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Written by E.A. Meaders   

ELDER E. A. MEADERS

My parents, Joseph and Ceillia Meaders, were married in South Carolina. I was born, 1806, in Spartanburg, of that State. When I was quite small my father died, and my mother emigrated to Tennessee, remaining in Giles county until November 19th, 1824. I was married to Miss Jane McCollum. We had eleven children born unto us, two of which died in infancy, and two at more mature years. In 1867 my beloved wife died, and in 1868 I was married to Mrs. Mattie C. Greer, by whom four children were born unto me, one of whom died in infancy.  

In early life I had but little education or religious, influences, but I often thought of death and eternity, though I was not restrained from partaking of the sinful habits which were common in that country. I sought worldly pleasures, thinking I would change my course before I died, when, I hope, in 1824 the Lord arrested me, though at first in a dream. Never before had I attempted to pray, but being now brought to feel a sense of guilt and condemnation before God I thought something must be done, and I felt that my sins were too great for the Lord to hear my prayers, yet I could not help crying for mercy. Mercy’s door, however; seemed closed against me, but still I cried as best I could for about three months, when I had another vision, in which the heavy burden of condemnation left me, causing me to realize next morning a beauty and harmony in nature far beyond what I ever before had seen. Not being able to claim this as a satisfactory hope in Christ, I struggled along in prayer and much anxiety of mind until 1828. At the close of a meeting, the hymn was sung, “Am I a soldier of the cross.” My heart was melted down, and while at meeting that night I became so absorbed in some way that I lost sight of every thing around me. The first thing I remember they were singing the sweetest music, I thought, I had ever heard. Jesus, to me, was then the “chiefest among ten thousand and altogether lovely.” My troubles were gone and I thought I could make others see and feel as I did: and if I ever had preaching impressions it began with me that night. During that week I was greatly pressed in spirit, and on the next Sunday (2d Sunday in May, 1828) I felt that I could not live if I did not speak of Jesus the Saviour, and being at meeting I tried to speak publicly, which relieved me very much. Monday came, and with it darkness, doubts and fears. I had been deceived in the whole matter. But soon the Lord removed the darkness, and on Saturday before the first Sunday in June, 1828, myself and wife were received into the fellowship of the Primitive Church, and baptized by Elder Elias Deaton, Hickman county, Tenn. From that time on I continued to speak in public as the Lord gave ability. 

I was ordained in 1830, at Liberty Church, by Elders E. Deaton, F. Whitwell and Isaac Pace. From that time onward has been one continual struggle with me, the flesh warring against the Spirit and the Spirit against the flesh so that I could not do the things that I would. In the winter of 1831 I moved to Dickson county, Tenn., and remained there till 1837, I left for Mississippi and landed among the Indians. But the burden of the word of the Lord, which I had thought would leave me, with regard to preaching, if I should move, still was upon me, and in 1836 Elder Lane and myself organized a church in Oxford, Miss., and the next year four churches were organized, and the Tallahatchee Association constituted in 1838. Elder Lane was an excellent man, but being identified with the Fullerite doctrine, he went off with the Missionary Baptists in the general division, which took place about that time. I remained with the Primitive Baptists, and in the same Association till 1872, I moved to where I now live, in the bounds of the Hopewell Association. 

I am now in my 79th year, and 56th of my ministry. I have traveled and preached some, feeling at times that I had rather hear others than to preach myself, but at other times it gave more relief of mind to preach myself than to hear anybody else. I am old, poor and almost blind. I desire the prayers of my brethren and sisters. The above has been written by my daughter, 14 years old, at the special inquest of Elder W. M. Mitchell, of Opelika, Ala., as made known to me by Elder A. B. Morris, of Mississippi. 

Water Valley, Miss., 1884. E. A. MEADERS.

Last Updated ( Wednesday, 29 October 2008 )
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The Primitive or Old School Baptists cling to the doctrines and practices held by Baptist Churches throughout America at the close of the Revolutionary War. This site is dedicated to providing access to our rich heritage, with both historic and contemporary writings.