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STELLA CEMETERY (aka Pleasant Hill), Stella, GILES COUNTY TENNESSEE

ASHFORD, Rev. J. M., 6 Jun 1842 - 14 Sep 1913. "Thy work well done. Thy servant of the Lord.", "Father." (h/o and shares stone with Elizabeth Ann Jordan Ashford.)

REV. J. M. ASHFORD

The subject of this sketch was born in Giles County, Tenn., June 6, 1842. At the early age of sixteen his convictions were so strong and well-defined that he entered the ministry of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church. Brother Ashford was a man who was not content to lead an inactive life. Temperamentally he was disposed to hard work, and was never known to seek an easy pastorate. It was his consuming desire to do great things for his Master, and in coveting large opportunities for service, he counted no hardship too great in order that he might be a workman who needed not to be ashamed.

Brother Ashford held what many would call peculiar views. He would never allow a merchant to give him a discount on purchases simply because he was a minister. He never traveled on clerical permits, but always paid the regular fare. He felt that the acceptance of such concessions cheapened the ministry.

In point of ability he was recognized as beyond the average. Many churches in Cumberlandism stand today as monuments to his zeal and efficiency. His preaching was of that order that commanded attention and bore fruit. Many preachers may have attained more prominence because of his modesty and self-denying spirit. What concerned him most was to do the duty that lay the nearest, and it mattered not to him whether doing that duty took him to the high or lowly places.

He was married to Miss Elizabeth Jordan, February 6, 1866. This was a happy union which endured the privations, trials and cares of nearly half a century. On account of ill health, he was compelled to resign his pastorate at Goodlettsville, Tenn., in January, 1913, and later came to the Bowling Green home to reside. He died at the home, September 14, 1913, his wife having preceded him to the better land by a few weeks.

The funeral services were conducted at the home by the writer, pastor of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church, Bowling Green, Ky., and his body was carried to Pleasant Hill, Tenn., where he was laid to rest by the side of his wife in the old churchyard.

Brother Ashford was a Mason of high degree, a Knight of Pythias, and an Odd Fellow.

In these brief statements is summed up the life and death of a good man. He was faithful to the trust reposed in him, and the church and society are better for his life. The grave is not the charnel house of our hopes. "Twould be a dreary world indeed if this were so. Faith looks beyond the grave, and we are confronted and sustained by a steadfast belief that we shall see our friend again. Realizing this, if we knew that one word from us would bring him back to the scene of his trials and sufferings, which of us would utter it?

May the sod of old Tennessee, his native state, which he loved so well, press lightly upon him as he sleeps his last sleep to awaken in the bosom of his Lord.
E. W. Barrington.

[Source: The Cumberland Presbyterian, November 29, 1913, page 16]
Compiled and sent here by Mary Bob McClain Richardson, 31 Aug 2010