Sketches of holston preachers

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Duvall, John A.: Born Jan. 12, 1860, at Asheville, N. C. Converted on his seventeenth birthday. Admitted 1886. Served fourteen charges. He was superannuate 1900, and 1906-12. He was effective 1912-15. "Measured by the New Testament rule of faithfulness, he was an extraordinary man." No cause that was ever put in his hand suffered from neglect. Married Sept. 2, 1891, to Miss Alice Alexander. They had three children. Died Dec. 7, 1915. Buried at Emory, Va.


Dyer, William M.: Born June 7, 1857, in Wythe County, Va. Son of Nathan and Mary Dyer. Graduated from Emory and Henry in 1884. Admitted in 1885. In pastorate 13 years, during which he served Lead Mines and Floyd circuits, Pulaski, Radford, Tazewell, Broad Street and Abingdon stations. He was elected President of Martha Washington College in 1895. He was in that office until his death. He succeeded in this work as he had done in the pastorate. A man of marked ability as a preacher and as an administrator he accomplished a full meed of work before his premature demise. Married Oct. 1, 1889, Miss Willie Fiege, Floyd, Va. They had three sons, one of whom, Harrill S., is a Chaplain in the United States Navy. Died May 25, 1905, at Martha Washington College. Buried at Emory, Va.


Easterly, Isaac: Admitted 1823. In Holston 1823 to 1828 when he located.


Edge, Benjamin: Admitted 1804. In Holston two years, 1817, 1819. Died 1836, Norfolk, Va.


Edge, Obadiah: In Holston one year, 1807.


Ekin, George: Born May 22, 1782, near Newtown-Stuart, Tyrone County, Ireland. Son of George and Margaret Ford Ekin. Married Miss Mary Steele. One son, Rev. George Ekin. Rev. George Ekin Naff was a grandson. Rev. John E. Naff a great-grandson. Rev. George E. Naff is a great-great-grandson. George Ekin and his wife landed at Baltimore May 1, 1910. Admitted in 1911. First charge was French Broad circuit embracing Roane, Blount, Sevier, Jefferson, Cocke, Knox, Anderson and Campbell Counties. His entire ministerial life was spent in Holston. He was preeminently an evangelist; this continued to the end of his days. The flavor of his Irish wit and Methodist fervor became a tradition in every part of Holston. Without brilliant intellectual gifts he possessed moral power of the highest order. Delegate to General Conference in 1820 and in 1832. Died Aug. 2, 1856, Abingdon, Va. His body was afterwards removed to Uriel Church near Jonesboro, Tenn.


Elgin, William B.: Admitted 1808. In Holston two years, 1809, 1811. Located in 1814. Went with Methodist Protestant Church.


Ellington, William: Admitted 1804. In Holston one year, 1804.


Elliott, William Vance: Born Dec. 15, 1841. He was a soldier in the Confederate Army. He was a local preacher for several years. Admitted into Virginia Conference in 1881. He served, in Southwest Virginia, for twenty-eight years. He was transferred to Holston Conference in 1906. He was twice married: (1) Susan McConnell. They had four children. (2) Phoebe Stewart, Smythe County, Va. He superannuated in 1909. He became very frail in his last years. He died April 10, 1922. He was buried at Mt. Pleasant, Va.


Ellis, Rueben: In Holston, as presiding elder, one year, 1786. Born in North Carolina. Admitted in 1777. Served in Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee. Preaching weighty, powerful, simple, useful. Died in 1796.


Ellis, Wiley McTyeire: Born May 3, 1869, at Church Hill, Hawkins County, Tenn. He was the son of William Thomas and Eliza Kincaid Ellis. Educated in the local schools and at U. S. Grant University at Athens, Tenn. Under the great revival led by Rev. D. V. York he re-dedicated his life to God and was licensed to preach in 1900. He was admitted in 1903. He served twelve circuits in thirty-five years and was a most faithful and devoted pastor. He married Jan. 31, 1893, Miss Lovenia Winegar, Church Hill. They had eleven children. He retired in 1940. He died Nov. 29, 1942, at his home in Hawkins County and was buried there.


Emert, John M.: Born June 12, 1858, in Tuckaleechee Cove, where Townsend now stands. He was educated at Maryville College; and taught in public schools of Blount County for several years. He was admitted to Holston Conference in 1893 and was an honored member of that body for forty-one years. He served nine charges and was district superintendent for one term. He was elected to the General Conference of 1924. "He was a successful evangelist-pastor; a fine church financier and a strong preacher." He married Miss Miranda Elizabeth Bright. They had three sons and two daughters. He had been in his usual good health. On Saturday morning, Oct. 6, 1934, as he was dressing himself he became aware that his strength was gone. Pain followed quickly and four days later the end came. He died Oct. 10, 1934, in his home at Athens, Tenn., and was buried there.


Fair, Wanser P.: Born and raised in South Carolina. Was connected with Holston Conference (M.E.) only a "few years," 1870-1876. He was a true and faithful negro preacher. He died Dec. 13, 1876, while on the Midway circuit, Russellville District.


Falls, Ira: Born in Greene County, Tenn. Admitted 1832. Served nine charges from Reems Creek to Kingston. He was zealous, studious, devoted. Above mediocrity as a preacher. Went to New Market in fall of 1843, but a severe cold brought on lung trouble. Died in Aug., 1844, and was buried at Kingston. He left a widow.


Farley, Francis A.: Admitted 1860. No memoir was prepared and dates are not available. He was a man of considerable culture and was "a pleasing and forceful preacher." Served 11 circuits: McDowell Mission, 1860; Gladeville, 1861; Bristol circuit, 1862; Estilville, 1864-65-66; Morristown, 1867; Russellville, 1868; Jonesboro circuit, 1869; Saltville, 1870; Lebanon, 1871-72; Jonesville, 1873-74; Rye Cove, 1876. He was supernumerary in 1875 and 1877, and superannuate in 1878. Died 1879. Buried at Jonesville, Va.


Farris, William C.: Born Oct. 13, 1855, at St. Clair, Hawkins County, Tenn. Son of Samuel Farris. Intensely religious from childhood. Licensed July 7, 1877. Admitted 1880. Twenty-nine years effective; served 13 charges. Faithfulness, kindness and love gave power to his ministry. He married Miss Hattie Rush Oct. 12, 1882. They had five children. Superannuated 1909. Died suddenly Dec. 19, 1913. Buried at Chattanooga, Tenn.


Ferguson, Edwin C.: Born Oct. 6, 1846, in Huntington, Vt. Admitted into New England Conference in 1874. Transferred to Illinois Conference in 1883. Transferred to Holston Conference in 1891. He was a professor at Chattanooga and at Athens. Retired in 1924. He died March 28, 1926, in Jacksonville, Ill. He was buried in Quincy, Ill.


Fillmore, E. L.: Born June 11, 1864, at Champaign, Ill. Finished high school, but failing health interfered with further studies. He did attend college much later in life. He engaged in farming before entering the ministry. Admitted into South Dakota Conference in 1891. His health failed because of the rigor of climate; and he transferred to Holston Conference (M.E.). He served Hill City and took two years theological course in Grant University. He married in 1866, Miss Ella B. Parrett, Big Lake, Minnesota. They had three children. He died at Hill City, Chattanooga, Aug. 12, 1896, and was buried in Chattanooga.


Fisher, Elbert W.: Born Feb. 4, 1885, in Wythe County, Va. Educated in public school. Admitted 1911. Active seven years. Married Dec. 28, 1911, Miss Linda Brown Richardson. They had two sons. Died of influenza, Dec. 22, 1918, at Roderfield, W. Va. Buried in Wythe County, Va.


Fitzgerald, James B.: Born Sept. 26, 1826, in Iredell County, N. C. He grew to manhood and was educated at Waynesville, N. C. He was a preacher in the M. E. Church, South, and served as such during the Civil War. He united with Holston Conference of the M. E. Church in 1865. He did not give much time to regular pastorate. He was a leader in establishing Richland Institute at Waynesville; and he put effort and money into the building of Warren College at Chuckey City, Tenn. He was twice married: (1) in 1845 to Miss Harriet M. Grahl. They had ten children. She died in 1897. (2) In 1900 to Mrs. M. J. Anderson. He died May 30, 1902, at his home, Morristown, Tenn. He was buried at Chuckey, Tenn.


Fleming, David: Born May 4, 1779, in Carlisle County, Pa. Had a good common school education. When six months old his parents moved to Wythe County, Va. Converted Oct. 30, 1820. Licensed to preach Sept. 20, 1823, at Nelson's Camp Ground, Washington County, Tenn. Admitted in 1824. He was eighteen years on circuits and stations and twenty years on districts. He married Dec. 10, 1829, Miss Mary Miller, Hawkins County, Tenn. Their son, Col. John M. Fleming, was an able and distinguished editor. He was granted superannuate relation in Holston Conference, South, in 1861. He withdrew from the Southern Church in 1865 and became one of the charter members of the Conference of the M. E. Church at the organization of Holston in that year, continuing the superannuate relation. He died Aug. 28, 1868, and was buried at Kingston, Tenn.


Fogleman, Charles H.: Born April 15, 1875, in Russell County, Va. Son of David and Lucy Fogleman. Admitted 1902. Served six charges. In declining health he assisted in nursing several cases of typhoid and contracted the disease. Died at the home of his father, April 9, 1907. Buried in Russell County, Va. A faithful son and a diligent young minister.


Fogleman, William Isaiah: Born July 3, 1854, in Elk Garden, Va. Son of Henry and Mary Fogleman. Admitted 1888 and was effective for twenty-seven years. "He was a sound and effective gospel preacher. His preaching was evangelistic and many were converted under his ministry." Married Aug. 21, 1878, Miss Adah Lucinda Perkins, Grayson County, Va. They had five children. She died Aug. 30, 1925. He took superannuate relation in 1915, and spent the last years of his life at the home of his daughter, Mrs. Woodward, at Johnson City, Tenn., where he died July 1, 1936. He was buried there.


Ford, John S.: Admitted 1809. In Holston one year, 1815. One of those who planted Methodism in Mississippi and Louisiana. Sixty years in the ministry.


Forkner, Isaac: Born in the last decade of the eighteenth century. He was a preacher for more than fifty years. At the Separation he connected himself with the Methodist Protestant Church, and in 1867 returned to the M. E. Church as a traveling preacher. He became superannuate in 1870. He died April 7, 1873, at St. Clair, Hawkins County, Tenn. He was buried at Otis, in Hawkins County.


Forrester, John: Born May 7, 1801, in Wythe County, Va. He was licensed to preach in 1838. Admitted in Holston (South) 1861. He entered Holston (M.E.) in 1865. He was noted for zeal and fidelity in pastoral work. He superannuated in 1876. He rode, horseback, eighty miles in two days to attend Conference in 1881. He was married and had children, but no data is available. He died suddenly, Dec. 3, 1881, at his home in Morgan County, Tenn.; and was buried on his own premises, Burrville, Tenn.


Foster, William K.: Born July 14, 1828, in Scott County, Va. Admitted in 1853. Married Miss Margaret C. Carr, Mercer County, W. Va. Died March 24, 1861, Mechanicsburg, Va. Buried at New Hope, W. Va.


Frazier, Andrew Jackson: Born April 22, 1836, in Giles County, Va. Son of George A. and Sallie Dillon Frazier. The devotion of the Frazier children, three of whom became Methodist preachers (Andrew J., J. Tyler and George A.), was tender and beautiful. Her name was like magic in the heart of her eldest son. His formal education was confined to the common school. His eager, capable mind expanded to the day of his death. All the powers of a sturdy body, an ample intellect and a warm heart were given to his Divine Master. Converted at Wabash Camp Ground at twenty, licensed to preach at twenty-four, he at once became a circuit rider. Admitted in 1860. His charges were eleven circuits, sixteen years; one station, two years; four districts, fourteen years. His appointments covered nearly ever part of Holston Conference. A fervent evangelistic preacher, an able administrator, a builder of churches and parsonages. His diction was that of the King James Bible. Married Sept. 28, 1862, Miss Josie Brown, daughter of Asa Brown of Wythe County, Va. They had seven children. Their eldest son, John B. Frazier, was a member of Holston Conference and a Chaplain in the U. S. Navy and was Head of the Chaplain's Division. Andrew J. Frazier died April 22, 1892, while presiding elder of Knoxville District and he was buried at Knoxville.


Frazier, Jacob Tyler: Born Nov. 22, 1840, in Giles County, Va. Son of George A. and Sallie Dillon Frazier, brother of Rev. A. J. Frazier, Rev. George Frazier, and grandfather of Rev. Tyler Frazier III. "He had only three months in school; yet he was an educated man." His incessant reading of the King James version of the Bible purified and enriched his English. Few men ever attain such powers of expression as he possessed. He enlisted in the Confederate Army and was with Lee at the surrender. Although only twenty years old he was made Chaplain. His comrades fondly called him the "barefooted preacher." He learned at that time the art of preaching and of leading men to the great decision of life. At the close of the war he entered the itinerant ministry. Admitted 1865, he was effective for fifty-four consecutive years. "He served in every capacity of the regular ministry, on missions, circuits, stations and districts and was successful in all." He served in nearly every part of Holston Conference and for years "was the most widely known and admired preacher in the Conference." He stirred people to their profoundest depths. At the Centennial of Holston Conference, celebrated at Knoxville in 1924, he spoke on the "Old-Time Circuit Rider." He was then eighty-four years old. Owing to infirmities he began speaking sitting in a chair. When in the full tide of his eloquence he forgot his infirmities and rose to his feet the congregation felt as if they had been lifted to the mountain heights. Rarely is it given to men to move a congregation as he moved us that night. He was twice married: (1) Miss Maria Virginia Taylor of Tazewell County, Va. They had eight children. (2) Miss Fannie D. McBroom, Abingdon, Va. He was gifted in body as well as in mind and emotional dynamic. Broad shouldered and with powerful limbs, he gave the impression of tremendous power, but the agility of youth was retained almost to the end of his long life. I asked him once, if the story that he was able, when a youth, to stand by the side of a horse sixteen hands high and, without touching the horse with his hands, spring, flat-footed, onto the horse's back, was true? He assured me that he had often done so. Every part of his body was responsive to the flow of his eloquence - indeed was a part of it. There was never the slightest stage play. To him preaching was proclaiming the gospel, by the power of the Holy Spirit, for the salvation of men. Perhaps more people were led to Christ by his preaching than that of any other man of the generation to which he belonged in Holston Conference. After fifty-four years of effective work he superannuated in 1919, but he continued to preach to the end. He preached to his neighbors in the church at Chilhowie, Va., on his ninety-first birthday. During that last year there were times when his mind limped badly, but never when he preached. He became a superannuate in 1919, and lived in his own home at Chilhowie, Va., for the remaining thirteen years of his life. He died in his ninety-second year, on Feb. 23, 1932, having been a member of Holston Conference for sixty-seven years. He was buried at Chilhowie, Va.


Frazier, John Brown: Born Dec. 19, 1870, at Tazewell, Va. He was the son of Rev. A. J. Frazier and Mrs. Josephine Brown Frazier. He was educated at Emory and Henry College. He was admitted into Holston Conference in 1890. After serving several charges he was appointed Chaplain in the United States Navy and was with Admiral Dewey at the battle of Manila Bay. He was made Head of the Chaplains' Division in the Bureau of Navigation in 1917. He married Aug. 22, 1899, Miss Katherine Boles Cook, South Pittsburg, Tenn. They had three children. Chaplain Frazier was retired in 1925. He died at his home in Keswick, Va., Nov. 11, 1939. He was buried at Arlington National Cemetery.


Frazier, J. Tyler, III: Born Aug. 31, 1909, at Chilhowie, Va. Son of J. Tyler Frazier, Jr., and Mrs. Lucy Fleshman Frazier and grandson of Rev. J. Tyler Frazier. He united with the church at 11, and was active in church work at 12. He graduated at Emory and Henry College in 1930 and taught school one year and then entered Emory University in 1931, but on account of illness was compelled to give up his studies. The following year he entered at Duke University, but was forced by ill health to leave, intending to return after a period of rest. Admitted in 1931, but his only appointment was as a student. In the home, in the church and in the community he was a model of affection, sympathy and Christian faithfulness. He died March 25, 1933, in the home of his parents at Chilhowie, Va., and was buried at Chilhowie.

Freeman, Obadiah: In Holston one year, 1818.


French, George Decatur: Born Dec. 11, 1843, in Bland County, Va. He professed faith and was received into the church by William E. Munsey, a neighbor of his boyhood days. While a youth he volunteered in Gen. John B. Floyd's State Line Service. Thus he spent what might have been his college days in the Army. Admitted in 1869; he was in the active ranks forty-seven years. "Eleven years he served stations; twenty-four years he was presiding elder; and ten years he was Agent for the American Bible Society." A genial, kindly spirit, a delightful companion and conversationalist, and an able administrator. Married Aug. 20, 1874, Miss Sophia Hoss, Jonesboro, Tenn., a sister of Bishop E. E. Hoss. They had four daughters. Superannuated in 1916. Died Oct. 20, 1923, at his home in Morristown, Tenn. Buried at Morristown.


French, John Lee McCarty: Born Nov. 19, 1838, on a farm where the town of Dayton, Tenn., now stands. Son of Joseph H. and Nancy Benson French. His father died early and his boyhood was spent with his uncle, John L. M. and Mrs. French, a daughter of Alexander Findlay, Abingdon, Va. Converted at fifteen, he immediately began preparation for the ministry. He spent two years in the home of Alexander Findlay, while pursuing his studies. Converted in a meeting held by Dr. David Sullins at Chattanooga. Licensed to preach at Abingdon, Va. Admitted 1861. Thirty-two years in active ministry. He served twenty charges: eight circuits and twelve stations. A man greatly beloved. His sermons were short, always thoughtful and original and always agreeably and forcibly delivered. Married at Jonesboro, Feb. 28, 1872, to Miss Mary Ann Elizabeth Stewart, daughter of Rev. George Stewart. Their son, Rev. John Stewart French, was admitted on trial into Holston Conference a few months after his father's death. Died while pastor of Mary Street, Bristol, Feb. 3, 1893. Buried in Wythe County, Va.


Fulton, Creed: Born Nov. 28, 1802, on Elk Creek, Grayson County, Va. Son of Samuel and Martha Powell Jones Fulton. Converted at Cripple Creek Camp Ground, Wythe County, Va., in 1820. Admitted 1823, and was a charter member of Holston Conference. Six years on circuits. Located in 1829. Readmitted 1834. Appointed Agent for Holston Seminary. In 1836 his labors led to the founding of Emory and Henry College. He continued as Agent of Emory and Henry until 1839, when he was appointed presiding elder of Knoxville District and continued as presiding elder until 1845. From 1846 until 1852 was in school work. Located in 1852. He was distinguished as a preacher and as the founder of Emory and Henry College. Married Miss Elizabeth Wier, on Little Tennessee River. She lived only a few years. Married Miss Mary Smith Taylor of Smythe County, Va. Their home was one of grace, culture and happiness. Died Sept. 16, 1861. He was buried at Emory, Va.


Gaines, Samuel D.: Born Oct. 19, 1811, in Sullivan County, Tenn. Son of Ambrose and Mary Moore Gaines. Married Sept. 1, 1831, Miss Sarah E. Gaines. They lived happily together for forty-six years. Admitted 1847, discontinued 1849, readmitted 1857, located 1865, readmitted 1866. Transferred to Arkansas Conference 1871, to Holston in 1874. Superannuated 1877. A successful revival preacher. Died Nov. 20, 1889. Buried at Bristol, Tenn.

Gannaway, Robertson: Born July 7, 1780. Admitted in 1827. Did efficient work till superannuated in 1846. Died Jan. 12, 1859. Buried at Chilhowie, Va. Along with George Ekin, one of the notable men of his day.


Garrett, Lewis: Born April 24, 1772, Pennsylvania. Admitted 1794. In Holston two years, 1794-96. Died April 28, 1857.


Gass, Andrew: Born May, 1792, Jefferson County, Tenn. Admitted in 1843 and did faithful work until superannuated in 1858. Died 1859. Buried at Dandridge, Tenn.


Gellespie, Elbert Gordon: Born Feb. 25, 1880, in Scott County, Va. He served as a local preacher, pastor-supply for twenty-six years. He was admitted in 1925. His entire ministry was spent in Bristol and Johnson City Districts. He was evangelistic in his preaching. He was married to Miss Mattie Leonard, Oct. 9, 1909. They had three children. He was serving Baileytown circuit when he died April 3, 1939. He was buried in Sullivan County, Tenn.


Gibson, Tobias: Born Nov. 10, 1771, in Liberty County, S. C. Admitted 1792. In Holston one year, 1795-96. He preached in South Carolina and went as missionary to Natchez, Miss. Rode horseback to Nashville, 600 miles; sold his horse and took boat to Natchez. Died April 5, 1804.


Giddens, Riley A.: Born Feb. 10, 1848, in Blount County, Tenn. Admitted 1848. Superannuated 1853 for two years, again superannuated in 1858. Located 1862; readmitted 1871; superannuated the third time in 1871. Married Jan. 12, 1836, Miss Ella Crownover. Died 1895. Buried at Cleveland, Tenn.


Gilbert, Michael: In Holston 1785.


Giles, John Franklin: Born Oct. 15, 1858, in Washington County, Va. He prepared for teaching by attending state normal schools, and taught thirteen years. Admitted to the Virginia Conference in 1895. His work lay among the most difficult fields in his Conference. In sixteen years he missed only one appointment, and that on account of high water. He was twice married: (1) Miss Maggie Spahr in 1900. They had one child. (2) Miss Emma Virginia Bishop. He superannuated in 1924. He had moved with his family to Athens in 1923 where he was universally revered. He was visiting among sick friends the afternoon before his death. He died March 21, 1933, at his home in Athens and was buried there.


Gillespie, William Morgan: Born July 14, 1866, near the present site of Cliffield in Tazewell County, Va. He was the son of David Johnston and Elizabeth Sanders Gillespie. His youth was spent in Tazewell County, where he attended such schools as the county afforded in the period following the war between the states. He was active in the life of the home and farm. It is recorded that he arrived at Emory and Henry College fresh from the delivery of a load of cattle to the eastern market. High honors were won by him in college. At graduation he won first honors, including debaters medal, mathematics medal and a scholarship to Vanderbilt University; beside which he tied for the Robertson prize. It was probable that he decided to devote his life to the ministry while at Emory and Henry, where, in addition to his studies, he was a tutor in the College. He graduated at Emory and Henry in 1890. During his last year in college he was admitted on trial in Holston, in 1889, and was appointed to Cane Creek in Ashe County, N. C., and probably served that charge while finishing his last year's work. In the fall of 1890, he entered Vanderbilt University for a course in divinity. After a short while he became ill with pneumonia which left him with an infirm lung. He went to Southwest Texas in the hope that he might recover health; and he transferred to the West Texas Conference and was appointed to Kerrville in Kerr County. He took up the work there with evangelistic fervor, unmindful of the need of his body for rest to rebuild health. After nearly two years, he was brought back to his Virginia home by one of the Texas preachers. Ten days after he reached home the end came. He had been engaged to a lovely Virginia woman, but, when his health failed, he wrote her to consider herself released from her engagement. With her parents she came to his bedside before he died. After his death many letters came from those whom he had served in Texas, bearing loving tributes to his faith and devotion. At twenty-six years of age he had given his all to his calling of God. He died on July 9, 1892. His body rests near the home of his youth, in the soil made sacred by the pioneering achievement of his ancestors.


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