Samuel Flavel Huntley: Part Three

by Bruce Whitaker

Word spread of Sam Huntley’s experience. People in the church began asking Huntley to lead prayer and talked him into becoming Sunday School Superintendent. He was asked to speak at other churches. It was embarrassing to the shy young man to speak in public and receive so much attention, but Huntley was able to do what he was called upon to do regardless of his shy nature.

A burden came on Sam Huntley’s heart a short time later. One day he stopped, tied his ox to a tree and went across a field to a large rock cliff. Huntley recalled, “I made up my mind that I would get relief from my burden or die. The Lord came onto my life in a way that lasted all these years. Although many hard temptations have come to me, the dear Lord has been with me and brought me out every time.”

Sam Huntley only owned a 10¢ New Testament at the time. His older brother agreed to order him a regular Bible. Sam began to study and read the Bible at night; being a farmer, it was the only free time he had. He had to study from the light of a tiny brass lamp with no globe, the only light he had. He read so much with such a poor light that his eyes began to go bad. Sam kept at it nonetheless.

Middle Fork Baptist Church allowed him to preach in 1904. His first church was at Ridgecrest (just east of Black Mountain). He described Ridgecrest as a place of “strange and wicked people.”  Reverend Huntley served several churches at a time, which was the norm then. Few churches could afford a full–time pastor, so pastors would often serve at four churches. They would preach at each church once a month. Sam Huntley was also pastor at what is now Swannanoa First Baptist during part of the time that he was at Ridgecrest.

Reverend Sam Huntley was a pastor for 38 years. He served at twenty–two different churches including Emma’s Grove in Fairview and Salem in Fletcher. He pastored churches in Buncombe, Henderson, McDowell, Rutherford and Polk Counties. He baptized 1,266 people and conducted 1,381 funerals. Sam Huntley wore out five new cars during his ministry. He refused to accept any money for pastoring any of his twenty churches or to cover the cost of his travels. Huntley’s last church was Mount Moriah. He resigned there due to poor health and old age.

Reverend Huntley returned home from an appointment one Sunday afternoon to find that his wife Luizer (Lou) had fallen and had broken her hip. She was taken to Biltmore Hospital but did not recover. She died on March 18, 1943. The Huntleys had been married 60 years. Sam Huntley then married a second time to the widow Grace Dills.

Reverend W.C. Huntley went to visit his uncle Sam on Monday, June 17, 1946. He said that he and his uncle had a great time telling stories that afternoon. When W.C. Huntley started to leave, his uncle told him he was going to die very soon. The next Sunday, Reverend Sam Huntley went to Ebenezer Baptist Church, where he had served as pastor for many years. Huntley taught his Sunday School Class that morning and gave a very inspirational talk during the worship service. The next day, Monday morning, Sam Huntley and his wife went to downtown Hendersonville. They stopped and visited with friends they met going up and down Main Street. Reverend Sam Huntley greatly enjoyed the fellowship he had with all the people he knew. He said, “I must hurry on and see as many people as I can.” That afternoon as he sat on his porch watching the sunset, he sang, “My latest sun is sinking fast, my race is nearly run; my strongest trials are past, my triumph is begun.”

At 4:30 the next morning Reverend Sam Huntley had a heart attack. He died about fifteen minutes later, on June 25, 1946. He was buried next to his wife at the Ebenezer Baptist Church Cemetery in Henderson County.

Sam Huntley and his wife Luizer “Lou” Connor Huntley had eight children.

Ada Belle Huntley was born March 23, 1883. She married John Victor Camby (1883–1964). Ada died on September 4, 1935.

Marcus Huntley was born in July 1884.

Barney Benjamin Huntley was born on  April 6, 1886. He married Rachel Arbella Justice (1900–1992), who is buried at Oakdale Cemetery in Henderson County. Barney died on June 11, 1940. He is buried in Ebenezer Baptist Cemetery in Henderson County.

Luna Marion Huntley was born Aug 23, 1888. He married a woman named Grace. He died on August 30, 1923. He is buried Tabernacle Church Cemetery in Black Mountain.

Carrie Lee Huntley was born on April 21, 1890. She married James Asbury White (1886–1969). Carrie died on June 22, 1963. Both are buried At Mountain View Cemetery in Black Mountain.

Bessie M. Huntley was born on January 15, 1894, and married James C. Gray (June 6, 1888 – October 1, 1977). She died Jan. 11, 1983 in McDowell County.

Mamie Mae Huntley was born on December 7, 1896. She married Joseph Edward Huggins (1896–1958). Mamie died on July 7, 1950. Both are buried at Ebenezer Baptist Cemetery in Henderson County.

James Rowland Huntley was born on August 21, 1898. He married Faye Gilbert. James died on November 9, 1967. They are buried at Ebenezer Baptist Cemetery in Henderson County.

Local historian Bruce Whitaker documents genealogy in the Fairview area. You can reach him at 628–1089 or email him at
[email protected].

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