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William Pope Yeaman
By Robert S. Duncan, 1882

W. Pope Yeaman* - A moderator of the General Association, and one of the most eloquent and popular ministers in the Baptist denomination in Missouri, is he who bears the familiar name of W. Pope Yeaman.

He was born in Hardin County, Kentucky, May 28, 1832, and is the third son of Stephen M. and Lucretia Yeaman - the former a native of Pennsylvania, the latter (Miss Helm) a native of Hardin County, Kentucky. He studied law in the office of his uncle, Gov. John L. Helm, at Elizabethtown, Kentucky, and at the age of 19 years was admitted to the bar in his native county. At about the same age he was married to Miss Eliza Shackelford of the same county. This lady, by her sterling qualities, vigorous intellect and wifely devotion, has proven herself a fit helpmeet to her husband.

For nine years Mr. Yeaman devoted himself to the practice of the law and attained to eminence in his profession. He was particularly able as an advocate and was retained in many of the most important and difficult cases in the judicial district in which he lived.

At the age of 28 years, after a severe and prolonged struggle between ambition and a sense of duty, he yielded to his convictions that he ought to preach the gospel, and was ordained a Baptist preacher at Calhoun, Kentucky. His first pastorate was at Nicholasville, and he was soon called to divide his time between that church and East Hickman, in Fayette County, the pulpit of which had been made vacant by the resignation of the venerable Ryland T. Dillard, D.D., who had been pastor of ti church for thirty-seven consecutive years.
* From the Sketch published in the Commonwealth of Missouri.
[p. 376]
In 1862 Bro. Yeaman was called to the pastorate in the First Baptist Church in the city of Covington, Ky., where he succeeded such men as Dr. S. W. Lynd, James Frost and Dr. S. L. Helm. Both at East Hickman and also at Covington his pastorate was an eminently successful one. In December, 1867, he accepted the call and became pastor of a prominent church in the city of New York, where he took high rank among his brother ministers. Under his ministry the church grew rapidly in numbers and influence. In associational meetings in New York his ability as a platform speaker and as a debater gave him commanding influence. Though offered heavy pecuniary inducements to remain in New York, his inclination to come West brought him to St. Louis in 1870, where, in answer to her call, he became pastor of the Third Baptist Church. His labors were much blessed in this important field. The church grew in numbers, wealth, spiritual power and beneficence, until it became second to no other church in the state.

In 1870 the faculty and trustees of William Jewell College conferred on Brother Yeaman the merited honor of the degree of Doctor of Divinity.

In coming to Missouri Dr. Yeaman at once placed himself in sympathy with the great denominational enterprises of his brethren, and has ever since remained a steadfast and self-sacrificing friend of Missouri Baptist institutions and interests. Though assailed and tempted, he has never swerved from his original positions in matters of denominational education, missions and, journalism, in each of which departments he has done much service and valuable work, the good effects of which are now realized by the denomination. In 1870 he was elected moderator of the St. Louis Association, to which position he was re-elected for six consecutive meetings of that body. At the seventh meeting he declined a re-election.

In 1875 Dr. Yeaman was elected chancellor of William Jewell College, which office he held during much laborious work for two years, when he resigned. The board of trustees highly commended his administration of college affairs. In October, 1876, he resigned the pastoral office in the Third Church, St. Louis, and gave his time to the chancellorship and chief editorship of the Central Baptist. In April, 1877, the Garrison Avenue Baptist Church, St. Louis, was founded and Dr. Yeaman received a unanimous call as pastor, which he accepted, and in which he continued some two years until the church was in a good condition,
[p. 377]
when he resigned, and at his request Elder J. C. Armstrong was called and accepted.

At its session in 1877 Dr. Yeaman was chosen moderator of the Missouri Baptist General Association, and his efficient, dignified and courteous conduct as a presiding officer has secured his almost unanimous election at each succeeding meeting of that body.

He was for several years one of the vice-presidents of the board of foreign missions of the Southern Baptist Convention; and at the meeting of that able body of Christians, held in the city of Lexington, Ky., May, 1880, he was chosen, in company with Ex-Governor Brown, of Georgia, Ex-Governor Leslie, of Kentucky, and Dr. Winkler, of Alabama, one of the vice-presidents of the convention.

Dr. Yeaman's close study of theology, his analytical mind, his logical and fervent eloquence and executive ability, with his genial spirit and great energy, have made him a strong man in the estimation of his brethren. His candor of manner has made him the object of some unpleasant animadversions, and while the fearless declarations of his convictions have made him some enemies, he gains and holds warm and multitudinous friends.

In the fall of 1878 he was elected to the office of corresponding secretary of the General Association of Missouri, in which position he has exceeded the highest expectations of his most devoted friends in the efficiency with which he has conducted this department of denominational work.

[Robert S. Duncan, A History of the Baptists in Missouri, 1882, pp. 375-7. Scanned and formatted by Jim Duvall.]

"The Christian A Laborer
A Circular Letter, 1865
Northbend Baptist Associaation, (KY)
By W. Pope Yeaman

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