Early Settlers of
Their Descendants...Their Stories...Their Achievements
Lifting the Mists of History on Their Way of Life
By: Ethelene Dyer Jones
The Rev. Elisha
Hedden, Circuit-Riding Preacher--part 2
Rev. Elisha Hedden, Jr. Juanita Caroline Butt Hedden
When Elisha Hedden, Jr. was
his bride was seventeen, he married Juanita Caroline Butt, who was
“Neety.” The marriage took place on
Elisha Hedden, Jr. was ordained
gospel ministry in 1839 at the
Whether, in his crippled
condition, he did
any farm labor is not known. However,
soon after his ordination, he began preaching at various churches in
mountain area. The fiery young preacher
was often called upon to lead revivals and was a popular evangelist in
summer camp meetings. Although the
latter were mainly sponsored by the Methodist Episcopal Church South,
organizers of the camp meetings did not consider religious denomination
factor and sought to get the best preacher possible for the protracted
two or three week) meetings. Records
show that Elisha Hedden, Jr. preached at the Fightingtown Camp Meeting
So effective was Rev. Hedden as a preacher that he was appointed by the Southern Baptist Home Mission Board and the Executive Committee of the Georgia Baptist Convention to be a missionary in the mountains. His preaching influenced the conversion of George W. Truett and Fernando C. McConnell, first cousins, who became outstanding ministers of the twentieth century. He was faithful in his calling for over forty years and wielded a far-reaching influence for good as a church planter, a pastor, an evangelist and a missionary. He believed in cooperation among churches and led in the formation of Baptist Associations. He was Hiawassee Association’s first messenger to the Georgia Baptist Convention in 1853.
While her husband was on his preaching circuit, Juanita Caroline Butt Hedden was a stay-at-home mother. They had ten children:
Jeffrey Allen (1839-1883)
Adeline Gray. He was in the Confederate
Army. He lost his life in and accident at his sawmill in
John B. (1841-?) married Millie Leatherwood.
Sophronia J. (1841-?) married a
Samantha Adeline (1846-?) married Rev. John Tyler Platt. They lived in Clay County, NC.
William Worth called “Bud” (1848-1944) married Nancy M. Sutton. He was a merchant in Hiawassee.
Sarah (1850-1935) married
Parker. They lived in
Armeda (1852-?) married Meed
Curley. They moved to
Martha C. (1856-1912) married
Cobb Standridge. They were last in
Elisha Dean (1858-1940) married
Texas Ledford. He was buried in
Warne K. (1861-1941) married (1)
Ledford and (2) Violet Virginia Hooper.
This family lived in
In addition to his preaching,
Hedden was also active in community affairs and politics.
In 1847 he was elected from
His beloved wife Juanita
The epigraph of William Wadsworth Longfellow in his “Psalm of Life” certainly holds true for the Rev. Elisha Hedden, Jr: “Lives of great men all remind us/We can make our lives sublime;/ And departing leave behind us/Footprints on the sands of time.”
[Sources for the “Life and Times of the Rev. Elisha Hedden, Jr.:
Hearthstones of Home:
The Heritage of
Cemetery Records of
Humphrey Posey,” from The
Skinner, Winston, “Rev. Humphrey Posey,” in Viewpoints, Vol. 10, 1986, published by the Georgia Baptist Convention Historical Commission.
church and associational records, Fannin,
Jones; published Jan. 22, 2004 in The Union Sentinel, Blairsville,
Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
Updated August 25, 2009