John Bunyan Inman
1850 - 1889
Biographical Sketch On The Life
Of J.B. Inman
John Bunyan Inman was born in Robeson
County, North Caroline, Dec. 5, 1850 and died June 7, 1889 in New Orleans where
he had gone to labored with a congregation. He came with his father’s family to
McNairy County, Tenn. in 1856. He was trained up in the Presbyterian faith and
was preparing for the ministry when he united with the Disciples, Dec. 27, 1876,
under the preaching of the long lamented Bro. Knowles Shaw. He immediately took
charge of the congregation at Henderson, Tenn. which position he held until few
months before he started south in search of health, Dec. 5, 1888. He preached
extensively and very successfully in North Miss., West Tenn., and in other
He was married to Miss A. L. Owen, Aug.
27, 1878 and to Miss Rhoda E. Carson Nov. 28, 1884. His wives were nice,
cultivated, energetic, devoted Christians, and willingly lent a helping hand in
his arduous duties.
What Bro. Inman regarded, as largely his
life work was his connection with West Tenn. Christian College. He was the most
prominent factor in the founding of this noble institute, which has done and is
doing such a grand work in the cause of all causes. He was its faithful
president from the beginning until the board accepted his resignation some time
after he went south.
The trustees regretted so much to give
him up, and were so very fearful of the bad effect of his leaving on the school,
they induced him not to hand in his final resignation until quite a while after
he had virtually given up the college work.
So far as institutions are concerned,
West Tenn. Christian College was “The apple of his eye, the ideal of his heart.”
He often spoke of the institution and inquired after its welfare during his last
illness. The many young gentlemen and young ladies who have gone out from this
institution, that are now successfully filling the various stations of life can
give us a faint ideal of the magnitude of his work.
His work will live long and well. The
wave of influence started by this grand man will gather strength as the years go
by; and the magnitude will never be known until it reaches eternity’s shore and
from its created bosom is gathered the many ransomed souls who are wafted home
upon its swelling tide.
Certainly another of God’s noblemen has
fallen under the shadow of the cross—one who was true to his convictions as the
needle is to the pole.
The Bible was his guide. The good of
people his aim. I do not say he was faultless, but I do say I knew him twelve
years or more—most of the time very intimately, and it will take one better
acquainted with him than myself, to record many faults he had. The youth of this
county never had many better friends than Bro. J. B. Inman. I have heard him so
often say, “I feel a special interest in the young men.” He never tired in
instructing the young how to make a success in life. Comparatively few remained
under his influence long who were not persuaded by his gentle, though decisive
course, and powerful presentation of the truth to surrender to Christ and give
their lives to his cause.
But O, brethren, my feelings beggar
description. He is gone. He laid aside his mortal body, wasted by disease and
over work to put on an immortal body. In him the cause of Christ has lost a
brave defender, his wife a true and devoted companion, his sisters a kind and
tender brother, his two little girls an affectionate father, many of us a
faithful brother in the Lord, and the writer…..(two paragraphs unreadable)
How hard to think he is gone from his
friends, who loved him with a heroic love! How hard it is to know that he is
taken from the army in the midst of its triumphant march, whose doings and
hardships he endured with the deepest pleasure! How hard to realize that he is
removed from the cause he loved dearer than life! His life, though not long, is
a ponderous volume of splendid deeds. How grand to think of the youths he has
trained for the contests of life!
He has taken them in their tender and
illiterate hours, and given them the bread of knowledge, and placed a brilliant
star of hope in their intellectual firmament. And grander still it is to
contemplate the great number of men and women the channel of whose life he has
turned toward the Golden Gates. It will demand the final hour, o f the world’s
existence, to find the last pulsation of his splendid influence. No doubt, as in
his last hours he would hear the break of the Atlantic waves, and feel its
breezes on his wasting cheeks, he could also hear the waves on the eternal
shore, and feel the zephyrs of life everlasting.
-R. P. Meeks
"A successful teacher and most
faithful preacher. It afforded him great happiness to tell the sweet story of
the Cross and win souls to Christ. His life, though short, was rich with good
deeds. His death was triumphant, knowing that an abundant entrance awaited him
in the everlasting kingdom." - J. Brown, Churches of Christ, 1904, p.616.
Inman began teaching at the Male and Female Institute (precursor to
Freed-Hardeman University) in 1875, five years after it began. He had studied
under Judge Byars at Covington, Tennessee for entrance to the Presbyterian
Seminary at Clarkesville, Tennessee, to train for the ministry. In his study of
Greek he learned from it that "bapto" meant to "dip." He
became a member of the Christian Church under the preaching of Knowles Shaw. In
March, 1877 the name of the school was changed to Henderson Masonic Male and
Female Institute. In August, 1885, J.I. Galbraith, member of the Christian
Church and editor of the Chester Observer, arranged for a new board of members
of the church to purchase the school. The name was changed to West Tennessee
Christian College. Inman became the first president of the school under that
name. He held this position until his death June 7, 1889.
Directions To The Grave Of J. B.
J.B. Inman is
buried in the City Cemetery at Henderson, Tennessee. From I-40 in West
Tennessee, take the Hwy 45 exit south. Go through the city of Jackson, and
continue south about 15 miles to Henderson. You will be on the bypass in
Henderson. Go to you come to Hwy. 100. Turn left and go to the next stop. Turn
left on North Church St. Go about 100 yards and turn into the cemetery on the
right. The cemetery will fork close to the entrance. Take the left fork and
stop. Walk to you left and head toward the front of the cemetery. From the road
there will be a line of two or three trees. Behind the trees you will see a row
of very old and small graves. Inman will be second in from the south. Grave
N35º 26' 22.2" x WO 88º 38' 46.8"
Accuracy To Within 19'
Dec. 5, 1850
in Roberson Co, N.C.
Died June 7, 1889
In New Orleans, La
To Living, Gone Yet Speaketh
Blinking Button To See Map & Other Graves At Henderson Cemetery