A Blessed Baptist historian
October 10, 1779 – David Benedict was born to Thomas and Abigail near Stratford, New York. When David was 14 he was apprenticed to a shoemaker and for seven years labored in that trade. His ability secured an opportunity for the manufacturing and retailing business in that field, but his conversion to Christ at age 20 changed the course of his life.
In Dec. 1799 he was baptized in the Housatonic River and united with the First Baptist Church of Stratford. In 1802 he gave up the career of shoemaker and entered the academy of the Rev. Stephen S. Nelson at Mt. Pleasant, N.Y., and paid his way by tutoring other students. One of them was Francis Wayland, future President of Brown University. In fact David also graduated from Brown U. in 1806. He presented an oration on Ecclesiastic History at graduation.
In 1808 he married the daughter of Dr. Stephen Gano. They were married for 60 years and had 9 sons and 3 daughters. After graduation David became pastor of the First Baptist Church of Pawtucket and continued there for 25 years. America’s first Sunday school came into existence there.
For many years David had collected material and he wrote the History of the Baptists in the United States, and to some extent in other countries. Benedict traveled throughout the young nation on horseback, covering nearly four thousand miles.
Dr. Benedict lived to the age of 95. Up until his death on Dec. 5, 1874, his eyesight was unimpaired, and he was able to write clearly both day and night. Baptists are indebted to David Benedict for preserving so well our Baptist annals for coming generations.
Dr. Greg J. Dixon from: This Day in Baptist History I: Cummins/Thompson, pp. 420-21.