GENEALOGICAL ABSTRACTS FROM REPORTED DEATHS,
THE NASHVILLE CHRISTIAN ADVOCATE,
By Jonathan Kennon Thompson Smith
Copyright, Jonathan K. T. Smith, 2000
Special thanks to go Mr. Smith for allowing his work to be posted on the web
and to Laurel Baty who transcribed Mr. Smith's book, thus making these web pages possible.
The editors of the NASHVILLE CHRISTIAN ADVOCATE early recognized the importance of publishing brief obituaries of ordinary persons as well as those well-known in their Methodist newspaper. Subscribers and readers were attracted to these brief biographical accounts of individuals, especially if their own relatives and friends were the occasional subjects of such "memoirs." The obituaries varied considerably in content; some were replete with essential vital statistics of the decedents as well as comments about ancestry, marriages, children, migrations, church related affiliations and milestones and oft-surprising but frank comments about individual character. Then there were other obituaries that really served the purpose only of notifying the interested reader that individuals had died, usually delivered with a heavy treatment of panegyrical details, most of which presented such "rosey" views of the decedents' virtues, worth and importance that they are maudlin and difficult to read without cynical pangs. These obituaries are also goldmines for social historians.
The extant issues of the NASHVILLE CHRISTIAN ADVOCATE (the actual title of which varied somewhat from time to time) begin with 1846. Annie Sandifer Trickett has gleaned and published from the older issues genealogical data reflected in the title of her book, GENEALOGICAL ABSTRACTS OF MARRIAGES AND DEATHS FROM THE NASHVILLE CHRISTIAN ADVOCATE, 1846-1851 (Dallas, Texas, 1985). There have been genealogical explorations by individual researchers into the older issues of this newspaper, available on microfilm in a few libraries or purchased in the same form. The present writer has abstracted the contents of the obituaries in the ADVOCATES for the years 1869-1871 and published them; the present publication contains these abstracts for the years 1872-1873 and for the last year, 1861, extant sets are available until 1869.
It should go without statement but for the sake of clarification, the writer has made an effort to glean data accurately from the old, often dim newspaper issues but one hundred percent accuracy is probably unattainable in a work of this kind. Even so, these abstracts have a real value as an annotated index, making it easier for interested researchers to use the actual issues on microfilm.
One needs to remain aware that mistaken information was reported at times in the obituaries, depending on the accuracy and intention of the persons submitting the information and the ability of the editors and their assistants to read (decipher?) the handwriting in which the supposed facts were written and submitted to them.
The writer is grateful to Ann Robbins Phillips, official historian and archivist of the Memphis Conference of the United Methodist Church for providing him the use of the ADVOCATES on microfilm and to her and other of her colleagues in the library of Lambuth University, Jackson, Tennessee, for their helpful assistance in the use of microfilm readers in their well regulated media center.
Abbreviations used in this publication:
MEC = Methodist Episcopal Church (up to the year 1845)
MECS = Methodist Episcopal Church, South (from the year 1845)
d/o and s/o = daughter, son of
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