Apr. 26, 1811 Bush River Newberry County South Carolina, USA
Jul. 7, 1887 Winnsboro Fairfield County South Carolina, USA
James Clark Chalmers, a son of Capt. James and Priscilla [née Clark] Chalmers, of Scotch-Irish descent, was born in Newberry County, South Carolina on April 26th 1811. Being piously trained and thoroughly indoctrinated, James began the study of the languages 1n 1831 in Newberry village, under his pastor, Rev. S. P. Pressly, and entered the State University in Athens, Georgia in 1834 and graduated August 1836.
He began the study of theology under Dr. E. E. Pressly, being, with Rev. L. McDonald, the first students to enter the infant Seminary at Due West. After two years the Second Presbytery granted him licensure October 5th 1838. In one of his missionary journeys with Rev. Joseph McCreary they lodged one night with a family who were occupying a cabin in which a few months previous an entire family were murdered by the Indians. October 1839, he accepted a call from Generostee, Shiloh and Midway (Concord), Anderson County, South Carolina and was ordained in April and installed in May, 1840. This charge necessitated much labor, Generostee and Midway being twenty miles apart and Shiloh ten miles distant. To repair his health Synod directed him to spend four months in south Georgia and Florida. This mission was fulfilled beginning November 1844. Pleasant Grove in Decatur County, Georgia was reorganized, other places refreshed and much good done. Midway was demitted in fall of 1844 and soon after Shiloh almost in a body emigrated to Mississippi and formed the present Hopewell. He continued half time at Generostee and the other half at destitute contiguous points. A part of the year '54-55 was spent by order of Synod in collecting Endowments for Erskine College. The Synodical year '56-57 found him missionary to the city of Nashville, Tennessee. That year the Presbytery not accepting his resignation and being about to engage in mission work at his over charges, a call came to him from Steel Creek, North Carolina and the installation took place October 29th 1858 and the resignation September 6th 1881; because of serious and protracted physical inability. Having removed June 1883 to Winnsboro, South Carolina; he ceased from his labors and entered on his reward July 7th 1887.
As a preacher he was plain, practical and Scriptural; his powers in the pulpit were above the average. In fact when he was in the prime of life he was regarded as a revival preacher: his sermons were always prepared with great care and were delivered with animation, never prosy and always edifying. As a Presbyter he was at all times considered safe, always deliberate and cautious, never rash. One of the marked features was love for God's people. No man ever embraced more heartily the distinctive doctrines of the A. R. P. Church or adhered more rigidly to its practice but with charity for all. The colored people received a share of his ministrations.
Synod called him to the Moderatorship in 1855. He was a faithful minister and punctual. In 43 years pastorate 381 were received into the Church, 331 infants and 55 adults baptized and 121 marriage ceremonies performed. Much of this fruitful ministry was doubtless due to his life companion, Mary Letitia Strong, born April 12th 1821 and married December 12th 1839. A woman of great devotion to her Church she had decided literary tastes, being the authoress of "The Harris Family."
Nine children were born to them, all of whom except the youngest died in infancy. This one, "the Benjamin", was spared to them and became the tireless worker, the master planer and builder, the skillful debater, the eloquent, learned late Rev. John Thomas Chalmers, D. D.