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rtrrif t. 


The author's apology for not leaving the performance of this 
duty to some one of riper years, and more mature judgment, is 
bis fear that those better qualified would neglect in the future, 
that which has already been neglected too long, and his convic- 
tion that it is better that some things should be done imperfectly 
than that they should not be done at all. 

The materials for the work have been obtained, chiefly, from 
the surviving pioneers— to whom the author acknowledges his 
obligations — and the facts, incidents, and in most instances the 
dates may be confidently relied upon. That the facts have not 
always been presented to the best advantage, and that there are 
infelicitous expressions and imperfections of style it is highly 
probable, but it is hoped that such errors will be looked upon 
in the spirit of that charity which " thinketh no evil." 

In the selection of those whose lives and services form the 
subject of this volume, the author has endeavored to avoid 
every appearance of partiality. In addition to a careful exer- 
cise of his own judgment, he has sought and obtained the ad- 
vice of older disciples who, in this State, have known the 
Reformation from the beginning. If many good and useful 
preachers have been passed by in silence, it is because they have 
been candidly regarded as less prominent, and because there is 
not room in one small volume for even a short history of et^ery 
good man. Others have been omitted, because it was impos- 
sible to obtain a sufficiency of definite and reliable information 
concerning them. In this class are Elders Thomas C. Johnson 
and Joseph Fassett, whose names are " written in heaven." 
They were men altogether lovely; and none are more worthy 
of a place in this humble work, from which nothing but stem 
necessity has excluded them. 

The critical reader will not fail to discover much sameness 
in many of the sketches, especially in those parts relative to the 
conversion of the persons under the systems of religion then 
prevailing, and the means by which they were finally brought 
into the Reformation. It seemed impossible to avoid this with- 
out concealing facts, or deviating from the truth ; for, in the 
words of an acute writer, '* about the same amount of groping 
is necessary to make one's way out of an atmosphere clouded 
with the smoke that ascends from Mystic Babylon." 

& — 

1 ^.'. 

ti - -.:-. - 


whichf only, the remarks io question are directed. Should they 
render the evil apparent to " any dear friend," he will perhaps 
renounce it with thankfulness ; if they do not, it is hoped that 
he will pardon the weakness that vainly essayed to point out 
that which was clearly seen. 

The engraving, and the brief history of the N. W. C. Uni^ 
versity, will not be considered inappropriate, as the Institution 
is frecjuently referred to in the sketches, and as it is the ripe 
fruit from the seed sown years ago by the venerable men whose 
deeds and characters are the main subject of this volume. 

If the book shall prolong for a single day the remembrance 
of those holy men — if it shall inspire with fresh courage only 
one soldier of the cross who is about to falter in the long line of 
battle — or if it shall in any way contribute to the edification of 
the saints, and the advancement of the Redeemer's kingdom, 
the result will be altogether satisfactory to 
















This most aged of lodtaiia'E pioneer preacbers is a 
ii»ti*« of the Empire State, born in New York city, on 
(he 13tli or June, 1T83. It will be remembertd tliat this 
WAS one Ttar before the indcpcndeDFe of the United Stales 
yns a^knowli-dpcd hy (iroat Hrilain, and suven year§ he- 
fore the first laauguratioii of Washington. lie entered 
' upon life, therefore, in the midst of a political rerolatioo ; 
and Le will fall as a soldier In an ecclesiaf^ical refonn 
'Vfran^ht witli even greater bleadinga to mankind. 

Hi* [rrandfslher. on his father's side, was a Welehraan, 
and his grandmother was a natire of old England. Hia 
mother's ancestors were Hollanders. Prior to his earliest 
recollection his pM%nts were devout Baptists. His 
mother, especially, whose maiden name was Ann Floyd, 
was one of " the holy women of the old time who trusted 
in God." She assiduously strove to bring up her sou 
"Id the nurture and admonition of the Lord;" and, 
though the outlines of her dear face have well nigh faded 
from his memory, her religious instructions are still 
plainly written on his heart. When very young, be was 
taught the Lord's prayer, and required to repeat it every 
sight ; and it is as true of this silver-haired iatber as it 
was of the joutbfiit Timothy, that "from a child he faaa 
known the Holy Scriptures." He remembers a sample 
of needlework wrought by his mother, on which were the 
fbllowing words : 

"Ann Floyd Is my Dame, 
New T«rk is my station ; 
HuBTeD will be my dwelling- pi ace. 
For Christ is my sklvatloD." 


This simple stanza he treasures up in his memory as 
an humble little monument commemorative of her ingenu- 
ity and faith in God. 

His father, Thomas Longley, was a boot - and - shoe 
dealer m the great metropolis. But, in the year 1790, a 
Baptist preacher came to New York, and persuaded him 
to sell out and emigrate to Kentucky, representing the 
village of Washington, in Mason county, as a better loca- 
tion for one in his business. Perhaps the good but short- 
sighted divine was prompted to give this advice by the 
fact that, when he left his Western home, many of the 
people of Mason county were bare-footed ; or he may 
have believed that Washington was " predestinated" to 
become a greater mart than New York. However this 
may have been, Mr. Longley set out early in the season 
with his family, consisting of his wife, four children, and 
their grandmother, then seventy-five or eighty years of age. 

In that day — 1790 — a journey from New York to the 
West was something like a journey, now, over the plains 
to the Golden State ; for in all the New World was to be 
seen no track of the iron horse. But at last they reached 
the head waters of the Ohio, and embarked, with their 
earthly possessions, in rudely-constructed boats. The 
passage down the river was long and perilous. They 
were once caught in a storm, in which they lost one of 
their boats and its cargo ; and they were several times 
fired upon by Indians from the inhospitable shore. Thus, 
early in life, Elder Longley was " in perils of waters," 
and ** in perils of the wilderness." 

About the middle of June, they disembarked at the 
mouth of Limestone creek, where Maysville now stands. 
This point was some four miles from Washington, to 
which place they made their wav, expecting to be re- 
ceived and entertained for awhile by the preacher who 
had induced them to exchange the blessings of civiliza- 

Jonn LOXULBT. 13 

Uon K>r the priv&ttone of frontiv life. But, whi-n tlii-T 
jip|>t>*rv<l liefiifc the iimrbn's cabla, tie infomiMl tJMin 
that th«ry couM out be adniilted — lliat they must pilcb 
thHr ivote h others had cJoDfi, and dwell tber^io nnUI 
thev conid erect a cabin for tfaem^hra. Finally, ike 
bfiepi rail lies of a Mr. Cox were extended to them, and 
gladly aeceiMed. He had a bew«d-log hotis«, with two 
amaU ruuuiK, aod • good puncheon Qoor. In ilild the 
two fatnilies lired. on Ibrras of the clog^rt intinisey. nntU 
Mr. Iroogley could select a site, aod erect thereon a dw«U- 
tDjF- Thus this pioneer family, like the Trojan hero, 
" bavi])^ been tossed about ninch. both en land and water, 
suffered many thtn^, until they could boild" — not > 
" citr,'' but — a caAin. 

The Indiana, at that time, were very troubleaome in 
Kentucky; and, for a long while, property and life were 
in perpetual danger. Father Longley is perbips the only 
man now living who saw the celebrated Major Simon 
KentoD, when, Mazeppa-like, he took bis famous ride on 
an unbroken colt. The Indiana hod taken him prisoner, 
and, in order to amuse the papooses, had bound him upon 
the colt, to the tail of which they attached eeveral cow- 
bells. But, fortanately, the animal was one which they 
bad stolen from the whites ; and, when liberated, it fled 
home, canyiog the doomed prisoner back, very unexpect- 
edly, into the midst of his friends. 

Id the community in which such scenes transpired, 
Father Longley passed his boyhood. His educational 
sdvaDtages were therefore very limited. He had been 
sent to school a short time in New York, and he does not 
remember when he was unable to read. But, after his 
removal to the West, it was several years before an old 
Irish schoolmaster made his appearance in the neighbor- 
bood. In about five three-month terms of the common 
Bubecription schools of the eighteenth century, be com- 



pKftetl his education ; having pretty well mastered a post- 
diluvian arithmetic, which was the only text book in the 
n.athematreal department ; and having passed several times 
through the classical course, which comprised the old- 
fashioned " Si>eller-' and " Reader." 

In his fourteenth year he lost his kind mother, whose 
influence over him had ever been talisman ic. In a short 
time his father married again, and all went on smoothly 
enough for awhile ; but, finally, the children of the first 
mother were scattered abroad to give place to the fruits 
of the second marriage. John went to learn the trade 
of a tanner, being then in his eighteenth year. Unfortu- 
nately this movement brought him under the seductivo 
influences of wicked associates. The man to whom he 
was apprenticed was himself very passionate and profane. 
The others about the establishment were of like character ; 
so when he walked it was in *' the counsel of the un- 
godly," when he stood it was *' in the way of sinners," 
and when he sat it was *' in the seat of the scornful.'* 
Vnder such circumstances he soon became expert in the 
practice of sin. 

Thus things went on for a year and a half. At lengtl 
he was induced to reflect upon his condition, by hearin 
the remarks of a young woman who was relating h( 
experience at a Baptist meeting. She quoted, with gre 
feeling, the first psalm, and said many things whf 
seemed to be strangely applicable to his case. By t 
means he was led to recall the admonitions and 
request of his dying mother; and to resolve that 
would endeavor to take the cup of salvation, and 
his oft -repeated vows to the Most High. lie so 
repentance with many tears and some doubts ; for, i 
the unenlightened teaching of that day, he fearc 
he had grieved the Holy Spirit, and that it had de 


**A dungeon horrible, on all sides round. 
As one great furnace flamed : yet from those flames 
No light, but rather darkness visible, 
Served only to discover sights of woe." 

Sixty years liave passed since that night ; yet he affirms 
that he still shudders at the recollection of that terrible 
vision. When we remember that the religious teachings 
of those times exposed the sinner to an awful perdition, 
without disclosing any plain and sure way of salvation, 
it is not surprising that " in thoughts from the visions of 
the night, fear came upon him, and trembling, which made 
all his bones to shake." 

Receiving no encouragement from religious teachers, 
being *' plagued all the day long" by his shopmates, and 
having tried so often to lay hold on the hope set before 
him, which hope always eluded his grasp, he was almost 
persuaded to abandon forever the path of the just. He 
now looks back to that critical period with the feeling of 
the Psalmist, when he said, "As for me my feet were 
almost gone; my steps had well nigh sli|)pod." To all 
this difquietude, to all these shafts of ridicule, to this im- 
minent danger of giving up all aims at a holy and useful 
life, he was exposed simply because orthodoxy had sealed 
the lips of Peter that he might not instruct him — simply 
because a human creed had closed the door against Ana- 
nias, that he might not tell him that which was appointed 
for him to do. Under the gospel of Jesus Christ three 
thousand Jews sought and found pardon in a single day ; 
under that gospel the persecuting Saul, whose hands were 
red with the blood of the innocent, obtained mercy within 
the space of three days ; and had the same gospel, in its 
original purity and simplicity, been preached to this com- 
paratively innocent youth, he would have arisen without 
delay, been baptized, washed away his sins, and gone on 
his way rejoicing. 


But under the " other goepel" whit^li was prenchcd to 
him, ttud whiL-h in still advocalbd among men, he could 
uuly n^iiolve, afluf a bard coulliul in liis miud, to persevere 
in peiiilciice, in luara, aud in pravor. In this oxtn;mitjr, 
bv shut hinistrlf up in hie room on Sunduy», and spent th« 
Irours in rpftding the Ijible nnd supplicating ita Author. 
8ein)r ignorant of the arrangement of the Scriptures and 
l]i<f dtiRign of «acii part, he sought the way of lift; aa often 
in Lftviticus as in tlie Acta o/ Ike ApontUm. Liku muKt 
persons of bis and our day, be delighted moat in the 
pBftlma, and there he looked oftenest for the commands of 
tile Lvrd! One Suiulny, he happened upon tlie twenty- 
scTtfnth Paatm, wiiich greatly cheerefl his lioart. Part of it 
^applied him with courage to witlist&nd the giiica of his co- 
laborefH, and part encouraged him to " wait on (he Ijoril." 
This scripture also met his eye, and touched his heart : 
" Blessed are ye when men shall rcrile you, and persecute 
you, and say all manner of evil against you falsely for my 
sake. Rejoice and be exceeding glad, for great is yonr 
reward in heaven." This beatitude seemed to have been 
spuken expressly for his sake. Therefore he did rejoice 
as he contemplated tho heavenly reward, and, the wish 
being father to the thought, he concluded that his aina 
had at last been blotted out. 

He then determined to offer himself to the Baptist 
Church at Washington. His "espericnce" being satis- 
factory, as all experiences are, he was received; and in 
March, 1801, was immersed in the Ohio river by William 

Such was his entrance into the kingdom of God. If 
any one thinks the account of it is long and tedious, how 
does he suppose Iheir patience must be taxed who are 
compelled to pass over such a circuitous route to the king- 
dom ? If any reader of this volume l>e disponed to com- 
plain of long accounts of conversion, let him thenct-rorth 


discountenance all systems of religion that subject men 
to the necessity of having such facts connected with their 
history. In the same space might have been recorded a 
dozen such conversions as that of the "eunuch," which 
fills only half a page of a common pocket Bible. But 
many are not taught to be converted in that short and 
simple way, lest both teacher and taught should be called 
*' Campbellites." This fear is one chief obstacle in the 
way of the gospel of the Son of God. 

In May, 1804, Father Longley was married to Miss 
Francina Ilendrickson, of Fleming county, Kentucky. 
She had been brought up a Presbyterian " after the strait- 
est sect." She was a woman of sterling piety ; and, soon 
after their removal to their own house, she one evening 
placed the Bible and hymn-book upon the stand, and re- 
quested her husband to read and pray. He complied, 
with some trepidation, and from that day to this — over 
fifty-seven years — he has attended to family worship, save 
when circumstances have rendered it impracticable. The 
fact is recorded that her example may '* teach the young 

At the time of his marriage he was foreman in a tan- 
nery at Mt. Sterling. Ilis employer proved to be dis- 
honest, and withheld the most of his year's salary. On 
account of this misfortune, he returned to his father-in- 
law's in Fleming county. There he east in his lot with 
the Emancipation Baptists, whose distinguishing feature, 
the name seems to indicate, was their hostility to slavery. 

About this time he began to feel that it was his duty to 
preach, but he waited a long while for a divine call. 
Upon this point he had a long struggle, the particulars 
of which need not be related ; suffice it to say, that in 
1805 he was licensed, by the Baptist Association, to 
preach the gospel wherever God might open the way. 

In the meantime a new church was organized in the 

JOHN L<iN{ii,i:v- ig 

nrt^horbood, the members of whicb desired him to Im 
irgntmrlj' ord&loed, and to become Ilioir pastor. He fiesl- 
tated to be iird«iiii<d iii that connection, because he had 
bpgaa to call in question the doctrine of close commu- 
oion. But upuQ tbia (juestioo the brethren agreed to 
•How him Houie latitude; and, with this undera lauding, 
h« was formally e>el apart, and duly installed aa preacher 
in charge. 

It w*.- not long, hownvpr. until bis mind becurae un- 
aeilled u|ion soinr nihcr matters. Especially did liu dis- 
trust the doctrinn of eternal and unconditional election. 
While this subject was under coiisidLTation, he had another 
visiioD, which claims to be inserted, by virtue of its nor- 
etty. lie dreamed that he was preaching the gospel oC 
./ttSn Ctlmn. His words were visible, niid, like pu many 
birds, went flying out at the doors and windows, without 
producing any effect on his hearers. He sat down per- 
plespd, and left the audience in a state of -suspense for 
several minutes; when he again arose, and began lo 
preach Paut'ii gospel — that Jesus "tasted death for every 
man." Uis words then seemed sharp-pointed arrows, 
which flew straight to the mark, and pierced the hearts of 
those who heard him. Though it was but a vision, it 
left «n impression on his mind that was not favorable to 
the Calvini;>tic theory. It helped him to realize the im- 
portance of the subject, and warned him to "take heed 
to his doctrine." 

Not long after this he had an interview with liarton 
W. Stone, who had come into that neighborhood to bold 
a protracted meeting. The prejudices of Father Longlcy 
were strong, but he concluded to go and hear Elder Stone, 
expecting, no doubt, to find him a hard man. But, con- 
trary to his expectations, that holy man of God Nlirred 
up no strife, but drew all hearts after hint by (he irresisti- 
ble power of the meek, gentle, and loving spirit that 


dwelt within him. " He took me out," says Father Long- 
ley, " to hold a private conversation, and talked like a 
father to me, advising me not to give up preaching." 
After this interview he looked upon the Bible as he had 
never done before ; indeed, he seemed to realize for the 
first time that it is the Bible, the only, the all-suflBcient 
chart which God has given to guide his dear children 
from earth to heaven. 

Unsettled in mind, he went to see his father, an un- 
shaken Calvinistic Baptist, who, in their long interview, 
labored hard to prevent him from giving up the precious 
doctrine of predestination. Together they made a trip 
to Ohio, during which trip he preached the truth as far as 
he had learned it ; and it is remarkable that, as soon as 
he began to approximate to the old gospel, he began to 
meet with success. On this tour he baptized four per- 
sons, who were the first fruits of his ministry. 

When they were about to separate, his father said to 
him, ** John, I believe it is your duty to preach ; and as 
long as you preach Christ as you learn from the Bible, 
you cannot be far wrong. If they will not suffer you to 
preach what you really learn from that blessed book, you 
have a perfect right to go where you can enjoy this 

His next preaching tour was to Georgetown, Ky. 
When about to leave home, a justice of the peace, by due 
legal process, seized upon his horse, in order to satisfy 
the claims of an impatient creditor. But a friend became 
his surety for the return of the animal within ten days, 
and he went on his way. At the meeting a collection 
was raised to enable him to pay the debt. This was the 
first money he ever received for preaching. 

A short time after this, B. W. Stone and others held a 
protracted meeting at Cabin Creek, in Lewis county. 
This meeting Elder Longley and his father-in-law at- 

■ . ■ I :' . 

> ■■■ 


In the year 1813 — some twenty years prior to the 
union above mentioned — he moved over into Adams 
county, Ohio, and settled in a community of Shaking 
Quakers. He immediately began to proclaim the gospel 
among them, and such was his success that, within a 
single year, the Disciples bought out their " dancing- 
house," as Elder Longley called it, and converted it into 
a house of worship. In this house he organized a small 
church, which increased so rapidly that in a short time it 
numbered over one hundred and fifty members. They 
then built an excellent stone meeting house, which still 
stands a monument of the zeal of those early times. In 
the providence of God, Father Longley had the pleasure,, 
not long since, of preaching in the old stone house, nearly 
half a century after its erection. Like the earthly house 
of his own tabernacle, it exhibited unmistakable signs of 

After laboring a few years in Adams county, he re- 
turned to Kentucky, advocating chiefly the claims of the 
Bible, to the exclusion of all human creeds. 

About the year 1826 he removed to Cincinnati, which 
then contained a population of only about eight thousand. 
When he first saw the town, some years before, its more 
appropriate name would have been Zoar — ** a little one" 
—and from that small beginning he has seen it expand 
into its present magnificent proportions. To him belongs 
the honor of having planted the first church of Christ in 
Cincinnati ; and he has had the pleasure of witnessing a 
growth of truth almost commensurate with that of the 
city. He remained in that place some two or three 
years, during which time the Bible cause prospered in his 
hands, and his little flock increased to about sixty. In 
the meantime he was bereft of his first companion, who 
died at Cheviot, in the suburbs of the city, in the year 
1826. The following is an extract from her obituary 


notice ptiblislied in the Octoi>er number of the Christian 

"Died, August nth, the wife of Elder John Longley, 
UamiltoD County, Ohio, after en illness of about three 
weeks. From the very day on which she was taken sick, 
ylie viewed death as certain and near, and without fear 
Ulted with perfect composure about it. * * * Just be- 
foro she breathed her last, she said, 'All is peace — the 
tictory is gained — he is a God of all grace,' and yielded 
up her spirit to him who gave it, without a struggle." 
Thus with prosperity in heavenly things came adversity 
io earthly things, turning his joy into heaviness. 

The nest Spring after this sad event he once more re- 
turned with bia children to Kentucky. Not long after- 
Wd he was married to Agnes Kcndrickson. 

In the Spring of 1830 he removed to Rush county, 
Indiana. Thirty-two years ago, therefore, he began to 
plead in Indiana, for the principles which he had already 
und K.-r 


entered into his dwelling and robbed him of his second 
wife, who died in March, 1834. Within the same year 
he was again married, to his present wife, whose name 
was Emily Huntington. 

After his ill fortune in Rush county, he removed his 
family and the remnant of his merchandise to Yorktown, 
Delaware county, where he was entirely broken up in a 
second effort to maintain his family by selling goods. His 
heart and thoughts were engaged in the work of the min- 
istry, and for this reason he was unsuccessful in his at- 
tempts to "buy and sell and get gain." His failure was 
but a verification of the Saviour's dictum, ** Ye cannot serve 
God and Mammon." The great book of remembrance 
will doubtless reveal the fact that it has been verified many 
thousand times by failures in the bin^iness of .serving God, 
Father Longley is one of the few comparatively who have 
chosen to fail in things temporal rather than in things 

Though unsuccessful in his own affairs, the work of the 
Lord prospered in his hands. He built up, in Delaware 
county, a large and influential church, which still shines 
as a light in the world, holding forth the word of life. 
Among his co-laborers at that place, were Benjamin and 
Daniel Franklin, who were just then entering the field in 
which he had been reaping for thirty years. 

In 1840 he removed to Noblesvillo, Hamilton county. 
At that point he preached, with good results, for about 
four years, receiving for his labor w^hat was barely suffi- 
cient for the support of his family. 

In 1844 he went to La Fayette, where he has resided 
ever since. For several years after his removal to that 
city, the church there was under his pastoral care ; but for 
the last few years ho has been too infirm to perform the 
duties of the pastoral office. Though he has almost com- 
pleted his four score years, yet, at times, he enjoys tolera- 



my who had emerged from tbeoIo}p<;uI 

r eloquent, lie has bceii, oa all of casiona, a 
I ept^aker ; snd now tbat be ia su 
Trncisbl« — ao near the confines of the invisible world — 
his iramulopB voice alTcets his hearers oliuoat like tbe voim 
or one "sent uoto tbein frooi tbe dead." True, it does not 
_ MU air(!ct all. for many who assemble in tbe house of God 
ooly "to hear some new thing," bnvp long since become 
inipali«Dt of bis luinistrations. He boa never belonged 
- to ihM class of speakers who 

"Pill tlie altntled Rnvne, 
Witb lifelass di»wl», insipid and sarons;" 

and be is quite as far removed from that other class — so 
numerous in the former days — wbo 

" Thunder every oonplet o'er 
And almost crack jonr ears with rant and roar." 

He moves about but little in tbe pulpit; his gestures are 
few and graceful; bis delivery, calm, digniQed, earnest, 
and, at proper periods, pathetic. 

Id the society of his friends he is companionable, though 
Blightly inclined to sedatcncss. fn the family circle be 
has been indulgent to a fault. It can hardly be said that 
be 18 remarkable for bis administrative ability. 

His sincerity in the sacred cause has never been ren- 
dered doubtful by any aberrations from the path of the 
Just ; but, during the whole of bis long pilgrimage, his 
;eonduct has been, " as becometh the gospel of Christ" 

Fearlessly may he look the people of his generation in 
the face, and say, with upright Samuel, "lam old and 
gray-headed ; and, behold, my sons are with you: and 1 
have tcaiked before you from my childhood unlo this day: 



Having thus loved righteousness and bated iniquity, 
none can doubt that, when the saints shall ascend the 
throne, God, even his Ood, will anoint him with tbo oil 
of gladness. 

[the new ■r.'i<K I 







Elder Jnn?r WnirtHT woa bom in Rowan county, 
North Oftrolina. DecembiT I2tli, 1785. His mother was 
oT UermaD descent. His ancestors on Iiis father's si<I« 
came from Engliuid in very onri}' times, and settled on 
tbe ea^tero ebore of Maryland. Fruni that place they 
were acattend abroad, some making their way to the 
Cunittiias. His father was brouglit ugi among the Quakers 
or Friends ; and, singularly enough, he turned away from 
that fraternity, who baptized nonr, to the Tuukers, who 
practiced trirte immersion. He afterwards cant in his lot 
with the Dependent Baptists, among whom ho became a 

Elder Wright remained in North Carolina until be was 
alMut twelve years of age. His father then removed with 
him to Powcl's Valley, Virginiii, where he grew up to 

The most of his education he received from an old 
English gentleman by the name of Hodge, under whose 
taition he acquired a good knowledge of reading, writing, 
and arithmetic. He received from the schools no further 
preparation for either the business of the world or the 
work of the ministry ; but, having obtained the key to all 
knowledge — namely, reading — he constantly increased )rfB 
Btock of ideas by his own unassisted efforts. He was 
tolerably well informed upon general subjects, and could 
write a very respectable article, as may be seen by refer- 
ence to the Christian Record, to which he was an occa- 
sional contribator. 


From Virginia the whole family emigrated to the West, 
and settled in Wayne county, Kentucky, where, on the 
6th of January, 1803, Elder Wright was married to Miss 
Peggy Wolfescale. She accompanied him but a short 
distance on the journey of life, dying on the 12th of De- 
cember, 1805, and leaving him with an infant daughter, 
which he entrusted to the parents of its departed mother. 

After this bereavement, he engaged for two years in 
teaching school. At the expiration of this time he was 
again joined in marriage to Miss Nancy Peleer, who, for 
many years, proved a most excellent helpmate, ever ready, 
with him, to make any sacrifice for the cause of Chris- 
tianity. She also died, on the 29th of August, 1844;^and 
the following extract is from her obituary notice, written 
by T. C. Johnson, and published in the Christian Record 
for November of that year : 

" She diligently followed every good work. The ser- 
vants of God were often refreshed at her house by her 
hospitality. Saints always found her house their home ; 
and sinners were so kindly treated by her as to endear 
her to them all. In short, she was an affectionate wife, a 
tender-hearted mother, an obliging and kind neighbor, 
and a mother in Israel, whose death is felt, not only by 
her afflicted relatives, but also by the Church and the 
community in which she lived." 

Late in the year 1807 — which was very soon after his 
second marriage — he removed from Kentucky .to Clark's 
grant, Indiana Territory. 

In August, 1808, he and his wife were immersed in the 
Obio river, by William Summers, of Kentucky. He im- 
mediately united with the Baptist Church, and in the 
latter part of the same year he began to preach. Be it 
observed that this was fifly-four years ago — eight years 
previous to the admission of the Territory as a State, and 
long before the current Reformation was heard of by the 



inhftbitants of the West. He must, therefore, fiave beea 
mmoDg the very first to break the stillness of IndiaDa's 
forests with the glad ttdiDgs of salration. 

In JaDuary, 1810, he removed to Blue River, four milea 
south of Salem, Id what was theo Harrison, but now 
WasbingtoD couoty. There he entered a beautiful tract 
of laud; and, by much hard labor, opened an excellent 
farm. In a short time his father moved into the same 
neighborhood; where, in 1810, they organized a congre- 
gation of Dependent or Free Will Baptists. 

About this time they experienced serious trouble with 
the Indians; and, white the energies of the nation were 
dire.cted against Great Britain, in the war of 1812, they 
were compelled to protect themselves by forts from the 
tomahawk and scalping-knife. 

When peace and safety were restored, he entered again 
with increased zeal into the work of the ministry. He 
was assisted by his father, and a younger brother, Peter, 
who was beginning to preach with considerable s 


clared in the year 1819, when he offered, in the church at 
Blue River, a resolution in favor of discarding their party 
name, and calling themselves by some name authorized 
in the Scriptures. As individuals, he was willing that 
they should be called " Friends," " Disciples," or " Chris- 
tians;" and, as a body, "the Church of Christ," or "the 
Church of God." He opposed the term "Christian," as 
applied to the Church, because it is not so applied in the 
writings of the apostles. 

The resolution was adopted with more unanimity than 
was expected ; and the Baptist church has since been 
known as the Church of Christ at Blue River. Having 
agreed, also, to lay aside, as far as possible, their specu- 
lative opinions and contradictory theories, they presumed 
that they were prepared to plead consistently for Chris- 
tian union, and to invite others to stand with them upon 
the one broad and sure foundation. They then began in 
earnest the work of reformation, and with such success that 
by the year 1821 there was scarcely a Baptist church in 
all that region. They all took upon them " that worthy 
name," and converted their Association into an Annual 

About this time a spirited controversy on the subject 
of Trine Immersion, was going on among the Tunkers, 
of whom there were some fifteen congregations in that 
section of the country. The leading spirits in opposition 
to that doctrine were Abram Kern of Indiana, and Peter 
Hon of Kentucky. At first they contended against great 
odds, but so many of their opponents came over to their 
side that they finally gained a decisive victory in favor of 
one immersion. 

At the close of the contest, while both parties were ex- 
hausted by the war, Elder Wright recommended to the 
Annual Meeting that they should send a letter to the 
Annual Conference of the Tunkers, proposing a union of 


the two bodies on the Bible alone. The letter was written, 
and John Wright, hie brother Peter, and several others, 
were appointed as messengers to convey it to the Cod- 
fereoce and there advocate the measures it proposed. So 
successful was the expedition that at the hrst meeting the 
union was permaDently formed, the Tunkers being per- 
suaded to call themselves Christians. 

At the same annual meeting Elder Wright proposed a 
correspondence with the Newlights, for the purpose of 
forming with them a more perfect union. lie was ap- 
pointed to conduct the correspondence on the part of his 
brethren, which he did with so much ability and discretion, 
that a joint convention was assembled near Edinburg, 
where the union was readily formed. Only one church in 
all the vicinity refused to enter into the coalition, and it 
soon died of chronic sectarianism. 

A few years subsequent to this, the work of Reformation 
began to progress rapidly among the Regular Baptists of 
the Silver Crei-k Awuc-iBtiun. 'Ihis was, reniolL-ly, tlirouKh 



practice the same things. The only important difference 
between them was in regard to the design of Baptism, and 
on this point Elder Wright yielded as soon as he was con- 
vinced of his error. Through tlie influence of himself, his 
brother Peter, Abram Kern, and others, on the part of 
what was called the Annual Meeting of the Southern 
District, which was composed of those who had been Bap- 
tists, Tunkers and Newlights ; and through the efforts of 
Mordecai Cole and the Littells, on the part of the Silver 
Creek Association, a permanent union was formed be- 
tween those two large and influential bodies of believers. 
In consequence of this glorious movement, more than 
three thousand struck hands in one day — not in person, but 
through their legal representatives, all agreeing to stand 
together on the one foundation and to forget all minor 
differences in their devotion to the great interests of the 
Redeemer's kingdom. This was, perhaps, the greatest 
achievement of p]lder Wright's long and eventful life ; and 
he deserves to be held in everlasting remembrance for his 
love of truth rather than of party, for his moral courage 
in carrying out his convictions of right, and for the meek 
and affectionate spirit which gave him such power in 
uniting opposing sects and cementing them in love. 

To the happy eft'ects of this obliteration of party lines 
he testified a few 3'ears afterward. In a communicatioa 
to the October number of the Christian Record for 1845, 
he wrote as follows : 

" Beloved brethren in the Lord : — Through the permis- 
sion of our kind heavenly Father I have travelled through 
many of«the churches in the south part of the State, and 
have been abundantly comforted in the society of our good 
brethren in Christ. For many years we have seen many 
who, like the Jews and Samaritans, had no religious deal- 
ings : but when the gospel was preached by Peter to the 
Jews according to his broad commission, about three 

I JOttNWKlOHT. 35 

' tfaottmnii joyfully rocoivcd and obeyed the truth. And 

wW Philip, the i^vatigoiiBt. preu-hed W the Saiuaritaus, 

Ibejf 'helieved and were baptixed both luen aiid women.' 

And whtn tlie &&me gospel wae preached lo the Gentiles 

by Pi'lcr, they also believed and obeyed from Ihu heart 

ihe same diriue form of doctrine. Thus we see be)iev«^rs 

(Kim all the eectArian parties of that age united in one 

beitr in (.'hriat : having laid aside their former prejudices 

«h1 haired, together they put on Christ according to the 

ronstitulion of his kingdom; there was no longer Je<nr, 

Gentile, or Samarilon as formerly, but they were now all 

ptrtakers of tlie divine nature, were all made to drink into 

one Bpiril, in short they all became children of Qod — 


"So it was in Southern Indiana: formerly we had Regu- 
lar Baptists, separate baptists, German or Dunkard Bap- 
tists, free will Baptists, christian connexion, or Newlights. 
These societies in some respects were like the Jews and 
Samaritans of old; but the old gospel was preached among 
these warring sects with great power and success. Much 
of the partyism thatexisted was removed, and most of their 
party names were done away. * * * Formerly we all had 
in our respective churches much that was purely Au an 
but now, in the church of God, we have no need of the 
'mourning bench,' 'the anxious seat,' or any otl er n 
stitution of man's device ; but in the church s the place 
where the solemn feast of the Lord's body is cclel rated 
and sincere worship is offered to the Father n sp r t and 
in truth." 

It was not with the pen but with the tongu^that his 
influence was chiefly exerted. The preceding extract is, 
perhaps, a fair specimen of his composition. The st3'le, 
the capitals, and the punctuation, indicate that it is a 
genuine production of the unlettered pioneer. 

At first it was prophesied that such a union could not 



codUdus. This prediction grew out of the Ekct that tha 
msteriiis had been collected from many different denomi- 
nations : — Baptists, Newlights, Tunkers, Methodists ud 
Presbyterians. But a quarter of a century has passed 
away, and the prophecy is not yet fulfilled. On the con- 
trary, those who were young when the union was formed, 
have, in their old age, almost forgotten that they ever 
were divided. 

Alas for the interests of Christ's kingdom, that race of 
prophets ie not yet extinct I There are still those who 
tell us that " men cannot all think alike, or belong to one 
Church;" and who give thanks to God that there is a 
variety of Churches, so that all may be accommodated. 
If, in the consequent confusion, thousands of our fellows 
Bhould stumble over us into ekepticism, and finally Into 
destruction and perdition, it is no matter, if only we can 
all be " accommodated I" If Christ died for all, as the 
apostle afBrms, then all can belong to one Church ; olber- 
wiae he would have built two or more. The Lord, by 
the pen of his apostle, commands "all that in every place 
call upon the name of Jesus Christ," to " all speak the 
same thing, and to have no divisions among them." By 
this and every other positive commandment stands the 
Reformation, firm as the lone Elijah by the worship of 
the living Qod. As it fearlessly advances, sectarianism 
Gonfronta it, saying, in tlic language of the wicked Ahab, 
"An thou he thai troubtelh Israel ?" It answers, in the 
bold words of Elijali, " I have not troubled Israel, but 
thou and thy father's house, in that ye have departed from 
thfi commandmenU of the Lord." All the day long, as 
did those of old, these latter-day prophets have called 
upon God to convert the world in their way, but he has 
been deaf to all their cries. Now, therefore, in tbe ciwn- 
ing, the advocates of reform desire to call upon him ac- 


cording to hie will, confiilent. as was Elijah, thai he will 
h^ar tbeir cry and accept llicir sacrifice. 

Besides ills efforts to effect a union of all Ood's people, 
Eliirr Wright did miicb, in liie lifetime, for the caune of 
tb(> fiodccmnr. Bj tnosos of lue farm in Wai^Uinglon 
couDlf he n^as abk, without much labor, to maku n coai- 
fbrtable liviug ; and, as he aougbt to lay up no treasure 
on earth, he devoted the greater part of bis time to the 
work of the ministry. Through lack of records it is irn- 
poaeible to follow him from year to year, giving a detailed 
account of bis labors and Eucceases in the gospel. Suf- 
fa* It to say. that for more than forty years he preaclied 
mucli, and with good results, in Wsghiiigton and several 
utlier counties of eoutheastem Indiana. The people bad 
unbuuiiiled euiiSdeiife in bie piifty and juiigiiieiit, and 
wherever he went they were to a great extent under his 

On the death of his second wife, in 1844, he sold his 
farm to his son Ran.som, reserving one room of the house 
for his occasional use during the remnant of his days. 
Afterwards he spent nearly all his time among the breth- 
ren, comforting, establishing, strengthening them. 

In addition to his labors, he also sacrificed much for 
the support of the gospel. In the good providence of 
God, his father, step-mother, all of his brothers, sisters, 
and children were zealous members of the Church of 
Christ. Hia father and hia four brothera — Peter, Levi, 
Joshua, and Amos — were all preachers of the " repent- 
ance and remission of sins" that began at Jerusalem. Uis 
youngest son died on the 19th of Novemlier, 1843; and 
Christianity had made bright his pathway to the tomb. 
He therefore felt that he could never give too much in 
support of that gospel which had given so much ponce, 
and joy, and hope to his family. Often did he borrow 
money to Aetray hia expenses to his appointments ; and 



sometimes, through the illiberality of the brethren, he wm 
compelled to resort to the same expedient in order to get 
home. He used to purchase wine at high rates, and 
carry it forty or fifty miles in his saddle-bags, in order that 
he might show forth the Lord's death with his brethren. 

During the first years of his ministry, he never so much 
as expected any remuneration for his services ; for it was 
a prominent article in the unwritten Baptist creed that 
the preacher should do nothing for filthy lucre. By this 
doctrine the generosity of the brethren was so stifled that 
it has not yet recovered the healthy action it possessed in 
apostolic times. Money was never the object for which 
he toiled ; but he thankfully received, with an enlightened 
conscience, whatever was ofiered, believing that, as he 
loved to contribute, every other brother, who had the 
cause near his heart, should enjoy the same privilege. As 
heart and flesh failed him, the liberality of the churches 
increased ; and, after his family had all begun life for 
themselves, or passed away to the spirit land, he received 
for his preaching what was amply sufficient to supply all 
his earthly wants. 

He enjoyed excellent health until very near the close 
of his pilgrimage ; and it was a saying with him that he 
"never had a pain as long as his little finger." But, 
though he lived many years, and rejoiced in them all, the 
days of darkness were in reservation for him. In the 
spring of 1850 he was seized with acute inflammation of 
the stomach. The disease readily yielded to medical 
treatment, and in a short time he resumed the Master's 
work. In the fall of the same year it returned upon him 
in a more violent and obstinate form, and he expressed 
the conviction that his race was almost run. 

He passed the winter with his son Jacob, at Salem, 
and by the coming of spring he had so far recovered as 
to be able to retam home to his son Ramson's. Imme- 



difttely sfterwardB he grew woree, and began to Bink 
npidlf. Hia brother in the gospel. Dr. H. T. N. Bene- 
dict, was called in ; but he could do no more than to com- 
ort him in bis afflictions bj pointing bim to his eternal 
weight of glory. 

His living children were all near him except his son 
Jacob, who was preaching at New Albany. He was 
summoned; and when he came hia father said, "My son, 
I am just waiting for my discharge." He seomed more 
like one preparing to start on a long journey than one 
about to experience the agony of death. He Srst spoke 
to his family relative to some pecuniary matters. These 
being disposed of to his satisfaction, he requested Dr. 
Benedict to write his obituary notice, and also expressed 
his desire that J. M. Mathes should preach his " Chris- 
tian farewell," from Kev. liv. 13. He observed that he 
had lived in Washington county over forty years ; that 
if he had in it an enemy he did not know it ; and that he 
thought he could make one more successful appeal to tbe 


have a building of God, a house not made with hands, 
eternal in the heavens." After taking his final leave of 
his family and friends, he placed his hands acroas his 
breast, closed his own eyes, and breathed softly and still 
more softly until he fell into his last long sleep, without 
the movement of a muscle, his lips remaining compressed, 
his eyes closed, and his hands just as he had placed theoL 
Thus passed away from earth Elder John Wright, at eight 
o'clock in the evening of May 2d, 1851 — aged 6t yeara, 
6 months, and 26 days. 

" Had the skeptic," says an eye-witness, " been privi- 
leged to behold the triumphant exit of this man of Ood, 
his skepticism would have been blown away by the dying 
breath of this aged, this devoted servant of our Divine 

Elder Wright was a tall, square-built man, of excellent 
constitution and great physical power. Many were the 
giant oaks that he felled to earth by the sturdy strokes 
of his axe. 

His mental powers were as good by nature as his phy- 
sical : the disparity in their development was a necessity 
of the times in which he lived. He possessed an iron 
will, tempered even to flexibility by the spirit that was in 

His character was a most happy combination of "what- 
soever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, 
whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, 
whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of 
good report" He was an uncompromising advocate, a 
bold and fearless defender of the truth ; yet he usually 
employed the " soft answer" that turns away wrath, rather 
than the " grievous words" which stir up strife. 

As a speaker he was unpolished, not logical, but very 
sympathetic. His own heart being full of love and fealty 




to God, be induced the Bame feeling in the bearte of tbose 
who heard bim ; for, " as in water face aDswereth to face, 
eo the heart of maa to man." 

Uneducated and untaught in the art of speaking, his 
nsefol career is a demonstration of the power of a holy 
life. M&j his brilliant Buccesa in the gospel stimulate 
til evangelists, of this more enlightened age, to combine 
vith their intellectual acumen the godliness of this de- 
parted pioneer. 


The subjects of tliis sketch were bolh born in Fayette 
county, Peonsylvaniu — Absulom in tlie year 1788, and 
John T. in 1T90. Their parents were poor, and both 
memUera of the Presbyterian Cliureh. 

In 1199 their Tather, Absalom Littull, wlio was a soldier 
in the Itevoluliun, emigrated to wbat woa then the for 
West, and settled on the west side of Silver creek, in 
Clark's grant, Xorthwesteni Territory; or, iu what is 
now Clark county, Indiana. 

At that date there were but few "pale faces" in the 
Territory, and no setllemeuts between tlicm and the 
Rocky mountains, except a few French stations, or forts, 
containing a Email number of Americans. The great 
West, that is now shaking the earth with its giant tread, 
was then in its infancy, eager for new ideas, and more 
susceptible than now of religious iuipresaionfi. The influ- 
ence of the Ciiristian preacher in that day was, tlierefore, 
like that of the parent over the child. 

Before the advent of the school-teacher to that part of 
tlte world, both Ab.'^alom and Juliti T. had almost attained 
to their roajorily ; hence they received but little instruc- 
tion save that which was imparted in the domestic circle. 
i'et, by their own exertions, they became tolerably well 
informed; and of the Holy Scriptures especially they 
acquired a thorough and ready knowledge. Aljsalom, 
being more fond of literary and scientific pursuits, became 
the l>etter scholar. He was well versed in parliamentary 
rules, and none was more frequently called to preside 

pr^ I 





over religious meetings. Though his own life was rega- 
Isled by the " perfect law of liberty," yet he had a respect- 
sble koowledge of the civil law; and his judgment in 
legal matters was as decisive as it was gratuitous. He 
peaceably settled many controversies between his neigh- 
bors, adjusting their differences with far more candor and 
fairness than a fee-hunting attorney would have done. 

As there were no schools, so there were no churches. 
North of the Ohio river, and west of the Miami, not a 
single Protestant spire was to be seen. With a few ex- 
ceptions there were no songs save the savage chant that 
led on the war-dance ; no prayers, save those offered to 
ihe Great Spirit under the shadows of the tall oaks. 

" Then wa« tba time 
For those wbom wisdom and irbom nature chartD, 
To soar above thia little scene of tbings ; 
To tread low-thongbted vice beneath thefr feet ; 
To sootbe the tlirobbing passions into peace ; 
And noo lone quiet in ber silent walks." 


people were favored with preaching by the repreaentativea 
of the several leading sects. 

Absalom Littcll, sen., being an elder in the Presbyterian 
church, usually went with his family to that place of wor- 
ship. Yet he was comparatively liberal in his views, and, 
in the absence of the Presbyterian minister, he attended, 
without partiality, the meetings of the various orders by 
which he was surrounded. By this means his sons ac- 
quired some knowledge of all the doctrines taught there- 
about. Absalom was disposed to walk, if at all, in the 
steps of his father's faith, while John T. soon became much 
inclined toward the Baptists. 

During the Indian troubles of 1811 and '12, Absalom 
and his eldest brother, Amos, served in the army of General 
Harrison ; while John T. and others rendered no less im- 
portant service as home-guards. Block-houses were built, 
sentinels posted, and every precaution taken to protect 
the women and children in the absence of their husbands 
and fathers. Amos was in the memorable battle of Tip- 
pecanoe, and Absalom was among the forces that marched 
to the relief of Fort Harrison, then in command of Lieuten- 
ant — afterwards President — Taylor. 

The return of peace found them all alive ; and, the wea- 
pons of war being cast aside, they turned their thoughts 
gratefully toward Him who had safely led them through 
so many dangers. 

On the 27th of November, 1813, Amos united with the 
Baptist church and was immersed in Silver creek. On 
the 23d of July 1814, his example was followed by John 
T. Absalom, being at that time more disposed to see the 
world than to enter into the kingdom, travelled pretty 
extensively in Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and 
Virginia. He was present, however, at the baptism of 
John T. ; but being greatly prejudiced against immersion, 
he stood afar ofif. 


la the Btimmer of 1S16. Joha T- begao to preach; and 
SDch waii liis iialural ability that lie very eoon became a 
popular 8D<1 uiost efTeutive speaker. 

Soon after bis ODgnging in the work of tbo ministry. h« 
maov«d to the muddy fork of Silver creek whero be, with 
a few others from the old con^gation. orgauixed what is 
still known as the Muddy Fork church. 

In April. ISlo, Absalom, having become tired of ram- 
hiiDj? about, married, and settled down upon a timull farm 
wbiob he had acquired means in purchase. 

Though he had been a young man of uncsccplionabli 
morsli^; and althongh ho bad beca a membrr of the churth 
from Ai> carhr^t iofno--.,! vft, «trn.n»r to siiy. lie had 
never madf a |im ..--'. n . l-iini! Ii w;i-^ l)iiti very 
qaestimi of Infant Church- Membership, that CMiaed him 
to linger so long without the door of the kingdom. In 
rain he read the Bible to find a firm support for the doc- 
trine on which alone was suspended his hope of a glorious 
inimorlality. In vain he searched through subtle disqui- 
sitions on theology, in hope of finding a demonstration 
of the validity of Infant Baptism. No writer, either sa- 
cred or profane, satisfied him of the truth of that which he 
desired most of all to believe, namely, that bupHxm came 
in the room of drcumcision. Loth as he was to abandon 
this popular tradition, he was compelled to do so after & 
careful re-csamination of all the premises. 

This stumbling-block being removed, he immediately 
went forward in the plain path of obedience, and, on the 
2Tth of October, 1816, united with the Old Silver Creek 
Church, being immersed at the same spot at which, a few 
months l>efore, he had witnessed, with so great mortifica- 
tion, the baptism of his younger brother. 

At the first approach of the ensuing winter, the icy 
hand of death was laid upon his first-bom. This sad dis- 
pensation, as it may have been designed, drove him nearer 


the cross. Observing that every thing beautiful ^oes 
down to the grave — that all things seen are temporal — he 
began to direct his mind to those things which are eternal. 
Anxious to devote his energies to the accomplishment of 
permanent results, ho thought seriously of preaching; but, 
for a while, he was discouraged by the feeble efforts of 
illiterate preachers whoso only excuse for their ignorance 
was the pretension that they were "called and sent." 

On the 21st of the following April his wife also departed 
this life, leaving to his care a helpless babe. 

This second affliction disarranged all his earthly plans. 
In a short time he removed from his farm to Xew Albany, 
where he engaged in mercantile business which proved to 
be very profitable. He also began to preach in the city 
and vicinity ; and his first efforts were more acceptable 
than he had hoped. 

In September, 1818, while passing through Washington 
county, he called by a house at the road-side to make some 
inquiries as to his route. A young lady, whom he had 
never seen before, having intelligently answered all his 
questions, he took his leave. On the 18th of the next 
November that same young lady, the daughter of John 
Martin, sen., was Mrs. Littell. He was not a man who 
halted long between two opinions respecting any matter. 

Returning to New Albany, he continued to devote a 
portion of his time to the work of the ministry ; and, in 
January, 1820, he assisted in the organization of the first 
Baptist (now Christian) church in that city. It seems 
that on this occasion he departed from some of the land- 
marks, regarded as sacred by his Baptist brethren. For, 
being appointed to write and convey a letter to the Blue 
River Association, asking for fellowship with the same, 
and appearing before that body, as directed, he was 
sharply questioned by those official guardians of the 
interests of Zion. After a solemn conference, the assem* 


Ut asked him ir be would, in the name of the church he 
represTDted. renounce lis faith, as embodied in the letter 
which he hsd brought, and accept that of the Association 
%s set forth in it3 Articles of Faith ? This he refused to 
do. Mid the iDfaDt church at Sew Albany was, tliurcfore, 
left to take care of itself Such, was Ike happy renuU 
produced by supreme devotion lo creeds. 

However, the little flock in Xcw Albany steadily gri'w 
in number and in grace, visited aa it was by several of the 
more liberal Baptist preachers; but most of alt by Juhu 
T. Littell, whose efforts on its behalf were unremitting. 

On the 13th of June, 18^0, a severe thunder-storm 
passed over the city. The house of Elder A. Littell wus 
struck by lightning, by which his wife was felled to the 
floor, and his only surviving child, the last of his first 
family, was instantly killed. 

This stroke of Divine Providence quite overcame him. 
Tbe face of the Lord seemed to be against him. i'erhajis- — 
he thought — it was because he was not more completely 


presided over the Association ; and senred that bot^jr in 
the capacity of scribe. 

In the year 1826, the Baptists having been gieatlj 
multiplied, Elder A. Littell proposed the fomiation of a 
new Association. As chairman of a committee he re- 
ported a line of division ; which was agreed to ; and the 
new Association was accordingly formed. 

A little subsequent to this, southeastern Indiana was 
liberally supplied with some pamphlets written by the 
Kev. Daniel Parker of Illinois, in support of what was 
called the " two-seed doctrine." For a while these docu- 
ments created great excitement and drew away many 
disciples after them. Absalom Littell sought several 
opportunities of hearing Mr. Parker, who also travelled 
preaching — and having made himself well acquainted with 
the gentleman's position, and having examined well the 
different texts by which it was fortified, he determined to 
bring on an engagement, and if possible, drive the enemy 
from his inirenchments. 

The parties soon met at Corydon, Indiana, at which 
place the Blue River Association had convenefl. Jt 
pleased the Assembly to select A. Littell, Daniel Parker, 
and a minister from Kentucky to fill the pulpit on LordV 
day. The Kentuckian having spoken first, Ehler Littell 
followed, basing his remarks upon Peter's declaration 
that " in every nation he that feareth him and workelh 
righteousness is accepted of him." With this and many 
other texts on his side, he felt that he went forth, like 
David, " in the name of the Lord of hosts ;" and feeling 
thus, he dealt a heavy blow upon the two-seed 'Ooliath. 

The meeting was held in a grove ; and just as he had 
concluded his sermon a shower of rain dispersed the mul- 
titude, and he was thus delivered from the shafts of his 
adversary. By this attack, however, he lost favor with 


nwif of his brolbren, who had imbibed the two-i»^(-d 

Atioat this time llie light of the Ileformatiun hegan U 
tiava ujion ihut portion of the State. The terms " Camp 
brllisnt" and " C«nipl>c-!lite" began to be heard frequentlj 
from the eacred deeli, as well as in the family circle ; aui) 
it waH eridi'nt that a revolution in religiouB matters viaf 
nt-ar at band. It wiis eoon apparcot, also, that hostilitit^r 
were to commence in the old Silver Creek church — that 
there the first stone was to be cast at the old systems that 
were doomed to destruction. 

Maoy of the brethren, as tbe eyea of their understand 
isg were opened, manifested less and less respect for the 
Articles of Faith, until the creed party, unable longer t( 
broofc puch contempt of the authority lo which llipy bowril 
their willing necks, ventured to ask, in the public assem 
biy, "What was the faith of this church when U was fim 
organized ?" By reference to the church record it waf' 
ascertained that it (the churcb) was eatablished "bpoD the 
Philadelphia Confession of Faith. Having given this 
plaiu hint as to the object to which all owed allegiance, 
the orthodox party permitted a brief season of rest. But 
seeing the joints of tiie old system opening wider and 
wider, they determined once more to tighten the screws. 

To this end they proposed that submission lo the Con- 
fession of Faith »homd be strictly regarded as a condition 
of fellowship. This proposition met with strong oppo- 
sition, and disturbed the peace of the church for a long 

Finally, a resolution was offered, demanding " to know 
from Ihia church whether she is governed 6y the Old and 
AVic Tfgtaments or by Ike Articles of Faith V (Church 
Record.) This question, after a warm debate, was an- 
swered as follows: " The ckvrch sat/, by the toord of Qod." 
(Church Record.) 


This decision produced great excitement Many of fbe 
more zealous opposers of reform left the church, but their 
places were soon filled ; for the community, generally, 
approved of the action by which the seceders were so 
greatly offended. 

Thus the Silver Creek church exchanged its human 
for the Divine creed. But Elders Littell and their co- 
adjutors had not yet clean escaped froth the thraldom of 
error. Though they had adopted the Bible as their rale 
of faith and practice, they were still subject to the r^ 
of the Association ; and they still adhered to many 
practices for which they could not have produced a "thus 
saith the Lord." 

One would suppose that they would not have been long 
in being freed^ if they did not free themselves, firom the 
authority of the Association ; for, under ordinary circum- 
stances, that body would not have tolerated such an act, 
on the part of a congregation, as the open renouncement 
of the Confession of Faith. As it was, however, the 
Littells held the reins ; and, by tho exercise of discretion 
and a spirit of forbearance and conciliation, thev easily 
thwarted the efforts of all such as desired their excom- 
munication. The subject was brought before the Associ- 
ation at its next session in New Albany ; but the excite- 
ment passed away for that time^B^ithout any serious 

The exercises of that session were also enlivened by a 
revival of the two-seed theory. An aged brother firom 
the Blue River Association being appointed to preach, 
began his discourse, very properly, with an apology for 
his ignorance, adding, for the encouragement of his hear- 
ers, that as the Lord would give to him so toould he. give 
to them. He (or he and the Lord, as he would have 
people believe) then proceeded to elucidate the two-seed 
doctrine I His speech had a powerful effect on the large 


) powerful, tndeod, that it moved nisnj into 
AviiUvetfl ami to lh«ir htiiucs. 

<ftll«r it veas all orer, an old brother, whoee epeei-li l>e- 
tnjnd the diaiuct as welJ as the pvuetratioD of the Yankee, 
olnerrrd. ibat "all preachers of that kind would soon ilit! 
oS. and that the Lord tcotild make no more, on Vm." 

ThtL |i(«dictioti vas io a measure verified ; for (W>m that 
iiui« ttie fororite flognia of Elder Parker ^adually waned. 
UDlQ it watt DO longer a matter of controversy. 

Pot a few years subsequent to this, mattcnt went on 
pearrsbly, beiag conduclttd in the spirit of compromise. 
Tiw Ita|>tiei8 tolerated the abnomtul views of tho^e who 
iFer« almost Reformers; and the Reformers, in turn, 
yielded to some of the peculiar views and practices of the 
B4|>t£at». But each party became more and more posi- 
livf ill lh<- advocacy of iheir re«|)eelivp tenets, until a 
final separation could no longer be averted. This took 
place first in the congregatioo at New Albany, in the year 
1836 ; and soon afterwards in alt the churches throughout 
that portion of the State. 

The Reformers, in all cases, opposed division ; and did 
all in their power to persuade their disquieted brethren 
to accept the word of God as their only rule of faith and 
practice. This the Baptists would not do ; but, as soon 
06 they found themselves in the minority, they choae 
rather to withdraw tkemselves, and have do further fel- 
lowship with what they regarded as " the unfruitful works 
of darkness. " 

With respect to those who continued in the " perfect 
law of liberty," the Association of 1835 was the last. 
From that time they held an Annual Meeting, not to form 
or amend constitutions ; enact laws for the government 
of the church; or, in any way, to "lord ft over God's 
heritage;" but to hear encouraging reports from the 
various churches; to warship the Lord in the "beauty 



of holiness;" and to consider how thej might most pro- 
mote the interests of the Redeemer's kingdom. 

Such was the introduction of primitive Christianitjr 
within the bounds of the old Silver Creek Association ; 
and such was, briefly, the part taken bj the Elders Littell 
in that important movement. 

All the elements of discord having been eliminated, 
the disciples dwelt together in unity under the mild sceptre 
of the Prince of Peace ; and, on every hand, they were 
greatly multiplied. 

John T. Littell, with unflagging zeal, continued to 
evangelize for many years, baptizing a great number of 
disciples, of whom be kept no record. Among the num- 
ber were eleven of his own children ; and, since his de- 
cease, the remaining one has entered into the kingdom. 
Two of his sons — Milburn and John T., jr. — are success- 
ful preachers ; and a third son — Maxwell — is an occasional 
laborer "in word and doctrine." 

Returning indisposed from one of his tours, on the 
11th of February, 1848, he observed to his family that he 
had filled his last outstanding appointment — a thing which 
he had not done before in thirty years. It was a singular 
fact, in view of the sad event which so suddenly followed. 
Always punctual in filling his appointments, it seems that 
even death itself was not permitted to infringe upon so 
good a habit. 

Having taken some refreshments, he lay down before 
the fire to rest. In a few minutes he made a sudden 
effort to rise ; rested a moment on his elbow; exclaimed 
*' I am dying ;" and almost instantly expired. Thus he 
illustrated the great truth which he had so often endea- 
vored to enforce, namely, that " in the midst of life toe 
are in death," 

The following short extract is from his obituary notice, 
which appeared in the Christian Record for March, 1848 : 



" This good brother and affectionate elder has labored 
hard Tor hia Lord and hia oumerous family for about forty 
yeam. I have thought that I never knew a man who 
loved the Bible more ardently than he. He has endured 
many hardships for the truth's sake. He plead the cause 
of the Bible alone in all matters of religion, and of the 
union of all ChBBtiaas on the Bible, for some twenty 
years. But lie Bas gone to ' rest from bis labors ; and 
his works do follow him.'" 

Elder John Thompson Littell was a great man, physi- 
cally, intellectually, morally. Had his mental been de- 
veloped like his physical and moral powers, be would 
have been almost "perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all 
good works." Hia stature exceeded six feet; and his 
weight was more than two .hundred pounds. He had 
dark hair ; a large, well-shaped bead ; keen, blue, spew- 
ing eyes ; a prominent nose ; a mouth that seemed made 
for noble speech ; and a broad, open face, expressive of 


Baptism, he made a quotation from Wesley's Doctrinal 
Tracts, remarking — as if fearful he had not given it ver- 
batim — that if he had not quoted fairly he hoped he might 
be corrected. The unsuspecting preacher instantly cried 
out, " I unhesitatingly affirm that the passage does not 
read that way. " " Well, well," said Elder LitteU, with the 
greatest sangfroid, " we will read it as it is." Suiting the 
action to the word, he drew from his pocket a copy of the 
" Tracts ;" and read the passage which, as he knew very 
well, was precisely as he had quoted it. Nothing daunted, 
the preacher took the book ; and gave the audience a 
different reading. At the request of Elder Littell a small 
boy then came forward ; and again read the passage as it 
was. This settled the controversy ; and the discourse 
was resumed as if nothing had happened. 

When the speaker concluded, the convicted preacher 
asked leave to make a few remarks. Being politely as- 
sured that he should have perfect liberty, he arose and 
spoke substantially as follows : — " I confess," said he, 
" that, under the excitement of the moment and the bad 
feeling that then possessed me, I read the passage wrong ; 
and I pray God to forgive me." "Amen," said Elder 
Littell ; and those who knew him did not doubt that the 
response came from the bottom of his heart. 

Though on all occasions he occupied a conspicuous 
place among his brethren ; yet he never thrust himself 
into the highest seat; but was always meek and unas- 

Living in a controversial age, he was, necessarily, some- 
what doctrinal ; but, in the main, his discourses were 
eminently practical. When the occasion demanded it, he 
could wield the sword of the Spirit with a strong and 
skillful hand ; but he was more inclined to provoke his 
brethren to love and to good works ; and most successful 
in persuading sinners to lay hold on the hope which he 


eloquently set before them. Christianity in practice, was 
the great object for which he strove. 

Like all other men he doubtless had his faults ; but in 
most things he might well have Baid to his brethren, " be 
ye followers of me ;" for he followed Christ. But 

■■ No rarther seek bis merits to diacloae, 

Or draw bis (railties from tbeir dread abode — 
There tbej alike in trembling hope repose — 
The boKom of his fatber and his Ood." 

After the death of John T., bis brother Absalom con- 
tinued to labor in the gospel as in fonner years. Finally, 
however, the infirmities of advancing age compelled him 
to economize his strength ; and during the last years of 
bis life he accomplished comparatively but little in the 
work of the ministry. Yet the spirit was willing ; though 
the flesh was weak. The sickle was still keen as ever; 
but the power that wielded it was failing. 

The nearer he approached the grave the more ardently 


in peace, the " voice of the archangel and the tramp of 

In appearance and character, Elder Absalom Littell was 
much like his brother, John T. Born of the same parents : 
rocked in the same cradle ; hushed by the same lullabies ; 
sent to the same schools ; baptized in the same stream ; 
and preachers of the same gospel, which changes men into 
the same image ; they could not well be so dissimilar as 
to afford materials for two separate and distinct sketches. 

Absalom was, however, somewhat larger than his bro- 
ther; and he was regarded by many as correspondingly 
superior in point of intellect. But the difference of ability 
was rather the result of education than of any partiality 
on the part of nature. 

As an orator he was inferior, though he spoke readily, 
forcibly, and to the point. Their sermons were similar in 
character ; and were usually directed to the same end. 

Absalom always conducted himself with gravity be- 
coming his oflBce ; yet he too was most richly endowed 
with the faculty of wit, and with that cheerful disposition 
which "doeth good like a medicine." In a little circle 
of old friends, he was as agreeable as he was happy. 

In the church and before the world, they manifested the 
same spirit ; for both had "the spirit of Christ." 

Such were those two distinguished pioneers ; and such 
the part they acted in establishing the ** ancient order of 
things" in the commonwealth of Indiana. It is necessary 
to add only two borrowed lines, expressive, no doubt, of 
the feeling with which every Christian reader will reach 
the end of this brief and imperfect sketch : 

"Those sans are set, 
O rise some other such." 













Th« subject of this sketch was homin Slielby county, 
Kentucky, February 27th. 1"97. nis father and grand- 
lather were natives of rciinsylvania; but liis great-graiid- 
bther was bom in Germany, near the Rliiiie. His nio- 
ther, AgueB, was the dauf^bter of Anthony Ilardman, about 
whose ancestry nothing is known. 

About the year 1795 hia parenls cmiprated from Pcnn- 
^rWania, and settled in Shelby coiinly, Kentucky. Tliough 
no longer in a German settlement, they still retained in 
tlieir Aunily the German language ; and KIder Ilnstetler 
diBtinctlr remembers the difticnlties ho encountered in ac- 

08 piosbBk pebaovibs. 

sDbseqnently attended, tbis wu all the butraction he erv 
recsired at icbool. 

His parsnts were both exemplary members cf the Oer* 
man Baptist or Tunker* churcb, which, evea at Hiat eulj 
period, had adopted the New Testament as its odIj book 
of discipline. It was their chief care to bring ap tli^ 
children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord ; and 
the mother, especially, spared do pains in teaching her 
little ones to pray ; and in instructing them in what she ' 
conceived to be the doctrine of Christ. 

Under her teaching, Joseph becaipe greatly .interested 
in reading the scriptural account of patriarchs and ^o- 
phets ; and often did he pray to be like little Samuel, (^ ■ 
like faithful Abraham, who "was called the friend of 

Along with these wholesome lessons, many supcTBti- 
tious notions were inculcated by an old German woman, 
who came frequently to his father's house and related 
frightful stones about ghosts, witcbes, hobgoblins, etc 
Each of these served " to point s moral ;" and all together 
deeply impressed him with the reality of a future state 
and the awful penalties visited upon evil-doers. 

It was to be supposed that one brought up under such 
circumstances would readily walk in the way of the 
righteous. But he was naturally of a very mischievous 
disposition; at times highly passionate; and "as prone 
to evil as the sparks to fly upward." When, therefore, 
he grew older and became less in the presence of his 
parents, he often set at naught all their counsel to walk 
in the counsel of the ungodly. 

In the winter of 1810-11 there occurred, in his native 

county, a great revival, which, beginning among the 

Calvinistic Baptists, soon extended to the Methodists and 

Tunkers. His grandfather and his uncle Adam Hosteller 

* Commonlj, but imiiroperlf, called " Dnnkatd." 



vm the principal Tunker preachers, tbe ToiiDer speaking 
in OennsD. the latter in English- Under their eanie^t 
pMcliing and the exeitcment that generally prcvailod, 
bisMrk religious feeliugs were revived ; and. but for the 
inwrrcntion of his parents, he woald have covenanted to 
wilt in a DOW life. Thev, however, thought him too 
Tuung; and prevailed upon him to postpone for a brief 
period liis union with the church. 

In the mean time he listened to the several surrounding 
MctJ ; and his faith was not a little shaken by their con- 
iradicioiy teaching. 

Finally he heard one of his schoolmates relate to the 
Wrintslic Baptists an "experience," which, it seems, 
ought to be incorporated in his history, because it exerted 
a powerful inSuence od his life, and because it is a valua- 
ble though sad exponent of the religion of those limes. 
When asked to describe the work of grace upon his 
hesrt, the poor lad sobbingly replied, " I don"t know as I 
hH any Works of graLV to ti>ll. 


boy has giv' us one. So it is with all poor sinnera-— thef 
are going they know not where tell the Lord meets 'em 
as he did this boy. I can interpret his dream— Iie% 
'powerfully converted.' Glory to Gk>d." This was the 
opinion of the church, and they received the young candi- 
date into their fellowship, without a dissenting voice. 

Hearing this experience, and reflecting on the fact that 
such dreams were the only foundation of the hope of haor 
dreds, he became skeptical ; banished all thoughts of reli- 
gion ; and was soon regarded as a ring-leader among the 
'' rude fellows of the baser sort." Among these he was a 
kind of clown, who, after attending a meeting, would, for 
the amusement of his companions, and with mock so- 
lemnity, reproduce the sermon in substance, tone, and 

Subsequently, through the efforts of his uncle Adam, 
he was induced to " ponder the path of his feet." He 
grew more serious ; read the Bible through ; and became 
convinced that his skepticism was based, not on the 
Scriptures, but on the contradictory theories and absurd 
speculations of professed Christians. 

This conclusion reached, he again became a seeker; 
but the " whisper of peace," as formerly, strangely delayed 
its coming. 

Finally he discovered by his own reading what the l)e- 
liever must do to be saved. He revealed his discovery 
to his uncle, who at once accepted his views and on the 
next Lord's day taught the people openly that they should 
repent ; confess the Lord Jesus ; and be baptized in His 
name "for the remission of sins." On that day Elder 
Hostetler — then in his nineteenth year — made the good 
confession and was immersed into the "one bod v." 

Though he took this one proper step, yet he by no 
means comprehended clearly the Christian system, nor did 
he at that time realize the importance of the difference he 



hid diecovered between it and the systems cummonly 
ttaght On this account he drifted he«dlesely with the 
papular tide ; until he was again borne far away from the 
Ulbofthe gospel 

Immediately after bis immersion he began to take part 
with his brethren in prayer and exhortation, and to labor 
lor the reformation of his wicked associates, some of 
wliam are indebted to him, under God, for their hope of 
dental life. 

About this time a wealthy speculator in lands, whom 
it attended during a protracted illness at bia father's 
boose, gratefully offered to give him a classical education, 
Dpon the single condition that, for one year immediately 
ttter his graduation, he should remain, as a tutor, in his 
patron's family. The proposition he gladly accepted, for 
from a child he had thirsted for "the Pieriao spring." 
But to his great mortification his father positively forbade 
him from entering into any such arrangement : alleging 
that " high lamin" only fitted a man to be a villain ; and 


account, as well as by the expressions of his friends, he wis 
greatly encouraged. 

In the fall of 1817, he removed to Washington counly, 
Indiana. Settling upon a tract of uncleared land, he de- 
voted the most of his time and energies to the opening out 
of a farm ; yet on Lord's-days, and usually on two even- 
ings each week, he proclaimed all he knew of the gospeL 
Being yet in his minority he was denominated " the boy 
preacher.'' This appellation usually attracted a large 
audience ; and, even at that early period, his influence as 
a preacher began to be felt. 

In the Spring of 1819, he removed to Orange county, 
near Orleans, and again settled in the woods. Here also 
he worked hard by day ; and at night was equally diligent 
in the study of the Bible and an English dictionary, which 
two volumes made up the greater part of his library. 

Though be occasionally went into Lawrence county, yet 
his labors were for the most part confined to Orange ; and 
in the fall of 1819 he and Elder John Ribble organized in 
his neighborhood, and on the foundation of apostles and 
prophets, a church of some thirty members. This was 
the origin of what is now known as Old Liberty church — 
one of the oldest, firmest, and most flourishing in the 

One night in August of the next year he dreamed that 
he saw on the farther side of a river, a large field of wheat 
and several persons importuning him to come over and 
help them harvest. As dreams were then of great sig- 
nificance in matters of religion, he inferred from this one 
that God had called him to preach the gospel in the region 
beyond White River.. He was not disobedient unto what 
he supposed " the heavenly vision," but set out straight- 
way for the field indicated. 

The first man — a blacksmith — to whom he revealed the 
object of his mission, said to him, " Sir, you have come to 



& poor place Tor yonr business. I hare not been to meet- 
ing in four yeare." Yet, commencing at that man's bouse 
he preached at several points in that imaginary Macedo- 
nia, eTerywhere relating his dream, which made a deep 
and solemn impression upon the people ; because it led 
them to believe that God had been mindful of them and 
had sent his servant to warn them. Having immersed 
eight persons and left appointments to preach again at 
each point in four weeks, he returned home. 

On his nest visit be immersed about twenty, among 
whom were the smith's wife and daughter ; and a short 
time afterward a church was organized near Abraham 
Kern's, in Lawrence county. 

This year (1820) the Tunker churches in Indiana and 
Kentucky determined to form a separate Association, be- 
ing unwilling to conform to all the rules observed by the 
brethreo in Ohio, Pennsylvania and other states. On a 
specified day the delegates met, organized, and proceeded 
' liiws for the govenmifnt of iLe diiirch. 


study to show himself a workman approved unto Chd, and 
that to his own Master he should stand or fall. Heooe he 
apph'ed himself more closely than ever before to the Btadj 
of the Scriptures ; and he was not long in discovering 
radical differences between the church described bj the 
apostles and the various religious organisms by which he 
was surrounded. 

Pursuing the subject of creeds, he perceived that their 
number constantly decreased in each preceding age, until, 
arriving at the apostolic period, he found but " one Lord, 
and the name one,'*^ By this fact his confidence in the 
popular systems of religion was greatly shaken ; yet he 
quietly adhered to the church of his fathers for two or 
three years, during which period he baptized about as 
many hundred persons. 

But the eyes of his understanding were being gradually 
opened ; and his preaching was becoming more and more 
in accordance with the oracles of God ; so much so, 
indeed, that, at the session of the Association in 1825, he 
was accused, by some of his brethren, of disseminating 
heterodox opinions. No decisive action, however, was 
then taken against him ; and he continued to preach 
during another year, with more and more freedom from 
all human authority. 

In the mean time, the first volume of the Christian 
Baptist fell into his hands. This he read with eagerness 
though not with entire approbation ; for being yet identi- 
fied with a sect he felt that the blows descended too fast 
and too heavily. But still the light entered ; the faith 
once delivered to the saints and long obscured by the 
traditions of men, became more and more apparent; 
objections to creeds and sects continued to be multiplied ; 
until he found it impossible longer to refrain from a full 
and public avowal of his sentiments. Accordingly in the 
spring of 1826, he gave notice that, on a certain day, he 


would preach at Orleans on the subject of primitive 
Christianity. The news was carried Tar and wide ; ex- 
pectation was on tip-toe; and on the appointed daf 
about a thousand persons, including several of the preach- 
ers of that aectioD, assembled to hear the promised dis- 
course. He spoke for an hour and a half firom that pro- 
position which affirms that " the disciples were called 
Christians first in Antioch," discussing, 

I. The Kame. 

II. The Manner of becoming a Disciple. 

III. Creeds. 

It was a day of great excitement After he concluded 
the people were seen in groups earnestly discussing the 
merits of the anomalous discourse. Though many doubted, 
not a few were convinced that Elder Hosteller had shown 
them a "more excellent way." The preachers present 
Rttempted no reply; but adopted a policy which was 
then, and still is, more effective thsn a manly opposition. 
" Oh," said they, " what a great pity that one so young, 


Wbeo the day of tTiis trial came he made mi tbia 
defense, showing that he opposed no practice for wUeh 
llie word of Qod furnished either precept or example; 
that he had taught only what was clearly expressed in 
words which the Holy Spirit teacheth ; that he had ex- 
horted to no duty not enjoined by the apostles ; oad that 
he had only repeated to the people the exceeding great 
and precious promises of Qod, assuring them that He is 
faithful that promised. In conclusion he referred to Sto 
intolerance of all creed-makers, and to the long list of 
martyrs that have been " beheaded for the witness of 
Jesus," asking his brethren if, actuated by the same 
spirit, they were willing to give their voices agunst him- 
" No, no," was the audible response ; and a vote beiog 
taken, all but five were found to be in his favor. Thus 
he escaped excommunication ; and, in escaping, he made 
more proselytes to primitive Christianity than he had 
ever before done in one day. 

So great was the confidence reposed in him that his 
bi^thren appointed him to deliver tlie annual scrmoD at 
tlie convening of the next Association. Seeing this, he 
said to himself, " This day death passed upon tliis eccle- 
siastical body. About tbis time next year it will breathe 
its lost; and my discourse stiall be its funeral." 

Such was, indeed, the case. Public sentiment rapidly 
underwent a cliange in favor of the Bible as the only plat- 
form on which all Christians could and should unite ; and 
when the Association came together tliere were present 
delegates trom the Dependent Baptists and the Old Chris- 
tian Body, or Xewligfats, duly empowered to co-operate 
with them, the Tunkers, in forming a union of the three 
parties upon the foundation of apostles and prophets. 

In this important movement they were successfiil. With 
few exceptions, all the churches of each sect throughout 
Bouth-eastera Indiana, came promptly into the Reforma- 


tioD. Partv Diim(>i', nnd nnaathoriz^d a£i>eiDb)i«fi each «s 
were their Confi-rences and AssociatioDB, were dispenEed 
ynth ; and Christ became " all and in aU. " 

From this date (1828) Elder Hostetler is to be reckoned 
among the public advocates of the cairent Refonnation. 

The year 1328 was fixed in his memory by other and 
sadder erent^. He was brought to death's door by a Terer 
which seized upon him while on a preaching tour to Ken- 
tucky. He recovered ; bnt two of his brothers were snd- 
deolv cut down, each leaving a widow and three children 
who became, to some extent, dependent upon bim. 

Depressed by these afflictions of Providence, aud to 
better provide for his family and, if need be, for the families 
of hie deceased brothers, he turned his attention to the 
study of medicine. During the year, therefore, he travelled 
but little and enlisted but few soldiers in the army of the 

During the summer of 1829 he and Elder Peter Hon 
travelled extensively and preached the gospel with great 


corruptible seed. During his firBt Summer in ttut place 
he iatmersed some ETty peraooe; and in October he or- 
ganited, near home, a church of fourteen members, which 
included more than half of the adults in the neighborhood. 
The church still exists, baring now more than one hundred 

Among the first and principal points at which he 
preached was Decatur, where he encountered the Hetho- 
diste and Cumberland Presbyterians in force. Thej bit- 
terly denounced his teaching as Campbellism, BomaniBm, 
Infidelity, etc., yet the people believed and were baptized ; 
and in 1833 he organized what is still the church of Christ* 
at Decatur. 

The same year he went into McLean and Sangamon 
counties, where he baptized a considerable number ; or- 
ganized one new church ; and brought into the Reforma- 
tion a small congregation of liis former Tunkcr brethren, 
who were still clinging to the traditions of the fathers. 

In the spring of 1834 he removed to Decatur and en- 
gaged in the practice of medicine, though he still continued 
to preach with tolerable success. Among his proselytes 
was a Baptist preacher by the name of Bushrod Henry, 
who has since established a number of flourishing churches 
in Moultrie and Shelby counties, and rendered other im- 
portant service in the cause of the Iteformation. 

In May, 1836, he returned to Indiana and settled on 
another tract of unimproved land near Bedford, in Law- 
rence county. 

In September following, he attended once more the An- 
nual Meeting, held near Salem ; and enjoyed a happy re- 
union with many of bis former yoke-fellows. Hundreds 
of people were in attendance, many of whom camped upon 
the ground ; and after several days of refreshing the meet- 
ing closed with some sixty additions to be saved. Among 
theee were fourteen young ladies who, dressed in white, 


Wftlk^ out together into tho stream where they were im- 
nu>r^4^<l by Klder llost«t!er. 

FliJt-r Jac-oli Wriglil stood on the shore, watch in baud, 
aod wlten they bad all come up out of the wat«r, he an- 
nouneeil with ft loud voice that the baptizing hud occupied 
just Ji/tren minutes. He added that he bad never seen 
■a aisny gprinkled in so short a time ; and that he hoped 
the Been e just witnessed would convince all present that 
it was not impossible for the three thousand to be iin- 
mereed on the day of Pentecost. 

Elder Hosteller, sometimes aaeisted by Elder William 
Newlnitd and others, held additional meetings this year at 
White Uiver Union, Salt Creek and other points, baptizing 
in all about three hundred persons. 

Prom 1838 to IS49 be devoted a portion of bis time to 
teschiog classes in English Grammar, a respectable know- 
ledge of which he had acquired from a book presented him 
by a friend. In this respect he may be honorably con- 
trasted with most uneducated preachers who, all their 
lives, trample under foot the laws of syntax rather than 
address themselves to the work of self-instruction. 

Teaching, however, was never permitted to interfere 
seriously with hb duties as an evan^rclist ; and during the 
greater portion of his time he continued to preach the 
gospel to the churches in Lawrence and the adjacent 
counties, baptizing never less than a hundred, and some- 
times as many as five hundred per annum. 

In addition to his other labors in 1842, he held two 
debates with Mormon preachers, which sect, about that 
time, made a strong effort to gain a footing in Indiana. 
With the assistance of Elder J. M. Mathes, be also wrote 
and published, that year, a small pamphlet entitled 
" Calumnies Refuted." This pamphlet was in reply to 
another, entitled " Campbeliism Exposed," which other 
was published by a Methodist preacher by the name of 


Holidiaj. Many copies of the two little works wen 
stitched together by the Christians and circulated among 
the Methodists. 

Daring the greater part of the year 1843 he labored as an 
evangelist in Clark and Scott counties, discipling Bome, 
but mainly endeavoring to revive and instruct the cburchee. 
It seems that in some of these were entertained singular 
views of Christian obligations, one of which was thst it 
was the duty only of elders to pay the evangelists that 
came among them I The bishops, it was held, were com- 
manded to '* feed the flock of God ;" and this ihey moat 
do in person or provide food at their own expense. 
Under such circumstances he received but little support ; 
and his services being required in other and more pro- 
misiug fields of labor, he left the brethren of that locality 
to eat the fruit of their own way. But this error, not 
being embalmed in a creed, soon vanished away ; and the 
few that had held it, began to manifest proper zeal and 
liberality in behalf of the gospel. 

The progress of the truth was greatly retarded by the 
political campaign of 1844, yet Elder Hostetler turned a 
few from the darkness of sin or of mystic Babylon to 
" the light of the glorious gospel of Christ." 

In the Fall of that year he consulted his memoranda and 
notes of travel ; and found that he had, in the course of 
his ministry, baptized over three thousand persons, and 
that he had spent more than a thousand dollars in the 
service for which he had received from his brethren less 
than half that amount. That he was able to do this is 
owing to the fact that his family as well as himself were 
industrious and economical ; and that he was very for- 
tunate in his business transactions. He has acquired the 
most of his earthly possessions — and they are amply suflEi- 
cient for the wants of his old age^ — by buying wild lands, 
clearing them up ; and selling them at greatly advanced 


prices. In all thin^ he seoms to havu been the man of 
whom it was said, " whataoever be d«elh sHbII prosper," 

Id 1845 the even teuor or his way was agaja inU'r- 
rupted br a debale which took place near Fayelteville, in 
Lawrence county. His opponent was the Rev. Mr. Forlxw 
of the M. E. church. 

In 1849 he purchased two thousand acres of land in 
Wisconsin, to which slate be removed and entered into 
tbp practice of medicine. But he still continued to preach 
Be formerly, and, in a short time, cetablished two churches, 
which were among the first in the far north-west. 

In H55 ho returned to Salem, Indiana, where he con- 
tinued to reside for several years, preaching the gospel 
with wonted Bucceae throughout Wasiungton and the sur- 
rounding: counties. Among other points he visited Sul- 
livan county, where, in company with Elder Jos. W. 
Wolfe, he held several interesting and very fruitful 

He also returned in 1858 to Old Liberty church (in 
Orange county), which he had established nearly forty 
years before. Time had wrought many changes ; and bh 
be strolled sadly through the old church-yard, he read, on 
the monumental stones, the names of many with whom 
he had labored and rejoiced in early life. 

Id the Spring of 1861 he removed to LovingtoD, 
Illinois, where he still resides. After an absence of 
twenty-four years, he is once more a member of the con- 
gregation on Okaw creek, which church he organized in 
1832. He is at the present time employed as county 
Evangelist; and the pleasure of the Lord continues to 
prosper in his hands. 

Presuming that this sketch will be read by many of his 
brethren, after hia decease, he has furnished a short 
addre^'S to them, a portion of which is here inserted 
agreeably to his wish. He says : 


" As I shall soon take leave of this worid, and as bU 
I ctD do mast be done quickly, permit ntB, my dear 
brethren, rery briefly to address you. 

"When I, vith hundreds of othera, came ont of BiAylon, 
we were a praying people ; a Scriptnre-readinff people; 
a church-going people. Our sisters were not ashamed to 
talk about Jesus or to pray to him in the public assembly. 
Out brethren carried their Testaments into their fields, 
their workshops, their stores and ofBces. The word of 
truth was spoken in the love of the truth. There were 
then no choirs to monopolize the songs of Zion, but the 
word was, ' Let the people praise Him ; let all the people 
praise Him.' Alt joined in the sacred song; and the 
unrhetorical, though fervent, prayer was responded to by 
all with hearty ' amen.' 

" But how are we now ? We used to read the holy 
word — comparing our lives, as well as our doctrine, with 
the doctrine and lives of the primitive Christians; but 
now, alas ! we too often compare ourselves with one ano- 
ther or with the pious among the sccls. "We now have a 
great many learned preachers, who deliver elaborate dis- 
courses, but seldom rebuke sin except at a distance.* 
Thus (hey have many disciples. But, alas ! if the favorite 
preacher is not to he there, only a few come out even on 
the Lord's day. If ony old-fashioned preacher comes 
along, and talks about old-fa^iliioncd religion — such as 
' To visit the fatherless and the widows in their affliction 
and keep himself unspotted from the world' — they say, 
' Ah, this will never do — this is old fogyism I' Thus we 
are becoming more and more conformed to the world. In 

* Elder HoBtetler wonid not be nnderitood m opposed to *n 
ednoited mlnlstrj; and the fault whiclk ha Jnstljr Snda with 
modeTD piescbera no donbt appears greater when contraated 
with (he plain, blunt manner of th« " fonaer days." 

llMMy we arc right, but in practice how for du we fall 1>i'- 
' tlitt uit-oaufe of the stature of the fulliiKss of Cbriut !' 

■■ Tlie light of the world ! The aall of the earth ! ■ If 
the li^t that is id us be darkneBs, how g^reat is thut dark- 
ness !' ' If the salt bare lost its ^avor wherewith ehall 
it be Baited ?' 

"What else than unfruitfulnesa can we roasoDalily expect 
ir wc walk not habitually with Qod ? If we have nu 
pleasure in obeying him ; no pleasure in bis holy ordi- 
oaaces ; but if we have pleasure in the things of earth — 
its ^oods. its honors, ile fashions, its follies, its furbldden 
joys— whatever our professions of Christiauity may bc' — 
we CBa never stand justified before the Judge of quick and 
dead in the great day of eternity. 

'■ Long after I shall have gone to the prave, and, as I 
trust, to rest, these words may meet the eyes of thousands 
who have heard my fceble voice within the last forty-five 
years. Lot me therefore, for the last time, and standing, 
ae I do, mm^e brinli of the grave, entreat tbem to live 
for Christ, lof Heaven, for the success of the glorious 
caose in which they are engaged. 

' Why should we love the things of time 7 This world 
is a Golgotha ; and during every hour of the cycles of 
earth, thousands are breathing their last; and tens of 
thousands are weeping around their dying beds. Truly 
' The world passeth away and the lust thereof, bat he 
that doeth the will of Qod abideth forever.' 

" Shall we not then so live that, when the coming of the 
Lord draweth nigh, each may say, with happy John, 
' Even so, come, Lord Jesus.' 

" In the hope of eternal life, 

"Joseph Hostetler." 

Elder Hostetler is about Eve feet eight inches high, 
heavy net, and weighs about one hundred and seventy 


pounds. He poesesses extraordinary vigor of both mind 
and body. Hia years seem to press upon htm lightly. 

Though by no means a scholar, yet he has gleaned, by 
tha wayside, a great deal of useful knowledge. He in 
well acquainted with history — especially the history of 
the church and of the religion of different ages and 

As a speaker he is of the " rough and ready" Style — 
especially the "ready." Indeed he ia particularly re- 
markable for the ability and apparent ease with which he 
can preach without previous preparation. His words are 
always at hand; his ideas clear; his gestures numerous 
and earnest. 

In bis daily walk be endeavors to live peaceably witb 
all men ; but in religious matters, he is fond of contro- 
versy; and indisposed to make any compromise that 
requires the sacrifice of one jot or tittle of the word of 

He ia a man that has many warm Mends; and one, 
too, who has need to pray — as he no doubt does — for 
his enemies. He loves the truth of God, and jealously 
defends it at whatever sacrifice of ease or popularity. > 

If be has fought, it has been a good Bght ; and his cha- 
racter is such — take him all in all — that there is reason to 
believe there is laid up for him a crown of righteousness. 

»-t. '^ $^^-jrv<,^ cihf^^ii:- 

•t-t^ A-Ce, 




Eldkb John Bowbian New was born in Guilford county, 
North Carolina, November 7th, 1793. His father, Jethru 
New, was a native of KeDt couDty, Delaware, born Sep- 
tember 20th, 175T. He served as a soldier under General 
Washington, in the war of Independence ; and waa one 
of the guards over the unfortunate Major Andre, whoso 
execution he witnessed. His mother, whose maiden name 
was Barah Bowman, was also bom tn Kent county, Dela- 
ware, on the 25th of May, 1764. HiB parents wore both 
C^riniatic Baptiets, thoroughly orthodox on tlie subject 
of Predestination; and careful to instill into the minds of 
their children the traditions of the fathers. 


day, Johnny New — as he was then called — learned Ms 
alphabet plus a line or two of spelling ; and throughout the 
term his progress was satisfactory to both teacher and 
parents. Subsequently his teachers were a Mr. Ward, 
Nathan Briton, and Henry Miller ; under whose mstruc- 
tions he obtained a tolerable education, according to the 
standard of those times. The little one-story cabin in 
Owen county with its rude benches and puncheon floor, 
was the highest school he ever attended — ^to him it was 
both college and theological seminary. 

The education of his heart began at an earlier period 
than that of his head. When only four years old he had 
learned, and could sing very well, a song of fourteen 
stanzas, relating to a Roman Catholic girl who had been 
burnt at the stake for joining a Protestant church. This 
little hymn inspired his young heart with devotion to the 
truth and hatred of religious intolerance. His parents, 
brothers and sisters were all good singers ; and the family 
spent much of their time in singing the songs of Zion. 

When seven, years of age he attended, for the first time, 
a meeting for the worship of God. It was a prayer-meet- 
ing of the members of the Baptist church, not then or- 
ganized, and was held in a log-cabin erected in the forest 
by James Blanton. At the close of the exercises they 
extended to one another the hand of brotherly love ; and 
an old brother by the name of Moses Baker, warmly shook 
the hand of the little boy who was intently beholding their 
devotions. The little fellow was highly pleased with this 
expression of regard for him ; and from that da]^ to this 
Elder New has been a great lover of prayer-meetings. 

Soon after this occurrence the first sermon he ever heard 
was preached by a Baptist named John Reece, a German 
who had been a soldier under General Washington. The 
next sermon he heard was by a Methodist preacher, by 
the name of Hardy. His text was, "Say to the righteous 

JOllN fl. NKW. T1 

il ihall go well witii them, for they shall eat the fniil of 
their doings ; but wo^ t« the wicked, it sboll go ill with 
ibem, Ibr the KW&rd of their hund shall be given ihem." 
Although be- had never been disobedient to hie p&rpnu or 
guilty of falsehood or profanity ; yet he felt that he was 
doaeed among the wicked ; and, desiring that in eternity 
it should go well with him, and not ill, be resolved to seek 
a place among the righteous. To this end bo read Ui» 
Bible daily, and prayed often and fervently; and for a 
white he thought he was making rapid progress in "the 
divine life " But one day while guiding an old-fashioned 
plow around a large tree that stood in the field, the point 
of the plow caught under a root, throwing up the handle« 
tt'iili huch force as to hurt him severely, and causing the 
horee, in his recoil, to plant bis foot on a hill of eoro. 
This threw him into a terrible passion, which destroyed 
in a moment all confidence in his righteousness. The ac- 
cident has been of great service to him, admonishing him 
all along the jouniey of bis Christian life to put away 
anger which "resteth in the bosom of fools." 

The next discourse to which be listened was delivered 
by John Scott, a Baptist of more than ordinary ability. 
His subject, " The Cumberers of the Ground," was pre- 
eeoted in such a manner as to cause young New to ad- 
dress himself ^aiu to the task of "seeking religioD"— « 
search which was anxiously prosecuted for several weeks. 
At length on a certain afternoon, as be rose up from 
prayer for the fifteenth time that day, be felt that his stOB 
had been blotted out. But after a few moments' reflection 
be concluded that this peace of mind was not owing to 
the presence of the Holy Spirit — that it was only Satan 
whispering to bis conscience "peace, peace, when there 
was no peace." He therefore applied himself again to the 
work of prayer, that he might obtain from Qod an evidenca 


of pwdon, or some new ^v^xtalion or the dirine wfll om^ 
cerniog him. 

Finally, after struggling a long time in the Slough of 
Df^spond, he read in Romans : — " If thou AM conftm 
with thy mouth the Lord Jesos and shalt believe io thj 
heart that God hath raised him from the dead, tbon eb^t 
be saved." He read also in Mark : — " He that beUevelh 
and is baptized shall be saved." Though he did not then' 
know that baptism, preceded by foith and repeatuice, is 
"for the remission of sins;" yet he determined to eoDfen 
the Messiah before men ; and be baptised in obedience to 
hie command. At the next opportunity he did so ; and 
as he walked out of the water he proclaimed with a load 
voice, to the many spectators ; — "This U the u»y, toott 
ye in il." 

At the next meeting of the Baptist church he united 
with them ; and for the space of three years continued to 
walk in what he believed to be all the statutes and ordi- 
nances bianicless, praying often in secret and reading the 
Bible and otiier books of a religious character, prominent 
among which were Pilgrim's Progress and Whitfield's 

About this time, being then sixteen years of age, he 
first conceived the idea of becoming, one day, a preacher 
of the gospel. 

In May, 1812, he was drafted as a soldier for six months, 
to defend Indiana Territory against the invasion of the 
Indians. He was not called into service until the next 
August, on the 17th of which month he joined Colonel 
Wilcox's regiment at Louisville, where he was inspected 
by General Harrison, then on his way to Cincinnati to take 
command of the army of the north-west. 

Having been armed and equipped at Jeffersouviile, his 
regiment marched first to the defense of Fort Harrison, 
then commanded by Captain Zachary Taylor, subsequently 



President of the United States. AfterwArde the; mkrcbed 
np the Wabash to a point near La Fayett«, whence tbej 
returned in January, having passed the Winter thus Tar 
in the Jtax-Unen clothing with which they left home in 
Augtutl During the campaign he saw hut one Indian, 
wiio was running at such a rate that be could not obtain 
a shot. Like Frederick V. in hie dying hour, he could 
aaj, " There is not a drop of blood on my hands." Since 
his prejudices against that unfortunate people have worn 
away, he is exceedingly glad that he took not the life 

In the Spring of 1813 he entered the establinhment of 
Matthew Craigmiles for the purpose of learning the trade 
of a cabinet maker. There he served out his apprentice- 
ship; and afterwards opened a shop in the town of 
Cynthiana, Ky. 

Toward the last of February, 1814, the weather, which 
had been very warm, suddenly became extremely cold, 
occasioning a fearful disease, which the physicians called 


a g^ood citizen from her fertile soil — namely, the inatitation 
of human slaFery. His object in coming to Indiana 
was to assist in making it a free State. His views of 
slavery may be most fiurly given by an extract from an 
article written by himselt In his own peculiar style, he 
says : " I saw that a man in a slave State might possess 
twice as much property as his slaveholding neighbor; 
might have four times as good fare upon his table ; might 
have eight times as much sense ; and might manifest six- 
teen times as much honor in his business transactions ; 
and yet the slaveholder would not regard him as his 
equal The possession of a few poor, ignorant^ debased 
slaves was a standard of respectability that I was unwil- 
ling for myself and my posterity to be measured by." « 

Id April, 1815, he cast his first vote, as a citizen of 
Indiana, for delegates to form the first free State consti- 
tution. In the same month he looked upon the first 
steamboat that ever ascended the Ohio. When the six- 
pounder announced her approach to the port, every man, 
woman, and child in the village — in all about forty fami- 
lies — ran down to the river to see the great wonder, the 
Ivobert Fulton ; while the cattle, differently affected, fled 
affrighted to the hills. 

Soon after his arrival at Madison, he entered the cabi- 
net shop of Henry Critz, where he worked as a journey- 
man for two or three years ; during the greater part of 
which time be served as clerk of the Baptist church at 
Mount Pleasant, near Madison. 

At this time and place the '' great salvation" was gene- 
rally neglected ; and, falling in with the popular current, 
he too soon became '^ barren and unfruitful." But he 
soon repented of his folly, and with tears sought the 
favor and the forgiveness of Qod. In order to renew his 
spiritual strength, be determined to visit New Liberty^ 
Ey., near which place protracted meetings were then 

JOH,"» B. NBW. 81 

l*ing held with grent success. He went in the spirit of 
Psrid, praj-ing CJod to create within him a clean bean, 
uid restore unto him the joys of his salvatioa. 

The people among whom he went most certainly had k 
tt»l for God, though tlieir knowledge of the tmlli was 
imperfect. Their doctrine was corrupt, but U»eir lives 
were pur« ; and it is to be regretted that in many resim-ta 
neither time nor the Reformation bas produ<«d thutr 
superiors in moral excellence. They wore a praying 
jxrople — in the family as well as at church ; in secret as 
well a» in public. They were a simple people, compara- 
tively free from " the lust of the flesh, the luet of the eye, 
and the pride of life." They were a happy people, sing- 
ing aloud the praises of God as they went to and fVotn 
the hoiiBp of worship. They were a patient people, 
never growing restless under a sermon sixty minutes 
long; but often asBembling an hour before sunset, and 
protracting their worship until midnight Among such 
a people it was good for a faltering pilgrim to go ; for 
they that act thus "declare plainly that they seek a 
country." On the next day an;er his arrival there he 
delivered bis first exhortation, at the house of a brother, 
Samuel Sneed ; and, throughout the long series of meet- 
ings which followed, he took an active part in singing, 
prayer, and exhortation. 

After several weeks, the meetings closed with about 
two hundred additions ; and he reluctantly returned to 
HadisoD. On the first Saturday after his arrival, at the 
request of the pastor, Jesse Tawter, he gave the church 
at Ht, Pleasant an account of the Kentucky revivals; 
and exhorted them to diligence in the great work of 
saving a world that "lieth in wickedness." This address 
was quit« unexpected to the brethren, causing them to 
partially open their eyes and awake from their &inf\it 


On the next day — Sunday — after a aennon by.tlie pas- 
tor, Elder New again arose, and began an earnest and 
touching exhortation. Many in the audience were soon 
weeping profiisely ; and, when he sat down, the pastor, 
with tears streaming down his face, began to go through 
the house, exhorting and shaking hands indiscriminately. 
The effect was electrical; and from that meeting the 
interest spread into the country on both sides of the 
Ohio ; nor did it abate until great numbers were '' added 
to the saved." 

After his return to Madison, he endeavored to atone 
for past delinquencies by double diligence in the service 
of God. He quit all secular business, and entered upon 
the study of the Bible, with the aid of Scott's Commen- 
tary, resolved that, if the Lord should call him to preach 
the gospel, he would not be disobedient. He believed 
firmly in the doctrine of " a divine call" to the ministry, 
as did thousands in his day, who, while waiting to re- 
ceive it, saw multitudes go by in the broad road to 
destruction, who, but for this grievous doctrine, would 
have been among those who shall ascribe " blessing, and 
honor, and glory, and power to Him that sitteth upon 
the throne, and to the Lamb forever and ever." 

After studying and praying over this subject for several 
months, he finally compromised the matter by resolving 
that the church shoujd assign him his sphere of action ; 
and that he would endeavor to do whatever they might 
require at his hands. They decided that he should 
preach ; and he accordingly began about the year 1818. 
But, having spent all his money while investigating the 
question of a divine call, he was obliged to betake himself 
again to manual labor. Tet, with characteristic order 
and economy, he reserved four hours out of the twenty- 
four for study. 

On the 19th of February, 1818, he was married to Miss 

JOHN n. NEW. 83 

Mwia Clinirant, tlie third daughter of Thomas aod Mary 
Cbalfiint, who resided in Kentucky, sevea miles from 
Mniiaaa, on the Frankfort road. Hur paronta wore from 
Ptnimylvania ; and both they and their daughter wero 
Baptists, and opposed lo the institution of slavery. Tho 
rfioice of his youth, and the sharer of his toils and trials 
ia the )^s|>el, is etill the companion of his old age. 

Soon after his marriage, he and several others were 
^>p<>inted a committee to amend and enlarge the rules of 
deronim of the Mt. Pleasant church. When the commit- 
tee met, he inquired of them if, in their opinion, the 
church required rules to enforce any thing which the 
Ijord had not commanded in the New Testament. They 
said, '■ Certainly not." He nest inquired if they thought 
(fa« chnrch needed niles forbidding any tiling which the 
Lord had not forbidden in the Scriptures. This was also 
BDswered in the negative. "Then," said he, "it would 
tftke macb time, ink, and paper to write ont all the Chris- 
tian duties and privileges ; and, on looking into the law 
of the Lord, I find that he has graciously relieved us 
from so much labor and expanse, by enumerating them 
for us ; I therefore move that this committee recommend 
to the church the adoption of the Holy Bible as their all- 
sufficient rule of faith and practice." Such a report was 
accordingly made and adopted by the congregation. It 
will be remembered that this was at .a very early period. 
As yet no great reformer had clearly brought to light the 
evil of creeds ; and he nsached his conclusions by follow- 
ing the plain reading of the word of Ood. 

In March, 1821, he removed to Temon, Jennings 
county. In a short time Joel Butler, an orthodox Baptist 
preacher of Indianapolis, delivered a discourse at the 
house of Lather Newton, near Ternon ; and called on 
brother New to close the meeting. In doing so he pressed 
upon the audience the duty of complying with the " con- 


ditioDs" of the gospel. After dismiaaion, tlie ebief speBker 
approached him, witb an sir of great coBcern, Mying, 
" Brother New, are there any cooditions ia the gospel f 
If BO, what are they f" Id reply to thia Bingnlar qnaatioB 
he quoted M&rk xri. 16, Rev. U. 10, and Heb. z. S8. 
HoBt of the Baptist preacfaera of that day wore eqiutUj 
ignorant of the plan of salvation. They believed that 
Qud either would or would not have mercy, accordiag to 
his own good pleaaure ; and that the sinner either BbooU 
or should not be saved, according to his predestinaticw to 
glory or to shame. 

On this subject of predestination he had much eontio- 
rersy with his brethren, who stigmatised him as bo At- 
minian bei-ause he was not a Calvinii^t. On one occasion, 
a Baptist from Kentucky preached in the court house at 
Vernon ; and vulgarly announcod to the audience that he 
was "a prcdcfitinarian up to his knees, with a steel hoop 
and an iron jacket" He and Elder New went to the 
same house for dinner; and at the table a controversy 
arose between them, which continued, with a short inter- 
mission for sleep, until nearly noon the next day. It is 
said that when Sir Orthodox went back to Kentucky, he 
unlaced his jacket somewhat, and did not wade quite bo 
deep in the mire of predestination. 

The first standard work on theology that he read waa 
Oill's Body of Divinity. Finding that it advocated the 
doctrine of a partial atonement, he laid it aside, irbta 
finished, and christened it Gill's Body of Samanity; ^ 
cause it was, in his opinion, as unlike the Diviaf^ of 
Christ as John Gill was unlike the Messiah. He next 
read Andrew Fuller's Gospel, which he found to be very 
different from Paul's ; for, although it taught that Christ 
mnde an atonement for all, yet none could believe udIsh 
first regenerated by the Holy Spirit, which was elK 
imparted " according to the determinate couDsel a 




knowledge of Ood;" thus -virtually attributing the Iobs 
of tbe non-elect to Adam and the Almighty, while Gill 
I&id the blame upon Adam and the Redeemer I 

As fast as be could condemn such doctrines of men by 
comparing tbem with the word of Ood, he threw them 
aside ; for he had determined that, in matters of doctrine, 
he would reject every thing which was not as old as the 
New Testament; and that he would confine himself as 
closely as possible to the language of the Book, when 
speaking of Father, Son, Uoly Spirit, faith, repentance, 
baptism, remission of sins, and whatever else is intimately 
connected with man's salvation — a practice which, if 
adopted by all preachers, would soon utterly destroy the 
worthless dogmas that distract the church and stay the 
progress of the gospel. 

So numerous were these dogmas then, that it often 
happened that there would "be several sorts of Baptists in 
one congregation. At one time the church at Yemon 
wished to prepare a letter for the Silver Creek Association. 


muf additioBB to that congregation wu old fittlier WUtf, 
then seTenty-ftve yeAis of age — almost ready to deaoetid 
into an earthy, instead of a watery grave. He bad bato 
a Methodist tor forty yean, and when he walked oat into 
the stream he took hold of his coat with both haoda aod 
turning toward the large assembly be said, " Some may 
think that the old man is aboat to change his coat in bia 
old age ; but if 1 change it for the better I hope you wOl 
excuse me." His wife, who had been a Methodiat fbr 
thiriy years, preceded him into the kingdom. They both 
walked worthy of their vocation during the remainder of 
their earthly pilgrimage ; and died in full assuranoe at 

A little prior to the immersion of father Wiley, a few 
of that congregation, through the influGDce of Baptist 
preachers, became greatly afraid that Elder New would 
lead the church into "Cam'pbelliem." They therefore 
Bummoned, from the neighboring churches, a council to 
assist them in placing their pastor on the iron bedstead. 
On a certain day the counselors came, and after a dis- 
course by Elder New, the clerk of the church, who was 
one of the alarmists, asked permission to read theArticlet 
of Faith of ike Silver Creek Association. Permission be- 
ing granted the articles were read ; whereupon a brother 
James McClusky arose, and offered the following resolu- 
tion : " Whereas the church of Christ at this place has 
lived together in peace and love, under the government 
of the Lord without any rules of man's device, therefore 

"Resolved, That the said church continue to live by and 
under hie laws alone, as reycalcd in the New Testament." 
This resolution was adopted by a vote of thirty-five to 
seven ; and the " council" retreated in the direction of 
Silver creek I 

About this time, it seems that others became alarmed 
at CampbelUam. While the Association was in session 

1^^^" JOUN B. NKW. 8T 

at Sbuin crtelt, Bartholomow county, a brother Dsnicl 
Pritehanl arose and delivered tlie rollowiog iBineiitation. 
Said hf, "I ezpect to be eouJiwlled lo live and die with 
Anainiaos, a thing wbic-h I can submit to, though it hurts 
tuT feclitigs to call them brethren ; but to live in full fcl- 
lonr^faip with CtunpbelliteB (glaDcing at Elder New) is 
more Uiao I can endure." Upon ibis Elder New stood 
up, and, with an air of great aeriouBness, observed that, 
if thpre were such persons about, it would be well to have 
them pointed out ao that all good people might avoid tbem. 
The congcicDtious brother, who afterwards came into the 
IMbmatioD, did not say sny tbii^ ftirtiier, being no doubt 
in th« MAditioa of anotber oppoMrwbonfd'of keertaiQ 
diKoUH^ tiMhs would ban liked tt -nrj woU IT it bad 
not been so ftatl of Campbellism. " Trae," asid be, " I do 
not know what Campbellism is, and Ood forbid I ever 
abouM koow." 

In April, 1830, there being much strife and disorder in 
the congregation at TerooD, he, with some eleven otbers, 
including bis wife and his brother Hickman New, obtained 
from the church letters of dismissioD in fiill fellowship, 
designing to organize as a separate church. For the 
satisfaction of all concerned they requested that a council 
should be summoned from six adjacent churches, by the 
decision of which they pledged themselves to be governed. 
The conncil met and decided that they should postpone 
the new organization for one year, in hope that in the 
mean time Providence would indicate some means by 
which they might all dwell together in peace. He there- 
fore waited until the nest Spring, when he began to 
preach the Reformation in the Baptist church. In July 
following he immersed his brother Hickman's wife "for 
the remission of sins." On Saturday eveniug before bis 
regular meeting in September, he preached at his own 
bouse, and Perry H. Blankenship, wbom he had brought 


up uid educated, confessed his faith in the Son of God. 
Brother Blankenahip's entniDce into the kingdon WW 
strangely opposed by his relatires, eapeciallj by hfa 
mother, who, when she heard of his confession, deeland 
that she would rather have heard of his death I— The nest 
day she came post-haete to meeting to prereot his im- 
mersion. But her objectJoas were finally oremled, and 
her son, through obedience, became a son of God. Hs 
afterwards studied theology, though compelled to labor at 
the work bentA; and has been for many years an effidoit 

In November, 1881, he organiEcd the Ghorcb of Christ 
at Yemon, with alxiut thirteen members, to whom wen 
soon added several others, including the wife of P. H. 
B Ian ken ship. 

In the Summer of 1832, Colonel John King, the county 
surveyor, came to Elder Ncw's house on Sunday morning 
with a change of raiment. After some conversation on 
the subject of religion, be confessed hia faith in Jesns, 
and stated that ho bod come on purpose to obey him 
After the morning service at church be was immersed, 
and in a short time he became a zealous and saccessfU 
preacher. Through bis influence, his father, then a deist, 
profane and dissipated — was brought occasionally into 
the sanctuary. He bad not long heard the word until he 
also believed ; and one day, white Elder Kew was in the 
midst of a discourse, he rose up in the congregation and 
expressed his desire to confess the Saviour before men, 
and be buried with him by baptism into death. The ser- 
mon being discontinued and an invitation given, he, his 
son Qeo^e, and several others came forward to the 
acknowledgment of the truth. His wife, who had been 
brought up a Presbyterian, soon followed him into the 
Reformation, as did others of the relatives, in all about 
twenty. The old man continued a futhful and devot«d 


ffisHpIc DDlil Ihe dii}* of Iiis death, Christ luid the cross 
being lib constant theme. 

Id An^gt, 1833, he attended a meeting at thn BlutTa 
of White River, some fifteen miles below Indituiapolia. 
There he first met John O'Kaue, Vibo agreed to meet bim 
ftt Oretmsburg io September and go with him tht^uce to 
Temon to assist in a protractud meeting to be held thero 
in October. They met according to agrRometit, and held 
th«ir meting at Greonsburg on the last Saturday and 
Swdfty in September. On the next day they set out fop 
Tvinoii by way of Madison, preaching at New UarioD, 
HUnm, Madison, and Franklin's school-hoiisc. At th9 
lut place David C. Branham was immersed — the first of 
tint large family that came out in opposition to all humoa 
creeds. On Friday morning they arrived at Vernon, 
where they met with a sore disappointment. They found 
thftt the Baptist church, which had long been engaged for 
the occasion by the Disciples, was occupied by the Pres> 
byterians of Hanover, who were holding in it their Pres- 
t^rlery. A Methodist Quarterly Meeting was in progress 
in the court house ; and there was left no better place 
for holding their meeting than in Hickman New's cabinet 
shop. Previous to their arrival the brethren had set the 
shop in order, and, hoping that all things would work 
together for good, they began their meeting. It con- 
tinued for about a week, and resulted in /oriy'Jtve addi- 
tions — the truth triumphing gloriously over its allied 
opposerB. The Presbyterians had no accessions; the 
MetbodisU drew only a few to the anzious seat, the most 
of whom went away to the Chrbtians' meeting, and 
obtained pardon by attending to what bad been appointed 
for them to do ; while the Baptists were rewarded for 
their faithlessness by the loss of ten of their members, 
who went over to the Reformation. 
About this time he began to preach monUily at CoDee 


creek, mme twelve milea from Tenoii. It wh ft Bftptiflt 
coinmaDity, oad he held bis meetings in tlie B^itist dmnh. 
It was not long however antil the chun and padlock — 
"the last arguments to which «rrort8t( reaort" — wsn 
placed npon the door. At this crisis two of the Bapttoti^ 
more noble than the rest, invitod him to preach in their 
houses, at the same time addressing him as "6t'<o(A«r Hew." 
For this act thoy were arraigned before the chordi, which 
bad already agreed to be governed bj the word of Qod 
To that word they appealed, bat were informed that tbej 
were to be tried by the Baptist rules. They then plead 
successfully that those rules did not forbid their calling ft 
good man brother or inviting him to preach in theirdwdl- 
ings. It was then charged in the indictment that they 
had hurt the feelings of Ike church. On this charge they 
were excluded ; but through the door, which was opened 
for Ikeir egress, about twenty otiiers went out — so great 
a matter did a little Sre kindle. He continued his meet- 
ings and organized a church there which soon numbered 
a hundred members, about half of whom were from the 
Baptiiits. In a little while they built a substantial brick 
meeting-house, which, to this day commemorates the vic- 
tory at Coffee creek. 

Id November, IS32, he and Carey Smith organised the 
Church of Christ at Madison, which consisted at first of 
about a dozen members. Among the original members 
were Jessee Mavity and his wife. Elder Mavity had 
been preaching for a few years and was an educated and 
promising evangelist To support his family he taught 
school in the basement of the Masonic Hall, assisted by 
his brother Henry Mavity. Prior to the organizatioD of 
the church, he had preached with great acceptance for the 
several denominations of the city, all of whom were liberal 
patrons of bis school. But no sooner was an effort made 
to build a church on the foundation which Ood has laid 

JOHN B. N«W. 91 

in ZioD, than they induced bim to change his common 
school to a High School, assuring him that he would thus 
make a better support with less labor. The change being 
made, thej withdrew so much of their patronage that the 
High School proved a failure. He was therefore com- 
pelled to leave the city and retire into the country — a 
movement which deprived the infant church of a pastor. 
This seems to have been a strategic movement on the part 
of the allied sects to which they were no doubt prompted 
by the Scripture which saith, " Smile the shepherd, and 
the sheep shall be scattered.^^ 

The stategy, however, did not succeed. Elder New 
went to the relief of the congregation, which he visited 
once a month gratuitously until they were able to sustain 
a preacher. Thus he not only planted, but also saved, the 
Church of Christ at Madison. 

Having assisted in building a good brick meeting-house 
at Vernon, and having placed the cause upon a good foot- 
in sr. he determined to entrust the work, in that count v, to 
his brother Hickman and several other young preachers. 
Accordingly in October, 1839, he removed to Greens burg, 
I»ecatur county, where there was a languishing church of 
some thirty member. Ilis first meeting was on a beauti- 
ful Lord's day in October ; but, the brethren had so far 
forsaken the assembling of themselves together, that there 
were but thirteen of them and three small boys present. 
After the discourse, he and his wife handed their letters 
to one of the bishops, and were received into what little 
fellowship the church possessed. The prospect was so 
dark that his wife wept bitterly ; and his stouter heart 
was not a little discouraged. They had left their com- 
fortable old home ; were in debt for their new one ; and 
without even the promise of a single dollar from the 
church at that place. But he looked upon the Lord's 
vineyard, all grown over with thorns, and also upon the 


field ripe for the herveet; he girded up hie loiu wifik 
truth ; set hie sickle in order ; and resolred to Ubor, aad 
wait for bis rewud until the resurrection of the jtub 

He appointed a protracted meeting to be held mtIj' in 
November ; aad obtained the waistance of Qeorge CUd- 
well of Rush, and Samuel EUie of Decatur. At the flrst 
meeting on Saturday morning eight persone were present, 
une of whom bad walked firom Hartsrille, a distance of 
fourteen miles. On Saturday night there were twelve 
present ; on Sunday twenty-five ; and the big meeting 
adjourned tine die. It wae about four months before be 
uould get a tolerable hearing ; but he received as much 
pay, almost, from the empty pews as from the people, bo 
lie toiled on, preaching* in town every Thursday night tad 
five times on one Saturday and Suuday of each month, 
and holding meetings In school-houses and private dwell- 
ings throughout a district of ten miles square. Such 
persevering industry, accompanied with fervent prayer to 
the Qiver of all increase, could not fail to produce some 
f!i)i)d results ; and during the first year there were seventy- 
livu additions to the church. He preached at Greensburg 
one fourth of his time for six years ; and each year brought 
ulmut fifty into the fold of Christ Under his diligent 
fulture, the small seed which he found there took such 
dwp root that it has steadily grown into a great tree 
un<ler whose shadow all other gospels enjoy but a sickly 

In December, 1839, he went to Cincinnati, where be 
preached five discourses and had twelve additions. This 
was the beginning of the great meeting, which lasted 
throe whole months, and resulted in two hundred and fifty 
accessions to the cause of righteousness and truth. 

In January, 1840, he organized a church five miles 
south of Greensburg; and continued to preach for them 
monthly until they reached a membership of tiixty. In 

JuDe of tlie Bamc year he held b meeting at Napoleon, 
Kipley county. At ihis point there wua no Christian 
fhutch, nor were there more than two or three disciples 
in nil that region, Aiter a meeting of four days' continu- 
ance, there was a church there of twenty-four members. 
The ftrienty-lwo additions were from eleven different re- 
ligious parties I Bence it appears that tfao ancient gospel, 
which in the days of Paul made " of twain one new man," 
has not yet lost its power ; for it has in this century made 
of c/rtiCTt one new church. Notwithstanding their diffi-r- 
eticcs of opinion previous to their union, they afterwards 
Htuod together as one man ; and Christ hecamo " all and in 
all." Sif ti>ould alt maierial differences of opinion periih, 
wrre Otry not embalmed, tike Egt/plian bodies, in the 
Creeds and Con/<'!i»wng of Faith. 

In M&y, 1841, he held a meeting at Hilroy, in Rush 
county. The padlock being on the door of the M. E. 
church, be preached at the houae of Austin Smith. There 
was then do Christian church at that place, and only one 
diiiciple, the wife of Dr. Samuel Barbour. On Monday 
morning the* citizens said to him that if he would return 
in eight weeks tfaey would have a house ready for his use. 
When he came, accompanied by Jos. Fassett, the house 
was ready. They preached in it a few days, and left 
there a church of seventeen members. Them also he fed 
Kith, the sincere milk of the word, until they were able to 
take care of themselves. Tbey are still a large congre- 
gation, and have a good house of worship. 

In August, 1841, he and Joseph Fassett held a meeting 
of two days at Shelbyville, and immersed one. There 
were then but three disciples at that place, and the oppo- 
sition was very strong He returned in March, 1842; 
preached several days in the town and vicinity, and with 
great difficulty collected sufficient materials to organise a 


church, to which, in April following, he «dd«d Bone twealj 


The same year, 1842, he oi^^ixed two mora c 
^ne at Milford, and the other »t Bine Rirae. H* .1 
held that year a number of protracted meetingi^ • 
ing his circuit as far as Rising Sun. 

On the first Lord's day in March, 1848, tbs i 
being very cold, he began a protracted moating «t 1 
bni^, Johnson county. When he arriTcd at tba ol 
on Monday morning, a little before the hour for pi 
he found the door still locked. He hnnted ap the k^f, 
unlocked the door, and proceeded to examine tba ■tov%'. 
which he found cold as the church, and neatly flill of 
aehbs. These he carried out, and began to cast aboat 
him for wood to make a lire. Finding none save sonae 
large hickory logs, he procured an axe, prepared wood, 
and soon had a comfortable fire. By this time a foithfiil 
few had assembled ; and, being already " wamied up," be 
discoursed to them with unusual ease aud fluency. Not- 
withstanding this sad beginning, he continued the meet- 
ing for several days ; and closed with nineteen additions, 
most of whom were persona of wealth, intelligence, and 
moral worth. 

In September, 1846, be held a meeting at Williams- 
burg, Johnson county. When he began, a certain brotfan 
observed that he would not be afraid to promise bim a 
hundred dollars for every one he would immerse, there 
being much sickness in the neighborhood, and also a gieat 
sale of personal property, which attracted the attention 
of the people. He continued to preach to very small 
audiences until Thursday afternoon, at which time there 
were sizteea persons present — ten citizens of the king- 
dom, and six "foreigners." Of these six, he immersed, 
that afternoon, five ; and the other waited only a few days. 


to obtftin the consent of his motlier. This circumslanei^ 
fairly illustrates bie perseverance and hope. 

In October. 1846. he was appointed by the State Meet- 
ing aa miseionarj to Fort Wayne, for a period of otrn 
year. He was to receive out of the treasury two hun- 
dred and fifty dotlani, and the balance of bis expenses bd 
was to meet by the labor of his own hands. On the Till 
of Soveniber he arrived at Port Wayne, in whicli wero 
then only two sisters and one brother. On the evening. 
of the Ifith he preaehed liia first sermon, in ttie court 
hou^ al) the churches bcin^ closed against him. Fort 
- 'Wayne tlien contained eleven churches, and a population 
^ of about four thousand, of whom one thousand wen? 
Roman Catholics and nearly another thousand Qermmi 
Lutherans. The claims of the ancient gospel were Hrinly 
disputed by the " clergy," who spared no pains to preju- 
dice tbe public mind against it. From any point of view 
the pro.apect was by no means flattering, if not absolutely 
dii^cou raging. However he still persevered in the work, 
and it was not long until his efforts were rewarded by the 
eonvereion of an Episcopal minister by the name of 
Edward HodgkioB, who became an able advocate of 
[^mitive Christianity. 

It was two full months before he could command a 
large audience ; but, when he began to immerse believers 
in tbe canal, in which the ice was more than a foot thick, 
tbe iubabitants became anxious to know more of those 
people that were everywhere spoken againat. 

At the expiration of tbe first half of his year there was 
at.Fort Wayoe a Christian church of fifty members, with 
a well-attended and interesting Sunday-school. During 
the other six months he preached half bis time at other 
points, including Auburn and Newville, Dc Kalb county ; 
Ashland, Wabash county; and Huntington and Wabaeh- 
town, Huntington county. The result of his labors for 



the jett wu two churches organised, and one I 

and fifty-five aGceBaions to the cause of primitiTO Ohrift- 


Daring the next six mooths he preached for the dmrcbea 
at Harion, ABbland, Wabashtown, and Huntington. In 
those days he usually travelled in a buggy, and was fre- 
quently accompanied byhiawife. The roads wen aome- 
times in such wretched plight that the faorse conld with 
difficulty draw the bug^ containing sister New alone. 
In such casea the evangelist would he compelled to alight, 
and, with pantaloona well rolled up, plod hia weary way 
through almost unbthomable depths of mud. Tet be 
patiently endured all for Christ's sake and the gospel's; 
and, on reaching terra firma, he would mount again into 
hit) carriage, with all the hopefulness of the poet, when 
he sang : 

"Come, let as anew 

Onr Jonrne; parsae ; 

Boll roDud with the jear. 

And never sUnd still, 
Till the Master appear." 

In the Spring of 1848 he returned to Grecnsburg ; and 
during the following Summer and Fall he visited most of 
tile churches he had planted, confirming the bretbren. 

In January, 1849, he preached, by invitation, before 
the Go-operation Meeting tlien in session at Crawfords- 
ville. In March following, he was employed for one year 
by the brethren at Crawfordsville, to which place he re- 
moved. The church was then in a sad State, owing to 
strifes and divisions. He labored long and earnestly in 
the capacity of a peace-maker, and finally succeeded in 
reconciling the most of them ; but the influence of their 
example was such upon the world that he could accom- 
plish but very little outside of the congregation. 

At the close of his year he went bock to Indianapolis, 

wiiere ho fixed his pcrmnntint refiiicncp, pcrltaps for life. 
For siMut six iDODttiH after bis relurn to that city he was 
eni|iloycd as agent and ovan^elist for the Slate Mi^biuu- 
ary Sot'ietr. During thia time he trovelled extensively 
14 vM-ions parts of the State ; and bis efforts were attended 
with ^od success. 

During the year 1853, being again employed by tbo 
Missionary Society, be preached in the counties oF Madi- 
son and Delaware ; and with Buch success that be wus 
continued in thai field six months longer. Within the 
ei^l«>cn moDths he organised fi^e new churches, and 
made one hundred and twenty-fire proBelytcs. 

In February, 1853, he held a meelinjf at Torre Haut«, 
which greatly strengthened the church tu that city. In 
March following lie orgiinimi the eburcb at Pnris, Illi- 
noie, and left it with thirty-seven members. 

About this time the great controversy with regard to 
the powers of elders and evangelists was sweeping like a 
tornado over Illinois, laying church after church in ruina. 
Perceiving that general destruction was inevitable unless 
the tempest could be stayed, Elder New made a tour 
through that State, preaching almost exclusively to the 
brethren, and exhorting them to "keep the unity of the 
spirit in the bond of peace." 

At Jacksonville he addressed the State Meeting on the 
subject of Missions, on which occasion he presented the 
following as the essential elements of a successful mis- 
sionary: Ist. Oodlinesn. 2d. A clear understanding of 
the Chritstian syiUem. 3d. Aptnesit lo teach. 4th, A tho- 
rough acquaintance with hiimav nature. 

During the year I860, he served the congregations at 
Mishawaka, South Bend, and Harris' Prairie, St. Joseph 
county. When he first visited those churches, some were 
weak and powerless on account of divisions. He suc- 
ceeded in removing the most of these obstacles ; and the 

gospel, in St. Joseph, now has "free course that il mnr 
run and be glorified," 

Thiring tile past year he has continued to reside »l In- 
dianapolis ; tVom which point he has gone in every direc- 
tion, preaching the gospel wherever there has been a de- 
maud for bis services. 

Having thus reached the present, history can praceei] 
no further ; but if one had the gift of prophecy this sketch 
might no doubt be considerably extended. For, though 
old in years, the subject of it is still young in spirit, and 
there is reason to hope that he will yet do much that will 
redound to the glory of God and the advancement of the 
Redeemer's kingdom. But already, as he looks back 
throug:h sun-^hino and shadow to the churches he has 
planted, the scbisros he has healed, the opposers be has 
vanquished, and the hearts he has cheered, he may well 
rejoice that he has not run in vain neither labored in vain. 

In the physical contour of John B. New there is nothing 
remarkable. He is a man of medium size, blessed by na- 
ture with more than ordinary activity. Altogether, he is 
a man of very good appearance ; and one, you may be 
sure, who never appears to disadvantage through any 
neglect of his toilette. Every hair knows its inevitable 
position ; which position his nicely smoothed hat is careful 
never to disturb. His snow-white cravat is always tied 
precisely so, and his large full shirt bosom is spotless as 
the soul of a saint. His boots are generally well blacked, 
and you might as well search for the philosopher's stone 
as for a grease-epot upon his clothing. Yet you must 
not think he is foppish, he is only neat — hardly ever up 
with the fashion, but generally dressed a little after the 
style of the olden time. 

Not merely in dress, but in every thing, he is cleanly 
even to a fault. Should he see you enter your own house 


with a little mud Mihoritig to your sIiop, he would hardly 
hesitate to tell you to stop out and remove the intruder ; 
sod if, id a hou§e at which he ie flopping, the children 
hare wry dirty faces — or if the window panes are so dusty 
that he cannot see out clearly — the good sister in charga 
■ Deed not be surprised to receive from him a gentle bint 
TflatiTe to the virtues of warm water. It is a matter of 
regret, therefore, that with some housewives he is uot a 
bvorito— yet he is " not a terror to good works but to tlio 

He takes care that every thing is done not only "de> 
cenliy," bat also in order. Kvery book and paper must 
be Ed joAt the right place. When be writes every t must I 

be dotted, asd every t crossed ; and, about the whole j 

premises, every thing must he done just l/ien and no. It 
b related of him that in one of his preaching tours he was 
tarrying on Saturday at the bouse of a brother, who to 
the neglect of his work bad kept him company all the 
afternoon. Towards nightfall he observed to his host 
that if he had any chores to do, any wood to get, or 
chickens to caicb, it was then the proper time to attend 
to such business. If this be true, there was not a parti- 
cle of selfishness in the whole matt«r. It was not his 
appetite, but his bump of order that constrained him to 
offer the suggestion. 

But with all these little faults, which lean to virtue's 
Hide, be is an agreeable, an amiable man. Deep down 
below these surface appearances be has a ftank, generous 
nature ; a pure, warm heart. He grasps your hand like 
a brother indeed ; and when he says, " How do you do ?" 
it is because he really desires to know that you are well. 

His mind is well informed, though neither of the high- 
est order nor thoroughly cultivated. He has a large share 
of the sound common-sense which Providence bestowed on 
the generation past in lieu of the colleges and universities 



voiiclisafed to the gi-iieration pn-sent He lias a remarka- 
bly good lui'iuory, relt'oUve of time, pluce, atid eTent; 
supplving him promptly with eliapl«r and vor&e ; aod 
reaching baclc almost to infaoiry. 

In the pulpit, he is an eccentric, yet safe teacher — an 
earnest and efiective exhorl«r. His gestures are quick, 
cramped, and rectilinear; and he utters bluntly whateTer 
lie thinks, whether it relates to friend or foe. He is mainly 
argumentative, proriog all things and holding very Jaat 
that whi(;h is good. Owing to his highly nervouB tem- 
perament, he thinks and speaks rapidly; yet be is not 
always brief; and it need not surprise you if in his enu- 
meration of topics he ascend even to ihiriefnthly. True, 
he very often looks at his elegant watch ; but be cares do 
more for its admonitions than he does for a Confession of 

He enters with spirit into bis subject ; but it is said 
that be never becomes so excited in speaking, that be fails 
to notice a dog if one ventures into tbe bouse of Ood. 
It is said further, that, in such a case, be stops suddenly ; 
indulges in a few significant looks and gestures; and if 
no one else restores order, he quietly descends from the 
pulpit; takes bis cane; expels the intruder; and then re- 
sumes bis discourse. No Jew could have been much more 
zealous in excluding the idolater from the Holy Temple. 

Altogether he is a character worthy of the pen of a 
Sbakspeare. He has done but little evil to live after bim, 
and tbe good that he has accomplished can never be "in- 
terred with his bones," He may pass away, and his chil- 
dren in the gospel may lie down with him to sleep in dust ; 
but the cbarches he has planted will flourish after his 
death ; the principles he has helped to establish will sur- 
vive even his memory ; and the spirits of tbe just, made 
perfect through the gospel be has preached, shall lire and 
rejoice with him forever before tbe throne of Qod. 


B^KR Beverly Yawtkr jb a oatiFe or Virgiuia, born 
on the S8Ui "f September, 1789— the same year in which 
^targe Waehiugton was iaangunitcd Srst PrcBident of 
illw tTniled States. In the same year also, Ethan Allen 
Acd, itntl thus the place of the colebrattid infidel was sup- 

Ced by t)ie veteran Christian. 
Bib parents, Philemon and Ann Tawter, were both 
m in Culpepper county, Virginia, and brought up in 
lb» Epiecopal Church. Soon after their luarriage they 
nBed the mountains and settled in Western Virginia, 
Mure their son Beverly was born. 

|t 1^ 1792 they emigrated to Kentucky, tiien a new-born 
jbbe in the sietcrhood of States. They settled in Wood- 
Hati county, and united with the Baptist church, in which 
iWlfa they lived and died without reproach. Several 
yenn prior to his death, the father became a Baptist 

In aVmt thrw y-ar^ after their settlement in Woodford 
county, they removed to a new home, on the bank of the 
Ohio, in Boone county, Ky. There Elder Vawter spent 
luB boyhood, surrounded by savages and a few adventu- 
rous pioneers. Books were so scarce in those times that 
Ik was a full-grown man before be saw even an almanac ! 
The best family library contained only a Bible and hymn 
Iwok, while newspapers and religious magazines were not 
only unseen but almost unheard of 

Hoder such circumstances his education was necessarily 
teiy limited. He fanned, shivered with the ague, and 


w cut to what was called school, alternately ; and if it 
were all summed up — lost time being deducted — his 
student life would amount to less than two years. To 
spell, read, write, and " cipher" a yerj little, was all he 
learned at school He has not, by his own efforts, greatly 
multiplied his literary and scientific* attainments ; but by 
reading and observation he has, in the course of his long 
life, acquired a respectable stock of general infonoation. 
When he entered into the Reformation, he was, in point 
of scholarship, one of the weak things which Gk>d has 
chosen to confound the things that are mighty. 

His first attempt to draw nigh to God, was in hannony 
with the religious teachings of his times, and not unlike 
the efforts of others whose histories are contained in this 
Yolume. It was simply a blind feeling after God in plaees 
where he has never promised to be found, attended witk 
alternate seasons of hope and despair. In view of the 
darkness of that day and the light that now shines upon 
the way of life, he may well say to the people of this 
generation : ** Blessed are your eyes, for they see.'' But 
the darkness is not all dispelled. Some of the old errors 
still remain ; and, in order that the world may have still 
further evidence of their pernicious influence, the history 
of his conversion must be given. 

When he was about ten years old there was a great 
revival of religion in the only Baptist church then in 
Boone county. Every body seemed to be joining the 
church, under the stirring preaching of an aged minister 
named John Taylor. One day, after meeting, Mrs. Vaw- 
ter took occasion to talk with her son in regard to bis 
religious impressions, saying that he seemed to be affected 
by the preaching ; that he ought to pray daily in secret; 
and, if possible, " get religion.'' Being a dutiful son, that 
never was chastised with the rod in all his life, he readily 
promised to follow her advice. 

BBTEBIT v.tnri.K. I03 

800B after tliis, be mgmhi attended ■ nwetiDg, at vbieb 
a great man; joang peisoos — older, bowercr. than b»- 
•elf — were nnitiiig with the cbareb One dar. after a 
large in-gathering, tbe preai^r aroee and tiiqaiRd if 
there was not " another little bor wuhing to join :" tbea, 
growing personal in bis exhortation, be add«d. "CoMC^ 
Bererlf, and tell us how yon ktf At tbe iM«tNa of 
his name, a certain Judge Walt« to«k him op ia his 
aims; carried bim, notent voleiu. over the benebfs: aod 
Mt down with him among tbe mourners. Tbe preaf^bn 
with great aolemnitv a^ked him a preat manr n-^trm'iB», 
all or which he was too much ahafbed 10 answer Hia 
mother came to his relief: and testiSed that, ahhoagb tbe 
could not get him to talk, she knew be prayed ererr dsr; 
and abe thougbt that from a giren periMi -be f>md fjtirtd 
a change in hu countenance! This w>« nfsr4«d, W the 
preacher and church, ae good evidence of a ^ro&d vjo- 
Tereion 1 The next daj they baptizM] bim : and gare 



■■ puwvrrully converted" at the mourDer's bench in tha 
same faous« in which the meeting was being held. At 
the close of a discourse which made some encroachments 
on that peculiar institution of pardon, tlie disciple abnve 
mentioned arose and made the following revelation : 
Said he, " It will do you no barm to go to the mourner's 
bench." " Amen, that's a fact 1" reeponded the Bapt)bll^. 
" I am glwl," be added, " to sec cue become bo bumbUi 
that he is willing to go to the mourner's bench." Oore 
the voice of the Baptist preacher rose above all others 
saying. " Amen, go on Brother J — !" "But," continu«id 
the speaker, " the feelingn there experienced niu«t not be 
regarded as evidence of pardon." (No response.) " I 
experienced such feelings at this very attar, and I ehoulMl 
and praised Qod, tteJicving that my sins wore forgiven." 
" But," said be, addressing the Baptists, who could not 
question his integrity, " the next day I doubted my con- 
version ; I expressed my doubts to you, and you said : 
' 0, never mind ii, that's the way we all feel !' " It is 
needless to say that this " most unkind cut of all" was 
received with profound silence. 

Agreeably to this advice. Elder Vawter tried to " never 
mind it ;" but tbe older be grew the more he was com- 
pelled to " mind it." He soon discontinued his prayers ; 
but be remained in the church until he reached his twenty- 
second year ; both because he feared to turn back, on his 
own account, and was unwilling to wound the feelings of 
his parenta. At times he would renew his efforts to 
obtain a satisfactory evidence of his acceptance with 
Qod ; but it was all in vain. 

When in his twenty-second year, some disturbance 
occurred in the family of one of his brethren. He thought 
the brother was guilty of maltreating his wife ; and he 
one day said to a neighbor that " such a fellow ought 
to be cowhided." This remark reached the ear of the 

/ ■ 


dmndi ; uid a brother wm eent to obutD from hiai aa 
Kknowledgmeot of his fftah. Defiirin^ to to excluded, 
tie Kfosed to confess. Being tfaivAlened with extKrmma- 
nintion, be replied that he bad never " bad relifiou ;'' 
ud it was better for him to be out of tiie cfanrcb than is 
it Tbia reply being reported, he waa pronptlr ex- 
cluded — a matter which troaUed htm only as h dietnsaed 
his ptrente. 

Daring the next fire or six years of bis life, be baniebed 
ill religioos impressions from his miod — Ijod was not in 
ill his thoughts. Within this time he volunteered twice 
ia tbe service of bis country ; and. in the pioneer unifona, 
iDsrched to tbe defense of tbe north-weMem frontier. At 
ibe close of the second campaign he exchanged tbe de- 
moralising influences of camp-life for the eril commnni- 
tations of river men. In the capacity of a flat-boat- 
man he made a trip to the South, experiencing by tbe 
way tbe earthquakes which occurred near New Madrid 
in 1811. 


8oIv«l that he would ouce more " praiso the Lord for his 
goudnese a^d For his wonderful worke to the children of 
men." While, thcrcrore, his wife was preparing diuncr, 
he stole away into a grove; and there offered liioiiks to 
God, beseeching him to grant unto him faith and remis- 
sion of sins, if indeed he was one of the ckcl — for he waa 
a Brni believer in the doctrine of eternal election, ftod 
faith as the direct gift of Ood. through the secret uper&- 
tion of the Holy Spirit. He was a Gnu believer also in 
the Bible, if he had known it ; but he had been taught 
to expect " some great thing" instead of " the simplicity 
that is in Christ." 

In search of faith he opened his mind to the Kewlight 
preacher; but he received from hiui no consolation. H« 
informed his uncle, a Baptist prcaclicr, that hu "could not 
obtain that divine faith which proceeds from the throne 
of God." His uncle tried to persuade him that he already 
had religion; and offered to receive him into fellowship. 
He refused, observing that he would never rest until 
satisfied of his pardon. "Thai," said his uncle, " is a 
hard thing to know in this life, b\U we hope on till death." 
How little better the consolations of such religion than 
the uncertain hopes of immortality cherished by the 
heathen philosophers ! Again he applied to an aged and 
intelligent Presbyterian, whose only reply was: " A man 
cannot help what he believes." He attended the meet- 
ings of the sects within his reach, ever in search of one 
object, which he already possessed — that is faith. 

At last he obtained light on this subject in the follow- 
ing manner: On going, one day, to the house of his 
brother-in-law, he found his wife's sister alone and en- 
gaged in fervent prayer. He sat down on the door-step 
that he might not disturb her devotions. When she arose 
from prayer she approached him with a face bedewed 
with Uare, and placed in his hand a small pamphlet, with 


the request tli&t he would rend it. It proved to be "Sk»ie, 
on the Doctrine of the Trinity, Atonement, and Faith.'" 
He read with avidity the essay od Faith, which was short, 
pointed, and evangelical. Among the quotationa intro- 
duced were Romans x. It, and John x.t. 30. These pas- 
sages relieved his mind; for if faith is only to belie 
that Jeeus Christ is the Son of Qod, on the authority 
the written word, he was satisfied that he had it. I 
he did not yet enjoy the conviction that his sins were f 
^ven ; therefore ho continued his efforts to obtain pardon. 
Tlie common methods of seeking it in those days were 
by prayer and by endeavoring to claim, in a special r 
ner, some promise of the Lord, To both these expedients 
he resorted ; and in search of promises be happened upon 
these : " He that helieveth and is baptized shall be saved." 
" Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name 
of Jesus Christ, for the remission of sins, and you shall 
receive the gift of the Holy Spirit" Upon these pro- 
mises he rested, assured that they indicated the way of 
salvation ; and, notwithstanding that he had been once 
baptized, ho resolved to obey the commands afresh, and 
receive God's word as the evidence of his pardon. He 
communicated his inteation to his wife, who expressed 
her determination to do likewise. The only question was 
to what church they should present themselves ; her rela- 
tives being Newlights and his being Baptists, to whoso 
views he was strongly inclined. They were not long in 
deciding. John McClung, a Newlight, was preaching 
once a month in the neighborhood ; and they attended 
his next meeting. He presented the Bible alone as the 
only sufficient rule of faith and practice ; and, with great 
earnestness, urged all who loved tbe Lord Jesus in sin- 
cerity to forsake all human creeds, and unite on the foun- 
dation of apostles and prophets. This turned the scale 
in favor of the divine creed ; and on the first Lord's daj 


in Jinauy, 181t, they were imnierBed by John McOhmg. 
It wu a clear, bitter cold day, and tbeir gimienta fron 
npoQ them as they wallted from the icy Btraam to tlw 
nearest houee. But they were in possession of a good 
oonscience ; and, by faith, they rejoiced in the aaBoranca 
of the remiseion of sins and the hope of eternal life. 

Thus, under the religioua systems of those tjmes, WM 
Elder Vawter eighleen yean in experiencing the joys of 
salvaUon 1 Yet the same systems, slightly modified, an 
still recommended to the people as the gospel of the Son 
of Ood 1 How long, Lord, how long, till the minds of 
the people shaU no more be " corrupted from the simpUdtj 
that ia in Christ 1" 

A little subsequent to his immersion, a church was 
organized in his neighborhood. Elder Vawter was ap- 
pointed deacon ; they held social meetings weekly ; and 
the first year there were a great many additions. He then 
began to think of preaching to others the gospel be had 
been so long learning. But to this procedure two things 
stood opposed. At the door of ihc ministry the doctrine 
of " a divine and effectual call" confronted him. At this 
he halted, reflected, and prayed, until finally his uncle 
Jesse Vawter convinced hint that a good opportumly to 
do good is the best call to the mtnistty. 

This difficulty being disposed of, another yet remained. 
He was so timid that he almost despaired of ever being 
able to speak in public. Of this weakness the following 
incident is a correct exponent : 

Having two children, which he wished to train up in 
the nurture and admonition of the Lord, be set up an 
altar, and instituted family worship. lie conducted ibe 
service very well while the family were left to themselves ; 
but it was not long until his mother came to pass a night 
under his roof. Her presence was a cross which he felt 
unable to bear. After a long conflict, conscience pre- 

Tailed- He read a chapter, aod offi^red bis sacrificE 
prai-w ; but so confused whs be that, on kneeling doi 
a pra^ , he felt that he " was EpinoiDg round like a top,'' 
when lie arose his mother obBerred, " I thought you 
t a good reader, Beverly, but you can scarcely read 

Una dUUsDw Jie gndoalty. ^reroMM bj aiiigibsft VtV 
iag, and MJtQitiag in tbe. sopial meetinga, of which tbej 
hid mtmj-i and, being encourtged to preach tbe goiq>u, 
he fnallf gained the conaent of hit xaind to nofike tbe 
•Sort. Accordingly be was ordained as an eraageliat ^ 
the jear 181.9^ by Elders J. Qnfton sod John Heode^fm. 

In wder to sn^tort his bmily, he determined to inv^ 
his limited tseaaa in a carding machine. - As he deefgaed 
this to be driven by water power, he removed to Indiana 
in March, 1819, and settled a few miles above Madison, 
OD the west fork of a small creek called Indian Kentucky. 
There he united with a church organized the euromer 
before by John McClung and Henry Brown, preachers 
fnll of zeal and love, who have long since entered into 
rest. , For Uiat congregation he preached regularly ; and, 
aided by Truman Waldron and Joshua Loudrey, he held 
there a protracted meeting, which resulted in many 

In 1820, having got his machine iq succesaful opera- 
tion, and employed a hand to attend to it, he began to 
devote the most of hie time to tbe proclamation of the 
word. About this time he began to travel, his first tour 
being into Monroe county, where he held some interest- 
ing meetings. The burden of his preaching at that time 
was the sufficiency of the Holy Scriptures for the govern- 
ment of the Church of Christ ; and in his humble way he 
didmuch to weaken public confidence in human creeds, 
and direct the minds of 1^ people to the Bible as the 
only authority in matters of religion. Thus was he pre- 


paring the way for the Reformation, wliieh was nigh at 

In the winter of 1831 he visited a brother-in-law, who 
lived on Laiighery (^reek, in n cominunity id which sin 
so abounded that a Methodist and b. Baptist preacher had 
been driven away by a mob. Hia brother-in-law received 
him kindly ; took him over his farm ; and did all in hia 
power to interest him with things temporal; but tb« 
preacher's thoughts were on things gpiritual and eternal: 
he was considering how he might get an opportunity to 
declare unto them the gospel. 

Aa his host waa a staunch Seceder, he did not aupposa 
that he would he permilted to preach in his house; but 
night came, and. sonit-what to hh surprise, he was invited 
to read and pray with the family. The next day was 
Sunday, and lie retired to rest, longing to see the truth 
planted in that place. That night he dreanned that be 
was invited to preach ; and, before the sun arose, his 
dream was realized. His host and hostess invited him to 
preach in their house ; and the appointment was speedily 
circulated. At the appointed hour the house was crowded; 
and, to his great surprise, the auditors were respectful 
and attentive. At the close of the discourse, he said he 
would visit them again if they would signify their cooaeot 
by rising ; whereupon every person in the house rose up. 
Accordingly he preached for them occasionally for about 
a year, but with few indications of reform. 

The next winter, aided by Elder Jesse Mavity, he held 
a protracted meeting at that place, which resulted in a 
great many additions ; among whom were severs) — per- 
haps all — of the Seceder's children. These were all im> 
mersed without their father's consent, aa they had been 
sprinkled in infancy; escept two, who had never been 
thus christened. The father himself led them down to 
(he wat«r, while the big tears rolled copiously down bis 


cheeks. Such wne the fruji gnthprcd. hy prod^nt d 
mrnt, where violence was expeelwl. 

In AufUBl. lUii. he held a protract«d meeting M titm 
mouth of Turkey Bun, ob Laugherr rreek, in » boose 
balll Tor his nsc. mainly by citizens who fa»d not yot 
obeyeil the gospel. His Bret disetiaree, on Chnrch Qor- 
emmeDt, he closed with an Jnrilatioo to mD who were 
disposed to place themseives under the goverDmenl of the 
Lurd. Several persons presented tbemiwlres, aiaoug 
whom were two Baptists. Many other* were added 
during the progress of the meeting, whieh gave a great 
impetus to the Bible cause in that region. There be 
ergMiJsed a church, which he visited for several yeara 
with gratifying results. 

Sonielime in the year 1823 he was invited lo preach to 
a Baptist coDgregation on Hogan Creek. He weot ; and 
by Bonod and discreet teaching turned them all over to 
tiie divine creed and Christian name ; for be it remem- 
bered that they called themselves Chrittiana, and were 
called NewlightB only to distingnish them from others 
who claimed to be " Christians" also, but would not call 
Ihemaelw* by that name. In addition to this flock and 
their pastor, Joseph ShaDDon, there were among the con- 
verted a Hetbodiat class and their leader, together with 
many from the world. These were all united on the one 

Id the year 1824 he oi^anized another church on Otter 
creek, in which atream he immersed a great many. At 
that place there came to him a woman, saying that she 
had long been seeking religion, but could not obtun it ; 
and that she greatly desired to be immersed because the 
Lord had commanded it. He asked her if she believed 
that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. When she had re- 
plied Grmly in the afiSrmative, he said, " On this profes- 
sion I will immerse you. ' If thou believest with all thy 


heart, thou ma78t,> is the IftngaagQ of the Book." "Bat,* 
Mid she, " mj husbuid hu declared that he wlfl whip any 
man yriio attempts to baptise me. Hust I obej Ura or 
m7 Sariour f" He replied, " It is better to obey God 
than man ; come to-morrow to the baptising, and ire shall 
see." She came, and while he was immersing othen she 
was prepared by the sisters, and conducted down to tha 
water. Casting hie eye np on the bank, he saw bar hna- 
band, looking calm and composed ; bnt, baring resolved 
to immerse her at all hazards, he proceeded at once to 
the performance of the dangerous task. When she cUM 
out of the water prusing Qod, the husband walked dowtt 
to the edge of the stream ; took the preacher by the hand ; 
and invited him to his house for dinner I He observed 
to others that the work had been so nicely done that he 
could say nothing against it ; but there was, no doubt, a 
more serious reason. 

On another occasion, he immersed a woman, and thereby 
so enraged her husband that, at hia next appointment, he 
was barely saved, by a civil officer, from violence at the 
hands of a mob. At the next meeting, also, the offended 
man called him out, saying that he wished to speak to 
him, and that he would not, at that time, injure him. 
Tiiough opposed by the brethren, he went out ; and was 
addressed liy the man as follows : " Did you know, sir, 
when you baptized my wife, that it was being done con- 
trary to my will ?" " I did." replied the preacher. 
" Then," said he, " if ever you pass through my farm, I 
will whip you ; I am able to do it, and I have a bundle 
of switches and a pile of stones prepared for you." For 
several years he submitted to the inconvenience of avoid-' 
ing the belligerent soil. But thinking the matter was all 
forgotten, he one day attempted to pass through the pre- 
mises in company with two other brethren. As they 
neared the house, the proprietor leaped over the fence. 


and gftlli«red up a huidrul of etOBM, njiag, "B»ck oat, 
sir, bark ouL Tou remember what I told yon." Had 
be attempted to advauce Uistead of nuking good bis re- 
treat, he would doubUeaft have shared the fate or St«plwB 1 

SooD after the mectiog at Otter creek, be organized a 
church at Yenion, Jennings county, and BubeeqaeDtlf 
preached extensively ta JefTerson, Switzerland, Ohio, De- 
cator, Scott, Clarke, and eome other couoliea 

Up to this time, it must be bonie in mind, he had not 
entered fully into the Reformation. He wae with it on 
the one platform, and on the at^tioa of baptLsoL The^ 
rtticalhj he was with it on the design of baptism, aiM) 
sometimes praciically; bat in the main he yielded to the 
Flews of his fellow-preachers who clung lo the old systeoi 
with its moumer'B bench. 

At a protracted meeting held in 1826, he conversed 
with a brother Daniel Roberts with regard to baptizing 
believing penitents, or "monmers." He related the 
eereral cases that had occurred in his aboonnal ministry, 
and expressed his beUef that such persons were proper 
Bubjecte for baptism. " Brother Vawter," aaid he, " give 
me your hand on that : I will preach it if I have to be 
sawn asunder for it." 

Two years after that, at a protracted meeting held at 
Pleasant meeting bouse, in Jefferson county, this same 
Daniel Roberts came to hi||^took him aside, and thus 
addressed him : " Brother vawter, the brethren have 
solicited me to inform you that you must desist from 
preacbiog baptism for the remission of sins. They say 
yoQ will rain your popularity by this procedure." "la 
the doctrine true T" inquired Elder Vawter. " Yes ; we 
must confess that it is found in the Bible," was the reply. 
" Be assured, then," replied the faithful minister, " that 1 
shall continue to preach it, whatever may become of my 


popuUrity." "Then," said thewonld-be mirtTT, "I gin 
yon up for lost ; and will so nport yon to the ohnidL" 

In a short time he held » meeting netr Qnm^tmrg, 
Decatur connty, assisted by bis trne yoke-fellow Joaeph 
Shannon, and a Baptist preacher named Daniel DoDgha. 
On Lord's day bis sal^ect was the Kingdom of Hearea ; 
and in the course of his remarks he, for the first tbne, 
boldly and publicly taught the "atrangers and foreignns" 
how they might obtain citizenship in that Kingdom. 
Among his quotations was Acta iL 38. By repeating tbii 
text he greatly offended his good brother, Donglaa, lAo 
met him at the foot of the stand with the obeemtioD: 
" You preached rotten doctrine, to-day." 
Vawler. — What did I teach that is wrong t 
Douglas. — It is not "wrong ;" it is rotten — rotten as a 
pumpkin, sir. You preached baptism for the remission 

Vawler. — Did not Peter preach the same f 

Donglaa. — Yes, but he did not mean it. He meant 
"because of." 

Vawter. — How do you know that? His words do not 
convey that idea, and if he meant "because of" why did 
he not say so ? In the conversation that followed, the 
Baptist preacher stated that a man had recently passed 
through Kentucky, preaching that doctrine and thereby 
doinggreat mischief in th^Hptist churches. That "man" 
was Alexander Campbell, never before heard of by Elder 
Vawter. He is not, therefore, a "CampbellJte :" he ob- 
tained bis views From Petor, and must at least be ac> 
knowledged as a Peterite. 

Mortified by the difference of opinion between him and 
bis senior co-laborer, he took his Bible ; stole away into 
the forest ; prayed Ood to guide him in the way of truth ; 
and then read again and again the offensive pansage : hut 
be could not ascertun why Peter did not say what he 


DNiit. or why hf should not be andcnttood to mean what 

The wxt morDUig; they met at llie water. Hia trtBni 
roDglfts preached od the all-en ^rosBiog theme, Baptiem, 
Mii pure a synopsis of Campbell's views. Unlike many 
or his GQCceesors, he did it fairly ; for he had aufficieiit 
wti»e to understand an argument when clearly stated ; 
ud Bueh were his powers of nieioory that he could re- 
peat almost verbatim any discourse he had ever hi;ard. 
He then labored long to refute the doctrine stated ; hut 
when he descended from Ihe pulpit, Elder Vnwter said to 
him: — "Brother Doufclaa you did not refute it. Tou 
have been of great service to me to-day in tellin); how 
Campbell presents that subject. " Thia discourae diepelled 
from hie mind every lingering doubt on this importnnt 
Euhject ; and from Hmt diiy hi- iK^giiii to prwiaim, with all 
boldness, the gosptel ob it was declared by the inspired 
spostles. Here the glorious light of the Reformation 
beamed directly upon him ; he saw clearly the g^at 
firHt principles of Christiaoity ; and all the mist and fog 
engendered by tradition and philosophy vanished away 

Ketuming home from Oreensbui^, he held a Tneeting 
near Thomas Jameeon'a, on Indian Kentucky. On Lord's 
day an orthodox preacher occupied the pulpit, and two 
persons " got religion" at the mourner's bench. On Mon- 
day Elder Vawter preacheonie more excellent way, from 
Peter's second discourse; A«t8 \n. 19. At the close of 
the sermon two [tersons professed their faith in Jesns ; 
and were straightway immersed. As he went to the 
water he beard much complaint as to his novel procednre. 
A colored preacher, named Aaron Wallace, observed in 
tiie crowd, that brother Tawter "had cut a new road to 

Retuming to the house, he waa rejoiced to find that 


brother Jameson and his wif<! agrci-d witii him upnn the 
new doctrine ; and a Imiliier Samuel Humphreys also, met 
him in the yard, aiid handed him three dollars, saying, 
" That's the doctrine, brother Vawter. Tou will meet 
with oppoeiiioM, but it will give way before the truth." 
This was the first money he ever received for preaching; 
and about the firet encouragement to preach the plain 
word ofQod. The opposition did give way so rapidly 
that in a short time the majority were on the side of 
reform. Elder Viiwter, being absent much of his time, 
advised the church to select three elders to preside over 
the congregation and administer the Lord's supper on 
every first day of the week. This propositiop. was agreed 
to, and John Eccles, William Guthrie, and Thomas Jame- 
son were appointed elders. After this they, in all things, 
imitated the order of the churches in apostolic times. 

In July, 1828, a conference was held near Edinburg, in 
Bartholomew county, for the purpose of effecting a unioD 
between the Newlights and the Dependent Baptists, who 
were represented on that occasion by that able and earnest 
union advocate, John Wright, sen., and other prominent 
preachers. Sectarianism had done its work so well in 
that community that, out of fifteen preachers present, 
Elder Vawter was the only one whose preaching would 
probably be acceptable to all parties. Being therefore 
pressed into the service, he discoursed to them on the 
government and unity of tl^^riraitive church, and with 
such effect that the contemplated union was speedily 
formed on the Bible creed and Christian name. 

During the remainder of this year and the next, he was 
engaged in many remarkable meetings. Sometimes the 
tide of controversy would rise high ; for the opposing 
currents of truth and error would meet in the same house. 
The Baptist and Newlight preachers would bring the 
people to the anxious seat to plead for pardon; and Elder 


Tawter would approach them like Ananias, sajingy "Why 
Urriest thou ? arise and be baptized and wash away thy 
sins calh'ng on the name of the Lord." With many other 
words would " he testify and exhort them, saying, Save 
jourselves from this untoward generation." Many of 
them would gladly receive the word ; and the same hour 
of the day or night, would obey from the heart the form 
of doctrine delivered unto them, with an intelligent un- 
derstanding that they were t?ien to be made free from sin 
and become the servants of righteousness. 
• In the Spring of 1830 he was invited to Kent — then 
called White River — to preach at the funeral of a brother 
Ramsay. At the close of the services he was requested 
by Samuel Maxwell to deliver, immediately, a sermon on 
Primitive Church Government; and make an effort to 
organize a church. He complied with the request with- 
out leaving the house ; and waniily exhorted the people 
to unite on the God-given foundation. Nine persons 
prrsoiited thomselvos, and the Church of Christ at Kent 
was then organized. With the exception of one serious 
and shameful disturbance it has enjoyed a peaceful and 
prosperous career, and is now one of the principal churches 
of south-eastern Indiana. 

In the Summer of this same year, he was invited to 
attend the monthly meeting of a Separate Baptist church 
near the forks of Indian Kentucky. Their preacher and 
elder was a man by the name of Levitt, who was bitterly 
opposed to what he was }>leased to denominate Campbcll- 
ism. At the meeting on Sunday Polder Vawter prearhed, 
and four ])ersons made the confession. The Baptist 
elder, being requested to attend to their immersion, re- 
plied indignantly, ** No, sir, they are your converts — I 
will have nothing to do with them.'- The next day the 
eMer came to meeting with Walker's Dictionary, which 
he thnist into the face of Elder Yawter, exclaiming, with 

rill iiir of Iriuniph, •'Ti.iTvV wlial will rffiHe voiir Joc- 
Irine." But the Bible withstood even Walker's Dit^tJon- 
ary, which gircs "because of" as the only definitioD of 
" for." The meeting closed wilh good reaiills; and Elder 
Yawtor was incited to bo with them at iheir next monthlj 
meeting, at which time tboy proposed to examine their 
cr^ed in the light of divine revelation. The meeting cante 
on ; the invitH preacher was present ; the treed wu 
weighed in the balance and found wonting ; tutd the 
Bible was accepted as their only rule of faith and prac- 
ticL', This wfts the origin of the Church of Christ, uuw 
known as Milton Church, which still yields llio penceable 
fruits of righleoLiHuess under the pastoral care of Charles 
Lanh am. 

In 1831 be visited Barton W. Stone at hie residence 
near Georgetown, Kentucky. He arrived on Saturday 
evening, too late to attend a meeting then in progress. 
The nesl morning Elder Stone admoniehed him to pre- 
pare to preach that forenoon. At this juncture bis aab- 
dued timidity revived aj;nin and plead for him maaj 
escuses, which were all unavailing. Just as be had con- 
sented to preach, a fine looking young man was ushered 
in, whom Elder Stone introduced as Elder John A. Qano. 
The presence of this strange and apparently polished 
preacher, greatly increased the weight of the cross that 
had been laid upon the brother fVom Indiana. On arriving 
at the place of worship he met Elder Frank Palmer, to 
whom also he was introduced as the preacher of the day. 
Despairing of being able to proclaim the gospel in the 
presence of so many superior workmen, he renewed bis 
request to be excused. This being kindly denied, he as- 
cended into the pulpit with a feeling of fear and trembling 
akin to that of Moses on the Holy Mount. He preached 
as best he could under the circumstances ; the other two 
preachers made some remarks alsoj and Elder Stona 


dOffid the meeting with a moat beautiful and touchJDp 
eihrtrtMion. Nor was it a fruitless meeting; on tho 
eontrary some six or eight were added to the saved. Hu 
wnwined several days witli brother Stone, whom he re- 
{imrDtf as so meek and affable that his presence was to 
Ibe stran^r as the eoeiety of old friends. 

He RtDrned home by way of Lexington, where he made 
tiie acqnttintance of Dr. Fishbaek. On the way home he 
tba met, for the first time, Elders Marshall and Paterson, 
with whom he made arrangements for holding a series of 
tneetings, the next year, on both sides of the Ohio river, 
above Madison. These meetings were hehl ; were largely 
attended ; and resulted in great good. 

Prior to the meetings above mentioned he made a tour 
tlirongh SwitEerlAod county, where the light of the Be- 
formation was just beginning to dawn. On one occa- 
Bion, having preached to & large audience in which were 
many Methodists and Baptists — the dominant Beets at that 
time — an aged Methodist minister arose in defense of the 
doctrines contained in the creeds This led to a sharp dis- 
CQBsioD, from which the Methodist soon withdrew in high 
dadgeon declaring that be would never again listen to such 
a preacher, and hoping that his brethren would close their 
ears and their houx against him. Whereupon a Baptist 
by the name of John Buchanan invited Elder Vawter to 
leave another appointment, promising that he would pro- 
cure for him the Baptist church. The appointment was 
left; but when he came to fill it, ho found the door firmly 
secnred by chain and padlock 1 He was therefore com- 
pelled to retire to an humble school-house ; the only place, 
save the open air, in which even certain quotations from 
Holy Writ could find expression. But, although the rude 
doors of the orthodox churches could shut out the preacher, 
tht-y could not exclude all the light. A 8u£Gcieney of 
rays gained admission to enable all who wovld see to dis- 


covpr their errors. Such as tliese gladl; received On 
word, together with many wlu> wrfre woddfil to no creed; 
and. ev«a in the miditlof such united op|>o£ittun, a church 
was eetabtished on the fouDdation Injd by tlie " wise ma£- 
ter-builder." TWa reeuli was effected, not l>y any extr»- 
onlinary excittmcnt, but by a plain, earnest doclaraiion 
of the whole counsel of God. The " incorruptible seed" 
was 80WO indiscriminately, with a liberal hand, and, when- 
ever it chanced to fall upon " good ground," it germinated 
and yielded its fruit as i|uietly as do the seeda deposited 
in the earth. The following incident will illustrate the 
influence of the simple truth in that uommunity : 

Onco while Elder V'awter was waiting, at the house of 
a brother, for the return of night, at which time he was to 
preadi. the wifu of a Mr. Ilarvey entered the room when 
h.- was iiillitiR, liiui. uftcr xh,' ii^^iml saliilatiuns. infurmed 
him that alie wished to obey the gospel. Agreeably to 
the precedent established by the ancient evangelist, he 
replied, "If thou believest, thou maysL" She assured 
him of her faith in Jesus, the Son of God ; was immenied 
the same afternoon; and to this day is a burning and 
shining light in the Church of Christ at that place. He 
bad preached to her the word, on some previous visit ; 
during his absence it had germinated ; on his return it 
brought forth fruit. 

In the year 1832, he travelled and preached, in company 
with Lore U. Jameson, through the counties borderinj 
on the Ohio, above the city of Madison. At Vevay the 
preached in the school-house ; and from them the peop 
of that village heard, perhaps for the first time, the i 
pentance and remission of sins which began at Jerusale 
As they went from the place of worship to the spot wh' 
they bad hitched their horses, they reflected on the ' 
pleasant fact that they were in a strange land withoi 
cent of money with which to procure food for themse 

Mtd iheir borstis. While indulging thtse reflections tlieir 
old fricDd Buchanan, the Baptist previonsly referred to. 
took IhciD them to an inn. where both horeos and ridcrit 
wcTP duly cared for. After dinner they again set out, 
Doitfacr kuowing nor caring whither they went ; for they 
Houghi only the lost sheep to bring them back to the 
Slit-plierd's fold. Wherever a door of utteranco was opened 
thrre they set forth Christ crucified ; and exhorted the 
people to receive and obey the truth. TJpon this journey 
they were not reaper* gathering into the Master's bam 
what was already ripe for the harvest, but sowers rather, 
remoring the olwlruutioDB of sectarianism, and depositing, 
in the simple and candid hearts of those times, tho incor- 
ruptible eeed, which, throngh the labora of other men, 
brought forth abundant fruit to tla- glory of God and the 
ujvanceoient of the Redeemer's kingdom. 

Soon after his return from this tour he so far lost hjx 
health that for several years he was unable to enter into 
the sauctuary of God. On hia recovery he found the home 
church on Indian Kentucky in a bad condition, through 
iodiscreet management and lack of regular preaching, 
llis first effort after his recovery, was to deliver this flock 
from gpiritual famine. In this he was entirely successful, 
Uniler his teaching and the wise rule of Elders Jackson and 
Halcomb, the church eoon revived, and became stronger 
thsn at any past period in its history. 

Abont the year 1850, the subject of Co-operation be- 
|in to be agitated in southeastern Indiana ; but it was a 
pest while before there was much action in that dircc- 
tioo In the meantime Elder Vawter kept the field as in 
Ajrraer years, making numerous proselytes; organizing 
Vre and there a church ; warning the {icoplc against the 
"itrlusion of Millerism ; and endeavoring to turn them 
Criitn all other igmn to the faith of the gospel 

In the year 1853, a mass-meeting was held ftl North 


UodiBoD to devise a Byst4.'m or co-operattoo for tb*> roan- 
tics of Jefferson. Switzerland, Ohio. Ripley, Jetmings. 
and Bartholomew. Of said meeting W. C. Bran)i!ir<>Il 
w«s cbairmoD, and Elijah Goodwin secretAry. After duo 
deliberation tbey appointed Beverly Vawter as an a^nl 
to raise funds, at a salary of $0,00 per aouum ; and hlr 
non Pbilemon Tawt«r aa an evangelist, at a salary of «I 
bandred dollars per annum. He accepted this agency, 
and was far more suecet^sful in raising money for others 
than he had ever been in bis own behalf. In the course 
of Rfteen months be payed into the treasury ov«r on* 
thousand dollars; and obtained pledges fbr as mocb 
more. He also made some fifty proselytes ; and re-uuhed 
A scattered flock at New Mnriou, Ripley L-ounty. His 
success BO encouraged the Board that they voted him a 
compensation of two hundred dollars. At the ezpiraUon 
of the fifteenth month, his resiguation, which had been < 
several times tendered, was accepted by the Board ; and, 
as the public predicted, the system of co-operation soon 
failed through lack of means. 

After bis resignation of the agency, be in a measure 
retired from the field, until some two years ago, when he 
preached a good deal while paying perhaps his last visit 
to his friends, relatives, and brethren in various portions 
of the country. 

He is now in bis seventy -third year ; and what he may 
yet accomplish will not materially change the sum of his 
life-work. We may therefore present a brief summary 
of his labors in the Lord's vineyard. 

He has organized thirteen churches on the apostolic 
basis ; and immersed more than twelve hundred disciples, 
very many of whom are scattered throughout half the 
States of the Union, dispensing, wherever they go, the 
principles of the Reformation. He has also been instra- 
meotal in sending into the Geld several other preacher^ 


jLjI^aie lalmrs have added niaoy a living stone to God's 
yLjMpHins- Prominent among thoee whom be bag set on 
I SoB^ii walls is Love H. Jameson, bin son in the goepcl. He 
has faitbfuUy preached during forly-two years, for which 
««rTice he thinks he has received from the churi;bes only 
eighty-seven dollars, plus a few presents, amounting in 
all to about one hundred dollare, or less than two dollars 
andfift'j cents per annum. The church at Liberty, where 
he began to preach, and where he still officiatfls occasion- 
ally, is said to have paid him, for the Bcrvices of nearly 
half a century, the Biim of twenty-five dollars, or a littlu 
more than_/J/l!y oenis a year. He could truthfully say to 
his brethren, in the words of the seif-sacrilicing Paul, " 1 
have coveted do man's silver, or gold, or apparel. Tea, 
ye V'jureelves know that Ifiete hands have miriistered unto 
my necessities and to them that were with me." 

But bis hands are now growing tremulous and feeble ; 
and it is to be hoped that the brethren, among whom he 
has gone preaching the kingdom of God, will soon learn 
—nay, have already learned — " that so laboring they ought 
to guppori the weak;" and to remember the words of the 
Lord Jesus, how he said, "II ia more blessed to give than 

Physically considered, Elder Vawter is of medium size. 
His ^me is well proportioned, aud it moves about with 
the easy, graceful, and dignified air of an old Kentucky 
pDtJeman. Stoutly compacted by nature, and careftilly 
preserved by life-long habits of temperance, it seems to 
bear along easily the weight of three score years and ten. 
£is sallow face is but slightly furrowed ; bis keen black 
eye gleams almost as of old ; and the tight of the other 
vorld, fast dawning upon him, has not yet chased alt the 
dark shadows from his hair. 
In mind, as in body, he is not a giant ; but a man of 


tiiuderutc ability, ]mi^iit'ti>'ii)^ n t^niiiiil jmlgnif^it, k elmr 
lH>n'i<pti<Jti. aud nil eswllcni memory. His hotid is b«0t 
dFVRlniwii in llit- mora) i)i>|>nriaienl ; but his reaeuDlng 
IKiwprft vtiTi' wurlliy <ir a Wltpr cult tvAlion ihan It WM 
puBsible for tbpm to nxeivo. 

H« is a Dian of frreat flriniic^; of slicing ttHrrminiu 
tion ; and ie at times. |>vrhatts, a lillle 8elf-will»^— ■» nre 
iiioat nipn who acroniplieh any good in the worW. ThwB 
in nnl s little toinhativencss io his menial organlBin ; ud 
therefore he lias never refused to tako tjp the gniintlel 
when thrown down to him — never hesitat«td to lutaail 
whatever stood opposed to the glory of God, or U» 
t^piritual intereslM of man. 

Id the piil]>tt he is the imperaoootion of candor and of 
love to tiod and man. His plain address and the earnest 
exi>reBsion of his honest fuee impress the bearer do less 
tlian what he says. He argues with considerable force, 
and speaks with tolerable fluency ; but he is not an orator 
either bom or made. He is a dvcumen^ary man, always 
giving chapter and verse ; and succeeding mort^ by engag- 
ing tlie intellect than by stonuing the citadel of the heart. 

In the church he is faithful, peaceable, liberal; having 
given far more for the support of the gos|>el than he has 
ever received for preaching it. So much of his means 
has been invested in heaven that he has but little treasure 
loid up on earth ; yet he is rich in good works, ready to 
distribute, willing to communicate. 

In society he is universally regarded as a maD fearing 
God and following after righteousness. Though some 
may find fault with him as a preacher, all esteem him 
highly as a neighbor vtd/riend. Much of his usefulness 
is owing to the fact that in every place he has possessed 
*■ a good name," which, by the evangelist especially, ia 
rather to be chosen than great riches, or great learniDg, 
or great eloquence. 


Bifi value to the church of Christ and to tho codi- 
monity in which be lives, will scarcely bo roalized until 
«ner hb departure.. This event cannot be Tar dtstaut — 
hi« course muBt be almost finished. Like Buiiyan's Pil- 
^m, he has passed, after a long and severe i^trtiggle, 
through tbc strait gate ; traversed the Slongh of Deepond 
peculiar to the gospels which are of men ; surmounted 
many Hills of Difficulty; and encounl«red lione in the 
persons of riolent oppoeers of the truth. Soon will he 
cross the river of death ; and press with hia weary feet 
tfa« golden pavements of the celestial city. 


Eldkb John Philii's Tbumpbon was bora in the citj'of 
Washiiigton, D. C, March Bth, 1196. His grandfalhM 
on hie Tatber'fj side wils a native o! Scotland, horo in 
Edinburg, id 1749. About the year UTO be came to 
America, sutTering bimEelf to be sold for a eeasoo to pay 
the cost of his transportation. He subaeqiiently married 
Nancy Perry, who is said to have been a distant relalire 
of the hero of Lake Erie. They were blessed with six 
children, James, tlie father of John P., being the eldest 
of their four sons. 

Elder Thompson's grandfather served in the Revolution; 
and an uncle ou hie tuotiier's side lost his life in the strug- 
gle for independence. His father also served eighteen 
months in the war of 1812, and participated in the bloody 
and disastrous engagement at the river Raisin. Having 
survived the awful slaughter of that day, he afterwards 
joined an artillery company, and applied the match to tlie 
guns at the defence of Fort Meigs. He died in peace 
when almost eighty years of age. 

Jonathan Philips, the grandfather of Elder Thompson, 
(on his mother's side,) was of English descent, and a 
member of the Church of England He lived on the 
eastern shore of Maryland, where his daughter Mary, the 
mother of Elder Thompson, was bom, bred, and married. 
She was of age at the time of the Revolution ; and saw 
the French army on its march to Yorktowu to assist in 
capturing the forces under Lord Comwallis. In after 
years she often described to her children the Btirring 


JOH« P. THOMPrtOti. Vit 

t^venis, and sang to tlioni tLe patriutic ttongci of ibut era 
of heroism. By such means she inspired them with tl^ 
love of lilierty, and with an uudying devotion to the Bag 
of their country. She attained to the remarkable age or 
ninety-fire years. 

In the year 1800 James Thompson removed with hia 
family to Kentueky. and settled near Oermantown Id 
Bracken county ; whither his father had previously emi- 
grated. The Thompsons were a religious people; and 
the most of them were members of the Baptist church. 
The grandfolher of John P. wns a preacher of that order, 
noted for the fueility with which he could quote Seripturp, 
As Elder Thomp.'u>n was only five years old when bo 
came to the West, he claims to be a Rentnckian. Hie 
habits, ae well as many of his political and religious 
opinioDS, were formed and confirmed in that renowned 
State which contains the graves of his ancestoR). There 
too. he acquired his education, which was not better than 
that ordinarily received by the children of the West in 
III at day. 

Vice, especially in the forms of drunkenness, gambling, 
aod profanity, prevailed all around him; yet through the 
inSuence of his pious parents, and in that quiet Baptist 
retreat, he formed habits of temperance, honesty, and 
piety, which have successfully resisted all the temptations 
incident to his long life. He naturally inclined to virtue's 
side ; and he had also a laudable pride which would not 
permit him to do any thing that would have sullied the 
good name of his family. 

It is perhaps natural, rather than remarkable, that in 
the midst of scenes' of oppres^iion he learned to sympa- 
thize with those in bonds ; and became a firm believer in 
the doctrine that " all men are created equal ; and are 
endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights ; 

,IV '■ 

JOHN P, I'HOMPSon. 13] 

printri by the ABsociulioa ; and it did much to modify 
itir viewH of bis ultrft Calviniatic brethren. lie was at 
Uiis tiiiK! very popular tin well OB inHuential auiODg iha 
Sl^diBls, to mBDy of whom he, in turn, waa ardenlly at- 
k|M. But the period of their aeparalion wag drawing 

In June, 1826, he became a subecriber for the ChriRtiau 
Baptist. In thai he read aceouote of remarkable meetings 
Md in various pHrta of Keotucky by Eldore Walter Scott, 
John Smith, and other pioneer Reformera. Ere long be 
learned that tbe tide of reformation bad reached hia old 
home in Kentucky : and that many of hig friends and re- 
latives were worshipping God in the way which WM 
generally called heresy. Anxious to discover the meaoB 
which seemed so effectual in turning people from the old 
paths, be resolved to revisit the scenes of his childhood, 
and listen to the teachers of the strange, subversive doc- 
trine. * 

Arriving upon the spot be found the reports true — that 
those wbo were turning tbe world upside down had in- 
deed come tbitber also. He listened to the views of hia 
friends without losing much of his former faith. He went 
to hear Elder Abemathy, the chief Reformer in that lo- 
cality : but even he did not convince him of any superior 
excellence in what be regarded as tbe new way. 

At the close of bis sermon tbe speaker gave notice that 
John Smith would preach at that place on the oext day. 
Though Elder Thompson was on the eve of returning 
Lome as he bad come, be resolved to remain one day 
longer in order to hear the discourse of one as renowned 
for his acumen as for his eccentricity. Elder Smith was 
accompanied by a young brother Payne, who spoke first, 
presenting the facts and conditions of the goHpel with 
great force and clearness. When he concluded Elder 
Smith arose; and in his peculiar manner said, "I have no 


Oiiiilit Iliat H-liilc Tiij iirollior was speaking you were 
thinking as I was, o{ that passage of Scripture whicb 
aaith, "The natural man receivelh not the things of the 
Spirit of God ; for they are foolishness unto him ; neither 
can he know them, because they are spiritually diacerned." 
This very passage had been in the mind of Elder Thomp- 
Bon ; and he had employed it to rebut many of the testa 
introduced by the first speaker. It was, indeed, the key- 
stone of his whole theological system. "After listening 
to the profound exposition of the passage, he seriously 
doubted the correctness of his former teachings; and 
without revealing his thoughts to any one he resolTed to 
eiamine carefully the whole ground. 

He entered upon this iuvestigalion with fear and trem- 
btiug ; for he bad a presentiment that he would 6nd him- 
self in error ; and he foresaw the eslrangemcnt, the strife, 
the schism that would result from any attempt to change 
his position. Ho spoke of all tliis to his wife ; an3 with 
her full consent, he resolved to open his understanding to 
every ray of light and to follow the truth of God at what- 
ever sacrifice of property, friends, or reputation. 

The next time he met with the congregation at Flat 
Rock, he felt but little inclination to preach ; for the oM 
landmarks had been removed, while others hod not been 
firmly established in their stead. However, he took for 
his text John v. 1, because he could discourse upon thai 
without revealing his new views or his doubts relative to 
his old ones ; and the brethren were well pleased as usual 
with his teaching. 

The next meeting was at a brother Elias Stone's bouse, 
an humble cabin with a puncheon floor and a rude porch on 
one side. A large congregation for that day were seated 
in the house and on the porch ; while Elder Thompson, 
who by this time had a tolerable knowledge of the Chria- 
tian system, took his position in the door to declare once 


aon to his humblu neighbors " the unsearchable rkbtvi 
nt Christ," He did not intend at that time to bring any 
"stnuge tilings" to the ears of bis brethren ; Itut bis wind 
nas full of great idefts recently acquired, and his heart 
Ttg swelling with unfeigned devotion to God and sincere 
desires for the welfare of his fellow men. When, there- 
fore, he was about half through his sermon, his spirit over- 
leaped all barriers that creeds and traditions had thrown 
antund it ; and, as if suddenly inspired, he proclaimed to 
his astonished hearers the fullness, the freencss, the sini' 
plifity of the gospel of Christ. 

That morning's service was the beginning of a grest 
reformation in enstcm Indiana. Hitherto the people had 
taken but little interes^t in the study of the Bible, having 
been tanght that it was designedly incomprehensible to 
the nnregenerate mind. But now all was excitement, 
searching the Scriptures, animated private discussions, 
ind flocking to the house of worship to hear the public 
teachers and compare their views with the word of Ood. 
The preacher's dixit was no longer profitable for doctrine, 
nor was the Confession of Faith an end of all controversy. 
The people were beginning to demand for every tenet a 
"thus saith the Lord." 

There were at that time but three houses of worship in 
Rush county ; and these were merely closed in — not 
finished. The uncovered sleepers served for pews ; a 
rude box, filled with clay, on which glowed a heap of 
charcoal, constituted the warming apparatus; and a clap- 
board, nailed to the top of a couple of great pins or posts 
inserted in the sleepers completed the substitute for a 
pulpit To these houses,- when the private cabins would 
no longer hold the increasing audiences, the worshippers 
resorted ; and they were frequently filled with anxious in- 
qnirers after truth, many of whom came a distance of ten 
or twelve miles, and returned home the same day or night. 


Elder Thoiupaon was, of oouree, tho cbief KpenkcR Be 
travnlled over the whole county, inculcnting the doctrine 
<if tiie apofltloa so far as lie had learned it. The most of 
thi; ('onverts of that day hafo rcmaiiiod eteadfaet ; and 
the church called Boundary Line, in WabaBh county, has 
now witbiu its pole many of the fruits of the eaily 

Elder Thompson was etill a nomioal Baptist. The 
more orthodox of his hrelhren had perceived with regret 
the change that had taken place in his preaching; but 
they esteemed him very highly as a brother, and on that 
account were disposed to say to one another, " Let brothtr 
Thompson alone : it is owing to the excitement that he 
fkila to inculcate the received doctrines ; and when tin 
revival is over he will teach the converts " experience and 
doctrine" — a phrase which simply meant that he would 
return to the traditions of the fathers. 

Thus matters went on until about sixty members — all 
Reformers — withdrew from the Flat Rock church with 
its consent ; and, at a more convenient point in Fayette 
county, were organized as a separate church on the fonii- 
datioD of apostles and prophets. 

But be did not long enjoy the blessedness of such tole- 
ration. The leading orthodox preachers having given 
tbeir voices against him, many of his nearest neighbors 
and most intimate friends could no longer listen patiently 
to his teaching. At Rrst tbcy endeavored to dissuade 
him from bis course ; but he continued witnessing to both 
small and great, and appealing to the Scriptures as proof 
that he taught none other things tlian those which he had 
learned and received from the apostles. All other means 
having proved ineffectual, they determined to cast him out 
of the synagogue. They arraigned liim before the congre- 
gation, and both prosecution and defense were conducted 
in the presence of a large and intensely excited audience. 

J o II N I' . mo M I' s o N . 135 

It was finally agreed that the church should decide by 

a rote whether or not his teaching was heretical ; and the 

fote being taken it was decided by a miyority of seven 

thai he taught according to the oracles of God. It being 

a well eatabliflhed law of the choich that the minority 

BhoaM role in every case, he immediately tamed the 

taUes upon hia prosecutors; and had he be^n so disposed, 

hewngki ham eweluded evertf one of TBEH/<n' hetero^^ 

But be was unwilling to attempt, himself, what he had so 

recently condemned in them ; so the proceedings were 

diaeontinued and the Inqmsiikm adjourned. 

At the next official meeting it was agreed by the two 
partiaB that they should occupy tilie house alternately for 
one year. A short time afterward Mr. Thompson and 
Aofle whose views coincided with his own, formed a 
aepaiato ocganliation called the Ohurch of Christ ; and 
gave to one another the hand of OhriwHan fellowship. 

Tfaos did he enter ftdly into the Reformation; and 
Hhu did he bring with him out of the Flat Bock church, 
Ike nuclei of what are now two large uid flourishing 
churches of the living God. 

On the next Lord's day after their organizatioD, an ec- 
centric Baptist preacher by the name of Thomas (commonly 
called the White Pilgrim, on account of his white raiment) 
was present, and, by request, preached. A great many 
" Newlights," of whom there was a large congregation 
about two mOes to the north, were present on that occa- 
sion, and they became greatly offended because not spe- 
cially invited to the Lord's table. Out of this circum- 
stance there arose a great controversy on the subject of 
communion, which warfare was zealously participated in 
by Elders Thompson and John Longley, then a member 
of the Newlight congregation mentioned above. 

At last the difficulty was amicably adjusted. Elder 
Longley with the majority of his brethren soon came over 


to the Reroruiation ; aod bu became also a sealoiis Advo- 
cate nf the ancient gospel. 

lo tlie mean time the congregation was greatly streDgth- 
cned by accessions from tbe world, and by immigruit 
disciples from Kentucky, among wbom was Elder Benjti- 
min F. Reeve. He, baring already comineneed preach. 
ing, was soon associated with Elder Thompson in the 
eldership of the congregation, which they directed and 
ediliod with the most perfect unanimity for aiuoteeo 

So great was tbe prosperity of the new church thM 
within one year after its organization a new house of 
worship was erected. None were more liberal or sealous 
than Elder Thompson fn the prosci'iilion of lliis enterprise. 

In the Fall of 1832, John O'Kane first visit«d Rush 
county, where he was employed to evangelize for one 
year. He and Elder Thompson travelled together over 
the counties of Rush, Fayette, and Decatur, being the 
first at olmost every point to publish the doctrine of the 
Reformation. When they arrived at Greensburg, O'Kane 
rang the court-house bell ; a small audience collected ; 
Thompson preached ; and one came forward to confess the 
Lord. This was the first evangelical sermon and the first 
disciple at that place, which is now the centre of a power- 
ful influence in favor of primitive Christianity. O'Kane 
followed, and three others made the good confession. 

At night they preached at a point four miles northwest 
of Greensburg ; and two were added to the saved— one of 
them a daughter of a brother North Parker, who is believed 
to have been the first person that embraced tbe ancient 
gospel in Eastern Indiana. 

From that point they continued their journey, the people 
everywhere gladly receiving the word. Though sectarian 
opposition was very strong ; and though there was much 
ill-feeling toward O'Kane, growing out of his active par- 

JOUn p. TH0MP80M. 13T 

tidpation in the Presideiitial c«m|>fugii ; still the disciples 
were onihiplied, new cbnidies were established, prejudices 
were eradicated, and Bible principles inculcated. 

Thus the work was carried forward for several years, 
Elder Thompson lieing always in the van. 

But about the year 1836 he was compelled to greatly 
eirenmacrilie the area of his operations. The demands of 
his large and increasing family could no longer be sup- 
plied by however diligent a use of a small portion of his 
time. TheiefoiB he ceased in a great measure to preach 
the gospel in the regions beyond his own county. But 
there, without money and without price, he has continued 
untU this day to warn the unruly, comfort the feeble- 
minded, edify the faithfiil, and point tilie children and 
grand-childem of his old pioneer friends to "the Lamb of 
God that taketh away the sin of the world.'' 

I9 April, 1849, his wife, who had faithfully shared all 
his toils and priirations, departed this life. She died in 
faith, leairing with her husband a large family of children. 
In 1851 he was married to Mrs. Mary Allen of Con- 
nersville ; and the year following he removed to his little 
farm near Fayetteville, in Fayette county, where he ex- 
pects to pass the remainder of his days. Already tremu- 
lous with age ; the work given him by the Master well- 
nigh finished ; a large portion of his family beyond ** death's 
cold flood," and all the survivors, save one, heirs of the 
kingdom; he is only waiting for the welcome moment 
that shall pierce the vail of mortality and reveal to him 
what "eye hath not seen." 

He has reserved for his burial place a spot in the old 
church-yard at Flat Rock, desiring that his dust may re- 
pose beneath the old vine, which, planted by his own 
)iand over thirty years ago, now shoots forth its branches 
oyer the wall 


Elder Thompsou is a man of medium height, and slender 
fVame. He was once remarkably stout and active ; but 
heart and flesh are fast failing. His complexion is light 
Hie hair, now whit« as wool, was once quite dark His 
eyes are blue — thoir expression intelligent, cheerful, be- 

He is a man of warm and generous emotione ; ardently 
attached to big fi-iends ; sincere in his Bupplicatioaa for 
the whole boman family. 

Though a man of good natural abilities, yet it is for his 
goodness rather than his intellectual power that be is so 
highly esteemed by all who know him. 

He is a good speaker and aa excellent exhorter. His 
delivery is fluent and forcible ; bis manner, grave, very 
earnest, unostentatious. He pretends to be do more than 
he is — a plain, humble preacher of the olden time. 

Though be has walked for half a century in the midst 
of a very crooked and perverse nation ; yet his Christian 
character is without spot or blemish. 

His whole Christian life has been characterized by 
supreme devotion to the interests of the Redeemer's 

At one time especially when sorely pressed for the means 
of a comfortable subsistence, his friend, Dr. Jefferson Helm, 
made tho most tempting proposals to induce bim to ex- 
change tlie ministerial for the medical profession. But 
he replied, "/ am engaged in a great work, and cannot 
come down." 

Having thus steadfastly suffered affliction with the peo- 
ple of God, well may he look forward to the recompense 
of the reward. Having sown, in tears, the incorruptible 
seed, he is soon to return, with rejoicing, to the Husband- 
man, taking bis sheaves with him. 

: THE NE'.V vrpv 




PujiUKSNT amoDg the early Eeformers in ladiaaa was 
EWer Michael Combs. He was bom in East Tenoessee, 
Fthrusry nib, 1800. His father, Job Combs, was of 
Swwh descent, and of the Presbyterian failh. The Combses 
*at generally an intelligent, high-toned people, though 
tk; mored in the humbler walks of life, and were not 
bicam] with liberal education. As a general tiling their 
pndilsctions were not so much for the ministry bb for the 
•oridljr professions — especially law. 

Bis mother's maiden name was Abigail Coons. She 
VM of German descent. The Coonsea were mostly Bap- 
t(«to. noted for their piety and wal for God. Among 
ibcm were many preachent, one of whom, John Coons, 
■ras imprisoned, in the days of the llevolution, by the 
Hngllsb or Episcopal church. 

The mother of Elder Combs died when he was quite 
fining; whereupon he and his brother Job were placed in 
Ou fatDilj of a maternal uncle who was a strict Baptist 
of the Calvinislic dye. By him the orphan boys were 
l«keD eiclusirely to the Baptist church, where they re- 
ceived a strong bias in favor of that faith. 

Being brought up under such circuniHtances their educa- 
tion was, of course, greatly n(.'glc<'ted. They were simply 
tanght to read and write — no more. In early youth, 
howerer, they were both very fond of good books ; and 
they read with great avidity every volume upon which 
they could lay bands. Michael especially became much 
interested in the hiatoncal portioDS of the Old Testament; 


tbem, he becune a xeolous defender of their charmaltrt^ 
if Dot of all their views. 

On die Sret of Januaiy, 1818, he was married to Kir^ 
Edwards, who had been brought np among the QnakeTM 
of North Carolina. She of course inclined to that futh, 
although, to her, it was very far from b«ng " (hll fA com- 
fort." On the contrary, she was a victim of despondency , 
having been forced to the conclusion that she was one of 
the "vessels of wrath fitted to destruction." Her ba»- 
band, though yet a great sinner, became i\ iin^ai^lipr of 
righteousness so far as to dispel all her fearM of rt'prolM brt^ 
tion, and induce her to attend the meetings of the CbJ 
tians. With them she soon united, being tvwv 
out baptism, out of deference to her Quaker vi«v 
error also she subsequently corrected ; Hnd althoa^ 
forty-two years have since elapsed, she i-till Iiv4 
hope of the glory of God." 

She ia the mother of thirteen children, eK'v<'ii 'i( wh ox3 ' 
are liviDg ; aud ail of whom, save one, have becaKSZsa 
obedient to the faith. 

Soon after her conversion, Elder James Hughes, " ^30, 
eloquent man and mighty in the Scriptures," but "kna-*'*'- 
ing only the baptism of John," came to a camp-meetiOf 
held in that vicinity. Among his hearers on lAoad^f 
morning was Job Combs, jr., who had, perhaps, epeX^t- 
the previous day in the society of his sinful associates i 
and who had come there " to see thst Newlight cut np*^ 
— as be expressed it on leaving home. In a sad, eaiosV^ 
tone the speaker announced his text : " Hear, O heavna* 
and give ear, O earth; for the Lord hath spoken ; I have 
nourished and brought up children, and they have rebelled 
against me. The ox knoweth his owner, and the ass his 
master's crib ; hut luraci doth not know ; my people doth 
not consider." 

The pasu^e touched the heart of young Combs, to 


whom it was so beautifully applicable ; and for once he 
resolved to listen respectfully to the preaching of the 
word. Of its eCTect he himself could not better tell than 
in the touching words of the melancholy poet : 

" With many an arrow deep infiz'd 
My panting side was oharg'd when I withdrew 
To seek a healing balm'^ in distant shades. 
There was I found by One who had himself 
Been hart by th' archers. In his side he bore, 
And in his hands and feet, the ornel scars. 
With gentle fbrce soliciting the darts, 
^^^ He drew them forth, and healed, and bade me live.** 

kj^Kc conversion of Job led his brother to consider his 

l^nys, and determine to reform his life. But he was not 

HK]nally fortunate in obtaining speedily a satisfactory ev^i- 

^dence of the rtMuission of his sins. He did indeed forsake 

his wicked ways and his unrighteous thoughts, and he 

did experience a great ehange in his fi^elings ; but he 

could not give a reason for the trembling hope that was 

in him. In short, he was converted in heart and life; 

but in iitate or relation he was unconverted. 

Atter remaining long in this doubtful state of mind, he 
finally resolved to attempt the cleansing of his way by 
'* taking heed thereto according to (ifod's word." In pur- 
suance of this resolution, he became a diligent student of 
the Iloh' Scriptures, which were not long in making him 
wise unto salvation. Through the whole course of his 
long and eventful life, that word has been a " lamp to his 
feet and a light to his path." 

lie was about twenty-one years of age when he thus 
took the Bible ns the man of his counsel, and rehjiutj 
nutinli/ upoi} the 2mriti/ of hia mofivei< aiid the sinrcri/ij 
of hiA fletiires, ventured to join the church, and regard 
himself as a Christian. Unalile to designate the tim<^ 

♦ *• To 8e«'k a tranquil deatli in distant abadfM." — Orhjinnh 


anS^Iara &t which "the Lanl spoke peace to bie eaul,'' 
* (a thing which believers geuerally professed to do,) be 
vias very Tar froDi hnving stroDg consolation ; jot, cliag- 
itig to hie Taint liopo, he gropntl his way. n-ljiog upon 
the divine assurance thai " tlie path of the just U as the 
shining light that shiuMb more and more unto the perfect 
day. " 

Alxiut the year 1823 he and his brother Job both com- 
lueDced eshorting and preaching. A short time after* 
wards tliere occurred in their neighborhood a great " re- 
vival," many of the fruite of which were of that oalistaotial 
kind which is "unto holiness, and the end eTerlaiiting 
life." Several young m^i that were brouglit iata tin 
chiin-l] at that njpt'ting siibsfquenllv became n:;el'ul and 
somewhat distinguished preacliers of the gospel. 

During that meeting many also came in who had been 
traiaed up in the Quaker faith. Under the lenient rule 
which that church (Newlight) still retains, without the 
authority of one single apostolic precept or e.\ample, all 
these were received into full fellowship without submit- 
ting to the initiatory ordinance. Even Elder Combs him- 
self, though a preacher of the gospel, had never yet 
ol>eycd it ! Though his boyhood had been passed among 
Baptists, whose views he sincerely received, and for 
awhile firmly held, yet he had associated so long with 
Quakers that their traditions had made the word of God 
of none effect. So true is it that " evil communications 
corrupt good manners." 

Elder David Purviance, who was a man of great inde- 
pendence of thought, seems not to have been among 
those who (with the good intent of removing what they 
regarded as a great obstacle in the way of Christiao 
union) were willing to concede that obedience to a posi- 
tive commandment was a "non-essential." Certain it is 
that he assumed the responsibility of preaching to the 


conrorti! above Damed, and also ta Eider Oombii a noBt 
conviDcing aennon relative to ifae duty of bflog iiuEaened. 
So cicarlr and so powerfully did lie develop tLe subjtrct, 
thu Elder Combs and many others tarried no longer, Iiut 
wj» and were baptized. Such was the singular and 
ciRuitouK inaoDcr in which ibe Bubject of tJiis sketch 
tutored into the kingdom. 

After his inunereion, he began to enlarge the field of 
Uii ministerial operations; and it therefore beeanm nccee- 
UTj for hiju to be licensed. Duly re commend L*d by the 
NftgregHlion of which he was a Loember, he appeared 
Man the Conference as an applicant for license. For 
•one caoee he was not regarded with much favor by tint 
bodf ; and it was by only a small majority that he was 
CummiiLsumi-d ns a preacher of the gospel. This henita- 
tion ou the part of the Conference troubled him but little ; 
kr IVeling that he had received a special call from God, it 
Mde no difference whether his preaching was acceptable 
In that body or not. 

it first it waa " in weakness, in fear, and in much trem- 
UiDg" that he waited on hi» ministering. Being very 
(Wdr. his family were dependent on his labors for their 
daily bread; and bis reputation as a preacher was not 
norS as to command any ciiiiriiderabie ri'munemtion. 
Tbua during the gj'tiiler part of the time iiu was com- 
pelled to labor with bis bands for the maintenance of his 
hoasebold. Yet "forgetting those things which were 
behind, and reaching forward to those things which were 
before, he pressed toward the mark for the prize of the 
high calling of Ood in Christ Jesus." 

Acting upon the suggestion of Paul to Timothy, he 
determined to "aludy to show himself approved udIo 
Qod, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed." Ac- 
cordisgiy he addressed himself energetically to an inves- 
tigation of the principal doctrines that agitated the minds 


of tliosi! within llio cliuruh, and lilitKlud tlio eyes of tlmse 
without. By a faithful prosecution of ihia course he 
rapidly multiplied hie intellectual reBources, and qualified 
himself to act successfully the important part subsequently 
assigned him in the Reformation. 

About the year 1826 he removed to Montgomery 
county, Indiana, having entered eighty acrea of land near 
Orawfordsville. There he found no ori^nised church ; 
but there were a few brethren and aist^rs, whose religioo. 
was bitterly opposed and grossly misrepresented. 

He at once volunteered his aercices as a preacher ; but 
being a stranger there it was feared by the brethren that 
he might not be able to resist the attacks which, it was 
certain, any demonstration on their part would provoVe, 
Finally, however, they agreed to let him preach one »vt- < 
mon. At the same time it was privily agreed that a wt- 
tun old brother, the " wise man" among them, should sit 
in the "judgment seat" on the oecBsioo, If in his opinioa 
the discourse should indicate present ability and future 
usefulness on the part of the prcuchpr, they were to com- 
mit tlieir precarious cause to his hands. If, on the con- 
trary, the effort should be feeble and un satis factory, they 
were to give him neither encouragement nor a second 

The day cnnio. With anxious hearts came also the 
pern('futeil few w!io held fast the I,ord'a name ; while 
those of the wurld and of the orthodox churches took 
their places in the nssenilily, thinking, "What will this 
babbler say?" Inspiivd by the circumstances surround- 
ing his critical position, he made a most happy effort, 
which won for him, not only the favorable decision of the 
judge, but also the love and cuniideticc of the entire little 
brotherhood. ' 

That day was the Iwginning of active operations in a 
new and extensive field. It was the early dawn of the 


Itfemalion in that eectiou of lodiaDtt. .Many false and 
HflriMB mipressioDs were soon renioved ; ihc views ho 
■dMCH«d foand Tuvor in tlie eyes of a few of his aeigh* 
W; uiil the iiiiit«rials were eoon ready oat of which to 
orgta'iK II new church. 

flnl before this object could be avcoiuph'ebed it was 
Mtmuy titttt be Hhoiild be ordained. For tliat purpoao 
Wmnt In the Coiifon-Dee, which convened that year at 
(U IfnioD, in Owen county. Having passt^d his exatni- 
WiuD, he was required to give his esaniisers a specimeD 
"riiit) eermODizing. For this, the second time, he waa 
Mcwssfut in running the gauntlet ; and it was tberefom 
unlered tliot he should be ordained to the ministry hy 
ieeao Hughes and Jesse Fraeier. 

This being done he immediately organized a small 
tburch near or upon his farm in Montgomery county. 
Tbe organization was subsequently removed to Crawforda- 
fil]p; and thus the present flourishing church at that 
place hud its origin. 

From Crawfordaville he visited many points in the 
White River Yalley; at the most, if not all of which 
points, he was the first to oppose human creeds, and plead 
for a union of all Christians on the Bible alone. 

About this time he began to hear startling rumors con- 
cerning a certain Alexander Campbell that was said to 
have appeared, as a great fault-finder, at Bethany, Va. 
To the most of Mr. Campbell's views as currently re- 
ported, he was heartily opposed ; but he rejoiced to bear 
that the confessedly able editor of the Christian Baptist 
was an uncompromising opposer of all creeds and con- 
fessions of faith not given by inspiration of Ood. But 
penury and prejudice prevented him from subsoribing for 
the Christian Baptist ; and for two or three years he con- 
tinued bis ministerial labors in the manner peculiar to the 
Old Christian Body. 

148 PIONEER j'UEArHKits. ^FM 

In the mean time Mr. Campbell made a totir lo 1L0 
West, and Elder Combs improred the opporluiiity thna 
afTofded of hearing the remarkable man tliat was causing 
such commotion among the numerous " branehea" of tlie 
church. The preacher, who was tlicn in the prime of life, 
did not fail to bring certain strange things to the ears of 
Elder Comba, who found but liUlc fault with the viewa 
presented. But then it was whispered about that " the 
half had not been told" — that the speaker with charac- 
teristic shrewdness had concealed his objectiooabl« senti- 
ments. TherefDrti while " some said, lie is a good man," 
others said, "Nay ; but he deceiveth the people." 

These sly insinuations greatly diminished the etfect 
which llie grcaf tnitiji; to i\hich he bwd lisii*npd would 
otherwise have produced on the mind of Elder Combs. 
As it was, however, his attention was directed to certain 
passages of Scripture, which in due season convinced him 
of the error of his way. 

Soon after hearing Elder Campbell preach, he became 
a reader of his magazine. In that the distinction between 
Christianity and the traditions of men was so clearly 
pointed out that he could not fail to be convinced of the 
necessity of reform. Yet, fearing the people, he, for a 
long while, kept these things in his heart. Gradually 
adding courage to his faith, he ventured to advocate the 
ancient gospel in the corner though he did not yet dare 
to proclaim it upon the housetops. In this private man- 
ner be made a few converts ; and thus prepared the way 
for the change which was soon to follow. 

Finally, the few brethren that had gladly, though pri- 
vately, received the word, prevailed upon him to teach 
the people, publicly, that they were required to " repent 
and be baptized every one of them [you] in the name of 
Jesus Christ for the remission of sins." This he did for 

HICllAEl. OOMBfi. 119 

tUt first time at a protraiied meeting )ield in Eiitjar counlif, 
111., in the year 1833. 

This departure from the orthodox track — tuadu witli 
great hesitation Bud only si tho urgent and reiKatcd re- 
quests of his brethren — was, as lie anticipated, equivalent 
to a declaration of war. Brethren that had stood by hiui 
in many an hour of need, suddenly arrayed themselves 
against him \ sects that had bitterly opposed one another 
entered tacitly into an alliance to destroy the common 
tite \ arid, in Western Indiana, the ^eut conflict Itetween 
Irnth and error had begun. Public debates and private 
disputatious were of frequent occurrence ; the precepts of 
the apostles and the example of the first Christians were 
the all-absorbing topics of the day ; and almost every pro- 
fesaor ofrelif^on, from the least even to the ^eatest, was 
converted into a Berean, searching for himself the Scrip- 
tures to see if certain things were so. 

Into this unequal warfare Miebael Combs entered with 
great zeal, and at a great personal Bacrifice. Having 
preached several years for almost nothing he had just 
reached a position in which his labors were beginning to 
be appreciated and rewarded ; and in abandoning that 
position he voluntarily deprived himself of that which 
afforded a comfortable livelihood, and subjected himself to 
the necessity of again preaching the gospel without money 
and without price. 

But while there were noble men to make these 8aGrifi9es 
for truth, there were noble women also whose industry 
replaced much of that which was lost — women who laid 
their bands to the spindle and wliose hands held the dis- 
etaff — women who rose while it was yet night and gave 
meat to their households — women who considered fields 
and bought them, who with the fruit of their handii planted 
vineyards — women who looked well to the ways of their 
households, and at« not the bread of idleness. — (Prov. 


zzzi.) The efforts of these busy-fingered Christian mo- 
thers must not be overlooked in searching ont ihe causes 
of the rapid extension of the Reformation in the gnai 

About the time the battle begao to wax hot. Job Combe, 
J. Secrets, and Lewis Comer, all vaiiant soldiers from 
Ohio, appeared on the field. Secrets was a man of strong 
mind, mighty in word and doctrine. Comer, of less ability, 
but ofa more excellent spirit, "adorned the doctrine of Ood 
our Saviour in aU things." Job's gift was exhortation ; and 
in the exercise of that gift he had no superior in that day. 

Encouraged by the arrival of these timely reinforce- 
ments. Elder Combs continued the good fight of faith. 
For a period of twelve y<':\n he was one of the vrry fore- 
moat in the strife. He and his coadjutors went every- 
where in Western and Central Indiana, preaching the 
word. "And so were the churches established in the 
faith, and increased in number daily." These results fol- 
lowed because the truth was mighty ; the preachers were 
zealous ; the brethren were exemplary ; and many of the 
people were tired of the prevailing systems, and eager to 
be shown a more excellent way. 

In the year 1833 he went into Burtholomew county on 
some business of a secular character. Conversing, one 
day, with an old lady and gentleman, on the subject of 
religion, the parties dilfored widely and were drawn into 
quite a spirited discussion. Finally, the old lady observed 
toherhusband," This stranger talks just like Jo. FassetL" 
On inquiry he learned that there was a Newlight church 
near by (at New Hope) and that "Jo. Fassett" was a 
leading preacher of that order. On Lord's day he went 
to that place of worship ; and there made the acquaintance 
of Elder Fassett, and of many brethren whose religious 
views did indeed coincide with his own. He found in 
Elder Fassett an earnest advocate of the unioD of all 


CbrUtisne on the Bible alone; and they immediately 
set about concertiDg measures to unite the disciples of 
Monlgomcry and the adjacent counties with the KewlighM 
of Bartholomew and other counties to the north and west 
of that. 

For this purpose a union meeting waa appointed at the 
Blulb of White Iliver, in Morgan county. On the ap- 
pointed day hundreds of people and n great number of 
preachers of both parties, met together. It was agreed 
that the preachers who had been Calvinistic Baptists and 
those who were called ".Aminian Newlights," should 
preach a few times alternately in order that the differencea 
between the parties might be mode manifest. Elder Pas- 
Belt, being the senior preacher on his side, led off on Friday 
morning; and the meeting was conducted as agreed upon 
until the next Monday evening. Both parties having re- 
nounced all human creeds, and both preaching for doctrine 
tiie Scripture given by inspiration of Qod, there appeared 
no material difference between them. All the speakera 
seemed to be of the same judgment, and to all speak the 
ume thing. As early as Lord's day, it was evident that 
there were to be no more divisions between those two 
bodies of Christiana. Hundreds sat down together that 
day at the table of their common Lord ; and their commu- 
nion was "as the dew that descended upon the mountains 
of Zion — for there the Lord commanded the bleBsing." 
The middle wall of partition was completely broken 
down ; and eo far as those represented in that oaaembly 
were concerned, there were henceforth but one fold and 
one Shepherd. 

This meeting added greatly to the strength of the Re- 
formation. One more subbom/acf was opposed to those 
who affected to regard the union of all Christians as a 
thing by no means feasible. 
About the same time Elder Combs was invited to at- 



tend a greikt cam]i-meeting to be held by the NewligliU 
Dear Bloomington in Monroe county. Elders Frauk Pal- 
mer, Jobn Smitli, and otlier distinguished preachcre uf 
Kentucky were espected to be present. He was loih to 
accept tills invitation ; because tlic State Uuiveraity was 
located at that point ; and he feared he could not preai'.b 
acceptably in a rog;ion in which be supposed learning did 
greatly abound. But he Unally cODcluded with Paul when 
ho said, " I am debtor both to the Greeks and to the Bar- 
barians ; both to the wise and to the unwise. So as mucli 
as in me is I am ready to preach the gospel to you thai 
are at Rome also." 

It BO happened that the preachers from Kentucky did 
not come ; and but for his jir^'sence there would have been 
a great disappointment. This circumstance inclined the 
people to listen more pationlly to the strange views he 
presented. He soon secured the attention of the vast 
assembly — of the learned as well as the unlearned. A 
genera] and unprecedented interest was awakened in the 
community ; and during the progress of the meeting more 
professors than n on -professors were converted to the re- 
ligion of the Lord Jesus, This was the beginning of the 
Reformation in Monroe county, where the Newlights were 
very numerous. So well was the work commenced, and 
so successfully has it been prosecuted, that now there is 
not a single congregation — perhaps not a single member — 
of the old Christian body in Monroe county. 

Among those who gladly received the word at that 
meeting was David Batterton, who had been for some time 
an unbaptized member of the old Christian- church, ood 
who has been for many years an elder and a strong pillar 
in the house of the Lord at Bloomington. His wife also, 
who had fallen into the Slough of Deapond, was rescued 
through obedience, and made an heir of the heavenly in- 
heritance into the possession of which she soon entered. 


At ■nather time be beM s meeting m s stiODg Ibtiiodirt 
commiiiiity in Heniy conntj. Among bis beeien at tbat 
time was Benjamin FranUin, wbo bad tben made no pro- 
feMon of xelipon. To bim the riewa of Elder Comba 
seemed both leasonaUe and scriptural ; and he defended 
them wheok attacked bj those ^idio resisted the troth. At 
thai time and place may bare been paitiallj bent the twig, 
which sabseqiienUjtook sach deep root and shotfiyrth so 

These meetings are here mentioned metelj as indices 
of the manner in which the trotii was propagated in the 
former dajs. To mention all — ^to record the man j re- 
mariuible conversions of that day — to enamerate the 
preachers old and young that were taagfat the way of Ood 
more perfectly — ^to describe the many happy scenes that 
were enacted at the firesides of those humble people who 
often spent the greater part of the night in talking of the 
law of the Lord — ^would require far more space than can 
be given in a sketch like this. 

For twelve or fifteen years Elder Combs gave himself 
almost entirely to the word, leaving to his wife the care 
of his family. During all this time he stood in the front 
rank of Reformers, and exerted a strong influence in many 
parts of the State. 

But finally the cares of this world choked the wOrd, and 
he became comparatively barren and unfruitful Though 
he did not err from the faith ; yet, in seeking to increase 
his earthly possessions, be " pierced himself through with 
many sorrows." 

It was not for bis own sake, or because of an innate 
love of money that, to the partial neglect of the word, he 
turned his attention to the affairs of this life. But his 
children were growing up, and he longed for means to 
educate them and give them a "start" in the world. 
Impelled by this motive, he plunged into business of a 

154 Pli)N£EU fKKAOH Eli8. 

secular kind ; and eatomd upon the dangerous experimmt 
of serving Ood and Mammon. At flrsi be turniid liiii M- 
tontioQ to farming. Afterwards hv bi'cante a heavy oon- 
tr&ctor in the conelructioD of railroads ; and finally twcatno 
iDFolved in politics. He was elccti-d to tbo Stalo SuDau 
about the year 1851, which marked lliu close of kin po- 
itical career. 

The result of all bis struggles for gain waa by do meona 
satisfactory. What he had made at other eniployueuls 
he lost in his railroad operations ; and it is now a suunw 
of deep and lasting regret that he did not "flee those 
things and follow after righteousness, godliness, faitb, 
love, meekness, temperance." 

Tbat he made this sad mistako is owing partly to his 
own erring judgment, and partly to the illiberality of the 
disciples, wbo " having this world's goods and seeing 
their brethren have need, shut up their heart of compas- 
sion from bim." The blame will be justly distributed by 
Ilim who shall "judge the world in rigbteouanese." 

About the year 1853 he collected the remnant of hia 
means, and removed to Illinois, still in hope of securing 
some land for his children. At a subsequent period he 
moved to Iowa, in which State he still resides, near 
Bcllair, Appanoose county. He continues to preach and 
do good as he has opportunity ; but be is no longer the 
shining light that he was in former years. 

On account of his limited education. Elder Combs has 
wrttteD but little for the press. Btit he is now preparing 
for publication a work on a subject to which his attentioo 
was attracted in the following manner : 

When at the height of his usefulness in Indiana, there 
fell into his bands a small work on Prophecy, by S. M. 
McCorklo, who advocated a literal interpretation, and was 
therefore called a Literalist. After reading the hook he 
sought an interview with its author, who lived at that 


tfnHi En an ftdjoiniDg county. During the- few dmrs which 
tbey pAsgrd together, eneh conrerted the other ; mod aiora 
tbt period Elder Comlw has devoted mncb lime to th« 
*N7 of the propbels. The result of his iDTesUpsUoiM, 
■> will as the coDclustons to which he has come, will, 
DO doibt, be Tully revealed in his forthcoming boob, should 
lie live to complete it. It is sufficient to sar, in this 
pW, ihnt bis views of the propheciea and of the end of 
fAtVurld, were not generally received by the di»ciple« ; 
nd thtt it wne fay hi&advocacy of Second- Ad venti^^n, m 
*ell aa by his becoming entangled in the affaire of this 
life, tliat he, to a great extent, destroyed his ioSnencv b>« 
(minister of the ancient gospeL Let his example deeply 
iiopresa upon the mind and heart of erery ChriBtisa 
pi^Bcher the solemn admonition of the gr«at apostle ; 
"Tal-e hefdlolhyf^tf a<\d I-,": ■'■ ■,■..■,■' 

But it must not be siiii[ ■ ! ■ > i:i.^-. Laving 

so SDCceasfnlly preached to others, is himself in danger of 
becoming a castaway. Though his inSuence may have 
been injured through philosophy and vain deceit, yet he 
and thousands of others have been sanctified through the 
truth which^he has preached. Though be may have 
erred in " believing (as he supposed) all things which are 
written in tbf law and in the propketfi ; yet he has ever 
exercised hiufelf m a hope both sure and steadfast, 
preserve " a conscience void of offence 
toward men." If he has been iDtstaken 
>Id, the Bridegroom cometh," be is on 
better prepared to meet Him at His 

Elder Combs is a medium-sized, rather heavy set man, 
being about five feet eight inches high, and weighing 
about one hundred and sixty pounds. Though now en- 
feebled by age, be was once a man of much sprigbtlinesa 


imcl great pliysital power. In early life he contributed a 
lilwral eliare of the labor that cleared away the wcsli-m 
forest and prepared the way before the plow — heotc tia 
fine physical development. Uc haa very pal« blw eyw, 
light or sandy hair, and a ruddy complexion- . » 

He ia a man of very fair natural ability. Tttougti hia 
mind ia leaa ]>owerful than some, it ia more sclivo thu 
many. Through lack of mental discipline, be Is aot a 
clear, safe, sobcr-niinded thinker; but be ia strongly 
inclined to be visionary — prone Jo onibreee new ftsd 
atrange theories. In the domain of thought, he can 
hardly be styled a " prudent man that lookctb well to hia 

As a speaker he used to rank high; and nothlnK hnt 
age has detracted from his merit in this respect Hi* 
oratorical or excitable teniperamemt alwoya etipplics hJni 
»rlth intensity of feeling, whith ia said to bu "' the Iwadb^ 
element of good speaking, for this ex ci tea feeling in olhen 
and moves the masses." It was not his baUt to canhil^ j 
prepare his sermons ; bcuco near the comiiieQcement of I 
his dificourse.^ he v;a» pIuw — frei]ucntly tt^dwim : Irul 
toward the close hi.-i delivery was very rapid, highly 
animated, and sometimea truly eloquent. At such time* 
it behooved the " preaching brethren" wh^lchancod to sit 
behind him in the stand, to look well to ftlioir toes ; for 
he not only gesticulated earnestly wilh hit hands, but he 
also wore heavy boots, which frequently Bid incautioualy 
shifted their position, Uia discourses f^re usually of 4 
doctrinal or controversial character ; aqswhatever some 
of them may have lacked in depth, was more than made 
up in lenglh ; for be has been known to preach for more 
than three hourn. As a general thing, however, bis dis- 
courses were deep as well as long; and, m the aggregate, 
they made a deep and lasting impression on the public 

MlcnABS> OOMBB. 16Y 

Ai a luisband and To Is iDdnlgent, provideD^ 

Wad, uid aSectioQute. It doabtftil whether David ' 
kfei Itit wayward aoo 11 more fervently than he 

■ IWHbliBlcven aoDs ant ;bt 

Vtfl anor his familj, i ith share largely in his 

wA'byt affections. JTor tlieir :es and to increase 

theif numhiir fae has Creel ' given, though he has notfreel; 

iKciTod. He ooce own d a valuable little farm and other 

pn^rty in lodiana, but itbas all been sold, and the money, 

Htth hy little, laid at the apostles' feet— cheerfliUy cod* 

tribatcd for the support of the gospel and Uie extension 

of iho Redeemer's kio^dom. 

Sot has bis geaeropity been exercised only toward the 

cbildren of Ood. Like Ibe " perfect and npright maD" of 

I'l, he has " delivered the poor that cried, the fatherless, 

uid him that bad none to help bim." "The blessing of 

him tliat was ready to perish came upon him ; and be 

daiutMl tha widow's lieart to sing for joy." In a word, 

fauwvolenca is the leading trait of bis character ; and if 

dnra is a nu^ on earth who, as be has hod opportunity, 

kaa "done good unto all men, and especially unto tfaoae 

who are of .tlie liousebold of faith," that man is Elder 

IKchael Comhs.' 

In so doii^ he has never been weary ; and far more 
desirable than all earthly riches, is his interest in the 
promise, " Wi& what measure ye mctc it shall be meas- 
nsed to you a^n." Well may he go down to the grave 
rejoicing in viA of that day when " the dead, small and 
great, sh^I stn| before Ood — when the books shall be 
opened, and the dead judged out of those things written 
in the books, according to Iheir works." 


Eldxb Elijah Goodwin was bom in Champaign coantjral 
Obio, January IGth, 180T. When three years old I 
father, Anron Qoodwin, and his gradfather, Elijah Cbsp-I 
man, together with several other families, emigrated ia I 
Jllinoie Territory and settled in the American Bottom, I 
abont twelve miles fVom St. Louie. This locality proriog 
very unhealthful, they resolved to return to Ohio in the 
Fall of 1813, 

Matters being arranged for this purpose, they set out 
in wagijiis on thoir return, but by the time tbey readied 
Indiana Territory tlie winter set in with such severity that 
they could proceed no farther. They therefore pitched 
their tenta in what is now Gibson county, some fire miles 
north of the present town of Printeton, and there awaited 
the coming of Spring. 

In the mean time his father and others of the company 
made several excursions into the surrounding wilderness 
to ascertain the ijuality of the lacid. which, il way fovtrul, 
promised a rich reward to the future husbandman. There- 
fore their purpose of journeying farther ajhstward, passed 
away with the winter, and they chosrfTor themselves 
dwelHng places between the forks of 0b.ito River, in 
Daviess county, and about twenty miles east of Tincennes, 
or Old Post Vincent, as it was then called. 

At that time there were but few settlements of whites 

in that part of the Territory, and the stillness of the forest 

was seldom disturbed save by the red man shouting ia 

the chase. They were therefore subjected to all the dan- 





gere nad iii conveniences incident to frontier life. Not 
the least of these iDconTenicnc-es was the absence of tlie 
Bcfaool-master Trae, each neighborhood had a nominal 
teacher, bat he was usnally a bUnd lender of the blind, 
Dvither "gentle, patient, nor apt to teach." Yet eo weak 
was the element of civilization that even such a teacher 
could be sustained for only three months each year. 
Moreover Elijah's parents were poor, and he was often 
required to be absent from the school that he might be 
present in the field or in the "clearing." His Father usually 
signed one scholar for the term, and the time was made 
np by several of the family in such fractions as it often 
puzzled the " master" himself to reckon. 

Under aucb circumstances, howerer, he learned to read, 
and, to him, this was equivalent to an education : for he 
possessed a mind delighting "to search out the causes of 
things," and, having acquired the ability to read, he be- 
came his own instructor. Among his first acquisitions 
was a respectable knowledge of the English language. '' 
This gave him a power in the pulpit which, in that day, 
was extraordinary, and elevated him at once to a some- 
what conspicuona rank in the ministry. He has been 
through life an inquisitive and indefatigable student — ever 
seeking to increase bis stock of knowledge, whether in the 
school-room, behind the counter, at home with his family, 
or in the houses of his brethren as he has jonniejed, 
preaching. To this studious habit, mainly, he owes, under 
Ood, his present honorable position, and to it society is 
indebted for his usefulness. 

Having by such means obtained a tolerable English 
education, he learned, with the assistance of some friend, 
the Greek alphabet With this key be unlocked that 
classic store-house, in which, to the mere English scholar, 
are hid all the treasures of revealed wisdom and know- 
ledge. He is not, to be sure, a thorough Greek scholar. 


Itut by means of liia Lexicon )ie is able to arrive at Ihe 
meaning of tUe ScriiJtiire, as conveyed in the origintd 
words whieli ttie Holy Spirit taught. To conclude ihis 
-topic, Elder Ooodwiu may be set (Jown as »n educated 
man, who ia worthy of double honor in that he is 

His religious training was more carefully attended to, 
though circumstances were unfavorable. His parents 
and grand-parents were members of the Methodist Epis- 
copal church, and, until he was thirteen years old, ha 
never heard any but Methodist preftchers. The " circuits" 
in those days hcing very large, the biwliop usually placed, 
on caeh, two itinerants, who, by making their appoint- 
ments eight weeks apart, supplied the "societies" with 
preaching every four weeks. As the appointment usually 
fell on one of the "six days," it was very common — 
indeed customary — for the men who attended to take 
their guns and dog.'i with them to church. ArriviDg at 
the bouse of wor.fhip, which was usuailj- a squatter's cabin, 
they would " stack arm.s" in the outside corner of the 
chimney, go in, and scat tbemselvea with powder horns 
and shot-pouches hanging by their sides. The bene- 
diction pronounced, they whistled up the errant dogs, 
and set out in hope of killing a deer on their way home — 
a hope which was frequently realized. 

But it was perhaps not unfortunate that such circum- 
stances existed. As there were then no deified preachers, 
the believer could worship God even in their absence. 
There being no magnificent temples in which devotion 
could parade itself on Sundays, it took up its abode in 
the hearin of those simple people, and manifested itself to 
the Creator around the family altar. Such worshippers 
were the ancestors of Elder Goodwin. In his mother 
Mary and bis grandmother Achsah, especially, dwelt the 
unfeigned faith. 

. mi.iJAm aooBWix. Itl 

Wt hiondf was ^oiulj' iaclinad vnu from a cUld. 
He nearrad tbtt nHgions iiutnictimu of his pannta 
witk gnat readJDoaa of mind, and, at a totj tender age, 
«■• aazioas to experience the jojB of salvation. Kor did 
he tkink of beconung a Obrstian onlj— even tlwn, in hia 
diMbood, be dwriBhed the hope of being, <»a daj, a 
laaai In r of the eTcr-Ueased goepeL Long before be 
Bade a profesaioii of reli^on, he need to ateal awaj to 
the grona and deliver extempore sermona to the toeea. 
Indeed, Viko the holj <^ld Samnel, he seene to have been 
ham for the obedience and service of the Lord. 

Lookiog ftKrward to tlie ministerial profsedon, he did 
aD in hia power to qualify himeelf to diechsrge ita aolena 
dotiea. Hia fUher^ Kbraiy contained only a Bible and a 
Hethodifit hymn book, but these he made hia frequent 
■tad; until be became very fomiliar with their contents. 

With each a disposition, it is not sarprising that he wan 
■Iways delighted when the circuit-riders came round, and 
greatly interested in their einging and preaching. 

Those preachers taught that people could never " get 
religion" aotil they should be brought to see themselves 
H the vilest of sinners. They endeavored first of all to 
conviuce them of their total depravity, and, in the second 
place, to alford them a magnified conception of 

Having thus brought them throngb the da^ess of 
despair to the very verge of the awfol pit, they suddenly 
admitted a flood of light from the Lord's blessed promises 
of forgiveness and mercy. By this artfal manteuvre they 
transported their hearers from the confines of " outer 
darkness" to the bright regions of hope ; and this rapid 
transition, this sudden elevation of greatly depressed 
spirits, the mourners regarded as their conversion, and 


glorified QodI In this plan of pnrdoii there is at least 
80IDB sound phihgophy, aud fur tliis reaaon, possibly. It 
is gtill followed by many icil/ioul Ihe nhadow of divine 
aulhorily. To young Goodwin's conversion under tfaia 
system, one thing stood opposed — on a faithful compari- 
Bon of himself with his profane a^ociatce, he could not 
conclude that he was the uliief of sinners. Therefore ha 
renmincd in the kingdom of Satan, t.iiough most anxious 
to be Iranalated into the kingdom of Ood's dear Son. 

About the year 1819 there came Into Daviess county 
several preachers who called themselves Christians, but 
were called by various names, such ns Newligtile, Schia- 
maties. Heretics, etc. Tlie love, rather than " the terror 
of the Lord," was their favorite theme, and they appealed 
to sinners with great earnestness and with many tears. 
Young Goodwin soon became much attached to those 
despised people, and began to defend their views when 
opposed by the several orthodox sects. 

At one of their meetings hold in May, 1821, near Wash- 
ington, he made a profession of religion, and was soon 
afterward received into the church. Under the lenient 
rule of the Old Christian Body, he eijjoyed the fellowship 
of his brethren for several months without obeying from 
the heart "the form of doctrine." This ho did through 
fear of wounding the feelings of his parents upon whose 
faith he had been sprinkled in infancy. This obstacle 
was entirely removed as soon as they were apprised of his 
heart's desire, and, in October following, he was immersed 
in Prairie Creek by Elder Cummins Brown. 

In 1823 his father moved into the southern part of the 
county to a point several miles from the nearest Christian 
chureh. Finding in that settlement a few persons of his 
faith, the young disciple, then in his sixteenth year, pre- 
vailed upon them to hold evening prayer meetings from 
house to house. At such meetings he at once became a 

B1.IJAB auODWIN. 163 

leader, aod from tliat lie bood began to exhort and to 
preach. From tht first lie was very suceessfiil iu bring- 
ing sinners to the unxious eeal to eall on the name of the 
Lord. Rut to tlioht uuforlunalc urirs wiio asked uti(i re- 
mred not, be eoaM onl^uj "pnj on." He was at that 
IJBie, Uka many proMhers of tiie preaent dmy, io the con- 
dkioti of tboBe bo forcibly deBOibed bjrPBol, "Desiring to 
be taaeben of tba law ; ondentanding neither what tbey 
■af nor whereof tb^ affirm." 

It was in Maj, 18S4, tbat be first attempted to delirer 
aregnlar aermon. His text wae 1 Peter, ir. 18. "If the 
r^bteons scarcely be saved, where eball the nngodly and 
the siDDor appear V The following were the dintioiis of 
Us safaject in their order. 

L Define the character of the righteous. 

II. Describe the character of the ungodly and the sinner. 

III. Anewer the queetion, — " Where shall the ungodly 
and the sitiDer appear." 

By observiug this order he made a most favorable im- 
pres.sion upon the minde of hie hearers. 

He was followed by another preacher, by the name of 
Abner Davis, who took for his text, " The Lord hath done 
great things for ua whereof we are glad." He made a 
direct applicatioQ of the passage to the young speaker 
that had just taken hia seat. He attempted to show that 
preaching was all-important -, that the Lord called and 
qualified all true preachers ; tbat in the preeent cose he 
had done a great thing, and they were all very glad of it I 

From this time Elder Goodwin kept up regular appoint- 
ments in different parts of the county. As there were no 
railways and as be was too poor to buy a horse, he trav- 
elled at first on foot. In the beginning of his ministry he 
exhibited greater boldness than most young preachers, nor 
was be to be discouraged by any ordinary dif&culty, os the 
following incident will show. 

He ODCe seat an appointmeDt to preach at a certuD 
point in a distant pnrt of the couuty. The day came, and 
after an early breakfast the youthful evangeliBl aet out on 
foot. Arriving at the place, he found a few peraons in 
the house, nnd a few others at a preacher's stand in a grove 
near by. Perceiving that the house would easily accom- 
modate all present, and tjuppoging that all would come in 
when the eserciscH enmnienced, he took out his Tedtaiueot 
and hymn book, and began to look for a suitable hymn. 
Upon this, those in the house arose and marched out to the 
aland two and two, mule and female. Nothiug daunted, 
the deserted preacher followed them, ascended the out- 
door pulpit, and, without giving them time to retire, began 
to read the introductory hymn. Tbia attracted the atten- 
tion of the company, which had by this time become quit« 

After singing and prayer, he proceeded to follow out in 
regular order the several divisions of bis discourse, all 
the while thinking it wondrous strange that none of hia 
bretjiren were present to aid and encourage him. When 
on the last division of his subject, a funeral procession 
came up, and then, for the first time, he discovered an 
open grave near him. The hearse was driven up near 
the stand, where the whole company took seats and lis- 
tened respectfully to the remainder of the sermon. 

An explanation followed, from which it appeared that 
his appointment had never been published, and that he 
had preached to people who had come out with no other 
purpose than to attend the funeral I 

Up to this time he had obtained no authority to preach 
the gospel. But in September, 1825, he applied for license 
to the Indiana Christian Conference, which convened that 
year at Blue Spring, Monroe county. Agreeably to their 
custom they appointed a committee to examine the can- 


didktea as to their soudJdi^ss iii Ihc and aptness tu 

On this uccRsion, as ubuilI, the comtaittee nrns composod 
of gmy-IiBired preachers who hod been many jenrs in the 
Bcrvirc. Tlie chainnan was Lewis Byram, a man of great 
grovity, pxtenaive biblical knowledge, and eseellent Cliris- 
tian character. 

Before ihie venerable body the youthful candidate, then 
in hts nineteenth year, presented himself with fear and 
trrnibling. But to his great surprise only two important 
qiioHtions were pn>p(mtided to him. 1st, " What think you 
of Christ, whose Son is he ?" 2nd, " What do you under- 
stand to bo the design of the death of Christ V To ths 
6fsl he answered promptly, "I believe that Jesus Chrisl 
18 the Son of God." Thus, having been four years in the 
church and two years in the ministry, he made the Scrip- 
tural confession of faith in Jesus Christ. 

To the other question he replied, "I believe that Christ 
died to reconcile sinners to God, and not God to sinners." 
A few raore inquiries with refereflce to his impression that 
it was his duty to preach, closed the examination, and the 
license was granted by a unanimous vote. His name was 
accordingly enrolled as a member of the Conference. It 
being a camp-meeting as well as a ConfereDce occasion, 
the older preachers were anxious to hear the new member. 
They therefore appointed him to preach at the aflemooa 
session. To him this was a greater task than it was for 
Paul to preach l>efore the Areopagaa. Before him, in a 
beautiful grove, sat an immense assembly ; behind him 
were the Elders of Israel. Nevertheless he delivered one 
of his systematic discourses, at the close of which be ex- 
horted with so much feeling that quite a number of persons 
presented themselves at the anxious seat. 

Hitherto he had attracted but little attention in the 
Conference, for in those days he wore an old white bat, 


whoHB crown, ouco cyliodrical, bad aesiiiued r conieal 
shape. His coat, also, was " out'' at the ulbows, and the 
lengtb of his pantaloons had evidently been determined 
upon principles of rigid ecouomy. After tliia effort, how- 
ever, tbey asked him many questions, and spoke, ta flat- 
tering terms, of his ability. 

On returning home he reDected much on what be bad 
seen and heard at Conference. It was held that such 
«i organization was absolutely necessary to depose false 
teachers and prevent incompetent persons from being 
licensed. But, thought he, from such an examination as 
that to which I was subjected, what could they learn u 
to one's ability to preach the gospel 7 Such rcfleclioDS 
on the doings and uses of that ecclesiastical body, the 
Conference, begat in his mind a hostility to it, which soon 
made itself manifest. 

In the Summer of 1826, he received a letter from some 
friends in lUinois, near the mouth of Illinois river, re- 
questing bim to come out and bold a few meetings in that 
region. This he resolvefl to do, taking the Conference in 
his route. This body met that year at some point in Owen 
county. .After its adjournment he set out on horseback 
for his Illinois appointments, having just twenty-five cents 
in his pocket. 

There waa at that time a flourishing church on Alliaon 
Prairie, some ten miles west of Vincennes. He resolved 
to proceed by way of this church, to spend a night with 
the brethren there, and preach for them. He reached 
Christian settlement before night, and called on a brother 
Daniel Travis, to whom he made known the object of his 
coming. The brother, who looked upon the outward ap- 
pearance, asked him several questions as to his age, the 
length of time he bad been preaching, etc., and finally 
agreed to circulate the appointment. Quite a congrega- 

tton assembled, to whom he discoursed ii 
folly met their expectatioDS. 

Next mornicg he started at early dawn in hope of 
nacfaing the house of a brother by noi 
B«ry for him to keep wilhio the brotherhood as n 
posiiible, for his purse was light and he received little or 
lutlimg for his labor in tho Lord. Some preached vehe- 
menlly ugainst receiving any reninneration, but "he 
sot so learned Christ," Moreover it soeraed to him that, 
if none were receiving mora than he, there was no need 
fng the brethren against paying the preachers! 

Previous to starting, his friend Travis a.-ki'd hin 

1 going. "Somelm&dred and fifty miles," wiA 
IIm reply. " How much money have yon for the trip f 
continued the questioner. " TtoerUi/'Jiee cenl«," said the 
preacher. The good brother then gave him an additional 
quarter — a liberal contribution in that day — and he went 
on his way rejoicing. 

He reached the brother's by the way-side after the sun 
bad crossed the meridian. But ^ner was soon prepared, 
wbicb proved to be the last meal he enjoyed until he 
leached the end of his journey. Remembering that " a 
ri^teous man regardeth the life of his beast," he spent 
bis money for food for his horse, while he himself /ostecf 
for two whole days. 

RcBoming his journey he resolved to travel all that 
night. In pursuance of this resolution he came, about 
one o'clock, A. M., to where some emigrants bad en- 
camped for the night, at whose fire he stopped to warm 
himself. He had not been long by the fire when a coarse 
voice cried out, with a terrible allusion to Tartarus, 
"What are you doing here?" "Only warming myself, 
Mr," be innocently replied ; and turning round, he saw 
the man who had so rudely accosted him standing at his 
Iiorse'a bead, the bridle over his arm, and a gun aimed 


directly at him. The holder of the weajKin seeing him 80 
uncoucerned, came up and offered an apology. He said 
that the night luefore some one had stolen a horae ic the 
neighborhood ; that the thief wns expected to reliim and 
purloin other property ; that the owner of the stolen horee 
had requested him to watch; and that he hud mistaken 
the innocent for the guilty. " Had you made the least 
att«mpt to run," said ho, " I would have shot you down 
in your Iraeka." After this narrow escape the evBOgcliat 
pursued his lonely way, and in two days more reached 
the place of his destination. 

Having preached a week or two for hie Illinois firiends, 
he .set out 013 Ilia return, intending to reach a camp- 
meeting on Barney's Prairie, Wahash county, l)y Saturday 
night But at the close of that day he found himseir 
twenty miles from the camp- ground, the road to wliieh 
ran through a thinly settled region, and was not much 
travelled. Nevertheless about nine o'clock, P. M, he left 
the old Yincennes and St. Louis road and sel out afresh 
for the camp-meeting, resolved once more to travel all 
night rattier than fail in liis undertaking. Of him this 
determination to carry out hia purposuij is el loract eristic. 
To fill his appointments he lias often iniporilod his life Id 
cnissLiig swollen streams ; and in every depiirlment of his 
business he is faithful to perform whatever he promises 

About one o'clock Hie next morning he halted at a 
farm-house, called the farmer up and impilred the way 
and the distance to the place at whicli the meeting was 
to l>u held. " It is about si.t uiilcs," waid the kind man, 
" but light; we will lie going thitlier in the morning; se 
tarry with us ami take a little repose." 

Dy tlie lime the hor.=o was cared for, the good lady was 
up preparing a lunch for the weary traveller. Afler siinic 
conversation he observed to her : " You resemble a lady 
of my acijuaintancc in Indiana, whose name is Day; 

perhaps you are of the Bame name." "No," said site, 
"u hr from it as you could easily imagine — my name is 

Afler a refreshing nap, brealifast was taken, and Mr 
■Dcl Mrs. Knight, together with the preacher, were soou 
m ttieir way to the cunp-ground, where they arrived Just 
liefoTe the serrices commenced. A. great number of per- 
■ons wero Beatad before » rude Bt«nd in a detighUiit 
gcore. There were in attendance several distinguished 
pnacbera, wnong whom was the eccentric and talented 
WilHun Kinkade. Qoodwin was immediately invited 
iato the stand and called upon for a sermon. No excuse 
would avail, so he arose and addressed the people from 
Bomans i. IS : "I am not ashamed of the gospel of 

The following transcript of the c 
his discourse, will give the reader a 
of sermonizing in that day. 

I. Show what the Gospel is. 

II. Offer Reasons fob not b 
I. II meaiin Qood Newe; and so if ts. 

I. To the sinner as one blind — it offers spiritual vision. 
2 To those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death. 

3. To the morally diseased — it points to the great 

4. To the guilty — offering pardon. 

5. To the poor — offering " an inheritance incorrupti- 
ble," etc 

6. To the dead — for it offers life eternal. 

II. We should not be ashamed o/il, because 

1. It is the Sword of the Spirit, with which we fight 
tlie good fight of faith. 

2. It is a Directory in the way to Heaven. 

3. It is a Will, in which fullness of joy is bequeathed 
to them that shall be heirs of salvation. 

riginal " skeleton" of 
n idea of his method 



The effort was higlily ap|)lauiied even by the older 
preachers; yet, to one well acquainted with the Chrisltsn 
Bystem, it is evident that nbne could leam, fi'om such a 
discourse, what the goepel of Christ is, or what is to be 
done, on the part of man, in order to be saved by it. 

At the annual meeting of the Indiana Conference to 
the Fait of 1821, ho was appointed to travel and preach 
during six mouths of the ensuing year. The Wabash 
Conference, which embraced the churches in eouthwestera 
Indiana and southeastern Illinois, held its annual meetiag 
about the Kame time. By it aUo he was appointed to 
preach half the year within the bounds of that Conference. 
These cslls he accepted; and for the sake of giving each 
an equal division of seasons, he threw the two districts 
into one, which gave him a circuit of about six hundretl 
miles. He has, therefore, been a circuit-rider ou a large 
scale ! Vermillion and White counties, Illinois; and Po- 
sey, Crawford, Monroe and Vigo counties, Indiana, formed 
the circumference of his circle. He arranged the appoint- 
ments so as to make a revoltiUon every eight weeks. To 
do this he \va.s kcjit busy fivery day, for the roads were in 
a bad condition, many of the creeks were unbridged, and 
the swamps at times almost impassable. 

No definite amount was promised him for his year's 
service. The brethren simply said, " Go preach the gospel 
and we will see that you do not suffer." Under such a 
contract he of course received but very little compensa- 
tion. Still he filled out Ihc tinio, had many happy meet- 
ings, and saw his labors crowned with a good degree of 

On the 6th of August, 1828, in Gibson county, Indiana 
he was married to Miss Jane Moore Davis, who still lives 
to share his sacrifices for the gospel, and to adorn the doc- 
trine of God our Saviour by her meekness and " patient 
continuance in well doing." 


Shortly after his marriage he and his wife made a visit 

to Tennessee, passing through Kentucky. While she 

mmained with a sister in Wilson county, Tennessee, he 

made a tour through several counties of that State. His 

preaehing was well received, and gpreatly revived some 

old churches that had forgotten their first love. 

Up to this time he had operated on the mourning-bench 
system, under the illusion that the Bible is fall of authority 
fSDT prooeeding in that way. While en route to Tennessee 
an aged sister, in Kentucky, at whose house he preached, 
aaked him the following question : " Brother (Goodwin," 
amid she, ** what is Baptism for ?" Having looked at the 
subject no fiirther than he had been led by his seniors in 
the ministry, he replied, " Baptism is an emblem of the 
burial and resurrection of Christ : therefore one is bap- 
tised to show his faith in these facts." "Then," con- 
tinued the old lady, " the Lord's Supper shows our faith 
in the death of Christ, and Baptism shows our faith in his 
burial and resurrection." " So I understand it," rejoined 
the preacher. " Why then,^^ said she, ** do we, by the 
Suffer, show forth the Lord^s death often, and, by 
Baptism, show forth his burial and resurrection ojily 
ONCE in our whole lives ?" By this inquiry he was com- 
pletely nonplussed. The aged sister then observed that 
she was really anxious to ascertain the true design of the 
ordinance, for she thought there was something in it that 
all the preachers had overlooked. 

Here the conversation ended, but study and reflection 
began ; nor did he cease to reflect and inquire, until he 
had learned from the teaching of the apostles that Baptism, 
with its proper antecedents, is " for the remission of sins." 
From this apparently trivial incident is to be dated the 
beginning of his reformation. Here he reached his aphe- 
lion, and began to approach the great Light of the World 
and his satellites, the apostles. Surely God hath " chosen 

thfl foolish tbiDgs of the world to confound the wise, Bud 
God hftth chosen the weak things of the world to confound 
the thin^ that are mighty." 

Previous to this, one thin^ had tronbled faim, hut it 
had not Bhaken hie faith in the correctness of his prac^ce. 
He was always most successful in persutujing people 10 
the ansious seat; but ou almost all occasions be fouod 
persons — usually of the more sober and intelligent sort — 
who called upon the Lord in vain, for He would not 
answer. After almost every protracted meeting, he left 
many " unconvert«d" mourners, some of whom sought 
the Lord again, but others went tlieir ways to infidelity. 

Finally he mentioned to older preachers the difficaltjr 
which was to him inexplicable; and many expedients 
were resorted to in order to account for it witliout calling 
in question tlie correctness of the system. Of course that 
could not be wrong, for had not many souls been joyfully 
converted in that way 1 

About this time there arose no small stir among the 
brethren with reference to the Reformation, especinlly 
in its bearings upon church polity. Klder Goodwin had 
long been opposing the organization of the ministers into 
an eccle.'iiaatical body, which subject be had freely dis- 
cussed with the ablest preachers in open Conference. 
The Indiana Conference was soon decapitated by tbe 
sword of the Spirit ; and the Wabash Conference was not 
long in experiencing the same fate — the churclies as- 
suming an independent form of government; aod the 
preachers becoming amenable to them. 

To assist in bringing about this result, was his first 
public ocf in the direction of reform. But the examina- 
tion, to which he had been led by the old lady in Ken- 
tucky, soon convinced him that the teaching of Christ 
and the acts of the apostles stood opposed to his teaching 
and practice on the important subject of c 


MW that the apostles preached Christ crucified 
•8 the " only aame gi^en under heaven among men 
whereby they could be saved;" and that when the people 
believed their word, and were willing to obey the gospel, 
fhey commanded them to be baptized every one of them 
''in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins." 
He saw that in this way thousands became Christians in 
a single day without the long agonizing process through 
which his teaching compelled men to pass. He also dis- 
covered that in the beginning no one ever came sincerely 
to the Lord for salvation, and went away sorrowful, as 
many did in his day. 

But how to carry into practice what he now saw to be 
aeeording to apostolic precept and example, was a grave 
question. He feared that if be should attempt to substi- 
tute the ancient gospel, which was hated, for the received 
traditions, which were dearly loved, the people would not 
obey it, and he would have occasion to say with Esaias, 
" Lord, who hath believed our report." It was not until 
the Summer of 1835 that he resolved to declare the 
apostles' doctrine at all hazards, and exhort the people to 
obey the gospel as believers did on the day of Pentecost. 
" If," thought he, " I preach the same facts to be believed 
and the same commands to be obeyed ; and if the people 
believe and obey, surely all will be well, for the Lord is 
faithful that promised : but if they are contentious, and 
will not obey the truth, but persist in unrighteousness, 
then the consequence shall be upon their own heads — 
I shall have delivered my soul. " 

From that hour to the present he has never taught the 
penitent sinner to seek pardon where God has never pro- 
mised to bestow it. He has learned too that if persons 
are truly convinced of their sinfulness and really desirous 
of obtaining forgiveness — if they have *' unfeigned faith" 


in Cbriet and in his gracious promises — they will gladly 
receive tbe word and be baptized, bolb men and woiuttD. 

Up to tbis time, except during tbe year he was em- 
ployed by tbe Oonfereuces, he did not "live of tbe gospel." 
To support bia family he sometimes taught school, some- 
times served as saleBman in a store, but always preached 
as much as circumstances would possibly allow. 

In January, 1840, ho nbaudoned all secular business 
and gave himself wholly to the word. He had orgttiii«d 
several new churches in Posey county — one at Uount 
Yernon. These, with some Old Christian cburchee that 
had come into tbe Reformation, agreed to co-operate in 
sustaining bioi as an evangeUst, at a salary of three hun- 
dred doUuni per annum. Under this arranpement he labored 
for seven yeors, annually enlarging his field, which eventu- 
ally embraced portions of Illinois and Kentucky. 

According to a report contained in the Christian Record 
of that date, he travelled, during the year ending October, 
18-15, three thousand four hundred and seventy-two miles 
ond preached three hundred and eighfy-two -fermons. In 
lS4tj he lost nearly three months on account of ill health, 
yet he travelled, during the remainder of the year, about 
three thousand miles and delivered two hundred and 
thirty-one public discourses. 

This will serve as an index of his zeal for God, and as 
a measure of the influence he exerted as a speaker only, 
and not as a writer. He has always acted upon tbe sug- 
gestion of King Solomon, " What thy band findeth to do, 
do it with thy might." 

In June, 1847, be left his old residence at Mount 
Vernon, and removed to Bloomington, where he became 
associated with Elder J. M, Mathes in the publication of 
the Christian Record. 

In this connection he continued two years at a consi- 
derable sacrifice. The profits arising from the publication 



were ineaAdeiit to eapport two fiuniliea, And they receiTed 
nothiog for pieachiDg, though employed nearly ever^ 
Lord^ day and frequently throughout the week. The 
brethren, with singular Tiews of justice and Christian 
oUigation, seemed to think that the Record sustained 
the editors, and that therefore they ought to preach for 
nothing I Strange that they did not see, with equal 
clearness, that if one half of their farms supported their 
£unilieSy they ought therefore to receive nothing for the 
products of the other half I 

Starved out of the editorial chair, he removed to Madison 
and became the pastor of the church in that city. During 
two years from April, 1849, he preached for that congre* 
gation with very general acceptance and tolerable success. 

At the expiration of the second year he accepted a call 
from the church at BloomingtOD. The brethren at Madi- 
son remoDstrated ; but his family was then large and his 
children were demaodlDg mental culture : therefore, for 
the sake of a better support, and especially in view of the 
educational facilities afforded by the State University, he 
returned to Bloomington in 1851, and assumed the pas- 
toral care of the churches at that place and Clear Creek. 

In this position he remained until the Fall of 1854, 
when he accepted an agency for the N. W. C. University. 
As an agent he was indefatigable ; and he did much 
toward increasing both the funds and the popularity of 
the institution. He canvassed a large portion of the 
State, soliciting stock and contributions, preaching the 
gospel, and, by public lectures and private conversations, 
awakening an educational spirit among all the people, 
and especially among those of the household of faith. 

Having become a prey to bronchitis^ and being much 
exposed in this work, he suspended operations, as agent, 
for the Winter of 1855-6. But unwilling to be idle during 
that time, he wrote and published the Family Companion, 


" a book of sermons, on rkrious subjects, both docidn*! 
and practical: JDtonded for tlie prirate ediScatiou anil 
comfort of the disciples of Christ, and to aid the honast 
inquirer after truth in finding the true church and the Uw 
of induction into the same ; etc., etc, etc." It is writt«n 
in a plain, simple style, in which the rigor of logic and 
the spirit of Christ are happily blended. The popu- 
larity of the work is attested by its having already passed 
through five editions, and by the fact that some of the 
sermons have been republished in Europe, and some have 
been translated into the German language. 

In the Spring of 1856 he resumed his agency, but upon 
the urgent solicitations of the brethren in Indianapolis, 
he abandoned tlint work in May; on the SUh of which 
month he became the pastor of the Christian congregation 
in that city. The church there was, then, in a deplorable 
condition. Through the influence of those who were con- 
tentious, it had been rent into two parties, each of which 
had their place of worship, and not a few things were 
being done " through strife and vain glory." It required 
much nerve and a firm reliance upon the strong arm of 
the Lord, to encounter such carnality;* and, having done 
so, he met wilh an opposition to his pacific measures that 
he had not anticipated. Under such trying circumstances 
many a man would have " withdrawn himself," leaving 
the wranglers to " eat of the fruit of their own way and 
be filled with their own devices." But realizing the im- 
portance of the church located at the capiul of the Stat«, 
and sympathizing with the righteous members that were 
partakers of the common shame, he resolved to meet all 
opposition with meekness and never to " give up the 

In this position be remained three years, in the course 

• 1 Cor. UL S. 


of which time the conflicting elements were brought 
together and their affinity re-established. The two folds 
became one again under one shepherd, and the cong^re* 
gation resumed a prosperous condition and a commanding 

Haring accomplished this happy result, he resigned 
his charge, and purchased of Elder J. M. Mathes the 
Chrktiaii Record, of which he became sole editor and 
proprietor. This valuable religious magazine he con- 
tinued to conduct, in Indianapolis, until the close of the 
year 1861. In addition to his editorial labors he made 
frequent preaching tours through this and other States of 
the Union, and rendered important service as Treasurer 
of the N. W. C. University. He was one of the commis- 
aioners to organize this institution, and from the beginning 
lie has served as a member of the Business Committee and 
also of the Board of Directors, of which he has once been 

At the commencement of the year 1862, in connection 
with his eldest son, A. D. Ooodwin, he began a new 
volume of the Monthly, and also commenced the publica- 
tion of the Weekly Christian Record, a family newspaper 
devoted to the interests of primitive Christianity. Both 
the paper and the magazine are ably and judiciously con- 
ducted, and they exert a powerful influence upon the dis- 
ciples in the northwest, whose liberal patronage they 
assuredly merit. 

In the course of his ministerial life he has been engaged 
in ten public discussions, in all of which, save two held 
prior to his entrance into the Reformation, he has suc- 
cessfully vindicated the truth as it is in Jesus. The first, 
which occurred in 1829, was a one-sided little affair, for 
the reason that his opponent, a Methodist preacher by the 
name of Richey, could not read the notes or comprehend 
the arguments prepared for him by another. 


The second was with Dr. H. Holland, also a minister 
in the M. E. Church, and a man of eou&idereble ability. 
It took place in the court-house at Mount Vernon, in the 
Spring or 1 832. Proposition : " Is Jesus Christ the very 
and Eternal God ?" Affirmative^HoUand ; negative— 

Hie third debate was held near Mount Temon, in 183T. 
Hi8 opponent was the same Dr. Holland, and the sul^ect 
Infant Baptism. The fourth, in which be waa opposed 
by Joel Hume, a Fredestinarian Baptist, occurred in 
1843 or 4. The proposition was the following: "Is It 
possible for all men to be eaved by complying with con- 
ditions within their power." In the affirmative, Mr. Good* 
witi offered twenty arguments, to (en of which liis oppo- 
nent attempted no reply. 

He next discussed the Action, Subject and Design of 
Baptism, with the Rev. F. Forbes, of the M. E. Church. 
This transpired at Kent, Jefferson county, in February, 
1851, and was followed by the immersion of one of the 
moderators, his wife, and twelve others. In the Spring 
of 1853 he debated the same propositions with the Rev. 
James Scott (Methodist), in the chapel of the State 
University at Bloomington. At the same place in 1854 
or 5 he affirmed the following proposition : " A law em- 
bracing the principles of search, seizure, confiscation, and 
destruction of intoxicating liquors kept for illegal sale, 
would be in accordance with the Bible and the Consti- 
tution of the State of Indiana, and promotive of the well- 
being of society." His opponent was Bev. Mr. Tabor 
of the Baptist Church. 

He subsequently debated with R. Hargrave (Methodist) 
on the Action and Design of Baptism; and, at a still later 
period, with H. Wells (Lutheran) on the Action of Bap- 
tism. The former took place at Oxford, Benton county, 
the latter at Jalapa, Grant county. 


- mtitiMM cu>0swiv. . a|f 

Vlully; 1b Dneombar IMl, be debatad the Actios o< 
Baptini at Oadii, ^ory coun^, with th« Bev. IL 
Mahuofthe HethodiBtE|dacopalOhareh. .Tbis diaouaf 
riw bitod fbw dftTB, and, lib* tiioae jvecedisg, oonTSited 
to " mmtA doetriiM" oiaar who, taming away their «an 
tkvm the truth, bad baon " tonwd nsto foblea." 

Tfana did the mai^wiot thia sketch, by the foree of bi« 
■iad end the caador of bis heart. Bod bia way, tbroa^ 
gro« darknev, to the fonndation of ^>ostlea and pn>phet% 
though bom, baptlied, and bred in a dllferent fUth. 

Thna by Ua owb effbrta, in the providence of God, has 
he elerated himwlf from obacnrity to hia preaent bonorai- 
He and ?■*■""*'■' position. 

Thna baa he lived witboat repnach and labored tor Ua 
nkce almost without reward. • 

Only a few more years, at fartbeBt, will be write, and 
apeak, and pray for the succesB of the Reformation, which 
be TerUy believes to be the cause of Qod ; then will be 
kave a bright example on earth, to ascend to a glomus 
inheritance in heaven. 

Elder Qoodwin is a man of fine personal appearance. 
He is about five feet nine inches high — erect, well- 
proportioned, and weighs about one hundred and sixty 
pounds. His complexion is fair, his hair light and inter- 
mingled with gray. He has a well-balanced head, with 
a fine broad forehead, clearly indicative of great intel- 
lectual power. 

His mind is clear, logical, comprehensive. He is a 
deep, constant thinker; and he reasons forcibly, from 
cause to effect more than by comparison. As a dts- 
pntant, he is self-possessed, ready, convincing, and, under 
all circumstances, courteous toward his opponent. Ue 
descends to no chicaoeiy to deceive the simple, employe 
DO vulgar wit for the sake of gaining the applause of the 

jtroog and J 
St, aolhJDg ' 


multitude, but, by a dear and respectful " manifestatioa 
of tho truth," lie couimends himself "to every nian's 
conscience in the eight of God." 

He posseBses an amiable didpoaition and strong e 
lasting attachmcDts. Exi^ept the cautu of Christ, ] 
lies nearer his heart or receiveH more of hia attention than 
his family ; tho remainder of which coneiBts of the wife 
of his youth, two sons and two daughters. The rest have 
fallen "on sleep," among whom was Friend Chapman, a 
promising son, who having graduated at the N. W. C. 
University, soon " finished his course" on earth ftnd 
paBsed up into the presence of the Great Teacher, 

Though he has experienced many occasions of sadness, 
yet he is uniformly cheerful, and eminently sociable. 
Indeed, there is not a little humor in his composition, 
and he enjoys a good anecdote most heartily. This 
element he Bometimes turns to good account, for, sanc- 
tified to the Master's use, he constrains all his powers to 
work together "for good." The following incident will 
perhaps illustrate the manner in which he is wont to em- 
ploy his humorous faculty " unto edifying." 

Once while on a preaching tour through Henderson 
county, Kentucky, he stopped one day at a blacksmith's 
shop to have hia buggy slightly repaired. While the 
work was being done, he inquired of the amilh with 
regard to the religious views of the people thereabout 
" Oh," said the amith, " we have some Methodists, some 
Baptists, some Presbyterians and a few Oampbeilites." 
"Campbelliles!" said Goodwin, " why what kind of peo- 
ple ere they ?" 

Smith. — A very singular people, I assure you. They 
don't believe in repentance, in conversion, or in a change 
of heart. They also deny the operation of the Holy 


Chadwin. — Thej must be a singular people, indeed. 
They deny repentance f 

Smith. — Tea, sir. They would ridicale the idea of a 
sinner'^ repenting. 

Ooodtoin. — Is it possible 1 Do they use the Bible in 
their meetings ? 

Smith. — O yes, they talk much about the Bible, and 
" the Bible alone ;" but what I tell you is true. 

Chodwin. — Do they ever pray ? 

Smith. — Yes, they pray, and seem quite religious them- 
selves, but they take a sinner without any repentance, 
baptize him right in his sins, and pronounce him a Chris- 
tian. It is all uHiter salvcUion with them. 

Ooodunn. — Did you ever hear one of them preach ? 

Smith, — Yes, I have heard several of their strong men. 
They didn't deny repentance when I was there, but 
" th^y say'*' they always do. 

Ooodwin. — Did you ever hear a man by the name of 
Goodwin ? 

Smith. — No, but I have heard of him. They say he is 
an able man, but he met with his match once. 

Goodwin. — How did that happen ? 

Smith. — Why, he went out to Madison, in this State, 
and kept bantering until a little Presbyterian preacher 
took him up and demolished his system completely. 

Ooodunn. — They had a regular debate, had they ? 

Smith. — Yes, sir, and I suppose a fellow never before 
got such a basting. 

Ooodtoin. — Did you hear the discussion ? 

Smith. — No ; but one of our preachers told me about it 

Ooodtcin, — Who was he ? 

Smi^/i.— Brother F . 

Goodwin. — I advise you not to repeat the story until 
you have better authority. I know something of Mr. 

F , and I have no confidence in him whatever. 



Smith. — Tl)&t ie atrange. We all have great confideQM 

Goodwin. — Well, my good friend, I am the mui be 
told jou ahoTit, and I oever had a debate ia any part of 
Kentucky. The story is a sheer fabrication. 

Smith. — (Much confused.) Ah, well 1 I confees I never 
had as much confidence in brother F. as I have in sonM 
of our preachers. 

Qoodtein. — Now, sir, let me give you a word of advic«. 
Be careful hovi you make statements on the authority of 
your preachers. All you have said about the views of 
those whom you call Campbellites are gross miarepr^i 
aentations. I have preached among them many yeart,^ 
and I know what J say. 

Here the colloquy ended, and Elder Goodwin pursued 
hia journey, leaving behind him a vnser if not a better 

In attempting to describe him in the pulpit, one cannot 
do better than to adopt Cowper's fine description of 

" A prpsoher aacli as Paul, 

Weie he on earth, would hear, approve, And own. " 

It expresses him precisely ; for, without exaggeration. 

Id doctrine nneorriipt ; in languai^e plain, 
And plain in manner; decent, solemn, ohaete, 
And natural in gesture; much impressed 
Himself, BEi conscious ofhis awfnl charge,— 
And an^fious maini; that the flock he feeds 
Ma; fetil it too; affectiooate in look, 
And tender io address, as well becomes 
A mestieoger of grace to guilty men." 

To this it may be added that he is fluent, partly by 
nature and partly because he never speaks without pre- 
paration. His voice, once strong, clear, and melodiuna, 



kM bsan wmewhat impaired hy diseue; and his delireiy 

is aligfatlj monotonotui. Yet the neople everywhere bear 
him ^adly; for his ideas are good and abundant; his 
dlseo ni B o a pointed, methodical, edifying. 

Ha po oDCMen yet one other trait, which Cowper should 
have attrftnted to hia model preacher — namely, boldneu 
M defence of&e truth. This sometimes exhibits itself to 
good adraotage eren oat of the po]pit, as the following 
ineidant will liiow ; 

Once when tnvelling on a western steamer, he obeerred 
a Dumber of paaaengers collected in the gentlemen's cabin 
and engaged in earnest conversation. Approaching them, 
he fonnd that one of the company was enlightening the 
others in regard to a new kind of professed Christians 
that had appeared in his part of the country. Said he, 
" They don't believe in any thing but baptism. They 
will take a sinaer in all his guilt, immerse him in water, 
and pronounce him fit for heaven." 

After listening awhile. Elder Ooodwin asked, " Do 
these people have churches ?" " yes, and preachers 
too," was the reply. " And they require nothing but 
baptism. I suppose then tbey never deal with their mem- 
bers for immoral conduct." " Really, I am not sure as to 
that, but I rather think they do," said the stranger. "Do 
you think," continued Goodwin, " that they would retain 
in tbeir feUowship a thief, a blasphemer, a drunkard, or a 
false witness against his neighbor f" The gentleman, 
who by this time had become much confused, replied, 
" O no. I believe they would promptly exclude all such 
persons." " I perceive then," said the interrogator, " that 
those people require more than baptiflm. From your 
own lips I prove you guilty of bearing false witness; and 
now let me odviae you lo be more careful, in future, when 
attempting to represent the views and praclicen of men 
profeaaing godiiness." He then proceeded, by request, to 

184 piONEBB rut's 

give the gospel plnn or rotivcrnioo and 8b1 ration : tlM 
'• fttlse witness" was silent, aud ibe company were botll 
pleased anil edified. 

Hia success us a speaJcer is, perhaps, more than balancod 
by hia influence as a writer. From his coaoeetion with 
the Reformation until the present, lie has written more or 
Ics8 for several religious papers and magoEines, the moat 
of his contributions being to the Christian Record. Sincfl 
■ bis iDstalnient in the editorial cliuir — which, to him, is not 
an " easy" one — his pen has seldom been idle. Enter his 
sanctum at almost any hour of the day, and you will find 
him, pen in hand, surrounded by bis exchanges and books 
of reference. You would like to sit longer and enjny hb 
agreeable conversation, but you feel that you arc encroach- 
ing upon bis time. lie is an indcratigable worker. The 
cause of Godliness, the cause of Temperance, the cause 
of Union, the cause of Missions, the cause of Education, 
the cause of the National Oovernment, the cause of 
Human Liberty, without respect to races — alt find, in 
him, an unwearied and unwavering advocate. 

Hia style is more remarkable for its perspicuity than for 
its vigor, ornament, or conciseness. He never attempts 
to write any thing beautiful, and his pen assumes consi- 
derable latitude of expression, being careful only to keep 
within the bomids of truth. Though his literary produc- 
tions never fall below mediocrity, yet he is a useful rather 
than an elegant writer. Extracts would be inserted in. 
this sketch, but for the fact that his writings are so nume- 
rous and so worthy of preservation, that they will no 
doubt be collected and given to the world in book form 
as soon as he shall have written the last line and laid 
aside his pen forever. To that certain event he already 
begins to look forward with regret, but not with fear; 
for, having been " diligent in business" as well as " fervent 



Ill Bpirit," the testimony of his conscience aseurea him 

" From Ml Lord 

Will receive the glad trord, 

' Will ard faithfitllt hosx. 

Eater into mj J07 
And Bil down on my throne.' " 




Elder .TosEpa Wilson was born in Camden county, 
"SoTth Carolina, October 3d, lTfl6. His grandparent 
were moiubers of t.lie Society of Friends ; but his fether, 
at the 11^ of oighteen, joiacd the Baptiels, and commenced 
preaching. iLfterwards he removed to Uawkins eoun^, 
TenDessee, his bod Joseph being then six jears old. la 
Buoh aehools as Tennessee afTurded half a century ago^ 
Elder Wilson received his education. His course of Study 
comprised only spelling. Heading, writing, nnd aritbraetic, 
and even of these branches ho obtained but a very im- 
perfect knowledge. Ho is therefore one 

" Whose BO 
Far &s th> 

i\ fiLir SoIeucH never tnnght tc 
aolar walk or milky way." 

Hence bis speech and his preachhig have not been "with 
the enticing words of man's wisdom," and his extraordi- 
nary success as an evangelist is to be altriitiuted, not to 
the "wisdom of men," but to the "power of God" — to 
the truth and native force of the principles for which lie 
haa contended. 

When not more than fifteen years old, amid the gross 
spiritual darkness that then reigned, he began to feel after 
God, if haply he might find him, though he is not far 
from every one of us. For two or three years he searched 
the Scriptures diligently, but without being able to dis- 
cover the way of salvation — not because the way is ob- 
scure, hut because he knew not how or where to search 
as he ought. Finally he said to himself, " Why do I cou- 


'oc ^7- 

-ft/, A y^-<-^^'^ 

-I « 

U' '/'^ - 


tinae to read what Qod never designed to be understood 
bj one like me t The Bible is, to the sinner, a sealed 
M)ok, a profound mystery: let it be laid aside." Thna 
lad he been tanght— thus were all the people taught in 
hat day. " Great is the mystery of godliness'' was a 
avorite text with the preachers, and often did they 
leglect to preach Christ crucified, in order to comfort (?) 
he people with the precious doctrine that " the natiiral 
nan receiveth not the things of the Spirit. '^ 1 Cor. iL^4b 
When it is remembered that such preaching still oMitei; 
t is no longer strange that so many have thrown aside 
heir Bibles, as did Elder Wilson, and turned their atten- 
ion to the unauthoritative productions of men, who, it 
vould seem, write with more clearness and precision than 
iid the Holy Spirit, since tlieir works, for the most part, 
ire intelligible I What else is to be expected than an 
Defease of skepticism, and a corresponding decrease of 
Sible reading, so long as the unconverted — the great 
najority of mankind — are taught, from the sacred desk, 
hat they cannot understand the revelation of God ? 

Having despaired of obtaining information from the 
^riptures, the young inquirer next applied to his father 
ind other popular preachers, saying, " What shall I do ?" 
rhey advised him to pray and wail^ assuring him that 
jrod would, in his own good time, grant him faith and 
-epentance unto life. Though this direction was slighUy 
lifferent from that given by Peter on the day of Pente- 
cost, yet it was satisfactory to him ; and agreeably to it 
be " waited" until he reached his twentieth year. Under 
such teaching, alas I how many have waited, in disobe- 
dience, until the summer was past, the harvest was ended, 
ind they were not saved I 

While waiting for some mysterious, if not mi il< 
visitation from God, he examined the Baptist cre< n 
the preachers seemed to think he could 



although they claimed that it — like aU other creeds — 
contained only the doctriuee of ttie unintelligible Bible, 
arranged in a more coneise and convenient form ! To 
thi* creed he determined that he would never subscribe, 
because it coiituined the doctrine of eternal and uocod- 
ditional election, which, in his opinion, represented the 
just and merciful Father as a Qod of matchless cruelty 
and injustice. 

Next after the creed he read a work on TTniversalisai, 
entitled " The Works of Winchester." Thia book taught 
that a man dying in sin would descend into helj, and 
there remain until ho paid " the uttermost farthing," after 
which he would ascend into heaven. This doctrine Iw 
received and tremblingly adhered lo for about fourvears; 
but he continually weighed it in the balance of the Scrip- 
tures, until at last it was found wanting and abandoned. 

About this time he first heard of B. W. Stone, Dany 
Travis, and others, who had taken their position on the 
Bible alone ; but they were so misrepresented, so de- 
nounced as heretics, that he was afraid to let his soul into 
their secret. 

He next applied to the Methodists for advice. They 
told him that he must repent, come to the mourner's 
bench, and pray for faith ! This doctrine of repentance 
before faith was then quite common, though it could not 
justly claim to be either apostolic or reasonable : for how 
can a man repent of having sinned against a Being in 
whose existence he does not believe? How can he ob- 
tain faith by prayer, when he cannot pray acceptably 
without faith ? Jas. i. 6, 1. These most obvious absurd- 
ities Elder Wilson had not then perceived ; so he attended 
a camp-meeting, and obeyed to the letter all the command- 
ments of men. But it was all in vain ; for, although he 
asked, he received not ; though he sought, he found not ; 
though he mourned, be was not comforted. 


Being sent empty away, he returnod homo, throogll 
tbe Slough of Deepohd, and again resolved to await Ood'a 
time. Yet he ofttn pfnyed for a hoart of flesh, and for 
gome satisrat.'tory cvideace of bi» pnrdoD ; and if pardon 
bad been dispensed simply in answer to prayer, he cer- 
tainly would have obtained it, for acyor was a man more 
Biucere, more humble, or more willing to perform whatso- 
erer the Lord might require at hb hands. 

After Bome months, he again applied the Methodist 
machinery. At the close of a season of prayer they aeked 
bim hovs hefeii. He replied that he had neither seen any 
" great light," nor experienced any unusual feeling. They 
then inquired if be loved the Saviour ; and being answered 
affirmatively, they decided that he had religion, and that 
it was necessary fcir him only to join the church, and go 
forward in the diBcharge of his Christian duties. Thus 
did they dispose of this rather difficult case. He won- 
dered that bis conversion should differ so much from that 
of many others, but then he was reminded that, " vnlhovt 
controversy, great u the mystery of godlinem"! This 
being a satisfactory explanation of the anon^aly, be at- 
tocbed himself to the M. E. Church, and was immersed 

on tbe day of March, 1821. The same day be was 

promoted to tbe office of claat-leader — an office not often 
mentioned or clearly defined in the constitution of the 
primitiTO church I 

la Hay, 1821, he was married to Miss Anna CFoad, 
dftugbter of St«ven Qoad, of White county, Tennessee ; 
and in Autumn of the same year he removed to Greene 
county, Indiana, in which no gospel was known to the 
few inhabitants, save that of repentance and prayer before 

By this time, tbrougb diligent study of the Scriptures, 
be had arrived at two important conclusions : Qrst, that 
the BiUe is an intelligible book ; and, second, that divi* 


sioris ill the cliurcli of Clirist are contrary to the will of 
Ood, and detriuieiital to the e}iiritual interests of man. It 
waB not long after he came to theeo conclasions, from hia 
owu reading of the word, until eeceral Newlight preach- 
ers moved into Monroe county, and commenced pleading 
for the Bible alone as a basis on which all Christians 
should unite. One of these preachers, John Storms, 
made an appointment to prE^ach in Green countj. Elder 
Wilson attended the meeting ; but, as the Newligbls were 
everywhere spoken against, he took a seat in the farthest 
corner of the house. The great controversy between the 
adheronte to the commonly -received doctrine of the 
" Trinity" and the advocates of a species of Unitarianism, 
was then rife in this State. The speaker therefore took 
for his text the words, " Whose Son is he V upon which 
he discoursed in such a manner as to make a favorable 
impression upon the man in the corner. The preacher 
left another appointment; then others came and plead for 
union among the children of God, until finally Elder 
Wilson determined to step upoti the platform of apostles 
and prophets, even at the peril of being decried as ft 
Kewligbt, a Stoneite, a Heretic, or an Apostate. 

In March, 1822, he voluntarily withdrew from the M. 
E. Church ; and a new congregation was organized, cod- 
sisting of himself and nine others. Thus were taken two 
steps in the right direction — they adopted the right creed, 
the Bible, and the right name, Chrislian. Still they re- 
tained many errors. They continued to talk of " getting 
religion," and to teach that it was to be found at the 
mourner's bench ; while the disciplinary power was vested 
in the Annual Conference instead of the several charchea. 
At one of these Conferences, held in Monroe county, on 
the 16th of September, 1825, Elder Wilson was licensed 
to preach the gospel; and in September, 1828, he was 
formally ordained as an evangelist by John Storms, and 


Judge Dftrid MeDonald, then a trmTeDing pieadiery now 
t distingaiBhed member of the IndiuiapoUe her. 

After his ordination, he began to travel and preach on 
a more exteneiye sci^e — to travel, not in a comfortable 
etr drawn by the iron Pegaeos, bnt on horseback, through 
mad and dust, through wet and dry, through heat and 
cold, by night and by day. In all of his Joumeyings, he 
tt first paid his own expenses, and would accept no re- 
muneration for his services ; for he, also, lived in the age 
in which preachers often expounded the tenth chapter of 
John, each being unwilling to be the "hireling" spoken 
of in that connection. 

This doctrine — that the gospel should be preached 
without money and without price — ^was but too cordially 
received by their brethren. Hence many of the pioneers 
have known how to be in want ; while but few have, like 
Paul, known also how to abound. Hence many indi- 
viduals have been destitute of " fruit that might otherwise 
have abounded to tiieir account," and many congregations 
have failed to exhibit that liberality which is *' an odor 
of a sweet smell, a sacrifice acceptable, well pleasing to 
Ood." Hence, also, the progress of the gospel has been 
retarded, because those, whose sole business would have 
been to preach it, have been compelled to leave the word 
of God, in order to supply the wants of their families. 

The consequences of this false teaching bore heavily 
upon Elder Wilson. During the first seventeen years of 
his ministry he received from the churches only about five 
dollars ; and he was often greatly embarrassed for want 
of money to defray his travelling expenses. When he 
first began to extend his circuit, he visited once a month 
a congregation on Black creek, in Daviess county. To 
reach this he had to cross' White river; and not being 
able, at all times, to command even so small a sum as 
twenty>flve cents, he stipulated with the ferryman to pay 

him anoually, but not in advance. At tiie eod of the 
fourth year lie was iDformed by the ferryman that his ac- 
count, for that year, was in the bands of an officer for 
collection. He paid the debt without furihor legal pro- 
cess ; but he woe eami>e11ed to abandon the work si 
BlAck creek, because, as in the vision of Bzekiel, then 
was a "river" that he "could not pans over." 

Some years after, he had an appointment in lUiuoiL 
Uaring to cross both the Wabaah and White river, going 
and returning, he required for this purpose four " bite," 
in the currency of those times ; but al the hour of start- 
ing the total amount of epecie on hand was only tkrw 
"bite." However, he Bet out, trusting that tlie place of 
meelinj!' would lie a "Johovah-jircb" — "the Lord will 
provide." The meeting being over, his mind was greatly 
exercised to discover the means of returning home. 
There lay the impassable rivers between him and bis 
family, as between the lost souls and the elysian Relds 
lay the fabulous Styx. At last he concluded that his 
remaining "bit" would secure his passage of the Wabash, 
and that he would, on reaching White river, prevail upoQ 
his old friend, the ferryman, to trust him once more. 
When he began to put on his leggins, he discovered 
several knols tied in one of thcni. lie set al>uut untying 
these, with Christian patience, thinking that the thought- 
less children had placed them there; when lot in the 
last one a solitary " bit" met his astonished and delighted 
vision. This secret contribution of some good brother 
or sister seemed to him a very Qod*send, and he went on 
his way rejoicing. 

The following anecdote will still further c:thibit his 
straitened circumstances in those days. Once upon a 
time he and Elder Jos. Wolfe had been on a preaching 
tour to Illinois. Having crossed the Wabash on their 
return, they Stayed all night with a brother who lived in 


MMii^tandB — between the men. When ebont to r»- 

lite, filidcr WilaoD Baid, " Now, bntiter WoICb, doa\ steal 

uvoidiit'jfaMiigbt." " Ko danger," a«ld be, "tbetwoold 

b« InvakiQf a commandment for a reiy anall eonaidera- 

linn.'' - L'eriukps not^" lepUed Wilson, " yon do not know 

iav utuch I bare." " Yes, I do," eald WcUo, " jon hare 

JW one ' bit' Ton bed foor, no doob^ when 70a Mt 

ttpB ; yoa paid two for fariage aa we went, one to croee 

lb Wabaeh on onr return ; and Ton hare one Mt to paj 

Jtat fare aeroM White rirer to-morrow." He aeknow- 

Jedged ilie coirectneM of tho reckoning, tbey enjojed a 

beuty laugh, and spent a large portion of the night in 

'■Urinff orer tbeir trials, an4 contoaating their present 

poTST^ with the unsearchable riebee the; hoped to 


The hardships of his familj were not less than bis own 
Hie children were growing up without the means of 
acquiring an education ; and, indeed, they were often but 
ill iwotected against the wintry etonne. Hie wife, a most 
tealous and self-denjing Gbristian, was often in want of 
suitable clothing to appear even in the plain society of 
that day. In the absence of her husband she carried on 
the secular busineas, and when he was unexpectedly 
detained, she provided with her own hands, in rain and 
snow, the wood that warmed her household. At one 
time he owned a saw-mill on a small stream which would 
often rise in bis absence, and be would thus lose many 
opportunities for sawing. To prevent this loss, big wife 
nsed to run the mill ; and, at such times, she has saved 
thousands of feet of lomber. No wonder that she occa- 
aionally felt discouraged. No wonder that, sometimes, 
when the little ones had retired to their bumble couches, 
the parents sat by the fire, talked of their trials, and 
applied to themselves the Scripture which aaitb, " If in 
this life only we have hope, we are of all men most 


miseraWo." But goon tlipy i^rkuncd " tliai the stiffumip' 
of this preartil time are not tcortliy to be compftrvd witb 
thf ghry tlint simll be T«Tf>aled in uh ;" and on the mw- 
row t)ie wife hiid hold of tlie diBtufT, and the husliud 
went forth to preach the p>spcl. 

But to rcHurae the account of hie labors. After al«i- 
'Jonin^c tht^ work at Blark rreelc, he preached with go4l 
Buccese in several oountiee which could be reached with- 
out crossing any river. 

In May, 183S; ho made a risit to Mill Creek. Illinois— 
preaching by the way at Black Creek, Antioch, Fannert 
Prairie, and Little York. At the close of th« meetiDgat 
Mill Creek several Hethodists of that vicinity, being slmMt 
jiiTsiittdfii til i-iill theni>.-lvL'.'; C'liristisn?, ^el]^!l■^lL■^l liini to 
leave another aii]><iiTitmcnt. He iiromised to return in 
Augu^l. Arriving at the appointed time he found no 
small stir among tlie people. The Methodists were en- 
gaged in a revival, and tliey proposed tliat Eider WilsoQ 
jshoiild add his slrenglli to liieirs, and that they should 
have a Union meeting. For this end an extra Metln.dist 
preacher had been imported, Bnd a stand erected in a 
beautiful grove for the joint use of the waid preacher and 
KIder Wilson, Tliey used it jointly for several days, 
Union being the main suly'eet — and the Baptists and 
Presbyterians of the neighborhood taking an active part 
in the meeting. All pniyed so fervently for a union of 
all Christians, that KIder AVilson half suspected, and deter- 
mined to test, tlieir .sincerity. So on the nest day he 
arranged it for the Methoiiiwt to ^^pcak 5rst and himself to 
follow. After having spoken about an hour and a half he 
said, " Well, brethren, we have been together a long time, 
and DO reason seems to have been developed why WB 
should not dwell together in unity. By our hymns, ex- 
hortations and prayers, we have professed great faith in 
the possibility and propriety of a permanent union of all 



tlMiliitl'iiranfrf Jeans; and I oowdeeire to see bow many 

ttt willing to ahov their faith by their works." He then 

plivnl * BiUa on the stand, and reqnested all who were 

willing Id laj KBide their Disciplines and Confessions of 

Fiith and take the Bible aa their onlj creed— .to make it 

howD by coming forward and placing their bands on the 

acKd book. When the congregation uose to sing, there 

ns a gtbsral movement toward the pulpit. Sixty were 

eouatvd — when they came so ^t that it was impossible 

U> <-oiiTit thiun.' In the midst of the evitement, search 

ne ma<l4 for the Methodist preacher, He was found 

m'ttiii]; in the palpit, still faithful, aa Casabianca, to hia 

fygmma and his Discipline, all bis Uflion sennons to the 

enitrsry notwitliBtanding. » 

" Prom Bnch Apostles, ye mitred heads, 

Preserve the church t sad lay Dot caruless hands 
On skulls that cannot teach, and will not Uarn." 

Elder Wilson does not know how many be iiumersed 
on that occasion ; but in September following he held 
another meeting, and organized a church, for which be 
preached quarterly for many years. In his care the 
church grew so rapidly that it has since been peaceably 
divided into three flourJBhing congregations. Is there 
Dot reason to believe that churches everywhere would 
thns increase, if the divine creed were everywhere 
adopted, and if Christians would all " stand ftwi in one 
tpirit, VTtth one mind eiriving together for Ike faith of the 

About the year 1833 the doctrine of the Kcfonnation 
began to prevail in Qreen county to an extent somewhat 
alarming to those most zealous for the traditions of the 
&therB. Elder Wilson and his brethren, though they 
called themselves Christians and professed to take the 
word of God as the man of their counsel, still held many 


of ihcse tr8(1itio(i9. Hence his brelhron were penerally in 
fftFor of closing the doora or their churches agattiiit the 
so-L'Mllcd Cftmpbdliti'B, But lie said, '" Not so — lh(«e 
people call Ibemselres Chrisliaus and claim to be governed 
by the word of God, We liave loug proposed to recttve 
any or all good men on ibat platform ; and although they 
oppose our views we ibwb( giott them a hearing. It may 
be that we have not learned a£ much as we ought, and 
lliat they are wise ahiiva what is written. Possibly they 
may prove of service to us, and we to them." 

By pursuing this course with his brethren, he perhaps 
did more to advance the cause of the Reformation than if 
he had been positively advocating it; for it easily trinmpha 
whercv.T il nMnins a bcnririf;. Sttiifien mifflit have saved 
himself from martyrdom, if his enemies had not stopped 
their ears when they ran upon him ; and the advocates 
of the faith once delivered to the saints, can easily silence 
all opposition to it, if only the ears of the people are not 
dull of hearing. 

Among the most uncompromising advocates of reform, 
at that time, was Morris R. TrimUe. Ue was making 
great havoc in the sectarian folds throughout Sullivan, 
Daviess, Knox, and Greene counties To preserve the 
peace and harmony of the churches Elder Wilson and hia 
brother John appointed a union meeting on Prairie creek, 
in Daviess county. Having preached one nigbt and 
invited mourners to the altar, a Christian preacher, who 
happened to he present, remonstrated with him, a Bible 
man, for preaching doctrine and adhering to a practice 
for which the Bible furnished neither authority nor pre- 
cedent. On heing thus accosted — to his praise be it 
written — he did not become angry ; he did not say thai 
the brother was " uncharitable," or that he thought there 
were "good Christians in all churches," or that he "hated 
coDtroversy." But he replied that he thought the Bible 


tsaght as he taught ; that he might be in error ; that he 
woald investigate the matter, and if his doctrine was not 
contained in the Scriptures, he would never preach it 

He returns home and begins the search. In Matthew v. 
4, he reads, " Blessed are they that mourn ; and in chap- 
ter viL 7, " Ask and ye shall receive, seek and ye shall 
find.'* But by reference to chapter v. 1, he ascertains 
that Jesus addressed these words to his disciples, and not 
to aliens. He comes to Luke iii. 10, where the publicans 
and soldiers go to John, saying, " What shall we do ?" 
But to his surprise John tells none of them to pray, and 
by that means to endeavor to get religion. He reads of 
the young man that ran to Jesus, saying, " What shall I 
do to inherit eternal life ?" Here he hopes to find the 
authority from Jesus' own lips, but no mention is made 
of "the anxious seat." When the heart-stricken Jews, 
on the day of Pentecost, propounded the same question 
to Peter, he thinks be will surely find it, but it is not 
there. At last he finds Paul, prostrate upon the ground, 
crying, '* Lord, what wilt thou have me to do ?" but 
Jesus only says, " Go unto Damascus and there it shall 
Retold thee." He follows Paul to Damascus, and almost 
claims the victory, as he sees him kneel in prayer. As 
Ananias approaches, he expects to see him bow down 
^3i(ie the blind penitent and wTestle with God for him in 
prayer; but to his astonishment Ananias only says, 
" Why tarriest thou ? arise and be baptized and wash 
^Wav thy sins calling on the name of the Lord." Thus he 
Continued his fruitless search until he came to the last of 
Revelations; and having learned that, in every place, the 
promise is to " those that do his commandments," he 
abandoned tradition forever. This reading convinced him 
that there are so many divisions among the followers of 
Christ because there are so many things preached which 

are rioC/ound in the Bible. Up therefore resolved thu in 
the ftituru, he, fur one, would leach nothing save what is 
expressly tauglit by the Lord and by his apostlee. Thus 
at last he entered fully into the RerormatioD, where for 
many years he has remained " steadfast, ioimovable, 
always aboundiDg in the work of the Lord." 

Not long after this event, distrusting his education mid 
being oppreseed by poverty, he determined to quit prenpii- 
ing; to labor henceforth with his hands, and give one- 
fourth of all the proceeds toward Buataining Elder Trimble 
io the Lord's vineyard. But ho soon became diseatialied 
with this species of well-doing; and, concluding that, 
with hia litniled education, he could tell the simple etoiT 
of the cross and repeat the language of the apostles, he 
again entered the field and preached with his usual success 
for several years. 

About the year 1839 he, at the suggestion of his wife, 
disposed of the mill property, bought some uncleared land 
in Daviess county, removed thither, and spent two years 
in opening a small farm. By means of this farm his four 
sons were able to maintain the family; therefore, at the 
close of the two years, be began to give himself wholly 
to the word. For the next thirteen years he preached 
constantly in Daviess and the adjacent counties — and 
wherever a door of utterance was opened to him. 

At one time he was invited to attend three protracted 
meetings in southern Indiana^ Having attended the first, 
he set out for the second in company with two or three 
other preachers. There was an appointment for night 
meeting at a private house, or cabin, by tiie way. When 
they reached the spot it was raining, yet the house was 
well filled. Elder Wilson preached, and concluded his 
discourse with some remarks on Christian union. At the 
close of the meeting — the rain still falling so that the 
people could not leave — a large man walked up to him 

JOftBVB WXLBOir. 199 

aad wid, in sn exdted tooe : " A part of jour discoursei 
■ir, was uncalled for and entirely out of place." " What 
paitf^ inquired the preacher. " That part about union," 
eaid the man. " The Lord never intended that we should 
an beliere alike." Ascertaining that his opponent was a 
Baptist preacher, Elder Wilson proposed that thej should 
seat thonselTes, talk the matter oyer, and, if possible, 
come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of 
the Son of Ood. The other stoutly objected, declaring 
that they nerer could belieye alike with respect to Jesus 
Christy the operation of the Holy Spirit, Baptism, and 
Bumy other things. Finally his objections were oyer- 
ruled; the two preachers sat down together; and the 
following dialogue took place in the hearing of all 

Wilsim. — Do you believe what the Bible says about 
Jesus Christ ? 

Baptist. — I do. 

WUaon. — Do you believe any thing more conceming 
Jesus than what the Bible says ? 

BapiusL — No, sir ; I do not. 

Wii9on, — Very well : now, do you believe there is one 
living and true Ood, of whom are all things and we in 
him ? 

BaptUt. — Most assuredly, I do. 

Wilson. — Do you believe there is one Lord, Jesus 
Christ, by whom are all things and we by him, and that 
this Jesus is the Son of God ? 

BapUsL — Tes, I believe he is, and that he is the Eter- 
nal Son of Ck>d. 

Wilson. — Hold, my dear sir ; you must take that back. 
The Bible does not say he is the " Eternal" Son. 

Baptist. — Well, I will take it back. But I believe he 
is co-equal, co-essenOalf and co-eternal with the Father. 


Wilson. — Hold, my friend; yon must take tli4t baA 

Baptist. — No, sir; I will not Uke back every thing \ 


Wilson. — The congregation will bear wiincss that yun 
eaid you believe all the Bible says of Christ, and no 
nwrt; and the Bible nowhere says lie ie co-equal, oo- 
eBaential, or co-eterna! with the Father. 

Bap(w(.— Well, then, I will take it back. 

Thus he proceeded until they agreed as to Christ Ha 
then questioned the candid preacher, in the eame manner, 
relative to the operation of the Holy Spirit, and the de- 
sign of baptism. When they had agreed upon these sub- 
jects also, Elder Wilson, having obtained from the preacher 
his Confession of Faith, turned to the passage which 
affirms that none bid General Bapiials haix a right to the 
Lord's table. "Here," said he, "is one thing which is 
not in my book ;" and turning on through, he said, " Here 
is another thing, and here another." The astonished 
preacher looked at all the passages, and solemnly declared 
that he would no longer be governed by euch a Confes- 
sion. By this time the clouds, as well as some theologi- 
cal fog, had disappeared ; the company separated in per- 
fect good feeling \ and in a short time the Baptist preacher 
and all his Hock exchanged their human for the diviue 

Since 1852 he has preached for various churches in 
Warrick, Pike, Knox, Sullivan, Vigo, Clay. Owen, Greene, 
Lawrence, Martin, and Daviess counties, Indiana; and 
Lawrence and Clarke counties, Illinois. AH these coun- 
ties he has visited annually ; bia plan having been to hold 
a protracted meeting each year in every congregation. 
These meetings are often appointed a year in advance, 
and are anxiously expected. When the "good time com- 
ing" arrives, the brethren flock in from great distances. 

Thqr enjoj a pleaaant reunion ; and have emphatically a 
** Wg^ meeting, which not unfreqaentlj doses with from 
twentf-fi^e to fifty additions to "the saved. " 

Thus he continues to this day ; throughout south-west- 
era Indiana " witnessing both to small and great, saying 
none other things than those which Moses and the pro- 
phets did say should come.'' 

It Is now thiffy-^even years since he began to turn men 
to righteousness. During this time he has organized some 
forty churdies, and introduced about two thousand per- 
sons into the kingdom of Ood's dear Son. Nor has he 
only introduced them — he has also, like " a good minister 
of Jesus Cfhrlst," put the brethren in remembrance of their 
religious duties, and nourished them up in the words of 
faith and sound doctrine. 

If, in point of that intellectual power which is acquired 
by education, he has received only one talent, this one 
he has not " digged in the earth" and hid, like many who 
employ the most splendid endowments in gproveling and 
covetous pursuits. To him will the Master say, when he 
comes to reckon, " Well done, good and faithful servant ; 
tbou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee 
ruler over many things." 

Such, briefly, is the history of Elder Joseph Wilson ; 
the following is, still more briefly, the man himself. He 
is about five feet ten inches high, and weighs about one 
hundred and sixty pounds. He was blessed by nature 
with such an excellent constitution that, despite the ex- 
posure to which his profession has subjected him, he has 
enjoyed through life almost uninterrupted health. 

His head forces, especially memory, are very good ; 
but the heart forces predominate. It is by his goodness, 
rather than his greatness, that he influences the people. 
His example is more potent than his precepts. 

At home he is kind, provident, hospitable — ardently 



Fbancis Whitefield, the eldest son of Horatio and 
Abigail Emmons, was born February 24th, 1802, at 
CltrendoD, Yt., which was also the birthplace of his 
mother. His father was born at Cornwall, Conn. His 
grandfather, Solomon, was also a native of Connecticut, 
•nd a son of Woodruff Emmons, who was born on the 
Atlantic ocean while his parents were making the passage 
from England to America, about the year 1Y20. Wood- 
ruff was a son — perhaps the second — of William Emmons, 
a native of Great Britain, and the eldest son of Carolus 
Emmons, who, according to tradition and a coat of arms, 
(a fac-simile of which is now in the possession of Francis 
W.,) was a general under William and Mary, by whom 
Im was knighted about the year 1690 for '' five victorious 
battles in the field of blood." 

Solomon Emmons was an officer in the Revolution of 
'IS ; and Horatio served from near the beginning to the 
dose of the war of 1812. From time immemorial the 
family seem to have been a warlike and long-lived people. 
Abigail, the mother of Francis W., was the youngest 
daughter of Whitefield Foster, who was the son of Benja- 
min Foster, a native of England. In religion the Fosters 
were UnivcrsaMsts ; in politics they were Federalists. 

When his father entered the army, Francis W., then a 
wild vouth of eleven summers, went to reside with an 
uncle, Daniel Smith, nt Sheldon, Yt. There he was 
measurably tamed by being subjected to hard labor on a 



g()4 I>Il.iNeBH PRBAODKIta i^^l 

His uncle Daniel was a sUimcb Federalist, and bitterly 
opposed to ihe war | so also wa» hU fatlier, Elihu Sraith. 
Daniel gave aid and romfort to the enemy by smugi^ling 
cattle into Canada, in whicb businese Francis W. a^ieted 
moBt n-lucWntly ; and wlien the roar of the battle of 
Plattabiirg (in which Francis' father was engaj^ed) w»» 
heard at Sheldon, old Elihu, a devout (?) Pre8byt#ri8Ji, 
prayed most fervently for the success of the British. But 
nolwithslandiug these evil asifiociationB, young Enimooe 
remained a firm Democrat, or Republican, oe were bis 
father and grandfather before bim. 

Returning to Swanton in 1815, he spent a portion of 
bis time in school, and a portion in laboring for the sop- 
port of his mother and her familv, who resided at thai 

On the Tth of April, 1816, be and bis mother made ■ 
public profession of faith in Christ, were immersed, and 
united with the Baptist church at Swanton. 

The nest year he became a clerk in the store of A. k 
C. Harmon, Burlington, Vt.. in which position he re- 
mained a year and a half. Feeling that it was his duty 
to preach the gospel, he, at the expiration of that time, 
returned to Swanton to make arrangements for qualifying 
himself for his high calling by a further improvement of 
his education. 

In the prosecution of this design, he had to struggle 
against strong opposition both at home and in the church. 
His brethren were free lo declare that they did not believe 
he ever could preach; while bis mother's advice was, 
"Be any Ihing but a poor Baptist preacher.^' Finally, 
however, she consented that he might follow his own 
eonrictions of duty, and bestowed upon him, departing, 
her choicest lilessing. 

His first remove was to Georgia, Vt., where he at- 
tended a good school during the Summer of 1S19. The 


ff. «. IMMOII*. WW 

wlig WiBteii— being then ei^teen jtm of age— ha 
tnght Mhool for four montha near Plattaburg, N. T., 
iller wUeh be again ntamed to Swanton. 

Il tbe SpiiDg of 1891, with onlj twenty-flre eenta in 
Vt podet, be once more bade adieu to the lored ones at 
boot ; and, with a staff in one liand and » little bundle 
of dotbea in tbe other, atarted off to go— he knew not 
vhither. His first thonght wag to direct his stepa to 
nOBpa AcadeiD7, at Andorer, Haas. ; but, with the 
■driee of aome well-informed ftienda, he changed bis 
pDipMe, and entered the Baptist Literary uid Theologi- 
mI Seminary, at Hamilton, N. T. 

Tixn he united with tbe Second Baptist chorch, by 
wiiieh be waa licensed to preach. There be also went 
tlmngh tbe regular course of studies, requiring three 
JtUi, defraying hia expetiBes hy serving as librarian, or 
■twbaterer else his hand could find to do. Among his 
dusmates were Jacob Knapp and Pharcellus Church ; 
Ibe latter of whom was his bosom friend and chum; and 
both of whom have become distinguished Baptist minis- 
ters. At the same time Jonathan Wade and Eugenio 
KiDcatd, now missionaries to Burmah, and John Newton 
Brown, D. D., the compiler of the "Encyclopedia of 
Religious Knowledge," were also students of that iusti- 

Having completed the course at Hamilton, which it 
seems wae chiefly theological, he repaired, in 1824, to 
Columbian College, D. C, and there devoted himself to 
Btndies more purely literary in their character. Entering 
the Preparatory, he passed regularly through the Fresh- 
man, Sophomore, and part of the Junior years, paying 
bis way by ringing the bell, acting as college postmaster', 
and, in a word, by consenting to be a bind of academic 

While a Sophomore, he edited, for a short time, " Tile 


Columbian Star," to which paper he made freqne&t cob- 
tributioDs during his conoectioD with that inelitutl<XL 

During the Summer of 1S26 he eerved as a miaeioD&i^ 
uDd«r tlie direction of a Female Missionary Society at i 
Richmond, Va. Furnislied by them with an old hor^, 
very like Don Quixote's " Rosinante," and also with a 
letter of commendation from their Secretary. (Mra. Jane 
Keeling), he set out to preach the way of life and salva- 
tion — first in the vicinity of Richmond, then in the regions 
beyond the Blue Ridge. 

On account of certain financial embarrassments Colum- 
bian College was closed in the Spring of 183T ; at which ' 
time Ur. Emmons entered Brown University, at Provi- ' 
dence, R. 1. He was graduated at ihia institution in 
September, 1828. 

Soon after his graduation he accepted a pressing call 
to supply, for a few weeks, the j^ulpit of the first Baptist 
church at Eastport, Maine. Before the period of his 
first engagement expired he was again employed for six 
months; and before the expiration of this time, he was 
permanently settled as their pastor, being ordained as 
such in the first Baptist church at Providence, R. I., in 
May, 1829. 

On the Slat of August following he was married to 
Mary Ann H., eldest daughter of Rev. Zenas L. Leonard, 
of Sturbridge, Mass, 

A year or two prior to this event, he became a reader 
of the " Cliriatian Baptist," lis searching expositions, en- 
forced by the unsatisfactory fruits of his own ministry, 
gAatly weakened his faith in the gospel he was then 
preaching. On this account he became much dejected. 
He fasted, prayed, and spent much of his time in solitude. 
His health finally failing, he resigned his pastoral charge 
on the 31st of December, 1829, and soon after returned 
with his wife to her paternal home in Massachusetts. 

■. w. nmoHf. 90t 

fn dte Bftiag of 1U<^ hiring puiuDj racoTerad his 
bMHh, be opened m Bcbool in the old AcMdemy at lUllin^ 
' mnth, Conn. On Ijoid^ daja a little congregation of 
Bapdsta net together in the Academjr, for whom he 
preadMd gntoitonaly aa long as they were dispoeed to 
be«r, TtuB, however, was not vary long; for as he 
noeired and n«d tite Millennial Harbinger, it was soon 
wfai^Mred aboat that he was a " Campbellite," and that 
his iaflneiioe in both the pnlpit and the school-room was 
eztieiDely dsogerouB. Tlierefore the ears of the Baptists 
grew "doll of hearing;" and both tbej and the Congre- 
gatioaaliste withdrew their support lh>m his school B; 
this means the anmber of bis pupils was reduced to fonr 
or Bra, and theee were the children of Unirersalista or 

In the Summer of this year, leaving bis school in charge 
of Mrs. EmmoDS, be made s tour to Bethany, Ta., where 
he formed the personal acquaintance of Alesander Camp- 
bell, with whom he spent several days most pleasantly 
and profitably. 

Leaving Bethany, he returned by way of New Lisbon, 
Ohio ; to which place he removed with bis family in the 
Spring of 1831. Here he opened a school, which was 
well patron ized>— the doctrine of the ReformatioD being 
more popalar than at Eillingwortfa. Indeed, the Baptist 
charch at this place claimed to be reformed ; but it was 
still so fsr from the ancient order that neither he nor any 
of bis family anited witb it. 

While residing at New Lisbon, and at the reques^f 
Elder A. Campbell, he carefully examined his (Campbell^ 
second edition of the New Testament, comparing it with 
the common version and with the original Greek ; and 
communicated to him many valuable notes, emendations, 
and suggestions for an improved version. His services 
in this particular were acknowledged by Mr. Campbell in 

of ^ 


the preface to the fourth edition, and alao in the preftce 
to the Fauiilj- Testament, 

In the Spring of 1832 he reraoFed to Wollsburg. Ti, 
whore he took charjre of Brooke Academy. There he 
fmind a genuine Christian church, with which he united, 
and in which he t>ecame a shining light, holding forth 1I10 
word of life. There too his health again failed, and il wu 
feared that Consnmption had marked him for his rictim. 
But it pleased Ood that be should not then die; and after 
a brief eeason of rest he waa again ready for the Master^ 

In December 1833 he and his family came to Madisoa, 
Indiana, on a visit to Mr. George Leonard, an uncle 
Mre, Emmons, Si>on oftor ih.'ir arrival Mre. Leonard 
died ; and Mrs. Emmons, at the request of her uncle, en- 
tered into the mother's place, and for nearly a year took 
the oversight of his children with her own. During this 
period Mr. Emmons visited many portions of Indiana, 
having then no other occupation than the preaching of 
the word. 

In the Spring of 1834 his brother William A. came to Madison, and they two went off together into the 
interior of the State, in search of a suitable place to which 
to remove their families. They Hnally fixed upon Noble»- 
ville, in Hamilton county, twenty miles north of Indian- 
apolia Thither they removed in the Fall of that year, 
arriving there on the 30lh of November. 

Elder Emmons immcdialely secured a District school, 
w^ch he taught during the winter of 1834-5, in the old 
tog fichool-house at Noblesville. He labored also " in 
word and doctrine ;" and through his influence two little 
churches, a Baptist and a Christian, became one, being 
united on the Bibie alone. 

In ministering to this church while it remained weak 
and persecuted, he passed some of the happiest days of bis 

v. W. BHMOITB. 809 

Hfe. Bat in proceas of time Mm brethren were brought 
in onawares ; roots of bitterness sprang np among tbem ; 
and the spirit of strife and contention supplanted the 
spirit of lore and forbearance. There was " that woman 
Jesebel ;" and there too were " Hjmenens and Alexan- 
der." On account of these " debates, envyings, wraths, 
Btrifee, baekbitings,^ etc., all of which grew out of some 
diffsience of opinion relative to the org^ization, order, 
and discipline of the churches. Elder Emmons asked and 
obtained a letter of dismission from that congregation, 
which action placed him, religiously, precisely where he 
stood on coming West 

"After this amicable separation from the church at 
NoblesFille," writes one who knew him in that day, " he 
remained several years a resident there, travelling pretty 
extensively through the State and the northwest, including 
Kentucky. Though a member of no particular congre- 
gation he still ranked and passed tfs a brother and preacher 
among us : attended all our State and most of our District 
and County Co-operation meetings, of which he was fre- 
quently secretary." 

During all this period his mind remained uncorrupted 
"from the simplicity that is in Christ." He discarded all 
human appliances for the conversion of sinners; and 
taught the people to observe all and only those things 
which the Lord has commanded. 

In ^he Winter of 1836 he was appointed by the Senate 
of the Indiana Legislature to report the proceedings of 
that body, for publication in the newspapers. By his pen 
the public were kept thoroughly posted with regard to 
the great system of internal improvements, which was, 
that Winter, discussed and adopted. 

At Cincinnati, in the Winter of 1837, he was associ- 
ated with E. P. Cranch, Esq., in taking down and writing 


out for publication the Pebnte belwren Onmpboll and 
Purcell, on the Roniaa Calholic Religion. 

Id the same year he published " The Voices or Ad 
EsBay to Extend the Reformation" — a little }8mo volume 
of 262 papea 

In the Winter of 1838 he had a spirited little contro- 
versy with a young Methodist itinerant, by the Dtune of 
Berry — subsequently the " Rev. Lucien W. Beny, D. D., 
President of the Indiana Asbury University." Some 
letters passed between them, which were published bj 
Mr. Emmons in a pamphlet of thirty-six pages, with 
"Marks and Remarks." This elicited from Mr. Berry a 
pamphlet of forty pa^s, titled, " The Pefomier Reformed, 
or Corruption Exposed." This was responded to in 
another little pamphlet of sixty pages, titled, " The Afler- 
elap — Showing the Origin of the Corruption," etc, etc. 
No reply was elicited ; so here the warfare ended. 

In the Pall of 1842, Elder Emmons returned to New 
England ; and in the absence of a Christian eoDgrega- 
tion, and at the urgent solicitation of some of bis early 
friends, he soon afler united with the First Baptist church 
in Boston, which church was then under the pastoral 
charge of Dr. B. R. Neale, his old friend and fellow- 
student at Columbian College. 

On account of this return to the Baptists, after " having 
tasted the good word of God," he has been regarded by 
many as vacillating — as a double-minded man, unstable 
in all his religious ways. But the facts, when properly 
understood, hardly justify such a conclusion. It is 
perhaps nearer the truth to say that his unfortunate diffi- 
culties with the brethren at Noblesville; his strong at- 
tachment to those Baptists who were the friends and 
companions of his youth ; and tlie fact that on his return 
to the East, he found no congregation of Disciples with 
whom he could conveniently woisbip; — induced him to 

r. W. SMM0N8. 211 

reDew his connection with a church to which (though 
containing many pious and devoted people) the Lord 
cannot say, as to the church at Pergamos, ** Thou holdest 
fast my namef and hast not denied my faith." 

The last fact — that there was no congregation of Dis- 
ciples convenient — will have little weight with those who 
remember the words of the indomitable Roman who said, 
Viam aut veniam autfaciam — " I will either ^nc? a way, 
or make a way." These will think that Elder Emmons 
ought to have found a Christian church or built up one; 
but they must not charge him too hastily with unfaithful- 
ness. His fault seems to have been, chiefly, lack of 
energy — " the very head and front of his ofifending hath 
this extent, no more." That he has not denied the faith 
is clearly established by indubitable testimony. 

In a letter to J. M. Mathes, ho himself says, ** In unit- 
injr as I did with the First Baptist church in Boston, in 
1843, / renounced no Reformation principle that I ever 
heldy The pastor of that cliurch. Dr. Neale, says of him : 
" His reception into my church was owing to my know- 
ledge of his character as a Christian, and not to any sym- 
pathy with the peculiar speculative notions in which it 
was somewhat natural for him to indulge." "For these 
' peculiar notions,' and ' theological speculations' " — says 
Elder E. in his letter to Elder Mathes — " or for the faith 
and teaching contained in them, has my name been cast 
out as evil. I have been looked upon as a speckled bird, 
having had no call, and no pastoral charge in any Baptist 
church since 1830. * * * So, for my Reformation princi- 
ples — nicknamed ' Campbell ism' — for their avowal and 
ad\x)cacy, I have been, still am, and expect to be a living 
martyr. " 

He acknowledges no creed but the Bible ; preaches no 
baptism but that*' for the remission of sins;" employs 
his pen in support of no faith but that " once delivered 


to the saints ;" and wherever in his travels bo meets with 
a oongregatioD of Disciples, with them he fratemiKes, 
advocating their cause. He is still to be regarded, there- 
fore, as a KeformatioQ preacher ; and as such his history 
is cull tin ued. 

For a short time after his return to New England, lie 
aii))plied the pulpit of the Baptist church at Sturbridge, 
Massachusetts ; preaching also elsewhere as be had oppor- 
tunity. Ue sought a permanent location as pastor of 
some Baptist congregation ; but, (as already intimated,) 
owing to his conneetion with the Disciples out West, he 
sought in vain — for no call was given him. 

Having, while residing at Noblesville, iodoiHed for his 
brothers to a conaideriible umount, he found himself much 
involved in their debts. To extricate himself from these 
financial difficulties, be made several visits to Indiana, 
where be again preached the "ancient gospel," as in 
former years. 

The Winter of 1845-6 he spent in Washington city, 
letter writing, office seeking, etc. In the following Spring 
be purchased a small fariu near Globe Tillage, Mass., to 
which he removed with his wife and four daughters, and 
upon which he has resided ever since. 

Having studied medicine more or less, and practiced it 
in his family since 1832, he, in the Winter of 1846-T, 
attended a course of lectures at the Worcester Medical 
College, at Worcester, Mass. In 1856 the Metropolitan 
Medical College of New York city bestowed upon him a 
diploma and the honorary degree of M. D. 

In the Fall of 184T, he was brought out on the morn- 
ing of election day, in opposition to the two regular nomi- 
nees, and elected as the Representative of the town of 
Sturbridge in the next General Court. He was elected 
as a Democrat ; and so far as he had taken any part in 
politics, hitherto, he bad acted with the Democratic party. 

W, If, BMMOMI. Sit: 

Bat tooB lAor teUng his Beat in the L^iaUtme, some 
nmliitioiui lelAtiTe to the Mezicftn war were brought 
before the Hooae. Before easUDg his vote he defined hia 
poaition on the ww and on daveiy, in a speech which 
waa paUiahed and mainly endorsed in the Boston " True 
Whig." Since that time (1848) he has been identified 
with the Free Soil party. 

In the Legislatare he distingoished himself by his zeal- 
ous and able adrocacy of a more stringent liquor law. 
He waa cliairm«n of a committee of fourteen members — 
one from eaoh county in the State-rwhich committee 
reported a bill corresponding in its main features with 
the Maine Liquor Law. In tiie discussion on this bill, 
Mr. Emmons adyocated its passage in two telling speeches, 
which were printed in pamphlet form. 

The measure was at that time defeated ; but at a sub- 
sequent session it was revived and finally passed. Though 
at the time of its passage Mr. E. was not a member of the 
Legislature, yet his printed speeches were freely circu- 
Jated in the House, and no doubt exerted a strong influ- 
ence in favor of the proposed law. 

In the Summer of this same year he attended the 
CommencemeDt of his alma mater, Brown University; 
and was then and there declared to be a Master of Arts. 

In the Fall of 1849 some forty members of the Emmons 
fiiimily, residents of New York, Connecticut, and Massa- 
chusetts, met in Convention at Canaan, Conn., to take 
into consideration an advertisement of a large Emmons 
estate in England for heirs in America ; which advertise- 
ment is said to have appeared in some English paper. 
By this Convention F. W. Emmons was appointed to go 
to England to look after the said estate. 

Accordingly, on the 1st of January, 1850, be embarked 
at Boston in a packet ship for Liverpool. The result Of 
his efforts in quest of a fortune has not been made public; 

214 I-IQNBEB PHEACtllRri. 

but it is known that hs had ibe pteaeuir of visiting, tt 
lillle expense to himself, many of the principal cities uiii 
important towns of England — among which were Mbd> 
Chester, Birmingham, the old walled town of Cbeeter, ud 
the great metropolis, London. 

From the period of bis return from England (May 1850) 
until I9A5, he devoted the most of his time to cultivating 
and improving his little farm in &[asi^acbut'ett«. 

At the date last mentioned be was employed as ft 
recorder in the office of Thomas Spooner, Esq., Cleil of 
the Courts of Hamilton County, Ohio. During the last 
few years he has, perhaps, spent more time and performed 
more labor in that office than in the sacred desk. 

Ever sinet- liis rcliirn to iho Eust !ic lia.- prcachod lc&9 
than in former years ; and during the whole of his minis- 
try it has heen more by his pen than by his tongue that 
he has exerted a considerable influence and made himself 
widely known. In addition to the publications already 
mentioned, be has been a contributor to the Millennial 
Harbinger from its commencement until the present. 
For it be has furnished a great variety of articles-^ 
Journals, Essays, Letters, Sermons, Reviews, etc., etc., 
over the signatures of "F.," "Francis," " Adolphua," 
" Pbilologus," "F. W. E.," and his name in full. Articles 
from his pen have also appeared from time to time in 
other reformation periodicals — "The Evangelist," "Chria- 
tian Preacher," "Heretic Detecter," "Journal of Chris- 
tianity," Christian Record," " American Ohristiao Re- 
view" — and in several Baptist and other papers — reli- 
gious, literary, medical, and phrenological. 

For the most part bis articles have been of a critical, 
eicegetieal, or reformatory character; and, although at 
times a little speculative, his has been in the main "a 
most wholesome doctrine and very full of comfort." 

His pen still active; his mind yet sound in a sound 

bodv ; his treasures of wisdom and knowledge incrcuscil 
nlh«r than dimtniflbed by the liberality with which he lia« 
^ivco Ui the world ; there is good reason to hope that, 
Tor yens to come, be will remaia " a strong pillar in the 
house or his Ood." 

ftnefa W: SaunonB is fire feet ten incfaes high. Sit 
wsfgbt, Berirr orar mm handred and tarty ponnds, ts dot 
1m> thut em hoBdied ud thirtf . - Hii dart-brown hair 
11 itnl^ <rtT«rr few; hia eyea light bine, w gray; 
Ml eomplAdoa iMber daifc. Hb teeth— idl Boaad at 
ttrse-aeom— testify, by their presence and 1^ their color, 
Oct be nettber ehewa nor smokes tobacco; while bia 
keen eye ud bealthy |^ow indicate that he is " tempwate 
fn all things." 

His mental organism, physical resources, leading traits 
of character, etc., are thus described by the celebrated 
phrenalogist, L. N. Fowler— with the omiBsion of a few 
particnlars which are unimportant, or known to be incor- 
rect. He says : 

" Yon hare a very marked temperament. -The nervous 
system predominates ; but yon have a high degree of the 
mnecular organization, which gives you an unusual amount 
of activity, restlessness, and the desire to be constantly 

" Tour constitntion is naturally tough, exceedingly so ; 
and yoo have endured more than one in thousands. But 
the ability to manufacture vitality is not so great as the 
desire to exhaust what you have ; so that you will find it 
necessary to strictly obey the laws of life in order to 
■void premature decay. You cannot do half you wish — 
for your spirit is ahead of your physical ability to 

"You arecharacteriudphrenologically for having a very 
poritive and almost eccentric cast of mind. Your head 


is aneven, and the large organs are verj* sharply devel- 
oped, BO that the miod acts with more than onlioar; 

" You have an unconquerable will, and an; very inde- 
pendent and seir-relj-ing. 

" You are noted for cautiousnees, forethought, and for 
the deeiro to avoid difficulties and dangers. Whatever 
you engage in ia accompliehed, as though there was umch 
fit stake ; you never do any thing carelessly. 

" Love of children conalitutea your leading social pecu. 
liarity. You are not tncliDed to seek company as ■ 
source of enjoyment. 

" You are noted for your intellectual abilities. You can 
attend to business that requires observation, knowledge 
of the qualities of things, and the condition of circum- 
stances; or you can think originally and invesligate new 
principles successfully. 

" You are remarkably orderly and systematic. You 
plan out all your work, do it according to rule, and as 
well as you possibly can, the first time trying. 

"You have a very keen appreciation of wit; and enjoy 
a joke very highly — are much amused by your own mirth- 
ful emotions. 

'■ Your intuitive impressions of character are very cor- 
rect. Few men decide so quickly on results as you; and 
you seldom have occasion to change your first impression. 

" You are kind-hearted and generous in your feelings ; 
are respectful in your general intercourse with society; 
are sanguine, enthusiastic, cheerful, buoyant, and always 
encouraged by prospects ahead. 

" You are not a marvellous man ; but are governed by 
judgment. You do not imitate others — are a perfect 

" You are a direct, plain, free-spoken man, and abomi 
nate hypocrisy. You can keep things to yourself by saying 

r. w. Muuona. SIT 

ootfalng, bnt if 70a be^n to talk 70a we compelled to 
dflvoiop your real aentiments. You are not cruel, and are 
opposed to capital panishment, or uty kind of cbastiee- 
meat for the parpoae of grati^ing a rerengeM feeling. 

" Too are hangr7, mentallj and phyBically ; bare an 
eager, niuatisfied mind ; and the more knowledge 70a 
acquire the more anxious you are toincresse your store. 

" Although money slips through your fingers easily, and 
you are not necessarily a good financier, still you have a 
Btrong deaiie to accumulate and do as much business as 
yon can. 

" Yoa are particularly fond of the grand and sublime In 
nature ; are quite puoctnal in your engagements, and 
have an excellent memory of places. 

" You are dietinguisbed, then, for intensity, activity, die- 
tinctneea, aod poBitiveness ; for indepeDdence, will-power, 
humanity of feeliog, intuition of mind, originality of 
thoufcbt, power of criticism, and lore of order ; for me- 
chanical judgment, fondness for children, and love of 
home. But you need more sociability, more aJTability of 
manner and control over your feelings in speech, more 
executive power in the form of destructivenoss, more 
spirituality end l>elief in the supernatural, more versatility 
of manner, freedom of epeecli, memory of atatiatica, and 
fTeurral musical ability. You will toear yourgt-lf out and 
unr up your entire machinery be/ore you get through with 


In the above description the main features of his cha- 
racter are presented ; but some do not appear with siifii- 
cient dlHlinctncss. His love of order, for instance, dcBerves 
n)ore prominence. On this point the following tcstinmny 
wait borne by A. Campbell, in the Hillennial Harbinger : 
"Our beloved brother Emmons is a great lover of good 
oriliT, nnd precise on all pointn to a scruple ; and tiiere- 
furc an cfTort for a perfect system of order conicH ns 

918 PlONIltfR I'UBArUBRS. 

natur«Ily IVoin him as light from tho bud." On mocounL 
of this remark Mr. Emmons wrote for a while over ihR 
Mgnalurc, " A Precise Brotlier." 

Closely allied to this and also too mucli in the back- 
ground ia his punctuality. He is always " in time ;" adi) 
in filling bis preaching appointments, if permitted to fol- 
low his own inclinations, he speaks at the appointed hour 
whether the congregation is present or absent. This dis- 
position he once gratilied in a remarkable manner, while 
on his missionary tour through " the hill country" of ihv 
Old Dominion. 

The attendance upon his ministrations was ojien very 
meagre; but one day ho arrived at a little dilapidated 
church in advance of every one else. The appointmeot 
wus for twelve, M. ; and wbi'n the hour came — though 
not a soul was present save himself — he sang a hymn, 
prayed, and proceeded to preach from Heb. ii. 3 ; " How 
shall toe encape if we neglect so great salvation .'" When 
about half through his discourse two women entered, 
looked round in amazement, sat down for a few moments, 
then arose and departed. The preacher continued to the 
final amen; and having penciled upon the pulpit the day, 
the month, the yenr, and the text, lie nnd liis bony steed, 

"With wandBring steps ami slow, 

Through Eden took their solitary way." 

"Your language is not sufficient for llie fluent expres- 
sion of your ideas," says the phrenologist; and the 
remark niipht be verified by a number of witnesses. 
Dr. Neale of Boston soys of him : " Tie is not a popular 
preacher. He has not the gift of ejiemporatifotts uiler- 
ani'e. The pen is obviously his forte. He is fond of 
essays nnd theological disquisitions ; and his written 
compositions are usually clear, vigorous, and to (he 
point. " 

». W. BMIIOHS. tn 

Ha hinwelf underaUndB that be is, like Xoaes, " slow 
of speech and of a alow tongue." llierdiwe it has been 
his hsbit to read his discoaneB ; and vbm Ite mppetm 
befbre a strange andienee he jdeaantly introdoeea Ua 
manoacript as hia " brother Aaron. " 

Take him all in all, be is ao amiaUe Christian gestle- 
mao ; " tender and well beloved in the ngbt of aD bis 
brethren." Hia eariy fKend, Dr. Neale, Imt spoke (he 
fl^timrata of manj in the following words, with which 
we close this biography. He says : 

" I lore to think of him — not as a theologian, preacher, 
orwritOT, bat as 'brother Emmons' of Colnmbian College 
days. I see him oow, taking his walk with cane and 
ambreDa, in rain or sunshine, his hat over on the hack 
Nde of bis bead. He ^oerally preferred to walk alone ; 
but if a Mend was with hiro the conrersation would be 
on some religiouB or literary topic — the lesson of the day 
or the meaning of a difficult passage of Scripture. Ho 
nerer indulged in petty scandal. 

" I could say much more in praise of my friend Emmons , 
but he is — I rejoice to know — still living; and I trust the 
day is far distant when it will be proper to speak with 
the freedom usually indulged in reference to departed 


Ykkt many persons are undor the impresfiion that lbs J 
Biibjoct of this sketch is a natiro of Germany. This im- 
pression is incorrect. He was born io York county, Pmn- 
eylvauia, od the 9th of December, 1803; and has I 
su much as stood upon traBaailantic soil. His Amei 
nncnstors, noiiHy a ceinarr Iwfore his birth, em 
lite vifinity of Straaliurj,' on llie Rhine ; and Ihti 
try had in them more of the French than of the German 
element. The inimigninta to America, having settled in 
a community totally German, in time lost the French 
charoctcristics, ae also the language ; and at the lime of 
liie hirih they spoke only American German. 

Samuel E. was the oldest of six children ; and in hia 
fuurtceuth year he lost his kind father, who waa in priB- 
cipie a Mcnnonite, though a member of no church. Uis 
mother was a Lutheran after "the straiteat seel." con- 
scienlions in wliiit she believed to be the will of God. 
Though a firm believer iu Infant Rantism, she did not 
insist upon the sprinkling of her children, in opposition 
to the views of her husband, who regarded it as a relic 
of Popery. The neglect of this rite, however, did not 
prevent her from imparting to her first-born early religious 
instruction. On the contrary, whenever she had an op- 
portunity, she would relate to him gospel facts, and teai'h 
him short, impressive prayers. On all proper oeeasidiin 
.iilie took him to the house of God, and never failed to put 
into his pocket a copper for the congregational treasury — 



tbiis teaching him to practice Christian liberality, a lesson 
he has never forgotten. 

At the death of his father, wlio left conaiderable pro- 
perty, he was placed under the control of a guardian — in 
this, as in many other instances, a palpable misnomer. 
By this high-minded (?) guardian he was, for several 
years, hired out on a farm at very low wages ; for, owing 
to the density of the population, and the consequent 
Blight demand for laborers, he, at the age of sisteeii, could 
obtain only four dollars a month for his Bervices. 

His residence among strangers as a hireling was not 
by any means favorable to the development of either hia 
moral or intellectual endDwment& Ue went to school 
but little, and as he had ^j^reater fondness for extracting 
the finny tribes Arom their element and opossums from 
their retreats, than for extracting ideas from books, he 
spent the most of his time in the first-named employments ; 
nor did his views of the sanctity of the Sabbath at all 
interfere with such pursuits even on that day. Under 
such circumstances, his progress was so slow that at the 
close of his sixteenth year he had not quite reached the 
" rule of three," which, in that day, was generally regarded 
as the tiUima thule — the last island — in the ocean of 
scientific truth. 

About this time his guardian and relatives concluded 
that he ought to team a trade ; and he was required to 
make choice of his pursuit. To him the county in which 
he lived was the world ; so with his limited vision he 
surveyed hastily the several employments of his neigh- 
bors, and decided in favor of the tanning btisineas! It 
was accordingly arranged that he should be indentured to 
learn the trade of his choice, at the beginning of the year 
1820. But what a trifling incident often changes the 
direction of human life, and conducts to a different destiny 
ti)e immortfti soul 1 



DurJDg the Biimoicr of 1 81 9. he was hired to tho owner 
of a large grist mill, in whicli he was usually i'in|>l«}p(i 
OD Bucb dnjs as were unfavorable for outdoor pursuits. 
The proprietor of this establishment was a better miiier 
than bookkeeper; aod, as his employee could write a 
legible hand and repeat the table for dry measure, he Mt 
him to posting his accounts, which work was aatisfse- 
tority performed. 

In the Pall of that year the citizens expressed great 
apprehensions that they ahould be without a school llie 
ensuing Winter ; for the old Swiss gentlemau. who, for 
years, had been wont to teach in the Winter, and in ihe 
Suinnier go inlo parts unknown, mending: old clocks and 
soldering k-aky tinware, had not returned at his u:iual 
period — 


ug the litialh a 

As the mill was the rendezvous of the leading minds of 
the eoiiiiiiunity, their npprehcnHous were often expressed 
in the hearing of the miller, who one day found means to 
quiet their fears: sai<i he, " Here is Sammy Hoshour, 
who enn write a pretty good hand, cnfi multiply and 
divide, and reduce pints to bu.shels ; he can control the 
small ones, and if larger one^ will not obey let them be 
kept at home. This proposition pleased many, but some 
doubled. However, necessity and Ihe miller's inHiience 
inve-ited him with the birch, the symbol of school-room 
authority in that day. lie was then seventeen years 
old ; the community was purely German ; and he knew 
no English save a few sentences gathered from Yankee 
tin-pcddlers. Contrary to his own expectations and those 
of the doubting ones, his didactic administration wa.-; a 
success, and gave general satisfaction. 

It was expected that, at the close of the term, he would 

nlinquish the bircb and enter upon his apprentioeship ; 
but whtfD tbe time urrivt'd he had forty Uullar^ in Iiia 
jMickPt, a spirit of in(]iiJry had hn-u ^xi-akciifii in his 

■(:KeBble tbao a tajiDery. He therefore changed his for- 
mer purpose, with the consent of bis guardian, and deter- 
mined to procare, wiUi the proceeds of hie school, some 
farther echolaatic attwDments. 

This resolation, though he knew it not, was an import- 
Kit step in his lif^— it was the be^nning of his literary 
career. He soon aft«r entered, for the first time, an 
English school, being then a stalwart, awkward, and ver- 
dant mstic. His first recitation was so unique and so 
germanic that it subverted the gravity of both teacher 
and pupils. Yet, submitting with etoical indifference to 
these slight discourtesies, he remained in the school until 
he obtained a fair knowledge of arithmetic, and a slight 
acquaintance witli the nonsense, as be supposed, of English 
grammar. His money being exhausted, he returned for 
awhile to the plow ; and on the approach of winter he 
entered upon bis second administration as teacher. 

In his eighteenth year he united with the Lutheran 
church. Soon after this event, a copy of Pilgrim's Pro- 
gress fell into bis hands, which was the first book be ever 
read through. Besides the religious influence it exerted 
upon him, it stimulated his desire of knowledge. Believ- 
ing that sacred knowledge was best of all, and that the 
ChristiaB ministry was the repository of it, he greatly 
desired the requisite qualifications for entering into that 

His guardian, being a Mcnnonite, and opposed to a 
learned ministry, refused to furnish him with the means 
of further educating himself; but a wealthy maternal 
uncle, who was a staunch Lutheran, consented to supply 
him with money until he should possess his patrimony. 


He dien entered nn English claasifnl school of high npuU 
at York, Pa. Hie highest sspiration at thtkt time vtw to 
become a good OerDian preacher. The idea or ever lA- 
dmaHing English audiences bad not yet entered his hmd. 

But English declamations were required in the echnni, 
and when his day cauic all the pupils were eager to besT 
the " Putchmun." Having detenuined to make up in 
Kpirit and sound what he lacked iu orOtoepy and infiev- 
lion, his speech was well received ; and as be patised mil 
the Profesaor encouragingly predicted that, by proper 
effort, he would become a good English speaker. From 
that moment he nought to become English, and with such 
success that one cannot now det^ict the slightest Qermaii 
accent In bis pronunciation. 

In this Institution he completed about an equivalent to 
the regular college course to the close of the sophomore 
year. Here, too, by excessive study, he so seriously im- 
paired his health, that his advisers urged him to change 
his location. Accordingly he repaired to the Theological 
Institute at Kew Market, Virginia, then under the control 
of Prof. S. S. Schmiickcr. By more temperate study, 
by frequent exercise in the rugged sections of that coun- 
try, and by a free use of the mineral waters of that region, 
he partially recuperated his overtaxed powers, and was 
enabled to complete the course of study there pursued, 
which course embraced the collegiate studies of the junior 
and senior years, in connection with theology — theology, 
not according to the Bible, but according to the standards 
of the Lutheran church. 

At this time the Principal, Prof. Schmucker, was 
elected Professor of Theology in the Theological Semi- 
nary at Gettysburg, Pa. Besides his duties in the Insti- 
tute at New Market, the Professor had served three small 
congregations as their pastor. His flocks were so much 
attached to him that they refused to let him go, unless he 

8A1IUKL K. H08H0UE. 286 

would first proride an acceptable, substitute. As it was 
necessary, in this pastorate, to officiate in both English 
and German, and as no otlier of the many students could 
do this so well as Elder lloshour, he was nominated and 
received as the successor of Professor Schmucker. 

In the same year, 1826, he was married to Miss Lucinda 
Savage, daughter of Jacob Savage, Esq., of New Market, 

Tenacious of the traditions of his theological fathers, 
fully impressed with the greatness of the Lutheran church, 
and not a little inflated by the fact that he had been 
counted worthy to wear the mantle of his preceptor, he 
entered upon his clerical duties with great zeal for Ood, 
though with very little knowledge of His word. In the 
pulpit he was not always mindful of PauPs admonition 
"to speak the things that become sound doctrine." Like 
too many young preachers he estimated the value of his 
preaching, not by the number of correct and lasting im- 
pressions made on the minds and hearts of his hearers, 
but rather by the excitement they manifested, and the 
quantity of tears they shed. Hence, in the preparation 
of his sermons, he collected all that was terrii)le in the 
domain of fear, and all that was touching in the realms 
of love and suffering. Then, as now, this style of preach- 
ing was popular ; and, like Ezekiel, he was to the people 
" as a very lovely song of one that hath a pleasant voice, 
and can play well on an instrument. " 

His fame soon extended eastward; and, in 1828, he 
received and accepted a call from a congregation in Wash- 
ington county, Maryland In this place, also, he was 
popular among all sorts and classes. Such, indeed, be- 
came his reputation, that in about two years lie was 
invited to follow his old preceptor, and take charge of the 
congregation at Gettysburg, Pa., the seat of Pennsylvania 
College, and also of the Theological Seminary of the 


Qeneral Synod of th*i Lutheran Church. But bia Mary- 
land ehurgo so heftrtily remonatrsled against his remoTSI 
that he consented to stay with them. 

Bis paatomtfi was about eight milee from Hagerstomi, 
the couuty seat, in which there were at thnt time about 
6re thousand inhabitants, among whom LutheraniBm nta 
the predominant religion. Among othcre was a large and 
influential congregation which had been Tor years under 
the pastoral care of Dr. B. Kurtz. Owing to hie prox- 
imity to this place, Elder Hoshour frenuently occupied 
the Doctor's splendid pulpit, and so acceptable were his 
ministrations that, in 1^31, Uo became their pastor, Dr 
KurtE having been called to another field of labor. 

In his stij)ulations with llie " Ootincil" relativi- to his 
pa.storal duties, there was one feature that greatly assisted 
him to become a heretic — if indeed he is one. It wu 
made a part of his duty to lecture each Wednesday even- 
ing on the Holy Scriptures ; and, in order to fulfill this 
part of his engagement, he was compelled to study the 
Scriptures in their properconnection. This he had never 
done before, though he had been preaching for five years; 
for, in tile theological seminary, he had taken the regular 
course prescribed in such institutions — that is, to study 
human dissertations upon theology, church history, the 
art of sermonizing, etc., and to examine the Bible only as 
referred to by the standards of the particular seel! But 
in performing this new duty, he entered Into the school 
of Apostles and Prophets. He began lecturing ahernately 
on Matthew and the Acts of the Apostles, expounding 
the doctrine in the light of the context, and giving copious 
geographical delineations, accompanied by the history of 
places and events. Proceeding in this way, it was not 
long till he entertained the opinion that the religion of 
the Bible was very difl'erent from that in popular repute. 
He i>erceived that the former was sober, solid, a matter 

■ AHOSI, E. BoaaouE. Ml 

of prindple; wbile the Utter was fbll of excitement, 
npory, and not n little nnBcrupulous. He becune daily 
more enunored of the ancient gospel, and less confident 
jn the popular theologj ; more deeiroos of the Bincere 
milk of the word, and less concerned abont the tenets of 
his chorch. His preaching grew more and more eran- 
geliol, and soon the light of the great Luther was almost 
lost in the brighter effulgence of the Apostle Paul. 

In prspwing the last class of catechumens for " con- 
tnnation," he nsed the catechism very sparingly, bat 
nqnired tbem to commit to memory large portions of the 
New Testament On the day of conflrmation he did not 
use the liturgical form, but confined the ceremony to the 
S4tfa verse of the 16th chapter of Matthew, the import of 
which he had preriouely explained to the candidates. 
This departure from the usages of the Lutheran fathers 
met no opposition, such confidence had the congregation 
in the knowledge and integrity of their pastor. 

In his further investigations of the Scriptures he began 
to call in question of the consequences ascribed to the fall 
of Adam, and especially did he become intolerant of the 
Calviuistic view of that subject. The ability or inability 
of the sinner was a sulg'ect upon which he bestowed much 

Wbile reflecting upon this subject he made a visit to 
his father-in-law's, at New Market, Va., where there came 
into his hands, one day, three numbers of the Christian 
Baptist. Of the editor, Alexander Campbell, he at that 
time knew but little, nor was he by any means fovorable 
to the views of the Baptists. Yet he glanced at some of 
the articles, and was better pleased tbtui he anticipated 
with both the style and the matter. One article especially, 
on The Natural Man, (I. Cor. 3,) he read with no com- 
mon interest, for the thoughts therein expressed were very 
wmilor to some that bad flitted throu^ his own mind. 

328 I>U>>KEIl PK£Ai;tlKKd. 

In a few weeks he reliiriiiKl La Uaci'i-uinwn, and rt«umml 
tlie regular rontliie or his {jaeioral duiiea, but still th»t 
article un the Natural JUan, like tbo gliuat of inunleriMl 
Banquo, continually confroDted him. 

Thus matters went on till the Spring of 1834, when as 
event took place which wrought a change in his views uf 
Baptism and in the aiipectg of hia whole future life, Ahool 
six miles from Uagoratown waa a densulj: populated »- 
giim called Bearer Creek, rich in thiiigii ninturiul, bat pour 
in thiugy s[}irilual. A l&rge school-house was the uskial 
pluee of preaching, and prior appuintments took lUc ledd 
in its acconimodatioDs. Most of the different seels liad 
a few adherents in that region, who occafiionally iw^ 
cured the services of their respective ininistere. Elder 
Iloph.iur rre.juciitiy prfiicljc.l to ilieiu ilie LnlhcTaii gospel; 
Methodists, Episeo|>nlio(is, Utiitcl Brellireii, and Tuukers 
also visited them; hui none were succcsdftil in making 

In the fsiirinp of 1 W;i4, an unexpected religious commotion 
occurred in llio Beaver Creek region. A new preaciier 
made his appearance, dauntlcssly advocating views that 
nefrativyd a great amount of the previotis preaching at 
that iwint. He called himself a disciple of Clirii^t, l.ul as 
he di^trilmlcil copies of t!ie Millennial llarliinfrnr, the svi-is 
call.-<l him a Catniihellite. He soon made an inipre=siui) 
upiin some minds that had liiiherto lieen regarded as iin- 
prcpnalile. His very success created great opposition, yet 
witli I'etcr's boldness he continued to iiroclaiiu the ancient 
gospel without much deference to the religions leaders 
of the day, whom he hesitated not to challenge to the 
defense of their tottering systems. " The common people 
heard him gladly." and he was not long in making pnise- 
lylcs to " the ancient order," Persons of superior standing 

con-^rnt to I'C "liipped," did siilmiil to ininuTsiun, evincing 


unmistakable sincerity in their profpHsion of the Chrietian 
Fiiiili In a Tpw montlis over forty persons were immersed, 
aod u aouT« cburcti wubliBbetl ai, Bearer Creefc.oD ihe 
IbunditJtm of the Apostles and Prophets. 

The Eune of this preacher spread far and wide, but as 
be was regarded by the orthodox as ao arch heretic. Elder 
Hoafaoar in hie clerical dignity would not honor "such a 
fellow" with a bearing. But he listened to the accounts 
given of him by others, and when informed that the 
praadier taaght that all spiritual influence, in order to 
conreraion, ia exerted through the word, he would pleas- 
antly obserf e : " He is for all word, the Methodists for 
•n Spirit — both extremists — but we Lutherans occupy the 
middle and true ground, contending for both word and 
Spirit " 

There was at this time a Lutheran brother with whom 
Elder Hosbour had lived in fraternal intimacy for several 
years. He had been " converted" at a great Lutheran 
revival, and had spent considerable time in preparing 
himself for the ministry; bat being, like Moses, "slow 
of speech," be devoted himself to teaching. While the 
revival was progressing at Beaver Creek he became the 
teacher in the spacious school-house in which the meeting 
was faeld. He therefore almost necessarily became a 
hearer of the new heresy. Having formerly been a 
boarder in the house of Elder Hoshour, and being much 
attached to him, he often visited him at bis parsonage 
in Hagerstown. In the course of one of their interviews 
the pastor asked him how the Campbellites were pro- 
gressing. He replied that they were still immersing 
some ; " and," said he, " I tell you there is more truth 
than poetry about those people after all. I have learned 
more from them about the order in which the Scriptures 
should be read; more about their proper divisions and 
the special object of each division, than our ministers of 

ptoNEKR ra 


Bfetemntlc theology ficer (aught ua, 1 say tbie," con- 
tinued he, " wilh all di?riTOiice lo yon. I hnve enjoyed 
your ministrations ; but the theory to which you an wwl 
will not permit you to rtpreeent matters as those priipit 
do." " Ah !" Baid the Reverend Mr. Hoshour, " I frar 
you are atmost persuaded to be a Campbeltitt^." " Kn 
matter," replied the other, " I intend to honor and oIm'T 
tile Saviour as I understand him in his word." 

Thus ended their interview, and ere lang the pastor 
heard that hia Triend had been imniereed, and had berume 
an ardent advocate of the ancient gospel. In a short 
time the apostale — for so lie was regarded by the oriho- 
dux^-made a eecond visit to his friend Hoshour, who 
ii:;ked liini his reasons for leaving the Lutheran Churcli, 
Among uther runsons assigned he isnid that during his 
menlbl■r^hil) in that church he had never been taught ihe 
ronneetion between Lnke xxiv, 46, 47, and Aets ii. 3«— 
thiit wlieri anxioiislyseekiiig the pardon of his sins he had 
never liei'n dircett-d to I'eler'a an.swer to the question. 

" What shall « 
lirtil a signilici 



to Ihe 
:'ars a 



I wonl, that Cliristl 
e, a Jefi'jn, whieh the Luthi 
This was a startling revela 
iier, for, althnugh be had Ix'en fur nil 
T in llie ohlcst Trotc-itant church, the 
1 the jiassages- ahovo a-forretl to had nev 
his attention. 

\Vc must conclude that very many prominent preachers 
of the different denominations are equally ignorant to this 
day, el.'ie we rannot charilably regard them ; for they do 
»ol leach this connection, and if they understand it and 
yet preach it not, they are guilty of " handling the word 
of God deceilftilly." 

This statement of reasons naturally led them into a 
discussion of Huptisui. On the design— for llie remission 
of ."ins— lliev had no eonfrovorsv, for thai is n ciirdinal 

BAMUSL K. H08HOT7R. 281 

doctrine in Lather^ catechism and in other formularies 
of the church he founded. Though the doctrine was 
believed bj Luther, it was entirely overshadowed by the 
onwarranted prominence given to faith. This was some- 
what pardonable in him, for human nature is prone to 
extremes, and in avoiding the formalisms and penances 
of the Pope he overleaped the commandments of Jesus 
Christ His errors may be overlooked, but his successors 
are without excuse.. 

But, to return. The subject and the ** mode" of bap- 
tism were not so easily disposed of by the two friends. 
On these they joined issue, but the discussion closed with- 
out any inmiediate results of importance. 

During the interview, however, Elder Hoshour ob- 
tained some facts relative to the teachings and practices 
of the Christians that seemed rather significant. Yet 
with respect to the " mode" of baptism he regarded them 
as ultra. The Theological Institute, though it had failed 
to acquaint him with the Scriptures, had not neglected to 
furnish him with the stereotyped objections to the uni- 
versal prevalence of immersion. The varieties of climate ; 
the scarcity of water in certain localities; the incon- 
venience and indecency of the practice ; its incompati- 
bility with the easiness of Christ's yoke — all forbade the 
conclusion that immersion is the only Scriptural bap- 
tism ! But he was soon to be dispossessed of all this 
opposition to the truth. 

Early in the Summer of 1834 his ministerial duties led 
him a few miles beyond Beaver Creek, where the trouble- 
some meeting was still in progress. On the way he met 
a Methodist friend who at once beset him with a repre- 
sentation of the ruinous influence of the " Campbellite" 
preacher. He stated that the class-leader had encoun- 
tered the preacher in debate ; that he had been van- 
quished ; that he had gone over to the enemy ; that their 


claM was about broken up; and tlist. thp proachM wu 
more defiant than t^ver. " Now," coniinucd iho speaker, 
" hf must l>c withstood, and you are the man to oppose 
liim BUccesBrully, for I once heard you preach on the con- 
vt^rsion of the eunuch, and 1 think you showed plainly 
that it is not certain that he was immersed." This Bat- 
tering invitation he did not tlien accept, but promised to 
consider the matter. 

Having joined two loving hearts in the bonds of matri- 
mony, he Ket out for home. Xe he rode along he meditated 
upon what hod bePD told liim until ihe Gft> of coutro- 
versy burned within him. But prudence wliiBpvred to 
liim that, before he consented to meet this Uoliatfi of tb» 
"CiiQi]ilH-llitc^," lie had bcll.T .■xiimidp lii.^ gUnn and be 
assured tliat tic had a sulVicient nunilNtr of missiles to proa- 
Irale the giant. In obedience to this timely suggestion 
he resolved to examine the whole subject of Baptism, and 
to supply himself with all the arguments pro and con. 
that every preacher in Christendom would do likewise, 
with regard to that and every other point of material dif- 
ference 1 Then would ihe truth have free course and run 
and be glorified! Then would God also be glorified in 
the solvation of souls 1 Then would the followers of Jesus 
be joined together in one mind, speaking the same thing I 
Then would infidelity perish and the world would believe 
that Qod had sent hit; Son to be their Saviour I But alas I 
"this people's heart ha.>; waxed gross, Iheir ears are dull 
of hearing, and their eyes have they closed." 

In his investigation, he resolved to begin with the 
fathers and standard authors of his own church. He first 
I'onsultcd the voluminous works of Luther, in the original 
German ; and, on the two thousand five hundred and 
ninety-third jinge of the tenth volume, he found Luther's 
sermon on Baptism, preached in June 1520. The very 
fii'st |;ag(' iif this sermon put him in posMession of a fact 

bilhi-rto uiikDuwn Id him, vi£.,thc meanitig wLicli LuIIiet 
attached to the Ueriuan woiil "taure." The folltn 
a ViU'.nl traiialation of the passage : 

" In the first place, BapUem in (he Greek langua^ ii 
C&Ucd Baptiemos ( ^axrin/ioc) and, in the Latin, Mersio— 
that is, as when a peraou dips mmelhing entirely into the 

, the water will rrover it: and althoujrli 
places, it is no more the custom to pneh the children into 
the foBt asd dip them, bat onlj' to bepour them with the 
band out of tbe font, jret it ought to be — and would be 
right — that a pnBon should, according to the ngnificaiion 
afike word 'taufe.' whollt sink the child or candidate 
into the water, and baptize and draw it out again ; as the 
woid "toafe" comes from Uefen, as when a person sinkn 
one DKKP into Uie water and dips." 

After reading this passage, penned by no other hand 
than the great and authoritative Luther's, he wisely con- 
claded that if it should happen to be in the possession of 
bis opponent it would prove a formidable weapon. 

The next standard author consulted was Dr. Mofiheim, 
a Lutheran also, and a historian of high repute. On the 
108th page of his Chureh History he found the following 
vexatioua passage : 

"The sacrament of Baptism was administered, in this 
(the Brst) century, vnibout the public ajtuemblies, in places 
appointed and prepared for that purpose, and was per- 
formed by an IMMERSION of the whole person in the bap- 
tismal font" 

Tbe next author was Micfaaelis, one of the most learned 
men of the Lutheran church, who, on the 506th page of 
his " Dogmatic" expresses himself ae follows : 

" The external act of Baptism is dipping under icater. 
This the Qreek word 3anri?u signifies, as every one ac- 
quainted with tbe Greek language must admit. The bap- 
tism of the Jews was perTormed by immersion ; eo also 


WR8 tliat of John the Raptiat, and of the first Obristitu. 
or this we hare tk pniof in thu tact that b^Uun without 
immersion und only by pouring was sllowed in caae oftht 

St'nb, ia the third century, And it met contradietian as u 
innovation. * * * Immersion was practiced till (Ait thir- 
temith cenlurtf, and it is deairable that the Latin chnrcfa 
had never alloited a deination from this. But it (tlw 
dovialion) did occur, and at the Kefomiation it was not 
altered — that is, changed to its priviilive form." 

Weiplied down by these stubborn facts from the writings 
of the fathei-H, he abandoned the idea of meeting tbe de- 
fiant Ooliath. Lilce Darid encumbered by the wrmcittl 
Saul, he said, "I cannot go wiiA theae." 

The result of bis i n vest iRat ion was a firm conviction 
(hat immersion in waler is tlic only Chri.stian Baptism. 
In the mean time a lietler undei-slanding of the New Tes- 
tament and of the Constitution of the Cliurch of which 
the Saviour said, " I will build it," had exhibited to him 
the futility of infant membfrsliip. 

Here he found himself surrounded by circumstances that 
could not but severely test his piety and his moral courage. 
The beloved pastor of a large and influential congregation, 
living in fine style and receiving a good salary, a splendid 
prospect spread out before him and his children, yet no 
longer a believer in the doctrines he was expected to 
preach — dissatislied with Iiis own baptism, his conscience 
pleading for adherence to the right and fidelity to the word 
of God, he was in a condition to be fully realized only by 
those who have passed through a similar process. 

Finally, like Moses, ho chose to suffer affliction with 
the people of God, rather than to enjoy the pleasures of 
sin for a season. He resigned his charge without, at 
that time, revealing the special reason ; and, in Septem- 
ber, 1834, officiated for the lost time in the splendid pul- 
pit of his beloved congregation. These were to him 

dark days, and at times his spiritB were grually depressed ; 
but he leaned dd the word o! the Greut Shepherd — His 
rod and Bis staff, they conirorted hiiu. 

Though he could no longer preach, eonscientiously, 
the Lutheran gospel, yet he did not i at mediately obey the 
gospel of Christ. His faith in the former system having 
been destroyed, his mind was reduced to a kind of chaos, 
and it required a little while for apostolic order to appear 
It was nut till the last Lord's day in March, 1835, that, 
without the knowledge of hia family, he was immersed 
in the vicinity of Hagerstown, Md. On reaching home 
bis wife was greatly distressed, hoth because she was yel 
mucfa attached to the Lntheran charch, ud becftuee, with 
• mother'a Bolicitude, she saw in the fature nothing bat 
penury and " the cold world's proud 8com" for herself 
and her little ones. 

In the town he waa the principal theme of conversation. 
Many denounced, some pitied, and a few commended him. 
As he walked up the street on Monday morning, none of 
his former brethren appeared to recognize him. Like 

'■ Bat 7eat«rd>7 be night hftve stood sg&iDit the world — 
Now, none lo poor aa to do him reverenoe." 

The PreBbyterians passed him coldly, all because he had 
demonstrated bis genuine piety by forsaking all for Christ's 
sake and the gospel's. None but the Episcopal minister 
gave him so much as a gentlemanly salutation. Xor 
were these the only chilling influences that he had to 
encounter. A pious mother that had taught him the first 
lessons in religion, maternal uncles who had taken a lively 
interest in his education, and were proud of his pulpit 
performances, brothers and sisters who were strongly 
attached to him as a champion of the Lutheran faith, 
ware all in their turn to be confounded. In bis inter- 

838 P10NKE& l-U KA'll LKti. 

vifws with tliL-m Le niadf goud Um of tUu word, uid eX> 
poiind>^tl mutti:rB in audi a muauur timt, ulttioiigli Hwj 
wriiilil nut ubry the gospi;!, tliuy could uol svverelj cliide 
him for having obfytd it. 

Sooa after his itumcraion, he loft Uagcrstown, nnd rc- 
Bidfd ti-iii]>orarily with liia f»ther-iu-law at New Market, 
iuteadiitg to emigrate lo the West the eueuing FalL 
During his sojuurn at New Market, where he liad been 
installed as paslur nine years before, he often met tbe 
ghiie|) of his first fioek. To them, also, he had become a 
etrangcr, whose voice they were no longer willing to 
hear. The doors of his old church were closed against 
him ; but the Baptiate, out of pergonal reapect, opeoed lo 
hiiu their bouse. When he preached on the action of 
baptism they were delighted ; but when he pressed upon 
them the design, they manifested a spirit closely akin to 
thut uf the Athenian^ when Paul declared to them the 
resurrection of the dead, (Acts xvii. 32.) 

During the three months that he remained in that 
vicinity, he preached every Lord's day, wherever he could 
obliiin a hearing. At the close of the last sermon at Sew 
Market, a highly respectable lady — a member of the 
Lutheran church — came forward and made the required 
confession. It was announced that she would be im- 
mersed on the next morning. Ketuniiiig home, his father- 
in-law met him on the pavement, and informed him that 
his wile, Mrs. Savage, intended to be immersed at the 
siune time. On the banks of the stream, at the appointed 
hour, she made the confession which is "unto salvation," 
and, with the other woman, was buried with the Lord in 

Some time Ijcfore this, as he was returning home from 
an appointment, his wife met him in the hall, snying, that 
she Imd been studying the Xew Testament, that she was 
siuislied that he bad done right, ajid thai she intended ere 


hmg to follow his example. Accordinglj, on the next 
daj after the baptism of her mother, she and three others, 
one of whom was also a Lutheran, were immersed in the 
same stream. Nor were these onlj immersed — ^thej all 
arose to walk in newness of life. 

Prior to his departure for the West, he spent three 
weeks preaching in the yicinity of Hagenitown, among 
his former acquaintances. In this time he immersed 
elcTen persons, of whom five were Lutherans, two Meth- 
odists, and four " from the world." At sunrise of the last 
morning that he remained, he immersed the two Method- 
ists, who both came up out of the water shouting and 
praising God. Yet this was heresy I 

Finallj, on the 16th of September, 1835, he set out for 
the West. While he was on the way, the Synod of Mary- 
land met ; and although he had consented, at the request 
of the Secretary, to withdraw privately, yet that august 
body formally and solemnly excluded him as a dangerous 
errorist. The following is a transcript of the original bull 
of excommunication, taken from the " Minutes of the 
Evangelical Lutheran Synod of Maryland, held at Woods- 
borough, Frederick county, in October,.! 835 :" 

"The committee on paper No. 1 now reported, and, 
alter some discussion, it was 

" Besolvedf That the Rev. Mr. Hoshour, having changed 
his religious creed in some of the essential and funda- 
mental articles of religion, as held and taught among us, 
has thereby voluntarily separated himself from all connec- 
tion with the Lutheran Church, and cannot longer be con- 
sidered a member. 

" Besolved, also. That the Synod, for the above reason, 
expunge the name of S. K. Hoshour from the list of 
its ministers ; that it no longer considers him a member 
of the Lutheran Church, and that he may live to see, feel^ 


Hiid Ackuowledge his errors, is the prayer of hU ttioec to 
wlioni lie was once artJeiitly attached." 

Siii-li was the last step id his final exodus Trom the 
" Euanijelical Luthcraa Church." 

On the IGtb of October, 1835, he arrived, with his littJE 
raniily and less tucans, at Centreville, the cotinty-sent of 
Wnyiie county, Indiana. His object in coming West was 
t<> procure a small farm, and, " in the sweat of hia face,'' 
ninke an independent though humble living. But he soon 
found that his literary pursuits and sedentary habits had 
greatly disqualified him for the husincFs of a farmer. Be 
no longer enjoyed it as he did, when an unlettered swaia 
in Pennsylvania. Therefore he soon abundoned the plou|^, 
and commenced teachinfr a district school near Centreville 
at twenty dollars per month — an unprecedented salary in 
that day. Such was his success that, in a short time, he 
was elected Principal of the Wayne County Seminary, in 
which he taught four years to the entire satisfaction of ihe 

During all this time, he employed his Lord's days in 
diss-cminating the simple gospel as he had learned it and 
most devoutly cherished it. In Cenlreville,the court-house 
was his sanctuary, in which he officiated as both preacher 
and sexton! On Sattirtlays he prepared the wood, and on 
Sundays made ihe fires and preached. His audiences were 
mostly composed of the more intelligent n on -professors, 
and the more liberal adhorenis to the several seels, who 
were generally attentive, and disposed to approbate his 

The Reformation was then in its infancy at that place. 
There was only one family — a man and his wife — that 
openly adhered to the cause for which Elder Hoshour 
jilead. These, him.-^lf and his wife, at that time consti- 
tuted the Church of at Centreville, He acted as 
bishop, the lone brother as deacon, and the two wives as 


deaconesses ! There was. therefore, little «use of Mrlfe 
and division in that church, for each member had on ttf^c* .' 

Though there were no contention? with'n, h was ij<a 
long until he felt from without the sharp point* of f^-e^j- 
rian bigotry and intolerance. Low chicaoerr and ta:t 
were resorted to in order to counteract bis influenre in 
tho pulpit. But he occasionally made a proselyte, and Uy 
the help of others succeeded in building up a gcKfd aiid 
substantial church at that place. 

After he had bt*en there one year, the Baptists, niaijy 
of whom sanctioned his preaching, insisted up«:n his unhiiig 
wth th(*m. He consented to do so, provided they would 
allow him to urge upon all " seekers," Peter's an^wer to 
the question, "What shall we do ?"* Acts ii. 37. To this 
tliore was some objection, and the union did n-Jt :ake pla/^. 

In the j)r()ccss of time, the niajnri-y nf '.he Bap::.-!:? 
united with the Christians, to whom thw delivered over 
their commodious house of worship. 

In ls3r>, the L«'gislature of Indiana ajipointed h!nj a 
member of tiie Board of Trustees of the State Universitv, 
at Bloom iiigton, in which capaeity he served verj* eSi- 
eientlv for three vears. 

At the Annual Commencement of n;)0. the P'acultv 
anil Tru>tces of that Institution conferred on him the 
honorary defrrec of A. M. 

With Dr. Wylie, the late distinrruished President of the 
State University, he enjoyed an intimate and most agree- 
able friendshi]). They communed freely on the subject 
of religion, and the doctor inter]>osfMl but few objections 
to the views of his friend. lie afterwards published a small 
w'nvk entitled : " Sector ianiidn is //*'/>•,*<///' which. />oxx?6/y, 
was suirgested by what occurred in some of their inter- 
views. At anv rate he was not a man who closed his 
ears against the truth, as the following incident will show. 

On one occasion, in Commencement we4'k, the chosen 


speaLcr Tor a certain evening did not arrive. The colltifn 
chapel being crowded to overflowing. President Wyllc 
invited Klder Hosliour to supply with a seroion the place 
of thp anticipated Bpeech, at the same time giving him 
liberty to choose his own theme and speak his mind freely. 
He acceptml the invitation ; took, as his subjecl, itan't 
Duly, Ecc. lii. 13, and proceeded to preach the ancioDl 
Kuspel to perhaps the largest and most intelligent audienn 
he ever addressed. There were seated around him, on the 
rostrum, Preaident, Profesaors, the Board of Trustees, th« 
Executive of the State, and several literati from abroad ; 
while before him were the elite at Bloomington and many 
viaitore from various part« of the Commonwealth, fit' 
was then in ihe vipor of his ninnhnoil. and the disnujrs* 
is said In have been one of great power. It wn.-; doubt- 
less the masterpiece of his whole life. 

In the Fall of 1 839 he removed to Cambridge City, where 
he became the principal of a large and litslefully-cuD- 
Btructed seminary. There he taught for seven consecutive 
years, and always had a large number of pupils, many of 
whom were from abroad. Several of Indiana's dislin- 
gni.shed sons were educalcd in his school, among whom 
were Major General Lewis AVallace, and the present etli- 
eient Executive, Governor Oliver P. Jlorlou. 

During his n-sidcncc at Cambridge City he preached on 
Lord's days either in the village, or nt points from which 
he could return in time for school on Monday morning. 
Himself, his wife, and one brother in Christ then com- 
posed the church at that place. Thus it happened a 
second time that his flock were all officers ! Hat they 
relied on the, "Whore two or Ihrm: are'met 
together in my nami^, there am 1 in the midst of them." 

With this weak force he had to combat strong opposi- 
tion to what was stigmatized as Canipbi'lli^m. As a 
tcocher the several sects esteemed him highly, but npi>ii 

Us pnafMafi tkty Iook«d with siupicioii, If not with con- 
tempt. UitdCT rO these discoun|rementa he continued 
to imaeb pUaly, eeriptonlly, ukI BOmetimes polemic- 
tSj ; hot befaig ifiaid of Inihj iog, on the Rpoetolic fouDdO' 
tioB, "wood, iaj, or stubble, " he refrwned for a long 
whils from Wf sttenipt to proaelyte. Still he immeTBed 
the fint fear acHse hklf-ft-doien subetftDti&l members, and 
the seeoBd yew iboDt es many. In I84S he procured 
) of Kder J'ohn B. New, and held a pro- 
■, which resulted in twenty-Gve additions, 
most of whom were persons of means, intelligence, and 
moral worth. Bnilt np in that way, tbe church at Cam- 
bridge City has not yet fitllen down ; on the contraiy, it 
hsa been enlsi^ed from time to time, and is at the present 
writing in a prosperous condition. 

During the eleven yeare that Elder Hoshour taught at 
Centreville and Cambridge, he preached every Lord's day 
except t«D; often riding long distances after uight-fall, 
through mud, and rain, and cold. During the greater 
part of this time he preached twice each Suuday ; and for 
^1 these faithful labors, which shattered his constitution 
and destroyed his physical comfort for life, he received 
less than five hundred dollars — not fifty dollars per 

About the year 1846 declining health compelled him to 
abandon tbe school-room, with limited means and a family 
of seven children. For the support of his family he after- 
wards resorted to teaching the German language in the 
various Institutions and larger towns of the State ; but, 
for the benefit of his race, he continued to preach the 
gospel almost " without money and without price," as he 
had done for a score of years Though but few men 
gave unto Aim, he desired to share with all men the un- 
searchable riches of Christ. Though he himself met with 
few real sympathizers, his own heart swelled with sym- 


pathy for all whose erraut feet he fouod in the way of 


In 1852 he purchased a email farm near Cambridfrr 
Cily, where he expected to pitch his tent for the remain- 
der of his life, and give himself more fully to the work of 
the mini^tiy. But being strongly importuned to aid in 
the coDstructioD of the Richmond and Indiaaapolis Rail- 
road, he invested largely in this, to him, unprofitable 
enterprise. On account of this investment he becaino 
ioTolved in debts, to eslricatc himself from whii-Ii be wis 
compelled to sacrifice the niral home which be bad pro- 
vided for bis old age. 

In June, 1858, be wu elected President of the Nattb- 
Western Chri.stian University, located at Indtanapolia, 
Iruliaiia. In ibis capacity he served three years, at the 
(■.\piration of which time tlie Institution was re -organized, 
and he becnmo Profe.ssor of Modern Language:^ — the 
position which he desired, because it was far less labo- 
rious, and more suitable to bis taste and genius. The 
functions of that oDice he still discharges to tlic credit 
both of himself and of that department of tlie University. 
In vacation he goes about proclaiming the word, and 
during the session he occasionally preaches in the city — 
sometimes for the congregation with whom he worships, 
more frequently for the German Methodists, in their own 
language, and not unfreijuently — so amiable a heretic is 
he — for his first love, the Lutherans. 

But, ere long, he must rest from bis labors. Already 
the almond-tree begins to flourish, and the grasshopper 
to be a burden. Already the strong men begin to bow 
themselves, and those that look out of the window^ to be 
darkened. Soon shall the silver cord be loosed, the 
golden bowl be broken. Soon shall he go to bis long 
home, and the mourners go about the streets. No man 
is more ready to be offered up, for without once having 



put off the 
Tbougii ne 
t/ie/aM, aj 

armor of (Jod, he has fought a 
arty all else Uaa boen facrittced, 
;id strung in tliat faith he will det 

■good fighL 
be has kept 
icend to the 

" Likt oni 

f «lio uraps the drnperr of Mfl i: 


AbMtt kin, aod lies down to pleaaant dreuna." 

Elder Hoohour is » frail, homel; moo, of u ur de- 
wdodljr Guinui. Hia stature is five feet nine or ten 
iaebea, and his weight about one hundred ud forty-fire 
potuids. He bu a sallow coraplezion, a highly bilious 
temperament, raven black hair, and dark hSEel eyes, full 
of subdued Gre. His is a singularly shaped head, which, 
«pon the whole, is an unfair index of his intellectual 
ability. Bjs mind is of the reflective caste, active, logi- 
cal, comprehensiTe, and still vigorous, though impaired 
by the infirmities of the fleeh. If its power be estimated, 
philosophically, by the resistance it will overcome, or the 
height to which it will elevate a given bod;, it will be 
found to be greatly above the average. In its escape 
from theological darkness to biblical light, it overcame 
early prejudices, clerical pride, family and church affini- 
ties, and all sectarian restraints in the form of liturgies 
and creeds ; and despite the force of that gravity which, 
in this unscrupulous age, drags down the conscientious 
man, it has elevated its possessor from the obscurity of a 
German orphan boy to a conspicuous rank among the 
ministers and educators of the age. 

As a scholar he deserves honorable mention. The 
principal events of the world's history, and a general 
knowledge of the several sciences, are carefully stowed 
away in his retentive memory ; and one will not easily 
approach him with any subject on which he may not con- 
Terse intelligently. He reads five different languages and 
fluently speaks three — the English, the Oerman, and the 


French. He is not Tood of B(ivculativ« ibeoriea, but 
drinkit odeneiit and deept^xt at lh« sacrc-d fouDtain : beauu 
■lis knowledge of tbe Scriptures is deep aud extensive. 

Since liis entrance into the Reformation he has never 
been a sensation preacher. Uia yorJe has beeD to edify 
the church; to "enlighten the eyes of their trnderstaod- 
ing," that they might know " what is the hope of his 
calling and what the riches of the glory of his infaeriiance 
in the saints." He has, however, proselyted a goodly 
Quniher to the faith of the gospel ; but rery few, if any. 
of whom have returned to the beggariy elements of ihft 
world. ThoBe whose hands he puts to the plow BoldoDi 
look back. 

Ill the p>il['it liif= Mtv!e is somewhat peculiar. " Teaching 
and preaching" is his motto; hence, after singing and 
prayer, he usually expounds a chapler ; after which 
another hymn is sung and he rises to preach. To ihe 
eyea of strangers this habit sometimes presents him in a 
false light, as the following anecdote will show: Oil 
a certain occasion an ex-member of the Indiana Legis- 
lature, who was also a disciple, was giving his opinion of 
President Hoshour. Said he, " I went, one day, lo hear 
him preach, and he made a complete failure. He talked 
a few minutes — and talked very well too — then suddenly 
stopped and took his seat. The brethren sang another 
hymn, at the conclusion of which he took a new test, 
tried it ocer again, and did pretty well I" The Honorable 
had really taken the first performance for a failure, though, 
in fact the programme was carried out to the letter. 

In his palmy days he was a good speaker, but his elo- 
cution is now much impaired by age and bodily infirmi- 
ties. Yet he still commands the attention of his audience 
by the number and quality of his ideas and ihe copious- 
ness of his diction But few men can make a more llio- 

8AMUSL K. H08H0ITB. 245 

rough analysis of a passage, draw flrom it more practical 
lessons, or discourse upon it in more elegant terms. 

Sometimes he has contended eamestlj with tiiose " of 
the contrary part," but, in the main, he is a servant of the 
Lord that " doth not strive," but is " gentle unto all men, 
apt to teach, patient, in meekness instructing tiiose that 
oppose themselves." 

" By him, in strainB as sweet 

At aagelfl use, the gospel whispers peace. 

He 'stablishes the strong, restores the weak, 

BecUims the wanderer, binds the broken heart. 

And, armed himself in panoply complete. 

Of heaTenl J temper, ftimishes with arms 

Bright as his own, and trains bj every role 

Of holj discipline, to glorioas war. 

The sacramental host of God's elect : 

Are all such teachers f Would to Heaven all were I" 

It is but a slight exaggeration to say of him that as a 
man — a ChristiaD — he is an embodiment of that charity 
which '* suffereth long and is kind, which envieth not, 
vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, doth not behave 
itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily pro- 
voked, thinketh no evil, rejoiceth not in iniquity but 
rejoiceth in the truth, beareth all things, believeth all 
things, hopeth all things, endureth all things." Wherever 
you meet him — at home, in the social circle, or in the 
house of his God — you meet 

** The man whose heart is warm, 

Whose hands are pnre, whose doctrine and whose life, 

Coincident, exhibit Incid proof 

That he is honest in the sacred cause.'* 

Possessing but little worldly ambition, he has aspired, 
through life, to the kingdom of God and His righteous- 
ness, taking but little thought of what he should eat, 

/^r Un,l£<3.<r,^ 

THi: NEW VOR!: • 

U"^. l^tf^,,^ . 


K yfnjAAM WuMin, the blind prmcber, was bom 
Jng eonntr, Kentucky, September 38d, 1808. His 
rfaomM Wflaon, w i mui of more tbui ordinsry 
aoa, eonceming wb anceeton nothing is linown. 
b Bother^ maides nun i Jane Hughes. She is of 
i, and Btill BwrriveB. 
E^Both hii parents were Tor years ualous members of the 
terian Chnrch; but soon after the great revival at 
B Ridge, in 1801, they both embraced the views of B. 
V. Stone, and took upon themselves the name given first 
I Aotiocb. 

; BUrr WilBon has been blind from his birth. In cbild- 
d he could, with great difficulty, diBtinguisb bright ob- 
V Jsets when near him in a clear light ; and it was hoped 
Ffliat sargical skill might secure for him a more perfect 
! vision. Accordingly, when in hie fourteenth year, he was 
taken to Lexington' to be operated upon by Dr. Dudley, 
vho thought a cure bight be effected. While on hie way 
to that city, he was in ecstacy at the prospect of having 
the veil lifted and the glories of the external world ex- 
posed to his view. When asleep bright visions came and 
went, and in his wakeful hours still brighter day-dreams 
floated before his mind. But all these pleasing anticipa- 
tions soon vanished away, and gave place to a gloom 
deeper than ever before. The operation performed, and 
the pain, which for several daye rendered him delirious, 
having subsided, the bandages were removed, and he was 
hiformed that he was hopelessly blind. 



No words can expreaB his doep disappoiatment on receiv- 
ing this sad intelligence. His sightiess eyes became each « 
fountniu of tears, and hie soul shuddered at the presence 
of the thiclt darlfneas wiiich waa to encompass it fore»er. 

But liapjj, in buman experience as in nsinre, the sunshms 
succeeds tbe shadow. Hope soon sbed its cheerful beams 
upon his drooping spirit; he resigned himself to bis sad 
fate, and resolved to be through life as happy and agreeable 
as possible. In this effort be has been strangely auccesaful. 
The morning of his life baa been far from wretched, and 
the feeling of his old age is well expressed in the foUow- 
ing beautiful lines, which are attributed to Milton : 
>' I am weak, jel itrong ; 

I marmnT not that I no lunger eve. 
Poor, old, and hslpless, I the more belong, 

Father Supreme, to Thee. 

merciful One, 
When men me furthesl then Thou an most near ; 
When men pass by my weaknesaea to shun, 

Thy chariot I bear. 

Thy gloriooa face 

II leaning toward me, aod its holy light 
Shinav !□ upon my louely duelling place, 

And there is no more night. 

I rsoogui 

My «.lo. 

On my bended knee 
'.e thy purpose clearly shown 
Thou hastdimm'd, that I m 

Thyself, TLyself alone. 

I haTe naught to fear; 
ness is the shadow of thy wii 
t I am almost aacred^bere 

Trembling, where foot of mortal ne'er hath bean, 
Wrapt In the radiance from that sinless land, 
Whioh eye hath aevsr seen. 

Tlslon* oomo ani fO ; 
- Sh^as of rMpIenAaat b«aQt7 ronntt me tluong; 
From uigil Up* I Msm to h«u- the iow 
Of aotl mni IU1I7 Boug. 

TlinotblDg now— 
WlbeB IteftTSD !■ opening on ni7 ilgtiUeM ajefr — 
Whea ^n of Fumdlie refreili mj brow — 

Th«t eartlk In dwkneat liei." 

Bat to retant to tbe bets and incideitts connected with 
his bistoiT- 

Id the year 18S6 hie &tber emigrated from Kentucky, 
Mid settled in Putnam countj, Indiana. To remove the 
dense forest that covered all their land, required much 
labor, a portion of which was cheerfully performed by the 
afflicted son. Bj means of his other senses be could 
burn brush, pile logs, and even fell trees, thoughthis was 
attended with great danger to himself It was only by 
putting his band on tbe trunk that he could ascertain 
which way tbe tree was falling and this procedure left 
him but little time to make good his retreat Sometimes, 
too, the limbs stripped from neighboring trees fell around 
and near him ; but he escaped unharmed from all these 
"perils of the wilderness." 

As soon as bis father bad built a cabin be conrerted it 
into a house of prayer. Id it he brought together his few 
neighbors, as often as be could secure the services of a 
preacher; and in a short time there was organized therein 
a small church. Of him, therefore, as of Moses, it may be 
written, "this is he that was with the church in tbe wil- 

Elder Wilson inherited from bis father a strong desire 
of knowledge — so strong thaP be would at any time for- 
•ake bis playmates to bear any one read. The Bible 
Iras read oftenest ; and from it, therefore, he received the 
tnost of his instruction. He never went to school — never 


enjoyed the advantages of the Byelem which hfta been 
devised for the education of the blind. To faim knowledge, 
as well as "failh," came " by bearing, and hearing by the 
word of God." 

If others of his day expeiicDced difficulties in entering 
in at the straight gate, be experienced more ; for while 
they could search the Scripturea for themselvee. he was 
compelled to content himself with such portiotis as his 
friends chose to read. Under euch circumstances be made 
but little progress toward the kingdom. For several long 
years darkness rested upon things eternal as well as upon 
things temporal ; and the spiritual soon proved a greater 
aMiction than the natural blindness, which he had learned 
to regard as " but for a moment." 

Finally in the winter of IH2S his uncle, James Hughes, 
who had come to tho knowledge of the truth, came over 
from Kentucky to Putnam county, preaching the " ancient 
gospel," and convincing the churches (Old Christian) that 
Baptism, in connection with faith and repentance, was 
divinely appointed for the remission of sins. This doc- 
trine produced no small stir among the people ; but was 
nevertheless very generally received. 

In the light of this teaching Elder Wilson saw al once, 
and clearly, what he must do to be saved ; and what had 
been the difficulty with all the "mourners," whom he had 
seen vainly seeking the forgiveness of their sins. Wilb 
joyful haste he fled for refuge to lay hold on the hope set 
before him ; confessed the Saviour before men ; and was 
straightway "buried with him by baptism into death." 
From that time to the present his peace has been as • 

Thus it appears that his first religious step was in the 
right direction — that from the beginning of his new life 
be has been identified with the current Ileforniatii>n. 

Eighteen persons were added with him to the liitie 



ebnreh ortabUilwd at .bis fotlier^ ; and, In the Summer 
foUowIng, Sldar Haghes retanied and baptised about Tortjr 
othen. Among then were flereral young men, nesrlj' 
all of wbom b^an at mce to prey in public, and aome 
of them to exhort. Indeed, bat few of the diaciplea of 
that earlj iaj were "ashamed of the goapel of Christ." 
In tlie absence of pTeacbera, of whom there were bat few, 
thej eonsidend " one another t« provoke anto lore and 
good worin, not forsaking the assembling of tbemselres 
togather, a> the manner o/aome t>." 

Foremost among the yonng disciples was William 
Wilson, who entered npon bis public ministry soon after 
his immersion in 1828. At first bis efforts were feeble, 
owing to his lack of education and hie inability' to read 
the word; but hia heart's desire and prayer to God was, 
that he might become an able minister of the New Testa- 
ment Stimulated by this desire, he ceased not to teach 
and to preach according to the grace giren him from on 

For a year or two his labors were confined to bis own 
county; but in the Snmmer of 1830 he began to trarel, 
and within the next few yearB be visited various portions 
of the State, being very successful wherever he went 
In 1834 be visited Kentucky. The subject of religion 
being then greatly agitated in that State, he was every- 
where favored with large audiences, and therefore sowed 
bountifully the "incorruptible seed." He returned home 
by way of Hamilton, Ohio ; f^m which place he was 
compelled to complete his journey without the assistance 
of a guide. In so doing, he experienced many difficulties 
and escaped many unseen dangers. Not the least of these 
was the crossing of streams ; for it was only by the rip- 
pling of the shoal water that he could distinguish the 
fords, and when this expedient failed, he depended entirely 
npon the guidance of bis horse. 


During the two years following he travelled exten- 
sively in Western iDilinna, occasjooally passiog over into 
Illinois. He devoted his whole time to the work of the 
ministrj, receiving for his services what was barely suffi- 
cient to defray his travelling expenses. 

On the I5th of August, 1837, he was married to Mias 
Susannah Ooff, who, as the mother of four sons and three 
daughters, still lives to share his toib, and sympathize 
with liim in his affliction. 

In 183S he made another visit to Kentucky, passing 
through Cincinnati, and preaching almost daily to large 
congregations along the route. During tlic: interval be- 
tween April and August, he preached through the upper 
counties of that State, adding quite a number to the 
cliurchi'S of that region. 

On his way home the following incident occurred : On 
the morning of his departure from Cynihiana he had & 
presentiment that some evil would befall him that day; 
and the further he rode the more gloomy l>ecame his 
thoughts, though lie strove to turn them into a brighter 
channel. Late in the evening a rustling was heard in 
the dry leaves by the road-side, and, turning her eyes in 
that direction, his wife (who waa accompanying him) sow 
a ruffian-like man raise his gun to his face, and aim it at 
her husband. On being hastily apprised of the fact, 
Elder Wilson calmly inquired of the supposed highway- 
man how far it was to tlie next inn, adding that he was 
blind and a stranger in those parts. The man lowered 
his gun, nitutcring some unintelligible reply ; and the 
frightened travellers laid whip to their horses until as- 
sured that they were entirely out of danger. 

Tlie following Spring he again went to Kentucky, and 
preached several mouths in company with Elder John G. 
Ellis, of Covington. They immersed nearly two hundred 


panotu, tb0 nudoritj- of th«m In Kenton and Boone 

Betnrnii^ home, he spent the 7*11 and Winter, as for- 
merlj, In edifyingr the ehitrehes in TariouB parts of 
Indiana; in introdaoing the andent gospel into destitute 
places ; and, especiallj, in assisting his fellow preachers 
at protrmctod meetings, which were his chief delight, and 
the places, above all others, in which he ooold render 
eDcient service. 

la the Spring of 1840 he once more crossed the Ohio 
to pffeaeh Uu glad tidings of salvation in the land of his 
nattvitf. This tour was confined, mainly, to the counties 
of Bath, Montgomery, and Fleming, in which he mode 
many proselytes to primitive Christianity. He could have 
msde many more, but for the want of some one to do the 
immersing — a work which he could not perform. On this 
account he onen left Urge congregatioDB in tears, without 
giving an invitation to lay hold of the hope set before 

In the year 1843 he attended a great meeting held at 
Louisville by Elder Benjamin Hall. Wishing to continue 
that meeting, Elder Hall diepatched him to Newcastle, to 
fill his (Hall'eJ appointment at that place. The brethren 
at Newcastle were greatly disappoioted on hearing that 
the expected preacher would not be there. They wore 
Dot well pleased with the dress and general appearance 
of the strange substitute ; and there was a disposition on 
the part of the church not to let him preach. None sup- 
posed that he was " a workman approved unto Ood ;" and 
some feared that he would say thioga of which they would 
all need to be ashamed. 

However, as there was no other preacher present when 
the people came toother on Saturday morning, it was 
agreed that he should officiate. He therefore took the 
stand, and delivered a discourse which moved many of his 


Buapicious hearers to tears. At night, and on the n^xt 
day, other prea(;hera that bad arrived discoursed to Uie 
people, but with do vieible elTcct On Sunday evening 
Elder Wilson again occupied the pulpit ; and in response 
to his invitation, several caiue forward to make the pood 
confession. Prom that time be was the chief speaker; 
and before the close of the meeting, twenty-two i)ersonB 
were received into the heavenly family, and made beira 
of the heavenly inheritance. 

At that meeting be met with an old friend by tbe name 
of Fitzgerald. This kind gentleman, one day, entered the 
room where he was sitting, saying : " Brother Wilson, 
take off your coat. " The preaeher obeyed without aeking 
any questions. Mr. F. then had him to put on a new 
one, worth tbirty dollars, observing, after a moment's in- 
speelion : " It fits you nicely ; accept it as a present from 
yonr unworthy friend, and remember me often in your 
prayers." In more respects than one, therefore, he was 
never belter rewarded than at Newcastle, Kentucky. 

On another occasion, his raiment experienced a change 
of a less agreeable character. During one of his long 
preaching tours, his coat faded to such an unsightly color, 
thai it would liai'c miide him quite unhappy, had be pos- 
sessed seeing eye", or the inodishness of some later divines. 
But, as it was, he knew nothing of his misfortune until 
his return home. Thus he demonstrated that, 

■' When isnoranoe is blisa, 
■Tis folly lo be wisa." 

Once more returned to Indiana, he continued to preach 
wherever llierc was opened to him a door of utterance. 
Among tbe many interesting meetings held by him, was 
one at Marcellus, in Itush county. It was on a beautiful 
Sunday ; and hundreds of orthodox Christians — many of 
them from Ruah ville — came out to hear tbe Blind Preacher. 



Kiawing tbelrrlews and feelings, he detennined to mftke 
■ ipedtl effort to preBent the trntb in such a manner aa 
to sIUj thsir prejndicea, ir not to convince them of their 
srron. In thfs attempt he was not wholly nnsucceaflful 
Hany of thoae of "the contrary part" declared that he 
had "sold the truth;" and some were ready to aay: "Al- 
most thou peranadeat me to be a Christian." Indeed at 
another meeting held near by he did lead some of them, 
throDgh obedience, Into " the glorioua liberty of the chil< 
dren of God." 

About the aome time he preached, on a certain Monday, 
at Hanover church, near Horristown, in Shelby county. 
Hia Bultject that day waa Matt. vii. 21 1 " Not every one 
that Baith onto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the king- 
dom of heaven ; bnt he that doeth the will of my Father 
who is in heaven. " The congregation was deeply affected ; 
and at the close of the discourse several persons made the 
confessioD which is unto salvation. He preached again 
in the afternoon with similar results. Eighteen, in all, 
were added that day to the saved. Among the number 
waa an old revolutionary soldier, with all his house. 

It has already been seen that Elder Wilson has been 
"in journey ings often," "in perils in the wilderness," "in 
perils of waters," and "in perils of robbers." It is 
equally true that he has been " in perils in the city," uid 
in " perils among false brethren," as the following facts 
will show. 

Being once at Tersailles, Ky., and intending to go from 
there into Clarke county, he was advised to proceed by 
way of Lexington, and preach to the congregation in that 
city. Having received a letter of introduction to one 
brother F., the proprietor of a hotel in that place, he set 
out for Lexington. Hedclivcryd tlie letter lo the godly (F) 
landlord, who, after glancing at its contents, said, "Bro- 
ther Wilson, I cannot entertain you." Proceeding to 


another place to whicfa he was directed, he was again i»- 
Tortned that he could not be acconiiiit>dated. He tbeo 
returned to t])o botcl, iii Tront of which he sat a lon^ 
nliiie b^rore his brother, the landlord, (who had been 
suinmoned,} niade hie appearance. When lie did appear, 
it was only to say to him, emphatically, '• You can't get 
to Btay here." The poor preacher, who had dismissed hii 
guide, requested that he might be conducted to the resi- 
dence of Dr. Dudley, who, he hoped, had not forgoUeD 
him. This request, also, was gru£By refused. Out of 
sheer necessity, therefore, he alighted from bis horse, uid 
entered, uninvited, into the bar-room, hoping that he might 
meet with some one who would conduct him out of tba 
inhospitable cit,v. Ever oiiil an"ti, us he ?nt waiting, the 
fearful proprietor came in to assure him that he could not 
be entertained. 

Finally a deliverer came, from whom he learned, as 
they rode to the country, that the landlord was entertain- 
ing a large number of sporting gentry, that had come to 
the city to attend the races, and seek their fortunes in 
games of chance. It was for their accommodation that 
the door had been closed against the unprofitable servant 
of the Most High God. 

After this experience in a fashionable cily, he proceeded 
to Clarte and Montgomery counties, where his preaching 
was well received, and crowned with his usual success. 

For the last ten or twelve years, his labors have been 
confined for the most part to Indiana; and, within the 
limits of the State, there is scarcely a county which he 
has not visited. He has been most successful in prose- 
lyting sinners, many hundreds of whom have, through 
his instrumentality, been made partakers of the inherit- 
ance of the saints in light, lie has also accomplished 
something in the great work of persuading the obedient 
among the sects to be called only by the name Christian, 


TltLlAM WILBOM. 961 

md b« gOTMnad only by the word of God Thoogb him- 
■etf SBBdamtod, he moreoTer contribnted bia portion for 
die eatabUdunent of the N. W. 0. UDlrerBity, whioh is 
now ezertniK b powerful influence in bvor of primitire 

For bis abondwit labors be has receired but little " of 
corruptible tbinge, such as silver and gold ;" jet, on re- 
Tiewing the past, lie r^oices and is exceeding glad, know* 
Ing that great ie his reward in heaven. 

Though it has pleased the Lord to afflict him hj dark- 
ening forever the windows of his earthly tabernacle, and 
though he has otherwise suffered much for his name's 
•ake, yet, while he looks not at the thinga which are aeen, 
but at the things wliich are not seen, be feels that his light 
affliction is but for a moment ; and that it worketb for 
him a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory. 

His days of darkness are now almoet ended. Soon the 
vail abal] be lifted, and those things " which Qod bath 
prepared for them that lore him," be revealed to his 
enzaptnred rision. 

Elder Wilson is a small, thin man, not exceeding one 
hundred and thirty-five pounds in weight Having been 
enveloped all his days in thick darkness, he has been un- 
able to take that tree, out-door exercise so essential to 
physical development. On this account be looks wan 
and haggard, like a prisoner in a damp dungeon. 

He has a fine head, especially in the frontal region, and 
one sees at a glance that nature bestowed on him an un- 
common endowment, of intellect But the mind, sitting 
ever in its dark chambers, and often famishing for food, 
has been dwarfed like his body — a misfortune which 
seems to distress him more than all other afflictions. He 
never murmurs, because to him returns not 

358 PIONEEB PfiKAOHtsa. 

" Dftf, or the sweet Npproaoh of ev'ii or mora, 
Or sight of Tiirnkl bloom, or suniroer'a ma*, 
Or floclcB. or berds, oi Lanian face dirine ;" 

but ever Bnd anoD the Rhadow of despair Battles for a 
moment on his Turrowed face, aud his converealion is 
ioternipCed by ihe Bad exctaniattOD, "Ah I if I bada't beeo 
shut out from the light of eduL-alion." 

Lil£e a poor beggar at the gnte, bis miad sits all the 
day long at the tympanmn of the ear. receiving pittances 
of knowledge from the passing souDds. In this way ha 
has acquired an amount of information that would seem 
almost incredible. With the Bible especially, he is re- 
markably familiar. He quotes it freely and with tolerv 
hie accuracy in his preaching, always giving chapter and 

In the pulpit he appears pretty much as a blind man 
appears everywhere. He is a good singer, and while the 
congregation is assembling he usually sings, by himself, 
some plaintive air, which softens all Jicarts, and swells to 
the very brim the fountains of tears. On rising to pre&ch 
— if it be in a strange place — he first makes a brief recon- 
noisance of his position ; then repeats a chapter from 
memory, and addresses a short prayer to the throne of 
the heavenly grace. After another song, and without 
resuming his seat, he announcf^s his test and begins his 
discourse. With a clear, sharp voice, lie speaks slowly at 
first, but becomes more animated as he progresses. He 
stands quite still, save a slight rocking motion, aud makes 
scarcely a gesture — for he is a stranger to the grace that 
is seen in motions. He is a good natural logician, and 
is inclined to be argumentative. In adducing the proof 
of bis propositions, he brings together texts widely sepa- 
rated in Holy Writ, weaving them into his discourse with 
remarkable force, precision, and beauty. In his better 
days he was a very effective speaker, excelled by few in 



r patlietlc «ad stirring exhortation; but hitterly bta powen, 
< b'llh reafloDing and persi re, ftn on the mne. 

Jn nBgion, when ill walk bjr &ith, be keeps paee 

with the IbremoBt of bis brethren. He is noted for god- 
lineM, brotberlj kindness, and ebaritj — for bis disposition 
to "weep with them that weep," and his readiness to 
" deliver the poor that erf, the fttberless, and him that 
bath none to help him." 

Revelation lights up erery step of his dark way, not 
onlj dispelling despondeDcj, but also supplying him with 
habitual ebeerttalDess. If joa are at leisure, he enters 
f^lj into conversation, smiles at the reception of every 
new idea, and laughs outright at the relation of a good 
anecdote. When your business calls you away be paces 
the floor, feeling the way with his ever-present cane ; or 
site for hours in silent communion with his Maker and 
bis own busy thoughts. Occasionally, at such times, his 
low plaintive voice is heard, as he sings to himself some 
cODSoliog stanza like the following ; 

"PiealoDB Biblel how Hove It, 
How it doth mj boiom oheer, 
Whftt hmth eartli than thii to oo*«tr 
O what itoras of wealth aro harat" 

He is himself something of a poet, and many of the songs 
be sings are of his own composition. The following ia 
one with which he often breaks the " solemn stillness" 
which pervades the house of Qod just previous to the 
commencement of divine service. 

"Tak« wanifDg. tako warning, poor »inn«r«, I pray, I 
Ton now h«ar the goapel, oome and ob«r, 
Lett 7onr ann, it ehoald aet, and jon can't find the way, 
For darkneaa will hinder— In it jon mnit attj. 

Take warning, old paople, while iff oallad (o-da^ \ 
WhiU Jeina invite! 70a, O eoma and aba;, 


T»ke waruing, young people—the yoatL have I 
Tho meaanDger, DpatU, it will not pass yon by ; 
In the oold arms of DeiUli yon soon may Ho low 
And alaa 1 like thu cbftff, have no froit Ihea to 


Here, parants and cliildreD — thny iQrely loQst part, 
Alt ties must be broken that biud heart to heart. 
Oh I think of the frieuds thai are called from time, 
To the haad oT oold death they hare had to resigD. 

Their palUB and their grontie can ne'er oltanga their Btale — 
Ob I the sorrow of mortaU what toQgae can relate I 
Thoagh they're Bllent in death, ipe're still moving along. 
But we'll all have to die, and before very loug. 

To yonder dark prison, poor man, yon most go ; 
While fettered by Death you mast in it lie low. 
It is solemn bat trne, sinner don't wait, 
You had better prepare before it's too late. 

Swift hours will pass, which gold cannot restore- 
When favors are gone you'll be wishing for more ; 
Bui the harvest is past, the snuimer is gone, 
And the poor disobedient forever nndone," 

One Other specimen, in which he has emboclied thoughts 
and hopes that were ever present with him, must termi- 
nate this personal description. To fully appreciate it, one 
must hear him sing it as he sits all alone in an adjoining 

"There is a kingdom I do view, 
And to this place let us pursue ; 
No poisonous breath shall enter there— 
may I in that kingdom share- 
It is a kingdom of delight, 

Their uniforms shine like the 
let QH to that kingdom run. 

There {larenta, obildren, >U shall maet, 
Their joys shull nver bn complete. 
From p&iD and eiokuess ever free — 
let at to that kingdota flea. 

8d let al ran that we may gain. 
And evet in that kingdom reign, 
Where peace and joj (orerer flow, 
And e'en tht blind no darknta knoiB. 

That glorions dajr is rolling oa. 
When I shall lee the tieaTeul; throng, 
And with the blood-washed millions stand, 
fisjoloiug In that eaa-brlght luid. 

Come, ftngelt, itrlka jonr loodeat itnin. 
The lalotH with jou foraver Telgn ; 
There shall aai tears be wiped awa^, 
Mg night b« tnmed to endless cU^." 


This distinguiehed pioneeT was born May ITth. 1811, ia 
JcfTereoa county, Indiana Territory. HU parenU wert 
both natives of Virginia, wheuoe Uiey en)iKrat«d to Ken- 
tucky — his father in I'S).^ and his mother In 1803. Soon 
after their marriage they aj^in turned their boeis tAwatd 
tlic- NorlhwL-st, nnd in llu- l-'ull of ISIO i^fttk^d f,.r iife on 
a creek called Iiidiau Kentucky, in i\w county and Terri- 
tory aforesnid. 

His father, Thomas Jameson, was born of parents who 
were uiemljers of the Kirlt of Scotland, consequently he 
was Kprinklcd in infancy and trained up a Calvinist in the 
strictest sense of tiiat term. His motlier's parents held 
tlie views of the Chnrcli of Enplnnd, but for some cause 
eiie was not christened according to tiie usages of that 
church. By sonic means she had imbibed the doctrine 
of Arminius, and was, therefore, directly opposed to her 
husband on the subject of religion. 

But united in heart and fortune, tliey soon came also to 
"thcunity of tlLc fuith and of the Itnowlcdpe of the Son of 
God-" In the 181G, by the hand of John McClung, 
a young coadjutor of B. W. Stone, they were immersed 
into the Lord Jesus and became members of the old Chris- 
tian Church. 

In the Spring of 1818 the falhorof Love H. chanced to 
form the acijuointiince of Mr. Ji.scph BrynnI, a brother-in- 
law of Alexander CamplK'H. From Mr. Bryant be heard 
for the lirst time of Mr. Campbell, and of the ehangee he 





recommended in the letimi to the "aaciort order.* 8oob 
•iter he Teceired a pamphlet pnblislwd bw nomas and 
Alexander Camphell, in which was pRsented at length 
"The BaslB of Christian Union." This pamphhrt was 
pablished in 1809, three Teats before its anthofs withdrew 
from the Presbyterian Church. With its contents Mr. 
Jameson was well pleased, and woold gtadtj- haTO read 
more from the same source ; bnt from that time he heard 
DO more of the Campbells, or of the Reformation, until the 
jear 1826. 

Among the first religions impressions msde upon the 
mind of Elder Jameson was a prcrfbnnd respect for the 
Holy Scriptures. Many portions of them he committed 
to memory at a very tender age, and their declarations he 
was taught to regard as an end of all coDtrorer^y. In a 
word, he was carefully trained up " in the way he should 
go," and now that he is old he has not departed from it. 

His education was attended with all the diflScuIties In- 
cident to frontier life. There were but few schools, and 
they were conducted by incompetent "masters." His 
first teacher, especially, still holds a place in bis memory 
as an inexorable tyrant. It was, perhaps, a blessing that 
the sessions were short and at Jong intervals ; for had he 
been kept long under such instructors, he might have been 
characterized in after life by a hatred rather than a love of 
literary pursuits. 

It was a happy necessity that kept him the greater part 
of his time under the tuition of his kind pafents, who used 
due diligence in the education of their children, especially 
their first Love. Before he was three years old they pur- 
chased for him a primer, and by the help of its pictures he 
soon became familiar with the names of the letters. This 
done, the advance to spelling and reading was easy and 

In penmanship he certainly enjoyed the disadvaniagea 


of a "new system." With a rude pencil of his own 

manufacture, he executed the characlera on lindiin itlab*; 
nor were these iDipIeoients displaced by pen, ink. and 
paper, until he had learned to write a legible hand. 
This he soon accomplished ; and by the time be was 
seven years old he was so good a scribe, that when 
his first teacher came round with the "Article," he had 
the honor of signing his father's name to that instru- 

From 1818 to 1828 he attended school each Winter; 
and each Summer assisted bis father on the farm. His 
principal study, during that time, was Arithmetic; no 
attention being paid to English Grammar, because it was 
the prevailing opinion that it was calculated only "to 
make fools of the children." The teachers readily en- 
couraged the popular prejudice against a isubject of which 
they themselves were grossly ignorant. Geography was 
then an " untaught question ;" and as for Algebra — hud 
its name been mentioned, those simple pioneers might 
have mistaken it for that of the striped horse (ZebraJ, or 
some more terrible "varmint." Still, what little was 
taught he learned; and, in addition to that, he f^pent his 
leifiun; hours at home in reading every book and paper 
upon which he could lay hands. " U'ecms' Lives of 
Washington and Marion," "The History of the Twelve 
Cffisars," an old " History of London," and a strav copy 
of "Morse's Geography," containing numerous historical 
accounts, were read and re-read until he could repeat 
many portions of them from memory. The historical 
portions of the Old Testament, also — especially those 
relating to the deliverance and subsequent wars of the 
Israelites, were made as familiar as the tales of the 

Aside from his progress in other matters, he, at an 
early age, displayed a remarkable talent for music; and. 


tk fhe fbniier days of his ministiy, he was prominent 
among the sweet singers of the Reformed Israel. 

In 18S6 his fother commenced taking the " Christian 
Baptist" This opened to him a new field; and, with 
napect to the whole family, this was the beginning of a 
new enL He longed for the coming of every number ; 
and when it came, it was his happy privilege to read it 
throngh in the hearing of his parents and any friends that 
might happen to be present 

The information received from this source, together 
with the knowledge derived from his early reading of the 
Scriptores, made him quite a formidable disputant in the 
private discussions of those times. These were of fre- 
quent occurrence ; for Beverly Yawter was already pre- 
senting, with clearness and boldness, the distinctive 
features of the Reformation, while all his fellow-preachers, 
and many of the common people, were bitterly opposing 

Thus things went on until the Fall of 1829. In Sep- 
tember of that year a protracted meeting was held on 
Indian Kentucky, near the residence of Thomas Jameson, 
at which place it had been customary to bold a meeting 
each Fall, for the last ten years. There being no houses 
of worship, the people assembled by day in the groves, 
and, at night, there was usually preaching at several 
different cabins in the neighborhood. On Monday of the 
present meeting it was noised abroad that on the night 
before several persons had '' got religion" at the house 
of an old brother Eccles. This intelligence threw the 
whole community into an uproar. 

For some time previous to that the Reformers had 
rather outnumbered those who held fast the traditions of 
the fathers ; but, the event of the preceding night being 
known, a great many rallied under the orthodox banner, 
and, for a single day, restored that party to the ascend- 


ancf. They controlled thi- lueoling; they preachp<l; 
thoy invited mourners to tlie tillar ; and ha3 th« eotisfac- 
tion of soeinfT many " converted. " About Doon the grvaX 
nsBembly repaired to the water, songa being sung all the 
wiiy. On the bank of the stream Elder Jameson con- 
fessed the Saviour, and was straightway immersed by one 
who understood, as well as faimself, the design of the 

From this time forth there was great religions excite- 
ment in that region. Cut the way which they called 
heresy, gradually gained ground despite the most obstj- 
nste resistance, Elder Jameson took a prominent part 
in every social meeting ; and it was soon insinuated that 
he had a talent for preaeliinp, and that the command was 
to " occupy." Especially did Elder Vawter, and an aged 
brother McMillan, urge him to do the work of an evange- 
list. Yielding to their importunities, he consented ; and 
on the evening of December 25th, 1829, he preached bis 
first discourse. From that time to the present, a period 
of thirty years, he lias been constantly before the public, 

Duringthegreaterpartoftheyearl830he wasengagedin 
teaching, principally for the lienefit of his younger brothers 
and sifters. While thus employed he prosecuted diligently 
the work of self-instruction ; and having acquired a pretty 
good knowledge of his mother tongue, he began the study 
of Greek. In tins, his first text-book was Ironside's Gram- 
mar, which, in his judgment, was most appropriately 
named. It was written in Latin, and to acquire a knoiel- 
edge of either language he had to first vnderstand the other. 
He was, therefore, in much the same predicament as those 
who are taught that they cannot obtain faith until they 
pray for it, while at the same time they cannot pray ac- 
cc]itably without faith ! Yet by the aid of lexicons and 
of his teacher, he penetrated, in places, even Ironside ; 



and wtB soon able to read the New TesUuneDt in the 
original GreeE 

In the mean time he and Elder Yawter coi^ued to 
bold meetings at yarioua points in Jeflferscm an^m adja- 
cent oonntieSi baptising not a few. 

In the FaO of 1882 he visited New Castle, Georgetown, 
ClIntonTille, and other points in Kentuckj. On this tour 
he made the acquaintance of Elders F. R. Palmer, John 
Smith, John Rogers, J. T. Johnson, and other distio- 
gaished pioneers of that State, from whom he received 
many valuable suggestions relative to the work of the 
ministry. Returning home, he again engaged in teaching, 
still preaching regularly, however, and immersing many, 
among whom were several of his pupils. 

In the Spring of 1833 he visited Rising Sun, where he 
made arrangements with D. D. Pratt, the Principal, to 
spend the Summer and Fall in the seminary at that place. 
This he did, studying chiefly English Grammar, Algebra, 
Rhetoric, and Greek. During his connection with this 
institution he defrayed his expenses by instructing the 
preparatory classes. He also preached regularly for a 
congregation some distance in the country ; and under 
his labors quite a number were added to the little church. 
From the very first he seems to have cast the net on the 
right side of the ship. 

This was the last school he ever attended ; but he has 
been, through life, a diligent self-instructor, and has worked 
his way up to an honorable rank among the educated men 
of the church. In the natural sciences, especially, he is 
quite proficient; and notwithstanding the difficulties under 
which he began the study of Greek, he has, by perseverance, 
acquired a critical knowledge of that language. His lite- 
rary character was such, in general, that, in 1859, the Board 
of Directors of the N. W. C. University, on the recom- 


mend&tiun uf l\w Fitcuitv, I'lJiirerrcil un him the honorary 
degree ot A. M. 

Leavii^ the scmiDnr; in November ho relumed to his 
futher's, and once more eD^ged lo teach during the Winter. 
This, his last eehool, closed iti March, 1834, and be imme- 
diately began to make preparations for devoting himself 
entirely to the ministry as a lifo work. His father fully 
i;et before him the difficulties and privations he would hare 
to encounter aa a preacher of the gospel ; but he Btill 
adhered to his purpose, while he looked not at the things 
which are seen and temporal, but at the things which an 
not eeeo and eternal. 

Oo the first day of April, 18S4, lie bade adieu to hoow 
and friends, and set out for Ohio. His first appointment 
was at Rising Sun, from uliich place he proceeded to 
Cincinnati by way of Burlington, Ky. Late in the evening 
he crossed the river at Covington, iind found himself alone 
in the busy throng of the young Queen of the West. He 
soon found his way to the house of a brother T. Murdock, 
who ealended to him Chrisitian hospitality. Having tarried 
here a few days, he proceeded to Carthage, where he 
renewed an a(.'(|uaintanee, previously formed, with Walter 
Scott. Together tiiey held several interesting meetings, 
and finally went to Harrison, on the State line, to fill an 
appointment for Jolin O'Kane. There they mot with Elder 
Carey Smith of Indianapolis, from whom they learned that 
all the churches of the town were closed against them, and 
that they would be under the necessity of holding the pro- 
posed meeting in a barn some two miles up White Water. 

After a hasty meal the trio set out for the said barn, 
where they found only about thirty persons assembled. 
Walter Scott was greatly discouraged, and without cere- 
mony rolled himself up in his great cloak, slowed himself 
nwiiy in a hay mow, ami w,-!U to sleep. The burden of 
tliediiy, therefore, (icvi>Ivcil <in the two wakeful preachers. 


Smith delivered an able discourse ; Jameson followed with 
a fervent exhortation ; and several persons came forward 
to make the g^ood confession. At this juncture Elder Scott 
came hurriedly out of his snug retreat, and, witnokit stop- 
ping to remove the bits of hay from his raven locks, joined 
in the exercises with hearty good will 

As the sun was going down they returned to the village, 
and repaired to the river to attend to the ordinance of 
baptism. A great concourse of people wore present, and 
among them a local preacher by the name of Lincoln, who 
fearing an invasion of the Methodist Zion, determined to 
offer battle at the water. Elder Scott immediately took 
his position on a large boulder, and commenced replying 
to Mr. Lincoln's questions. His faithful co-laborers took 
their positions around him, Testament in hand ; and as 
soon as Mr. Lincoln would put a question they would turn 
to the passage containing the proper answer, and hand it 
up to Elder Scott, who would read it aloud, making such 
comments as he deemed pertinent. This done, all were 
ready for another question and another reply. Thus, until 
the enemy was silenced, raged the Battle of White Water, 
fought with weapons ''not carnal but mighty through 
God to the pulling down of strong holds." By the sin- 
gular contest an intense religious interest was awakened 
in the whole community. From that time till the close 
of the meeting the "bam" was filled to overflowing; and 
before they left the town a goodly number had been added 
to the saved. 

This was the beginning of the Harrison church, which 
was organized in July following with over forty members. 

In the mean time Elder Jameson had engaged to preach 
for the churches at Carthage, Cumminsville, and White 
Oak. His labors at each of these points were attended 
with great success. 

In the month of June he assisted Elders Walter Scott, 


J. G. Mitchell, and Guerdon Ofttes or Kentuckj, ma pto- 
tracted meeting at Paytoti, Ohio. This provod to be & 
kind of city of Samaria ; the gospel met with a cordial 
reception ; and many were brought to the knowledge of 

the truth and the obedience of the faith. 

From DaytoD, Elder Jameson visited Harrison, Rising 
Sun, Vevay, and other points in Dearborn, Ohio, and 
Switzerland counties. At Vevay he engaged in his first 
and last public discussion. Jlis opponent was tbe Rev. 
John Pavy of the Regular Baptist church. 

During flie Fall and Winter of 183« he continued to 
preach at various points in Hamilton county, making oc- 
casional visits to Dayton, and one to Wilmington, where 
be became nequaintcd with Dr. Matthias Wiiiittis. a riis- 
tinpuislied correspondent of the Evangelist and Millenuial 

Early in the Spring of 1835 he revisited Kentucky, in 
company with Walter Scott. Tlicy preached at George- 
town, and at several places in Scott and Woodford coun- 
ties, including Versailles, Paris, and Lexington. Of course 
they did not fail to visit Ashland, where they spent several 
hours with Mr. Clay under his old-fasliioued but hospitable 

On returning to Oliio he found Idlers urging him to 
assume the pastoral care of the church at Dayton. This 
cull be accepted, and in June, 1835, removed to that city. 
Soon afterward he visited Connersville, Indiana, where ho 
assisted John O'Kane in a protracted meeting. Together 
they then went to Rushville, and thence to Indianapolis, 
then an insignificant town of a few hundred inhabitants, 
liaving not a single railroad, and consetiuently as little 
communication with the rest of the world as Jerusalem 
had with Samaria. Hesputtered with mud, and wet ns a 
drenching rain could make them, they entered the court- 
liousu where a few persons had assembled ; and soon forgot 



tbe msffitingB of this present time in contemplating the 
gloiy tiiiA flhftU be reyealed hereafter. At this meeting 
Elder Jameson met^ for the first time, John L. Jones, 
P. M. Blankenship, Butler K. Smith, and otBMr pioneer 

Returning to Dayton, he continued his pastoral labors 
with the most encouraging results. The church at that 
place, - thinking themselves unable to sustain weekly 
jjnaching, permitted him to spend a portion of his time 
in the senrice of congregations abroad. Under this 
arrangement he visited, during the remainder of that year 
and the next, the churches at Fairfield, Wilmington, 
MaysTiUe, Mayslick, Minerva, Carthage, Harrison, Oon- 
nersville, Rushville, Qreensburg, Indianapolis, and other 
points in Ohio, Indiana, and Kentucky. His principal 
co-laborers were D. S. Burnett, Walter Scott, John 
O'Kane, and R. T. Brown. In pairs and trios they jour- 
neyed about on horseback, holding here and there what 
were literally ** big meetings,'' for they usually continued 
several davs, and resulted in the salvation of many. 

In the Winter of 183*7 he attended the Campbell and 
Purcell debate, at Cincinnati ; and took part in the long 
series of meetings which followed that exciting dis- 

In April of the same year he resigned his charge at 
Dayton, and returned to his old, first field at Carthage, 
where he found a true yoke-fellow in the person of 
Dr. L. L. Pinkerton. While at this point he also preached 
regularly for the churches at White Oak, Burlington, 
Mount Pleasant, and Harrison. He made one tour 
through Rush and Fayette counties, Indiana, and one 
through a portion of Kentucky. 

In December, 1837, he was married to Miss Elizabeth 
M. Clark, a woman of such excellent spirit that she was 
soon counted worthy to appear in the society of the blest 


For the acxl two or three years he coaUnued Ut Imui 
UDd prt-aih ae forraerlj-, being presetit, in Uie Wiiilcr of 
iHSiMO, al the great meeting in Cincinuati, which cuu- 
tinued one hundred duys. 

At this time ho was passing — had well nigh passed — 
tho happiest days of his life. Shortly afterward Walter 
Sooit and Dr. I'inkerton removed to Keutuuky ; sonip old 
friends emigrated to the West ; others died ; aud the 
happy circle in which he had been wont lo move, was 
sadly broken. Under such cireumetauces he was no 
longer content with his Geld of labor. Like the lone 
Indian who snapped his bow-strings, threw them on thu 
burial-place of his fathers, and departed toward the setting 
sun, be left with a sad heart the scenes of his joys and 
griefs in Ohio, andjourneyeJ westward to Indiana. 

This general emigration of evangelists was a severe 
blow upon the cause of reform in Ohio. At that very 
time, if ever, there was need of united and untiring effort. 
All that rich and populous region west and north of 
Cineinnati was stretching out its hands for the ancient 
gospel, and, by proper exertion, might have be^ brought 
under its influence. But the golden opportunity was 
suffered to pass unimproved, and the field that was ripe 
for the harvest was never reaped. 

In May, 1840, he rested once more with his little family 
beneath the paternal roof. His first work on returning 
lo Indiana was to revisit the churches for which he had 
been wont to preach in his youth. This being done, he 
constantly extended his field of operations, until he had 
published the ancient gospel in nearly all the cities and 
villages of the southeastei-u portion of the State. 

In some of these places he received a small pittance 
for his labors; but, in the majority of them, he received 
nothing. lie therefore knew "how to be in want," 
though he knew not "how to abound," At no period of 


bis miDistry has there been reason to suspect that Elder 
Jameson was following the Saviour for '* the loaves and 
fishes." During his sojourn in Ohio he never received 
more than four' hundred dollars per annum ; and the 
debts he was compelled to leave unpaid, added not a 
little to the heaviness with which he left that State. It 
was only by rigid economy and stem self-denial that he 
satisfied those old claims, and thus kept the command 
to ''owe no man anything, but to love one another.'' 
Since his return to Indiana his abundant labors in the 
gospel have afforded him a bare support; and pecuniary 
embarrassments that were present in his youth, are 
robbing him of the ease and tranquillity that should 
accompany old age. 

In May, 1841, Elder Jameson located in Madison as 
pastor of the congregation in that city. The year opened 
with bright prospects, but it closed in the deepest gloom. 
At the close of a beautiful day in June, his wife was 
walking in the garden, apparently in perfect health ; and 
while thus engaged, she was suddenly seized with an 
apoplectic fit, and almost instantly expired. 

After this sad bereavement, he continued his pastoral 
labors in Madison until the Fall of 1842. In the mean 
time he made an extensive tour through the Wabash 
country, including the cities of Terre Haute, Crawfords- 
ville, Lafayette, and Indianapolis. 

At the close of the meeting in Indianapolis, he was 
invited to take charge of the church in that city. This 
invitation he accepted ; and on the 5th of October, 1842, 
he entered upon the duties of his new pastorate. Before 
leaving Madison, however, he was again married, to Miss 
Elizabeth K. Robinson, of that city. 

In September, 1843, he accompanied Elder B. W. Stone 
and others to the Illinois State Meeting, which convened 
that year at Springfield. After its adjournment, he 


spent a month in vitiiling iinponant pointa Id llie I'mirits 

In 1845, the State Meeting, which iut.-t at Culumhu*, 
ludiaDa. appoinleil him and Elder Jolin O'Kaiie to irvaa- 
g>^Iize in the aoutliwestera part of the Stulo. Tu this 
miHHion they devoted the Summer of that year, doing 
what they could to extend the Redeemer's kiogdom, is 
the midst of the excitement produced by the national 
difficulties with Mexico. 

For several years suhset|iient to this date he was em- 
ployed, partly by the church at the cupilaJ, and partly bj 
cODgregationa in the vicinity. 

Since 1854, he has preached but little in IndianapoU^ 
hut ho han continued to reside there, laborins incessantlv, 
elsewhere, in word and doctrine. He keeps up his regu- 
lar monthly appointments at some four different churches ; 
and availing himself of the excellent facilities afforded by 
the numerous railroads centering at that place, he pub- 
lishes the glad tidings throughout the entire Common- 
wealth. Even state hnes do not circuniscribe his influ- 
ence ; for, in the last few years, he has visited Ohio, 
Kentucky, Western Missouri, Illinois, New Vork, and 
portions of New England. 

From first to last he has been successful in his ministry ; 
and the Lamb's book of life will reveal many a iiuuie 
written therein through his instrumentality. 

In the personal appearance of Elder Jameson there is 
but little indicative of the hardy pioneer. Aside from 
his silvered locks and patriarchal beard, he exhibits but 
few signs of ohi age. His cheek is but slightly furrowed ; 
bis l)lack, restless eye has lost none of its youthful lire ; 
and he who has known him for a score of years cm 
si-arccly detect any loss of grace or elasticity iri liis step, 
lie weighs about one hundred and forty-five [wunds; is 


LOYB H. JAM880N. 975 

about fiTe feet nine inches high, rather slender, and as 
straight as an Indian. 

As he has risen bj his own elTorts from the hambler to 
the higher and more refined circles, he has departed from 
the stjle of dress, and, somewhat, from the plain and 
simple manners of the former days ; on which account, 
some, who adhere to the simplicity of the olden time, 
think him proud. But he is easily approached, uniformly 
eonrteous, and always sociable, unless his attention hap- 
pens to be engrossed with some particular subject 

With regard to inteUectual ability and scholarship, he 
is considerably above mediocrity. In the main his re- 
seardies are extensive rather than deep ; yet he is not 
saperficial, and on some subjects he is decidedly ofiginal. 
In biblical criticism, especially, he has evinced greater 
acumen than many who eclipse him in reputation. 

He has not written extensively for the public, but has 
for many years contributed sparingly to the Christian 
Record, Millennial Harbinger, and other organs of the 
brotherhood. It costs him much labor to write for the 
press ; for he composes slowly and with great care ; and 
his manuscript, before it leaves his hand, must be in ap- 
pearance altogether unexceptionable. It may be on this 
account that he has not been a more frequent contributor. 
His prose essays certainly compare most favorably with 
the productions of many whose names, in full, appear 
aln\pst weekly in some of the religious papers. Though 
he does not claim to be a poet, he has written some very 
respectable hymns, a few of which have recently appeared, 
over his initials, in " The Weekly Christian Record.'' 

As a pulpit orator he occupies an honorable rank among 
the preachers of his day. He has an excellent voice ; his 
elocution is earnest and emphatic ; in gesture he is fk'ee 
and natural, in language chaste and copious. In speaking 
he holds his head in a rather elevated position, ai d turns 


it about in a peculinr manner, by which slone he would 
be easily recognized were he, in other respects, completely 
disguised. Some censorious critics think him somewlifit 
wordy, dciiultory, and given to repetition. If so, it is not 
because he lacks ability to be concise and logical ; but 
liecuuae he has preached so long and become so familiar 
with every portion of the Scriptures that be has sufferiHl 
bimself to fall into the habit of speaking withoat previous 
preparation. In this particular be is by no means a sin- 
Dor "above all others" — the fault is as common as it is 
grievous. He is a bold and nncom promising defender of 
the truth, yet he is not disputatious or dogmatical His 
discourse is generally designed to point out the path of 
duty to saint and sinner, or to expound some difficult pas- 
sage of Scripture. 

As a Christian he is without spot and blamelri:i!. In 
the congregation, in his fuuiijy, in tiie round of mirth, in 
the house of mourning, in every relation of life, his de- 
meanor is " as hecometh the gospel of Christ. " 

Having been from his youth under the influence of ihat 
wisdom which has "in her left hand length of dayt," liis 
willing spirit is not yet fettered by any serious infirruity 
of the ficsh. On the contrary, lie is still vigorous and ac- 
tive in the ministry, though 

Tha close of tbe day." 



"A weapon iorer yet 

And mightier than the bajonet; 

A weapon that comes down as still 

As auow-flakea fall upon tlie sod, 

As tightnlDgs do the wilt of God." 

Tieligiously he was a Covenanter, as were nil the Cameron 
family in tte oW country. 

On the other side, the Mathesea had been Presbyterians 
almost from the beginning of Protestantism ; but early in 
the present century the father of Jeremiah Matbes, and 
his whole family, wore converted to the views of the 
Regular Baptists, with whom they all became identiGed. 

About t)ie yt.'ar 1825, the jiarents of Elder Matbes 
became convinced of the errors of the Calvinistic system, 
and of the folly of all human creeds. In consequence of 
this conviction they left the Baptist Church and united 
with the Old ChriBtian body, in Owen county, Indiana, 
whither they had removed some years before. 

James M. was the second of a family of eleven children, 
six sons and five daughters. Two of his brothers, John 
C and J. J. W., are also able ministers of the gospel. 
Tlie other three, Henry, William, and Franklin, are indus- 
trious and well-to-do farmers. All the brothers, together 
with the five sisters, are still living, and all are faithful 
members of tlie Chri.=!tian Church. 

Elder Matbes was strictly brought up in that particular 
form of Calvinism held by the Begular Baptist Church. 
His public teachers in these things were John Taylor, Wm. 
Keller, George Waller, Zacheus Carpenter, and other early 
preachers of Kentucky, whose names are yet familiar to 
many aged diKci]>les. In their doctrine wore many things 
hard to be understood, yet he endeavored to believe " every 
word," because it was believed by his parents, in whose 
judgment he reposed implicit confidence. 


His mother taught him to read when he was very young ; 
and the first act that he can remember is his reading the 
Holy Scriptures. Thus early was he taught to love the 


Bible and reverence it as '' indeed and in truth the word 
of the living God." Through this wholesome teaching it 
is probable that the outline of his character and the course 
of bis future life were marked out before he was eight 
years old I 

Certain it is that at a very early period of his life ho 
manifested a remarkable fondness for public speaking, in 
which he was promptly aided and encouraged by his 
parents and grandparents. His grandfather, especially, 
who was a well-informed man, took great delight in 
teaching him to make little speeches and take part in 
simple dialogues. As often as a few of the neighbors 
would come in, the old gentleman would place the young 
orator upon a table, where he would pronounce his little 
orations to an audience far better entertained than many 
have been by more prosy and more pretending addresses. 

At church he watched with a mimic's eye all the move- 
ments of the speaker, and, on returning home, he practiced 
the same attitudes in the delivery of the short and simple 
speeches which his hopeful grandfather bad taught him. 
Even at that age he had resolved to be a preacher of the 
gospel ; and often would he discourse with great earnest- 
ness to his playmates, all seated around according to his 
directions, and all listening demurely to his admonitions. 
At a later period he used to write his discourses, one of 
which is believed to be extant, but in a portion of the 
country not now accessible. It was written on the fol- 
lowing passage in Jeremiah : '' O that you had hearkened 
to my commandments ; then had your peace been as a 
river and your righteousness as the waves of the sea." 

Soon after his father's immigration to Indiana, a mis- 
sionary by the name of Isaac Reed came from Western 


New York, and «etlk<l in the same t)«igliborfaood ai a 
noted Big Spring near Gosport. Boing Ppesbyterians, utd 
haviDg a " zeal for God, but not according to knowledge," 
they opened a Sunduy-Bcltool In their own robin. Tlw 
eetablishmcnt of this ecbiiol was hailed with delight hj 
the juceniie preacher. He attended regularly, applied 
himself closely, and Rooii became dislinguisbed for his 
proficiency in memorizing the Scriptures. " The Shorter 
OtttBchism" ho bIbo mastered eo completely, that he coqW 
nwHwer almost every question it contained. Along with 
these answers, he received into his mind much error; but 
the inspired texte committed, proved to be as " a little 
leaven that leareneth the whole lump." Even the knowl- 
edge of the doi'trinps oni! coiiimaniJment? of men, thus 
acquired, has been no disadvantage to him in the confiict 
of life. 

This was the first school of any kind he ever attended. 
When, in 181fi. hia father removed with him to Indiana, 
Owen county was a wilderness from which the savages 
had not ri'lircd before the advancing tide of civilization. 
It afforded then, and during nine years subsequent to that 
time, no facilities whatever for education. It was not till 
the year 1825, that Scott W. Young (who subsequently 
married the eldest sister of Elder Mathes) came from 
Kentucky, and taught several schools in Owen county. 
These schools Elder Mathes attended regularly, and by 
close application he acquired tbe rudiments of a common 
education, including a smattering of English grammar. 

From a child he was inclined to wisdom's ways. The 
simple prayers taught him by his pious parents were 
seldom neglected until he attained to sufficient age to 
embody, in words of his own, the grateful emotions of his 
heart. He often prayed to his Heavenly Father in secret 
and inquired of his relatives and friends wliat he must do 
to be saved. But they were blind leaders of the blind. 


J A M E S M . >1 A T H E S . J ^ 1 

anxious, but incompetent, to show him the path of life. 
He longed to see some great 'Might from heaven," to 
"hear the voice of an angel," or, at least, to dream some 
good, orthodox dream, which would be satisfactory evi- 
dence of his acceptance with God. But he could neither 
see, hear, feel, nor dream any thing that gave him full 
assurance of his conversion. 

He continued in this uncertain state of mind for five 
long years. He attended the meetings of all denomina- 
tions, but none of the preaching afforded him any relief, 
for none was according to the oracles of God — none took 
away the yail of Calvinism, which was closely drawn 
oyer bis heart. According to the direction of the Cal- 
Tinist he endeavored to resign himself to perdition. Fol- 
lowing the advice of the preacher of " free grace," he 
repaired to the anxious seat. All the popular expedients 
were resorted to in vain. Tear after year did the wintry 
gloom disappear from the face of Nature ; but from his 
brow the dark clouds were not driven. Spring after 
Spring the yemal sun called forth leaf and blossom ; but 
no mysterious power caused to appear, in his heart, " the 
tender leaves of hope." On every side of him others 
glorified God ; but he, though equally sincere, had no 
new song put into his mouth. 

Unable to reconcile this fact with the Scripture which 
affirms that God is no respecter of persons, he presented 
his difficulty to the ministers, who attributed his ill 
fortune to his toant of faith. It may seem strange that 
ander their instruction he had been praying for years 
without faith. But the fact is they proceeded on the cor- 
rect assumption that the penitent had faith when he pre- 
sented himself at the altar of prayer ; and when one pro- 
fessed to have obtained pardon they received his testimony 
as an additional proof that justification is by faith only. 
But when, as in the case of Elder Mathes, there was a 

fniliire in the strungle for remission of sms, tbeTdarei] not 
acknowledge tho fuSth of the ponlUtut, for by eo doing lh«j 
would have diKproved at once the "wort leholesome doc- 
Irine and very full of comfort," The extremity to which 
the system was reduced by these failures, gave rise tott 
leset two grievous but popular errors. 

1. The. denial uf the. failh of the nnisuccessful pentienl, 
neceanarily oHginaled the doctrine of repentance befort 

2. The Bttrihnting of the failure to lack of faith on the 
part of the penitent, necessarily originated the ides <>f 
diveri kinds of failh. For since the Scriptures Bay, 
" Let him that ask^h ask in faith," the preach«iB wen 
bound to admit thnt faith is antecedent to prayer. Now, 
the praying penitent having failh, and the doctrine of 
"justification bj failh only" being true, pardon was to be 
expected, in every instance, aa a logical, an inevitable 
sequence. When it did not follow — when the subject 
did not to have " got religion." some objection had 
to be made to one or the other of the premises. The 
umjor premise, that " we are justified by faith only" could 
not be objected to because it was in the creed. The 
minor premise had been admitted — namely, that the peni- 
tent had faith before he prayed ; therefore there remained 
but one way of escape, and that was by affirming that the 
faith of the penitent was not of the ri(jhl hind. Hence 
the origin of such phrases as " failh of assent," " saving 
faith," etc., etc. The system sought out this invention 
for the sake of self-preservation — on this ground only is 
it pardonable. 

Sadly perplexed by these absurd teachings. Elder 
Mathes souglit in skepticism the relief he could not find 
in religion. He doubted, for the first time, the authen- 
ticity of the Scriptures ; withdrew for nearly a year from 
the sanctuary; sought to forget Uod in Ihe conipany of 

JAMX8 M. M ATHBB. " 888 

the gtj and thoughtless ; devoted his leisure hoars to ttie 
nftding of infidel hooks ; and stopped not in bis hopeless 
career until he reached the very horder of atheism. 

But in every gidd j round of pleasure he saw continually 
before htm tiie meek and troubled expression of his pious 
and affectionate mother, who, more watchful than he had 
anticipated, perceived with pain his every aberration 
from the path of virtue. Her influence, and that alone, 
kept him from plunging openly into ** many foolish and 
hurtfril lusts that would have drowned him in destruction 
and perdition." 

Finally he resolved to dismiss from his mind, as far as 
possible, all previous religious teaching; and to read 
again the New Testament as if he had never read It 
before. In so doing his doubts were all dispelled, and he 
again believed with all his heart that "Jesus is the 
Christ, the Son of God." 

The entrance of God's word also gave him light as to 
the means by which he might obtain pardon. In looking 
into "the perfect law of liberty," he saw, with some 
degree of clearness, the plan of salvation ; and was made 
exceedingly happy In believing the truth. 

With joyful haste he communicated his convictions to 
his religious friends, some of whom, to his surprise, 
expressed serious doubts relative to the safety of his more 
excellent way, while some confidently pronounced his 
strange doctrine a delusion of the devil. 

Among others he went to see an old brother by the 
name of John Snoddy, a very candid and pious man, and 
one of the few that, with B. W. Stone, seceded from the 
Presbyterian Church in Kentucky. After his youthful 
visitor had stated his view of the gospel plan of saving 
sinners, the* old brother replied with tearfUl eyes as fol- 
lows : " Brother James^^^ said he, ^^it is contrary to my 
experience, but what am I that lahould withetand Oodf 

2»4 ' PlONBltll l-URACUBSS. 

You are righi. II in the I^riVti tcord, and thrtx/ort »a/t. 
Oa on, and Oie Lord bUits i/uu, my mi." lulic« ctui not 
i|i> jU8lii» U> these " words Sljy spoken." They deserve 
tti be iDBcribed in lettcre of gold on every eeclariui pulpit 
in lite land. Ttiey gave great eneouragcniont to tbe 
yiiun^ ffformer, who resolved to obey the gospel tbe very 
first 0[iportuiiity. 

TImi upjiiirlunity did not present itself for a long time; 
[or in all that wction of eountry there i«m not a preacher 
that toottUi itmnerac him "for the reiaueion of sin*.'" 

At that time he had beard of Alexander Csii]pt>ell. but 
he knew nothing whatever of his views. He had idwsys 
beard him epoken of as an arch-heretic ; and he bad not 
ihu remotest idea that Campbcl! was in advance of him in 
tlie very way which he (Mathea) liad recently discov- 
ered. Elder Mathes is, therefore, another who derived his 
"(7cm/>6e?iiMHi" directly from the Bible. In the absence 
of other testimony, the fact that so many in that dark era 
came, each without the knowledge of another, to the same 
conclusions, from the study of the Scriptures, would be at 
least strong presumptive evidence that the doctrine they 
then embraced, and have since maintained, is taught in the 
book of God. 

About the 1st of September, 1827, Mr. Mathes obtained 
a copy of Campbell's " New Version" and a few numbers 
of the "Christian Baptist." I'he former greatly assisted 
him in arriving at tbe true meaning of the Scriptures, 
while his faith was confirmed by the able articles con- 
tained in the latter. 

In October following ho attended a great camp-meeting 
held by the Newllghts at Old Union meeting-house, in 
Owen county. On Sunday morning he walked out with 
Elder John Henderson, one of the principal preachers, sat 
down with him on a. log. and actually tauyht him "Ike wui/ 
of God more ptrfeclli/." At first the good man listened 


With sospicioB ; but as the argumeDt progressed he became 
deeply interested, and, finally, was so overwhelmed with 
evidence that he exclaimed : " Ton are right, my son ; it 
18 the Lord's plan ; and whatever he commands I can 
cheerfully perform I I am ready to immerse you for the 
remission of sins." They then returned to the place of 
meeting, and, at the close of a discourse by Elder Blythe 
McOorkle, Father Henderson, with a word of apology and 
explanation, invited sinners to come forward, confess the 
Saviour as he was confessed in primitive times, and be 
baptized every one of them for the remission of sins. J. 
M. Mathes and his sister Eliza made the good confession, 
were immersed straightway by Elder Henderson, and, for 
the time being, united with the Old Christian or Newlight 

Immediately after his immersion he began to take an 
active part in the public prayer-meetings, exhorting his 
brethren as often as he was called upon. He also engaged 
earnestly in teaching from house to house, and by the way- 
side, the things pertaining to the kingdom of God. 

He may be said to have entered upon his ministry when 
he sat down on the log with Elder Henderson — in fact 
when he first discovered the divine plan of pardon ; for 
the gray-haired minister that immersed him was really bis 
third convert, his sister being the second^ and old Brother 
Snoddy the first. 

On the 5th of March, 1829, he was married to Sophia 
Glover, a pious young sister in the household of faith. 
She was born in Virginia, whence her father removed, 
first to Montgomery county, Kentucky, and subsequently 
to Owen county, Indiana. Through their long pilgrimage 
together she has been an exemplary Christian, an amiable 
and faithful companion. Meek and uncomplaining, she 
has submitted with cheerfulness to the lot of a minister's 
wife, and has always encouraged her husband to labor for 


the BslraljOD of sinnors and lli«' cxtenGioQ of tb« Redecm- 
ert kingdom. 

Their uiilun has been bleei^pd irith three sons and thrro 
daughters, all of whom arc aull living, and all are nicni- 
bera of the Church of Christ except the youngest son. 

In June, 1831, he re-orgaiUEod the church at Old Vniou. 
all the members entering heartily into the Reformalion 
except one aister, who joined the Protestant Methodists 
and became a public teacher of their doctrine. In the 
absence of more esperienced leadens, he waa compelled 
to take a prominent part in the conduct of the now orgao- 
jsation, the work of edifying the body devolving alnuiM 
entirely upon him. 

In the Fall of tli.' sump rear (1831) tlie (ir?t co-opera- 
tion meeting held in the State took place at Crawfords- 
ville. To that meeting he and Elder T. C. Johnson were 
appointed messengers. Arriving upon the ground, they 
found the following preachers in attendance, viz. ; Michael 

Combs, Andrew I'rather, Jas. R. Ross, Sears, John 

M. Harris, and \Vm. Wilson— only six, a. number which 
clearly indicates that the Reformation in Indiana was 
then in its infancy. At that meeting, and in the house 
of old brother James JlcCulIough, Elder Mathes made 
his first attempt at preaching, beyond the bounds of his 
own congregation. 

Returning home, the messengers aforesaid entered with 
fresh vigor into the evangelical field ; yet tlieir sphere of 
usefulness was necessarily limited. Elder Johnson was 
clerk of the county ; and Eider Mathes was obliged to 
teach school for a livelihood. Consequently to preach 
on Sundays, and occasionally to hold a two-days meeting, 
was the best they could do. 

The plan of sustaining an evangelist by contributions 
from the peuple — for there were no churches — had been 
but slightly discussed, and had uiet with but little favor 


In tiiat qaarter of the world, also, the doctrine obtained 
that a minister of the gospel ought to preach for nothing 
and board himself It was generally supposed to be right 
to feed a preacher's horse, if he was so fortunate as to 
have one ; and also to feed the preacher himself, if he 
would go from house to house for his meals. There was 
no law against giving him a pair of socks, especially if, 
as he sat around the old-fashioned fireplace, his protrud- 
ing toes inyoked a covering ; and if he- had a river to 
cross in order to reach his next appointment, it was con- 
ceded to be lawfdl for some rich man to slip into his hand 
the amount of tlie ferriage. This last act, however, was 
perpetrated very stealthily, that the left hand might not 
know what the right hand did ! 

Under these circumstances, he did not receive from the 
churches, during the first ten years of his ministry, an 
average of one hundred dollars per annum. Even this 
small pittance was received, for the most part, in articles 
of food and raiment — country jeans, the broadcloth of 
those times, being a legal tender. 

The perquisites of his office were also few and small. 
On a certain occasion, he rode some six or eight miles, in 
very cold weather, to join in happy wedlock a country 
lad and lass. The ceremony performed, the delighted 
groom took him to one side and inquired the amount of 
his claim. He replied that in such cases he usually made 
no charge ; but left the amount to be determined by the 
liberality of the party benefited. " Well, then," said the 
new-made husband, " take this, any how," at the same 
time dropping into his hand three Spanish bitSf or thirty- 
seven and a half cents. 

From 1830 to 1838 he taught school the greater part 
of his time, but preached on Sundays in the neighbor- 
hood, and, occasionally, during his vacations, he held 
protracted meetings at various points. His labors were 

mostly confined to the counUes of Clay, Owen, Moaroo, 
Morgau, Futaam, and Lawrence. He was very eacceet- 
fill in bill ministry; many new churelies were organixtil; 
and hundreds obeyed the gospel and took their stand on 
tlie Bible alone. 

In I lie year 1833 he was ordained to the ministry by 
fasting;, prayer, and the imposition of handn. 

!■ the Fall of the game year, while on a tour through 
Clay county, he met with a violent opposer by the name 
of Burberage, with whom he first measured swords in 
public. The conflict was short, but decisive j and hardly 
deserves to be called a debate. . 

The following Autumn, however, a regular discussion 
took jilaee at Pleasant Garden, Putnam county, between 
him and the Rev. Lorenzo D. Smith, of the M. E. Church. 
This was a highly exciting contest, which resulted in 
great good to the cause of reform, and inflicted a blow 
upon Methodism from which it has not recovered to this 

In (hose days he had many little skirmishes with the 
enemies of the truth; for ht; was assailed on every band, 
and he never declined battle when it was offered. 

By this time he had aci|uired, mainly by his own efforts, 
a tolerable English education ; but his experience in de- 
bates k'd him to desire a wider scope of information, and 
a more thorough mental discipline — especially did he covet 
a knowledge of the Greek language. He therefore deter- 
mined to make an effort to secure these desired objcct.-i. 
Many things stood opposed to the enterprise, not the least 
of which was poverty. But he rented out his little farm 
in Owen county, gathered together a small sum of monev 
by selling off his stock, and, in Autumn of 1838, removed 
to Bloomington, and became a student of the State Uni- 

To maintain his family and defray his expenses in col- 


lege, he preached regularly for the churches at Blooming- 
ton, Clear Creek, Harmony, and Richland. These con- 
gregations prospered in his hands, and, despite this extra 
labor, he made rapid progress in his studies, especially in 

There were with him in the Greek Testament class 
several young men of Pedobaptist training, and conse- 
quently of Pedobaptist views. When the class began, 
the President. Dr. Wylie, instructed them to translate the 
original text as if it had never been translated, giving to 
every word its primary meaning^ according to their seve- 
ral lexicons. Under this rule they all went on harmo- 
niously until they came to the word jSa/tr^C^cv. This 
Elder Mathes rendered ''to immerse." The Pedoes pro- 
tested, but he persisted. Unable to silence him bj their 
own arguments, they appealed to Dr. Wylie, who, in 
hearing their grievances, decided that there was no just 
cause of complaint — that Mr. Mathes was only obeying 
orders, for such was vriihovi doubt the primary sigyiijica- 
tion of the term. The decision was final ; but the Pedo- 
baptists, wiser than seven men that could render a rea- 
son, continued to use the word "baptize." 

This was by no means the only concession that the 
learned Presbyterian Doctor made to his pupil, with 
whom he condescended to an intimate acquaintance. lie 
frankly admitted the correctness of many tenets of the 
Reformation, and was, for a long while, almost persuaded 
to be a Christian. 

He remained in the University until April, 1841, and 
was, at the time of leaving, a member of the senior class. 
Financial embarrassments prevented him from being 

On leaving college he returned to his little farm in 
Owen county ; and, having made arrangements for its 
cultivation, he gave himself wholly to the word. Being 


ezceediiigl; zoaloue, lie labored iDceesantly night U)d 
dBj; «nd, in all places, bis efforts were orownetl with 
remarkablu Bucceas. Ilaviog learned also to wi«ld tW 
pen, he began to contribute to the Chriatian periodical* 
generally; and, by this means, he soon became widely 
known ua an able and earnest advocate of primittre 

In the month of February, 184S, he met the Rer. 
James Scott, of the M. E. Church, in a public discussion. 
This took place at Martinavitle, Morgan county, and con- 
tinued three days. The result of the engagement may be 
inferred from the fact that, until thia day, the Christians 
have occupied the field in force. 

In the Fall of this year he attended the annual meet- 
ing at Old Mill Creek, Washington county. John 
"Wright, sr., presided; Absalom Littell, and other 
preachers, assisted ; but Elder Mathes was tbe chief 
speaker. The meeting continued only eight days, and 
closed with one hundred addilions. Such glorious meet- 
ings were frecjucnt in those days, when the disciples had 
not only knowledge, but zeal according lo knowledge — 
when tlioy did not slirink from pointing out the difference 
between Christianity and various itftn-i. tlinmgb fear of 
being called "uncharitable." During the year ending 
May, 1843, Elder Mathes immersed six hundred and 
iseven persons. Even a grealer number wore eulisted 
under his preaching, but some were immersed by other 
hands. This was the most successful year of his minis- 
try ; but for thirty years past he has proselyted from two 
to three hundred per annum, making a total of five or six 

In May. 1843, he engaged in another public debate, at 
Greencastle. His opponent was Rev. Erasmus Manford, 
the editor of a Universalist paper at Terre Haute, and 
the great apostle of Universalism in Indiana. 

J A M E S M . M A T H E S 2!> I 

In July of this year he commenced the publication of 
" The Christian Record," a neat monthly of twenty-four 
pages. Except the Millennial Harbinger, it is the oldest 
liFiog adYOGate of the current Reformation. It was first 
iflsaed at Bloomington, and it g^radually increased in 
popularity until it reached its maximum circulation of 
five thousand. 

Oyer these subscribers, their families and friends, he, 
for years, exerted a controlling influence. Through the 
colnmns of his paper he inspired their hearts with zeal 
and courage ; opened the Scriptures to their understand- 
ing; showed them how good and pleasant it is for 
brethren to dwell together in unity ; demonstrated the 
erils — ^the sin — of sectarianism ; and warned them against 
erery delusion, of whatever name or description. Mil- 
lerism and TJniversalism, especially, he combated with 
signal ability, until they were no longer able to oflfer a 
respectable resistance. 

The cause of education also received special encourage- 
ment from his columns. He did much to extend the fame 
and influence of the State University ; and his pen was 
one of the ablest advocates of the establishment of the 
N. W. C. University, which is now the pride of the 
brotherhood. He was one of the original commissioners 
named in the charter of that institution ; and was a mem- 
ber of the Board of Directors from its organization until 

At the beginning of Volume V. the number of pages 
of the Record was increased to thirty-six, and the amount 
of reading matter nearly doubled. At the same time the 
publisher associated Elder Elijah Goodwin with him in 
the editorial management of the paper. This partnership 
continued to the middle of Volume VI., first series, when 
Mr. Goodwin retired from the firm. 

In the Fall of 1843 he sold his farm and removed to 


BloDmiD^an that he might the i)ett«r euperiatend his 
piihliKhiiig business. 

About the yeiir 1848 bo purchawd the office, press uid 
stook of the " Bloom in gtoti Herald," and comineticed the 
additiona] publicattoo of " The Indiana Tribune," a weekly 
family newspaper, neutral in politico. 

In the Spring of 1851 he discontinued the Tribune, and 
removed to Indianapolis, where be continued the publica- 
tion of the Record. There he also engaged in the book 
oud Btationery businese ; and finally becaino a stockholder 
in ihe Indiana Journal Company. 

During Lie residence in Indianapolis be performed as 
iQjmt'nac amount of labor. In addition ta his editorial 
employ men li*, lie preached a jjreal deal in variou.s parts 
of the State ; was for a while pastur of the congregation 
in the city ; attended to ibe business of his book concern ; 
and rendered efGcieiit service as a nicniber of the Ese- 
cutive and Building Committees of the N. W. C. Uni- 
versity. Under such constant pres.sure his health pave 
way ; and he found it necessary to undo the heavy burden 
by changing his locality. 

Accordingly, on the 5th of November 1855, he left 
Indianapolis and removed to a farm which lie had pur- 
chased, near Bedford, in Lawrence county. He left the 
city with a sad heart; for he had been unfortunate in his 
business transactions, and was poorer by several hundred 
dollars than when he entered into it. lie is another of the 
few who, realizing the truth of the Saviour's aphorism, 
have chosen to fail in the service of Mammon rather than 
in the service of God. 

For a few years after his removal to Lawrence he con- 
tinued to pu)>lish tiie Record at Indianapolis; but he 
finally established a printing office at Bedford, which then 
Ix-iriime the place of publication. In a few months he 
again removed the Record to Indianapolis, where he con- 


tinued to have it issued until June, 1859, when, owing to 
the inconvenience of editing at so great a distance, he 
transferred it into the hands of Elder Elijah Goodwin, by 
whom it is at present controlled. 

This excellent periodical Elder Mathes ably conducted 
through sixteen and a half volumes, which will be in- 
valuable to the future historian, who shall record the Rise 
and Progress of the Reformation in Indiana. 

Improved in health but not in fortune by his residence 
in Lawrence, he gave up his farm, for which he was 
unable to pay ; removed with his family to New Albany ; 
and became the pastor of the church in that city. This 
position he occupied from June, 1859, to May, 186 1. 

While at New Albany he prepared and published a 
book of four hundred and eight pages, entitled, " Works 
of B. W. Stone." It is chiefly compiled from the writings 
of that lamented servant of God, and is a valuable addition 
to our Christian literature. 

He also published, in 1861, a little volume of one hun- 
dred and eighty-nine pages, titled, " Letters to Bishop 
Morris." It contains fifteen letters addressed to Thomas 
A. Morris, D. D., Senior Bishop of the M. E. Church. 
The first eleven letters are a review of a small work by 
the bishop, entitled, "The Polity of the M. E. Church.^' 
In the other four the author gives his reasons for not 
being a Methodist. It is written in popular style ; and 
those who may read it, will be both interested and 

In May, 1861, he removed from New Albany to assume 
the pastoral oversight of the congregation at Bedford. 
The estimate placed upon his services at New Albany, 
may be inferred from the following resolutions, adopted 
on the eve of his departure : 

" Whereas^ Our beloved brother James M. Mathes has 
signified his intention to dissolve the relationship which 


haa for some leo^lh of time t-xwieiJ lietween hiueelf as 
[iftsUir and oiirselven aa tlie ChrimiuD ohitrch in New Al- 
bany j tlicrpfore, 

"lie»ohvd, That )t is with deep regret that we part with 
brotber Mnihes, who, hj his Chnstiiin deponmeDt, bright 
example, and able ministry, hae won for himself oar lasting 
respect and esteem. 

" Bi'eoloed, That our good wishes, our kind remem- 
brances, and our prayers, will accompany him wherever he 
may go ; and that we can and do cheerfully and cordiallj 
commend htm to all with whom he may hereafter assodata, 
as a Christian and miDist«r worthy of the love and esteem 
of the wise and good." 

By the church at Bedford he is no less Iwlovod ; and 
his success there has been even greater than in Xow Al- 
liiiny. Under his able ministry has grown up a large 
congregation, which is just completing a house of worship 
second to but few Christian churches in the State. No man 
living exerts a stronger or more healthful influence over 
the chizens of Lawrence county. 

Both of his ninrried chihlrcn reside at Bedford, the 
I'resence of whom and of a multitude of brethren and 
friends who fully appreciate him and his labors, greatly 
liplileus the otherwise heavy burdeu of his long-accumu- 
hiting cares. 

Fur the last thirty years he has been industriously em- 
ployed in the evangelical field ; during which period his 
preaching alone has induced thousands to glorify the 
Father in the confession of the Son. Of these converts 
over four thou.iand have been immersed by his own hands. 
'I'lie heirs of salvation have also been greatly nmltiplied 
liy many evangelists whom he has induced lo enter the 
niinistry, having first qunlified themselves for its work. 

If we add t,> all this the effect of his public discussions, 
and the influence of his writings — which will no doubt be 

JAMS8 M. MATHS8. 295 

Te-published and read by thousaods after his death — we 
shall then only approximate the blessed results of his self- 
sacrificing and well-spent life. 

Elder Mathes is a medium-sized man, having weighed 
until recently about one hundred and forty-five pounds. 
He is now considerably heavier. He is five feet nine 
inches high, has a full round chest, and great muscular 
power. He stoops a very little, as he walks with a quick, 
stealthy step. As he moves along there is nothing osten- 
tatious about him, his dress, or his gait. He has coarse 
black hair, and his blue eyes indicate a meek and quiet 
spirit, a sober, reflecting mind. He has a fine constitution, 
which is but slightly impaired by the infractions of time 
and toil. True, his hair is sprinkled with gray, and his 
beard bcigins to whiten with the frost of age ; but his step 
is still firm, his vigor of mind and body unabated. 

The following are the leading traits of his character. 
1. He is a man of great ingenuousness. To his brethren 
and friends he opens his heart without reserve ; and even 
in the presence of strangers there is about him no appear- 
ance of stiffness or distrust. He never attempts, by any 
ambiguity of speech or insincerity of action, to appear on 
both sides of a question, but he promptly chooses his po- 
sition and frankly gives expression to his views. This 
element of character manifests itself, especially in his public 
discussions. In such engagements, however closely con- 
tested, he scorns all alliance with equivocation, sophistry, 
or deceitful handling of the word of God. 

2. Very much of his usefulness as well as happiness, 
results from his eminent sociability. Wherever he goes 
he soon forms the acqaintance of almost every body ; all 
his acquaintances are his friends ; and being such they are 
the more easily persuaded to become the friends of Jesus 
by keeping his commandments. Aside from the know- 


lef^ of a graver kind, he has on inexhaustible supply of 
anecdotes, wbicb but few can relal« to b«tler advantage 
or mtfa more pleasure than himself. Though be has trans- 
mitted a rich legacy of nnt to each of hia children, yet he 
is still blessed above his fellows with that rare faculty 
which never fails to make its possessor a favorite in the 
social circle. His wit never descends to obscenity and 
foolish jesting : — 

" Beligiou i<arbs iniieed its nsutaii play, 
Anii bringn the trifler under rigorous sway : 
But glvoB it nsBfulneaa nnknown before. 
And, purifying, miksB it ghine tho more." 

3, Of puch a nature as h'K, hospitality is a spontaneous 
growth. He uses it without grudging, though not without 
detriment to hia earthly estate. His house has always 
been a kind of Disciples' Inn, open, and but too well 
patronized, on all occasions. He is ardently attached, 
not only to his family, but also to his brethren and friends; 
and in the entertainment of his visitors, he spares neither 
pains nor expense. 

4. He is a true philoniathean — one who loves the truth 
and searches for it as the covetous do for hid treasure. 
In the course of his life he has investigated a great variety 
of subjects, and, although not particularly noted for his 
scholarship, his mind is well stored with useful knowledge 
— especially the knowledge of God and of the great plan 
of redemption. His whole nature i;? deeply imbued with 
that wisdom which coraeth down from above — which is 
" first pure, then peaceable, gentle, easy to be entreated, 
full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and 
without hypocrisy." 

6. As a speaker he is always ready upon any subject 
witiiin the wide range of his investigations, llis mental ■ 
forces are so well disciplined, that they can be brought 

JAMX8 M. MATHBS. 39i| 

into action at a moment's notice ; and his retcDtive memory 
is well stored with the munitions of intellectual warfare. 
He is never eloquent; but he speaks with remarkable 
fluency, and apparently without effort. His voice is clear, 
mellow, and of more than ordinary compass ; yet he does 
not startle his hearers with his emphasis, nor does he tickle 
their ears with a great variety of tones : it is the constant 
flow of well chosen words, each laden with its portion of 
some good idea, that at once pleases and instructs. There 
is nothing theatrical about his delivery. During the whole 
of his discourse he often stands in the very same spot, his 
feet close together ; and his gestures are usually few and 
unimpressive. Yet, after all, his manner is earnest ; his 
argument is conclusive ; his exhortation is warm, seldom 
impassioned, often effectual. In the selection of his sub- 
jects he makes no effort to find "some new thing;" and 
his preaching is of that quality which "doeth good like a 
wierficine," rather than of that highly-seasoned kind, which 
is pleasant to the taste, but productive of spiritual debility. 
He does not hesitate to declare the whole counsel of God, 
nor to expose any or all dogmas that may retard the pro- 
gress of the truth ; but his delivery is so mild, his repre- 
sentations so fair, and his expositions so clear and con- 
vincing, that he seldom gives offence. Especially, where 
he is known, can he, with impunity, utter sentiments 
which, if expressed by any one else, would be regarded as 
highly offensive. 

His whole pulpit character is pretty well delineated in 
the following poetical description of 

** A Tet'ran warrior in the Christian field, 
Who never saw the tword he cotUd not wield : 
Grave without dullness, learned without pride, 
Exact, jet not precise — though meek, keen-ejed ; 
A man that would have foiled, at their own plaj, 
A doxen would-be 's of the modern daj ; 

Who, when oocnEion jnstified it« om, 
Had wiV at hrii/lit at readg to produt* ; 
CaM/rhh/raw Ttcord, of an tarlUr a^. 
Or from philoaophy's BnlightHued p»ge, 
Hia rich ntsIeriaU, and regale yonr eHr 
With strsina it was a privUege to liear : 
Tet, above all. his iDiurf anpreme 
And his chief glory «m the quspbl tbkuii : 
Thers ho wm oopiona afl old QreBco or Ron 
EIb happy eloquence aeemed there at bomi 
Ambiriout, not Iq thine or to txctl. 
Bat lo treat justly what he loved so well." 

6. Ab a writer he has loog occupied a high rank, as the 

popularity of the Record, and of hia other publications, 

ciearly attests. With the pen, as in the pulpit, lie imitates 
no one ; but dashes on in a bold, free, independent style. 
He pays but little attention to rhetorical flourishes, but is 
prolifie of ideas, which he conveys to his readers with 
great force and clearness, though not always in the fewest 
words. He is emphatically a ready writer, composiug 
with aa much ease as lie speaks. 

T. As a religious editor he was eminently successful, 
because of his rare qualiGcations. He possessed a tho- 
rough knowledge of the Scriptures and of the teneta 
of opposing sects, courage to stem the tide of opposition, 
prudence to avoid expressions that would have engen- 
dered unprofitable strife, a nice discernment in the selec- 
tion of matter, a quick perception of what ought to be 
encouraged or opposed, and, above all, the ability to 
wield a swift, vigorous, and untiring pen. In every 
department of the Christian field he has been useful ; but 
it is chiefly as a public journalist that he has made hi." 
indelible mark upon the ago. 

As already observed, lie has not yet been overtaken by 
the infirmities of age, and his ancestors being remarkable 



for their long life, there is reason to hope that the day is 
far distant when his face shall be seen no more in the 
sanctuary of God. But should he fall to-morrow, his 
surviving friends may, without flattery or falsehood, in- 
scribe upon his monument that most beautifol and desira- 
ble of all epitaphs : 



RvLAND T. Bkown was bom on the 5th of ( 
1807, in Lewis county, Kentucky. His ancesta 
both his father's and his mother's side, were i 
from Wales. Uis piirentf' were excmplaiy i 
the Baptist church, his father being noted bb a lei 
the singiog exercises of the congregation. Hia t 
Btili fiurvivL-s, and both tbo fumilirs from which 1 
descended, have been remarkable for their loi 

In the Spring of 1BU9 his father removed to Ohio, 
and settled Dear New Richmond, in Clermont county. 
Shortly afterward a colony from Maine settled in the 
same neighborhood. 

In the formation of that colony Yankee sagacity did 
not fail to discover that a schoolmaster would be a prin- 
cipal desideratum in the far West. Therefore, Mr. Mark 
P. Stenchfield, a teacher by profession, was induced to 
accompany the expedition ; as a member of which he was 
regarded as not a whit less useful than the blacksmith, 
the shoemaker, or any other artisan. Simultaneously 
with the round-log domicile and workshop, the school- 
house was erected in the same style of architecture ; and 
as the smith's hammer was heard Winter and Summer, 
so Summer and Winter was heard the busy hum of Mr. 
Stenehficld's school. Thus Master Brown was furnished 
with a rare opportunity of acquiring knowledge froni a 
truly conipoteut instructur. lie was equally fortunate ia 
another respect. Being a weakly lad, of slenilcr habit 
and feeble growth, his parents relieved him from labor on 










B. T. BROWN. 301 

tbe fann (which was popularly, though foolishly, regarded 
as fatal in such cases), and did all in their power to give 
him a good education, which they supposed the only 
means by which he would ever be able to make a living. 
For several years, therefore, he was sent regularly to the 
colonial school, in which he made rapid progress, and 
acquired a thorough knowledge of the common-school 

The teacher was a zealous Baptist, who did not neglect 
the moral and religious training of those under his charge. 
He made himself the companion of his scholars ; entered 
into all their feelings and sympathies; and suffered no 
opportunity to escape by which he might impress his 
pupils with the paramount importance of a pious and 
devotional life. These lessons made a deep and lasting 
impression on the subject of this sketch ; and together 
with the counsel and example of his pious parents, they 
gave direction to the whole current of his subsequent 

Early in the year 1821 his father removed to Indiana, 
and settled in what is now the southeastern part of Rush 
county. But three years before, that section of country 
was ceded to the United States by the Delaware Indians ; 
and it was only in a few places that the trees had been 
removed from what had been their hunting grounds. 
Here the delicate young student was transferred from the 
confinement and exhaustive toil of the schoolroom to the 
invigorating labors, hardships, and privations of a back- 
woods life. 

For the first two or three years after removing to 
Indiana, he was employed much of his time as guide to 
land-hunters. In this employmeiit; he not only became 
an expert woodsman and a second Nimrod, or ** mighty 
hunter," but here also he began to form the active habits, 
and to acquire the fondness for out-door pursuits, for 


which he baa been distinguielicd through Bubsequent lire. 
The change of occupation also cootributed greatly to his 
physicBl development The open air, the ramblings oyer 
hill and dale, and the excitement of the chase, strength- 
ened every bone, invigorated every muscle, quickened 
the morbid action of every part of hia 8yBt«at, and, in 
Bhort, laid the phy§ical foundation without which the 
intellectual superslructure could never hare been reared. 

In the Spring of 1823 — being then in hia fifteenth year 
— he made a profesHion of faith in Christ, was immersed, 
and united with a Baptist congref^tion known as "the 
Clifty church." 

At that age he had no further opportunity of attending 
school ; but, being passionately fond of reading, and con- 
stantly in search of intellectual food, he finally heard of 
the county library at Kushville. To his famishing mind 
this was a "feast of fat things" to which he resorted fre- 
quently, though distant ten miles, by a road very primi- 
tive aad, at times, almost impassable. To his education, 
under these circumstances, the college or university was 
not essential : he did not need to bo taiighl ; all he asked 
was the means of learning. 

In the Fall of 1825 he had the misfortune to lose his 
father by a very sudden and violent attack of congestive 
fever. It was this sad event that directed his mind to 
the study of diseases and remedies, and determined his 
profes.sion for life. 

In the year 1826 he chanced to meet with a copy of 
Campbell and Walker's Debate, from which he learned 
of the publication of the "Christian Baptist," to which 
he soon became a subscriber. From this date (1826) he 
is to be reckoned as a»iteformer, though he remained, for 
a short time, a nominal Baptist. 

His first overt act in the direction of reform was on 
this wise : the Flat Kock Asaoeiation having arrogated 

A. T. BROWN. 308 

to themaelTes a little of the authority giyen to the Messiah, 
drew up certain articles of faith, and recommended their 
adoption by all the churches of which the said ecclesias- 
tical body was composed. The matter being laid before 
the " Cliftj church," a motion was made " to rescind the 
old articles and adopt the new." ''Brother Brown," then 
only nineteen years old, called for a division of the ques- 
tion, the first part of which pAssed by the aid of no vote 
more cheerfully given than his own. Having thus freed 
tbe church, for a moment, from the bondage of human 
authority, he immediately moved to adopt the New Tes- 
tament as an exponent of the faith of that congregation. 
This being offered as an amendment, and promptly sec- 
onded, was fairly before the house ; and to dispose of it 
without voting directly against the Bible cost them not a 
little trouble. 

From 1826 to the Spring of 1829, his time and atten- 
tion were devoted exclusively to the study of medicine. 
His knowledge of this subject, as well as others, was 
principally acquired without a master ; and but few men 
that have attained to equal eminence in the profession 
have qualified themselves for it under greater difficulties. 
Out of the bones of an Indian that had been exhumed 
near his father's farm he constructed an imperfect skele- 
ton, to aid him in the study of anatomy and physiology. 
To the " great swelling words," that he encountered when 
on that branch of the subject, he gave names without 
regard to unknown rules of orthoepy, and attached ideas 
without knowledge of their derivation. No wonder, 
therefore, if he is sometimes liable to criticism in the 
pronunciation of enormous derivatives. 

During the latter part of the period above mentioned, 
he attended the '' Ohio Medical College," at Cincinnati, 
at which institution he was graduated in the Spring of 


Bntuniing to his home in Rueh county, he gpent the 
romsiniler of that yi^nr in search of » location, and in re- 
cruiting Mb powers of mind and body, then almost ei- 
hauslod by three years' incessant siudy. 

On his. return he found the community greatly eicited 
on the subject of ChriBtianily, which excitement had been 
occasioned mainly by the introduction of a new religious 
element. Elder John P. Thompson (whose history is 
given elsewhere in this volume) had begun to proclkim 
the ancient gospel with great 7,eal ; and under hi» labors 
great niim1>ers were being added to all the Baptist churcbea 
in that region. But few understood the cause wbicb bad 
given tho preaching of Elder Thompson euch extraordi- 
nary power; yet not even tho most rigidly orlhodoi 
tiiought of asking questions or interposing objectiona 
during the excitement of a great revival. On the con- 
trary, Revs. Wm. McPhcrson and Wm. Thonip,*on, both 
Btiptist preachers of some note, fully co-operated in the 
glorious work, and materially aided in carrying forward 
the Kefonnation. Dr. lirown, the eyes of whoso under- 
standing had been enlightened, intelligently gave his 
heart, hand, and voice to the furtherance of the new 

But as soon as the excitement began to subside, the 
Baptist churches became greatly alarmed; and the cry 
ofCampbi'ltism" went up loud and long. The rulers in 
the Baptist Israel imagined that they saw tares among 
the wheat, and that it would be doing God service to " go 
and gather them up." Therefore the work of immolating 
heretics was commenced. 

Dr. Brown, whose impertinent action on the creed 
ijuestion, three years before, had not been forgotten, was 
Selected as the firsl victim in the Stale to be ifflcrificed on 
this altar of sectarian bigotry. He was arraigned on the 
very general charge of "being a Campbeilite," and, aa 

B. T. BBOWN. 305 

sucb, was excluded from the Church. The following ac- 
count of the affair appeared in the " Christian Baptist" 
for June, 1830 : 

Abcadia, Rush Co., Ia., Mftroh 15, 1S30. 

Dear Bbothsb, — A general conspiracy is forming among 
the '' Orthodox Calvinistic Baptists'' in Indiana, the object 
of which is to put a stop to the alarming spread of those 
principles contained in the "Christian Baptist," and advo- 
cated by all who earnestly pray for a '' restoration of the 
ancient order of things ;" which they, however, have seen 
proper to honor with the name of "damnable heresies." 
I have had the honor of being ranked among the first vic- 
tims of this conspiracy. I have been immolated on the 
altar of party prejudice and sectarian jealousy. I have 
passed through the furnace of clerical indignation, "heated 
seven times hotter than it was wont to be heated." But 
the smell of fire has not passed on my garments. Clothed 
with the panopoly of faith, with the volume of unerring 
wisdom in my hand, I would be ashamed to fear a host of 
sectarians, who have no stronger armor, either offensive 
or defensive, than their creed. 

Nearly four years ago I had the presumption to oppose 
the doctrine of creeds, etc., in a public assembly, for which 
I received repeated rebukes by the dominant clergy, who, 
however, made no attempt to oppugn the arguments I 
advanced in favor of my position. The three years im- 
mediately succeeding this passed with my saying h'ttle or 
nothing on this or any other of the religious questions 
which, during that period, were agitated ; my time being 
entirely engrossed by studies of a different nature. 

After spending some time at Cincinnati, I returned to 
my former residence in Rush county, and, being more at 
leisure, I determined to give the Scriptures a careful, and, 
if possible, an impartial examination. I did so without 


Tiivor or affeflion to any party. Tlie effect was a tliorou^h 
cimviction uf llie truth of tlic followini; propositions, vis. : 

1. Faith is outhing more nor less than a conviclioa of 
tlie truth of any jiosition from evidence. 

2. That faith in J^sus Christ is nolhiog more than a 
belief of the facts recorded of him by the Evangeiigta, to 
wit : That Jesus of Nazareth was the promised Messiah, 
and that he gave impregnable proof of his divine miseion 
by his miraculous birth, by the numerous miracles which 
he wrought while living, and by his death, resurrection, 
and ascension. 

3. The evangelical writings, containing the facts rela- 
tive to the mighty works which were done by Christ aad 
his apostles, together with the corroborating testimony 
of the prophwicM, form altogether a phalanx of evidence 
suSiciont lo convince any reaponable mind that " Jesus is 
the Christ." 

4. I became convinced that the popular doctrine of a 
partial atonement, and unconditional election and repro- 
bation, were alike antichristian and unscriptural. 

These opinions I at all times expressed frcciv, not a 
little to the annoyance of my Cahinistic friends. At 
length, after considerable threatening, the following reso- 
lution was adopted by the church on Clifly for my especial 

" Besolved, That we will not fellowship the doctrines 
propagated by Alexander Campbell, of Bethany, Virginia." 

I entered my protest against this resolution, as I con- 
ceived it was intended to condemn a man without giving 
him an opportunity of defense. But 1 soon learned I was 
to share the same fate. The heresies of Campbellism (as 
they pleased to call it) were charged home on me. I 
claimed the right of defense, but was informed it was a 
crime which did not admit of a defense. I next denied 
the cliorge of being the disciple or follower of any man, 

B. T. BBOWN. 807 

and required the /proof of it. I was again told that no 
evidence was necessary. Thus, you see, I was charged 
without truth, tried without a hearing, and condemned 
without evidence; and thus, in due form, delivered over 
to Satan as an incorrigible heretic. Several more of this 
church are destined shortly to share my fate. Bishop 
John P. Thompson and about forty members of Little Flat 
Rock Church have been arrested for denying the tradi- 
tions of the Fathers, and will no doubt be formally ez- 

Notwithstanding these sorry attempts of the clergy to 
patch the worn out vail of ignorance, which has long cov- 
ered the eyes of the people, light is dawning apace. Truth 
is omnipotent, and must prevail. 

I shall make a defense of my principles before a candid 
public, the subject of which I would send you for publi- 
cation in the "Harbinger," if it would not be too much of 
a repetition of what you have already said on those sub- 
jects in your essays published in the "Christian Baptist." 

The above facts I consider as public property. 
Yours, in the bonds of Christian love, 

R. T. Brown. 

On the fourth Lord's day in May, 1830, the majority 
that saved Elder Thompson from expulsion organized 
"The Church of Christ at Little Flat Rock," which 
church continues to this day one of the largest and most 
influential in the State. Into it Dr. Brown entered with 
characteristic zeal ; and in it he made the public defense, 
alluded to in his letter to A. Campbell. This defense had 
a great and good effect upon the community, and is to be 

* By reference to the sketch of Elder Thompson, it will be 
seen that the attempt to excommnnicate those persons was de- 
layed too long — they In the mean time becoming the majority. 

regarded as tlie couimencemeDt of bi@ jmblic advocacy of 
the ancient gospel. 

Having in 1820 married Miss Mary Reeder, he, in the 
Summer of 1832, located at Conneraville, Fayette county, 
tliero to establish himself in the practice of medicine. 
Here he had to compete with old and experienced phy&i- 
c-iuDS under manj- disadvantages, not the least of which 
waa Ilia religion. The Reforaiation of the nineteenth 
century was then and there known only in the caricatures 
of a prejudiced pulpit ; and to be simply a disciple of the 
Lord JoBua, without beiDg identified with any orthodox 
se*;t, was looked upon as evidence of great ignorance or 
impiety, and was tlierefore a great reproach. But Dr. 
IJrown was not the man to deny Ihe faith for the sake of 
popularity, or filthy lucre. Both publicly and privately 
he proclaimed " all the words of this life," without regard 
to his own reputation or pecuniary interests. By close 
attention to business, and a manly advocacy of the truth, 
he was soon well respected in both his professions. The 
people favored him with a liberal patronage; and, what 
was far more gratifying to him, they gladly received the 
word and were baptized, both men and women. Shut 
out of the orthodox churches, he made a sanctuary of tho 
court-house, in which he soon held a protracted meeting, 
being assisted by John O'Eane, at that time located at 
Hilton, Wayne county. A considerable number being 
added to the saved at this meeting, Elder O'Kane removed 
to Conncrsville ; and in January, 1833, the Church of 
Christ at that place was organized. 

From this time until the year 1842, he preached exten- 
sively through the White Water country ; and his name is 
identified with the early history of many churches in that 

By these labors, and his arduous duties as a physician, 
his health was so impaired as to render a temporary aban- 

R. T. BROWN. 309 

doDment of one or the other of his professions an absolute 
necessity. He therefore discontinued his own work, and 
gave himself exclusively to the Lord's. 

At the State Meeting held at Connersville, in June, 
1842, he, in conjunction with three others, was appointed 
to labor, in word and doctrine, "for the churches in 
Indiana." In various portions of this extensive field he 
spent about a year, exposing tradition in its several forms, 
and scattering the incorruptible seed broadcast over the 

By this service his health was not improved. Suffering 
frequently A*om hemorrhage of the lungs, his fellow physi- 
cians assured him that, if he persisted in preaching, it 
would be at the cost of his life. He therefore resigned 
the commission received from the State Meeting, and 
spent one year in manual labor of that peculiar kind 
which is required to run a saw-mill. Under this severe 
treatment all symptoms of consumption disappeared, 
although he continued to preach the word on almost 
every Lord's day. 

In the Spring of 1844 he located at Crawfordsville, 
Montgomery county, and resumed the practice of medi- 
cine in connection with the preaching of the word. 

For years past he had devoted his leisure hours to the 
improvement of his education — especially to the study 
of natural science; and his residence in Crawfordsville 
he made equivalent to a regular course in college. The 
" Wabash College" being located at that place, he was 
kindly admitted to a free use of its extensive library and 
philosophical apparatus. This golden opportunity he 
improved so well that, in 1850, he received from that 
institution the honorary degree of A. M. ; this being one 
of the few instances in which it was justly merited. 

In 1854 he acted as State Geologist, by the appoint- 
ment of Governor Wright, who was of a different school 


of politics, and therefore not iDtJiirmced, in the BelectioD, 
hy partisan con side ral ions. In this capacity he trareised 
almost every nook and corner of tfae State, finding 

"books in the running brooka, 
Strmmt in sfonet, and good in ever; thing." 

In 1858 he vas clect«d to the chair of NaturaJ Science 
in the N. W. C. University, at Indianapolis; to which 
place he removed in August of that year. There he still 
resides — distinguished as an instructor, and indefati gable 
as a preacher. In all his labors, whether as pbysicJaii, 
geologist, or professor, he has almost invariably devoted 
the liret day of the week to the ministry of the word, 
riaving thus perfomifd double duty, he ought to be 
counted worthy of ilouI>lc honor. 

He was also among the first, and has ever l>een among 
the most zealous, advocates of the Temperance Eefonn, 
both in Indiana and in other States of the Union. In 
company with General S. P. Carry he has travelled 
extensively as a public lecturer on tliat subject; and he 
now stands at the head of the temperance organization in 
his own State. He preaches the whole of the apostle's 
doctrine — " righteousness, temperance, and judgment to 

Though he has never been a candidate for office, yet he 
has always taken an active part in politics. True to his 
convictions of right and duty, he acted with the Free Soil 
party fourteen j-ears ago, when it seemed to be a hopeless 
minority. He wag stigmatized as an Abolitionist even 
before that term assumed an application so general as to 
include almost every good and ioyal citizen. Justly and 
legilimately the term cannot be applied to him ; for 
although he is firmly opposed to slavery and to the exten- 
sion thereof, yet he denies, and has always denied, the 

B. T. BKOWH. 311 

right of the Oenend Ch>Tenimeiit to mboliah it in the 

For many years past Dr. Brown has exerted no incon. 
siderable influence through the medium of the press. 
Many articles from his pen hare appeared in the Indiana 
School Journal, Ohio Farmer, Christiau Record, Christian 
Luminary, and other periodicals — religious, educational, 
agricultural, medical, and political. In all these depart- 
ments he is fully up with the times if not a little in 
advance of them ; hence it is not by any means in religion 
alone that he is to be recognized as a Reformer. 

The personal appearance of Dr. Brown is rather homely, 
yet such as to fasten upon a stranger the conviction that 
he is in the presence of no ordinary man. He is of 
medium stature, fitly joined together, and weighs about 
one hundred and forty-five pounds. His eyes are pale 
blue or gray, his complexion fair and slightly flushed. 
His hair, now white as almond blossoms, was once light 
or sandy — in early youth almost red. His temperament 
is nervous-sanguine, the latter element predominating. 
There is, therefore, nothing sluggish about his move- 
ments, either physical or intellectual ; and for him to be 
lazy is impossible. 

His mind is of the highest order — clear, logical, com- 
prehensive, and of an eminently practical cast. He is 
naiurally a naturalist^ possessing superior perceptive 
faculties, combined with extraordinary powers of analysis 
and classification. It is not extravagant to say that had 
he been properly educated and introduced to Nature in 
early life, he might have rivaled Agassiz or Humboldt in 
the number and value of his scientific achievements. 

His scholarship partakes largely of the qualities of his 
mind. He is well acquainted with history, especially 
that of the church, and of humanity in its moral an() reli- 


gionfl phoaea. With sui:h branches of mnthematics as uv 
of prFictit'al utiiily lie is sufficiently familiar; but of the 
abstract theories of cakutua he knows aa little aa he 
cares. Of the literature of his own language he has t 
reppectftble knowledge; but in Greek and Lalin ht- has 
but little faith and but few attainments. Ue is well 
informed with regard to politics, the science of govwu- 
ment, and every thing pertaining to the rights of man, 
whether civil or religious. In short ho is practical rather 
than clasxicat ; and comprehensive at the expense of 
accuracy in little tbingi^. Ho knows more of the present 
than of the past, aod is more familiar with nature than 
with books. It is in the department of Natural ScioDce 
that be seoms almost oninisciont. There nothing i-i so 
niitnitp OS to have escaped his attention; nothing fiitliom- 
able, that be has not sounded to the bottom. 

He is emphatically an off-hand man. lie writes no 
sermons and but few addresses of any kind. His college 
lectures, both before his classes and on Lord's days, are all 
extemporaneous. When he does write, however, his arti- 
cles arc characterized by clearness, force, and originality. 

As n speaker he ranks above mediocrity. He has a 
pleasant voice of very great compass, which he eniiilnys 
with proper emphasis and unaffected eaniestiios. His 
larigiingc is fully adequate to the prompt exjnv.siiioii of 
bis ideas ; and if lic'repeats, several times, a clause of a 
sentence, it is not because he is unable to complete the 
proposition, but because he is indulging a wayside 
thought with reference to some other matter. If some 
such obtru.aive thought entices him a little way from iiis 
line of argument, he comes back to the point with an 
emphatic " but," which is a fair warning that the main 
subject is about to be resumed. He indulges no flifilits 
of fancy, but deals with plain facts. He dilutes no stnli- 
ment in a flood of words, studies no attitudes for the sake 


B. T. BROWN. 818 

of appearing gracefal ; but he expresses himself as forcibly 
as possible, and if a gesture is added it is designed to 
impress rather than to please. He abounds less in pathos 
than in imagination ; has no gift of exhortation ; hence 
has never been very successful in proselyting. His forie 
is to instruct the church and to convince the judgments 
of " them that are without" Those whom he (foes dis- 
ciple have such " deepness of earth" that but few if any 
" wiUier away." 

In society and at home he is "a plain, blunt man," 
possessing more of the fortiter in re than of the suavUer 
in modo. True, he is kind, hospitable, and sufficiently 
affable ; but on meeting a friend, he makes no courtly 
bows, feigns no unspeakable joy, puts on no hypocritical 
smiles. Though not remarkably awkward in the drawing- 
room, yet he is not a ** star" in circles that abound in small 
talk ; and sooner than spend bis days in such a place, he 
would choose life in a prison where, undisturbed, he might 
stroke his long beard as he always does when absorbed in 

He possesses an indomitable will ; and is noted for 
great decision of character. He is of that class of men 
who suffer — not only reproach, but martyrdom, if need be, 
for their religion or cherished principles. Had he been 
the editor of the Knoxville Whig the world would perhaps 
have heard as much of Parson Brown, as it has heard of 
Parson Brownlow — they are at least as much alike in one 
respect as their names. 

He is a man of remarkably active habits. Early in the 
Spring he spcutes up his large garden, because it could not 
well be ploughed to suit him ; and, while thus engaged, 
he might easily be mistaken, at first glance, for a genuine 
son of the Emerald Isle. As the growing season advances 
he is to be found out in his grounds, planting, weeding, 
pruning, training, or otherwise laboring. Though neither 


poor nor penurious, he snws his own wood ; and, while 
thus f<mplojed, he arrEinges in his raind the materials for 
bis next gcrmoo or lecture. If he preaches on Sunday at 
a dislance of ten miles Trom the eity, and if there ia do 
early train on Monday morning, he regards it as a light 
matter to perform the journey on foot in lime to hear his 
classes in the TJniverfiily. " In lime," be it observed, for 
wUh him punctuality is t cardinal virtne. When he takes 
his class into the field to give them a little practical, as 
well as theoretical geology (a thing seldom done by ten- 
der-footed Professors), he astonishes them ss much by his 
indefatigableness as by his familiarity with the names, 
qualities, and positions of the rocks. He is osnally the 
last to cry "halt." 

The burden of years is light upon liim ; and his present 
cundition and appearance, Cowper baa well described in 
the following lines: — 

"A sparkling eye beneath a wrinkled front 
The yet'raii ahowB. ami, gracing a gray bpsrd 
With youthful smiles, desceuils towards [he grave 
Sprightly, and old almost without decay." 

■ THE NEW YCi... 

[PUBUC UBRi'.^\ 


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■•Ml li> «ii»ui # Ilia iuiihW 


Eldkr Oeobge Cabipbell was born at Brewer, Maine, 
on the 8th of February, 1807. He is a descendant of a 
somewhat distinguished family in the Highlands of Scot- 
laad. His grandfather, when quite young, emigrated to 
the county of Antrim, near Argyleshire, in the north of 
Ireland, where he married into a Protestant family by the 
Dame of Dunning. In commemoration of this part of the 
Emerald Isle, Elder Campbell received from his parents 
the name, George Argyle, which he has chosen to abbre- 
riate to Oeorge. Soon after his marriage, and a few years 
prior to our Revolution, the grandfather emigrated to the 
New World and settled at Brunswick, in what was then 
the province of Maine. About the year 1Y74, he re- 
moved to Bangor, then a small village, on the Penobscot, 
at the head of tide-water. Here he took command of a 
company of patriot forces, which protected the friendly 
Penobscots and guarded the northeastern frontier against 
the depredations of the hostile Mohawks. In this posi- 
tion he served his country gallantly, and became widely 
and favorably known as Captain Campbell. Elder Camp- 
bell, in his boyhood, often sported with the- famous clay- 
more which his grandfather wielded against the Mohawks 
in the struggle for Independence, little dreaming that he 
was destined to wield, in his manhood, the mightier 
"sword of the Spirit," which only can make us "free 

His father, Thomas Campbell, was born at Brunswick, 



Maine, and brought up in the Presbyterian fBith, which 

was heretiilm) with the Canipliells, as it is with many 
tiuod [>eo[>le t'\ en now. Uis mother, whose Riaiden name 
was Snbura Enapp, from whuni he received his first reli- 
gious inipressioDS, was a CongregatioDalist, and a mem- 
Ijer of a Massachusetts rnmilj originally froin Ot:rmaity. 
Thus it happens that the blood of three different races 
tiiurses his veins, blending in him the wit and eloquence 
or the Irishman, the fi)^rous intellect and untiring in* 
liiialry of the German, and the danntloss conrage and 
elastic spirit of the Highlander. No wonder, therefore, 
tliat lie is considered aramao's — a remarkable charaeter. 
He was the sixth of a family of nine children, four itf 
whom t^tlll survive. As his slar uru:-e in the Ea>'t. he 
erijoTfd liotler edueational advantagCB than most of his 
eo-Jaborcrs, who were struggling up to manhood in the 
wilderne.^s of the West. When only five years old he 
entered the New England free-pohools, which he attended 
regularly for .sis years. The next five years were de- 
voted to hard labor on his father's farm, where he acquired 
the splendid physical di'velopment which has contributed 
so much to his iatcllectual vigor. At the age of sixteen 
he entered Foxcroft Academy, wliich was foriunately 
situated near his father's residence. Afterwards he at- 
tended the JIaine Wesleyan Seminary, then under the 
able supervision of W. C. Larrabee, late Superintendent 
of Public Instruction in Indiana. At a still later period, 
ho became a student of Waterville College, where he com- 
pleted the regular course to the close of the junior year. 
His tutor, at this Institution, was Parish Lovejoy, who, 
a few years ago, died at Alton, Illinois, n martyr to the 
caui^e of hberty and free speech. Thus it is seen that 
I'lUli'i' Canipbell, although not a graduate, has uudergune 
rigid mental discipline, and is therefore t<i be reckoned 
among llie educated men of the Reformation. 


From his twentj-third to his tweoty-fifth year be was 
s clerk in his brother's store at Argyle, Maine. While 
thus employed he wrote and circulated the petition to the 
Legislature for the incorporation of the town of Argyle, 
so named in memory of the land of his forefathers. 

In the year 1830 he entered upon the work of the 
ministry among the Liberal Christians of New England. 
These societies were congregational, composed of Univer- 
salists, Unitarians, and Free-thinkers. For a short time 
he was a member of the Maine Contention of Univer- 
ealists, or more properly Bestoraiionists, since they advo- 
cated the doctrine of a judgment ''after death," but 
believed that all punishment would prove reformatory, 
and that, as a positive infliction, it would finally cease. 
During the year 1831 he preached for Unitarian Congre- 
gational Societies at Atkinson and Orono, Maine. 

In 1832 he renounced all fellowship with the whole 
fraternity of Universalists, went to Boston, and united 
with the Bulfinch Street Congregational church, then 
under the pastoral care of the Rev. Paul Dean, who held 
to the strict and proper divinity of Christ During the 
year 1832, and part of 1833, he studied theology under 
Dr. Dean, and received from the Association in Boston 
his license to preach. With this commendation he came 
to Ohio in the Summer of 1833, arriving in Cincinnati 
just at the breaking out of the cholera in that city. On 
the first Lord's day after his arrival he preached in the 
Unitarian church on Fourth street, and on the next day 
was seized with the cholera. The attack was severe, but 
God did not permit the silver cord to be loosed. He 
designed to open the blind eyes that they might yet 
behold wondrous things in His law. 

Having recovered from this illness, he visited his uncle, 
D. Campbell, in Fayette county, Indiana. Here he con- 
tinued preaching theology for the space of three years ; 


here, too, an event transpired which led to a compleU 
rorolation in his theological views Id the providence 
of Qod he had now arrived near Deutaecus, where On 
tight Jrom Heaven was to Bhine round about him ; be 
had come to Epbeeus, where " the way of God" was to be 
expounded to him "more perfectlT." As this event wsa 
file pivot in bis religious life, it deserves to be recorded ia 

At this time the Church of Christ at ConnerBville, 
Fayette county, was under the overeigbt of Elder Jesae 
Holton and Dr. R, T, Brown, dow Profc3!(or of Natnril 
Science in the Northwestern Christian Fnivereity, tad 
then, as now, an efficient laborer in word and doctrina. 
On the arrival of the V>rilliant New England preacher in 
tlmt community, there was no small stir among his breth- 
ren, who were almost disposed to say of bis preaching, 
"It is the voice of a god, and not of a man" — so satisfac- 
torily, to them, cowld he establish their cherished theo- 
ries. They insisted that the Christiana should give him 
a hearing, and he, in turn, was inrited to come out and 
hear the Christians. 

Not long after, when the Church of Christ at that place 
had assembled, "on the first day of the week to break 
bread," Elder Campbell entered, and seated himself near 
Dr. Brown. Being invited to preach, he declined. The 
invitation was renewed; and, thinking there must be 
Bonie misunderstanding, he frankly confessed that he was 
not of that "way." "No matter," said the doctor; "for 
this very reason, we desire to hear thee — what thou 
saycst." Consenting to preach, he took for his text, 
Acts svi. 31: "Believe in the Lord Jesua Christ, and 
thou shalt be saved ;" from which he delivered an e.\cel- 
ii'nl discourse relative to the power of faitli to purify 
tlie heart, reform ibe life, and save llie soul. At the close 
of the sermon, Dr. Brown followed with some remarks. 


He heartily endorsed all that had been said of faith; 
** bat," said he, " there are two chapters in man's life : 
the past, and the future. Faith, bj purifying the heart 
now, may regulate the future ; but it cannot reform the 
past, or blot out the transgressions that are already 
recorded in the book of God's remembrance." He then 
proceeded to show that, in the divine economy, Baptism, 
ioUh tte proper antecedents, is designed to free us from 
our ** old sins," while Faith, by purifying the heart, is to 
prevent the occurrence of new offenses, and thus present 
every man perfect in the sight of God. At the con- 
clusion of these remarks Elder Campbell had described 
with his chair a quadrant of a circle, and was sitting 
directly in ft'ont of the speaker, regarding him with a 
look very similar, no doubt, to that of the ancient scribe 
when he said to the Saviour, Well^ Master, thou hast said 
the truth. Like the Scribe, too, he was then "not far 
from the kingdom of God." 

While preparations were being made to break bread, 
be inquired if he would be permitted to partake with 
them, and received the prompt answer, ** Let every 
man examine himself ;^^ which, he says, made such an 
impression on his mind that, to this day, he has never 
ceased to "examine himself." 

When the congregation retired he had a long interview 
with Dr. Brown. The questions they discussed engen- 
dered no strife. The one, like Aquila, confined himself 
to the "way of God;" the other, like Apollos, received 
with meekness the engrafted word ; and between them 
that day was cemented a fHendship which has never been 

Returning to his uncle's, he entered upon a thorough 
investigation of the doctrine of the New Testament. 
This he did, not to find support for any dogma, or former 
religious hypothesis; but devoutly to ascertain, in the 


light of the divine ornclea. what is the religion of the 
Lord JesuB Christ Tbi§ itiTeetigation, which was dili- 
gently prosecuted for severol months, resulted in his 
union with the Church of Christ at Connersrille, in the 
year 1835. The iniluctive ordinance he received at the 
hands of Elder John Longlej, now the oldest Christiiin 
preaolier in Indiana.^ 

HecoiumissioDcd by the church at Connersville, he left 
Fnyette county in August, 1836, and soon after became 
the pastor of the church at Harrison, near Cincinnati. 
Here be remained three years ; and mainly by bis labors 
more than four hundred converU were, in that time, 
added to the church. 

In September, 1839, he retvirned to Maine to see once 
more his aged parents and kinsmen in the flesh. Among 
the friends and relations who joyfully received the word, 
he had the pleasure of immersing into Christ his vene- 
rable mother, with whom, in former days, be had always 
coincided in religious views. She was a woman of 
exemplary piety, who, for years, had endeavored to do 
the will of God so far as she had been able to ascertain 
it. It was hers to realize the promise; " To the upright 
there ariseth light in the darkness." To her he was 
indebted for the moral and religious direction given to 
his young life ; and her letters to him are fine modeU of 
a mother's counsel to her son. 

In June, I8i0, he set out on his return; passed 
through the Federal capital and other Eastern 
visited the sacred spot where reposes the dtist of Wash- 
ington — then undisturbed by the shock of fratricidal 
war; and paused awhile at Charlottesville to see Men- 
ticello and the University of Virginia. The State Meet- 
ing of the Disciples happening to bo in session, he made 
the acquaintance of many of the chief brethren of that 
State and Maryland ; among whom were Elders Hensball, 


O068, Coleman, and the yenerabTe Father Ferguson. Here, 
too, he met his distant Scotch relative, Alexander Camp- 
bell, then in the prime and vigor of life, whose preaching 
on that occasion he represents as superlatively eloquent, 
evangelical, and edifying. 

From Charlottesville he returned to Harrison, and 
continued to labor there and in the adjacent counties in 
Ohio and Kentucky, until the Spring of 1842. In April, 
1841, he was married to Miss Sarah Ann Wile, a worthy 
sister in the Harrison church. She has been a faithful 
and self-sacrificing helpmate in all his toils and trials in 
the gospel and in the cause of education. She is now 
the mother of six children, five sons and a daughter, who 
constitute almost the whole of their earthly treasures. 

In 1842 he removed with his family to a small farm 
near Oxford, Ohio ; and became the pastor of the church 
at that place. Here he continued to preach, with great 
success, for the next three years, making occasional tours 
through Indiana, Kentucky, and other portions of Ohio. 

In the Spring of 1845, the Rush County Evangelizing 
Association, in Indiana, of which the Hon. J. Helm was 
then President, and Hon. John L. Robinson, Secretary, 
called him to the work of an evangelist, and to aid in 
founding and building up an institution of learning in that 
county. Responding to this call he removed to Fairview, 
and in March, 1845, entered the field in Rush county, 
The great battle between orthodoxy and that which they 
called heresy was then going on in that county, in which 
conflict he engaged with all boldness and bent his bow 
valiantly for the truth. 

In the Fall of that year he resigned his position as 
evangelist of the Association and took charge of the 
Farraington Academy, which maintained a good repu- 
tation during his administration. It was subsequently 
transferred to Fairview, where it continues to flourish, 

Elder Campbell being tlie President of the Board of Di- 

At the State Meeting of the Brotherhood of Indiana, 
held at Qreensburg, Decatur couoty, in 1 847, he introduced 
a resolution in favor of building up in the State an Insti- 
tution of learning of the highest grade. This, so far as is 
known to the writer, was the iir^t movement toward the 
foundinjf of the Northwestern Christian University, an 
institution already second to none in the State, and which, 
if completed on the aeale of the projectors, will be second 
to but few on the continent. The discussion of the said 
resolution led to the appointment of the University Com- 
mittee, which was composed of James M. Mlathes, Elijah 
Goodwin, L. H. .raQU.'i^on, Ovid Butler, and ,Iohn O'Kane; 
all of whom were from thiit time active co-workers in 
behalf of the enterprise. At the next Aonuftl Meeting 
they reported in favor of establishing the University, 
which was subsequently located at Indianapolis, accord- 
ing to a vote of the churches throughout the State. The 
followiag year, the State Meeting ap])oiuted as their 
agent. Elder John O'Kane, who obtained the subscription 
requisite for the organization of tlie lustilution. Elder 
Campbell was one of the original commissioners appointed 
by the Legislature, and at the organization he was chosen 
one of the members of the Board of Directors, which po- 
sition he still occupies, having b(^en twice re-elected. 

In April, 1848, he removed to Cincinnati and Ijccarae 
pastor of the Church of Christ in Fulton, dividing his time 
between that church and his oM charge at Harrison. This 
year he assisted Elder Walter Scott in the removal of the 
'■ Protestant Unionist" from Pittsburg to Cincinnati ; and 
ably conducted the paper in the abscDce of the oiiiior, Ue 
also rendered important service to Dr. Horatio P. Gatchcl 
in bringing out the rcpublicaliotnif ".)/- l.^nf <„, il.^- C'^mh- 


miuionPvk work that has greatly contributed to the pio- 
gress of the Reformation. 

Near the close of 1848, he, with others, purchased the 
" Protestant Unionist," which, on the Ist of January, 1849, 
was superceded by the "Christian Age," of which Dr. 
Gatchel and T. J. Melish were editors. In a short time 
Dr. Gatchel sold his interest in the paper, and the name of 
Gkorge Campbell appeared as one of its editors. During 
the absence of Elder Melish, and during the prevalence of 
the cholera in the Summer and Autumn of 1849, Elder 
Campbell had the sole charge and management of the 
paper. Aided by Elder James Challen, he conducted, in its 
columns, a discussion relative to the propriety of calling 
a convention for the purpose of organizing a general Mis- 
sionary Society. He and Elder Challen successfully plead 
the affirmative of the proposition until the convention was 
called and the American Christian Missionary Society was 
formed. Probably this enterprise was first suggested by 
Elder Challen ; but once suggested it found an earnest, 
able, and persevering advocate in the person of Elder 
Campbell. Of the Executive Board of this Society he has 
always been an efficient member, and much of the time 
one of its general traveling agents. 

In the fall of 1849 Elder Melish transferred his share 
of the " Christian Age" to Elder D. S. Burnett, who then 
became the principal editor. Elder Campbell then bade 
adieu to the sanctum and the city; returned to Rush 
county, and entered again upon the work of an evangelist. 
He also assisted Prof A. B. Benton ( now President of 
the N. W. C. University) in the Fairview Academy ; and 
regularly contributed to the " Christian Age," of which he 
continued joint proprietor and associate editor. 

In 1851 be sold his share of the paper to Elder Benja- 
min Franklin, but still contributed to its columns, until, 
after so many changes, it finally fell entirely into the 


hatid§ of EldoT Franklin. Not loog after this it died, but 
by a happy trari emigration of aoul it soon re-appeari-U in 
the present well-known weekly, "The American ChrialUn 
Review." Of thia paper Elder Campbell has been nn 
oceasional correspondeot. Intleed, he has contribuwid 
more to our periodical literature than is generally known. 
Aside from his editorials, be has furnished occasional aiti- 
cles for the Millennial Harbinger, Western Reformer, Ohio 
Preacher, Christian Family Library, Western Evangelist, 
Christian Record, and Christian Luminary. He writw 
forcibly in very plwn style. As when one aces him, it is 
the man, and not the dress, that attracts the eye ; ao 
when one reads him, it is the idea, and not the language, 
that fixes the attention. He employs no grievous words 
that stir up strifo ; but his articles are deeply imbued 
with that charity that "lliinkcth no evil." His pen 
addresses itself ad rem, and not ad hominem. 

Being employed by the State Meeting as a home mis- 
sionary in Northern Indiana, he spent the Winter of lSo3 
in that field, which embraced the counties of Porter, 
La Porte, and St. Joseph. Here, in co-operation with 
brethren R. Wilson and D. Miller, he reconstructed the 
prostrate church at Mishawaka, This had been a power- 
ful church, but political conmiotions and various other 
wranglinps had destroyed its influence and laid it in ruins. 
Its successful reconstruction gave a now impuls-e to the 
cause of primitive Chrii=tionitv in Xorlhern Indiima, which 
is now a great field " ripe for the harvest." 

He finally removed to the northwestern part of the State, 
and fixed his residence at Oxford, the county seat of Benton 
county. Soon after this removal, assisted by Elders John 
Longley, IL R. Pritchard, and J. C. Johnson, under a 
great oak tree on his own premises, lie organized the 
Church of Christ at O.xford. This was the first church 
planted at that place ; and it was the first house of worship 


erected in Benton county. It has continued to increase 
by the edifying of itself in love, until it now numbers 
nearly eighty members, and is in a prosperous condition. 

These missionary labors were to him "the heat and 
burden of the day.'' Under their pressure his constitu- 
tion so far gave way that, from 1854 to 1859, be was 
never in perfect health even for a single day. Still he 
remained at his post ; often preaching during the paroz- 
jam of either chill or fever ; organizing churches in Ben- 
ton, Warren, Tippecanoe, La Porte, and Montgomery 
counties ; and introducing the ancient gospel into various 
places in Illinois, Ohio, and Kentucky. 

In December, 1858, he removed to Bumettsville, in 
White county, for the sake of the educational advantages 
afforded to his children by the Indiana Normal Institute 
located at that place. Here he was made the general 
agent of the Institute ; and, besides extensive evangeliz- 
ing operations, he raised by subscription over three thou- 
sand dollars for the erection of a new building. This 
excellent high school is now in successful operation in 
the new edifice, which is another beautiful monument 
erected by Elder Campbell in the cause of education. 

During his two years' residence at Bumettsville he 
added sixty-nine to the assembly of the saints ; and 
through the instrumentality of that church several pro- 
mising students of the Institute have been sent forth into 
the harvest. These two years, however, he mainly spent 
abroad ; the first as evangelist, the second as agent of 
the American Christian Missionary Society. In both 
these departments his labors produced abundantly the 
peaceable fruits of righteousness. 

In December, 1860, he moved back to his old home at 

Fairview, Rush county, whence he causes the light of 

truth to radiate. There he happily resides, surrounded 

by confiding, warm-hearted brethren, very many of whom 


nro liis own sons in the goHpel. There we leave Lira, Hiid 
close the record of his deeds. 

The cxu^t ijumber that have been redeemed through his 
inatru mentality cannot be given. Of these he has kept 
uo record, tnistiug that tlieir names will all be found 
written in the Lamb's book of life. But, wherever he 
has preached the word, the disciples have been multiplied 
greatly ; and in the counties of Rush and Fayetlc, whtre, 
with Elders Reeve and Thompson, he has labored so long. 
multitudes have obeyed the ancient gospel, and ila c-lalnia 
are so geiiemlly acknowledged that an angel from heaven 
would perhaps meet with very little success were he to 
declare in those counties "any other gospel." 

He htis unhoiinded i-onfidcnce in the ultimalc triumph 
of the cause for which he has plead, and to which he ha^ 
dcvoli'd the aiFcctions of his hoart, the energies of his life, 
and the most of his earthly substance. 

In the providence of God his health has beon completely 
restored, so that he n^joices not only in view of the triumph 
of Truth, but also in the prospect of long life, lie yet 
possesses a vigorous mind, a stout heart, and a firm pur- 
pose to devote his earthly future as he has his past, ai-sured 
that for all his sacrilices in the life that now is, Wod will 
restore him a imiidred fold in the life that is to come. 

Elder Campbell is about five feet seven indies in height, 
and not cjuile so much in circuviffrence. He is heavy 
set, weighing about two hundred pounds; and although 
his heart may somelinies falter, his Jleiih never fails him. 
His head is very large, and in such close pro.ximity to his 
shoulders that an observer once said of him, ''Thai man 
has no iiech." It is overgrown with a lieav}' crop of 
short, conrsc, bristly hair, which, as often as lie beholds 
bis natural face in a glass, affords him an example of up- 
>-iyhtne(i!S. lie walks like every other fat man, and sits 


down, when duty permits, with evident satisfaction. The 
portrayal of his features must be left to the engraver. 

His dress is eminently in keeping with his person — 
rough and serviceable. In its selection he consults com- 
fort, not fashion. His cravat is never of ministerial white, 
and it very often fronts to one side. He leans upon no 
9iaff save that which supported David ; and displays no 
yolden chain but love. In a word, he takes no thought 
for the outward adorning ''of wearing of gold and putting 
on of apparel." 

His habits — those immaterial garments that envelop the 
inner man, the soul, and form the character as material 
garments do the dress — are equally becoming. There is 
no studied concealment of defects — do egotistical display 
of virtues. His character, like his body, stands before 
you in bold, distinct outline. Its principal traits are thus 
given in an article from the pen of Elder James Challen, 
than whom, perhaps, no one knows them better : 

" He is possessed of a sound judgment, a vigorous un- 
derstanding, a quick perception, considerable compass of 
thought, and a power of keeping his mind in abeyance 
until he has fairly reached his conclusions ; and, when 
reached, he holds on to them with singular tenacity. He is 
not satisfied with looking at a subject simply in one direc- 
tion, but seeks to examine it in all its bearings and relations. 

" He is a lover of the truth, and is never weary in its 
pursuit His thirst for knowledge is at times a passion — 
an appetite — and his application unwearied and constant. 
«##««# He is possessed of great simplicity 
of character : kind, confiding, and full of warm and strong 
attachments, which make him a most agreeable compan- 
ion. He is utterly devoid of all envy and jealousy, and 
free from every ungenerous suspicion. A constant and 
devoted friend, a cheerful, pleasant, and profitable com 
paniun. ****** 



" nis i!kill lies ebiefl; as ut evangelUt over large Mda. 
TT<:^ <^iiHily adapts himet?lf to every siluatioti in 1ifi> and 
class of Boci(^ty, clii<.-fly to the more humble and hord- 
wurking. With these he is a special TaTorite, and is held 
4it high eatiniatiou for his plainoess and simpllcit;." 

He ia a fViend in deed to the niisaionary cause. Ope- 
rating much of hia time in large fields, he realizes that the 
harvest la great ; he therefore praya the Lord to send fortli 
laborera into his harvest, and exerts himself to obtain 
inciina for their support. Believing of a truth that faith 
ciifiirs by hearing the word of God, and that salvation is 
through faith, he does all in hia power to send that word 
to tbose who sit in darkness and the shadow of death. 

The cause of education also finds in him a zealous ad- 
vocate and a liberal contributor. While others have tn- 
ik'ftvored t-o afcumulate silver and gold, and houses and 
lands for their children, he has beneficently applied the 
most of his goods, that, by so doing, he might lay up foi 
himxelf a good foundation against the time to come. 
" Let the light enter," is his motto ; and his heart's desire 
is to see the sons of our country grow up ds fruitful plants, 
and her daughters be polished after the similitude of a 

As a preacher he is plain, pointed, didactic. His ser- 
mons are not pleasure parks with their flowery walks, 
refreshing shades, and fountains spanned by rainbows; 
but rugged mountains rather, full of useful materials, 
based on the Rock of ages, their sun-lit tops pointing to 
Heaven. His subject is often a moat familiar passage, 
and the instruction drawn from it is generally of a prac- 
tical character. If he employs a figure, it ia more for 
strength than for beauty. If he makes a quotation, it is 
oftener from the apostles than from the poets — an asser- 
tion which ia not true of all preachers. There is no effort 
to gratify itching ears, but an earnest purpose to nmU 


the candid heart ; do bombastic flights of fancy, no su- 
perfluitj of feigned pathos; but in their stead there in 
depth, solidity, originality, genuine earnestness, and, aliove 
all, the truth as it is in Jesus. One is not apt, therefore, 
to become a weary listener ; more probably his heart will^ 
bum within him while the Scriptures, in their ancient 
simplicity, are being opened to his understanding. 

He has a strong, deep voice, and his loud, rapid, and 
sometimes vociferous utterance has won for him the tifAm- 
quet, Boanerges, When excited he gesticulates viol#;niiy 
in every direction, and according to no prescriFjed tmU'.a. 
He apparently loses all knowledge of himself in hi» nn^f- 
ject, and feeling the importance of his theme Mimmii, \»h 
easily makes others feel it. He closes tYtry AtmupntfA: 
with a powerful exhortation, in which hi» voice hfuf^ttiAUnfi^'i 
rises to the highest pitch, and his vehemence klndlet ,'ftV/ 
the most impassioned eloquence. 

He is not generally regarded as a formidable <'/fhU',r^f' 
sialist ; yet in his hands the weapfjns that are U'A ';»ri:.*; 
are mighty to the pulling down of slronghoMfe, ar-d <ry«frr 
thing that exalts itself against the knowledjre *A ^m*A. 
He has never hesitated to assault error, and \iW xwsi/^tLK 
have been more successful than those of ujafjv wL'y ^^, 
flattered as champions of truth. But while u\\>yi^ ut-in 
used harsh epithets in public discussions with \\if/*^, rtiy^*^, 
prejudices were so excited that they were ULa*A* v, -C-i*- 
cover the right, he has in meekness infctrucVsd *js^j9^, ^aj^. 
oppose themselves ; and, by a quiet vjeu^rv. *^vv:ptr. a<*^ 
to the acknowledgment of the tntL 

There is another trait in hU eliarv/Vf:? ^toe ^A ♦•• *#«/,«•.:/* 
that deserves to be preaent^ tln^, X ai*; -j* ^^vt^^A, 
He is a peace-maker, V*:Titxy^ u^, *uui a Vu* y^f.^,^^. 
tion has been more ftricf***/ ,. .u i*/^/j\^ 'a./ '^ *?.... ,. ^ 
variance, and in recor,**.*-.*- -.jr rtJv^i-i^;/ ^^*>^,.,/ ,f 
schism. He is a m^yfe^ z^s^v>«i vC iw»»> '/ v.ii*y. *^-.> y 



all tlip followers of Jesus, and an ardt^nt oppoBer of what- 
ever tends to sow dii«cord amoug brethren. Though he 
resembles Petor Id his elocution, and Paul in his reason- 
iDg, he is most like the beluved John, the burden of whose 
doctrine was, Little children, see thai you love ojte anoUier. 
May the childreo of the kingdom among whom he has 
gone preaching, hearken to his wholesome admonitions — 
may they. " do all tbiags without murmuriDgs BDd disput- 
ings, that they may be blameless uid hannlesa, the bodb 
of Ood witfaoDt rebuke in the midst of a crooked and per- 
verse nation ; and that he may rejoice in the day of Christ 
that he has not run in run, neither labored in vain. 


This distinguisbed pioneer was born in Culpepper 
eomitj, Virginia, in 1802. His ancestors were originally 
from Ireland, and many traits of tbe Irisb character are 
jet traceable in bis own. His parents seem to have been 
quite poor, and to have bad no claim whatever to a place 
among " the first families" of bis native State. Therefore 
Us distinction is due to bis own genius, and not to any 
extraordinary privileges obtained either by purchase or 
by inheritance. 

In his youth he was sent for a short time to an academy, 
where be received a tolerable English education. In after 
Hfe, while contending earnestly for the faith, against a 
lioet of opposers, be acquired, by his own efforts, a re- 
•pectable knowledge of the Greek language. This, with 
the general information acquired by reading,, is the extent 
of his education. It is not, therefore, on account of what 
lie known, but on account of what he is and what he does^ 
that he is remarkable. 

He embraced Christianity at an early age, and at first 
united with the Old Christian body, or Newlights, in Vir- 
ginia. Among them he commenced preaching when quite 
young ; but of his ministry east of the Alleghanies little 
is known. 

Sometime between 1825 and 1830 be left Virginia, and 
made his way — on foot it is said — to Lebanon, Warren 
county, Ohio. There be prosecuted for some time tbe 
work of the ministry ; and there, in the year 1830, he 
was married to Miss Martha Verbryke. 



It appears that liis fOdVercioQ to the ancient (roepel 
waa tffeited in tlie rollowjiig manner : when zealously 
opposing what lie auppostd to bo hercBy, be saw, in iLe 
" Christian Messenger," floiue artielea on " The Plan of 
Salvation," written by ElderJamesE.Malhes of Alabama, 
and ably advocating the claims of the Reformation. There 
being no tippoaition to tliese articlee from any other quar- 
ter, he determined to reply to them himself. Accordingly 
ho wrote his "No. 1," which was published in the Mes- 
senger, Bccompntiicd by some editorial remarka, in which 
he found, to his surprise, that Elder Stone had taken 
sides against him, and in defense of the views of Elder 
Mathes, Theae editorial comments on his " No. 1" were 
BO pointed and convincing that his "No. 2," though writ- 
ten, Wiis never published ; and in a short time both be 
and ElUur Stone were preaching the faith which bolb had 
once sought to destroy. 

In the Spring of 1832 he came to Indiana, locating at 
Miltou, in Wayne county. For the support of his family 
he engaged in teaching a comuion-sehooj ; but for the 
good of his race he continued to preach the gospel on 
Lord's days, and at such other times as he bad oppor- 
tunity. Being charjied with " Campbell ism,'' the few 
meeting-houses were closed against bim j but John 
O'Kune was not the man eitlier to conceal his osvn light 
under a bushel, or to suffer it to be extinguished bv the 
proscriptive efforts of tliose who "loved darkness rather 
than light, because their deeds were evil." Such pres- 
sure only made him the more luminous, and in a little 
while be became a burning and shining light — almost 
the only one at that time in Eastern Indiana. Com- 
mencing in his own little scboolbouse, he rapidly extended 
his appointments to others; and when no house could 
be obtained, he preached to multitudes of people in the 

JOHN o'kans. 833 

Within the same year, 1832, he crossed over into Rush 
coanty, where he was employed for one^year to co-operate 
with Elder John P. Thompson in doing the work of an 
evangelist In this service he traversed the counties of 
Bush, Fayette, and Decatur ; and his name is identified 
with many churches and reformatory movements which 
originated at that time in that portion of the State. 

In January, 1833, he journeyed as far west as Indian- 
apolis. On his arrival there he found the court-house 
occupied by the Legislature then in session ; the '' evan- 
gelical" churches closed their doors against him; and 
there was no place for holding a meeting, save in an old 
log-house on Market street, which the few persecuted 
saints had rented as a place of prayer. In this he began 
and preached on three evenings in succession, the house 
not accommodating one half the people who were anxious 
to hear the word. In the meantime the Legislature ten- 
dered him the use of the court-house on Saturday even- 
ing and on Lord's day. There he had an opportunity of 
speaking before judges and legislators, as well as many 
of the "common people;" and faithfully did he witness 
to both small and great, speaking none other things than 
those which the Lord and his apostles appointed for them 
to do. "The preaching," says one who heard it, "was 
so different from any that had ever been heard in Indian- 
apolis before — so bold, so pointed, so convincing, so 
strongly enforced by the commanding voice, expressive 
eye, and fine oratory of brother O'Eane — that it seemed 
to carry every thing before it. All seemed spell-bound, 
and many were seen to tremble under his mighty ap- 
peals." This was a kind of Pentecostal occasion; for 
not only was a deep and lasting impression made in 
the city — or rather town — but the representatives and 
strangers from the several counties, like the " devout men 
out of every nation" at Jerusalem*, carried with them, on 


tbeir return to their homos, some knowledge of tb« faith 
HA it w*3 once deli^red to tlie saints. 

Elder O'Eetic made two or three other viBJts to tlia 
capital prior to the following June, at which time tb« 
Church of Christ at that plsce was organized with aom9 
twenty members. 

In January, 1833, he and Dr. R. T. Brown orgaauci<d 
tlie Cliiirch of Christ at Connereville, Fayette county, to 
whivl) plihce he soon after removed, and commenced the 
publication of a monthly religious paper called "The 
Christian Casket." While engaged in this enterpriee be 
continued to preach the gospel throughout all Central 
and Eastern Indiana, occasionally making tours through 
portions of Ohio and Kentucky. 

In 1837 he removed to Crawfonlsville, Montgomery 
county, where he resided for several year^, having the 
pa.storal care of the church in that place, and preaching 
extensively in the western and soulhivestcrn portions of 
the fitate. 

lu 1848 he returned to Connersville, and for a twelve- 
month labored efficiently in fields with which he had made 
himself familiar in former yeur.i. 

In 1849 he located at Indianapolis and eogajjed in the 
book and stationery business; still proclaiming the gospel, 
however, both in that cit> and m niani distant parts of 
the State, Everiwhcre hie labors were attended with 
the most encourigmg n-jults and to all the disciples of 
Indiana his name was as familiar as ]iou-,ehold words. 

About this timt, was conceived the project of establish- 
ing the Northwcsttro Christian Lnner-ity, to meet the 
educational wants of a great and rapidly increasing bro- 
therhood. Into this enterprise Elder O'Kane entered 
heart and soul, and to liini more than to any other indi- 
vidual its success is to be attributed; I'or he, more than 
any other, raised the money with which the magnificent 

jroHii o'KAiri. 836 

taflding w«8 erected, and with which the corps of in- 
etructoiB are Bostained. In the Spring of 1851 he was 
appointed hj the Board of Directors as a general agent 
and stock solicitor ; in which capacity he visited almost 
every nook and comer of the State, gathering, for the 
institntion, a rich pecuniary harvest, and at the same 
time disseminating the good seed of the kingdom to meet 
the demands of other great and good enterprises in future 

In 1859 he removed to Independence, Missouri, where 
he has since resided, and where he is now separated from 
his friebds and brethren in Indiana by a wall of fire. 
Consequently they have but little knowledge of his minis- 
terial operations in the Southwest ; yet they occasionally 
hear of his affairs — that he is a true patriot, and that he 
remains '' steadfast, immovable," in the work of the Lord. 

It is to be regretted that, owing to the unhappy con- 
dition of the country, more ample materials for this sketch 
cannot be obtained. Unquestionably the subject of it was 
one of the most noted reformers of Indiana ; and his his- 
tory, if given in full, would be replete with good works, 
remarkable incidents, and anecdotes of the choicest kind. 
As for himself, he needs no historian to perpetuate his 
memory. He has made his mark upon the age ; his 
name is familiar to many a devout father, who will trans- 
mit it, in connection with fact and anecdote, to his chil- 
dren ; and thus he will be held in remembrance even to 
the third and fourth generations, though not a stone should 
be raised or a line written. 

Elder O'Eane is physically, as well as mentally and 
morally, a fine specimen of the genus homo. He is six 
feet and one inch high, very straight and slender. His 
fine head, covered with raven locks, sits with an air of 
majesty on his square shoulders ; and beneath his high. 


over-arching forehead, sparkle eyes remarkably black ond 
piercing. He walks with an citsy, doTi't-care goJt, seem- 
ingly criticising, and inwardly laughing ai every thing 
around him. He is certainly more like Deniooritus than 
Hernelitus — a laughing rather than a weeping philosopher. 

ir liis personal appearance is singular and U|Kin the 
whole prepossessing, his character is eccentric and, take 
it all in all, worthy of imitation. A Philhps would Snd 
in it alnioKt as many antitheses and yet as much coo- 
sistency as ho found io the character of Napoleon. 

Perhaps the most, striking trait is his wit, and the 
anecdotes of John O'Kane, alone, would fill a volume. 
His witticisms are usually mised with the severest sar- 
casm, or pointed with the bitterest irony. The following 
are a few inferior specimens : 

With a swafjf^ering air an orthodox preacher once 
refused to debate with him, at the same time observing 
that he would gladly discuss the doctrinal issues with 
Alexander Campbell or some of the great leaders of the 
Reformation. Fixing bis keen eyes upon him, and point- 
ing his long finger at him in the style of Randolph, 
O'Kane replied: "You — you debate with Alexander 
Campbell ! Why if one of his ideas should get into your 
head, it would explode like a bomb shell." 

On a certain occasion be was to preach in one of the 
many ill-constructed meeting houses with dark walls and 
very small windows. As he walked up the aisle, surveying 
every thing with a critical eye, he observed in an under- 
tone to a brother that was with him ; "Tell them to sing 
'Til darknta here, but JesDS Bmiles." 

At another time when preaching in an old rickety 
church, from the walls of which the plastering had fallen 
off in places, he solemnly exhorted his brethren not to 

JOHN O'KANE. 33*7. 

neglect the Lord'b liouse, at least while it was so low with 

A certain adherent of one of the sects once met him, 
and, extending his hand, said, ''Well, Brother John, I 
used to think 70a were an unprofitable servant, but I 
think differently now.'' "Indeed," replied O'Eane, sha- 
king his hand warmlj, " that is precisely what I used to 
think of jon, brother, hui I have never changed my mind, " 

Just before he removed to Missouri, he fell in with one 
of those young preachers who, in the wisdom of their own 
conceits, urge the necessity of reforming the Reformation. 
'' Brother O'Eane," said he, ''the world will not stand still 
after A. Campbell dies. Luther performed a great work, 
bot he left something for others to do. So did Wesley ; so 
we think will Campbell ; and if the Lord shall see proper to 
commit the direction of this Reformation to younger heads, 
be it so." "You young fellows lead this Reformation !" 
said O'Eane. "As well might one think of harnessing a 
lot of Shanghai chickens to a train of cars." 

Another young preacher was once complaining of the 
too small remuneration received for his services. " If the 
brethren do not support me," said he, " I will go where I 
can be supported." " When did you take the sop, brother," 
inquired O'Kane, slyly alluding to the Scripture which 
says that after Judas had dipped the sop, Satan entered 
into him. 

With all his wit and sarcasm an element of tenderness 
18 strangely mingled, and the effect of the combination can- 
not be better described than in the words of a pious old 
brother who affirms that he has seen him " laughing out 
of one eye and the tears coming out of the other. ^^ 

With a dignified and apparently proud bearing he walks 
humbly before God, having never manifested a disposition 
to be greatest otherwise than by faithfully performing his 
duties as a servant. 


OnJinarily approachable, and unreservod in c 

tioti. Iir lias the power to assume b stoicfil indifference to 
every thing around him, whenever it eeema good in IiIa 

It ie in the pulpit that lie exerts his principal influence 
in behalf of the gospel. Hie commanding person, hia ex- 
pressive eyo, hia clear, alrong voice, and hia free esmeet 
geatures — all contribute to make hiiu a most interesting 
and impressive s|>caker. He is veil versed in the Scrip- 
tures, and familiar with all the dogmas incorporated into 
the several creeds, upon which instruments he sometimes 
lays a heavy hand. Yet after all, the effect is produced 
not 80 much by what he says b& by the admirable manner 
in which he says it. 

As already intimated he does not occiipj- a high rank 
as a scholar; and he is strongly disinclined to write for 
tlio benefit of the public, rieiicc liiri own editorial career 
was short, and his nrticlcs in other periodicals are but few. 

In the eonr.-^c of his ministry tie ban been cogag-ed in 
many public disciissions, in all of which lie has Iriuniiih- 
nntly vindicated the jirineiples of the eurrent Iteformiition. 
As a di.-imtant he has but few superiors. 

Ne\l afl.T his iieliievemenis as a inililie speaker he has 
aceoniplislied as an agent, or solicitor of funds for 
benevolent purposes; for which oflice liis pleasing address 
and iiljove all his nice and rcidy diseenmient of eliaractcr 
eminently fit him. Where almost any oilier man could 
not have obtained a cent, he obtained dollars and oveti 
hundreds of dollars. 

The tact which made him so sucecsssful in this employ- 
ment, secured for himself also a more lilxiral support than 
that which fell to the lot of most pioneer preachers. 
Yet being a poor economist, and very careless in the 
nianugcniont of pecuniary matters, he is In his old age 

JOHN o'kane. 339 

one of the poor whom God hath chosen to be heirs of the 

Having remembered his Creator in the days of his 
youth, he has spent the Springtime and the Summer of 
his existence in the service of the Lord. Now that the 
Autumn of his days has come, and that his 

. ** way of life 
Is fallen in the sere and yellow leaf,*' 

the peaceable fruits of righteousness appear in rich pro- 
fusion ; and he has abundant reason to expect an exceed- 
ing great reward from Him whose " eyes are open upon 
all the ways of the children of men, to give to every one 
according to his ways and according to the fruii of his 


Tuie venerable and indefatigable servant of God wu 
horn in Patrick county, VirginiB, A. D. 1T93. Hie fatber 
w-aa brougbt up in the Preabjterian ChurcU, wliere he 
vninly Bought religion from early youth until he roacbed 
bi^ geventielk year 1 At that advanced age be united with 
the Dependent Baptists in Wasbiugton county, Indiana; 
HLis iii.]iivrs.-d i.y KlJtT Pi-I,.r Wrl^lit ; iind alioul \hn-'.- 
vfiir.s nfierwjird went duwii to the grave in peace. 
Thi-ougli the influence of false religious teaching, a shadow 
rt-r-U'd ujiun almost his whole life. 

The ruothiT of Elder Lockharl was for many years a 
llaptist. From her he received his first religious impres- 
sions ; and as be grew up, the articles of her faith were 
Wiilously iuculealed in his mind. 

When thirteen years of age his parents removed with 
him to North Carolina, where he remained until be reached 
hiw majority. During his residence there the most of bis 
assoi-iates! were members of the Society of Friends, among 
whom he imijibed many of the views of that peculiar 

In the Summer of 1814, while on a visit to Ohio, lie 
volunteered his services in the war of 1812 ; and during 
the following Winter was stationed at Detroit. When 
his services were no longer re<|uircd by his country he 
ri'titrned to Ohio, and subse(]uently to North Carolina. 

Previous to his visit to the West he bad been sent to ;i 
common school »l")iii one year; and oil his return lo 
North Carolina, after the war, he iigain went lu school f..r 



a term of three months. In this short period he acqulM 
the little mental discipline which he has turned to such 
excellent account. He might have become a much better 
scholar but for the fact that he expected to pass his life as 
an humble tiller of the soil, and entertained the foolish 
notion that, as such, he would never need much educa- 

This being his view of life, he threw aside his books ; 
and, in the Fall of 1811, was married to Polly Jessup, a 
most zealous member of the Society of Friends. 

Soon after his marriage he removed to the West, and 
settled in Washington county, Indiana. There he found 
himself in the midst of Dependent Baptists, Friends, and 
a few adherents of some of the other sects. Being much 
concerned as to the subject of religion, he attended the 
various religious meetings held in his neighborhood, espe- 
cially those of the Friends and Baptj^sts. Indeed, from his 
early youth, he had been most earnest in his efforts to " get 
religion ;'' but it seemed that God only "laughed at his 
calamity, and mocked when his fear came." As it had 
been in his youth, so it continued to be in his riper years. 
The teachings of neither Friends nor Baptists afforded 
him any satisfactory knowledge of the plan of salvation ; 
and when he appealed directly to the Lord in prayer, it 
seemed that He would not answer. After a long, unsuc- 
cessful conflict, he sank into the conviction that he was a 
*' vessel of wrath fitted to destruction ;" and from this, he 
easily relapsed into absolute scepticism. 

At length, when his feet were almost gone, he chanced 
to hear some Newlight preacher, who, though still blind 
in part, understood the way of God more perfeMj than 
did his former religious instructors. Though their views 
of conversion were much like the views of other denomi- 
nations the Newlights differed from those others in that 
they attached great importance to the Scriptures, and 


cRnieylly cxliortuil thp jwople to soan'li lliom diligently, 
aiid taho them for the only mun of their counsel. 

Agreeably to their inetructionei he bcc&me, for tJtu Qret 
titDd in hia lifv, a Bible reader, and Trooi that book he 
soon derived more knovFlcdgo of Chrii»tianity than he hud 
ever been able to acquire from tho preachers of those 
days. With David he could say, " I have more under- 
MUudiiig than all my teachers, for thy testimonies are my 

In hiB ease the law of the Lord prorvd to lie "]>erf«ct, 
converting the soul." He soon learned fi'om the Scrip- 
tures what he must do to be saved ; uid in the year 1S3i 
ho publicly confessed the Saviour, and was buried with 
him in baptism by Elder Lewis Comer. His conversion, 
yea, bis whole liCe, is a verification of that dei;laralioii of 
James, " Whoso lookelh into the perfci-l law <if liUTty. 
and continueth therein, the same being not a forgetful 
hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed 
in his deed." Nor can one well contempiale the long 
period during which he was striving to enter in at the 
straight gate, without calling to mind that other scrip- 
ture which saith, " If thou cricst after knowledge, and 
liftest up thy voice for understanding; if thou scekest 
her as silver, and searchest for her as for hid treasures; 
then shalt thou understand the fear of the Lord, and find 
the knowledge of God." 

The meeting at which he acknowledged the Saviour 
was held near the present town of Plainfield, in Hendricks 
county, whither he had removed from the county of 
Washington. This neat little Quaker village was not 
then laid out, and the great national thoroughfare on 
which il stands was hut recently opened for emigrants to 
the West. 

On returning home from the meeting he found his wife 
in great distress on account of what he had done. They 


agreed to refer jhe whole matter to the law and the testi- 
monj, it being solemnly covenanted that the one unable 
to sustain his or her position, should at once embrace the 
views of the other. Never, perhaps, did woman strive 
more earnestly to accomplish any object, than did Mrs. L. 
to convince her husband of what she verily believed a 
fatal error. Often, when he unexpectedly entered the 
house, she hastily slipped the Holy Bible under her apron 
that he might not know that she had been preparing, in 
his absence, for the next discussion. She was finally 
brought to the knowledge of the truth ; was baptized ; 
and continued a faithful member of the Church of Christ 
until her death, which occurred in 1859. 

Other strenuous efforts were made to convert him 
to the Quaker faith, but he remained "steadfast, un- 
movable. " 

On the next Lord's day after his union with the church 
he took part with his brethren in prayer and exhortation. 
This he continued to do on all proper occasions for 
several months, at the end of which time he began to 
accompany Elder John Hadley on his preaching tours. 

As there were then but very few churches, they, 
usually preached in private cabins or in leafy groves. 
Wherever they went the people gave heed to the things 
which they spake, and by their united efforts many were 
brought to the obedience of the faith. In their preach- 
ing they earnestly opposed all human creeds, and con- 
stantly advocated a union of all obedient believers on the 
Bible alone. 

In a short time he began to make appointments for 
himself; and as early as the year 1833 he had fairly 
entered into the work of the ministry. Since that time 
he has ceased not to preach Jesus, and to do what he 
' could to bring the religious world to the unity of the 
faith and o^ the knowledge of the Son of God. 



About tbe year 1834 lie wa« appoiutei] by a co-opem- 
liv» mt'oling lo tnivol an uti evKngcUst. with Julio L. 
.luucs. To^'tlicr tliey proclnimed the ancient goflpc) 
tliriiui^liout tliti cuudUcs uf Marion, niuniltoti, litnilHcks, 
aiid Morguii. Their viewa wore 8lroii(;ly opposed. b«l 
tiK'ir la}MK wuro alttuilk'il with ihu mnst gratifviiig 


The witneBBing of their Buccess wu their cluef k- 
ward ; for Elder Lockhart, at least, did not receive over 
fifty dollars per annum for his services. For one congre- 
gation he preached once a month for three years, receiv- 
ing no remuneration save a twenty-five cent Testament, 
presented to him by one who, it may have been, bad no 
disposition to read it himself. 

To support hi:i fuuiilv uudiT suuh circiiliistmifcri hu r^r- 
■un wlji.-li !»■ p,.rf„r]iii-a 
;hat hv mif,'hl Qiui Icis- 
u-s in tlic coiii-s,; of his 
and oacli tiiu.- uiiJvd 
±1: a-rtilf fioids of Iiidiaila. 
[!■ veuni 1X31 and 1S38 lie fxtctiiiud liis travels 
mid t'liiitoii couiilifs. Tli.Tf wori- tl.Ti iu 
1 but fuw disc-ipjcs and IkiI vorv (rw clmr.'lifs. 

of lil.i 

bvlliu liKhtufllii; tiiooji 
n\x U> prt-ad. th. jj".]..-!. 
lifi; h,: lias sc-ttl.'U iu (I: 

into lioL 
tliul Kcet 

r, j-i'i 

I he 

vvi], suuie uf wliii 
and coiitribulcd to llio rich lit 
gfttiifred in those counties. 

A iKiculiar fcattirf; of hi.s m 
what were called " liivcstiyatii 
qiiii'ics were freely made and 
cussed. Tlirough these mcetiii 
reeled to tlie word of Ood ; an 
slii.lied, lliere tlie Ueforniatio 

. fell iipiiii ({ood ground, 

listry was the holding of 
n .Mectinf,'H." at which in- 

pj public altcnlion was di- 
! wliervver tliat is dirfcih- 
I makes easy and rapid 

I IS38 to ISoO he kept out regular luouthly aji- 



pointments, and went hither and thither wherever there 
was a demand for his services, or wherever there appeared 
an opportunity of doing good. Hendricks county was, 
however, the centre and chief field of his operations, and 
his influence was scarcely felt beyond the confines of cen- 
tral Indiana. Within those limits be was one of the shin- 
ing lights, not brilliant but constant 

At Brownsburg, in the northern part of Hendricks 
county, he has labored most, and with the best results. 
When he first visited that point, about the year 1838, he 
found there only about seventeen disciples, who were bit- 
terly opposed by the Regular Baptists, of whom there 
was a large congregation at that place. This little church 
he set in apostolic order, and for it he has preached regu- 
larly until the present date. Through his labors some 
three hundred have been added to its number ; and from 
it three other flourishing congregations have derived their 
origin, namely those at Clermont, Fayette, and Pittsboro. 

For the church at Bellville, also, he has been the prin- 
cipal preacher for nearly a quarter of a century, and yet 
there are few religious teachers whose voice the people 
of that vicinity will follow more readily than his. In 
that congregation he has had his membership for twenty- 
four years ; and in that house of worship he has enjoyed 
the satisfaction of hearing every one of his children — seven 
sons and two daughters — confess the name of the Lord 

Since 1850 he has greatly extended the area of his use- 
fulness, having made frequent visits to northern Indiana, 
and occasional tours through Illinois, Missouri, and Iowa. 

During the whole course of his ministry he has held 
frequent protracted meetings, which have uniformly re- 
sulted in many additions to the saved. 

There is no earthly record of those whom he has turned 
from darkness to light ; but the number of them is about 

341! rillNKKIt I-UEArHBRS, 

four thousand, among wtioui ore many thut aro now pne 
clainiiiig; lln: truth which han luailc tliem free. 

Thus, diret-tly and imiirectly, he hoa durm much, Mp«- 
ciolly in tin parly day, to further the oaiiBc of th« Rtifunua* 
tion, anil to cntilli> hlni, when be loaves thi; world, to the 
grateful ruuiuiubrancc of his surviving brethroD, 

Elder Loukhart is u large, heavy -set man, of great iihya- 
icuJ power and endurance. His height is about live! ftri 
eight or nine inches, and his weight nut far frum one huu- 
dred and seventy-five pounda. Ho has dark, but not black 
hair, small, keen, blue eyca, a ruddy complexion, and a 
temperament highly excitable. There is an air of mitjiiMy 
ahout his fine, large forehead, and a look of though tfulncf* J 
with a ehade of sadnene on his face ; yet his gonenil e^fl 
pression is one of cheerfulness, affability, and pleasant ^ 
humor. Uis "earthly house of tliia lalieniufle" has nobly 
resisted the encruaclinients of time, so tliat he is still stout . 
and heurty, and but for the loss of his hair he would be, in 
appearance, hut little beyond the meridian of life. 

Nor was nature leaa kind in the bestowmeut of his ialal- 
hictual than of his physical powers; but while the lattei 
were fully develoi^d by the hard labor incident to his 
westam life, the former received but lilllo discipline from 
the few and inferior schools of earlier days. Having been 
compelled, also, to oat hia bread in the sweat of bis face, 
while preaching the gospel without money and without 
price, he has had but little time to cultivate his own mind, 
or store it with many facts save those which are connected 
with the great scheme of man's redemption. Still he has 
a sound, well-balanced mind, and a thorough kDowledg» 
of the Scriptures, of which an almost incredible number 
of passages are stored away in his capacious and retentive 

Ho is simple and industrious in his habits ; plain and 



old-fashioned in 
tion, and equally at home in the kizmhaesc cahin «r is tke 
Bocietj of the more weahhr and reteed. he is rex hichlr 
esteemed by all that know him. while in tiie eres of mMnj 
there has not risen a greater than " Unde Tommj.'* 

Upon his Christian chararter there is no serioos stain. 
In the beaatifnl words of Job. he has pat on righteotisiess 
and it has clothed him : his judgment is as a robe and a 
diadem. On this account his words hare great weight, 
and unto him — as thej did to the man of Uz — men give 
ear, and wait and keep silence ai his counseL With 
respect to his special admirers it mar be further said, that 
" after his words they speak not again, and his speech 
iirops upon them. They wait for him as for the rain, and 
pen their mouth wide as for the latter rain.^ Job xxix. 

As a public speaker he occupies no mean rank among 
the men of his day. His ideas present themselves promptly; 
and his language is copious, though frequently inelegant 
and in rebellion against the laws of syntax. He is not a 
calm, logical reasoner, but an earnest and desultory de- 
claimer. He has a powerful voice of extraordinary com 
pass, and the words come sounding from his great, heaving 
chest, like the hollow utterances that escape from a vol 
cano. The chief source of his oratorical power is his 
excitable nature — his ability to throw his whole soul into 
his delivery and electrify his hearers. This he frequently 
does ; and, except at the beginning of his discourse, his 
manner is vehement throughout. He superabounds in 
quotations from Scripture, both relevant and irrelevant, 
and on this single account he is placed, by many, high 
above other workmen who better divide the word of truth. 
Nor is he satisfied with the written statements of the 
inspired witnesses. He authoritatively summons Paul 
and Peter into the presence of the congregation, and- has 
them repeat their own words, which — he proceeds, in liko 


niantier, to show — precisely agree witb the testitnonj' of 
James and John. As he proceeds with the examination 
of his witnesses he becomes more and more excited, bis 
voice ascends to a hif^her pitch, his feet become restl^w, 
hie arms, even to his fingers' ends, twitch coovulsivelj, the 
blood seems starting from the great veins upon hia fore- 
head, and, before he sils down ezliausted, it is strange if 
some are not saying in their hearts, Men and brethren 
what shall we dof 

Though himself untutored, he has ever been a faet friend 
of education. lie has done much by way of encouraging 
young men to qualify themselves for useful and honorable 
positions in life ; and he has done what he could to pro- 
vide for the mental culture of his own sons. AU are 
qualiHed for the pursuits of agriculture and commerce; 
some IiiivG gained admission to the legal and medical pro- 
fessions ; and one graduated at the N. W. C. University, 
and now holds a position to which he was appointed by 
the President of the United States. 

Though he baa passed through many dark seasons, he 
is DOW realizing the promise, " at evening it shall be 
light." His children, once a burden, now a support to 
his declining years; his physical wants, once neglected. 
now well supplied by faithful brethren ; and the cause of 
God, once persecuted in the hands of a few uneducated 
defenders, now triumphing gloriously in the hands of a 
well-disciplined host ; he is able to say, with the aged 
Simeon, " Now letlest Thou thy servant depart in peace, 
/or mine eyes have seen thy salvation." 



kf ODe of the pioneers sketched in tbis 
■Wright is entitled to a place among 
f the Refonnation in Indiana. He 
1 9th, 1809, near Charlestown, Clarke's 

\e of 1810, hie father, John Wright, 

3 Blue Hirer four miles south of Sa- 

loLtnty of Washington, though theD 

son. He recollects distinctly 

|d out liy his father and the other 

Probably it received its name — 

[er JoliD Wright, the great advo- 

lall the i^ljildren of Ood. Among his 

I are the thrilling incidents that oc- 

!nla and their neighbors were shut 

I the lomtiliaTk-ka of the savages. 

circumstaDces surrounding him, 
leation was only on a par with that 
lio gr»^w up in the Western wilds. -His 
li.'^Iry the want of mental cul- 
Piwer to improve the minds of his sons; 
icquired only a superficial know- 
Branches of an English education, 
■ning was carefully superintended, ea- 
le mother, whose holy life was a potent 
lof Christiitnity. But being of a lively 
] dispositioa, no deep impressions of a 


^firBoroH the son of ose of the pionoers sketched to this 
^^^ me, Blder Jacob Wright ie eatitled to a, place amoDg 
first advocates of the Befonnation in Tndiana. He 
' born October the 9th, 1809, near CharleetowD, Clarke's 
^nt. Indiana Territory. 
^ ^larly in the Spring of 1810, his father, John Wright, 
Cloved to a point on Blue River four miles south of 8a- 
1 the present county of Washington, though then 
'*Thii] the limits of Harrison. He recollects distinctly 
qen Sfllem was laid out by hie father and the other 
«nty commissionerB. Probably it received its name — ■ 
Ity of pnace — from Elder John Wright, the great odvo- 
tet« ur [ioace among all the children of God. Among hie 
e!it recollections are the thrilling incidents that oc- 
rr| n'hile his parents and tbeir neighbors were shut 
I lip in forts to escapte the tomahawks of the savages. 

iii^, therefore, to the circumstances surrounding him, 
]<.- life, bis education was only on a par with that 
of otlior pioneers who grew up in the Western wilds. -His 
fother, realizing in his ministry the want of mental cul- 
ture, did all in his power to improve the minds of his sons ; 
bat Jacob, with tbe rest, acquired only a superficial know- 
ledge of the lower branches of an English education. 

His spiritual training was carefully superintended, cs^ 
pecially by his pious mother, whose holy life was a potent 
argument in favor of Christianity. But being of a lively 
and rather froward disposition, no deep impressions of a 


religious character seem to have been made on his mind 
ill childhood or youth. 

At a very early &ge he woe married to lA'ies Sarah 
Sheets, after which event he put away Dmny youthful 
follies and became more soher- minded. From ihi? state 
of mind the transition was easy and rapid to a slate of 
religious ansiety which induced him to attend the mMt- 
ings and listen to the teachings of the several denomina- 
tions. Id bo doing he well nigh made shipwreck of his 
faith on the fatal rock of doclrioal diversity. 

He had heen taught that it was the part of charity to 
believe all men sincere in their religious views and candid 
in the statement of their respective experiences. Tbpre- 
fnre hia confidence in religion was severt'Iy shaken when 
lie licnrd men eaniestiy endeavoring to inculcate doctrines 
lis opjiositc us lilt' poles, and all. at llie ?ame time, claini- 
iiiir to be dh;-rl!^ rallnd and !^iH;if,lly qualinrd fty //..■ 
;/'./;, Spirit. H,- could nut l«-lieve that tin- fipirit of G...i 
inspired such cuiitnldictory doctrines; tlierefore he con- 
cluded Hint tho*c who honestly professed to liave been 
speeiiilly called atid (inaliticd, were the victims of a lii-lu- 
sion ; and \[ tlirij were, so, perhaps, were all believers. 

When witnesses in earthly conrls have already contra, 
di.'ted each other tiiiiea without nnmber, their testimony 
is good for nothing when they chance to ajrree up<>n a 
shifrle piiint. So when these opposing sectaries agreed 
in witnessing the blessing to Iw obtained at the "ansious 
seal," FIdcr Wright iK'lieved theni not. and consequentlv 
resisted all the tearful entreaties of his friends, who would 
fain have seen him at that place of prayer. The religious 
lenders in those days did not seem to think that the sin- 
ner's path of duty Icrtiiina/rd at the " mourner's bench :'' 
hut at ihat poini it iK'came so obxeiirc that it could scarcely 
he discerned even by the spiritualized eye of the cnUed- 
and-sent preacher. In allusion to this fact KIder Wright 


id wont to saj, in his plain style : ** The preachers wanted 
us sinners to do something in order to be saved ; but neither 
they nor we could ever clearly understand what that 
'something' was." But for these difficulties he would, no 
doubt, have obeyed the gospel long before he did ; and it 
is probable that he never would have obeyed it had not 
those dark places been illuminated by the dawning light 
of the Reformation. 

Finally, however, he heard some enlightened preacher 
observe that "man's duty is simple and may be narrowed 
down to two points, faith and obedience. This remark 
directed his mind to something tangible ; and it was not 
long until both he and his wife were immersed, in humble 
submission to the will of the Lord. 

They united at once with the congregation of Free-will 
Baptists at Blue River, which church had been organized 
by his father on the apostolic foundation, and which, with 
all the surrounding Baptist churches, came into the Refor- 
mation at the time of the great union effected soon after 
between them and the Reformed Silver Creek Association. 

He immediately began to take part in the meetings for 
public worship; and in a short time it was whispered 
about that he ought to preach the gospel. But to this 
he was firmly opposed ; for his father's experience had 
taught him that the minister's life is one of severe trial. 

While this matter was pending, he met with a severe 
affliction in the loss of his wife. She died of consumption 
in the Summer of 1832. 

Humbled by this sad dispensation of Providence, and 
seeing the fields on every hand " ripe for the harvest," he 
yielded to the importunities of his friends, and resolved 
to devote his life to the service of the Lord. On the 
third Sunday in August, 1832, he was ordained to the 
work of the ministry. 

He was at that time in feeble health, and was thought 


to be in the first stage of conBUtnplioD ; but he continued 
tu preach the word witli all llie energy he could cointnuiid, 
iiin l&bors being crowned with some success, and bis 
liealth being finally restored. 

Od the lost day of March, 1833, he vraa mnrried the 
second time, to Rachel Denny, who had been, and still i-s, 
a faithful helpmeet in the gospel. 

In May, 1834, be removed to Martinaburg, wbere he 
entered into the eabinet bueincBS His cabinet shop was 
also, per necessity, his theological senitnari/. He used to 
keep a Rible on his work-bench; and while resting hs 
would read a few verses on whieh to reflect while be plied 
his tools. In this way he acquired much of that thorough 
knowledge of the Scriptures, for which he is now noted. 

While prosecuting his worldly business he did not neg- 
lect the "great salvation." From the very first, his Sundnvs 
were regularly employed in the Muster's service ; and each 
succeeding year the area of his operations was enlarged, 
his influence increasing in a direct ratio. 

During a portion of the year 1S38, he preached monthly 
for the congregation at Coffee Creek ; and through his 
efficient labors the church increased from forty to over 
one hundred members. In the year 1839 he immersed 
about five hundred persons, and about four hundred the 
year following. Not all of these, however, were enlisted 
under his preaching alone ; for he travelled much in com- 
pany with his father, Jesse Mavity, Mordeeai Cole, and 
the Littells— John T. and AI).«aIom. 

Among other important achievements of the year 1830 
was the organization of the churches at Driftwood and 
Urownstown — churches which still continue to enlarge Ihi'ir 
borders, and through llie instrumentality of which, munv 
a " mouldering heap," in the cemeteries hard by, will give 
up its inmate at the first resurrection. 


These years — from 1838 to 1840 — were the most suc- 
cessful of his whole ministry. 

At the close of this period his usefulness as a preacher 
was seriously impaired, and for a while entirely destroyed, 
by his becoming entangled in the affairs of this life. By 
close economy and hard labor in his cabinet shop he soon 
acquired considerable means, which he invested in a steam 
flouring mill. In this enterprise he had a partner to whom 
he intrusted the management of the business, while he, 
for the most part, gave himself to the word. Under this 
arrangement the firm became involved in debts ; and the 
great financial crisis of 1840 coming upon them, in that 
situation, rendered them completely bankrupt. 

Up to that time his preaching had been almost gratu- 
itous, having received only ahout fifty dollars during the 
last six years of his ministry. He, therefore, had no reason 
to look in that direction for pecuniary aid. 

Under these circumstances, and in view of the com- 
mandment to " provide things honest in the sight of all 
men," he determined to quit preaching, and labor with 
his hands, at least until he could pay off all his debts. 
Accordingly he went to work as a house-carpenter, and 
by extraordinary exertions was fast liquidating the claims 
against him. 

But the brethren, especially those of Jackson county, 
were unwilling for him to abandon the evangelical field. 
They held that such a course on his part would either 
produce the impression that his faith had been shaken, or 
reflect upon his brethren for not giving a more liberal 
support to one who had made so many sacrifices and 
manifested so much zeal in the work. Therefore the 
churches at Driftwood, Brownstown, Pea Ridge, and 
Indiana Creek, met " in co-operation," and agreed that if 
he would resume the preaching of the word, as evangelist 
of Jackson county, they would remunerate him sufficiently 


to enablo him to continue tlie payment of hia debta. To 
thia agreement he beeanie a party; and since thai time 
— October, 1841 — he has been (save one year) continually 
before the public as a minietor of the gospel. 

From his journal of proceeding for the year 1842 it is 
ascertained thnt he preached for the four churchca above- 
named, and also at FrieDdship, Lecsrille, and Leather- 
wood, in Lawrence ; Coffee Creek and Paris, in Jennings; 
Sand Crceh and ColunibuB, in Bartholomew; Harrods* 
burgh, in Monroe; and Canton, in Washington comity. 
The record also reveals the fact that during the year two 
hundred and seventy-eight persons were added to tliesB 
several churche/. 

He continued his labors in Jackson until the Fall of 
ISH, during which lime the disciples in that county 
were greatly niiiltipiied. At olher points also he held im- 
portant meelings, among which was one at Mill Creek, in 
WaHhington county, where Cfly-five were added under his 
preaching alone. 

His health failing in the Fall of 1844, he removed to 
Salem, where he was employed during the year 1845 as a 
clerk in the dry-goods establishment of J, B. Berkey. 

Whenheenleredtheminislry the second time in 1841, he 
determined to seek some further scholastic attainments — 
at least to acquire the art of using with propriety the 
English language. Therefore when he engaged to preach 
for the churches in Jackson county, he also made arrange- 
ments to spend a portion of his time in a school taught 
by a, brother Richard Fisher. His main study was Kirk- 
ham's Grammar, with which he became quite familiar. He 
also acquired some further knowledge of the subject by 
attending the lectures of Dr. H. T. N. Benedict, of Bloom- 
ington, who was traversing the country as a teacher of 
the English language. 

Subsequently he fell in with a brother Xewton Short, 


bj whom he was induced to begin the stadj of Greek. 
In order to encourage him, his patron gave him a Greek 
Testament, grammar, and lexicon, and also taught him 
the alphabet. After this humble beginning he continued 
for two or three years to wrestle with the declension of 
nouns and adjectives, and to grope his way slowly through 
the labyrinth of the verb. He obtained ail the information 
he could from every scholar he chanced to meet ; and aside 
from this he had no assistance until he removed to Salem 
in 1844. There he placed himself for a few months under 
the instruction of Prof. John I. Morrison, formerly of the 
State University ; and by this means he was enabled to 
read the original text with tolerable proficiency. 

Only a few years ago he began the study of Hebrew, 
which subject, like the Greek, has been pursued under 
many difficulties and mainly without a master. He does 
not profess to be proficient in either language, but he has 
learned a sufficiency of both to be able by means of his 
lexicons to determine in most cases the true meaning of 
the Scriptures. Thus it appears that he has pursued an 
irregular course — not thorough by any means, but sur- 
passing in length even the curriculum of the German 
Universities I 

On the first of January, 1846, he resumed his labors 
in the ministry, engaging to preach for the churches at 
Greensburg, Milford, Clifly, and Clarksburg, in Decatur 
county. These congregations he found in a weak, luke- 
warm condition ; but at the end of two years he left them 
zealous, prosperous, and happy. While employed in De- 
catur he also reached over into Franklin county, where he 
organized a church of some forty members. This was 
in a community previously under the influence of the 
United Brethren, several of whom entered into the new 

In the Spring of 1848 he commenced preaching monthly 


for thp ohurclies hL Salem, and New Wftshington, Clwlw 
I'uunty, ivecrving lln> remainder of his time for holding 
protracted mectinfts at varioua points. For the spitcti of 
three years he suoceasfuUy served the church at Nuw 
Waahinglon. With the escepUon of one year he haa 
preached one-fourth of his time at Salem since 1848. 
During this long period the church has passed through 
many vicissitudes, has experienced many expansions and 
cuu tractions ; but it still listens with unabated interest to 
the instructions of its long-tried pastor. 

In March, ISbl, he held a meeting, in New Albany, 
which resulted in eeveral additions, and gave such aatis- 
faetion to the congregation that they employed him to 
visit th.?ra once a month for one vfiir. During the next 
ycur lie preuched for them thrt'e-fourtliH of his time, and 
hiilf his time during the year following. In the three 
years about one hundred and twenty-five were added to 
the congregation, which was otherwise greatly strength- 
Ill the meantime he also organized a new church at 
Georgia, on the Ohio nud Mississippi Railroad. This 
wa.s composed largely of those who had formerly been 

During the years 1855-56 he served the churches at 
Milroy, in Rush, and Cliffy, iu Decatur county. 

In November, 1858, he returned to bin old field of 
labor at Driftwood, where he has since continued to 
preach once a month Through his zealous ministry 
nearly the whole community have been converted to the 
faith of the gospel. 

About this time a rather remarkable meeting took 
phiee lit Courtland, Juekson county. The Methodists, 
Diiliti.-^tw. and Disciples of that locality had united tlieir 
mciin.-^ Htiil erected u unii.n niccling-houav All parties 
claiming a ahare in the dedication. Elder Wright was 


invited to represent tbe Christian element on that occa- 
sion. Arriving at the appointed time, and finding that 
the building would not be completed for several days, he 
determined to have a few valedictory exercises in the old 
house of worship. He accordingly delivered four dis- 
courses on the subject of Christian Union, at the conclu- 
sion of which one of the class-leaders arose and expressed 
his determination to embrace the Reformation. He 
paused long enough, however, to deliver a powerful ex- 
hortation to the members of his class, about twenty of 
whom — all but one or two — ^took their stand with him 
on the Bible alone. Thus, while the workmen were 
finishing the union houses Elder Wright, as a workman 
that needeth not to be ashamed, was preparing a united 
people to occupy it I Through the increased moral power 
resulting from this more perfect union, not less than forty 
or fifty others were brought into the heavenly family 
before the close of the meeting. 

But it is not designed to enumerate even a tithe of the 
meetings which he has held with signal advantage to the 
cause of reform ; and perhaps those already referred to 
are sufficient to illustrate, with justice to himself, the 
manner in which he has been employed, and the success 
that has attended his efforts for the last thirty years. A 
line indicating all his travels would pass through, at least, 
the counties of Decatur, Rush, Franklin, Bartholomew, 
Jennings, Johnson, Morgan, Monroe, Owen, Lawrence, 
Jackson, Martin, Washington, Jefferson, Floyd, Greene, 
Davis, Sullivan, Clark, Scott, Orange, and Harrison. 
Indeed, his field has embraced almost the whole of 
southern or southeastern Indiana, which district he has 
traversed again and again ; for it has been his custom not 
only to plant, but also to revisit and confirm. He has 
organized many new churches, set up many altars that 
had fallen down, and, from the data at hand, the number 


of hie proselytes cnnncl be much less than five tbou- 

But Elder Wright h»B reiitlerod important services In 
another department. He ia eniphaticftUy " i/ic dispnter" — 
if not " of tilts world," at letist of the State of lodiwia. 
It ia aa a debater that he boa eepeciallj distiogaisfaed 
hiiurwlf, though he was a weak opponent in the beginning. 
In a brief sketch like this, his numerous discussions can- 
nut ho dwelt upon ; but Justice demands that they shall, 
at least, be enumerated as follows : 

1. His first was with a Methodist preacher by the nama 
or John Bailcs. It occurred at Martiusburg, about the 
year 1835. 

2. His next debat«, which was on slavery, also took 
place at Martinsburg, iu 183S His opponent was one 
Dr. Suggs, an Engli>>hman, who ia eoid to have bad a 
liberal share of the braggart spirit for which hia country- 
men are remarkable. In this respect Elder Wright was 
also fully up to the American standard; and conscious of 
Yankee superiority and the justice of his cause, he ac- 
cepted the disadvantage of aCGrming a negative, viz., that 
"American slavery is not according to the revealed will 
of God." This he was compelled to do, or be reproached 
with " backing out ;" for the Doctor, with genuine English 
obBtinacy, insisted upon the proposition in that form as a 
etnequanon. The moderators decided in favor of freedom. 

3. At tbe same place and within the same year, he had 
a sharp engagement with a Mormon apostle, by the name 
of Emmet. 

4. His nest collision with one of the contrary part was 
at Brownstown, Jackson county, in 1839. It was an in- 
significant, extempore aSair, in which he was opposed by 
the Rev. Philip May, of the M, E. Church. 

5. This was followed by a regular discussion with a 
Methodist preacher by the name of Walker. The subjects 


discussed were, '* The Influence of the Holy Spirit in Con- 
version and Sanctification," '' Infant Baptism," and ** Im- 
mersion." The debate began at Leesville, Lawrence 
county, August 1st, 1842, and continued three days. Be- 
fore leaving the ground, Elder Wright immersed twenty- 
two ; and before the approach of Winter he immersed 
more than one hundred and fifty in that immediate vicinity. 
6th. On the 27th of June, 1843, he met Erasmus Man- 
ford, the Universalist editor, in a discussion which took 
place at Columbus. On this occasion, his antagonist had 
the advantage of him in education and experience ; and 
it is the part of candor to express the opinion that the 
result was against him. 

7. In the Spring of 1846, and near Clarksburg, Deca- 
tur county, he had a sharp but irregular contest with the 
Rev. Williamson Terrell, a Methodist itinerant. The 
substance of this debate, with the causes that led to it, 
has since been published by Elder Wright, in a pamphlet 
of sixty-six pages. 

8. In October, 1848, he debated five days with Mr. 

Foster, (Universalist,) at New Washington, Clark 

county. This time he was more successful than in his 
former discussion of* Universalism. At the close he im- 
mersed about fifty persons ; and it is said that " the final 
holiness and happiness of all mankind" was not again 
preached in that place for several years. 

9. His ninth engagement was at Salem, in 1850, with 
a travelling phrenologist, who, in harmony with tha( 
whole race, was inculcating infidel sentiments. 

10. From the 2d to the 10th of August, 1859, he de- 
bated, at Palmyra, with Dr. E. E. Rose, (Methodist,) on 
the following ten propositions : 

First. Does the Holy Spirit ever operate, in the convic- 
tion, conversion, or sanctification of a person, apart from 
tlie revealed or written word of God ? Affirmative, Rose. 


Scnond. Did the baptism of the Holy Spirit ceue with 
the Huath of the apoali«6 f Affirmative. Wright 

Third. Hua the Churi-h been one and the eame under 
both the Old and New Testaineats, and children of be- 
lieving parents entitled to membership and baptism there- 
in 7 Affirmative, Rose. 

Fourth. Is immersion the one only apostolic baptism? 
Affirmatire, Wright. 

Fifth. Is flpriokling or pouring; apostolic baptism? 
Affirmative, Rose. 

Sixth. Is immersion a necessary condition of justiGca- 
tiun or pardon ? Affirmative, Wright. 

Seveuth. Is the Methodiat Episcopal Church, as such, 
a part of the Church of Christ T Affirmative, Kose. 

Kig-htii. la the Churcli of Christ, which is fre^uently 
cnllcd '"Compbellite," in its orgitnizatioii and form of gov- 
ernmeiil, the Church of Christ? AiBrnmtive, Wright. 

Ninth. No church or council has a right to make a dis- 
cipline or cri'cd for the government of the Church of 
Christ. Amrmiitive, Wright. 

Tenth. Is it the will of God that all Christians should 
be visibly united in one body? AQinnalive, Wright. 

11. In 1860 ho again debated with Dr. Hose, at Worth- 
iugton, Greene county. The propositions were almost the 
very same. 

12. In November of the same year he had a discussion 
with Nathan Ilornaday, at North Salem, Hendricks county, 
on the following propositions : 

First. Has tlie kingdom of God, spoken of by Daniel, 
ii. 44, Ijeen set up or organized ? Affirmative, Wright. 

Second. Does the soul of oian survive the death of the 
body, and remain ciinscious after the death of the body ? 
Aflirmalivc, Wright. 

Third. Do the Scrijiturcs teach that the "everlasting 


punifthnient" of the finally impenitent will be utter extinc- 
tion ? Affirmative, Hornaday. 

13. His last public debate, in which he was opposed by 
Rev. T. S. Brooks, (Methodist,) began August 1st, 1861, 
and continued seven days. 

Thus ends the long chapter of his public discussions, 
which, in connection with what precedes it, will exhibit 
to the reader the part which Elder Wright has performed 
in the current Reformation. For thirty years he has en- 
dured ''hardness as a good soldier of Jesus Christ;'' and, 
through the kindness of the Heavenly Father, he still 
stands upon the walls of Zion, clad in the Hill armor of 
God, and brandishing with a strong arm ''the sword of the 

Elder Wright is a small, sinewy man, black-haired, 
black-eyed, and of a rubicund complexion. His form, his 
features, his dress, his gait — every thing about him indi- 
cates that he- is, in a good sense, a busy-body, a man of 
deeds, as well as pretensions not a few. He is never 
weary in well doing, and whatever his hands find to do he 
does with his might. 

His mind is well-balanced and well-informed, especially 
upon theological subjects. He sees a point readily and 
clearly, and reasons forcibly from cause to effect. In 
phrenological terms firmness is large, combativeness larger, 
self-esteem largest. 

He is rather original and profound in his mental opera- 
tions, hence the fact that he has preached for the congre- 
gation at Salem during the past sixteen years, without 
exhausting his intellectual resources. He is far from be- 
longing to that class of preachers who deliver a few dis- 
courses with great effect, and after that have no more that 
thev can do. 

His manner of preaching is plain, straightforward, en- 



ergeilc, authoriUtiVe. He sppaks with tolerable fluein^, 
yel he ie not rich in l&nguaf^; and his gestures are im- 
prt-ssire rather than pleftsing. He deals esclusivcly in 

facta, and carries his point by sheer force of logic. Though 
not barflh and reptilsive in bis elocution, yet he is depilate 
of pathos, and ordinarily incapable of delivering a touch- 
ing exhortation. 

In debate he is prompt, discerning, perfectly candid, anii 
mild even to a fault; therefore he coDt«nds more success- 
fully against an able opponent than against a deceitful 
qulbhler. From the number of public discussions in which 
he haa been engaged, it would be inferred that he ig not 
only (.-ornhntiTG, but habitually aggressive. Such, however, 
is not the case ; for in the most, if not in all of his regu- 
lar debates, he has been the challenged party. 

In the world b^ in bis profession, he shows " uneor- 
mptness, gravity, sincerity." Though in every respect a 
positive man, yet ho is humble, frank, affable, and there- 
fore popular, especially among the common people 
Wherever he has gone preaching he has a host of friends, 
with whom his example avails not less than his precepts. 

Poor in this world's goods, yet rejoicing in prospect of 
a heavenly inheritance, be still proclaims the glad tidings 
of salvation, resolved to devote the remainder of his days 
to the advocacy of the principles for which he has so long 
plead, and which he is fully persuaded will eventually pre- 
vail over the whole earth. 

i/ ^-^^^J '&^^1^i^ 



J^>?'-?^ t--^/^L — 


•Il«»^ "^ !l at 'IV' ■*' 

y' ^^^C^'^i^^ 

■i^ c/- '^-■■^-■t^C■' 


Eldkb Butler Kennbdt Smith was born in Spartaus- 
burgh District, South Carolina, on the sixteenth day of 
September, 1807. When he was an infant his father dis- 
posed of his possessions in South Carolina, intending to 
emigrate to Indiana Territory; but, changing his purpose, 
he settled in the adjoining District of Union, where Butler 
SL spent the happy days of his childhood. 

In the Spring of 1817 his father carried out his long 
cherished design of removing to the Northwest. In April 
of that year he reached Indiana, and soon after entered 
land on the head waters of West river, in Wayne county. 
Here in the wild woods — theirs being the extreme frontier 
bouse for a long while — Butler K. passed the remaining 
years of his minority. 

In a country like that there could be no such thing 
as a school ; consequently he never suffered from that 
" weariness of the flesh" which is produced by ** much 
study." He had been taught to read before leaving his 
native State ; and with this ability he gleaned what 
information he could from the few books owned by his 
father, and from the newspapers, which at long intervals 
found their way into the neighborhood. In the course of 
a few years, however, a respectable school was established, 
in which he acquired a pretty thorough knowledge of 
arithmetic, and was shown a little way into the symbolic 
mysteries of algebra. This, with the general knowledge 
since gathered by the wayside, is the sum total of his 




TUe circumstances surroiimliDg Uim were Dqualljr un- 
Turarablc to moral ELDd reli^uua vulture, ll wan only 
(icctisiunally that b Metbodist itinvraut left an a|»p<iint- 
iiit-til in the neigfiborhoix] ; and the nt^ai^st Bapliet cbtirch, 
.if which both his parcnte were luembers, wae t«n or iwelre 
inilds distHDt — enlirely beyond li!» rau^. At a ilistanLi* 
of three or four miles theru wa^ a Societ; of Fritinda, 
wlioec meetings he frequently nttvnded, but without <>m-« 
licuring a discourse exceeding five miuulca in length. 
His religious training deTolved, therefore, on hi» parents, 
by whom ho was thoroughly indoctrinated according tu 
the creed nf th« CuWIuiatic Baptiala. 

[u the conrae of a few years a couple of Bapltat mi»- 
siunariea established a ittatiou at his father's liousc ; and 
frtim that time he heard one or more of the "' Gvc points'' 
expounded evrry mitntb. Under this jireuchinp eeveriil 
[MTHons professed to hare " obtained a bope," and among 
llie number was Carey Smith, the eldest brother of Butler K. 
These fresh recruits, together with a few old soldiers of 
the cross — nine in all — were organized as a " Baptist 
Church of Jesus Christ," which was christened " Bethle- 
hem." William Smith, the father of B. K., was made 
deacon, aud Carey was ordained as pastor, with license 
" to preach and exhort wherever God in his providence 
should cast his lot." 

Thus a churvh was brought near to Elder Smith, but 
from the gosjml he wa,f as far rcmored as ever. He strove 
to enter in at the straight gate, hut all his efforts were 
ineffectual. By constant exertion he worked himself into 
the belief that he bad obtained what his parents and 
brother denominated a "trembling hope;" but his " ei- 
|)rrience" being unsatisfactory, his "hope" was evanes- 
cent. He finally reached the following conclusions, which 
ari' .stated in his own language; 

1. That I was one of the non-elect. Such being the 


case, the present life was all I could promise myself any 
enjoyment in ; consequently the less I thought about a 
future state the better. 

2. If I was of the elect the Lord's time for effectually 
calling me had not yet come ; consequently any effort, on 
my part, to forestall the divine arrangement would be 
useless, if not sinful. 

3. That the whole matter of religion was but a farce, 
gotten up by priest-craft to gull the superstitious and 

Such being his convictions, the Bible was laid aside, 
and Bums' Poems became his favorite pocket companion. 
In " Holy Willie's Prayer," " Kirk's Alarm," ** Ordination," 
and " Holy Fair," he specially delighted, because of the 
clear light in which they exposed the absurdity of the 
Calvinistic theory. A decent self-respect and the early 
counsel of his parents kept him from descending to gross 
immoralities ; but,^or a long while, the fear of God was 
not before his eyes. 

In the Fall of 1823 or '24 his brother Carey, mounted 
on a sorry nag and an old weather-beaten saddle, set out 
on a preaching tour through Kentucky and other Southern 
States. In Kentucky he fell in with "The Christian Bap- 
tist," with which he was so well pleased that he ordered 
two copies of the work, as far as published, to be sent to 
Indiana, one to his own address, the other to that of his 
father. Thus his apparently unpromising mission was 
the means of introducing the primitive gospel and the 
ancient order into Wayne and other counties of Eastern 

He lived to see many churches grow up under the 
labors of himself and others. Finally he went on a mis- 
sion to the South, under the special patronage of Elder 
A. Campbell, and fell a victim to the Southern climate 
Boon after reaching his field of labor. He died at Fayette, 


MlBa., on the 27th of January, 1841, in the forty.firet 
year of hts age, and about the eighteenth of bb minifltty. 
He was among the very first of the piooeer preachers of 

Indinna. but his career was of short durBtion, and confined 
to the day of small things. 

By the reading of the " Christian Bftptbt," Butler K.'s 
objections to Christianity were removed one by ooe. 
Gradually the fog of false teaching and consequent skep< 
tirism rolled away, and he saw once more the water of 
life, with full assurance th&t be might approach and par- 
take freely. But on the principle embodied in the old 
adage, "A burnt child dreads the Gro," he approached 
very elowly and cautiously. It was not UDtil the Spring 
of 1S32 ihnt he obeyed the gospel, being bnptizcd some 
six miles t'outlnvost of Indiaiiupolis, by an aged aod semi- 
reformed Haptisi preacher by llie name of William Irvine 
—o/ws" Uncle Billy." 

Prior to this event, however, some changes worthy of 
note hud taken place. For the purpose of esitablishing 
themt^elvcs in the business of blacksmithing— which trade 
was a kind of heirloom in their family — he and his bro- 
ther Carey had removed to Indianapolis, at which place 
they arrived on the 1st of February, 1829; anil, on the 
nth of November, 1831, he had married Miss Sarah 
Brisluw, the third daughter of I'eyton Bristow, Esq., of 
Marion oouiity. 

At the time of their removal to Indianapolis, there was 
at that phii-e a Baptist church, which had reported itself 
to the "Ciiri.'^tian ]ia|>tist" as reformed; but it was still 
so far from the ancient order that Carey Smith refused to 
iinilo with it, and attached himself to a congregation in 
the country designated by the significant name of Liberty 
ihiirch. At tlie]ieriod of Butler K.'s immersion, the said 
Liberty cliiircli was iirraigncd before the Imiiaziapolis 
Asseeiation on the charge of heresy, and the so-called 


Reformed cbnrch was taking an active part in the prose- 
cution. Therefore the little church which was organized 
in the " Bottom," (or six miles from town on the Bluff 
road,) and of which Elder Smith and his wife were ori- 
ginal members, did not report itself to the Association, 
but assumed an independent form of government, adopt- 
ing the New Testament as its constitution or creed. They 
also recognized the principle of weekly communion ; and, 
as far as they understood it, conformed in all things to 
the order observed by the primitive churches. In this 
faithful little congregation he retained his membership 
until the 12th day of June, 1833, on which day was organ- 
ized **The Church of Jesus Christ at Indianapolis, Indi- 
ana,^ The organization was effected at the house of a 
brother Benjamin Roberts, Peter H. Roberts and John 
H. Sanders being chosen as the first overseers. 

When the disciples met together on the next " first day 
of the week to break bread," not an officer of the church 
was present. But there were a faithful few who were 
not ashamed of the gospel ; and there were quite a num- 
ber of spectators, anxious to see how those " Campbell- 
ites" would conduct a meeting without a preacher. 

For a while it was conducted in the most approved 
Quaker style. Not one of the members present had ever 
spoken in public, and every one's *' tongue seemed to 
cleave to the roof of his mouth." When the suspense 
became intolerable, Elder Smith went forward, took up a 
collection of Baptist hymns — there was then no Christian 
hymn-book — and began to search for a suitable song. 
The prayer that he was soon to make in public was press- 
ing with mountain weight upon his mind ; and, fearing 
that he might make a failure, he selected the familiar 
hymn beginning with a definition of prayer especially 
favorable to him on that occasion, viz. : 

" Prajer is the aonrs *ii 
Uttered or imttpremd.' 



This hymn lie rend and lined out ae it was sung, thinkbg 
by that Dioans to throw off his embarrasanicnt before the 
arrival of the criticnl moment. But the last Btaoza b^ing 
ended, h'm heart failed him, and be sat down, oTerwhelnied 
by a BOQse of dizziness and blindness. One or two other 
brethren attempted to lead in the exorcises, but each and 
all failed precisely where Elder Smith had failed. Thug 
the first meeting adjourned, the loaf being unbroken, not 
a single prayer having been offered. 

Tbia mortifying failure taught the disciples tbftt nldeiB 
and deacons alone were not to be depended upon ; bnf that 
it wnd the duty, ^l^^ welt ii:^ the iirivilr-e, of atl. " tn offer 
up spiritual sncrificL'.'? acceptable to (.iod by Jesus Christ," 
Realizing this, and seeing clearly that the church would 
go to ruin if such ahorlive mcelitigs were permitted to 
recur, Elder Smith added to his faith cotiraye, and at once 
stepped forward into the front nink of that httle faltering . 

To obviate the difficulty growing out of the absence of 
the officers, two more elders and as many additional 
deacons were appointed. Of the latter, Elder Smith was 
made one ; thougli lie still retained the office of sexton — 
sweeping, warming, an dilluminating the old school-house, 
which was the pro trmpore " Chri.«tian chapel." Ever 
faithful and punctual in his attendance, he gave the sacred 
emblems to the disciples ; and in the absence of all four 
of the elders, he officiated at the table. 

In a Bhort time lie l>ecnnie one of the overseers of the 
congregation, which position he oecupied until Elder L. H 
Jameson was installed as pastor of the congregation, in 
October, 1H42, At Hint time Kliier Jameson was ordained 
as an evongelist, Ovid Butler as bishop, and some three 



Other brethren as deacons. His last o£Bcial act, as an 
elder of that congregation, was to preside over the Pres* 
bjtery which officiated on that occasion. 

Shortly afterwards he was himself ordained as "an 
evangelist at large ;" and thus released from all personal 
responsibility as to the management, government, and 
edification of the Indianapolis church. 

In his watchful care over that congregation, and his 
zealous efforts to extend its borders, he had greatly neg- 
lected his own business, and had consequently lost very 
much of the liberal patronage he once received. More- 
orer, his location at that central point, and his position 
•8 elder of the church at the capital, enabled him to form 
but too many acquaintances, and constrained him to 
veceire but too many calls from his brethren in different 
parts of the State. His house was for many years a 
IMsciples' Inn, and his stable was usually well filled with 
horses not his own. 

Owing to these combined causes he became greatly 
involved in debt ; and finally had to dispose of his town 
property (that would be a fortune to him now) at a great 
sacrifice, and remove to a farm several miles in the country. 
There he worked hard to retrieve his former losses ; and 
in the course of a few years, frowning poverty was suc- 
ceeded by smiling plenty. During these years of severe 
manual toil he did not wholly forsake the word of life ; 
but on almost every Sunday he rode away from one to ten 
miles, preached one or two discourses, and returned the 
same day. 

Early in the year 1849 he was solicited by the co-ope- 
ration meeting to evangelize in the county of Johnson. 
This call he accepted ; and, in April, entered into his new 
field at a salary of three hundred dollars per annum. The 
principal churches composing the " co-operation" were at 
Franklin, Mount Auburn, Edinburg, and Williamsburgh. 


For these, and in destitute plftcea, he labored with soch 
succeBB, that he waa employed to evangelizo another year 
in connection with Elder Ara Hollingsworth. 

Anxious. that he should devote his whole time and 
attention to the work of the ministry, bia brethren, at the 
cinumencement of the second year, urged him to lease out 
hie farm for a term of years, at the same time making 
him verbal and indefinite promises of a liberal support. 
Yielding to their requests, and abandoning the farm — bis 
only sure base of operations — his supplies were soon cut 
off; and by the close of the year he found himself reduced 
almost to absolute want. But this return of financisl 
embarraasmente only exemptiSed still further the apostle's 
declaration that "all things work together for good to 
them that love God." By the irresistible force of circum- 
stances he was compelled to visit other and distant points, 
where he hoped to find more liberality, and at least equal 
opportunities of doing good. In this way he made him- 
self known to many brethren who, perhaps, would never 
have heard of him had he continued a successful tiller 
of the soil. Thus his area of usefulness was widely 
extended; and he was forced to fulfill the hitherto un- 
fulfilled conditions of his commission as "evangelist at 

Though his labors were arduous, he fared sumptuously 
every day, and so far as himself was concerned ho could 
have enjoyed this itinerant service very well. But every 
dainty morsel was robbed of its relish by the recollection 
that his wife and children were subsisting on the cheapest 
and coar.^est fare ; and as he sat by the fireside of tho 
thrifty farmer — father, mother, sisters, brothers, all pre- 
sent, the happy circle unbroken — his mind was filled with 
sad thoughts of a very ililFerent scene henealh his own 
dif^tant roof But. renienib.Ting Ihe vunh. '-lie that 
lovclb xoit or diui'jhliir niurc tluin me is run wortliy i>f 



ine/' he sustained the cross, and continued to point the 
people to Him whom, for their sakes, the cross sus» 

Having spent some two years in these desultory labors, 
he was invited to take the pastoral charge of the congre- 
gation at Harrison, in Dearborn county. This call he 
accepted, and removed to Harrison in the Spring of 
1853. The congregation at that place gave him three 
hundred dollars for half his time, and two churches in 
Kentucky gave him the same amount for the remainder. 
Thus he received a salary of six hundred per annum, 
which was more than sufficient to supply the temporal 
wants of his family. At this point he spent two of the 
happiest years of his life, the success of the gospel being 
not the least cause of his rejoicing. 

In May, 1855, he returned to his farm near Indianapo- 
lis, where he has continued to reside. From that time to 
the present he has preached regularly for some two or 
. three congregations, and has gone hither and thither 
, throughout Central Indiana, preaching the gospel of the 
kingdom, establishing new churches, edifying old ones, 
healing dissensions, and provoking to love and good 

In addition to his preaching he has exerted a considera- 
ble influence, and become somewhat distinguished as a 
writer. He wields a vigorous pen, which, for the last 
fifteen or twenty years, has been industriously employed 
in contributing to the various Christian periodicals. 

He is now, and has been from the beginning, a punC' 
tual and working member of the Board of Directors of 
the N. W. C. University. He also acts a prominent part 
in the management of County, District, and State Meet- 
ings ; and is well known as a true friend of education, an 
active and liberal supporter of missions, both home and 
foreign, and of every institution, human or divine, which 



Wnde to the physical iaiproremeDt, mental illumination, 
or aplriloal elevatioii of bis t&cq. 

Of the persoDal ftppearoDce of Eltlor B. K. Smitli, no 
wrilt«n description is neceas&Ty. By ono glnora at the 
portrait accoEupanyiiig this sketch, the inquirer wiU ob- 
tain ft better idea of that than it is in tho power of words 
to convey. Like the aacient Eli, he is "an old niaa ood 
Atriiin/." Bci has too much sound sense to attempt 14 
adorn such a person as his with fine clothes ; therefore h« 
dresses in very plain style, his main object being to give 
the respiratory organs full play, and to guard against the 
suffocating effects of heat. 

His mental maehinery is not of the most ponderous 
kind ; but his inexhaustible supply of physical force runs 
It at a furious rate. Impelled by this bodily vigor, bis 
mind easily (iurniounts oiistacles which would he insuper- 
able to a superior intellect inhabiting a frailer tenement 
But the Lord has given him more than one talent, though 
he may not ha?e given him five. Snch are his abilities, 
natural and acquired, that when the Master comes to 
reckon with his serf ants, he may truly say, " Lord, thou 
deliveredst unto me fico talents; behold, I have gained 
two other talents besides them." He is a bold, original 
thinker, who attempts the sohition of the moat intricate 
problems in theology, and who usually throws some addi- 
tional light on subjeots the most difficult to elucidate. 

He is an edifying, stirring speaker — fluent, impressive, 
and oft-times affecting even to tears. His voice is deep 
and powerful, but under perfect control; bis gestures are 
natural, and therefore appropriate ; his countenance glows 
with animation ; and his whole manner is so earnest as 
to force upon his hearers the conviction that "from the 
abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh." He is fond 
of doctrinal subjects ; but he faithfully reminds his breth- 


Ten of the practical precepts of the gospel. He opposes 
at all points those who resist the truth ; yet in so doing 
he does not assume the authoritative air of the Saviour 
when he said, " generation of vipers," but rather that 
sympathetic mood in which he exclaimed, '' Jerusalem, 
Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest 
them that are sent unto thee." 

In all things he endeavors to please him who has called 
him to be a soldier. Therefore he does not suffer himself 
to become much entangled in the affairs of this life ; but 
the affairs themselves— -especially his own — are apt to 
become greatly entangled. He is not remarkable for the 
possession of great tact, or superior business qualities ; 
and his bump of order would hardly be found by the clumsy 
fingers of some pseudo-phrenologists. 

He is a man of warm and generous emotions — kind, 
forgiving, tender-hearted, ardently attached to his family 
and friends. Above all other objects he prizes "the king- 
dom of God and his righteousness" — 

"The ohuroh our blest Redeemer saved 
With his own precious blood." 

For it he has toiled and suffered, denying himself the 
pleasures, the riches, the honors — all the "vain pomp and 
glory of this world." In its service he is fully resolved to 
spend the remainder of bis days, with a firm reliance on 
the promise, " They that be wise shall shine as the bright- 
ness of the firmament, and they that turn many to right- 
eousness as the stars forever and ever. " 


Eldek Besjajiin F. Reeve was bora m Prince WilU*m 
county, Virginia, on the 28th of October, 1798. He IB of 
Welcli descunt with a slij^ht mixtare of Scotch aod Irish. 
Traditiou has it, that, very early in the history of iMa 
coaatry, four brothers by the name of Beeve emigraUd 
from Europe and settled in four different and distant pMM 
of wliat is now tlie United Stales ; and tliat from the said 
brothers have dcseeiided all of that name in America. 

>'ear the Iwginning of ihe present century his grand- 
father, Asa Reeve, removed from Virginia to Fleming 
county. Kentucky, where lie died more than forty years 
ago. He wan a most zealous Methodist, and the most of 
hiri family embraced the faith in which they were brought 
up. Two of his son.s became Methodist preachers, but 
Bonjiiniiu, Ihc father of Benjamin F.. never made any pro- 
fession of rclifjiiin ; ami e^;pecially (iid he not receive the 
doctrines of the Metiioiliwls. He rejected all creeds, hu- 
man and divine, and made one for liimself, which con- 
tained only a single article, namely, W/ial^foever thingn are 
honesl. He was careful to ohr^erve but one commandment : 
" Thou shall not stral. " He employed in Ids family but one 
eshortation : " Lrl u." watt iionksti.V, amit (Ai; rfoi/." With 
him, a.* with uiultitudes now, huneslij constituted the whole 
of religion : upon it hung all the law and the prophet.s; as 
if the Jlc-siah hail said to his apostles, ■■ Uo ye into all the 
world and preach horn's:!!/ to every creature. He that 
deals honestly according to the decisions of his own mind 


'fi^-cA-^ '/^, r~f 














shall be saved, but he that defrauds in any matter shall be 
damned." This being his faith, he sought to implant no 
other in the minds of his children, who therefore grew up 
as free from religious bias as it is possible for human 
nature to be. 

When Elder Reeve was six years old his father removed 
from Virginia to Kentucky, and settled in Mason county, 
about six miles below Maysville and near the Ohio river, 
whose waters were then disturbed only by the light canoe 
of the Red Man and the clumsy keels of the Whites. 
When quite young he was sent to school until he learned 
to spell, read and write with tolerable proficiency. When 
sufficiently old to work, he employed his time mainly in 
agricultural pursuits, yet he went to school more or less 
each winter until he arrived at manhood. He then at- 
tended a kind of high school for a year or two, in which, 
by diligent application, he acquired what was then re- 
garded as an excellent English education. 

Soon after completing his studies he was married to 
Miss Elizabeth D. Driskell. She subsequently followed 
him into the Reformation, and has long since preceded 
him to the Spirit land. 

After his marriage he engaged in the business of teach* 
ing, which he prosecuted successfully and exclusively for 
fifteen years. At the expiration of that time he aban* 
doned the profession, having demonstrated by actual ex- 
periment that, by teaching, he could make no more than a 
bare living for himself and his family. 

The religious element of the community in which he 
lived was composed principally of Methodists, Baptists, 
and Newlights. The meetings of these several denomi- 
nations he attended quite regularly from his boyhood to 
his thirtieth year. This he did, not for the purpose of 
ascertaining the will of God and doing it, but merely to 
listen to the extravagant logic of the preachers, and find 


agreesble compaoioDB with whom to while awaj tb« elug- 
gish hours of llie Sabb&lh. Th« pious quarrels indalged 
in by those three religious orfere, with reference to elec- 
tion and free grace, and sundry other matters set fortb in 
their creeds, were not well calcuJaled to influence, in the 
right direction, a mind early taught to criticise the strife 
and dirisions existing among the professed diBcipIes of 
the Prince of Peace. Under such circumetaDces he made 
little or no progress toward the liingdom. So disgusted 
was he with conflicting doctrineB. that he never seriously 
thought of searching out the narrow way. He knew but 
little about religion, and, if possible, cared less. With 
some of the more interesting portions of the Old Teeta- 
ment he had a slight acquointance. Re bad read of the 
creiition, of Noah and his ari;, of David and Ooliath ; bo 
was familiar with the storj- of Joseph and his brethren, 
and had some skeptical recollections of Sampson and his 
foxes. But to bis understanding the seal of the New 
Testament had scarcely been broken. In his mind thore 
wondrous things which the angels desire to look into had 
awakened no interest. He was truly without tjlod and 
withnut hope in the world. Who can contemplate his 
spiritual condition at that time, and the causes which 
mainly led to it, without being convinced that a divided 
church is opposed to the spiritual welfare of man, as well 
as to the revealed will of (Jod ? 

The first book of a religious character be ever read 
with any interest or seriousness, was the published debate 
between Alexander Campbell and W. L. McCalla. Hav- 
ing as yet no preference for this denomination or that, he 
gave the work on unprejudiced jierusal, being just as will- 
ing at that time to be a MrC'iiltaHe os a Campbfllile. 
From it he obtained some siibstautia! knowledge of reli- 
gion, and lie closed the book with the iiiiprcssiion that the 
lijble is lews contradictory than the sects, and that, like 


any other book, it may be studied and for the most part 

About the year 1828 the three denominations mentioned 
above imported into the neighborhood three preachers, 
one of each order, and each an able defender of the dog- 
mas of his church. Many things were then done through 
strife and vain glory. Meetings were so frequent that 
opportunities were afforded of bearing one of the three 
champions every Lord's day. From the very first Elder 
Reeve attended these meetings, and he soon became a 
deeply interested listener, having now learned how to 
compare the views of men with the word of God. They 
mainly discussed the subjects of Baptism, Calvinism, and 
the Divinity of Christ. He hearkened diligently to them 
all, until he understood clearly their positions and the dif- 
ferences between them. On Baptism the Baptist and New- 
light opposed the Methodist ; on Calvinism the Methodist 
and Newlight opposed the Baptist ; and on the Divinity 
of Christ the Baptist and Methodist opposed the Newlight. 
It was, therefore, a remarkable, triangular, and unequal 
contest, there being two against one on each of the 

In addition to these discussions, the doctrine of the 
Reformation was beginning to be preached in that 0teu> 
munity, though as yet, it had made no breach in the walls 
of sectarianism. In the midst of all these circumstances, 
Elder Reeve desired greatly to know which of all the doc- 
trines was true, or whether all were alike false. To sat- 
isfy himself, he resolved to try the whole matter before 
the apostolic jury. 

Baptism being put on trial first, he took up the New 
Testament and read it through with special and exclusive 
reference to that subject. Wherever the term occurred, 
or wherever the subject was alluded to in any way, there 
he paused, scrutinized, and analyzed as closely as possible 

Ho exftinined well the locality of " EnoD near to Salim," 
and weighed well the reaaon why John was there bap- 
tizing. — Jno. iii. 23. He hears John Bay, " I indeed bap- 
tize you with water," and he resolves to discover if pos- 
sible how he does it. Presently a subject approaches. It 
is Jesus coaling "from Galilee to Jordan unto John to be 
baptized of him." — Matt. iii. 13. He watches with intense 
interest and perceives that John baptizes in water; for 
" Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway tni 
of the water." He observes the pasBage of our fatbers 
through the sea, and finds that they were baptized unto 
Moees in the- 9ea — not wilh it. He seeks diligently tbo 
" spray" by which, the preachers afBrmed, they were 
sprinkled on that memorable occasion. He finds to his 
nstonishment that the waters are frozen in the heart of tlie 
sea, and that they am " a wall (of ice) unto them on the 
right hand and on the left." — Ex. xv. 8 and xiv. 22. He 
follows the chariot over the desert toward Gaza, to wit- 
ness the baptism of the eunuch. As they go "down both 
into the water," he vainly strives to discover some simi- 
larity between the action of Philip and that of the man 
who administers this ordinance, standing on a soft carpet 
with a basin of water in his hand. He closely observes 
the Saviour when the little children are brought unto him. 
He sees him put his hands on them ; he hears a blessing 
pronounced over their innocent heads; but not a thing 
does he see or hear relative to baptism. He goes to the 
jail at Philippi, and inquires after the jailer's "house" — 
the little ones that were said to have been baptized upon 
their father's faith. He 6nd9 that they are all of sufficient 
age to believe in God. — Acts xvi. 34. He aeks Paul and 
Silas as to the number, the ages, and the names of Lydta's 
children, but they return no answer. 

These researches he made impartially, being as willing 
to nnd authority for Sprinkling or Infant Baptism, as for 


any thing else. Having heard so much about these out- 
side of the Bible, he was not a little surprised to find, in 
it, no trace of either the one or the other. He read the 
Testament through again in the same manner and with 
the same result. The doctrine so eloquently advocated 
by the Methodist brother in opposition to the Baptists and 
Newlights, was not written in the book of God. 

Returning one evening from school he stopped at the 
village where several persons were assembled, and among 
them a certain class-leader who knew that he was search- 
ing the Scriptures. Being interrogated by the brother as 
to the result of his investigations, he replied, that if he 
had not previously heard, from men. of Sprinkling and In- 
fant Baptism, no thought of them would have ever entered 
his mind in all his reading of the New Testament The 
official assuming a contemptuous air and giving expres- 
sion to some taunting remarks. Elder Reeve handed him a 
Testament, which at that time he always carried in his 
pocket, and requested him to '' put his finger'' on the pas- 
sage, which, of itself, would have originated such an idea. 
He took the book reluctantly, but instead of pointing out 
the passage, he began to talk of Lydia and her "house- 
hold." He has often made the same demand of the advo- 
cates of those doctrines, but no one has ever met it He 
is therefore profoundly impressed with the diflTerence be- 
tween finding a doctrine in the Bible and proving one 
from the Bible The latter practice he regards as a fruit- 
ful source of errors and isms. 

The first subject being disposed of he again read the 
Testament through with an eye single to Eternal and 
Unconditional Election. On the first reading he was fully 
persuaded that the way of salvation is open to all — ^that 
"in every nation, he that feareth him, and worketh right- 
eousness, is accepted with him.'' 

He then took up the remaining subject — ^the Divinity of 


Christ — in the Bftoie ninnner, but willi less success. On 
the first remliujf, he felt that lie knew but little about it ; 
on tlie Bccorid, lesa ; aud ot> the third, still less. Though 
ihfl tenn " divinity" was freoly used in the diecusstoos of 
that dny, yet the quration in hand was more properly tha 
elemUy of Christ — was he co-eternal with the Father, 
or did ho derive hie oxisttnce from the Father ? Thia 
wae the subject which to Elder Reeve grew more ftpd 
more obscure. But that Jesus ChrJBt is the Son of God, 
lie found abundant evidence in the Scriptures. With 
lliis great, central truth he contented himself; and beyond 
that, after thu third reading, he sought not "to penetrate 
tliii vail." 

By the time be reached his conclusions on the subjects 
before mentioned, the doctrine of the current Reformation 
was being extensivdy taught in that community, not only 
by disciples, but also fay many Baptist preachers. Aniong 
these was Jesse Holton, a most excellent man, in whom 
the people had very great confidence. He afterwards 
came completely over to the Bible alone, and continued a 
steadfast disciple till he entered into his rest. By this 
devout man, in the Summer of 1829, Elder Reeve was 
immersed, with an intelligent understanding that it was 
an act in order to the remission of ains. Thus was he 
born free, though he afterwards united with a Baptist 
congregation known as Bracken church. 

In 1830 or '31, this church divided. Of some hundred 
and fifty members, all went into the Reformation except 
about thirty. The old house of worship was held as 
common property, the Baptists occupying it one-third of 
the time. 

Soon after this division B. F. Reeve and Daniel Runyon 
were selected as elders. In the Summer of 1832, they 
were formally ordainod — ElUtTs D. S. Burnett, John 
Smith, and Querdon Gates ufBciating. 


In the Spring of 1833 he removed to Indiana, and 
settled, where he now resides, in Noble township. Rush 
county. That county has been the principal field of his 
labors. He has worked in only a small portion of the 
great vineyard ; but he has cultivated that portion welL 
When he came to that county the Christians were few in 
number and everywhere spoken against. But the face 
of the western country has scarcely changed more, in the 
last quarter of a century, than has the religious phase of 
Rush county. It is no vain boasting, but the statement 
of a well-attested £act, to say that the despised few have 
been so multiplied that they now far outnumber any other 
denomination — that they have more and better churches, 
sustain in the field more preachers, do more in the cause 
of education, and exert more influence in every way over 
the public mind. To bring about this happy state of 
affairs, no one has done more, perhaps, than Benjamin F. 
Reeve. To realize the good that he has accomplished, 
that interesting region must be seen as it is by one who 
recollects it cis it was. 

Upon his removal to that locality, he united with the 
Flat Rock church ; and for twenty-eight years has been 
one of its bishops, and its principal instructor in word 
and doctrine. During this long period, Flat Rock has 
been one of the largest and most influential churches in 
the State. It now has over two hundred members, and 
it has seldom had less. It has sent whole colonies to 
various portions of Indiana, while many have gone from 
it to the far West, carrying with them the " incorruptible 

In addition to his labors at Flat Rock, he has rendered 
efficient service to the neighboring churches, sometimes 
visiting them monthly. When the system of county co- 
operation was adopted throughout the State, he travelled 


and preacbcd over a smnll district for about I 
Hia labors were attended with greol success. 

During his ministry he has been especially au 
immerser. Posseestuff great Btrength of I 
and self-poseesaion, be has ueually been^ 
immerse the obedient wherever he has b 
baptized hia first subject in June, 1833 ; 
he hae immersed hundreds, ir not tbuuaiJ 
slightest accident to any. On one act 
thiny-six without coming up out of the I 

He has also enjoyed great popularity a 
men and maidens, very many of whom fc 
the bonds of matrimony. 

He has himself been twice married. Hi^ 
in 18,'i!>, ami In the A.ll.iwiii;; yM. 
Elizabeth B. Lower, wlii» still survi' 

In view of the important results which h^ 
plished in belinlf of primitive Cbristin 
to consider ihe means by whicli thosi 
obtained. It may be safely affirmed that the 
been brought about by exlraordinari/ exerHoa^ 
evangelist. Many men, who have 
preached more, truvelled farther, and exper 
hardships. Tliough h(? has preached a great deal, 1 
never given himself wholly to the word. Much c 
time has always been devoted to secular pursuits. Upon^ 
these he has relied for Ihe support of bis family, and, 
until quite recenlly, he never received any remuneration 
for his services in the gospel. 

For several years he was a member of the Board of 
Managers of the White Water Canal. From the organi- 
zation of the Norlli Western Cliri.stian University, he has 
been a punctual ami higlily eflicient meniljcr of its Board 
of Directors', and Itii.sincsii Comniitlcc. In the township 
in which be resides he has served as justice of the peace 



for thirteen consecutive years; and for the last twenty 
years he has been engaged in settling up estates, and 
acting as guardian of minor heirs. At this time he is 
executor of five different estates, and the guardian of six 
families of children. He has sometimes had more of such 
business on hands, but seldom less. In this capacity he 
not only guards the dollars and cents, but also superin- 
tends the moral and intellectual training of those entrusted 
to his care. During five sessions he has been honored by 
the people of Rush county with a seat in the State Legis- 
lature ; two terms in the House — from 1836 to 1838 — 
and three years in the Senate, from 1841 to 1844. Al- 
though not wealthy, he has, by judicious management of 
his worldly afiairs, and by hard manual labor, placed 
himself in a condition to live easily and independently 
during the remnant of his days. 

It may be affirmed with equal safety, that his success 
in the ministry is not owing to the possession of extra- 
ordinary ability. True, he is a workman that needeth 
not to be ashamed, and one fully competent to officiate 
creditably in any pulpit; yet he is not generally regarded 
as a great preacher. But in the little circle in which he 
has quietly labored, it is universally conceded that 
"brother Reeve is the safe preacher." This expression, 
which has become almost proverbial in Rush county, 
reveals the secret of his success. He has accomplished 
his work by being emphatically a Book man ; by always 
meeting the opposer with a "thus it is written;" by 
taking heed to himself and his doctrine ; by avoiding, as 
a preacher, all superstitious notions, speculative theories, 
" vain babblings," and " foolish and unlearned questions ;" 
by teaching the people the pure word of God ; and by 
being, himself, "an example to the believers in word, in 
behavior, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity." 

Besides these excellent traits as a preacher, he po8- 

scsees admirable qualities as a bishop. It ia in this office, 
rather thaa the ministry, that he stands pre-eminent. 
Tliere is scarcely a single particular in which he does Dot 
conform to the standard given by Paul to Titue. During 
the twenty -eight years that have elapsed since he became 
bishop of Flat Rock church, no serious difficulty of any 
kind has occurred in the congregation ; and the cause of 
primitive Christianity, in that community, has been saved 
from the disgrace which often arises from eont«Dtious elders 
aud disputisg brethreu. This calamity lie has prevented 
by permitting to be brought before the church no qtiea- 
tion which was calculated to divide it, or seriously disturb 
its harmony ; by not assuming, as too many bishops do, 
a dictatorial attitude; by causing the church to feel its 
responsibility, and thus, in a great measure, govern itself; 
and by not t>eing delcrmined to thrust himself forward as 
a preacher, but by being always willing to speak or re- 
frain from speaking according to the will of those whom 
he served. 

Still proceeding in this way the pleasure of the Lord 
continues to prosper in his hands; and never, while he 
stands at the door, will grievous wolves enter in to 
devour his flock. A little longer shall he "feed the (lock 
of God, taking the oversight thereof, not for filthy lucre, 
but of a ready mind." Then shall the chief Shepherd 
appear, and ho shall receive a crown of glory. 

From this brief sketch of his life and services let at 
least one important conclusion be drawn, namely, to 
advance the interests of the Redeemer's kingdom, it is 
not necessary to travel into Asia, or possess the mental 
acumen of the apostle Paul. Ordinary ability, employed 
wilh discretion in the pulpit, and prudence in the bishop's 
ofSce, may establish the claims of the ancient gospel in 
any other county, as, by such means, they have been 
established in the county of Rush. 


In the personal appearance of Elder Reeve there is 
nothing remarkable. He is rather heavy set, hardly up 
to the average height; and his whole contour is indicative 
of great strength, activity and endurance. He has a keen 
gray eye, light hair, and a highly nervous temperament. 

He is a thoughtful, well-informed, common-sense man ; 
not disposed to consider things abstractly ; but of a prac- 
tical and business turn of mind. 

His dress is plain and neat, correctly representing him 
as a well-to-do farmer. 

He is easily approached, very lively in conversation, 
and hospitable to a fault. For many years his house has 
been the preacher's home ; and every good and great 
enterpriiib finds in him a " cheerful giver." 

He preaches the simple gospel in very simple style. 
His action is not that of an orator ; but his ideas are 
good, his language well chosen, and his delivery impressive. 

When death claims him the world will be minus an 
obliging neighbor, a patriotic citizen, a patron of learning, 
a true philanthropist, and an exemplary Christian. 


Elder Joseph W. Woub was bom in Frederick county, ' 
Tirginift, April Ifltli, 1810. Like most persons of I 
day bia advanlt^^es for otrtAinio^ an education w«re veij; 1 
lLmit<;(]. He was sent to school thrive uiontbs in the Jtat 2 
l>tn ; and Bbiiut nine montbe in tlie following rosr. Ofl-I 
the 8d of April, 1819, be k>fl Yirgiaia and rcmaTC»d (al 
Sullivan couuty, Indiana, wlior? he still residc^j^nivin^S 
„l 1)1,-; wo^'liTiiliniJii.'oiillji' Ir-I iif til,.' loll-nv iiig May. 1> 
a liiilu more than len yt-iu' i.'' ngu, ho soon discovered 
tliiii Iiu wiia by no nienii!* tliu oiily ut.lf that bad emi- 
fiaifd to I hill lociilily; for at that time Sullivan county 
iviis liiit s]iiirsi'ly Milled; the huwiinfi of wolves waa 
lu'iirii iiuirc lii>c|iicriily thmi the sound of the goepel, and 
liir moiv nunifnuis ihiui wl' 'il-himsfs nfre Ibe ji^igwama 
iif ill.. Iniiiiiris. Ilrre Hnn.iifr snvn.u'i's both hoaiSD and 
inliunian, hr }.'i"''W uji, li.i' - .hiily hi forcsl or hi field; 
ii„v uPUil .■iirhl.rnyi'ivrr^i.i ^ -s.if ajre h-Mi he nny fiirlh.T 
n|,|i..riiiniiy .iraii.'n.liii^'scli.)..!. Iiuring (he y.s - 1K2S-9 


Elder Jobepii W. Wolfe waa born in Frederick county, 
Tirginia, April IDth, 1810, Like moet persons of thai 
day his iidvantftgcis for obtaining an education were very 
limited. He was bkuI to school three months iu lb« year 
1817 ; and about nine months in the following year On 
the 3d of April, 1819, be left Virginia and removed U> 
Sullir&n county, Indiana, wliere be still residoagArriTing 
at his western home on tbe lat of the following M»y, being 
a little more than ten yea^' c' age, he soon discoverad 
thiit he wtia by no means the only wolf that had emi- 
grated to that localily ; for at that time Sullivan county 
was but sparsely st;ltled ; the howling of wolvea was 
heard more frequently than the sound of the gwpel, and 
far mor<! numerous il-houses were tbgwgwams 
of the Indians. Here among ravages bot fajaft" ' ^nd 
ihbiinian, he prew up, tui* - daily in forest o^^Tfield; 
nor until eigiitecn years oi \ -H of age had he any further 
opportiinily of attending pehool. During (lie yen = 1828-9 
bf a^'fti(l wi-iit to wi-hool for nb'iut six months; u^id, by a 
diii^i'iit iiiipriivi'mcnt of hi^ lime, he matilerfd the Spelling 
n<wk; karm-d \o rend and write, and " fJ>/i«»-«d'' to the 
rule of three in aritbmelie. His c(Iucfttii>n was then 
reganled as eom|ilcte; for by the people of that d.iv, 
gOBgrophy, Engli."!! gnimmnr, and indeed all things Ijeyond 
tiie rule of tlirec were deemed of no practical utility. 

Unlike most of our modern wluilents, he did not coiiHne 
biniw<'lf witliin the narrow liouiidrt of " man's wisdom," 



but diligently inquired after " that wisdom which cometh 
down from above." He soon found and appreciated the 
great truth, too often overlooked by young men, that 
" the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom and to 
depart from evil is understanding." Accordingly, on the 
2d of August, 1828, he was immersed into Christ, and on 
the first Lord^s day of September following, united with 
the Baptist church at Maria Creek, Knox county, Indiana. 

A little prior to this time, the light of the Reformation 
began to dawn on that vicinity. Influenced by the 
writings of Barton W. Stone, Alexander Campbell and 
others, the principal Baptist ministers preached, with 
Paul, that " faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the 
word of God. While they insisted on faith and repent- 
ance as essential antecedents of baptism, they no longer 
taught the people that they could not be baptized without 
a previous assurance of pardon. Elder Wolfe declares 
that, had it not been for these modifications of the ortho- 
dox gospel, he would never, perhaps, have united with the 
church, and that he certainly would not have done so at 
that time. Happily for him and the thousands that have 
been saved through his instrumentality, these modifica- 
tions were made ; but alas I in how many cases have 
they not been made I Who but God can estimate the 
influence, nay the souls that have been lost because of 
them that have hesitated to preach the simple gospel 
through fear of being called heterodox ? 

But to the new doctrines proclaimed from the pulpit, 
many of the members seriously objected ; and previous to 
his immersion he was required to relate an "experience." 
He stated that he had " heard the word;" that he believed 
that Jesus is the Christ ; that he had repented of his sins ; 
that he hated iniquity ; loved righteousness ; and desired 
to be baptized. The fact that he loved righteousness and 
hated Iniquity was regarded as proof, strong as holy writ, 


Ihni Ood lidd blotled out hie tran egression a ; and tliey 
Rcconlingly proceeded to baptize hitu " beeanse of" the 
remistiion of bids. Thus he became a Baptist; but ibe 
pBlc had weil nigb proved too straight for him. 

Soon after his union with the Bnptist Church, the creed 
c|iicstioii was greatly agitated in the congrcj^tion at 
Maria Creek. Many of the members were much dissatis- 
lied with the Baptist ConfeBEion of Faith, especially to 
that part of it which relates to the doctrine of eternal 
itleiTtion So high did the excitement run, that at every 
inontlily meeting §ome one would move that the creed be 
rKuU, which being done, the debate began, almost ereiy 
male member taking part in the diBcussion. In the midst 
of Ihie excitement, Elder Wolfe and Beventeen others re- 
(|i)e8lpd to be organized as a separate congregation, at 
Shaker Prairie, in Knox county ; but they were unwilling 
to be organized on a creed unless that creed should be 
expressed in Bible terms. To obviate the difficulty, the 
church appointed Elder Wolfe and their pastor. Eider B. 
W. Fields, as a committee to prepare a satisfactory creed. 
At the next monthly meeting they reported one, which 
began as follows : 

" Preamble. 

" We believe that the Scriptures arc divinely inspired, 
and the only infalliiile rule of faith and practice r — There- 
fore we declare to the world our faith in the following 
manner, viz. : 

" let. We believe ' There are three that bear record in 
heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost, and 
these three are one.' 

'■ 2d. We lielieve ' There are three that bear witness in 
earth, the Spirit, and the water, and the blood ; and these 
three agree in one.* 

" 3d. We believe that ' In the beginning was the Word, 
and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.' 



"4tb. We believe that 'All tilings were made b; bim, 
and without him waa not any thing made that was made.' 

" 5th, We believe that ' The Word was made flesh and 
dwelt among us, and we beheld his glory, the glory as of 
the only begotten of the Father, ftill of grace and truth.' 

" 6th. We believe that * Every spirit that confesseth 
that JesuB Christ is come in the flesh is of Ood.' 

" 7th. We believe that ' Every spirit that confesseth not 
that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God.' 

"8th. We believe that 'Ood hath appointed a day in 
the which be will judge the worid in righteousness by that 
man whom he hath ordained ; whereof he hath given 
assurance unto all men in that he hath raised him tVom 
the dead. ' " 

Other articles followed in the same style, but this will 
suffice as a specimen. 

After due deliberation, this singular creed was pro- 
nounced unexceptionable ; and on it the church at Shaker 


Fields to prepare a, letter to that body, cutting forth the 
fact tliat thpy had dbi-arded the Baptist creed, and adopted 
the Bible in its stead. The letter having been prepared, 
presenled to the church, and approved, Elders Woirc and 
Fields and brethren Jnnies Boyd and Jaeoh Wulfo were 
appointed as dole^tes to bear it to the Association. 
This body met in September, 1830, at Indian Creek chureh. 
Sullivan county ; and no sooner was the letter presented 
than a motion was made to eject the delegates from the 
Association, Elder Fields obtained leave to explain their 
position ; and, for an hour and a half, proceeded to show, 
let The right of congrej^ations to choose their own 
Cteeda ; 2d. The perfection of the Divine creed ; 3d. The 
dnty of Christians to adopt it; and, 4th. That it was 
antichristian to be governed by any other. At the close 
of \m addres;;, finding his auditors irritated rather than 
convinced, he and his fellow-delegates withdrew from the 
Association. Thus ended the connection of Elder Wolfe 
and the congregation at Shaker Prairie with the Baptists ; 
and thus was furnished at least one undeniable evidence 
that human creeds are schismatical. 

Then began the brethren at Shaker Prairie to meet on 
every Lord's day to break bread ; and the Lord, from 
time to time, added unto them " the saved." Then, too, 
began persecution — not such as once filled prisons, fed 
ravenous beasts, and illuminated with human torches the 
gardens of Nero — but such as reviles one, and says all 
manner of evil again.H him falsely for Christ's sake. The 
Baptists stigmatized them as " Campbellites," and closed 
their doors against them. The Methodists organized a 
class among them, and pronounced them heterodox ; 
while, by the orthodox generally, it was industriously 
asserted that ihey denied the Divinity of Christ, and the 
operiition of the Holy Spirit, and that all they required 
of any one in order to membership was simply to be im- 

J08BPH W. WOLFB. 391 

mersed — misrepresentations which, though corrected a 
thousand times, continue to be repeated by very many 
even to this day. " But step by step," says Elder Wolfe, 
" we advanced on our glorious platform, gaining ground 
on all opposers." As the means by which this was ac- 
complished he adds, '' Every member of us acted as a 
preacher. We carried our Testaments into our corn- 
fields, and read the word at every interval." Thou who 
hast been wonl to rely only upon the preacher for progress, 
**go thou and do likewise.''^ Fired by such zeal, and in- 
structed by Elders B. W. Fields, M. R. Trimble, and 
others, the church steadily grew in grace and in numbers ; 
so much so that in less than two years they had increased 
from eighteen to twenty members ; and in 1838 they num- 
bered a hundred and twenty, as did the disciples at Pente- 
cost, while the persecuting church at Maria Creek went 
down almost to zero. Let the history of this church 
serve as an index of what might, by proper eflFort, be ac- 
complished by the Reformation. If every disciple would 
labor with equal zeal, there would be reason to hope that, 
ere long, human creeds would be driven from the church ; 
the walls of sectarianism razed to the ground ; and the 
people of God united on the one foundation of the apos- 
tles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief 
comer stone. Then indeed would the doubting world 
believe that God has sent his Son to seek and to save 
that which was lost ; and the kingdoms of this world 
would speedily become the kingdom of our Lord and of 
his Christ. 

In the Christian meeting-house at Shaker Prairie, on 
the 6th of May, 1839, Elder Wolfe was ordained as an 
evangelist by Elders B. W. Fields, John B. Haywood, and 
Albert P. Law, all of whom now "rest from their labors." 
He immediately began to thrust in his sickle with those 
that were already 




liKliin'ii'at Shaker I'rnirie, in addition to their portioD of 
tli« (uouey, galhercil his erop of com, prepared wood" for 
bla family, aiid clioered his heart by several autwtuitlid 
prowinte. This year, in connection with Elder Jolin E. 
NuycB, he held a series of protracI«d meetiogH At ruriinis 
pniiitB in ladianB and Illinois, a ehort account of whicb 
may serve to illustrate the power of both Elder Wolfe 
and the truth in those days. 

They began at Bniceville, Knoa county, being assisted 
at thifl place by Elder B. W. Fields. The lu-rangeiucnt 
waa that EliJer Fields should preach each day at nine 
o'clock, A. M., Elder Noyes at three P. M., and Elder 
Wolfti at night. Al the close of the sermon on the secoud 
night, eighteen persona came forward to coufees the Lord 
before men. An exhortation was given, and three others 
came. Thua they contioucd fVom day to day until six^- 
tiino were inmierfiwl. Si-Tcrn! thinir? conspire.! to make 
this a remarkable oieeting. The weather was excessively 
cold ; the ground was covered with snow, which afforded 
excellent sleighing ; and vast multitudes of people were 
daily in attendance. The stream in which they baptized 
was covered with ice more than a foot in thickness. The 
opening made through this and the overlying snow, had 
a striking resemblance to a grave ; so that tiie people had 
no difficulty in conceiving how they might be buried with 
Christ in baptism, and arise to walk in newness of life. 

Leaving Elder Fields, they next held a meeting at 
Kusaellville, Illinois, which closed, after fen days, with 
forty-eight additions. They then removed ten miles west 
to a point on the Ambrosia river, where, in five days, 
Ihry obtained sixteen additions. Next, on their return, 
they preached four diiys at Palestine and immersed 
I'lgliteen. Their kst joint meeting was held at Slinkcr 
Pruirie, and resulted in twcnty-tivu acccsKioiis. nidkidg 
one hundred and eiglily-threu in ull. 


At the close of this year, finding himself encumbered 
with debts and his farm in a bad condition, he became 
discouraged and thought of abandoning the work of an 
evangelist ; but he was encouraged by his wife to persevere. 
Soon, however, the voice of that wife encouraged him no 
more ; her heart sympathized with him, her prayers 
ascended for him only a little longer ; for on the 26th of 
April, 1845, she died, leaving him with four children — the 
youngest four, the eldest eleven years old. Then to him 
were " the days of darkness," which in every man's life 
shall be many. He preached but little, save to the home 
congregation ; and this year brought into the kingdom 
only about one hundred. At the close of the year he was 
married the second time ; and again entering the field as 
an evangelist, during the years 1846-7, he added about 
four hundred to the Church. 

In 1848 he was elected county commissioner for three 
years. This interfered but little with his preaching 
arrangements ; and each year his labors were crowned 
by about two hundred accessions. 

In 1851 he was elected clerk of the Circuit Court of 
Sullivan county, but still continued to preach with his 
usual success. Assisted by Elder Jas. Blankenship of 
Monroe county, he held several protracted meetings, at 
which about two hundred persons became obedient to the 
faith. But the principal achievement of this year was 
the planting of a church at Middletown in Vigo county. 
Here the missionary Baptists had then a large church, 
while there were but about half a dozen disciples in an 
unorganized condition. At this point he and Elder B. 
preached ; organized a church ; and obtained over sixty 
additions, among whom were several of the most efficient 
members of the Baptist Church. This gave to the Chris- 
tian Church at that place great strength, which it has 
maintained, and steadily increased, to this day. On the 



ovei] to ■ 
11 ties of I 
irations I 


Gth of January, 1652, having Bold his farm, he removei] 
Sullivan, the county-Beat, and entered upon the duties 
his clerkship. This year he vieiled Bever^l congregations 
in the country; but labored chiefly for the church at 
Bullivnn, preaching often at night after the toils of the 
day were over. 

During the next three years hie manner of life was 
much the same; only he preached more, held more 
protracted meetings, and induced greater numbere to 
obey the gospel. In 1855 he was reelected clerk of the 
Circuit Court. In 185fi he turned more than two hun- 
dred from the broad to the narrow way, and planted one 
new church. During the three years following he preached 
regularly for four congregations, and averaged about oDe 
hundred and 6fty accessions per year. 

In 1858 he and Elder Jos. Hostetler held a protracted 
meeting at Providence, in Sullivan county, where there 
was a church recently organized and very feeble. The 
meeting continued ten days, and closed with eighty-five 
additions. One year later they held another meeting 
there. As at Samaria, the people with one accord gave 
heed unto what they spake ; about forty others believed 
and were baptized, and there was great joy in that city. 
A few years previous to this, when Elder Wolfe first 
visited that point, there were but three or four disciples 
and a few United Brethren in all that region. The entire 
neighborhood was a very Sodom, in which ten righteous 
could hardly be found; having long been famous for 
horseracing, drinking, gambling, and almost every vice in 
the catalogue of crimes. At the conclusion of two years' 
labor among them the church at Providence numbered 
largely over two hundred; and the Sodom had been 
transformed into a Salcm^a peaceable, a Christian com- 
munity. So it remains unto this day, a monument more 
durable than brass, whose top touches heaven. 


Although he has received but little from the churches, 
the proceeds of his farm and the emoluments of his 
civil office, have placed him above want He has 
recently invested his small capital in the mercantile busi- 
ness, and has, in a measure, retired from the regular 
service. But still he is resolved to preach Jesus, as 
health may permit, until the Master shall say : '' It is 
enough; come up higher;" and he now sings the living 
sentiment of his soul in this beautiful stanza : 

''B'er since, bj faith, I saw the stream 
His flowing wounds supply, 
Redeeming love has been mj theme, 
And shall be till I dU.'' 

Such is a brief account of the life and services of Elder 
Joseph W. Wolfe, from which it will be seen that, among 
other good deeds, he has led back to the Shepherd's fold 
about four thousand five hundred persons that, like sheep, 
had gone astray. 

Nature granted to Elder Wolfe the two great blessings 
for which the heathen poet taught his* contemporaries to 
pray, namely, a sound mind in a sound body. Inured to 
labor from his early youth, his physical powers were well 
developed ; and the hardships he experienced as a pioneer 
farmer eminently qualified him for the more severe trials 
of a pioneer preacher. He is six feet four inches high, 
and weighs about one hundred and seventy pounds. His 
frame is muscular, head very large, eyes pale blue or gray, 
hair and complexion light. His temperament is highly 
nervous, giving him a rapid utterance and quick move- 

His natural powers of mind are much above the average, 
and, had he enjoyed the advantages of a collegiate educa- 
tion, he would have occupied a high rank among the greater 
lights of the church. His mind is of the perceptive caste, 


observing cloaely and comprehending: easily both men and 
tiling ; yet ho reasooe forcibly by the best of all lo^rs, 
common sense. 

He is a man of great vivacity — plain in his drese, simple 
ID his habits, frauh in hie demeaDor, indulgeDt to bis 
family, and obliging to his neiglibors. 

Though not ordinarily eloquent, yet he is a fluent, dia- 
tinct, impressive speaker, very much lilce George Camp- 
bell in his lofty flights and impassioned exhortations. At 
such times be enunciates with wonderful rapidity, gesticn- 
latea violently, and is all aglow with animation. His lan- 
guage IB respectable, though not elegant; and he presents 
the truth with great cleameBs and simplicity by means of 
apt illustrations. He usually deals in facts ; and his dis- 
courses are generally argnnientalive, hortatory, practical 
He never raves like a mad man, but always utters the 
words of truth and soberness like one who really believes 
that Ood "has appointed a day in which he will judge the 
world in rightcou-->nes3." 

Id whatever he has undertaken he owes much of his 
success to his untiring industry. In the office or on the 
farm, whatsoever his hands found to do, he did with his 
might. Hence he has acquired a sufficiency of this world's 
goods, although the most of bis time has been spent in 
the Lonl's vineyard. 

In the ministry, he has regarded neither winds nor 
clouds; hut in the morning has sown the incorruptible 
seed and in the evening withheld not his hand. Thus, 
having spent his life in sowing to the Spirit, he shall ere 
long reap the harvest of life everlasting. For, with con- 
stitution impaired by e.\posure, oppressed by the weight 
of more than half a century, and robbed by death of a large 
portion of his family, he only waits the summons to join 
them "beyond tlie river" — 


** 'Tis hid from view, but we maj guess 
How beaatiful that realm must be ; 
For gloamings of its loveliness, 

In visions granted, oft we see. 
The very clouds that o*er it throw 

Their vail, un raised for mortal sight, 
With gold and purple tintings glow, 
Reflected from the glorious light 
Bejond the river." 



Eldsr Thomas Jgffkbson Edmondson was bom in 
Rullivun countj, Indiana, Dei^mlier 25th, 1816. Id tbs 
Sprinj; iif 181T, liis fiktiicr, Wimam Edmondson, remoTed 
with Jiira to Uonroe county, where he was brought Op. 
Uo was the eldest of eight brothers, three oT whoiD) 
Oei^rge, Porter, and John, b«caine ministers in the Cum- 
berland Presbyterian Church. They were men of tuon 
thiui ordinary intellectual ability and moral worth, but 
of very frail constitutions, All three died of pnlmonarj 
diwcnsoM when tliey were comparatively young men. 
Ilia father, who still lives, has never been a member of 
any ehurch, but ig an upright citizen, who has given spe- 
cial attention to the moral and intellectual training of his 
children, of whom he has had twelve, eight sons and four 
daughters. All, save three or four, have long slumbered 
beneath the sod. 

His mother was a most devoted member of the Cum- 
berland Presbyterian Church, and she studiously im- 
pressed that particular form of doctrine upon the minds 
and hearts of her children. Upon the faith of his mother 
he was sprinkled in infancy, and under her well-meant 
instructions he grew up with the rest. 

From the first dawn of reason he seemed to be ab- 
sorbed in thought. As he grew older he delighted to 
steal away from his brothers and spend his time in the 
forest with his rifle. He was also passionately fond of 
fishing, like those of old, who afterwards, in the provi- 



dence of Qod, became fishers of men. As a school-boy, 
he was mostly remarkable for seldom seeming to study, 
yet always reciting well at the head of his class. In his 
own easy and peculiar way he made rapid progress, and 
soon mastered all the branches of the common-school. 

He was of a roving disposition — not a man, like Pol- 
lock's, who thought '' the visual ray that girt him in, the 
world's extreme." Through life his motto was plus ultra 
— more beyond — more knowledge to be acquired— still 
higher degrees of excellence and enjoyment to be attained 
in the Christian profession. Shut in by the hills of Mon- 
roe county, his expansive spirit was cramped and restless. 
Before he was twenty-one years old, therefore, he left the 
paternal roof, made a trip to Mississippi, and there ac- 
quired some knowledge of the men, manners, and institu- 
tions of the sunny South. 

On his return home Im-commenced and prosecuted for 
some time the study of medicine ; but he was destined to 
become a disciple of the Great Physician, and, according 
to his instructions, administer the ''balm in Gilead." It 
was in the Fall of 1839 that he was brought under the 
influence of the gospel through the instrumentality of 
James M. Mathes. This excellent evangelist, then just 
entering upon his career of usefulness, was preaching 
once a month at a schoolhouse in the Edmondson neigh- 
borhood. On going one day to fill an appointment, he 
perceived, near the house, a man walking to and fro in 
the road, and seemingly engaged in profound meditatiofL 
When they met, the troubled stranger introduced himself 
as Mr. Edmondson, and requested an interview prior to 
the commencement of preaching. 

In the course of this interview he presented his diffi- 
culties with regard to Infant Sprinkling, and several 
matters connected with the subject of conversion, saying, 
'' If you can remove these difficulties from my mind, I 



will gadly obey the gospel, as I desire to make religi 
the basis of erery tiling;. I am etudying n profession, hat 
before I enter upon it I want to be a disciple of Jesus — 
then I cftn build on a sure foundation." The preacber 
was Burcesflful in remorinf^ all his ditGeultieB, and in 
giving him perfdct siitisfaction as to what the Lord re- 
quires one in bis condition to do. It was therefore 
agreed between them that on the next day he should 
miiot Elder Hathes at his appointment in Bloomington, 
and then and there obey from the heart the form of doc- 
trine delipifr«d to the world by the apostles. 

Aocordingly on the next day, which waa Friday, he 
and his brother Port«r attended the meeting at Bloomiug- 
ton. At the close of the discourse ho went forward and 
publicly confessed hie faith in the Great Messiah. The 
congregation immediately repaired to the water — a natural 
pool in Clear crceli, a little south of the TTniTersity— 
where, in the presence of a large concourse of people, he 
was buried with the Lord by baptism into death. It was 
an interesting, a solemn, an impressive scene. As he 
came up out of the water, while all hearts were softened 
for the impress of truth, he made some excellent remarks, 
which evinced not only his sincerity, but also his clear 
understanding of " the way, the truth, and the life." 

About the first of November, 1839, he went to Bloo'm- 
ington on a visit to Elder Matbes, who had previously 
removed to that place for the purpose of attending the 
University. While there he was easily prevailed upon 
by his instructor in the gospel to give up the study of 
medicine and finish his education at the college, prepara- 
tory to engaging in the wort of the ministry. He imme- 
diately went to live in the family of Elder Matbes, and 
entered the Slate University, then under the direction of 
that profound thinker Dr. Andrew Wylie. There he con- 
tinued his studies until he acquired a respectable knowl- 


edge of the Latin and Greek languages, Mathematics, the 
Physical Sciences, Rhetoric, Elocution, Logic, Evidences 
of Christianity, and Metaphysics. He was a most labori- 
ous student, equalling — if he did not surpass — all his 
classmates in both thoroughness and dispatch. It is not 
improbable that, accustomed as he had been to labor in 
the open fields, he there laid the foundation of that fell 
disease which carried him, as it carries millions, to an 
untimely grave. 

Early in the year 1840, while yet a student at college, 
he commenced preaching. On Saturdays and Sundays 
he would accompany Elder Mathes into the country, and 
would occasionally deliver a discourse — at first using 
notes prepared for him by his companion and tutor in 
the gospel. On this account he received the name of 
" Timothy ^''^ or " brother Mathes^s Timothy, ^^ by which title 
he was for years extensively known. Often when the 
brethren abroad would request Elder M. to visit them, 
they would write, " Come, brother Mathes, and bring 
* Timothy* with you ; or, if you cannot come, send 
'Timothy,* and we will be satisfied." 

After leaving the university he gave himself wholly to 
the word, rose very rapidly, and soon became a very 
useful, widely-known, and popular preacher. For several 
years he had no particular location, but went everywhere 
preaching Jesus and the salvation that is through faith in 
his name and obedience to his commands. He was very 
successful in convincing the people of the correctness of 
the principles he advocated, and of the necessity of a 
return to the ancient gospel and the order of the primitive 

In the course of his travels he came to Madison, where, 
in 1843, he was married to Miss Sarah Ann Hutchinson, 
who became the mother of his three children. The eldest 
of them, a son, died at Columbus at the age of six years. 


Tlicjiitliortwo, ikeoiiiiiitladauglitcT, he left with bisvidow, 

for &g&iD to rotiirii to them, but in hope that they would 
ccmi! tu him. Thoau two aru etUl Uriug somewhere in 
Ibe far V/ttaL 

Aflvr Lia marriago, and through tbo influence of that 
«x<.-ell(;nl lu&D of GciJ, Joaeph Fatieutt, tie located at 
ColuRibuB, Bartholomew couotj, and became the (latitor 
' of the uhurch at that pUce. Ue did not uouU'til himaelf, 
howovpr, with feediuR that one flock ; hut prvaciied often 
in the voutUry aitd at vorioUB poinU along the Madi&oo 
and Itidiunapolit! railroad. A portion of his time was 
ngiilarly oiupltiyi-d in M^rving the congrogatione at Edin- 
burg. Now Uopti, and Oreeuebiirg. 

At no time did he receive from all the churchee under 
his caro a sufficiency for his support ; but he wan always 
under the necessity of devotJDg a portion of his time to 
Borne secular busiofss. Throiig^l] lliii^ ni,-glpct on the part 
of the churches, and through bad management of hia 
temporal affairs, he became involved in debt, by which 
both his happiness and uscfutnees were impaired. 

lie was a ready, keen, and powerful debater, though 
he never held but one regular public discussion. This 
was on the subject of Universal ism. It took place at 
Franklin, Johnson county, on tiie 18th, 19th, and 20th 
days of January, 1844. His opponent was the great 
Univcrsalist champion, Erasmus Kauford, of Terre Haute, 
tlien editor of the " Christian Teacher." 

The two propositions were the same that have long 
been stereotyped, one afQrmative for each. The following 
short account of the debate is from the pen of one who 
heard it ; 

" This discussion, we are assured, did much good in 
Franklin and vicinity, in exposing the sceptical heresy of 
Vniversalism, and in the development and establishment 
of the truth as taught in the Bible. Id this debate Mr. 


Msnford, though a practiced and wilj debater, was no 
match for the youthful and philosophic Edmondson, who, 
though young and inexperienced in debate, yet having on 
the armor of righteousness and truth, laid hold on his 
opponent with a giant grip, and bound him hand and 
foot with the strong cords of reason, logic, and Scripture 
testimony." The writer of this flattering notice, it is 
true, was a great admirer of Edmondson and a zealous 
opposer of Manford, yet he is one whose skillful pen is 
not given to vain boasting but rather to words of truth 
and soberness. 

The only other debate of his was an informal little 
affair that took place in the village of Leesville, Lawrence 
county. It occurred in the Summer of 1845, and on this 
wise : 

Jacob Wright of Salem, and George Walker, a circuit 
preacher, had just concluded a discussion on the subjects 
of Baptism and the Influence of the Holy Spirit. At this 
discussion Edmondson was present, with other Christian 
evangelists ; and the Rev. Philip May, another circuit 
preacher, was also present with others of his brethren. 
At the close of the discusssion — which was just before 
noon — some one of the Christian preachers announced 
that, at a certain hour in the afternoon, he would deliver 
a discourse at the place where they were then assembled. 
Mr. May immediately arose and gave notice that, com- 
mencing an hour earlier, he would preach, at the same 
place, on the subject of Baptism ; at which time and 
place he would prove frwn the Oreek language that 
sprinkling and pouring are scriptural modes of adminis- 
tering that ordinance. Dinner being over, all repaired to 
the grove, anxious to hear Mr. May prove what mortal 
man had never before established. By common consent 
Mr. Edmondson was appointed to follow the reverend gen- 
tleman, and reply to his Oreek arguments. This Mr. May 


did not ei|iHCl: iiidiwJ lie was not aware that auy oub 
prraciit uaduratoiiil tUt:^ laujjuaK*' '^ wliicb Gotl, for wiiie 
purposcn, wriitx! thriiu;;li Uiti amuiueuees, and &terei>ly|ifid 
tlirough liiB proviOciife, Uio precious record of Ills wcU- 
Iwloved Son. He ihercfore aseumed considerable latitude 
and diedoBcd a gr«al many things relative to th« Greek 
language, that would certainly have been new to Bemos- 
tli^'iieB or Plato — tie latter of which gentlemen especially, 
i» supposed to have had a respectable knowledge of Uiat 
twiii^in 1 

Jlilr. Kdmoiidtton busied hiniself in taking copious Qotita; 
and when the argument woti concluded, he took the stand 
and bef^an his review. Then came the tug of war- — for 
Ureek met Qreek. Uv ahowcd first of all that Mr. May 
was neither a classical schular nor a reliable critic ; that 
his assure ions were altogether rccklchs und uitliinii fouiidft- 
tion either in the New Testament Greek or in the Greek 
classics. His speech is said to have manifested great 
ability, profound research, and sound learning. It also 
abounded in good humor, wit, and pleasant sarcasm, 
which rendered his opponent very uneasy, and placed 
himself in the first rank of debaters. It was generally 
regarded by the people who heard it as a most triumphant 
vindication of the oft-assailed truth on that subject. 

As a writer also, he attained to a high rank, and no 
doubt accomplished more good by his pen than by bis 
tongue. Many of his articles were published in the 
"Christian Record," where they were read with profit by 
thousands. Tliey are still in print to be read by thou- 
sands more, now that his tongue lies forever silent in the 
grave. The style, force, and tone of hie literary produc- 
tions may be best described by inserting a few cxtracta. 
The following are taken from his articles written for th« 
Record under the broad caption, "Christiau Obligations." 
After quoting some of the apostolic injunctions, such aa. 


**Do justly, love mercy, and walk humbly before the 
Lord," he says : 

" A want of conformity to these moral precepts is the 
cause of a great amount of infidelity in the world. The 
moralist, instead of looking at the true evidence of Chris- 
tianity, looks at the conduct of the lukewarm or ungodly 
professor, and concludes that the character of such is 
proof that the Bible is not adapted to the nature and 
wants of man, and consequently he is opposed to Chris- 
tianity. He concludes that there is more divinity in 
human nature than there is in the authenticity of the 
Bible, and, therefore, he attributes the good qualities 
which some Christians possess, more to the organization 
of their nature than to the influence of the Bible ; and 
hence he sets up in opposition to what he calls Chris- 
tianity, some of its own moral precepts. Others set the 
moralist in opposition to the ungodly professor — not for 
the purpose of imitating him, but for an excuse to indulge 
in immorality and crime." 

On the subject of prayer he writes thus : 

" Prayer is indispensable to the life of the Christian. 
In fact, a prayerless Christian is, to my mind, an anomaly 
in the universe of God. It is like attempting to identify 
the ideas of opaque and transparent qualities in a simple 
substance, or to conceive of two substances occupying 
the sam^ space at the same time. * ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ it may be 
contended by some that if we possess the spirit of prayer, 
that will suffice without formal or vocal prayer. This 
argument might be brought with equal force against every 
commandment in the gospel. Some people bring the 
same argument against ol>eying the first principles of the 
gospel. ' Oh,* say they, * God looks not at forms and 
outward ceremonies, but at the heart. He abhors the 
sacrifice where the heart is not found.' Thus people 
argue, and thus conclude to omit ' the sacrifice' altogethet, 


or offer it on an attar that God has not erected, and thus 
the virtue of tlie saerifiee is lost, for ' it ia the altar that 
sanctilietb the gift.' 1 could not make use of such an 
argument a(>ainst an institution of heaven, except it were 
att au opiate to a guilty conscience, which was loo weak 
to bear the wholesome and strengthening doctrine of 
Jettua Christ and his apostles. • * * « Is it not strange 
that, with the example of patriarebs and prophetic — apoB- 
tles and first Christiacs — together with the many precepts 
on that subject, individuals professing Christianity should 
never be known to pray ? — do, not even so much as give 
thanks to Almighty God for the food they eat ? Snch, 
however, in some (I hope few) instances, is literally true. 
The devotion of the heart is too much neglected. Bow 
many arc there who are raising up children, bound with 
them to the grave and to the bar of God, who have never 
been hoard by them to pray or give thanks to God for any 
of his blessings which he bestows so profusely upon us I 
Are there not bishops of churches whose duty it is to 
watch over the souls of the flock, who never pray in their 
families or read the word of God to them ?" This long 
extract on prayer will not be injurious to the readers of 
these sketches — to the disciples of this present day. 

In more lively style, he treats directly of some of tbe 
bishops, as follows : 

" What would you think, Christian reader, notwith- 
standing the importance of the office of the Christian 
bishop, were I to tell you that I know of a Ciiristian (?) 
bishop of whom I have been told by one of the flock of 
which he was appointed to take the oversight, that he 
came to see the flock — not to feed — JiL'e limes m forly- 
tuv> VM'eka^ Such indeed is the fact. Query: Will sin-h 
a xkephrril reci'ive acroion of glory that fadi-lh not avayl 
* * * • What would you think were I lo tell you of 
anollicr bishop who undertakes to justify pIny-parties, 


and proves the sincerity of his advocacy by having one at 
bis own house, thus setting an example to the flock ? A 
church of Jesus Christ, the light of the world, in the 
habitual practice of such parties 1 Such a scene ! A 
spectacle that would make angels weep, the devil smile, 
wicked men rejoice, and fill the hearts of the pious chil- 
dren of God with sorrow. 

** Suppose a church having such a bishop as we have 
described should ordain an evangelist, and send him out 
to preach the gospel ; and his labors are blest by the 
conversion of many who hear his voice; and when he 
returns home to report his success to his brethren, and 
thus fill their hearts with joy, there accompany him a 
young disciple, one of his late converts, whose heart is 
filled with zeal and love to God ; and when they arrive 
at the bishop^s house about nightfall, where they expect 
to tarry all night, they hear the voice of male and female 
engaged in singing, with much animation. 'Ah,' says 
the new convert to himself, * I shall have a pleasant even- 
ing with these disciples, who have met together at the 
bishop's house to sing the songs of Zion." But to his 
great mortification, when he arrives at the house of this 
shepherd of the flock of God, he finds a company of male 
and female disciples going round in a ring, singing — 

**01d sister Phebe, how merry were we 
When we sat under yon juniper tree,'* 

♦ * ♦ * while the bishop, with a smile on his counte- 
nance, and his sober companion by his side, sits and looks 
on, well pleased to behold the zeal and devotion of these 
young disciples, the flock of his care I What would be 
the feelings, on such an occasion, of the young disciple 
whom we have described ?" 

Elder Edmondson possessed also considerable poetic 
talent. He never spent much time in its cultivation or 


nxemae, jet be' wrote some ve.ry respectable pi«c«s, 
inoBtly of a s&cred character and plaintive tone. Tits 
following Ib a specimen from tUe " CfaristiBn PBalmisi^ 

"Amoai! tlio moUDUin treoB 

TUe wind* were mnrmnring low. 
And night's ten tliouBaud karmoDips 

Wb™ Imrioonies of woo ; 
A voiea al j;rief tru an th« g»t«, 
1( oiun« From Kedron's gloom; vklo. 

It wus the Savionr's prnyer 

That 0[| the Kilenue broke, 
Imploriug strength from htav'n to b^ar 

The ain-BTeApin^ slroho : 

Tlie fllful starlight aho 


In dim niid miat; gh 


Deep wa-l hia agonizini 

! groan, 

AnA large the vital t 


That trickled to the d( 

■.vy sod, 

While Jhsiis raUed hiit 

voice to Ood. 

The chosen three that 


Their nii^litly wnlch 

to k^ep. 

Left him through sorro 

.ws deep to wad. 

And savo th.mselve, 

* to sleep: 

Meekly and ho pra.VB.l aloiii', 

StrnnKpt.v forgoltiiii hy 

his own. 

Alonp the fltrpamlet's 1 


The reckless traitor 


Anah«avy, o,. hiaho^. 

>m, sank 

TlK-loailnfiruilt ai.,1 

1 ^liame : 


Among the juountain trees 

The winds were murmuring low, 

And night's ten thousand harmonies 
Were harmonies of woe ; 

For cruel voices filled the gale 

That came from Kedrou's gloom/ vale." 

Leaving the reader to judge, from these specimens, of 
the character of his writings and their probable influence 
upon the minds and hearts of men, we proceed to give tlie 
sad remainder of his history. 

He continued to labor at and around Columbus, in the 
manner above-described, until early in the year 1854, at 
which time he was called, by a co-operation of several 
churches in Lawrence county, to labor for them as an 
evangelist. He accepted this call, and for a few months 
prosecuted the work with good success ; but his health 
failing him he was compelled to retire from the pulpit. He 
then returned with his little family to Columbus, where it 
was soon discovered that Consumption, that merciless de- 
stroyer, had marked him for his victim. Every eflfort was 
made by himself and his friends to stay the progres|A of 
the fearful disease, but it was all in vain. In a little while 
he went down lamented to the grave, whither descends 
every thing good and Ijeautiful on earth. The subjoined 
extract is from his obituary notice, written by J. M. 
Mathes, and contained in the October number of the 
Christian Record, for the year 1855. 

"A MIGHTY MAN FALLEN. We Icam by a letter from 
brother C. C. Alden that our beloved brother and fellow- 
laborer. Elder Thomas J. Edmondson, fell asleep in Jesus, 
on Lord^sday morning, August 19th, 1855. The disease 
was consumption, of which most of a large family of bro- 
thers and sisters have died. Brother Edmondson died at 
bis residence in Columbus, Indiana, leaving a wife and 
two small children to mourn his departure. For several 


*wi-i'k> bffore his tieatb he nutfereil grenlly, hui he It'irt- it 
pfttiftiMy, und culmly awaited the moroenl ihat would od- 
niit him thniugh ihe vail of mortality t« the pleasurrs uml 

j^iorit'B or B better world." 

Physipally, as well as niuiitally and morally, Tliomas J 
Hdtunndsoti woe a uoMt- t^jit'Ciaieu of hie race. Ho wae 
nix feoi two inches high, aud weighed alxiut one hundred 
and eighty pouods — was well hnilt, finely proportioned, 
and possessed of great power and aclirity. Id bis youth 
and early manhood, he was passionately fond of athletic 
i-xcrcisea; and at three jumps or hops he had but few 

He had ralher light hair, mi Idly- beaming blue eyes, and 
■'(hfl look of hPBven iipoa.bia face which limners give lo 
the beloved dieciple." 

His was a fine head, especially in the moral and intel- 
lectual departments; tlic mural, perhaps, predominatinu' 
He had an escellenl memory and very great power of 
concentration. Every intellectual ray he could bring lo 
a complete focus. The thoiightfulness of his youth so 
increased with his years that he became subject to fits of 
entire abstraelion. Often ha.t he been known to take his 
bucket, when in such a state of mind, and proceed to the 
barn instead of the well, for water. He was not a servile, 
but an independent thinker, whom no human creed could 
shut out from "the light of the knowledge of Qod." 

lu the pulpit he was rather a philosopher and logician 
than an orator, though he was a very pleasant speaker. 
His Foicc was charming, full of-melody, silvery and sweet, 
lie was an excellent singer, and greatly delighted in sing- 
ing the songs of Zion. Ho had a fine flow of language, 
and his delivery was calm and dignified; never stormy 
unci impetuous. He always treated his opponents with 
fulrni'f's and candor; and although he made no compro- 


mise with sectarianism but rebuked it with all authority, 
yet he was generally mild and conciliatory, never abusive. 
He was a bold, frank, and earnest speaker, yet he some- 
times seemed to lack energy to stir, and pathos to touch 
the hearts of his hearers. In fact he delighted to stand 
upon the firm basis of proposition and proof, and to sway 
his audience by the force of logic and testimony, rather 
than by appeals lo their sympathies, their passions, or 
their prejudices. Like Paul, he ** reasoned of righteous- 
ness, of temperance, and of judgment to come," and when 
he finished his argument the Felixes trembled and felt that 
it must be so. His poetic imagination enabled him to make 
a good exhortation, and, when excited, his descriptive 
powers were very fine. 

He was most amiable in disposition, eminently sociable, 
and by no means destitute of humor. Though slightly 
inclined to melancholy, he relished an innocent joke, and 
often indulged in a hearty laugh. In attachment he was 
strong as David ; in friendship as true as Jonathan ; and 
in death as unfortunate as righteous Abel, cut down at 
the altar of God. 

'*How beautiful it is for man to die 
Upou the walls of Zion! to be call'd 
Like a watch-worn and weary sentinel, 
To put his armor oft', and rest — in Heaven!" 



ITB DBieiR. 

TuK idea of founding an institution of Idftrulng of tlie 
highest order was entertained, fur many >eare, by l«adln)t 
minds in the Cbristian Church, before the work was t 
cumulated in the founding and Drganijiuig of the Nonb- 
WL'6l«rn Christian University — a view of whteh is pre- 1 
st'iili-d in this volume. 

It WBS plainly perceived by the prominent men among 
l\w ChriBtiitn Ijrollierhuod in Irnliiiiin, l!mt Ihi^ prosperity 
of the Christian rausc, as intrusted to their hands, was 
very intimately blended with the cause of education ; 
hence, this subject was much discussed in the earlier 
Indiana State Meetings until the Outoher Meeting in 1849, 
when definite action was taken in regard to the enterprise. 

That meeting, aiming at the establiiihment of an insti- 
tution of learning of the very highest grade, adopted the 
following resolution ; 

" That a Northwestern Christian University be founded 
at Indianapolis, as soon as a sufficient amount of fundf 
can be raised to commence it; and that a committee of 
seven be appointed by this meeting to take the preliminary 
slops in reference to the founding and endowing of suei. 
:iii institution." 

Such was the unostentatious origin of the UniversitT, 
whieh is evidently destined, under the favor of God. to 
laki' rank among the first of the noble educational esta- 
blishments of our country. 


To that State Meeting, acting under the impulse of 
Christian liberality and zeal for education and religion, 
we owe the inception and inauguration of this enterprise. 


The Coniinittee appointed by the State Meeting, in 
accordance with the foregoing resolution, obtained from 
the Legislature of the State an act of incorporation, 
liberal in its character, and which contemplated a Uni- 
versity, composed of colleges of literature and science, 
law and medicine. The charter was approved, January 
15, 1850, and thus became a law. 

On the 5th of the ensuing March the commissioners 
named in the charter held their first meeting, and appointed 
a Board of Commissioners, whose duty it was to make 
prompt and efficient provision for procuring stock, in order 
to build and endow the University. Under the auspices 
and direction of this Board, the work of procuring sub- 
scriptions for the stock of the University was vigorously 
prosecuted until June 22, 1852. At this time, it appearing 
that seventy-five thousand dollars had been subscribed — 
the minimum amount named in the charter — an election 
of directors was ordered, as provided by the charter, and 
the commissioners adjourned sine die. The first Board 
of Directors was elected July 14, 1852, and convened on 
the 27th of the same month for the transaction of business. 

The site of the University building was selected in 
September, 1852, and the contracts for the building were 
let in July of the following year ; and at the May Meeting, 
1855, the building was reported to the Board as completed. 

On the 9th of April, 1855, a preparatory school was 
opened in the University under the direction of Professor 
A. R. Benton, and continued until it was incorporated 


wilh the ci>llegi?, wliiuli Vfua onlarinl In t>« upcDcd oii the 
iBl of Novomboi'. 1855. 

The Fumlly at the ojteiiiDg: of the College was votii- 
{iMW'd of i*rofL-s8or8 Jolin Young, A. K Benton, ftiid J 
K. Chfttlou, to which number G. W. Hosb was addpil the 
rollnwing year. At the racBting of thn Bitard of Directors 
in Juno, 1858, John Young having rrsigued his profe^^sor- 
Hhip, K. T. lirown wa.s chogen to fill his place, and iS. K. 
Uoahour was elticted I'R-sidenl of the Faculty of the 

Iq •Jaauary, 1859, Madison Evans was elected Principal 
of the Preparatory and English School, in place of J. H 
Challen, who had resigned. Up to this time, and until 
the Summer vacation of 1861, the Principal of the English 
Dtipartment was ssaieted at different times by Mr. ftnd 
Mrs. L. II. Jameson, Mrs. E. J. Price, and Mrs. N. E. 

At the July session of the Board, 1861, in view of the 
eoiidition of the country, and the necessity of retrench- 
nu'iil in the expenses of the University, it was decided to 
diminish the number of instructors, and consequently a 
|)iulial reorganixalion of the Faculty became necossarv. 
In accom|jlLJ^hifi^ this change A. R. Benton was elected 
I'resii'lent of the Fucully, which m>w consisted of S. K. 
lloshour, K. T. lirown. G. W. Iloss. A. C. Sliortridge, and 
the President-elect. 

This oi^anizatlon of the Faculty continues at this time. 

The attendance at the University lias always been very 
cri'ditable in numbers and in the charnctcr of its students 
The average yearly attendance in the Literary Depart 
nient has lieen nearly two huiidrcd, and in the Law De- 
partment about thirteen annually. The whole nnmljcrof 
graduates for seven yenrs has iM-en forty-two. Thus it 
will be seen thai the Univeraify has enjoyed a remarkable 
de;.'ri'e it|* |)ros(iri-ily in the iiidiiCMCe it hn^ Iweri enabh-ii to 



exert; and nothing is now wanting but the return of peace- 
ful times and tlie continued co-operation of its friends, to 
give it a pre-eminence among similar institutions. 


The propriety of establishing a Law Department was 
discussed very early in the history of the University, and 
several classes were instructed by Professor John Young 
previously to its being organized in its present form. 

As at present constituted under the Professors, S. E. 
Perkins, LL. D., Judge of the Supreme Court of the State, 
and David McDonald, LL. D., it bids fair to become a val- 
uable and popular department of the University. It de- 
signs to furnish as thorough and as extensive a course of 
legal study as any college in the West, together with a 
practical application of the things taught. 


The University building has been projected on a scale 
of unrivaled magnificence for a college building, thus in- 
dicating the enlarged and comprehensive designs of its 
projectors and founders. 

Its location in the northeastern part of Indianapolis, in 
a campus of twenty-five acres of primitive forest trees, is 
unsurpassed for beauty, and convenience to the citizens of 
this State and of the Northwest. 

The building is modeled after the Collegiate-Gothic 
style of architecture. It is made of brick, with the quoins 
and coping of stone, and constructed in the most artistic 
and durable manner — a fit type of its prospective career 
in the noble work to which it has been consecrated. 

The west wing of the edifice is completed, and furnished 


with ACRitmmodations for ntHnii Uirnti liuinircd tttuHvouT 
Tlic remainder wwte for the liberality of it« friends 
hriiJg it U) completion. 

nie undowiuent of the Univprsity is projected 
ImslH of a joint's! oi'k- CO mpany, in stiaies of one liuadrfd 
(lollurs e&i'h, one thir^ boiii|; [laid over to the CoiUpKny. 
utiil lUc remaining two tbirdn lil llii^ option of th«f hu1>- 
tH.Tilit:r, beint; rctainud tm a pormanunl loan from the (^uni- 
piiny, the intereal of whii^h is to bu paid annually. 

According to this plan, funds enough have been obtuini'd 
to enict a building, and to conetitute Ibe nucleus of a [ler- 
mancint endowment fund. 

With the increase of this endowment will como an in- 
crcftM in the number of professors, nnd provision of tlm 
matfriel of education in every department of study. The 
tiuauctis of tho corporation are managed by the President 
of the Board of Directors, which responsible position baa 
l«-eii successively filled by Ovid Butler, Esq., Elder Elijah 
(ioodwiii, and Jeremiah Sniitli, Esq, 


I the 


The adopted name — Northwestern Christian Uiiiver- 
rtity — waa designed to be descriptive rather than geo- 
graphical, and intended to stamp on its front its peculiar 

tt is not unusual to give a local name to an in»;titution of 
learning, as being most convenient in order to distinguish it 
from others, and to fix its location. In the name adopted 
for the University it was intended doubtless to embody 
spirit and design, rather than to give it geographical 


It i 

-tiih 1 

ciigniKcd by all i 



powerful instructors. Thus while the University aims to 
give literary culture to all, East, West, North and South, 
yet it would imbibe and communicate that spirit of en- 
largement in which it was originated, and which is most 
aptly symbolized by the broad savannahs and the sweep of 
majestic rivers in the Northwoet. Besides, that seething 
activity and ardor of enterprise, so peculiar to these States, 
devoted to individual freedom and development, is the 
spirit in which the University is designed to work, and 
which is indicated by its characteristic name. 

It is not pretended that new ideas, with respect to the 
routine of college study, have been originated ; for the 
course of literary study in the University is essentially the 
same as in other institutions of a similar grade — a course 
which is the result of the cumulative experience of the 
past, and in accord with the power and wants of the human 

In this respect no useful originality of plan is claimed, 
and if possessed of any superiority, it must be in the exe- 
cution of its plan. 

Whatever originality of design there may be, pertaining 
to the institution, it will be found in its provisions for 
Biblical study, and for female education in the classes of 
the University. 

Its motto is, "the Bible the best classic," and its aim is 
to consecrate the vigor of enterprise and fervor of spirit 
peculiar to our time to the Lord. Hence, the Institution 
has the name Christian, by which, while it seeks to make 
no invidious distinction between itself and others, it recog- 
nizes its obligations to teach the Christian religion in the 
morality, facts and promises thereof. This, by the terms 
of the charter, is made an imperative duty, and in practice 
is effected by instruction in regular classes of the Uni- 

Thus the Bible is made a text book — ignorance of which 


is a foul reproach to giaiiuaK's of t'olloges. in a taDd ot 
CliriHtiiin civilixftliDD »nd influt^uco 

Without it, impulse and paeeioD may prevail wiiti uii- 
uoDtrolied away, but with il alone, principles ot acti-ni. 
urigluatiDg iu a sense of duty, are beat incutoated and 

This daily cootoct ot Diviue truth, thitj peraoiial niiii 
direct approach to tlie la-art, is unqueijliouably the moat 
potent muans in forming character after the Divioc nioiiul, 
and in fixing as principloB of action the precepts of the 

Anotlier design of the ITniversity is somewhat niivpl, 
though by no means untried and impracticable. 

The charter of the llnivnraity opens it to both sexes. 
til be taught in tlic same classes, and to be graduated 
with the same honors. 

This plan cannot be regarded altogether as an expt-ri- 
nient, for in the Uigh Schools of our country it is found 
practicable, and not attended with the evil consequence;^ 
BO much deprecated by those willi whom this system has 
found little favor. It is a deplorable fact, that female 
education, in those branches that c.-'pecially invig^orale 
and strengthen the mind, labors under the reproach of 
inciliciency ; and every effort to remove this o|iprobrium 
should be hailed with joy by every friend of sound 
scholarship. Ilencc for many years the most judicious 
educators have been devising plans, by which the moral 
restraints, tlie inlellccliinl competition, and the refining 
infliicnct^ of the siwcs, may be reciprocally enjoyed in Ihe 

With sound philosophy on its side, and no countervail- 
ing experience to dissuade from the attempt, the T7ni- 
vcrwity proposes U> give to both se.xes the advantage of 
the moi^t enliirjred and lil)era? culture. 



It has already been shown from the statistics of the 
University, that the Institution has enjoyed a large mea- 
sure of popular favor and patroAage. Its growth has been 
healthful and uniform, with nothing to disturb its disci- 
pline or to mar its internal peace. The liberal spirit in 
which its administration has been conceived and con- 
ducted has conduced to this result. 

Whatever of external agitation may have prevailed, 
the harmony and peace of College operations have never 
been disturbed. If, too, we compare the prosperity of 
the University with that of other Colleges, we have no 
cause of discontent or discouragement. 

The number to be educated at College is limited by 
the educational spirit and pecuniary means of our people. 
For its past prosperity its friends have much reason to 
be thankful. This is due, in a large measure, to the 
liberal and enlightened policy of its Directors, which, as 
it is better known, will be more heartily approved. 

From the partial praises we have thus bestowed on 
the University, we would not have any one infer that it 
has no wants. It does need a larger Endowment fund, 
in order that it may have a larger Chapel building and a 
greater number of Professors. In order to give this 
University that prominence which was contemplated by 
its founders, it will be necessary to increase its Endow- 
ment fund. In addition to the chairs of instruction 
already provided, there is pressing need of a Professor of 
Biblical Literature, who shall make that work a specialty, 
with reference to the wants of young men entering the 
ministry. This, with another Professor in the Literary 
Department, and with greater mcU^riel of education in 
the Library, Apparatus, and Cabinet, will place the Insti • 

Iiiniicr 111 i-arrytdfr Ihe liniversit; 
(jli'Ium, hero aee lln' oulminatior 
fauhe of etluuutioi) in tbifi Stati 
later coq temporaries, ADd for tbe 
spirit of Chriatian tiberalitj aad 
the woi^ which has been so susp 
iBPUMfOLU, Ottebtr 4, 1861. 




tiilinn in lln! vTj front rank of Colleges, A Me^iud 
Dppftrtmcnt, too. is demanded, unii is undtr considcratiod, 
to bo organisril, it ie presumed, before the lapse of many 
ye firs. ' 

Tbe public men, the ineideots ot whose religious Htm 
art- here rpcordcd. togetherwith nfany brelhrcD in priTala 
lift-, who have labored even more efficiently than the 
former in carrying the University thus far toward com- 
pletion, hem eeu the rulmination of their efforts in the 
i^auHL' of edacatiou in this State. It remains for their 
later contemporaries, snd for their children, in the same 
spirit »f Ohrisliiui liberality and faith, to carry fofward 
the work which has been so auspiciously begun. 

Udiakifolu, Oi^abtr 4, 1662. i