HIS HOME LIFE
Young Graves, as has been said, was left fatherless in his infancy, being the youngest of three children. A mother of energy, piety, and integrity, with an unswerving faith, gave character to the boy. At the age of fifteen the light dawned upon his inmost soul and disclosed to him his guilt and helplessness. His conviction was deep, his struggle was intense, and his surrender and trust in the atoning work of Christ was full and complete and joyful. He was baptized and joined the North Springfield Baptist Church, Vermont.
He had to make his own way and earn his own living from his early youth. Perceiving that it was impossible for him to take a college course, he began teaching. He was then but eighteen years of age, an age when boys are usually undecided as to their future and in need of paternal direction and support, but this fatherless youth struck out for himself and, with the aid of an older brother, Z.C. Graves, supported his mother and gained character as a promising school teacher.
He prepared a room on to his house and began worship services
December 02, 1789 – Billington McCarter Sanders was born in Columbia County, Georgia. By age 9 he had lost both of his parents and he had gone to live with a Mr. Ambrose Jones family who provided an excellent home. He received his early education in the Kiokee Seminary. After further education in various institutions he returned to his native county, where he made a profession of faith and was baptized by Abraham Marshall, and was admitted into the Kiokee Baptist Church of Appling, the first Baptist church ever planted in Georgia. He was Married to Martha Lamar, who bore 9 children. All of them died in infancy but two. Martha died in 1822 and he married Cynthia Holliday, who bore him 13 children. Of the 22, only nine survived him. He knew the burden of standing at the grave of a wife and thirteen children. Sanders went on to serve in the state legislature and as a judge of the Superior Court, and taught school. His pastor, at a church conference where he was serving as clerk read a resolution recommending him to the work of the ministry. He bowed his head and burst into tears. But he knew that it was God at work in his life. He prepared a room on to his house and began worship services for his family, servants and neighbors. In 1831 the Georgia Baptist Convention determined to establish a Seminary and called on Sanders to take charge of the process which he did. With the cheapest of fare and the most bare accommodation, including no heat, the foundation of Mercer University was laid. Before his death at 65 he was involved in many ministries.
Dr. Greg J. Dixon from: This Day in Baptist History Vol. I: Cummins Thompson /, pp. 502-04.
“To follow the dictates of conscience, I must be a Baptist”
November 26, 1800 – John Holcombe, and a group of Baptists that had been attending a Presbyterian church that he was pastoring in Savannah, Georgia, which they found was unworkable, constituted a Baptist church in that city. Holcombe was born in 1762 but as a child his family moved from Virginia to South Carolina. By 11 years of age he completed all the education he was to receive from a living teacher. He had a naturally inquiring mind which desired knowledge of every kind. At the beginning of the Revolutionary War, Holcombe was quite young, however, he was impressed with a sense of wrong done to his country and felt the stirrings of patriotism. Just passed boyhood, he entered the army and quickly demonstrated the courage and discretion that allowed him to rise to an important position. It was during this time, amidst the temptations of camp, that he made his profession of faith in Christ. His father told him that he was baptized as a Presbyterian in his infancy. After searching the scriptures on the matter, he concluded (in his own words) that “to follow the dictates of conscience, I must be a Baptist; and not conferring with flesh and blood, I rode near 20 miles to propose myself as a candidate for admission into a Baptist church. Immediately afterwards he received a license to preach the gospel and his labors were followed with uncommon blessings. He soon baptized 26 persons, including his wife Frances, her brother and mother, and shortly after, 17 more, including his father. He was also elected to the Constitutional Convention in Charleston, S.C. for ratifying the U.S. Constitution. Holcombe was vigorous in his opposition to infidelity, theatrical amusements, and other things which he regarded of evil tendency. Several times his life was in jeopardy.
Dr. Greg J. Dixon from: This Day in Baptist History Vol. I: Cummins /Thompson/, pp. 492 – 94.