Sketches Of

Tennessee's Pioneer Baptist Preachers


(pages 178 - 179)

Jeptha B. Ginn, son of Sherwood Ginn, was born in Georgia. November 1.5, 1815. He came to Tennessee when 16 years of ague. He was of Irish descent, belonged to a poor family, and got a late start in life. At the, age of 19 he was married to Sarah Davis, a daughter of Michael and Nancy Davis, to whom were born eight children. November 6, 1862, he was married a second time, to a daughter of Edmund and Sallie Davis. By his last wife he had a family of seven children.

He never went to school enough to "go through the blueback speller," it is said; and never learned to read till he was married. His first wife was a "good reader and taught her husband to read." He was converted at the age of 40, and commenced to preach at once. He owned a poor farm, but had a large family to support, which means that he had very little time to study. His equipment for preaching was Bible .and hymn-book, and Barnes' Notes on The New Testament. He was a member of Mount Olive Church, Blount County.

He was pastor of New Hopewell, Miller's Cove, Tuckaleechee Cove, Nail's Creek, Sinking Creek, Ware's Valley, Six- other churches. I am told he was "earnest and consecrated, a good exhorter, and did a great deal of good in the mountains and coves. He was a fiery speaker, and depended too much on the thunder and not enough on the lightning of his power---and killed himself by over-exertion in preaching."

As missionary evangelist in Knox and Blount counties Brother Ginn did a good work in strengthening many of the weak churches.

As pastor, few men of his day, even in the mountains, were more poorly paid. He was not the first nor the only preacher that has had to wear "seedy clothes".  His farm gave him a scanty support, large as was his family; his churches were poor, as a rule, and not trained to give, and the pastor had not been trained to train them. As a result the preacher's clothing was generally "the worse for wear," and his family had to skimp. I was informed by a reliable party that he preached for a certain church a whole year and didn't collect salary enough to "keep his horse shod."

He passed from labor to reward April 27, 1879.

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


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