Jonathan Stamper (1791-1864)
When I was nineteen years of age, a camp-meeting was appointed to be held about eight miles from my father's residence. A number of young people, mostly females of the society in the neighborhood, expressed a great desire to attend it. Among these was my sister, who had embraced religion when quite a small girl. I had the unbounded confidence in her piety and always strove to gratify her wishes by accompanying her to church. whether far or near. She asked me it there could be any way devised for them to get to the meeting. I replied that there was one way, and it was quite an easy one. If they would promise to pray for me I would take them in my wagon. They pledged themselves to do so, and I prepared the wagon in which we all rode to the campground where we erected our tent.
It was a time of great power. The people of god were revived and many sinners awakened and converted. I listened with attention to the word, and ere I was aware, found my cheeks suffused with tears. I left the ground and retiring to the woods, wiped my eyes, braced myself up to the extent of my power, put on as cheerful an air as possible, and walked back to the camp. Determined to hide my feelings, I said to the girls on entering the tent, ' I am afraid you have forgotten your promise to pray for me because the bible says ... that the prayer of faith shall be answered ... and you see that I am not yet converted.' This remark was, of course, only meant for a mask. With a sad heart and guilty conscience, and seeking the most solitary spot that could be found, I gave vent to my feelings in the bitter tears of repentance. When the trumpet sounded for preaching, I arose, and making my way back to the encampment, joined the congregation. It seemed to me that the preacher was reading the secrets of my heart and exposing to the assembled multitude, all it's wickedness.
The above is a direct quote of a biographical of the Reverend Jonathan Stamper. In autumn of 1810, he entered upon a life of usefulness to the church as a preacher of the gospel. He began his career on the Fleming circuit, where he remained for about six months, later filling a position on the Lexington circuit.
Born at a period when families lived in block-houses and familiar not only with the stories, but a participant in the sufferings incident to frontier life, young Stamper joined an expedition. They rendezvoused at Lexington and took up their line of march from that city on the 1st of September, 1812. During this expedition, he served as a minister of the gospel whenever an opportunity afforded itself. In 1812 he was appointed to the Licking and in 1814 to the Limestone and was at the Conference of 1815. Rev. Stamper served on the Hinkstone circuit and then on the Brush Creek in the state of Ohio. In 1819 he was appointed presiding elder over the Muskingum District, which extended from the mouth of the Little Scioto to within a few miles of Wheeling..embracing both sides of the Ohio River We also find him a prominent member of the general conference In 1820. In 1820 he is placed in charge of the Salt River District, extending from the Cumberland Mountains to the City of Louisville. Here he remained for two years. Leaving his wife and children at his father-in-law's... he entered upon his work at once. The following spring he removed his family to Shelbyville in Kentucky.
His calling continued to carry him to the people who needed him. He was quoted as being eloquent, powerful, and untiring in his devotion to the work of god. He, many times, returned to his calling after having retired due to advancing age. Among the last expressions that fell from his dying lips were 'My hope is in Jesus. He is precious to my soul. I love him. I will praise him. I have been an unfaithful servant and am needy and unworthy; but there is a fullness in Jesus that diffuses and spreads itself abroad, covering the entire field of my wants and in that fullness., I rejoice. Glory to God! My work is done. I am almost home.'
He died in Decatur, Illinois on the 26th day of February 1864. Jonathan was born to Joshua and Jane Stamper on 27 april 1791, in Madison County, Kentucky. His service in the ministry lasted 54 years...48 of which were spent in Kentucky. It is said that in Kentucky, no man was better known than Jonathan Stamper, for he traveled and preached all over the state....yet he died professing his unworthiness
Note; this is an extremely abbreviated account because of Space.
for the full account see 'The History of Methodism in Kentucky'
by the Rev. A. H. Redford, D.D., volume I. Pub. Nashville, Tenn.
By the Southern Methodist Publishing House 1878. More can be
found in 'Home Circle' vol I and II, (no date or publ. info.).