Biography of Enoch Callaway

Enoch Callaway - 1792-1859

Enoch Callaway was one of the most useful Baptist ministers that ever lived in Georgia, and he owed his usefulness and influence to a sincere piety and a godly walk, united to great industry, zeal, earnestness, promptness and tender sympathy of nature. His decided character and determined energy made him a great worker; and the general confidence in his integrity and veracity gave success to his work. Few have accomplished so much in their field of labor as he, in building up and establishing the Redeemer's cause; and yet he was a man of but little culture. The common, old field schools of his day furnished his only means of education, aside from his own individual efforts. In religion the Bible was his sole textbook, and to it he gave diligent daily study, comparing Scripture with Scripture in order to ascertain its import, and, on his knees, imploring the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit.

As a pastor he was most faithful; as a minister he was humble and unostentatious; as a preacher he excelled in exhortation, his sermons being usually extemporaneous, combining the doctrinal, practical and experimental. As a speaker he was slow and unattractive, especially in the beginning; but as he advanced, his interest would increase, want of fervor would gradually diminish, and finally disappear, a hallowed zeal and earnestness would take possession of him, and real eloquence would close the sermon begun with hesitation and seeming coldness.

In principle and practice he was a decided missionary, the true secret of his success consisting in godliness of life, abundance of labor and consecration of spirit. In doctrine he was a thorough-going Baptist, leaving his impress as such wherever he labored; and among nearly three hundred of his descendants now living, it is said that all are Baptist who are professors of religion.

Rev. Enoch Callaway, it will be seen, was one of the pioneer Baptists of Georgia, who accomplished a great and glorious work. He was born in Wilkes Co., GA, September 14th, 1792, was converted and baptized in December 1808, and united with Sardis Church, at the call of which he was ordained November 7th, 1823. He was pastor of Sardis, Reboboth, County Line and Beaverdam Churches in Wilkes County, and Baird's and Millstown Churches in Oglethorpe County. His pastorship of Sardis Church continued for about thirty-two years, and his connection, in the same relation, with Rehoboth for twenty-five. of course the results of his labors are not accurately known, but thousands were baptized by him, and to his instrumentality fully as many own their conversion.

He was united in matrimony to Miss Martha Reeves, December 5th, 1811, and had fourteen children, four of whom died in childhood. He, himself, departed this life September 12th, 1859, at the age of 67. For four years he endured an affliction which was at times inexpressibly severe, yet his resignation, patience and humility were so great that he was never heard to murmur at the bitterness of the cup mingled for his lips. to him death had no terrors, and proved but a welcome messenger to bid him enter into the possession of an incorruptible and unfading inheritance.

History of Georgia Baptists, as found in Callaway Baptist Preachers by Timothy Walton Callaway,D.D. (La Grange, GA: Fuller E. Callaway Foundation, 1953), p. 16


Rev. Enoch Callaway’s Family

Enoch Callaway, the youngest son of John Callaway and Bethany Arnold Callaway, was born in Wilkes county, Georgia in 1792. He joined Sardis Baptist Church, nearby, under the pastorate of Jesse Mercer in 1808, and was ordained there as a Baptist minister in 1823.

He married December 5, 1823, Martha Reeves, daughter of Abner Reeves and Sarah Wright Reeves, mother of Tyre Reeves, who lived one-half mile west of Sardis Church, where the marriage is said to have occurred, in Tyre Reeve's house, built of hewn heart pine logs. Abner Reeves and family had moved from Abbeville, S.C. across the Savannah River to Wilkes Co., GA.

So well built was this house that near the end of the nineteenth century, perhaps a hundred years after its construction, it was dismantled and two or three small houses erected elsewhere from its hewn logs, which were still standing in 1925.

Enoch and Martha Reeves Callaway had fourteen children, four of whom died in childhood. they lived in a four or five room frame house on a hilltop one-fifth of a mile southwest of the residence, residing there probably until his mother's death in 1841 (?) 44.

He inherited two-thirds of the plantation by John Callaway's Will in 1821, and managed his Mother's business affairs until her death when he inherited the remaining third of the land.

The plantation had been increased by purchase of land until it was approximately two thousand acres at the time of John Callaway's death, though not more than one-third of it was in cultivation until after 1900. This was due to some of the land being unsuited to cultivation, and to social and economic conditions.

Enoch Callaway was a careful, practical man and prospered moderately, though he received little pay from the churches he served as pastor, and that frequently being tendered him as gifts by individual members of the churches -- probably his gross receipts from the churches served did not exceed $600.00 annually.

His associates in the ministry wrote of him that he had little school training, but that he studied zealously, and by reason of earnestness and integrity his influence as a preacher and as a leader grew. His reputation for justice and moderation made him widely known as a counsellor and a peacemaker.

He served many churches a pastor and is said to have baptized thousands of converts. He was so respected and loved that he was commonly called "Uncle Enoch" and many children of the section were named for him.

Enoch Callaway assisted actively in the organization of several Baptist churches as shown by the records of the Churches, The Georgia Baptist Association, and the Georgia Baptist Convention.

He was a member of the Executive Committee of the Georgia Baptist Convention 1822 (32?) - 1838, which had supervision of Mercer Institute, and was a messenger sent from Sardis Baptist Church, Wilkes County, to the organization meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention in Augusta, Georgia, in 1845.

A large family was reared by Enoch and Martha Reeves Callaway, each of whom married early in life.

Though their home had the usual comforts of the period, provided out of the modest income, management was sufficiently good to provide substantial gifts of property to each child at marriage, to assist in establishing a new home, and this approximated $6,000.00 = value to each child.

Martha Reeves Callaway was said by the family to have been a woman of definite opinions and some managerial ability, but as she was known as "Grandma Patsy" or "Aunt Patsy" by relatives and acquaintances, and as her home was frequently filled by members of the family and friends as guests, her "Management" must have been very acceptable.

Enoch Callaway became ill of an incurable disease in 1855, and for the ensuring years his Christian fortitude and patience were notable, as recalled by his family and friends.

There is a brief biography of his life in "The History of Georgia Baptists," published in 1881, and a sketch concerning him in "Reminiscences of Georgia Baptists," by S. G. Hodges, D.D., and an account of his life in "Callaway Baptist Preachers" by Rev. T. W. Callaway, 1917.

He was pastor of the following Baptist Churches: Sardis, Rehoboth, County Line, Clark Station, and Beaverdam, all in the Georgia Baptist Association.

About 1841 Enoch Callaway had the present resident on the plantation built of whip-sawed lumber, bu salve carpenters assisted and directed by his oldest son, William R. Callaway, who made the doors, blinds, sash and mantels, a creditable job of cabinet work, with only hand tools. The rip (whip) saw used in making this lumber was still at the residence in 1945. He learned this at Mercer Institute about 1835, who was skilled . . . craftsmanship.

It is of interest that Enoch Callaway with hand tools made the large key for the lock on the door of the "sugar closet" under the stairway in house; the lock having been given him in Lincolnton, Georgia (from demolished jail ??) while pastor there.

The lock taken from the old jail at Lincolnton, Georgia because the key had been lost was given to him. All of the trim lumber in the house was hand dressed by carpenters, and it was well done, though it may have been tedious, and hard work.

As a minister he was one of only three or four in the County who regularly filled in ans signed the marriage licenses of the couples whom he married and returend them for record.

He is said to have made by hand barrels and tubs for use on his farm, bound with hicory strips for hoops. E.A.C. has a cabinet of drawers made of curly maple, a nice piece of hand work, made by him.

He was pastor of the following baptist churches in the Georgia Association of Baptist churches:

1. In 1824 Enoch Callaway was called to assist Wyche Jackson in the pastoral charge of the church (Rehoboth).

In 1825 they as joint pastors, resigned, and Enoch Callaway was elected pastor. He served the church until 1855 and resigned. From minutes of the Georgia Baptist Association for 1884.

2. Rehoboth 1825-1855

3. Bethesda 1827

4. Ebenezer 1827-1830

5. Sardis 1828-1859

6. County Line 1846-1855

7. Clarks Station 1858-1859

8. Beaverdam 1859

9. Millstone Church in Sarepta Association. 1824-38, Delegate

An Account of The John Callaway Family and Home in Wilkes County, Georgia by Brantly Mercer Callaway, II (1983), pp. 20-26


Family of Rev. Enoch Callaway

1 Rev. Enoch Callaway b: September 14, 1792 in Wilkes Co., GA d: September 12, 1859 in Wilkes Co., GA

.. +Martha "Patsy" Reeves b: April 08, 1796 in Abbeville Co., SC m: December 05, 1811 in Washington, Wilkes Co., GA

d: March 10, 1879 in Wilkes Co., GA

............2 Elizabeth B. Callaway b: November 24, 1812 in Wilkes Co., GA d: January 03, 1902 in Bairdstown, Greene Co., GA

................ +William Owen Cheney b: September 30, 1809 in Bairdstown, Greene Co., GA m: November 05, 1829 in 
Wilkes Co., GA d: August 06, 1871 in Greene Co., GA ............2 John R. Callaway b: 1814 in Wilkes Co., GA d: 1826 in childhood from a fall from horse ............2 Sally Callaway b: 1816 in Wilkes Co., GA d: 1821 in childhood ............2 Lydia Callaway b: May 07, 1818 in Wilkes Co., GA d: April 07, 1892 in Wilkes Co., GA ................ +Christopher Binns b: 1811 in Wilkes Co., GA d: 1881 ............2 William Reeves Callaway b: March 02, 1820 in Wilkes Co., GA d: December 17, 1894 in Wilkes Co., GA ................ +Rhoda Anne Cheney b: November 14, 1821 m: January 17, 1838 in Greene Co., GA d: Feb. 09, 1848 in Wilkes
Co., GA ............ *2nd Wife of William Reeves Callaway: ................ +Jane Smith m: Aft. 1849 ............ *3rd Wife of William Reeves Callaway: ................ +Nancy "Nannie" Maxwell m: November 05, 1863 in Wilkes Co., GA ............2 Dr. Reuben S. Callaway b: February 22, 1822 in Wilkes Co., GA d: 1853 in Wilkes Co., GA ................ +Sarah Ann L. Callaway b: 1829 in Washignton, Wilkes Co., GA m: January 22, 1846 d: 1909 in Wilkes Co., GA ............ *2nd Wife of Dr. Reuben S. Callaway: ................ +Sarah Drake ............2 Martha Callaway b: December 24, 1823 in Wilkes Co., GA d: 1895 in Wilkes Co., GA ................ +James H. Spratlin b: 1815 d: 1871 ............2 Mary Bethany Callaway b: February 23, 1825 in Wilkes Co., GA d: May 04, 1908 in Athens, Clarke Co., GA ................ +Capt. James Frederick Geer b: September 21, 1824 in Greene Co., GA m: January 18, 1844 in Wilkes Co., GA d: March 01, 1905 in Penfield, Greene Co., GA ............2 Sarah Ann Callaway b: April 02, 1828 in Wilkes Co., GA d: 1912 in College Park, Fulton Co., GA ................ +Rev. Thomas Napoleon Rhodes b: July 04, 1822 in Greene Co., GA m: November 22, 1848 in Wilkes Co., GA d: August 24, 1909 in College Park, Fulton Co., GA ............2 Enoch G. Callaway b: February 1830 in Wilkes Co., GA d: 1843 in Wilkes Co., GA ............2 Rev. Abner Reeves Callaway b: February 06, 1832 in Wilkes Co., GA d: Sept. 23, 1893 in La Grange,
Troup Co., GA ................ +Sarah Janes Howard b: December 28, 1835 in Wilkes Co., GA m: October 15, 1852 in Washington,
Wilkes Co., GA d: September 10, 1878 in Troup Co., GA ............ *2nd Wife of Rev. Abner Reeves Callaway: ................ +Mary Welbourne Ely b: August 10, 1842 in Muscogee Co., GA m: June 24, 1879 in Atlanta, Fulton Co., GA d: March 27, 1915 in La Grange, Troup Co., GA ............2 Sanders Callaway b: February 1834 in Wilkes Co., GA d: 1835 in childhood ............2 Elizabeth Ann "Eliza" Callaway b: August 09, 1836 in Wilkes Co., GA d: September 29, 1895 in Wilkes Co., GA ................ +Dr. Frank Cheney, M.D. b: 1821 in of Greene Co., GA m: January 29, 1852 in Wilkes Co., GA d: 1874 in of Covington, Newton Co., GA ............2 Rev. Brantley Mercer Callaway. D.D. b: November 24, 1838 in Wilkes Co., GA d: Sept. 22, 1902 in
Wilkes Co., GA ................ +Lucy Brooks Howard b: November 01, 1837 in Oglethorpe Co., GA m: January 11, 1859 in La Grange,
Troup Co., GA d: January 15, 1915 in Wilkes Co., GA

Transcribed and submitted by: Samuel Taylor Geer

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