Sketches Of

Tennessee's Pioneer Baptist Preachers


(pages 284 - 285)

John Kidwell was born in Grainger County, in the latter part of the eighteenth century. He was contemporary with Isaac Barton, Robert Fristoe, James Lacy, Hughes O. Taylor, and the Witts. At some unknown date he became a member of Bethel South (now the First Church of Morristown), and was most likely baptized by the pastor, Isaac Barton. In the first list of ministers of the Holston Association, given in the minutes of 1817, are the names of Isaac Barton and John Kidwell, "messengers of Bethel South." Afterwards he transferred his membership to the Head of Richland Church, and in 1827 he represented that church in the Powell's Valley Association. In the preceding year he was a corresponding messenger of the Powell's Valley to the Tennessee Association. He was an active minister and preached to a great many churches. John Kidwell is a familiar name, one of frequent occurrence in the records of our country churches. This, for example: "Church appoints the third Sunday in May as a sacramental occasion, and invites John Kidwell, James Kennon and Hughes O. Taylor to attend. July 4, 1831: : Brother John Kidwell resigns his pastoral charge of the church at Buffalo," etc.

He was influential in the founding of Kidwell's Ridge Church, admitted to membership in the Nolachucky Association, as "a newly constituted church," in 1848. The church, I take it, was named in his honor. The church appointed him a messenger to the association in 1849, but before the association had met in August of the same year, God called him home: and this is the clerk's record: "We take this method of announcing to all inquiring friends, that Elders J. Kidwell and Jeremiah Hale have departed this life; and, from their distinguished piety and eminent usefulness in the ministry, there is not a remaining doubt but they are now receiving their reward in heaven."

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


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