Sketches Of

Tennessee's Pioneer Baptist Preachers


(pages 220-221)

A devoted and useful servant of the Lord was the Rev. J. L. Harris, a pioneer worker and general missionary in the backward districts of Cocke County and other territory contiguous to North Carolina. He was the son of James Harris, and was born in Lincoln County, N. C., July 23, 1827. In 1853 he was married to Miss Sarah Jane Spangler, of his native state of North Carolina. He was sixty years a minister of the gospel of the Baptist denomination, for three years in Cleaveland  County, N. C., for ten years in York and Union counties, S. C., afterwards one year in Rutherford County. where he held successful meetings and baptized at one time 100 converts into the fellowship of a single church.  During the early periods of his ministry he was generally pastor of four churches. Nearly fifty years ago he moved to Cocke County Tenn., and preached his first sermon in the old brick meetinghouse at the mouth of Big Creek, now Del Rio.

He was "regular in the work" most of the time, almost to the time of his death, retaining his memory and "right mind" to the very hour of his departure. He ever stood for righteousness, was happy in the Lord, and kept young. September, 1918, he died, triumphant in the faith, at the age of 90, leaving a large connection and many friends to mourn his departure. During his ministerial life he baptized 1,000 persons and married about 800 couples. "The memory of the just smells sweet and blossoms in the dust."

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


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