History of the Restoration Movement

James B. Sweeney


J. B. Sweeney was the son of T.M. Sweeney, old-time Restoration Movement preacher of Houston County, Texas. J. B. was a student of the Bible, and attended AddRan College in Thorp Spring, Texas. He graduated in 1885. He went to Kentucky and sat at the feet of J. W. McGarvey and Robert Graham in the College of the Bible. When Add-Ran College moved to Waco in 1895, Sweeney was selected as head of the special Bible Chair, and became responsible for raising $40,000 for its endowment. In 1895 he resigned and went to Gainesville, Texas to a less stressful work. "Against the advice of his physician, he held a meeting in Honey Grove in the summertime, over-spent his strength, contracted pneumonia and passed away." He was buried in the Fairview Cemetery in Gainesville.

Sources: Colby Hall, Texas Disciples, p.398. Hall also mentions that there is an extensive bio sketch in The History Of TCU.

J. B. Sweeney

No one of the men of my acquaintance who have preached the primitive gospel in Texas was more consecrated than was this man; no one has been a more genuine friend to the young man or woman who wished to dedicate the life to definite Christian service. As a pastor, he was loving, wise and tactful. He served the churches at Taylor and Gainesville. Both of these congregations are today living monuments to his life. This does not mean that no other men have been factors; they have. In my judgment, Brother Sweeney's monumental work was during his connection with Texas Christian University. This was during the darkest days of the institution, and while its location was in Waco. At that time the Faculty accepted the receipts of the school, after expenses were deducted, as their compensation. And what a compensation it was! I was in a position to know the inside of the story. If those men received as much as an average of $30 per month, they began to feel themselves in affluent circumstances. It was then that heroism saved the day for the school, and "Jim" Sweeney was one of the heroes. That was prior to the organization of Brite College of the Bible, but foundation work for it was being performed. He was the leading spirit in this. How his heart rejoices, if he can see what is here today—and I think he can—when he sees the opportunities for the work to which he gave so much of his life. He died during his pastorate at Gainesville, and there lies his body. Sister Sweeney is now connected with Texas Christian University.

-Disciples Of Christ In Texas, Chalmers McPherson, c.1920, Standard Publishing Co., p.215,216

Obituary For J. B. Sweeney
Dallas Morning News

Source: Dallas Morning News, Copyright 2004, Title: Dr. J. B. Sweeney Dead; Date: 1901-09-24, Page: 3.
Contributed to this website: 07.18,2014 by Sheryl Curlee, former church historian at Highland Oaks Church of Christ-Dallas, TX.

Direction To The Grave Of J. B. Sweeney

J. B. Sweeney is buried in the Fairview Cemetery in Gainesville, Texas. Gainesville lies north of Fort Worth off I-35W, heading toward the Oklahoma state line. Take exit 496B and head east through town (This will be West California St.). When the road becomes E. California Street, turn left on Fair Avenue. Pass Edison Park and you will come to cemetery on right. Enter the main entrance and head to the office. There is a map of the cemetery on the east side of the office. Look for Section 13. It will be a short walk, a few sections E-NE of the office. Look for a large concrete footpad enclosure. Sweeney's plot is just behind one of the larger markers with the bold wording, PATCHELL/SANBORN. The Sweeney maker is facing toward the east.

While in the cemetery, be sure to also visit the grave of another preacher from yesteryear by the name of B. F. England. His plot is located in Section G.

GPS Location
33°37'56.0"N 97°07'29.7"W
or D.d. 33.632219, -97.124921

Special Thanks

In January, 2010, my Jenny and I were involved in the Fort Worth Lectures at Brown Trail Church of Christ. While on this visit it was our great pleasure to stay with dear friends Rich and Barb Berdan. One day Rich endured traveling with me to locate some graves of gospel preachers of yesteryear. He assisted me in locating the graves on this site. Special thanks to him for his assistance.

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