Sketches of holston preachers

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Stewart, George: Born May 15, 1821, in Tyrone County, Ireland. His parents immigrated to America when he was an infant and located in Giles County, Va. Licensed to preach Jan. 23, 1847. Served as junior supply 1849-50-51. Under his preaching that year were many seals to his ministry, among them William E. Munsey. Admitted 1851. In 1853 his health failed and he asked for discontinuance, in despair of doing further work. Health restored he was received again in 1855. The next ten years were spent on circuits in Southwest Virginia. Supernumerary 1865. Presiding elder of Knoxville District 1866. Then followed districts and stations in East Tennessee and Southwest Virginia. Married Mary Johnston of Giles County, Va., Sept. 4, 1844. His last work was on Pulaski station, 1888-90. Superannuated 1890. "In his career as a preacher he served the Church and country in the relations of local preacher, circuit preacher, station preacher, presiding elder; and he was popular and useful in all these relations." He died, at his residence in Dublin, Va., Nov. 27, 1891. Buried in Wythe County, Va. His daughter, Miss Mary Ann Elizabeth Stewart, married Rev. J. L. M. French, an honored minister of Holston Conference. Their son, Rev. Stewart French, is now, 1943, one of the most beloved members of Holston Conference.


Still, Abraham: Born Aug. 25, 1796, in Buncombe County, N. C. Admitted 1818. In Holston 1819 to 1825, when he located. Readmitted 1833. Married Mary Poague Moore, Tazewell County, Va. Transferred to Missouri in 1836. Served charges until 1844. Died Dec. 31, 1867. His son, Andrew Taylor Still, Kirksville, Mo., was the founder of the first School of Osteopathy.


Still, Elijah: Born Sept. 4, 1805, in White County, Tenn. Admitted 1831. He located in 1838, after serving a number of circuits and serving as a missionary among the Cherokee Indians. He continued as a local preacher until the organization of Holston Conference in 1865; and was readmitted, after which he served five circuits with great success, especially in revivals and church building. His memoir refers to his family but gives no data on that point. He died at his residence in Bradley County, Tenn., on April 12, 1875, and was buried at Red Hill, Bradley County.


Stone, Ausker Meek: Born Dec. 13, 1878, near Marion, Va. He was one of a family of nineteen children. He was for a time a student at Emory and Henry College. Engaged for some years in milling and electrical business, and later, was a traveling salesman. He was converted and united with Mt. Carmel Church in childhood. In his forty-third year (1921) he gave himself anew to God and felt anew the call to preach, and was licensed to preach. He was immediately given work as a supply. Admitted in 1923, he served five charges. He was a builder of churches. Ardent in temperament, he won friends readily and had a genius for leadership. Although beginning to preach late, he was an acceptable preacher and his work was successful. He married Oct. 19, 1898, Miss Octavia Etter, Rural Retreat, Va. Shortly after Conference in 1934 he underwent a serious surgical operation in a hospital in Norton, Va., where he was entering upon his third year as pastor. He died suddenly in the parsonage on Nov. 30, 1934. He was buried at Mt. Carmel, Smythe County, Va.


Stout, George M.: Born July 10, 1858. Admitted 1892 and was active for ten years, serving five circuits. He was a peacemaker and was possessed of remarkable enthusiasm and magnetism. He was married. He was superannuated in 1903. He died Oct. 12, 1905. He was buried at Andersonville, Tenn.


Strader, Tyler D.: Born March 10, 1866, in Giles County, Va. He was the son of Josiah and Barbara Caroline Strader. He was licensed to preach at Wabash Camp Ground. Admitted in 1890. He was active for thirty-two years, during which he built thirty-three churches. He helped to saw the lumber and to build many of these churches. He married Oct. 19, 1893, Miss Minnie Florence Sult. They had three children. He became superannuate in 1922. He died Jan. 26, 1942, at Radford, Va., and was buried there.


Stradley, Charles Lee: Born Oct. 20, 1867, at Hiwassee College. Son of Rev. John R. and Mrs. Harriet Stradley. Educated at Hiwassee College. Admitted in 1877. He served fifteen charges in forty-five years. He was especially successful with young people. He was twice married: (1) Dec. 2, 1891, Miss Margaret Jones, Clintwood, Va. They had seven children. Two sons, Rev. John Stradley of the Florida Conference and Rev. Paul G. Stradley of Houston, have followed their father in the Methodist itineracy. Mrs. Stradley died Aug. 26, 1927. (2) Sept. 24, 1928, Miss Rosa Bruce, Big Stone Gap, Va. He superannuated in 1932. He died June 3, 1933, at the home of his son, Rev. Paul G. Stradley, at Clinchport, Va., and buried at Emory, Va.


Stradley, John Ryland: Born June 15, 1825, at No. 37, Ironmonger Street, London, England. Brought by his parents to America when he was three. His father was a Baptist minister. Studied medicine and began to practice in Burnsville, N. C. Married Nov. 16, 1872, Miss Harriet Newell Wilson. They had eight children, two of whom became Methodist preachers: W. Bascom and Charles L. Admitted 1856. Located 1861, but afterward returned to the Conference. He was made a Captain in the Confederate Army, performing the duties of a surgeon part of the time. After the war he took work for some time, but was supernumerary for many years. His first wife died Dec. 3, 1883. He later married Miss Harriet Porter, Asheville, N. C. Died Jan. 15, 1905, at his home in Monroe County, Tenn. Buried at Hiwassee College, Tenn.


Straley, James O.: Born March 22, 1864, in Carter County, Ky. Having no home in childhood, from his sixth year, found little opportunity to be in school. Encouraged by a sympathetic Christian woman he managed to spend a year or two as a student at Emory and Henry. Later in life he showed his gratitude for this privilege by conspicuous service to the College as agent and trustee. Admitted in 1884. He rose steadily from his first charge until he was presiding elder of Wytheville District and later of Tazewell District. In the wanderings of his early days he spent a night in a Christian home, in which a godly widowed mother gathered her children for family prayer. That night she prayed fervently for the little stranger within her gates. The influence of that night never faded from his memory; and long afterward, when he gave his heart to God, he searched out his friend and put himself at her service. He had an incisive, though untrained mind, unhampered by the inhibitions which training sometimes imposes. He did a tremendous amount of work of various kinds. He was highly esteemed for his straightforward integrity and for his unresting energy as well as for fervent piety and devotion of his life. Married Lula M. Anderson, Bristol, Va., Oct. 2, 1890. They had five children. Died unexpectedly Nov. 6, 1912, at Tazewell, Va. Buried at Emory, Va.


Strange, Joseph S.: Born Dec. 8, 1859, in Jefferson County, Tenn. He was admitted to Holston Conference in 1891. He professed sanctification in 1896. He served eighteen charges in thirty years of his effective conference relation. His wife survived him. They had four children. He superannuated in 1921. He died Aug. 14, 1934, at his home in Fountain City, Tenn. He was buried in Chattanooga.


Strange, Obadiah: In Holston one year, 1796-97.


Stribling, William: In Holston one year, 1813.


Stringfield, James King: Born March 27, 1839, Nashville, Tenn. Son of Rev. Thomas Stringfield and Sarah Williams Stringfield. Educated at Strawberry Plains College. Admitted 1858. Was chaplain in Confederate Army. Served circuits four years and stations five years. Never married. Elected professor in Asheville Female College in 1869. Died of penumonia, June 2, 1870.


Stringfield, Thomas: Born Feb. 13, 1797, in Barren County, Ky. Son of John and Sarah Boylston Stringfield. His great-grandfather, Richard Stringfield, emigrated from England and settled near Jamestown in early colonial days. James, son of Richard, married Mary Ann Ray. Thomas grew up on his father's farm on the Tennessee River, near Huntsville, Ala. With a thirst for knowledge he studied diligently even though denied the privilege of college training. At fifteen he served with Jackson, in 1812. Without his knowledge he was licensed to preach. Admitted in 1816. On circuits in Holston for several years; stationed in Nashville 1821. At twenty-six made presiding elder of Knoxville District in 1823. Was a charter member of Holston Conference at its organization in 1824. He was intimately connected with every interest of Holston Conference for the succeeding thirty years. Pioneer of educational work of the Methodist Church. Elected Editor of Southwestern Christian Advocate in 1836 and continued in that office four years. He was one of the foremost Methodist leaders in the controversy with the Calvinists in Holston. Continued in active leadership. Married Oct. 10, 1826, Sarah Williams, Strawberry Plains, Tenn. Their children: William W., James King, Sarah Frances (Mrs. F. A. Bulter), Melinda Williams (Mrs. James S. Kennedy), Mary (Mrs. John Ray). He was a delegate to the General Conference in 1824, 1828, 1832, 1844, Louisville Convention 1845, 1846, 1850. Superannuated in 1856. Died at Strawberry Plains, June 12, 1858.


Stuart, George Rutledge: Born Dec. 14, 1857, at Talbot Station, Jefferson County, Tenn. At the age of twelve he hired out to neighbors for meager wages to buy clothing. Educated at Emory and Henry College where he managed by his own efforts to meet his expenses. He graduated in 1883. He taught school to earn money for college. He changed his membership from the Presbyterian to the Methodist Church and secured license to preach in his twentieth year. Admitted to Holston Conference in 1883; and was stationed at Cleveland, Tenn., where he founded Centenary College for girls. He remained as Professor in Centenary College until 1890. In 1890 he was appointed to Centenary Church, Chattanooga, Tenn. He located in 1891, to go with Sam P. Jones in evangelistic work. Unlike Sam Jones in temperament or style of preaching, he nevertheless was acceptable and effective as a team-mate with Sam Jones. For more than ten years they were engaged in most successful tabernacle meeting and other evangelistic efforts. George R. Stuart soon became recognized as an evangelist and preacher of great power. He was one of the strongest of the temperance lecturers of that period. He became also one of the most popular lecturers on the American platform. Wherever he lectured or preached great crowds thronged to hear him. He was master of the emotions of his hearers and moved them to laughter and to tears at his will. He was one of the greatest entertainers that America has produced. In 1912 he was readmitted into Holston Conference and was stationed at Church Street, Knoxville, where packed congregations hung upon his preaching for four years, which was the time limit in the M. E. Church, South. In 1916 he was transferred to North Alabama Conference and stationed at First Church, Birmingham, where his church was crowded both day and night. At Birmingham his health failed as the result of the heavy labors of many years. He married Sept. 6, 1883, Miss Zollicoffer Sullins, daughter of Rev. Doctor and Mrs. David Sullins. They had five children. He died May 11, 1926, and was buried at Cleveland, Tenn.


Sullins, David, D.D.: Born July 28, 1827, two miles west of Athens in McMinn County, Tenn. He was the son of Nathan and Rebecca Mitchell Sullins. Both of his parents were deeply religious. Their home was long a preaching place for Methodist preachers. The lower story of their house was designed for this purpose and was furnished with a plain pulpit. David joined the church at twelve years. After being in local schools he went to Emory and Henry College and graduated with B.A. degree in 1850. He was licensed to preach at Abingdon a few days later. Admitted 1850. He was, at once, recognized as a man of great ability and sterling character. He served the most important charges during his early years. He was pastor and teacher at Jonesboro 1852-5-7. At Bristol he was pastor and president of Sullins College 1868-80; President of Emory and Henry 1880-1885 and founder of Centenary College at Cleveland, Tenn.

He was a man of commanding appearance, tall, graceful and agile. He had a voice of great compass and melody, both for song and speech; and was for many years the most popular preacher in Holston Conference. He was sought for special occasions and, perhaps, preached more commencement and dedication sermons than any other man of his day, or of any other day in Holston. Being occupied with educational work, he did not take the superannuate relation until 1915. He married May 3, 1855, Ann Rebecca Blair. They had four children, two sons and two daughters. She died April 5, 1902. A grandson, Rev. Sullins Dosser, is a member of Holston. Rev. George R. Stuart was his son-in-law. He spent his last days in the home of Dr. and Mr. Stuart. He died there, at Birmingham, Ala., on Feb. 19, 1918. He was buried at Cleveland, Tenn.


Sullins, Timothy: Born Dec. 4, 1812, in Blount County, Tenn. When he was eight the family moved to McMinn County. Son of Nathan and Rebecca Mitchell Sullins. Educated in common school near his home. Admitted in 1883. His ability was attested by the service which he rendered as circuit and station preacher, presiding elder, Agent of Emory and Henry College. Perhaps the Conference erred in giving him too heavy a load. In 1846, Oct. 18, while on his way to Conference, he was stricken with paralysis. Before his stroke he was engaged to be married to Miss Mary Rogers of Knoxville. After the failure of his health he proposed to release her from the engagement. Hoping to relieve his mind, she, at length, agreed to the release. But after a dozen years had passed, they were married, Jan. 28, 1858. They endured great hardship during the war between the states. He was an invalid for the last thirty-eight years of his life. He was a delegate to the General Conference in 1844, the Louisville Convention in 1845, and General Conference in 1846 and 1854. Died Feb. 18, 1885, at Knoxville and was buried in Old Gray Cemetery.


Summers, George William: Born May 16, 1853, in Tazewell County, Va. Son of William and Martha Bane Summers. As a boy he joined the church at Blue Stone Camp Ground. Educated in public schools. Read widely and was familiar with Methodist theology. An instructive, but not a popular preacher. Admitted in 1877. He served nine circuits and seven stations and taught one year in Centenary College and five years in Sullins College. Married Oct. 13, 1879, Miss Henrietta Phlegar, Floyd, Va. They had six daughters. Superannuated in 1920 because of ill health, which grew steadily worse. He died in a hospital at Radford, Va., June 11, 1925. Buried at Glade Spring, Va.


Sutherland, Robey Kinzer: Born Oct. 18, 1870, in Carroll County, Va. Son of Rev. A. C. and Sallie Kinzer Sutherland. His home was thoroughly Christian. He united with the church at fifteen. Educated at Sparta Academy, Emory and Henry, where he took his B.A., in 1893, and Vanderbilt University. Admitted 1894. Impaired health interfered with his work in 1898 and again in 1901. After eighteen years of successful work as pastor he was appointed Agent for Emory and Henry College and did eminently useful work for four years. He was a most capable administrator. Married Sept. 18, 1898, Miss Amanda Barnes of Tazewell County, Va. They had five children, four sons and a daughter. His death came unexpectedly, just after his forty-sixth birthday. Died Nov. 15, 1916, at Emory, Va., and was buried there.


Sutton, Phillip: Born April 9, 1827, in Smythe County, Va. Admitted in 1854. Superannuated 1889. A faithful pastor. Twice married: (1) Miss Bryan, Grainger County, Tenn.; (2) Miss Mahood, Mercer County, W. Va. Died April 15, 1896, Princeton, W. Va. Buried at Princeton.


Swaim, Mitchell Patton: Born Dec. 11, 1832, in Buncombe County, N. C. Licensed 1853. Admitted in 1853. He wrote in his diary that he "was local thirteen years, supernumerary eight years, superannuate thirteen years, active nineteen years." He never received more than $430.00 for a year's work. Married April 26, 1859, Miss Lou L. Kirkland of Sequatchie Valley. They had two children. Died July 4, 1915, at the home of his daughter, Mrs. S. A. Cole, at Richmond, Va. Buried at Liberty Hill, Tenn.


Swecker, James E.: Born Aug., 1861, in Wythe County, Va. Son of Benjamin and Sarah Swecker. Studied at Emory and Henry. Admitted 1890 "and from that to the day of his departure he did work with a degree of acceptability and fidelity which any young minister might covet." Married Sept. 22, 1892, Miss Lillie Dove Dickenson of Floyd County, Va. They had four children. She died Nov. 5, 1904. He married, the second time, May 16, 1906, Miss Daisey Kelly Hall. He "carried every day a serious conviction of the importance of his work." Died March 3, 1909. Buried in Wythe County, Va.


Swift, Richard: In Holston 1785.


Swisher, H. B.: Born April 3, 1803. Admitted 1860. Died 1866. Buried at Greeneville, Tenn.


Swisher, Jessee G.: Born 1803. Admitted 1844. For twenty-five years a faithful minister. Married. Died July 22, 1866. Buried at Calhoun, Tenn.


Taylor, Louther: In Holston one year, 1801-1802.


Taylor, Nathanael Greene: Born Dec. 29, 1819, at Happy Valley, Carter County, Tenn. Son of James Patton and Mary Carter Taylor. His grandfather, Nathanael Taylor, was one of the first of the pioneers in the Watauga Settlement, whose wife was Mary Patton. N. G. Taylor was educated at Washington College, Tenn., and in Princeton College, N. J., where he received the first honors of his class, in 1840. He studied law, but soon after he began to practice law, he was powerfully moved by the tragical death of his sister at, Brush Creek Camp Meeting, and the whole course of his life was changed, so that the major occupation of his life was preaching. Soon after this incident he was licensed as a local preacher in the Methodist Church. He served two terms in Congress and was Commissioner of Indian Affairs under Johnson. He was a strong Union man. He made a tour of New England making addresses of appeal for the war-stricken people of East Tennessee. It is said that Edward Everette pronounced his address in Faneuil Hall to be one of the greatest ever delivered in America. He raised nearly or quite $200,000 for the suffering people of East Tennessee. "In person, voice, manner, intellect, imagination and ready command of language Dr. Taylor was almost an ideal orator. In the pulpit or on the platform he had few peers." He was a lay delegate to the General Conference of 1872. Admitted to Holston Conference (M.E.) in 1872. He served a few years as pastor but it was not easy for a man who had seen so much of public life to confine himself to the work of the pastorate. He married Jan. 30, 1844, Miss Emma Haynes of Carter County. They had ten children. He died at his home April 1, 1887, and was buried in his native county.


Tevis, John: Born Jan. 6, 1792, in Baltimore. Admitted into Ohio Conference 1815. Appointed presiding elder of Holston District in 1820 and continued there for four years. He was among the most useful preachers of his day. Transferred to the Kentucky Conference in 1824; became supernumerary in 1828; and superannuate in 1835. Married Miss Julia Ann Heironimus March 9, 1824. Together they founded Science Hall Academy, Shelbyville, Ky., which enjoyed a long and useful career. Confined to his bed by paralysis, for many years, he suffered very little pain. Died Jan. 26, 1861.


Thompson, Leander Wade: Born Nov. 11, 1849, Floyd County, Va. Admitted 1872. A brief but faithful ministry. Married May 15, 1878, Miss Kitty Lane, Floyd County, Va. Died Nov. 27, 1878, Princeton, W. Va. Buried at Floyd, Va.


Thompson, Samuel H.: Admitted 1809. In Holston three years, 1810-11-12. Died March 9, 1841, in Illinois Conference.


Thompson, William Cortes: Born June 7, 1866, at Rose Hill, Va. Son of Stephen and Rosina Witt Thompson. Educated in public schools and Cumberland College, then operating at Rose Hill. Taught twenty-four years. Licensed to preach 1903. Admitted 1907; he was then 41. Served 9 charges in 19 years. Entering the ministry late, he gave himself to fervent evangelistic work. He led in the building of a new church at Reynolds Memorial, Bristol. Married Dec. 15, 1887, Miss Harriet Emily Speake, Rose Hill, Va. They had six children. Superannuated in 1926. Died Feb. 11, 1929, at the Reynolds Superannuate Home, Bristol, Tenn. Buried at Emory, Va.


Thomson, George H.: Born April 15, 1845, in Fairfax County, Va. Admitted into Virginia Conference in 1876, having previously served three years as a supply. In all he served eleven charges. He was in great demand for funeral occasions. After his retirement he represented Floyd County in the Virginia Legislature. He married in March, 1881, Miss Matilda Smith of Floyd County, Va. He superannuated in 1895. He died Feb. 25, 1923. He was buried at Simpson, Va.


Thorn, Arthur Sullivan: Born Feb. 6, 1868, in Green Valley, Giles County, Va. Educated at Princeton Academy and Emory and Henry College. Admitted into Western Virginia Conference in 1890. Transferred to Holston Conference in 1892. Taught in Princeton Academy in 1893 and 1894. Transferred to Baltimore Conference in 1907, where he located. Readmitted into Holston 1909. Taught one year at Princeton and one year at Martha Washington. Returned to pastoral work in 1920 and served four charges. In 1914 he ran for Congress. Married May 11, 1891, Miss Lula S. Hale, Princeton, W. Va. They had six children. Ill health was followed by a stroke of paralysis in the early summer of 1926. Died suddenly, after preaching in his church at Pocahontas, Va., on Dec. 26, 1926. Buried at Princeton, W. Va.


Tilley, Edward A.: Born Sept. 24, 1864, at Bristol, Tenn. Educated at King College from which he graduated in 1883. Spent one year at Vanderbilt University. Admitted 1885. His first appointment was Pocahontas, Va., where he remained for three years. He went to Brazil as a missionary in 1888. He worked his first twelve years in Brazil without a furlough. "In the Brazil Mission he occupied the following positions in the Conference: Twice presiding elder (4 years each term); was professor in the theological department of Granbery College for several terms; editor of the Expositor Christao (the Conference organ) four years. In the absence of the Bishop he was elected once as the President of the Brazil Conference. While pastor and presiding elder, in Petropolis, Rio, he published a book of sermons entitled Doutrinas Christans (Christian Doctrines). "Stricken with paralysis in Feb., 1907, he returned to this country in July, and lived at Ashland, Va., for six years. During this time he did some teaching in Randolph-Macon College and received from that College the honorary degree of Doctor of Divinity. In 1913 he returned to Brazil and did active work for two years. In Oct., 1915, he suffered a complete breakdown and was brought home to Bristol, Tenn. Married Nov. 6, 1890, at Sao Paulo, Brazil, Miss Ella V. Porter of Knox County, Tenn. They had four daughters. He died Nov. 27, 1916.


Towe, Alfred Hamilton: Born June 19, 1862, in Carroll County, Va. Grew up in Russell County, Va. Attended Temple Hill Academy four years. Licensed to preach 1881. Admitted 1886. Served eighteen circuits in nearly every part of Holston Conference during forty years. A modest, unselfish man; a preacher of unusual understanding and power. Married Sept. 3, 1883, Miss Florence Jane Potter. They had four children. One of the daughters married Rev. R. N. Havens. Superannuated 1926. Died Aug. 16, 1930. Buried at Emory, Va.


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