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Early 19th cent. Pittsburgh Baptist church

1813-53 History of Baptists   |   1860 Annals Am. Pulpit VI   |   1881 Baptist Encyclopedia
1889 Hist. of Allegheny Co.   |   1898 Std. Hist. of Pittsburgh   |   1904 Hist. of Beaver Co.
1907 3 Important Movements   |   1913 History of Uniontown   |   1922 History of Pittsburgh
1922 Hist. Baptists   |   1939 Annals SW Penn.   |   1981 Rollmann   |   text files   |   Rigdon in OH

General History of the
Baptist Denomination

by David Benedict
Boston: Lincoln & Edmands, 1813

  • Vol. I Redstone Association
  • Vol. I Pittsburgh Church
  • Vol. II Redstone Association
  • Vol. II Beaver Association

  • 1848 edition updates
  • transcriber's comments

  • [ 598 ]


    Was organized in 1776. It is situated in the western part of this state, adjoining Ohio. Some few of its churches are in that State, and others are in Virginia. The center of the Association is no great distance south of Pittsburg. One of its oldest churches was gathered in 1770, under the ministry of Elder John Sutton. It was at first called Great Bethel, now Uniontown, and is upwards of 50 miles south of Pittsburg, in the county of Fayette. This church was the mother of many others, which arose around it. Mr. Sutton was a native of New-Jersey, and was one of five brothers, who were Baptist preachers. He settled in the Red-Stone country, when it was in a wilderness state, and was long a laborious and much respected preacher throughout all extensive circle of churches, which were planted either wholly or in part by his means. The time of his death is not known, but it is believed to have been not far from the year 1800.

    Cotemporary with this evangelical servant of God, was the pious and successful John Corbly, who was made to drink deep of the cup of affliction. Mr. Corbly was a native of Ireland, and while young agreed to serve four years for his passage to Philadelphia. After the expiration of that term he settled in Virginia, in or near Culpepper county, where he was converted under the ministry of the renowned James Ireland. While persecution raged in that state, he was, among others, thrown into Culpepper gaol, where he remained a considerable time. This was, probably, previous to 1770, for about that date he settled in the region now under consideration, and in conjunction with Mr. Sutton, planted the first churches in it. Mr. Corbly was probably educated a Catholick, as his first wife was of that persuasion, and was a thorn in his side during her life. After her death he married an amiable woman of his own sentiments, by whom he had seven children, four of whom with their mother, were taken from him in a barbarous and most afflicting manner. The Indians, at that time, were extremely troublesome in this county, and often committed terrible ravages among the inhabitants.

    [ 599 ]

    Mr. Corbly and his family set out on a Lord's Day to walk to meeting, less than half a mile from his house. After going ,a short distance, it was found that his Bible which had been given to his wife, had been forgotten, which obliged him to go back. On his return to overtake his family, he saw two Indians run, one of whom gave a direful yell. Suspecting evil he ran to a fort or block-house a short distance off, and obtained assistance. When he came to the place, he found his wife killed with a tomahawk; her infant, after having its brains dashed out against a tree, was thrown across her breast. Three other children lay dead on the spot, two more were terribly wounded, and scalped, and apparently dead, but afterwards recovered. Only one out of the seven children remained unhurt; she was a little girl, an Indian caught hold of her and was about to dispatch her, but being seized by a large dog, she escaped and hid herself in the bushes. It was afterwards ascertained that seven Indians were engaged in this barbarous transaction. The feelings of the bereaved husband and father may better be conceived than described. For a while he remained inconsolable; but reflecting on the signal act of Providence in preserving his own life, he recovered his spirits, recommenced his ministerial labours, which, from excess of grief, were for a time suspended, married a third time, and continued a zealous and successful minister till 1805, when he finished his course in peace. One of his sons is now a Baptist minister in the Indiana Territory.

    Two other incidents befel this good man, which were peculiarly distressing: The first was the conduct of a base woman, who accused him of making frequent criminal propositions her, which she offered to confirm on oath. When cited before a magistrate, she was taken with a fit of trembling, and for some time remained speechless. Some were for excusing the vile accuser, and letting the matter pass off; but Mr. Corbly insisted on her making oath -- which she did, and expressly declared, that he was altogether innocent, adding, at the same time, that it was a plot laid by certain persons, whom she named.

    In the Whiskey Insurrection, so called, Mr. Corbly was suspected of aiding and abetting the insurgents, and on that suspicion was suddenly arrested, carried to Philadelphia,

    [ 600 ]

    conducted in disgrace through the streets, and lodged in gaol, where he remained some time in great affliction. While there, he was comforted and supplied by Dr. Rogers and other friends in the city. His case was never tried, and of course it was not legally determined whether he was accused falsely or not. In the opinion of his friends he by no means deserved the treatment he received.

    At Beulah, in the county of Cambria, in the midst of the Alleghany mountains, a church was founded by emigrants from Wales in 1797, under the direction of the late Morgan J. Rees.

    The original members of this body set sail from Milford Haven, South-Wales, March 8, 1796, and landed in New-York the May following. They soon went to Philadelphia, where they united in church fellowship with a number of their countrymen of the Independent and Calvinistic Methodist persuasions. Their minister was Mr. Simon James. After tarrying in Philadelphia a few months, a number of the members of this mixed communion church removed about 200 miles westward, and began a settlement, to which they gave the name of Beulah, hoping to experience the divine favour, which the term imports. This was in October, 1796. Others of their company followed them the ensuing spring, by which time the number of Baptists amounted to twenty-four, who, being dissatisfied with their plan of church building, in August, 1797, separated from their Pedobaptist brethren, and formed a community of baptized believers only. Since that time, they have been visited by a number of ministers from their native country, some preachers have also been raised up among them, but many both of preachers and members, have travelled on to the State of Ohio, where they have founded two or three churches. Thomas Powel settled in Licking county, Henry George at Owl Creek, David Kimpton has lately gone to a place in the New Purchase, and settled near Wooster, where he has gathered a church. Beulah appears to have been a stopping place for many Welsh brethren, who have removed to more distant regions. The present pastor here is Mr. Timothy Davis, and besides him they have two preachers, whose names

    [ 601 ]

    are William Williams and John Jones. They sometimes preach in English, but mostly in their mother tongue.

    Mr. Rees died among this people in December, 1801; he had travelled much, not only in his native country, but in England, France, and America. His widow now lives in Philadelphia.

    Beulah is about 80 miles east of the Redstone country, some distance north of the main road from Philadelphia to Pittsburg. Of the remaining churches and ministers in this Association but a little information has been obtained.

    Mr. David Philips, pastor of Peter's Creek church, is a native of Wales, came to America when a child, lived in Chester county in this State, till 36 years of age, when he removed to his present situation, and was one of the early settlers of the country.

    Mr. Henry Spears, pastor of the Enon church, also settled in this quarter, when it was but a little more than a wilderness. He is a native of Dunmore county, Virginia, is of Dutch descent, and has a very large, luxuriant plantation on the Monongahela river, about 26 miles from Pittsburg.

    The church at Connollsville on the Yohogany River was founded in 1796. Its principal promoters were two brothers by the name of Trevor, viz. Samuel and Caleb, natives of Leicestershire, England. Dr. James Estep was the pastor of this church in 1809; whether he still remains with them I have not ascertained. He, with others, proposed forwarding additional information, which has never been received.

    The doctrine of the laying-on-of-hands became a subject of dispute among the Redstone churches a number of years ago, most of them had, from their beginning, practised the rite, but some were for making it a term of communion; it was, however, finally determined, that all should be left to act according to their respective opinions on the subject.

    A church was formed in Pittsburg in 1812, which has probably united with the Association under consideration. In that year two Presbyterian ministers were baptized in Washington county, and another minister of the same denomination was to be baptized soon after at Chenango in Ohio, not far distant. *

    * Massachusetts Baptist Missionary Magazine vol. iii. p. 205.

    [ 602 ]

    In the neighbourhood of this Association, a small collection of churches, some of whom were formerly members of it, have formed a Confederacy under the name of the Covenant[ed] Independent Baptists. Their principal leader appears to be Dr. Thomas Hersey, a native of Massachusetts, who began preaching in the state of Ohio. These churches are, as they say, called by some Semi-Calvinists, by others, Semi-Arminians. From the best information it appears, that the principal difference between them and the Redstone Association turns upon the doctrine of the atonement as stated by Gill and Fuller. *

    * Those who may wish for a further account of the sentiments of these Independent Baptists, may find them expressed in a Word, published by Dr. Hersey in 1810, entitled, "Experimental Views," &c.

    1813 edition, Volume II.

    [ 2-35 ]

    ... In 1775, four churches were dismissed from this [Ketockton] Association, for the purpose of forming the Redstone Association, in the back parts of Pennsylvania, whose history has already been given; and in 1793, a number of churches more were dismissed to unite with some others, who originated from the Separates...

    [ 2-251 ]


    Some Account of the great Revival in Kentucky and other Parts.

    As this peculiar work prevailed to a greater extent in Kentucky than elsewhere, it seems proper under this head to give some account of it. From 1799 to 1803, there were, in most parts of the United States, remarkable out-pourings of the Divine Spirit, among different denominations; multitudes became the subjects of religious concern, and were made to rejoice in the salvation of God. The revival among the Baptists in the southern and western States, has already been frequently referred to, and accounts of the astonishing additions to their churches have been given. This great revival in Kentucky began in Boone county on the Ohio River, and in its progress extended up the Ohio, Licking, and Kentucky Rivers, branching out into the settlements adjoining them. It spread fast in different directions, and in a short time almost every part of the State was affected by its influence. It was computed that about ten thousand were baptized and added to the Baptist churches in the course of two or three years. This great work progressed among the Baptists in a much more regular manner than people abroad have generally supposed. They were indeed zealously affected,

    [ 2-252 ]

    and much engaged. Many of their ministers baptized in a number of neighbouring churches from two to four hundred each. And two of them baptized about five hundred a-piece in the course of the work. But throughout the whole, they preserved a good degree of decorum and order. Those camp-meetings, those great parades, and sacramental seasons, those extraordinary exercises of falling down, rolling, shouting, jerking, dancing, barking, &c. were but little known among the Baptists in Kentucky, nor encouraged by them. They, it is true, prevailed among some of them in the Green River country; but generally speaking, they were among the Presbyterians and Methodists, and in the end by a seceding party from them both, which denominated themselves Christians, but which were generally distinguished by their opposers by the name of New-Lights and Schismatics. These strange expressions of zeal, which have made so much noise abroad, came in at the close of the revival, and were, in the judgment of many, the chaff of the work. There was a precious ingathering of souls among the Presbyterians and Methodists, at which they rejoiced; but when the work arose to an enthusiastick height, many different opinions were expressed respectingit. The Methodists had no scruples of its being genuine; but among the Presbyterians some doubted -- some opposed -- but a considerable number overleaped all the bounds of formality, fanned the flame as fire from heaven, bid up camp-meetir>gs, and sacramental seasons, and finally run religious frenzy into its wildest shapes. Soon a number of these ministers separated from the rest, formed a new Presbytery, called the Springfield, upon New-Light principles, soon dissolved that, and five or six of them in a few years became Shaking Quakers. *

    * The Springfield Presbytery was formed by five ministers, who separated from the Kentucky Synod, awl renounced the jurisdiction of the Presbyterian church. They made innovations upon almost every part of Presbyterianism. but yet retained something of its form. But at length they resolved to renounce every thing belonging to it, and made its Last Will and Testament, as follows:

    "The Presbytery of Springfield, sitting at Cane Ridge, in the county of Bourbon, being, through a gracious Providence, in more than ordinary bodily health, growing in strength and size daily; and in perfect soundness and composure of mind; but knowing that it is appointed for all delegated bodies once to die, and considering that the life of eveiy such body is very uncertain, do make, and ordain this our last Will and Testament, in manner and form following, viz.

    [ 2-253 ]

    The great camp-meetings and sacramental feasts, described in a book, called "Surprising Accounts," &c. were promoted mostly by these zealous Presbyterians. The Methodists were a party concerned, but very few Baptists attended them, except as spectators. At these great meetings, astonishing crowds assembled; they encamped upon the ground, and kept together three or four days, and sometimes a week. In the course of the meeting the Lord's supper was administered, and all Christians of every denomination were invited to partake of it. The Methodists and Presbyterians communed together, but the Baptists could not consistently unite with them. These meetings were sometimes bid up a month beforehand,

    "Imprimis. We will, that this body die, be dissolved, and sink into union with the body of Christ at large; for there is but one body, and one spirit, even as we are called in one hope of our calling.

    "Item. We will, that our name of distinction, with its Reverend title, be forgotten; that there be but one Lord over God's heritage, and his name one. ''

    "Item. We will, that our power of making laws for the government of the church, and executing them by delegated authority, forever cease; that the people may have free course to the Bible, and adopt the law of the spirit of life in Christ Jesus.

    "Item. We will, that the church of Christ assume her native right of internal government, &c.

    "Item. We will, that candidates for the gospel ministry henceforth study the Holy Scriptures with fervent prayer, aud obtain license from God to preach the simple gospel, &c.

    "Item. We will, that each particular church, as a hotly, actuated by the same spirit, choose her own preacher, and support him by a free-will offering, &c.

    "Item. We will, that the people henceforth take the Bible as the only sure guide to heaven; and as many as are offended with other books, which stand in competition with it, may cast them into the fire if they choose; for it is better to enter into life having one book, than having many to be cast into hell.

    "Item. We will, that preachers and people cultivate a spirit of mutual forbearance; pray more, and dispute less, &c.

    The three next items regard the Synod of Kentucky.

    "Item. Finally, we will, that all our sister bodies read their Bibles carefully, that they may see their fate there determined, and prepare far death before it is too late.

    Sprinefield Presbytery,
    June 28th, 1804. {L. S.}

    Robert Marshall,
    B. W. Stone,
    John Dunlavy,
    John Thompson,
    Richard M'Nemar,
    David Purviance,   } Witnesses."

    Three, at least, of these witnesses afterwards joined the Shakers, who having heard of the dancing, and so on, among the Kentucky people, sent three of their apostles into the countiy from New-Lebanon, in New-York, in New-York. They found matters just as they would have them, and a great number fell in with their principles. Marshall continued his New-Light career, became the head of a large party who were called Marshallites. Many of them have lately been immersed, but I do not learn as they have any connexion with the Baptists. And indeed they can be no great acquisition to the Baptist cause, unless they are much reformed both in principle and practice.

    [ 2-254 ]

    great preparations were made for them, and all went expecting to hear much crying out, see much falling down, &c. In these meetings there assembled, in the opinion of spectators, from four to ten or twelve thousand, and at one of them eight hundred fell down under religious impressions, and five hundred communicated. The falling down exercise needs no description, as it is presumed every reader will understand what is meant by it. There was also in these meetings, what was called the rolling exercise, which consisted in a person's being cast down in a violent manner, turned over swiftly like a log, &c. These rolling disciples often met with mud in their way, and got up from their devotions in a sorrowful plight. Dancing was a very common practice; many pleaded they could not help it, and others justified themselves from David's dancing before the ark, and other passages of scripture. The most singular exercise of all was the jerks. "Nothing in nature could better represent this strange and unaccountable operation, than for one to goad another, alternately on every side, with a piece of red-hot iron. The.exercise commonly began in the head, which would fly backward and forward, and from side to side, with a quick jolt, which the person would naturally labour to suppress, but in vain; and the more any one laboured to stay himself, and be sober, the more he staggered, and the more rapidly his twitches increased. He must necessarily go as he was stimulated, whether with a violent dash on the ground, and bounce from place to place like a foot-ball; or hop round, with head, limbs, and trunk, twitching and jolting in every direction, as if they must inevitably fly asunder. And how such could escape without injury, was no small wonder to spectators. By this strange operation, the human frame was commonly so transformed and disfigured, as to lose every trace of its natural appearance. Sometimes the head would be twitched right and left, to a half round, with such velocity that not a feature could be discovered, but the face appear as much behind as before; and in the quick progressive jerk, it would seem as if the person was transmuted into some other species of creature. Head dresses were of but little account among the female jerkers. Even handkerchiefs

    [ 2-255 ]

    bound tight round the head, would be flirted off almost with the first twitch, and the hair put into the utmost confusion," &c*

    There was something altogether unaccountable in this jerking exercise. At first it was experienced only by those under religious concern; but in the end it became a nervous affection, which was sympathetically communicated from one to another. A Presbyterian minister heard that a congregation of his brethren, which he highly esteemed, had got to jerking. He went to persuade them out of the frantick exercise, but in conversing with them he got the jerks himself. On his return home, his people assembled to hear the result of his visit. While he was describing how people appeared with the jerks, he was suddenly taken with them, and the whole assembly soon caught the distemper.

    Wicked men were often taken with these strange exercises, and many would curse the jerks, while they were under their singular operation. Some were taken at the tavern with a glass of liquor in their hands, which they would suddenly toss over their heads, or to a distant part of the room. Others were taken with them at the card-table, and at other places of dissipation, and would, by a violent and unaffected jerk, throw a handful of cards all over the room.

    These accounts were taken from people of unquestionable veracity, and no doubt can be entertained of their correctness. These jerking exercises were rather a curse than a blessing. None were benefited by them. They left sinners without reformation, and Christians without advantage. Some had periodical fits of them seven or eight years after they were first taken; and I know not as they have got over jerking yet.

    There was among these enthusiastick people one more exercise of a most degrading nature, called the barks, which frequently accompanied the jerks. Many persons of considerable distinction, in spite of all the efforts of nature, as it was said, were "forced to personate that animal, whose name, appropriated to a human creature, is counted the most vulgar stigma. These people would take the position of a canine beast, move about on all

    * Kentucky Revival, p. 61, 62.

    [ 2-256 ]

    fours, growl, snap the teeth, and bark in so personating a manner, as to set tlie eyes and ears of the spectator at variance." Some might be forced to these degrading exercises, but it is certain that many turned dogs in a voluntary manner. A minister in the lower parts of Kentucky informed me, that it was common to hear people barking like a flock of spaniels on their way to meeting. There they would start up suddenly in a fit of barking, rush out, roam around, and in a short time come barking and foaming back. But enough has been said of these frantick scenes. The above accounts are not fabulous tales, but they are real and melancholy facts. In the upper counties in Kentucky, where the revival was the greatest among the Baptists, they were not at all affected with these delirious exercises. In the Green River country and in East-Tennessee, they prevailed considerably amongst them. With the Methodists they prevailed generally. The Presbyterians were divided respecting them; some opposed, while others encouraged them. Some of these exercises seemed really forced upon the subjects of them by some invisible power, whether good or bad the reader must judge for himself; but dancing, barking, rolling, shouting, and so on, were undoubtedly, for the most part, works of choice and imitation, which were hypocritically played off by a set of deluded, mistaken people. Where these fantastick exercises were opposed, they were the least prevalent. Those ministers who encouraged them, had enough of them to attend to.

    In West-Tennessee the Baptists were not troubled with these works of delusion, but they prevailed here among the Presbyterians and Methodists; and some, who came from other parts, attempted to introduce them in the Baptist meetings. A Baptist minister by the name of Mr. Connico, was once preaching where one of the jerkers began his motions. The preacher made a pause, and with a loud and solemn tone, said, "In the name of the Lord, I command all unclean spirits to leave this place." The jerker immediately became still, and the report was spread abroad, that Mr. Connico cast out devils....

    [ 2-262 ]


    In 1808, the churches of Providence, Hopewell, Chenango, New-Lisbon, Warren, and Little Beaver, most of which were of recent origin, were dismissed from the Red-Stone Association, and were shortly afterwards formed into the one we now have in view, which received its name from a creek, which empties into the Ohio River from the north, about thirty miles below Pittsburg. The churches in this Association are partly in Ohio and partly in Pennsylvania. Some of them were raised up by David Phillips, Henry Frazer, and some other ministers belonging to the Redstone Association; but the most extensive and successful labourer in this part of the vineyard, is Mr. Thomas G. Jones, a native of Wales, who settled here a few years since. Mr. Jones has been employed as a Missionary a part of the time by the Philadelphia Missionary Board; and by a divine blessing on his labours, many have been turned to the Lord, and a number of flourishing churches established. This account of the Beaver Association I received from Mr. David Phillips, near Pittsburg, in 1809. I have written a number of letters for further information, but none has been communicated....

    [ 2-547 ]


    Held at Warren, Aug. 19, 1813. Who preached the Sermon does not appear.

    Providence -- ____ -- Henry Frazure -- 34 communicants
    Valley of Achor -- ____ --       -- 43
    Concord -- ____ -- Adamson Bentley, John Wilson -- 43
    Sharon -- ____ -- Thomas G. Jones -- 43
    New-Lisbon -- ____ -- Thomas Rigdon -- 43
    Bethesda -- 1808 -- William West -- 43
    Unity -- ____ -- Andrew Clark -- 43
    Carmel -- ____ --       -- 43
    Hopewell -- ____ --       -- 43
    Lebanon -- 1812 -- George Miller -- 43
    Bethel -- 1812 --       -- 43
    Jefferson -- 1812 -- Joshua Woodworth -- 43

    Churches 12 -- Ministers 9 -- Total 464

    * The minutes of this Association have been sent on since the account of it in Vol. II, p. 262, was printed.

    1848 edition (from its 1850 reprint)

    [ 614 ]


    This carries us over the mountains into Western Pennsylvania, where the Baptists began to plant churches and propagate their opinions about three-quarters of a century ago, and where now, in this ultra montaine region, we find the denomination spread over a wide extent of territory, from the line of Virginia on the south, to the State of New York and Lake Erie on the north. This great field is bounded by Ohio, and a portion of Virginia on the west.

    In this section of the State are the following Associations, viz.: Red-Stone, Monongahela, Pittsburg, Beaver, French Creek, and Connernaugh.

    In this arrangement, I have had respect, as much as possible, to geographical contiguity, and the genealogy of the different bodies.


    In my first volume, p. 598, I find the following description of this ancient fraternity, which according to the best information I could obtain on the spot more than thirty years since, was organized in 1776.

    "This Association is in the western part of this state, adjoining Ohio. Some few of its churches are in that State, and others are in Virginia. The center of the Association is no great distance south of Pittsburg. One of its oldest churches was gathered in 1770, under the ministry of Elder John Sutton. It was at first called Great Bethel, now Uniontown, and is upwards of 50 miles south of Pittsburg, in the county of Fayette. This church was the mother of many others, which arose around it. Mr. Sutton was a native of New-Jersey, and was one of five brothers, who were Baptist preachers. He settled in the Red-Stone country, when it was in a wilderness state, and was long a laborious and much respected preacher throughout all extensive circle of churches, which were planted either wholly or in part by his means. The time of his death is not known, but it is believed to have been not far from the year 1800.

    Cotemporary with this evangelical servant of God, was the pious and successful John Corbly, who was made to drink deep of the cup of affliction."

    [ 615 ]

    Then follows a somewhat extended account of the overwhelming calamity which befel Mr. Corbley by the massacre of his wife and five children, on a Sabbath morning, as they were going on foot to the place of worship. By my request, a full biography of this successful pioneer in this then dangerous wilderness, has been sent to me by a committee appointed by the Goshen church...

    For half a century or more, the old Red Stone Association was regarded as a very important institution in the whole baptist connection, and embraced the talent and enterprize of our society in the great field of labor. In my statistical table for 1812, it is reported as containing thirty-three churches, twenty ministers, and upwards of thirteen hundred members.

    Rev. Charles Wheeler, now at the head of the literary institution in Western Virginia, called Rector College, and Alexander Campbell, the founder of the community denominated Campbellites, ir Reformers, were once members of this body. In a copy of its Minutes for 1818, I find Mr. Wheeler was the moderator, and Mr. Campbell clerk; by him also, the introductory sermon was preached. at that early period, so far from having any scruples as to the mission system, so called, which, it is said, have since alienated the feelings, and paralyzed the efforts of this then effort-making people, they exhibit an aggregate of more than two hundred dollars, contributed by female missionary societies, for the express purpose of aiding the Foreign Mission cause.

    In Allen's Register for 1836, this body is represented as being reduced to about one-half from its last statement; it is now said to be much smaller, bu as I have none of its late Minutes, and it is not reported in our statistical tables, its present situation I am unable to define. On account of its former character and standing, and of the references which will be frequently made to it in the history of the bodies which sprung from it, wholly, or in part, this brief narrative seemed to be required.

    Among the ministers of distinction for talents and usefulness in the old Red Stone fraternity, in its last days, and whose labors were long and laborious in this connection, were the Suttons, Corbley, Patton, Luce, Spears, Fry, Phillips, Broomfield [sic - Brownfield?], Estep, Wheeler, and Stone.


    This is an immediate offspring of that one last named, and as it is, for the most part, on the same ground which that old institution occupied exclusively, so far as baptists were concerned, for half a century, a portion of its churches, of course, were coeval in their origin with those of the earliest dates in the mother body. It was organized in 1834, and is situated in the south-western corner of the State, in the counties of Alleghany, Washington, Green, Fayette, Sommerset, and Westmoreland, and a few of the churches are, I believe, in Virginia.

    As this Association holds the third rank as to numerical strength, in the whole State, I very much regret that I am not able to give my usual sketches

    [ 616 ]

    of some of the most important churches. In the estimation of those around them, they are those of George-creek, Goshen, Cennellsville, Washington, Ten Mile Creek, Mt. Pleasant, Pleasant Grive, and Flatwoods.

    The churches of Goshen, Turkeyfoot, Pigeon Creek, Ten Mile Creek, Forks of the Cheat, Indian Creek, and probably some others, were founded by the Suttons, Corbley, and their associates or immediate successors.

    The Second, or Grant Street Church, Pottsburg, is the largest in this body. [4] An account of this church will be given when we come to the city in which it is situated.

    I have been disappointed in not receiving communications from a number of brethren whom I have personally addressed on the subject of the history of this Association.

    In answer, however, to my general requests, as published in my Circulars, some accounts have been received.

    In 1843, this Association adopted a Resolution, which was printed in their Minutes, to the effect "that each of its churches be requested to prepare a brief narrative of their rise, progress, &c." In compliance with this request, a few of them have done so. The substance of which I will now relate.

    "On examining the records of the church at Big Whiteley Creek, in the neighborhood of the... Goshen Church, it appears that Jacob Vanmeter and family settled at Muddy Creek, about six miles north of the present seat of this old community, in 1769. Four years after, viz.: in 1773, the Goshen Church, so long under the pastoral care of John Corbley, was gathered, of thirty members. The names of Daniel Fristoe, John Corbley, James and Isaac Sutton, are associated in these early transactions."

    Elder James Sutton held the pastoral office here about two years, when he was succeeded by

    Elder John Corbley, who sustained it until his death, in 1803. For about sixteen years subsequent to the death of Mr. Corbley, we have no means of ascertaining who were the reqular pastors of this church, but from the best information we can obtaine, it was supplied by Amos Mix, Thomas Hervey, and Benjamin Stone.

    Elder James Seymour was in office here for fifteen years, from 1819. After him for eight years, they had as pastors or supplies, MIlton Sutton, William Wood, J. W. B. Teasdale, J. Curry, and F. Downey.

    Rev. Levi Griffith, the present incumbant, was settled in 1842.

    "Since the constitution of old Goshen, as near as can be ascertained, there have been added to her 535 members.

    "She has built a brick building, of good dimensions.

    "From this church four others have been set off (names not given), and a large number have removed from its bounds, to Ohio and Kentucky."

    Ten Mile Creek -- South Fork. This church was organized of members dismissed from the neighboring churches, in 1836, under the ministry of Dr. Abraham Bowman.

    Rev. Isaac Petit is their present pastor. They also have a good house of worship.

    Pleasant Grove. The church here was formed in 1840. THe seat of it is about eight miles south-west of the town of Washington. Rev. Levi Griffith is their present pastor. This church too, has a good house of worship, recently built. >BR>


    Was organized in 1840 [sic - 1839?], in the city whose name it bears; the churches composing it are situated in different directions around the city, but mostly south

    [ 617 ]

    and east. Most of the members of this young institution appear to be of recent origin; a few of them, however, such as Peters Creek, Uniontown, and it may be some others, are among the oldest in the country. We have seen in the history of the old Red Stone community, that the churches just named, were planted by Sutton, Corbley, and their coadjutors, in their earliest evangelizing efforts in this region.

    Rev. David Philips, a native of Wales, was the pastor at Peters Creek for many years.

    Dr. James Estep, who has long occupied important pastoral stations in Western Pennsylvania, is the present pastor of this people.

    Rev. Isaac Wyman was reported as the official incumbant at Uniontown in 1845.

    Baptist churches in the city of Pittsburg and vicinity.

    The First Church was constituted in 1812, of fourteen members, including

    Rev. Edward Jones, who became the first pastor, where he continued two years.

    Rev. Messrs. Obediah Newcombe, from Nova Scotia, and John Davis, from England, each for short periods of time officiated as the pastors of this infant communuity.

    Rev. Sidney Rigdon, from Ohio, became the next incumbent. This man caused them much trouble, and under his ministry the church was nearly annihilated. While occupying this station, Mr. Rigdon began to propagate some of the distinguishing sentiments of the Mormons, among which people he afterwards became a leader of much notoriety.

    Rev. Joshua Bradley next took the charge of this scattered flock, where he continued but one year. This brings us down to 1827, when

    Rev. Samuel Williams was called to this pastoral charge, in which he has continued to the present time.

    This church suffered the loss of their house of worship by the great conflagration which occurred in April, 1845. It has since been rebuilt.

    Second, or Welsh Church, which was organized with a few brethren of this class, in 1827.

    Rev. Jacob Morris was their first pastor. After him, was

    Rev. Wm. Owens, who was reported as their spiritual guide a short time since. They have a good house of worship in Chatham street, where public worship is conducted in their native tongue.

    Third, pr Alleghany Church. This body is in what is called Alleghany city, over the river. It arose out of a disbanded body, which was got up in the city in 1830. The present community was organized in 1835. This church has a new house of worship of superior order, for this people and region.

    Grant Street Church is a new interest, having been constituted in 1842.

    Rev. T. C. Teasdale, late of New Haven, Conn., is the present incumbant.

    Although this church is connected with the Monongahela Association, yet for the sake of describing all the Pittsburg churches together, I have put it in this place.

    The first church in this western metropolis, has been a prolific mother of kindred institutions, as from it have originated not only the others in the city and vicinity, but the principal part of the constituent members at Wheeling, Brownsville, Centerville, and Mt. Hope, went out from this increasing body. It is still the largest in this Association. *

    * IN 1845 it reported 377; second do., 145, Peters Creek, 140; McKeesport, 111; Mars Hill, ____, Greenawalt, 104; Freeport, E. M. Miles, 96.

    [ 618 ]


    This is the oldest body of its kind in Western Pennsylvania, except the Red Stone, having been irganized in 1809. It was at first composed of Providence, Concord, Sharon, New Lisbon, and Bethrsda churches in Pennsylvania, and the Valley of Achor, in Ohio. Carmel, Hopewell, Union, and Unity churches, fell into the confederacy soon after it was formed. The churches now are generally small, a very few of them amounting to a hundred members. Those which come up to, or near this number, are mentioned in the note below. * The churches in this Association are in the counties of Beaver, Mercer, and Butler. The principal ministers in this body in early times, were Spears, Frazer, Jones, West, Clark, and Stoughton. Although it has never been large, yet from it have gone out wholly or in part, the French Creek, and Clarion, in Pa., and the Portage and Trumbull Associations, in Ohio.


    Was formed in 1838, with five small churches; many of them are young and small, viz.: Zion, Mahoning, Brookville, Curwensville, and Gethamine. The ministers who were instrumental in raising a baptist interest in this new region of country, were Nathaniel Tibbetts, from the State of Maine, Samuel Stoughton, Samuel Miles, and Thomas Wilson.

    Zions Church was constituted in 1821, at which time there was no other community of our denomination within forty-five miles of it, and their minister who visited them once a month, was compelled to ride that distance, and ferry the Allegheny river on his route. In 1845, this young body had increased to twenty-five churches, and upwards of a thousand members. The church called Zion, just referred to, Elder Thomas E. Thomas pastor, contained about two hundred members; all the others were below a hundred, and a large portion of them were quite small. They are for the most part in the counties of Clarion, Clearfield, Jefferson, and Indiana.


    This institution bears date from 1823. It is situated in the north-west corner of the State, in the counties of Erie, Crawford, and Mercer. As a full account of the rise and progress of this Association has been sent me by its Corresponding Secretary, I shall insert it in the language of the writer: -- "On the 12th day of June, A. D., 1822, a number of brethren convened in the town of Waterfbrd, Erie Co., Penn., and organized a Conference, and took into consideration the propriety of forming a new Association, to be composed of part of the Grand River Association in Ohio, the Beaver Association, in Pennsylvania, and the Holland Purchase Association, in New York. They met again on the 18th of September of the same year, and again on the 11th of June, in 1823. At the last named meeting, the Conference agreed to assume the name of the French Creek Baptist Association, and celebrated their first anniversary on the second Wednesday of June, 1824. The ministers first connected with the Association, were Jeduthan Gray, George Miller, Jesse Brown, and Oliver Alford, all of whom, except Father Alford, have gone to their rest. The Association, at its first session as such, numbered two hundred and forty-four members."

    "The extent of country which they then occupied, was somewhat less than it now is, being at present dispersed over a field about 60 miles square. The Association was first organized with eight churches, viz.: Watcrford and McKean, Springfield, Carmel, Lebanon, Conneaut, Mead, Concord, and Plumb.

    "The introductory discourse was preached on this occasion, by Elder Joshua Woodworth, now living at Mecca, Trumbull Co., Ohio, from John iii. 16, 17.

    "During the first five years after their organization, there were added five new churches to the Association, and a net gain of 152 members, making in all at this time (1829). 396 members....

    * Sharon, Wm. B. Barris, 112; Salem, J. H. Hozen, 113; Zion, ____, 116; Providence, Thos. Daniels, 101; Beaver City, Jacob Morris, 97; Achor, Ohio, Reese Davis, 95.

    [ 886 ]

    [Portage Association Bears date from 1833. It is located principally in Portage and Summit Cos., and probably sprung in part at least from the old Grand River fraternity, us it is within the bounds of that body in its early movements; but upon this point I have no information. It appears to act with decision in all benevolent operations.

    The Bedford Church, W. Levesee pastor, is the largest in this body. [9]


    Was formed in 1839. It consisted at first of five small churches, whose membership in the aggregate amounted to 160. They came from the old Beaver fraternity, whose locality is now wholly in Pa. The Co. from which it took its name embraces most of its churches. The Warren Church, J[ohn] Winter pastor, is the oldest in this connection.

    Orangeville, B. Phelps, Hubbard, W. B. Harris, and some others, are good-sized churches, but each of them falls short of 100. [10]


    This is an old institution for this region, as it dates back to 1817, which was in the early settlement of the country. Five small churches were all it had to begin with, viz. : Kingsville, Madison, Geneva, Jefferson, and Mentor; the two last were previously connected with the old Beaver community.

    Elders A. Hawks, A[damson]. Bentley, B. Barnes, and J. Woodworth, were the principal ministers engaged in its organization. The last one named is still living.

    The Kingsville Church, J. B. Hackett pastor, is the largest in this body. [1]

    Conneaut, J. W. Weatherby do., is the next in size. This was formerly a branch of Kingsville.

    Madison, L. Whitney, holds the third rank.

    Jefferson, B. S. Knapp, stands in the fourth grade.

    Rev. Joseph Elliot, formerly pastor of the 1st Ch., Roxbury, Mass., is one of the pastors of this establishment.

    Rev. E. Tucker, now of the Oliver St. Ch., New York, is named as having been at one time engaged in evangelical labors within the bounds of this Asso.

    This has been the parent of a number of the associational communities which have subsequently been organized around it, as our narratives will soon show.


    Was formed in 1834; a part of its churches came from the one last named. [2] It is located in the county from which it took its name, and in the one called Lake, which is on the southern shore of Lake Erie. Neither its Minutes nor history have I been able to obtain.


    Bears date from 1832. Rev. L. Tucker was moderator, and W. T. Smith clerk of the first meeting. This community came also, in part at least, from the old Grand River establishment. The following items of history I have selected from the communication of my correspondent for this Asso....

    9 In 1845 it reported 124; 2d Salem, F. Green, 101; Aurora, S. R. Wlllard, 96; Akron, ____, 95; Streetsboro, C. Clapp, 91.

    10 Rev. John Winter is my correspondent for this Asso., which, he informs me, exhibits a good degree of interest in the mission cause and other objects of benevolence.

    1 Rev. J. B. Hackett, clerk, is my correspondent for this Asso.; his account is made out according to my directions in my circular.

    2 For a knowledge of this fact 1 urn indebted to Mr. Hackett. named above.

    [ 888 ]


    Was formed in 1819, and is of course a comparatively old institution for this part of the State. It came entirely from the old Beaver community, which for many years spread over a large territory in this part of Ohio. For a rare case in this country, I find in the Minutes of this Asso, for 1845, historical details of its formation and all its annual sessions up to that time. From this document I will make the following selections:

    "At the annual session of the mother body in 1819, it divided into three parts: one retained the old name; another, the middle division, was called MAHONINO; the western part took the name of this community. Thos. Q. Jones was moderator, and John Rigdon clerk of the first meeting; [7] it consisted of eleven churches at its organization. Its ministers, in addition to those already named, were David Kempton, E. Otis, A. French, and Thos. Rigdon."

    The annual doings of this fraternity exhibit only ordinary events, except the troubles arising from the defection of John [sic - Sidney?] Rigdon, while he sympathized with the Reformers, before he espoused the doctrines of the Latter-day Saints....

    7 Three ministers by the name of Rigdon were members of this community at the same time; John [sic - Sidney?] first became a convert to the peculiar views of A. Campbell, but for many years has held a rank of some notoriety among the Mormons.

    [ 889 ]

    The Greentown Church, pastor not named, is the largest in this body.


    Was formed in 1821; of course it was but two years younger than the one last named. It came wholly or in part from the Grand river establishment. 9 It is located principally in the Cos. of Huron, Erie, and Crawford. This is one of the important baptist institutions in northern Ohio; but no details of its history am I able to give.

    The Fairfield Church, S. Wadsworth pastor, is the largest in this body.10

    Norwalk, J. Hull, is the next in size.

    Berlin, Wm. Starrs, holds the third rank.


    Bears date from 1838. It was formed by a division of the Rocky River fraternity, and is of course of the second generation from the old Grand River community. The Co. of Erie together with that from which this Asso. takes its name embrace most of its churches....

    [ 916 ]


    I am exceedingly embarrassed to know by what name to distinguish the community whose affairs I am about briefly to describe; they sometimes call themselves Disciples, and at others Christians. It is no part of my business to settle the cognomen of any religious party, or to challenge the correctness of the one it may assume; my great object is to ascertain how each prefer to be distinguished. As long names are inconvenient in historical relations, I have in all my narratives, when this people are referred to, styled them Campbellites, or Reformers, and so I shall at present.

    Again, I have found objections on both sides against placing this society among the branches of the great baptist family; but as they hold to two great primordial principles of all baptists, viz., immersion on a profession of faith, and are thorough-going anti-pedobaptists, without any formal permission from either my own people, or my quondam or quasi brethren, on my own responsibility, as they are baptists de facto, I shall regard them as such in my statistical accounts.


    Rev. Alexander Campbell, who, I believe, is admitted on all hands to be the Corypheus of this very wide-spread community, is a native of Scotland, where he was educated among the pedobaptists. For some years after his conversion to baptist sentiments, he operated with the associated order in western Pennsylvania, where I find he was the clerk of the old Red-Stone Association, some thirty years since.

    [ 917 ]

    With the causes of his dereliction from the baptist communion, and the circumstances under which he got up a new interest, which has been so mightily augmented, I am not informed, and of course shall not attempt to describe them. But so it fell out, that an increasing company gathered around his standard, and soon spread into most of the western, a portion of the southern, and a few of the northern States.

    Of no community of religious professors of modern date have I found it so difficult to collect any suitable facts for my usual historical sketches; relative to almost every thing about them I have general, but vague ideas; so that when I cast around, for some documents to guide me I am utterly at a loss where to find them, except in Indiana. In this State some good correspondents have gone into details which I have no where else found. From these it appears that the whole number of communicants in Indiana is twenty-eight thousand.3 The number of their churches and of their elders or bishops is given but in part, and indeed their numerical strength here is made out, in part, by estimate. [4]

    From no other State have I had any thing but sweeping statements, founded on conjecture.

    From Mr. Campbell himself I have received some summary statements as to the number of his denominational friends in different States and sections of the country: they were not, however, sufficiently definite for the construction of my usual historical narratives. He estimates the whole number of communicants at two hundred thousand. This by many is thought to be an over-statement; if it is so, the fault is with the leaders of the community. I know of no good reason for challenging their statements, and if I should do so, I should not know what number to name as the amount of their numerical strength.

    I do not discover that this people have any Associations, Conferences, or annual gatherings of any kind, or that they publish any statistical accounts of their community; and I doubt whether any of them can come within many thousands of the number of their communicants.

    Church Discipline, Doctrinal Sentiments, &c. On all subjects of this nature I am also unable to give any definite statements; but this much I will say, that whatever theories have been projected by Mr. C. or any of his coadjutors of a peculiar character, as far as I can learn, there is an evident tendency in the whole party to settle down on the credenda and modus operandi -- the belief and practice of the baptists in general. [5]

    The reports of their evangelizing excursions, as to their converts, and the results of their labors in their fields of operation, are all much like those of the regular baptist order, with whom many of them were formerly connected.

    Bethany College is, I believe, the principal literary institution of this community. It is located in Brooke Co., Va., at no great distance from the Ohio river.

    Rev. A. Campbell is its president; it has a regular corps of officers, and is, I should judge, in a flourishing condition. Its full history must be deferred to my next volume.

    Periodical publications. The Bible [sic - Christian?] Baptist was one of Mr. Campbell's early works of a periodical nature. It was continued about seven years.

    The Millennial Harbinger, in a pamphlet form, is now in its twentieth year; it is an 8vo. pamphlet, and is probably the principal organ of the denomination. [6]

    3 Rev. J. M. Mathes, a minister of this State, computes the whole number in it at twenty-five thousand.

    4 Four intelligent correspondents have made communications, relative to this people in Indiana. Their names are Nathaniel Field and _______ Jameson, of the Campbellites or Reformers; John Vawter and H. Bradley, baptists. Mr. V. writes as follows: "Indiana, so far as these people are concerned, is divided into four districts, and there is an equal number of presiding bishops, teachers, or preachers for each. They are, and have been, a very laborious denomination of people in sustaining their peculiar tenets, and have done much in shedding light on the true mode of baptism. Many of them are highly respectable in point of moral worth, wealth, &c. Inclosed was a letter from Mr. Bradley, from which the following extracts are made: "This denomination is increasing rapidly in many places; their number and influence in the state legislature is much greater than I supposed, until I began to operate among them. All seem to be engaged, and put forth every effort to promote the prosperity of their sect. Many of them are very bold in defense of their peculiar sentiments; and when met with equal boldness call it persecution. Nevertheless, I am inclined to think that they are doing much to overthrow the popish tradition of infant baptism and sprinkling, instead of baptizing christians. -- "I wish the baptist denomination was as active and willing to support the gospel as that people. It would be a great blessing to community, and the means of the salvation of thousands of souls."

    5 Mr. C.'s Christian System, a 12mo. work of between 300 and 400 pages, is before me. It is similar to other epitomes of theology, and I see nothing peculiar in it, except a decided stand against all creeds and confessions of faith, which these reformers repudiate and condemn, whatever theological views they may inculcate.

    6 Rev. Mr. Henshall, of Richmond, Va., a few years since, made me out a full list of the periodicals, which were then published by this society, some eight or ten in number; it is now mislaid, and probably some of them ere this have been placed on the bill of mortality for works of this kind. -- Correspondents. -- A. Campbell, H. Henshall, H. T. N. Benedict, N. Field and J. M. Mathes are the only names I have to report under this head. I am sorry to say I have found a disagreeable shyness and backwardness on the part of nearly all the members of this community, with whom I have sought acquaintance and correspondence.

    Note 1: Among the pre-publication subscribers to the 1813 edition, the names of Matthias Luse and H[ugh] Wilson are listed for Washington Co., Pennsylvania in the appendix. A David Philips is listed for "Great Valley," Pennsylvania.

    Note 2: On page 551 of the 1813 edition's second volume, Benedict lists 5 "Covenant Independent Baptist Churches" is Pennsylvania, numbering about 200 members. He does not give the locations of their congregations.

    Annals of the
    American Pulpit VI

    by William B. Sprague
    NYC: Robert Carter & Bros., 1860

  • Introduction
  • Joshua Bradley
  • Charles Wheeler

  • transcriber's comments

  • [ xi ]


    The history of the Baptist denomination in the United States, like that of the other denominations, is so fully developed in the lives of its prominent ministers, that it is impossible to construct even the most general outline of the former without drawing upon material that must necessarily be embodied in the latter. The present brief sketch is framed with a view to prevent, as far as possible, repetition in the body of the work.

    When the first Baptists came to this country, or who they were, it is impossible now to ascertain; though Cotton Mather says "mant of the first settlers in Massachusetts were Baptist;" and he adds that "they were as holy, and watchful, and fruitful, and heavenly a people as perhaps any in the world."...

    [ xiv ]

    The "Great Awakening" which took place in connection with the labours of Whitefield, about the year 1740, gave rise to many new churches in different parts of New England, under the name of separate Churches. These were formed by a secession from the regular Congregational Body, and their members claimed to hold as purer faith, as well as adopt a higher

    [ xv ]

    standard of Christian feeling and action, than those with whom they had previously been associated. Some of them fell into great extravagances of both doctrine and practice, but there is reason to believe that, notwithstanding the fanatical tendences with which they may have been chargeable, that they were generally sincere and devout Christians....

    It is not strange, considering the peculiar circumstances in which the Baptists were placed before and even since the Revolution, that their numerical increase should have been slow; but since civil impediments have been removed, and the principle of universal toleration has come to be everywhere practically acknowledged, they have increased with a rapidity almost unparalleled; so that with a single exception, they now form the largest denomination in the United States. They are spread through every state and Territory...

    The Baptists, as a denomination, have always attached little importance to human learning as a qualification for the ministry, in comparison with those higher, though not miraculous, spiritual gifts, which they believe it is the province of the Holy Ghost to impart; and some of them, it must be acknowledged, have gone to the extreme of looking upon high intellectual

    [ xiv ]

    in a minister as rather a hindrance than a help to the success of his labours. But, if I mistake not, many of the sketches contained in this volume will show that the Baptists have had less credit as the friends and patrons of learning than they have deserved....

    The Government of the Baptist Churches is strictly independent. Each separate church claims and exercises the right of granting license to preach the Gospel, and of ordaining Elders or Presbyters to the full work of the ministry....

    The prevailing Theology of the Baptists is Calvinism -- generally of the type of Andrew Fuller, but occasionally rising to that of Dr. Gill. The Philadelphia Confession, -- so called from its having been adopted by the

    [ xvii ]

    Philadelphia Association, -- the oldest Association in the country, and which agrees substantially with the Westminster, except on questions of Church constitution and Church order, has generally been regarded ny the Baptists, especially in former years, as a faithful expression of their denominational belief.... While the Philadelphia Confession is objected to by some as too severely Calvinistic, the New Hampshire [Declaration] is objected to by others as at least too indefinite. Nearly all the Baptist churches in this country adopt the principle of Strict Communion, so far as regards the ordinance of the Lord's Supper; while, in other respects, they mingle with their brethren of other denominations....

    [ 400 ]


    Joshua Bradley, the youngest son of his parents, was born in Randolph, Mass., July 5, 1778.... At the age of fourteen, he was apprenticed to a Mr. Thayer, a shoemaker in his native town, till he was twenty-one. In the summer of 1790, he was awakened to an awful conviction of his sinfulness by a dream in which the scenes of the final judgment were made to pass most vividly before him. After struggling for some time under the burden of guilt and fearful apprehension, he became, on the 8th of October following, suddenly enraptured by a view of the glory of the Saviour, and overwhelmed by a sense of forgiving mercy. Shirtly after this, he joined the Baptist Church in Randolph, then under the care of the Rev. Mr. Briggs. It began now to be impressed upon his mind that it was his duty to preach the Gospel; but, as his circumstances seemed altogether adverse to it, he endeavoured to dismiss the idea as a temptation of the adversary; but it would still return upon him with irresistible power; and the more, as he saw his efforts to awaken the attention of his youthful companions and others around him to the concerns of their souls were manifestly attended with the Divine blessing. At length he made an arrangement with Mr. T., to whom he was apprenticed, to go to school for four weeks, that he might learn to read the Bible -- for until then he was unable to read a verse in it, without spelling each word. This only quickened his ambition to proceed in a literary course; and, being much encouraged by his teacher, Mr. Benjamin Turner, -- who had then (1791) just graduated at Harvard College, he resolved to enter upon a course of study with a view to a liberal education. Obtaining a Latin Grammar, he hung it up before his shoe-bench, studying as he worked, and reciting it to Mr. Turner as he had opportunity. As soon as the period of his apprenticeship had expired, he devoted himself vigorously to his preparation for College, studying about twelve hours daily, besides making a pair of shoes each day to pay for his board. He entered the

    [ 401 ]

    Academy of the Rev. William Williams, at Wrentham, in 1795, and two years after became a member of the Junior class in Brown University.... [he] graduated on the 4th of September, 1799. The theme of Bradley's Oration was "The impossibility of exterminating Christianity from the earth." He says "The clergy seemed pleased, and I was invited to visit some of the,"

    Immediately after his graduation, he was licensed to preach by the church in his native town. For six months, he divided his time, as a supply, between the Baptist Church in Attleborough, Mass., and a new Society in Pawtucket, R. I. -- the latter, encouraged by the attendance on his ministrations, erected their first meeting-house, which was soon filled. Having completed this engagement, he travelled some weeks in New Hampshire and Maine... he finally accepted an invitation... of the Second Baptist Church at Newport, R. I. He was ordained on the 18th of May, 1801... In 1807, finding himself wearied out by his manifold labours, he resigned his charge, and removed to Mansfield, Conn.... The Baptist Church in Middletown now earnestly requested his services... In 1809, by the solicitation of various persons, especially of some young men who were candidates for the ministry, he opened an Academy in Wallingford, Conn., and the next year a fine, commodious edifice was built, where he generally had about one hundred pupils from several different

    [ 402 ]

    States. While conducting this Academy, he preached in North Haven, where he formed a Baptist church, and also officiated Saturday evenings at New Haven, in Masonic Hall....

    Several families, who had sat under Mr. Bradley's ministry at Newport, having removed to Windsor, Vt., sent an earnest request to him to come and preach to them. He accordingly removed thither, in October, 1818, and commenced preaching in the Court House. As this was soon overflowing, larger accomodations were called for, and a commodious brick church edifice was erected. Here he continued about four years, and was occupied at the same time in teaching a school on his own house, chiefly for those who were looking forward to the ministry. In 1817, he started for Ohio, with a view to establish a literary institution in that State, but circumstances prevented him from carrying out his purpose. The Baptist Church in Albany, which had been for some time in a divided state, invited him to become their Pastor...

    In November [1819], Mr. Bradley was induced to accept an invitation from Middlebury, N. Y., to take charge of a new Seminary, and also of a Baptist church in that village. A revival soon commenced, in connection with his labours, the influence of which was widely and benignly felt. He remained here until 1824, when, on account of Mrs. Bradley's infirm health, he resigned the place, both as teacher and preacher, and travelled, preaching as he had opportunity, in the Northwestern part of New York. In Ellisburgh, Jefferson County, he established a Seminary, -- obtaining an incorporation, and six thousand dollars for its endowment. Here also he was successful as a Pastor. While in the State of New York, he and his pupils was instrumental in establishing six new churches in as many years.

    In 1826, he was invited to visit Pittsburg, Pa.; and, finding the Baptist church there much distracted, he commenced a school for his support. He divided his labours on the Sabbath between Pittsburg and Alleghany City, and his influence in resuscitating the Baptist interest in that neighborhood soon became perceptible. His school was large, consisting of a hundred and sixty pupils; and a considerable revival of religion attended his ministry. In 1827, he was earnestly solicited by the Rev. John M. Peck to

    [ 403 ]

    go to Illinois, to take charge of a new Seminary at Rock Spring, -- which subsequently grew into Shurtleff College at Upper Alton. The fact that it was to be a Manual Labour Institution was the circumstance which especially attracted Mr. Bradley to it, and led him, without much hesitation, to consent to become its Principal. He reached St. Louis in June, 1827; and, as the Seminary buildings were not completed, he preached there and at Edwardsville, Ill., during the summer; and a large number were gathered into the church through his instrumentality. In the autumn, Rock Spring Seminary was opened; and within one year it numbered a hundred and thirty pupils. To secure the better medical aid for his wife, he left the Institution, after having been connected with it about a year, and fixed himself for a season in Louisville, Ky., where he preached, and taught a Young Ladies' School. In 1829, he removed to Middletown, O., where he

    [ 404 ]

    soon had several hundred pupils under his care. The next year, he attended the Baptist Convention in Lebanon, and awakened an interest in behalf of education, which resulted in the establishment of Granville College, -- for the endowment of which he subsequently obtained about two thousand dollars. In visiting Indiana, where there wwere about three hundred Baptist churches, and no Seminary, he was invited to become Principal of a Seminary in Connersville, the capital town of Fayette County. He opened the Institution on the 4th of October, 1830... He then returned to Pittsburg, and again engaged there both in teaching and preaching. In 1835, he delivered an Address on Education before the Monongahela Association, which resulted in a partially successful effort to establish and endow a literary institution for Western Pennsylvania and Western Virginia. Such a College was finally established by him in Harrison County, Va., since called Rector College, of which, at the instance of Mr. Bradley, the Rev. Charles Wheeler * became President. During his agency for this College, he secured the purchase of a valuable site, and buildings for a Female College at Bottetourt Springs, Va., in May 1843... [he died Nov. 22, 1855]

    * Charles Wheeler a son of Samuel and Catherine (Adams) Wheeler, was born at Rowley, Mass., on the 8th of April, 1784. His father was graduated at Harvard College in 1771, and was licensed to preach in the Congregational Church. He (the son) became hopefully pious, about the year 1801, and joined the Congregational church in his native place, under the pastoral care of the Rev. Mr. Bramin; and he began to prepare for College under his instruction. While he was prosecuting his studies, he embraced the views of the Baptists, and transferred his relation to a neighboring church of that communion. In due time he became a member of Brown University, and graduated in 1807. After leaving College, he was employed for some time in teaching school, first in Wiscasset, Me.; afterwards in Salem, Mass.; and subsequently in Middleborough, where he was licensed to preach. In 1812, he supplied, for several months, the First Baptist Church in Boston. His mother having, about this time, removed to Pennsylvania, induced him to follow her; though he seems to have consented very reluctantly. He left Boston for Pittsburg, in June, 1813; having been married., in March preceeding, to a daughter of the Rev. Samuel Nelson, of Middleborough; and shortly after opened a school in Washington, twenty-five miles west of Pittsburg, and at the same time commenced preaching to a large congregation in the Court House. In October, 1814, he was ordained, and a church constituted in Washington, of which he became the Pastor. Here he continued for twenty-six years, preaching not only to his own church, but frequently to several other churches in the neighborhood. Meanwhile he also continued his connection with the school. In 1839, he was chosen President of Rector College, and about the same time visited New England to solicit aid in its behalf. He removed his family to Pruntytown, the seat of the College, in 1840, and exerted himself to the utmost to bring forward the infant institution. In his devotion to this object he overtasked both his physical and intellectual energies, and brought on a hemorrhage of the lungs, and subsequently an enlargement of the heart, which terminated in death, on the 11th of January, 1851. He was an accomplished scholar, an excellent teacher, and an able, earnest and successful minister.

    Note 1: Some additional information on Elder Bradley's first tenure in Pittsburgh is provided in the Oct. 2, 1826 issue of Alexander Campbell's Christian Baptist, where Campbell tells of his recent attendance of the annual Redstone Baptist Association meeting: "An Elder Bradley from New England had come as a messenger from Pittsburg. He, good man, said all that a stranger could say, to shame the triumvirate and to lead them to repentance; but he might as well have spit in the face of a strong north-west wind. He was officially told that he "occupied too much ground," and must hold his tongue. His zeal in behalf of moderation so far provoked the reigning dynasty, that his faith and that of his church became towards evening heterodox. The Cardinal of the Left [i.e. Elder Lawrence Greatrake] observed as I am informed, that he had left the church sound in the faith a few months ago, over which Mr. Bradley now presided, but that he verily believed that he (Bradley) had become Arminian or Antinomian, or some other anti, and had corrupted them. Whereupon it was moved and seconded, that Mr. Bradley should be indicted for heterodoxy, and a committee was appointed, with his accuser as chairman to take him out to a stump not far from the meeting-house, and try him forthwith. The good little Yankee had so much presence of mind and fortitude as to refuse to be tried by his accuser, and appealed from their jurisdiction to a higher court. He was then committed to prison, or embargoed, and a committee was appointed to pursue him to Pittsburg in due time, to try him upon the indictment." All of which was Campbell's way of saying that Elder Bradley was a fellow Arminian, among the hyper-Calvinists who generally represented the Redstone Association churches during this period.

    Note 2: In his 1865 volume of Annals of the American Pulpit, William B. Sprague provides a biographical sketch for the Rev. John S. Maginnis on pp. 766-767, saying of Maginnis: "His first employment was that of an instructor; and in 1827 he was associated at Pittsburg, in his novitiate, with the Rev. Joshua Bradley, one of the most versatile and indefatigable of our labourers in that generation." Probably Maginnis continued Elder Bradley's school in Pittsburgh when the Elder departed for Illinois to work there with John M. Peck. Peck visited the Pittsburgh area in the summer of 1826 and probably made his employment offer to Elder Bradley at that time; on page 214 of his 1864 Memoirs, that volume's editor says of Elder Peck: "In Washington, Pa., he mentions an interesting interview which he had with Rev. Charles Wheeler, pastor of the Baptist church in that place (subsequently President of Rector College, Western Virginia), who gave him a pretty clear idea of the continued difficulties in the Redstone Baptist Association, where there was a hyper-Calvinistic party, very rigid and bigoted, and where Alexander Campbell was more and more manifesting his opposition to the above party and their shibboleth, while still a third and more numerous portion of that body maintained a middle ground." No doubt Wheeler was one of the Redstone pastors then trying to remain grounded in that "middle" position, but Bradley seems to have sensed that he was too liberal in his theology to remain in Pittsburgh much longer. According to William R. Pankey's 1939 History of Churches of Pittsburgh Baptist Assocociation, on p. 6, during 1826-27 Joshua Bradley also supplied the pulpit recently vacated by Elder David Phillips at Peter's Creek. In these ministerial efforts Bradley no doubt helped lay the groundwork for the organization of the less rigidly Calvinistic Washington Baptist Association, which came together in the spring of 1827.

    Note 3: Elder Joshua Bradley still resided in Pittsburgh as late as Apr. 30, 1827, when he wrote a letter from that place, (published in the Montpelior Vermont Watchman of May 22, 1827), in which he said: "This land is covered with darkness, and filled with crimes -- yet the Lord is gracious to some souls. -- About 25 have been added to the first Baptist Church since I came here last May." By May 19, 1827, Elder Bradley was in Louisville, Kentucky (probably on his way west to Rock Spring, Illinois) where he announced a preaching service for the following day, to be held at "the Baptists new Meeting House," (see the Louisville Public Advertiser for May 19th).

    Note 4: Elder Charles Wheeler's involvement with events surrounding the 1824 ousting of Sidney Rigdon from the Pittsburgh pastorate, may be surmised from his letter of July 18, 1823, his participation in the Redstone Association committee of Oct.-Nov. 1823, and his presence at the June 13, 1824 ordination of Lawrence Greatrake (Rigdon's successor) at Pittsburgh.

    The Baptist

    by William Cathcart
    Philadelphia: Louis E. Everts, 1881

  • Wm. Brownfield
  • Disciples of Christ
  • Russell & Isaac Errett
  • James Estep
  • William Shadrach
  • Samuel Williams
  • John Winter

  • [ 154 ]

    Brownfield, Rev. William, was born in 1773 and in earlv life was converted and called into the ministry. He was pastor of the churches at Smithfield and Uniontown, Pa., where his labors were chietly expended, and was instrumental in organizing a church in Stewartstown. Following the apostolic example of many of our fathers in the ministry, he traveled extensively, and preached wherever he went. Several counties of Pennsylvania, and parts of West Virginia and Ohio, heard from him the Messed gospel. He was a sound divine, an able preacher, and a fearless advocate of the truth. His efforts were extensively blessed. He died Jan. 15, 1859, after being a preacher sixty-five years.

    [ 335-36 ]

    Disciples of Christ, The, or Christians, or Campbellites," as they are sometimes improperly called, are a religious community existing in Europe to a very limited extent, with a numerous membership on this side of the Atlantic.

    Thomas and Alexander Campbell, father and son, Scotch-Irishmen by birth, connected originally with the Presbyterian church founded by the pious Erskines, in 1810 gathered a congregation at Brush Run, Pa., " which was designed from its very inception to put an end to all partisan controversies, and. far from narrowing the basis of Christian fel lowship, to furnish abundant room for all believers upon the broad ground of the Bible, and a common religion upon the merits of Christ. In 1812 the congregation of Brush Run and the two ministering brethren were baptized by Elder Luse of the Baptist denomination, "upon the simple profession of faith made by the Ethiopian eunuch." In 1813 this body was received into the Redstone Baptist Association on the condition that "no terms of union or communion other than the Holy Scriptures should be required." After a connection with the Redstone Association of nearly ten years, rendered unpleasant by growing difficulties. Alexander Campbell was one of about thirty members who received dismission from the church at Brush Run to constitute a church at Wellsburg, Va. The new community was admitted into the Mahoning Baptist Association of Ohio. Nearly the whole Association by degrees adopted the views of Mr. Campbell. These sentiments became obnoxious to many neighboring Baptist churches, so that the Beaver Association (of Pennsylvania) was induced to denounce them as heretical, and exclude from their fellowship all those churches which favored the views of Mr. Campbell and his friends. The rent in the denomination was made wider, and the Disciples stood before the world as an independent community, differing from the Baptists chiefly about their "rejection of creeds, and baptism for remission of sins." The year 1825 was the time when the Mahoning Association adopted the doctrines advocated by Mr. Campbell, and as a consequence that year is commonly regarded as the commencement of the distinct denominational life of the Disciples. The object of the movement of which Thomas and Alexander Campbell were the leaders, according to Prof. R. Richardson, of Virginia, was i; to disinter the edifice of ancient Christianity from the rubbish which so many ages had accumulated upon it; and the beauty of those portions which were first exposed, only induced greater exertions to bring others into view. It was the unity of the church which first struck the attention; the subsequent submission to immersion is only one example among others of that progression which consistency with their own principles required. Thus, it was not until ten years after this that the utimate object of baptism was fully understood, when it was recognized as the remittiing of [sins ---- -----] of the gospel, or the appointed means through which the penitent sinner obtained an assurance of that pardon, or remission, procured for him by the suffering and death of Christ. Nor was it until a still later period that this doctrine was [actually] applied, in calling upon believing penitents to be baptized for the purpose specified. This view of baptism gave great importance to the institution, and has become one of the prominent features of this reformation/ (Religious Denominations of the United States, p. 22, Philadelphia, 1879.)

    They discard all human creeds and confessions, taking the Bible as their only religious authority; they regard all other denominations as imperfect, and claim that they have restored New Testament order in all things. They look upon the divisions of Christians as essentially wrong, and advocate the union of all believers on their platform. They insist on using Bible terms for Scriptural subjects, and therefore reject the words Trinity, Triune, etc., (though) they receive everything which the Scripture affirms of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, giving to every expression its full and obvious meaning. They teach that when Christ is preached the hearers have ability to believe upon, and obey him; that baptism is immersion only, and should be administered to no one but a believer; that it precedes forgiveness and adoption; that the blood of Christ only cleanses from sin, but that God requires faith, repentance, and baptism [-------] on which, for Christ's sake, he forgives and adopts his children: or as many state it, "There are three steps necessary in salvation, faith, repentance, and baptism.

    They believe that conversion is a turning to the Lord, and that in the New Testament baptism is the outward act by which one who has faith and repentance manifests this great change. They be lieve that the Spirit operates on sinners through the Word of God, though some of them think that he acts directly on the guilty heart.

    They object to relations of Christian experience as prerequisites to baptism, requiring nothing more than the brief confession made by the eunuch before Philip immersed him. They administer the Supper every Lord's day, to a participation of which with them Pedobaptists are not invited, but from which they are not excluded.

    Their government is congregational; every church has elders to take charge of its spiritual affairs, and deacons to care for its temporal concerns. The official position of the preacher is not invested with quite as much authority as is accorded to it in other religious bodies, and the title of Rev. is never [given] him by his brethren.

    In other particulars the Disciples are in harmony with evangelical Christians.

    Their numbers in the United States are variously estimated at from 500.000 to 600,000. They have churches in almost every State and Territory of the Union, but they are most numerous in Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Missouri, and Ohio. They also have a few churches in the British American provinces, and in England, Ireland, Scotland, Australia, New Zaland, and Jamaica. They have a number of institutions of learning and several newspapers.

    They are an active and moral people, some of whom occupy distinguished positions in the United States. Judge Jeremiah Black, of Pennsylvania, Gov. Bishop, of Ohio, and President-elect Garfield are citizens that reflect honor on the Disciples of Christ.

    The editor places this sketch in the Encyclopaedia because the Disciples of Christ are a considerable section of the great and growing immersion family. He has been at some pains to secure a fair representation of their opinions and practices. And he would add, that in common with his brethren, he dissents from all the peculiar opinions of Mr. Campbell and the special features of his reformation.

    [ 379 ]

    Errett, Hon. Russell, was born in New York in 1817, and removed to Pennsylvania in 1829. He is by profession an editor, and has held various public offices. In 1800 lie was elected comptroller of Pittsburgh; he was clerk of the Pennsylvania senate for three different sessions; was appointed paymaster in the U. S. army in 186l, and served until mustered out in 1866. He was elected to the State senate of Pennsylvania in 1867; he was appointed assessor of internal revenue in 1869, serving until 1873. He was three times elected from the 22d district of the State as their Representative in Congress, in which capacity he is now doing good service.

    Russell Errett was baptized in Pittsburgh, and held his first membership in the church of the Disciples, but coming to Mansfield, Alleghany County, he, together with his wife, united with the newly-formed regular Baptist church, and has found here a suitable home. His brother Isaac is editor of the Christian Standard, Cincinnati. O., and was baptized at the same time.

    Mr. Errett is a conscientious Christian, a Representative of distinguished ability, and a public man of great purity of life.

    [ 380 ]

    Estep, Rev. James. For more than half a century this distinguished minister labored in Western Pennsylvania. Few men ever attained greater eminence as a clear thinker, a sound theologian, and an earnest preacher. He was born in Washington Co., Pa., Oct. 9. 1782. He died July 26, 1861. He was baptized into the fellowship of the Mount Moriah Baptist church in April, 1802, and by this church he was licensed to preach two years after his baptism. For eighteen months prior to his entering the ministry he was pursuing the study of medicine, but a sermon preached by the Rev. Morgan J. Rhees, then prothonotary of Somerset Co., Pa., led him to deep reflection as to personal duty, and in twenty days after he was found preaching. Long before he thought of entering the ministry he gave himself to reading works on divinity. In fact, from the first day of his conversion he was engaged in reading, meditation, and prayer. He was a warm friend of an educated ministry, and one of the most useful of Pennsylvania Baptist ministers.

    His life was spent in an eventful period. In his day, and in his immediate neighborhood, the Campbellites, or to use their own distinctive term, the Disciples, and the Cumberland Presbyterians came into existence. The church required just such a man, and infinite wisdom provided for the hour of need in raising up James Estep.

    Though years have rolled away since his death, no name is more frequently on the lips of surviving brethren than his. He honored God by a noble life, and he has honored his very memory to the present hour.

    [ 661 ]

    Kirk, Rev. A. G., is of Scotch origin on his father's side, and of English on his mother's. He was born in Lancaster Co., Pa., Nov. 14, 1809, of Quaker parentage. His great-grandfather, Benjamin Gilbert, and his family, were taken prisoners by the Indians in April, 1780, and suffered a miserable captivity, passing their days in constant terror of being killed, but, in the language of the chief, Rowland Mintour, "The Great Spirit would not let us kill you."

    The son remained with his father's family until his marriage, in 1833. and in the subsequent year removed into Ohio, and engaged in teaching until 1845. On Jan. 15, 1843, he was baptized, and made his first public speech to a large assembly, partly composed of his scholars and of skeptical friends attracted to the solemn scene. He was ordained Jan. 12, 1845, at Salem, Columbiana Co., O. He was the first resident pastor of the church in New Castle, Lawrence Co., Pa., and the first pastor of the Nixon Street church, Alleghany City, Pa. At New Castle he enjoyed a prosperous ministry of eleven years. In Alleghany City and other churches lie was highly favored. His entire ministry has been richly blessed. In labors he has been abundant, having preached during thirty-three years about 5000 sermons, and during the entire period losing only eight Sabbaths by any indisposition of the body. He is still in service.

    [ 1043-44 ]

    Shadrach, Wm., D.D. This name is a household word among the Baptists of Pennsylvania. If fidelity to truth, earnest convictions, impassioned eloquence, and active zeal through half a century entitle a clergyman to peculiar prominence among his brethren, such prominence must be awarded this veteran minister.

    Dr. Shadrach is a fine specimen of the Welsh people, of whom there have been not a few highly distinguished ministers in the State of Pennsylvania. He was born in Swansea, Glamorganshire, South Wales, Dec. 4, 1804. and came to America, landing at Pictou, Nova Scotia, when fifteen years of age. After spending some time in Baltimore!, Md., he removed to Pennsylvania, and on the 22d of May, 1825, was baptized into the fellowship of the Two Lick Baptist church, Indiana Co., by Rev. Thomas K. Thomas. He received ordination Dec. 10, 1828, and became pastor of the Mount Pleasant Baptist church, Westmoreland Co. From this date to 1837 he served with much acceptance and signal success the churches of Mount Pleasant, Loyalhannah, Peters Creek, and Alleghany City. In 1837 he settled with the New Market Street church (now Fourth) in Philadelphia.

    After a service of more than three years he accepted the agency of the Pennsylvania Baptist State Convention (now the General Association), and labored with great success for three years. After a brief connection with the Grant Street church in Pittsburgh, he was called in 1844 to the Fifth Baptist church, Philadelphia, where he remained until 1847, resigning in order to devote himself to the work of assisting to found the university at Lewisburg. For six years he devoted himself with untiring energy and eminent success to this great undertaking. In 1853 he was chosen corresponding secretary of the American Baptist Publication Society, and continued in this service until July, 1860. In that year he received the honorary degree of Doctor of Divinity from Madison University. In 1840, and also in 1841 and 1846, he was elected moderator of the Philadelphia Baptist Association.

    From 1860 to the present date Dr. Shadrach has led an active life as a pastor of several important churches, giving also portions of his time to the interests of the denomination at large in labor for the Publication Society and the university. In a serene old age he is still honored as the devoted pastor of the church in the county-town of Indiana, Pa. Long may the shades of night be deferred!

    [ 1124 ]

    Swaim, Thomas, D.D., was born at Pemberton, N. J. March 30, 18??, entered Brown University, but graduated from Madison University in 1844, and from Hamilton Theological Seminary in 1846; was ordained in November, 1846, and settled with the church at Washington. Pa. After four years of successful labor he accepted the agency of the American Baptist Missionary Union for six months. at the end of which service he became pastor at Klemington, N. J., where he remained for sixteen years. During this pastorate nearly 300 were baptised, and a riewand larger meeting-house was built. In 1867 he accepted the financial secretaryship of the New Jersey Classical and Scientific Institute at Hightstown. In 1868 he became district secretary of the American Baptist Home Mission Society, with headquarters at Philadelphia, which position he now holds. The degree of D. D, was conferred, in 1865. by the university at Lewisburg.

    Dr. Swaim is an able preacher of the New Testament, and strong in his defense of Bible doctrines as held by the denomination. To the work in which he is now engaged he gives his undivided energies, and zealously labors to secure for the society the largest share of the sympathies and contributions of the churches.

    [ 1254 ]

    Williams, Rev. Samuel, was born in Connellsville, Fayette Co., Pa., on the 5th of August, 1802. At the age of twenty, while a student at Zanesville, O., he embraced Christ by faith. Along with light upon his heart came the love of souls, and in two years from his conversion he was ordained in Somerset Co., Pa. In May, 1827, he became pastor of the First Baptist church in Pittsburgh, Pa. This relation continued twenty-eight years, during which period six other churches were organized.

    Leaving Pittsburgh, he settled in Akron, O. Here he remained eight years, and then became pastor in Springfield. At both these places he, in connection with his wife, conducted a female seminary. Two subsequent years were spent as pastor in New Castle, Pa., and five years more were employed among churches in the vicinity of Pittsburgh. His present residence is Brooklyn, N. Y.

    Mr. Williams engaged in numerous controversies, both orally and in writing, in defense of Baptist doctrine and practice.

    [ 1262 ]

    Winter, John, M.D., was born in Wellington, England, in July, 1794. After graduating in theology from Bradford Seminary, he emigrated to America in 1822, and settled in Pittsburgh, Pa. Here for some time he taught a school, and served as pastor of the First Baptist church. During sixty years of a very active and successful ministry his labors were chiefly in the western part of the State.

    For a few years he preached in Illinois, where two sons survive him. He died Nov. 5, 1878, in his eighty-fifth year, after an illness of only three days, in Sharon. Mercer Co.. Pa.

    His energy was more than ordinary, and his character was of a most positive type, blended with childlike simplicity and tenderness of heart. His clearness of thought was remarkable. These traits made him just the man needed for his day. Hence, in his struggles with the errors of Alexander Campbell, he performed pre-eminent service, and checked materially the spread of error, saving many churches from being overwhelmed and destroyed. His crowning glory was his great success in winning souls to Christ. To the last of an honored and useful life he would not allow his mind to remain inactive, but kept himself well informed in general and theological learning. Hence he was always listened to with marked interest, and continued fresh and green until he closed his earthly labors.

    Dr. Winter was twice married. His second wife survives him, and is the mother of two prominent Baptist ministers, Rev. J. D. Herr, D.D., of New York, and Rev. A[doniram]. J. Bonsall, of Rochester, Pa. A daughter is also married to Rev. David Williams, of Lewisburg, Pa., while a daughter of Dr. Winter is united in marriage to Judge Justin Miller, of the Supreme Court of the United States.

    note 1: To the above listing should also be added the name of Rev. Adoniram. J. Bonsall. John W. Leonard's 1908 volume, Who's who in Pennsylvania, provides this information on pp. 82-83: "Bonsall, Adoniram Judson: Clergyman; born in Sharpsburg, Pa., Oct. 30, 1850; son of James Bonsall and Ann (Snively) Bonsall. He was educated at Allegheny Seminary, Sharpsburg... graduated from Western Theological Seminary, Pittsburgh. He married in Pittsburgh, May 12, 1874, Sophia Augusta Hoyer... He was pastor of the 37th Street Baptist Churchh; Pittsburgh; First Baptist Church, Rochester, Pa., and is now serving in the Sandusky Street Baptist Church, Pittsburgh..." Another entry, from p. 554 of the same volume, reads: "Stanton, William Alonzo: Clergyman; born Lawrenceville, Tioga County, Pa., March 5, 1854; son of Charles Alonzo Stanton and Helen J. (Nicholson) Stanton. He... was graduated from Rochester Theological Seminary... married in Scottsville, N. Y., Sept. 4, 1878, Sara L. Rogers... He was ordained minister of the First Baptist Church of Muncie, Ind., serving from 1878-1880; pastor of Vermont Street Baptist Church, Rickford, Ill., 1885-1890; pastor of Shady Avenue Baptist Church, Pittsburgh, Pa., since 1890.... He is author of... Three Important Movements, and of many published essays, sermons and historical essays. Residence: 6340 Marchand Street."

    History of
    Allegheny County

    by Thomas Cushing
    Chicago: A. Warner & Co., 1889

  • The Baptist Church

  • Pittsburgh Church

  • The Disciples Church

  •                   HISTORY  OF  ALLEGHENY  COUNTY.                   365


    The history of the Baptist denomination is a history of its churches. The nearly three million Baptists of the United States are bound together by no ecclesiastical organization. They are not independent, but interdependent, joined in Christian endeavor, and cooperating in religious and educational enterprises. Their growth is more affected by contingencies than in the case of those of other faiths. Depending largely on individual enterprise and local

    366                   HISTORY  OF  ALLEGHENY  COUNTY.                  

    influences, they take root and grow where, in the movements of population, the seeds have fallen and the environment favors and fosters. In Allegheny county, and especially in the centers of population, immigration was not favorable to the early planting or the vigorous growth of the faith of this people; and hence, in comparison with other parts of our country, the progress of the denomination has not been rapid, and in our teeming population the percentage of Baptists is very small. In attempting to give a history of the denomination in this county we will endeavor to adopt, as the guiding thought, the figures employed, and note the fall of a seed here and there, and in the cities regard the growth as the tracing, from the beginning, of the continuity of the trunk, and putting into the picture a sufficient number of the principal branches to give some conception of the whole growth. Many things must be passed without notice, and wearisome detail avoided. At the close of our sketch we will, in a brief summary, give the present numerical strength of the denomination in the included limits.

    The pioneer Baptist ministers in Western Pennsylvania were John Sutton and John Corbly. The first church organized by them was at Big Whitely, Greene county, in 1770. The church still enjoys vigourous life. In 1870 interesting centennial services were held. Drs. Weston, of Crozer Theological Seminary, and Woodburn, of Allegheny City, delivered discourses. A vivid picture of that early time was presented in the well-preserved records. At that early date churches were also organized at Uniontown, Fayette county, and at Turkey Foot, near the modern Confluence, Somerset county. The early pioneers endured hardships in the services they rendered to the little bands to whom they ministered. Rev. John Corbly, in addition to the hardships of frontier life, had a trial of peculiar severity. On a Sunday morning he was on his way to a service at Big Whitely, about half a mile from his cabin. He was absorbed in the subject of his discourse, and lingered so that his wife and five children walked some distance in advance of him. He was aroused from his reverie by the shrieks of his family, ran to their relief, and found that they were attacked by a number of Indians. He was unarmed, and his noble wife called to him to make his escape, which, although closely pursued, he succeeded in doing. His family were all left for dead by the savages. Two children, however, though tomahawked ans scalped, finally recovered, and his descendants are numbered among the good citizens of Greene county.

    The first church in Allegheny county was organized November 10, 1773. It is known as the Peter's Creek Church, and is located at Library, about twelve miles south of Pittsburgh. It celebrated its centennial with appropriate services in 1873. It now occupies its third meeting-house, which was erected a few years ago, and is one of the most commodious and beautiful rural church edifices in the county. Rev. I. K. Cramer is the pastor, and the organization is in a flourishing condition. Among those who have served as pastors during the life of this church are the names of many of the pioneer

                      HISTORY  OF  ALLEGHENY  COUNTY.                   367

    ministers of Western Pennsylvania. David Philips, whose descendants form a large circle, was among the first ministers. Dr. James Estep closed his long and eminently usegul life as pastor of this people; Rev. William Shadrach, D. D., who still lives at an advanced age, and whose name is linked with the history of many churches and institutions in Pennsylvania, began his ministry with this church.

    The first church in Pittsburgh was organized in April, 1812. The city then had about five thousand inhabitants. The nation was agitated by preparation for the conflict with England, and the members of the little community at the head of the Ohio river were doing their share in furnishing men and material for the war. The church was independent in its origin. It was not an outgrowth of earlier churches, but the planting of a new seed. Some of the honored ministers of the Redstone association, however, were present and assisted in the organization. This was the first "association" west of the mountains, and the second in point of age in the state. It embraced a large territory, and in the year 1809 had on its roll thirty-three small churches, with an aggregate membership of 1,323. The Redstone association is now extinct. Some of the churches connected with it were "hyper-calvinist" in doctrine and anti-mission" in spirit, and these have passed away, and with them the association to which they adhered. New associations now occupy the territory. The Beaver association was formed in 1809, and the Monongahela association in 1833. The First Church, Pittsburgh, withdrew from the Redstone association, and was a member of the Monongahela association, to which all the churches in Allegheny county belonged until 1839, when the Pittsburgh association was formed. In the latter organization all the churches in the county now unite in cooperative effort. The constituent members of the First Church, Pittsburgh, representing six families and numbering about twelve, had come from Old and New England, including Rev. Edward Jines, who was their first pastor. The church after its organization had no edifice for some time, but worshipped in private houses and rented halls. Its early history was varied by alternating periods of prosperity and adversity. The great influence of the celebrated Alexander Campbell, who was the founder of the denomination now known as "Disciples," or "Christians," caused trouble, and encouraged defection in the membership of many Baptist churches, and this influence was felt in Pittsburgh. The church secured its first charter in 1722, and heading the list of charter members is the name of Sidney Rigdon, who became afterward a noted man in his association with Joseph Smith in the early history of Mormonism. It is generally regarded as an established fact that the "Book of Mormon" was given to the world through Rigdon's cooperation. The unpublished work of Solomon Spalding, entitled the "Manuscript Found," it is asserted, came into the possession of Rigdon, who was a printer by trade, and was used in the composition of the "Book of Mormon." It is, however, claimed by lifelong friends of Rigdon that he was incapable of deliberate

    368                   HISTORY  OF  ALLEGHENY  COUNTY.                  

    fraud. The later years of his life were passed in comparative obscurity, and he died, respected by those who knew him, in 1876, at Friendship, Alleghany county, N. Y. Sidney Rigdon was born and reared on a farm in this county, and when quite young was baptized by Rev. David Philips, and became a member of the Peter's Creek Church. He united with the First Church, Pittsburgh, in 1822, and became pastor, but before the end of a year trouble arose, and he was excluded from the ministry by a council of Baptist ministers for teaching "baptismal regeneration" and other erroneous doctrines. From causes which have been indicated the growth of the church was retarded.

    When Rev. Samuel Williams became pastor, in 1827, the church had only thirty-six members, although there were doubtless many more Baptists in the community. During the pastorate of Mr. Williams, which continued for twenty-eight years, the church prospered; a large number was added to their fellowship. In 1848 four hundred and fifteen members were reported, and many had been dismissed to form new organizations. Rev. Samuel Williams exerted a wide influence, and was an early and ardent advocate of anti-slavery principles. His later years were passed in New York city, where he died in 1887, after sixty-three years' service in the ministry, and was buried in this city....

    The property of the First Church alluded to is located on

                      HISTORY  OF  ALLEGHENY  COUNTY.                   369

    Fourth avenue. The first brick building occupied by the First Church was erected in 1833, on the corner of Grant street and Third avenue, at a cost of $4000. This building was destroyed in the great fire of 1845, and was replaced, at an expense of $8,000, by a building which was sold and is now occupied by a Jewish congregation. Under the pastorate of Rev. J. S. Dickerson, D. D., a lot was purchased on Fourth avenue, and a stone chapel was erected, at a cost, including lot, of $40,000, and was dedicated in 1867....

                      HISTORY  OF  ALLEGHENY  COUNTY.                   373

    In 1826 a Welsh church was organized in Pittsburgh from members dismissed from the First Church. For a number of years Rev. William Owens was pastor, conducting services in the Welsh language in their edifice on Chatham street. New life has been infused into this body in recent years under the ministry of their present pastor, Rev. D. R. Davies. They have erected a new edifice on the old site on Chatham street, and have built a chapel and conduct services at Homestead....

                      HISTORY  OF  ALLEGHENY  COUNTY.                   389


    The religious movement with which these churches are identified took its rise in the first quarter of the present century. It was in the beginning a vigorous protest against the religious intolerance and sectarian spirit which then dominated and distracted the religious world. At the opening of the century we find a number of small congregations in England and Scotland, and three, at least, in this country, one at New York city, one at Danbury, Conn., and one at Pittsburgh, Pa., which, having discarded human creeds, were endeavoring to build on the Scriptures alone. These churches, though very similar, and all tending in the same direction, had but little intercourse with each other, and were without unity and concert of action. As a distinct historic movement, therefore, we trace its history from the labors of Thomas Campbell and his son Alexander, in Western Pennsylvania and Virginia, who, more than all others, succeeded in bringing all these separate movements into sympathy and cooperation. Thomas Campbell was a minister in the Seceder church in Ireland, and in the year 1808 emigrated to this country, and began preaching in Washington county, Pa., under the jurisdiction of the local Seceder presbytery. Soon he drew upon himself the disapproval and formal censure of the presbytery by his very generous and liberal treatment, both in teaching and practice, of other religious denominations. However; his bold arraignment of the sectarian spirit of the age, and his eloquent appeals for a Christianity broad enough to comprehend all believers in Christ, soon gained for him an intelligent and enthusiastic following.

    About this time his son, Alexander Campbell, followed him to this country, ardently espoused his father's teachings, and became at once the fearless and eloquent advocate, and soon the acknowledged leader, of the now rapidly growing movement. From this time the movement, both in the formulation of its principles and its methods of organization, took definite shape, and was called by its friends "The Reformation." Its followers called themselves, not invididualy, but that they might be scriptural in name, "The Disciples of Christ," and their organization "The Christian Church." The cardinal principle of the movement was that sectarianism, in the light of God's word and the light of history, was sin, and must be abandoned. It had but one simple plea, namely, for the unity of God's people into one body on God's word. It protested unceasingly against the projection of human authority into the realm of religious faith and practice as treason against Christ. Rigidly rejecting all human creeds; confessions, books of discipline, and decisions of synods and councils, it steadfastly pushed forward and upward the New Testament Scriptures

    390                   HISTORY  OF  ALLEGHENY  COUNTY.                  

    as the only and all-sufficient book of faith and discipline, and the only basis on which the followers of Christ could be united. It aimed continually to reproduce the pure and simple gospel as taught by Christ and his apostles, and to restore the primitive integrity of the church as the apostles left it, as the only possible fulfillment of the Savior's prayer for the unity of his people in order to the conversion of the world. That the Christian world was ripe for such a movement is evidenced by its marvelous growth. In less than three-quarters of a century it numbers, in this country alone, 6,450 churches, 3,600 preachers, and not less than 750,000 members. It has over forty institutions of learning, and from twenty-five to thirty periodicals and magazines, besides a large number of Sunday-school and other publications. It is strictly congregational in its polity...


    The first church of the Disciples in Allegheny county had its origin in an independent Baptist congregation of the Haldane school, established in Pittsburgh by George Forister [sic] as early as A.D. 1810. A number of members residing in Allegheny by mutual consent withdrew, and on the second Lord's. day in March, 1835, organized the first Christian church in Allegheny City. Their first house of worship was a single-story brick building on the bank of the Allegheny river below the Sixth street bridge, capable of seating about three hundred persons. This building was burned in 1859, and for nine years services were held for the most part in Excelsior Hall. In 1868 the church completed and occupied its present commodious building on the corner of Arch street and Montgomery avenue, adjacent to the North park. The following have served the church as regular preachers: Samuel Church, William James, Walter Scott, J. S. Benedict, W. J. Petigrew, B. F. Perkey, Robert Ashworth, Thomas Farley, Theobald Miller, W. S. Gray, Isaac W. Tenor, T. C. McKeever, Joseph King and William F. Cowden, the present pastor.

    Allegheny City Disciples Church  (illustration not in the 1889 edition)

    Besides these regular ministrations, the church has been favored at times by the presence and preaching of many of the great leaders of the reformation. To no service, however, is the church so largely indebted for her growth and prosperity as to the long-continued and self-sacrificing ministrations of Samuel Church and Joseph King, the former covering sixteen, the latter twenty-two, years of her history; the former laying well the foundations, the latter building and embellishing the spiritual temple. During her history the church has contributed largely of her membership for the establishment of new churches. In October, 1882, a mission school was established on Fifth avenue, Pittsburgh,

                      HISTORY  OF  ALLEGHENY  COUNTY.                   393

    chiefly through the energetic labors of Miss Carrie Merrick, since deceased, and Mr. Robert Latimer, for five years its faithful superintendent....

    Pittsburgh East End Disciples Church  (illustration not in the 1889 edition)

    The Peter's Creek Church. -- This church, located near Library, was organized by Edward Riggs, with six members, in 1836, and met in his house until 1839, when a house of worship was completed. Its first officers, Elder Riggs and Deacons James Boyer, Obadiah Higbee and William Morrison, were ordained by Elder Thomas Campbell in 1840. David Newmire was the first preacher. Among the resident preachers the following may be noted: James Darsie, William Lloyd, E. L. Allen, Brother Lawrence and William Loos. James Darsie's work extended over three years. A number of brethren from the Allegheny church visited and preached for the infant church, and from time to time Edward Riggs, Henry Bennett and Thomas Strathren from Braddock. They enjoyed occasional visits, also, from many of the leaders in the reformation, the Campbells, Bosworth, Robert Milligan, Benjamin Franklin, C. L. Loos, L. P. Streator and many others....

    Standard History
    of Pittsburg

    by Erasmus Wilson
    Chicago: H. R. Cornell & Co., 1898

  • The Baptist Church
  • Sidney Rigdon

  • transcriber's comments

  • 922                           HISTORY  OF  PITTSBURG.                          

    The Baptists were not represented in Pittsburg with an organization until 1812, at which date the first congregation of that denomination west of the mountains was established. They remained attached to the Monongahela Association until 1839, when the Pittsburg Association was formed. At the time this congregation was formed they withdrew from the Redstone Association, of which they had previously been a part. The first congregation consisted of six families,

                              HISTORY  OF  PITTSBURG.                           923

    comprising a membership of about twelve. Rev. Edward Jones was the first pastor, and the first services were held in houses and later in halls, until finally the congregation was chartered in 1822. Sidney Rigdon was one of the charter members. He afterward attained fame by his connection with the Mormon Church. Mr. Rigdon was a printer by trade, and in some manner came into possession of Solomon Spaulding's work, "Manuscript Found," which afterward, it was claimed, became the new part of the Mormon Bible. Mr. Rigdon was pastor of this congregation from 1822 probably until 1827, at which time he was succeeded by Rev. Samuel Williams, who afterward became prominent as an active Anti-Masonic leader.

    Early map showing old (3rd Ave.) and new (4th Ave.) locations of 1st Baptist Church

    By 1843 this congregation had a membership of 314, and had dismissed several congregations. Their brick church was built in 1833 at Grant and Third streets. In 1841 the Grant Street Baptist Church was organized, in 1835 fifteen persons from the First Baptist Church of Pittsburg organized the First Baptist Church of Allegheny. In 1826 the Welsh Baptists effected an organization as a branch of the, First Baptist Church.

    note 1: In his 1825 pamphlet, Greatrake's Calumnies Repell'd, Elder Alexander Campbell provides a short list of the early pastors of the First Baptist Church of Pittsburgh: "This Regular Baptist Church has passed through singular fortunes. It has had six pastors: Messrs. [Edward] Jones and [Daniel?] Dodge were accused of drunkenness; Mr. [Samuel] Davis, of drunkenness, adultery, and lying; Mr. [Obediah] Newcomb, a godly man, of not having popularity enough to procure a brick meeting-house; [Sidney] Rigdon of heresy... as some would seem to think. Mr. [Lawrence] Greatrake has resigned already its pastoral care."

    note 2: The Rev. Francis Augustus Cox, along with his associate Dr. J. Hoby, in 1836 wrote The Baptists in America, in which Cox's 1835 visit to Pittsburgh was described, providing these details: "The population of Pittsburgh is about 18,000 and the places of worship are very numerous.... There are three baptist churches, the second holding public service in Welsh; and a new church has recently been formed at Alleghany. Mr. [Samuel] Williams, the pastor of the first church, was [away] from home: Mr. Davis, from Wales, was to have supplied his pulpit in part; and Mr. [Joshua] Bradley, the pastor of the third church, had engaged to preach a funeral sermon at Mr. Williams's in the afternoon... Mr. Tassey, the pastor of the independent church, showed me much friendly attention." (pp. 279-282). Joshua Bradley had returned to the city after a few years' absence -- he had previously served as the pastor of First Baptist. See Wm. A. Stanton's 1907 book for more on the Rev. John Tassey's congregation in Pittsburgh.

    note 3: The 1837 Harris Pittsburgh Business Directory lists James Estep and Samuel Williams as Baptist ministers in the city (pp. 46 & 88). Under the heading of "Baptist Churches," on p. 121, the same booklet gives this information: "First Regular Baptist Church, corner of Third and Grant streets. Rev. Samuel Williams pastor. Attached to the church is -- one Sabbath school -- one Adult Missionary society -- one Temperence society -- one Tract society. Second Regular Baptist Church, (Welsh,) Kensington. Rev. John Jenkins, pastor. One Regular Baptist Church, Alleghenytown. Rev. Wm. Shadrach, pastor..." Under the heading of "Morals, Religion, &c., for neighboring Somerset Co., the booklet gives this information on p. 194: "Lutheran is, perhaps, the prevailing religion, though there are large and respectable bodies of Presbyterians, Methodists, German Reformed, Disciples, Baptists, and several settlements of Omeish Quakers... Clergymen... J. Wesley Lanphear, Disciples." John Wesley Lanphear joined the Campbellites in 1834 and served them as a preacher in Somerset for several years, followed by ministry in New Lisbon and Youngstown, Ohio.

    note 4: The 1844 edition of Harris' Business Directory of the Cities of Pittsburgh Allegheny on p. 63 lists the following Baptist ministers in the Pittsburgh area: "The Welsh Baptist church, near Fourth Street Road, Rev. William Owens, Pastor.... First Baptist church, corner Third and Grant streets, members 353, Sabbath School scholars 150, Samuel Williams, Pastor, residence Riceville, Fourth Street Road. The Regular Baptist church, Allegheny city, situated on corner of Sandusky street and N. alley, members 162... Rev. N. G. Collins, Pastor... The Regular Baptist church, Grant near Sixth st., Rev. Mr. Shadrach, Pastor." On p. 62 the same booklet has this, under the heading of "Disciples' Churches": "Disciples church, Allegheny city, on bank of the river near lower bridge. Members 300, Sabbath School 60 to 70 scholars, John S. Strider and Samuel Church, Elders. Disciples church, in Pittsburgh, corner Smithfield and Virgin Alley, numbers 100, Sabbath School 30 to 40 scholars, Walter Scott, Pastor." The Disciples congregation in Pittsburgh was formed in about 1831 or 1832 from a few straggling members of Walter Scott's old Haldanean group, reinforced by the arrival in Pittsburgh of the late Henry Errett's family.

    History of Beaver Co.,
    Penn., Vols. I & II

    by Joseph H. Bausman
    NYC: The Knickerbocker Press, 1904

  • Beaver Co. Baptists
  •         Elder John Winter
            Rochester Church
  • North Sewickley
  •         Providence Church

    [I - 446]

    The Baptist Denomination. -- This body of Christians, large and active in other portions of the country, has not been so successful in establishing its work in Beaver County as elsewhere. The beginnings of the history of its churches in the county are lost entirely in some cases and at best but meagerly recorded. From a brief history of the Beaver Baptist Association, published in 1860 under the supervision of Messrs. A. G. Kirk and J. B. Williams, we learn that the Association was organized

    [I - 447]

    August 25, 1809, in the Providence Church, North Sewickley, Beaver County, Pa., as the result of a preliminary conference held at Sharon, Mercer County, Pa., the previous 24th of June. Ten churches were represented by twenty-five delegates, five of whom were ministers. Henry Frazure was chosen moderator, and William P. West, clerk. Thos. G. Jones preached the introductory sermon from Psalm cxxxiii., i. At the meeting in Sharon, Jeremiah Brooks was the moderator and Clover [sic - Oliver?] Snow, clerk; and there were then in force a Constitution and Rules of Decorum, which were presumably adopted at the meeting in the Providence Church. In 1819 this Association embraced all the Baptist churches in Pennsylvania west of the Allegheny River, and all the churches in Ohio, east of Wooster, and as far north as Lake Erie. In that year two other associations were formed in Ohio, leaving to the Beaver Association the territory in Pennsylvania, extending from the Ohio River on the south to Jamestown on the north, about sixty miles, and from Butler on the east to the Ohio State line on the west, about forty miles, including the Achor Church in Columbiana County, Ohio, with twelve churches, three hundred and thirty-one members, and three ordained ministers.

    The oldest Baptist church established in Beaver County is the Providence Church, located at North Sewickley. A full account of this church will be found under North Sewickley township, and the history of the other Baptist congregations, so far as obtainable, will be given in that of the various boroughs and townships in which they are situated. The Christian Church (or the Disciples of Christ), so strong elsewhere, has here but two congregations, one in Beaver Falls and one in Beaver, both of rather recent origin. Their history will be found under those boroughs....

    [I - 465]

    Fallston and Brighton Gazette

    This paper was established at Fallston, Pa., August 5, 1835, by Dr. E. K. Chamberlin of New Brighton, and N. P. Fetterman, Esq., of Beaver. It was a Democratic paper, representing the Muhlenberg wing of the party, while the Watchman of Beaver represented the Wolf wing. It was printed on a large imperial sheet and was an excellent paper and ably edited. It was discontinued by these gentlemen in November, 1836. (See notice of Dr. Chamberlin, Chapter X., and of Mr. Fetterman, Chapter IX.)

    The paper was revived in December, 1836, under the proprietorship of Dr. John Winter, who changed it into a Whig paper. In November, 1837, he retired from the paper and was

    [I - 465]

    succeeded by John B. Early, who published it until January 6, 1838, when it passed into the hands of B. B. Chamberlin, Esq.

    Elder John Winter  (1794-1878)
    (picture not in 1904 edition)

    Rev. John Winter was born in Wellington, England, July 1794. He entered the Theological College of the Baptist Church at Bradford, where he was graduated in 1820. His first charge was in South Shields. He married Eliza Wilson in 1819, and they, with one child, came to America in 1822. He preached and taught school in Pittsburg, and preached in various places in Allegheny and Beaver counties. He wrote much for the religious and secular papers, and wrote the life of Massie Harbison, who had been captured by the Indians and escaped from them, and also a work entitled What is Baptism. He was an able preacher and built the first Baptist church in New Brighton, while pastor there. He had the following children: Mary, wife of Dr. John Irvin of Sharon; a daughter, died in infancy; John S., journalist; William Hart, M. D.; and Eliza Winter. His wife died November 7, 1866, and he married for his second wife, Ann Snively, who died September 24, 1899. Dr. Winter died in Sharon, Pa., November 5, 1878....

    [II - 716]

    The First Baptist Church [New Brighton Borough] was organized in 1867 with sixteen members. The first pastor was Rev. John Winter, who was succeeded by the following pastors: Revs. David Williams. C. H. Johnson, T. J. Bristow, J. W. Plannett, J. R. Strayer, W. H. McKinney, G. B. McKee, W. L. Anderson, and W. M. Ryan. The congregation erected and occupied their first house of worship, Third Avenue near Sixth Street, in 1869, abandoning it to occupy their present handsome building on Eighth Street and Fourth Avenue, which was erected in 1893. When the Beaver Falls Church was organized about thirty letters were granted from this society....

    [II - 730]

    Fallston: Druggist -- John Winter...

    [II - 758]

    ... First Baptist Church. -- [Rochester Borough] August 3, 1873, a number of members of Baptist churches met at the house of William S. Shallenberger for consultation in reference to the organization of a church. Henry C. Fry. David Robinson, Roland Lloyd, Dr. A. T. Shallenberger, Edward M. Power. William S. Shallenberger. Mrs. Jane Evans, Mrs. Susan Power, Mrs. Eliza A. Robinson, and Mrs. Jane Ashworth were present. Other meetings were held and, February 4, 1874, it was resolved that a church organization be effected to be known as the "First Baptist Church of Rochester, Pennsylvania." February 19, 1874, a council of recognition, composed of the pastors and delegates of various Baptist churches, met in the town hall in Rochester. Rev. J. W. Plannett, pastor of the church at Sharpsburg, was chosen moderator, and William S. Shallenberger, clerk.

    The following persons were recognized by the council as "The First Baptist Church of Rochester, Pennsylvania": Henry C. Fry, Mrs. Eunice Fry, George W. Fry, Edward M. Power, Thomas Matthews, Mrs. Jane Evans, Mrs. Amanda Donaldson, Mrs. Josephine Shallenberger, William S. Shallenberger, Aaron T. Shallenberger, Mrs. Susan Power, Mrs. Matilda Porter, Mrs. Jane Ashworth, Miss Jennie Ashworth, Mrs. Anna Shepler, David Robinson, Mrs. Eliza A. Robinson, Roland Lloyd, Mrs. Martha Lloyd, Jacob Fisher, Mrs. Sophia Fisher, Mrs. Mary J. Anderson, D. B. Salade, Mrs. D. B. Salade, Mrs. Mary A. Lloyd, Miss Nettie Lloyd, Mrs. Maria J. Sheiburn. June 10, 1874, the church was received into the fellowship of the Pittsburg Baptist Association. October 28, 1874, Rev. J. A. Snodgrass was called as the first pastor of the church, and continued his services until September 30, 1877, when he resigned. The members of the church having secured a lot, a frame church building was erected at a cost of about $9000. It was dedicated, February 11, 1875. From the resignation of Mr. Snodgrass to January 23, 1878, preaching was by stated supply. Rev. A. J. Bonsall was then called and served the church until Sept. 1, 1904....

    [II - 956]



    This township lies in the northern part of the county, and is bounded on the north by Lawrence County, on the east by Franklin and Marion townships, on the south by New Sewickley and Daugherty, and on the west by the Big Beaver River, with Chippewa and Big Beaver townships opposite. The Conoquenessing Creek flows along its northeastern border. A small branch of Brush Creek heads in the southeastern corner, and the main stream enters the township from the east near the point at which the Conoquenessing touches its territory and empties into the latter about one mile below. Bennett's Run, a small stream, rises in the southern part of the township and enters the Big Beaver from the east.

    While the streams heading within the township are all small, the Beaver and Conoquenessing valleys make a deep drainage all around it, and the surface of the country is very much broken and hilly. The scenery on the streams of this region is very wild and picturesque. A good quality of coal is found in several parts of the township, with excellent limestone and sandstone, and the soil is in many portions very rich.

    [II - 957]

    This township was formed out of the territory of the original Sewickley township, which covered the greater portion of the county lying east of the Big Beaver Creek. In 1801 New Sewickley township was formed out of Sewickley by the court of Allegheny County, and North Sewickley was probably the part remaining.

    In this township is the collection of houses, hardly large or compact enough to be called a village, but known as North Sewickley. The post-office, about a mile and a half to the north, was established in 1837. May 27, 1845, the name of the office was changed to Wurtemberg, but the old name was restored in 1849....

    Providence Baptist Church. -- This church is located at North Sewickley, and is the oldest one of this denomination in Beaver County. Previous to 1801, Ezekiel Jones and Hannah, his wife, came from New Jersey to this region and settled on the banks of the Conoquenessing, about four miles above its confluence with the Big Beaver. Their rude log cabin stood, according to tradition, where an old apple tree now stands at the south end of the present covered bridge, a few feet to the right. Here came to them in 1801 Elder Henry Spear, an itinerant Baptist preacher, who delivered in their house the first sermon ever preached in this part of the State by one of his faith, and here, on November 14, 1801, was constituted by him the first Baptist church ever organized in western Pennsylvania. The church had twenty-one members, and from these Ezekiel Jones was chosen deacon or lay elder. In his house the church continued to meet for some time when it was decided to build a

    [II - 958]

    house of worship, and a log church was erected on a hill about three quarters of a mile farther south. This stood until 1848, when a frame church was built near by, and the old building, by resolution, was torn down and the logs given to the pastor, Jacob Morris, who built out of them a barn, which is still standing on the farm now owned by Godfrey Yahn. The new building stood until 1856, when it was destroyed by a storm. The next year it was replaced by the present frame structure, which was, however, remodeled in 1898.

    This Church has been served by twenty-four pastors. The first, Henry Spear, remained but one year. Henry Frazure was elected in 1802 and remained until 1812. Then followed Thomas Rigdon, 1813-14; Andrew Clark, 1814-20; Henry Frazure, 1820-24. The records at this point are no longer clear. They show Samuel McMillen's name as one laboring in the field from 1824 to 1831, and that of John Winter from 1827 to 1828. This would indicate two pastors, or else a pastor and an assistant. Both ministers were delegates from the church to the Association in 1827.

    In July, 1832, William Stone became pastor and remained until 1834. Thomas Daniels served from 1836 to 1844, and was succeeded by Daniel Daniels, 1844-46; Jacob Morris, 1846-55; John Trevitt, supply, six months; John Parker, 1856-59; A. G. Kirk, 1859-62; John Trevitt, 1862-66; D. W. C. Hervey, 1866-72; W. B. Skinner, 1872-75; R. B. Godfrey, April-October, 1875; C. H. Hervey, 1876-79; J. W. Snyder, 1879-82; H. H. Leamy, 1883-86; L. S. Colborn, 1887-91; H. C. Bond, 1892-95; W. H. McKinney, 1895-97; W. A. Grover, 1897-99; J. H. Lowe, 1899-___.

    The records do not show the amount of salary the early ministers received, but we may be sure that salaries were small and partly paid in farm produce at that.

    In 1833 Mr. Dodd presented a petition asking the church to organize a branch on the "big bever." This was granted, and a log structure was begun at Bellton on the Beaver Creek, but it was never finished.

    The following were elders in this church in early days: Ezekiel Jones, Henry Kikendall, Oliver Jones, Isaac, Nathaniel, and John Hazen, John Robinson, Nathan Hazen, Benjamin Reno, William Gardner, Matthew Kelley, Daniel Main, Samuel Thomas, James B. Hazen, Joseph Hazen, and John Thomas.

    [II - 959]

    October 23-24, 1901, the hundredth anniversary of the organization of this church was appropriately celebrated. [1]


    The date of the commencement of this academy is uncertain, but was probably about 1845 or 1846. Previous to its establishment a select school had been taught in the old Providence Baptist Church by a Mr. Herrington, Joseph S. Smith, Ethan Stewart, Oliver Smith, and others.

    The academy was started through the influence of Rev. James S. Henderson, who was ordained and installed pastor of Slippery Rock Presbyterian Church, October 22, 1845, and who was at the same time pastor at North Sewickley. The academy building was erected in 1850, but for several years previous the school had been held in a hewed log cabin. Mr. Henderson in this work was carrying out the suggestion of the General Assembly, which about that time was urging upon its ministers the need of founding schools and academies in order to raise up a supply of educated men for the gospel ministry. This academy was established under the control of the trustees of the Presbyterian Church of North Sewickley. It was not intended to be merely a school for teacher training, but to prepare boys and girls for college. The site for the location of church and school

    1 The Record Book of this ancient church contains an almost unbroken record of its proceedings from its organization to the present. We give a few extracts in the original form and spelling:


    November ye 14, 1801.    
    Being collected together at the house of Brother Ezekiel Jones for the same purpose we was regularly constituted into a body by our beloved Brother Elder Spear Twentyone In number.

    Aprile ye 24, 1802.    
    Church met according to appointment and after prayer and singing precede to business. 1st. Chose Bro. Spear moderator.

    2nd. Received Brother George Riddle and his wife by Letter from Union Church, Glade run buffelow township.

    March ye 27th, 1802.    
    Church met, etc.

    1st. Chose Brother Henry Spear Moderator.

    2nd. A door was opened for hearing Experiences and Receiving Letters. None offer.

    4th. Chose Brethern Ezekiel Jones and Henry Kikendall Lay Elders. (Here the fourth was set in the place of the third by mistake.)

    3d. A door was opened for members to sign the Covinent and signed to the amount of fourteen.

    March ye 27th, 1802.    
    Church met etc.

    1st. Took into consideration the Second article of the Rules Regulations of the Church, That Every Member's none Complyance Therewith must give satisfactory Reasons.

    2nd. Agreed that The last Sabbath in aprile Shall if God willing be Communication Season with us.

    3d. A Collection to purchase the Eliments 5s. 7 1/2p.

    The Church dismiss by Reading a Portion of god's word, Singing and Prayer.

    [II - 960]

    was donated by S. C. Clow, and is one of rare beauty overlooking the Conoquenessing and Brush Creek valleys. The school in its palmiest days was a young ladies' seminary, as well as an academy for boys. Some of the latter were city lads around whom this rural retreat threw a quiet and safe-guarding influence supposed to be eminently conducive to diligent study. The principal's home, erected by Mr. Henderson, afforded accommodation for young ladies. Miss Kiddoo was his assistant teacher. He was succeeded by Rev. Henry Webber, who served as pastor of the church and principal of the school for many years, and whose remains, with those of his wife, rest in the adjoining cemetery. His chief assistant at this time was a Mr. Osgood. Miss Kate McBeth, who afterwards succeeded her sister, Miss Sue McBeth, as instructor of the Nez Perces Indians at Lapwai, Idaho, was later his assistant teacher....

    A History of Uniontown
    by James Hadden
    Akron: New Werner Co., 1913

  • Uniontown Churches
  •         Great Bethel Church
            William Brownfield
  • full text

  • transcriber's comments

  • (entire contents copyright © 1922 Southern Baptist Convention
    only limited, "fair use" excerpts are reproduced here)





    Great Bethel Baptist church was constituted November 7, 1770, by Rev. Henry Crosby, and on the following day an organization was formed by the installation of Isaac Sutton as the first pastor and Jacob Vanmetre, Richard Hall, Zepheniah Blackford, Rachel Sutton, Lettice Vanmetre, Sarah Hall, Thomas Gaddis, James McCoy, Owen Davis, Moses Carr, Philip Pierce, Joseph Thomas, Joseph Boutenhouse, Philip Jenkins, Richard Reed, Thomas Bowell and James Littell as original members, to which were added soon after by baptism John Carr, Elizabeth Carr, Sarah Baccus, David Morgan, William Murphy, _____ VanMetre, James McCloy and Mary Anderson.

    At a meeting held March 18, 1780, it was resolved that a meeting house for public worship be built, and in July following it was resolved that two meeting houses be built. It would appear that the first meeting house was built on the Rogers farm some six miles south of Uniontown, near Ashcraft's fort. And at a meeting held September 15, 1787, it was resolved that a meeting house be built on the great road about one-fourth of a mile from Uniontown. This was the second meeting house


    decided upon seven years before. In Deed Book D, page 295 is recorded an article of agreement made March 12, 1789, between Joseph Tomelston and William McCoy in which Tomelston allows McCoy to remove the logs already cut for the construction of the Baptist meeting house by the first of April next. Tomelston and McCoy owned the land adjoining that on which the meeting house was to be built, and this article of agreement certainly fixes the date of the erection of the first Baptist meeting house in Uniontown.

    In Deed Book F, page 47, is recorded a deed made by Henry Beeson, the founder of the town, to the members of the Regular Baptist church, called Great Bethel, for one acre of land on the east side of Morgantown street, and fronting 330 feet on said street. The deed bears date of May 26, 1804, and the price was five pounds Pennsylvania money, equal to $13.33. This is the lot on which the second of the log meeting houses was built, in 1789, and included the old Baptist burying ground adjoining the meeting house.

    In 1787, Rev. David Loofbower was called as an assistant to Rev. Isaac Sutton, but in 1"90, trouble arose; some accusations having been preferred against several members of the church, was the cause, and Rev. Sutton withdrew and continued services at his house, and the Great Bethel church and the Loofbower faction occupied the meeting house. Rev. Sutton resigned as pastor, March 21, 1790, but was recalled by one branch in September following, and services were thus conducted by the two parties until October 4, 1791, when a compromise was effected by which both factions were permitted to use the meeting house, and the coolness soon died out.

    The Loofbower faction had formed themselves into the Uniontown Baptist church, but on November 6, 1790, the Church of Christ, called Great Bethel, met the Church of Christ, called Uniontown, according to appointment. At this meeting the church of Uniontown was dissolved and the members received into fellowship with Great Bethel. Loofbower continued to preach until October 5, 1793, when be resigned and left for New Jersey. Isaac Sutton was granted a letter of dismission on September 21, 1793, but continued to preach part of his time until May 26, 1794, at which time Benjamin Stone was called as supply to preach once a month, and afterwards as pastor, and


    he continued until September 7, 1805, when he was granted a letter of dismission, but was recalled June 11, 1806, to preach once a month, and he continued as pastor until 1812.

    Rev. William Brownfield succeeded Rev. Stone as pastor. Mr. Brownfield presented himself as a candidate for Christian baptism December 1, 1798, and was licensed to preach the gospel in January 1799, and was ordained December 6, 1800, and on February 6, 1802, he was called to preach the second and fourth Sabbaths of each month, though Mr. Stone was still pastor, and Mr. Brownfield assumed full charge, February 12, 1812, which position he held alone until April 6, 1833, when Rev. Milton Sutton was called to preach once a month.

    Minutes of the Great Bethel Baptist church of December 9, 1826, state that Samuel Littell accused Rev. William Brownfield of "preaching false doctrines of which the church were the ignorant receivers," namely: "that it was the divinity of Christ that suffered; that he suffered just so much as would atone for the sins of the elect alone, and that more would have been unjust, etc." Resolved, unanimously, that whereas Samuel Littell has wilfully misrepresented the doctrine taught by Rev. William Brownfield, our minister, and received and maintained by the church, that he be, and is herebv excluded from our communion and fellowship.

    Rev. Brownfield mastered the Greek and Hebrew languages although he was never inside a college. He was a diligent student, a fine linguist and was well versed in polemics and church history. His father was known as Tory Tom Brownfield from the fact that his sympathies were with England during the struggle of the American colonists against the mother country. Rev. Brownfield was a carpenter by trade, and did considerable contract work as such in the erection of some of the dwelling houses about the town. He turned the large wooden columns that supported the galleries in the brick meeting house that is still standing and which was built in 1831-33, on the site of the former log building. In turning these columns he had a man at each end of the log turning the same by hand while he held the turning tools.

    Rev. Brownfield was ultra Calvanistic in his views which he sought on every occasion to enforce upon his hearers.

    In 1832, serious contentions arose as to missions and benevolent societies in the church. The home and foreign missionary


    societies were endeavoring to push these organizations to all parts of the state, but Rev. Brownfield opposed these movements as unscriptural and un-Baptistic, and objected to any one preaching in his pulpit who advocated the cause of missions, declaring that if the Lord wanted the heathen saved He would save them in His own good way. Finally the Rev. John Thomas preferred charges of perversion of testimony against Rev. Brownfield, but the church sustained Mr. Brownfield at a meeting held in April, 1835, which action caused some members to withdraw from the church. At this same meeting Rev. Milton Sutton was asked to continue another year as assistant pastor. At a meeting held October 3, 1835, Rev. Brownfield was asked to withdraw as pastor because he would not allow other preachers to fellowship. The motion was declared carried; a protest was entered, and some more members withdrew from the church.

    In January, 1836, Rev. Brownfield petitioned the legislature, asking that body to pass an act vesting the title of the church property in the Regular, or Old School Baptist church, as the opponents to missions styled themselves, but Rev. Milton Sutton read a protest against the petition. The two pastors then contended for possession of the meeting house. The matter was referred to Redstone Association which body decided in favor of Brownfield as representing the Great Bethel Regular Baptist church. Thus fortified, they closed the doors against the other branch, but the opponents of Brownfield forced the doors and held services. Moses Nixon was appointed to notify the New School or mission party to cease making appointments in the house. Being unheeded, in February, 1837, Moses Nixon and Isaac Hutchinson fastened the doors and windows and posted warnings against trespassers, with threats of prosecution. The doors were again forced and Milton Sutton and others preached to the New School or mission party. The threatened suit followed and was tried at a special session of court in 1843, when a verdict was rendered in favor of the New School or mission party, as constituting the Great Bethel Baptist church.

    At a meeting held April 30, 1836, Rev. Brownfield was dismissed by a majority of the members present, but he was permitted the use of the house and continued to preach to the Old School or Anti-Mission Baptists at such times as did not conflict with the appointments of the other party.


    The New school party appears to have absorbed the other party, as the records of the latter of October 31, 1846, closed with the following minutes: "Some members present. Read a portion of scripture. Prayer. Adjourned." This being accomplished, missions, Sabbath schools and other church work were inaugurated and made speedy headway.

    At a meeting of Redstone Association held at Redstone church on Redstone creek in Franklin township, near now Smock station, September 1, 2, and 3, 1826, the controversy concerning church doctrines between Thomas and Alexander Campbell, father and son, and other ministers, which had been raging for ten years, was renewed by William Brownfield. The Campbells withdrew from the Association and took quite a following with them and organized a church independent of the Baptists.

    Rev. Milton Sutton, on April 6, 1833, was again requested to preach once a month, and on May 2, 1835, was requested to continue his services along with Rev. Brownfield, and he continued his services until 1853. William Wood was the first minister called by the New School or Mission party. He was called June 1, 1833, to preach once a month for six months. He was called again in 1839, and began April 1st of that year to preach once a month for one year.

    Elder James Seymour was called by the New School, December 24, 1836, to preach once a month.

    Revs. Milton Sutton and James Seymour were each called on June 24, 1836, to preach once a month. On February 29, 1840, Rev. William Wood was called for another year, and on February 28, 1841, Rev. E. M. Miles was called for one year.

    Rev. Isaac Wynn was called to the pastorate May 3, 1834. He had united by baptism in December, 1831, was licensed July 6, 1833, and ordained to the ministry in July, 1835, and preached the gospel at intervals for fifty years.

    During all this time Rev. William Brownfield preached to the Old School party once a month. He owned and resided on a farm adjoining Uniontown on the south. His house stood on almost the exact spot now occupied by the residence of the late Porter Craig. Being quietly located, and a pleasant walk from town, it became the Gretna Green to which many lovers wended their way to be united in marriage. And from the many years Rev. Brownfield was in the ministry, it was conceded that he married


    more couples than all the other ministers in the community combined. He continued to preach until 1846. A monument that marks his grave in the old Baptist graveyard recites that Rev. William Brownfield died January 19, 1859, in the 86th year of his age, and that he was a sound and able divine, a fearless advocate of the truth, and after serving his master in the work of the ministry for sixty-five years, has passed to his reward. This same monument reveals that Sarah West, wife of Rev. William Brownfield, died December 29, 1856, aged 83 years, 4 months and 4 days. They had no children.

    Rev. J. B. Tisdale served this church from 1836 to 1840, and Rev. E. M. Miles from February, 1841, until 1849,, and on April 22nd of that year the first missionary society of the church was organized, and on the 13th of July, 1845, on motion of Isaac Wynn, the first Sabbath school was organized with William Bryson as its superintendent who was succeeded in the superintendency by George A. Shallenberger, Orton F. Frisbee, Rev. I. D. King, Rev. B. P. Ferguson, Andrew B. Bryson, R. Porter Craig, Rev. C. E. Barto, Rev. W. W. Hickman, Col. John Collins, W. A. Mouck, H. C. Diffenderffer, N. P. Cooper, and D. M. Hertzog. The latter was elected to that office in April, 1880, and has held the position uninterruptedly to the present time.

    Dr. William Penny served as pastor from 1846 to 1848, and was succeeded by Rev. S. H. Ruple for one year. Rev. Israel D. King was called January 24, 1855, and served until March 1, 1860. During his pastorate, with the assistance of Rev. William Wood, revival services were held which resulted in many accessions to the church. This may have been the occasion when Dick Austin climbed over the balustrade and slid down the column that supported the gallery and walked to the altar where he consecrated himself to the Lord. He subsequently became a prominent minister in the Baptist church. Rev. King served this church a second time as pastor, from 1860 to 1863, during which time the church took on new life and many were added to her communion.

    Great Bethel Baptist church was dismissed from the Redstone Association in 1856, to join the Monongahela Association, and was united to the same in September of that year.

    Rev. B. P. Ferguson was called as pastor, December, 1860, and served as such until September, 1863, when ill health compelled


    him to resign. He died September 12, 1863, and was buried in the old Baptist cemetery,

    Rev. John Boyd was called as pastor March 21, 1864. In 1866, dissension arose between the pastor and several members of the congregation which progressed to a most disgraceful state on the part of both parties. The dissension continued to grow until it was necessary for one party to withdraw from the church building. The last meeting of the two factions was characterized by such rancor that an officer of the law was invoked to keep the peace. The opponents of the pastor secured the church records and withdrew from the church property and held services for some time in the court house, and subsequently in the old town hall over the market house.

    At a meeting of the congregation held March 2, 1867, Rev. Boyd was dismissed as their pastor, thus discharging themselves from any further liability for his support. An article was published in a town paper derogatory to the reputation of Rev. Boyd which culminated in a suit for libel, March 5, 1867, which resulted in a verdict in favor of the plaintiff. Rev. Boyd still held possession of the property and preached to his adherents for several years, until his congregation diminished to insignificance and services were discontinued.

    The Monongahela Association recognized the opponents of Rev. Boyd as the Great Bethel Regular Baptist church, and in December, 1882, suit was brought for the possession of the church property, which in February of the following year resulted in a verdict in favor of the plaintiff. At a meeting of the congregation held March 25, 1867, it was resolved to erect a new house of worship, and for this purpose Mr. Samuel Clement donated a lot on the corner of Fayette and Union streets. The corner-stone of this building was laid June 25, 1868, and the first service was held in the lower room, Sunday, March 4, 1869, and here continued for the following ten years, at which time the auditorium was completed. This was the fourth building erected by the Great Bethel Baptist church, and was dedicated to the worship of Almighty God August 17, 1879, by Rev. Israel D. King, a former pastor, then of Philadelphia. This meeting house was a comfortable but inexpensive two-story brick building and cost $12,500.

    Rev. C. E. Barto was the first pastor in the new church, having been called in January, 1868, and continued his services


    until in April, 1872. Rev. W. W. Hickman succeeded Rev. Barto as pastor, entering upon his duties as such in May, 1872, and remaining until April 1, 1878, from which time until June 6, 1879, the church was without a pastor. Rev. Hickman was in the ministry for more than fifty years. Rev. F. B. Labarrer of Baltimore, was called as pastor June 6, 1879, and served as such until November 30, 1884.

    On March 17, 1881, an application was made to the court for a charter of incorporation under the name of The Great Bethel Regular Baptist church, which was granted.

    Rev. J. O. Critchlow was called as pastor in the winter of 1885, when he conducted a great revival meeting, and his services were continued as pastor until Mav 1, 1888, when he resigned on account of failing health and retired to his farm in Butler county where he died in April of the following year.

    Rev. Howard F. King, D. D., of Hollidaysburg, was called as pastor September 1, 1888, and served most ably and acceptably until his resignation, August 1, 1905. During Rev. King's pastorate the present fine stone church and parsonage were built. The farewell services of the meeting of the Sunday school were held in the old church May 5, 1891, and the last preaching service was held Sunday, May 12, 10:30 A. M., when a union meeting of the Sunday school and church was held, after which services were held in the opera house until the completion of the new church building. The Hellen property was added to the original church lot, and the corner-stone of the new church was laid October 28, 1901, and the completed building was dedicated to the service of Almighty God October 11, 1903, by Rev. Dr. Kerr Boyce Tupper of Philadelphia; a fine stone parsonage having been built at the same time and in connection with the church building all at the cost of $85,000. This was the fifth church edifice erected by the Great Bethel Baptist church.

    On August 2, 1884, the old church property on Morgantown street was exposed at public sale and was sold to Elder John C. Johnson, attorney-in-fact for the Georges Creek German Baptist congregation, for $1,200, and the sale was confirmed by the court October 4, 1884; the property facing 76 feet 8 inches on Morgantown street.

    Rev. Joseph S. Bromley, D. D., was called to succeed Dr. King as pastor and entered upon his duties as such Sunday,


    February 11, 1906, coming from Reading where he had served as pastor for sixteen years.

    The Italian mission of the Great Bethel Baptist church was organized in October, 1906, in which Miss Florence Carr, a graduate of the Chicago Baptist Missionary Training school, was employed for one year as the first teacher. Rev. E. M. Schisa had charge of this mission as its first minister for two and a half years. The meetings were held for a while in the church and since in a room on North Beeson avenue where the mission is in successful operation.

    Great Bethel Baptist church has licensed the following persons to go forth and preach the gospel of Christ:

    Isaac Sutton, November 8, 1770; Joseph Barnett, March 19, 1773; Isaac Morris, May 21, 1775; John Wade Loveberry, September 20, 1783; John Hopwood, August 20, 1791; Mr. Shreve, November 19, 1792; William Brownfield, April 6, 1799; Milton Sutton, July 6, 1833; Isaac Wynn, July 6, 1833; Richard H. Austin, June 28, 1856; Joseph M. Collins, February 26, 1859; John Bart, January 19, 1868; John M. Moore, September 19, 1894; Charles Lucas Bromley, May 25, 1911....

    Notes: (forthcoming>

    A History of the
    Baptists Vol. 2

    by John T. Christian
    Nashville: Southern Baptist Conv., 1922

  • Chapter 7  (Old School Baptists)
  •         John M. Peck
            Daniel Parker
  • Chapter 8  (Campbellism)

  • (entire contents copyright © 1922 Southern Baptist Convention
    only limited, "fair use" excerpts are reproduced here)


    The Anti-Effort Secession from the Baptists.

    The Rise of the Division -- The Rancor of the Discussions -- The Misunderstandings -- Opposition to Missions -- To Education -- Masonry -- Drinking -- "Old School Baptists" -- The Opposition Widespread -- Bebee in The Signs of the Times -- Tennessee -- Arkansas -- Kentucky -- Hill Grove Church -- Otter Creek Association -- Georgia -- Hepziban Association -- Yellow River -- Flint River -- Alabama -- Virginia -- Reasons for the Divisions -- State of Religion -- John Taylor -- Samuel Trott -- Daniel Parker -- Illinois -- Peck and Parker -- Indiana -- Texas -- Sad Results.

    Contemporaneous with the formation of the Triennial Convention there began among some Baptists an aggressive campaign against missions, education, Sunday schools, and indeed almost everything that organization fostered. The history of the Baptists of that period would be incomplete which did not give an account of the anti-effort secession variously called anti-missions and hard-shellism. One can hardly, in this day, understand the rancor of speech which prevailed for years in many of the churches, and most of the early associations.

    This was largely true of all parties. For example, Rockwood Giddings, who was, at one time, President of Georgetown College, said of the editor of The Signs of the Times, the anti-effort publication: "His examination was published in the Signs of the Times; a paper which is read by but few respectable people, and still fewer who are capable of appreciating sound arguments, when they are presented to them. Indeed, Mr. Trott, in that paper reminds me forcibly of a rather factious couplet which Mr. Wesley's clerk is said to have read to the congregation, with the old cast-off wig of
    his master on his head --
    'Like an owl in ivy bush,
    That fearsome thing I am'
    I have therefore no disposition to enter the 'bush' with him; and shall for the present dismiss him and his writings with a few remarks" (The Baptist Banner, January 9, 1838. IV. 2). This is rather a mild sample of things which were said. Ignorance, prejudice, and misunderstandings were the fruitful source of many of these denominational dissensions. The following is a fair representation of many other letters written by William Hays, Weakley county, Tennessee, in 1838, and published in The Old Baptist Banner:

    I am certainly glad of the alternative of your paper, as I think it will be of benefit to some of us Old School Baptists in the west, where the floodgates of iniquity and Arminianism are open; and the hideous roar of the lion of the tribe of serpents is heard; together with the missionary 馗lat which is so clearly adverse to the gospel and the church of God; and whose operations have been simultaneous since their model was set up at Mill Creek in this State. But modernism, in these days, especially in theology, has become most desirable with many, notwithstanding the opposition of such things so fully and clearly developed in the book of God, according to my understanding; as such, I am opposed to any, and all such errors, for the following reasons:


    Phantasm is not to be depended on in matters of indemnity, though preponderance of authority may, &c.

    While there was great opposition to missions, which gradually augmented as time went on, there was, if possible, a more bitter opposition to education, and to the establishment of Baptist colleges. The expressed opposition to these benevolent enterprises, as they were designated, was a conviction that they were human institutions, inventions and schemes, and contrary to the simplicity of the instructions enunciated in the New Testament for the spread of the gospel. There were also, of course, lower considerations, such as that preachers would not receive their support if mission collections were pressed, and some dissatisfaction because some preachers failed to receive appointments which they desired. Others feared that educated men would take their places. The Holy Spirit instructed preachers what to say, and therefore human learning was unnecessary. So missions and mission societies, Sunday schools, colleges and education, paid ministers, and temperance societies were denounced as contrary to the Word of God and human liberty. Masonry was violently denounced by the anti-mission Baptists. But this was contrary to the former position of Baptists. For example, the Charleston Association, in 1798, answered the following query:

    Query. -- Is it consistent with the principles and conduct of a Christian, for a person to join himself to a lodge of free-masons?

    The following was the reply:

    Answer. -- As the essential part of the masonic constitution is secrecy, the Association find themselves greatly disqualified for giving a decided answer to the query. The universal benevolence professed by members of that body; the acts of kindness and liberality actually performed in many instances by them; and the existence of persons professing Christianity in that connection make in favor of it; but on the other hand, engagements to secrecy, before he can receive the necessary information to enable him to form a regular and conscientious judgment on the necessity a person is laid under, to bind himself by the most solemn subject, and which, should he finally disapprove of it, must prove the most embarrassing nature, appears to be so inconsistent both with reason and religion, that it would seem, at least, advisable for serious Christians to avoid the connection; especially as we are amply furnished with directions, and aided by the most powerful and sublime motives to the purest benevolence, in the scheme of our holy religion, and as the principles of all the useful branches of science are open to the freest access. Yet we think the subject so intimately connected with the rights of private judgment, that a person should be left to his own conscientious determination respecting it (Minutes of the Charleston Association for 1798).

    Most of the anti-mission Baptists were opposed to Temperance Societies, and advocated the drinking of intoxicating liquors as a beverage. Joshua Lawrence, the leader of the anti-missionary forces on the East, in a sermon preached July 4, 1830, in Tarborough, North Carolina, thus defends the drinking of liquors: "Much is said about the Temperance Society -- but if I am rightly informed those who join are not to drink one drop -- if so, it has the wrong name, for it ought to be called the Abstaining Society. Does such a society agree with Scripture? Drink no longer water says Paul


    to Timothy, but use a little wine -- and of deacons he said, not given to much wine --and the Saviour drank wine. And because some men make a storehouse of their belly, I must eat none-because some men have burnt up their kettles, I must not hang mine on the fire-and because some men have been killed by medicine, I must not use it prudently. What sophistry of priests!" (The Colombian Star, October 9, 1830).

    The name by which they designated themselves was Primitive, or Old School, Baptists; and they claimed that all Baptists were originally of their contention, which certainly was not the fact. "They arrogate to themselves," says J. M. Peck who was a contemporary, "the name of Old School Baptists because they reprobate all these measures (missions, education and Sunday schools, etc.), and declare nonfellowship with all Baptists who have anything to do with missionary work or any of those forms of active benevolence, and with all who hold correspondence with or fellowship missionary Baptists. In this charitable act they cut themselves off from at least nineteen-twentieths of all our Baptists in the United States, unless we can admit that a mere fragment of a party can exclude a vast majority" (J. M. Peck, Baptist Banner and Western Pioneer, July 4, 1839).

    This conflict became nation-wide but prevailed more widely in the Southern and Western States, although it extended to the Middle and New England States. It began somewhere about the year 1814 and increased in violence until 1835 to 1842, when many of the churches and associations were rent asunder. The following suggestions were made by Mr. Beebe, in The Signs of the Times, in 1838, and had much to do with the divisions which speedily obtained:

    We believe that missionary exertions in modern days are carried on to a considerable pitch of extreme, and, therefore, cause considerable disturbance in churches and associations, which is an evil which ought to be guarded against; therefore, we will not correspond with, nor fellowship, any association or church which holds it as a principle of right.

    We believe that the institution of free-masonry is a great evil, and a work of midnight darkness; we, therefore, will not either directly or indirectly, correspond with or fellowship any church or association which holds fellowship with free masons that have not withdrawn from the lodge.

    As an outgrowth of this controversy there were many unpleasant, and often violent, situations produced. Churches were rent asunder, associations divided, and there were many personal alienations. A few examples of this kind out of the many which are typical are here recorded:

    I. J. Roberts writes of Tennessee as follows:

    The unpleasant part particularly relates to the division of the church. The Baptists are divided into four shades of difference, viz.: 1. The Regular Baptists, such as live in Georgia and S. Carolina, &c., so called by way of distinction. 2. The Separate Baptists, so- called from having separated from the Regulars on Arminian principles; they are sometimes called freewill Baptists. 3. The Campbellite Baptists; so called from having adopted the sentiments of Alexander Campbell of Virginia. None of these commune together. 4. The seed Baptists: Their preachers sometimes, by way of emphasis, are called snake preachers; because they preach that a part of the


    human family are the Seed of Adam, and under the law, for whom Christ died; and that a part of the Seed of the Serpent, are not under the law, for whom Christ never did die. They quote this text, with others, in proof of their doctrine: "God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, to redeem them that are under the law."

    Daniel Parker of Illinois, has published a book vindicating this doctrine, and seems to be at the head of the party in the west. These still commune with the Regular Baptists. Of these four the Regular Baptists are the most numerous. Another matter of grief in the west, is the abundant ignorance which prevails among the preachers and people. None are learned except in their partyisms; and consequently far from being liberal minded. I think I am acquainted with from thirty to one hundred Baptist preachers in Tennessee, of whom very few are enlightened. I think one cause of so much neglect in the cultivation of their minds, is the entire omission of the churches to support their pastors. An unsupported and, unenlightened ministry are inseparable companions everywhere (The Columbian Star and Christian Index. October 9,1830).

    The condition of affairs in Arkansas was thus described:

    In relation to the general condition of the denomination in Washington Association, which embraces so large a territory in this frontier State, we have the following facts:裕he brethren and the churches in the aggregate are of the High-Calvinistic cast in their doctrine. In relation to benevolent efforts which characterize our times, they have not much information, and a majority of them may, therefore, be set down as opposed. The ministers are generally good men, laborious and self-denying, but of limited attainments and moderate talents (The Baptist Banner and Western Pioneer, January 30, 1840).

    In Kentucky there were many resolutions offered in churches and associations on the subject, some of which were passed and some rejected. The following was presented in the Hill Grove Church, Hardin county, July, 1839, and was rejected:

    Resolved, that the church has taken into consideration the corruptions of the United Baptists of Kentucky in faith and practice in the supporting of the Arminian doctrine and all those societies that money buys membership contrary to the Bible and our articles of faith answer. Resolved, that we se a church believe that the Voice of God and of truth in saying come out of her my people that ye be not partakers of her sins and receive not her plagues feel it our duty to withdraw from the United Baptists and stead on Original ground and as we were constituted a Regular Baptist church and feel it Our duty to invite all Our brethren churches and individuals to Union and correspondence with us and hope Our dear Brethren whom we love in the truth both ministers and members will visit us and preach with and pray for us (The Baptist and Pioneer, December 5, 1839. IV. 2).

    The following extracts are from the minutes of the Licking Association, the largest anti-missionary body in the State:


    The Licking Association has noticed with deep regret the various efforts which have been made to involve the memory of several valued ministers of the gospel, who lived and died members of her body, in the modern missionary institutions of the day. Some are curious to know why the Elkhorn Association has not introduced Peter, James and John, the Master, or some other inspired witness, to sustain her missionary operations, instead of Ambrose Dudley, Joseph Redding, John Price, and others who make no pretensions to being inspired? A solution of the question is not difficult, when it is known that the Bible is as silent as death on that subject... Suppose some of our aged brethren had given countenance to missionary operations; we ask, is the church justified thereby (in absence of Bible authority), in giving her support to an institution which it is believed has done, and is doing more to corrupt her, than, perhaps, any other?"

    The Circular Letter of the Panther Creek Association gives the following advice:

    We further say to the churches, have nothing to do with the Bible Society, for we think it dangerous to authorize a few designing men to translate the holy Bible. Stand fast in the liberty wherein Christ has set you free, and be not entangled with the yoke of bondage.

    The Otter Creek Association was organized from fragments of churches, October, 1839, in Meade county, Kentucky. The following report was given at the time of the members of this body:

    The preachers of this association are remarkably illiterate, and are not too well supplied with common understanding. They are, however, as vain of their ignorance, and boast more of it, than any scholar ever did of his highest honors of the first universities in the world l But they claim to be possessed of a species of inspiration, which more than supplies the place of common sense and cultivated intellect. They were called to the ministry almost as miraculously an was Paul, and were invented of the priestly office as was Aaron. But their chief characteristic consists in their rampant opposition to all benevolent institutions of the day. This association holds in utter abomination everybody who would give the Bible to the heathen, preach the gospel to sinners, or refuse to drink drama! They are deadly hostile to all who belong to, or in anywise favor, or rather who will not disfellowship Bible, Missionary, and especially Temperance Societies (The Baptist Banner and Western Pioneer, February 27, 1840).

    One of the first acts on record in Georgia, which may be considered hostile to benevolent institutions, is that of the Hepzibah Association, in 1817, when the Circular Letter for the year, written by Charles J. Jenkins, appointed at the preceding session, was rejected because it took strong grounds in favor of missions. Things in the association went from bad to worse for the missionary cause, so that Jenkins wrote to Dr. Sherwood, January 2, 1823, as follows:

    My situation is a lamentable one, and claims largely the commiseration and prayers of my brethren. I am in a land of darkness and cruelty, excluded from the privileges of the sanctuary, and from the society of Christians; and, indeed, I am destitute of any society at all. But, hitherto, the Lord has helped me to be resigned to his will. I sometimes have a refreshing from his


    presence, and then my soul doth magnify his name; but, when I am in darkness, it is distressing indeed. I beg you to remember me at a throne of grace. Pray the Lord that I may possess my vessel in patience; and that I may not be permitted to do anything which may cause a reproach on the name of the Saviour whom I have espoused.

    By the year 1835 divisions in churches and associations became common. A few illustrations are given to show the spirit of the times. The Yellow River Association, in Georgia, in 1838, adopted the following nonfellowshipping resolution:

    That the institutions of the day, called benevolent, to-wit: the Convention, Bible Society, Sunday School Union, Tract Society, Temperance Society, Abolition Society, Theological Seminary, and all other institutions tributary to the missionary plan, now existing in the United States, are unscriptural, and that we, as an Association, will not correspond with any Association that has united with them; nor will we hold in our communion or fellowship any church that is connected with them.

    These meetings were often violent and sometimes disgraceful. Rev. A. T. Holmes wrote that "the Flint River Association adjourned on Tuesday last, after the most stormy and unpleasant session I ever witnessed. On Monday, the body presentedthe most disgraceful aspect that I ever witnessed in a religious meeting. It did more harm, and r have no doubt had a worse effect on the community, than it will ever do good. Other denominations looked on with wonder and astonishment, and even regret, to see the Baptists so much divided; and even the world was pointing the finger of scorn and saying, 'See how these professors hate, and are trying to devour each other'" (The Christian Index, October 21, 1837).

    In Alabama the same violence was manifested in some of the associations. The Flint River Association, in 1838, denounced missionary operations; and declared that such activities were deleterious to the peace and harmony of the churches; therefore, it was resolved "by this Association, that she declares unfellowship with the Missionary Society and all auxiliaries, together with all and every' person who are joined with or in anywise connected with any of these institutions; and that all of those churches, ministers or otherwise, within her chartered limits who shall adhere to the principles of their constitution, in connection with the Association, will be regarded by her as members of her body, and that she will sustain and defend all those rights and privileges reckoned to them by their respective church covenants, so far as association compact is concerned."

    The estimate of the numbers of the Anti-Mission Baptists in Virginia, in 1839, according to The Religious Herald, was as follows:

    There are in Virginia over 500 Baptist churches, and about 60,000 members. The Old School Baptists have therefore not quite one-fifth of the churches, and about one-eighth of the white members. The Old School churches are generally small, and not on the increase. Within the last year they have had but few additions; the number baptized in five churches in the Dover Association was greater than in the whole of their churches in this State. The Regular Baptist churches, on the contrary, are steadily, though slowly,


    increasing, and the disproportion betwixt the two bodies, in point of numbers, will every year become greater. Indeed we expect that in another generation they will have become extinct.

    Many reasons may be given for these divisions. The Baptist denomination, at this time, was not consolidated or unified. The Baptists until recently had been few and scattered, the churches were often located far apart, they had preaching very seldom and no local pastor, the associations met only once a year and were frequently turned into debating societies, there were few Baptist newspapers and they only had a small circulation, and the Triennial Convention had just been organized, and was perhaps the occasion for the attack. There was as yet no common rallying point. The methods of work were new and untried. The anti-missionary newspapers, The Signs of the Times and The Primitive Baptist, were widely circulated and from every standpoint attacked the new institutions. Many of the charges preferred were unjust but they produced the desired results.

    The state of religion, in this period, the country over, was very low. It was a time of chaos and confusion, of bitter animosity and dissension, and of course religious conditions were deplorable. The Circular Letter written in 1831 by Jesse Mercer to the Georgia Convention says:

    That the standard of Christian morality is deplorably low among the ministry and churches of our denomination, is too obvious to be concealed. Are there not many professors among us whose spirit, life and conversation, filly becomes the gospel of Christ -- worldly in their views and mercenary in all they do, so if they were not seen in the church meeting, or at the Lord's table, they could not be told from worldlings? And yet do they not go unreproved?

    Are there not many who, to the entire neglect of all family religion, seldom attend church meeting, and habitually live irreverently, if not immorally? And are they not suffered to go undisciplined?

    And others there are, who, in the plainest sense, are drunkards, and though no drunkard hath any place in the Kingdom of God and Christ, yet do they not, by some means -- by feigning repentance or empty and vain resolves -- continue from youth to old age in the church, frequently, if not habitually, drunk? Are there not many such cases?

    And more; is it not common that mere negative goodness is all that is requisite to constitute a member in good standing, and to recommend him, as such, to a sister church?

    And, moreover, is there not evidently a want of union and concert among both ministers and churches of our denomination?

    Have not instances occurred in which some churches have disciplined their members for what others have winked at, or even commended, in theirs? And have not censured, and even excluded members of some, been received and nurtured by other churches? And have not ministers gotten into heated and


    hurtful controversies with one another, breathing toward each other the most cruel asperities and cruel animosities? And is it not true that one has preached what another, in and to the same congregation, has contradicted and exposed as unsound and dangerous, by which questions which engender strife have abounded? And has not all this passed off, without any effort to correct the evil or to reconcile these inconsiderate brethren?

    The Anti-Mission movement had a curious beginning. Samuel J. Mills was the leading spirit in organizing the celebrated Haystack Prayer Meeting at Williams College. It was from this prayer meeting that Adoniram Judson became the missionary to India. Mr. Mills, with a companion, was on a missionary tour through Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee, and the Natchez settlement to New Orleans. While in Kentucky he went sixty miles out of his way to visit John Taylor. Taylor was a man of great influence and had seen much of service in building the early churches in that State; but he was a man of limited education and high prejudices. He speaks of his visitors as "respectable looking young men, well-informed, and zealous in the cause in which they were employed... I have no doubt these young men meant friendship to me and to preachers in general."

    The two missionaries were, however, unfortunate enough to arouse Mr. Taylor's prejudices by trying to show him that for a pastor to secure missionary contributions meant to increase liberality all along the line, and especially in regard to pastoral support. "They became quite impatient with my indolence, assuring me that if I would only stir up the people to missions and Bible society matters, I should find a great change in money affairs in favor of the preachers; urging by questions like this: 'Do you not know that when sponges are once opened they will always run? Only,' said they, 'get the people in the habit of giving their money for any religious use, and they will continue to appropriate for all sacred purposes."'

    Mr. Taylor comments upon this as follows: "Surely it will not be thought uncharitable to say that I did begin strongly to smell the New England rat." As a result he wrote the first of the books in the anti-mission schism.

    One of the leaders in this reaction was Samuel Trott. He "was for many years," says J. M. Peck, "in connection with the Regular Baptist denomination, first in New Jersey, and afterwards in Kentucky. Then he professed and acted with the denomination on missions, ministerial education, and other benevolent operations. He was always rather ultra in doctrine, verging toward Antinomian fatality, rather narrow in his views and tinged with a little bigotry. While in Kentucky he was connected with the Kentucky Missionary Society and, for a time, served as agent to collect funds. Whether his salary and expenses exceeded his collections; or his dogmatical-Calvinistic style of preaching dissatisfied the brethren, we never learned. They discontinued his agency. His preaching never proved very attractive, interesting, or useful anywhere. Some years since he migrated to Virginia. When the antinomian and anti-missionary party in that quarter, a few years ago, formed the Black Rock Convention, broke from the denomination, and sent forth their harmless anathemas against the whole Baptist phalanx, as missionary operators, Trott found himself amongst this little 'sect.' He had always found a peculiar itching to be a great man, and as greatness is comparative, and, doubtless, recollecting the adage, 'better be the head of the dog than the tail of the lion,' he is now nearly in the front rank" (The Baptist Banner and Western Pioneer, June 27, 1839. IV. 1).


    It was Daniel Parker, however, who was the originator of the system. "Daniel Parker, in the west, and Joshua Lawrence in the east, are in truth and fairness, the fathers and founders of this sect" (J. M. Peck, The Baptist Banner and Western Pioneer, July 4, 1839. IV. 1). "These two worthies -- one in Texas and the other in North Carolina -- are the two heads of the party." Parker was an enigma; and his system was a strange rehash of the old Gnostic philosophy. Peck, who knew him well, describes him in the following language:

    Mr. Parker is one of those singular and extraordinary beings whom Divine Providence permits to arise as a scourge to his church, and as a stumbling block in the way of religious effort. Raised on the frontier of Georgia (by others he is spoken of as a native of Virginia) without education, uncouth in manner, slovenly in dress, diminutive in person, unprepossessing in appearance, with shriveled features and a small piercing eye, few men for a series of years have exercised a wider influence on the lower and less educated of frontier people. With a zeal and enthusiasm bordering on insanity, firmness that amounted to obstinacy, and perseverance that would have done honor to a good cause, Daniel Parker exerted himself to the utmost to induce churches to declare non-fellowship with all Baptists who united themselves with any of the benevolent (or, as he called them, "newfangled") societies.

    His mind, we are told, was of a singular and original sort. In doctrine he was antinomian. He believed himself inspired, and so persuaded others. "Repeatedly have we heard him when his mind seemed to soar above its own powers, and he would discourse for a few moments on the divine attributes, or on some devotional subject, with such brilliancy of thought and correctness of language as would astonish men of education and talents. Then again, it would seem as if he were perfectly bewildered in a maze of abstruse subtleties" (Smith, A History of the Baptists in the Western States East of the River, 123, Baptist Memorial and Monthly Chronicle, 198. July, 1842).

    Parker extended his labors from North Carolina through Tennessee, Kentucky, Illinois, and from Indiana to Texas. The extraordinary spread of anti-mission sentiment in Tennessee, and elsewhere is well explained by Dr. R. B. C. Howell. He says:

    "About this time the noted Daniel Parker began to attract attention. He was, as is well known, the author of the 'Two Seed doctrine;' as it is usually called, and then, and for sometime after, resided in Middle Tennessee; from whence he removed to Illinois, and finally to Texas, where, last autumn, he paid the debt of nature. Several circumstances combined to give him and his doctrine extraordinary influence. Our Methodist brethren had, from the first settlement of the country, been very numerous and strong. Here the Cumberland denomination arose, and swept over the land like a whirlwind. Both those classes of Christians were ultra-arminian, and they and the Baptists were perpetually at war. It is not surprising that, in these circumstances, the Baptists became insensibly ultra-predestinarian. Of this doctrine Parker was the champion, and therefore, the general favorite. In his person, dress, and manners, he was plain, approximating to vulgarity. This also added to his popularity, And, withal, he was a man of astonishing ability and untiring industry. It may be supposed that the repugnance of his system would have destroyed his influence, but this was not the case. So ingeniously did he interweave it with Baptist doctrines, as then understood and preached, which was a kind of antinomianism, that it required much discrimination to separate them, and make them appear in


    contrast, with satisfactory distinctness. His views met with a spirited resistance from a few men, such as McConico, Whitsitt, and Wiseman; but the prevailing feeling was, that if he erred, it was on the safe side -- in favor of the divine sovereignty, and in opposition to Arminianism.

    Mr. Parker set in motion the means that overthrew missions in Tennessee, and to which he was induced by the following considerations. -- He was ambitious to be a writer, and sought, as the medium of his communications with the public, thecolumns of the Columbian Star, then published in Washington City. His essays, setting forth his peculiar opinions, were rejected by that paper, and his doctrines ridiculed as equally immodest and preposterous. This was too much for a man of his unbounded pride and self-confidence tamely to endure. The offense given him was unpardonable. The conductors of the Star he knew to be associated in the conduct of the missionary enterprise, and of ministerial education. From that hour he conceived the moat implacable hatred against the men and all their pursuits. Seldom did he preach a sermon in which he did not give them a thorough dressing. He alsocommenced the publication of a series of pamphlets, which he continued for a yearor two, giving expressions of his doctrine. In these, as well as his sermons, he appeals successfully to the sympathies of his Tennessee brethren. His own, with other pamphlets and books, such as those by Joshua Lawrence, of N. Carolina, and James Osborne, of Baltimore, were constantly carried and sold by him and his associates until the land was deluged by them in all its length and breadth. Religious newspapers, tracts, and books (except their own) were denounced as unscriptural, and designed to supersede the Bible; ministerial education was reviled as consisting of the manufacture of graceless and lazy young men into preachers, and therefore supremely abominable; and missions were worse than all, since they were nothing less than a combination of their pretended managers, not to preach the gospel to the heathen, which they could not do, because they did not themselves know the gospel, but to get the people's money, with which they were represented as purchasing immense estates, and living like princes. All of this was believed by a surprising number of people. Why should they not believe it? They knew human nature to be very depraved; they possessed little general information, and they were assured of its truth by ministers, in whose veracity they had the fullest confidence. "Meanwhile, no agent, or other friend of missions, visited the state, who might have corrected these false impressions, and set all these matters, and missions particularly, in the proper light. No Baptist paper existed in the South, and none was taken, except, perhaps, by one in a thousand of our brethren. Moreover, some of the prime friends of missions became converts to Mr. Alexander Campbell's system and joined him. Thus missions became beyond measure odious. The current of prejudice had. gradually swollen, until now no one dared to resist it. Not a man ventured to open his mouth in favor of any benevolent enterprise or action. The missionary societies were dissolved, and the associations rescinded all of their resolutions, by which they were in any way connected with these measures, and, in this respect the stillness of death rested upon the whole people! Subsequently, and until the present time, this state of things has been kept up wherever it was possible, by the same means, and by industriously circulating in addition such papers as The Old Baptist Banner, of Tennessee, and The Primitive Baptist of North Carolina, and Signs of the Times, of New York" (R. B. C. Howell, "Missions and Anti-Missions in Tennessee," The Baptist Memorial and Monthly Record, 306, 307. November, 1845).


    Peck speaks of his work in Illinois as follows:

    "In 1820, Daniel Parker, then a resident of Crawford county, and connected with the Wabash District Association, published his book against the 'Principles and practice of the Baptist Board of Foreign Missions,' which was circulated petty extensively among western Baptists. We wrote a pamphlet to correct Parker's misrepresentations, but suppressed it after it was in the hands of the printer, for fear that it might give Parker's book more notoriety and influence than- it otherwise possessed. Parker was indefatigable in introducing a query into as many Associations as he could through the West, that would produce an answer condemnatory to missionary operations, and he really deserves the credit, not only of that monstrous abortion of purblind theology, The Two Seeds, but as the most active and persevering opposer of missionary and other benevolent societies in the West. Most. of his argument and objections are founded upon misrepresentation, or whimsical sophisms, but there is one objection more plausible and formidable than our brethren who are not well acquainted with western Baptists imagine. It may be stated in the following form:

    "That missionary societies, not being formed and sustained by the authority of the churches of Jesus Christ, not under their control, but based upon the principle of the payment of a definite sum of money by individuals, acting independent of the churches, and who, by appointing the managing committee, exercise entire control, and thus take the appropriate work of the churches out of their hands. That in assuming to appoint missionaries, and designate the fields of their labor, without any direct responsibility to the churches, they usurp another of the church's prerogatives, in controlling a portion of the ministry."

    J. M. Peck twice met Daniel Parker in debate in Indiana. The first was in June, 1822, in Gibson county, at a special session of the Wabash District Association. The contest lasted the entire day and was decided by vote of thirty-five to five in favor of missions. In 1825, the second debate occurred before the White River Association in which the association unanimously voted against Parker. In 1824 the Sangamon Association was formed, and it was charged that missionary work was rejected through clandestine methods by a vote of a majority of one. The following article was adopted: "It shall be the duty of the Association to bar from a seat any United Baptist who is a member of a missionary society" (The Baptist Banner and Western Pioneer, December 26, 1839). This action was the occasion of much strife among the churches, litigations, remonstrances and confusion. The remonstrances were in vain, though at one time nine churches called for a change in this rule, and it was only changed in 1826 by a convention called to remodel the constitution.

    Dr. Peck records the following terrible results of this agitation in this association:

    We need not inform our readers that these movements, hostile to missions, were an effectual barrier to religious efforts of every kind in the churches connected with these Associations葉hat the spirit of God fled from such scenes of strife and confusion葉hat revivals of religion were withheld from such churches葉hat a majority of the churches then have ceased to exist -- that an unusual number of the preachers have turned out to be drunkards and profligates -- and that so far as religion is concerned other churches and Associations cover this field. God has spoken in his Providence, in terms too plain and fearful to be misunderstood -- "O Israel, thou hast destroyed thyself."


    Referring to these events Dr. De Blois, the biographer of John M. Peck, describes these scenes as follows:

    Peck "visited various churches and associations, and met the famous (or infamous) Daniel Parker, politician, theologian, reactionary and propagandist. This shrewd and able man embodied the whole devilish spirit of the anti-mission crusade, and had a smooth tongue, considerably eloquent, and a genius for a persistent proselytism.

    "In the light of present-day world-wide ideas it is hardly possible to understand the bitter opposition to all of the higher forma of Christian service which characterized the people of the smaller churches in the New West one hundred years ago. At the Association in New Princeton, Indiana, Mr. Peck was refused a seat in the body and treated as an outcast, because of his seal in missionary enterprises. Mr. Parker, on the other hand, was welcomed joyously, and applauded at his rabid opposition to every form of missionary activity. Mr. Peck, great hearted and noble, says in his diary: 'In my interview with Brother Parker, I alluded to his address about missions, and told him I could cheerfully give him my hand, as a conscientious and well-meaning though greatly mistaken brother.'

    "Describing the latter sessions of the Association he says: 'The subject of missions came up. This was occasioned by one church having charged another with having supported missions.' This constituted a serious grievance. Mr. Parker arose and delivered a fiery address, denouncing all missionary effort in lurid and forceful terms. Mr. Peck obtained leave to speak and defended the missionary enterprises of the denomination with great fervor. It was s memorable occasion. Two of the most noteworthy leaders of religious thought and feeling that the 19th century produced were present, face to face, at the meeting of a few humble and insignificant churches. They spoke mightily, the discussion lasted for five hours. Mr. Peck must have appreciated the vigor of his antagonist for he says: 'I never before met with so determined opposer to missions in every aspect.' But the virile and eloquent Parker, State Senator, splendid man of affairs, religious leader, founder of a sect and stalwart reactionary in all that concerned the kingdom of Christ, received a startling rebuff; for the very Association which had declined to recognize the missionary and had refused him a seat three days before, voted heartily to sustain the cause of missions, and resolved, by formal vote, to support the church which had raised a contribution for the great cause" (De Blois, 48, 49).

    Thus did the terrible conflict rage for nearly thirty years. A large number of members withdrew and formed new churches and associations; the morale of the denomination was weakened; the minds of the people were turned from missionary endeavor and directed to contentions; and altogether the results were most discouraging. This contention was accompanied by another schism in which more people were probably alienated from the churches than in this one.

    Books for further reference:

    B. H. Carroll, Jr., The Genesis of American Anti-Missionism.


    The Schism of Alexander Campbell.

    Rise of the "Current Reformation" -- Calvinism -- Arminianism -- Alexander Campbell -- In Pennsylvania -- A Presbyterian Unites with the Baptists -- Described by Archbishop Purcell -- Debate with John Walker -- Barton W. Stone and the Reformation -- Campbell and Stone Unite Their Forces -- The Ten Articles -- The Debate with McCalla -- Immense Crowds -- Peculiar Views -- A Great Sensation -- Prominent Ministers -- His Great Talent in Debate -- His Views Slowly Introduced -- Baptism for the Remission of Sins -- Call to the Ministry -- Paid Ministry -- Poorly Prepared Ministers -- The Separation -- Action of the Associations -- The Account of Dr. W. C. Buck -- The Increase of the Baptists.

    Practically simultaneous with the rise and progress of the Anti-Mission movement, already described, came the tremendous shock to the Baptists occasioned by the Rev. Alexander Campbell, known as "The Current Reformation." The center of this conflict was Kentucky, though it had large following in Virginia, Ohio and Pennsylvania, and it affected largely many other states. The Baptists were fortunate in having three commanding men to oppose these doctrines, in the persons of Jeremiah Bell Jeter, of Virginia, Silas M. Noel, of Kentucky, and A. P. Williams, of Missouri.

    The advent of Campbell into Kentucky Baptist affairs was under the most favorable conditions possible for the promulgation of his peculiar views. There was no general organization among the Baptists in the states, and consequently no room for counsel and united action. They had but few schools and colleges, and, consequently, few trained ministers. In a technical sense there were none. There were a few struggling Baptist newspapers, but none of commanding influence. The strenuous preaching of hyper-Calvinism had produced, in many quarters, a reaction toward Arminianism and in some sections there was even a favorable consideration of Arianism. The denomination from the first had been divided upon the subject of creeds. Some perhaps had stoutly accentuated their importance, and others had magnified their evil tendencies. The agitations against missions, Bible societies and theological schools had just begun. Indeed, there was a tendency to looseness of views which was a portend of danger. The Presbyterians were aggressive, and possibly sometimes arrogant, and it was felt that a Baptist champion who could combat them would be welcome. All things worked together for the coming of Mr. Campbell.

    Of all of the men of that day none was more conspicuous than Alexander Campbell. Born in Ireland, descended through his mother from the French Huguenots who fled to Scotland on the revocation of the Edict of Nantes, educated in the University of Glasgow and an American from choice, he was in every way a unique character. He had been associated in Scotland with the reform movement of Robert and James Haldane. Educated, fearless in his investigations, encyclopedic in his learning, with great natural ability and a comprehensive command of English, be was a debater of unusual power.

    He landed in the United States in September, 1809, and settled in Washington, Pennsylvania. He gave a brief account of himself subsequently as follows:


    I arrived is this country with credentials is my pocket from a sect of Presbyterians known by the name of Seceders. These credentials certified that I had been, both is Ireland, in the Presbytery of Market Hill, and in Scotland, in the Presbytery of Glasgow, a member of the Secession Church, is good standing. My faith in creeds and confessions of human device was considerably shaken while in Scotland, and I commenced my career, is this country, under the conviction that nothing that was not as old as the New Testament should be made an article of faith, a rule of practice, or a term of communion among Christians (The Christian Baptist, II).

    He continued to preach among the Presbyterians till June, 1812, when he was baptized by Mathias Luce, in the presence of Elder Henry Spears, and as a result the Brush Run Church was organized. "I had no idea of uniting with the Baptists," says Mr. Campbell, "more than with the Moravians or the mere Independents." He continues:

    I had unfortunately formed a very unfavorable opinion of the Baptist prey there as then introduced to my acquaintance, as narrow, contracted, illiberal, and uneducated men. This indeed, I am sorry to say, is still my opinion of the ministry of that Association at that day; and whether they ass yet much improved, I am without satisfactory evidence.

    The people, however, called Baptists, were much more highly appreciated by me than their ministry. Indeed, the ministry of some sects is generally in the aggregate the worst portion of them. It was certainly so in the Redstone Association thirty years ago. They were little men in a big office. The office did not fit them. They had a wrong idea, too, of what was wanting. They seemed to think that a change of apparel -- a black coat instead of a drab -- broad rim on their hat instead of a narrow one -- a prolongation of the face, and a fictitious gravity -- a longer and more emphatic pronunciation of certain words, rather than scriptural knowledge, humility, spirituality, zeal, and Christian affection, with great devotion and great philanthropy were the grand desiderata...

    I confess, however, that I was better pleased with the Baptist people than with any other community. They read the Bible, and seemed to care but little for anything else in religion than "conversion" and "Bible doctrine."... They pressed me from every quarter to visit their churches, and, though not a member, to preach for them. I consented through much importunity, and during the year I often spoke to the Baptist congregations for sixty miles around. They all pressed us to join the Redstone Association.

    We laid the matter before our church is the fall of 1813. We discussed the propriety of the measure. After much discussion and earnest desire to be directed by the wisdom which cometh from above, we finally concluded to make an overture to that effect, and to write out s full view of our sentiments, wishes, and determination on that subject. We did so. Some eight or ten pages of large dimensions, exhibiting our remonstrance against all human creeds as bonds of union or communion among Christian churches, and expressed a willingness, on certain conditions, to cooperate or unite with that Association; provided only, and always, that we should be allowed to preach and teach whatever we learned from the Holy Scriptures, regardless of any


    creed or formula in Christendom. A copy of this document, we regret to say, was not preserved; and when solicited from the Clerk of the Association, was refused.

    The proposition was discussed at the Association; and, after much debate, was decided by a considerable majority in favor of our being received. Thus was union formed. But the party opposed, though small, began early to work, and continued with a perseverance worthy of a better cause (The Millennial Harbinger, V. No. 1, Third Series; 345-347. Bethany, Va., 1848).

    In this manner Mr. Campbell was received into a Baptist association. He soon removed to Buffalo, now Bethany, West Virginia, and farmed, taught school and preached.

    Archbishop Purcell, who afterwards debated with Mr. Campbell, gives an account of his journeys. He says:

    It was his habit occasionally to peas through the southern portions of Ohio and Indiana and Illinois, and through the fine blue grass region of Kentucky and the rich farming sections of the Missouri River, where the farmers are and always have been exceedingly intelligent and hospitable. Perhaps there is not a finer set of people on the face of the globe. These interesting pilgrimages began somewhere about 1824, or perhaps a little earlier than 1820 -- that era, and lasted perhaps a quarter of a century with some intervals. His discourses attracted vast crowds of people, who came from distant points and who listened to every word that fell from his lips and felt in their heart of hearts all the burning seal of Peter the Hermit. At that time the religious propensities of the people were very strong, and there were but few churches in the country and no places of amusement. People would ride fifty miles to attend a large baptizing, a camp meeting or a religious debate. Mr. Campbell was regarded as a kind of religious Goliath, and was met at every cross road and every toll gate by well intentioned, half informed preachers of the different denominations and challenged to produce his credentials, to enter into a discussion in defense of his original and peculiar views. Our hero was nothing loth to do so. Such opportunities were precisely what he desired. A vast audience would gather together to hear what to them was vastly more attractive than a great battle to the death between two celebrated gladiators. These debates were brief and decisive. Campbell floored his opponents in a few moments. Their arguments fell to pieces as if they had no more strength than a potter's vessel. So quickly was all this accomplished that they could hardly realize their discomfiture. The people saw all of this and it made Campbell thousands of proselytes; and their children and their children's children have to this day stuck to his church like grim death, and they will stick for generations to come.

    It was upon one of these excursions that he met John Walker, a Presbyterian minister of the Seceder Church, at Mt. Pleasant, Jefferson county, Ohio. The debate occurred on June 19 and 20, 1820. It was practically a one-sided affair. This gave Campbell much reputation.


    As yet he had preached nothing heretical. Most of his views, as announced later, were not new in Kentucky. As an organized system they dated back to the days of the Great Revisal. This system originated, in the most part, with Barton W. Stone, who was the leader of the revival in Upper Kentucky. He broke off from the Presbyterian Church and preached practically all of the doctrines later advocated by Campbell. He and his associates were suspended from the Presbyterian Synod on September 15, 1803, and the next day they informed the Synod that they had organized another Presbytery. "Yet from this period," says Stone, "I date the commencement of that reformation, which has progressed to this clay" (Rogers, The Biography of Barton W. Stone).

    John A. Gano, in preaching the funeral sermon of Stone, said:

    The first churches planted and organized since the great apostasy, with the Bible as the only creed or church book, and the name Christian as the only family name, was organized in Kentucky in the year 1804 (Rogers).

    After the adoption of his singular ideas Mr. Stone was much pleased at the coming of Campbell to Kentucky. He says:

    When he came into Kentucky, I heard him often in public and in private. I was pleased with his manner and matter. I saw no distinctive feature between the doctrine he preached and that which we had preached for many years, except on baptism for the remission of sins. Even this I had once received and taught, as before stated, but had strangely let it go from my mind, till Brother Campbell revived it afresh. I thought then he was not sufficiently explicit on the influences of the Spirit, which led many honest Christians to think he denied them. Had he been as explicit then, as since, many honest souls would have been still with us, and would have greatly aided the good cause. In a few things I dissented from him, but was agreed to disagree (Rogers).

    The ultimate union of the two parties became a foregone conclusion. After the union Stone thus expresses himself.

    Their aid gave a new impetus to the Reformation which was in progress, especially among the Baptists of Kentucky; and the doctrine spread and greatly increased in the West. The only distinguishing doctrine between us and them was, that they preached baptism for the remission of sins to believing penitents. This doctrine had not generally obtained among us, though some few had received it, and practiced accordingly. They insisted also upon weekly communion, which we had neglected. It was believed by many, and feared by us, that they were not sufficiently explicit on the influences of the Spirit. Many unguarded things were spoken and written by them on this subject, calculated to excite the suspicions and fears of the people, that no other influence was needed than in the written word; therefore to pray to God for help was vain. The same thing had been objected to us long before; for we also had been unguarded in our expressions. In private conversation with these brethren our fears were removed, for our views were one (Rogers).

    After stating ten articles which were held by Campbell, John Rogers, the biographer of Stone, remarks:


    Such were the capital positions of A. Campbell and those with him. It is scarcely necessary to say, what is so palpably, from the extracts already presented, and others that might be made, that father Stone and those with him occupied substantially the same ground.

    Of course, therefore, a union might be expected.

    Now then, let us call before us the local positions of the parties, as well as their religious relations.

    In the year 1828 there were great religious excitements among the various denominations in Kentucky, but especially among the Baptist Churches. Hundreds and thousands were immersed among them, in the north of Kentucky, principally by those preachers who were very much under the influence of A. Campbell. Their converts, of course, were under the same influence. In and about the year '29 or '30, the Baptists, in this part of Kentucky, took a very decided stand against A. Campbell, and those who stood with him. The consequence was, many were separated from them and forced to set up for themselves.

    Here, then, were the parties in the field, living is the same neighborhoods and villages, and occupying, religiously, very similar grounds.

    We were mutually teaching the same great truths, -- telling the world that Christians ought to be one -- that human creeds were among the great causes of division葉hat to believe with all the heart, that Jesus is the Christ, and to put ourselves under his government, were the only requisites to church membership; that subsequently to speak of the Father, the Son, and Holy Spirit, and all other matters of useless controversy, in the language of Scripture, and to live soberly, righteously, and godly, in the present world, are the only requisites of the continued enjoyment of church fellowship here, and place in the church triumphant hereafter.

    We could not then keep asunder but by unsaying all that-we had said, sad undoing all we had done. Father Stone and John T. Johnson are to be regarded as the prime movers of this good work. Speaking in reference to it, B. W. Stone says: "Among other Baptists who received and advocated the teaching of A. Campbell, was J. T. Johnson, than whom there is not a better man. We lived together in Georgetown, sad labored and worshiped together. We plainly saw that we were on the same foundation, in the same spirit, and preached the same gospel. We agreed to unite our energies to effect a union between our different societies. This was easily effected in Kentucky; and in order to confirm this union, we became co-editors of The Messenger. This anion, irrespective of reproach, I view as the noblest act of my life (Rogers).

    Mr. McCalla, a Presbyterian for some years, had been preaching in Kentucky on baptism and kindred subjects. He repeatedly challenged the Baptists for a debate. The Baptists accepted the challenge and the debate between him and Campbell was duly arranged. It was held in the town of Washington, a few miles back of Maysville, in the old Baptist meeting house. It was the first discussion of any prominence that had ever taken place in Kentucky between a Baptist and a Pedobaptist. Thousands of interested and excited visitors, from almost every portion of northern Kentucky,


    witnessed the battle, and were cheered or dismayed by its results. Baptists and Baptist preachers felt profoundly thankful that the advocacy of their cause was committed to the hands of a giant. His victory over McCalla was complete. In grateful pride, the Baptists of Kentucky hailed, with unanimous voice, his triumph (The Christian Repository, January, 1858, p. 36).

    In this debate Mr. Campbell said little or nothing which differed from the ordinary views of the Baptists on the design of baptism. Of the Baptism of Paul he said: The blood of Christ, then, really cleanses us who believe from all sin. Behold the goodness of Gad in giving us a formal proof and token of it, by ordaining a baptism expressly "for the remission of sins." The water of baptism, then, formally washes away our sins. The blood of Christ really washes away our sins. Paul's sins were really pardoned when he believed, yet he had no formal pledge of the fact, no formal acquittal, no formal purgation of his sins, until he washed them away in the waters of baptism (Campbell and McCallaDebate).

    In little or nothing did this differ from the view of the Baptists. It was very different from the later statement where he said "that sins are actually forgiven in the act of immersion" (The Christian Baptist).

    Mr. Campbell was surrounded by a great company of Baptists. Jeremiah Vardeman, the successful, the eloquent, was his moderator, and he was easily the most influential Baptist in the State. A man of warm and enthusiastic temperament, he became the devoted friend and to some extent the follower of Campbell. Jacob Creath was there. He was the associate of Vardeman; and they traveled and preached together, and in their mode of operation and general views were alike. He had an earnest sweeping eloquence and was superior in management, in shrewdness, in tact. He was already at the head of a powerful faction and he became one of the first disciples of the new order of things. Walter Warder, the pastor, was there. He was the most beloved Baptist in the State. He had been the agent under God of winning thousands of souls to Christ in Mason, Fleming, Bracken and Bourbon counties. He had longed for more union, more intelligence, and more piety among the ministers, and more seal and liberality in the membership. It seemed to him that God had raised up Alexander Campbell for such a time as this.

    The debate being concluded Campbell passed through all of the principal towns of Northern Kentucky preaching everywhere he went to vast multitudes. Never in the history of Kentucky had a religious teacher created such a sensation or attracted such attention. To the city of Lexington came Baptist preachers to hear the new champion. The previous night, as they gathered in the city, they "held a candle light prayer meeting." They met at sunrise for the same object, after which they went early to the meeting house, "to meet and receive the new brother." The ministers sat in the pulpit, awaiting with anxiety his arrival; and when he entered the house, crowded as it was to overflowing, they "invited him to the pulpit, and welcomed him to the services of the day." For full three hours he spoke on the great commission. Among those who listened to that discourse, and met, after the service, beneath the hospitable roof of Dr. James Fishback, were John Taylor, Silas M. Noel, Jeremiah Vardeman and the elder, Jacob Creath. Here the startling and dogmatic views of Campbell were questioned, modified, or freely discussed. The leading preachers of


    the State were grouped around the preacher. On his influence over the minds of these strong and fearless men depended the triumph or defeat of his plans and hopes. Enlisted under his standard, battling beneath the guidance of his eye, success was certain. United in their opposition, his Reformation must have perished at its birth (The Christian Repository, February, 1858, p. 86). Out of this company Campbell won outright Jacob Creath; Jeremiah Vardeman apparently acquiesced; and Fishback was neutral. There were two men in the company who were never shaken. They were Silas M. Noel and John Taylor. The former in mental power was the equal of Mr. Campbell; in learning not much his inferior, and in clearness of mental vision and logical acumen his superior. John Taylor was not an educated man, but he did have a thorough knowledge of the Bible, strong common sense and an integrity incorruptible.

    "The night after preaching," says Taylor, "we sat up very late, and had much conversation, as also next morning. Noel and myself slept together that nightn -- we exchanged thoughts about the new preacher -- we strongly suspected he was deeply tinctured with Unitarianism, in which we became more confirmed by the friendship between him and Stone, and all of Stone's followers. I heard a number of things from Campbell which made me stare; in some of which I withstood him. Elder Chilton was speaking of a good work going on -- sinners weeping and crying for mercy. I saw Mr. Campbell raise his hand, and with a loud crack of his finger, and a scornful look at Chilton, say: 'I would not give that for it; if a sinner weeps when I preach, I know that in some way I have deceived him.'"

    If Campbell had won Creath he had lost the equally influential Taylor. Noel accompanied Campbell to Shelbyville and Louisville. From the latter appointment Noel returned home sad but determined. Campbell had failed to convince the two most forceful leaders, Taylor and Noel. He carried with him a faction but not the Baptists of Kentucky. He returned to Virginia apparently well satisfied. Stone, J. T. Johnson and Creath had enlisted in his cause; Vardeman, the Warders, Joseph and William, and Silas M. Noel were presumed to be neutral; John Taylor, with George and Edmund Walter, had shown signs of opposition.

    There were many things which contributed to the spread of the peculiar views of Mr. Campbell among the Baptists of Kentucky. His personal popularity in the overthrow of the Pedobaptists has been mentioned. In this debate he displayed more talent and learning than had ever been known in this State. The manner in which he performed the part not only pleased the Baptists, but gave them triumphant satisfaction. Many of them considered Campbell as the greatest living man. Thus the McCalla debate opened the way for the dissemination of his religious views among the Baptists. Never did a Reformer commence his work under more flattering auspices. The publication of The Christian Baptist was begun in 1823, and the little "Monthly" soon secured a large circulation. This paper greatly assisted his cause (J. M. Pendleton, "Campbellism Examined," in The Southern Baptist Review, February and March, 1855, p. 85).

    Another reason for his success was that his system was slowly developed, and his views gradually expressed. In process of time he came to the position that the Christian church was buried under rubbish for ages, and that it was his mission to dig it out. He says:


    If the Christians were, and may be the happiest people that ever lived under the most gracious institution ever bestowed on men. The meaning of this institution has been buried under the rubbish of human traditions for hundreds of years. It was lost in the dark ages, and has never been, till recently, disinterred. Various efforts have been made, and considerable progress attended them; but since the Grand Apostasy was completed, till the present generation, the Gospel of Jesus Christ has not been laid open to mankind in its original plainness, simplicity sad majesty. A veil in reading the New Institution has been on the hearts of Christians (Campbell, The Christian System).

    A man could hold any opinion he chose but it must be regarded as private property. The belief of one fact -- that Jesus Christ was the Messiah -- and the submission to one institution -- baptism, was all that was required (Ibid). The consequences were, says Mr. Campbell:

    We have had a very large portion of this unhappy and mischievous influence to contend with. Every sort of doctrine has been proclaimed, by almost all aorta of preachers, under the broad banners and with the supposed sanction of the begun Reformation (The Millennial Harbinger, VI).

    He wrote in terms of ridicule of what is designated as a call "to the ministry," and made the impression that it was as much the duty and privilege of one Christian brother as another to preach the gospel. This was peculiarly grateful to the feelings of those who wished to preach and were destitute of the qualifications considered requisite to the gospel ministry. Such men saw that they could not be preachers as long as preachers constituted a small and select class. The only hope for them consisted in enlarging the class by lowering the grade of qualifications in those who might wish to enter it.

    He was also understood to advocate the management of church affairs so as to supersede the necessity of pecuniary contributions. The salary of "the clergy" had called forth some of his most satirical effusions. The inference was promptly drawn, that it was wrong to compensate ministerial labor. The idea of a "cheap gospel" was especially palatable to the lovers of money. It was also understood that he was opposed to Bible, Missionary and Tract Societies, Sunday schools and other institutions of this kind. The conclusion, therefore, was that no applications would be made for money to promote the objects of these organizations. For this reason many of the covetous were favorably disposed to the views of the Reformer. Knowing the blessings of salvation "without money and without price," they tried to persuade themselves that there should be no expenditures for religious purposes.

    The Baptists on the other hand were filly prepared to meet error. They had no general body, save the Triennial Convention, which was new and met only every three years, upon which they could consolidate their interests, or even meet for counsel. They had only a few weak and uninfluential newspapers. There were only a few Baptist preachers who had read through the New Testament in Greek or were capable of making a Greek criticism. They were not accustomed to polemical discussions. Their preaching was confined principally to experimental and practical topics while controversy was repudiated.


    Those who followed the lead of Mr. Campbell became exceedingly aggressive. In northern Kentucky thousands of people were immersed for the forgiveness of sins. In the meantime he had discontinued The Christian Baptist and founded The Millennial Harbinger. The Harbinger Extra on "Remission of Sins" was published July 5, 1830, and this appears to have been the signal for a separation between the Baptists and the Reformers. When the Extra declared unequivocally that "immersion is the converting act" -- that "immersion and regeneration are two Bible names for the same act" -- the Baptists thought the time had come for them to protest against such teaching. They protested not only verbally but practically.

    The method of procedure between the parties was very different. The Baptists, whether in the majority or the minority, were in favor of a separation. The followers of Mr. Campbell, unless in the majority, were generally opposed to separation. As a specimen of the procedure of other bodies the action of the Dover Association, of Virginia, is here recorded. This was, at the time, the largest association of Baptists in the world. In the autumn of 1832, this body convened at Four Mile Creek meeting house, in Henrico county, Virginia, not far from the city of Richmond. The Reformation excitement had reached its height. Several of the churches belonging to the body had been split asunder, and others were in a distracted and unhappy condition. All eyes were turned to the Association for advice in this time of trial. The subject was referred to a select committee, consisting of Revs. John Kerr, James B. Taylor, Peter Ainslie, J. B. Jeter, and Philip Montague. The committee in due time made the following report:

    The select committee appointed to consider and report "what ought to be done in reference to the new doctrines and practices which have disturbed the peace and harmony of some of the churches composing this association," met at the house of Elder Miles Turpin, and having invited and obtained the aid and counsel of Elders Andrew Broaddus, Eli Ball, John Micou, William Hill, Miles Turpin, and brother Erastus T. Montague, after due deliberation, respectfully report the following preamble and resolution for the consideration and adoption of the association.

    This association having been from its origin, blessed with uninterrupted harmony, and a high degree of religious prosperity, has seen with unspeakable regret, within a few years past, the spirit of speculation, controversy and strife, growing up among some of the ministers and churches within its bounds. This unhappy state of things has evidently been produced by the preaching, and writings of Alexander Campbell, and his adherents. After having deliberately and prayerfully examined the doctrines held, and propagated by them, and waited long to witness their practical influence on the churches, and upon society in general, we are thoroughly convinced that they are doctrines not according to godliness, but subversive of the true spirit of the gospel of Jesus Christ -- disorganizing and demoralizing in their tendency; and, therefore, ought to be disavowed and resisted, by all the lovers of truth and sound piety.

    It is needless to specify, and refute the errors held and taught by them; this has been often done, and as often have the doctrines, quoted from their writings, been denied, with the declaration that they have been misrepresented or misunderstood. If after more than seven years'


    investigation, the most pious and intelligent men in the land are unable to understand what they speak and write, it surely is an evidence of some radical defect in the things taught, or in the mode of teaching them. Their views of sin, faith, repentance, regeneration, baptism, the agency of the Holy Spirit, church government, the Christian ministry, and the whole scheme of Christian benevolence, are, we believe, contrary to the plain letter of the New Testament of our Lord and Saviour.

    By their practical influence, churches long blessed with peace and prosperity, have been thrown into wrangling and discord用rinciples long held sacred by the best and most enlightened men that ever lived or died, are vilified and ridiculed as "school divinity," "sectarian dogmas," &c. Ministers, who have counted all things but lose, for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus, are reprobated, and denounced as "visionary dreamers," "mystifiers," "blind leaders of the blind," "hireling priests," &c., &c. The church in which many of them live, and from which they call it persecution to be separated, is held up to public scorn as "Babylon the mother of harlots, and abominations of the earth." The most opprobrious epithets are unsparingly applied to principles which we think clearly taught in the Word of God, sad which we hold dear to our hearts. While they arrogate to themselves the title of "Reformers," it is lamentably evident, that no sect in Christendom needs reformation more than they do.

    While they boast of superior light and knowledge, we cannot but lament, in their life and conversation, the absence of that "wisdom that is from above, which is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy." In fine, the writings of Alexander Campbell, and the spirit and manner of those who profess to admire his writings and sentiments, appear to us remarkably destitute of "the mind that was in Christ Jesus," of that divine love "which suffereth long, sad is kind, envieth not, vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil." Whenever these writings sad sentiments have to any extent, been introduced into our churches, the spirit of hypercriticism, "vain janglings and strife about words to no profit, but to the subverting of the hearers," have chilled the spirit of true devotion, and put an end to Christian benevolence sad harmony.

    If the opprobrious epithets, and bitter denunciations, so liberally heaped upon us by Mr. Campbell and his followers, are deserved, they, as pious and honorable men, cannot desire to live in communion with us; and if they are undeserved, and designedly slanderous, this of itself would forbid our holding them in Christian fellowship. If, indeed, they have found the long lost key of knowledge, and are the only persons, since the days of the apostles, who have entered and explored the divine arcanum, it is due to themselves -- to purblind Christendom -- to the world -- to truth葉o God, that they should, in obedience to the divine command, clothed in the shining garments of truth and righteousness, walk out of "Babylon," and concentrating their light, exhibit a true sample of the "ancient order of things"; and diffuse around them a blare of "love, joy, peace, long suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance." Until they do this, grave and thinking men, whose hearts are sickened with the depravity of the times, and who mourn a sad


    and general departure from truth and holiness, would voluntarily come out from "the present corrupt order of things," and holding sweet communion with one another, and with their God, let their light so shine that others seeing their good works, might be induced to glorify their Father in heaven; but, alas) they appear to be a strange anti-sectarian, dogmatical sect, who live only is the fire of strife and controversy, and seek to remain in connection with the existing churches, that they may with the greater facility obtain materials for feeding the disastrous flame.

    In every aspect of the case then, a separation is indispensably necessary. The cause of truth and righteousness requires it葉he beat interests of all the parties concerned demand it.

    We, therefore, the assembled ministers, and delegates of the Dover Association, after much prayerful deliberation, do hereby affectionately recommend to the churches in our connection, to separate from their communion all such persona as are promoting controversy and discord, under the specious name of "Reformers" That the line of distinction may be clearly drawn, we feel it our duty to declare, that whereas Peter Ainslie, John Du Val, Matthew W. Webber, Thomas M. Henley, John Richards and Dudley Atkinson, ministers within the bounds of this Association, have voluntarily assumed the name of "Reformers," in party application, by attending a meeting publicly advertised for that party, and by communing with, and otherwise promoting the views of the members of that party, who have been separated from the fellowship and communion of Regular Baptist churches -- therefore

    Resolved, That this Association cannot consistently, and conscientiously receive them, nor any other ministers maintaining their views, as members of their body; nor can they in future act in concert with any church, or churches that may encourage or countenance their ministrations.

    The report was adopted by the Association without discussion and with but few dissenting votes.

    Dr. W. C. Buck, gives the following history of the situation and the reasons for the rise and progress of this schism among the Baptists of Kentucky:

    In order that we may be able to see things as they now are, let us look back to the state of things as they were in 1832, when the friends of effort began to agitate the plan of a Baptist State Convention, as the only expedient which then appeared practicable, to save the denomination from utter anarchy and ruin; and what do we see? Previous to that tremendous shock which the Campbellistical heresy inflicted upon the denomination in the west, and by which one-half of the churches in this State were rived asunder, and a large proportion of the ministry subverted, the denomination in Kentucky numbered somewhere about 400 churches, contained between 25 and 30,000 members, who were nerved by about 250 to 300 preachers. This we suppose to be about the statistical condition of the denomination, in 1828 and '30, when Campbellism broke out in our churches; and had they been united, properly instructed and disciplined, that schism never would have occurred; but they were deficient in all these respects. They were generally descendants from Virginia Baptists, and had been cradled and schooled in settled aversion to


    clerical distinction and clerical support, by legal enactment, as it was in the State before the Revolution; but they had suffered these correct opinions to degenerate into an entire, practical neglect of the ministry, and with a large proportion this degeneracy had become sentimental; so that they did not only deny the right of earthly potentates and national hierarchies to control their consciences, and gather tax by law to the support of the Episcopal clergy, whom they did not acknowledge as the ministers of Christ; but they proceeded farther to deny the authority of Christ, to demand a support for those whom they acknowledged to be chosen and sent by him, as his ambassadors. They averred that they were under no obligation to support the gospel, and regarded their contributions to the ministry (if they ever made any), as mere acts of charity. And so prevalent was this sentiment, that it was selected as a popular topic for the pulpit by the ministry,' and many have rode into popular favor upon this hobby. No preacher, therefore, who wished to keep his credentials, dared to oppose the popular current and tell the churches their duty. The consequence was, the preachers had to engage in secular employments, for support, deprive themselves of study, and preach when they could; so that there was not, even five years ago, one settled pastor in Kentucky, nor one minister supported, and not one that performed pastoral labor, except in the Louisville church. A very few churches had preaching twice a month; once a month was thought to be the rule of perfection, and beyond this few aspired, while a large proportion were entirely destitute; and yet if you would attend one of those monthly Sabbath meetings, you would see from one to half a dozen ordained and licensed preachers, assembled to avail themselves of the stated preacher's popularity, in calling out an assembly, in order to show their talent in preaching; and often have the moat patient assemblies imaginable, been drilled half to death by this system of ministerial polygamy, when all the country for miles around was left in perfect destitution. We will venture to assert that not more than a third of the ministry were employed, taking one Sabbath with another, the year around. And yet, if this miserable state of things had been all, the trouble would not have been half so great; but, alas( the fever of faction raged in all the violence of embittered personal strife. The controversy between Elkhorn and Licking Associations, had been insinuating its poison into the vitals of society for years, and when the cause of personal pique was worn threadbare, the original pugilists forced it into a doctrinal difference, and the whole denomination was kept in agitation and turmoil upon the subject. Nothing was heard from the pulpit but the extremes of these opposite sentiments; nothing was Gospel to the different parties, but what favored their side of the question in the most ultra forms; and nothing error but what opposed it; so, that one wide and deep line divided the denomination and every church in it; giving all on one aide to Calvinism, and all on the other aide to Arminianism; neither party as such deserved the appellation bestowed upon it by the other, but still as perfectly separated upon these lines, as are the antipodes; and the spirit of war was rife among them, as when their fathers and the red man battled on the Bloody Ground. All the ties of Christian fellowship were sundered, the order of society broken up, and little else was talked about in social or religious circles but these matters of party strife and feud; and thus were the materials prepared for the convulsion which ensued. A volcanic fire burned to the very center of the denomination; which finally burst out in one widespread and ruinous disruption, by which the extremes of those parties were thrown off at opposite poles; the ultras on one side to Campbellism, and those on the other to antinomian-particularism. Few


    churches in the State escaped unscathed by this avalanche of error, and not one wholly untainted with the spirit of jealousy, captiousness, and discord which it engendered, and from which the denomination has not yet recovered; and hence the suspiciousness and jealousy manifested toward those who are engaged in efforts to do good.

    The spirit of antinomian-particularism, has not yet fairly worked off, and is still throwing up its murky fires, and threatening some of our churches with anarchy and disunion: Not so with Campbelliem; it rode upon the passion of its votaries with the speed of a dromedary, and did its work of destruction in a hurry, by which the denomination in Kentucky was reduced to something like 20,000, with perhaps near 200 preachers, while the number of churches remained undiminished. We appeal to the candor of every one, whether friend or foe, who has any personal acquaintance of those times, for the truth of the statements here made, and also for the gentleness which we have evinced in coloring the drapery (The Baptist Banner and Western Pioneer, April 30, 1840).

    This schism together with that of the Anti-Mission separation brought untold disaster to the Baptists. "This was by far the greatest schism," says Allen, "that ever occurred in the church; but still the Baptists retained their usual ratio to the population of the State, which was about one to twenty of the inhabitants. In 1832 when the storm of the schism had spent its fury, they had thirty-three associations in Kentucky, four hundred and eighty-four churches, two hundred and thirty-six ordained ministers, and thirty-four thousand one hundred and twenty-four members. The increase since then has been unprecedented; in the succeeding ten years they had doubled their numbers" (Allen, A History of Kentucky, 179, Louisville, 1872).

    Books for further reference:

    B. B. Tyler, A History of the Disciples of Christ, New York, 1900.

    Richardson, Robert, Memoirs of Alexander Campbell, Philadelphia, 1888-70. 2 volumes.

    Rogers, John, Biography of Barton Warren Stone, Cincinnati, 1847.

    R. L. Dabney, An Examination of the Leading Points of the System of Alexander Campbell, The Southern Presbyterian Review, XXXI. 371-413. Columbia, S. C., 1880

    History of Pittsburgh
    and Environs Vol. II

    by George T. Fleming
    NYC: The American Historical Society, 1922

  • The Baptist Church
  •         Western PA Baptists
            Sidney Rigdon
            Pittsburgh Church
  • The Campbellites

  • (entire contents copyright © 1922 The American Historical Society
    only limited, "fair use" excerpts are reproduced here)

                          THE  ECCLESIASTICAL  HISTORY                       421

    The Baptist Church -- Baptists were plentiful in Pennsylvania in the first century of their coming to America, that is, the seventeenth century. "It is one of the marvels of history," says a historian of the developments of denominations in this period, "that such a king as Charles II should have sold to such a man as William Penn so large and valuable a territory as Pennsylvania on terms so highly favorable to civil and religious freedom, and with the certainty that it would be used for the freest of

    422                           HISTORY  OF  PITTSBURGH                            

    what was then regarded as one of the most radical forms of Christianity. * * * But he (Penn) had purchased the territory not for his own sake, but for the advancement of truth and righteousness. The rapidity with which the territory was settled by Quakers from England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland; by Mennonites, Dunkards and Pietists from Germany and the Netherlands; and by Baptists from Wales and elsewhere was unprecedented in the history of American colonization." Thomas Dungan, an Irish Baptist minister, organized the first Baptist church in Pennsylvania at Cold Spring, Bucks county, in 1784, Dungan coming from the Newport, Rhode Island church. The death of Dungan soon afterwards caused an abatement of local interest and the church soon suspended its functions. Other churches of the Baptist faith succeeded this one and Eastern Pennsylvania was soon alive with progressive Baptists, constantly working westwardly. Services were held in Philadelphia from 1687 onward, but it was not until 1698 that the first Baptist church was organized in that city. The influx of the Germans early in the eighteenth century as Mennonites, Dunkards, etc., their scatterment through the eastern counties, their indurated industry as well as piety, gave great stimulus and impetus to the Baptists of these denominations who set up churches, and supported them, with great rapidity. Dutch Mennonites arrived in large numbers in 1692 and the Dunkards in 1719, and Lancaster county was the destination of most of these. The entire body of Dunkards came to America (1719 and 1729).

    "The Great Awakening," commonly designated the "Evangelical Revival," led in America by Whitefield, Edwards, the Tennents and others, and in England by the Wesleys, Whitefield and others, may be said to have begun in America in connection with Jonathan Edwards' labors as pastor of the church at Northampton, Massachusetts, in 1734. About the same time Gilbert Tennent began to agitate in the Presbyterian Synod of Philadelphia for the requirement of evidences of experimental religion in candidates for the ministry. This gave the movement local impulse and importance. Whitefield began his work in the South and moved towards the Northern colonies, awakening all in his progress. This "Awakening" was variously regarded by the Baptist communities, some of them declining to take to it, others giving it lukewarm support, and not a few using its stimulus to create interest and industry in the crescent communities in New England, New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. The "Association," the centralized body of the colonies east of the Potomac river to the Canadian line, was a concretion that was doing much to concentrate and conform the increasing membership to the basic principles of the denomination. This body in 1762 had churches in Pennsylvania, New York, New England, Virginia and Maryland, to the number of twenty-nine, with a membership of 1,318. In 1812 Pennsylvania had sixty-three Baptist churches and 4,365 members.

    It was not until after the middle of the eighteenth century that the Baptists, in common with other denominations, began to take stock of the wilderness west of the Alleghanies. The territory of the Ohio watershed, indeed, that of the Mississippi and the Great Lakes, was only

                          THE  ECCLESIASTICAL  HISTORY                       423

    nebulously known to most of the evangelical churches, but it had been thoroughly traversed and reports made to both church and state by the Jesuits who had gone over it from the mouth of the St. Lawrence to the mouth of the Mississippi and from Florida to the Golden Gate, years before. This is true of all of this territory excepting the Ohio valley and those of its tributaries, some of these of the utmost importance. The Presbyterians had settled about the head of the Ohio and had gone south-westwardly from this point as well as far into the territory north and west of the Ohio, initiating a civilization, that was of the utmost value, as it covered this territory. The Baptists very early, in the persons of their missionaries, were present in Kentucky, Tennessee, Indiana, Illinois and Missouri. The Louisiana Purchase, west of the Mississippi, very soon was filled with these wilderness riders, who were fortunate in early organization of the settlers who did not "forsake the faith." Pennsylvania distributed many of these earliest emigrants over this virgin soil and furnished many of the missionaries.

    The Baptist church in the Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania districts had its origin in the coming North of certain disaffected and "persecuted members of the church from Virginia," about 1768. These outcasts crossed the Monongahela river into Greene and Fayette and, possibly, Washington counties (now), then likely Bedford or Cumberland county, Pennsylvania. Pittsburgh was a small frontier town. There were then no Baptist churches. Great Bethel, Uniontown, was organized in 1770; John Corbley Memorial, 1773; North Tenmile, 1773; Peters Creek, 1773; Turkeyfoot (Ursina), 1775; Mt. Moriah (Smithfield), 1784; Salem (Rostraver township), 1792; Connellsville, 1796; Union, near Kittanning, 1798; Providence, 1801; Pigeon Creek, 1803; Sharon, 1804; Achor, 1804; Carmel, 1805; Unity, 1808; First Pittsburgh, 1812. These churches. indicate the gradual growth of this denomination from about 1768 until the organization of the first Baptist church of Pittsburgh in 1812. Baptist history from the time of the time that Roger Williams undertook to contest with the Puritans in Boston, Salem and Plymouth around 1630-31 until he was banished and found refuge and a site for the first Baptist church at Providence, Rhode Island, towards the middle of the seventeenth century, concerning free ideals, free worship and free speech, was one protracted struggle. The trivials of these contests excite as much of curiosity as they now do of wonder, if not contempt. The Baptists historically arrogate to their pioneers "affairs of conscience" as a mitigation of the variety and number of these quarrels, but the narratives themselves of personnel and of contention hardly justify the allegation, Pittsburgh and its territory were the arena of much of the controversy that has characterized the one hundred and nine years of the activities of the denomination in city and community. Prior to the founding of the first Baptist church in Pittsburgh, the churches already named, as of very early establishment were fighting their way into the sun, each in its respective indicated direction.

    The tragedies in the family of Rev. John Corbley, who was settled at Garrard's Fort in eastern Greene county, then a part of Washington

    424                           HISTORY  OF  PITTSBURGH                            

    county, over Goshen church in 1781, form a frightful narrative. During the morning of June 10, 1782, Mr. Corbley, his wife, his elder daughters, Margaret and Rachel, another daughter and seven children, left their home to attend services in the nearby church. The church, now the "John Corbley Memorial," stood near Whiteley creek. Several Indians skulking in the vicinity kept them in sight, and when the straggling family were well between the home and the church they fell upon them. The pastor, who had not started with the others, was quite a distance in their rear, while his wife, who had started, had returned to the house to get a forgotten Bible. She was at some distance from her husband when he saw the Indians fall upon his family, and he ran towards them to assist if he could. An Indian turning upon him with his gun, the minister ran from him and was taken up by a parishoner who was approaching on horseback and carried to the fort. A party was hurried from the fort almost immediately, but they found the wife and mother dying, the babe's scalp torn from its head after its brains had been dashed out against a tree; the six-year-old son was so badly wounded that he died within twenty-four hours; Mary Ann and Katherine, two and four respectively, had been killed and scalped, while Elizabeth, another daughter, had been knocked down, scalped, and left for dead. Delila, who had concealed herself in a hollow tree, had looked out and, braving the danger, was felled and scalped. Both girls recovered, Delila later marrying and removing to the Miami Valley in Ohio, and Elizabeth survived until the eve of her marriage, when she sickened and died. Subsequently Mr. Corbley remarried, and continued to preach in the Whitely valley for many years. He was suspected and denounced as a participant in the activities of the Whiskey Insurrection twelve years afterwards, and dragged to prison in Philadelphia for trial. As no evidence could be adduced against him, he was freed to return to his home, where he died in 1803.

    A somewhat dramatic event was one of the early developments of the establishment of the first Baptist church in Pittsburgh, in the short pastorship over that church of Sidney Rigdon, afterwards so prominent in the founding of the Mormon church. He was originally a printer, and found employment in the shops of Pittsburgh. Rigdon was born and reared in Southern Allegheny county, near the old town of Library. He was during his early manhood ordained as the second pastor of the first Baptist church of Pittsburgh. Solomon Spaulding, who lived in Southern Washington county, had written a screed which he called the "Lost Manuscript," the data of which in some way Rigdon had secured. Spaulding was a native of Connecticut, born in 176i, a graduate of Dartmouth College, an ordained minister of the Congregational church, from which he retired a confirmed invalid, although recurrently attempting the fortunes of some commercial pursuit. In 1809 Spaulding went to what is now Conneaut, Ohio, where he attempted to build a forge, which was unsuccessful and ruinous to his scanty capital. At Conneaut he, in his walks about the country and lake shore, came upon some old Indian mounds and other earthworks of the vanishing and vanished Indians,

                          THE  ECCLESIASTICAL  HISTORY                       425

    and, being Iiterarily inclined, he began mental speculations as to the origin and meaning of the mounds, committing these speculations to paper as they developed in his mind. As they took form and meaning, it occurred to him that if he could give them the literary requisites, their sale might disembarrass him of debt and obligation. He also was wont to get his neighbors around him to hear him read each completed chapter and to give oral expression to their estimates of man and manuscript.

    Northern Ohio was a wilderness in these pioneer days and, in the absence of even the most elementary books and literature, the settlers welcomed the recurring readings of Spaulding with the pleasure a modern does the raising of a movie curtain to-day. This "first reading" of the "Manuscript" was prolific of many results, the principal one being the multiplication of witnesses to the genesis of the "Book of Mormon," which it became in later years, and their familiarity with the incidents and characters of the "Book." Spaulding left Conneaut and went to Pittsburgh in 1812, leaving hundreds of disappointed auditors and friends whose tedium he had been able to relieve in many months of dramatic readings of his book, which promises to be a younger "Homer" in the literature, especially, the quasi-religious literature, of coming centuries.

    Mr. Spaulding found Pittsburgh in 1812 to be a town of about eight hundred houses and nearly, if not quite, five thousand people. He at once called upon the Rev. Robert Patterson, who was interested in the operation of a job printing office in that borough. Mr. Patterson was a Presbyterian minister, mixing his ministerial labors with his business activities in fair relations. He had in his employment at odd times D. P. Hulburt [sic!], Sidney Rigdon, Rev. R. P. DuBois, Silas Engles, J. H. Lambdin, Joseph Patterson and others. Mr. Patterson could not recall the personality of Mr. Spaulding, as he left the reading of manuscripts, the measuring of type and general estimate to his foremen and trusted employes, but could recall the identity of the Spaulding book nebulously. Other employes recalled the manuscript more or less definitely. This was after 1812,the time alleged that the MSS. was offered for publication. Spaulding could not furnish the money to print the book nor could he give security therefor, and, tired out with waiting and gradually succumbing to the ravages of his disease, he left Pittsburgh and went to Amity, Washington county, about forty miles from Pittsburgh, where he died October 20, 1816. Prior to his death he read and exhibited his writings to responsible residents of the town and vicinity. His self-composed epitaph recalls that of Shakespeare:

    In Memory of Solomon Spaulding, who departed this life Oct. 20th, 1816. Aged 55 years.

    "Kind cherubs, guard this sleeping clay
    Until the great decision day,
    And saints complete in glory rise
    To share the triumph of the skies."

    The publication of the Spaulding MSS. was never accomplished either in the lifetime of the author nor through the agency of any of his heirs and assigns. The story that Mr. Spaulding sought to have produced

    426                           HISTORY  OF  PITTSBURGH                            

    both as a literary curiosity and as a means of reviving his resources and credit, was to the effect that the American Indians were descendants of the Lost Tribes of Israel who had reached America and dispersed themselves over this continent centuries upon centuries before Columbus' casual discovery of the Bahamas. Mr. Spaulding brought much Biblical and other proof, together with not a little mythological accessory testimony, to bolster the text of his story, all ingeniously interwoven with a structural skill and discrimination that the testimony of those who heard him read, that of those who read it and, most reassuring of all, the adapted story that constitutes the "Book of Mormon" attest to-day. The brother of Spaulding said of the book:

    It was a historical romance of the first settlers of America, endeavoring to show that the American Indians are the descendants of the Jews, or the ten lost tribes. It gave a detailed account of their journey from Jerusalem, by land and sea, till they arrived in America, under the command of Nephie and Lehi. They afterwards had quarrels and contentions, and separated into two distinct nations, one of which he denominated, Nephites, the other Lamanites. Cruel and bloody wars ensued. They buried their dead in large heaps, which caused the mounds so common in this country. * * * I have recently read the Book of Mormon and to my great surprise, I find nearly the same historical matter, names, &c., as were in my brother's writings. I well remember that he wrote in the old style, and commenced about every sentence with 'And it came to pass' or 'Now it came to pass,' the same as in the Book of Mormon, and according to the best of my recollection and belief, it is the same as my brother Solomon wrote with the exception of the religious matter.

    His widow gave the same report of the content and style of the Book of Mormon, asserting that it was written by her husband and altered to suit the purposes of the publishers.

    Two theories are abroad as to the means of plagiarism resorted to by those interested in the organization of the Mormon church, in foundationing it upon this book of Spaulding's. The first one is that Rigdon copied it and carried the copy with him until he came into contact with Joseph Smith and other founders of the church in coordination with himself; the other is that Joseph Smith, who lived and moved in the same community in which the widow of Spaulding resided, stole the manuscript from an old unlocked trunk stored in the home of W. H. Sabine, Esq., Onondaga Valley, New York, her brother, around whose house and place Smith was an employe. The latter theory is rather historically untenable, because the theft was not discovered until years after the publication of the "Book of Mormon." The other theory seems to subsist in the circumstances of Rigdon's theological, clerical and mechanical assets and his general adaptability. Alibis abound for all of the suspects of theft of the Spaulding MSS., but they lack content in all instances save that of Rigdon, and upon him the burden of suspicion of "trover and conversion" persists to lie unto this day. Rigdon was a printer in the Patterson job shop, and in the careless handling of all copy in those shops in those days it was easy for any of the employes to see, to read, to copy, to steal, if they had the inclination. Rigdon had been a rather progressive preacher while in the Baptist ministry, but, like the Campbells, father and son, felt hampered by the prescriptive as well as the proscriptive propaganda

                          THE  ECCLESIASTICAL  HISTORY                       427

    and rules and tenets of the denomination. He left the pulpit and was at least semi-detached at the time that Spaulding was seeking a publisher. The manuscript lyiny upon the table or the cluttered desk of the foreman, who was as well the reader and estimator, besides being the copy-cutter, fell under Rigdon's eye. His imagination was stirred by the lore and light of the tradition, whose peculiar historical value and possibilities were immediately apparent to him. Probably the idea of the new sect did not at once occur to him, but in his appraisal of the text and tone of the narrative his view gradually became panoramic and possession of the story paramount. He had seen Spaulding several times at the job office, thin, feeble and well-advanced towards the grave; first avid and anxious to get his story into salable book form in order that he might in his life-time profit by it; then disappointed and dejected, eventually disappeared to die in the interior of Washington county.

    Sidney Rigdon, after his withdrawal from the pulpit of the Pittsburgh First Baptist Church, continued studying, desultorily preaching and traveling about the new Northwest. He became acquainted with Joseph Smith, the Mystic, whose vision of the new religion and his interview with the angel concerning the existence of and the place of deposit of the "Revelation" printed upon "gold plates," the early great exponent of the new cult, and between them arranged the plan and personnel of the plot that eventuated in Mormonism. The "Book of Mormon" was printed and sold throughout a certain territory. It was offered for sale among the inhabitants of the Ohio lake shore, and many bought copies of it. As soon as it was read, scores of these people identified the story with that that Spaulding had written and read to them years before at Conneautville. This book was published in 1830 at Palmyra, New York. Five years later E. D. Howe published at Painesville, Ohio, his "Mormonism Unveiled," which created the immediate furore that was expected. Besides the circumstantial story of the person and production of Solomon Spaulding, Mr. Howe, concatenated scores of stories of those who were well acquainted with Spaulding and had been interested auditors of his readings of his chapters as he finished them and brought them to the place of common assembly. The Mormon possessors of the manuscripts stood fiercely at bay during this attack upon their book and the inspiration of their new cult, and fought back with all of the vigor that they had, all of the time working westward and attaining converts and confidence. Rigdon Nvas one of the earliest of these converts, serenely ignoring his own connection with the book and the sect, despite the array of facts and testimony produced against him. Periodically the story of the "Book of Mormon" is retold, and the romancers and relators of stories that are told reawaken curiosity and interest in the greatest of all-American "fakes."

    Pittsburgh was the center of another epochal affair in the history of the Baptist church, here and elsewhere. It was not until 1812 that the Baptist church took root in the soil of Pittsburgh. Rev. Edward Jones was the first pastor, and six families made up the first membership. The charter of this church was rather simple -- "The First Baptist Church

    428                           HISTORY  OF  PITTSBURGH                            

    and the Congregation of the City of Pittsburgh." Sidney Rigdon's name was the first of the charter members. This church was an integer of the Monongahela [sic] Association. Early meetings were held in houses and available halls in various parts of the downtown district, and it was not until 1822 that the charter was obtained. Rev. Samuel Williams was Mr. Rigdon's successor in this pulpit. Mr. Williams was afterwards an ultra anti-Masonic leader. The ensuing years weakly increased the membership until 1843, when the aggregate was 314. However, this low figure is mitigated in the circumstance that many members had separated themselves from the parent nest to establish churches all over the city here and there and in Allegheny City. The new brick church was built at Grant street and Third avenue in 1833.

    The Grant Street Church was organized in 1841, and in 1845 fifteen members of the First Baptist Church organized the First Baptist Church of Allegheny.

    The Welsh Baptists were organized in 1826 as a branch of the First Baptist Church of Pittsburgh. The churches are abundant both in city and county. The principal structure in Pittsburgh is the new First Baptist Church at Bayard street, in Schenley Farms, one of the handsomest churches in Pennsylvania, erected after the sale of the fine building at Fourth avenue and Ross street, known as the Fourth Avenue Baptist Church, successor of the first church erected in the city. Other churches in the city are:

    Baptist-Antioch (colored), Thirty-seventh, near Butler; Beth Eden, Chateau and Juniata; Bethel (colored), Center, near Reed; Bethlehem, 2521 Wylie avenue; Beulah (colored), Chalfont, corner Delmont; Beulahland (colored), Gilmore, corner Manila; Brereton Avenue (colored), Calvary, 2336 Wylie avenue; Carron (colored), 238 Carron; Central (colored), Kirkpatrick and Wylie; Ebenezer (colored), Wylie avenue, corner Devilliers; Emanuel (colored), Davis avenue, near McClure; First Baptist Church, Sycamore and Oneida; First, Bellefield and Bayard; First German, 3337 East; First Italian, 1510 Webster avenue; Forty-sixth Street, Forty-sixth, below Butler; Friendship, Thirty-seventh, corner Charlotte; Good Hope, 3341 Mulberry Way; Homewood, Kelley, near Homewood; Iron Side Primitive, Rebecca and Columbo; Jackson Street, 319 Jackson street; Jerusalem (colored), Independence, near Wabash; Johnston Avenue, 206 Johnston avenue; Lorenz Avenue, Lorenz and Steuben; Macedonia (colored), Shafer, near Bedford avenue; Metropolitan (colored), 20 Sampson; Monumental, 2236 Wylie avenue; Morningside (colored), Sullivan, near Columbo; Mt. Ararat (colored), Paulson, corner Mayflower; Mt. Washington, Sycamore, near Shiloh; Mt. Olivet, Yew, near Millvale; Mt. Pisgal, 3749 Orpwood; Mt. Sinai Trinity (colored), 2207 Wylie avenue; Nazareth (colored), 2538 Fifth avenue; Oakland, Louisa, near McKee place; Pleasant Grove, 825 Second avenue; Primitive (colored), 3714 Butler; Rodman street (colored), Rodman, near Collins avenue; Russian Mission, 2039 Fifth avenue; St. Abiconce, 1919 Bedford avenue; St. James (colored), Penn avenue, near Pearl; St. John's (colored), 723 Kirkpatrick; St. John's (colored), 4542 Sylvan avenue; St. Luke, 2435 Wadsworth; St. Paul (colored), Broad, near Atlantic avenue; Sandusky Street, Sandusky and Erie; Shady Avenue, 207 Shady

                          THE  ECCLESIASTICAL  HISTORY                       429

    avenue; Sheraden, Ashlyn, near Sherwood; Shiloh (colored), Thirty-ninth and Mifflin; Sixth Mt. Zion, Joseph, near Larimer; Svenska, 5605 Penn avenue; Tabernacle Cosmopolitan (colored), 1204 Buena Vista; Temple, 2836 Penn; Trinity, 3412 Ligonier; Union, Mayflower, near Larimer; Union, South Nineteenth, below Carson; Welsh, 60 Chatham.

    The controversial characteristics of the pioneer Baptists in America were responsible in those days for more Baptists, but not always of the most desirable nature. Too many inconsiderable questions were broached in congregation, prayer meeting and association for the good of the cult, and perpetual divisions were taking place throughout the developed and undeveloped portions of the new America. Baptists, Anabaptists, Pedo-baptists, Antipedobaptists, Mennonites, Dunkards, Particular Baptists, Welsh Baptists, anti-Effort Baptists, Northern Baptists, Southern Baptists, Seventh-day Baptists, Disciples, Campbellites, Free-will Baptists, are some of the many of the root and branch of this denomination spread abroad in America. Historians of the cult in its varieties relate the illiteracy of people and pastors in various sections, some of it not so many years ago, and do not dwell upon this status as an unmixed evil. Schools came gradually, colleges slowly, and theological seminaries last of all. However, the educational status is of rapid annual elevation and the tone of the cult improving just as rapidly.

    The few years that were marked by the services of the Campbells, Thomas and Alexander, father and son, dating from about 1812 until the organization of the independent Christian, Campbellite or Disciples Church, were the epochal, strenuous years in the South and West of the Baptist organization in America. Thomas Campbell, a descendant of the Campbellites of Argyleshire, Scotland, was born in County Down, near Newry, Ireland, February 1, 1763. His father was a rigid Episcopalian, but the tenets of this church did not please the young Thomas, who was deeply religious, and he sought an analytic reading of the Scriptures to inform and satisfy himself as well as to lead him. He found "more congenial spiritual aliment among the warm-hearted and zealous Seceders, a branch of the Presbyterian church, a secession from the Kirk of Scotland. Here he became deeply anxious for his soul's salvation, passing through mental struggles of indescribable anguish. The coveted peace at length dawned upon his soul." He completed his education, the usual classical studies, in the University of Glasgow, and his theological course in Divinity Hall, and was commissioned under the rigid rules of the Scotch Seceder Church with the full credentials of the Seceder ministry. His health having become impaired, he was sent upon a sea-voyage to America, April 8, 1807, and arrived in Philadelphia thirty- five days later. There he found the anti-Burgher Synod in session, which received his credentials favorably and, upon his own request, sent him to the Presbytery of Chartiers, embracing the county of Washington in Western Pennsylvania, where he found many old friends, neighbors and acquaintances, and made many new ones. He was cordially received by his ministerial brethren and was given many assignments to preach in this presbytery. He was a powerful and fascinating pulpit orator and

    430                           HISTORY  OF  PITTSBURGH                            

    was in great demand. Mr. Campbell's views were soon found to be very much at variance with those of the clergy and membership of his denomination, and he was speedily cited to appear to reply to various questions concerning his private views expressed in the pulpits he had been called to supply. His principal offense was in desiring a larger Christian democracy, a better entente among the denominations, in which he was, he asserted, in no conflict with the precepts of the Bible. He urged as much in a defensive letter he sent to the Synod of the denomination, saying, "I dare not venture to trust my own understanding so far as to take upon me to teach anything as a matter of faith or duty but what is already expressly taught and enjoined by divine authority." Again he said, "I refuse to acknowledge as obligatory upon myself or to impose upon others anything as of divine obligation for which I cannot produce a 'Thus saith the Lord'."

    The Synod set aside the finding of censure, etc., and referred the affair to a committee which reported "there are sufficient grounds for censure." Mr. Campbell concluded to undergo the penalty because of his personal relations to some of "his cherished friends and brethren in the ministry." Encouraged by their apparent success, his enemies multiplied the numbers of his annoyances and persecutions until he left the Seceder church. Thenceforward he preached in favor of Christian liberality and Christian union in the homes of his Irish friends and in friendly groves. Finding his old friends steadfast and many new ones coming to hear him, Mr. Campbell proposed to call a special meeting at which things might be discussed and determinative action taken. At this meeting in northwest Washington county, he urged the evils of division and disunion among Christians, their manifold internal discontents, mostly upon trifling matters, and begged a return to an observance of the simple teachings of the Scriptures. He also asked all to obey the rule "that where the Scriptures speak, we speak, and where the Scriptures are silent, we are silent." At a meeting held at the head of ]3uffalo creek, August 17, 1809, it was resolved to form themselves into an association to be known as the "Christian Association of Washington," and twenty-three persons with Mr. Campbell were named to carry the ends into effect. A log building was erected three miles from Mt. Pleasant, on the Washington and Mt. Pleasant road, where meetings were held. He lived at the home of Mr. Welsh, and in his house wrote his famous "Declaration and Address," in which the principles and objects of the new society were set forth.

    About this time, Alexander Campbell, eldest son of Rev. Thomas Campbell, who was born September 12, 1788, in County Antrim, Ireland, arrived in America and joined his father in the West. His paternal ancestors were Scotch, his maternal, French Huguenots. He had been educated in the University of Glasgow, and had a nature as intensely religious as that of his father. Consideration of Reforms and Reformers, before he left Scotland, had given the young man some ideas peculiar to himself. He avidly devoured his father's summary of principles and at once was aligned on the side of Mr. Campbell and his friends. It was nearly a year after his arrival before Alexander Campbell preached his

                          THE  ECCLESIASTICAL  HISTORY                       431

    first sermon, in Major Templeton's grove, near Washington, Pennsylvania. Thereafter he was constantly in the field in the Ohio valley, principally in Eastern Ohio, Western Virginia and Western Pennsylvania. The new Christian Association, organized by Thomas Campbell, concluded to build a structure for divine worship on Brush run, near its union with Buffalo creek, near West Middletown, Washington county, and, in an improvised stand near the site of this church, Alexander Campbell preached his first sermon from the text, "Though thy beginning was small, thy latter end should greatly increase."

    Thomas Campbell, against the advice of his son and some of his friends asked the Synod of Pittsburgh (Seceder) that his association be "taken into Christian and ministerial communion," which request the synod unanimously resolved not to grant "for reasons assigned and many other important reasons." The synod told Mr. Campbell that it was because of his lenience relative to certain proscribed tenets, etc., that he was held out. Alexander Campbell took up the gauntlet thrown down by the Seceders to his father, and delivered a sermon at Washington, Pennsylvania, November 11, 1811, in refutation of the principles of the synod and defensive of the position and principles of the association and the attitude of his father in the affair. At a meeting of the association, May 4, 1811, it "was reluctantly concluded to change the character of the association and to assume that of an independent church." It was history repeating itself, for such was the case with the Reformation of Luther, of Calvin, of Knox, and of Wesley. Thomas Campbell was appointed elder, Alexander Campbell was licensed to preach, and John Dawson, George Sharp, William Gilchrist and James Foster elected deacons. Thus was organized the Campbellite or Christian church. The next day Alexander Campbell preached the first sermon of the new church, "I am that bread of life." Thomas Campbell made the first immersions in the water of Buffalo creek, two or three miles from the church, July 4, 1811, and on January 1, 1812, Alexander Campbell was ordained as a minister. Immersions thereafter were frequent and attended by hundreds who listened to the sermons of the new ministers with pleasure and conviction in most cases. The community was in a formative condition, although most of the people were strongly Calvinistic, Old School Presbyterians, and very much attached to its tenets. The Campbells quickly reduced the formulae of the new association to very simple terms, cutting out much of the old form of procedure, as in the instance of the rite of baptism requiring merely the confession that "Jesus Christ, the Son of God," etc. Immediately the ministers or elders of the Baptist church in this vicinity strenuously objected to the liberties the Campbells were taking with the old regime, and openly declared themselves. June 12, 1812, an all-day service with immersions was held at the "deep pool of Buffalo creek," and both Campbells in the order of seniority were heard in powerful sermons. Then Thomas Campbell and his wife, Alexander Campbell and his wife, Dorothea Campbell, and James Haven and his wife were immersed, seven of them. There was a certain affiliation with the Baptists at this time, but Alexander Campbell

    432                           HISTORY  OF  PITTSBURGH                            

    was averse to union with them, especially after visiting and preaching in their church at Uniontown, one of the very oldest in the West. He disliked the autocracy of the Baptist preacher and the subserviency of the Baptist member. Meantime the Campbells were convincing and converting the people in the community at home, indeed, wherever they appeared to speak of their association. The Baptists all over, while they questioned the relevancy of some of the Campbell teachings and preachings, were avid to have them become members of the Redstone Association, recognizing the missionary value of father and son in the new field. After much discussion and prayer it was concluded to make an overture to them to become members, and, despite the opposition of Elders Pritchard, of Cross Creek, Virginia, Brownfield, of Uniontown, and Stone, of Ohio, and his son, Elder Stone, of the Monongahela region, the Brush Run church was admitted. For three years the discontents labored vainly to exclude the Campbells. At a meeting of the association at the Cross creek in 1816, Alexander Campbell preached his celebrated "Sermon on the Law," which deeply offended Elder Pritchard and raised much excitement in the community. Later on, the Christian church was organized, and by the energy and industry of Alexander Campbell rapidly became one of the strongest in the United States, having in a few years churches in thirty-nine States and Territories to the number of 5,175, 3,788 preachers, and 600,000 members. Missionaries have been established throughout the world. The church has between thirty and forty colleges, including Bethany College at Bethany, West Virginia, personally founded by Alexander Campbell. He died at Bethany in 1866.

    Annals of Southwestern
    Pennsylvania: II & III

    by Lewis C. Walkinshaw
    NYC: Lewis Historical Pub. Co., 1939

  • The Baptist Church
  •         Western PA Baptists
            Sidney Rigdon
            Pittsburgh Church
  • The Campbellites

  • (entire contents copyright © 1939 Lewis C. Walkinshaw
    only limited, "fair use" excerpts are reproduced here)



    Religious Expansion

    The Foundations of the Pioneer Baptists, Episcopalians, German Lutherans, German Reformed, and Presbyterians Lead to Expansion -- The Redstone Baptist Association Enlarges -- The New Mahoning, Monongahela, Pittsburgh and Ten Mile Associations Are Formed -- Out of the Colonial Church of England is Formed the Protestant Episcopal Church of America, and the Synod of Pittsburgh -- Trinity Church, Pittsburgh, and Other Churches -- Early Lutheran Churches in Somerset, Westmoreland, and Other Counties -- The Synods of Ohio and Pittsburgh -- The West Pennsylvania and Allegheny Synods -- The Growth of the German Reformed Churches in the Pittsburgh Synod, and the Later Division Into the Westmoreland, Somerset, and Erie Classis-The Presbyterian Churches Increase Under the Virginia Synod -- The Later Pittsburgh and Pennsylvania Synods -- The Presbyteries of Redstone, Ohio, Beaver, Blairsville, Kittanning, and Allegheny.

    As the religious pioneers brought with them their specific beliefs, and after they had come in sufficiently large numbers, they established their churches. During the Colonial period, and until orderly government was being established in southwestern Pennsylvania, there were but five groups that made substantial foundations here: Baptists; the Church of England, which came to be better established as the Protestant Episcopal Church; German Lutherans; German Reformed; and Presbyterians. These foundations have been narrated in the first volume. The period which begins with the close of the Revolution, then through the constructive processes of constitutional government and down to the time when the status of the churches was truly democratized, brought many new religious foundations, and some divisions from the old. The new nation not only had its growing pains of government, but its growing pains of denominational growth as well.


    While the pioneers in religious life had a supreme courage, this next generation had great convictions, and knew how to express themselves. just as competition is the life of trade, so this keen religious competition brought to southwestern Pennsylvania a groundwork of spiritual life that has made of it an area of religious stability.

    The Redstone Baptist Association, oldest of the religious organizations here, beginning with 1776, had grown in 1809 to a membership of thirty-two churches. As indicating its basis and practice, which had crystallized through heated discussions through the years, a complete constitution was adopted at the meeting of September 2, 1809, at a session held at the Indian Creek Church, which set forth, in part:

    "This association hereby receives the Scriptures of the Old and New Testament, as the divine and revealed word of God, and as an infallible rule of faith and practice. And the regular Baptist Confession of Faith adopted by the Philadelphia Regular Baptist Association, September, Anno Domini, 1742, as generally expressive of the meaning of the Holy Scriptures."

    As indicating the substantial character of these Baptist churches in the area, the following list of churches represented and their delegates at the meeting of i8og are given, as follows:

    Uniontown -- Thomas Gaddis, Simeon Gard.
    Whiteley Creek -- Benjamin Stone, Abiah Minor.
    George's Creek -- Robert Hannah, Joseph Thomas, Jeremiah Kendall.
    Turkeyfoot -- Nathaniel Skinner, John Colburn.
    Forks of Cheat -- William John, John McFarland.
    Peters Creek -- Rev. David Phillips.
    Little Redstone -- Joseph Thomas.
    Indian Creek -- John Patt, William Stone, John Smith, John Rogers, Jesse Bussy.
    Head of Whiteley -- Amos Mix, Dennis Delaney, Henry Sams, Ephraim Biggs.
    Forks of Yough -- Joseph Budd.
    Mouth of Maple Creek, Monongahela -- Henry Speer, Benjamin White.
    Big Redstone -- James Frey, Benjamin Martin, Jonathan Addis.
    Connellsville -- James Estep, Samuel Trevor.
    Ten Mile -- Matthias Luce, Henry Russel, Mordicai Bane.


    Horse Shoe Bottom -- Charles B. Smith.
    Monongahela Glades -- Thomas Royal, John Miller, Nehemiah Powers.
    Sandy Creek -- Enos West.
    Plum Run -- George Noble.
    Merrittstown -- William Brownfield, Lacy Hibbs, Ross Alton.
    George's Hills -- Daniel Lovet.
    Dunkard Creek -- Eliel Long, Martin Varner, William Jobes, George Snyder, John Bald.
    Beulah -- Daniel Kimpton.
    Cross Creek -- John Pritchard, Samuel Gist, Thomas Haney.
    Short Creek -- Enoch Martin, James Bedwell.
    Pigeon Creek -- Benjamin Lyon, Thomas Martin.
    Bates Fork of Ten Mile -- Michael Cox, John McGlumpey.

    The minutes of the old Redstone Baptist Association are replete with the record of individual churches and of the discussions of church questions, but true to their democratic idea of the separation of church and state. One wonders, however, at the interesting entry of September 28, I799: "Resolved, that a day of fasting and humiliation be recommended to our churches to be kept on the first Thursday of April next, that the Great Dispenser of Events did not only sway the scepter of peace of the nations, but revive the seeming languishing cause of a lion in our land by quickening His people."

    There is no reference to the liquor question, despite the strenuous days of the Whiskey Insurrection, when two of the association's prominent ministers, the Rev. John Corbly, of the Goshen Church (Big Whiteley), and the Rev. David Phillips, of the Peters Creek Church (Library), along with prominent laymen, were haled down to Philadelphia, to answer charges of violating the excise laws. Some of them were released promptly, and the Rev. Mr. Corbly, in particular, walked back from Philadelphia. The minutes of the individual churches, however, are full of ecclesiastical trials concerning individual members. This is not only true of the Baptists, but of other denominations as well. Having no appellate body, as had the others, and no bishop of other presiding officer to direct matters, the individual Baptist Church thus took cognizance of and decided these matters in the local church.

    While the greater part of the churches were in present Fayette, Washington and Greene counties, there were some points far removed,


    to which the missionary preachers of the association went. On the minutes of September 4, 1812, it was decided that the succeeding first quarterly meeting should be held at Maple Creek, the second at Broad Ford on Conemaugh, the third at Uniontown and the fourth at Indian Creek. The associational meetings usually lasted three davs, and on Sunday, September 4, 1812, there is the recorded entry of the Rev. Alexander Campbell into the association, whose work as a preacher will be more fully referred to in telling of the Christian denomination: "Edmon Jones, of Pittsburgh, began evangelical exercises of this day, with singing and prayer, and then preached an excellent sermon from Ephesians 4, verse 4.... A second from Dr. David Jones, from Revelations, chapter 18, consisting of an exposition on Prophetic Mysteries therein contained. A third discourse, of very uncommon length, by a Mr. Campbell, late of Washington County, Penn'a, from Galatians, chapter 6, verse 14, and onward. James Estep concluded the solemnities of the day, by singing and prayer."

    Rev. James Estep, D. D., was a powerful preacher, and along with the equally powerful Dr. William Brownfield, Dr. William Shadrach, Rev. William Wood, Rev. John Corbly, Rev. James Frey, Rev. Nathaniel Skinner, and Rev. Matthias Luce, he was strong for fundamental truth and a respect for constituted authority. He was elected and served a term as county commissioner of Westmoreland County, and after the organization of the Pittsburgh Baptist Association in 1839, was a great figure there until the time of his death. The Rev. Morgan J. Rhys, who was serving as prothonotary, and filling other offices in Somerset, and died in 1804, was in attendance and admitted to a seat in the Redstone Association that year, just prior to his death. As late as September 2, 1815, there is the entry on the association's minutes: "The association recommends to the churches to put away the evil of slave holding."

    To the Baptists belong the honor of having the oldest church of any denomination in southwestern Pennsylvania, and likewise the oldest in present Fayette County, in Great Bethel Baptist Church at Uniontown, founded in 1770. Likewise the Goshen Baptist Church, now known as the John Corbly Memorial Church, at Garard's Fort, founded in 1773, is the oldest in Greene County; the Turkeyfoot Baptist Church, near Ursina, founded in 1775, is the oldest in Somerset County. In the establishing of Ten Mile Baptist Church and Peters Creek Baptist Church, in the later initial Washington County.


    in 1773, they may be also entitled to a like honor there. The Presbyterian Church at Long Run, on the Braddock Road, two miles west of Irwin, has records showing a small meetinghouse there as early as 1772. Due to their predominance in central Westmoreland County of old, and their organization of the Redstone Presbytery, the second religious body west of the Alleghenies in 1781, the Presbyterians are entitled to credit for their great zeal and energy in establishing churches.

    Out from the Redstone Baptist Association went also the Beaver Association and the Mahoning Association north of the Ohio River, in the year 1808. These two new associations were in fellowship with the parent Redstone for many years, but with varying degrees of warmth, due to the intense religious controversies. A group of Welsh Baptists had come up to northern Somerset County, and established the town of Beula, on the mountain top, and called the church "Beulah." To the westward another early organization had been formed, Two Lick Baptist Church at Dixonville, and later Loyalhanna, near Saltsburg. These three churches all belonged to the Redstone Baptist Association in the early days of their existence.

    On September 4, 1812, the "Church at Pittsburgh" was admitted to membership in the Redstone Baptist Association, and then followed two decades of severe controversy, and out of this crucible came two important religious movements: the organization of the famed Mormon Church, through the aid of the Rev. Sidney Rigdon, and the movement which we now know as the Christian Church, through the departures of Rev. Thomas Campbell and Rev. Alexander Campbell from their Baptist connections. Rev. Sidney Rigdon was pastor of the First Baptist Church of Pittsburgh in 1822-23, and was a


    delegate to the meetings of the Redstone Association. Both he and his brother [sic], Rev. Thomas Rigdon, had been baptized into the fellowship of the Peters Creek Baptist Church in their younger days.

    As these severe controversies were ending, and some separations were taking place, the following minute appears on the Redstone Association records, as of August 31, 1832:

    "Whereas, the churches of the Forks of the Yough (Salem, near West Newton), Turkeyfoot and Loyalhanna (Saltsburg), have applied for dismission that they may be formed into an association, and they having presented a constitution agreed upon by the delegates for that purpose, which constitution is approved by this association: Therefore, Resolved, that the three above named churches be dismissed from this association for the above purpose, and that the United States Turnpike be the division line between this association and the contemplated new one, provided that such of the churches in connection with this association as are set on the north side of the said turnpike and desire to retain their present connections, are not to be affected by this resolution."

    The next great Baptist organization to function in this area was the Pittsburgh Association organized in June, 1839, the centennial of which will be celebrated in 1939 with an elaborate program in the First Baptist Church of Pittsburgh this year by addresses and pageants. In later years it has had about seventy-five churches in its membership, scattered over the counties of Beaver, Butler, Armstrong, Allegheny, Washington, Westmoreland and Fayette. Still another association functions in Greene and parts of Washington counties, named for the historic stream, the Ten Mile Baptist Association....


    One of the most interesting religious movements in America had its beginnings in southwestern Pennsylvania, that of the denomination first known as the Disciples of Christ, and latterly better known as the Christian Church. It grew out of the discussions in the old Redstone Baptist Association, precipitated by the Rev. Thomas Campbell and his son, the Rev. Alexander Campbell, resulting in whole congregations, in some instances, being won over to the new movement. The Rev. Thomas Campbell was born in County Down, Ireland, on February 1, 1763. His father, Archibald Campbell, had first been a member of the Roman Catholic Church and then joined the Church of England. The son, Thomas Campbell, became a minister of the Associate Presbyterian Church, after being a Covenanter for a short time. He arrived in the United States on June 1, 1807, and was received by his brethren of the Chartiers Presbytery. On account of a sermon involving the rights to communion, he was tried by the Presbytery and subject to the punishment or censure. Appealing to the Associate Synod of North America, that body reversed the Presbytery.

    The Rev. Alexander Campbell was born in Ireland on September 12, 1788. He studied at Glasgow, Scotland, and became thoroughly familiar with the basic controversy of the "Seceder" churches. He


    came to America with the remainder of Rev. Thomas Campbell's family in the early autumn of 1809. The father and son and others formed what they termed the "Christian Association of Washington, Penn'a," and after two or three years became dissatisfied with that, and organized on May 10, 1810, the "First Church of the Christian Association of Washington, meeting at Cross Roads and Brush Run, Washington County, Penn'a." In this association they came to the position, in their own minds, of a belief in the baptism of believers by immersion, and as a result were immersed by the Rev. Matthias Luce, a Baptist minister, along with their wives and others.

    While they preached in Baptist churches prior to that time, these two ministers did not formally ally themselves with the work of the Redstone Baptist Association until the session of September 2, 1815, when the Washington Church and the Brush Run Church were each granted membership in the association. Both Thomas Campbell and Alexander Campbell were delegates from the Brush Run Church to the association that year. At the associational meeting of September 2, 1817, Dr. James Estep was moderator and Alexander Campbell clerk. At Connellsville on September 1, 1818, Charles Wheeler was moderator and Alexander Campbell clerk. At the Horseshoe Church, near Monongahela City, on September 3, 1819, Dr. William Brownfield, of Uniontown, was moderator and Alexander Campbell clerk. At Plum Run, in 1820, Alexander Campbell was moderator and Dr. James Estep clerk; and at Washington, in I822, Thomas Campbell was moderator and Isaac Pettit clerk. At the meeting of September 6, 1823, Rev. Thomas Campbell opened the meeting at George's Creek with prayer, and on September 3, 1824, Rev. Thomas Campbell was a delegate from Brush Run Church. So that, from 1815 to 1824, the Campbells, father and son, were connected with the Redstone Baptist Association, as delegates and in an official capacity.

    Due to the lack of any appellate bodies, in Baptist Church polity, which can decide, the historian must look to the life of individual churches to clarify the issue which led to the withdrawal of the Campbells from their Baptist connections. One of the best examples of its effect can be noted in the Christian Church in Somerset, Pennsylvania. As has been noted earlier, the Turkeyfoot Baptist Church, near Ursina in Somerset County, was the county's earliest congregation, founded in 1775. It joined the Redstone Baptist Association at its formation in 1776 and associational meetings were subsequently held


    with the Turkeyfoot congregation, otherwise locally known as the "Jersey Church," because most of its founding members had come from New Jersey. The association meeting of 1822, as shown by the Redstone minutes, had John Cox, Jacob Graft and John Pringle as delegates from the Somerset Church, and on September 2, 1824, Rev. James Estep, Jacob Graft and Jonathan Younkins represented it. Let us turn now to the historical narrative, "Tale of a Pioneer Church," written by Peter Vogel, and quote:

    "When the Jersey Church, in July, 1819, deemed it necessary to call a council to sit in judgment on Dr. Cox, Jacob Graft was considered fit to be associated with such,men as Elder James Fry, of Big Redstone, and Dr. James Estep, of Mt. Pleasant.... In August or September, 1817, Dr. James Estep and Prof. Charles Wheeler, the latter then of Washington College, a Presbyterian institution, were called to constitute a church of immersed believers in Somerset. The fact that they were both Baptist ministers, and that both before and after this only Baptist ministers preached for this church, made it known as the Baptist Church, a title by which to this day (1887) the general public designate the Somerset Disciples of Christ. All the surrounding Baptist Churches for whom the a bove-named ministers labored were not only strongly Calvinistic, but uniformly adopted the Declaration of Faith, set forth by the Philadelphia Association, September 25, 1747.... Regular Baptist ministers preached for Somerset. For the first three years Dr. Cox paid them stated visits, and in 1826 and 1827 Elder Samuel Williams, an unmarried man, was located with them, boarding at 'Aunty Graft's,' as she began to be called. Dr. Cox was succeeded for five months by the brilliant but erratic Elder Armor. The rest of the intervening time, between Cox and Wilson, was improved by such home talent as John Hollis, who had become a full-fledged immersionist, and Samuel Trent, Sr., whose custom was to talk three or four hours, or at least so long as any one would stay to listen. His home talent was occasionally supplemented by visiting members, especially Dr. Estep, whose medical practice extended even to Somerset. On ordinary occasions the meetings were held either in the brick office or in some one of the houses near town. When, however, Dr. Estep or some other man from abroad would come, the Court House was secured and filled. On Communion occasions, which did not often occur, but


    drew large crowds, they were put to their wits. The brick office or private residence was too small and the Court House was not con-sidered sufficiently sacred. Once at least, shortly after the founding of the church, the German Reformed meeting-house was secured for the purpose. This inconvenience may have had something to do with the infrequencies of sitting at the Lord's table." As the breach widened between the Rev. Alexander Campbell and the other ministers in the Redstone Baptist Association, Mr. Vogel goes on to say, quoting:

    "Campbell's action had been so recent and so quiet that it was unknown to the leaders of the opposition, who still believed him to be a member at Brush Run. When he, therefore, appeared at the meeting of the Redstone Association as a spectator, they at once started the discussion of the propriety of receiving, or rather rejecting, the messengers from Brush Run. The controversy ran high: the messengers from Somerset, through their leader, Isaac Husband, defending the Bible alone as a sufficient creed. The fact at length became known that Campbell was not a messenger from Brush Run, but belonged to another church and a different Association. This brought a sudden truce to all discussion. But thenceforth the interest of the Somerset Church in that Association abated greatly, and the creed spirit grew apace. By 1826, matters had come to such a pass that at the meeting of the Association at Big Redstone the Somerset members were not even granted seats. Elder Brownfield (Rev. William Brownfield of Uniontown), with his aids, had the night before fixed on a high-handed plan of action. Out of twenty-four churches, aggregating seventy-two messengers, they managed to secure ten churches, or thirty votes, in the following way: An article in the Constitution, which had long been a dead letter, required that the yearly letters of the churches to the Association should refer to the Philadelphia Con- fession of Faith. The ten churches that did this were declared to be the Association; these sat in judgment on the remaining fourteen churches, expelling them, one by one, usually without even a hearing. The Washington Church, after being called 'Arian, Socinian, Arminian, Antinomian, and everything that is bad,' was first expelled; next came the Maple Creek Church, with its good Elder Henry Speers; then Pigeon Creek, with the venerable Elder Luce; and further down the list came Somerset.


    "The excommunicated churches met at a house half a mile or so distant, and asked Alexander Campbell, who had been sent by the Mahoning Association to the Redstone Association as a corresponding member, to preach for them. After Campbell left, they agreed to go home to report to the churches that had sent them, and to propose to them to send messengers to Washington, Pennsylvania, on the Saturday preceding the second Lord's Day in the following November, for the purpose of forming a new Association. This plan was carried out and the new body was called the Washington Association. On the 7th, 8th, and 9th of September, 1827, it met again at Washington, and Somerset was represented by Isaac Husband, Jonas Younkin, John Prinkey and Jacob Lichleiter, who reported four baptised, seven dismissed by letter, and forty members. At that meeting Thomas Campbell and Williams were appointed as evangelists for the Association, to travel among the churches and hold meetings.

    "Late in June, 1829, Thomas Campbell, with his son Archibald, returned to Somerset, preached a few times, and then went to Turkey-Foot to work up an interest in the Jersey church. He found them, however, more wedded to Calvin and Baptist usage than to Jesus and his apostles. He returned in the second week in July to Somerset and began his work in earnest. His meetings, as usual, were circulatory. On Thursday, July gth, he preached at Peter J. Loehr's, four miles east of the village. Chauncey Forward did not feel comfortable about matters, and saddled his horse for a ride to Stoystown, ten miles to the northeast; but somehow he found himself sitting at Loehr's house, the most attentive listener of them all. When the invitation to come to Christ was given, he responded eagerly, followed only too gladly by his wife, and also Mr. and Mrs. Alexander B. Fleming. They were all baptized on Friday, July ioth, at the mill below town. Mr. Forward's baptism made no little stir; for he was a prominent lawyer, had served in both houses of the State Legislature, and since 1825 has been in the National House of Representatives. Mr. Fleming was also a lawyer....

    "Notwithstanding the radical doctrinal changes already indicated, and the offishness of the Jersey Church, the Somerset Church still believed itself to have a place among Baptists, or at least did not wish to part company with them, and sent messengers to the next Washington Association. The young but scholarly Wm. H. Postlewaite,


    one of the messengers, wrote the annual letter and emphasized with no stint the dwarfing nature and hurtfulness of human creeds. Traveling Baptist Ministers were as welcome as before to occupy the Somerset pulpit. Both in 1828 and after the above meeting in 1829, William Shadrach,... was called in to administer baptism. Whatever may have been his views, the candidates understood the ordinance to be for the remission of sins."

    This picture of the contact of a local church with the other churches, through their delegates, at an associational meeting, demonstrates the vigorous and intense discussions on those days of a century and more ago. The minutes of the Redstone Baptist Association do not show all of the actions as indicated by Mr. Vogel, and the Baptist version of the great session at Redstone Baptist Church, now at Smock, Pennsylvania, is that Mr. Campbell, not as a spectator but as a fraternal delegate from the Mahoning Association in which he was so influential, injected himself fully into the discussions, and finding that he could no longer convince the delegates that his views of Scripture were the correct ones, withdrew from the meeting and mounting a great stone for a pulpit, in the woods close by the meeting-house, drew the half of the congregation with him, and thus by his eloquent discourse induced them to part with their brethren. It was a day of historic cleavage, when the great Christian Church, otherwise known as the Disciples of Christ, had their organic formation. As indicated in the Vogel narrative, the Campbells and other preachers prosecuted a vigorous ministry throughout southwestern Pennsylvania and eastern Ohio. In some instances whole churches were induced to change their denominational allegiance, and at other points Christian churches were established in the larger communities, side by side with the older Baptist churches.

    There was much bitterness in the discussions at times, but in spite of that, the veteran Baptist, Dr. James Estep, who had been through the controversy with the Campbells, said quite a few years afterwards that if the brethren of the Redstone Association had treated the Rev. Alexander Campbell right, he would never have walked out of the meeting at Big Redstone with the large company that followed him. Mr. Campbell later established himself on a plantation at Bethany, West Virginia, where the most prominent college of the denomination was established also, with Mr. Campbell as its president. He was


    quite ready in deate, and at one time had quite a discussion with Archbishop Purcell, of Cincinnati, a Catholic prelate, in which he defended the position of the Baptists in their interpretation of the Scriptures, as against the Catholics.

    The Legislature of Virginia granted a charter for Bethany College in 1840, which was located near the old plantation of Alexander Campbell, in Brooke County, now a part of West Virginia, and the college began its sessions in 1841. Other college institutions of the denomination are: Hiram College, of Hiram, Ohio; Butler College, at Indianapolis, Indiana; and Drake University, at Des Moines, Iowa. After the disbanding of the old Mahoning Association, the extension work of the denomination was conducted by the Christian Association of Washington, Pennsylvania, whichwas later superseded by the American Christian Association, established in 1849. Rev. Alexander Campbell was the first president of Bethany College, serving until 1866, and his successors through the years have been: Dr. W. K. Pendleton, Dr. W. H. Woolery, Dr. Archibald McClain, Dr. Hugh Diarmid, Dr. Thomas E. Cramblet, Dr. Cloyd Goodnight, and the present president, Dr. Wilbur H. Cramblet....


    The Redstone country was not only the scene of pioneer military operations, governmental and legal differences as between the colonies of Pennsylvania and Virginia, and of the Whiskey Insurrection, but it was also the scene of an important religious controversy, which resulted in the formation of a new and influential religious denomination, known as the Christian Church, and which extends to all parts of the country. The Big Redstone Baptist Church, near Smock, Fayette County, was the scene of this rift in the rank and file of Baptists. Any historical discussion of the differences which existed among these brethren cannot be included here, but the historic ground where it occurred, and the manner of its occurrence, are matters which should be historically preserved.


    The minutes of the Redstone Baptist Association are the best evidence of the actions of these brethren towards each other. In its minutes of Sunday, September 6, 1812, the Rev. Alexander Campbell, of Washington County, preached his first sermon before the Redstone Association, "of very uncomnion length." he and his father, Rev. Thomas Campbell, first became delegates to the Redstone Association meeting at its 1815 meeting, from the Brush Run Church. In the minutes of September 2, 1815, there appear these two items:

    "5. A letter from a Church at Washington was read, requesting union with this association, which was unanimously granted. 6. Likewise a letter was received, making a similar request, from a church at Brush Run; which was also granted."

    At the meeting of 1816, Rev. Thomas Campbell presented the letter of a number of "baptized professors," in the city of Pittsburgh, requesting union with the association. He was given a seat in the meeting, however, but his request for the congregation was not granted. Rev. Alexander Campbell was delegate to the Brush Run Church to this meeting. At the meeting of September 2, 1817, held at the Peter's Creek Church, Library, the Rev. James Estep was moderator, and the Rev. Alexander Campbell, clerk. The latter was successively clerk at the sessions of 1818 and 1819, and at the session of 1820 he was moderator. Differences in Scripture interpretation began to creep into the associational meeting during 1824 and 1825, when the condition of the churches at Washington and Brush Run came in for an investigation.

    Both Thomas Campbell and Alexander Campbell were delegates to the associational meeting of August 31, 1821, held at Ruffs Creek,


    Greene County, and at the meeting in Washington on August 31, 1822, the former preached the introductory sermon, both being again delegates from the Brush Run Church. The famed Sidney Rigdon was one of the delegates from the First Baptist Church of Pittsburgh, and these four preached sermons during the meeting: Reverends Thomas Rigdon, Sidney Rigdon, James Estep, and Alexander Campbell.

    The Rev. Alexander Campbell had in the meantime transferred a church to which he ministered at Wellsburg, Virginia, to the Mahoning Baptist Association in Ohio. The Redstone Association had originally dismissed some churches to form the Beaver Baptist Association in 1809, and the Beaver Association, having grown to larger proportions, had dismissed ten churches to form the Mahoning Baptist Association in 1819. The Rev. Thomas Campbell continued to attend the Redstone meeting in 1823 and 1824, as a delegate from the Brush Run Church, and the Rev. James Estep was a delegate from the Somerset Church in the latter year. At the Ten Mile associational meeting of September 2, 182S, a memorial was presented from the Brush Run Church, but it was postponed until the next meeting.

    This action caused the Rev. Alexander Campbell to appear at the next annual meeting of the Redstone Baptist Association, held in the Big Redstone Baptist Church, at present Smock, Fayette County, on September 2, 1826. He there presented for reading a letter of correspondence from the Mahoning Baptist Association, to which objection was made, and the reading was postponed for further inquiry.

    The Redstone Association then took up further consideration of the questions concerning the Brush Run and Washington churches, with the result that both churches were disconnected with the association for all time. The heated discussion and action caused the Rev. Alexander Campbell to withdraw from the meeting, and take half of the congregation with him. He retired with them to the beautiful woods just in the background of the accompanying picture, where he used a large stone for a pulpit, and there outlined to his outdoor congregation his ideas for establishing of the great religious denomination which now call themselves the Christian Church.

    The movement headed by the Rev. Alexander Campbell spread over western Pennsylvania and eastern Ohio, and down into the Dover Baptist Association in Virginia, and through their vigorous preaching many Baptist churches went over to the new movement as a whole,


    while others were divided, and the parts of the congregation adhering to the views advanced by Dr. Campbell, established rival congregations side by side with Baptist churches in many communities. The Rev. Mr. Campbell in 1833 thus wrote of the separation, as shown by Brown's "Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge": "After some ten years debating and contending for the Bible alone and the Apostles doctrine, Alexander Campbell and the church to which he belonged united with the Mahoning Association, that association being more favorable to his views of reform.... Not until after great numbers began to act upon these principles was there any attempt towards separation."

    Some Baptist ministers of the period preached rather vigorously against the separation, and spoke of the Campbells as "theological adventurers." It remained, however, for the venerable Dr. James Estep, who had been through the whole contention at the different associational meetings, and who made perhaps as great a contribution as any toward Baptist solidarity, to say many years afterwards: "From


    the idea I had of Mr. Campbell, if he had been approached in kindness and Christian affection, he would have been induced to modify if not abandon, that sentiment, but he was treated by some of the members of the Association in a most impulsive and forbidding manner."

    One noted example of a whole congregation going over to the new denomination established by the Campbells is the Somerset Church, in Somerset County. At the meeting of the Redstone Association in 1816, the Reverends Matthew Luce, James Estep and Charles Wheeler were delegated to hold meetings at Somerset on the 2d Lord's Day in August. Beginning in 1818 and up to 1824, inclusive, delegates were sent to the Redstone Association by the Somerset Church. In the last year the delegates were its pastor, Rev. James Estep, and laymen Jacob Graft and Jonathan Younkins. Mr. Campbell took the congregation over to his new connections, and it today functions as the First Christian Church of Somerset, having one of the largest, most respected and efficient congregations in the borough....

    "Early Baptist Career
    of Sidney Rigdon"

    by Hans Rollmann
    BYU Studies Vol. 21, No. 1 (winter 1981)

  • article excerpts
  • transcriber's comments

  • Copyright © 1981 Brigham Young University Press. All rights
    reserved. Fair use excerpts presented here. full text on-line

    [ 37 ]

    The Early Baptist Career of Sidney Rigdon
    in Warren, Ohio

    by Hans Rollmann

    Undoubtedly one of the most enigmatic characters of early Disciple of Christ and Mormon history is Sidney Rigdon (1793-1876). He was onetime adviser and right-hand to Joseph Smith; he lost out against Brigham Young in the succession crisis of 1844; and, after founding an obscure sect, he died forgotten in Friendship, New York. The recent interest in Mormon beginnings has once again brought into focus the leading personalities and events of the Northeast and Midwest, and some effort has been expended to elucidate the historical significance of this early Disciple-turned-Mormon pioneer of Ohio. In the following pages I do not attempt to reinterpret this religious enfant terrible but present new biographical information on the Disciple Rigdon, information hitherto unavailable to his biographers. 1

    This new data, contained in the church record of the Baptist church in Warren, Ohio, cover his stay as a licensed -- and later as an ordained -- Baptist minister in Warren from 4 March 1820

    Hans Rollmann is an assistant professor of New Testament, Department of Religious Studies, University of Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Dr. Rollmann has published widely in the area of nineteenth and twentieth century religious and intellectual history. Articles of his have appeared in Journal of the History of Ideas, Journal of the American Academy of Religion, Religious Studies Review, and The Downside Review.

    1 Historians of both religious groups have until now devoted little concentrated scholarly effort to the Disciple-Mormon encounter on the Western Reserve. The Disciple contribution is negligible. Only the following unpublished studies have come to my attention: Joseph Welles White, "The Influence of Sidney Rigdon upon the Theology of Mormonism" (M.A. thesis, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, 1947); Leslie Howard Payne, "A Comparative Study of Mormon and Disciple Histories" (M.A. thesis, Butler University, Indianapolis, 1960), with a good historical sketch on pp. 108-25; Agnes M. Smith, "Mormonism on the Western Reserve (1830-1840)" (Seminar paper, Western Reserve University, 1960, located at Disciples of Christ Historical Society, Nashville -- hereafter cited as DCHS); Thomas Lee Scott, "Apostasy on the Western Reserve: Selected Disciples of Christ Experiences in the 1830's" (Paper delivered at Phillips University, Enid, Okla., 1978, DCHS), sketchy, neglects sources. --- An examination of local Disciple histories from the Western Reserve deposited at DCHS was disappointing in its lack of information regarding the early Disciple-Mormon interaction. The church histories of Austintown, Painesville, Mantua, Newton Falls, (New) Lisbon, Hiram, and Elyria rely mainly on Amos Sutton Hayden's Early History of the Disciples in the Western Reserve, Ohio (Cincinnati: Chase and Hall, 1875). An exception to this rule is the recently published Mentor Christian Church Sesquicentennial Scrapbook (Mentor, Ohio: n.p. 1978) with valuable information on the early Disciple-Mormon encounter. Important, not for its sources but for its mature analysis, is the unpublished paper of Harold E. Davis, "Early Religion in Hiram" (Hiram, Ohio, 1939, DCHS). For histories of the Pittsburgh churches, see footnote 10.

    [ 38 ]

    to 5 January 1822. 2 On the basis of this information, more light can be shed upon the early career of Sidney Rigdon.

    The first biographical sketch of Sidney Rigdon -- ostensibly based on information provided by Elder Rigdon himself -- appeared in 1843 in a series of articles entitled the "History of Joseph Smith" in the Times and Seasons. 3 Here it is stated that after receiving his preaching license from the Regular Baptist in Pennsylvania in 1819, Sidney Rigdon moved to Trumbull County, Ohio, in May of 1819. He took up residence there in July with Adamson Bentley, an ordained Baptist minister, who with Sidney Rigdon became influential in the Baptist reform movement under the leadership of Alexander Campbell. In Warren, he met Phebe Brooks, formerly of Bridgetown, Cumberland County, New Jersey, whom he married on 12 June 1820. He preached in the district until November 1821, leaving Warren in February 1822 to take charge of the First Baptist Church of Pittsburgh. These are the lean data in the Times and Seasons regarding Sidney Rigdon's first ministerial occupation.

    In 1899 in a series on "The Life and Labors of Sidney Rigdon" in the Improvement Era, 4 Assistant Church Historian John Jacques follows the account of the Times and Seasons exactly without providing additional historical information on the Warren period. So also do all subsequent historians with the exception of Rigdon's son John Wycliffe, who lectured in the 1890s at Alfred University in upstate New York on the life of his father. 5 The lecture notes were

    2 Later, when the Baptist reformers under the leadership of Alexander Campbell separated from the Baptists proper, the church was called "Warren Central Christian Church." A microfilm copy of the church record is located at DCHS and is quoted here with permission of the Society.

    3 Times and Seasons 4 (1 May 1843): 177-78.

    4 The early period is treated in the Improvement Era 3 (December 1899): 97-109.

    5 There is also a brief biographical sketch on Sidney Rigdon in The History of Friendship (Friendship, N. Y.: Friendship Sesquicentennial Corporation, 1965), pp. 53-54, which reports some interesting -- yet legendary -- details regarding Rigdon and his relatives in Friendship, hitherto not made available to a larger reading audience. (This history was edited by Arlene Hess, a friend of Josephine [Jessie] Rigdon, the last surviving grandchild of Sidney Rigdon.) According to The History of Friendship:
    "One of his (Rigdon's) sons-in-law, George Robinson was the founder and first president of First National Bank. Many stories were told about Robinson and his fear of someone on the corner of Main and East Water Street -- the Hatch House -- has bars on the lower windows. There have been stories that Mr. Robinson might have bettered his financial state with the aid of purloined Mormon money and feared reprisal. --- After Rigdon's death representatives of the Mormons requested a grandson, Edward Hatch, permission to inspect papers left by Rigdon for a clue to a secret which he had said he might reveal but never did. The request was refused. Some believe that Rigdon had intended to reveal his connection with the Spaulding book. A son, John Rigdon, was asked by Mormon officials to come to Salt Lake City and write an account of his father's connection with the Mormon religion. There is no record that he did so. --- Sidney Rigdon was one of the charter members of the local Masonic Lodge."

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    published in 1966 by Karl Keller in Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought. 6

    In addition to the information provided in the Times and Seasons, John Wycliffe Rigdon states in this short life sketch that the Baptist minister under whom Sidney Rigdon studied "theology" in Pennsylvania belonged to the Regular Baptists. He does not elaborate on his father's stay in Warren but summarizes: "After getting his license to preach, he went to Pittsburgh and preached a short time there and then went to the town of Warren, Trumbull County, in Ohio, and remained there about two years." 7 Of significance here is the report of a short preaching engagement in Pittsburgh after leaving his home church in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, and prior to his stay in Warren. This intervening period, not mentioned by any of his biographers, fits well the church record of the Baptist church in Warren, which dates Sidney Rigdon's arrival in Warren on 4 March 1820 and not, as the Times and Seasons and all subsequent historians do, in May of 1819. The entry of 4 March 1820 reads: "Bro. Sidney Rigdon presented his letter of dismission from the Church of Christ called Providence Pa. dated Augt 4th 1819 and Bro. Jacob Smith presented his letter also from the Church of Christ called 3rd Baptist Church of Christ in Middleborough Mass.tts and were both cheerfully received, into full fellowship." 8 Sidney Rigdon, being a licensed minister, may have served for a short time in Pittsburgh under the tutelage of John Davis, Obadiah Newcomb's successor to the pastorate. 9 John Wycliffe Rigdon does not mention for which Baptist church Sidney Rigdon preached, but it was most likely the future First Baptist Church of Pittsburgh, the only Regular Baptist church in Pittsburgh proper. If it were the First Baptist Church of Pittsburgh, the invitation he received in 1822 to become its full-time minister may be understood better historically on the basis of this previous

    6 Karl Keller, ed., "'I Never Knew a Time When I Did Not Know Joseph Smith': A Son's Record of the Life and Testimony of Sidney Rigdon," Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought 1 (Winter 1966): 15-42. The lectures notes of the original lecture are owned by members of the Rigdon family, with a copy located in Special Collections, Harold B. Lee Library, Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah. A further copy is located in the Washington State Historical Society. A larger unpublished "Life" by John Wycliffe Rigdon, deposited in the Church Historian's Office in Salt Lake City, provides no additional information on the Warren period.

    7 John Wycliffe Rigdon, Lecture Notes, p. 6; Keller, ed., "A Son's Record of Sidney Rigdon," p. 20.

    8 Church Record, Warren Central Christian Church, p. 69. It seems that A. S. Hayden, when writing his Early History of the Disciples in the Western Reserve, Ohio, had this record available. For he writes on p. 92: "March 4th [1820], following, Sidney Rigdon was received into membership, and licensed April 1st, to preach."

    9 O. Newcomb became minister in 1818 and John Davis in 1820 (cf. Joel van Meter Stratton, "History of the First Baptist Church of Pittsburgh, Pa." [Closing services of the First Baptist Church, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania: in the buildings erected 1867 and 1875, Sunday, March 6th, 1910 including the historical discourse. (Pittsburgh: n.p., 1910)], p. 8; see also Redstone Baptist Association Minutes [1818], p. 3, and [1819], p. 3).

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    acquaintance with the congregation. 10 Besides the common associational affiliation of this church with Rigdon's former church (Peter's Creek), David Philips, the preacher under whom Sidney was said to have begun studying for the ministry, was co-organizer of the First Baptist Church in Pittsburgh. 11

    The reason for the discrepancy in dates will perhaps always remain unknown. Granted that the biographical article on Sidney

    10 At the time, there were three "Baptist" congregations in the city. Sidney Rigdon's future congregation had been formed in 1812 by the Rev. Edward Jones and six Regular Baptist families from New England. As the church became affiliated with the Redstone Baptist Association, Alexander Campbell -- whose Brush Run church held the same associational membership -- preached there occasionally. An independent group holding Haldane Restitutionist convictions was led by Walter Scott, who had taken the church over from his mentor George Forrester after Forrester had drowned in the Allegheny River in 1820. Since A. Campbell's acquaintance with Walter Scott in the winter of 1821-1822, the two churches exhibited fraternal relations but remained independent. Whether the churches formally united in 1824 is doubtful and cannot be firmly documented. For the history of Baptist origins in Pittsburgh see esp. James A. Trewolla, "A History of the Disciples of Christ in Pittsburgh" (B.S.T. thesis, Western Theological Seminary, Pittsburgh, 1934), pp. 7-45. See also Robert Richardson, Memoirs of Alexander Campbell (1897; reprint ed., Nashville: Gospel Advocate, 1956), 2:99; cf. also 2:42-48, and Hayden, Early History of the Disciples, p. 64, where, contrary to Richardson's Campbell biography (vol. 2, p. 47), the church for which Sidney Rigdon preached is described as small in size. Cf. also Stratton, "First Baptist Church of Pittsburgh," p. 9. Dwight E. Stevenson's assumption that Sidney Rigdon did not meet Walter Scott until March of 1828 in Warren is clearly mistaken (see Dwight E. Stevenson, Walter Scott, Voice of the Golden Oracle: A Biography [St. Louis: Christian Board of Publication, 1946], p. 91). See also Henry K. Shaw, Buckeye Disciples: A History of the Disciples of Christ in Ohio (St. Louis: Christian Board of Publication, 1952), p. 44. --- From 1815 to 1817 there existed in Pittsburgh also a small congregation under the leadership of Thomas Campbell, Alexander Campbell's father, who had moved to the city from Cambridge, Ohio, in the fall of 1815 in order to establish a private school. When he applied for association membership for his church in the Redstone Baptist Association in 1816, he was refused membership on doctrinal grounds. After Thomas Campbell's removal from Pittsburgh in the spring of 1817 it merges with yet another congregationally autonomous group, of Haldane persuasion, under the leadership of John Tassey. Samuel Church and John Tassey now presided jointly over the amalgamated congregation. (See Trewolla's "A History of of the Disciples of Christ in Pittsburgh," pp. 7-45 and the helpful map on p. 89. See also Archibald Campbell's sketch in Alexander Campbell's Memoirs of Elder Thomas Campbell: Together with a Brief Memoir of Mrs. Jane Campbell [Cincinnati: H.S. Bosworth, 1861],pp. 123-25.) The two modern biographies of Thomas Campbell shed no new light on the existence or fate of his Pittsburgh church (See William Herbert Hanna, Thomas Campbell: Seceder and Christian Union Advocate [Cincinnati: The Standard Publishing Company, 1935], pp. 1939-40, and Lester McAllister, Thomas Campbell: Man of the Book [St. Louis: The Bethany Press, 1954], pp. 174-80). --- This is not the place to deal with the Pittsburgh church situation in detail. However, since the literature is little known, the following is a list of Disciple and Baptist literature on the First Baptist Church of Pittsburgh:
    Disciple Literature:
    Trewolla, "The History of the Christian Churches in the Pittsburgh Area"; Ray Emeson Stahl, "A History of the Central Christian Church of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania" (B.D. thesis, School of Religion, Butler University, Indianapolis, 1943); John A. Jayne, "Pittsburgh and the Disciples," Christian Evangelist 23 (1909); 1208; A. Chatley, "Early Reminiscences of the Christian Church in Pittsburgh," Christian Standard (16 October 1909), pp. 1812-15; "Some Noted Pittsburgh Pioneers," Christian Standard (16 October 1909), pp. 1815-16; W.H. Graham, "A Brief History of the First Christian Church Pittsburgh, P.A. (Formerly Allegheny)" (Paper, 1915, located DCHS); Percy A. Davis, "Pittsburgh Church History" (Paper read before the Western Pennsylvania Christian Ministers Assocation, 12 February 1951, located at DCHS); "Brief History: First Christian Church," The Service of Dedication April 5, 1964: The First Christian Church of Pittsburgh, DCHS.
    Baptist Literature:
    J.G. Lauderbaugh, The Seventy-Fifth Anniversary of the Fourth Avenue Baptist Church (Pittsburgh: n.p., 1887); Joel van Meter Stratton, History of the First Baptist Church of Pittsburgh, Pa.; Centenary of Organized Baptist Work in and about Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (1812-1912) (Pittsburgh: Pittsburgh Baptist Assocation, 1913); The First Baptist Church of Pittsburgh (Pittsburgh: n.p., 1925); William Russell Pankey, History of the Churches of the Pittsburgh Baptist Association (Philadelphia: Judson Press, 1939).

    11 Lauderbaugh, Fourth Avenue Baptist Church, p. 4.

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    Rigdon in the Times and Seasons, upon which all subsequent historians have relied, was written on the basis of information provided by Elder Rigdon himself, the discrepancies might be due to an oversight on his own part. The question then arises, however, as to why the son, writing nearly fifty years later, was so accurately informed about the Baptist period of his father.

    The interim ministerial service of Sidney Rigdon in Pittsburgh may have been omitted purposefully in the Times and Seasons article of 1843 in order to avoid playing into the hands of those who had advanced the Spaulding theory on the origin of the Book of Mormon. The theory, advanced by Dr. Philastus Hurlbut and Eber D. Howe, considered Sidney Rigdon responsible for acquainting Joseph Smith with the native American romance of Solomon Spaulding, the alleged source for the Book of Mormon. 12 Rigdon's late arrival in Pittsburgh -- in 1822 instead of 1819 -- features prominently in the apologetics against the Spaulding theory. 13 John Wycliffe Rigdon's lecture, apparently based upon reminiscences of his father, and the

    12 For a critical discussion of the theory, see the appendices in Isaac Woodbridge Riley, The Founder of Mormonism: A Psychological Study of Joseph Smith, Jr. (New York: Dodd, Mead & Company, 1902), pp. 369-95, and Fawn M. Brodie, No Man Knows My History: The Life of Joseph Smith (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1946), pp. 419-33. --- The recent attempt by Wayne L. Cowdrey, Howard A. David, and Donald R. Scales (Who Really Wrote the Book of Mormon? [Santa Anna: Vision House, 1977]) to prove once again the Rigdon-Spaulding connection is even to the independent historian entirely unsatisfactory. Excluding from this observation the first two self-contained appendices ("Book of Abraham," pp. 190-96, and "Joseph Smith, Peepstone Gazer," pp. 197-99), the "startling new discovery" relies on probability judgments regarding the identity of handwriting in an unidentified portion of the autograph version of The Book of Mormon and that of Spaulding's handwriting in topically unrelated specimens located at Oberlin College, Ohio. The thesis assuming two different works by Spaulding -- that of Manuscript Story, acquired in 1885 by James H. Fairchild, president of Oberlin College, and Manuscript Found -- is legitimated by the same contradictory and historically distant "testimonies" rejected by Riley and Brodie earlier. The literary impossibility of the Dartmouth graduate Spaulding's having written Manuscript Story does not need to be repeated in light of Riley's researches, researches entirely neglected by the authors of the recent expose. Also, the cloud of witnesses mustered in support of the Rigdon-Spaulding connection consists of sources collected at the height of anti-Mormon feelings in the second half of the nineteenth century and finds no corroboration from earlier testimony. On account of its sensational character and the lack of the most basic scientific conventions, the alleged expose hardly deserves scholarly attention. A book dealing primarily with Sidney Rigdon which does not refer a single time to the only two scholarly biographies available -- those of Daryl Chase and F. Mark McKiernan -- loses its scientific credibility. --- The section pertaining to our topic of investigation, Rigdon's earlier career (pp. 92-94), reveals a similar neglect of primary and secondary literature. As we shall demonstrate, Sidney Rigdon was not ordained "during 1818 or 1819" as the authors claim, but between April and August of 1820. That after his dismissal in 1823 as minister of the First Baptist Church in Pittsburgh he "moved... [from] the Baptists to the Disciples (Campbellites)" is an incorrect assessment of the situation. Until the dissolution of the Mahoning Association in 1830, the Disciples were not a sociologically or theologically sharply profiled group. The reform views of Alexander Campbell were held by Adamson Bentley and Sidney Rigdon at least since their meeting with Campbell in 1821. Besides Bentley and Rigdon, most ministers of the Mahoning Association entertained these reform views without severing ties with the larger Baptist body until 1830. Rigdon's dismissal from Pittsburgh was not an event unrelated to the reform cause but was initiated by the opponents of Campbell in the more conservative Redstone Baptist Association, to which Rigdon's Pittsburgh church belonged.

    13 Riley, The Founder of Mormonism, p. 382; see especially The History of the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (Independence, Mo.: Herald House, 1967), 1:141; Mark McKiernan, The Voice of One Crying in the Wilderness: Sidney Rigdon, Religious Reformer, 1793-1876 (Lawrence, Kans.: Coronodo Press, 1971), p. 38; and Daryl Chase, "Sidney Rigdon: Early Mormon" (M.A. thesis, University of Chicago, 1931), p. 54.

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    conclusions drawn from the church record in Warren, locate him in Pittsburgh in 1819, three years earlier than the anti-Spaulding writers suggest. If we assume that in order to facilitate the interim charge even previous association of Sidney with Pittsburgh is likely, especially in light of the geographical proximity of Peter's Creek to Pittsburgh, the common Redstone associational affiliation of the church with the Pittsburgh church, as well as the personal contact of Peter's Creek pastor David Philips with the Pittsburgh church, it may have been historically possible -- but unlikely -- that Sidney Rigdon met Solomon Spaulding (who died in 1816) or the printer in whose office Sidney was said to have read the manuscript. However, the time frame still does not establish any link with Joseph Smith, the necessary basis for the Spaulding theory. Also, the Jacob Smith of Middleborough, Massachusetts, who, according to the church record, was jointly received into membership of the Warren church with Sidney Rigdon, is unrelated to Joseph Smith. The new data advanced in the preceding pages in no way support the Spaulding theory; they do provide, however, a possible motive for Rigdon's deletion in the Times and Seasons biography of reference to his first Pittsburgh stay. That such deletions for polemical purposes are not uncommon is attested throughout the history of religions in general and of Christianity in particular.

    However, our knowledge of Sidney Rigdon's assumed brief stay in Pittsburgh rests chiefly on an interpretation of the church record in Warren in light of his son's testimony and is far from being conclusive. Unfortunately, the early church records burned in the great conflagration of Pittsburgh in 1845 and thus cannot be consulted to settle this point. 14

    14 Mr. Thomas J. Gregory interprets the evidence differently in his forthcoming study on Sidney Rigdon. He assumes the chronology of the Times and Seasons to be correct and believes that Rigdon's move to Warren was necessitated by the resignation of Adamson Bentley, the previous minister. The amelioration of ecclesiastical affairs brought about a reinstitution of the old minister and thus shattered Rigdon's original hopes of becoming minister there. And yet, "for some reason which only be guessed at -- perhaps to study with Bentley -- Rigdon decided to join the Warren Church and was accepted as a member on 4 March 1820" (pp. 4-5). This reconstruction has no verification from the sources. The church record in Warren does not evidence such a motivation on Rigdon's part. It is silent about Sidney Rigdon until his placing membership in March of 1820. Furthermore, it would be psychologically unsound to assume a cordial rapprochement of Rigdon and Bentley in March of 1820 had Rigdon previously hoped to benefit from the church strife. Besides, the time during which Adamson Bentley asked to be released from his "pastoral care" was very short, short enough to make a request of this capable independent congregation for outside ministerial help unlikely. --- Despite my disagreement with Thomas J. Gregory on this issue, his forthcoming study on Sidney Rigdon is on the whole the most thorough treatment yet offered. For its employment of primary sources alone, the study will prove to become a sine qua non for future research on Sidney Rigdon. Thanks are due to Mr. Gregory for providing me with a copy of his research and for suggesting a few more sources for Rigdon's early life.

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    The early history of Sidney Rigdon emerges as follows:

    In 1817 he became a member of Peter's Creek Baptist Church. 15 Founded in 1773, Peter's Creek Baptist Church originally belonged to the old Redstone Baptist Association 16 and later, in 1840, to the Pittsburgh Association, whose churches were situated "in different directions around the city, but mostly south and east." 17 The Reverend David Philips, Rigdon's pastor, a native of Wales and the outstanding preacher of the district, had held the longest pastorate in the church's history. Still, during his tenure as minister the former

    15 Peter's Creek Baptist Church in Library, Pennsylvania, is still in existence today. Sidney Rigdon's presence there in 1817 is attested by a fragile old sheet of paper, taken from a larger notebook, with the following notation: "A list of Members of the Peter's Creek Regular [sic] Baptist from its organisation [sic] in 1773 to the present time as near as can be assertained [sic] to the present time... 1817 Sidney Rigdon." According to the church's historian, Mrs. Vaughn P. Chapman, the list seems to have been compiled in the late 1880s from older records (personal communication of May 1978). Robert Patterson, "Solomon Spaulding and the Book of Mormon," in History of Washington County, Pennsylvania with Biographical Sketches of Many of its Pioneers and Prominent Men, ed. Boyd Crumrine (Philadelphia: L. H. Everts & Co, 1872), p. 431, gives 31 May 1817 as the date of Rigdon's joining Peter's Creek church. Samuel Williams, minister of the First Baptist Church of Pittsburgh from 1827 to 1856, reports the following details regarding Rigdon's conversion and stay at Peter's Creek:
    Sidney Rigdon was reared on a farm about twelve miles from the city of Pittsburgh, situated near to the Peter's Creek Baptist House of worship. He professed to experience a change of heart when a young man, and proposed to join the church under the care of Elder David Philips. But there was so much miracle about his conversion, and so much parade about his profession, that the pious and discerning Pastor, entertained serious doubts at the time in regard to the genuineness of the work. He was received, however, by the church, and baptised by the Pastor, with some fears and doubts upon his mind. Very soon, Diotrephes like, he began to put himself forward and seek the preeminence, and was well nigh supplanting the tried and faithful minister who had reared, and nursed, and fed the church, for a long series of years. So thoroughly convinced was father Philips by this time, that he was not possessed of the spirit of Christ, notwithstanding his miraculous conversion, and flippant speech, that he declared his belief, "that as long as he (Sidney) should live, he would be a curse to the church of Christ!" (S. Williams, Mormonism Exposed [Pittsburgh: n.p., (1842?) ], pp. 1-2; the title is not listed in Chad J. Flake's A Mormon Bibliography: 1830-1930 [Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press, 1978].)

    Williams's remarks on Rigdon's character may well be anti-Mormon projections into the early life of the apostate. The intensity of anti-Mormon feeling among the Baptists is well illustrated in I. M. Allen's sketch of the Pittsburgh church in The United States Baptist Annual Register and Almanac, 1833 (Philadelphia: T. W. Upstick, 1833), p. 131:
    "His [John Davis's] successor was Mr. Sidney Rigdon, a superficial, flippant man, who for a season promised some usefulness, but, soon embracing the errors of Alexander Campbell, rent the church in pieces, until only fourteen out of ninety-six members remained on the original ground of their constitution. After prosecuting the work of destruction for two years, Mr. Rigdon was excluded from the connection. He then engaged in the business of destroying churches and propagating Campbellism in the State of Ohio, until he found the book of Mormon to be superior to the Bible for the accomplishment of his favorite object -- the common-stock system. This infatuated man is now deluding the ignorant, and transporting his disciples to the New Jerusalem, where they are starving for the necessaries of life.

    For a historical sketch of the church, see Pankey, Churches of the Pittsburgh Baptist Association, pp. 3-6. A church history covering the early period, written on the occasion of the church's 125th anniversary, is reprinted in Centenary, pp. 146-49.

    16 On the origin and early history of the Redstone Baptist Association, see David Benedict, A General History of the Baptist Denomination in America and Other Parts of the World (Boston: By the Author, 1813), 1:598-602.

    17 David Benedict, A General History of the Baptist Denomination in America and Other Parts of the World (New York: Lewis Colby, 1848), pp. 616-17 (entirely different edition from the one mentioned in footnote 16).

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    officer in Washington's army and company chief in the War of Independence opposed the Baptist reformers under the leadership of Alexander Campbell and resigned his pastorate in 1824 "by reason of the infirmities of age." 18 Sidney Rigdon may have started his education for the ministry under the Reverend Philips. 19

    In 1818 Sidney moved to North Sewickley on the Connoquenessing River, where he studied for the ministry under the Reverend Andrew Clark, at that time minister of the Providence Regular Baptist Church. Rigdon's arrival there is attested in the minutes of the Providence church with these words: "Feb the 27 1819 Church met [and] opened by Singing & prayer 1st Br Clark stands Moderator 2nd received & read a letter of Dismission Br Sidney Rigdon from the Church of Peters Creek and received him on the same." 20

    The Providence church belonged to the Beaver Baptist Association, which had been formed in 1810 and which was made up of Regular Baptist churches of the border area of Pennsylvania and Ohio. Andrew Clark, who served the church from 1814 to 1820, had been accepted in 1815 by the Association as an ordained minister. 21 He succeeded Sidney's cousin Thomas Rigdon, an influential preacher of the Association. 22 As there were no Baptist theological institutions on the Western Reserve, Sidney Rigdon served as ministerial apprentice with Andrew Clark, learning whatever he could from the experienced minister.

    18 Benedict, General History (1848), p. 617, and Lauderbaugh, 175th Anniversary of Peters Creek Baptist Church: Library, Pa (1773-1948), pp. 22-23. Pankey, Churches of the Pittsburgh Baptist Association, pp. 3-4, has David Philips serve for forty-four years, from 1780 to 1824. The illustrious, and later controversial, man had settled in Library after the War of Independence. Before that, he and his three brothers -- who had come to America in 1758 -- had held commissions in Washington's army, had raised a company, and had been its officers. (Centenary, p. 100.)

    19 Keller, ed., "A Son's Record of Sidney Rigdon," p. 20; however, Times and Seasons 4 (1 May 1843): 177 does not affirm this.

    20 Providence Minutes, MS, p. 95.

    21 The enigmatic resolution regarding Clark's ministerial status reads: "Resolved that the association consider the ordination of Brother Andrew Clark valid; although contrary to the established rules of this body; but as those concerned labored under want of information, the association forebear [sic] to censure" (Beaver Baptist Association Minutes [1815], p. 4). Andrew Clark -- a native of Pennsylvania -- was first licensed to preach by the Unity church in 1813. One of the co-founders of this church (founded in 1808) was Thomas Rigdon (History of the Church of the Beaver Baptist Association: From 1809 to 1860 [Pittsburgh: W. S. Haven, 1860], pp. 10-11).

    22 History of the Churches of the Beaver Baptist Association, p. 7; "History of Providence Baptist Church," Beaver Minutes (1913), p. 41. Thomas Rigdon was an influential activist of the Association. He served intermittently as clerk of the Association, participated on many committees, drafted circular letters,and preached the introductory sermons for the Association meetings. Already in 1810, when the first annual meeting was held, Thomas Rigdon is listed as its clerk. At that time he was still a licensed minister of the Regular Baptist Church in New Lisbon, which requested his ordination at the same meeting in 1810 (cf. Beaver Minutes [1810], p. 4). He was ordained on 27 October 1810 with the assistance of Sidney Rigdon's future co-worker in Warren -- Adamson Bentley -- and David Philips (cf. Beaver Minutes [1811], p. 3). Thomas Rigdon served several churches of the Association: Providence (1813-1814), Achor (1816-1818), and Unity (1824ff.) (cf. History of the Churches of the Beaver Baptist Association, pp. 7, 10, 14). He is also listed as minister of the Eliza church in 1818 (Beaver Minutes [1818], p. 3).

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    Although there was little formal ministerial education at that time, the Association throughout its history searched for an adequate modus docendi. In 1812 the Sharon church collected money for the education of young men entering the ministry, and as early as 1813 the Association raised questions in its annual meeting regarding such education. 23 In 1814 the Association recommended "the friends of the Baptist cause" provide patronage and support for the education of ministers, 24 and in 1815 eighty dollars had been collected for destitute ministerial candidates. 25 In 1816 the Association took concrete measures to provide a more formal framework for educating its future ministers. Following the example of Baptists in the Eastern States, the annual meeting resolved to draft a constitution for a "Baptist Theological Society for the education of pious young men for the Gospel ministry"; and the go ahead was given for soliciting financial support from the churches for the education of young ministers. 26 Included on the committee to draft the constitution for the Baptist Theological Society were Thomas Rigdon and Andrew Clark. For reasons unknown to the public, this resolution was rescinded in 1817, and the rather informal theological and practical apprenticeship was retained. 27

    In 1819 when the Association held its annual meeting in New Lisbon, Columbiana County, Ohio, Sidney Rigdon's name appears for the first time in its minutes. 28 He and John Rigdon, 29 another minister cousin, were invited to seats in the Association and both were part of a committee which drafted the "Circular Letter" that year. At the same meeting Andrew Clark, Adamson Bentley, and another minister were appointed to a committee which was to consider the ordination of Sidney Rigdon, provided the church applied for this ordination. 30 Until this time he had served only as a "licensed" minister.

    The distinction between an "ordained" and a "licensed" minister was a real one on the American frontier, even though the responsibilities of the "licensed" ministers at times coincided

    23 Beaver Minutes (1812), p. 5;   Beaver Minutes (1813), pp. 3-4.

    24 Beaver Minutes (1814), p. 4.

    25 Beaver Minutes (1815), p. 4.

    26 Beaver Minutes (1816), pp. 4-6.

    27 Beaver Minutes (1817), p. 5.

    28 Beaver Minutes (1819), pp. 4-6.

    29 Besides Thomas Rigdon, his two brothers John and Charles were Baptist ministers in the Beaver Association (cf. Hayden, Early History of the Disciples, p. 92). All four men -- Sidney, Thomas, John, and Charles Rigdon -- had at one time been members of Peter's Creek church. After the division of the Beaver Baptist Association, Sidney's cousins were active in the Mohican Baptist Association. In his sketch of this association, David Benedict confuses Sidney with John Rigdon (see Benedict, General History [1848], p. 888).

    30 Beaver Minutes (1819), p. 6.

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    with those of the "ordained" ones. William Warren Sweet distinguishes the two types as follows:
    There were two types of Baptist preachers on the frontier, the "licensed" and the "ordained." Licensing a preacher was the first step in the making of a Baptist preacher after he had been permitted to "exercise his gifts" by vote of the church. These licensed ministers frequently served in much the same way that the "local" or "lay" preachers among the Methodists served. That is they preached more or less at large. Frequently a congregation had several of these licensed preachers in the membership and many a Baptist church on the frontier was first gathered and finally organized by these licensed preachers. Frequently "licensed" preachers were called to take regular charge of congregations, when they were generally ordained. 31

    In order to guard against irregular ministers' taking advantage of the frontier churches, 32 the Beaver Baptist Association had retained the power "to see that persons properly qualified, are ordained pastors in the churches, and to prevent them from being imposed [upon] by irregular ministers." 33

    However, before Sidney Rigdon was ordained, he may have left for a short interim charge in Pittsburgh. 34 As demonstrated previously from the church record, he arrived in Warren on 4 March 1820. 34 Concord, the Baptist church in Warren, had been formed on 3 September 1803. 36 On 19 May 1810 Adamson Bentley became its minister, and during his tenure he became the most influential preacher of the Association. He and Sidney Rigdon were further destined to become leaders in the introduction of the Baptist reform movement of Alexander Campbell in that area. After his arrival in Warren, Sidney took residence with his future brother-in-law, Adamson Bentley, 37 and shortly therafter, on 1 April, Sidney preached a sermon at the church's "regular monthly meeting." At the same

    31 See William Warren Sweet, Religion on the American Frontier: The Baptists 1783-1830 (New York: Henry Holt, 1931), p. 40. For the distinction between the two types of ministers, the "ordained" one and the "licensed" one, see chapter three, "The Frontier Baptist Preacher and the Frontier Baptist Church," pp. 36-57, especially pp.39-41. Note also the information on p. 40, footnote 8, that "a licensed preacher could only preach, while an ordained preacher might also administer the sacraments." See also pp.40-41, footnote 8, for the texts of a "Form of ministerial license" and a "Certificate of Ordination.

    32 That such imposition was a problem is attested by the occasional warning issued by the Beaver Association in its minutes, e.g., for 1817, p. 5.

    33 "Constitution and Rules of Decorum of the Beaver Baptist Association," Beaver Minutes (1815), p. 10; for the discussion of ordination cf. also the Association's answer to the query of the Bethesda church: "We believe that it is scriptural for one minister in certain cases to ordain another, when he is fully satisfied of his qualifications and have the unanimous request of the church to which he belongs" (Beaver Minutes [1819], pp. 4-5; cf. also Beaver Minutes [1820], p. 5).

    34 See fns. 7-11.

    35 See fn. 8.

    36 For this and the following, see Hayden, Early History of the Disciples, pp. 91-92.

    37 For biographical sketches of A. Bentley, see Hayden, Early History of the Disciples, pp. 102-109, and William Baxter, Life of Elder Walter Scott: With Sketches of His Fellow Laborers, William Hayden, Adamson Bentley, John Henry and Others (1874; reprint ed., Nashville: Gospel Advocate, n.d.), pp. 135-39.

    [ 47 ]

    time, the church record attests, "Bro Rigdon requested a certificate from the Church stating his standing with us as a Member in fellowship and a lisensed [sic] Minister of the Gospel, which was granted." 38 Also on 29 April he preached to the congregation. 39 It appears that sometime between April and August of 1820 Sidney Rigdon must have been ordained, for when the Beaver Baptist Association held its annual meeting on 24 to 26 August in Connoquenessing it could report:
    In the 29th article of last year's minutes, there was a committee appointed to set apart, by ordination, the Rev. brethren Joshua Brown and Sidney Rigdon; which committee report that they have ordained the above brethren, according to the appointment of the Association. 40

    Close to his ordination date, Sidney was married to Phebe Brook on 12 June 1820. 41

    Although Sidney Rigdon was ordained and held residence in Warren, his ministry was that of an evangelist traveling in the Western Reserve, holding evangelistic meetings and preaching for small churches which could not afford a regular minister. John Wycliffe Rigdon writes that while residing in Warren his father had no "particular charge," but rather "whenever a vacancy occurred in the country, he always filled it, and in that way acquired a reputation for being a very eloquent preacher." 42 In the six months after his arrival, Sidney Rigdon and Adamson Bentley baptized in Warren and vicinity "upward of ninety persons." 43

    Another event took place during 1820 which would eventually prove significant for the spread of the Baptist reform movement, the future Disciples or Churches of Christ. The Beaver Baptist Association was divided and the newly formed Mahoning Association would become the future seedbed for Alexander Campbell's views. 44 At the annual meeting of the Association in 1819, the committee appointed for dividing the Association reported:
    "Inasmuch as several churches have requested a division of the association, we reply that we give our free consent; and we recommend to
    38 Record, Warren Central Christian Church, p.71.

    39 Ibid.

    40 Beaver Minutes (1820), p. 4. All the dates given for Rigdon's ordination by modern historians have thus to be revised or rendered more precise. Milton V. Backman considers Sidney Rigdon ordained since 1819; whereas F. Mark McKiernan, following Daryl Chase, places the ordination vaguely between 1819 and 1822 (see Milton V. Backman, "The Quest for a Restoration: The Birth of Mormonism in Ohio," BYU Studies 12 [Summer 1972]:352; McKiernan, The Voice, p. 71; Daryl Chase, "Sidney Rigdon," pp. 12-13).

    41 Times and Seasons 4 (1 May 1843): 177.

    42 Rigdon, Lecture Notes, p. 6; Keller, ed., "A Son's Record of Sidney Rigdon," p. 20.

    43 Beaver Minutes (1820), p. 27.

    44 On the Association, its history and that of its individual churches, see History of the Churches of the Beaver Baptist Association: From 1809 to 1860.

    [ 48 ]

    divide into three parts, and for general lines we propose the state line between Ohio and Pennsylvania, and another on the Tuscarawas; and the churches wishing for division are at liberty to constitute when they think proper; and the Pennsylvania division will be considered the old association, retaining the name of Beaver Association," and will meet at the same time and place stated in the minutes, and the other divisions will make their own arrangements." 45

    It was further voted "that the churches in the middle division of this Association meet at the church Salem by their delegates, on Friday before the 4th Lord's day in October next, as a convention to organize those churches into an association; and that the churches in the Western division, meet by their delegates for the same purpose on the Friday before the 4th Lord's day in June next, in church Eliza." 46 The old Beaver Association met, however, once more from 24 to 26 August 1820, at which time the report of Rigdon's ordination was communicated to the Association, and Sidney was asked with his mentor Bentley and cousin Charles to draft the "Corresponding Letter" for the year. 47 Four days later, on Wednesday, 30 August 1820, the "middle division" of the old Beaver Association met at Salem, where Andrew Clark was now minister, and formed the Mahoning Association, covering the counties of Trumbull, Portage, Mahoning, and some of Columbiana County and consisting of the churches of Warren, New Lisbon, Nelson, Youngstown, Salem, Randolph, Liberty, Mount Hope, Bazetta, and Braceville. 48 The Association adopted as its statement of faith that of the old Beaver Association. 49

    Change, however, came quickly when Adamson Bentley and Sidney Rigdon joined the reform camp under Alexander Campbell, who not only opposed the severe Calvinism of the Regular Baptists

    45 Beaver Minutes (1819), p. 6.

    46 Ibid. The other association formed was the Mohican Baptist association. An activist in this association was Thomas Rigdon. Despite an extensive search, I was able to ascertain only the minutes for 1824-1825.

    47 Beaver Minutes (1820), p. 4. The "Corresponding Letter" served as a means of communication between the various Baptist associations. David Benedict the American Baptist historian, describes the origin and development of this practice as follows:
    "The way in which our people at all distances communicated with each other to the state of their churches and their general affairs, was by means of corresponding letters for this purpose, from one association to another. In process of time, these letters were printed in the minutes of the associations; but when I first began to attend some of the oldest bodies of this kind [early 1800s], they appointed men on the spot to write to all with which they had agreed to correspond; the letters thus formed were sent to them in manuscript.... The next step was to prepare one letter of a general character for all corresponding associations, some of which were in distant States, and to print it in the minutes." (David Benedict, Fifty Years among the Baptists [New York: Sheldon, 1860], p. 87.)

    48 Minutes of the Mahoning Baptist Association (1820), pp. 1-2; the minutes can be found as "Appendix C: Minutes of the Mahoning Baptist Association (1820-1827)," in Mary Agnes Smith, "A History of the Mahoning Baptist Association" (M.A. thesis, West Virginia University, Morgantown, 1943), pp. 1-40.

    49 Hayden, Early History of the Disciples, p. 29; the full texts of its theological statements are given as appendices A and B in Smith, "A history of the Mahoning Baptist Association."

    [ 49 ]

    but also advocated a more emphatic doctrine of faith, repentance, and baptism, as well as the disavowal of the normative character of the Old Testament for "New Testament churches," weekly communion, a radical rejection of all forms of polity and church life not expressly commanded in the scriptures, the weakening of a professional clergy, and a unification scheme among the churches on the basis of the "Bible only." 50 Adamson Bentley had been impressed when reading Campbell's debate with Walker on Baptism. In the summer of 1821 when traveling through Virginia, Brothers Bentley and Rigdon visited Alexander Campbell at Buffaloe (the future Bethany, West Virginia) and after a day and a night's stay both men were won over to reform cause. 51 Later, in 1823 when the opposition from within the Baptists to Campbell's reforming views had grown dangerously and threatened the expulsion of his Brush Run Church from the Redstone Association, he and the newly formed Wellsburg church joined the Mahoning Association. They were thus protected from further persecution while retaining association with the Baptists. However, the logical consequence of Campbell's theological views, to permit in church polity only those designs specifically commanded in holy writ, was self-destructive to the Association and led in 1830 to the abolition of the Mahoning Association altogether.

    During his stay with Adamson Bentley, Sidney became a successful preacher, only occasionally preaching in his hometown, Warren. 52

    From 5 to 6 September 1821, Sidney was a member in the council of the Mahoning Baptist Association, convening that year at Palmyra, Portage County, Ohio. At the meeting, he was asked to

    50 Vehicles of Campbell's views during this time, besides his eloquent preaching, were his journal The Christian Baptist (1823-1830) and two well-publicized debates: one on 19 and 20 June 1820 with John Walker, a Seceder Presbyterian minister, on the topic of baptism; the other in May 1823 with the Presbyterian William L. Maccalla, at which time Sidney Rigdon served as secretary. Still the best concise treatment of Campbell's thought in its historical context is provided by Winfred Ernest Garrison in the book coauthored with Alfred T. DeGroot -- The Disciples of Christ: A History (St. Louis: The Bethany Press, 1958). For our period, cf. pp. 162-79, 201-206. For further literature on the movement, consult the bibliographical essay in Lester G. McAllister and William E. Tucker, Journey in Faith: A History of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) (St. Louis: The Bethany Press, 1975), pp. 463-88. Regarding A. Campbell's differences with and ultimate separation from the Baptists, see his journals The Christian Baptist and The Millennial Harbinger. See also Benjamin Franklin and T. J. Fisher, Debate on Some of the Distinctive Differences between the Reformers and Baptists (Louisville: G. W. Robertson, 1858). Scholarly literature on the subject includes the following studies: Errett Gates, The Early Relation and Separation of the Baptists and Disciples (Chicago: Christian Century, 1904); Leo Ashby, "Influence of Alexander Campbell upon the Separation of Disciples and Baptists" (Ph.D. diss., University of Kentucky, Lexington, 1949); Thomas Elmer Pletcher, "Alexander Campbell's Controversy with the Baptists" (Ph.D. diss., University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, 1955).

    51 Cf. the report of the visit in A. Campbell's historical reminiscences in the Millennial Harbinger, 3rd ser., 5 (1848): 523; also reprinted in Richardson, Memoirs of Alexander Campbell, 2:44-45.

    52 There is an entry in the church record of 1 September 1821, on which date Sidney Rigdon preached in Warren; but otherwise he was mainly on the circuit.

    [ 50 ]

    become the Association's messenger to the Grand River Association and to write the "Corresponding Letter" for the next year. 53

    On 2 December 1821, nearly one-and-a-half years after their marriage, Rigdon's wife Phebe was baptized. The church record of 1 December 1821 reads:
    Examined Phebe Rigdon in regard to her religious exercise of mind and received her for baptism. Lordsday Dec. 2, Sister Phebe Rigdon was baptised. 54

    Alexander Campbell, who in 1821 still had some influence in the Redstone Association, to which the First Baptist Church of Pittsburgh belonged, perhaps helped Sidney get a pastorate at this church. 55 Sidney Rigdon left Warren on 5 January 1822. The church record attests Rigdon and his wife's departure with the words: "Bro. Bentley being absent Br. Rigdon was appointed moderator and Bro. B. Austin Clerk (pro tem). Br. S. Rigdon and Phebe his wife requested letters of dismission to the baptist Church at Pittsburgh which was granted." 56

    53 Smith, "a History of the Mahoning Baptist Association, Appendix C." pp. 6-7. The latter task remained unattended because of Rigdon's removal to the Pittsburgh church, which was under the jurisdiction of the Redstone Baptist Association.

    54 Record, Warren Central Christian Church, p. 79.

    55 Richardson, Memoirs of Alexander Campbell, 2:46. The First Church of Pittsburgh was founded in 1812. Sidney Rigdon, who succeeded John Davis, was its fourth minister (cf. Benedict, General History [1848], p. 617, and the church histories listed in footnote 10).

    56 Record, Warren Central Christian Church, p.79.


    Transcriber's Comments

    Detail from front cover of 1823 Redstone Baptist Association "Minutes"

    (under construction)

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