James Levin Price

Cumberland Presbyterian Minister

1850 - 1930



By Rev. S. H. Eshman.

Rev. James Levin Price was born in Webster county, [in 1850 this was Hopkins County] Kentucky, near Dixon, the county seat January 18, 1850. His father and mother were Richen, and Sarah Jane (nee Nichols) Price. His grandparents on both sides moved from North Carolina to Kentucky, ad little more than one hundred years ago. His father's family and ancestors were Cumberland Presbyterians, and his mothers family and ancestors were Methodists. His father lived to be nearly ninety-six years old, and died a Cumberland Presbyterian.

Young Price was reared on a farm and lived with his father until he was 24 years old. He attended the common schools of the country, which lasted about three months of the year, until after his majority. At the age of twenty-one he entered Providence Academy, under Professor W. S. Coleman, who is still living and was recognized as one of the leading instructors of his day. He remained in school ten months. This finished his education except what he gained from reading, observation and the school room as teacher. In fact he has always been a student.

In the fall of 1873 he was married to Miss Helen Bourland, an old school mate, this union was a happy one and blessed with six children. The mother died June 3, 1889. Since that time three of the boys have passed to the great beyond. During the year of 1874 he became very anxious in regard to his soul's salvation, and sought, and found peace at a meeting held at old Shiloh church in October of the same year, conducted by Revs. G. W. Bone, James F. Messick, and W. W. Wynns all of precious memory. He was received as a member of this congregation and baptized by Rev. G. W. Bone a few days after his conversion. He can point out the time and place of his regeneration, and has always been a strong believer in a time and place religion. Soon after his conversion he felt impressed to enter the ministry, but owing to natural timidity, a hesitancy in speaking, and a limited education, he fought against and warded it off for nearly four years, but God knows best, at least he feels so now, and ordered it otherwise. So in October 1878 he knocked at the door of Anderson Presbytery, which was in session, at Cairo, Henderson county, Kentucky, and was received under its care as a candidate for the ministry. This was done against the advice of his friends, and many and strong were the prophecies that it would be a failure, and from a human standpoint it looked like this would be true. In the spring of 1879 at Rose Creek Church in Hopkins county, Kentucky, he was G. W. Dennis, A. C. Rice, and Richard Guynn were licensed by Anderson Presbytery. In October 1880 he, with Richard Guynn and Rev. J. E. Martin, now of Arkansas, were ordained to the full work of the ministry at Poplar Grove, McLain county, Kentucky, Anderson Presbytery. The ordination sermon was preached by Rev. W. H. Browning. Text "Preach the Word," 2 Timothy 4:2. This exhortation the preacher has studiously endeavored to carry out in his work. He has largely been a one book man, backing up his preaching by "Thus saith the Lord." His early ministry was a very hard and difficult problem being hedged about and handicapped in many ways. He was poor, had a large family, and but little natural aptness for the work. The consequence was that he had to take little poor churches, but he fought bravely on and preached to many of these, getting but little compensation from a financial standpoint. But he looks back to those days as some of the happiest in his life, and would say to young men preparing for the ministry "Despise not the days of small things." In the spring of 1878 he was called to the Morgantown group of churches in Butler county, Kentucky, in the bounds of Logan Presbytery, where he remained two years, during this time the wife of his young manhood died, and was laid away in Morgantown Cemetery on a high bluff overlooking the beautiful green river. In February, 1899, he took charge of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church at Bakersfield, California, and served it one year. In November 1900 he returned to Providence, Kentucky. He has been pastor of many prominent churches of Princeton Presbytery.

Pending the merger and after its consummation was declared, besides the work done in his own Presbytery he served Elkton Congregation, the home of Dr. J. M. Gill, for three years, and New Hebron Congregation for two years, both in Logan Presbytery. In Owensboro Presbytery he served Pleasant Ridge Church for two years, and Mt. Zion for one year and a half. In Leitchfield Presbytery he served Irvington Congregation for 18 months, during which time he was Corresponding Secretary and Treasurer of the Synodical Board of Church Extension of Kentucky Synod, for three years and five months, was Synodical Superintendent of the same for one year and seven months. While thus engaged both as Secretary and Superintendent Rev. J. T. Barbee was his co-laborer and true yoke-fellow under the banner of Prince Immanuel. In the spring of 1906 before the meeting of the general assembly at Decatur, Illinois, in May, he led the fight, being ably assisted by Rev. M. M. Smith and others in Princeton Presbytery against talented opposition. He will leave the results for those who were present to tell suffice say that when the vote was taken that it stood eleven for the merger and thirty-three against it.

At this writing he is the successful pastor of Dyer, Tenn., and is one of the deep thinkers of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church--Just slightly on the shady side of life, but his mental ability, and spiritual power are by no means on the decline.

His present companion, who is the light of his home and the joy of his heart, was Miss Nola Lee Melton, of Providence, Ky. Eight children are living to comfort his old age. We trust that at least one of them may be called, and wear worthily the mantle of the father.

[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 198-202]

Price, J. L., Dixon, Ky.
Licentiate - Anderson Presbytery - Green River Synod
[Source: Minutes of the General Assembly of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church, 1880, page 109]

1880 Directory used in General Assembly Presbyterian Directory for Anderson Presbytery.

Price, J. L., Clayville, Ky.
Minister - Anderson Presbytery - Green River Synod
[Source: Minutes of the General Assembly of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church, 1882, page 111]

Price, J. L., Clay, Ky.
Minister - Anderson Presbytery - Green River Synod
[Source: Minutes of the General Assembly of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church, 1883, page 120]


Price, J. L., Woodbury, Ky.
Minister - Logan Presbytery - Kentucky Synod
Pastor - Little Muddy Cumberland Presbyterian Church
Pastor - Morgantown Cumberland Presbyterian Church
Pastor - Woodbury Cumberland Presbyterian Church
[Source: Minutes of the General Assembly of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church, 1890, pages 124 & 184]


Price, J. L., charge, Providence, Ky.
Minister - Princeton Presbytery - Kentucky Synod
Pastor - Bells Mines Cumberland Presbyterian Church
Pastor - Cave Spring Cumberland Presbyterian Church
Pastor - Nebo Cumberland Presbyterian Church
[Source: Minutes of the General Assembly of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church, 1906, pages 72a & 160a]


Rev. J. L. Price, of Little Rock-Burrow Presbytery, Arkansas Synod, was elected Moderator.
May 18-23, 1916 - Birmingham, Alabama
[Source: Minutes of the General Assembly of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church, 1916, page 19]

The General Assembly was called to order by the Moderator, Rev. J. L. Price, of West Prairie Presbytery, Synod of Missouri.
General Assembly, May 17-22, 1917, Lincoln, Illinois
Minister - Anderson Presbytery - Green River Synod
Minister - Price, J. L., Campbell, Mo. - West Prairie Presbytery - Missouri Synod
Pastor - Campbell Cumberland Presbyterian Church
[Source: Minutes of the General Assembly of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church, 1917, pages 13, 187 & 265]


Report of Stated Clerk on Mortuary
Princeton Presbytery - Rev. J. L. Price
[Source: Minutes of the General Assembly of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church, 1931, page 93]

Link to his tombstone

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Updated April 15, 2010