Marion Zellner

Cumberland Presbyterian Minister

1817 - 1895


Photographs courtesy of great-great-great granddaughter, Christina Mosley

ZELLNER.--Rev. M. Zellner passed away peacefully Nov. 10, 1895, at his home in Fayette County, Tenn. He was born in Georgia in July, 1817, and in childhood came with his parents to Maury County, Tenn. He embraced religion in 1834, at a camp meeting held by the Methodists, and afterwards moved to Oxford, Miss., and joined the Cumberland Presbyterian Church. He was married to M. A. Alexander in 1834, and removed, in 1846, to Fayette County, Tenn., where he remained until his death. He was received as a candidate under the care of the Memphis Presbytery, in 1848, and was ordained in 1857. Although his education was limited, he had by nature a fine mind. By his diligence and perseverance in the use of his mind he soon became a man of more than ordinary information. He soon became popular as a preacher, and was ever in demand as a pastor. His efficiency was demonstrated by the long pastorate he held at his last charge, which was one of more than twenty years, and was recognized as one of the best organized churches in the presbytery. He was a warm friend and supporter of all the enterprises of his church. He took especial interest in young men preparing for the ministry, and for years served as Chairman of Committee on Examination. The writer remembers with pleasure the encouragement received from him. As a presbyter he had few equals. No member of the Memphis Presbytery has, perhaps, been, since his inability to attend, so missed in its meetings as he has. He leaves an aged widow, who was truly a helpmate through all the years of his faithful and useful life. He also leaves seven children, and a host of admiring friends.


Gainsville, Tenn.
[Source: The Cumberland Presbyterian, January 2, 1896, page 388]


By Rev. T. H. Padgett.

Rev. M. Zellner to whose virtues and memory this sketch is devoted was born in the State of Georgia in July of the year 1817. While he was yet a child he with his parents moved to Maury county, Tennessee. In the year 1834 he embraced religion at a camp meeting. Some time after this he moved to Oxford, Miss., where he joined the Cumberland Presbyterian Church. In the same year of his conversion he was married to Miss M. A. Alexander. In 1846 he returned to the State of Tennessee, settling near the town of Hickory Withe in Fayette county. In the year 1848, having convictions as to a call to the ministry, he was received as a candidate under the care of the Memphis Presbytery, and was in 1857 ordained to the full work of the ministry. Brother Zellner died on Sunday morning, November 10, 1895, at the advanced age of seventy-eight years, he having thus gone beyond his three-score and ten years, and by reason of strength having almost attained to the greater period of four-score years. From the above dates it will be seen that Brother Zellner was in the work of the ordained ministry for a period of thirty-eight years. For many years Brother Zellner was the subject of great and trying afflictions, but in the midst of it all he did what he could with the greatest Christian fortitude.

The writer of this sketch was often at the home of Brother Zellner while he was living and therefore he knows something of his admirable home-life. He also knew him as a co-presbyter for he was associated with him in that capacity. Besides this the writer and Brother Zellner labored together more than once in protracted meetings.

Because of such intimate acquaintance and because of some additional facts gathered during a recent visit to Mrs. Zellner at the old home place, the author of this sketch can say with confidence and truth:

1. That although it has been five years since Brother Zellner's death yet there is a host of friends of this good man who will hail with delight the opportunity to see the face of one they loved so well even in picture form, and who will also be greatly pleased to see again in print any lines which may speak of his virtues.

2. Brother Zellner was a true man, both in the family and in the wider sphere of his citizenship. This was learned from observation and also from the general reputation borne by Brother Zellner prior to his death and since. The writer does not remember ever to have heard a word contrary to this general statement, but many times he heard and saw much to warrant what is here said.

3. Brother Zellner was a preacher of no mean ability, and his many efforts in his appointed work were crowned with happy success. During his long ministry he preached at Pleasant Grove, Shady Grove, Mt. Carmel, Morning Sun, Hickory Withe, Mt. Pleasant, Germantown, Collierville and other places. He was instrumental in establishing churches at Morning Sun, Hickory Withe, Galloway, Bartlett and other places.

4. Brother Zellner was a fine presbyter. This was on all-hands conceded by those who knew him in that capacity. The same cannot be said of everyone whether among the dead or the living. Brother Zellner knew our Book and customs to perfection. Besides, his patience and grace made it possible to him so to present his points and plans as to cause but little friction. Thus he kept the favor of all and was almost sure to carry any point he rightly sought.

5. Brother Zellner was a friend to all the enterprises of the church and cheerfully did what he could for their support. He not only gave of his own means, but he interested others in their behalf. He took an especial interest in encouraging young men who sought to go into the ministry, and in that way has left a large influence in the world--an influence which, though he is dead, lives in the life and works of others.

6. Brother and Mrs. Zellner were the parents of ten children, four of whom are dead. The wife and mother still lives in the old home near Hickory Withe. Their daughter Fannie, who since became Mrs. McNeely, lives with her. They are sweet-spirited and intelligent Christian women. John W. Zellner lives a few miles away. He is a good citizen and a fine worker in the church of which he is a member. Another son, J. A. Zellner, lives at Milan, Tenn., while H. Partner Zellner lives on the old homestead. Two daughters of these parents are Mrs. Anna Alexander and Mrs. Jossie Wilson.

7. Brother Zellner was Chaplain of the Thirteenth Tennessee Calvary, and at the time of his death he was the only minister living who was a member of the Memphis Presbytery when he joined it.

Of Brother Zellner it may be truly said that he fought a good fight, that he finished his course, that he kept the faith, and that he is now in the enjoyment of that crown of righteousness which the Lord shall give to all in that day; or to use the figure of another, "He came to his grave in a full age, like as a shock of corn cometh in his season."

Memphis, Tenn.
[Source: The Cumberland Presbyterian, November 22, 1900, page 586]

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Updated October 13, 2004