On February 4, 1843, the first issue of The Alabama Baptist was printed in Marion, Alabama. The Association of Brethren appeared on the masthead as the owners and editors. The association was composed of Milo Parker Jewett, James H. DeVotie, Gen. Edwin Davis “E.D.” King and Julia Tarrant Barron. All were active members of Siloam Baptist Church in Marion and were financially able to secure the paper’s future.
Milo Parker Jewett
Milo Parker Jewett, senior editor, was president of The Judson Female Institute and owner of a substantial plantation. He was born on April 27, 1808, to Dr. Calvin and Sally (Parker) Jewett in St. Johnsbury, Vermont. He married Augusta Russell on September 16, 1833. The couple had no children.
Jewett’s early education at Bradford Vermont Academy prepared him for Dartmouth College, and he graduated with both bachelor’s and master’s degrees by 1831. He was principal of the Holmes Academy in Plymouth, New Hampshire, from 1828 to 1829 and read law with Josiah Quincy but left the study for ministry preparation at Andover Theological Seminary. He graduated from there in 1833, and following graduation, he taught at Presbyterian Marietta Collegiate Institute from 1834 to 1838, teaching rhetoric and political economy and raising funds for the college. He was a member of the Ohio State Educational Board, working for the adoption of the common (public) school system in 1835 with Horace Mann.
In 1838, Jewett’s beliefs about baptism changed, causing him to join the Baptist church. He resigned from Presbyterian Marietta, saying, “Having been appointed to my professorship as a Presbyterian, I felt bound in honor to resign my place.”
Six months later, Jewett ventured south and arrived in Marion, Alabama. He was met by a group of enthusiastic Baptists eager to start a Baptist institution for young ladies. He became the first principal, and the doors opened in 1839. Jewett joined Siloam Baptist Church and was ordained to the ministry on June 26, 1842. He served as senior editor through the early years of the newspaper but moved to Poughkeepsie, New York, in 1855. He established Cottage Hill Seminary for Girls and in 1861 founded Vassar College. He moved to Milwaukee, Wisconsin, in 1867. He died on June 9, 1882.
James H. DeVotie
James H. DeVotie, treasurer, was the pastor of Siloam Baptist Church. DeVotie was born in Oneida County, New York, on September 24, 1814. His parents were Presbyterian, and he was converted in 1830 before his mother’s death. In 1831, he sailed to Savannah, Georgia, to live with his merchant uncle, who was Baptist. DeVotie eventually joined First Baptist Church of Savannah in December 1831.
Feeling called to preach, he moved to Furman Theological Seminary in South Carolina, and in October 1832, he was licensed to preach. He was ordained at Camden Baptist Church in March 1833. He served there for two years before moving to Montgomery, Alabama, to serve as pastor of First Baptist Church. He married Miss C.M. Noble in January 1835, and the couple had five children. Only one child survived. In 1836, DeVotie was called to First Baptist Church of Tuscaloosa, and in 1840 he moved to Siloam Baptist Church, Marion. He served there eighteen years. DeVotie was instrumental in establishing Howard College in 1841. He joined the Association of Brethren in 1843, overseeing and contributing to the financial needs of the newspaper.
In 1854, he resigned from Siloam to become pastor of Hopewell Baptist Church in Perry County and served as Secretary of the Southern Baptist Domestic and Indian Mission Board. He moved to Columbus, Georgia, in 1856 and served a church there for fourteen years and also served with the Georgia Baptist Mission Board. DeVotie died on April 4, 1891.
Edwin Davis King
Edwin Davis “E.D.” King was considered the second largest slave and landowner in Perry County. A practicing attorney, he was married to Ann A. Hunter and later Ann Alston Galliard.
King was born to Woodson and Sarah (Cartwright) King in Greene County, Georgia, on April 12, 1792. King served in the War of 1812 and came to Perry County in 1816, assisting in the establishment of Marion. He was a charter member of Siloam Baptist Church in 1822.
Interested in education, King was a founder and trustee of The Judson Female Institute and Howard College. In 1845, he was a representative to the Southern Baptist Convention.
He died on January 11, 1862.
Julia Tarrant Barron
Julia Tarrant Barron, an astute businesswoman, was born in Abbeville, South Carolina, to Thomas and Melina Tarrant on December 18, 1805. She married William Barron on April 10, 1828, in Jefferson County, Alabama. They had one son, John. She was a member of Siloam Baptist Church and donated the land on which it was built.
Barron provided land for The Judson Female Institute and Howard College and made lodging arrangements for the first faculty and students. She was known throughout Marion as a kind, generous lady who used her wealth to aid Baptist endeavors through gifts of land and money. She invested in The Alabama Baptist and actively participated in its business through its early years, her name often appeared on the newspaper’s legal documents. She died on February 5, 1890.
Keep checking back over the next several weeks as we continue to provide biographical briefs on selected editors of The Alabama Baptist from the founding of the paper to today.