Second to no man in point of usefulness in the pioneer days of Baptist history in Missouri, was James Suggett. With a limited degree of culture, but with an active, vigorous intellect, and an earnest, burning zeal, like the strong armed axeman he entered, with a bold and unflinching purpose,into the forests of this western country, and preached the gospel to the primitive settlers gathered together under some shaded grove, or in some plain log-cabin. Such were the earlier days of this man of God in the state of Missouri.
James Suggett was born in Orange County, Virginia, May the 1st, 1775, and when ten years old, with his father, John Suggett, and his mother Mildred (whose maiden name was Davis), moved to Kentucky, and settled within two miles of Great Crossings, where he grew up to manhood, and at the age of 19 years married Sally A., daughter of Eld. Joseph Redding. On the second day of May, 1800, he professed religion and was baptized by Eld.
Redding into the fellowship of the Great Crossings Church, and the following year was ordained to the ministry by the same church. In this section of the state - Scott County - he spent about twenty-four years in the ministry, giving most of the time to Great Crossings, Dry Run and McConnell's Run Churches.
Mr. Suggett enlisted as a soldier in the war of 1812, and was made both chaplain and major in the regiment of Col. Richard M. Johnson, with whom he fought in the celebrated battle of the Thames, where the British and Indians were so overwhelmingly defeated and the Indian chief, Tecumseh, was slain. This was Oct. 5, 1813. In the fall of 1825 he emigrated, with his family, to Missouri, then recently made a state, and settled in Boone County near Little Bonne Femme Church, with which he became identified and for which he preached as pastor, filling during the same period the same office at Columbia and Rocky Fork Churches. Here he continued until 1830, when he sold out, moved to Callaway County, and settled on Auxvaux Creek, near the crossing of the old Jefferson Road, and in the vicinity of Providence Church. He there became pastor of the last named, of Union Hill and of Ham's Prairie Churches, continuing in this relation as long as he was able to travel.
Suggett was a revivalist, and in his ministerial work was remarkably successful as a recruiting officer, having baptized into the fellowship of the churches during his life about 3,000 persons.
In February, 1843, he was bereft of his first wife, in her 67th year, whose mortal remains were deposited in the graveyard at Providence Church. As the companion of his declining years he married, in 1845, the widow, Mrs. Jane Jacoby, who survived him, and in 1871 was living in Jefferson City.
He died November 1, 1851, full of years, triumphing by a living faith, and now sleeps by the side of the companion of his early life, the sacred spot being marked by a single marble tablet. At the time of his decease he was nearly seventy-six years of age.
Hon. J. L. Stephens of Columbia says, "Suggett's ability as a minister was in exhortation, in which but few early day preachers excelled him. He was a successful and influential preacher in Boone and Callaway Counties for about twenty-five years, and many of his descendants live in this part of the state now." ===============
[Robert S. Duncan, A History of the Baptists in Missouri, 1882, pp. 406-7. Scanned and formatted by Jim Duvall.]
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