Tennessee's Pioneer Baptist Preachers
In the old cemetery, near Bethel Church, Hamblen County, Tenn., is a tombstone bearing the inscription: "Sacred to the memory of Reverend Jeremiah Hale, pastor of the united Baptist Church at Friendship; born February 7, 1803 ; ordained November 27, 1830; died in the full triumph of faith, July 3, 1849."
Jeremiah Hale was a son of Richard and a grandson of John Hale, who at an early day came from Maryland to Tennessee, and settled on Horse Creek, in Sullivan County. Richard Hale lived to be 107 years old. The large and widely scattered family of Hales in the country belong to one stock, it is believed, and are of English descent.
Jeremiah Hale was married to Mary Ann Crouch (date not obtainable), daughter of John and Sarah Crouch, of Washington County, to which union were born seven children, four sons and three daughters.
The date and place of his conversion and baptism I have not been able to ascertain. He was ordained, as above stated, in the year 1830. The first Saturday in August, 1831, he was called by Friendship Church as an assistant pastor and served the church as pastor and assistant pastor till the first Saturday in July, 1839, when the party in the church, calling themselves "regular Baptists," excluded him, with eleven others. Friendship, constituted with thirty-six members, March 13, 1819, and recognized by a presbytery composed of Elders Duke Kimbrough, Richard Wood. Caleb Witt, Isaac Barton, Charles Kelley, and William Wood, became, in time, the mother of churches - the daughters being Mansfield Gap, Cedar Grove, Leadvale, Bethel, Witt's Foundry, and White Pine. The church represented in the Tennessee Association from 1819 to 1833. From 1834 to 1839 she represented in the Nolachucky, but in this year, in the division of the association (at Concord Church), when a third of the constituency of that body withdrew and repaired to the grove to constitute themselves an association of "old school" or "Primitive Baptists," a majority of the Friendship Church went with the seceding body. Jeremiah Hale remained with the missionaries, having the watchcare of Friendship Church as long as he lived. He was a messenger of his church to the association for a number of years, rarely missing a meeting.
The year the association split (1839) he was preacher of the introductory sermon. His text was: "The Lord is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble; and he knoweth them that trust in him" (Nahum 1:7) . Elder Hale was an earnest advocate of missions, believing that it was God's purpose of love and grace that all nations should have a chance to hear the Gospel. A favorite text with him was the famous text used by William Carey, May 30, 1792, at Knottingham, England: "Enlarge the place of thy tent, and let them stretch forth the curtains of thine habitations; spare not, lengthen thy cords, and strengthen thy stakes; for thou shalt break forth on the right hand and on the left; and thy seed shall inherit the Gentiles, and make the desolate cities to be inhabited" (Isaiah 54:2, 3).
For years he was a useful and influential minister of the gospel in the Nolachucky Association, passing to his reward in the year 1849, the same year in which his co-worker and associate, Elder John Kidwell, departed to be with Christ. In the association minutes of that year the clerk, Elder T. J. Lane, makes note of the death of these two beloved servants of God, calling attention to "their distinguished piety and eminent usefulness in the ministry."
Jeremiah Hale had two sons, Henry and Jesse, who were able ministers of the Word; two nephews, Elder P. H. C. Hale (recently deceased), who was one of our best men and a great country pastor, and Elder J. F. Hale, of New Market, a successful pastor and evangelist. We also note the fact that W. C. Hale of Morristown, a useful pastor and many years the moderator of the Nolachucky Association, and Drs. Fred D. and I'. T. Hale of Kentucky, sons of Dr. Philip Hale, formerly of Warrensburg, Greene County, Tennessee, are of the same stock and close of kin to the elder Hale, and are all able ministers of the New Testament. Jeremiah H. Hale of Eldorado Springs, Missouri, is the youngest son of Elder Jeremiah Hale, and the only member of the immediate family now living. W. H. MuIlens, a money-making, public-spirited and liberal Baptist and citizen of Morristown, son of the only daughter (Martha) who lived to grow to womanhood, is a grandson of Elder Jeremiah Hale.
Burnett, J .J. Sketches of Tennessee's Pioneer Baptist Preachers. Nashville, Tenn.: Press of Marshall & Bruce Company, 1919.
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