Jesse Mercer was a prominent Baptist minister and eponym of Mercer University in the U.S. state of Georgia.
Born in the Province of North Carolina on December 16, 1769, he was the son of Silas Mercer, a Baptist minister who moved his family to Wilkes County, Georgia in the early 1770s. Jesse Mercer was baptized by his father at the age of 17, married Sabrina Chivers of Wilkes County at age 19, and was formally ordained into the ministry at age 20.
Sardis Church, originally called Hutton's Fork, was his first charge. In 1796, Mercer succeeded his father as pastor of the Phillips' Mill Church, which he served for 37 years. He also served as pastor of Bethesda Church (1796-1827), Powell's Creek Church, in Hancock County, Georgia (1797-1825), and the Baptist Church at Eatonton, Putnam County, Georgia (1820–26).
Mercer was president of the Georgia Baptist Convention for 19 years, from its founding in 1822 until his death in 1841.
Married Sabrina Chivers, January 31, 1788, 2 daus. Married second, Nancy (Mills) Simonds, December 11, 1827.