JAMES COAL “J. C.” HUTSON
James Coal Hutson, son of William and Elizabeth Hutson, was born in Montgomery County, Va., November 21, 1821. His father moved to Tennessee when James was six years old, settling in Campbell County. From six to beyond seventy years he has lived within “calling distance” of his first Tennessee home.
He was converted in his eighteenth year, and was baptized by Elder C. H. Boatright, the fourth Sunday in October, 1838, uniting with Indian Creek Church. He dates his “conviction” to a sermon preached by Elder J. S. Coram, some time before his conversion. Indian Creek Church, in 1844, licensed him to exercise his gift, and in 1846 ordained him, C. H. Boatright, William Lindsay and Alfred Agee acting as a presbytery. When I saw him he had been pastor of Big Valley Church, Union County, for nearly twenty-five years. He has also been pastor of New Salem, Clinton, Andersonville, Oak Grove, Murrayville, Indian Creek, Berg Creek, Jacksboro, Sugar Hollow, Powell’s River, Chestnut Grove, Grantsboro, Liberty and Big Spring churches, most of them for long terms of service.
Brother Hutson has been a tower of strength in the Clinton Association; was its moderator for fifteen years, and two years its missionary, his work being mostly in Scott County, where he organized the first Missionary Baptist church in the county. For his first year’s work as missionary he got a “shilling a day,” for the second, “20 cents a day.” He has baptized over 600 people.
Brother Hutson has been married twice. June 18, 1840, he was married to Isabella Gray, and was married to Mary Cox, July 19, 1888. At the last report he had ten children, forty-nine grandchildren, and forty-one great-grandchildren, making his posterity an even 100.
“J. C. Hutson was unlettered, had few opportunities for study and self-improvement, living in a backward community and having a large family to support, but he was able in prayer and exhortation and, considering his disadvantages, did as much good and made as great a success of his life as any man I know of He baptized a great many people.” (J. S. Lindsay)
Brother Hutson was a good singer, and in this respect was the “successor of Chesley H. Boatright.” He had a “smooth, strong voice, was able in prayer, and powerful in exhortation; he was a good expounder of the Scripture for a man of his limited education; he was consecrated and spiritual, had a good reputation, and was a successful evangelist.” (Lindsay Cooper)
Brother Hutson was a devoted servant of the Lord, was as wholly consecrated to the ministry as was possible under existing circumstances, his influence was wholly for good, his life being his greatest sermon. One of his associates in the ministry, and a near neighbor, was C. L. Bowling, a schoolmate of the writer’s, who bore testimony to the sterling worth of Brother Hutson as a man and to the savory influence of his exemplary life.
He passed to his reward, December 30, 1898, in his 78th year.
Burnett, J. J. Sketches of Tennessee’s Pioneer Baptist Preachers. Nashville, Tenn.: Press of Marshall & Bruce Company, 1919
[Transcribed by Stephanie A. Hill with no corrections in spelling except to change the name “Bootright” to “Boatright.”]