History of the Restoration Movement


 

James Jenkins Trott
1800-1868

{Need Picture}

GA Report From Joseph Harlan
GA Response From David Lipscomb
Biographical Sketch By Tolbert Fanning
Biography Of J.J. Trott, Bennett
Additional Family Info
Grave Location of J.J. Trott
Trott's Contributions to Indian Paper, Cherokee Phoenix (scroll to Trott)

Death of Bro. Trott
ELM Grove, Dec. 12th, 1868.

          Bro. Lipscomb: I arrived at home on Monday, the 7th inst. Bro. J. J. Trott came with me from his home in the Cherokee Nation. He was taken unwell about the fourth day after leaving his home. He was not apprehensive of any serious attack. We had Doctors to see him and they advised him to pursue his journey. He continued to grow worse, and on the 10th inst. died of phneumonia (sic). I give you this information so as to enable you to write such notice of the facts in the Gospel Advocate as you may think suitable. He came to Tennessee for the purpose of visiting his old friends, and also to preach if his health would permit. He was in feeble health for two years past. Hoping the trip would improve his health, he undertook it.
Very truly,
JOSEPH HARLAN.

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GA Response From David Lipscomb

          We give the above sad, sad news. We had but heard of Bro. Trott's return to Tennessee, and were anticipating the pleasure of many reunions with our beloved brother, and this sad news reaches us. How much sadder to his family must it be. A more extended notice of his life and labors will soon be given.
D. L.
—Gospel Advocate, Vol. X, No. 1, January 7, 1869, page 15

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James J. Trott

MESSENGER OF THE CHURCH OF CHRIST AT FRANKLIN COLLEGE, TENN., TO THE CHEROKEE NATION.

          "Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from, henceforth; yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labors, and their works do follow them." Rev. xiv: 13.

          Although the death of our beloved Brother J.. J. Trott was announced in our columns a few months since, the labor and character of that good man demand, at the hands of his brethren, a more extended notice. While we are liable to idolize the dead, the good deeds of many of the faithful are recorded in the Holy Scriptures, to encourage the living in lives of righteousness.

          Our deceased brother was born November 4th, 1800, and died December 10th, 1868, sixty-eight years, one month and six days old. At an early age he became a member of the Methodist Church, and his strong and manly intellect, with his earnest life, soon gave unmistakable evidence of his ability to preach. He obtained license and was put on his first "circuit" with the venerable John Rains, who still survives. His constant devotion as a preacher in the Methodist connection, and his marked progress, not only made his brethren proud of his commanding talent, but produced in them the conviction that he possessed admirable qualifications for a missionary to the Heathens. Accordingly, in the spring of 1823, he was sent to labor amongst the Cherokees, in Georgia, where he toiled faithfully till the spring of 1837having worked for the Indians nine yearswhen he returned to Tennessee.

          The important incidents of his life, while in the Nation, "would afford material for a valuable volume, could we get in possession of them. Some of the more important incidents were published many years since; but I have not been successful in finding them, and for the few I will give, I must rely upon memory. It is, however, not too much to intimate, that from a long and intimate acquaintance, the impressions made by our deceased brother's Christian conversations, are deep and lasting.

          James T.(sic) Trott, being a man of enlarged capacity, though not of the most active and sprightly mind, was by no means contracted in his religious opinions. He associated well, in his missionary labors, with Presbyterians and members of other denominations. His want of rigid partisan views did not inspire enthusiasm in his Methodist brethren, and yet he was loved by all as a clear-headed, pure minded, good and safe man. Suffice it to say that he built up many Methodist Churches amongst the Cherokees; and from his connection with the Rosses and Adairs—chief men of the tribe—he was not only very highly esteemed, but exerted a powerful influence in the nation. One event thoroughly tested his integrity as a man, his indomitable will, and his self-denial as a believer in the Savior.

          It will be remembered that during the Presidency of Andrew Jackson, the effort was made to bring the Cherokees, and all sojourners in the Nation, under the formal and practical workings of the American Government. To accomplish this object, a law was enacted requiring the oath of allegiance of native Indians, mixed bloods, and dwellers in the Nation—missionaries included.

          The penalty for refusing was a berth in the State Prison. Very soon many of the missionaries, Bro. Trott amongst them, were thrown into prison. These missionaries were native-born citizens of the Government of the United States had never, to their knowledge, violated it, loved it for their fathers sake, and, of course, having never become aliens, they refused to subscribe to the oath. Months and years hung heavily upon many of these self-denying missionaries, and after severe privation and extreme sufferings, Bro. Trott, with two Presbyterian preachers, were sentenced to a series of years at hard labor in the Georgia Penitentiary. They were driven on foot a hundred or two miles to the prison. The Presbyterian ministers went in and served for more than a year; but the Georgia Governor's heart, at the prison door, in looking upon the noble person, and into the manic and innocent face of our brother, relented. He broke his manacles, and set the righteous man at liberty. But his cruel imprisonment, with "the mock trial and conviction at what was called the bar of justice," had worked a complete revolution in the sentiments previously entertained regarding human government. By his revolutionary ancestors he had, from early childhood, been taught to reverence his government; but his sad sufferings deeply impressed upon his great heart the frailty of every institution modeled by man's device. Even Methodism itself, whose divinity he had never doubted, began to evince its rickety construction, and its ragged exterior. In the meantime, while in prison, by some means he had been enabled to read some of the writings of Alexander Campbell, who had directed his attention back to the primitive church, and the matchless authority of the Holy Scriptures.

          But in all Georgia he knew no one who could sympathize with him in his enlightenment. The consequence was he soon started for Tennessee, and having no personal acquaintance with an advocate of the ancient order of things spiritual, he visited the very popular Baptist minister, Peyton Smith, and demanded immersion at his hands into the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The timid Baptist faltered, and said, "Go before the Church, and relate your Christian experience." The clear headed Trott said, "Nay, I have not been in the Kingdom of the Savior, and have no experience therein; but I believe now, and have long believed, with all my heart in the Lord, and I desire to put him on in baptism."

          The Baptist trammels fell from the pious Smith's hands, and they went to the nearest waterOverall's Creek, four miles from Murfreesboro, Tenn.where the earnest Methodist missionary, Jas. J. Trott, sought and obtained a good conscience by baptism into Christ. Being a free-born citizen of the kingdom, and by his birth having been constituted a king and a priest, after spending some time, like Paul, with the Disciples, he was strengthened and confirmed, and conferring not with flesh and blood, he straightway preached Christ to all who would hear, and proved himself an able minister of the New Testament.

          It was my good fortune, in a very short space after his adoption into the heavenly family, to form his acquaintance, and from the year 1837 to 1859, we were co-laborers in the Lord's vineyard. A good portion of the time, which elapsed, Bro. Trott was a member of the congregation at Franklin College. We attended many missionary meetings, co-operating and consultation meetings together, and it affords me the highest satisfaction to state, that in my whole forty years work I have not found a more self-sacrificing, independent, earnest, humble and faithful teacher of the Christian religion than was our departed Brother J. J. Trott.

          Having, in 1859, signified his willingness to spend and be spent, amongst the Cherokees, the congregation, by prayer, fasting, and the extension of the "right hands of fellowship," gave our brother to the work of converting the Heathen, beyond the Mississippi. With his family, soon after, he took his journey to his new field of labor, where he toiled steadily, diligently and successfully till the breaking out of the civil war, in 1861. Having been robbed and maltreated in his new home, he was forced to take up his line of march to Kansas, where he labored, in poverty and perils, till 1865, when he renewed his attacks upon the kingdom of the enemy in Arkansas, and kept up his aggressions till he was visited by the Brothers Joseph and Benjamin Harlan, in the autumn of 1868. His health having become impaired, he was induced to accompany these brethren to Tennessee with the hope of recovering his wasted strength sufficiently to lift his cheering voice, once more, amongst his friends in the valleys, and upon the hill-tops of Tennessee, in defense "of the faith once for all delivered to the saints." But, alas! no one saw what was before him. He reached Nashville greatly debilitated, where he perhaps saw no old friend, save our excellent Brother, Dr. W. H. Wharton. I had earnestly desired to see his face once more, and entered the hotel with anxious eyes but a few moments after his departure. He sought rest, but with all the care afforded by Bro. Harlan and family, and the best medical attention, the grim messenger could not be resisted. He took our brother across Death's deep river, and we shall see him no more on earth. Farewell, for a little while, Bro. Trott. His poor body now sweetly sleeps by the side of the highly favored, pure and excellent Brother F. M. Carmack in the family grave-yard of Bro. Joseph Harlan, six miles from Gallatin, Sumner county, Tenn. He will rest, with other beloved ones, from his labors, till it shall please the Father to call him and them to mansions better ordered in the Heavens. We weep not without hope but confidently trust and believe that at the coming of the Lord, the dead in Christ will find a happy home, and be invested with immortality. To the partner of our brother, Sister R. P. Trott, with sons and daughters, 'tis pleasant to say, look up; the day is not far distant when we will be called to a joyful meeting in deathless climes. No brother, more beloved by all who knew him well, has left us, than Bro. James J. Trott; and the members of his weeping family may be assured that they have the warmest sympathies of thousands whom they will not see till the meeting of the general assembly and Church of the First Born, in the presence chamber of our God.
T. F.
—Gospel Advocate, Volume XI, No. 12, March 25, 1869

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God's Gift To the Nation
The Biography of James Jenkins Trott
1800-1868

By:

Joseph R. Bennett, II


 

 

Acknowledgements

Dr. Joseph R. Bennett and Dr. Don C. Manning had a lot to do with the original manuscript. They reviewed, suggested, and supported the story of James J. Trott. I owe them a great debt of gratitude for their encouragement and help.

Robert Buckley, former student of Abilene Christian University, wrote a text for a class in 1969. It afforded me much valuable information about Trott's life.

Sharman Hartson, of the Disciples Historical Society, Nashville, provided me with copies of periodicals from their vast resources.


 

 

I saw another messenger flying through the midst of heaven,
having everlasting good news to proclaim to the inhabitants of the earth,
even to every nation, and tribe, and tongue, and people;
saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to him, for the hour
of his judgments is come; and worship Him who made heaven,
and earth, and sea, and the fountains of water…….John

Great is the Truth, and mighty above all things, and will prevail!


 

 

J.J. Trott: The Activist
1800 -1831

 

The bright fall sky of Western North Carolina welcomed the birth of James J. Trott on November 4, 1800. His parents were Methodists, who had their children sprinkled in response to the tenants of that faith. Little did they know that this child would eventually become one of the first advocates of the Christian Church upon the frontier of the United States. He also, and perhaps most importantly, dedicated his life in missionary service to the Cherokee Indians.

Trott's childhood is somewhat obscure, but his family moved to Middle Tennessee in 1815 : [1]  (DCG, 123). Here, Trott joined the Methodist Episcopal Church. His conversion experience, however, was one of doubt and frustration for almost a year. He did make a profession of religion, and later explained to Alexander Campbell of "...warm and joyful feelings ... what is called the witness of the Spirit." [2] (MH, III, 8-1832). The tensions he felt during his conversion, especially concerning the Holy Spirit, would lead him to write extensively upon the subject for the rest of his life.

The Methodist traveling connection would admit Trott for mission service in 1823. His first task, under the helpful eye of John Raines, prompted Tolbert Fanning to later write, "... his strong and manly intellect, with his earnest life, soon gave unmistakable evidence of his ability to preach."[3] (GA, XI, 271).

The Tennessee Methodist Conference authorized Trott to preach and teach within the Cherokee Nation in Georgia in 1825. The Cherokee Methodist Mission was started in 1827. A Mr. McLeod was the Superintendent during this time. The mission was so successful that by 1831, there were seventeen missionaries with interpreters"[4] (DCG, 124). They had six schools, 120 pupils and 930 Cherokee Christians."[5] (DCG, 124).

The February 1828 edition of the "Cherokee Phoenix," the newspaper of the Nation, reported the marriage of the Methodist missionary, James J. Trott, to a Cherokee woman named Sally Adair. Their union would produce two children, Benjamin Walter and Mary Thompson. Three years later, Sally Adair was dead. Trott "...would baptize her in 1831, shortly before her death, in the Ootheeloga River" (Restoration Biographies, James Jenkins Trott, Robert Barkley, 1969, pg.2)[6] An 1832 report to Alexander Campbell would decry "My affliction has also been increased by the loss of a pious Cherokee wife, who died not long since, leaving behind her two little ones, Benjamin and Mary. But the will of the Lord be done. All these things, I have no doubt, will work together for my good, provided I love God."[7] (MH, III, p.8)

James J. Trott was baptized by immersion on October 29, 1830. He contacted Payton Smith, a Baptist minister, to officiate the ordinance. Smith asked him to go before the church and present his testimony. Trott replied, "Nay, I have not been in the Kingdom of the Saviour and have no experience therein, but I believe now, and have long believed with all my heart in the Lord, and I desire to put him on in baptism."[8] (GA, XI, 271) He was baptized in Overall's Creek, four miles from Murfreesboro, Tennessee.

The defining moment in Trott's life occurred in 1831. He was arrested and imprisoned by the State of Georgia on March 12, 1831, for refusing "...to take, what I believe to be an unconstitutional and impious oath."[9] (MH, III, 8-1832). This oath was the result of laws promulgated by the Georgia legislature in 1830. In 1828, the legislature extended the jurisdiction of Georgia law to the Cherokee lands lying in the northern part of the chartered limits of Georgia. Andrew Jackson, then President, sided with Georgia, informing the Cherokees that their only alternative to submission to Georgia was emigration. Thereupon, the Cherokee chiefs resorted to the U.S. Supreme Court, which, in 1832, declared that the Cherokees formed a distinct community in which the laws of Georgia had no force, and annulled the decision of the Georgia court that had extended its jurisdiction into the Nation (Worcester v. Georgia). But the governor of Georgia declared that the decision was an attempt to usurpation that would meet with determined resistance, and President Jackson refused to enforce the Supreme Court decree.

Alexander Campbell had written in 1830, "It is not a fact that the Cherokees are within the jurisdiction of Georgia, or of any other state ... Their location interferes with nothing but the avarice of Georgia ... their forcible removal would brand this country with eternal infamy ...I humbly trust there is yet so much justice ... as will not permit them to give up an innocent and harmless nation to the cupidity of a few capitalists in Georgia or any where else..”[10] (MH, I-1830). There had been a growing momentum to remove the Cherokees from Georgia to territories west of the Mississippi River. This did not completely occur however, until 1838.

The political and social environment within the state gave rise to the Georgia Guards - a group of hired and volunteer mob militia. The legislature dispatched this militia into the Nation to enforce the law. Trott, with his fellow missionaries, understood this covert effort by the state government as one that would, "...rob the Cherokees of religious and educational privileges, by driving the missionaries from the field of their labors, in order to force the Nation into a treaty with the United States..."[11] (DCG, 127). Therefore, the missionaries refused to take the oath, and were arrested.

They appeared in Gwinnett County Superior Court before Judge Augustin S. Clayton. They pleaded that they were agents of the Federal government working to educate the Indians. They were soon released. Georgia's Governor, however, advised them to take the oath, leave the state within ten days, or face arrest.

Trott and his comrades did not comply with the governor's request. They were again arrested on July 7, 1831, and "...brutally manhandled by the Georgia Militia who chained them and compelled them to walk 22 miles to Camp Gilmore where they were placed in custody."[12] (DCG, 125). Trott himself had been arrested and chained with fellow missionaries Worcester (who had brought suit against the state) and Butler. They were force-marched from Camp Gilmer to military headquarters some 80 miles away.

Mr. McLeod, Superintendent of Methodist missionaries to the Nation, heard of this ordeal and intercepted the military convoy enroute to headquarters. He and his companion, Mr. Wells, were arrested on the spot. Mr. Wells was severely beaten with a club. "We were driven afoot, exhausted, and then cast into a filthy prison. The last command we received from the Captain of the band was, "Damn you, go in there! And from there to hell!"[13] (DCG, 128). They spent twelve days in prison, and were bound over to civilian authorities. They made bail, and returned home.

A circuit court trail was held in September of 1831, in Lawrenceville, Georgia. There were seven defense attorneys, with General Harden of Athens, being the Chief Counsel for the Defense. Following four days of arguments, the missionaries were found guilty and sentenced to four years' imprisonment.

Their conviction was offered with a promise of executive clemency, if they would take the oath or leave the State.

Upon arrival at the penitentiary in Milledgeville, the convicted missionaries learned that Governor George R. Gilmer had advised prison officials to solicit each prisoner to leave Georgia in exchange for a pardon. A report to the Governor that same day stated, "...the conversations with each of the convicts, the promises of all but the missionaries of the Board, (Samuel A. Worcester and Elizur Butler), to leave the State, if pardoned, and the good testimony of Mr. Worcester and Dr. Butler to the general good character of their fellow convicts. Those who promised were all pardoned and discharged."[14] (DCG, 126). Trott, the activist, was released with the rest. It is unclear whether or not he actually took the oath.

It was from this experience that Trott's cynicism on every "institution modeled by man's devise"[15] (GA. XXI. 271) rekindled doubts about Methodism and faith. He said, "Ever since I made the Christian religion my study, I have had doubts and fears respecting the sectarian gospels of the day, and sometimes almost despaired of understanding the way of the Lord 'more perfectly;' but during two years past my hopes have been reviving."[16] (MH, III, 8-1832).

One of the reasons his hopes "may have been reviving" was because of his exposure to the writings of Alexander Campbell's "Millennial Harbinger." His study of Campbell's writings had a profound effect upon his religious thinking. He was among the "...first Georgia subscribers..."[17] (DCG, 76), such as C. Dasher, A. Marshall, D. Hook, J. Shannon, and Richard Tubman. By 1833, he was a salesman for Campbell's Millennial Harbinger, as were S.C. Dunning and Dr. Daniel Hook.

On April 10, 1834, Trott officially left the Methodist Church; primarily over the issue of baptism by immersion. In a letter dated April 13, 1832, to his Superintendent, Mr. McLeod, Trott states his reasons for withdrawal: "(1) I believe the holy Scriptures are the only divinely authorized and all-sufficient rule of Christian faith and practice; (2) I cannot, with a good conscience, subscribe to those institutions of 'Methodism" which I believe to be additions to primitive Christianity; (3) I do not believe my divine Master requires me to adhere to Mr. Wesley's creeds as the standard of my private and public preaching ... Thus, you see, I am compelled to refrain from preaching what I believe to the truth, to preach what I cannot believe, to suffer expulsion, or to withdraw. I prefer the latter."[18]  (MH, III, 389,390-1832).

Trott's conviction of a primitive "Christianity" would enhance his activism and also launch his career into the frontier evangelism of the Christian Church. "...You can scarcely imaging how I have been surprised and delighted since the ancient gospel, like the sun of a cloudless morning, rose upon the eyes of my understanding. I deem it unnecessary to inform you of the means by which I have been led to this important discovery of the truth as it is in Jesus. While we admire the instrument, God must have the glory, through Christ Jesus our Lord. Amen."[19] (MH, III, 8-1832)

J.J. Trott: The Evangelist 1831-1859

The focus of Trott's ministry was enhanced after his entrance into the primitive Christianity of the Christian Church. The activist of the Nation became the evangelist upon the frontier. His practical application of primitive Christianity involved restoration, renovation and revelation. Truly, he embraced the concept of "The Church of the New Testament; Church of the few fundamentals; church of the widest range of personal choice and movement." (Crabtree, Liberty-Union­ Charity, Oct. 1910). Tolbert Fanning would write of Trott during this time, "...conferring not with flesh and blood, he straightway preached Christ to all who would hear, and proved himself an able minister of the New Testament."[20]  (GA, II, 271).

Trott conducted many "preaching tours" to Tennessee and Georgia. "On one visit to Georgia he was the guest of Shelton C. Dunning."[21] (Restoration Biographies, James Jenkins Trott, Robert Barkley, 1962, pg. 5). However, he also continued his efforts with the Nation. He would write Robert Richardson on February 20, 1836, from Louisiana with the question, "By what law would you convince a man he was a sinner, who had never heard of, nor read Old Testament or New?"[22] (ME, VIII, 1836). A great part of the Nation had been relocated to Louisiana enroute to the Western Territory. Trott's difficulty, as expressed in this question, would later lead to the translation of the Bible into the Cherokee language.

Trott was living in Cannon County, Tennessee in 1843. His residence was in Woodbury. It was while he was living in Woodbury that W.A. Eichbaum established the church in Jackson.

The summer of 1844 saw a great evangelistic tour of Warren, Wilson and Rutherford Counties. Evangelists R. Jones, Hooker, White, Hall and Curlee joined Trott in this endeavor that resulted in 25 additions to the reformation. Churches at Hickory Creek and Rocky River (Warren County) began to meet every Sunday.

A meeting was held near Trott's home that added 26 persons by baptism, including a Catholic, an Episcopalian, a Presbyterian, a Methodist and a Baptist. "The church which last fall numbered 60 now numbers 100. The brethren agreed to begin meeting every Lord's Day on Stone's River, 1 ½ miles east of Woodbury, Cannon County. They will call their meeting place 'Liberty' and each other disciples and Christians."[23] (CT, I: VIII, 189).

Trott was preaching in Livingston during July of 1844. He then went north to Obed's River. He went down the river to the Cumberland, and continued through Jackson County to Bagdad. There were nine churches in Jackson County at that time; with about 100 members each. Trott held four meetings during his stay in the area, culminating with the addition of 60 members being added to the church at Fort Blout. John Mulkey, and local pastor Newton, assisted him in this meeting.

Tolbert Fanning, in November 1844, described a speech he gave in Woodbury at Liberty Church. The speech was entitled Christian Character in Connection with Christian Education. He mentioned that Trott lived there with 150 disciples.

A tour to Cass County, Georgia, and McGinnis County, Tennessee, in December of 1844 led to 48 additions to the churches there. Trott pled for evangelists to come to the area. This call was answered by Dr. Daniel Hook and Nathan W. Smith in July of 1845.[24] (MH,III:II 1845)

The year 1844 was one of great progress for the reformation movement upon the frontier in Georgia and Tennessee. Trott preached in at least 15 churches; he helped to establish three of these. There were 150 additions, of which, Trott baptized over 100!

During the summer of 1845, he preached in Cannon, Warren, White, Overton, Dekalb, Smith, Wilson and Sumner counties of Tennessee. The political divisions of the times (as a result of the 1844 elections) contributed in no small way to the slow growth of the church. Although he recorded 15 additions, Trott declared, "Hope to do better the balance of the year, as summer and fall are generally the season of ingathering."[25] (CR, II:VIII, 189).

Trott, A.S. Branham, and W.H. Wharton, called for the first cooperative meeting of all churches in Middle Tennessee. This meeting was to take place at Berea, Marshal County, on December 27, 1845. Representatives from each of the churches were asked to bring information as to: "(1) How many evangelists has each church set apart to the work of the ministry: (2) How much does each church contribute annually to sustain evangelists: (3) How much more is each church willing to contribute for this noble purpose?"[26] (CR, II: XI, 258).

The balance of the year of 1845 was extremely blessed for Trott. In November, 1845, he reported more that 400 conversions in the last four months.

Trott published his first article in January, 1846. His text was 1 Corinthians 12:31 and was entitled: Spiritual Gifts and the More Excellent Way. He would continue fighting non-Biblical opinions of the nature and work of the Holy Spirit in his writings for the rest of his life.

He also reported preaching at Bethlehem, Tennessee. The church there had 116 members and gave him $75.00 a year for two years to "preach what he thinks best."[27] (CR, I:15 Jan. 1846). Trott also preached in Walker County, Georgia and Hamilton, Bradley, Marian, and Bledsoe Counties, Tennessee.

The polemic Trott continued publication of additional articles about the Holy Spirit with: Spiritual Gifts as Connected with the Jewish Age (Feb. 1846); Spiritual Gifts as Connected with the New Covenant, and the Son of God (April, 1846) and Fulfillment of Promises with Reference to Jews, Samaritans, and Gentiles. (May 1846).

By November, 1846, Trott was in Rutherford County, Tennessee, near Millersburg. A Christian Camp-Meeting was held there, and 15 conversions were noted. Trott, C. Curlee, R. B. Hall, W.H. Hooker, W.S.S. Pear, and S.E. Jones were the evangelists.

The first attempt of a state-wide cooperative meeting in Tennessee was suggested by Trott, Jesse B. Ferguson, W.H. Wharton, and Tolbert Fanning in January 1847. The meeting was to be held at the church in Nashville in January 1847. The church served as an agency to receive funds for evangelism in the state. The purpose of the meeting was one of "consulting and endeavoring to have consent of action among the brethren with evangelizing the state; education-male and female; propriety and extent of cooperation."[28] (Norton, Tennessee Christians, Pg. 55).

A second cooperative meeting was held in September of that year. The location was Millersburg, Rutherford County. One significant outcome of this meeting was that enough funds had been collected to send two evangelists into the field in 1848. The evangelists, John Eichbaum and J.J. Trott, "conducted meetings in over fifty places during that year."[29] (Norton, Tennessee Christians, Pg. 56).29

Trott preached in Augusta, Georgia and in South Carolina, during 1847. He worked with Dr. Daniel Hook from Augusta. It was at this time that he met church matriarch and patron, Emily H. Tubman during his meeting at First Christian Church, Augusta.

By 1848, Trott was Chairman of the Tennessee Cooperation Meeting and was the first state evangelist. Meanwhile, Trott and Eichbaum, helped organize new churches at: Ivy Bluff, Philadelphia, Rocky River, Fountain Springs, and Irving College, all in Warren County, Tennessee. Shelbyville, with a "scant organization and twenty members,"[30] (Norton, Tennessee Christians, Pg. 56), was meeting in a schoolhouse. A disturbing note was sounded when they reported that the congregation at Murfreesboro had declined from a membership of almost two hundred, to one of about twenty.

The cooperative meeting of 1849 was held in October at the church in Nashville. Tolbert Fanning was the moderator. Eight hundred dollars went to Trott "...an experienced evangelist with family..."[31] (Norton, Tennessee Christians, pg. 58), and three hundred to John Eichbaum (son of a leader of the Nashville church) Trott, Tolbert Fanning, W.H. Wharton, and Jesse B. Ferguson, called for a national cooperation meeting in 1849. Thus it was that the first General Convention of Christian Churches of the United States met in Cincinnati, Ohio, on October 23, 1849. Trott, however, was unable to attend.

Trott and Jesse B. Ferguson went to Augusta, Georgia in January, 1851. Ferguson reported that "we were jolted over frozen roads and mountain pass-ways, in closely packed stage coach's part of the way and barely escaped accidents enroute."[32] (CM, April 1851, 115). Ferguson preached eight sermons in Augusta during one week, with the largest audiences the Disciples ever had there.[33] (CM, April 1851, 115). It was while in Augusta, that Trott published: The Extraordinary, Ordinary, and Imaginary Influence of the Holy Spirit.

Trott was preaching in Davidson, Rutherford, Bedford, Cannon, and Wilson counties during February of 1851. He is disturbed by the "destitute and declining churches in Middle Tennessee."[34] (CM, 4: 1851, 59-60) He looks forward to preaching in East and West Tennessee, and North Alabama. He comments "...you need not wonder at my emphasis on regular teaching so frequently, for experience and much observation have taught me we had better not plant churches than to leave them without the regular preaching and teaching of competent Bishops or Evangelists."[35] (CM, 4:1851, 251) Trott then finishes a six­week tour of Northern Alabama, in October 1851.

The Tennessee Evangelizing Association was founded at Franklin College, April 21, 1852. The principal officers were: J.J. Trott, President; N.B. Smith, Vice­President; E.D. Warder, Recording Secretary; T. Fanning, Corresponding Secretary; and Wm. Lipscomb, Treasurer. The association's primary effort was "...educating and supporting ministers of the Gospel."[36] (CR: July 1852, pg. 9)

A lengthy expose’ written by Trott on March 6, 1856, from Franklin College, reveals his frustration with the lack of support from the churches to the missionaries in the Nation. This frustration would remain with him the rest of his life. The churches did not, nor would not, consider missionary work to Native Americans in the same light as overseas missions.

Trott embarked on a preaching tour of some three thousand miles from November 1855 through February 1856. He traveled to Missouri, Arkansas and the Western Indian Territory by steamboat, railroad, stage, horseback and foot.

While in Missouri, he received a $166.00 stipend from the American Christian Missionary Society. Trott bemoaned the fact that the churches had contributed thousands of dollars to brotherhood colleges, but "came to the same conclusion, that a few dimes or dollars was all that they could and ought to do for the conversion of the children of Shem!"[37] (CR, 1856, pg. 244). Further, he echoed the popular thinking of the day when he said, "The richest Christian brother, whose heart and purse were appealed to, said he had 'no sympathy for the Indian!' His good wife's apology for withholding her hand was, 'the red man had shot at her grandfather in Kentucky!"[38] (CR, 1856, pg. 244).

The sad and tragic history of the Trail of Tears that brought the Cherokees to the West was discussed by Trott. But, he states that they had "recovered" from their "temporary violence" and were making great progress. For instance, the Nation had a system of district schools where hundreds of students received common 'English' education. They also had two national seminaries. These seminaries were financed by interest on several hundred thousand dollars of United States stocks and bonds. The co-educational seminaries offered four-year courses in languages and sciences.

Additionally, Trott described the day-to-day life in the Nation. They were an agricultural people; with farms from ten to three hundred acres. Their houses ranged from log homes to frame and brick mansions. They had large flocks of hogs, cattle, horses and mules. Beef cattle were driven to market in California and other places in the United States.

There were many other denominations represented within the Nation. Trott mentions Moravians, Presbyterians, Baptists and Methodists. These had many missionaries, mission schools and churches. He maintains that hundreds within the Nation died pious members of the churches, and many more hundreds were active participants involved in the life and work of their respective churches.

The Nation also had a written language of which its constitution and laws were published by their national printing press. Most of the Old Testament, and all of the New Testament, had been published in the Cherokee language. Hymns, tracts and several periodicals were printed as well.

Trott made yet another appeal for more missionaries to the Cherokees. "They are in advance of all the other Indian tribes."[39] (CR, 1856, pg245). It is interesting to note, that Trott spoke of whites and Negroes living within the Nation. The whites were either married to the Indians, or, by government permit, served as mechanics or merchants. The Negroes served as slaves.

He concluded by expressing his opinion that there could be no better field of service in the world than with the Nation. He challenged the churches of the United States and of the State of Tennessee, to contribute funding and missionaries to this field of service in the West.

Yet another preaching tour to Georgia and South Carolina occurred in 1857. Trott preached in Augusta, Georgia and Old Union, Erwinton, Liberty, and Barnwell, South Carolina. It appears that he and Alexander Campbell were in Augusta at the same time. Campbell's notes on a Tour to the South places him in the home of Emily Tubman, and preaching with a "good hearing" in that city.[40] (MH, VI, VIII, 1857)

Trott's many years of preaching on the frontier had helped ensure the establishment and continuance of the Christian Church. His activism and evangelism endeared him to Alexander Campbell and the church as a whole, but, his heart and soul were still with the Nation; to this divine protagonist calling he would dedicate the rest of his life. 

J.J. Trott: The Protagonist
1859 -1868

J.J. Trott, "...by fasting, prayer, and imposition of the hands of the seniors and the teachers in the church at Franklin College, solemnly consecrated to the work of evangelizing amongst the Cherokees, beyond the Mississippi."[41] (GA, 3:360,N.1857). The activist, the evangelist and finally, the protagonist would begin the last phase, of a life dedicated to those whom a country and a church had turned its national back upon.

He left Locust Grove, Tennessee on October 13, for the Indian Nation in the West. He camped soon after at Black Fish Lake, Mississippi River Bottom, Arkansas. He, his wife and youngest child were ill. Trott had married another Cherokee woman some years before. Her name was Rachel Pounds Adair. She was probably the sister of his first wife, Sally. They would have five sons and three daughters.

The family arrived in the Indian Nation on November 24, 1857. They were 25 miles west of Fayetteville, Arkansas, and half-way from the Southern and Northern borders of the Nation. They were three miles from a Christian Church, "whose membership consisted of Cherokee citizens."[42] (GA,4:76-7, 1858). Trott's first sermon was at this church during Christmas week. Elder Jones, a Baptist missionary he had known in the Old Nation, "concluded the services with a fervent prayer."[43] (GA,4: 76-7, 1858).

Trott held two meetings in Washington County, Arkansas, in June 1858. He petitioned the churches for, "...a helper..."[44] (GA, 4:277-9, 1858) at the newly established Cherokee Christian Mission. In July of that year, he attended commencement at Arkansas College in Fayetteville, where Robert Graham was President.

July 1859 was a year of sickness for the great missionary. He told of a severe attack of fever. He was barely able to walk. He reported, in August of 1858, of the annual meeting of churches of Washington County, "...with 15 conversions."[45] (GA, D, 1859:320)

Trott made one last appeal to the churches for the support of the Mission in September of 1860. He began by describing the excellent geographical and agricultural location of the Indian Territory. He spoke of the territory as being inhabited by Creek, Chickasaw, Choctaw, and Cherokee tribes numbering over 100,000 persons, "...educated, civilized, and in some degree Christianized."[46] (MH, 1860, 505). There were also hundreds of whites and Africans living there as well.

An interesting concept that Trott put forward is one that would, "in a few years," make the Indian Territory a state. He says, "To think of any other destiny is a dream of imagination. [47]"(MH, 1860,505). Trott even referred to some of the "...last treaties with these Tribes..."[48] (MH, 1860, 505). "The idea of being one of the states of the Union would inspire them with a new hope, and give a new and effectual impetus towards a higher and better destiny."[49] (MH, 1860,505).

Trott related the work of the Baptist, Presbyterians, Methodists, and Moravians within the Nation. He asked, "...why not make an effort in the Indian Territory?"[50] (MH, 1860, 505). He reported that there were 75 disciples in the Nation. He mentions Bros. Graham, Robertson, Goodnight, and Phillips efforts in the work. He adds, "...we have not been able to devote as much time to preaching the word as we desired, and as the course demands, (due to) having a large family to care for..."[51] (MH, 1860, 505).

A premonition of things to come was discussed by Trott when he said, "My dear brother, [Campbell], I shall, perhaps, see your face no more in the flesh. I am much indebted to you, as the able and persevering and successful advocate of the Reformation, that I got my redemption from sectarianism, and my present position as a humble preacher of the primitive gospel. I acknowledged that indebtedness long ago, but it affords me no pleasure to repeat it, and I hope you will receive it in the same fraternal feeling in which it was tendered. I hope you will grant me another favor. My destiny and that of my family is once more connected with that of the Cherokees. I feel much interest in the success of the Indian mission. The favor is this - something from your able pen in favor of the Indian Mission. If you feel free to commend it to the favorable consideration of our Missionary Society, I would be pleased to see something in the Harbinger on the subject. The Lord sustain you in the evening of life, and prolong your labors among us..."[52] (MH, 1860, 505).

The Indian Territory was invaded by the armies of the North and South in 1862. Trott's possessions were confiscated and one of his sons, Timothy, was killed. He and his family were forcibly driven from the Nation into Missouri. From there, they fled to Kansas. One of his daughters, Elizabeth, "died on Christmas Day."[53] (DCG, 131).

While in Kansas, Trott was nominated as the state evangelist and received some support from the Christian Missionary Society. He continued his duties for two more years.

In the end, however, Trott, the protagonist, grew weary of his duties. He longed for the people, his kinsmen, within the Nation. "Undaunted, in June 1866, the unconventional Trott left Belmont, Kansas to return to his work with the Cherokees."[54] (DCG, 131).

The activist, evangelist, and protagonist labored within the Nation until 1868. "Finally, broken in health, he realized that privations of the war years had taken their toll. Returning to Tennessee, James J. Trott died of pneumonia near Nashville on December 10, 1868, at the age of 68."[55] (DCG, 131).

Joseph Harland described his last hours in a letter to the Gospel Advocate, dated December 12, 1868, "...Bro. Lipscomb: I arrived at home on Monday, the 7th inst. Brother J.J. Trott came with me from his home in the Cherokee Nation. He was taken unwell about the 4th day after leaving his home. He was not apprehensive of any serious attack. We had doctors to see him and they advised him to pursue his journey. He continued to grow worse, and on the 10th inst., died of pneumonia. I give you this so to enable you to write such a notice of the facts in the Gospel Advocate as you may think suitable. He came to Tennessee for the purpose of visiting his old friends and also to preach if health permitted. He was in feeble health for two years past. Hoping this trip would improve his health, he undertook it. Joseph Harland."[56] (GA, 1869, 15).

Trott was buried in the Joseph Harland family cemetery, six miles from Gallatin, Sumner County, near Old Union Church of Christ.

Tolbert Fanning would later write, "...it affords me the highest satisfaction to state, that in my whole forty years work, I have not found a more self-sacrificing, independent, earnest, humble, and faithful teacher of Christian religion that was our departed Brother James J. Trott."[57] (GA, XI, 271). 

The light to the Nation had gone out - not the gift.

 

End Notes


[1] Disciples of Christ in Georgia, Moseley, J. Edward, St. Louis; The Bethany Press, 1954 123.

[2] Millennial Harbinger, III, 1932, 8.

[3] Gospel Advocate, XI, 1869, 271.

[4] Disciples of Christ in Georgia, Moseley, J. Edward, St. Louis; The Bethany Press, 1954, 124.

[5] Ibid

[6] Restoration Biographies. James Jenkins Trott, Robert Barkley, 1969, 2.

[7] Millennial Harbinger, III, 1832, 8.

[8] Gospel Advocate, XI, 1869, 271.

[9] Millennial Harbinger, III, 1832, 8.

[10] Millennial Harbinger, I, 1830.

[11] Disciples of Christ in Georgia, Moseley, J. Edward, St. Louis; The Bethany Press, 1954, 129.

[12] Disciples of Christ in Georgia, Moseley, J. Edward, St. Louis; The Bethany Press, 1954, 125.

[13] Disciples of Christ in Georgia, Moseley, J. Edward, St. Louis; The Bethany Press, 1954, 128.

[14] Disciples of Christ in Georgia, Moseley, J. Edward, St. Louis; The Bethany Press, 1954, 126.

[15] Gospel Advocate, XI, 1869, 271.

[16] Millennial Harbinger, III, 1832, 8.

[17] Disciples of Christ in Georgia, Moseley, J. Edward, St. Louis; The Bethany Press, 1954, 76.

[18] Millennial Harbinger, III, 1832, 389-390.

[19] Millennial Harbinger, III, 3832, 8.

[20] Gospel Advocate, III, 1856, 271.

[21] Restoration Biographies: James J. Trott. Robert Barkley, 1962, 5.

[22] Millennial Harbinger, VIII, 1836.

[23] Christian Record, VIII, 1844, 189.

[24] Millennial Harbinger, III, 1845, 2.

[25] Christian Record, VIII, 1844, 189.

[26] Christian Record, II: VIII 1845, 189.

[27] Christian Record, I: I, 1846, 15.

[28] Tennessee Christians, Norton, Herman A., Nashville: Reed and Company, 1971, 55.

[29] Tennessee Christians, Norton, Herman A., Nashville: Reed and Company, 1971, 56.

[30] Ibid

[31] Tennessee Christians, Norton, Herman A., Nashville: Reed and Company, 1971, 58.

[32] Christian Messenger - 4, 1851, 115.

[33] Ibid

[34] Christian Messenger - 4, 1851, 59-60.

[35] Christian Messenger - 4, 1851, 251.

[36] Christian Record, 1852, 9.

[37] Christian Record, 1856, 244.

[38] Ibid

[39] Christian Record, 1856, 245.

[40] Millennial Harbinger, VI, 1857, 8.

[41] Gospel Advocate, 3, 1857, 360.

[42] Gospel Advocate, 4, 1858, 76-77.

[43] Ibid

[44] Gospel Advocate, 4, 1858, 277-9.

[45] Gospel Advocate, D, 1858, 320.

[46] Millennial Harbinger, 1860, 505.

[47] Ibid

[48] Ibid

[49] Ibid

[50] Ibid

[51] Ibid

[52] Ibid

[53] Disciples of Christ in Georgia, Moseley, J. Edward, St. Louis; The Bethany Press, 1954, 131.

[54] Ibid

[55] Ibid

[56] Gospel Advocate, 1869, 15.

[57] Gospel Advocate, 1869, 271.

Webmaster's Note: Special thanks to Joe Bennett for contributing this excellent paper on the life of J.J. Trott.

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Addition Of Information From A Great, Great, Great, Grandson

In an email in August, 2006, Tom Logan, a descendant of J.J. Trott submitted the following: "His (J.J. Trott) first Cherokee wife, Sarah "Sallie" Adair gave birth to Mary Thompson Trott in 1831. She died 22 Sep 1831. Mary married John P. Stidman about 1850. Their daughter died without issue. She moved to Indian Territory with the rest of the family in 1857 and married Mark Tiger about 1865. Their first child Jimmie (after James J.) died as an infant. They then had twin daughters, Mary Ellen and Sarah "Sallie. Mary Ellen married twice. Her second marriage, after being widowed, was to John Han in 1902. Mary Ellen had two daughters: Mattie Jane and Dora Mae. Mattie Jane, who died in 1985 was my maternal grandmother.

 
Sarah "Sallie" Tiger, named for Mary's Thompson Trott's mother, Sallie Adair, died of childbed fever in 1899, after the birth of a son.
 
James Jenkins Trott's second wife Rachel was a second cousin, not a sister, of Sallie Adair.

Grave Location Of James J. Trott

J.J. Trott is buried in the family plot on the property that was referred to as the Joseph Harlan Family Cemetery/Carmack Cemetery. It is located NE of Nashville, Tennessee, and about six miles east of Gallatin. (You can get there many ways, but the best I've found is take I-65 to Vietnam Veterans Pike (Hwy 386 E). Take the Gallatin Pike (Hwy 31-E) exit and go left (North). When you enter Gallatin go to Hwy 25 and turn right (Main St.). Take Hwy 25 E (E. Main in town) and go about five or six miles. When you cross Old Hickory Lake it will be the next turn to the right. You will see the Old Union Church of Christ on the left before turning into Harsh Lane. Very shortly you will see an antebellum house being restored on the right. This is the old Carmack home. The house is now being restored. The address is 200 Harsh Lane. The place is called, Elm Grove. Heading south of the house across a pasture, at the edge of the property line, against an old barbed-wire fence line, was the old cemetery where Trott is buried. When I was there, it was grown over, and I was unable to see Trott's stone. Also buried in the little cemetery is F.M. Carmack.

GPS Location
36.39185057898989, -86.34159296751022

View Larger Map

House at 204 Harsh Lane - Next to Carmack Cemetery
When Last Visiting in 2004, there was a beautiful old farm house here. The house is gone, and this new house
was built in its place. 06.2011


Head Down This Hedge Row To Carmack Cemetery


Graves Hidden In Trees of Carmack Cemetery

Graves Hidden In Trees of Carmack Cemetery

Special Thanks to C. Wayne Kilpatrick, Tom L. Childers for photos of this site. A visit to the cemetery took place in May, 2011
when these photos were taken. It is most heart-rending to know that this cemetery is in such need of repair.
Your web editor was by in 2004. The landowners spoke of plans then to restore the cemetery, but it has not taken
place yet. Hopefully in the near future someone will take on the project.

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