Samuel Porter Jones (October 16, 1847 - October 15, 1906) was one of the most celebrated revivalists of his day, at the close of the 19th century. Famous for his wry wit and masterful story-telling, he is credited as a principal influence on Will Rogers.
Jones is particularly connected with the history of The Union Gospel Tabernacle, later named Ryman Auditorium. Riverboat captain, Thomas Green Ryman, was converted after hearing Jones on May 10, 1885 at a meeting which he and friends attended with the intention of heckling the preacher. According to the legend, Ryman decided on that day to build a tabernacle in which to hold revival meetings in Nashville, Tennessee (the building was home to the Grand Ole Opry for many years), and he soon approached Jones with the idea.
Sam Jones was born on October 16, 1847 in Oak Bowery, Alabama, the son of lawyer and real estate entrepreneur John Jones and homemaker Queenie Jones, the grandson of Methodist preacher Samuel Gamble Jones, and nephew of four additional Methodist ministers. In 1857, when Sam was ten years old, the family moved to Cartersville, Georgia, where John the gate have you in it hands parents had made their home.