Tennessee's Pioneer Baptist Preachers
ASA M. LAYMAN
(pages 329 - 330)
Asa M. Layman was a son of Elder Daniel Layman. He was born in Sevier County, Tenn., November 24, 1818. Being the son of a self-sacrificing minister, who was away from his home most of the time, preaching to the churches mostly at his own charge, and therefore poor, young Layman's lot was hard work and constant struggle to help support the family. This necessity deprived him of school advantages and other means and opportunities of getting an education in his boyhood days. His early schooling was that of hard work and self-denial. He was greatly indebted to his parents, however, for moral training and a good example, which "kept him from being profane or reckless" as he grew to manhood.
He was married to Miss Jane Ferguson April 30, 1843, and to this union were born eight children. In the year 1845 he made a profession of religion and was baptized by Elder James Kennon, uniting with the Sevierville Church. Transferring his membership to Bethel Church, Sevier County, he served the church as clerk for some time. When Jones' Chapel was organized, close to where he lived, he became a member of that church, also church clerk. At the call of this church he was ordained to the ministry, October, 1856, Elders John Russell, William Ellis, Robert Atchley and Richard Evans acting as a presbytery. He preached his "first sermon" at Jones' Chapel from Amos 4:12: "Prepare to meet thy God."
He was pastor of Providence, Henderson's Chapel, Red Bank, Bethany and White Oak Flats churches. Most of his time, however, was given to revival and evangelistic work. He was devoted to his home church, Jones' Chapel, and made it a rule to be present on her regular meeting days, if possible, in order to worship with his family and the brethren with whom he stood in covenant relation.
He was a plain, practical and earnest preacher, adorning the doctrine he preached with a godly life. "He was a strong man and an uncompromising Baptist." (J. Russell.) "He labored successfully in protracted meetings, giving good heed to his ministry. He was a useful minister and church member, a kind husband, a faithful father, an obliging neighbor." (Minutes East Tennessee Association.) He died March 17, 1867, aged 48 years, 8 months and 28 days, and was buried in the cemetery at Fair Garden.
Burnett, J .J. Sketches of Tennessee's Pioneer Baptist Preachers. Nashville, Tenn.: Press of Marshall & Bruce Company, 1919.
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