A Pioneer Church Planter
Jonathan Mulkey was one of the early pioneer Baptist preachers in Tennessee. You will find his burial site in the old Buffalo Ridge Cemetery near Gray, Tenn. You can still read on the gravestone these words, “…BORN OCT 16, 1752 – DEPARTED THIS LIFE SEP. 5, 1826, AFTER HAVING BEEN A PREACHER OF THE BAPTIST ORDER MORE THAN FIFTY YEARS.” His father Philip had been a very successful preacher among the Separate Baptists in the Carolinas. Shubal Stearns had baptized him on Christmas day 1756. However Philip had fallen into sin and had done great harm to his testimony. His son Jonathan married Nancy Howard and they made their way westward into Tennessee having escaped Indians on the way. Jonathan served the Buffalo Ridge Baptist church as pastor for forty-two years and at the same time was pastor of the Sinking Creek Baptist Church for thirty-one years. On March 25, 1786, along with Isaac Barton, they constituted the French Broad River Baptist Church which is now the First Baptist Church of Dandridge, Tennessee. He also assisted in founding the Big Pigeon Baptist Church in Cocke County. The churches where Pastor Mulkey served grew in spirituality, doctrinal stability and practical service. He also possessed a missionary spirit, and he constantly kept the cause of missions before his congregations and the Holston Association, of which he served for eight terms as moderator. When he was old he trained his horse to kneel like a camel so he could mount him to take him to the church house. They would put an armchair behind a table for him to preach. On Sept. 5, 1826, the tired old servant of the Lord closed his eyes in death.
Dr. Greg J. Dixon condensed from: This Day in Baptist History III (David L. Cummins), pp. 172 – 174.