John Acel Jenkins
Gospel Preacher In Huntsville, Alabama
Success At A Meeting Near Hazel Green
Gospel Advocate, October 11, 1917 page 989
Debate Between J.A. Jenkins And A Holiness Preacher
Gospel Advocate, November 29, 1934, page1154
Obituary For Elizabeth Jenkins
Gospel Advocate, September 17, 1942, p.911
Letter To The Gospel Advocate From A Daughter Of J.A. Jenkins
Dear Brothers North and Woods: Had my father still been on earth he would have written you, applauding the 125th Anniversary of the Gospel Advocate. He kept all the Advocates, the Firm Foundations, too. He would lend them only on the promise of their return.
The last year he was on this earth he attended the Lectureship of David Lipscomb and had dinner with the preachers who had preached 40 or more years.
Brother Boyd Fanning spoke of the West Huntsville Church in his letter to the Gospel Advocate—let me tell you I am proud when I can visit in their fine building where my brother is senior elder. There is a story about the building.
When my father moved to West Huntsville there was not a congregation of the Lord's people there. He started attending a church that didn't bear the Lord's name and they asked him to teach a class. He didn't last long there because he tried to teach "Baptism for the remission of sins."
He tried another church, but was asked to give up his class because he taught that baptism was by immersion. By this time he was hungry for a place to teach the Bible as his father, Nathaniel Jenkins had taught him. He had no money, but he persuaded my uncle, J. I. Jones and L. T. Welsh to go with him to ask the downtown church to finance the little building.
Brothers C. M. Pullias, Grover Brewer and R. E. L. Taylor were among the greats that preached in that little building, and it wasn't long until my father began to preach too. It was said of him that he established more congregations in Madison County, Ala., than anyone else. He also encouraged many young men to preach.
He believed strongly in church supported Orphan Homes and it was a great day in his life when he was asked to speak at the opening of Christ Haven near Cullman, Ala.
All of his children are Christians and almost all of his grandchildren and great grandchildren, too. Three of his five grandsons are outstanding preachers. They are: Ancil Jenkins, Minister of the University Church in Albuquerque, N.M.; Jerry Jenkins, Minister of the Woodlawn Church in Birmingham; and Dan Jenkins, Minister of the Shades Mountain Church in Birmingham.
He loved the church better than anything in the world and he loved the Gospel Advocate because he knew it stood for truth.
This letter is about my father, J. A. Jenkins. Thank you and all past editors, for all you did for him and for Christians all over the world.
Ruby Jenkins Broome, Rockdale, Texas
-Gospel Advocate, September 4, 1980, page 581
A Group Of Members Of The West Huntsville Church -R.E.L. Taylor on the right.
John Ancil Jenkins' mother is standing on the extreme left, holding his oldest sister.
Thanks to John Ancil for sharing this photo. January, 2015.
John Acel Jenkins
Little is known of John’s early upbringing and spiritual influences. His father, Nathaniel’s tombstone has the inscription, “Member of the Christian Church 25 years.” (This was a period when little distinction was made in the church of Christ and the Christian church.) It is very likely the future preacher was raised in a Christian atmosphere.
Another influence certainly came from his wife and her family. Her father was Daniel McCord Jones. After returning from service in the Confederate army, Jones became a Baptist preacher.
Joe began to date a girl who was a member of the church of Christ. Dan strongly objected, “No son of mine is going to date a Cambellite.” Joe later taught his father the truth and Dan became a preacher for the Lord’s church.
John married Elizabeth McCord Jones and to this union five children were born, three boys and two girls. Two of his sons became elders and the other served as a deacon. His daughters were active in serving the church in numerous ways. John’s wife name, "Elizabeth," was seldom used. Her middle name was McCord and it was shortened to Mac. She was known for her generous hospitality.
A family remembers one that when John came home from his preaching appointment. “Mac” asked “did they give you anything John?” He replied that the church is not giving him anything for preaching. She is supposed to have said, “John, that’s is all right.”
When he moved to West Huntsville there was not a congregation of the Lord's people. He started attending a church that didn't bear the Lord's name and they asked him to teach a class. He didn't last long there because he tried to teach "baptism for the remission of sins."
He tried another church, but was asked to give up his class because he taught that baptism was by immersion. He tried another church, but was asked to give up his class because he taught that baptism was by immersion.
By this time he was hungry for a place to teach the Bible as did his father, Nathaniel Jenkins. In 1908 he had no money, but he persuaded my uncle, J. I. Jones and L. T. Welsh to go with him to ask the downtown Huntsville, the Randolph Street church, to help finance a gospel meeting.
The West Huntsville church of Christ resulted from a tent meeting by S. H, Hall, just a short distance from the church building later erected. It is not known when John began to preach. However an early record indicated he was one of the first group elders at the new West Huntsville church of Christ, and he filled the pulpit until a full-time preacher was hired.
His work was largely confined to the small churches of Madison County, Alabama. He helped establish a number of congregations, how many is not recorded. Some have said he likely helped establish more congregations than any other preacher of the church.
Apparently, his agreement with the West Huntsville church was he would preach one Sunday a month and would use the other three Sundays to preach and evangelize among the small churches of Madison County.
He had little formal education but he was well read in the Bible as well as current history. My aunt Ruby related that when any of the children misbehaved, he would sit them down, and while standing, gave them a lecture. She remembered he acted like a lawyer which at one time he wished to be. She said she had really rather have had a spanking.
He never devoted his full time to preaching but supported himself as a handyman as well as a barber. He later gave up barbering, and I later asked him why. His reply was a barber made most of his money on Saturday. Most of the time he was traveling to his preaching appointment on Saturday.
In 1957 he suffered a major heart attack and later died from it. His funeral was attended by a large number. “Do you not know that a prince and a great man has fallen this day in Israel?” 2 Samuel 3:28 His family remembers some unusual things about him. My grandfather cut the hair of his sons and his grandson’s at no charge. I remember my dad going to get his haircut after church on Wednesday. I usually went with him and listened to their discussions. They always discussed the latest issue of the Gospel Advocate. The good part of the time they didn’t agree.
One time my cousin Jerry went for a haircut and found grandpa discussing the Scriptures with a visiting preacher. He began to cut Jerry’s hair but stopped, and told him he was not through talking to the preacher, go home and come back later.
Some remember how he would go to the service station and buy a Double Cola and a B. C. headache powder. Jerry remembered asking him why he took a B. C. Powder every day and did he have a headache. Grandpa’s reply was, “I don’t but you never can tell when I will get one.”
- John Ancil Jenkins, January 3, 2019
Directions To The Grave of John A. Jenkins
John A. & Elizabeth Jenkins are buried in the old Maple Hill Cemetery. The address is 202 Maple Hill St SE, Huntsville, AL 35801. Enter the main entrance, and head past the office (on right). Go to the second left. (Probably have to park on main road, as it is a very narrow drive.) Go to the second cross street and turn right. The Jenkins plot is on the left just in front of some trees.
by the City of Huntsville
Maple Hill Cemetery
has become the final resting place of many
citizens of this community. Here lie brave
men who served in the major wars of
our nation, many public servants, and
many citizens whose good works
may have been known only to God.
Scrolls in Cemetery Reception Hall bear
the names of some outstanding people.
Alabama Historical Society
John A. 1873-1957
Photos Taken 08.27.2014
Webpage Produced 10.31.2014
Courtesy of Scott Harp