James G. Carson, D.D., a third of a century the pastor of the Second United Presbyterian church of Xenia. Rev. James Giilespy Carson, has been well known throughout this portion of the state where his labors have been effective in promoting the intellectual development of the community, his influence being of no restricted order. He commands not only the highest respect of his own people but of all denominations, and has attained considerable distinction as a leading divine in the United Presbyterian ministry. Arriving in Xenia in December. 1869. his consecrated life, zeal and untiring efforts have been the means of greatly increasing the numerical and spiritual strength of his church and his life history forms no unimportant chapter of the history ol the moral progress of Greene county.
Rev. Carson was born near Maryville, Blount county, Tennessee, on the 11th of February. 1833, a son of the Rev. David and Jane Walker (Giilespy) Carson, the former a native of Franklin county, Pennsylvania, and the latter of Blount county, Tennessee. At an early age the father was graduated in Jefferson college and then continued his studies under the direction of Dr. John M. Mason, of the Associate Reformed church for three years, while later Dr. Joseph Banks, of Philadelphia, of the Associate church, was his preceptor. His first pastorate was in a church near Maryville, Tennessee, where he remained for nine years, and in 1833 he was elected professor of the Associate Presbyterian Seminary, at Cannonsburg, Pennsylvania. The school was afterward removed to Xenia, and in July. 1834. Rev. David Carson removed to the north to assume his duties in the seminary, but on the 25th of September of the same year, before taking up the work of his professorship, he was called to his fmal home. In the family were three children, the eldest being Dr. David Walker Carson, of Burgettstown, Pennsylvania: James G., of this review; and Ellen J., who died in May, 1858, at the age of twenty-three years. The paternal grandfather, David Carson, emigrated from Ireland, it is believed, as early as 1784 and settled at Greencastle, Pennsylvania, where he followed the tailor's trade. His wife bore the maiden name of Jane Oliver and was a granddaughter of the Rev. James Fisher, author of Fisher's catechism, and the great-granddaughter of Ebenezer Erskine, one of the founders of the United Presbvterian church.
The maternal grandfather of the Rev. James G. Carson was James Giilespy. who was born in Augusta county,Virginia. in 1772, and about 1780 removed with his parents to Tennessee, where he became a prominent farmer and politician, representing his district in the general assembly, and a member of the constitutional convention of that state. He married Eleanor Cowan. She had an aunt who was captured by the Shawnee Indians in Tennessee and was conveyed by them to Old Chillicothe, now Oldtown, Greene county, Ohio, where she was assisted to escape by the Indian chief, who sent her across Lake Erie on the ice to Detroit, whence she was taken to Pittsburg and from there down the river to Maryville, thus being returned to her home after an absence of seven years. Her husband was killed at the time she was captured but she secured his scalp, which had been taken by the Indians and carried it in her bosom. Subsequently she was again married and was captured the second time by the Indians—this time by the Cherokee tribe—with whom she remained two years in Georgia, when her old neighborhood having captured some of the tribe, an exchange was made and her release secured.
When only a few months old Rev. Carson, of this review, was taken to Pennsvlvania. His father died soon afterward. He was reared in Cannonsburg. that state, acquiring his education there, and was graduated from JeffersonCollege with the degree of Bachelor of Arts, in the class of 1849. In 1875 the degree of Doctor of Divinity was conferred upon him by Monmouth College. After his graduation he
followed the profession of teaching for about three years. In the summer of 1852 he entered the seminary at Cannonsburg, in which he was graduated in March, 1855, and on the 22d. of June, that year, he was licensed to preach, after which he supplied various churches, including his father's old congregation in Tennessee. In November. 1856. he was ordained and installed as pastor of the congregation at South Buffalo, now Claysville, Washington county, Pennsylvania, where he remained until May, 1867, which covered the period of the Civil war. During the progress of hostilities between the north and tlie south Dr. Carson was connected with the Christian commission, stationed at Romney. Virginia. and in the spring of 1864 was stationed at Knoxville. Tennessee. His most important work. however, during the Civil war was that which he performed as the president of the Union League of Buffalo township, and also in the active support which he gave to the administration in its work of putting down the rebellion. He met with much opposition in the community where he was located, but his eloquent words and logical utterances had marked influence in molding sentiment.
In 1867 Dr. Carson removed to Cannonsburg, where he remained until 1869 as pastor of the United Presbyterian church, and in the month of December, of that year, he came to Xenia. accepting the pastorate of the Second United Presbyterian church, and since that time he has filled its pulpit, covering a period of almost a third of a century. In the fall of 1873 he was also elected professor of homiletics and pastoral theology of the Xenia Theological Seminary, occupying that chair for fifteen years, or, until the spring of 1888, when, finding that his duties were too arduous he resigned the [rofessorship and gives his attention only to the pastoral work. He has served as a member of the board of managers of the Xenia Theological Seminary, and was its secretary for four years.
On the 1st of October. 1856. Rev. Carson was married to Miss Mary H. Clarkson, a daughter of the Rev. Thomas B. Clarkson, of Mercersburg, Pennsylvania, a granddaughter of the Rev. James Clarkson,
of Guinston, Pennsylvania. Her death occurred in Xenia, March 21, 1894. She possessed a most amiable and kindly disposition and was of great assistance to her husband in his work. The Doctor's labors have covered a wide range along lines that tend to uplift humanity. He has been a strong supporter of the temperance policy of the Republican party, and in this way has been a factor in political circles. He indorses every movement and measure for the promotion of education that will fit the young for the practical and responsible duties of life. He has been a delegate to different synods of his church, and his wise counsel and keen insight to possibilities have made his opinions of value in such gatherings. His knowledge is broad and comprehensive, for his reading has covered a wide range. He is interested in anything that will give him a clearer, broader view of life and its purposes and of human nature, and aid him in the work of so presenting the truth to his parishioners and his auditors that his words will intluence their lives for good. He is an able and eloquent divine, is an earnest student who reads widely and brings to his duties the riches of a strong mind and untiring zeal.
From History of Greene County, Ohio, by George F. Robinson (S. J. Clarke Publishing Co, 1902)
The Rev. James Gillespy Carson, D. D., LL. D., pastor emeritus of the Second United Presbyterian church at Xenia and professor emeritus of the Xenia Theological Seminary, now living retired at Xenia, was born in the vicinity of Maryville, in Blount county, Tennessee, February 11, 1833. He is a son of the Rev. David and Jane Walker (Gillespy) Carson, the latter of whom was born in that same county, a daughter of James and Eleanor (Cowan) Gillespy, prominent residents of that community, James Gillespy having served his district as a member of the Tennessee General Assembly and as a member of the constitutional convention of that state. The Rev. David Carson was born in Franklin county, Pennsylvania, and was graduated from Jefferson College, later continuing, for three years, his theological studies under the preceptorship of Dr. Joseph Banks, of the Associate church at Philadelphia. His first pastorate was in a church in the vicinity of Maryville, Tennessee, where he remained for nine years, or until his election in 1833 to the professorship in the Associate Presbyterian Seminary at Canonsburg, Pennsylvania, which seminary, established in 1794, was later moved to Xenia, where it is still being conducted, the oldest theological seminary in the United States. In July. 1834. the Rev. David Carson moved to Canonsburg to enter upon the discharge of his duties in the seminary and there died in the following September, his son, James G., being then under two years of age. The Rev. David Carson was the son of David and Jane (Oliver) Carson, the latter of whom was the granddaughter of the Rev. James Fisher, author of "Fisher's Catechism," and a great-granddaughter of Ebenezer Erskine (1680-1754), noted Scottish divine, and one of the organizers of the "Secession church,"' which held its name as the "Seceder" or Associate Presbyterian church until its merger in 1858 with the Associate Reformed church, thereafter beingknown as the United Presbyterian church.
James G. Carson was reared at Canonsburg and was graduated from Jefferson College in 1849. In the summer of 1852 he entered the Theological Seminary at Canonsburg and was graduated from the same in March, 1855. On June 19, 1855, he was licensed to preach and in November. 1856, was ordained and installed as pastor of the congregation at South Buffalo, now Claysville. in Washington county, Pennsylvania, where he remained until in May, 1867, when he accepted the pastorate of the church at Canonsburg. Pennsylvania, continuing his ministerial service there until his removal to Xenia in 1869. In 1873. he was elected professor of homiletics and pastoral theology of the Theological Seminary, which chair he occupied for fifteen years. He also has served as a member of the board of managers of the seminary, was for four years secretary of the same and upon his retirement was honored by the title of professor emeritus. In 1875 the degree of Doctor of Divinity was conferred upon him by Monmouth College. During the progress of the Civil War Doctor Carson rendered service as a member of the Christian Commission and in later years (1904-06) he rendered further public service as a state senator, representing this district in the Ohio state Senate.
From History of Greene County Ohio, Its People, Industries and Institutions, vol. 2. M.A. Broadstone, editor. B. F. Bowen & Co., Indianapolis. 1918