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Rev. James Dryborough Lumsden

THIS leaf contains a recital of the "Acts" of an Apostle. Though the record of his deeds is somewhat of the brevity of Caesar's dispatch, it has also its victorious accent. Such a roll achievements under God, would have challenged the admiration of the chiefest of the sacred band in early Christianity.  Paul could not have read of such long service, and with the grace of God abounding, in the conversion of hundreds and hundreds, without apostolic commendation.

When the great Marius, charged with the war against Jugurtha, was twitted by the patrician dandies of Rome, for want of old lineage, he turning in scorn upon the imbeciles, said that they coup many ancestors, but not a single campaign. Lumsden perhaps cannot trace pedigree "to the Archbishop of Canterbury and back to St. John," but he like the Apostles has made full proof of ministry. God has knighted him on the field of victor.

He is the son of William and Agnes T. Lumsden, and born in the city of Edinburg, Scotland, November 3d, 1811. His parents immigrated to America in 1817, and settled in Poughkeepsie, N.Y.

The family removed to Virginia the next year. His father was a Quaker and his mother a Free Will Baptist. Mr. Lumsden was converted in Petersburg, Va., under the ministry of the Rev. William Hammett, September 26th, 1826, and received into full membership by the Rev. William A. Smith, in 1827. H e was licensed to exhort in 1829, and to preach in 1831, by Rev. G. W. Nolley. He had been educated at the Richmond Academy. On the subject of educational qualification for the ministry, Mr. Lumsden says: `Through the persuasion of the Rev. H. G. Leigh, Presiding Elder of Petersburg District, I gave up my arrangement to spend two or three years at Randolph Macon College. 

He assured me that there was no necessity for the delay, and that my education was superior to his attainments when he commenced his ministry. I yielded to his judgment, but have regretted the mistake all my life, not that I would have been wiser, but I could have done my work easier to myself, and perhaps more satisfactorily to my hearers."

He was sent to Greensville Circuit in 1836, Person Circuit 1837. In January, 1838 he was received into the North Carolina Conference at Greensboro', and was ordained deacon by Bishop Morris. That year he travelled Mattamuskeet Circuit, where four hundred persons a converted. In 1839 he was stationed in Washington, N. C. During that year a hundred were brought to the Saviour. In 1840 he was ordained Elder by Bishop Morris in Newberne. He served two years (1840-1,) in Salisbury, N. C., with a considerable accession to the church ; 1842-3 Guilford Circuit. In this work over four hundred were converted. He was assigned to Rockingham Circuit in 1844, where nearly four hundred made a profession of faith. There were also on the Davidson Circuit in 1845 a numerous ingathering under his ministry. In 1846-7 there was a great out-pouring of the Spirit in Stokes. The next two years saw a like increase on Iredell; also in Wilkes during 1850; next year Randolph witnessed the conversion of hundreds. There was good success in 1852 on Alamance.

In November, 1852, Mr. Lumsden was transferred to the Virginia Conference, and placed on the Murfreesboro' Circuit, where numerous conversions occurred, likewise on Gates the next year. In 1855-6 Campbell Circuit, one hundred and fifty conversions ; in 1857-8 Princess Anne, three hundred conversions ; 1859-60 Pasquotank, nearly the same number made profession ; in 1860 Matthews where God blessed his labors during the fearful years of war. He witnessed many stirring scenes. In 1864 Pasquotank in two years witnessed nearly four hundred conversions. 

In November, 1866, Hertford Circuit, continued success ; 1869, Hampton and York, many were brought to know their Redeemer. In 1871-2 Indian Ridge, one hundred converts ; 1873, Norfolk Circuit 1874 Chuckatuck, a number converted on each field ; 1875-6 Meherrin Circuit, with good harvest each year ; 1877 Mount Pleasant Circuit, with some gain ; 1878-9 Wicomico, with revivals and additions.

During the forty three years of his ministry there have been between four and five thousand conversions.

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He was married April, 1832, by Rev. Minton Thrift, in Petersburg, Virginia, to Susannah Poythress Andrews, daughter of James and Mary Andrews, who died in triumph April, 1836--was married again August 20th, 1840, to Mrs. Elmira Harris Brandon, of Rowan county, North Carolina, who passed through all the changes of the itinerancy until March 28th, 1875, when she ascended in triumph and full assurance of faith to her home in heaven. He was again married to Miss Sallie Sykes, daughter of Britton Sykes, of Northampton county, North Carolina, October 17th, 1876.

Source:  Sketches of the Virginia Conference, Methodist Episcopal Church, South.  by Rev. John J. Lafferty Richmond, Va., Christian Advocate Office 1880.

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The above biography is held at Genealogy Finds.  Permission has been granted to republish here.


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