Dr. John Lemuel Carroll

Pastor FBC Hillsborough, 1862 –
Brother J.L. Carroll was called as pastor on June 22, 1862.  At the time, he was residing in Kenansville, Duplin County, NC.  He was to preach one or two Sabbaths each month at his discretion.  The following year, he was reappointed pastor with a “sallery of $200 and board” for two Sundays each month.  Hillsborough was to be his home “so as to be here to conscert prayer meetings one night or evening in each week.”1    He was enrolled as a student at the University of North Carolina while pastor of the church, graduating in 1863 with only seven other men because of the dwindling numbers of student enrolled during the Civil War.2

The following brief biography is from The History of Virginia Baptist Ministers published in 1913:
About the middle of the eighteenth century John Carroll migrated from Kings County, Ireland. He settled in North Carolina and fought in the Revolutionary War. His great-grandson, John Lemuel Carroll, the son of John Dodson and Zilpha Carroll, was born in Duplin County, North Carolina, December 21, 1836. At the age of nine he became a member of the Beaver Dam Baptist Church, and in 1858 was licensed by this body. In 1863 he graduated at the University of North Carolina, having already been a student at Wake Forest College. Years later the University conferred on him the degree of D. D. He was ordained in the Chapel of the University, May 12, 1862. In 1865 he married Sarah G. Mitchell, of New Berne, N. C.
After teaching in the Oxford Female College and acting as agent for St. John's College, he lived at Wake Forest, where he was a trustee of Wake Forest and secretary of its Board, and in March, 1871, accepted a call to the Baptist Church, Warrenton, Virginia. His other Virginia pastorates were Lexington and Gordonsville and Orange Court-House. In 1885 he accepted a call to the Baptist Church at Asheville, North Carolina, and in 1889 organized in that city the French Broad Avenue Baptist Church, becoming its first pastor. In 1893 he became pastor at Chapel Hill, the seat of the State University, where he continued actively at work until his death, June 10, 1895.
Dr. Carroll had a magnificent body, being very tall. In Lexington he used a chair several inches higher than other chairs. He was vigorous in mind and had a remarkable memory for Scripture; his sermons were full of quotations from the Bible. He excelled in extemporaneous speaking.  He was fearless and courageous in his ministry and greatly beloved and respected.3
His marriage to Sarah G. Mitchell in 1865 produced three sons, John, Jr., Mitchell and Eugene.4 The University of North Carolina awarded him a Master of Arts degree in 1866 and later in 1886 bestowed upon him an honorary Doctor of Divinity degree.5 He is credited with reorganizing the Baptist church at Louisburg, constituted in 1836 under the ministry of Dr. Samuel Wait (first president of Wake Forest College, 1834 to 1845).  At the time, Carroll was pastor at Maple Springs.  He continued to serve as pastor at Louisburg until 1869-70.6 He is listed as living in Warrenton, VA in 1876.7 He traveled from Lexington, VA to New Berne, NC in 1881 to visit his mother-in-law, Mrs. Mitchell, “who is now aged & at the home of W. F. Roundtree.”8 He was back in North Carolina in 1884, preaching a sermon at the orphanage’s board meeting in Thomasville, NC.9 He died on June 10, 1895 making him 58 years old at the time.  He is buried at the Riverside Cemetery in Asheville, NC.   His wife Sarah is also buried there, dying on August 18, 1912.  Her tombstone indicates she was born on Sep. 23, 1838 making her 78 years old at her death.  Engraved on his tombstone are the words from Psalms 84:5:  Blessed is the man whose strength is in thee, in whose heart are thy ways.10 

  1. Minutes of First Baptist Church Hillsborough, NC from November 19, 1853 to December 2, 1953.
  2. Battle, Kemp. P. History of the University of North Carolina. Volume II: From 1868 to 1912.  Raleigh, Edwards and Broughton Printing Company, 1912. Accessed on February 26, 2011 at: http://docsouth.unc.edu/nc/battle2/battle2.html
  3. Taylor, George Braxton. Virginia Baptist Ministers: 4th Series. J.P. Bell, 1913. Digital book at Google Books.
  4. Earl Jones: Selected Families and Individuals at http://www.earljones.net/pafg754.htm
  5. Honorary Degrees Awarded by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 1799-2009.  Accessed on February 26, 2011 at:  http://www.lib.unc.edu/ncc/ref/unc/honorarydegrees.html
  6. Taylor, Thomas, J. D.D., A History of the Tar River Baptist Association, 1830-1921.  Prepared and Published by order of the Association, 1923 (?).  Accessed on February 26, 2011 at:  http://digital.lib.ecu.edu/historyfiction/fullview.aspx?id=tah
  7. Proceedings of the annual meeting of the Baptist State Convention, 1876. Baptist State Convention of North Carolina (Creator).  Accessed on February 25, 2011 at: http://www.archive.org/details/proceedingsofann1894bapt
  8. Item for the Kinston Journal, 1878-1882, Part 2; issue May 26, 1881.  Accessed on February 26, 2011 at:  http://files.usgwarchives.org/nc/lenoir/newspapers/kinjornlb.txt
  9. American Baptist yearbook: 1884.  American Baptist Publication Society, American Baptist Convention.  Accessed on February 25, 2011 at:  http://books.google.com/
  10. Find a Grave Database.  Accessed on February 26, 2011 at:  http://www.findagrave.com

Compiled by Reginald Carter, Historian, FBC Hillsborough
Last Updated: February 26, 2011