Tennessee's Pioneer Baptist Preachers
(pages 267 - 269)
Samuel Jones was one of the notable preachers of the Nolachucky Association, a fine singer and wonderfully gifted in exhortation. He was born in Grainger County, Tenn., April 14, 1813. He was married to Frances J. Willis in the year 1835, the issue of which marriage was a family of thirteen
children. From 1845 to 1867 he was a messenger of Blackwell's Branch Church to the Nolachucky Association, rarely missing a meeting. In 1845 he appears on the minutes as a "licensed preacher," and the following year his name appears in the list of "ordained" ministers. He was "missionary" of the Association for a number of years. His report for the year 1848-49 is as follows: 'Labored 109 days, attended ten protracted meetings, witnessed about 200 professions of faith, preached sixty-nine sermons, baptized eighty-six persons, assisted in the ordination of four deacons, passed forty-five days of my time in destitute places.-S. Jones." In 1859 the Association met with Mt. Zion Church, Hawkins County, Samuel Jones preaching the introductory sermon, from John 15:22, a statement of the fact that the sinner has "no cloak for his sin," since Christ has come and spoken to the world. Brother Jones was not a methodical sermonizer, I am told, but he never failed to strip the sinner of every cover for his sin (except the robe of Christ's righteousness) and lay bare the guilty secrets of his heart of unbelief. He was fiery, earnest, sympathetic, powerful in exhortation. He was energetic, and pushed out into the byways and the out-of-the-way places, seeking the wandering and the lost. He helped Elder Asa Routh in a meeting with the Buffalo Church, Grainger County, in which there was an ingathering of more than 100 souls, ninety-one coming into the church by baptism. The meeting was remembered for years and years, and spoken of as "the wonderful revival held by Brother Routh and Brother Sam Jones."
Brother Jones loved to attend the Associations, and was appointed by the Nolachucky, almost every year, to attend sister or corresponding Associations. The writer is indebted to Elder A. Routh for the following incident: At an Association in North Carolina, Joseph Manning, from the East Tennessee Association, and Sam Jones, from the Nolachucky, were appointed to preach at the same hour but at different places. Crowds of people from every direction were hurrying to get to the grounds by the preaching hour. As they moved hurriedly along one would say to another. "Which preacher are you going to hear?" An admirer of Manning would ask, "Are you going to hear Manning?" and one of Brother Jones' admirers would answer, "No, I'm going to hear a preacher that can preach - I'm going to hear Sam Jones." Brother Jones' friends and admirers almost idolized him, and Elder Routh appreciated him very much as a co-laborer, and spoke of his character and gifts in high terms (nobody could "excite and stir up people like Sam Jones"), but he thought "Manning could say more than Jones when it came to preaching the gospel."
Elder Jones accomplished great good in Grainger County, extending his evangelistic labors at times into Virginia. He was a self-sacrificing minister, receiving very little for his labors. To the manuscript minutes of the Nolachucky Association, for 1867, the clerk, according to the time-honored custom of the body, appended this brief note: "Another minister has fallen. Elder S. Jones departed this life July 25, 1867." He was buried in Grainger County.
Burnett, J .J. Sketches of Tennessee's Pioneer Baptist Preachers. Nashville, Tenn.: Press of Marshall & Bruce Company, 1919.
[ Return to Index ]
HTML presentation of this material is
Copyright © 2002 by Rose-Anne Cunningham Bray.
All rights reserved.