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Memories of Elder H.L. Golston PDF Print E-mail
Written by Elder Gene Thomas   


I will relate some early experiences in my life related to Elder Golston.  He was a frequent visitor to the churches in the area where I lived.  Even though, I was very young (pre-school) I very well remember his visits. I did not like him. He was a very ugly man. His nose was elongated and he also had a long chin.  He had the most silly grin that I had ever seen.  I had rather hear any other Primitive Baptist preacher than him.
Our family missed attending the Sequatchie Valley Association one year when it was being held with the Chattanooga Church.  It was in the year 1935 (I think).   Even though we did not get to attend the Association, we did get the news that arrangements had been made to have some sermons on a radio station.  We were able to pick up that radio station (WDOD) about 70 miles away.  How eager I was!!!!  To get to hear a Primitive Baptist preacher on Radio!  It was most exciting!  
In addition to that-----the preacher was to be Elder C.H. Cayce! 
But sometimes strange things do happen.  Before they would have Elder Cayce to preach, it was arranged that Elder H.L. Golston would make an introduction.  My only thought (at first) was at least I will not have to look at his face.
Elder Golston chose to read the words of an old hymn instead of making any other remarks, and he started reading these words, and I was listening:
Grace, 'tis a charming sound,
Harmonious to the ear!
Heav'n with the echo shall resound,
And all the saints shall hear.
Grace first contrived the way
To save rebellious man;
And all the steps that grace display
Which drew the wondrous plan.
Grace first inscribed my name   (******)
In God's eternal book;               (******)
"Twas grace that gave me to the Lamb,
Who all my sorrows took.
Grace led my roving feet
To tread the heav'nly road,
And new supplies each hour I meet,
While pressing on to God.
Grace taught my soul to pray,
And made mine eyes o'erflow;
'Twas grace that kept me to this day,
And will not let me go.
Grace all the work shall crown,
Through everlasting days;
It lays in Heaven the topmost stone,
And well deserves the praise.
At the two lines where I have marked (*****) tears started streaming down my face.  (As I type this, tears started streaming down my face again--I am so emotional sometimes)
At that time, I forgot about how ugly that Elder Golston had formerly looked.  Although the features of Elder Golston did not change, my thoughts about him were forever changed.  He became one of my favorites---I did have favorites in those childhood days.  Maybe I have not completely gotten out of those childhood days even until now. After all, I still regard myself as but a child.
Another strange thing--although I had been looking forward to hearing Elder C.H. Cayce and certainly not Elder Golston reading some poetry--it was the poetry that reached me that day.  It was an unforgettable day!!!  I do not remember anything about the message of Elder Cayce--my soul was overflowing with the beauties of the GRACE that was described in that old hymn.
After this,  Elder Golston was a dear friend. Years later, it was my privilege to be in the pulpit with him and preach with him. He was such a good teacher and he did much teaching to young preachers (such as I) in conversation as he explained difficult passages and spoke of his various experiences as a minister.  It is indeed a pleasure to share some of my experiences with Elder Golston.



When I was a teenager my family attended a session of this District Meeting on Sunday. The meetinghouse was packed. In the front area there were a number of benches that were at either side of the pulpit. One side was called the AMEN CORNER and I always referred to the other side as the A-WOMEN CORNER.

During the song service there were two old sisters who evidently had not seen each other for a long time and had much to "tell" each other. Between songs their voices could be heard very distinctly and they also talked while the songs were being sung.

Eventually, a brother was called upon to open the preaching services by prayer. While the brother prayed the two sisters bowed their heads and were silent. When the AMEN was said their heads came up with resumption of their talking and it was very loud.

Elder Golston had been appointed to preach. Elder Golston arose and stood very erect. He looked out over the entire congregation and said not a word. He then looked down at the two sisters in the A- WOMEN CORNER. They just continuing their talking full speed and unaware that anyone else was around. Elder Golston then looked back over the congregation and said nothing. He looked back at the women and they were still talking full speed and with volume. Suddenly, Elder Golston said with much volume and EMPHASIS: The COMMITTEE has appointed ME to PREACH. If these sisters will be QUIET, I will COMMENCE.

Immediately there was a dead silence and Elder Golston did commence, and his preaching was enjoyed by the congregation.



It was my privilege (as a little boy) to attend the Sequatchie Valley Association in the late 1930's. It convened at Sweeten's Cove Church nestled in a narrow valley in Southern Cumberland Mountains of Tennessee. The church was located near South Pittsburg, TN and is near Interstate 24 not far from Monteagle Mountain. The church still meets. (I served as pastor there many years after this occurrence took place and Mark also served as pastor there for a while.)

The Association was well attended and the church house was filled to capacity. Sunday morning came and the arrangements for preaching was announced at the conclusion of the Song Service. I do not recall for sure who the first minister was, but I very well remember the last minister that was named. In those days, as a general rule, only two ministers were to speak and each was expected to take at least an hour and perhaps some more. I think that the first minister was Elder H.V. Massey (but I may be wrong on that). The last minister was Elder H.P. Houk---the pastor of what later became my home church (Union Church near Woodville, AL).

Elder H.L. Golston was the Moderator of the Meeting. He made the announcements and kept things running in a very orderly manner. However, after Elder Massey had finished his sermon one of the members of the FINANCE COMMITTEE told the Moderator that the FUNDS for the ministers was running short. Elder Golston immediately took charge of the matter.

First, he announced that Elder Houk would take his seat and would not preach until this business matter was handled. Elder Golston called on the FINANCE COMMITTEE to step forward. He instructed them to take their hats and pass among the congregation and gather more funds. They did so and came to the front with the hats. Elder Golston looked in the hats and told them to go back and try again. He also repeated that Elder Houk would not preach until this business was completed. When they returned the second time, Elder Golston looked again and was satisfied. He then turned to Elder Houk and told him that he could start preaching NOW.

Indeed, Elder Golston got things done!!!

Last Updated ( Friday, 12 January 2007 )
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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.