James Stephen Dawson succeeded J. B. Porter as pastor of Eighteen-Mile church. Under his ministry, in 1852, the church received 61 by baptism. He was a timid, quiet man, of grave deportment, and hence not popular among strangers. But he was much beloved by those who knew him well. His pastoral charges were strongly attached to him, and gave him up with great reluctance. He was a sound, substantial preacher of good ability, and was successful as a pastor.
He was the son of Benjamin Dawson, a native of Orange county, Virginia, and was born in Fayette county, Kentucky, December 1, 1815. In early childhood, he was brought by his parents to Henry county, where he was raised up on a farm. He received a good English education, and became a practical surveyor. In 1835, he professed religion under the preaching of John S. Wilson, and united with the church at Newcastle. He afterwards moved his membership to Hillsboro’ church in Henry county, where he was ordained a deacon, in April, 1844. The following month, he was licensed to preach, and, in July, 1846, was ordained to the ministry, by E. G. Berry, E. B. Stratton, D. N. Porter, and Smith Thomas. He was called to the care of Hillsboro’ and Sligo churches in Henry county. New Providence in Trimble, and Eighteen-Mile in Oldham. He was probably a short time pastor of Liberty church in Oldham. He enjoyed a good degree of success, and the entire confidence of the people, and had laid the foundation for accomplishing a good life work. But he became restless, and, in 1854, moved to Daviess county. From the exposure, incident to settling in a new home, and the more humid and malarial climate of that region, he contracted disease of the lungs, of which he died, August 19, 1857.
Source: A history of Kentucky Baptists: from 1769 to 1885, Vol. I. John H. Spencer, Cincinnati, 1886