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'That magnificent voice' - G.W. Perryman, Russell Co., KY
Montpelier Memories - ''His father and mother, G.W. and Emily Perryman, lived in straightened circumstances in the rearing of such a large family, on a worn out farm, but they were Godly people and reared their children in the fear of God, and they all enlisted in the cause of Christ in their youth," and that "[George] gave his heart to God in his youth at old Liberty Church, during a Baptist revival, and united with the church there, which he revered the remainder of his days, and always enjoyed the time of his return to the old church and neighborhood.' - ELDER Z.T. WILLIAMS
Click on headline for complete installment, Part I.
Contributed by JIM
"That magnificent voice:" The life and times of Rev. G.W. Perryman, late of Russell County, Kentucky.
"Just think of it. Old Russell County, possibly one of the poorest counties in the State, producing a man like him. This shows a man does not have to be born rich or of parentage of great note to be some body. If a man has a talent he should use it for good and be somebody." -- U.S. Haynes, in a letter about his friend, Rev. George W. Perryman, October, 1910.
George W. Perryman (1857-1915), one of the latter of Washington Perryman and Nancy Emily (or Emeline) Murrah Perryman's many children, was born and reared on or very near the farm where his grandparents William Perryman and Ann Stokes Perryman had settled nearly a half century earlier. At the time William and Ann came there, near the banks of Reynolds Creek (pronounced "Runnels," if you're native to the area), their farm lay in Adair County, but that section of Adair fell within the boundaries of Russell County when the latter was struck off in the spring of 1826.
George's education began in the 1860s in a common school somewhere near Montpelier, a community near the Russell-Adair County line. Along the way, most likely some time during the years 1867-69, one of his teachers was Z.T. Williams, the man who later became his cousin-by-marriage, and later still, a minister (elder) in the Christian Church.
A few years later, with the help of Z.T. and Clemmie Williams and her father Cyrus Wheat, he completed an educational quest that surely seemed beyond the dreams and farthest grasp of a poor boy from Russell County -- he was graduated from the Louisville Theological Seminary in 1885, some two years before his thirtieth birthday. The January 6, 1916 edition of The Baptist World (Louisville, Ky.) noted he began studies at the Seminary in 1882.
In Rev. Perryman's eulogy published in the Adair County News, his friend and cousin-by-marriage Z.T. Williams, in commenting of George's character as a lad, stated that he "...was the youngest boy and was a favorite of the family and the people of the community. He attended the first school the writer ever taught, and he was a good, faithful student and possessed a genial disposition..."
Eld. Williams also gave brief glimpses of Rev. Perryman's early life and religious experience, saying,
"His father and mother, G.W. and Emily Perryman, lived in straightened circumstances in the rearing of such a large family, on a worn out farm, but they were Godly people and reared their children in the fear of God, and they all enlisted in the cause of Christ in their youth," and that "[George] gave his heart to God in his youth at old Liberty Church, during a Baptist revival, and united with the church there, which he revered the remainder of his days, and always enjoyed the time of his return to the old church and neighborhood."
In a letter penned by Rev. Perryman in the summer of 1904, he wrote (using the editorial "we"), "At the close of the General Association we went over to Montpelier, thirty miles south, where we were reared and spent a few days with friends and kindred dear. We preached on Sunday at the old church where we were converted, baptized and ordained." (The General Association meeting that year was held on Campbellsville, Ky.)
Old Liberty Baptist Church was located near modern day Hwy 92 between Montpelier to the west and Hales Highway / Hwy 379 to the east, hard by the banks of Liberty Creek, a branch of Runnels Creek. Across the fields and the creek, the church house was a third of a mile or less from the Perryman home place.
Continued Eld. Williams, "Soon after his conversion he decided to give his life to the preaching of the gospel, believing he was called of God to the ministry. He preached his first sermon at old Providence church in the near by community [of Stapp Springs], from Ps. 84:11. 'For the Lord God is a sun and shield, the Lord will give grace and glory; no good thing will He withhold from them that walk uprightly.' The selection of this text for his first sermon is indicative of his strong trust in God."
Again pulling from Eld. Williams eulogy, he wrote (speaking, most likely, both of George's intellectual capacity and his deep religious convictions), "He was a relative of my first wife and we saw there was something in him above the ordinary, and we encouraged him to educate himself and prepare for the best in life..." Rev. Perryman and Eld. Williams' wife, the former Clemmie Jane Wheat, were first cousins, their mothers being the sisters Nancy Emily and Sarah, respectively, the daughters of Joshua Murrah and Nancy Barnes Murrah.
After completing the common school curriculum, George, with financial assistance from and the moral support of the above-named friends and kins(wo)men, began his advanced education. He first attended the Columbia Christian College (an educational branch of the Christian Church), followed by Russellville College in Logan County, Ky. Also known as the Russellville Male Academy, it operated under the auspices of the Southern Baptist Convention. He then went to Southern Theological Seminary, Louisville, Ky., and completed his doctorate there in the spring of 1885, about the time of his 28th birthday.
By this time he already had preached part time while a student in Russellville and had accepted the call to pastor full time the Owenton Baptist Church in late 1884 or early 1885. With schooling completed, he was ready to commence devoting his full energies and considerable abilities, including "that magnificent voice," to the cause to which he'd been called several years earlier.
To be continued.
(The foregoing is adapted from "That Magnificent Voice": A Word Sketch of Rev. George W. Perryman, a Man of His Convictions, (c) 2017. Material adapted and used with permission.)
This story was posted on 2017-03-12 09:11:52
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