Rev. Sam P. Jones

The Cartersville American
Cartersville, Georgia
April 21, 1885, page 2
Transcribed by:  

Rev. Sam P. Jones
Georgia’s Great revivalist –Sketch of his Life.
Chattanooga Times.
[A pen and ink portrait accompanies this article]

The subject of this sketch was born in the town of Oak Bowery, Chambers county, Ala., October 16, 1847.  He is therefore a little over 37 years old.  The writer has known him from his birth.  His boyhood days were not different from others.  His early manhood was marked by excesses in whisky drinking profanity and their sister evils.  The statement that he has been a whisky seller and gambler is wholly untrue.  His father prepared him for the practice of law, and his first undertaking was in that profession.  He started with bright prospects of success and but for one thing would have pursued it.  Whiskey proved a fearful enemy to him and absorbed his time, talent and what money an indulgent father could spare him, until it was evident the hope of success was gone.  His downward flight was rapid and fearful.  His father, baffled and mortified, gave up hope.  About this time Sam came back to Cartersville with his dejected, disheartened wife and child, and ran a one horse dray on our streets as a means of support.  He would take his sprees and was never free from the influence of strong drink.  His father’s health had been feeble for some time and he often talked to the writer expressing his fears about Sam.  Finally the death of the former came, which was a most triumphant religious scene.  Sam became very serious over the last talks of his father in his sick room and when the hour of dissolution came he was deeply convicted of his sins.  The occasion was sanctified under God to his salvation. Heartily did he weep, repent and pray.

The writer was present and witnessed the death and the conversion; both were as clear as the sun.  Shouts went up from the grandfather, grandmother, step mother, uncles, aunts and many kindred and friends.  Many were the prayers that went up to God for Sam.  The spirit led him at once to the ministry, making application for license to preach, which was granted and he was recommended to and received by the next annual conference at Atlanta, Ga., in 1872.  This step on his part was wondered at by many, criticized by some, opposed bitterly by his wife, but God overruled all difficulties in his way.  He consulted not with flesh and blood, but immediately began to preach around through the country with his grandfather, who was in charge of the Etowah circuit as a supply, (here let me say his immediate obedience to the heavenly calling was the means of his triumph over self, the flesh and the devil.)  His most sanguine friends and admirers during his early ministry had no conception of his future great success in the pulpit.  He is today the wonder of all men.  Great grace rests upon him everywhere. It is now for him and his friends to trust in God and hold up his hands while we behold the salvation of God attendant upon his ministry in all places, whether east, west, north or south.  He speaks with power and magic strength, calling on all men to repent, the great head of the church mysteriously touching the various Christian denominations in concert with him, and drawing the multitude together to hear him, until now there is not a house in any city large enough to hold the people.  They hang on his words during his labors at God’s altars as he talks to and prays for penitents on their feet—even wealthy and fastidious women remaining to the close of the services to hear the last word, song or prayer.

It would not be amiss to give you something of his family history.  His father, Capt. John J. Jones, was in many respects a very superior man mentally and socially.  He was very popular in society from his youth up.  He was a lawyer of prominence in Cartersville, Ga.  His mother was a woman of strong mind and marked by her highly social and religious nature.  She was raised in Harris county, Ga.; her maiden name was Porter.  Sam’s grandmother on his father’s side was a daughter of Rev. Robt. L. Edwards, long a preacher in South Carolina and Georgia conferences.  He was called the Holy Ghost Preacher, a man full of faith and the Holy Ghost, a marked revivalist in his day whose faith failed not.  Rev. Wm. J. Parks said of him when preaching his funeral:  He had been with Brother Edwards in meetings when everything seemed gloomy and doubtful to others as to the success of the meeting, but Brother Edwards was confident and hopeful; he never made a failure in meeting.  His grandmother was one of the best women of the day.  Her pretty and sweetness of disposition inspired everybody to love her.  She was frequently called on to pray in the congregation, and her efforts were often accompanied by Holy Ghost baptism, and conversions numerous at the altars during her earnest pathetic supplications.  Her temper and tongue were sanctified to God and His glory.  His grandfather, Rev. S. G. Jones, a local preacher, still survives, though feeble, the weight of 80 years upon him. He has been a very laborious man in the ministry, always meeting his appointments in all kinds of weather.  It has been said of him: “He is like Caesar’s wife in all the relations of life; he is above reproach,” grand old man.  A monument of the true and righteous of the earth.

Sam has four uncles in the ministry.  Rev. R. H. Jones, Cartersville, Georgia, who is a member of the North Georgia Conference, disabled in his throat, the effect of overwork and a minnie ball which passed through his right lung while in the army of the Confederacy.  He has never recovered from the effects of the wound.  The others are local preachers.  Rev. W. E. Jones, Atlanta, Ga., Rev. A. P. Jones, LaGrange, Ga., and Rev. J. H. Jones, a physician of Calhoun county, Alabama.  The family are all Methodists as far back as they can be traced.  Sam’s first appointment from the Conference was upon the Van Wert Circuit, in Bartow (his own) and Polk counties.  He was continued in this work three years.  The people clamored for his return each year.  They were three years of remarkable success.  In 1876 he was sent to De Soto circuit in Floyd county, and continued there two years.  An accident occurred during his pastorate on this circuit.  He had a fearful conflict with the enemy.  Many were offended at his ministry – the plain, pointed and often personal denunciation of sin and sinners.  Some of his stewards begged him to change his style of preaching, saying his family would starve if he did not.  His reply was, “I am preaching my convictions and have no compromise to make.”  The sweeping revivals had at all his charges before he left the work were sufficient vindication of his course.  His family did not perish but have had three square meals a day up to this writing.

In 1878 he was sent to the Newburn circuit, in Newton county.  While on this work he began preaching in the other charges.  After this he traveled only one other circuit, Monticello, in Jasper county.  During this year he was frequently engaged in evangelical work, calls being made for his assistance in cities and towns.

In 1880 he was appointed Conference Agent for the North Georgia Orphans’ Home, which had been established for a number of years and was at that time very much depressed financially.  All eyes were fixed on him from the Bishops down as the means to reclaim and save it from financial ruin.  Right well did he accomplish this work, raising money not only to pay off the indebtedness, but to erect a new and commodious building.  Now the institution is a blessing to the country and an honor to the North Georgia Conference, who established it.  In this work he has accomplished what no other man in Georgia could have done.  It has been since his appointment to this office that his labors have extended to the regions beyond, widening and developing until now, during the short space of four years, the calls for his help are so numerous that he cannot fill one twentieth of them, extending over the whole country –East, West, North and South.  The writer has been in deep sympathy with him all the while and has often urged on him the necessity of taking care of the physical man, praying always that his strength fail not.  It has been often said of him, “There is none like him.”  His individuality stands forth like another John the Baptist, whose ministry was inimitable and attracted the multitudes of Judea, and all the world around as his fame spread abroad.

J. H. R., Cartersville, Ga., March 31.


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