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J.W. Hardwick



A TRIBUTE BY ELDER SONNY PYLES: Elder Hardwick was born February 8, 1891. He died at his home in

Booneville, Mississippi on October 30, 1961. He was a man of keen intellect and great physical strength. His unusual knowledge of the scriptures, his gift as a powerful orator, and God-given powers of logic made him one of the ablest debaters to ever represent the Primitive Baptists.

I have pictures and written accounts by eyewitnesses of one of these debates held in 1938. At the close of this debate with a Church of Christ minister, a woman jumped up and declared that she had been converted to the Primitive Baptist position. She had brought a crown and ribbons to award his opponent. Instead, she placed the crown and ribbons on Elder Hardwick. There was much cheering and applause from the audience. The woman was a faithful member until she died. Eyewitnesses, some still living, said he did not want to wear the crown and ribbons, but he allowed the picture to be made.

Since the picture is so famous, I include it here. Elder Hardwick’s expression shows that he was not comfortable wearing the crown and ribbons. I wish I had space to write about his other debates, baptisms and labors.

I have preached annual meetings for over thirty years in two churches that Elder Hardwick served. I have never known of a minister anywhere who is held in such reverence, loving memory and high esteem by the people he served and by the ministers who were his sons in the ministry. He also served the people of north Mississippi in the State Legislature.

I treasure the many experiences told to me by people he baptized, others he influenced from childhood, and those who heard him defend the truth in preaching and public debate.

Like Abel of old, “He being dead, yet speaketh.” Hebrews 11:4

Friendship Primitive Baptist Church, near Carthage, Tennessee, appointed a committee to write the following resolution of respect, which is recorded in the church records:

“From the time Elder J.W. Hardwick was first called as pastor of Friendship Church in May 1940, until May 1961, the Church called him once each year. If there was ever an Elder considered in this call with him, we, your committee, do not know of it. “During these years of services, 101 were added to the Church by experience and baptism, by restoration or by letter. During these years, he pastored churches in Alabama, Mississippi and Tennessee. He filled many appointments during the week days between these churches. Truly, he was a yoke fellow in the Gospel with all true and tried Elders in the Primitive Baptist Churches. He, like every other mortal man, had his limitations, but by faith he proved by his works that he loved God, by his constant and continually preaching that Jesus shed His blood to redeem His people.

That He gives them eternal life in the new birth, that He redeemed them to God by His death, that He arose for their justification and will finally glorify the last one for whom He gave His life. “Elder J. W. Hardwick and wife united with Friendship Baptist Church by letter January 14, 1950. This Church was his home until he fell asleep in Jesus October 30, 1961.

“Jesus, who is the source of all light, inspiration, wisdom, grace and love said “and whosoever loveth and believeth in me shall never die.” We all, like Elder Hardwick, go to sleep, pass from this house of mortality, but his spirit and the spirits of all God’s children will go at death to be with Jesus.

“Thank God, there is a heaven and we long and hope to go there. We believe that in spirit, Elder Hardwick is there this very day. True, we are sad and lonely that we shall see him no more here, but glad that he is forever free from care, toil, hardships, suffering and death, thank God. He lived and labored among us.

“More than 20 Primitive Baptist Elders paid respect by attending the funeral in Booneville, Mississippi, November 1, 1961. Elders Shain, Thetford, Boyd, and McCuchens officiated in the funeral service. The casket was covered and surrounded with flowers from churches and friends from several states in demonstration of the love and high esteem in which he was held by his many friends. His body sleeps in the silent tomb. His spirit rests in peace with his God.”

Elder H. L. Golston, Moderator Pro Tem Deacons: Ester Kemp, Thomas Grigg Charles L. West, Church Clerk

larry heldman  

Elder James Compton (1905 - 2007)
Elder James Compton was the original founder of the 'Gospel of Grace Tape Supply.' His collection of tapes began as he traveled to Church meetings and Associations recording sermons on Reel to Reel. He has maintained this library of sermons faithfully over the years and are now the foundation of PB Sermons. org. This web site is dedicated to Elder James Compton (1905 - 2007)