Sketches Of

Tennessee's Pioneer Baptist Preachers


(pages 527 - 528)

In the year 1873 the subject of this sketch began a promising career as a missionary evangelist and pioneer preacher in the newly opened up territory along the Cincinnati Southern, northeast of Chattanooga, in Rhea, Roane and adjacent counties. In the midst of useful and abundant labors he was cut down before he had reached the maturity of his powers or had fairly entered upon the prime of his ministry. John Wesley Whitlock was born January 18, 1847; he died February 13, 1886, lacking five days of being thirty-nine years and one month old. He was buried at Jonesboro. His first pastorate was at Cedar Ford. Grainger County: his last pastorate was Jonesboro and Johnson City, where he did good work, laying solid foundations for more solid building in the future.

Brother Whitlock was scholarly, although he never attended College. He had a good common school education. His book learning, especially in the classics, he dug out at home. He was a  hard student, taught school, learned Greek and Latin, without a teacher, and taught Professor Mason, Superintendent of the Morristown High School, the mysteries of these dead languages.

Brother Whitlock was twice married. March 9, 1872, he was married to Miss Mary Nance, a daughter of Prior Nance. of Grainger County. His second marriage was to Miss Sallie Jarnagin. Both of his wives were excellent women - "helps meet for him," not only in domestic life, but also in the ministry, to which he had consecrated his life. A severe bladder trouble, baffling the physician's skill, brought him and his labors of love to what seemed to him an untimely end. It was a great struggle for him to be reconciled to an overruling Providence, which permitted his ministry to come to so sudden a close.  But thinking and praying over the matter, and trusting all to the Great Father's infinite wisdom and love, he finally became reconciled, and passed peacefully to the rest that awaits the people of God.


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


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