was Reverend James R. Gunn who asked Kate the question, “Who are you and what
do you want?” in such a manner that a truthful answer was the only option.
Kate’s answer to his question was, “I am nothing but old Kate Batts’
witch, here to torment Ol’ Jack Bell to his death,” which earned her the
nickname, “Kate.” Hence, Reverend James Gunn is credited, indirectly,
with squeezing the supposed "truth" out of Kate.
James Gunn was the younger of the two Gunn brothers who pioneered Methodism in
the Red River area during the early Nineteenth Century.
He was born and spent his childhood in Virginia, where he and his
brother, Reverend Thomas Gunn, were licensed to preach in May of
1789. He moved to Caswell County,
North Carolina in 1791.
son of Episcopalians, Reverend James Gunn was married twice and had a total of
seventeen children, three of which (Joseph,
E.W., and William) followed in his footsteps and became Methodist ministers.
He moved to Tennessee in 1811, settling in the Red River area near the
Bell farm. He helped establish and
began preaching at nearby Bethel Methodist Church, which was in addition to
preaching at other Methodist churches in Tennessee and southern Kentucky.
Along with his brother, Reverend James Gunn founded Ebenezer Methodist
Church (now known as Cedar Hill Methodist Church) in 1833.
Many churches he helped establish still exist today.
James R. Gunn died of a probable stroke
1849 after spending the last eight months of his life confined to a bed.
buried in one of the Gunn cemeteries near Adams, Tennessee.