John McCurry Earls, son of John and Elizabeth (McCurry) Earls, was born September 16, 1857, in Swain County, North Carolina. He was “born again” in August 1876 and was baptized into the fellowship of Cold Spring Baptist Church by Elder A.I Justice. Soon after uniting with the church he announced that God had called him to preach. He was ordained into the full work of the ministry November 15, 1884. The presbytery consisted of Elders A.I. Justice, J.A. Woodard, and S. Smiley. For some time he was pastor of his home church and several other small churches in North Carolina.
On September 21, 1876, he was married to Miss Ellen Truitt Thomasson. His long time pastor and friend, A.I. Justice, officiated at the wedding. Three children were born to this union, one son, W.J., who became a Baptist minister, and two daughters. Both daughters were teachers in Texas public schools. All attended Baylor University.
In some way Rev. Earls received a copy of the first issue of the Baptist Standard and like it so well that he sent in his subscription at once. Very soon he became interested in work in Texas. Finding the name and address of a Texas preacher, he wrote him with regard to the work. He received a rather flippant answer: “If you come to Texas, you’ll miss the good cold spring water. The water in Texas is not good for one thing except to baptize in. And if you do come, don’t wear a long tail coat, for the wind will whip the tail off.” Later he found the name of J.N. Chandler and wrote him. Brother Chandler wrote him a very encouraging letter and told him: “We need preachers in Texas.” He and his family arrived in Texas in June 1898 and settled first at Bluff Dale. His name appears first in the minutes of Paluxy Association in 1899 when he was pastor at Paluxy and Tolar. He preached the opening sermon at the annual meeting of the association in 1901, and was elected Moderator of that session. He had served as Moderator of the Tennessee River Association in North Carolina and of the Morganton Association in Georgia before coming to Texas. In later years he was Moderator of Concho Valley Association in Texas. He served as pastor of several churches in Paluxy Association.
After leaving Paluxy Association he served as Missionary Pastor in Thurber, and then moved on toward the southwest, preaching and organizing churches where none existed. It was his firm conviction that there should be a Baptist church within walking distance of every child. He led in the organization of Park Heights Church in San Angelo. For more than a year this church met under a tent which Mrs. Earls had made on a sewing machine. The Ridgetop Church in Austin was established under his leadership.
Because of failing health and eyesight he retired from the pastorate, but remained active in Christian work. He aided in establishing a mission for Mexican people east of Austin and worked in it until the time of his death. For five years, while studying in the University of Texas, James D. Crane, now a missionary in Mexico, lived in his home. In 1936, with Crane as his driver, he went back to North Carolina and conducted several revival meetings in which he witnessed 28 professions of faith. He was planning another trip east when the Lord called him up higher March 22, 1937.
|SOURCE Paluxy Baptist Association Centennial Story 1880 – 1980|