Joseph Nelson Bright

Cumberland Presbyterian Minister

1863 - 1916




By Rev. Geo. A. Lyle.

As a man Joseph N. Bright lived an honest, honorable, peaceful life. When he owed anything he bent his every energy to pay it. By word or act he always reproved anything dishonorable and was well spoken of by all who knew him.

He was born in Georgia and stayed with his parents until he was of age.

When eighteen years old, he was converted and joined the Methodist Church with his father and mother.

At the age of twenty-one he was married to Miss Leila Gness [sic: Guess] of DeCalb [sic: DeKalb] County, Georgia.

The next morning he started for Alabama and settled near Baileyton, in Cullman County. Through the preaching of Dr. Thomas B. Nation and old father, W. P. St. John, he became acquainted with the doctrines of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church, believing its doctrine and government to be more in accordance with the teachings of the Holy Scriptures than any other he knew of.

He joined this church at Edison's Chapel, and was at once made a ruling elder of that congregation.

On December 11, 1889, the angel of death came into his home and claimed for its victim his beloved companion. After living alone for thirteen months he was married to Miss Della Barnett, with whom he has lived for twenty-four years.

As a preacher, Brother Bright has proved himself a workman that needeth not to be ashamed rightly dividing the word of truth, and as such, the whole country bears him record.

In July following the time of his connection with the Cumberland Church he was received under the care of Springville Presbytery in session held at Mt. Pisgah Church, and in 1891 he was ordained to the full work of the ministry. He was an active and efficient pastor for twenty years or more, during which time he did quite a lot of preaching, traveling by private conveyance all over the country for miles and miles from his home, not seeing his family for weeks at a time, making great sacrifices and receiving very little for it, so far as the world's goods are concerned.

In the year 1906 Brother Bright was elected commissioner to the General Assembly, which met in Decatur, Ill. It was there the great merger struggle was declared settled.

Brother Bright, with the 105 other loyal commissioners, stood firm for the grand whosoever will gospel doctrine.

[Source: Our Senior Soldiers: The Biographies and Autobiographies of Eighty Cumberland Presbyterian Preachers. Compiled by The Cumberland Presbyterian Board of Publication. The Assistance of Revs. J. L. Price and W. P. Kloster is Greatfully Acknowledged. Nashville, Tenn.: The Cumberland Presbyterian Board of Publication, 1915, pages 140-141]

BRIGHT .--After a long lingering illness Rev. J. M. [sic: N.] Bright, whom every body regarded as one of the best men of the country answered the heavenly father's call and went home to rest. He was born Jan. 3, 1863, and died March 15, 1916. Brother Bright was a noble man, true to his God, his church and his country. He was a Commissioner from Springville Presbytery to the Decatur Illinois General Assembly in 1906, and was one of the one hundred and six who stood firm for the Cumberland Presbyterian Church. He was a preacher for thirty years. For a few years he had been disabled for work. The writer visited him often during his illness and always found him full of the Holy Spirit and longing for the salvation of the lost. Oh, how he will be missed! He had a wide acquaintance and influence and he will live on for many years. He left a wife and eleven children to mourn because of his death. The funeral was conducted by the writer and it took more than an hour for his friends to pass by and take the last look at his remains. The Welty [sic: Welti] Church was full and many on the outside. We laid his body to rest in the Welty [sic: Welti] cemetery to await the resurrection at the last day.

We bow to God's will and pray that the comforting spirit of God may guide his widow and children, and may Brother Bright's mantle fall upon his sons. May they rise up to fill the place made vacant by his death.

   Rev. W. A. Hendrix.
Holly Pond, Ala.
[Source: The Cumberland Presbyterian, April 13, 1916, page 15]

Report of Committee on Deceased Ministers

J. N. Bright -- Springville Presbytery -- Feb. 1916 [sic: March 15]

[Source: Minutes of the General Assembly of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church, 1916, page 110]

Mrs. Della Bright
"A Mother in Israel"

On February 23, 1873 a baby girl was born in Georgia and this life extended through almost a century before it ended on May 7, 1965--for 92 years. There are a lot of remarkable facts connected with "Granny Bright," the wife of the late Rev. J. N. Bright who died in 1916.

Rev. J. N. Bright spent twenty-five years in the ministry of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church. In 1906 he was a Commissioner to the General Assembly in Decatur, Illinois and was one of the "106" who continued the denomination after the Assembly voted to unite with the Presbyterian Church, USA.

Four sons have been active Cumberland Presbyterian ministers through the years: Revs. T. E., H. H., J. P., and Joe. Two grandsons are ministers--one in our denomination: the Rev. Talmadge Bright, Maryville, Tennessee. One great grandson has dedicated his life for the gospel ministry. This makes the fourth generation of Cumberland Presbyterian ministers.

"Granny Bright" left a total of seven sons, three daughters, one sister, one brother, 34 grandchildren, 79 great grandchildren, 24 great, great grandchildren, and one great, great, great grandchild. This makes a total of 138 various kinds of grandchildren.

The service of memory was conducted on Mother's Day at the Welti Cumberland Presbyterian Church in Cullman County, Alabama by Dr. Wayne Wiman of Fayetteville. This was a unique experience in conducting the funeral service for his children's (David and Vicki) great grandmother. Assisting was the church's pastor, Rev. James Lambert; also assisting were Rev. Herbert Carlock, Eastlake, Birmingham and Rev. Talmadge Bright, a grandson.

"Granny's" first hospital experience was the last two weeks of her life.--Wayne Wiman.
[Source: The Cumberland Presbyterian, June 1, 1965, page 14]

Bright Family Information

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Updated October 5, 2005