Sketches Of

Tennessee's Pioneer Baptist Preachers


(pages  365 - 366)

The subject of this sketch, a son of Edward and Nancy  McGinnis, was born in Smyth County, Virginia, July 16, 1779. He was of Irish, or Scotch-Irish, descent. His parents came to Tennessee, locating in Hawkins County, when Moses was a lad of nine years of age. When a full-grown man he went to school to Elika Taylor, who "taught him grammar," and was afterwards proud to testify of his pupil that he was a "bright and talented man, and self-made." At the age of 40 he made a profession of religion and was baptized by Hughes O. Taylor into the fellowship of War Creek (now Flat Gap) Church.  Soon after his baptism his church ordained him deacon. In 1835 he was "licensed to preach," and in the same year was "ordained" to the full work of the ministry.

In his young manhood he was married to Mary Wolf, a daughter of Charles and Susanna Wolf, a woman of Dutch parentage, industrious and capable. To this union were born seventeen children. One of his sons-in-law, "who lived on the same farm, had sixteen children, the youngest of them old enough to go to school" (Aunt Betsy Haynes). Whether or not any of the other children with like large families are written in the book of the generations of the McGinnises, the writer not informed.

Brother McGinnis' field of labor was Hancock, Hawkins, Claiborne and adjoining counties. He was pastor of the following churches, and helped in the organization of a number of them: Duck Creek, Bean's Creek, Richardson's Creek, Flat Gap, and Cool Branch. He belonged to the territory of the Mulberry Gap Association and left a lasting impress upon all that section of country. Like his Master, he "worked while it was day," and his sun went down without a cloud. December 14, 1873, being in his 85th year, he fell on sleep. The testimony of his brethren, after his departure, was, that "he stood as a watchman on the walls of Zion for nearly forty years; that he was a zealous and faithful expounder of Bible truth, and had become deeply enshrined in the hearts of the people whom he loved and served; that he endured the pain and confinement of a protracted illness with Christian patience and resignation, often speaking to his brethren in the most glowing terms of his strong and abiding hope of a glorious future, brighter land and a better home than we have ever dreamed of here below."


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


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