Rode 2,200 miles to wed
1792 – Three days after Abraham Marshall arrived back from New England where he had gone seeking a wife, he spoke again of his intent on marriage. The forty-four year old preacher and thirty-one year old maiden had a whirl-wind six day romance then the bold preacher proposed marriage and at 7 pm that evening, the couple were married before a group of friends. Abraham had stopped at the John Waller home in Spottsylvania, Virginia on his way to the North where he met his daughter, the lovely Miss Ann Waller. John Waller was the famed Separate Baptist preacher of that day. Miss Ann proved to be of the same hardy stock, and the couple set off on their “horseback honeymoon,” which covered approximately five hundred and fifty miles. Abraham told of his trip in his diary, how they swam rivers and creeks, chased loose horses, slept out under the stars, and shivered through cold and rainy days and dark nights, and ever meeting good friends…until three months absence to a day, found “us at home amid the tears, joys and congratulations of friends, on Big Kiokee.” Ann proved to be a great blessing to her husbands ministry. The couple had four sons, and their oldest son Jabez, succeeded his father as pastor at Kiokee. He wrote tenderly of his mother, “Through the whole of her life she was exemplarily pious…Often, when her husband was traveling and preaching the glad tidings of great joy to perishing sinners, would she collect her little family at home, her children and servants, and teach them and instruct them in the ways of truth…Often would sing with them, and collect them around her upon her knees, and supplicate the God in whom she had trusted, to bless her rising family.” Ann died in 1815 at age 54, Abraham died in 1819 at age 72. What an example for us.
Dr. Greg J. Dixon, from: This Day in Baptist History Vol. I: Cummins/Thompson /, pp. 130.
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42 churches formed in 17 years
1755 – Sixteen Baptists from New England, led by Shubal Stearns with his brother-in-law Daniel Marshall, settled at Sandy Creek, North Carolina. Though Stearns was the undoubted leader, the part that Marshall had in the venture has been underestimated. Morgan Edwards, who visited the Separate Baptists in N.C., said that Marshall was a “weak man, a stammerer, no schollar”, yet Daniel Marshall’s fingerprints are on the Baptist advance up into Virginia, down into S.C., and finally when he was sixty-five, into Georgia. The blessings of God on Sandy Creek Baptist are still astounding. In seventeen years, 42 churches formed, 145 ministers sent out, many ordained, fanned out across the entire region. Marshall was ordained in 1757. About 1760 he moved into S.C. and was responsible in establishing six Baptist churches in the northern section. He was the only preacher of any denomination to stay in the state of Georgia during the Revolutionary War. History declares that the Kiokee church prospered greatly until the “horrors of the Revolutionary War, but these troubles did not drive her faithful pastor from his post. He was once made a prisoner and put under strong guard; but was allowed to leave to conduct religious services; no fear of man could make him forsake his duty. He believed that every bullet had its commission, and every man could but accomplish His will. Before his death on Nov. 2, 1784 a large number of men had been sent out to preach. As a tribute to this great man of God, the city of Appling, Georgia has erected a memorial to his honor in the median as you enter the city, driving from Augusta. [Waldo P. Harris III, “Daniel Marshall: Lone Georgia Baptist Revolutionary Pastor,” Viewpoints: Georgia Baptist History, vol. 5, 1976, pp. 51-64. This Day in Baptist History II: Cummins and Thompson, BJU Press: Greenville, S.C. 2000 A.D. pp. 639-40.]
Prepared by Dr. Greg J. Dixon
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Baptists did not seek revenge
1770 – In their meeting, the Baptists of the Philadelphia Association read letters from churches in New England, such as those from Ashfield, Mass., who wrote explaining their problems which involved unfair taxation. Even though the Baptists had established the township and most of the families were Baptist and had founded a Baptist house of worship, the Presbyterians families decided to build a meetinghouse, hire a pastor and tax the Baptist families for the costs. The Baptists petitioned the general court for relief, but in April 1770 the court ruled in favor of the Presbyterians. One Baptist had his house and garden sold, others saw their young orchards, meadows, and cornfields sold, one purchaser being the Presbyterian minister. In all, the Baptists lost 395 acres of land valued at ₤363 8s. The total auction price was ₤35 10s. Inasmuch as the Presbyterians still needed ₤200 more for their building, two additional auctions were held to dispose of Baptist property. The Baptists finally sought redress before the assembly at Cambridge and were told, “The general assembly has a right to do what they did, and if you don’t like it you may quit the place!” The Warren Association called for a period of fasting and prayer. The seizures continued. On May 9, 1773, Gershom Proctor (82) and his son Henry, along with Nathan Crosby, for ministerial rates, were carried to Concord jail. It should be noted that when the Baptists finally got the upper hand, they did not seek revenge against their persecutors. [William G. McLoughlin, ed., The Diary of Isaac Baacus (Providence, R.I.: Brown University Press, 1979), 2:780. This Day in Baptist History II: Cummins and Thompson, BJU Press: Greenville, S.C. 2000 A.D. 568-70.] Prepared by Dr. Greg J. Dixon
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He Introduced Public Singing
First Baptist Church – Boston – 1700
John Comer was born in Boston, Massachusetts Aug 01, 1704. He pastored and co-pastored several churches in New England during a period when the people were somewhat remiss in church order and controversy prevailed concerning ordinances and practices. He brought order, introduced public singing, and increased membership.
[Isaac Backus, Your Baptist Heritage, 1620-1840 (1844 reprinted ed., Little Rock: Challenge Press, 1976), pp. 106-7.]
A pastor who rode 4,400 miles to find a wife
March 31, 1792 – Abraham Marshall, three days back from his trip to New England, spoke again of his intention of marriage to Miss Ann Waller. The forty-four-year old Separate Baptist preacher and thirty-one year old maiden had a breathtaking, six day romance. On Tuesday April 3, 1792, the emboldened, romantic preacher proposed, and at 7 o’clock that evening, the couple were married before a group of friends. After serving the Kiokee Baptist Church (Georgia) for eight years as a bachelor-pastor, Abraham determined that he needed a wife and decided to travel the 2,200 miles to New England – the place of his birth – and trust the Lord somewhere along the way to provide him a help meet who would enhance his ministry. A gentleman, knowing of his plans, exchanged horses with him. With confidence that God was with him, Pastor Marshall continued on his journey believing that the second answer to his petition would be met. His diary tells that he stopped at the home of John Waller, the famed Separate Baptist preacher in Spottsylvania, Virginia, and it was there that the second half of his prayer was to be answered. Abraham’s diary told of their “horseback honeymoon,” which covered approximately 550 miles. Marshall told of “having a river or creek to swim, horses loose, lying out of doors, rainy days and dark nights, and ever and anon meeting with excellent friends…until three months absence to a day, found us at home amid the tears, joys and congratulations of friend, on Big Kiokee.” Mrs. Marshall was a great blessing to her husband’s ministry. They had four sons, and their son Jabez, who succeeded his father as pastor at Kiokee, wrote tenderly of his mother, “Through the whole of her life she was exemplarily pious…” She died at 54 in 1815, Abraham at 72 in 1819.
Dr. Greg J. Dixon from: This Day in Baptist History Vol. I: Cummins Thompson /, pp. 130-131.
(In) five years 502 people were added to the church
December 27, 1869 – Dr. Baron Stow ended his sojourn here on this earth and took his place as one of the most outstanding Baptist preachers of any generation. Stow was born a country boy on his father’s farm in New England in 1801. It was apparent that Baron, like Samuel was listening to the voice of God as a young child. Near his home there was a boulder that he used as a pulpit to preach the gospel to his boyhood friends. After preparation for college in Newport, New Hampshire, Stow entered Columbian College in Washington, D.C., in 1822. He sat under outstanding professors, and as a good student he finished the course in three years. Following a time as Editor of the Triennial Convention’s periodical Columbian Star, he became pastor of the Baptist church in Portsmouth, N.H. Soon the growth was such that they had to build a new house of worship. After five years he answered the call to pastor the Baldwin Place Baptist Church in Boston where his ministry was even more fruitful. At the close of 1837 he preached a remarkable sermon from Prov. 27:1 – Boast not thyself of tomorrow; for thou knowest not what a day may bring forth. More than one hundred people were awakened to conversion. The year 1838 opened with a powerful revival, and during the next five years, 502 people were added to the church on profession of their faith in Jesus Christ. Stow was also most concerned for the cause of missions world-wide. He preached and wrote concerning world evangelism to stir up fellow believers to respond to the mandate of their Lord. Toward the end of forty years of ministry illness forced him from the pulpit several times before he finally had to hang up the Sword of the Spirit for the final time.
Dr. Greg J. Dixon from: This Day in Baptist History Vol. I: Cummins Thompson /, pp. 542-43.
“And then went on and declar’d the Marriage Covenant”
November 24, 1800 – Susanna Backus quietly departed this life, five days before her 51st wedding anniversary. Through a painful, debilitating illness, Susanna said, “I am not so much concerned with living or dying, as to have my will swallowed up in the will of God.” Susanna Mason was born in Rehoboth, Massachusetts, in or around 1724. Her great-grandfather had been a soldier in Oliver Cromwell’s Roundhead Army. The families were Baptists in background, and she was converted in 1745 and joined the Separate church and maintained her Baptist convictions when she married Isaac Backus. Backus, not fully persuaded of Baptist principles relating to pedobaptism at that time, became “fully persuaded” and became one of the leaders among the Baptists and exercised great influence in relation to freedom of conscience in the formation of our nation. At their wedding on Nov. 29, 1749, Isaac refused to permit any of the frivolous merrymaking which normally took place at New England marriages, because he considered it a solemn ordinance of God. The wedding took place in her father’s house and was performed by a justice of the peace as was the custom. But Isaac got permission to transform it into a religious ceremony. “Br. Shepherd read a Psalm and we Sung; then we went to prayer and the Lord did hear and Come near to us. And then I took my dear Sister Susanna by the hand and spoke Something of the Sense I had of our Standing in the presence of God, and also how that He had clearly pointed out to me this Person to be my Companion and an helper meet for me. And then went on and declar’d the Marriage Covenant: and She did the same to me…Then I read, and we sung the 101 Psalm after that I preached a Short Sermon from Acts 13:36.”
Dr. Greg J. Dixon from: This Day in Baptist History Vol. I: Cummins /Thompson/ , pp. 489-91.