Sketches Of

Tennessee's Pioneer Baptist Preachers


(pages 474 - 476)

G. G. Sims, son of Elliott and Joanna Sims, was born September 10, 1813. His father was a native of South Carolina ; was a first-class mechanic and millwright, and brought up his son George to the art of building and repairing mills. November 24, 1833, young Sims was married to Miss Mary Fine, a daughter of Abraham Fine, of Cocke County. To this union  were born seven children, three sons and four daughters. Making a profession of religion he was baptized, December 28, 1843.   He was licensed to preach the first Saturday in April, 1846:  was further liberated in May of 1847, and was ordained by Antioch Church, Jefferson County, November 8, 1847. Elder Sims did most of his preaching in Sevier, Jefferson, Blount and Cocke counties. His name appears frequently in the Minutes of the Tennessee, the Nolachucky and the East Tennessee Associations as "correspondent," "messenger," or "visitor."  He was pastor of Antioch, French Broad, Jones' Cove, New Salem. Wear's Cove, Tuckaleechee, and other churches. He held his membership with Antioch Church pretty much all his life, from the time of his conversion, and was pastor of the church a  great many years, representing it in the Association, either the Nolachucky or the East Tennessee, almost every year to the day of his death.

Brother Sims was a thoroughgoing Baptist; the Bible was the "man of his counsel," his all-sufficient rule of faith and practice. On the flyleaf of his well-worn Bible is this inscription : "This is my articles of faith, covenant, and rules decorum .- G. G. Sims." One of his favorite Scriptures was the thirteenth chapter of First Corinthians. He admired the "races of meekness, sincerity, love and charity, especially in a minister, and never tired of condemning the loud and loveless proclaimer and hypocritical professor as "sounding brass or a tinkling cymbal." I have been told that Brother Sims preached the funeral discourse of Elder Eli Roberts, the poet-preacher. from the text: "For we must needs die and be as water spilt on the ground, which cannot be gathered up again," etc. (2 Sam. 14:14), a striking text of Scripture, furnishing a theme. doubtless, for an edifying discourse. Just a short time before his death he preached at Wilsonville, Cocke County. The theme of his discourse was Death and Judgment, based on John 5 :25-29. It was a "feeling and impressive sermon, moving many hearts and never to be forgotten" (S. A. Sims).

He fell on sleep February 13, 1872, and was buried in the Sims' family graveyard, three miles from the Jones' Chapel meeting-house in Sevier County.

The following story of Elder Sims is vouched for by good  authority: In holding protracted meetings and doing missionary work he would necessarily have to be away from home a good deal. Ordinarily the "latch-string" would be on "the outside" to him, and he was welcome to visit the brethren at his pleasure and enjoy their hospitality. But on one occasion he failed to get an invitation to go home with anybody. He stepped up to a gentleman, after waiting for an invitation, and said to him, "Come and go home with me." "How far is it to where you live?" said the man. "About thirty miles," said the preacher. Taking the hint the man said, "It is only a mile and a half to where I live; you had better go with me." "All right, I believe I will," agreed Brother Sims, and went home with the gentleman, who proved to be a member of the church where he was beginning his meeting, and enjoyed a good dinner


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


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