BIOGRAPHIES of HENDERSON COUNTY

JOHN GILLESPIE

We make no apology for presenting here a notice of Rev. John Gillespie, one of the founders of teh Presbytery, from data received at the last mooooment. He was born in Guilford county N.C. near Greensborough, March 10, 1769. His parents were Scotch Irish Presbyterians, and very naturally dedicated their first born son to God at his birth, praying that he might be permitted to serve the Lord in the Ministry.

The son took a full course of study, both in literature and theology, under that famous educatur and divine Rev. David Caldwell, D.D. He was licensed to preach in the year 1790. He imediately went to Kentucky, where he remained one year, prospecting with a view to a lifework in that new country. He returned to his native land, sleeping often in the forest of night, and frequently chasing wild animals away with firebands.

He preached a number of years at Alamance and Buffalo churches. When young he was a loud, boisterous speaker.He took active part in the great revivals which began about the year 1792 and continued for a number ofyears. Among the sermons preached in those times, and now in the possession of Mr. LeRoy C. Gillespie, Sr. his only surviving son, is one bearing date, Aug. 10, 1794. The interest in the cause of religion in those times, and in that country, was unbounded. Though traveling modes were very rude, yet many could not be deterred from attending modes were very rude, yet many could not be deterreed from attending meetings far away. If they could not ride, they could easily walk - it was only pastime. Among the many who walked a distance of forty miles to hear our young preacher was a lovely young girl, - Miss Nancy Brown. She was delighted with the preaching and perhaps, also with the preacher - she became Mrs. Gillespie,March 13, 1798.

Mr. Gillespie came to Tennessee in 1808. His first year was spent in Maury County. From thence he went to Lincoln, where he lived and labored ten years, preaching at Fayetteville and Cand Creek Churches.

He then removed to his last earthly home, at the present town of Bethel, in McNairy county, TN, aviving there April 4, 1821. The country was very fertile, and abounded in wild animals which often visited his premises. It was some time before the scattered inhabitants could be gathered into churches. He organized the Bethel church September 7, 1823. It began with eleven members. "Aimwell" church in Henderson County, had been organized about the year 1823 - But, he was getting old and full of days. The task assigned him was at lasat completed. He died November 4, 1834.

"Sketches of the Presbytery - Western District prepared by Rev. R.L. Neely - F.W> Merrin Printer-Hernando MS 1883"

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