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Rev. J. H. Burnett, Preacher

Auburn In The Long Ago                    
Auburn Times. Feb 17, 1939

After having spent about 18 years as teacher and president of the Auburn College, Prof. Burnett felt the call to preach. The Auburn Baptist Church, of which he was a member, ordained him to the ministry. He continued to teach for a short while and then gave up the school and devoted his entire time to preaching. He was reared by a mother who was and remained a Primitive Baptist (Hardshell) and his twin sister was of the same faith as their mother. These loved ones never quite became reconciled to the fact that the son and brother was such an ardent missionary Baptist preacher. He preached and practiced missions and his churches were intensely missionary. He was pastor of his home church for quite awhile. Most of his preaching and pastoral work was done in and around Auburn, among people whom he had known nearly all his life. He was a native of Logan County, Kentucky, and mother was a native-of Logan County, Illinois. She had made an ideal teacher's wife and now she entered upon a new career and made an equally ideal preacher's wife. In the early years of his ministry, father was called to the pastorate of the Orlinda Baptist Church, Tennessee, and before a great while that fine country church was supporting a missionary (Rev. Tatum) in China, at a cost of $600,00 a year. Father was pastor at Orlinda for a number of years. His only full-time pastorate was in Springfield, Tenn., where he served five years. This was about as far as he ever got from Auburn in his pastoral work with one or two exceptions.  He was for a while pastor at Scottsville, KY. He did a splendid work in all his churches and was greatly beloved by all. In another pastorate in Robertson County, Tenn., at Oak Grove church he had the honor and pleasure of baptizing Mr. Jesse H. Jones, head of the RFC and when in Houston, Tex., a few years ago, he was royally entertained by “Bro. Jesse”, as he called him and upon bidding him farewell "Bro. Jesse" presented him with five crisp, twenty-dollar gold certificates, a lovely thing and greatly appreciated.

He was also pastor for quite awhile in Adairville and there were some other churches over which he presided as pastor, but I will not list them all. He was essentially a country preacher and loved the country folks and they loved him. He was a real preacher and studied as long as he was a pastor. At 82 years he was a great student of Greek. I was exposed to Greek, but it "never took".  His last pastorate was at Dripping Springs Church, Logan County, KY.  

He was living in Glasgow with my oldest sister and her husband, (Mr. and Mrs. W. Day Dickinson): and went down to his church twice a month. Having reached the age of 82, his children thought he should retire. Mother had passed on to Glory several years before, but after they had celebrated their Golden Wedding. Father lived about two years after giving up his pastorate: the church made him pastor emeritus and they were two carefree, happy years for him. He led a full, busy, rich and useful life. He was known far and wide as the "marrying parson." I shall never forget his first marriage ceremony. He was in his buggy on the way to a church in the "coon range" north of Auburn. A man, no hat, no coat and on a mule bareback, greeted him by saying, "Do you marry folks?" Father told him he never had, but he could (for he had received the right from the State), so the preacher followed the man to a very modest home and the man put on, a coat and he and the simple country girl were married.

Yours truly,

            J. HENRY BURNETT.

               Macon, Ga.




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