Second-Generation Preacher Makes Good
Horatio Gates Jones
We have already considered the Reverend David Jones, America’s first Baptist chaplain to the military. Jones had served under General Horatio Gates in 1776 and apparently was so impressed with the General that he named his youngest son “Horatio Gates Jones” at the baby’s birth on February 11, 1777, in Chester County, Pennsylvania. The young Horatio Jones grew to maturity in Chester and Bucks Counties and availed himself of the education that the local school provided. At age nineteen, he was sent to an academy at Bordentown, New Jersey, and studied there under the celebrated Dr. William Staughton. On June 24, 1798, the young man professed his faith in Jesus Christ and was baptized and welcomed into the membership of the Valley Church. Horatio returned to farming, but being a gifted speaker, he soon acquired a prominent position politically. Conviction that he had been called to preach, however, overcame all political aspirations. The Valley Church recognized his divine call and licensed him to preach in September of 1801. He ministered throughout the region until he was asked to accept the pastorate in Salem, New Jersey. He was ordained there on February 13, 1802. On that occasion, his aging father gave him the charge, saying “My son, in your preaching, don’t put the rack too high. Some ministers put the rack so high that the little lambs can’t get a bite. Put the rack low, and then the old sheep can get the fodder, and the lambs too.” In 1812 Brown University conferred on him the degree of Master of Arts, and in 1852 the University of Lewisburg made him their first chancellor and bestowed on him their first Doctor of Divinity degree. The Reverend Horatio Jones passed into the presence of the Lord on December 12, 1853.
Dr. Dale R. Hart: Adapted from: This Day in Baptist History Vol. I. (Thompson/Cummins) pp. 258 – 259.