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James R. Graves
By J. H. Spencer
James R. Graves, long the distinguished editor of the Tennessee Baptist, author of several popular books, and one of the first pulpit orators and polemics of the country, was raised up to the ministry in one of the churches of Boone Creek Association. He is of French extraction, is descended from a Huguenot family, and was born in Chester, Vermont, April 10, 1820. At the age of 15 years, he was baptized into the fellowship of North Springfield Baptist church, in his native State. At the age of 19, he was elected Principal of Kingsville Academy, in Ohio, where he remained two years. In 1841, he took charge of Clear Creek academy, near Nicholasville, Ky. He united with Mt. Freedom church, the same year, and was soon afterwards licensed to preach. In 1844, he was ordained to the ministry, by Ryland T. Dillard and others. During the four years he spent in Kentucky, he applied himself to teaching six hours, and studying 14 hours, each day, and consequently preached but little. Early in 1845, he was married to a Miss Spencer, and, in July of the same year, located as a teacher, in Nashville, Tenn. In the fall of the same year, he took charge of what is now Central church, in that city. In 1846, he became editor of the Tennessee Baptist, which he published in Nashville, till the Civil War caused its suspension. Since the War, he has continued its publication, in Memphis, Tenn., where he now resides. His industry, energy, and activity are almost matchless, and his capabilities for labor are scarcely equaled. Although living in another State, he has labored much in southern Kentucky, and no other man has exercised so great an influence over the churches of that region.

[J. H. Spencer, A History of Kentucky Baptists, Volume II, 1885, reprint, 1984, pp. 353-4. Scanned and formatted by Jim Duvall.]

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