Elder Robert Usrey, gospel preacher, died in Itawamba County, MS in 1867 (Gospel Advocate, May, 22, 1930, p. 482).
As only a brief obituary of this good and great man has been given, I have waited for more than two years in hopes that some pen, more able than mine, would put upon record, for the emulation of others, some facts connected with this fallen brother, who has indeed gone from among us, but whose every act of his long and eventful life should stand out as a beacon light to all who expect to enter that port of bliss in which, we have no doubt, the frail bark of our deceased brother has safely moored. Bro. Usry embraced the Christian religion some thirty years ago. Having a large and helpless family, and no means to support them only by his daily labor, he engaged to attend the cutting of saw-logs. While engaged in that business, on the banks of the Tombigbee River, with a very limited education, he studied the Greek language sufficiently to enable him, with the aid of his Greek lexicon, to master most of the difficult passages of Scripture. He then, without conferring with flesh and blood, determined to proclaim to others that Gospel that had rescued him from the infidelity which he had before firmly believed. Bro. Usry had many hard things to contend with. He was the only permanent proclaimer in an area of fifty miles--with a prejudiced people, an unscrupulous sectary, and a subsidized clergy; and besides, and with shame do I tell it, he was badly sustained (or rather not sustained) by his brethren. His family were often left in want; yet, with a strong constitution, a giant mind, an irresistible will, with a soul glowing with love for all, he buckled on the armor of truth, and, with the sword of the Spirit, for more than twenty years fought valiantly for the cause of his Master, and only ceased when, on duty away from his home and family, the dark-winged angel of death summoned him from this sin-cursed world to that rest that is prepared for all the people of God. Aberdeen, August, 1869. -David Lipscomb, Gospel Advocate, Sept. 16, 1869.
The first of our preaching brethren whom I met in Mississippi was the faithful old soldier of the Cross, Robert Usrey. This was in February, 1852. He stopped one night in the village of Smithville, and preached in the house of a prominent Baptist brother, as church doors were generally closed against us at that time. Though nearly forty years have passed away since that night, I remember the subject of his discourse and the manner of its treatment. It was a plain, practical, scriptural, and earnest presentation of "The Word of Truth as the Medium of God's Saving Power." He showed that from the creation of the heavens and the earth down through all the ages, God has always used agencies and means in the accomplishment of his own purposes. He then presented the Holy Spirit as the agent, and the Word of Truth as the instrument of conversion. I can look back through the mists of the many years that have since passed away, and see him now as he stood before that little audience, and pleaded with men so earnestly to receive and obey the truth. Bro. Usrey was then evangelizing with great success in the North Eastern part of the State. He told me some years afterward that in the first seven years of his evangelistic work, he baptised over a thousand persons on a confession of their faith in Jesus; and in addition to these, many baptised believers united with us from the various denominations under his plain and earnest presentation of the great plea for Christian unity and brotherly love‑a plea that was then urged in almost every sermon, and thus kept constantly before the religious world. In view of the deep-seated prejudice that then existed in the minds of both the religious and irreligious, and the unrelenting warfare that was waged against us from almost every pulpit, this success was truly remarkable. Indeed, Robert Usrey himself, all things considered, was truly a remarkable man. He was a poor, hard working man till he passed the meridian of life, and had become somewhat addicted to the use of intoxicating drinks through the social customs that were prevalent at that day. He was running a sawmill near Columbus, Mississippi, when Tolbert Fanning, President of Franklin College, Tenn., came there to conduct a protracted meeting. On hearing a few sermons from that able expounder of the truth, Robert Usrey confessed his faith in Jesus and obeyed the gospel. From that time onward, he was emphatically a new man. He soon began to pray and talk, first in the prayer meeting and then in the Lord's Day service, the result of which was that he soon developed into an efficient and useful preacher. His education being somewhat limited, he studied hard; and under the instruction of W. H. D. Carrington, then a lawyer but afterwards an able preacher, he learned to read the New Testament in Greek. Having a good mind he made, rapid progress, and finally became an able expounder of the Scriptures, especially of the New Testament from which he usually preached. He had a large endowment of strong common sense, and rarely, if ever, attempted to do that which was beyond his ability. He was careful not to venture into water beyond his depth. He had good natural speaking ability, and could present a subject that he understood with great plainness and power. Having put his hands to the gospel plow, he never turned back, or intermitted his labors. In the fall of 1867, if I am not mistaken, he died of Typhoid fever in Itawamba County, away from home, but tenderly nursed by loving brethren, and also by his faithful and devoted wife who went to his assistance when the case became dangerous. He was buried at or near Smithville; and I was told a few years ago that his grave was unmarked. If this is still the case, the brethren of North Mississippi owe it to themselves and to the cause for which he labored so faithfully for some twenty years, to erect a neat plain monument to his memory over the spot where his dust reposes. -Harmon, Disciples of Christ in Mississippi.
Robert Usrey (b. 1804; d. bet. 1860-1870, prob. Lowndes Co., MS) and Mary Elizabeth "Betsey" Butler (b. 1806; d. bet. 1870-1880, AR). Known children:
Ransom G. Usrey (b. abt. 1829, IN or TN; d.after 1880); md. Nancy Alabama Whitehead
Rite E. Usrey (b. abt. 1830, TN)
Joseph E. Usrey (b. 23 Jan 1934, TN; d. 18 Mar 1899, AR); md. Polly Billingsley; Nancy Pollard?; Rebecca UNKNOWN)
Samuel Marion Usrey (b.12 Feb 1841, AL; d. 24 Apr 1923, San Saba, TX); md. Josephine Napoleon Woodward
Martha H. Usrey (b. abt. 1843, MS)
James Butler Usrey (b. 19 Feb 1847, AL; d. 27 Jun 1924, Conway Co., AR); md. Paulina Greer
Robert Usrey, Jr. (b. abt 1850, MS)
Robert Usrey was a circuit rider and was instrumental in starting several First Christian Churches, including one in Lowndes County, MS with James A. Butler (possibly an in-law).
Born in Tennessee, USA on 1817 to Samuel Usrey and Mary Polly Geer. Robert married Elizabeth. He passed away on 1866 in Monroe, Mississippi, USA.
Robert Ussery was born around 1804 in Tennessee to Peter and Amelia Jarvis Ussery. He died Jun 11, 1884. His wife was Elizabeth "Betsey" Butler, born around 1808 in Tennessee. They had the following children:
Ransom G. Ussery b: 1830 in Tennessee mar. Nancy A. Whitehead b: 1835 in Alabama
Rite E. Ussery b: 1831 in Tennessee
Joseph Ussery b: 1834 in Tenn
Samuel Ussery b: 1839 in AL mar. Josephine Moore
Martha Ussery b: 1841 in Mississippi
Butler Ussery b: 1844 in AL
Robert Ussery b: 1850 in Mississippi