Sketches of holston preachers

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Bettis, Elbert Sevier: Born Jan. 23, 1859, in Hamblen County, Tenn. Son of Simeon and Louisa Bettis. Graduated from Emory and Henry College (1890) and from Vanderbilt University (1894). Licensed 1889. Admitted in 1893. Was active eight years; five charges. Superannuated 1900. "Everywhere he did thorough and effective work and was idolized by his people. The children loved him devotedly." Married Sept. 26, 1900, Miss Kate Peck of Blacksburg, Va. Died March 2, 1903, at Phoenix, Ariz., whither he had gone for the fight against tuberculosis. Buried at Emory, Va.

Bilderback, Joseph Asbury: Born Jan. 21, 1846. Licensed to preach 1871. Admitted 1871. His active ministry of forty-three years was spent in East Tennessee. He kept a diary and recorded, without comment, the events of his pastorates. Superannuated in 1914, but did some supply work. Married twice: (1) Miss Mary L. Boyce; (2) Miss Julie E. Lowry of Riceville, Tenn. They had two sons. He died in the home of his son at Birmingham, Ala., in November, 1917. Buried at Sweetwater.


Bird, Jonathan: Born Jan. 22, 1764, Wilkes County, N. C. Son of Benjamin Bird. Admitted 1789. In Holston two years - Green Circuit, 1797-98; Holston District, 1798-99. Asbury took him one time as traveling companion. Located in 1799. Died July 12, 1848, in McDowell County, N. C.


Bird, Richard: Admitted 1792. In Holston one year, 1794-95. Located in 1796. He was a brother of Jonathan Bird.


Bishop, Benjamin William Shields: Born July 22, 1839, in Botetourt County, Va. Son of William Phelps and Lavinia Schoolfield Bishop. His father was an educator and gave his son good educational and cultural advantages. The father was also a local preacher; and one of the most able and popular preachers in Holston Conference. B. W. S. Bishop was admitted into Holston Conference in 1856 and was continuously in active work for 39 years. His entire ministry was rendered in Southwest Virginia. He served circuits, stations and districts and proved himself acceptable in all. Studious, pious, a lover of good literature, especially poetry, which he quoted felicitously, and a charming companion. His preaching was always interesting and instructive and increased in power to the last day of life. Married April, 1860, Miss Julia Ann Goodykoontz of Floyd County, Va. There were four children: Rev. C. M. Bishop, D. D., Lucy, Mary Martha, who married J. W. Price, and David Horace Bishop, Ph.D. Mrs. Bishop died Oct. 4, 1895, at Tazewell, Va. He was buried at Emory, Va.


Bishop, E. A.: Born about 1854, at Wrightstown, N. J. He graduated from Wesleyan University in 1878. He taught for several years before becoming an itinerant preacher. Admitted to Erie Conference in 1900. He transferred to the Vermont Conference in 1904, where he served as President of Montpelier Seminary until 1912. In 1912 he transferred to Holston Conference and became President of Murphy Collegiate Institute, which he continued to serve to the end of his life. He was twice married: (1) Miss Clara Irene Brown in 1878. They had five children. (2) Miss Carrie A. Miller. He died Dec. 20, 1926, at the Methodist Episcopal Hospital at Brooklyn, N. Y. He was buried at Montpelier, Vt.


Black, Moses: Born in Charleston, S. C. Admitted 1796. In Holston four years, 1803-4-5 and in 1808. At forty he married a girl of fifteen. Died in Carter's Valley, Hawkins County, Tenn., Feb. 10, 1809, when about forty years old.


Blackman, Learner: Born 1781, in New Jersey. Son of David and Mary Blackman. Education above average. Admitted 1800. In Holston four years, 1801-3 and 1807-9. Died 1815.

Blake, Eugene: Born Dec. 14, 1856, in Matthews County, Va. Educated at Castlewood High School and Emory and Henry College. Licensed to preach by Dickensonville Quarterly Conference, Jan. 19, 1878. Admitted 1878. He served seven pastoral charges and two districts, was connected, as teacher or president, with six schools or colleges and was superintendent of Holston Orphanage. For nearly forty-six years he was an effective preacher. He was a constant reader of the Bible. He was a positive character, who formed his own opinions and was ever ready to stand by his convictions; but he was peculiarly free from rancor. Married 1882, Miss Lula Davis, daughter of John Milton Davis, Emory, Va. They had five children. He had not been in good health for some time; but the end came suddenly. He had just returned from a district conference at Marion, Va. At midnight the summons came and he was gone. Died at his home at Holston Orphanage, May 22, 1924. He was buried at Emory, Va.


Blankenbeckler, A. G.: Born March 9, 1850, in Johnson County, Tenn. Educated at Liberty Hall, Washington County, Va. Married Nov. 15, 1870, Miss Josie V. Campbell, Abingdon, Va. Admitted 1877. Supernumerary 1882. Died Aug. 26, 1883. Buried at Greeneville, Tenn.


Bogart, Lemuel: Born April 28, 1808, in Carter County, Tenn. Son of Daniel and Sarah Bogart. He had "a fair education and taught school in early life"; and was a farmer before entering the ministry. He was licensed to preach in 1858. Admitted in 1866, he was a traveling preacher for fifteen years and served several important charges with system and effectiveness. He married Jan. 23, 1833, Miss Hannah Saylor. They had ten children. He was superannuated in 1882. He died May 3, 1888, at his home in Sevier County, Tenn., and was buried there.


Bogle, Erastus Harris: Born 1842 in Bland County, Va. Enlisted at 18 in the Confederate Army; and was seriously wounded in the foot. While crippled from this wound he spent his time in school and laid the foundation of an education. Admitted 1869. Served 23 circuits in Tennessee, North Carolina and Virginia. Superannuated 1907. A man without guile and a lover of good books. He was thrice married: (1) Miss Moore, Chattanooga; (2) Miss Pass, Spring City; (3) Miss Stout, Limestone. Father of eight children. Died Dec. 26, 1914, Bristol, Tenn. Buried at Bristol, Va.


Boring, John: Born Aug. 7, 1827, near Jonesboro, Tenn. Converted at Bond's Camp Ground, Aug. 8, 1849. Admitted 1851. Had little schooling. His studies never became formal; but he studied the Bible and human nature to great profit. Dr. Frank Richardson said of him: "Brother Boring was the most original character I have ever known. In his modes of thought and expression and action he did not follow any model, except that of his Lord in morals and religion." His ministry covered a period of fifty-nine years, "the early years on circuits and the strength of his manhood on districts. Later in life he spent several years in special evangelistic work. Wherever he went revival fires were kindled." "He was constantly blazing out new tracks in the wilderness of thought. He illustrated freely and his illustrations were pertinent, striking and unique." His preaching was in the power of the Spirit. Married, 1854, Miss Laura A. Schoolfield of Bledsoe County, Tenn. He professed entire sanctification. Died Aug. 5, 1910, at Emory, Va. Buried at Chattanooga, Tenn.


Boring, Washington: Born 1828. Admitted 1851. Gifted, pious and useful. Died 1854. Buried in Sullivan County, Tenn.


Bourne, John S.: Born Dec. 26, 1856, in Grayson County, Va. Son of Curtis and Lucy Bourne. Licensed to exhort, March 18, 1876. Licensed to preach Sept. 6, 1879. Admitted 1881. Entered Emory and Henry College 1884 and spent two years there. Sent to Central City (Radford) in 1886 and returned there in 1887. Died Sept. 5, 1888. Buried at Spring Valley, Va. A young man of large gifts and great promise. Few men have won such esteem at an age so young.


Bowman, Elisha: Born Dec. 25, 1775, in Virginia. Father was a local preacher. Admitted 1801. In Holston two years, 1803-4. Died Oct. 3, 1845.


Bowman, John W.: Born Sept. 13, 1773, in Frederick County, Va. Licensed to exhort May, 1808, and to preach in Aug., 1808, and admitted same year. In Holston 1809. Located in 1809. Readmitted 1812. Located 1817. Readmitted in 1819. After 1826 was either supernumerary or superannuate. Died Sept. 25, 1847, in Carter's Valley, Tenn.


Bradfield, John: In Holston 1819.


Branam, E. R.: Born June 30, 1870, in Sevier County, Tenn. He was admitted in 1903. Except for one year's rest he was in active work until 1930. He served twelve charges. He married Dec. 19, 1888, Miss Lula Violet Foster. They had ten children. He superannuated in 1930. Soon after his retirement he went to Lakeland, Fla. He died in Lakeland, Feb. 10, 1933. He was buried at Logan's Chapel, Blount County, Tenn.


Brilhart, Jacob: Born Sept. 16, 1808, in York, Pa. Moved to Kentucky in 1839. Admitted to Kentucky Conference, 1840. Transferred to Holston in 1865 and appointed to Franklin District. Stricken with paralysis in 1870, he superannuated. Married Sept. 18, 1830, Miss Louisa Myers. Highly esteemed for piety and prudence, he was sometimes classed with George Ekin, Thomas Catlett and Joseph Haskew. Died Aug. 18, 1874. He left a considerable bequest to Holston Conference. Buried at Sweetwater, Tenn.


Brooks, Archibald T.: Born Dec. 19, 1817, Tazewell County, Va. Admitted in 1871, after serving as a supply for twenty-eight years. Married Miss Eleanor Syphers in 1836. Died July 13, 1885, at Pocahontas, Va., and was buried at Falls Mills, Va.


Brooks, Stephen: Born Feb. 18, 1764, Cape Hatteras, N. C. Admitted 1789. In Holston one year, 1793. Located and lived in Greene County, Tenn. Married Miss Anna Earnest, March 23, 1793. His wife died Nov. 1, 1797; married, second time, Miss Margaret Wittenberg, Jan. 6, 1800. He died Jan. 1, 1855.

Browder, Joseph: In Holston 1819.


Brown, Barton: In Holston 1822.


Brown, Charles Robert: Born Sept. 29, 1864, near Tazewell, Va. Son of William H. Brown. Educated in public schools of Tazewell County and at Emory and Henry College. Admitted in 1889. Served five charges in seven years. Due to failing health he was made supernumerary in 1897; in 1900 he was appointed to Pocahontas, but was unable to finish the year's work. He again took the supernumerary relation, but was never able to do active work. At Tazewell, where he lived, he was active in the work of the church and community, and became a citizen of wide influence. Married Dec. 29, 1891, Miss Sallie Cooper, daughter of John and Mariah Cooper, who were pioneers in the development of the Pocahontas Coal Field. They were successful and prosperous and left a good estate, as well as an unsullied name. She died in 1922. They had three children. He was supernumerary for 31 years. Died April 23, 1929, at his home in Tazewell, Va., and was buried there.


Brown, John: Admitted 1809. In Holston two years, 1909-10.


Brown, Thomas: Admitted 1821. In Holston one year, 1821.


Brown, Thomas W.: Born Nov. 28, 1841, at Cleveland, Tenn. He was the son of Henry and Lucinda Reagan Brown. He was admitted to Holston Conference in 1868 where he spent eighteen years in active work; then in 1886 he transferred to Blue Ridge Conference and served two districts; in 1897 he transferred back to Holston, where he served until 1912. He was in active work for thirty-six years, ten years of which was given to the work of district superintendent in the Atlantic Conference. He was twice married: (1) Miss Elizabeth Gregory, July 23, 1879; (2) Miss Eliza Haun, Nov., 1886. There were five children of the last marriage. He was superannuated in 1911 on account of failing eyesight. He had served three years in the Union Army. He died at his home in Morristown, Jan. 4, 1931; and was buried at Knoxville.


Browning, John Worth: Born Jan. 24, 1857, at Statesville, N. C. He was educated at Rutherford College, N. C. He began the practice of law, but after a short time answered the call to preach. Licensed to preach in 1884, he was admitted in 1884. He served as an active preacher for forty-four years. He served charges in nearly every part of Holston Conference, from Chattanooga to the coal fields of West Virginia. "He was evangelist by nature as well as by grace." He was twice married: (1) Miss Susie Wheeler, Sept. 3, 1890. They had seven children. She died Dec. 16, 1917. (2) Miss Julia Benbo. He superannuated in 1928. He died at the home of his daughter, Mrs. W. C. Huddleston, Cleveland, Tenn., Nov. 21, 1939. He was buried at Maryville, Tenn.


Browning, Richard: In Holston one year, 1806.


Bruce, James Edward: Born Jan. 18, 1849, in Bland County, Va. Son of J. Henderson and Margaret Hoge Bruce. Grew up in Wise County, Va. Admitted 1884. Served seven circuits. Superannuated 1898. Married March 11, 1891, Miss Edna Harris, a sister of Gov. N. E. Harris of Georgia. They had two children. Died June 23, 1915, near the place of his birth. Buried in Bland County, Va.


Bruner, Marion Clark: Born Dec. 12, 1855, near Augusta, Ill. He graduated from East Tennessee Wesleyan University in 1881. Admitted 1881 and was in effective relation for thirty-eight years. "He was brave in affliction, resolute in purpose and loyal in love." He was twice married: (1) Miss Annie Spargo, Dec. 24, 1882. They had eight children. She died July 12, 1920. (2) Miss Flossie Maupin, Jan. 10, 1924. They had three children. He superannuated in 1922, but served as a supply for five years. He died May 30, 1933, at Lafollette, Tenn. He was buried at Knoxville in New Gray Cemetery.


Brunner, John Hamilton: Born March 12, 1825, in Greene County, Tenn. He was the son of Joseph and Elizabeth Brunner. He was educated at Tusculum College. He was admitted into Holston conference in 1847. Served six circuits before he was appointed to Hiwassee College in 1853, and was President of that institution for about thirty-three years, although not continuously. His first term ran from 1853 until 1860 or 1861. He was there again 1865 and 1866; and was President from 1872 until 1892. He transferred to the Kentucky Conference in 1868 but was back in Holston in 1870. Hiwassee College was his first love and his monument. "He made it his business to see to it that no aspiring and worthy boy was ever turned down in his effort to obtain an education." He married Dec. 10, 1850, Miss Elizabeth Key of Monroe County, Tenn. They had seven children. Mrs. Brunner preceded her husband in death one year and fifteen days at the age of eighty-seven years. Dr. Brunner was supernumerary from 1893 to 1896, when he superannuated; and he continued in that relation until his death, having been an itinerant preacher for sixty-seven years. He died in his home near Hiwassee College, Feb. 18, 1914, lacking but twenty-four days of being eighty-nine years of age. He was buried at Hiwassee College, Tenn. Dr. Brunner was the author of a book on The Union of the Methodist Church.


Burdine, Ezekiel: In Holston one year, 1801-2.


Burke, William: Admitted 1792. In Holston 1792-93 and 1797-98. Married 1796. Spent latter part of life in Kentucky. In 1844 he adhered South.


Burkett, M. H. H.: Born Jan. 11, 1811, in Virginia. He was a teacher for some time. Rev. George C. Rankin was one of his students and tells in his book, The Story of My Life, of his great debt to Mr. Burkett. He was ordained a local deacon by Bishop Andrews (South). He was a strong Union man and was appointed Chaplain of the 23rd Regiment of Kentucky Volunteers, U.S.A. He was admitted on trial by Kentucky Conference in 1864, and transferred to Holston in 1865, where "he labored faithfully on various charges." He was twice married: (1) Miss Caroline Harrison in 1832; (2) Mrs. Emma Duggan. He died Nov. 21, 1875, at his home in Bradley County, Tenn., and was buried at Chattata, Tenn.


Burkhart, Noble C.: Born Feb. 26, 1844, in Harlan County, Ky. He was licensed to preach in 1876; and was admitted to the Virginia Conference in 1883 and became a member of Holston Conference when Southwest Virginia was placed in Holston Conference in 1906. Most of his appointments were in Lee, Wise and Scott Counties in Virginia. He was a successful revivalist. He was supernumerary in 1901 and in 1905. He was twice married: (1) Miss Lurenia Blankenship. They had ten children. (2) Miss Mary Howard. They had three children. He was superannuated in 1911. He died January 7, 1914, at his home, Hubbard Springs, Lee County, Va., and was buried there at Bethel Memorial Church, which stands near his home.


Burnett, John S.: Born Nov. 25, 1866, near Webster, N. C. He received his education at the University of Chattanooga. He had, previous to entering the University, been admitted to Blue Ridge Conference in 1888, and had served several years as pastor. He came with his wife to the University, and served as pastor while pursuing his studies. The year he completed his studies he was appointed District Superintendent of Chattanooga District, and was early recognized as a leader in his Conference and Church. Having spent his boyhood among the hills of North Carolina, his heart and mind turned toward work among the mountain people. He was chosen for the leadership of the work of the Methodist Episcopal Church in the Southern Highlands. His most distinctive work was in the founding and development of Pittman Center in the Smoky Mountains. He was recognized as one of the leading workers in this field in the Methodist Church. He married Aug. 12, 1892, Miss Laura Eleanora Petty. They had four children. He died Feb. 9, 1942, at Jackson, Miss., while en route to the West Coast. He was buried at Chattanooga, Tenn.


Burrow, James Angel: Born Sept. 3, 1860, at Elizabethton, Tenn. Son of James A. and Elizabeth Ann Burrow. The family moved to Bristol when he was a boy and he grew up there. He was educated in the city schools, and in King College. He was a student in Vanderbilt University. Converted when twenty years old. He had planned to study law, but now he turned his entire thought to preaching. He was admitted to Holston Conference in 1885. Two years at Cherry Street, Chattanooga, and four years at Athens showed the promise of an unusual man. He was unusual in appearance. Although now thirty years old he became known as "the boy preacher." He looked like a boy when well past middle life; and his high-pitched voice emphasized the illusion. His voice was an octave higher than other men's voices; but was peculiarly clear and mellow and carried so as to reach the utmost limit of any of the churches. His thought was also clear and his utterance fluent, but unhurried. He was an eloquent and effective preacher throughout the entire reach of his life. He was also a popular writer. For many years he was the editor of the Conference paper and wrote many articles for the church press. After several successful pastorates he served with eminent success as presiding elder. His alma mater conferred upon him the degree of Doctor of Divinity. He was seven times chosen as a delegate to the General Conference, and was one of the secretaries of that body for many years. He was elected Secretary of Holston Conference in 1893 and was continued in that office for forty-one years. So genial and sincere in his relations in social life that it may truly be said that he had a genius for friendship. He married, in middle life, Miss Mary Prosser of Missouri. He finished a four-year term of the Bluefield District in 1833, just after he passed his seventy-third birthday. His friends had seen that his strength was declining, but he was loath to give up active work. He did, however, ask the superannuate relation, which was granted him. A month later he was on his way to attend a meeting of the Board of Holston Orphanage of which he had been President since its organization. At Knoxville he fell in the bus station and broke his hip. The shock was too great and he lingered for only eight days. He died Nov. 2, 1933, in Fort Sanders Hospital, Knoxville. He was buried at Bristol, Va.


Butcher, Milton J.: Born June 21, 1873, in Lee County, Va. Education neglected until after his conversion at twenty years of age. He then bent all his energies to secure an education, and entered Hiwassee College in 1889, continuing there for three years. Later took one year in St. Clair Academy and a year at Emory and Henry College. Licensed to preach Sept. 1, 1894. Admitted 1896. Was effective and active for fourteen years. Married March 25, 1897, Miss Lula Dawn Charles. His health had been declining for several years, but he kept resolutely at his work. Died, while serving Greeneville charge, Aug. 22, 1910, at his own home in Hawkins County. Buried at Surgoinsville, Tenn.


Buxton, John: In Holston 1797.


Byerly, W. R.: Born July 12, 1856, in Washington County, Tenn. He was admitted in 1881. He served eighteen charges in forty-three years. "He was always cheerful and happy in his work, enthusiastic and untiring in his labors." He married Miss Sallie Bayless, May 13, 1886. They had five children. He was ill for only a short time. He died at his home in Baileyton, Tenn., on Feb. 21, 1924, and was buried there.


Byrd, Samuel K.: Born Sept. 27, 1854, near Spring Valley, Grayson County, Va. Educated in public school and Independence High School. Taught seven years in Grayson County. Admitted 1884. In 36 years of active work he served 12 charges, some of which were among the hardest in the Conference. He was a diligent pastor and evangelist. Thousands of souls were saved under his preaching. He not infrequently would rise early and slip out from the home of his host for the purpose of having breakfast with a tenant. "He had a peculiar affection for all the children of God's family, regardless of denomination." He was married twice: (1) In 1877, to Miss Sallie Ward, Grayson County, Va.; they had one son; she died in 1894; (2) Mrs. Nora Newland Hart; they had seven children. Rev. Joseph Byrd, a son, entered Holston Conference. Superannuated 1920. Died June 18, 1923, at Kingsport. Buried at Salem Church, near Kingsport.


Cadle, Alfred G.: Born 1851. Admitted 1886. He served fourteen charges and was three years supernumerary. He was superannuated in 1908. He died in 1919. He was buried at Middlesboro, Ky.


Caldwell, Lisle B.: Born Jan. 10, 1834, in Jefferson County, N. Y. converted at 16, he soon began to be active in evangelistic work. In 1855 he united with a Methodist Conference in Canada, where he remained for twelve years. In 1875 he transferred to the North Ohio Conference; and in 1878 to the Holston Conference. He taught six years at Athens, was presiding elder five years and served a number of circuits and stations. He asked for the supernumerary relation in 1907 in order to visit, with his wife, their sons, who were missionaries in China. He was made effective in 1909, but his health gave way before the end of the year and he superannuated in 1910. He married, while in Canada, Miss Abigail Amanda Johnson, daughter of Rev. Eden Abbott Johnson. Three of their four sons are ministers, Rev. E. B. Caldwell and the two sons in China. He died Nov. 11, 1911, at the home of his son, Rev. E. B. Caldwell, in Chattanooga, Tenn., and was buried in Chattanooga.


Callahan, Obadiah B.: Born in Smythe County, Va. Admitted 1852. Died 1855.


Campbell, James: In Holston one year, 1796-97.


Carden, William Crawford: Born in Bradley County, Tenn. While in Georgia Military Institute he was called out and became a member of the cadet corps and served in the Confederate Army three years. Admitted 1870. He served from the smallest circuits to the presiding eldership; and was for many years Secretary of Holston Conference. He was a tender, sympathetic preacher and pastor. His gift of song was used with simple devotion in the work of the Lord. Married, March 24, 1875, Miss Martha Stewart, daughter of Judge A. M. Stewart. They had five children. Superannuated 1905. Effective 35 years and superannuate 19 years. Died 1924. Buried at Chattanooga.


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