yesterday's tennessee

Yesterday's Tennessee

Memoirs of John T. Bradfield Baptist Minister

from the Evans family scrapbook of Denise Joyner

Memoirs of


Dedicated to My Children and Friends


I was ordained a Baptist Minister
September 27, 1917


I was born the oldest child of Andrew and Sarah Newman Bradfield, Sunday Morning, December 19, 1886. My grandfather on my mother's side was the Rev. Henry Newman; on my father's side was Elijah Bradfield, and wife, Elizabeth. My father died in the year 1892 of typhoid fever, when I was five years old.

I have been married twice; first to Delma Deen Azbill September 29, 1906. She died in 1920. My second marriage was to Beulah Bertha McAuley on March 24, 1924. I am the father of nine children, four boys and five girls.

I was converted in 1898, and united with Mt. Ararat Baptist Church in 1907.

The subject studied music in his early life and did evangelistic singing six years before entering the ministry in 1916. I attended Hall-Moody Institute, Martin, Tennessee, in the years 1916-1918, and classes in Union University, Jackson, Tennessee.

The writer has been pastor of the following Baptist churches in Tennessee: Cub Creek Hall, Salem, Cedar Hill, New Prospect, Pleasant Grove, Bible Hill, Mt. Ararat, Bunches Chapel, Decaturville,'Sardis, Sulphur Well, Bath Springs; Prospect; Darden; Union, Huron, and Reelfoot, near Union City; the West Hickman and Brownsville Baptist Churches in Kentucky; and Cottonwood Point, Oak Grove, and Boekerton Baptist Churches in Missouri. I also served as Missionary Pastor of the Beech River Baptist Association (Tennessee) for five years,

I was forced to resign my last pastorate at Boekerton Baptist Church at Portageville, Missouri because of near fatal asthma in 1946.

I give here the statistics of my last pastorate, the Boekerton Baptist Church, Portageville, Missouri: Membership (all active), 181; Baptisms, 29; deaths, 5; Sunday School enrollment, 120; Training Union Enrollment, 119; Women's Missionary Union, 31; Brotherhood, 21; Value of all Church property, $9,000; Pastor's Salary, $1,200; Gifts to the Co-operative Program, $203; Grand total of all local and Mission Gifts, $7,547,

 Notable incidents in my ministerial life: I have Baptized more members into the fellowship of one church at one time than any other preacher in the Beech River Association, The subject has witnessed more conversions in one single service, the sermon of which he preached, than any other minister, in the Beech River Association. I conducted a revival at Reelfoot Baptist Church, near Walnut Log, at the North end of Reelfoot Lake, in 1930. The meeting resulted in the writer Baptizing seven candidates in Reelfoot Lake, one of whom was a former nightrider who had to-do with Captain Rankin and Taylor. He had lived more than 20 years in South Dakota.

I have conducted the funerals of four doctors (M.D.'s) and one preacher. The subject has conducted the funerals of five suicides.

During my pastorate of 2 years, of the West Hickman Baptist Church, Hickman, Kentucky, I conducted forty funerals.

I have done a lot of physical labor, but the hardest day's work I ever did was to try to preach twice, conduct two funerals, help eat a picnic dinner, and marry a couple in one day.

Well, this will suffice, I'm sure. I am now 73 years old and retired, also a practical invalid.

Written March 1, 1960

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