After battling alcoholism and a handful of dead-end jobs, Jones had a religious conversion and became a Methodist circuit rider following the death of his father in 1872. While his ministry started small -- preaching at various churches and open-air tabernacles surrounding Cartersville -- Jones gained notoriety during the late 1800s, drawing thousands to revivals at the Union Gospel Tabernacle -- now known as Ryman Auditorium -- a venue in Nashville, Tenn., that was built in his honor.
"Ray Hughes did an extraordinary job of presenting Sam Jones," said Drew, who oversees the county-owned museum that is housed at Jones' former Cartersville residence. "I've read most of the books that have been written about Sam, so [I feel] he really portrayed him in such a wonderful way. It was just really exciting to see that the integrity of the documentary represented the integrity of his life. ... [Sam] was so diverse. He had a way with humorous sermons that certainly did draw a crowd. He was charismatic in the fact that people were drawn to him in every way of his life, whether it be ministry or his personal life. The family was probably the most recognized family in the United States during that period of time and he was revered by presidents. [He] would give advice to [Franklin] Roosevelt as well as Grover Cleveland.
"So I think the very fact of how he attracted the nation, not just our state, but pretty much politically and spiritually during that period of time [is very inspiring]. This [documentary] is something that we've been wanting to happen to put Rose Lawn on the forefront because we are probably the best kept secret around. People will call and say they've just never heard of Sam Jones [because] even though the media followed him everywhere that he would go, at that time they didn't have the equipment basically to do much recording."
On Sunday, Rose Lawn Museum will partner with Blessings2All Ministries to bring Hughes to Cartersville for the premiere of his documentary "The Great Unknown: The Story of Samuel Porter Jones." While the interior will not be open for tours, Rose Lawn grounds' at 224 W. Cherokee Ave. will play host to the event. The evening will begin with storytelling and preaching by Hughes -- founder of Selah Ministries -- at 7 p.m., followed by the presentation of his documentary after sundown.
"We have known about Ray Hughes' interest in Sam Jones' life for quite a number of years," said Dave Duggan, founder of Blessings2All Ministries, which is based in Kennesaw. "We have followed Ray's efforts in researching the history of Sam's life and the book that Ray wrote -- we've read that book multiple times.
"So it's just been a point of great interest to us that a man like Sam Jones who had the impact not just on this region or even the South but on the [entire] United States came out of Cartersville the way he did and had the impact that he had during the late 1800s [and] early 1900s. And then somehow his legacy by and large was just forgotten. We just found it really interesting that really the Lord used Ray Hughes to kind of resurrect this man's legacy ... We just want more people to know the wells of revival that have been dug in Cartersville and in Bartow by people like Sam Jones."
For more information, call Duggan at 404-805-4220 or visit www.RoseLawnMuseum.com or Hughes' website, www.selahministries.com. This free offering will be moved inside the Rose Lawn Museum in the event of inclement weather.