Tennessee's Pioneer Baptist Preachers
(pages 309 - 310)
The death of Brother D. Kitzmiller (1898) was a distinct loss to the Baptists of upper East Tennessee. He was a pioneer of the mountains, a man of rugged strength of body, mind and character, as his face in the portrait shows. He was the son of David and Elizabeth Kitzmiller, and was born in Washington County, Tenn., March 31, 1833. His father was a man of piety and influence and, though not a preacher, was gifted in prayer and able in exhortation. He was also a strong Baptist, and lived to within three months of his 96th birthday. His grandfather, Martin Kitzmiller, was Pennsylvania Dutch, and lived to be upwards of 90. His grandfather on the maternal side, David Hughes, from Ireland, was almost in sight of his one hundredth birthday when he died. The subject of our sketch seemed to have been built for a full hundred Years, but he was not proof against "neuralgia of the heart."
Brother Kitzmiller received the principal part of his education at the Fall Branch Academy in his native county. In his early manhood he was converted and, uniting with Buffalo Ridge Church, was baptized by Elder W. A. Keen, August 26, 1854, his church licensed him to preach, and in 1856 ordained him, Elders W. A. Keen, John A. Viers and M. V. Kitzmiller acting as a presbytery. He was married September 1, 1857, to Elizabeth C. Carriger, daughter of T. L. Carriger, of Watauga Valley, Carter County. This union was crowned with nine children, six of them still living.
Among the churches served by him as pastor we mention f Blountville, Pleasant Grove, Denton's Valley, Cobb's Creek now Holly Springs), Friendship, Edwards' Memorial, Chinquepin Grove, Poplar Grove, Bluff City, Harmony, Sinking Creek, Stoney Creek, and Watauga, in Tennessee, besides a seven years' term of pastoral service in Virginia. He was also missionary of the General Association of Virginia for two years, preaching in Russell County where he baptized hundreds of people. Elder A. Routh, his successor on that field, said: "Brother D. Kitzmiller did a great work in Russell County. He was a strong man, sound in the faith, an able doctrinal preacher, and a successful evangelist."
He was forty-one years in the ministry, witnessed the conversion of some 2,000 souls and baptized about 1,600 persons, ten of the number becoming ministers of the gospel. Much of his ministry was given to weak and struggling churches and to destitute, out-of-the-way places. In his own community lie was a main pillar and liberal supporter of his church.
He was a leading spirit in the Watauga Association, and for several years was the efficient moderator of that body. He was a zealous advocate of ministerial and general education, was a pronounced believer in missions, and always contributed to the enterprises of his denomination.
A marked peculiarity of Brother Kitzmiller was his powerful voice. He made the unrepentant sinner hear in its thunder tones the voice of doom, and with it aroused those "at ease in Zion" with a trumpet call to duty.
This faithful servant of the Lord was called to his reward May 30, 1898. His church (the Watauga), where he had lived and labored for twenty-four years, memorialized him in her minutes and in the Baptist and Reflector, paying worthy tribute to him as a "citizen, husband, father, Christian, and a faithful minister of Jesus Christ."
Burnett, J .J. Sketches of Tennessee's Pioneer Baptist Preachers. Nashville, Tenn.: Press of Marshall & Bruce Company, 1919.
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