Breaker's Bio


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     Jacob Manley Cantey Breaker is my third-great-grandfather.  He is the youngest son of Lewis Frederick Breaker.  Born in South Carolina on July 25, 1824 in the Kershaw District, Jacob spent his toddler years most likely in Camden.  Eventually, his family moved to Key West, where he spent his tender childhood on the water fishing, hunting for turtles, swimming, crabbing, sailing, etc.

     Fearing his son would be a sea captain, and possibly lost at sea (like several of the Breaker Clan), Lewis sent his young teenage son back to South Carolina to live with his Baptist cousin the Rev. Charles Middleton Breaker.  Jacob eventually made a profession of faith while under C.M.'s preaching, and Charles baptized him on June 14th, 1840.  At little more than 16 years of age, Jacob felt called to the ministry and surrendered his life to serve God as a pastor.

     With financial assistance from various family and friends, he entered Furman university (a large Southern Baptist college) on January 1, 1841.  After five and a half years of study, he graduated in June of 1846, and immediately began pastoring a church in Chesterville, S. C., where he was ordained by J.C. Furman, E. Fant, and W. Nolan. 

     He later resigned and accepted a pastorate in Greenville, South Carolina, where he eventually met  his wife, Ms. Emma Juliette Juhan.  How Jacob and Emma came together is an interesting story.  Emma in her later years wrote her biography, and I thoroughly enjoyed learning more about my third-great grandfather, his beliefs, and spiritual endeavors. 

     Emma's testimony of salvation appears in the church minutes, and one can narrow down the time she made a profession of faith.  Jacob even baptized her thereafter. 

     They would sit and talk for hours about many things, but their love of literature brought them together.  Especially the poems of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, of which Emma boasts one of his poems was written about her as a little girl.  Jacob also gave her a book about the wife of Adoniram Judson, a Missionary's wife, a subtle hint of his desirous to make her his own, as he does the work of the Lord.  Jacob did have some competition though, as three different men all expressed their undying love to Emma and their desire to wed her.  But Jacob endured them all, watching from the sidelines, and guiding her as her Pastor in spiritual growth. 

    In 1842 Jacob received word that both his parents had died within months of each other in Key West, Florida.  Emma was there and lent a kindly ear as Jacob told her about this devastating course of events.  Emma too knew what it was like to lose her parents, as she tells of her mother becoming deafly ill when she was very young, and eventually had to be left at nursing home for the mentally impaired.  Her father, unable to take care of her, gave her to other family members to raise, and she hardly ever saw her father again.  These coincidences, might have had an impact to their relationship being so close.

     Eventually, Jacob wrote Emma a letter while she was away at school asking for her hand in marriage.  His letter states:

     "My Dear Miss Emma,

     It has been about six weeks since I heard from you, and replied to it immediately: but it seems more like six months, and as I am getting hungry for another letter from you, I will write again to 'stir up your pure mind by way of remembrance.'  I have no special news to write about.  The church is getting along as usual, I baptized two during the month, a young man and a young lady, and several colored people.  I was out at Dr. Buist's yesterday afternoon, and saw your sister, and I told her I intended writing to you to-day which I made up my mind to do after reading a small part of your letter to her, of recent date, she told me to give her love to you if I wrote. 

     And now I will come at once to the main object of this letter, which is no more nor less, than to ask you to become my wife.  Excuse my plainess of speech, which perhaps may startle you, but you must know that I love you, and have done so since the first day we met.  Of course, that love has grown stronger as I have known you better.  I do not know why, but when I saw your face through the window when I drove up to Mr. Robert's house that 31st day of last June, I felt I had met my destiny.  did my heart tell you of my love before you left last October, buy you were so young, I hated to disturb your mind with sweet thoughts, knowing that it would interfere with your studies, which I wished you to complete successfully.  But I can restrain my feelings no longer, you have taken complete possession of my being.  I feel that you are peculiarly fitted by nature, education and grace to be a helpmeet for me in the work to which God has called me, and I beg you will ask his guidance as I have done in this matter, and come to the same conclusion I have, that it is his will we should be suited, both for our happiness and his glory.  As I sat alone on the little front porch in the pensive moonlight, how I longed for your dear presence and my heart cried out in the words of one of your own sweet songs.  'But O how happy would I be, to pass one lonely hour with thee.' 

     Emma, dear Emma, my love for you is unspeakable; it has been shut up in my heart so long, that now it has passed an outlet, it cannot be restrained, forgive me if it will not cease to flow.  Let me hear from you shortly, suspense is agony to an anxious heart, and let it be that blessed little word, 'Yes.'

     Devotedly Yours,

     J.M.C. Breaker"

     In her autobiography, Emma writes, after reading his letter, "It was a very sweet letter to me and I read it and read it again.  I cannot say I was surprised by it, for it seemed to me my heart had been expecting and waiting for months though I could not tell why."

     She responded cordially, asking him to come and visit her on a set date, otherwise she'd write back her answer in a letter.  Because of an outbreak of the measles, Jacob was unable to travel, and the copy of Emma's autobiography I have ends there, as pages are missing. (PLEASE, IF ANYONE READING THIS HAS THE ENTIRE BIOGRAPHY, PLEASE LET ME KNOW!  I'M DYING TO KNOW HOW THEY FINALLY GOT TOGETHER!)

     Though I don't know "the rest of the story," Emma did accept Jacob's proposal, and they were wed on Oct. 11, 1848.

     In Jan. 1849, Jacob accepted the call to pastor the Baptist Church in Newbern, N.C.  With his new wife, he also worked as a principal there of the Newbern Female Seminary.

     He then pastored for a year in Grahamville, S.C., before being called to the Baptist church of Beaufort, S.C. on Jan. 1, 1854, where he remained until 1859.  Jacob saw much revival in Beaufort, and baptized many people, a fact which many other ministers noted.  In 65 minutes, he baptized 223 persons, settling an old controversy among ministers, in short, that the 12 apostles could have easily baptized 3000 people in one day. 

     His success did not come without tragedy, as plague swept through Beaufort, claiming his two daughters within days of each other.  Their tombstones can still be seen today behind the back wall of the Beaufort Baptist Church.  The plaque reads:

     "Emma Henrietta Breaker  Died 17, March 1859, aged 4 years, 3 months, and 21 days, and Eliza Prince Breaker 'Our little Ida,' died on 21, March 1859 aged __ years, ___ months and ___ days"  (numbers unreadable).

     What sorrow to not only lose both parents, but also to lose two babies not more than ten years later!  Truly, J. M. C. was no foreigner to pain and sorrow.

     The prestigious church at Columbia, S.C., called J. M. C to be their pastor in 1859, and he gladly accepted, a change of scenery doing him good to help overcome his tribulations.  It was here Jacob served until the end of the dreadful Civil War.  Jacob's name is seldom mentioned, but deserves to be remembered in history, for it was in his church building, that the first committee for the discussion of seceding from the union met on Dec. 7, 1860.   Jacob was asked to say the opening prayer, and he officiated the meeting.  (I jokingly like to tell people he started the Civil War with a prayer, but that he must not have been right with God, as the South didn't win.) 

     During the war, Jacob edited a newspaper entitled, "The Confederate Baptist," which ran from 1861 to 1865.  Jacob was a true patriot, who loved his country and his freedom.  But as the Union troops burned Columbia, at the end of the conflict, Jacob had to flee the city with his family and live off the kindness of others in the countryside.  Luckily, the Yankees didn't burn down the old church, and it still exists today in Columbia, and is a national landmark, and historical treasure.

     J. M. C., as he's almost always reverently referred, then traveled to Spartanburg, S. C., and pastored there in 1866-1868.  The horrible years of Reconstruction (better known as the decade of the "carpet baggers"), must not have set well with him, as in 1868 he moved to St. Louis, Missouri and started a mission in the neglected part of the city.

     In 1869, he pastored Park Avenue Baptist Church in St. Louis, Missouri.  In 1870, he pastored Second Baptist Church in Liberty, Missouri, and in 1870-1876, he was pastor of St. Joseph First Baptist Church in St. Joseph, Missouri.

     Always desirous of traveling (a Breaker trait that's obviously in the blood), and because the cold weather in Missouri was detrimental to his health, Jacob made a trip to California in 1876.

     In 1877, he moved to Houston, Texas and accepted the invitation to Pastor the First Baptist Church.   There he built a beautiful building on the corner of Rusk and Fannin.  Sadly it burned down, and is no longer there.

     In 1887, he left First Baptist, and tried to start Mt. Olivet Baptist Church also in Houston.  However, the church never took off, and was disbanded.

     In 1888, he again traveled to California and pastored the First Baptist Church of Ukiah, California.

     Eventually, he returned to Houston, and pastored First Baptist in Marshall, Texas from 1889 to 1893.

     J. M. C. left this transitory life on April 14, 1894, leaving behind him a great legacy as a Baptist minister, preaching the Gospel far and wide.  He is buried in Glenwood Cemetery in Houston, Texas.

     The famous Baptist J. M. Carroll, in his book, A History of Texas Baptists, had the following to say, "Dr. J. M. C. Breaker...was an unusually strong preacher.  He baptized many people during his long ministerial life.  He was also a writer of unusual strength."

     But probably the nicest thing said about him is as follows from the words of Dr. J. H. Luther:

     "I never knew a man who was more loyal to his convictions, more tenderly thoughtful of his churches, more studious in his preparation for the pulpit, and more exemplary in all the relations of life.  The nobility of his manhood was seen in the well rounded character which good men recognized as the image of his Master."

     His children were:  Manley Juhan, George Howe, Emma Henrietta, Henry Cantey, Eliza Prince, Henrietta Hornby (Etta for short), Anna Bordeaux, Victoria Claudia, Emma Juhan, and Lewis Frederick Breaker.  I come from the line of George Howe Breaker.


A Young J. M. C. Breaker


A Middle Aged J. M. C. Breaker


An Picture of J. M. C. Breaker in later years


Mrs. Emma Juliette Juhan Breaker, J. M. C.'s loving wife


Emma Juhan Breaker in her later years



Click below for the actual historical documents I found pertaining to this bio.


My Notes on J M C Breaker

Several J M C Bios

Furman University Info

Countless Birth and Marriage certificate references for Breakers from various sources in South Carolina, and other places

Info on J M C from Betty Marcontell

Excerpt from book The History of the First Bapt. Church in Greenville, S.C. by Norm Daniel

Excerpt from Texas Historical and biographical magazine by J B Link, giving brief bio of JMC

Info about First Baptist Church of Charleston, the oldest Baptist church in the South, and Richard Furman

Info about First Baptist Church of Greenville, S.C.

More info about First Baptist Church of Greenville

Info about J. M. C. Breaker and Greenville, S.C. Baptist Church

Actual church minutes of Greenville Baptist Church showing Emma making profession of faith

Pics of both church buildings of the First Baptist Church in Newbern, N.C., where J M C pastored

Excerpts from Book In the Beginning---Baptists by Cook showing J M C as pastor in Newbern, N. C.

Excerpts from Book A Lamp Unto the Lowcountry by Maddox about Beaufort Baptist Church, where J M C Pastored from 1854-1859

Info on Beaufort Baptist Church

Info about J.M.C. from Beaufort Baptist Church

Essay of J M C entitled, "The Importance of Ellkesia (church)," written in 1857 for The Christian Review Magazine

Excerpt from A History of The First Baptist Church of Columbia, S.C. with bio on JMC and secession

1860 South Carolina Census

Old Southern Baptist Records from their meetings showing J M C as secretary and more

Excerpt from History of Missiouri Baptists with bios of both J M C and his son Manly Juhan

Excerpts from Book about First Baptist Church of Houston, entitled, "A Church in the City Reaching the World," showing J M C as pastor in late 1800s

Excerpt from a History of First Baptist Church of Houston

List of Publications of Columbia Baptist Church, showing Confederate Baptist Magazine by J M C during War for State's Rights

Excerpts from the Confederate Baptist Magazine

Excerpts from the Southern Baptist Magazine

J M C Breaker and Missouri Church info

Liberty Advance newspaper article about J M C Breaker

1880 Texas Census Harris County showing J M C and family

Church minutes of First Baptist Church of Houston from 1841-1847 (Before J. M. C. pastored there).  An interesting read

First Baptist Church of Houston, Texas Articles of Faith in 1894

Excerpt from Book by J. M. Carroll, "The History of Texas Baptists," by J. M. Carroll, speaking about J M C Breaker

The Baptist Encyclopedia, by Wm. Cathcart, 1881 entry for J. M. C. Breaker

1880-81 Houston Directory entry for George H. and Henry Breaker at home of J. M. C. Breaker

Draft of History of First Baptist Church of Marshall, Texas

Handwritten letters by J M C to family

Obituaries for J M C Breaker

Tombstone of J M C's two daughters -Emma Henrietta and Eliza Prince- in Beaufort, South Carolina

Pics from Glenwood Cemetery in Houston, Texas where J M C and others are buried

Plot Index and Papers from Glenwood for Breakers

Index from Glenwood for Breakers, showing the family, and an unknown breaker infant

Pic of Lewis Frederick Breaker, J. M. C.'s youngest son

Info on the descendents of J M C

Death certificate of J M C's daughter Emma Bisbee


1848 Sermon by J. M. C. Breaker entitled "A Sermon occasioned by the Death of Mrs. Emala E. Thompson"

1858 Address by J. M. C. Breaker entitled, "Woman her True Mission and Education"

1855 Sermon by J. M. C. Breaker entitled, "Review of the Past Year" (delivered in Beaufort Baptist Church)

1857 Sermon by J. M. C. Breaker entitled, "Objections to Bible Revision Considered"  (P.S. I'm KJV only and am against any revision!)

1859 Sermon by J. M. C. entitled "An Inquiry into the Scriptural Qualifications for the Administrator of Baptism"

1859 Prize Winning Essay by J. M. C. entitled "Terms of Communion"

Paper written by some guy quoting J. M. C. and stating he's not Baptistic enough





Click here for George Howe Breaker, son of J. M. C. Breaker