Pike County Alabama Photographs

Elder J. E. W. Henderson, Troy Al

Elder J. E. W. Henderson
Primitive Baptist minister and editor
From the "Primitive Monitor," August, 1907.


"I was born in Pike county, Georgia, Jan. 23, 1829. My father, John D. Henderson, and my mother, Sarah Thompson, were natives of South Carolina; they were married in 1826, and a few years later they moved to Georgia. They had five daughters and three sons, of which latter I am the youngest. My mother died in 1862, and father died in 1868, and since then, all their children, except one who died in infancy, have been called away, except myself. My parents were members of the Baptist church before the division of 1832, and I believe they both died in the faith of the blessed Savior. My father devoted his life to hard, manual labor, but never accumulated much property, and at the age when children are commonly put into school he was unable to afford me such advantage, and I grew up to manhood without education, and to this day I have spent only about two months in school. I have often thought of this fact as a serious misfortune, and have suffered great embarrassment; and at other times I have admitted that it may be better for me, and for others, that such knowledge as I so much craved, and which so often "puffed up," was withheld from me.

    I served as a private soldier in the Southern Confederate army for a term of three years and three months; and while this deprived me of the comforts of home and the society of loved ones, (having a precious wife and three children at home), it pleased the Lord of heaven and earth to visit my poor sinful soul with quickening power; and on the 11th day of August 1862 I felt a powerful sense of his pardoning mercy which left me in possession of a precious hope that all will be well with me beyond this vale of sorrow and affliction. This hope is my solace at this hour, and I feel my heart warming up with the pleasing sense of that same blessed and holy presence. Thanks to his holy name!

    Having obtained leave of absence from the army, in August 1863, I visited my family, and attended the regular monthly meeting of the Primitive Baptist church at Hopeful, Russell Co., Ala., tried to tell my little experience of God's love and mercy, and the church kindly received me into fellowship, and I was baptized by Elder L. B. Porter. About six years later, the church at Canaan, Tallapoosa Co., Ala., where I had then become a member by letter, decided that the Lord had bestowed upon them a gift in me for the edification of the body of Christ, and gave me the liberty to exercise the same in public, which I immediately tried to do, in oh! so much weakness and fear, even doubting that I was a subject of regenerating grace; but still I could not excuse myself from trying to speak - trying and failing - filled often with shame and self-contempt. In November 1871, my services as pastor were demanded by two or three churches, and my ordination was called for by the church at Mt. Olive, Lee Co., Ala., of which I was a member at that time, and I was examined and set apart to the full functions of the gospel ministry, by Elders W. M. Mitchell, and C. S. Tate, and have been constantly engaged in the pastoral service of churches ever since, having at this time the charge of four churches. I am now in my seventy-ninth year, very feeble and much afflicted."
J. E. W. Henderson
Troy, Ala.

Contributed by Elder Robert Webb, director
The Primitive Baptist Library
416 Main Street
Carthage, IL 62321
March 2003 bwebb9@juno.com

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