Edwards, we might say, was the founder and builder of this church, under God, almost all the converts who came into the church being his spiritual children.
Joshua Edwards was a good preacher, a good clerk, and a good writer. In 1845 he was Benedict's correspondent for the Holston and other associations. In the capacity of correspondent or reporter for our great historian he rendered a great service to the denomination, preserving and giving publicity to valuable matters of history which otherwise might have perished. In the "extensive revivals of religion in the Holston community," reported by him, and by which the "numbers of the Association were augmented," he himself had no mean part.He was greatly loved by his people, and upon his death., March 18, 1859, his church memorialized him in her minutes, and the same year sent an obituary notice to the Association, speaking of him in the very highest terms.
Burnett, J .J. Sketches of Tennessee's Pioneer Baptist Preachers. Nashville, Tenn.: Press of Marshall & Bruce Company, 1919.
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