Jesse Smith Grider

Cumberland Presbyterian Minister 1852 - 1906

Presbyterian Minister 1906 - 1911

1828 - 1911

Rev. Jesse S. Grider and Melia E. McLean Grider


Moderator of the General Assembly of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church - 1879

REV. JESSE S. GRIDER was born February 23, 1828, six miles north of Bowling Green, and is a son of John and Rebecca (Martin) Grider, who had born to them four sons and five daughters. John Grider was born near Danville, Ky., in 1789. He was a thrifty, substantial farmer, a patriot of the war of 1812, served in Gen. Harrison's army, received several wounds in the hand and arm, and died in 1852. His father, Capt. Henry Grider, was born in Pennsylvania in 1755, served as a captain in the war for independence, also in the Indian war, and was wounded in the battle of Blue Lick; he was a fine horseman and a prosperous farmer; his wife, Elizabeth Smith, of Culpeper County, Va., was a daughter of Jesse Smith, a prosperous and influential farmer of Virginia. The Grider family immigrated to Kentucky just after the Revolution, and about 1800 settled north of Bowling Green. The mother of the Rev. Mr. Grider was born in Barren County, Ky., and was a daughter of Dr. Benjamin Martin, who was born and reared in Virginia. Dr. Martin served on detail duty under Gen.Washington, in the Revolution, and was one of the first settlers on Buck Creek, where he acquired a large fortune, and during his life was known through the county as a benevolent and charitable man. Rev. Jesse S. Grider was reared on a farm, and attended the common schools, after which he entered the University at Lebanon, Tenn. In 1852 he was ordained to preach in the Cumberland Presbyterian Church, and, during the first fifteen years of his ministry, preached in the community where he was born; for the past sixteen years he has preached in Bowling Green. During the late war he preached more or less to both armies; was must respected by officers and men, and so popular that he was allowed to pass through either line unmolested. He has been appointed general endowing agent of the Cumberland Presbyterian theological school at Lebanon, Tenn., and in 1878 was moderator of the General Assembly at Memphis. March 4, 1856, he married Melia E. McLean, of Logan County, a daughter of Andrew J. and Elizabeth (Ewing) McLean, who were also born and reared in Logan County. Andrew J. McLean was a substantial and progressive farmer, also a surveyor, and was a son of George McLean, who came from North Carolina in a very early day. George was a farmer and slave holder, of Scotch-Irish extraction, and married Pamela Davidson, a daughter of Gen. William Davidson, of Irish descent. Mrs. Elizabeth (Ewing) McLean was a daughter of Judge Reuben Ewing, who married Nellie Whitsett. To Rev. Mr. Grider and wife eleven children were born: McLean, Georgie R., Lizzie, Edgar, Mattie B., and Nellie Whitsett. Mr. Grider owns a pleasant home, which contains ninety-five acres of fine land, two miles south of Bowling Green; he cast his first presidential vote for Gen. Scott.

[Source: Kentucky: A History of the State, Battle, Perrin, & Kniffin, 3rd ed.,1886. Warren County]


One of the Best Loved Cumberland Presbyterian Ministers Celebrates Fifty
Years of Married Life.

The fiftieth anniversary of the marriage of Dr. and Mrs. J. S. Grider was celebrated last Saturday at Smith's Grove, Ky., in a manner befitting so auspicious an event. In the midst of this cultured community Dr. Grider is serving his third pastorate and his popularity has grown with the lapse of years. The ladies of the congregation had charge of all details on this occasion and refreshments were served in the home, the public exercises taking place in the church near by. Those were in charge of Elder J. R. Kirby. Congratulatory remarks were made by Rev. W. J. Darby, who spoke in the name of the denomination at large, and especially as representative of "The Cumberland Presbyterian." He made mention of Dr. Grider's great popularity and wide usefulness in the church, speaking of his relation to its educational and its relief work, his moderatorship of the General Assembly and his strong personality, which had been a potent factor among his brethren of the ministry for more than a half century. Rev. E. B. Kuntz presented a poetical tribute to Dr. and Mrs. Grider and Mr. J. O. Beck closed a congratulatory address on behalf of the congregation by presenting a purse of $50.00 in gold. Mr. W. H. Cook spoke in behalf of the Baptist church, they also making a gift of gold coin. On behalf of the friends from Bowling Green, more than fifty of whom were present, Mrs. Dr. Wright read an original poem and closed with a third gift of gold coin, all attesting the high esteem in which the venerable couple are held in these communities where most of their married life has been spent.

Although Dr. Grider in 78 years of age and has given 56 years of faithful work to the church, he is still strong and active, with promise of added usefulness for years to come. The six children and six grandchildren of Dr. and Mrs. Grider, all of whom reside in Kentucky, were all present on this occasion. Throughout the entire denomination Dr. Grider is immensely popular, loved and honored by young and old alike, and all will join in wishing him and his noble wife yet many years of happy home life before they separate to pass to the other side.


To Rev. and Mrs. J.S.Grider on their Golden Wedding day, March 4, 1906.


Life's west'ring day tips unto you its russet plume,
And lays its salutation at your feet.
Gone years troop past your mem'ry's gate and strew with blooms
Your golden path--and wish you well for aye.

You've seen the gladsome, glowing days of youthful love
Pass into stately ones of age, and place
The silver crown of gentle peace your brows upon;
And yet you linger, catching sheens of gold.

Together, hand in hand, and ever soul to soul,
You've come toward the wrinkled side of life;
But, lo, no surly wrinkles grip your heart, but smooth
Contentment, like an infant's cheek, is yours.

And storms you've weathered, blasty days, and drear, you've met;
And sometimes in the valley, 'neath the shade
Of darksome care you've stood, and then again a-top
The brow of gladsome visions' sun-kissed mount.

You've known life's bitter thrall--the tear-fount's welling stream,
And what it means to feel a breaking heart;
And yet in all your many mellowed, love-bound years,
You've had within, the melody of grace.

God has been wondrous good to you these years agone
In fruitage days and child-love's tenderness;
And blest your slowly ascent to the high noon hour
Of your half cent'ry's best and golden day.

Go on, still hand in hand and heart to heart, until
Together you shall stand within the full
And finished measure of a day 'yond many more
Than fifty golden years of wedded bliss.

And may life's song-birds never hush their lilting lays
Within the Eden of your heart, nor streams
Of vernal freshness cease to flow, and flow for you
This side the day of life's eternal youth.

Bowling Green, Ky.

[Source: The Cumberland Presbyterian, March 8, 1906, page 307]

Three Score Years in the Ministry

Dr. J. S. Grider Celebrates the Sixtieth Anniversary of His Licensure to Preach

The people of Smith's Grove, Ky., and vicinity, including a large delegation of sixty or more persons from Bowling Green and some from distant points, gathered in large numbers at the Presbyterian Church last Sunday to congratulate the beloved pastor and help him celebrate the sixtieth anniversary of his licensure to preach the gospel. At the morning service Dr. Grider preached a special sermon from the text 1 Samuel :12, recounting some of the principal facts of his long service in the ministry, and at an afternoon service, presided over by the editor of "The Presbyterian Advance," brief addresses were made by Dr. R. W. Binkley, of Bowling Green, by all of the members of the session of that church, Messrs. Rogers, Posey, Miller, Ennis, Helm, Townsend, Temple, and Kirby, who had come in a body of recognition of Dr. Grider's work at Bowling Green, where he founded the church, and by several other visiting friends.

Almost all of Dr. Grider's long service as a minister has been rendered in Warren County. Many of those who spoke had known and loved him from their infancy, and in several cases he was known as the warm personal friend of the fathers of the speakers and is known and loved to-day by their children. Tender memories were awakened as the incidents and experiences of two or more generations were referred to and the testimonies to the high value of the pastor's long and beautiful Christian life were such as rarely come to any man. Men who were led to Christ by him in their youth now have grandchildren who sit at his feet and feel the influence of his life, for at eighty-three he is still the active and successful pastor of a flourishing church.

In his anniversary sermon, the venerable preacher emphasized the recognition of God in life. It was on Monday morning after the first Sunday in October, 1850, that he was licensed to preach at a meeting of presbytery held at an old meeting house called Point Pleasant and situated on the Green River, near Morgantown, in Butler County. Shortly after, he preached his first sermon at a little log schoolhouse--built of black jack logs, the cracks stopped with red clay--near Woodbury, Ky. From that day to this he has been regularly in the work of the ministry.

In speaking of his early life and of the many influences which help to form character, he referred tenderly to the hallowed impressions of his home life. He was reared in the lap of piety and dedicated to God in infancy. His parents were deeply sincere when they vowed to bring up their children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. The family altar was a regular institution, and good books were always accessible. In these things he saw the hand of God.

He was converted at the age of fifteen and went through several years of severe struggle before he finally determined to devote his life to the ministry. Other callings appealed to him, and he began the study of law, but yielded at last to the divine call. Even then the outlook was not encouraging. He was in feeble physical condition, and the family doctor advised him not to try to preach, predicting that he would not live a year, but that doctor was badly mistaken.

[Source: Clipping from a Bowling Green, Kentucky newspaper, October 1910]


Beloved Man Answers the Last Call in His Home in Smith's Grove


Surrounded by the members of his family and loving friends, the Rev. Dr. Jesse Smith Grider, one of the oldest and best known Cumberland Presbyterian ministers in the State and one of Warren county's most beloved citizens, passed peacefully away this morning at 9:15 o'clock at his home in Smith's Grove. He was conscious up to a few minutes before the end, when he sank into a deep and peaceful sleep from which he never aroused. For several days he had been aware that the end was near, and with the thought of dear ones uppermost in his mind, left many messages to those whom he loved.

Stricken in January

Dr. Grider was stricken with a complication of heart and kidney trouble early in January and for several weeks his life was despaired of. He rallied, however, and appeared to be greatly improved, but three weeks ago, another change for the worse occurred. For several days his death has been hourly expected.

Born in This County.

Jesse Smith Grider was born near the Grider school house, this county, eighty-three years ago on February 23. He received his early education in this county and later began the study of law in Cumberland University, Lebanon, Tenn. While thus engaged he decided to study for the ministry and a few years later was graduated from the Theological Department of Cumberland University. For nearly sixty-one years Dr. Grider was a minister of God's word, having charges in Russellville, Mt. Olivet, Shiloh, Mayfield, Bowling Green and Smith's Grove. He organized the Cumberland Presbyterian church in this city in 1869, and for twenty-five years served as its pastor. For several years he was financial agent for Cumberland University, and for the past fourteen years had been pastor of the Smith's Grove Cumberland Presbyterian church.

Minister Over 60 Years.

On October 30, 1910, Dr. Grider celebrated his sixtieth anniversary as a minister with a special service in his church, which was conducted by many prominent ministers and attended by hundreds of his friends and admirers. Dr. Grider was married March 4, 1856, to Miss Amelia McLean, of Logan county, who survives him. The following children, all of whom were at his bedside when the end came, also survive: Edgar Grider, of this city; Mack Grider, of Smith's Grove; Mrs. W. R. Ruble, Smith's Grove; Mrs. Luther R. Porter, Merkle, Texas; Mrs. A. S. Anderson, Mayfield, and Mrs. Henry S. Cullen, Lexington.

Was a Beloved Citizen.

In addition to his worth as a minister there never lived in Warren county a man of finer character or nobler traits than Dr. Grider. During his long residence in this county he won the love and admiration of more persons, perhaps, than any other man that ever lived in our midst. Possessed with a gentle spirit, kindly nature and charitable disposition, Dr. Grider made friends with all with whom he came in contact, and no man could have died whose death would have caused more genuine sorrow and deep regret.

Funeral on Sunday

Funeral services will be held from the Cumberland Presbyterian church in Smith's Grove Sunday morning at 11 o'clock, the Rev. Dr. J. E. Clark, editor of the Presbyterian Advance, of Nashville and Dr. R. W. Binkley, pastor of the Eleventh Street Presbyterian church this city, officiating. The interment will be made in the Smith's Grove cemetery.

[Source: Bowling Green Messenger [Bowling Green, Kentucky], March 31, 1911]

Grider Family Information

Henry Grider
[son of ? Grider and ? ?]
born: 1755 - Pennsylvania
wife: Elizabeth Smith
[daughter of Jesse Smith and ? ?]

Children of Henry Grider and Elizabeth Smith Grider:

1. John Grider
born: 1789 - near Danville, Boyle County, Kentucky
wife: Rebecca Martin
[daughter of Benjamin Martin and ? ?]]
born: Barren County, Kentucky

Children of John Grider and Rebecca Martin Grider:

1.1. Jesse Smith Grider
Cumberland Presbyterian Minister
born: 23 February 1828 - Warren County, Kentucky
died: 31 March 1911 - Smith's Grove, Warren County, Kentucky
buried: 2 April 1911 - Odd Fellows Cemetery - Smith's Grove, Warren County, Kentucky
married: 4 March 1856
wife: Amelia Ewing McLean
[daughter of Andrew J. McLean and Elizabeth C. Ewing]
born: 1828 - Logan County, Kentucky
died: 1911
buried: Odd Fellows Cemetery - Smith's Grove, Warren County, Kentucky

Children of Jesse Smith Grider and Melia E. McLean Grider:

1.1.1. McLean "Mack" Grider

1.1.2. Georgie R. Grider

1.1.3. Lizzie Grider

1.1.4. Edgar Grider
wife: ?

Children of Edgar Grider and ?: Paul Grider
wife: Maxsey ?

Children of Paul Grider and Maxsey ?: Edgar Grider
Presbyterian Minister Margaret Grider

1.1.5. Mattie B. Grider

1.1.6. Nellie Whitsett Grider

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Page Updated May 27, 2011