William Jordan Haden

Cumberland Presbyterian Minister

1837 - 1912


By Rev. J. L. Price.

"Billy Jordan Haden," as he was familiarly called by his friends, the persuasive preacher, the fluent conversationalist, the ready wit of Logan Presbytery, was born in Logan County, Kentucky, February 17, 1837. He was the youngest of six children born to Jefferson and Betsey Marton Haden.

In early life, perhaps at the age of seventeen, at "Old New Hope" church, under the ministry of Rev. Granville Mansfield, he accepted Christ as his personal Savior.

In early life, he heard the divine call of his Master, saying: "Go preach my word; tell the glad tidings of good news unto fallen humanity." He heeded the call and became a candidate for the ministry, and in due time was licensed to preach, and later ordained to the full work of the ministry. The most of his ministerial life was spent in Logan Presbytery, and he was always considered one of the strong men and one of the stand-bys in that presbytery.

Brother Haden was educated in the country schools, with the exception of one year, which was spent at Cumberland University, Lebanon, Tenn. His niece, Mrs. A. M. Carley, in writing me, says, He was indeed a cultured man, fluent in conversation, facile of pen and universally entertaining, either around the fireside or in the sacred desk. He was of the mild type of preacher, persuasive, but never harsh or abusive in the slightest degree, "noble man of God, true to his home. He left a wife and one daughter, for whom he is waiting and watching to welcome to his eternal home, and rejoicing among the angels.

His memory was remarkable, being able to recall the minutest details of incidents that occurred in his youth, and repeating them with wonderful accuracy, though not tiresomely so, to the very last months of his life.

Brother Haden's ministry was chiefly to weak at all, but he never mentioned this to his session. In this possibly he made a mistake, as many of our early preachers did. Those churches should have been educated to pay something, though small it may have been. It would have been better for his successor and a blessing to the churches themselves. But the true missionary spirit filled his soul and he always worked along this line.

Brother Haden was a Cumberland Presbyterian by birth, by education and from conviction, and remained true to the principles instilled into his early life. And when the trouble came up and everything looked like the old ship had been deserted, like the Spartan that he was, he stood true to his post and died loyal to his convictions. He was one of the most unique characters the Cumberland Presbyterian Church ever produced. He was a veritable encyclopedia of wit and humor. He could entertain his friends for hours with incidents of his life. Had he been better known, he would have figured as one of the great men of the church.

He was a Commissioner to the General Assembly at McKeesport, Penn., Bowling Green, Ky., and Dixon, [sic: Dickson] Tenn. And like Rev. John B. Lowey, of Princeton Presbytery, he served Logan Presbytery in the capacity of Moderator oftener than any other man of his day. He was conversant with parliamentary rules, presided with dignity and his rulings were almost universally accepted. The last time he served his Presbytery in this capacity was in April, 1912, just two months before his death, though not able to stand he sat and dispatched business with the eye and the hand of a skilled parliamentarian. An educator of wide experience said at the close of this Presbytery: "As a presiding officer, he easily excels."

Practical, common sense characterized his deliberations politically, socially and ecclesiastically.

The history of Kentucky Synod and especially Logan Presbytery would have been incomplete without the life of this grand old man, co-temporary and co-laborer with such men as Dr. J. M. Gill and Dr. M. M. Smith, Hence your scribe used some energy and tact to secure that data whereby it might be written. I acknowledge my indebtedness to Mrs. A. M. Carley, Auburn, Ky., for much of the material.

[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 [sic: Gratefully] Acknowledged. Nashville, Tenn.: Cumberland Presbyterian Board of Publication, 1915, pages 302-305]

HADEN.--The subject of this sketch, Rev. W. J. Haden, son of Jefferson and Betsy Haden, was born February 17, 1837, in Logan County, Ky., where he spent his entire life, with the exception of seven years, which were spent at McMinnville, Tenn., for the purpose of educating his two noble daughters. He professed faith in Christ in early life and united with the Cumberland Presbyterian Church at New Hope, where his membership remained until his death. Very early after he united with the Church, he yielded to the call of the gospel ministry and was received under the care of Logan Presbytery and proved to be one of the most consecrated, faithful ministers this presbytery ever had. When the union question came up he, in company with Rev. M. M. Smith and Dr. J. M. Gill, who have for fifty years been recognized authority on questions of theology, set themselves against organic union because of the impassible gulf which still separates Cumberlandism and Calvinism. The impregnable influence of these three grand old leaders has offset misrepresentations, meteoric speeches, etc., until Logan Presbytery stands today with fully three-fourths of its former membership. Logan Presbytery should erect monuments to their sacred memory. Notwithstanding failing health, Brother Haden stood by his post until within a very few weeks of his death, which occurred June 4, 1912. At the spring meeting of Logan Presbytery he was unanimously elected as Moderator. He filled this position with delight to all. At the last meeting of the presbytery we felt sadly the loss of his safe council and his happy, cheerful disposition. How true were the words of one of the Supreme Judges: "He was the finest conversationalist I ever talked with." He could entertain all classes in a way which was not only pleasing but elevating. He has left a companion and daughter, Miss Fannie, whose constant watch care and devotion conspired to make his life happy and useful. It can truly be said that he "fought a good fight, he kept the faith." We shall meet him again in the sweet by and by.    S. H. ESHMAN.

[Source: The Cumberland Presbyterian, November 21, 1912, page 751]

Ministers Lost by Death

Haden, W. J.
Logan Presbytery
June 4, 1912

[Source: Minutes of the General Assembly of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church, 1913, page 311]

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Updated November 5, 2006