Arvy Glenn Freed
Of The Life Of A.G. Freed
On August 3, 1863, in Indiana, Arvy Glenn Freed was born. His parents were Joseph and Elisa Hayes Freed. At the time of Brother Freed's birth Joseph Freed lived in Saltillo, Indiana. His mother was a Hayes, a relative of President Rutherford B. Hayes. Brother Freed had some distinguished ancestors. He was educated in the common schools of Indiana until he was ready to go to college. He entered Valparaiso University and was graduated with distinction from that famous educational institution. Brother Freed had strong intellectual powers, together with a keen intellect. He easily mastered any subject which he set his heart to study.
He became a Christian early in life. Soon after becoming a Christian he began to preach the gospel. He combined teaching and preaching. After graduating from the university he came to Tennessee and dedicated his life to the cause of Christian education and the preaching of the gospel. He had laid well the foundation for a thorough education and had mastered every branch that belonged to the curriculum for his day. He established a school at Essary Springs, Tenn., and there enjoyed the first success of his successful career as an educator. After teaching a number of years at Essary Springs, he went to Henderson, Tenn., and there began work in a larger field. He gathered around him a very efficient faculty of teachers, and his college soon became famous throughout West Tennessee and North Mississippi. The institution at Henderson grew, and its courses were modified to keep apace with the onward March of the cause of education. Brother Freed went to Texas and taught a few years, but returned to his old field of labor at Henderson and established what is now known as Freed-Hardeman College. He remained with this institution of learning until 1923. At that time he came to Nashville and accepted the position of vice president of David Lipscomb College. He remained with this college until he passed away. Brother Freed may be classed among the famous educators of the South.
In the pulpit, as a preacher of the gospel, he achieved great success. He understood the Bible and loved the word of God. He delighted in studying its sacred truths. His sermons were logical and Scriptural. He presented his lessons with kindness and persuasiveness. He could present the truth in such a way as to convince the disbeliever and persuade and encourage all to accept the word of God. He was very successful as an evangelist and baptized hundreds of people. He established many congregations and strengthened many others. He traveled and preached in nearly all of the Southern States and many of the Northern States. His services were always in demand, and he never found time to rest. Thousands of people living today can rejoice in the fact that Brother Freed helped them to see the truth and then to accept it.
In the field of polemics Brother Freed bad but few equals and possibly no superiors. Brother Freed was not militant in nature, neither was he inclined to disputing. He debated because he saw the need of discussion, and was not afraid to defend the church or the truth of God as revealed in the Bible against any opposition. No man bad greater courage when armed with the truth than did A. G. Freed, and no man wrought greater victories for the truth in discussion than did Brother Freed. He was kind, but emphatic, in his discussion. His great love for the truth of God led him to have no mercy on error. The church of our Lord in many places has rejoiced through the victories won in discussion by Brother Freed.
A. G. Freed was a great man. He served his fellow man as a teacher and as a preacher of the gospel. Many young men and young women owe their success, in a large measure, to the help and encouragement which Brother Freed gave them. Brother Freed's greatness is not to be measured by the ordinary standards of man; his greatness is to be measured by the good that he did. No man can be truly good without being great, and no man can be truly great without being good. Brother Freed was a good man, and, therefore, a great man. If we should measure his greatness by the number of people that he has helped, it would be difficult to find a greater man than A. G. Freed. He encouraged and inspired thousands of young men and young women to aspire to a nobler life in the service of man and of God. He started hundreds of gospel preachers to work in the vineyard of the Lord and trained them for the greatest usefulness as preachers of the gospel. The cause of Christ and Christian education in the South have made greater progress because of the consecration and labors of Brother Freed.
Brother Freed was an educated, Christian gentleman. He was gentle in nature; he had a poetic nature; he loved poetry and music. He was humble and kind; few could excel him in gentleness and kindness. It seems that he was a very Chesterfield in courtesy. He had the polish that graces one in society and makes one a charming companion and friend. He was loyal to the right and to his friends. The writer has been blessed by the close association of three great men: David Lipscomb, E. A. Elam, and A. G. Freed. The writer has labored years with each of these great men and has received rich blessings through close association with them. From D. Lipscomb the writer learned the rugged truths of the Bible and received encouragement which strengthened his faith in the word of God; through the association with E.A. Elam he learned to appreciate more the value of loyalty to the word of God and service in the name of Christ; and through the association with Brother Freed he learned some of those finer graces of soul culture which adorn the Christian life. He thanks God for the influence of these three great men.
Brother Freed's last days were spent in suffering, but without complaint. His conflict with death, as it respected bodily affliction, was truly hard; but his soul appeared to be happy in the conflict. No one ever witnessed such resignation and Christian fortitude as was displayed by Brother Freed. He was reduced in flesh and must have experienced great pain, but no murmur or complaint was ever heard from his lips. On the contrary, when asked how he was, be always replied that be was doing well.
He never lost that gracious smile which had adorned his life. On November 11, 1931, his peaceful spirit left his emaciated body and went to Him who gave it. He passed away as he had lived, hopeful and peaceful. Human society is richer and better because Brother Freed has lived.
Biographical Sketches Of Gospel Preachers, H. Leo
Boles, Gospel Advocate Company, Nashville, Tennessee, 1932, pages
A. G. FREED
Arvy Glenn Freed was born at Saltillo, Indiana in August 3, 1863. He attended local public schools and then Valparaiso University, Valparaiso, Indiana, graduating there in 1889. After graduation he came south and began a teaching, preaching, and debating career at Essary Springs, Tennessee in the fall of 1889.
Essary Springs, where he started his work in Christian Education in the South is on Big Hatchie River in the southeast corner of Hardeman County. Southern Tennessee Normal College, as the school there was named, began in 1889 with Freed as President and continued until 1895. He built it to an enrollment of about 450 students.
While at Essary Springs, he met and married Cora Belle Baynham of LaFayette, Kentucky. To this union two children were born. One, a son, Arvy Baynham died very young and the other, Martha Belle Freed Primme now resides in New York City.
In 1895 the board of trustees of West Tennessee Christian College, a school in Henderson, Tennessee that had been in operation for some years, offered to unite the two schools and Freed accepted. He did so under the provision that the trustees would grant him a lease of ten years to run the school. Two years later, in 1897, a new brick administration building was erected and the name of the school was changed to Georgie Robertson Christian College. A period of great growth followed and Brother Freed asserted in 1901 that it was "the largest and best equipped normal school south of the Ohio River."
Due to dissension in the faculty of G.R.C. College, Brother Freed resigned and went to Denton, Texas at the end of his lease in 1905. He became President of Southwestern Christian College and remained there until 1908. He returned to Henderson on that date to become co-founder with N. B. Hardeman of National Teachers Normal and Business College. He was President and Hardeman Vice-President most of the period from 1908 until 1923. In 1923 he sold his interest in Freed-Hardeman College, (the name of the school having been changed in 1919), and moved to Nashville, Tennessee to become Vice-President of David Lipscomb College, where he remained until his death in 1931.
During the many years of administrative responsibility in these five colleges he had been most active as a preacher, lecturer, and debater throughout the South. He was a Bible scholar and natural teacher. He inspired young people wherever he went to attend college and through his own magnetic personality, keen thinking, and impressive demeanor, sent them from the college halls with a store of knowledge and a purpose in life.
He met and defeated the giant leaders of denominations in the area. Among these was Bogard, Baptist in Little Rock, Arkansas, seven debates with Pigue, Methodist, in Tennessee and Mississippi, two with J. N. Hall, Baptist, and one with Taylor, Baptist, in Jackson, Tennessee in 1927.
In a volume, "Sermons, Chapel Talks, and Debates," published by I. A. Douthitt in 1930, there is the following tribute; "Brother A. G. Freed has been one of the leading educators of the South for more than a third of a century, and the greater portion of his labors, both as President of colleges and preacher of the gospel, has been done in West Tennessee. This fact alone tells more eloquently than I am able to do the character of man he is. During all this time he has been and is now one of the greatest preachers and debaters in the church of Christ."
In a memorial service in the chapel of Freed-Hardeman College on November 17, 1931, L. L. Brigance said; "Industry was Brother Freed's outstanding characteristic, his other attributes however, optimism, courtesy, dignity, cleanliness, and love of home being of such strength in the man's make-up as to stand on a par with the first mentioned."
A. B. Lipscomb of Valdosta, Georgia said; "At one place and another wherever I go, I meet young men who have sat at Brother Freed's feet and into whose lives something of his noble character has been woven. When they lead in prayer I catch the teacher's phrase, `just over there' and now let us rejoice in the fact that Brother Freed knows what it means to be `just over there'."
-C. P. Roland, Freed-Hardeman College, Henderson, Tennessee.
-The Minister's Monthly - Volume XI, No. 5, January, 1966
Passing Of Brother Freed
No death of recent years has been more keenly nor occasioned more universal regret than the recent passing of Brother A.G. Freed. Brother Freed died November 12, 1931, at the Vanderbilt Hospital, Nashville, Tenn., after a very severe illness. As he was being carried to the operating room, he repeated these touching words: "Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; they rod and they staff they comfort me." Funeral services were conducted in the auditorium of the Central Church of Christ on Friday, November 13, after which his body was buried in beautiful Woodlawn Cemetery, Nashville, to await the resurrection morning.
Brother Freed is survived by his wife, Cora Baynham Freed, and one daughter, Mrs. James Barnes, of Jacksonville, Ill.; one brother, A.L. Freed, of Campbellsburg, Ind.; two sisters, Mrs. L.B. Mather, of Anderson, Ind., and Mrs. J.A. Matthew, of Macon, Ga.
For many years Brother Freed was one of the outstanding educators of the South. He came South many years ago and established a school at Essary Springs, Tenn., after the successful operation of which he removed to Henderson, Tenn., where he became President of the West Tennessee Christian College, later known as the Georgia Robertson Christian College. Upon urgent solicitation he went to Denton, Texas, and founded the Southwestern Christian College. Upon returning to Tennessee, he reorganized the school at Henderson, which, for so many years, has been known as the Freed-Hardeman College. Having severed his connection with the Freed-Hardeman College, at Henderson, Tenn., about nine years ago, he became vice-president, and also head of the high school department of David-Lipscomb College, at Nashville, Tenn.
Brother Freed was well and widely known as a preacher of the gospel. By his preaching, writing, and in debates he did much for the advancement of Bible Christianity. For many years he most successfully met the strongest men the denomination could put up and delighted truth lovers with his able defense of the teaching of the Bible. Many think that the noted J.N. Hall, who was generally conceded to be the strongest man in the Baptist Church of his generation, felt so much chagrin after his debate with Brother Freed that he was not the same man again. In recent years Brother Freed delighted Nashville audiences by his able defense of the truth in an eleven-session debated with Ben M. Bogard, held at Lindsley Avenue, Nashville, Tenn.
In 1939, Brother Freed published his book, entitled "Sermons, Chapel Talks, and Debates." We are thankful that he did not wait too late too late to publish this splendid volume. It should be in every home. In it Brother Freed, gives choice selections from chapel talks made to students, sermons he has preached, and arguments the presented in debate.
When loved ones pass it is glorious to think of the comfort and consolation to children of God in the Scriptures: "And I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Write, 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." - (Rev. 14:13.).
-James A. Allen, Apostolic Times, Vol. 1, No. 5, December, 1931, page 5
A.G. Freed, President
Mrs. A.G. Freed, 1901
Chronology Of The Life Of A.G. Freed
BGAGF=Biography of a Gentleman A.G. Freed, by John Ancil Jenkins, Hester Publications, c.2002
Sources: John Poitevint, Senior, Freed-Hardeman College; Biography of a Gentleman A.G. Freed, by John Ancil Jenkins, Hester Publications, c.2002
Location Of The Grave of A.G. & Cora Freed
Directions: Woodlawn Cemetery, Nashville, Tennessee, is located behind the 100 Oaks Shopping Center that faces I-65 just south of the I-440 Interchange. From 100 Oaks travel east on Thompson Lane and turn right at the first entrance to Woodlawn's South Side Park (across from main part of cemetery). Take the first left and road will bear around to the right. Stop the car around the trashcan and look to your left. Grave is located a few rows in. See Woodlawn Cemetery Map Here.
GPS: N 36º 06' 39.1"
x WO 86º 45' 36.0"