John William McGarvey, Jr.
The Life of John W. McGarvey, Jr.
John William McGarvey, Jr. was born the 17th of October 1857 in Dover, Lafayette County, Missouri. He was the eldest son of John William McGarvey, Sr. (1829-1911) and Otwayanna Frances Hix (1834-1911). He had an older sister, Loulie, who died at the age of nine in 1863. He had a younger brother Thompson (1864-1938), a sister, Sarah McGarrey (1865-1951), and a another brother Robert M. (1867-1935).
He was married to Frances E. “Fannie” Taylor (1865-1948), the daughter Dr. U.H. Taylor, of Columbia, Kentucky, on the 15th of June 1883 in Adair County, Kentucky. They had one daughter, Rey (1885-1959) and a son, Henry Earl (1888-1959).
He attended his father’s alma mater, Bethany College, and had several classmates that were in the ministry, including P.Y. Pendleton, the son of the president of the college, W.K. Pendleton.
After graduation from Bethany, he preached in several places. For a time, he went to Paris, Texas, to preach, just after the departure of R.W. Officer left to evangelize in the Indian Territory.
From Texas the family moved back to Kentucky, where he served the church in Flemingsburg. While there, he held a debate with a Methodist minister by the name of Rev. John Reeves. The event was conducted in the county courthouse in April 1890. The subject was on infant baptism. It was reported on in the newspapers that both men established their views of Scriptures, but very little came of it as far as affecting any change in the hearers.
At the end of the year, the family moved to Charleston, West Virginia. It was reported that this was his second “pastorate.” (The Christian Church (Wilbur H. Cramblet, Disciples Of Christ in West Virginia, p.191)
From Charleston, the family served for a time in Middleboro, Kentucky. In 1896, they moved to Lexington where he worked among the churches. Similar to his father of twenty years previous, in the Spring of 1900, John, Jr. went on a tour of Egypt, the Holy Land, Turkey, Greece and other parts of Europe, covering 20,000 miles.
In April 1901 brother McGarvey was elected President of the Madison Female Institute at Richmond, Kentucky. While there he built the school, also engaging in the area at the Mt. Zion Christian Church, and for a time the Little Bethel Christian Church near Baldwin.
In 1906 J.W. McGarvey, Jr. entered into the evangelistic field becoming the State Evangest for the state of Tennessee under the oversight of the Tennessee Missionary Society. There were five men appointed throughout the state. John's main appointed area was West Tennessee.
In 1908 the McGarvey’s moved briefly to West Point, Mississippi to work with, “one of the strongest churches in the South,” (Christian Evangelist, November 12, 1908, p.1452). Over the course of the next couple of years he traveled all over West Tennessee preaching meetings and evangelizing on the behalf of the Missionary Society.
On April 6, 1911, his life came to a premature end while in a speaking engagement in Dyersburg, Tennessee. The Nashville Tennessean reported, “Elder J. W. McGarvey, Jr., son of the venerable president of the Bible College, at Lexington, Ky., died last night at Dyersburg. News of his death was received here 'by his family. The immediate cause of death was paralysis, produced by a clot of blood upon the brain. The spell came upon him suddenly yesterday, while engaged in conversation, and in a few hours he was dead. Elder McGarvey was fifty-three years old and leaves surviving a wife, a daughter, who is teaching music in the west, and a son, who is a medical student at Vanderbilt. The body was shipped to Lexington, Ky., for interment.”
Sadly, within a few months, his father, the great J.W. McGarvey, Sr. followed his son in death on October 6th of the same year, and was buried just a few feet away from his son in the family plot. Within five weeks, his mother too, fell in death and was buried by her husband.
Only eternity knows the great service the McGarvey family preachers contributed to the cause of Christ and to the world.
-Scott Harp, August 2020
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Full-Time Evangelism In 1906
Bourbon County, Kentucky Meeting
Moves To Mississippi In 1908
New State Evangelist For Tennessee
Excerpt From Churches Of Christ
John T. Brown
-John T. Brown, Churches Of Christ, page 391
O Wonderful Love
Music by J.W. McGarvey, Jr.
Source: PD Hymns
Click on song for a closer look
Directions To Grave
The McGarvey family burial plot is in the Lexington Cemetery in Lexington, Kentucky. The grave is relatively easy to find. Go to the 200ft monument of Henry Clay. Go behind the massive grave directly across the drive into the next plot. Look for the large rectangular plot, and the graves of J.W. McGarvey, Jr. and his wife Francis Ann are in front to the large monument and to the right. As you can tell by the graves below, the monument is fading.
Actual GPS Location In The Cemetery
or D.d. 38.057900,-84.507533
19 Ft. Accuracy
Grave Faces East
Section F, Lot 23, Part S
Photos Taken 06.11.2020
Webpage produced 08.05.2020
Courtesy Of Scott Harp
Special Recognition: Special thanks to Garry L. Hill who assisted me in the location of the grave of R.P. McKinley. We took a day trip to north central Kentucky, visiting several graves of gospel preachers of yesteryear.