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James Lee
Frontier Baptist Preacher

     There is little information available about James Lee. We have to use references from documents that mention him.

     James Lee was baptized by John Taylor at Clear Creek Baptist Church, in Woodford County, Kentucky; Taylor went on to say, he "won my bible by preaching." [ A History of Ten Churches, p. 84.]

      James Lee was Elder Wilson Thompson's uncle; his half-brother was Thompson's father's. James Lee joined Bullittsburg in 1796 - [Churchbook and Kirtley's History of Bullitsburg Baptist Church] and was a licensed preacher (apparently from Mouth of Licking). James A. Kirtley calls Lee "a very spiritually-minded man" [p. 6]. John Taylor calls him "a heavenly man" [p. 84]. He came from some distance in Campbell County (Kenton and Boone were both a part of Campbell at that time) to join Bullittsburg. Taylor says Lee gave the reason he came so far to join Bullittsburg was that his own church was "young and week [sic] in judgement [sic], he therefore desired to be under the close inspection of Bullittsburg, as related to his ministry" [p. 84].

      James James Lee sought ordination from the Bullittsburg Church in 1796.

1796 John Hall moderator.
Also the ordination of James Lee taken in consideration and agreed to pospone ordination, but to encourage Bro. Lee as a preaching man to come and see us as often as he can for better acquaintance. [Churchbook]
     George Eve and four other men were appointed by the Bullittsburg church to answer a request from Dry Run [near present-day Edgewood] and they attended a meeting on the third Saturday in September to see "if they are ripe for Constitution." The Dry Run Baptist Church was organized. Bullittsburg approved the ordination of James Lee at Dry Run (Lee had been a member at Bullitsburg); George Eve and John Taylor, being the only ordained preachers in the area, were "appointed to perform the work."

     John Taylor speaks of 1800 as a time of gloom and discouragement. George Eve and James Lee had moved away, leaving John Taylor and Lewis Deweese alone.

      James Lee became an effective preacher later in Campbell County. Wilson Thompson says Lee preached in a log meeting-house and they had a revival while he was young. [The Life of Elder Wilson Thompson, 8.] He tells how the preaching of James Lee affected him [17-22]. Thompson witnessed Lee baptizing several in the Licking River [23]. He was the preacher when Wilson Thompson was saved. They remained very close and often visited the North Bend Association meetings together in later years. Thompson became a powerful preacher and later became a Predestinarian Baptist. See Life .

      North Bend Baptist Association Minutes report that James Lee visited the meeting in 1811 and was "invited to a seat in the association." [p. 3] James Lee and Wilson Thompson attended the NBBA meeting in 1813.

      Lee later moved to Ohio, where he preached for many years with great success. [Taylor, 84].

     John Taylor says that Lee had recently died [in 1823 when he wrote Ten Churches] and was not an old man at his death [p. 84].

     John H. Spencer says,

JAMES LEE was "born again" at old Clear Creek, in Woodford county, and was baptized for membership in that church, by John Taylor in the summer of 1786. After two or three years, he moved to the south side of Kentucky river, where he was instrumental in raising up a small church on Silver creek in Madison county. In 1796, he moved to Campbell county, and took membership in Bullittsburg church. Here in Sep., 1797, he was ordained to the ministry by John Taylor and George Eve. "This heavenly minded man" says John Taylor, "was soon called forward to ordination. I call him a heavenly minded man because in his deportment there was a greater image of the Savior in him than was commonly seen. With his great power of self-government, he never seemed caught off his guard. He was often in tears, and his smiles seemed to have something of heaven in them." After laboring a short time about Bullittsburg, he moved to Ohio, where he preached many years with great success, and died not far from 1824, before the infirmities of old age came upon him. - [Spencer, A History of Kentucky Baptists, Vol. 1, 295-296.]
[Facts collected and formatted by Jim Duvall.]

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