Rev. James A. Gwin

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James A. Gwin

Birthdate: (72)
Birthplace: Orange County, Province of North Carolina
Death: August 3, 1841 (72)
Vicksburg, Warren County, Mississippi, United States
Immediate Family:

Son of Mordecai Gwin and Elizabeth Gwin
Husband of Mary Adair Gwin
Father of Nancy Elizabeth Gwin; Col. Samuel Gwin; Asa B. Gwin; Thomas Gwin; Sen. William McKendree Gwin (D-CA) and 3 others
Brother of Captain William Gwin; Colonel Edward Gwin; Sarah Howell; Elizabeth Hamilton; Jane Hamilton and 4 others

Occupation: Methodist Minister
Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About Rev. James A. Gwin

Information from Lloyd D. Ellis:

ID: I717

Birth: 1768 in Orange Co.,, NC

  • Note: Rev. James Gwin was the 7th child of Mordecai & Elizabeth Gwin.
  • James was b. in 1768 in Orange Co NC.
  • Source Joyce Hornback.
  • Change Date: 22 JUL 1998

Death: 3 AUG 1841 in Vicksburg,, MS

Note: Came from Granville/Orange County area of NC to Sumner County in 1790.

  • Had a son William McKendree Gwin, named for Bishop McKendree of his Methodist church.
  • Had a dau. Margaret who m. Alexander D. Duvall in Sumner Co., 12 March, 1818.
  • The 1790 (1783-1786) VA Census, p. 109 shows a James Gwin in Greenbrier County.
  • James Gwin appointed a Justice and Coroner in 1798.
  • James Gwin a member of the Court, July 1796.
  • Shown in the 1830 census in Carroll Co., TN.
  • In 1839 he moved to MS.
  • Gwin families in early 1700s PA.

Note: Margaret Gwin m. Chamberlain Hudson, Jr. ca 1780 in NC ?

Zoa Gwin m. Robert Chamberlain Ellis 1842, Sumner Co., TN

Father: Mordecai GWIN b: 1736 in Ireland or Wales

Mother: Elizabeth GWIN

Marriage 1 Mary Adair MCADAMS b: JAN 1767

  • Married: 1790 in ,, VA

Note: The following is from the Buchanan book. "The DuVals from Virginia to Kentucky".

"He (referring to Gwin) showed his appreciation of McKendree by presenting him with 300 acres of land adjoining his own holdings in Sumner County, Tennessee, and also named for him the son who became so distinguished in Mississippi and later California, Senator William McKendree Gwin.


  • 1. Margaret Gwin Duval b: 7 APR 1800 in Sumner Co.,, TN
  • 2. James GWIN, JR. b: 14 JUL 1797 in Sumner Co.,, TN

Traveling Methodist Minister; Indian Fighter; friend of Andrew Jackson; Chaplain in the Battle of New Orleans; Moved to Isaquena County, Mississippi

From the History of Shiloh United Methodist Church:

In 1802, Bishop Francis Asbury established a new Conference called the Western Conference to serve Kentucky, Tennessee, and Alabama north of the Tennessee River. He traveled by carriage from North Carolina to Nashville in October 1802 to conduct his first church Conference. He created charges, assigned preachers, and ordained a group of young men to become ministers after a period of training. At the Conference of 1802, James A. Gwin/Gwinn/Gwynn (1768-1841), a native of Wales, was a member of the training class, and was given the title of Methodist Missionary Circuit Rider.

At a meeting of the Western Methodist Conference Methodist Episcopal Church, held in Liberty Hill, Tennessee, the first week of October 1808, leaders organized the five-point Flint Circuit to spread the Gospel among the Madison County pioneers, which then was part of the Mississippi Territory. Missionary James A. Gwin was commissioned to serve the Methodist Societies, which had already been meeting. The early settlers congregated in private homes or under the brush arbors for their meetings, while they provided food and shelter for the circuit rider preachers. Reverend Gwinn was married to Mary Adair McAdams (1763-1858) and later he enlisted as a chaplain in the War of 1812 under General Andrew Jackson.

The Flint Circuit was established two months before Madison County became a county, two years before the area became the Alabama Territory, and eleven years before the Alabama territory became a state in 1819. The five-point circuit included—Jordan’s Camp Ground, Ford’s Chapel, Blue Springs, McGhee’s Camp Ground, and Shiloh—three of which remain in their original location. Even before the establishment of Flint Circuit in 1808, Shiloh was already organized in eastern central Madison County to the west of the Flint River in the community which was later called Kelly’s Crossings and then named Ryland by the 1897. Shiloh was part of the Flint Circuit in 1823 when it became part of the Madison Circuit, Huntsville District.


The first presiding Elders at Shiloh were Learner Blackman (1790-1815) and Thomas L. Douglas. Earliest members at Shiloh were David Thompson, John Watkins Hewlett, Thomas King, Joe Tatum, Augustus Mead Hewlett (1782-), and John Hicks Hamer (1782-1865). Circuit riding preachers during Shiloh’s earliest days were James A. Gwinn, Jedadiah McMinn, John Phipps, Thomas Stillwell, David Goodner (1788-1848), Zachariah Witten (1791-1815), John McClure, Valentine Derry Barry (1794-1853), John Craig, Moses Ashworth (1799-1837), H. McPhail, James Farris, Ebenezer Hearn, Robert Paine, and William McMahon.


In October, 1808, the Western Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church sent James Gwinn, a circuit rider, to the "great bend" of the Tennessee River to formalize existing Methodist Societies. He organized the Flint Circuit to serve frontier settlers in southern Tennessee and Madison County, Mississippi Territory. The first meetings of the Shiloh Methodist Episcopal Church were held in a private home. In late 1819 legislation was enacted which permitted churches to own land and, in 1820, a one-half-acre plot was added in 1876 to construct a new church. That building burned in the mid 1890's.

From "Providence" by Will D. Campbell:"James+Gwin"+chaplain+Jackson&source=bl&ots=x7cims_A3J&sig=lrosPb1uTlEM_8FgLzqokrZ1-Vk&hl=es&ei=Omw0Tf3SFI3UgAfgp9XsCw&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=2&ved=0CCAQ6AEwAQ#v=onepage&q=%22James%20Gwin%22%20chaplain%20Jackson&f=false

(William McKendree Gwin's) father, a Welshman named James Gwin, born and reared in Virginia, had fought in the Revolutionary War. He came to Tennessee from North Carolina in 1791 along with a wagon train of 20 families. There, just north of Nashville, near where I now live, James Gwin prospered as a planter of tobacco and corn. He also had a reputation for fighting Indians in Kentucky and Tennessee. Two of his closest friends were William McKendree and Andrew Jackson. McKendree, who became the first American-born bishop of the Methodist Church, would give James Gwin's fourth son his name. Jackson, when he became seventh president of the United States, would start two of Gwin's sons on the road to fame and fortune.

Following the model of his neighbor William McKendree, James Gwin became a Methodist clergyman. But adhering to the example of his other close friend, Andrew Jackson, he never gave up fighting. In the War of 1812, he was Jackson's chaplain and went with him to New Orleans. Though Gwin was noted for his forceful pulpit performances, General Jackson, perhaps feeling more in need of firepower than prayer and exhortation, placed the preacher in charge of 1,400 sharpshooters in the Battle of New Orleans.

From Kasper Mansker, Cumberland Frontiersman, by Walter Durham:

When the war of 1812 began, the name of Kasper Mansker, then 60 years of age, did not immediately appear on any of the many muster rolls compiled from long lists of West Tennessee Volunteers. On October 4, 1813, Kasper's nephew William Mansker and his great nephew John Mansker enlisted in the infantry company of Captain William McCall in Colonel John Wynn's regiment, Roberts' Brigade. Scarcely a year later with a showdown ahead on the Gulf Coast, Kasper Mansker and his great nephew Lewis Mansker enlisted in Captain William Martin's company of Colonel Thomas Williamson's Second Regiment of Tennessee Volunteer Mounted Gunmen. Martin's volunteers marched from Franklin to Fayetteville, Tennessee, where they were mustered into military service on September 28, 1814. From Fayetteville, the mounted gunmen traveled overland to join General John Coffee's Brigade near New Orleans. With General Coffee, they fought in the Battle of New Orleans and remained in the city until sometime after March 1, 1815. Kasper and Lewis were discharged April 25, 1815. Both had enlisted as privates and Lewis had been advanced to the rank of corporal sometime before discharge. Did General Andrew Jackson know at the time that his old friend and former landlord was among the Tennessee Mounted Gunmen under Coffee at New Orleans? We don't know. If he knew, it must have been reassuring knowledge.

Kasper Mansker's temptation to go to the aid of his neighbor Andrew Jackson was made all the more irresistible by the presence of his old friend James Gwin as Chaplain for Coffee's Brigade and the presence of two other friends from Sumner County on Coffee's staff: Lieutenant James Lauderdale and Lieutenant Colonel George Elliott. Lauderdale was killed in action at New Orleans on December 23, 1814.

After returning from the Battle of New Orleans, Mansker lived quietly at his home in Sumner County. Nothing is known of his activities during this period.

From the English Wikipedia page on General John Coffee:

In October 1813, the 2nd was combined with Col. Cannon's Mounted Regiment and the 1st Regiment of Volunteer Mounted Gunmen to form a militia brigade of mounted infantry. Coffee was promoted to brigadier-general and placed in command.

Coffee then led his brigade, which consisted largely of Indians and freed blacks, at the Battle of New Orleans, where they played a key role in holding the woods to the east of the redcoats' column. Coffee's brigade was the first to engage the British, firing from behind the trees and brush.


From the biography of William M. Gwin in "Historic Sumner County, Tennessee" written by Jay Guy Cisco in 1909:

Rev. James Gwin, was a distinguished Methodist minister, who removed from North Carolina in 1790. He was a man of pronounced ability; a soldier in the War of Independence; helped to defend the frontier against the attacks of the Indians; a friend of Andrew Jackson, and his chief chaplain in his Louisiana expedition. He was in the fight at Horseshoe Bend, at Caney Fork, in November 1792; at Nickojack in 1794, and at New Orleans in 1815. When he first came to Sumner County he stopped one year at Hamilton Station. "But the wickedness of the place was such that he determined to build a cabin in the woods, and trust in God for protection, and did so accordingly, and was preserved by a most indulgent God from the merciless savages." He was a personal friend of Bishop McKendree, and for him named a son, William McKendree Gwin.

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Rev. James A. Gwin's Timeline

January 16, 1769
Orange County, Province of North Carolina
June 18, 1787
Age 18
Age 22
Orange County, North Carolina, United States
March 25, 1797
Age 28
April 7, 1800
Age 31
Sumner County, Tennessee, United States
Age 32
October 9, 1805
Age 36
Near Gallatin, Sumner County, Tennessee, United States
July 30, 1812
Age 43
Tennessee, United States
Age 47
Maryland, United States
August 3, 1841
Age 72
Vicksburg, Warren County, Mississippi, United States