From the Plow to the Prison
Elijah Craig was one of the well-known “Craig Brothers.” He came under the preaching of David Thomas, a Regular Baptist, in the year of 1764 and professed his faith in Jesus Christ. The next year he, along with others, was encouraged by Samuel Harriss, the Separate Baptist, to hold meetings in his neighborhood for the encouragement of the young converts and their mutual edification. Craig continued to preach the Word of God from house to house during the week, and on Sunday he used his tobacco barn for their place of assembly. He like his brothers, had a limited education, but he applied himself to personal study and became a fruitful evangelist. He was considered by many to be the most effective preacher of the three brothers.
In the year of 1766, sometime after he had begun his ministry, Craig traveled into North Carolina, where he persuaded James Read to come and baptize the young converts, himself, being one of them. He now devoted himself to preaching with great zeal, was ordained June 2, 1770, and became the first pastor of Blue run and Rapidan churches, which were both constituted December 4, 1769.
Craig was imprisoned four times: twice in Culpeper, and twice in Orange County for preaching the gospel of the grace of God. He was very useful in Virginia and served there until he migrated to Kentucky in 1786 to join his brothers. He bought one thousand acres of land and laid out town on it which was first called Lebanon but after-wards Georgetown.
Dr. Dale R. Hart, from: This Day in Baptist History Vol. I. (E. Wayne Thompson and David L. Cummins) p. 226.
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30 – January 30 – THIS DAY IN BAPTIST HISTORY PASTThe first church in Tennessee
1806 – A BAPTIST CHURCH WAS THE FIRST CHURCH OF ANY KIND IN THE STATE OF TENNESSEE – Tidence Lane died on January 30, 1806. He was born near Baltimore, MD on August 31, 1724. His Anglican father Richard was an ardent opponent of the Baptists. The message of the Separate Baptists had a great effect on Tidence after the family moved to North Carolina. He married Esther Bibber in May 1743 and heard Shubal Stearns preach, fell under conviction and was gloriously saved. In 1758 his younger brother Dutton was saved and both boys were called to preach. His father was so irate that he pursued the youngest brother with the intent to kill him. Tidence and Esther had nine children, seven of them sons. Pressures, from the British Governor William Tryon against the Baptists, caused Tidence to turn toward Tennessee where the gospel had never been declared. His was the first church of any denomination organized in the State of Tenn. In 1779. he was the first Moderator of the First Association in the state, organized on October 21, 1786, 10 years before Tenn. was admitted into the Union. Lane’s success was so great that by 1790 Tenn. had 18 churches, 21 preachers and 889 members.
Dr. Greg J. Dixon; adapted from: Day in Baptist History Vol. I: Cummins Thompson/ pg. 40.
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This Day in Baptist History Past
He Baptized Over 1500 Souls
1840 – Rev. Robert T. Daniel went to be with the Lord just months after his wife, Penelope Cain Flowers had finished her earthly sojourn. His last words were, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” He was born on June 10, 1773, in Middlesex County, Virginia, the fifth son of Samuel and Eliza Daniel, the same year of the Boston Tea Party. After the Revolutionary War the family migrated to N.C. and it was there that Daniel met his wife, was saved, baptized, and called to preach. This was through the influence of the Separate Baptist, Elder Isaac Hicks, at Holly Springs, N.C. Though uneducated, Daniel held successful pastorates, in N.C., S.C., and VA, before moving his family to Tennessee, where he preached until he finally settled in Salem, Miss. which he called home until the Lord called him home. On horseback and by foot, he traveled about sixty thousand miles, preached nearly five thousand sermons, and baptized more than fifteen hundred. His biographer wrote, “It has been the lot of but few men to serve his generation more acceptably, or usefully, than Elder R.T. Daniel.” [Geo. W. Purefoy, A History of the Sandy Creek Ass.(N.Y:Sheldon & Co., 1859), pp. 301-2. This Day in Baptist History II: Cummins and Thompson, BJU Press: Greenville, S.C. 2000 A.D. pp. 503-04.] Prepared by Dr. Greg J. Dixon
Jailed as a “Southern Man”
1824 – William Francis Luck, originally from Campbell County, Virginia, married Elizabeth McGann, and they later emigrated to Wilson, County, Tenn. The Separate Baptists had immersed that area with the Gospel through Rev. Tidence Lane. William was one of those who was saved at a Baptist camp meeting, and joined the Pleasant Valley Church of Separate Baptists. Soon he was called to preach, and even though restricted by educational training, the Lord blessed his ministry greatly. He was ordained in 1833 and the next 25 years saw him laboring in service as a pastor throughout the area. In 1857, he moved his family to Lincoln County, Missouri, N.W. of St. Louis and began preaching under the auspices of the Salt River Association as an evangelist and pastor. When the Civil War broke he was arrested, taken as a political prisoner, and jailed in the Gratiot Street prison in St. Louis for being a “Southern man”. However, rather than being bitter, he took the opportunity to preach the gospel during his nine months of confinement. Many of his fellow prisoners responded to the gospel message. He continued faithfully in the ministry until the Lord called him home after much physical suffering on Dec. 26, 1878. [R.S. Duncan, A History of the Baptists in Missouri (Saint Louis: Scammell and Company, Publishers, 1882), p.239. This Day in Baptist History II: Cummins and Thompson, BJU Press: Greenville, S.C. 2000 A.D. pp. 480-481.] Prepared by Dr. Greg Dixon
A Dull Scholar in Christ’s School
1751 – Rev. Isaac Backus, one of the outstanding pastors of a Separate (Conservative Congregational) Church at Middlebourgh, Massachusetts was baptized by Rev. Benjamin Pierce. This was at a time when the Baptists (only fifty churches total in America) being small in number, were also divided and persecuted. Backus would later write, “After renewing grace was granted, I was such a dull scholar in Christ’s school, that I was thirty-two years in learning a lesson of only six words, namely, ‘one Lord, one faith, one baptism.’ It took ten years to get clear of the custom of putting baptism before faith [his Congregational experience] and near five more to learn not to contradict the same in practice [his Separate experience] after which, above seventeen trying years…before we could refrain from an implicit acknowledgment of more than ‘one Lord’ in religious affairs” [the embracing of the church/state as an overlord]. His joining the Baptists was not prompted by prominence, popularity or pedigree but out of conviction. [Robert C. Newman, Baptists and the American Tradition (Des Plaines, Ill.: Regular Baptist Press. 1076, p. 32. This Day in Baptist History II: Cummins and Thompson, BJU Press: Greenville, S.C. 2000 A.D. pp. 459-460.] Prepared by Dr. Greg Dixon
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.