Elisha Granville Sewell
Biographical Sketch Of The life Of E. G. SEWELL
The writer has the same difficulty to meet in
preparing this biographical sketch that he had in writing the sketch of D.
Lipscomb. The great abundance of material at hand and the brevity of
space allotted for biographical sketches necessitate putting a few
historical facts and incidents concerning this great man into such brief
space. The amount of material on hands with such an array of facts and
incidents makes it difficult to select just such as ought to be presented
here. Much of the life of E. G. Sewell is fresh in the memory of the
Elisha G. Sewell was born in Overton County,
Tenn., October 25, 1830. His father, Stephen Sewell, was born in North
Carolina, but at the age of twelve came to Carter County, Tenn. Here he
met his wife and married. Soon after his marriage he came to Overton
County, Tenn., and settled on Wolf River near the Kentucky line, about
seven miles from Albany, the county seat of Clinton County, Ky. Stephen
Sewell had a large family. There were born to them eight boys and six
girls. Two of these died in infancy, the others lived to be grown. All the
boys, save one, had Bible names, and four of them became preachers of the
gospel. The subject of this sketch was the; youngest boy and next to the
youngest child. Stephen Sewell was a pious man and taught his children
reverence for God and respect for his word. He belonged to the Baptist
Church and impressed upon his children the chief tenets of the Baptist
faith. The Baptist Church was very strong in that section of the country;
in fact, it was the only church in that section of the county. Brother
Sewell's father was a deacon in that church for a long time, and his
brother, William B. Sewell, was clerk of the church for many years.
William B. Sewell married a member of the church of Christ and attended the services frequently with his wife. At one time he took the Lord's Supper with his wife on the first day of the week. For this he was cited to trial in the Baptist Church and charged with violating the rules of the church. He would not retract his statement about following the New Testament in worshiping God and was forthwith excluded from the Baptist Church. Through William Sewell, Jesse L. Sewell, an older brother of Elisha, was led to study the New Testament, and Jesse L. saw the Baptist error that he was practicing and immediately turned from it and began preaching the gospel. He, too, was excluded "for preaching faith, repentance, and baptism for the remission of sins." Soon Isaac Sewell, another brother, and three sisters asked that their names be removed from the Baptist roll. By this time three of Brother Sewell's brothers were preaching the gospel and an uncle was preaching the Baptist doctrine. E. G. Sewell was nineteen years old at this time. He did not know whether his brothers were right or whether his uncle was right; so he decided in the spring of 1849 to study the New Testament for himself. He read the New Testament through once that year, and portions of it many times. On the fourth Lord's day in October, 1849, E. G. Sewell was buried with his Lord in baptism. About a year after this time he began to make public talks and rapidly developed into a strong gospel preacher. From that time on his life was filled with interesting events of his activities as a Christian.
He gained part of an education
from the schools in his community, but these did not furnish very good
advantages. Three of his brothers were teaching school in different parts
of the county, and E. G. Sewell went to school to his brother for about
six months. He then began teaching school near his home. Next be taught in
Southeastern Kentucky. On November 22, 1853, he was married to Miss Lucy
Kuykendall, near Cookeville, Tenn. Immediately after his marriage he went
back to Kentucky and taught another term. He began to see the need of more
education, and through the assistance of his father-in-law he was able to
enter Burritt College in February, 1856. W. D. Carnes was president of the
college at that time. He remained in Burritt College two and one-half
years. When W. D. Carnes resigned as president and accepted the position
in East Tennessee University, E. G. Sewell left Burritt College. On
September 1, 1858, be entered Franklin College under Tolbert
Fanning and William Lipscomb. He was
admitted to the senior class, with the promise that be would be graduated
at the close of the school year, provided he made good. He made good and
was graduated with honors in June, 1859.
On January 1, 1870, he joined Brother D.
Lipscomb as co-editor of the Gospel Advocate. He wrote regularly for the
Advocate a little more than fifty years. He covered wide range of Biblical
subjects. His writings were clear and simple, easy to be understood.
Brother Sewell and Brother Lipscomb were coworkers and fellow workers in
the church of our Lord for more than half a century. They were in sacred
league and hallowed covenant with each other for more than fifty years.
Their companionship was beautiful, each revering the other, having no
suspicion or jealousy the one toward the other, but each ministering to
the other and with each other in the work of the Lord. Each recognized the
ability and talent of the other and respected the same. Like David and
Jonathan, their union was pleasant and profitable, and their love for each
other "was wonderful, passing the love of women." They were
different types of men, but their lives were in harmony with the word of
God, hence they were in 'harmony with each other. Brother Sewell said in
his first editorial in the Gospel Advocate: "I expect to make the
Word of God my guide in whatever I say through, the Advocate, just as I
have endeavored to do in my preaching. I have no confidence in anything in
religion which is not fully authorized by the Bible."
Brother Sewell was a co-laborer with Brother
Lipscomb in preaching the gospel in and around Nashville. They labored
together in building up the churches in Middle Tennessee. One time Brother
Lipscomb bad been preaching at a place two weeks, and the people seemed
interested, but did not respond to, his preaching. He told them that he
would go home and send Brother Sewell to them. Brother Sewell went, and
within a few days he baptized more than sixty persons. Few men who have
labored in Tennessee baptized more people than Brother Sewell. Brother
Sewell stood with Brother Lipscomb in contending for the faith and simple
order of New Testament work and worship. With the exception of Brother
Lipscomb, possibly Brother Sewell did more to encourage the churches in
the South to remain faithful to, the New Testament than any other man. He
was kind and gentle in his manner and pleasing in his style of writing and
speaking, but he was as sturdy as the oak in standing for the New
Testament order of things.
Brother Sewell lived to a ripe old age. He
died on March 2, 1924, at the age of ninety-three years. He died as did his
fellow worker, D. Lipscomb, on the Lord's Day. He had kept the faith and
finished his course. Death to him was the climax of his mission on earth.
Funeral services were held at the Russell Street Church, Nashville, Tenn.,
by Brethren S. H. Hall and J. C. McQuiddy.
Biographical Sketches Of Gospel Preachers, H. Leo
Boles, Gospel Advocate Company, Nashville, Tennessee, 1932, pages
The Life Of Elisha G. Sewell
E.G. Sewell is buried in the Mt. Olivet Cemetery, Nashville Tennessee. The cemetery is located at 1101 Lebanon Pike, Southeast of downtown Nashville. Click over to Mt. Olivet for map and location of the grave in the cemetery. His remains rest in Section 6 - Lot #103. Look for pink granite monument with urn on top, then behind on right.