A Versatile and Generous Leader
Jesse Mercer was born on December 16, 1769, into the home of Silas Mercer, who became a pioneer Baptist minister of Georgia. During Jesse’s early years he was raised in the Episcopalian background, but when he was still quite young, his father, also an Episcopalian, became a convicted Baptist, was immersed, and became a faithful Baptist preacher. During Jesse’s teen-age years, he endured a lengthy period of conviction, and it was not until he was seventeen that he was able to relate his Christian experience to the Phillips’ Mill congregation. That was on July 7, 1787, and Jesse was baptized by his father, being then 18 years of age. He studied for a year in Salem Academy, the first private Baptist school in Georgia. Jesse Mercer was ordained when he was twenty, and assumed his first ministerial charge, a church that had been founded by his father, Hutton’s Fork Church (now Sardis). Jesse had married Sabrina Chivers when he was nineteen, and the couple enjoyed nearly forty years of married life until her untimely death. Jesse had preached the convention sermon of the Triennial Convention in 1826, and while returning home though South Carolina, she became seriously ill, and passed away on September 23, 1826. Jesse was now fifty-six years old, and he realized that he would have to slow his pace. On December 11, 1827, Jesse married Mrs. Nancy Simons, a widow. He resigned his churches, moved to Washington, Georgia, and established a Baptist Church there. He completed his ministry there, serving that pastorate until his death on September 6, 1841. Mercer University, founded by Baptists, is his namesake.
Dr. Dale R. Hart From: “This Day in Baptist History III” David L. Cummins pp. 553 – 555