Tennessee's Pioneer Baptist Preachers
(pages `158 - 159)
One of the pioneer preachers of lower East Tennessee was Asa Fitzgerald. He was born on Duck River, in West Tennessee, October 11, 1809. His father, Archibald Fitzgerald, who was also a minister of the gospel, came from South Carolina. Brother Fitzgerald belonged to a family of thirteen children, three of whom, Asa, Archibald and Aaron, were influential country preachers in Southeastern Tennessee and North Georgia.
The family moved to Indiana when Asa was four years of age, but returned to Tennessee in 1823, locating in Monroe County. Young Fitzgerald went back to Indiana, and was married to Miss Judith Warren in the year 1829. To this union were born twelve children. He was converted about the time of his marriage, but was not ordained to the full work of the ministry until the year 1851, the White Plains Church calling for his ordination. He was pastor first at Shiloh. He was afterwards pastor of various. country churches, including Corinth, Gum Springs, Blue Springs, Providence and Salem, in North Georgia.
In 1874, his first wife having died several years before, he was married to Miss Margaret Whittle, a native of Sevier County, Tenn., but at the time of her marriage living in North Georgia. To this union were born a son and a daughter, the daughter dying in infancy. The son, Dr. William H. Fitzgerald, formerly pastor of the First Baptist Church of Jefferson City, now pastor of the Mount Olive Church, near Knoxville, is a sweet-spirited, scholarly, lovable preacher, one of our very best pastors.
In 1898 the subject of this sketch fell on sleep, his companion having preceded him to the better country by the space of two years. His tired body rests in the Antioch Cemetery, near Apison, Tenn., where he had lived, and held his membership many years. His praise is in the churches to which he preached and in the community in which he lived. His name still lives in the memory and on the lips of the older residents of lower East Tennessee.The characteristic and outstanding features of Brother Fitzgerald as a man were his genuine piety, his love for the Word of God, and his faithfulness to duty under all circumstances. He always kept to his farm as a means of support but made it secondary and subservient to the interests of spiritual religion and the advancement of Christ's Kingdom.
Burnett, J .J. Sketches of Tennessee's Pioneer Baptist Preachers. Nashville, Tenn.: Press of Marshall & Bruce Company, 1919.
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