Tennessee's Pioneer Baptist Preachers
P. H. C. HALE
(pages 214 - 217)
Elder P. H. C. Hale, son of Esq. James Hale, belongs to a numerous and noted family of preachers. He is a grandson of Elder Ephraim Moore and a near relative of Elder T. J. Lane, both of pioneer fame. He is a nephew of Jeremiah Hale, brother to J. F. Hale, uncle to Tom and Arthur, a distant relative of W. C. Hale, and a near kinsman of Drs. Fred D. and P. T. Hale, of Kentucky. The writer was Brother Hale's pastor for at the time of his decease and was appointed by the Nolachucky Association chairman of a committee to draft suitable resolutions to present to that body at its annual meeting, 1917. The association memorialized him in her minutes by publishing the following sketch, graced with a picture of his kindly face: "Brother Hale was born in Jefferson (now Hamblen) County, Tennessee, October 23, 1842. He was converted when a boy, in his fifteenth year, uniting with the Bent Creek (now the Whitesburg) Church in 1857. He entered the ministry in 1868, and was ordained by the Bethel Baptist Church in 1870. He fell in the harness and passed to his heavenly reward May 28, 1917, aged 74 years, 7 months and 5 days, having been a preacher and a leader in the Nolachucky Association for nearly fifty years. He prayed and labored for the peace of Zion and was always a unifying and constructive force in his association. Under his ministry and supervision the new meeting houses of Central, Witt's Foundry, Point Pleasant, Baileyton and Russellville churches were erected. Brother Hale was interested in all the enterprises fostered by his denomination, and not only contributed of his own means to their support but was ever willing and ready to raise collections to carry on the Lord's work. The lad who drove me to the funeral said to me: `Uncle Pat has held his hat under more nickels than any man in this country, and never failed to put in something himself.' He was particularly interested in Christian education, more especially in our Baptist schools; and when he had educated his own children (a large family) in Carson and Newman, he commenced to hunt up worthy poor girls in the country, to make them the beneficiaries of his own gifts and the gifts of others, as students in a Baptist school. Brother Hale was a great stay to his home church, Bethel, was always in evidence at Sunday school and the regular church meetings, and took nearly all the extra collections. He was a great help to his pastor, and will be greatly missed not only by the pastor, but by the church and the entire community in which he lived, and by this association, whose annual gatherings he rarely failed to attend.
He was married September 10, 1867, to Miss Esther Brandon, to which union were born eleven children, six of whom survive him. September 10 of last year, when the children were all at home, Brother and Sister Hale were craftily lured to Bethel Church, where a surprise program had been arranged for the celebration of their `Golden Wedding,' anticipating by a year the fiftieth anniversary of their marriage.
On May 30, 1917, at Bethel Church, a funeral and memorial service was held on behalf of Brother Hale in the presence of the largest crowd of people the writer has ever seen gathered together at a country church, numbering from 2,000 to 3,000 people. The crowd represented six counties, twenty Baptist churches, and people of all denominations, all having it in their hearts to honor a noble man of God and a beloved father in Israel. Appropriate songs of Zion were rendered by the choir and a touching solo was sung by a young woman. The pastor preached a ten minutes' discourse from the words of the Psalmist (Ps. 37:37) : `Mark the perfect man, and behold the upright; for the end of that man is peace.' Then followed beautiful and touching tributes to the memory of the deceased by Drs. Spencer Tunnell and J. M. Anderson, Elders J. M. Walters and W. C. Hale, and the local Presbyterian pastor, a Brother Smith. The speakers struck a responsive chord in the hearts of all present as they spoke of the unenvious, the brotherly, sympathetic and peaceloving spirit of the deceased; his perfect freedom from ministerial jealousy, his shepherd-heart, his forward-looking, progressive spirit, his spirit of helpfulness, his faith in God and the brethren, and his optimistic outlook upon life and the future of God's kingdom. His body was laid to rest in the cemetery at Bethel. Blessed be his memory. His life was a benediction. His praise is in the churches. . His memory will not perish.
" 'Servant of God, well done; rest from thy loved employ;
The battle fought, the victory won, enter thy Master's joy.' "
Burnett, J .J. Sketches of Tennessee's Pioneer Baptist Preachers. Nashville, Tenn.: Press of Marshall & Bruce Company, 1919.
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