Tennessee's Pioneer Baptist Preachers
GEORGE GRANT TAYLOR
(pages 515 - 517)
George Grant Taylor was born in Grainger County, Tennessee, March 18, 1816. He was a son of Hughes O. and Elizabeth Taylor. He was one of a family of eleven children. He was brought up to farm life, and in his boyhood and early manhood days was favored with fairly good educational advantages. August 11, 1840, he was married to Elizabeth Ann Lane, a daughter of Elder T. J. Lane, of near Whitesburg. This happy union was blessed with an issue of nine children. I have not been able to find any record of his conversion and baptism. The probability is that the first church with which he identified himself was Bethel South, which was the nearest church to his home, and where Isaac Barton had been pastor for many years, and where his father, Hughes O. Taylor, and his brother, H. Woodson Taylor, had been and were still ministering. Probably one of these servants of God baptized him into the fellowship of what has since become the First Baptist Church of Morristown. We find him a messenger of this church to the Nolachucky Association in the years 1841, 1842 and 1843, and a messenger from Liberty Hill, a newly constituted church, from 1843 to 1862, missing only one or two meetings. He was for ten years clerk of the Association and four years its Moderator. He preached three introductory sermons: In 1851, from the text, "Go teach all nations"; in 1855, from the text, "The church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth"; in 1867, from the text, "I am doing great work." He was also missionary of the Association for a number of years. The character of his work as missionary is indicated by his report to the body for the year 1851: "Labored ninety days, twenty-two of which are donated; preached seventy-five sermons; baptized thirty-seven persons; witnessed about 145 professions of faith; assisted in the ordination of one deacon and the constitution of one church; spent twenty-eight days of my time in destitution. G. G. Taylor, missionary." Elika Taylor, an older brother and a thoroughly competent judge, himself an unordained preacher, has this to say of his brother Grant: "He had the best talent there was in the family. He was a deeper man and a better investigator than either of his preacher-brothers. He was also a very earnest speaker. In preaching he was alive all over; his gestures and his whole body spoke with energy and force. He was one of the strongest debaters in the country, and was good in protracted meetings, especially when he could have a good gospel singer and a live exhorter to supplement his gifts and reinforce his efforts. He lacked the melody of voice and smoothness of speech of his brother Woodson."
In the war between the States Grant Taylor was a "Union" man, but when the war was over he was a great pacificator, lending his influence to conciliating men of different war views, thus helping to unify divided churches and communities. In not a few of our churches, at the close of the war, there were conscientious but strongly partisan Baptists who insisted that "rebel" members make "acknowledgments" to the church or be turned out. But Grant Taylor, I am told, always counseled moderation and charity, and at his own charge made trips to Knoxville, where a Federal Court would be in session, to intercede for his "rebel" brethren and friends and help them out of their troubles.
January 26, 1869, at the home of Joel Dyer, near Buffalo Church, Grainger County, Grant Taylor fell in the harness. and passed to his reward. He was in the midst of a meeting with Buffalo Church, one of the churches of which he was pastor, but succumbed to overwork, exposure and pneumonia He was taken home and buried in the family burying ground on the old Taylor homestead, where sleeps the dust of four generations of the Taylors. "A watchman has fallen. The summons of death was served upon Elder G. G. Taylor, January 26, 1869." (Record of clerk, by order of the Association.)
Burnett, J .J. Sketches of Tennessee's Pioneer Baptist Preachers. Nashville, Tenn.: Press of Marshall & Bruce Company, 1919.
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