John Allen Gano
Young John A. Gano
Biographical Sketch of John Allen Gano
John Allen Gano was born in Georgetown, Scott county, Kentucky, July 8, 1805. His parents were Gen. Richard M. Gano, of the War of 1812, and Elizabeth, formerly Elizabeth Ewing. His grandparents were Chaplain John Gano, and Sarah, his wife, formerly Sarah Stiles. Chaplain Gano, a Baptist minister, immersed Gen. George Washington during the Revolution. John Allen Gano lost his parents in early life, and was reared under the care of an old uncle, Captain William Hubble, who figured in the War of 1812, and in the Indian Wars, and under such tutelage you might expect a high strung boy, whose thoughts rather inclined to war. He was educated in Georgetown, and partly in Bourbon county. The latter part of his education was under Barton W. Stone, and more especially in the Greek. Stone was the first minister who started out for the Restoration of primitive apostolic Christianity in Kentucky. Gano then studied law and obtained his license to practice from Judge Warren, a prominent Jesuit of Georgetown, Kentucky, and was about to begin the practice of law. He had been of a Baptist family, but had never made profession of faith or attached himself to any church, but attended the meeting held by B. W. Stone, and also those held by Thomas M. Allen. At a meeting held by T. M. Allen he became so thoroughly aroused by a godly sorrow for his sins that he repented, confessed his savior, and was baptized. His sisters were so distressed that they sent seventy miles for a Baptist minister, Jacob Creath, Sr., to come and win Brother John back to the church of his fathers. He came all the way on horse back, and urged the young man to retrace his steps, appealing to him by the love he bore his old grandfather, Chaplain John Gano; and John Allen Gano laid his hand on the New Testament and said, "Elder Creath, if you will show me in this book where it says, "deny yourself, take up your cross and follow your grandfather, I will follow mine through life. But I read it, follow Christ, and I am determined to follow Him until death if it separates me from all the kindred I have on earth." They spent twelve hours in conversation and the old minister was so impressed that he returned the next day and they renewed the conversation, and Jacob Creath, Sr., became convinced, and soon after came out publicly and took his stand with the church that has no book or creed but God's Word and will wear no name but the name of Christ, the only position on which the friends of Christ can ever be united, and John Allen Gano went with all his might to preaching the Gospel of Christ, and had success in winning souls to Christ unequalled in that state. He presented the gospel facts with such clearness and force, and besides this had such wonderful pathos that he could reach the hearts of the people, and gather them into the kingdom of the Master. His labors were principally in Central Kentucky, but extended occasionally into adjoining states, and he made one tour into Louisiana and established a church in Baton Rouge, and the Methodist minister who was kind enough to open the doors of his house to him, found it necessary to close them again because of the loss of his members. It was all done in kindness. He immersed nearly ten thousand persons during his ministry, and such was his success in impressing those who were convinced under his preaching, with the importance of a genuine repentance unto reformation of life, that comparatively few of them ever turned back to the world. A Baptist minister named Morgan Wells, said of him, after his death, that John A. Gano had done more toward forming the religious views and controlling the lives of the people, and making peace among men, than any half dozen ministers in the state put together.
He was, indeed, an able defender of the truth, a close adherent to God's Word, a remarkable exhorter; and his life came up so closely to his preaching that his influence was great, and he could quiet discordant elements to a remarkable degree, and was often called many miles to make peace between men. As a neighbor, a husband, a father, he was hard to excel, and was looked up to and held up as an example as far as he was well known, and his name and memory are cherished by a host of friends. His liberality was proverbial, both to the church and to the world, and his success in business was so remarkable that he amassed a goodly amount of property, notwithstanding his charities, and liberal provision for a large family; and his untiring labors in the Master's vineyard, helping to build churches, and contributing liberally to missionary work. He was also an importer of Shorthorn cattle from England, and made that profitable. But the strange thing in his life was the complete transformation, having been a wild youth, impetuous in his nature. The religion of Christ changed him suddenly to a bright example of a Christian life. His daily work was to save souls, build up the kingdom of Christ on earth and do good every day among his fellow men. So universal was the feeling during the prime of his life, in Central Kentucky, that if we can only get Bro. Gano, here we will have a good meeting. A little incident that occurred in Cynthiana, Kentucky, will illustrate. During the progress of a protracted meeting at that place, they sent for him to come and help them. Bro. Gano arrived, in the midst of a sermon, and walked into the house, and hung his overcoat on the balusters by the side of the pulpit. At dinner (they had a basket dinner on the ground) an old brother remarked, "It did me more good to see Bro. Gano come in and hang up his overcoat, than to have heard a sermon from most any one else, for I knew we were going to have a good meeting." The preaching, example, and life of that man of God will dwell in the memories of the Christians of Central Kentucky as long as they live. Revelations 14:13: Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth. Yea, saith the Spirit. That they may rest from their labors, and their works do follow them. His last words were, "I am almost home," and with a smile his spirit passed away to that home.
-R.M. Gano, John T. Brown's Churches Of Christ, 1904 p.421-423
Location Of Grave Of J.A. Gano
John Allen Gano is buried in the Georgetown Cemetery, Georgetown, Kentucky. Heading south from Downtown Georgetown on Hwy. 25 toward Lexington, the cemetery will be on your left. Go into the cemetery, and the grave is not far in on the left hand side. Also buried in the cemetery is Thornton F. Johnson, Founder of Bacon College