History of the Restoration Movement

James Clayton Bays


The Life of Jimmy Bays

James Clayton Bays was born in Chautauqua, Kansas, January 21, 1913. He was married to the former Ellen Velara McEachern, January 28, 1940. They had four children, Janis Calloway, Janie Sue Redfield, Richard, and Bill.

Jimmy was baptized into Christ by Ralph C. Yadon in October, 1925. He attended Bible readings under A.M. Morris in Long Beach, California. He also attended Freed-Hardeman College before attending at David Lipscomb College. He also attended Abilene Christian where he was a McGarvey Fellow.

Brother Bays began preaching for the church of Christ in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma in April, 1938. He came back to Tennessee in 1941 and preached for the church in Crossville, Tennessee for a couple of years. While here, he was involved in a debate with a Baptist preacher named William Bilyne. The Bays then moved to Nocona, Texas in 1944 and continued with the church there until 1948. Again, he moved back to Tennessee where he worked with the church in Smyrna until 1951. He followed this work with a move to Wichita, Kansas to work with the church between 1951 and 1953. Then the family moved to Hugo, Oklahoma where they worked until 1958.  He followed this work with a church plant in Ponca City, Oklahoma, the New Hartford church of Christ, and was there until 1963. Then, the family moved to Hapeville, Georgia to work with the church in that city. They were there until 1967 when they returned to Smyrna, where he began serving the church there as an elder and preacher of the Smyrna congregation.

He did some radio work for four years will in southeast Oklahoma. While in Smyrna, he often substituting for George W. Dehoff in Murfreesboro, Tennessee on his radio broadcasts. In 1961 he was selected to participate on the Advisory Board at York Christian College. He also wrote some for the Gospel Advocate. He also was selected at Personality of the Week in Rutherford County, Tennessee in 1969.

The last years of Jimmy's life were spent in his adopted home of Smyrna, Tennessee. He passed from this life, the 9th of January, 1998. He eighty-four years of age. His body was laid to rest in the Roselawn Memorial Gardens there in Smyrna.

Personal Recollections—Growing up on the south side of Atlanta, it was my privilege to attend worship at the Forest Park church of Christ. Two other families who attended there were the Calloways and Redfields. Janis Calloway and her sister Janie Redfield, the daughters of James and Velara Bays, were great contributors to the work where my father, Richard T. Harp was the preacher. I have great memories of visiting in their homes as a kid, and enjoying the family relationship we had in the Lord's church there. They were Bible class teachers, and their families contributed in many other ways. The 1970s at Forest Park has fondly been recalled as the "days of Camelot" by those who were there at that time. This great church was at its height of strength in number and influence for Christ. Certainly, a contributing force was the Bays girls and their families. To them, I say thank you for your ancestry, and for the many years of service to the Lord's church you and your parents gave to the cause of Christ. Only eternity will show the way your family helped countless others to gain the victory in Christ.

Sources: Preachers of Today, vol. 1, p.31; vol. 2, p.29; vol. 3, p.26; vol, 4, p.20.
-Scott Harp, 11.2018

Directions To Grave

James C. and Velara Bays are buried in the Roselawn Cemetery in Williamsburg, Tennessee. The cemetery is easily located on Hwy. 41 in Smyrna. From I-24 take I-840 east, and take the Hwy. 41 exit and go north toward Smyrna. The cemetery will be on your right. Enter in front of the Funeral Home and take your first left. Just past the tall statue of the cross the graves will be on the opposite side of the road, just up on the left. The Bays family plot is close to the drive. If you go beyond the side-walk leading to the open Bible statue, you have gone too far.

GPS Location
35.925165, -86.467090

James C. 1913-1998 - A Preacher Of Righteousness
Velara - 1919-2008 - A Worthy Woman

Photos Taken 04.17.2017
Webpage produced 11.02.2018
Courtesy Of Scott Harp

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