SKETCH OF SAM JONES
The Rev. Sam Jones was born in Oak Bowery, Chambers County, Alabama, October 16. 1847. His grandfather, who is still living, was a preacher, and named Sam Jones, and his father was a distinguished lawyer. The associates of Sam Jones’s people in Alabama comprised the interblended blood of Georgia, Kentucky, and Virginia, and their saintliness, tender home life, kind neighborliness, absence of city conventionalism, and freedom of rural manliness, doubtless made an indelible impression on young Sam, and filled him with that intense fervor of spirit which his later life has developed. When he was quite young his parents removed to Georgia, and he was given a good English education, and was undergoing a Latin course preparatory to entering college when the war broke out, and he was prevented from continuing systematically his studies. Afterward he studied law, and was admitted to the bar and practiced for a while. Then he fell into habits of dissipation, and, like most Southern youths, went to great excess.
His conversion occurred in 1872, upon the death of his father, to whom he was tenderly attached. A Southern writer, speaking of that event, says:
“The death of his father led to the conversion of Sam. Such a scene as was witnessed in that chamber of death is not often beheld. The hour was tragic. Falling on the floor the prodigal son cried out. ‘I’ll quit! I’ll quit! God be merciful to me, a sinner!’ The great change came by the renewing power of the Holy Spirit; and think you that an ordinary life would, by the laws of nature and grace, follow such a conversion? Miracles aside, I find room in Saul of Tarsus, in Bunyan, in Ignatius Loyola and Wesley, to trace both the physiological and psychological effects of tragic circumstances in developing intensity of religious character.”
Immediately upon his conversion Mr. Jones united with the Methodist Church and studied for the ministry. When qualified he was assigned to the North Georgia Conference, and for about nine years was engaged in circuit work in the mountains of Georgia. He was always fearless and outspoken, and his incisive sentences were familiar in rural districts in Georgia long before he became universally known. He has always had his present impetuous and fervid style of speaking.
He is rugged and outspoken in his denunciation of wrongdoing, and has an intense hatred for hypocrites. He first came into general notice while working as the conference agent to build up the North Georgia Orphans’ Home. This institution was in debt, and in endeavoring to extricate it Mr. Jones traveled beyond his conference borders, and people who heard him were not slow to sound his praises. He succeeding in clearing off the encumbrances on the home, refurnished it, and still maintains it by his own exertions. His fame spread with such rapidity that he has had invitations to visit nearly every large city in the country. He has already held large and wonderfully successful meetings in Alabama, Missouri, Georgia, Texas, Tennessee, and in Brooklyn, where he preached in Talmage’s Tabernacle, and of late in Cincinnati. During his preaching in Atlanta, Sam Small, his co-worker, was converted, and entered into the work with as much ardor as Mr. Jones himself.
He is simple and regular in his habits, and has tremendous powers of endurance. Mr. Jones was married sixteen years ago to Miss Mclilwaine, of Kentucky.
SKETCH OF SAM SMALL
The story of Sam Small’s life is remarkably interesting, especially as he tells it.
“I am thirty-five years old, and was born in Knoxville, Tenn., on the 3d of July, getting in one day before the celebration of the Declaration of Independence. I entered Emory and Henry College, in Virginia, a Methodist College, in 1869, leaving college in 1871. I then went into newspaper work, first in Nashville, being engaged in various places, in New Orleans, and other points in the South. I was in all kinds of newspaper work, running several papers of my own, sometimes into the ground, or getting the sheriff to run them for me. I began the Old Si’ papers in 1876, during the presidential campaign. In 1878 I went with my family to Europe as an attaché of the American Commissioners to the Paris Exposition. I traveled about a good deal in France and England, and saw all sides of life. In my earlier youth I was thoroughly trained and indoctrinated in Bible truth, which now comes back to me, and I bring all the balance of my knowledge to bear upon the enforcement of the truth.”
Sam is a young convert, his conversion dating back only a few months. Sam Jones is his spiritual father, the great change in Small’s life dating from an impression received on the 13th of September, 1885, when he heard Jones preach at Cartersville, about fifty miles from Atlanta, Georgia, the city of his residence, where he made a living by newspaper work. Upon his return Sam Small got drunk, but could not drown conviction, and on Tuesday surrendered his life, as he believes, into higher keeping than his own. He then announced a service in Atlanta, with himself as the preacher, and on the very day of his conversion assumed the office of a religious teacher. Small has been a very busy preacher since then.
He had hardly begun when Jones telegraphed for him, and the two men now work together. Mr. Small believes that since the partnership was formed from twenty thousand to thirty thousand people have been religiously affected in meetings conducted by the partners.
The evangelist has a wife and family. He speaks with great feeling and admiration of his wife, who bore patiently with him when seemingly the ruin that overtakes the drunkard’s wife threatened her. She and the children were with him when Sam Jones’s sermon at the camp meeting in Cartersville brought him face to face with the necessity of reformation to avoid certain and overwhelming disaster. In an autobiographical sermon Small emphasizes the evils of drunkenness as exhibited in his own life.
Mr. Jones’s helper is a bright man. His practical advice is presented in good English, and made relishable by apt and sometimes witty reference. He is in earnest, and his life is true to his professions.
Of course he has his troubles in his new sphere, but they seem to be little ones, and he charges both on the devil as their author. The first of them is anonymous letters, which he does not take the trouble to read; and the second gratuitous counsel from people who want to stop him smoking cigarettes.
On this matter he says:
“I am satisfied, though, that no cigarette is going to keep me out of heaven. If it is going to keep them — the people who complain of my smoking cigarettes — out, and they will come and tell me so, then I will consider the matter and quit; but I am sorry for a fellow that can be kept out of heaven by a cigarette.”