|Birth: ||Jun. 6, 1910|
|Death: ||Sep. 9, 1960|
Gospel preacher. Ben Anderson was the first preacher for the Jamestown, TN church of Christ from 1943-50.
Report from the Gospel Advocate: "Ben Anderson lost his life in an automobile accident on the Cookeville-Gainesboro highway September 9, 1960. His funeral was conducted in Gainesboro, Tenn., September 11, by J. B. Gaither. Brother Anderson was born and reared in Jackson County, Tenn. He lived and preached in various places in his native state. The last few years, with brethren in Cumberland County, he published a monthly magazine, The Lord's Way. He was serving as editor of that publication and as minister of the church in Lantana, when death claimed him. He had taught in the public schools in years past but had devoted full time recently to evangelizing. Brother Anderson never sought for prestige or large places to preach. He liked to preach wherever he could get an audience to listen. His greatest delight seemed to be to take his tent and preach the gospel in areas where denominationalism reigned. He is survived by his wife who is now in the hospital at Gainesboro because of wounds received in the accident, and one daughter, Mrs. Ben Flatt of Cookeville. For his good work and the influence he left we are grateful." --- C. L. Powell, Gospel Advocate, October 13, 1960, page 655.
Gospel preacher listed in John Waddey's book, Churches of Christ in East Tennessee, p. 320.
Ben H. Anderson
Ben S. Flatt
Freed-Hardeman Lectureship Book
September 9, 1960 was a sad day in Middle and East Tennessee. Ben Hooper Anderson was killed in a tragic automobile accident. Although he was not well known throughout the brotherhood, Christians east of Nashville, especially Gainesboro, Jamestown, Oneida, and Crossville, knew they had lost a trailblazer in the Restoration Movement. Many had difficulty understanding why such a leader was taken at age fifty, a time when he seemed to be in the prime of his ministry. Truly, there was " . . . a prince and a great man fallen . . . " in Tennessee. (2 Sam. 3:38). [All scripture references are taken from the King James Version unless otherwise noted.]
Ben Anderson was born June 6, 1910 near Gainesboro, Tennessee, the youngest of six children of Matthew D. and Sarah Cason Anderson. He was born during the election campaign for governor between Ben W. Hooper and Robert L. Taylor. His parents waited until after the election to complete his name using the new governor's name. Hooper was elected; the name was Ben Hooper Anderson. He attended elementary and high school in Jackson County and later attended Tennessee Tech in Cookeville during 1933-1938, enough to be able to teach school. He taught in elementary schools near Gainesboro for nine years, walking to his job much of the time. His parents were associated with the Methodist church. He became a member and was involved in that religion until he was baptized into Christ and the New Testament Church in 1932 by Will W. Slater. Knowing by experience the difference between denominationalism and true Christianity, he immediately began to boldly proclaim the gospel, taking advantage of every opportunity. On April 4, 1938, he was married to Lucille Elkins. He wrote her many personal poems both before and after marriage. Their only child, Julia Faye (Judy) was born August 17, 1940. (Judy later married Ben S. Flatt January 25, 1960 and had three daughters and a son: grandchildren Ben Anderson never saw.) During most of their married life, Mrs. Anderson suffered from crippling arthritis and related health problems. She was hospitalized many times and required his constant care, especially during the last years before his death. She depended on him to help her walk or to carry her. Many times, he had to leave her alone at home, unable to get out of her chair or bed, as he went to preach a sermon or teach someone personally. Mrs. Anderson and Judy were also in the automobile accident which took his life. They were returning from a doctor's visit. A drunken driver in a gravel truck came across the center line, hit the Anderson car head on, killing Ben Anderson instantly, leaving his wife in an invalid condition so that she would never walk again during the eleven years she lived, and causing less serious injuries to his daughter. His funeral was conducted in Gainesboro September 11, 1960 by J.B. Gaither, long time friend and co-worker. Area preachers served as his pallbearers.
His earliest work in the church in the later 30s and early 40s was preaching by appointment at smaller churches in Jackson County, including Burristown, Columbus Hill, New Salem, Richmond's Chapel, and Union. At times he walked as much as ten miles on Sunday mornings. During the time immediately before 1947, he worked in Oneida with a young church that was struggling. His family remained in Gainesboro, enduring a special hardship. In 1947, he moved his family to Jamestown to work with the few members meeting in a very small, old building. He also preached at Grimsley on Sunday afternoons. In 1949, the Andersons moved to Oneida to again work with the church there. This work continued until 1954. These five years of labor were under very difficult circumstances. His daughter remembers seeing his shirt torn from his back by denominational people who were upset at his plain preaching of the gospel. His work at Oneida rooted and grounded New Testament Christianity in Scott County. He trained and encouraged local men like Roy West to preach at places like Wolf Creek. The family moved to Crossville in 1954 where he preached for the Lantana Church until his death. The church at Lantana grew a great deal during those years; he was respected and appreciated greatly by the members. He also preached for and encouraged small area churches such as Stephens Gap.
In addition to preaching sermons and teaching classes, Ben Anderson was one who reached out every day, seized opportunities, and created occasions to preach the word. He enjoyed radio work. He involved himself in gospel meetings, especially tent meetings. During his last few years, he had his own two-pole tent, supplied by L. P. Shanks of Crossville. He used that tent regularly, sometimes in inclement weather. Brother Anderson was known for the large loud speakers on top of his car. He preached many times on the town squares and anywhere he could get people to listen. He also used the printed page. As early as 1940, he began a monthly magazine called "The Gospel Witness." Copies sold for five cents each. In 1958, he began "The Lord's Way" and was its editor until his death. That publication has continued. He wrote articles for local newspapers. He published some books, two of which were The Way Home and Gospel Sermon Charts of Dr. J. W. Phillips. Brother Anderson wrote several songs. Three of these, "Greet the World Each Morning With a Smile," "I Know I'm On My Way," and "He Rules In My Heart," had notes arranged by Bill Johnson of Crossville, and were published. The last two were in Gospel Melody Songs published by Will W. Slater in 1958.
His attitude toward the Bible and his ministry are revealed in some of his own words. His theme for The Way Home, appearing on its cover, was "If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God." The purpose statement of The Gospel Witness was " . . . this little paper is to proclaim the gospel to any and all people who might not be reached otherwise. Its object is to strengthen Christians in the most holy faith, warn the erring, and turn alien sinners to the Lamb of God. It is set at all times for the defense of the gospel, God's power to save . . . and above all, notice that we endeavor to keep it true to the word of God." In a later issue Vol. III, page 3, he said, "It all resolves itself into the question of whether we allow God's word to be the supreme authority in religion."
Quotes from coworkers and friends show a high degree of appreciation. John Waddy stated: "He was one of the tireless pioneers who re-established New Testament Christianity in East Tennessee. We owe far more than we know to such men as Ben Anderson." (Waddy 322). Dowell Flatt wrote about him: "Just as surely as Daniel Boone opened up the physical trails to the eastern parts of Kentucky and Tennessee, Ben H. Anderson was a spiritual trailblazer in many parts of East Tennessee. A million years from today many will be blessed because of the simple New Testament preaching of Ben H. Anderson." (Flatt 15). A coworker, Denton Hudleston, referred to him as " . . . one of the most vivid preachers I can remember. We did not realize the extent of the sacrifice he made. Because of Ben Anderson's concern for others, his desire to serve, and his being constantly about doing good, he shall be missed." (Hudleston).
I knew him; I heard him preach; I saw him work. I married his only daughter. We cared for his widow for her last eleven years. As I settled his estate, I marveled that he, with so much sickness in the family and never earning more than $87.50 per week, had no debts except a few payments on a freezer. It's easy to understand why so many people in East Tennessee believed that Ben Anderson was a Restoration leader. He was good, kind, gentle, unselfish, and genuine. He came as near as any man I have ever known deserving the epitaph used to describe Christ in Acts 10:38. "He went about doing good."
Anderson, Ben. The Gospel Witness, October 1940.
Anderson, Ben. "The Way Home." The Knoxville Journal. Knoxville: Nov. 1940.
Flatt, Dowell. The World Evangelist, July 1986.
Hudleston, Denton. The Crossville Chronicle. "In Retrospect." Sept. 1960.
Phillips, J. W. Gospel Sermon Charts. Crossville: 1958.
Slater, Will W. Gospel Melody Songs. Fort Worth: 1958.
Waddy, John. Churches of Christ in East Tennessee. J. C. Choate Publications, Winona: 1988.
Lucille Elkins Anderson (1914 - 1971)
Julia Faye Anderson Flatt (1940 - 2010)*
John L. Clark Memorial Cemetery
Created by: Tom Childers
Record added: Oct 26, 2009
Find A Grave Memorial# 43574068