History of the Restoration Movement


 

Robert Baker Trimble

1821-1896

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Biographical Sketch On The Life Of R. B. Trimble 

Robert Baker Trimble was born in Davidson County, Tennessee, May 7, 1821. He began preaching the gospel in Madison County, Tennessee, in 1855. He was set apart, or ordained, by the laying on of hands at Mason's Grove, in Madison County, in March, 1855. He continued to preach until his death.

Brother Trimble was reared in the Presbyterian faith. His parents were strict members of the Presbyterian Church and impressed upon their children the tenets of the Presbyterian faith. Brother Trimble became a member of the Presbyterian Church while be was but a lad. He had never heard any religious doctrine except that of the church of his father. He was apprenticed to the trade of a tailor, and served his apprenticeship in a tailor shop in Franklin, Tenn. While working at his trade there he heard a preacher of the gospel, and the New Testament was presented in such plain and simple terms that he saw the truth and at once united with the church of Christ in Franklin. Soon after this he moved to West Tennessee and opened a tailor shop at Brownsville and one at Cagesville (now Alamo). He began preaching after he moved to West Tennessee in 1851.

His services were very acceptable to the public from the beginning. His burning desire to preach the gospel and the many calls that he received encouraged him to give up his trade and give all of his time to the preaching of the word. His labors were many and extensive, and continued so for many years. He preached in nearly every county in West Tennessee and Middle Tennessee, Southern Kentucky, and in Illinois, Ohio, Mississippi, Florida, Arkansas, and Texas. Brother Trimble preached in the woods near what is now Owen's Chapel, situated between Nashville and Franklin, Tenn. Brother D. Lipscomb joined him in the work at this place, and the two did much to build up the congregation at Owen's Chapel. Brother Trimble had very few superiors in pioneer work in Tennessee. He was a good speaker; had a strong, clear, and penetrating voice. He was a good reasoner and was always in earnest in presenting the truth of God. He combined with his other qualities a tender, sympathetic appeal to the unconverted. This enabled him to lead many thousands of precious souls to the Savior. He knew the Scriptures well because be studied no other book but the Bible.

Brother Trimble had the happy faculty of approaching people in private conversation and talking persuasively to them about their duties to God and reverence for his truth. This made him a very useful man in the church. His manner and the tone of his voice in such work were always kind and persuasive. There was a deep earnestness in his life which flowed like a current and moved all things that opposed him. Much of his work for good was done in the private precincts of home life. Oftentimes be could reach people in this way that he could not reach from the pulpit. He did much in a private way to encourage the building of churches. He talked so encouragingly to members of the church who were isolated that they soon became interested in building up a new congregation in their community. He knew that the preacher could not establish a congregation by himself, and he knew that the charter members were very important in the establishment of a church; so he cultivated his field well and built wisely the churches which he established. He lived for a time in Williamson and Maury counties while in Middle Tennessee. There are churches in Maury, Williamson, Hickman, Dickson, Cheatham, Robertson, Perry, Marshall, Rutherford, and Bedford counties today that owe their existence largely to the earnest labors of Brother Trimble. In fact, very few men did more to plant churches of Christ throughout Middle Tennessee than did Brother Trimble.

Another great work that Brother Trimble did was to encourage young men to become preachers of the gospel. He kept himself in sympathy with the young and could approach them with ease and enlist their confidence. He wielded a great influence over the young men of the church. It was Brother Trimble who encouraged and started Brethren T. B. Larimore, J. D. Floyd, and E. L. Cambron to preaching the gospel. Brother Trimble could tell young preachers of their faults and mistakes in a way so as not to embarrass and discourage them. He made the young preachers feel that they had a sympathetic helper in him, and not merely a critic.

Brother J. D. Floyd said of Brother Trimble: "He preached the gospel, and I heard him at that time which saved me from skepticism." Brother Floyd became a preacher, and through his humble efforts hundreds were brought to Christ. Brother Floyd praised very highly the life and influence of Brother Trimble.

Brother Trimble wrote from Pryorsburg, Ky., August 23, 1880, as follows: "I began a meeting on Saturday before the third Lord's day in this month at Zion Hill, in Weakley County, Tennessee, which is one of my regular points for monthly preaching. I was assisted in the labors by Brethren Thomas M. Fowler and D. W. Saunders, both of whom are true Christians and unswerving advocates of Christianity. The meeting continued until the following Friday at noon, resulting in seven persons confessing their faith in Christ and being immersed into him. It was a time of real rejoicing among the brethren and sisters at Zion Hill. . . . All crowded into the house who could get in, and the attention was profound from first until last. Last Saturday I went to Cuba, in Graves County, Kentucky, where we have no church, and spoke in the Baptist house at night and on Lord's day, morning and night, to attentive audiences. I am laboring this year much of my time among the destitute and at new points. There is quite a desire manifested upon the part of the people to hear the ancient gospel proclaimed." Brother Trimble was fifty-nine years old at this time, and be was giving the entire year to work 41 among the destitute and at new points."

R. B. Trimble was first married to Miss Louisa Stacy, Giles County, Tennessee, September 12, 1844. Two children were born to this union. His wife died and left the small children. He was next married to Miss Lucy Jane Nance, Gibson County, Tennessee, on October 27, 1851. Seven children were born to this union. Brother Trimble died on January 14, 1896. He was about seventy-five years old. Brother E. C. L. Denton held his funeral services, and his tired and worn out body was laid to rest in the beautiful cemetery in Alamo, Tenn. Brother Trimble was regarded as one of the ablest pioneer preachers of the gospel. While he rests from his labors, his work and influence continue to be felt. 
-Biographical Sketches Of Gospel Preachers, H. Leo Boles, Gospel Advocate Company, 1932, pages 200-203

Another Sketch On the Life Of R.B. Trimble

     Robert Baker Trimble was born near Nashville, Tenn., May 7th 1821. He lived on a farm till 19 years of age, when he was apprenticed to a merchant tailor. The occupation of a tailor afforded excellent opportunity for study and quiet reflection, which he improved, as did that other great Tennesseean, Andrew Johnson. The preaching of Tolbert Fanning led him into an investigation of the Scriptures, which resulted in his obedience to the gospel in 1840. On Sept. 12th, 1844 he married Miss Louisa Stacy; but she died in 1850, leaving him a daughter of tender age to care for; and Oct. 27th, 1851, he married Miss L. J. Nance, who bore him seven children, three sons and four daughters. 

     He continued the lucrative and pleasant business of merchant tailoring, with encouraging success, till 1855, when, through the earnest solicitations and a burning desire to do good, he entered the ministry, which calling he has followed with self-sacrificing devotion ever since. Since Bro. Trimble came to Texas he has preached at many points with efficiency and success. He now resides at Ravenna, Fannin county.

- Texas Pulpit by Christian Preachers, Lawrence W. Scott, ed., Christian Publishing Company, St. Louis, 1888. Page 380

Editors Note: One event in the life of R.B. Trimble should be noted here. In the mid-1850's Trimble preached in Franklin-Spring Hill-Columbia area of middle Tennessee. During one meeting near Columbia on Knob Creek at the Phillippi in February, 1860 after preaching on a Sunday, a man and his teenage daughter responded to the invitation. The man was Henry Zellner. His daughter was Margaret. Later while visiting the Philippi church with Trimble, a young David Lipscomb saw Margaret for the first time. It was reported that he spoke privately to Trimble and said, "Brother Trimble, there goes my future wife."

Directions To Grave

Robert and Lucinda Trimble are buried in the city cemetery in Alamo, Tennessee. I was there in February, 2001 with Mike Raine. We found the location of the grave at the local Funeral Home. From the city square go south one block and turn right at the Funeral Home. Turn left into the cemetery and the Trimble plot is immediately to the left. While in the cemetery be sure to visit the grave of Lucinda's father, church leader, William W. Nance. Further into the cemetery on the left is the Nance Monument.

GPS Coordinates
Acc. 21ft
Grave Faces West
N35° 46' 996" x W O89° 07' 188"


Robt. B.
Trimble
Born In
Davidson Co.
Tenn.
May 7, 1821
Died
Milan, Tenn.
Jan. 13, 1896


Lucinda J.
Wife Of
R.B. Trimble
Born In
Rutherford Co.
Tenn.
May 21, 1835
Died
July 14, 1911

Inscription On The Side Of R.B.'s grave:


"Their Many Virtues

Form The Noblest

Monument To

Their Memory"

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