Tennessee's Pioneer Baptist Preachers
(pages 349 - 350)
Elisha Martin was born February 9, 1809, in Russell County, Virginia. He was converted when about fifteen years old. For a number of years he was a Methodist, a "class leader and exhorter." February 25, 1830, he was married to Emily Nelson, a daughter of James Nelson, and was blessed with a family of seven children. Having married a woman who was a Baptist, and with Baptist convictions, he commenced anew to read the Bible more carefully than he had ever done, that he might show his wife the error of her way and convert her to the faith of the Methodists. Instead of converting her, however, he was himself converted to Baptist views; and was accordingly ordained to the Baptist ministry, in Scott County, Virginia, May 29, 1841, "by fasting and prayer, and the laying on of the hands of the presbytery"-the presbytery being Elder. David Jesse add Silas Ratliff.
He was pastor of Harmony, Limestone, Cherokee, New Salem. Flag Branch, Clear Fork. Stony Point, Crap Creek, Concord and other churches. He revived the Warrensburg Church at the close of the civil war and led the church in building a house of worship. At the same time he and Jesse Hale were co-pastors of the Concord Church, working in harmony and holding the church together in the troublous days that followed the war. Brother Martin was a plain man and a plain preacher; was "kind, friendly, sociable and courteous in disposition - the kind of man that makes a good pastor. He held his churches together and saw them prosper in his hands."
Three or four Baptist preachers of prominence and note by the name of Martin have labored extensively in Tennessee, some of them coming from Virginia. Whether any of them were relatives of Elisha Martin or not I have not been able to discover. Most likely they were. Any way, Elisha Martin wrought nobly for the Lord and the Baptists for thirty-seven years, and his record is on high. He passed to his reward February 19, 1878, dying in the triumph of a living faith.
Burnett, J .J. Sketches of Tennessee's Pioneer Baptist Preachers. Nashville, Tenn.: Press of Marshall & Bruce Company, 1919.
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