N. B. (Napoleon Bonaparte) Johnson
Missionary in Eastern Kentucky
N. B. (Napoleon Bonaparte) Johnson was born in Fayette county Ky., about 1816. His parents being in reduced circumstances, he received only a moderate common school education. In early life he joined the Campbellites, and was immersed in order to the remission of sins. He turned his attention to mechanism, and became a skillful mechanic; but, alas! he also became a drunkard, and, for a number of years, spent much of his time in dissipation. On the 28th of October, 1846, he was married to Edith Martin of Clark county. He continued to divide his time between dissipation and labor, till about 1858, when he was arrested by the Holy Spirit, and brought penitently to the feet of Jesus. Finding peace in the Savior, he was baptized, and entered into the constitution of Waco church in Madison county, in the year last named. Shortly after his union with the church, he began to exercise a public gift, and, on the 25th of October, 1862, was ordained to the ministry, by Thornton I. Wills, Nathan Edmonson and J. J. Edwards.
Although now passed the meridian of life, he entered upon the duties of his sacred calling with great zeal and energy. About the first of October, 1866, he accepted an appointment from the board of the General Association, to labor as missionary in the mountain counties of Eastern Kentucky. In this position he labored twelve and a half years. His reports for about eleven years of this time show that he traveled over his mountainous field, 19,096 miles; 2,603 sermons; delivered 1,139 exhortations; made 1,323 religious visits; witnessed 1,109 additions to the churches; baptized (in eight years) 861; constituted (with proper helps) ten churches; organized 112 Sunday-schools, and distributed large quantities of religious literature. He occupied the same field in which the famous J. J. Edwards was laboring, and his labors were the more valuable on account of his being an excellent organizer and disciplinarian.
In 1879, he left the missionary field, on account of failing health, and devoted the brief remainder of this days to the duties of
the pastoral office. He served the churches at Crab Orchard in Lincoln county, Waco in Madison, Cow Creek in Estill, and perhaps others. He proved to be a good pastor. After lingering several months with paralysis, he died at his home near Waco, November 12, 1882.
[From Spencer, J. H. A History of Kentucky Baptists: from 1769 to 1885. LaFayette, Tennessee, Church History Research & Archives, 1976, pp. 613-614; via The Kentucky Baptist Heritage, pp. 1-2. Scanned and formatted by Jim Duvall.]
A Letter by N. B. Johnson Describing his Mission Activities
Circular Letter of Irvine Association, 1879
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