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'That magnificent voice' - G.W. Perryman, Russell Co, KY - IV
In this installment Part IV, "That magnificent voice:" The life and times of Rev. G.W. Perryman, late of Russell County, Kentucky" = Account of Rev. Perryman & daughter's trip to the World's Fair in a private rail car in 1903. A close call with a street car. His call to pastor a church in Knoxville, TN, the largest congregation in the city at the time.
Next earlier installment: 'That magnificent voice' - G.W. Perryman, Russell Co, KY - III
Contributed by JIM
Toward the end of 1900, Rev. Perryman accepted a new pastorate and the family moved the breadth of Kentucky, from Middlesboro to Paducah. Hardly had they arrived until he became involved in civic matters, particularly the soliciting of funds for a library, mentioned previously in more detail, and in early 1902, he became co-editor (and not too long afterward, the sole editor) of The West Kentucky Herald, a weekly Baptist newspaper.
To mark the one-year anniversary of Rev. Perryman's arrival, the Paducah Register ran a most complimentary piece about him, one that the Adair County News republished in its New Year's Day edition, 1902. The article noted there had been about 100 additions to the church member and that Sunday school attendance had nearly doubled. The paper referred to him as "very progressive" and "of much public spirit." The piece went on to proclaim,
"From a religious standpoint it can be truthfully said that no one has entered more heartily into the intentions of the Ministerial Association and other pastoral work than the First Baptist church's beloved pastor, who is admired by all for his firmness of character and conscientiousness ever exhibited in prosecuting the good work that has resulted to the credit of Paducah at large."
A couple of personal events from 1903 bear mention. In April, Rev. Perryman and the girls -- Beulah, just turned sixteen; Lucile, almost fifteen, and Corinne, quickly approaching nine -- journeyed by rail to St. Louis to attend the three-day opening ceremonies of the World's Fair. They traveled in the private rail car (and in the company) of John W. Logsdon, Superintendent of the Henderson & St. Louis line of the Louisville & Nashville railroad and a long time friend of Rev. Perryman's. In reporting the planned trip, the Sun noted that "every summer the minister takes a trip with the railroad official on his private car."
About two months later, G.W. had a close call. A brief entry in the June 12th Sun stated "There was a headend (sic) collision of street cars No. 65, of the Union Station Depot, and No. 100, of the Jackson Street and Broadway line, this morning about 8:45 at Fourth and Broadway....Rev. G.W. Perryman and Mr. C.G. Rose were walking across the street when No. 65 began to back and but for heavy retreat would probably have been struck...") This occurred just a block from the parsonage.
Toward the end of 1904, Rev. Perryman, upon invitation of the church, spoke at Centennial Baptist (shortly thereafter renamed Deaderick Avenue Baptist) in Knoxville and soon was called to minister there. The Sunday after he formally presented his resignation to the congregation of the First Baptist Church of Paducah, the members in turn presented him with formal resolutions, remarking (among other things) Rev. Perryman had "secured and held together, large congregations during his pastorate here;" that he was leaving Paducah "universally respected and beloved;" and that they recommended him to Knoxville as "a bold and aggressive fighter of sin in both high and low places, and an able expounder of God's word;" and they congratulated his new church home in securing "a man of such power in the cause of Christ and zeal in discharging his pastoral duties..."
Rev. Perryman took over the pastorate of Deaderick Avenue in mid-February 1905 and preached his first sermon there on the 19th. He soon followed the pattern set at many of his earlier churches: start (or take over editorship of) a newspaper; grow the congregation; expand or replace the physical facilities; and actively engage in civic matters.
By late April, a copy of the first edition of the Deaderick Avenue newspaper was in the hands of the Adair County newspaper and the latter publication noted thus in the May 3rd copy:
"Removed to Knoxville
"Rev. G.W. Perryman, of the Baptist Church, is now a resident of Knoxville, Tenn., and is preaching to the largest congregation in the city. He is also publishing a church paper, The Herald, and in the first issue we find this paragraph:
"'I would not be out of place to say that no pastor ever had a warmer welcome than our church has given us, and then we can say that we know of no pastor who has a more royal and loyal people. These people come nearer knowing just how to treat a pastor and how to stand by him in all the work than any we have ever known. Twelve deacons all line up in Sunday school and prayer meeting, teach, talk, and pray. Oh, what a burden that lifts from the pastor's shoulders.'"
In early August, less than half a year after his arrival in Knoxville, the Paducah Sun, quoting from a Knoxville paper, stated that already, "his large auditorium is always crowded and about seventy people have joined his church." (A few years later, just before he went to Norfolk, the Baptist and Reflector of Nashville remarked in passing there had been 527 in Sunday School recently.)
So pleased was the church with Dr. Perryman near the end of his first year there, five hundred dollars was added to his annual salary in January 1906. By that time, reported an unnamed Knoxville paper, nearly two hundred members had been added to the church and on a recent Sabbath day, Sunday School attendance was five hundred sixty-three.
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 2017-04-02 08:38:16
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