John M. Lemmons

The article below tells a little about my great great grandfather. The book, Arkansas Angels, is an interesting book. It was written by Boyd E. Morgan and published (2nd Printing) in 1967 by the College Bookstore and Press of Paragould, Arkansas. In the preface, brother Morgan writes the following…

Arkansas Angels is the story of that company of God’s messengers who planted the seed before us. The story is not intended to be a collection of obituaries–obituaries are so cold, so formal, and so final. They toiled, they walked, they traveled horseback or by train, just a few went by early autos. They laughed, they cried, and they prayed over their problems. They worked with their own hands to support themselves. Their families also worked to supplement the meager preacher’s pay when they got any. They battered down sectarian barriers to establish New Testament churches. They debated the cause. Disappointments, hardships, perils of life, hard times were legion. They meant nothing to these men whose faith in the Bible and their God who gave it was the directing force of their lives. These men were alive and active. They ceased only when the flesh failed. Their work lives. This is their story.

I am thankful for such an honorable heritage and hope to be able faithfully to carry on the great challenge and work for which my great great grandfather sacrificed so much. I have scanned the photo from the book.  –David Lemmons

by Boyd E. Morgan

The eldest of the Arkansas Angels (messenger’s of God’s Word) of Northeast Arkansas, of whom I can find record, is Brother John M. Lemmons, who was born in Virginia in 1816. He moved with his parents to Warren County, Tennessee in 1818. He married and lived in Warren County until 1851, when he moved to Arkansas, locating first in Independence County. After one year, he moved to Randolph County.

John M. was a preacher of the Church of Christ. I know nothing of his conversion or when he first began preaching, except that for more than forty years he preached the gospel of Christ. He died in 1898 at the age of 82. In the same year he moved to Randolph County, he and his oldest sons (he was the father of seven sons and two daughters) and two or three neighbors built a log church building on Hubble Creek, one mile south of Birdell, Arkansas. In 1862, during the Civil War, this house burned, and in 1866, Brother Lemmons and others built another on Carter Creek. They retained the name ‘Hubble Creek’; however. Brother Lemmons did much to help establish the church in North Arkansas. He served as an elder as well as a preacher.

Two of his sons, Peyton and Josephus, were preachers of great ability, and were among the leading preachers of the Churches of Christ, of North Arkansas and South Missouri. There have been a number of ministers in each generation and a family of descendants of John M. Lemmons.

Brethren Reuel Lemmons and A. G. Lemmons are direct descendants of this grand pioneer preacher. The Old Hubble Creek meeting house still stands, and the Lemmons go back once a year and hold a reunion on the grounds. It is almost inaccessible. The congregation has moved out to Highway 62 and meets at Birdell. I conducted a gospel meeting (my second) with the Hubble Creek church in the old meeting house when I was 18 years old. This was August 1935.

During research, I discovered an article written by W.F. Lemmons, in memory of Brother W. H. Tomlinson who served the church as elder for more than fifty years, and who passed to his reward February 14, 1930, aged 86. The article was in the Gospel Advocate of April 10, 1930, and gives more information on this pioneer preacher of restoration days.

He (Brother Tomlinson) was baptized during the Civil War, and if my memory serves me correctly, my grandfather baptized him, and later appointed him to the eldership of the Blue Springs Church, a congregation that was established by my grandfather before the Civil War.

Since the Blue Springs Church was in Independence County, it is most likely that Brother Lemmons began it there in either 1851 or 1852 when he lived in Independence County for one year. It is evident that he returned there to preach as the above baptizing took place during the Civil War and later the appointment of Brother Tomlinson as an elder was made. Many years later the Blue Springs Church was abandoned, when part of the members established themselves at Magness and part at Newark. The church was a forerunner of the present churches now located at these two places. The article continues…

Brother Tomlinson was present when a man shot at my grandfather while he was baptizing his wife in the creek near the Blue Springs Church. It is a fact that he later baptized the man who shot at him. These were pioneer days in Northeast Arkansas. Sectarianism had blood in its eyes, as it were, and to preach the primitive gospel was the sin against the Holy Ghost with the sects.

The article further stated of Brother Tomlinson, that his plainness of speech came both by nature and by the fact that he was taught the truth by my grandfather, who always called “a spade a spade.”


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