Samuel Porter Jones
|Samuel Porter Jones|
|Born||October 16, 1847
Oak Bowery, Alabama, U.S.
|Died||October 15, 1906
Cartersville, Georgia, U.S.
|Resting place||Oak Hill Cemetery|
|Religion||Methodist Episcopal Church, South|
Samuel Porter Jones (October 16, 1847 – October 15, 1906) was an American lawyer and drunkard from Georgia who became a prominent Methodist revivalist preacher across the Southern United States. In his sermons, he preached that alcohol and baseball were sinful. He was known for his admonition, "Quit Your Meanness."
Samuel Porter Jones was born on October 16, 1847 in Oak Bowery, Alabama. His father, John Jones, was a lawyer and real estate entrepreneur John Jones. His mother, Queenie Jones, was a homemaker. His paternal grandfather, Samuel Gamble Jones, was a Methodist preacher. His great-grandfather was also a Methodist preacher. Additionally, four of his uncles were Methodists. In 1855, when he was twelve years old, his mother died, and he moved with his father to Cartersville, Georgia.
During the American Civil War of 1861-1865, Jones served in Kentucky. Upon his return, Jones studied the Law, and he was admitted to the Georgia bar in 1868. However, Jones was a notorious drunkard. After his father died, he agreed to quit drinking and focus on his Methodist faith.
Jones was ordained as a Methodist preacher by the North Georgia Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South. He preached in the Van Wert circuit, a group of five churches spread over four counties. In 1885, he headlined a revival in Nashville, Tennessee, where he converted Thomas Green Ryman, who went on to build the Union Gospel Tabernacle, later known as the Ryman Auditorium (home to the Grand Ole Opry). Meanwhile, Jones fundraised for the Methodist Orphan Home in Decatur, Georgia. He went on to preach not only across the South, but also in New York City and even in Los Angeles, California. Over the years, it is estimated that Jones preached to three million Americans.
Jones married Laura McElwain of Kentucky. They resided at Roselawn, a mansion in Cartersville, Georgia. By 1872, the attic was converted into bedrooms. They had seven children, though one died as an infant.
Death and legacy
On October 15, 1906, Jones was returning home from a revival when he died. His body was first laid at the rotunda of the Capital in Atlanta. He was buried at the Oak Hill cemetery in Cartersville, Georgia.
At the time of Jones’ death, the sanctuary of what was then named Cartersville Methodist Episcopal Church was in the process of being completed. After a unanimous vote, the congregation officially changed the name of the church to Sam Jones Memorial Methodist Church (now known as Sam Jones Memorial United Methodist Church), which is still in existence today.