Sketches Of

Tennessee's Pioneer Baptist Preachers


(pages 421 - 423)

Mark Roberts was a son of Elder Eli Roberts, one of the ablest of the older pioneer preachers of the country. He was born in Sevier County, Tennessee, February 16, 1835. He was married to Maleta Drinen, a daughter of James Drinen, of Sevier County, April 8, 1858. The issue of this marriage was eleven children - four of them dying in infancy. Three sons and four daughters are still living, all members' of Baptist churches. Brother Roberts was converted early in life, but did not unite with any church till after his marriage. In August of 1858, being in his twenty-fourth year, he was received by experience and baptism for membership in the White Oak Flats Church, where he kept his membership as long as he lived. July 3, 1875, he was licensed to preach, and was ordained August 6, 1876.

In a ministry of thirty-seven years he was pastor of sixteen or more churches: Gatlenburg, Wear's Valley, Bethel (Blount County), Antioch, Evans' Chapel, Marshall's Grove, Olive Springs, Rocky Grove, New Salem, Laurel Grove, New Era, Oldham's Creek, Shady Grove, Ogle's Cross Roads, Banner, Sugar Loaf, and perhaps others.

Brother Roberts was a faithful minister of Jesus Christ. He was strictly a Biblical preacher. His sermons always abounded in Scripture quotations; he preached the Word, and that only. To him the Bible was the solution of all problems and the answer to all questions of importance. All sorts of questions would be put to him by his neighbors. Some of them he would answer directly, some of them from the pulpit, but in either case the answer would come from the Bible. "He lived a humble, consecrated, devoted life." His motto was, Be right and do your duty - leave results to God. His belief in the Bible and in the right was as firm as the great mountains, among which and under whose shadows he preached.

August 4, 1912, Brother Roberts preached the funeral discourse of a leading citizen and member of his church, following the Sabbath discourse with two other sermons, on Monday and Tuesday. These were his farewell discourses. He fell on sleep November 1, 1912.  "Brother Roberts was an exemplary Christian and an able preacher of the gospel. He was a faithful and true servant of the Lord, and his labors were greatly blessed. We mourn his loss. But he had fought the good fight, had kept the faith, and has gone to his reward." (From resolutions adopted by the church.)


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


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