History of the Restoration Movement

John Knox McCleskey


Source: The Montgomery Advertiser, Montgomery, Alabama
Wednesday, October 22, 1955, p.34

The Life of John K. McCleskey

John Knox McCleskey was born April 12, 1896 in Walker County, Alabama. He was the son of William Parker McCleskey (1858-1906) and Frances Elizabeth Burton (1856-1940). He was married to Bessie Townley (1900-1969) also from Walker County. They had six children: Evelyn Irene McCleskey (1917-1994); Frances Earline McClusky (1920-1999); Zora Mae McCleskey Herndon Hogan (1923-2005); Edna Louise McCleskey Danis (1925-1991); Lois Mildred McCleskey Ward (1931-2005); and John McCleskey (born in 1933).

Early in his Christian life, John determined he wanted to preach. With a name such as his, how could he determine to do anything else? Coming under the influence of another young preacher, Gus Nichols, he was encouraged to go to Henderson, Tennessee to study at Freed-Hardeman College.

In 1938 he went to Parrish in Walker County, Alabama to preach. Then, after six years, in 1944 the family moved to Winfield, Alabama where he preached for the church there. By 1948 the family had moved to Pensacola, Florida to work with the West Hill church of Christ. While there John preached on WCOA radio station. In 1953, the McCluskey’s moved to Nashville, Tennessee to work with the Radnor church of Christ. In the spring of 1955, they moved to work with the small church of Christ in Clanton, Alabama. By October 1st of that year the family moved to Montgomery to work with the West End church of Christ. In late 1957, he returned to Walker County to preach for the church in Cordova. After five years, in 1962 he moved to Munford, Alabama to preach for the church there. This became his last located work. Through the years, John preached in Gospel Meeting efforts with great success, many of which were reported in the pages of the Gospel Advocate.

John K. McCleskey passed from this life March 31, 1968, just a few days short of his 72nd birthday. Bessie survived him for about a year when she died November 13, 1969.

-Scott Harp, 10.30.2021
Sources: Gospel Advocate, Newspapers.com, Ancestry.com, and other sources


Daily Mountain Eagle, Jasper, Alabama
Wednesday, May 30, 1928, p.6

The Montgomery Advertiser, Montgomery, Alabama
Wednesday, October 8, 1955, p.2

The Montgomery Advertiser, Montgomery, Alabama
Wednesday, October 22, 1955, p.34

Daily Mountain Eagle, Jasper, Alabama
Saturday, June 10, 1961, p.4

Daily Mountain Eagle, Jasper, Alabama
Friday, October 5, 1962, page 1

Directions To Grave

John and Bessie McClesky are buried in the Oak Hill Cemetery in Jasper, Alabama. The cemetery is located north of the city on Hwy. 195. Just where Hwy. 5 splits to the left, note to the right is the cemetery. Enter through the gate and go to the fifth drive to the left and turn into this drive. Then take the first right off of it, and head to a wagon-wheel section. Head to the opposite side of the "sprocket" and continue down the hill. Begin looking to your left. You should see the McKlesky section back slightly up the hill. While here look for the grave of another preachers, Avery Fike and Daniel J. Ottinger. And, as a side note, be sure and seek out the grave of George "Goober" Lindsey. Though not connected to the Restoration Movement to our knowledge, most knew him as "Goober" on the Andy Griffith Show. He is buried here as well.

GPS Location
33°51'21.0"N 87°17'09.2"W
or D.d. 33.855827, -87.285882

John B. McCleskey
November 27, 1932

Barbara H. McCleskey
July 3, 1937
July 9, 2014

Bessie T. McCleskey
August 5, 1900
November 13, 1969

John K. McCleskey
April 12, 1896
March 31, 1968

Photos Taken 03.14.2015
Webpage produced 10.30.2021
Courtesy Of Scott Harp


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