Rev. Lovick PIERCE, Jr., D.D.
- Born: Mar 24, 1785, , Halifax District Of Martin County, North Carolina
- Marriage: Ann Martin FOSTER on Sep 28, 1809 in Greene, , Georgia, USA 1564
- Died: Nov 9, 1879, Sparta, Hancock County, Georgia at age 94
- Buried: Family Cemetery, Mount Prospect?
Copyright 2005 Pierces.org
Possible other marraige date: Greene Co. GA Marriage Records: Foster, Ann Martin to Pierce, Levic 27Sep1809
clergyman, was born in Halifax county, N.C., March 17 , 1785. He was taken by his parents to Barnwell district, S.C., where his school training was limited, amounting to about six months' attendance at an "old field school." He entered the Methodist ministry in 1804, and removed to Greene county, Ga., in 1809, where he married a daughter of the Hon. George Wells Foster, attorney-at-law. He was a chaplain in the army during the war of 1812; studied medicine in Philadelphia, and practised medicine and preached the gospel in Greensborough, Ga., for several years, and then devoted himself to the ministry altogether. He was a delegate to the general conferences of the Methodist church in 1836, 1840 and 1844, and after the organization of the Methodist Episcopal church, south, was a delegate to its general conventions continuously up to the time of his death, his council being greatly valued. He took part in the Louisville conference of 1874, to which his son and grandson were also present as delegates. He continued to preach occasionally up to his ninety-fourth year. He received the degree of LL.D. from Randolph-Macon college in 1843, and was a trustee of that college, 1835-79. He published a series of theological essays a short time before his death, which occurred at the residence of his son, Bishop George Foster Pierce (q.v.), near Sparta, Ga., when nearly 95 years of age, Nov. 9, 1879. The Twentieth Century Biographical Dictionary of Notable Americans: Volume IIV
PIERCE, Lovick, clergyman, born in Halifax county, North Carolina, 17  March, 1785 ; died in Sparta, Georgia, 9 November, 1879. Early in life his parents moved to Barnwell county, North Carolina, where, after six months' schooling, he entered the ministry of the Methodist church in 1804. In 1809 he moved to Greene county, Georgia, and during the war of 1812 he was a chaplain in the army. He then studied medicine, was graduated at Philadelphia, and removing to Greensborough, practised and preached there for several years. He was a delegate to the general conferences of his church in 1836, 1840, and 1844, and after the organization of the southern church in 1846 sat in its highest court. He took part in the Louisville conference of 1874, where he had a son and a grandson, and, notwithstanding his great age, he preached occasionally until within a few months of his death. In 1878 he published a series of theological essays.--His son, George Foster, M. E. bishop, born in Greene county, Georgia, 3 February, 1811 ; died near Sparta, Georgia, 3 September, 1884, was graduated at Franklin college, Athens, in 1829, and afterward studied law, but, abandoning it for theology, was received in 1831 into the Georgia conference of the Methodist Episcopal church. For one year he was a member of the South Carolina conference. He soon attained great popularity as a public speaker, and was appointed to Augusta, Savannah, and Charleston before he had been in the ministry five years. In his fifth year he was returned to Augusta, and in his sixth, seventh, and eighth he was presiding elder of that district. He filled various important pastoral and collegiate posts, the last of which was the presidency of Emory college, Oxford, Georgia While he was there he was elected and ordained bishop at Columbus, Georgia, in 1854. Bishop Pierce was a man of great eloquence, and had many friends in all parts of the, country. Notwithstanding the alienation of the two branches of his church, he was frequently invited to deliver addresses in the north. His conversational powers were remarkable, and in wit he had few superiors. On one occasion a young man, trying on his hat, rather presumptuously said: "Bishop, our heads are the same size." "Yes," said the bishop, " outside." The degree of D. D. was conferred upon him by Transylvania university, and that of LL.D. by Randolph Macon college. He was personally the most popular of the bishops of his church; somewhat autocratic and self-complacent, but very kind and persuasive; an admirer of the south and devoted to the church. For several years he was in infirm health, but he often made great oratorical efforts at a time when most men would have considered themselves too ill to venture abroad. He was the author of "Incidents of Western Travel" (Nashville, 1857).
Edited Appletons Encyclopedia, Copyright © 2001 VirtualologyTM
Soldiers in Baldwin County
Lovick Pierce, Sr. 1820 Land Lottery
from "History of Jefferson County"
Mt. Moriah Methodist, in extreme northern part of the county, is noted for its camp meetings held every summer, including the third Sunday in August, where thousands assemble to hear the greatest pulpit orators in the Methodist church. Here Bishop Pierce and his father used to preach, and here friends and old acquaintenances met to renew friendships and memories of other days.
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MINISTERS AND LAYMEN.
LOVICK PIERCE, THE NESTOR OF GEORGIA METHODISM.
When the history of American Methodism shall be fully written, few names will occupy a more prominent place than that of Lovick Pierce.
This illustrious minister sprung from obscurity, and his educational advantages were exceedingly limited. In despite of this, however, he early reached the highest distinction as a preacher. It is true that he never attained to Episcopal honors. nor did he ever wield a commanding influence in the General Conference. Not less than Edmund Burke, he was ill adapted to the leadership of deliberative assemblies.
Indeed, it is but just to say that he was somewhat deficient in the faculty of organization, and possessed only moderate administrative ability. As Whitfield, the prince of pulpit orators, founded no sect, so Lovick Pierce consummated no great reform in the economy of Methodism. Eminently conservative, as he was, in reference to the fundamental doctrines of the church, he was evermore
full of plans for the improvement of its polity. Nearly all of these proposed reforms were lost in the committee on revisals.
We come now, however, to speak of Lovick Pierce, simply as a preacher of the everlasting gospel; and in this respect he had few equals, and no superiors in the American pulpit. He had neither the thorough scholarship, nor the analytical power of Stephen Olin; John Summer-field surpassed him greatly in the mere art of persuasion. Bishop Bascombe excelled him in the thunderous oratory that reminds us of an ocean swell. Yet as a preacher, in the Pauline acceptation of the term, he was not a whit behind the chiefest of his contemporaries.
It would be difficult to say, definitely, wherein lay the secret of his immense pulpit power. It certainly was not due to the vastness of his literary resources, for these were circumscribed; nor could it be attributed to anything that savored of sensationalism, for no man despised more heartily the tricks of the pulpit mountebank, who is more intent on winning applause than on winning souls.
Somewhat of his rare excellence as a preacher may be justly ascribed to his imposing presence. His voice was a natural, not an acquired, orotund, his articulation was uniformly distinct, and his modulation perfect. His manner of delivery was sometimes vehement, but never offensively boisterous. Add to all this what the French term,
"Onction," and the old Methodists, "Liberty," and you have our idea of his elocution.
One grand element of his success was his apostolic saintliness of character. He believed and preached the doctrine of holiness, as handed down to us by Fletcher and the Wesleys.
With him, however, it was something more than a mere theory, he illustrated it in his daily life. I have yet to see the man who more studiously avoided every colloquial impropriety, whether slang or vulgarity, who was more prayerful in spirit, and more circumspect in all his deportment. While, at times, he had an air of moroseness, there underlay this harsh exterior a sympathy as genial as the breath of spring-time, and as far-spreading as the blue sky above us. His charity had no bounds. Never was there a more appreciative listener to the commonplaces of the pulpit or a more enraptured hearer of the platitudes of commencement orators and essayists.
Next to his personal purity and thorough consecration to his ministerial work, was his mastery of the Holy Scriptures. The Bible was the armory whence he drew the weapons, which, on many a hard-fought field, were mighty to the pulling down of strongholds. We would not intimate that he was neglectful of polite literature. He was indeed familiar with the standard English authors, and was always abreast with the current phases of philosophy.
But, beyond all else, he studied the Bible--not detached portions, as the manner of some is, but every part and parcel of it. He knew the Pentateuch as well as the four gospels. He was as fully conversant with the weird visions of Ezekiel, and the mystic imagery of the Apocalypse, as with the simpler Messianic prophecies of Isaiah.
He had well nigh committed to memory the Psalms of David, yet he was hardly less familiar with the Proverbs of Solomon. If any portion of the Divine Revelation was more highly esteemed and carefully studied than any other, it was the Epistles of St. Paul. His understanding of the Pauline system was critically exact and his exegesis of the Epistles to the Romans and Hebrews was more than masterly, it partook of the supernatural. With such resources as these, it was no matter of marvel that he was a master of assemblies.
Only secondary to these two elements was his wonderful gift as an extemporaneous speaker. He had, as was well understood, an invincible aversion to written sermons. Now and then he has been known to inveigh against them with an earnestness that left no room for doubt as to the strength of his convictions. Let it not be supposed, however, that he at all countenanced the notion of extemporaneous thinking. On the contrary, he was diligent in preparation for his pulpit work.
I have personal knowledge on this point, on more than one occasion. Still he had so trained himself to extemporaneous speaking that his spoken style was far better than his written style. The former was terse, at times epigrammatic, always sparkling; the latter was labored, involved, and, frequently turgid. It is to be deplored that he did not cultivate writing until advanced life. Richard Baxter, a laborious pastor, and a life-long invalid, left material for forty folio volumes; Dr. Pierce scarcely left sufficient material for a single duodecimo.
During his earlier ministry his toil and travel were immense. Like St. Paul, he was in perils both in the city and the wilderness. His districts embraced a larger geographical area than the Apostle traversed in his first missionary tours. These abundant labors left him but little opportunity for strictly literary work, and furnish ample apology for his apparent shortcomings. Besides, he fell on evil days, when Methodism was everywhere spoken against; when the spirit of a confessor and the courage of a martyr were needed to confront the enemies of Methodism. Luckily for himself and the church, he was cast in the same heroic mould as Francis Asbury and William McKendree. He faltered not for a single moment in the face of opposition, but steered right onward to the goal. The usual order of Divine Providence is, "That one soweth and another reapeth," but he survived
this era of depression, and lived to see Methodism the dominant religious organization of this continent and the leading religious denomination of the Protestant world. It was, indeed, gratifying to witness the distinguished consideration with which he was treated in his old age, in all the annual and general conferences of the church. This was no constrained tribute to rank, or wealth, or power; but the spontaneous recognition of intellectual and moral worth of the highest order.
Dr. Pierce did not lag superfluous on the stage. He wrote or preached almost to his dying day. It is true that the last weeks of his life were marked by great nervous prostration. At times he seemed bowed down with sorrow, but the reaction was always speedy. It was in one of his jubilant moods he sent that message to the churches, "Say to the brethren I am lying just outside the gates of Heaven." An utterance worthy to be mentioned in the same breath with Paul's exclamation in the depths of the Mamertine prison, "I am now ready to be offered." Not less inspiring than the last words of Wesley, "the best of all is, God is with us."
Not a great while before his departure it was my privilege to visit and talk with him in his death-chamber. In response to my enquiry about his health, he said: "I am lying here a wreck upon the coast of time, trying to look into the eternal future." It is somewhat singular that the great
Webster used almost this identical language to a friend during his last illness. That friend replied: "Say not, Mr. Webster, a wreck, but a pyramid on the coast of time." My reply was different; I said: "Doctor, for many years you have been getting ready for this hour." After a little conversation his eyes brightened, and he said: "I have some well-matured views on the subject of faith which I desire to submit to you." I said: "I have but a little while to remain, as I must leave on the next train." He glanced at the clock and said: "I see you haven't sufficient time to hear me." He, however, gave me an outline of his views, and I urged him to have them written and published for the edification of the church. Thereupon he gave me his blessing, and I withdrew. He lived but a few weeks after this interview. There is a beautiful fitness, or rather I ought to say a wise Providence, in the death-scenes of great and good men. Elijah, the wild-eyed Tishbite, who rebuked kings and smote false prophets and idolatrous priests with the edge of the sword, must needs have a chariot of flame and steeds of fire to bear him aloft to the Paradise of God. It was a fitting close to a most stormy career. But for Lovick Pierce there was appointed a more quiet hour. Calmly, he lay down to his final rest. He nestled his weary head on the bosom of Jesus, and with hardly a pang or a struggle, his ransomed spirit went "sweeping through the gates," to his exceeding great reward.
How broad the contrast between such a departure and that of Cardinal Wolsey, who was abandoned in his old age by his sovereign because of his refusal to sanction his matrimonial infidelities.
Lear, when he trod alone the blasted heath amidst the pelting of a pitiless midnight storm was not in a more sorrowful plight than this illustrious ecclesiastic--when after a wearisome day's travel he approached the postern gate of Leicester Abbey.
Addressing the Abbot, he said:
"Father Abbot, an old man, broken in the Storms of State Comes to lay his bones among ye; A little earth for pity's sake."
Not many hours after his arrival he died with no attendant but an obscure monk who ministered to him the sacrament of the dying.
But yesterday he had as the motto of his signet ring "Ego et rex meus." "Now lies he there and none so poor as to do him reverence."
What think ye of the cardinal and the preacher? How apposite the language of David: "I have seen the wicked, in great power, spreading himself like a green bay-tree, yet he passed away and lo! he was not; yea, I sought for him and he could not be found. Mark the perfect man and behold the upright, for the end of that man is peace."
Noted events in his life were:
• Alt. Birth: From, Mar 17, 1785, , Halifax County, North Carolina.
• Census: U.S. Census, 1850, , Muscogee County, Georgia. Name: Lovick Pearce
Residence: Muscogee, Georgia
Age: 66 years
Estimated birth year: 1784
Birth place: North Carolina, United States
Race or color (on document):
Race or color (expanded):
Film number: 442888
Image number: 00255
Reference number: 24
Household id: 177
Free or slave:
Collection: 1850 United States Census
also listed on census:
Clara C, Female, Age 20
H R Pearce (Hamilton R?), Male, Age 23, Occupation: Physician
Mary A (wife of Hamilton?), Female, Age 21
• Alt. Death: November 11, 1879, Daily Constitution newspaper, Nov 10, 1879, Sparta, Hancock County, Georgia. November 11, 1879
Death of Dr. Lovick Pierce
Augusta, Ga., November 10, The Venerable Dr. Lovick Pierce, father of Methodism in Georgia, died at his home in Sparta, this morning, in the 95th year of his age.
• Military Service: Served in War of 1812 as a chaplain.
Lovick married Ann Martin FOSTER, daughter of Colonel George Wells FOSTER and Julia Elizabeth FLOURNOY, on Sep 28, 1809 in Greene, , Georgia, USA.1564 (Ann Martin FOSTER was born on Dec 21, 1789 in , Prince Edward County, Virginia,1565 died on May 14, 1850 in Columbus, Muscogee County, Georgia, USA 1566 and was buried in Family Cemetery, Mount Prospect?.)