MERCER, Jesse. b. Halifax County, North Carolina, 16 December 1769; d. Butts County, Georgia, 6 September 1841. Mercer was a prominent Baptist minister, and essentially the founder of Mercer University in Macon, Georgia. His main contribution to hymnody was The Cluster of Spiritual Songs*, a words-only collection that provided texts for William Walker*’s Southern Harmony* and other important shape-note collections.
Jesse Mercer was the first of eight children born to Silas Mercer (1754-1796) and Dorcas (Green) Mercer (1746-1819). Silas was initially an Anglican (the designation ‘Episcopalian’ became proper after the American Revolution). Along with Thomas Mercer (Silas’s half-brother,...
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