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- Author: Jefferson Davis Tant
- e-Sword Version: 9.x - 10.x
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Tant, J. D. - Bible Studies and Questions
Whole Bible Scripture Old Testament New Testament Church of Christ
Jefferson Davis Tant
9.x - 10.x
Contains Three Years worth of Bible Studies. For use in
Bible Schools, Prayer Meetings, Devotional Meetings, Bible
Drills, and All Class or for Individual Bible Studies.
CONTAINS OVER 4,000 Questions On The New Testament
by J. D. Tant.
Editor's Note: As I find time, I plan on adding several thousand Questions by
E.M. Zerr to this module.
Jefferson Davis Tant was born June 28, 1861, at Cartersville, Georgia. His parents
were William and Mattie (Lloyd) Tant.
At the age of 14, Tant joined the Methodist Church. At the age of 15 he moved with
his parents from Georgia to Texas. About this time, he became interested in an
education and, fortunately, he lived near a high school.
Unfortunately, he had only one dollar to supply all of his earthly needs. He invested
his dollar in three yards of cloth from which his mother made him a pair of pants. He
started to school without a single school book and one pair of pants. At school, he
would dodge around the children and study his lessons on their books with them,
until one day a schoolmate cursed him and told him if his old daddy could not get
him some books that he had better quit. Discouraged, he told his troubles to his
teacher, who agreed that he would leave one window unfastened each night so his
pupil could come and get the books for his lesson the next day, learn his lessons,
and put the books back next morning before school. This he did for two years, and
many times three o'clock in the morning found him after his lessons with a little
brass lamp to study by.
Jefferson Davis Tant was in the school room each day but never looked at a book,
yet at time for recitation he seldom failed to answer all the questions. The children
begged him to tell them how he knew his lessons without studying. This he kept as
a profound secret. The news spread that he was an "idiot" and people often visited
the school to see "Old man Tant's 'idiot' son that learned his lessons without studying."
After two years, a lady learned of his desire for an education and loaned him $20 to
buy his books. The last two years he was in school, he was in a class alone. He had
passed all the other students, not because he had more ability but because he used
what he had.
The Reverend Jefferson Davis Tant, duly ordained in the Methodist ministry, became
a circuit-rider in North Texas in the year 1880. His work as a Methodist minister was
destined to be a short one. In 1881, he moved to Buda, Texas, where in August of
that year, he heard W. H. D. Carrington, a minister of the Church of Christ, preach the
gospel. He liked what he learned. In those days, the church was often referred to as
"Campbellites." The meeting ran from two weeks to a month. Tant decided to go back
and hear what the "Campbellite" preacher had to say further. Carrington took the Bible,
read the passages and explained them clearly, especially the verses that told what one
must do to be a Christian or to be saved.
On August 14, 1881, Tant came forward in Carrington's meeting and gave the preacher
his hand. He was openly weeping as he did so, weeping from fear, from gratitude. Since
he had been immersed, he was received into the fellowship of the Buda church on his
statement that he was "satisfied" with his baptism. It was only one week later that young
Jefferson Davis Tant received a written statement from the Buda Church of Christ,
commending him to the brotherhood to preach the gospel of Christ and baptize any that
he was instrumental in converting to Christ. The statement was signed by two elders and
1883 was a milestone in Tant's life. It was then that he received his very first compensation
as a preacher of God's word. He checked his records and found that he received $9.75 for
the year. $5.00 of this amount came from performing a wedding ceremony.
J. D. Tant married Laura Warren on March 26, 1890, at Georgetown, Texas. E. Hansborough
performed the ceremony. To this union, two children were born: Ira, a son who lived to be 10
years old, and Davis, a daughter.
The Tants lived at Hamilton, Texas. On January 4, 1894, after a hard fight with pneumonia,
Laura died. Her body was laid to rest in the old Hamilton Cemetery
Hamilton was the home of J. D. Tant for nearly 15 years, his longest residence in any one place
during the 80 years of his life.
Tant married Nannie Green Yater on Wednesday, December 30, 1896. It was a double wedding
with Nannie marrying J. D. and her sister, Fannie Mills (who was never known by anything but
her nickname "Kanna") marrying Albert Gebhart. Felix C. Sowell performed the wedding ceremony.
Tant preached all over the nation. Gospel preachers were few and far between. He was in great
demand, ordinarily receiving more than 200 invitations per year for gospel meetings. His record
was 269 invitations in a single year. Obviously, he could not hold more than 20 or 25 of these, since
most of them were of two weeks' duration.
After living in Hamilton, Texas, for 15 years, Tant moved to Victoria, Texas, and then to Quanah,
Texas. He moved to Macon, Tennessee, in 1904. (Yater Tant was born there in 1908.) Then the
Tants moved to Alamogordo, New Mexico, in 1912, to Cleburne, Texas in 1916, then to Menard,
Texas, Rogers, Arkansas, Greenville, Mississippi, DeQueen, Arkansas, Brownsville, Texas, and
then to Los Fresnos, Texas, where he spent his remaining days.
One day, sitting quietly in his chair, he said, "There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of
God . . . and I long for that rest! " This was the last scripture that he was heard to quote. He
wanted to see his children once more and sister Tant wrote to all of them requesting that they
come as soon as possible.
The last two Lord's Days he was not able to attend services. H. D. Jeffcoat, preacher for the
Brownsville Church, brought the Lord's Supper to him May 24. Those assembled sang, prayed,
and broke bread together. But on the last Lord's Day of his life, June 1, 1941, he did not partake
of the Supper. Knowing his weak condition, friends came to encourage him. They visited, stood
up to leave and Tant stood up with them and walked into another room. He sat down in a chair,
turned his eyes for a last long searching look into Nannie's face, and without speaking a word,
It was 4:30 P.M., Sunday, June 1, 1941.
Two funeral services were held. The first was at the Brownsville Church of Christ with H. D.
Jeffcoat and James W. Adams officiating. Tant had requested that the service be conducted
like any normal preaching service with congregational singing. Jeffcoat read the scripture and
led the prayer. Adams spoke on 1Ti_4:1-8 paying tribute to the great work of J. D. Tant.
The second funeral service was held at the Central Church of Christ, Cleburne, Texas,
Wednesday morning, June 4. The principal address was given by W. K. Rose with whom Tant
had held a long time agreement that whichever of them survived would speak at the funeral of
Scripture was read by G. H. P. Showalter, prayer was led by Cled E. Wallace, and a short address
preceding Rose's talk, was made by Foy E. Wallace, Jr.
Many gospel preachers came from their fields of labor to pay tribute to this great gospel preacher
who had fallen asleep in the Lord. Old time friends, companions of his youth, were present to shed
their tears with his wife, Nannie, the children, and his only surviving brother, James Monroe Tant.
John W. Akin, who had given the suit in which he was to be buried, wept unashamedly as he
looked for the last time upon the still and bloodless face of his friend.
The funeral caravan moved slowly to the old Cleburne Memorial Cemetery, where all that is mortal
of "J. D. Tant, Texas Preacher" now sleeps beneath a simple stone bearing the legend:
Jefferson Davis Tant
1861 - 1941
"I have fought a good fight
I have finished my course
I have kept the faith."