Wednesday, April 16, 2014


A Sesquicentennial History of the Green River Missionary Baptist Church 1836 - 1986, Written and Compiled by Wendell Holmes Rone, Sr., For the One Hundred and Fiftieth Anniversary of the Founding of the Church, 1987.  

JAMES F. AUSTIN, the second Pastor of the Church, was born in Ohio County, Kentucky, on May 21, 1820.  He died of Bright's Disease (Nephritis) in his native County on October 4, 1883, in his sixty-third year.  He was the son of Baruch Austin (b.c.1791-d.c.1867) a native of Maryland, and Mary (Polly) Render (b.c.1800-d.c.1855), who was the daughter of George and Elizabeth (Miller) Render.  Thus he was their grandson.  His parents had married in Ohio County, Kentucky, on June 13, 1818.

     On November 9, 1843, he was united in marriage to Corrina Thomas (b. August 5, 1825-d. December 4, 1893), a native of Ohio County and daughter of William Thomas, on an Ohio County license.  Both of them are buried in the Shultz Cemetery, near Prentiss, Kentucky. 

     Brother Austin professed faith in Christ at age 18 (1838), and was baptized into the fellowship of Beaver Dam Church by the pastor, Alfred Taylor.  Shortly before his marriage he was licensed to preach the Gospel by his home Church, in 1843.  The next year, in 1844, he served as a Messenger to the Gasper River Association for the first time from Beaver Dam Church, together with Robert Render.  His ordination to the Baptist Ministry took place at the same Church, in Butler County, moved his membership to that Church, and served it in the years 1845-1853 and again in 1864-1867. In the years 1847 and in 1849-1858 he served as a Messenger from the Salem Church to the Gasper River Associational Meetings.  From 1859 through 1870 he held membership in and served as a Messenger to the same Association from West providence Baptist Church, Ohio County, serving as the pastor also in 1853-1861 and 1863-1865.

     In addition to the Salem and West providence pastorates he also served Sandy Creek (1860-1861; 1865-1867) and Rochester (1867-1868), in Butler County; Mt. Carmel (1851-1858), South Carrollton (1855-1856), Greenville (1869-1871) and Paradise (1871-1876 or later), in Muhlenberg County; Pond Run (in 1849-1850; 1857-1862), Cool Spring (1854-1855; 1864; 1874-1876 or later), Mt. Carmel (1864-1868), Walton's Creek (1869-1870), Slaty Creek (1871-1876 or later), Hartford, First (1869-1873), and Beaver Dam (1877-1878) in Ohio County.

     He helped Baptist Ministers Alfred Taylor, Thomas Tichenor and M. H. Utley constitute the West Providence Church, on July 2, 1853, and became its first Pastor. On June 12th, 1869, he joined with Baptist Ministers Dr. J. S. Coleman and Dr. J. M. Peay in organizing the present First Baptist Church, Hartford, Ohio County, and became its first pastor, also.

     In Frank M. Welborn's "Gasper River Associational Record," 1878, Pages 69-70, appears the following interesting account:

     "A magnificent House (of Worship) had been erected about twelve miles south of Hartford, at the option of Elder J. S. Taylor, in which an important revival was conducted by Doctor J. S. Coleman and Elder J. F. Austin, and participated in by members from Green River, Beaver Dam and Cool Spring Churches, the immediate results of which was the constitution of another Church on the spot, of 52 individuals, on December 23, 1870.  The Ministers recognizing this act were Elders A. B. Smith, J. F. Austin, W. C. Taylor and J. S. Coleman, D. D. ...The Church was admitted into the Association (Gasper River), at its next anniversary, reporting Elder J. F. Austin Pastor (who was in the constitution), an Melvin Taylor, Clerk."

     The Statistical Table (of the church) related that J. F. Austin was the first pastor, serving in 1875-1876, or later; and, that he was a member and Messenger to the Association from Slaty Creek Church in 1871-1876.  He probably spent the remaining days of his earthly life in the fellowship of the Church.

     For over thirty-three years he was an active participant in the affairs of Gasper River Association.  He preached the Annual Sermon on 8 different occasions, surpassed only by his father in the Ministry, Alfred Taylor (9 times).  The years and texts used were as follows:  1852 (John 17:22), 1857 (Luke 19:13), 1858 (Isaiah 49:25), 1860 (II Corinthians 4:1), 1868 (John 17:22 - the same as in 1853), 1870 (Revelation 2:29), 1871 (Colossians 7:28) and 1876 (II Timothy 1:12).  He served as the Clerk of the Association in 1856-1861 and again in 1864-1865.  It is evident that the mantle of leadership, worn by Pastor Alfred Taylor, fell on the shoulders of pastor J. F. Austin when he served as the Moderator in the years 1866-1875.

     James F. Austin served the Green River Church as Pastor three times.  He succeeded Alfred Taylor in February, 1852 and served through March, 1854. He succeeded Brother Taylor a second time from February, 1857 through January, 1862.  On the third occasion, he succeeded Brother Judson Slade Taylor, the son of Brother Alfred Taylor, and served from March, 1868, through February, 1870.  His total time of service was for nine years.  The major achievement of his ministry with the Church was the erection of the second House of Worship, in 1858-1859, and its dedication in November, 1859.  A writer said of him:

     "As pulpit orator, financial manager and Pastor, the celebrated Baptist minister ranked second to none."

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