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Memorials of Elder J. H. Oliphant PDF Print E-mail
Written by Walter Cash/W.C. Arnold   


In this issue will be found the obituary notice of Elder J. H. Oliphant. Our readers who have read his writings for so many years will feel a personal loss in his death. For many years he was a regular contributor to the columns of the MESSENGER. His articles were free of superfluous words and his meaning was clear and plain.

His books and writings for the papers would make a very large volume, covering a wide field of subjects, embracing the deepest doctrinal themes, practical teaching and experimental application of the word of God. His style was peculiar to himself, and his writings instructive and edifying.

Those who were favored to become acquainted with him, found him to be lovable in disposition, humble, meek and tender. To know him was to love him.

His preaching was without any oratorical flourish, but was so directed as to convince of his earnestness and thorough familiarity with his subject, compelling attention. He never assumed a dictatorial manner, but was full of charity for his brethren, and showed a fatherly feeling toward the young and inexperienced.

His conversation and deportment showed him to he preeminently a man of God, deeply interested in the cause of his Master, and willing to spend and be spent in his labors in the churches. He was unselfish and without envy, and willing to work where his lot might be cast, A great and good man in Israel is fallen, but he will still live in the memory of those who knew his worth, and his works do follow him.

It is with sincere sadness that we mark his passing from the field of action. Sorrow for the cause which needs men of such character as was his; and a feeling of personal loss, realizing the encouragement and strength that our long and intimate friendship and fellowship brought, and which will still be a help though but a memory.

We feel sincere sympathy for his loving, faithful companion, who was really a great balance in his life. She sacrificed much for the cause, but like a good soldier faced straight on without faltering. The children could hardly fail to profit from the example set before them, and we sincerely hope they may be true to the faith of their father, and faithful to the church for which he gave his life.

--Elder Walter Cash



Elder James H. Oliphant, son of Thomas and Nancy Oliphant, was born March 10, 1846. He was married to Miss Catherine Teague, Sept. 4, 1864. To this happy union were born six children, three girls and three boys, viz. Ollos, Mrs. Irene Combs, Walter, Mrs. Emma Weeks, Dr. J. T., and Mrs. Delia Stinnett.

Elder Oliphant united with the Primitive Baptist church in 1864, and soon after began speaking in public. He was ordained to the full functions of the gospel ministry in 1869, and immediately gave himself to the work to which God had called him, willing “to spend and be spent” for the furtherance of the cause of truth, which was ever dear to his heart. He pastored churches, traveled and preached as demand and opportunity made room, and wrote much, all to the comfort and instruction of the people of God, for fifty-five years. It can be truly said that his was a long and useful life of unselfish service which will linger in the minds of those he served. His good name will be handed to coming generations as a man of God worthy the highest esteem of all lovers of gospel truth, and cherished in their loyal hearts long after the names of men who opposed his loyalty to the cause of truth have been forgotten.

As a speaker and writer, Elder Oliphant was forceful in argument, gentle in manner, kind in expression, and charitable to opposers so far as the principles of truth would admit. “Speaking the truth in love” was his greatest desire, his sweetest employ.

After a lingering illness of many weeks, during which all that kind hearts and willing hands could do to brighten the closing days of a noble and worthy pilgrimage, “like one who wraps the drapery of his couch about him and lies down to pleasant dreams” he gently fell asleep and was “gathered to his fathers” at the ripe old age of 79 years, 6 months and 18 days. He leaves an aged and faithful companion, six children, eleven grandchildren, six great-grandchildren, three brothers, William, Elder P. T., and F. M., and four sisters, Mrs. Lydia King, Mrs. Sarah Mitchell, Mrs. Nannie Acuff, and Mrs. Lucinda Boyd, with many friends and thousands of kindred in Christ mourning the loss of a “prince and a great man fallen in Israel” this day.

Fully conscious that the end was drawing near, he gave instructions concerning his funeral service, selecting songs and text to be used, and the elder to conduct the services. Mindful of the kindness of loved ones, he made special request that all be thanked for their faithful and tender care during his last days on earth.

The funeral sermon was preached in the home at Crawfordsville, Ind., Oct. 30, 1925, by Elder W. C. Arnold, of Carmi, Ill., from the words of the apostle Paul, “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith.” After which all that was mortal of Elder James H. Oliphant was deposited in the family lot in the cemetery near the city where he had long lived a useful citizen and a preacher unexcelled.   



Last Updated ( Wednesday, 27 September 2006 )
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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.